Challenge against Argine (Le Bridgeur Magazine No. 912)

2017 World Vice-Champion Jérôme Rombaut writes a column in the French magazine “Le Bridgeur” every two months. The article below was published in issue 912 of the magazine (September/Ocotober 2017). This deal analysis is taken from a challenge against Argine, the AI of Funbridge!

Challenge against Argine by Jérôme Rombaut

Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur No. 912 (September/Octobre 2017)

Since October 2017, a new type of challenge has also been available on Funbridge. Indeed, you can play a challenge against Argine, Funbridge in a match of 5 deals. This game mode has quickly become popular with 300,000 challenges played in less than a month. Argine has 240,000 wins (80%), 6,000 draws (2%) and 55,000 losses (18%) to its credit. Only 200 players out of the 21,000 who have challenged Argine have a positive ratio.

Here is a deal of particular interest played by Argine:

S 10 3
H A Q 5 4
D A 7 2
C Q 7 6 4
S A 8 7 6 5 4
H 6
D K Q 5 3
C K 3


South N

The 3NT bid is supposed to be made with two cards in Spades in the event the opener has six bad Spades and an unbalanced hand so that he can easily rebid his 6-card suit. And that is exactly the case here!

The contract is 4♠. You receive the lead of the heart 7. How would you play?

Two problems arise: the loser in Diamonds and how to deal with the trump suit. When it comes to the first one, you have the choice between finessing Hearts, finding Diamonds with a favourable 3-3 split and finding the club Ace-second in East.

Given the lead, you have no choice but to opt for the manoeuvre that is most likely to succeed and clearly it is the heart finesse.

Once you successfully finesse, you must focus on how to play Spades. It is well-known: if the suit splits 3-2, there is nothing special to do. But if it splits 4-1, playing the Ace to catch a bare honour is useless because the other player, holding KJ92 for instance, will play the 2 over the Ace and will take the next three tricks. The only interesting case is when West holds the bare 9. Then you have to start with the 10, leaving East without any solution with KQJ2. Either he surrenders a trick that could be made with the 10 or he covers and will take only two tricks in the suit.

As usual, to make this contract, all you needed was a good plan of play and carry on with it. Well done, Argine!

East’s hand was: ♠KQJ2 ♥J1083 ♦109 ♣1082.