9 Clubs in NABC Robot Tourney

Freak hands don’t lend themselves to teaching generalities. One I played in the recent 3-day ACBL Robot Individual is worth calling to the attention of those who help the Gibbers plan its bidding. How would you bid in 4th seat, none Vul, after hearing 1 P 2 with a powerful nine-card club hand with only two losing tricks:

Gibber doubled. No real quarrel with that, though most humans would likely have bid 5♣ and be done with it.

Want to decide how you would handle the hand before reading on? There’s likely no right answer and I have nothing useful to say, except don’t plan to see a nine-card suit soon.

Let’s watch. After the double, the bidding in the tournament varied. Some openers conservatively bid 3 and some bid 4. If South bid 3, West bid 3♠ and all passed. If South bid 4, all passed. No further sound from the nine-card club suit. None. On the particular layout in the tournament, see the hand diagram, 5♣ makes.

The deal was played thirty-four times: thirty times in 4, two times in 3♠ and in two other contracts worthy of note for GiB programmers.

One South who bid 3 was overcalled by West at 3♠ and North doubled, which ended the auction. North-South earned top score. The other two North-South pairs who defended 3♠ earned the next highest scores. I note this auction because it differs slightly from the 3♠ undoubled auctions and gave the East robot a different opportunity to run his random hand simulations to find some reason to make a 5♣ call. But, no, more silence.

One South opened 1NT. I am a relatively new BBO player and see that people open 1NT with wildly different ranges and shapes. Here South’s 18 high card points isn’t wildly out of line nor is the shape, but the honors are concentrated and I think I’d open 1 as I have comfortable rebids for all responses. North transferred to 2♠. Gibber in East sprang to life with a 5♣ bid, which ended the auction. 5♣ made and this South earned a flat zero on the board. Unlucky for him. South did not deserve such a fate. Should the programmers refund his entry fee?

Note. This was Board #11 of Day 3 for Roman99 in the 2021 Fall NABC Robot Tournament, played 11/22.


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4 comments on “9 Clubs in NABC Robot Tourney”
  1. Anyone who has played a lot with the robots knows they handle No Trump auctions better than any others. Both constructive bidding and defensive. This explains why many strain to open 1NT. This is one time when it didn't work out.

  2. I think if you play with robots then at some stage or other you will be a victim of irrational bidding, absurd leading, groundless suit switches and on top of all that when you decide to read the explanation of a bid that too ends up being misleading at times.
    Having said all that I do admire their declarer play at times

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