78.27% Still Only Second Place


Normally a 78% game will win an instant tournament on BBO. But this time it didn’t. For this entry I will go over all twelve hands to see what could have gone better, if anything, to beat the guy who got 83%.

Hand 1: 78.57%

After the auction goes 1NT-all pass, the robot leads the !CQ from queen doubleton instead of from its nice five card diamond suit. A lot of times robots will lead singletons so I finessed the !C9 into the 10. I figured a lead of !CQ from !CQ singleton or !CQx small doubleton was more likely than from !CQT doubleton.

Here’s me playing the hand:

Here’s dustinst22, our hero, playing the hand.

Same auction from both of us. Note that we both chose to open 1NT with the singleton small heart. This is standard practice in robot bridge due to the severe rebid problem. If you would open 1!C with this hand, what would you rebid? If you would open 1!D and rebid 2!C, robots will drop you in 2!D with 2=3 in the minors. I talked about this briefly in my lecture back in June.

Do you see the very subtle difference in the play that Dustin had from how I played the hand? It took me a while to see it. When Dustin played the last spade at trick 11, he discarded a heart, where I discarded a diamond. This made the robots defend wrong at trick 12 and Dustin made 4 for 96% and I only made 3.

Hand 1 illustrated the principle that you should discard the suit that you want the robots to discard. Here, it is hearts.

Hand 2: 100%
I overcalled 1NT instead of doubling. The doublers generally got into trouble by getting too high, so I was getting a good result. Then I played the hand pretty well. Obviously there is no room for improvement on 100%. 😊


Dustin had the same auction but did not cover the !D9 with the !D10, then he tried to crossruff and went set. But he still got 60% for down one.

Hand 3: 42.83%

I made 3 on this one for average minus. Some declarers were playing the hand from the other side. The declarers who did better than I did started the diamonds by leading the jack. I think this is better, in hindsight.

My boy Dustin went set on this one when he misguessed diamonds like I did, but I got my ninth trick in hearts and he did not. Dustin got 25%.

Hand 4: 85.71%
I was tied for next to top on this one. There was one slammer who got to the good 6!D slam, which makes on 3-2 trumps, even on a heart lead. Dustin chose to open this hand 1NT. That is too convervative for me. But Dustin avoided the heart lead and made 6 for the same 85%.

Hand 5: 39.29%
I got to 4!S from the robot’s side after making a takeout double. Against me, they led the !DAK and then I had no chance. I felt like I had a 3!S bid after partner’s raise, but maybe my doubleton diamond should have cautioned me against it.

Dustin threw a monkey wrench into the works when he made a 1NT overcall of 1D with a doubleton jack. The contract was the same, but now the opening leader led the singleton club instead of a diamond. Then, when Dustin ducked two rounds of diamonds, LHO led a third diamond, giving a ruff-sluff. Dustin made 4!S doubled for 100%!

Hand 6: 85.71%
This one is pretty easy, the only issue was avoiding a trump promotion. It was 85% because a lot of pairs passed the hand out with 11 HCP. Do not ever pass 11 HCP! Dustin did the same exact thing and also got 85%, tied for top.

Hand 7: 100%
On this one I had 15 HCP and opened 1NT, even though I had a singleton queen of hearts and also a six card suit. But minor suits are minor.

Also, the preemptive effect of 1NT showed itself on this hand as a lot of E/W pairs got to 4!H, making. It’s a lot harder to get to game when your opponents open 1NT.

That pesky Dustin also opened 1NT with this hand, but he made 4 clubs where I made 5. Dustin still got a nice 93% board.

Dustin and I got the same opening lead, but the play diverged after that:
Here’s how I played it:

Here’s Dustin:

Hand 8: 85.71%
I overcalled 2!S with a four card suit over 2H, expecting a fit. Sure enough, partner raised to game. Unfortunately, partner had 3 hearts as well and they got a heart ruff. But I was able to pull off an endplay for down one. -50 was 85% for a good board.

Dustin irritated me with this one. He made a takeout double of 2H holding a singleton diamond, and got away with it! He landed in 2S making 3 and got 100%.

There is no way I am going to make a takeout double with a singleton in a side suit, without a very powerful hand. Dustin got lucky.

Hand 9: 64.29%
This one seems pretty normal. I opened 1H and accepted the Drury invite.

But Dustin strikes again! He opens 1NT with six hearts, 16 HCP and a singleton club. I don’t necessarily disagree with this call had the robot had only five hearts, but there wasn’t a rebid problem. Adding insult to injury, the robot led the singleton king of hearts, so he made six for yet another cold top.

Hand 10: 96.43%
You’d think that 96% would make up some ground on Dustin, but he also got 96%. He also opened 1NT with five hearts, all pass. The play went similarly to my line, but not different enough to post here. I just claimed 8 tricks after the hearts came in.

Hand 11: 78.57%
After getting a favorable spade lead, I cashed my 10 top tricks. I kept x across Kx in both other suits and hoped for something favorable. It didn’t happen and I made 4. The top score went to the pair in 4S and they led their unsupported ace on opening lead. Dustin’s play was the same as mine and he also got 78%.

Hand 12: 82.14%
After robot partner opened 1H, I chose to bid 4H instead of 3NT with my doubleton spade. I think I guessed right and played well to make 5. 82% was not good enough to make up any ground on Dustin, he did almost the exact line of play. In fact he probably improved on my line by cashing the CA earlier than I did.

So there you have it. 12 hands, 78%, second place.

Although I have not encountered Dustin before, he is a ranked player on BBO (Jack rank, requiring a lot more BBO points than I have), so he is obviously not a scrub. But I think he got lucky here.