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Robot Tournaments Robots Need Improvement

#1 User is offline   mizzoukid 

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Posted 2009-September-23, 19:10

I live on the West coast of the U.S., so the tourneys available are more limited. I have played in the robot tourneys often, but am ready to stop. This is due to the fact the robots play trump contracts so poorly. It's amazing how often in a trump game contract where the robot is playing the hand that the robot fails to pull trump when it's obvious that's the best line. As such, far too often, my side goes down on contracts that are very makeable. I find myself bidding wrong just to avoid allowing the robot play the hand. Surely the programmers can tweak the tourney to increase the tendency to pull outstanding trump when it's clearly the best line to make.
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2009-September-23, 19:44

Post some example hands?

Gib usually declares fairly well, if the time controls are set reasonably. Maybe the tourneys are having them play too fast. But in any case there's no heuristic for "drawing trumps", that's not how the software thinks. It calculates what line will work best percentage wise at each turn, which may or may not involve playing trumps.
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#3 User is offline   zeit 

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Posted 2009-September-23, 21:24

I agree with mizzoukid. I think the "robot" does not play appropriately in many instances. Further, some of the bids are often questionable- esp. things such as inviational bids and sacrifices. (So far, it has never penalty doubled).

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#4 User is offline   JoAnneM 

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Posted 2009-September-23, 21:52

I have been playing in the Robot Tournaments and if there is a variable to be set for GIB to think it must be set at the shortest time. I usually have to review every trick because the cards flash by so quickly. I have noticed the same thing in just the seven tournaments I have played about GIB not pulling trump when it would have been the right line.


My disclaimer is that I am really enjoying these tournaments.
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#5 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 04:37

I think GIB plays ok. If you rent GIBs, you can set it to playing slow and it will play very well. I think GIB will do better in a year or two even without software improvement, as CPU power becomes cheaper.

If I were in charge of GIB development, I would at the moment give higher priority to improving bidding decisions than to improve play. But I am sure Fred has his priorities straight, and GIB's bidding has improved a lot over the last year. Fred always listens to constructive criticism, so if you have some concrete hands that illustrate what appears to be a general problem, you may send them to Fred.
This discussion is a collection of peculiar ideas, to say the least. KenRexford
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#6 User is offline   JoAnneM 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 09:38

I was wondering if the speed of my own computer controls how quickly the tricks are played and flashed across the screen. At least it is easy to mouse over the trick.
Regards, Jo Anne
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#7 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 09:40

If Gib often doesn't draw trumps when it should, it's because in its sims no hands came up where it mattered. That is something you have to live with unless they completely overhaul the algorithm for how Gib decides on its plays. Complaining about this probably means someone doesn't understand how Gib works.
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#8 User is offline   mtvesuvius 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 09:41

An interesting thing I noticed when playing one of the ACBL Robot Duplicate tourneys... GIB plays the auction 1-1NT-3-3 as 10-11 HCP and 3. What does GIB do with other hands here?
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#9 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 09:43

mtvesuvius, on Sep 24 2009, 10:41 AM, said:

An interesting thing I noticed when playing one of the ACBL Robot Duplicate tourneys... GIB plays the auction 1-1NT-3-3 as 10-11 HCP and 3. What does GIB do with other hands here?

Bids 3NT and 4 way too often.
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#10 User is offline   peachy 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 10:25

What I have noticed is that very often GIB doesn't have what the explanation (during auction when I mouse over to GIB's bid to see the meaning) says it has. Sometimes the difference between the explanation and the actual is HUGE. A second thing is that GIB leaves in takeout doubles that should never have been left in, and similarly, it never makes a penalty double.

As to its declarer play, sometimes it takes lines that I would not have taken but at least it goes by fast and I can go on to the next hand:)
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#11 User is offline   mizzoukid 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 10:55

I HAD the specific tourney and board written down at home, but tossed it. Wish I could retrieve it but cannot, but this wasn't a one-time thing. Guess I'll have to play another robot tourney and write down any similar experiences. Again, it seems to occur only in TRUMP games, not so much in NT contracts, but I truly DO try to steer the final contract away from any trump bid if it means the robot is going to play it since I've been zapped too many times. Thanks, Randy
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#12 User is offline   cherdanno 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 11:04

jdonn, on Sep 24 2009, 10:40 AM, said:

If Gib often doesn't draw trumps when it should, it's because in its sims no hands came up where it mattered. That is something you have to live with unless they completely overhaul the algorithm for how Gib decides on its plays. Complaining about this probably means someone doesn't understand how Gib works.

That sound like: A: "I find it unacceptable that we are spending so much money on health care in the US and still have so many people without insurance not getting the help they need." B: "That just shows you just don't understand how health care in the USA works."
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#13 User is offline   mtvesuvius 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 11:15

peachy, on Sep 24 2009, 11:25 AM, said:

<edit>
A second thing is that GIB leaves in takeout doubles that should never have been left in, and similarly, it never makes a penalty double.
<edit>

I believe GiB's failure to make certain penalty doubles is that almost all doubles are defined as "takeout". Maybe this is a system card error, but when I make a Double of the oppenent's game or slam contracts, the double is explained as "takeout". GiB always leaves the doubles in anyway, but I'm wondering if this may have something to do with it...
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#14 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 11:51

cherdanno, on Sep 24 2009, 12:04 PM, said:

jdonn, on Sep 24 2009, 10:40 AM, said:

If Gib often doesn't draw trumps when it should, it's because in its sims no hands came up where it mattered. That is something you have to live with unless they completely overhaul the algorithm for how Gib decides on its plays. Complaining about this probably means someone doesn't understand how Gib works.

That sound like: A: "I find it unacceptable that we are spending so much money on health care in the US and still have so many people without insurance not getting the help they need." B: "That just shows you just don't understand how health care in the USA works."

I don't think that's a good analogy, and not just because Gib is a toy. When they fix the bidding they make corrections or slight changes to the code. Fixing the play would involve rewriting the code entirely in a different way, in other words writing a new program altogether.

In other words, the healthcare system could be changed in major ways and still be the healthcare system. Gib could not be changed in this way because then it wouldn't be Gib. So the only constructive element to complaints like this are really for someone to write a new bridge-playing robot and for BBO to use that instead of Gib.
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#15 User is offline   peachy 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 11:52

mtvesuvius, on Sep 24 2009, 12:15 PM, said:

peachy, on Sep 24 2009, 11:25 AM, said:

<edit>
A second thing is that GIB leaves in takeout doubles that should never have been left in, and similarly, it never makes a penalty double.
<edit>

I believe GiB's failure to make certain penalty doubles is that almost all doubles are defined as "takeout". Maybe this is a system card error, but when I make a Double of the oppenent's game or slam contracts, the double is explained as "takeout". GiB always leaves the doubles in anyway, but I'm wondering if this may have something to do with it...

A common type of Dbl that it leaves in is like (1H) P (2H) P P DBL I have stopped balancing in robot tourneys... and if I do, it will be a bid in a suit because GIB does not understand balancing at all. However, after balancing in a suit, Gib has no problem raising...
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#16 User is offline   cherdanno 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 12:31

jdonn, on Sep 24 2009, 12:51 PM, said:

cherdanno, on Sep 24 2009, 12:04 PM, said:

jdonn, on Sep 24 2009, 10:40 AM, said:

If Gib often doesn't draw trumps when it should, it's because in its sims no hands came up where it mattered. That is something you have to live with unless they completely overhaul the algorithm for how Gib decides on its plays. Complaining about this probably means someone doesn't understand how Gib works.

That sound like: A: "I find it unacceptable that we are spending so much money on health care in the US and still have so many people without insurance not getting the help they need." B: "That just shows you just don't understand how health care in the USA works."

I don't think that's a good analogy, and not just because Gib is a toy. When they fix the bidding they make corrections or slight changes to the code. Fixing the play would involve rewriting the code entirely in a different way, in other words writing a new program altogether.

In other words, the healthcare system could be changed in major ways and still be the healthcare system. Gib could not be changed in this way because then it wouldn't be Gib. So the only constructive element to complaints like this are really for someone to write a new bridge-playing robot and for BBO to use that instead of Gib.

You seem to know a lot about GIB. For example, apparently you know that it is impossible to automatically generate more simulations with bad breaks when random simulations do not yield significant differences between various lines. And you know that many similar ideas that I didn't come up with while thinking about it for 2 mins are impossible to implement either?

In any case, there is a difference between saying "here is a problem" and saying "XYZ should fix this problem!". I can complain about the disastrous state of public transport in the USA even if I know that this is almost impossible to fix.

Anyway, welcome back :)
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#17 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 14:14

cherdanno, on Sep 24 2009, 01:31 PM, said:

You seem to know a lot about GIB.

I have roomed with Ari several times lately and talked a lot to him about it over the past few months. I'd go out on a limb and say other than the programmers themselves I know more about how Gib works than just about anyone.

Quote

For example, apparently you know that it is impossible to automatically generate more simulations with bad breaks when random simulations do not yield significant differences between various lines. And you know that many similar ideas that I didn't come up with while thinking about it for 2 mins are impossible to implement either?

That wouldn't be impossible. Here are the problems (just that I can think of off my head right now.)
- It would make Gib extremely slow. Already the general complaint is that it runs too many simulations when it doesn't need to, and it would make that problem even worse.
- You would need to either run the sims for bad breaks in each suit (even slower) or decide somehow which suits are important.
- You would have to rerun the sims at each trick that goes by if the trump isn't immediately drawn (even slower).
- There is always the chance that those sims lead Gib to make the wrong play anyway so the problem would be diminished but not eliminated.

I don't know that there are or aren't other ideas, but they probably involve huge changes that would either slow Gib down way too much, or be equivalent to rewriting the program anyway like I said.

Quote

In any case, there is a difference between saying "here is a problem" and saying "XYZ should fix this problem!". I can complain about the disastrous state of public transport in the USA even if I know that this is almost impossible to fix.

Anyway, welcome back :)

Complain about whatever you want. I didn't say not to complain, I was just saying complaining about this particular problem (with the expectation that there is a fix any time remotely soon) shows someone probably doesn't understand how Gib decides on its plays.

Good to be back. :)
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#18 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2009-September-24, 20:41

What are robot tournaments?
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#19 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2009-September-25, 15:41

Vampyr, on Sep 24 2009, 10:41 PM, said:

What are robot tournaments?

Tournaments on BBO where each human plays by himself at a table with 3 GIB robots, competing against other humans at similar tables. There are two kinds:

1. Robot Race or Robot Rewards: You all get randomly dealt hands, different at each table, you play as many hands as you can in the time allotted, and at the end you're compared on a total points basis with all the other tourney entrants. Robot Race tourneys are less expensive ($0.25 US) and the leaders only win BBO masterpoints. Robot Rewards are more expensive ($1 and $5), and the leaders get a share of the pot.

2. Robot Duplicate: This is like a normal Matchpoint duplicate tourney, except with robots at the table instead of other humans. All tables play the same boards, and they're matchpointed.

#20 User is offline   porh 

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Posted 2009-September-26, 10:44

i think there has been an improvement in gib in the recent months.. I've noticed that nowadays they actually balance sometimes amongst other things.. I think one wld get used to it's bidding style after many games.. Just my 2 cents
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