Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A Wild Ride in an Instant IMP Game

I often play in ACBL instant games on BBO as they are quick and I like to see how my placement moves up and down throughout the 12 boards.  This game was wild as I made it to the top spot early, then plummeted to the bottom, will see.

I was in first place by board 3 as my robot opponents overbid and went down four in 4.

Then...disaster on board 5.

I jumped to 4 with the strong South hand and went down 3 for -300.  This was a loss of 12 IMPs and plunged me to the bottom of the pack.  I looked at how pairs got to the best spot of 4 and saw that at other tables, my hand made a jump rebid of 3.  I think my hand is far too strong for that, but when North then rebid 3, South had an easy 4 bid. With an expert partner I would rebid 3, a strong jump shift, but I was worried about doing that with the robots.

I started making a comeback with hands like these. Here are a couple of 3NT hands that won IMPs.

Plus 600 won 10.6 IMPs. As you can see, I only had to lose 3 spades and 1 heart.

Plus 430 won 6 IMPs on this board.

I regained first place with the penultimate board.

A tricky 4, but if you keep in mind that you have 3 trump tricks to lose, and so can lose no others, it gives you a guide to the play.  I ruffed 2 diamonds and was happy to see trumps break 3-2.

Plus 420 was worth 9 IMPs and I was back in first place for the final board.

The situation was simple.  If I got a good score, I would win.  If not, I wouldn't. The last hand was amazing.

With my 24-point monster, I was unsure what to rebid after I opened 2.  You can never be sure of bidding with the robots (unlike humans..ahem...), but at least you can click on all of the bids to see what they are supposed to mean.

At any rate, I rebid 3NT, and my robot partner transferred me to spades.

The J was led, covered with the Q and K and won by my ace. At first glance I could see there was plenty of work to do, but I had no idea what was in store for me.

I started with the A, followed by the 3 which West won with the K.  And then the sky fell...RHO showed out! Spades were not only 5-1, but West started with the KJ1092!

Before I could bemoan my fate, West returned a diamond which I won with the 10.  Was there any hope for this doomed contract?

I started thinking about all of the possibilities and realized that it was noteworthy that West hadn't cashed (or returned) a heart.  With nothing better to do, I cashed a high diamond, and...East showed out! 

Wow!  Now I have a count on the hand! (Pause here if you are practicing counting.)

West started with 5 spades, 4 diamonds, presumably only a singleton heart, so therefore, 3 clubs.  Maybe there is something I can do. Maybe I can score some of those spades with ruffs.

I cashed another high diamond and ruffed a diamond with the 6.Then came the K and A followed by a club ruff with the ♠7.  I now have 9 tricks and...drumroll please...the Q is my 10th trick!

Plus 620 was worth 8.8 IMPs.  One other person made 4 and a few made 3NT (the best contract).  All others went down. Looking back on the hand, the West hand, that held all of the good spades, couldn't use them as I went back and forth to the board cashing my minor suit winners and ruffing them.

Needless to say, I won the instant IMP game and retired with my hard-won .90 masterpoint.

See you at the table!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

New Bridge Teaching App

Have you heard about Baron Barclay's new bridge teaching app, bridgebee?

Here is how they describe it:

BridgeBee provides interactive, teacher-guided playable hands focusing on specific topics and strategies. This gives players a streamlined learning environment which allows them to strengthen their abilities in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. Its modern design is easy to use for both players and content creators. Teachers who are already involved in creating lessons through BridgeBee include Robert Todd, Marti Ronemus, Jennifer Jones, and Patty Tucker.

I had fun writing a couple of lessons (which went live today) on Losing Trick Count. There are new lessons each week, and often an opportunity to play a hand before you buy the lesson.

Check it out!

See you at the table!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

NABC Robot Individual Practice hands Day 2

The second practice day had its ups and downs.  The robots misdefended on a few boards and I received good scores.  On one hand they took the first 5 tricks in 3NT and I went down, whereas the contract was made at other tables.

Here are a couple of fun hands that contributed to my 62% score.

1.  On this hand, after two passes, East opened 2 and I was faced with a typical bidding dilemma:  Should I offer a meek pass or an aggressive overcall?  I opted for a 2NT overcall and my robot partner raised to 3NT.

A heart was led which I won in my hand with the J.  When West won the A a spade was then led which I won with the A. Now I can start counting my tricks.  2, 3, 2, and if the diamond finesse works, I will have 9 tricks.

The finesse worked, and I also got an extra club trick.  The 10 and 9 fell doubleton, making the 8 good on the board.

Plus 630 was worth 90% of the matchpoints.

2.  On this hand I had to decide what to open with my unbalanced 20-count.

I decided 2NT would be about right.  North bid 3, transfer, and I figured my hand was even more valuable in hearts, so I jumped to 4. The A was led and the dummy was--in a word--disappointing.

West shifted to a diamond won by East and a diamond was continued, which I ruffed.  I was pleased to see trumps break 2-2 and when West won the A he shifted to a club, which was quite helpful. The defense was friendly, but the hand can often be made as a spade can be ruffed on the board and a successful club finesse taken. Most other pairs played in 1, but a hand that opened 2 played 3.

I scored up my plus 420 for a 97% score.

I guess the moral of this story is Bid 'Em Up!

See you at the virtual table!

Monday, June 29, 2020

NABC Robot Individual Practice hands

I enjoyed playing in the free practice games over the weekend for the upcoming ACBL NABC Robot Individual July 11-13. Here are two hands from the first practice session where I scored 67%.  The robots helped me on some hands and aggrieved me on others.  Here are a couple of hands where I helped myself.  On both hands it was important to be alert and focused in order to make the right play.

1. First is a defensive hand where I had to be on my toes to beat the contract.

Despite my opening the bidding, the opponents got to 4 without any trouble. Partner led the 10, which I encouraged, and declarer won the Q. Declarer next led a trump to the Q and I won the A.  I returned the 9 which declarer won.  Now he cashed the K dropping partner's J.  That meant that my 10 was good, so I had another spade trick.

It looked like I also had a club winner and a diamond winner--which would be enough to beat the contact.

Now declarer played two rounds of hearts, ruffing the third round on the board.  Next came a club from the board.  This was the position when I won the J.

This was the moment to be extremely careful and think through the play. Pause and decide, dear reader...what should I play next?

If you're not alert, it may seem normal to play another club, forcing declarer to ruff.  But if you do that, look what happens.

Declarer will simply ruff, then throw you in with a trump, the 10, and you have no choice but to lead a diamond away from your K into the AQ tenace!  You would be well and truly endplayed and would hand declarer the contract!

No.  Instead, I looked ahead to see what was coming, and FIRST cashed my high trump before exiting with the K.  Now declarer is forced to take the losing diamond finesse and the contract goes down.

Beating 4 got an 84% board, whereas carelessly letting it make gets a 37% score or worse!

2. Next is a hand where I had to, first, get to the best contract, and then make it!

Jumping to 4 may be a little aggressive, but bidding and making tough contracts is how you get good scores!

I got the 9 lead and paused to consider the dummy.

The contract didn't look that great--with possible losers in each suit.  Plus, the ♣A needed to be on my left, etc.  But, back to the opening lead. Maybe it could be helpful.  What do I play from the dummy?

Actually, as often happens, the declarer's play to trick one is the key to the hand.

Question: What do I want to happen at trick one?  Answer: I really, really, REALLY want East to play the K which will set up the whole diamond suit and give me a chance of making the contract.  So, I played the Q at trick one.  East now made the ordinary and expected play of covering the Q with the K, which I won.

This was a good start as it gave me tricks as well as an entry to the board, should I need it.

During the play, I drew trump, lost the A and got to the board with a diamond to pitch a heart.  I only lost 1 spade, 1 heart and 1 club--so I made 4.  This was worth 87.5% of the matchpoints.  Only 4 of 13 pairs in my section bid game, and only two pairs made it.

At the end of the day I was in 78th place out of a whopping 2223 players.
On Day 2 my score was 62% and I ended up in 54th place overall, out of 1803 players.

The ACBL seems to be doing what it can to keep us entertained and winning points during these trying times. The prospect of winning a national event from the comfort of home certainly has its appeal!

See you at the virtual tables!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Fun on BBO

By Bob Klein

Jenn and I were playing in Walter Schafer's IMP Pairs game on BBO.  The first three hands I picked up in this week's game were unbelievable.  The first two were 3-loser hands that were nearly identical, followed by a 4-loser beauty.  Here are the three hands.

Board 1

Board 2

Board 3
On Board 1, I was dealer and opened 2 Clubs,  LHO came in with 3 Diamonds.  This was passed back to me.  I bid 3 Spades.  Jenn now gave me a cue bid of 4 Diamonds, which showed a good hand with a spade fit.  I bid 4NT, RKC.  Jenn bid 5C to show one keycard, so I bid 6 Spades. 
I got a trump lead and looked at

KT43        AQJ96
K9852      A
  JT7           K9
5               AKJ72

The play was easy.  I won the lead, played ace of hearts, ace of clubs, ruffed a club,   pitched a diamond on the king of hearts, played a trump to hand, (they split 2-2)  played king of clubs, ruffed a club, all following, and claimed as the clubs were now set up.  As this was a strong field, most people got to the slam and we made a small IMP pickup.

On Board 2 I opened 2 Clubs in second seat.  Jenn bid 2 Hearts showing at least 5 hearts with 2 of the top 3 honors.  I bid 2 Spades, she bid 3 Diamonds, I bid 4 Clubs to show my second suit.  She gave a preference to 4 Spades.  I wasn't sure what to do, but with this great hand I just decided to jump to 6 Spades and hope for the best.  Once again I got a trump lead and looked at

K5                AQJ875
KQ954        void
K932            A9
85                AKJT6

Jenn had a great hand for me, covering two of my losers  with the spade and diamond kings.  There was nothing to the play.  I drew trump, got to dummy with the king of diamonds and played the clubs, giving them one.  We won a few more IMPs on this one, but still most of the field got to the slam.

On board 3, I got a spade opening on my right.   I considered bidding 3NT immediately, hoping for a spade lead and 9 easy tricks. I decided instead to start with 2 Diamonds instead and see what happens;  LHO raised to 2 Spades, passed back to me.  Now I bid 3NT expecting a spade lead.  LHO doubled.  Now I was uncomfortable.  He was an expert, presumably knew what I was doing, and was likely prepared to lead something else.  So I retreated to 4 Diamonds.  Good thing.  Jenn had the king of spades and nothing else, so 3NT would have gone down a lot. We won about 4 IMPs as there were people in 5 diamonds going down.                      

This is a fun game.  Some of the opponents are world champs and most of them are strong players.  I am happy that we get to play in it.  

Ditto Bob--Thanks!
And Congratulations to Bob for making Grand Life Master recently!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Accidental Genius

Bridge can be rewarding, frustrating and even quite amusing!  I have been playing a lot of IMP games with the BBO robots because I can fit in a quick 12-board match almost any time.  These matches are quick because you can frequently claim halfway through the hand. The robots know immediately whether your claim is valid.

Here are a couple of entertaining hands that both turned out to be matchwinners.  On the first one I made an unusual play which worked out great.  On the second hand a card turned out to be in the wrong defensive hand; but what initially looked like a disaster also turned a triumph.  I have decided that these two hands have earned me the title of Accidental Genius!

A normal auction and a normal 4lead.  For some reason I decided to win the J with the A.  Look what happened next.

I counted my tricks and things didn't look too bad, so I played on clubs to drive out the A.  A diamond was returned to the Q and then a funny thing happened.  East shifted to another suit! I happily took my 11 tricks and went on to the next board.  When the scores were posted at the end of the day, it turned that I had won 10.2 IMPs on this board.  I had to look at the hand to see what happened.

As you can see, my winning the opening lead with the A blocked the diamond suit!  Now West can't get in and cash the diamond tricks.  What a play!

2. In another BBO IMP match, on a different day, I found myself in what appeared to be a hopeless contract, with some "creative" bidding by my robot partner.

Check out the N-S hands and the bidding.

Strange bidding, to say the least.  I guess I need to exercise restraint with my lead directing doubles.  After the 3 bid by North, I had nowhere to go, so I tried 3NT. So here I am in a seemingly impossible game. The declarer was technically North, but the humans always play the hand.  East led a club and I won the K with the A.  

I expect East to have spades and a minor after the delayed Michael's bid.  Even if I can manage 5 heart tricks (unlikely) I can only count 8 tricks.  Well let's see what happens.

I decided to lead a spade from the board.  When East played low, I figured that West must have a spade honor so I went up with the A which dropped the J. Now I played a heart to the 9, in a desperate effort to win some heart tricks.  Much to my horror, East won the Q!

Now, East got busy cashing tricks.  First came the king and queen of spades which gave me a spade trick.  Next came the Q which gave me a club trick.  I love these tricks are being set up like magic.

Finally East exited with a club which I won in dummy with the J, pitching a diamond from my hand.  Let's cash the K, get to hand with the A and claim! Nine tricks (2 spades, 4 hearts, 1diamond and 2 clubs) plus 600, netted 12.2 IMPs and was another unlikely matchwinner.

Here the accidental genius was losing a trick to the singleton Q! (It was actually quite an effective avoidance play, as bad things happen if West gets the lead and plays clubs.) Then, amazingly, East robotically(!) cashed winners, until finally, Voila! The contract came home!

As I said, bridge can be quite amusing.

See you at the virtual tables!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Losing Trick Count Primer

Let's not forget to use Losing Trick Count while we're playing from home on BBO! I have been playing more hands during this time and still find reasons to use the great hand evaluation tool of Losing Trick Count in nearly every session. It takes the guesswork out of bidding and helps you get to the right contract consistently!

Remember--if your partner opens the bidding and you have a 7-loser hand with a fit, do your best to drive the bidding to game. If you have a fit with an 8-loser hand, invite game.  If you have a fit with a 6-loser hand, consider slam, and with a 5-loser hand, head directly to slam (after prudently checking on controls).

The math? Add your losers to partner's losers and subtract from 24.  That number is the Losing Trick Count--the number of tricks you can expect to make on the hand--barring bad breaks or the bad placement of every possible card.

Here is a hand I played recently where LTC was not used and the result was disappointing.

I opened 1 and partner held this hand.  What would you bid?


Well...the first thing you do when the answer isn't "clear-cut" is count your losers.  You have a great fit. How many losers do you have?

The answer is 7:  two spades, one heart, two diamonds and two clubs.

So, what should you bid?

The answer is:  make a game game forcing bid. It could be Jacoby 2NT, it could be a splinter in hearts.  It really doesn't matter--the important thing is to convey to partner that you have a fit with a game-forcing hand.

After partner made only a limit raise, I started counting my losers.  I really wanted to go to slam, but needed the proper loser count.

I came up with 5-5 1/2:  one spade, 1 1/2 losers in hearts, one diamond and two clubs. Not quite enough for slam.  Partner's limit raise showed 8 losers, which, added to my 5 losers, equaled 13.  24 minus 13 =  11 tricks--not enough for slam.

Recounting my losers, I reluctantly gave up on my slam vision and settled for the pedestrian bid of 4.

I was disappointed when I saw the dummy!  Partner actually had a 7-loser hand and should have found a bid other than a limit raise.  I would then drive to slam which would make. Some might explore for slam with my hand anyway, but it didn't seem correct to me.

Out of approximately 90 pairs, only 17 got to slam.  They were rewarded with the great score of 90.7%.  The rest of us were consigned to below average:  46.5%. (Ugh...!)

Claim your spot at the top of the field!

Need a refresher on how to count losers?  Grab one or both of my books on the subject--available on this blog.

See you at the virtual tables!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

75.7% Game, Part 3

Reprints of score recaps from the recent 75.7% game in case you are just tuning in to the story...

Here are the last 4 boards of the 75.7% Daylong MP game I won recently. Looking them over for brilliant bidding and play, I just don't see it.  More likely is that the stars aligned and everything fell my way for one brief 12-board session!
Bd. 9

It seems pretty straightfoward to get to 4S on these cards.  I have a 4 loser hand and actually consider 4S to be an underbid.  Bidding with the robots, however, requires that all bids be relatively simple.

The HQ was led and won by South, my hand. On BBO, playing with robots, the human is always the declarer (luckily!) when possible. I won in my hand and made what could be described as the key play in the hand--I ducked a spade. I expect to have two spade losers and need to retain trump control.  This is accomplished by ducking a spade, then later cashing the SA--leaving one trump outstanding. This play generally gains in the long run.

The spade trick went 2,3,8 with East winning the S10.  Now East shifted to the 6D which I trumped in my hand.  Now I led a spade to the ace, leaving the SK outstanding, and started playing clubs.  On the third club honor I discarded a heart from the North hand.  Now I just cross ruffed, with East taking the high trump whenever he chose.  

Making 4S, 420 was worth a 79.5% board.  As it turns out, only half of the pairs in my section got to game and only two pairs made it!

Bd. 10

After I opened 1D and partner responded 1H, I elected to bid 2H which was passed out. I received a favorable lead with the CA, followed by a club continuation which I won on the board with the queen.  A heart to the Ace followed by a heart to the King revealed that I had no heart losers.  The hand was coming together nicely.  I drew the last trump, cashed the last club and gave up two spades and one diamond. The S9 was doubleton so I had two spade tricks.

Plus 140 was another 79.5% board.  Most of the pairs were in hearts, with only about half making their contract.  The breakdown: one 170; three 140; two 110, with the remainder being minus scores in 2H, 3H and 4H.

Bd. 11

Not too difficult to get to 3NT, with the monster hand I held.  I elected to rebid 2NT with my singleton CA, and after a Stayman auction, settled in 3NT.

The S10 was led which I won in my hand and, needing heart tricks, then led a heart to the queen and ace. Now East shifted to the CK.  Luckily dummy had a club stopper, and I won the CA, perforce. I now continued with the HJ, won by East.  The CQ was cashed, followed by a diamond shift. I now have only 3 tricks and the opponents have 3 tricks--I'm scrambling for 6 more!

I cashed the remaining two diamond honors and played the SK.  LHO followed with the S9 and I started hoping that spades were 3-3.  When I led my last spade toward the Q, all followed. The deuce of spades was my 9th trick! I led a heart back to my hand hoping for another heart trick, but it was not to be.

Plus 400 was worth 73.75%.  Another good score.  Most pairs got to game but most pairs failed to make it.  One pair got a top score playing the 4-3 fit in spades. Some played in a heart game and went down.  Others went down in 3NT.

Bd. 12

After many really good scores, amazingly, the best score was on the last board!  Like I tell my bridge students:  first, you have to get to game; and secondly, you have to make it!

After two passes, East opened 1C and I overcalled 1S.  West made a negative double and partner made a very interesting bid:  2D! Wow. I figured the odds were good that I no longer had any diamond losers, and all of a sudden my hand shot up from a good 5-loser hand to a tremendously powerful 3-loser hand.  East bid 2H and I needed to find a way to get to game.

Uncertain of the best strain, and trying to keep the bidding simple, I decided to try a jump to 3S.  Surely that would be a show of strength.  I was delighted when partner, North, raised to 4S.

I got a club lead and dummy was suitable.  East won the CK and made the losing play of trying to cash another club, which I ruffed.  I crossed to dummy and successfully finessed the SQ.  I then cashed the SA and saw that I had a spade loser.  That was fine as the hand was shaping up nicely.  Now all I had to do was keep playing diamonds until East ruffed in.  My losing heart would go on the long diamond in dummy, and that is what happened. Note that if East doesn't ruff the diamond until the fourth time they are played, then I will have to lose a heart.

Anyway, all was well that ended well.  I made 5 and the score of 650 was worth 90% as no other pair in my section made 5. Actually, only 3 pairs out of 12 even got to game!  There were several part scores in both spades and diamonds.

I thought I had a good game, but was dumbfounded to learn later that my score topped the field with a 75.7% game.

Keep striving.  An early partner of mine from Louisville used to say modestly about her bridge:  "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes!"

See you at the virtual tables!

Friday, May 29, 2020

75.7% Game, Part 2

Continuing with the boards from the 75% game...

At Matchpoints you are rewarded for plus scores and generally punished for minus scores.  Boards 3 and 4 were the only two minus scores in the game.

On Bd. 3 I made the wrong bid:

5D was a bad bid at matchpoints (perhaps not so bad at IMPs where the rewards of bidding game are so high).  I fell in love with my 18-count and couldn't bring myself to pass partner's preemptive 3D bid.  In retrospect, 3NT was the winning call.  Even pass would have netted a good score.

Bd. 4 was a flat 50% board as all E-W pairs bid and made 4S.

Next come 4 boards in a row, all with the unimpressive score of plus 110, but all resulting in huge percentage scores.(!)

Bd. 5

I won the spade lead in my hand and led a diamond which West won with the Ace.  West continued spades.  East won the ace and shifted to a club which I ducked to the CQ.  West continued with a club to my jack. Now it was an easy matter to draw the last trump, ruffing my last diamond and losing two hearts.   Plus 110 scored an amazing 87.5%.

Two other pairs were in 2S and went down; other pairs were in 1NT, 1H, 3S or passed out.

Bd. 6 

East led the D10 which I ducked to West's King.  West followed with the A,K Q of spades and shifted to a club with East winning the ace.  I had all the rest of the tricks.

Plus 110 was worth 79.5% of the matchpoints.  It appears that at other tables E-W competed to 3C and either played there or forced N-S higher for minus scores.

Bd. 7

When my 1D opener was passed I was a little sorry that I hadn't opened 2NT. West led a club won by East who shifted to the 8 of spades. West won the queen and shifted to a heart which I won on the board.  I next ran the D9 and West won and shifted to a club, 10, Q and K.  I am starting to get some tricks going. The defense is friendly.

I cashed the A,Q of diamonds which revealed the 4-2 trump break and started on hearts.  West ruffed the third heart and I overruffed.  I then led the S10 from the board and it went J, K and A.  Now the dummy is good.

Plus 110, making 3, was worth an amazing score of 96.8%! One pair scored 120, a few were plus 90 in diamonds, and others got too high.

Bd. 8:  The last in the string of high-scoring plus 110 scores.

After a routine 1D, P, 1S, P, 1NT, East balanced with 2C.  Unwilling to risk letting 2C be the final contract, I bid 2S which was the final contract. Partner North only had 4 spades, but had 10 points.

East led the singleton HA and shifted to a club. I won the CA and played another club which West won. West cashed the DA and then gave East a heart ruff.  East returned a diamond to my king and I led a spade to the queen and cashed the ace.  When the smoke cleared I had 8 tricks.

Plus 110 was worth another 87.5% board.  Several pairs played spade contracts at the 1, 2 and 3 level--half making and half going down.  There were a couple of club partscores.

I have to admit that I'll give the humble score of 110 more respect in the future!
Stay tuned for part 3. The last 4 boards are more interesting as they involve 3 out of 4 game bids.

See you at the virtual tables!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

75.7% game in Daylong Pairs

I have been enjoying playing in the ACBL Daylong games which consist of one human and three robots per table. The games are generally 12 boards, either IMPs or Matchpoints. You can join whenever it is convenient and play at your own pace--even play a few boards now and the rest later.  The matchpoint games seem to be quite popular as there are now four per day. Plus...they only cost $1.35.

A loosely-held goal of mine during this time of quarantine has been to crack the top 10.  Well..I did it in fine fashion recently. The stars aligned and I found myself on top of the pack with a 75.7% game in a Daylong MP game with 520 pairs!

As 70% games are rare and 75.7% games rarer still, I thought I'd present some of the hands. The robots are better than they used to be and can give you a decent game from time to time.  Beware making any obscure takeout doubles, and note that their defense is not always the best (except when they are YOUR opponents, of course)!  

 Here is the score sheet from the session.

 You need some luck to have a big game! The first two boards are defensive problems. Let's take a quick look at board 1 and you can see how the robots misdefended:

I received a helpful heart lead, then took a winning finesse of the spade jack.  On the run of the hearts the West robot fatally pitched a spade, and then on the run of the spades West fatally pitched a diamond.  West held on for dear life to the K84 of clubs, so I only lost one spade trick and was able to score 12 tricks for +490 and an 86% board. Good start!

On Bd. 2, I had an interesting defensive problem.

We weren't able to bid our spade game, so needed to take the maximum number of tricks in 4Hx.  East ruffed the third spade and ducked a diamond to North's J.  North returned a club to my K and West's Ace.  West now ruffed a club and ruffed a diamond.  When declarer tried to ruff a club back to his hand, it was time for me to pause and try to work out the best defense.

The good news was that I now had a count on the hand. East started with 6 hearts for the weak-two bid, and had only 2 spades and 1 club.  That meant East started with 4 diamonds.  How would you defend?

I decided to overruff the club with the HJ, then cash the HA and play my last heart to cut down on dummy's ruffing power.  This would cause East to lose an extra diamond trick at the end.

Down 3, +500 was worth 84%, as one pair bid and made 4S, and other pairs either failed to either bid of make 4S, or made fewer tricks in 4Hx.

Stay tuned and keep playing.

See you at the virtual tables!

Monday, May 11, 2020

I Couldn't Believe My Eyes

I enjoy playing in the daylong IMP pair games on BBO.  Playing with and against robots, a large number of people enter the daily events, and you can play at your leisure--all 12 boards at once or divided up during the day.

I am still shaking my head at this one.  I was sitting South Vul vs. NV.

East (RHO) dealt and opened 1 and I had a nice hand.


I overcalled 1 and LHO bid 1.  Robot partner bid 2 and it was passed to me.  This hand had potential and I decided to trot out the bid of 2.  The auction accelerated.

3 by LHO, 4 by partner, 5 by RHO, 5 by me, pass, 5 by partner, pass, pass double!

Uh-oh I thought.  What kind of trouble has my robot partner gotten me into this time?! What kind of disaster did my 2 bid on AK72 precipitate?

The dummy hit and I couldn't believe my eyes!

Now this is a dummy...6-card trump support, Kxx in your first bid suit, and first round controls in the other two suits! (How about a 1 bid on the first round of bidding, pard!?) Of course, an expert pair would probably have found a way to get to slam, but..hey...playing with the robots, I'm relatively happy.

I won the heart lead, drew trump, guessed the diamonds, and made seven.
5x making 7 resulted in the nice score of +1250!

A gain of 9 IMPs and a fun hand for the blog.  All in a days' work on BBO.

See you at the virtual tables!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Scoring on BBO: Using the History tab

If you’re new to BBO and are not used to computer programs—here is a secret:   Click on everything you see!  Not necessarily in the middle of a game, but sooner or later.  Nearly everything you click on will provide you with information or something useful.
  • ·         You can click on the board number to review the bidding.
  • ·         You can click on the trick count to see the last trick.
  • ·         You can click on the name of your opponent to get their name and statistics. 
  •  You can click on the menu box (with the horizontal lines) at the top left of your screen to call the director, etc.

The History Tab is Where It’s Happening!  That is where you get all of the results. You can access the History tab (in yellow to the right of the box below) at any time.  While you’re playing, it will show you the running score under the My Table heading so you will know how you’re doing.  It’s a fun barometer-style of scoring! After each round the new scores appear, so you can observe your game percentage as it rises and falls.

If you have time between rounds, you can take a look at the Other Tables heading to see why you either got a good score or a bad score.  (Not a good idea during the game as it is a big distraction!)

You will note that under the hand you can see a blue box Next trick. Click on it to see a play-by-play of each card played during the hand. Keep clicking the Next trick box to see each subsequent trick.

At the end of the game, once the scores are finalized, there will be a “Results” box (below) that will appear on your screen.  On that box will be a list of the winners, your final score, including any masterpoints won, and a link “Show Boards” to click to see the hands you played.  The following examples are from a game I played with Bruce Blakely.

When you click on the “Show Boards” link, you have choices regarding how to review each hand.

If you click on Traveller, you will see the scores of everyone.  If you click on Movie you will see the details of that board as it was bid and played at your table—as below.

At the bottom of the hand you will see some boxes.  If you click on Next, you can see a card-by-card replay of the hand.  To PRINT the hand click on the menu box to the right of the tool bar at the top of the screen and scroll down to "print".

After the game is completed, you can click on the History tab again and then click on Recent Tournaments to find the game you’re looking for.  You simply click on the line for the game you want to study, and it will come up (as below).  If you have played hands other than in a tournament, you can click on Recent hands rather than Recent tournaments.

When you click on the tournament you want to review, the following screen will appear and you click on the blue box Results to get the details.

Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

Good luck!  See you at the virtual tables!