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Is it Just Me? Or.... Crazy Robots

#1 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-March-31, 20:01

Using this site again after a couple of years' absence and everytime I log on and play a few ACBL Robot tournaments something happens that makes me want to ask for my money back. Yesterday the issue was when my Robot partner bid Stayman in a response to my 1NT opener and when dummy went down, my Robot partner didn't have four of either of the majors. So how can THAT happen? And today, in a Robot tournament, I had 15 points and opened 1NT and my Robot partner eventually bid 4NT, which was described as invitational to 6NT, with my partner having "17-18 HCP." Since the description said "High Card Points," not Total Points, and I had 15 HCP, I went to 6NT. Well, guess what? My Robot partner did NOT have 17-18 HCP. It had about 14, and we were down two. So again, the description accompanying the bid was misleading and erroneous.

What is this? Surely this system needs some cleaning up? I also see people winning tournaments by using non-standard bids, for example, opening with a four-card major and similar practices which really discourage me from shelling out good money just to pit myself against a system that can be gamed and cannot be relied up.

Anyone else feel this way?
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#2 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2019-March-31, 20:19

Any time you accept an invite with a minimum you have to be prepared to go down.

This isn't to defend GIB, which is horrible, but as problems with GIB goes I'm having a hard time drumming up much sympathy over this one.
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#3 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-March-31, 20:35

GIB plays four suit transfers, which means you bid Stayman with an invitational hand and no 4 card major.
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#4 User is offline   eagles123 

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Posted 2019-April-01, 02:31

I was playing with GIB the other day, it bid 4C and it WASN'T Gerber. how can stuff like this happen it's just outrageous :( :( :(
"definitely that's what I like to play when I'm playing standard - I want to be able to bid diamonds because bidding good suits is important in bridge" - Meckstroth's opinion on weak 2 diamond
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#5 User is offline   DozyDom 

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Posted 2019-April-01, 08:29

GIB is bad, but your complaints are worse. Still, it is April Fool's - maybe this is a high quality troll.
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#6 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-April-01, 10:50

View Postsmerriman, on 2019-March-31, 20:35, said:

GIB plays four suit transfers, which means you bid Stayman with an invitational hand and no 4 card major.


Also if I hold a 3361 3 count I might well stayman and pass the response
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#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-April-01, 19:02

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-April-01, 10:50, said:

Also if I hold a 3361 3 count I might well stayman and pass the response

With that kind of hand GIB will transfer to diamonds. But with a 4450 zero count it will use garbage Stayman.

#8 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-02, 19:57

So here is another example of my robot partner's bidding in a tournament today that I find incomprehensible.

The bidding went as follows (opponents passed on all bids):

South - 1
North - 1
South - 2
North - 2NT

When dummy went down, here's what my partner had.



In real life, if you and your partner were looking for a trump fit, and you had four hearts in your hand when your partner bid 2 hearts, would you REALLY bid 2 NT? Honestly, I am struggling to understand and would be grateful if anyone could explain.
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#9 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2019-April-03, 02:57

Actually GIB bid correctly on the last one. You didn't pass 2nt did you?

So here's the deal:A reverse by opener these days, as played by most people, and GIB, shows extra values, but does *not* guarantee game forcing values, and guarantees a third bid by opener. Once you get past the beginning stage of learning bidding, you should learn various structures people play to limit responder's and opener's hands, so that you can sometimes sensibly stop in a partial when both hands are minimum but reach games when enough values are held.


You might want to read the "primer on reverse bidding" sticky at the top of the intermediate/advanced section of this forum, particularly mikeh's first post.

So the idea is that on this hand, responder is super minimum, only 5 HCP, Qs and Js, and mostly not in partner's suits. It wants to honor the force since you might be very strong (here with 20), but it doesn't really want you to bid game if you had a min reverse with 17 or a good 16, as you might have trouble even just making 3. But on the other hand if it had a good hand, it might want to raise to 3H forcing, preserving bidding room to explore slam (rather than awkward jump to 4h, 4nt, etc. when it doesn't know whether you have spade fit/control/club control etc.). So the way most people do it, you raise directly to 3H with good hands (decent 8+ or so), GF, but bid 2nt (*forcing*, but often a bad hand) with the bad hands. 2nt shows some subset of hands like:
  • weak hand with heart support (5+s, 4+H), 7- hcp, wanting to stop in 3H opposite a minimum range (16+-18- or so) reverse, planning 3H as its 3rd bid (nf).
  • weak hand with only 4 spades, support/preference for opener's minor, planning to pass if opener repeats minor
  • some range of hands by agreement that plan to bid 2nt then 3nt, showing a hand weaker than a direct 3nt (I personally prefer 8-11 for this, playing direct 3nt as 12-14, opinions differ as to best exact ranges)
  • some range of hands planning 2nt followed by 4nt (or more), that is stronger than a direct jump to 3nt (for me, 15+), no fit for either of partner's suits.
Strong hands with fit bid to the 3 level directly, or bide time with a forcing 2S bid with 5+ spades. (With some other good hands jumping to 3nt or jumping to 3s with 6+ good spades)

So opener with minimum reverse typically just rebids minor over 2nt (there is some difference of opinion on what opener's say 3c means after 1d-1s-2h-2nt-3c; some play that 3c is just kind of semi-forced, non-forcing catering to letting responder with 4s+6/7 clubs play a club partial, while others use 3c as a forcing ask by opener looking for 3nt as they might have some 2461 moose or similar just needing a club stop to make 3nt a good gamble).

That said, the robot has in the past bid quite poorly on reverse auctions and done weird things like bid 2nt holding 5 spades and weak hand *not* holding 4H (should bid 2S in most structures), or rebidding 2S when holding heart support (should raise 3h, or go through 2nt with a weaker hand with support). Current version may have fixed some of these but not sure if all.
Also be aware that there are many possible sensible structures over reverses, if playing with a human be aware that what's standard-ish in some regions will vary considerably vs others, so accidents are not uncommon here in newish partnerships.
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#10 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-03, 18:32

Thank you, Stephen, much appreciated. You hit the nail on the head -- I obviously have never gotten past the beginner level in bidding. And yes, I passed at the 2NT bid. Result was 2NT down 2 and one very humiliated Bridge player with a zero result.

The little blurb you can read when you put your cursor over the bid said it was an Artificial 2NT showing a weak hand. I was afraid that if I bid higher, the Crazy Robot would take me into even MORE troublesome territory -- with a weak hand -- so I stopped at the two level. I was sure the 2NT denied the presence of a heart fit, it never occurred to me that it was anything else.

Thank you for your suggestion of reading the primer on reverse bidding -- will definitely take a look at it.

So appreciate getting an explanation! Again, many thanks.
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#11 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-06, 14:40

OK, so here's the latest bidding fiasco to leave me gasping and ready to personally strangle my Robot partner. ACBL Daylong MP tournament yesterday. East-West vulnerable. N-S Not vulnerable. Here are N-S hands and how the bidding went.

I cannot conceivably imagine a human partner (or even a Robot worth its salt) with a hand like North's, to understand my Double of opponents' four spades as anything but a Penalty Double. I practically had a heart attack when my Robot partner popped up with 5! The thought of playing this hand plunged me into deep despair and the result -- down five, doubled -- I could barely focus though I know the strong never give up the fight -- was another horrible blow to my confidence.

What did I do wrong? I cannot believe how counter-intuitive some of these GIB bids are. Definitely not your mother's Bridge. Am willing to learn but would welcome some help!


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#12 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2019-April-06, 15:57

GIB essentially does not play penalty doubles.

If you have made a takeout double at any point in the auction later doubles are NEVER, EVER EVER penalty to GIB.
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#13 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-06, 16:33

View PostTylerE, on 2019-April-06, 15:57, said:

GIB essentially does not play penalty doubles.

If you have made a takeout double at any point in the auction later doubles are NEVER, EVER EVER penalty to GIB.


Huh. No penalty doubles after doubling earlier in the auction. Got it. Whole new world out there for me. Thank you so much for the quick response. Will never do THAT again!
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#14 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-07, 17:44

Next question: Opening leads.

Yesterday I did not do well in a game where my robot partner and I bid 4. The opening lead from West was a heart. Today, when I looked at the "movie" for someone else who also bid four but achieved a better result than I did, I found that the opening lead by West for that person was a spade.

I thought we were all playing on a level playing field here. Needless to say, a difference in an opening lead can make a big difference between a good and bad result. Hoping someone can explain.
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#15 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-April-07, 17:53

If the auction was 100% identical, the lead will be 100% identical.

(Unless you're playing in the main bridge club, in which case there can be a difference if one table has rented an advanced robot and one hasn't, or a table is playing with two humans where GIB can interpret bids differently).

My guess is that the auctions weren't identical, which leads to GIB simulating different hands and getting a different result.
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#16 User is offline   TheoKole 

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Posted 2019-April-07, 21:52

So another GIB "judgement" decision to give you a small laugh for the day.




It seems that GIB isn't confident enough to bid an 8 card suit either on the first or second round. This is even though after my overcall and subsequent bidding their hand becomes HUGE. Guess that GIB would need a 10 card suit to decide that it might be a good trump suit; of course we missed a cold grand. In all seriousness, perhaps the code might need a bit of tweeking as to when to bid. As you can see opening a little light on HCP's but with shape doesn't seem to be a problem.


Regards T
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#17 User is offline   BillPatch 

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Posted 2019-April-07, 22:11

View Postdebstander, on 2019-April-06, 14:40, said:

OK, so here's the latest bidding fiasco to leave me gasping and ready to personally strangle my Robot partner. ACBL Daylong MP tournament yesterday. East-West vulnerable. N-S Not vulnerable. Here are N-S hands and how the bidding went.

I cannot conceivably imagine a human partner (or even a Robot worth its salt) with a hand like North's, to understand my Double of opponents' four spades as anything but a Penalty Double. I practically had a heart attack when my Robot partner popped up with 5! The thought of playing this hand plunged me into deep despair and the result -- down five, doubled -- I could barely focus though I know the strong never give up the fight -- was another horrible blow to my confidence.

What did I do wrong? I cannot believe how counter-intuitive some of these GIB bids are. Definitely not your mother's Bridge. Am willing to learn but would welcome some help!



Actually the first error was raising your partner's 2 minimum freebid answer to your takeout double. In Standard bidding all raises below game are invitational, here that would show 18-19 support points and at least 4 card support. Your 3 hearts was a considerable overbid.
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#18 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2019-April-07, 22:31

View PostBillPatch, on 2019-April-07, 22:11, said:

Actually the first error was raising your partner's 2 minimum freebid answer to your takeout double. In Standard bidding all raises below game are invitational, here that would show 18-19 support points and at least 4 card support. Your 3 hearts was a considerable overbid.

I'm not sure that applies in competition. 3H looks fine with the South hand, although I'd be interested to see the automated description of the bid.
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#19 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-08, 16:13

View Postsmerriman, on 2019-April-07, 17:53, said:

If the auction was 100% identical, the lead will be 100% identical.

(Unless you're playing in the main bridge club, in which case there can be a difference if one table has rented an advanced robot and one hasn't, or a table is playing with two humans where GIB can interpret bids differently).

My guess is that the auctions weren't identical, which leads to GIB simulating different hands and getting a different result.



Many thanks. It was an ACBL Daylong Tournament. And yes, the auction was slightly different. There was a jump bid in made in the auction that got a better result on the hand. I don't think it was a standard bid because I remember wondering why they'd jumped to the 2 level instead of bidding 1 up the ladder, as I'd done in my auction. That was the only difference -- everything else in the auction on the way to arriving at the game of 4 was the same.

Very much appreciate the patience and kind response.
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#20 User is offline   debstander 

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Posted 2019-April-14, 16:43

View PostTheoKole, on 2019-April-07, 21:52, said:

So another GIB "judgement" decision to give you a small laugh for the day.




It seems that GIB isn't confident enough to bid an 8 card suit either on the first or second round. This is even though after my overcall and subsequent bidding their hand becomes HUGE. Guess that GIB would need a 10 card suit to decide that it might be a good trump suit; of course we missed a cold grand. In all seriousness, perhaps the code might need a bit of tweeking as to when to bid. As you can see opening a little light on HCP's but with shape doesn't seem to be a problem.


Regards T


Absolutely, Theo. Complete craziness. No human partner would have ignored those hearts to support a contract in Diamonds.
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