A program, flawless defense
Ernst Otto Fischer, a German who won a Nobel Prize in 1973 for pioneering work in organometallic chemistry, said, “As machines become more and more efficient and perfect, so it will become clear that imperfection is the greatness of man.”
For the rest of this week, you will read about deals played by two machines, the Robots (computer programs) on Bridge Base Online (bridgebase.com) against human opponents.
First, what was the perfect defense found by East-West against five hearts doubled?
The bidding was interesting. East had a really powerful hand if partner had some fit. After its one-spade opening and South’s two-heart overcall, West dredged up a raise because of the four trumps. (Nonvulnerable, it might have bid a pre-emptive three spades, which probably would have silenced North.) Now North nudged her partner with some heart support, a singleton and a potential source of tricks. Then East might have rebid four diamonds to show the second suit and express some slam interest. When East bid four spades, though, South took an each-way bet. If four spades was failing, maybe five hearts would make; if four spades was laydown, probably five hearts would be a cheap save.
Somehow, Robot West found a low-diamond lead. East won with the ace and shifted to its singleton club. Declarer won on the board and led the heart jack, feigning a finesse, but East did not fall for it. The Robot won with its ace and shifted to the spade two! West won with the jack and gave partner a club ruff for down two and the best result possible.