Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Robots take advice from the Rabbi

One of the mistakes that new players make is when they have a combined 10-card holding missing the king, they try to drop it instead of finessing. I don't remember the exact percentages, but it's considerably better to finesse.

Bridge has lots of great colorful names for various plays. One of them is called the Rabbi's Rule. It says when the king is singleton, play the ace. You can even buy a tee shirt from Zazzle that sports this whimsical advice (see here).

Playing against the robots recently, I made a takeout double of 1 and the robot's partner raised to 2. My robot partner passed, and the first robot rebid 2NT. I doubled again, and it went all pass. Here are the two hands from declarer robot's perspective (rotated) after I led the K:

I switched to the 9 and my robot partner won the king. He returned a club to the queen and my ace. I continued with the J and 8, then took the setting trick with the K and exited with a low diamond (the club suit blocked).

The robot declarer won that and led the 7 to his ace, dropping my king, ouch.

Here are all four hands in their original position:

I don't know how the declarer knew to drop my king as I'm more likely to double again with a void than a stiff king, no?


  1. This rabbi and robot walk into a bar...

  2. @VJ sounds like the beginning of a great joke.

  3. I once applied the Rabbi's rule on a hand where the contract could have been defeated if LHO had overruffed with the trump King. Since he did not, I concluded that his partner must have it, and that it must be singleton if I am to make my contract. So I led a trump to the Ace in dummy and his majesty fell.

  4. I'm pretty sure by GIB's definition the second double promised 17+HCP. GIB doesn't guess what you're more likely to do. It follows a set of rules that define the bids.

    Back when I played in New England, there was a rule named after a certain rubber bridge player: When your side has twelve cards in the suit, play for the drop.

  5. I just have one question for Mary Kay's brother: Is all this kosher?

  6. Then again the Robot could have bid 3H making with the drop. at least this way you went plus.

  7. Happy February! And in answer to your question, this rabbi says, "No, most people seem to lack even a modicum of common sense!" :-)