Sunday, March 10, 2013

Reversing dummy

In an effort to improve my declarer play, I have been using the bridge software wbridge5.  I can play at a table with 3 robots, and if the robots are set at the maximum level, they bid, play and defend quite well. As far as I can tell, wbridge5 is a little better than BBO's advanced GIB robots in terms of bidding and signalling. Also, the deals are more realistic in that one can not make decisions based on having been dealt the most high-card points. Plus, it saves me 2.5c a hand ...

Having bid and played out the hand, I can ask the software to tell me the par on the deal. The report includes how many tricks one can make in all 20 possible trump-declarer combinations. These are, of course, double-dummy and it is not possible to expect to get to par always, but it is a pretty good way to gauge one's play of the hand both as declarer and as defender. (The human plays the hand for the robot if the robot partner ends up declaring).

The contract is 2H by North.  East leads the 7 of diamonds. West takes his Ace of diamonds and leads a trump. How many tricks can  you take?

My plan was to reverse dummy and to ruff twice in hand.  Two top tricks in clubs, ruff a club, ruff a diamond and four tricks in hearts (assuming hearts break 3-2) makes 8 tricks. Making 2H is, however, not par. You need to make 9 tricks. Can you see it?

The best line, believe it or not, is to establish the spades and forget about ruffing a diamond (click Next to see the play):

Is this simply a double-dummy line or is it something that you would think of doing at the table? It seems unsafe, since if spades are 4-2 and the hand with 3 hearts gets in, they can hold me to 7 tricks.

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