Argine Encounters

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Portrait Aviram1

Aviram1 is an Elite series player on Funbridge. He found the deal below of particular interest and wanted to share it with the Funbridge community.

Encounter with Argine

One of the most interesting game modes on Funbridge is the “Challenges”, which are direct duels between players. 

An always agreeable opponent is Argine, which turns out, in spite of its faults, to be a pretty tough opponent to beat. 

Just the other day, playing a challenge against Argine, with four deals already played out of five, Argine matches all my efforts and the score stands at 0-0. On the last hand I pick up the following cards:  

Deal 1

I am not sure that Argine will open this reasonable 10 count, so trying to create a swing, I open 1♠. Partner responds a natural 2♣ and I rebid 2♥, which Partner raises to 4. West leads the ♦A and dummy is revealed:

Deal 2

It seems that we reached the best contract. If I had originally passed, the bidding might go 1♦ (or ♣) from Partner, 1♠ from me, possibly 1NT from Partner and now a possible ending spot might be 4♠, which is an inferior contract. Anyway, as this is the last chance to win the challenge, and any extra trick will do, I would better play well to make as many tricks as possible.  

We seem to have 1 diamond loser and almost certainly at least 1 trump loser. In addition, I need to do some ruffing to collect my tricks. 

East plays the ♦9, West continues with the ♦2, East playing the King and I ruff. The diamond plays are revealing. Since East played the King, it seems that West led from AQx(x). That is pretty unusual and might imply that an attractive lead is missing elsewhere, or be an attempt to prevent Declarer from discarding diamond losers on dummy’s clubs.  

How should I proceed? I might try to establish my spades, but this would require that both spades and hearts break favourably. Another possibility is to ruff more dummy’s losers in my hand. Since the diamonds seem to break, I decide to follow that line. I enter dummy with a club and ruff a diamond, both opponents following low. West still has the diamond Queen, so another diamond can be ruffed in hand. I enter dummy with another club. East echoes to show an even number, so it is safe to try the club Queen. All follow.

That is the position with dummy to play: 

Deal 3

From the club echo, I assume that East has the remaining club and West can overruff a club, so I play dummy’s last diamond and East follows with the Jack. West still has the Queen, so I can safely ruff with the ♥10. I now play the top spades. West drops the Queen on the second round and East echoes.  

That is now the position: 

Deal 4

I play a spade. West ruffs low. It seems that West’s distribution is 2-4-4-3. I realise that if East’s trump singleton is an honour, the opponent’s trump trick is going to perform a disappearing act. I overruff and play a heart from dummy. East plays the Jack, I play the King, and finally dummy’s A9 of Hearts take the last 2 tricks over West’s Q7.  

Those are the full hands: 

Deal 5

I have managed to take 12 tricks. That is surely going to win me the challenge, isn’t it? 

Well, no, it is not! Argine managed to match my actions and score. The duel is complete at 0-0! 

What a tough opponent that Argine! 

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    • That’s an intereting subject. Apparently machines and humans ‘think’ differently. What seems weired to us, is sometimes just a possible solution which is not bounded by human thought process. Chess programs often find ‘weird’ moves, which to a human seem original and briliant. Of course bridge programs are not that good yet…

  1. Are you sure that Argine always plays fair and not in a double dummy mode? Neuralplay and Jack are good Bridge programs in my opinion. As Funbridge does not generate random deals but tricky distributions (knowledge about probabilities is worthless) and the explanations of the bid may be true or not it is too often a lottery game. To be sucessfull you have to be a experienced bridge player, have to know the weaknesses of the system and then to use them for your own advantage.

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