Bridge

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK -

COM­PUTER CHIPS OR GRAY MAT­TER?

Eu­gene Wigner, a Hun­gar­i­anAmer­i­can who won the 1962

No­bel Prize in Physics, said, “It is nice to know that the com­puter un­der­stands the prob­lem. But I would like to un­der­stand it too.”

That is not my ex­pe­ri­ence in watch­ing com­put­ers try­ing to play bridge. To­day’s deal would be easy for a player who has been around the block a few times, but it de­feated most of the robots com­pet­ing at Bridge Base On­line.

How should South play in four hearts af­ter West leads a low spade, given that the trumps are not 4-0?

In the auc­tion, South might have opened one heart, but if North had re­sponded one spade, South would have had to re­bid two clubs, which would not have been ideal. So, one-no-trump was sen­si­ble. Then, North should have raised to three no-trump. Do not use Stay­man with 4-3-3-3 dis­tri­bu­tion, es­pe­cially with such a weak ma­jor. Note that South would have had nine top tricks.

In four hearts, de­clarer has three di­a­mond losers, so he seems to need to find the club queen. That is how ev­ery ro­bot played, most go­ing down, but a cou­ple suc­ceed­ing be­cause West un­wisely dis­carded clubs while de­clarer was draw­ing trumps.

How­ever, the con­tract is 100 per­cent. Af­ter win­ning trick one and draw­ing trumps, de­clarer cashes dummy’s se­cond high spade, ruffs the last spade and ex­its with a di­a­mond.

The de­fend­ers take their three di­a­mond tricks, but are trapped. If a club is led, it finds the queen for South; if a spade or di­a­mond is re­turned, de­clarer re­ceives a ruff-and-sluff. It is a text­book elim­i­na­tion and end­play.

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