The Idiot Coup

Bridge Base Online (BBO) has a feature in which one can play against robots, but then compare your results to a "star" who played the same hand against robots. This can be a challenge at times; sometimes the star is one who is bidding to take maximum advantage of the robots' weaknesses. Doing so tends to cause very high variance results and makes the game feel very different from bridge. But taking advantage of the robots in the play is fun.

The robots are very bad, worse than most human beginners. Today, I saw them fall for the Idiot Coup.

S: 96
H: K75
D: AJ5
C: J9764
S: AKQ752
H: 3
D: 742
C: Q53
PassPass2S:All Pass
I get the lead of the C:8 to the king and a diamond shift. I win the D:Q with the ace, draw trumps in three rounds, and knock out the C:A. East wins and leads a heart to his partner's ace. Under this I unblock the H:K from dummy. West continues with a second heart, so I ruff and claim.

I assume that the reason why this play worked is that the robots evaluate positions without the information of how they got there. Any human would know that if I wanted him to play a heart so much as to throw away my king, it has to be wrong for him to do so. But if last trick is forgotten, it's just as likely that a heart is cashing as is a diamond.

Copyright © 2020 Jeff Goldsmith