Part 1: The Invincible Zia tournament analysis – March

Named ACBL player of the year many times,world champion and member of the Hall of Fame, Zia Mahmood gives you a hard time every month during Funbridge Points Tournament!

Discover 3 deals analysed by Zia Mahmood from his March tournament.

Board 16 : You can’t fool a robot

S  A 10 8 6
H  Q 7
D  J 4 3
C   Q J 3 2
S  K Q 9 5 2
H  J 10 8 6 2
D  K
C  8 4
orientation S J 4 3
H K 5 4 3
D Q 10 2
C 9 7 6
S 7
H A 9
D A 9 8 7 6 5
C  A K 10 5
West North East South (Zia)

Contract: 5♣ by South. Lead: ♠ K

I won West’s opening lead of the King of spades in dummy and decided to play on my side suit before drawing any trumps. Since West had overcalled, it figured to have shorter diamonds than East, so I tried a manoeuvre that would work on more than a few human opponents – I led the Jack of diamonds from dummy at the second trick.

You can see what would have happened if East had followed the old rule “cover an honour with an honour”. The second trick would have consisted of the four top diamonds, and I could have drawn trumps before knocking out East’s ♦ 10 and claiming twelve tricks.

But the silicon-brained East was not fooled –it played low on the first diamond. I went up with the Ace and led a second round of the suit. If West had discarded on this like a human being I would still have been all right – East would win but could not attack hearts from its side, and I could cope with a spade return by ruffing high.

Of course, West wasn’t a human being. It ruffed the second diamond and shifted unerringly to the Jack of hearts, and I had to go down one. A few other pairs had come to grief in various contracts so I scored about 36% for the board, but my respect for artificial intelligence had increased by more than a few percentage points.

Part 2 >>