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Is it cheating if it's a robot How do you alert a robot to an artificial bid?

Poll: can a human cheat a robot? (5 member(s) have cast votes)

Is it cheating if you make an artificial bid against a robot?

  1. Yes (0 votes [0.00%])

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  2. No (5 votes [100.00%])

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#1 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 05:33

Yesterday, I saw someone complaining about 'cheating' on BBO because someone managed to get into a high-scoring spot for no apparent good reason. The hand can be found in 'Cure for Cheating'. Interestingly, If I had been dealt that hand I would have likely reached 6NT and possibly made it. here is the hand with my proposed bidding sequence. If you don't believe me, I include an actual hand that I played in the last super Sunday Tourney where I was the only person to make 7NT doubled and vulnerable against GIB. Why? Because GIB always makes a 4th down lead from the suit that was NOT bid by the opponents. If you can work your way into such a contract good luck. The first hand is the one that was complained about earlier. The second is 7NTX by me making 2490 100%. For the record, I have mentioned this approach a couple of times before 😀. I guess it does raise the interesting ethical question: how do you alert an artificial bid to GIB? I see many complaints about ambiguous explanations by GIB (to put it mildly!), but there is, of course, no way to advise GIB ops that I am doing something artificial. Do GIB have Electric Fora where they can whinge about us?

There is a logic to this bidding: By opening with a void or a singleton, I am looking to see if partner has a stopper in the suit. LHO will not bid because they have the suit. Partner supports the bid and RHO passes on the belief that I will get a bad score. I bid 6NT in this case because I have a very strong hand, I hope partner has something else in the other suits (after all, opps did not bid) and now it's too hard for anyone to get in. GIB will always lead 4th down from another suit because I bid diamonds - in this case, most likely 5 which double-dummy gives 12 tricks.
Exactly the same thing happened yesterday but with a slightly more ridiculous bidding sequence. In this case, double-dummy says I should be -4, but once again, GIB does not know my heart holding and I'm able to make the contract. Here is the full link so that you can replay the hand and enjoy the GIB bidding explanations 7NTX vulnerable. Notice that as in the previous example, even though the OPS have good hearts they keep quiet, and they do not lead them - even when I reach 7NTX. The hand was played in less than 5 minutes so cheating would be very hard!

non est deus ex machina
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#2 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 08:05

No :)
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#3 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 09:37

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-January-13, 05:33, said:

how do you alert an artificial bid to GIB?

You can't. GIB assumes you're playing its system.

Remember, you're only required to alert and explain agreements. Since the robot you're partnering with doesn't know that your bid means something different from its system, you don't have to explain it.

The first example won't happen. Since GIB uses inverted minor raises, 2 requires at least 4 diamonds and 11 HCP. However, a more realistic auction would be 1-1NT-6NT.

You've discovered that the robots can be fooled by psychic bidding. So can humans.

#4 User is offline   pilowsky 

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  Posted 2020-January-13, 13:35

WHAT! Barry, are you serious? "I've discovered that robots can be fooled by psychic bidding" Try to remember Mr Turing, there is no little friend, sitting on a small chair in a booth with a green visor and a deck of cards thinking about how which button to click next. Or maybe there is? In any event, I have a whole collection of those auctions, which as you can see from the actual example is how the GIB responds. It is the same way that a human partnership responds, except that I imagine that humans would be able to learn to defeat this approach because we can talk to each other.
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#5 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 14:51

Are you implying that this would be illegal if done against a human? Because it isn't.
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#6 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 15:17

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-January-13, 05:33, said:

Exactly the same thing happened yesterday but with a slightly more ridiculous bidding sequence. In this case, double-dummy says I should be -4, but once again, GIB does not know my heart holding and I'm able to make the contract. Here is the full link so that you can replay the hand and enjoy the GIB bidding explanations 7NTX vulnerable. Notice that as in the previous example, even though the OPS have good hearts they keep quiet, and they do not lead them - even when I reach 7NTX. The hand was played in less than 5 minutes so cheating would be very hard!


The bidding may have been ridiculous, but the defense was twice as ridiculous. Why would East unblock K under South's ace??? I can't think of a single bridge reason for that play. Maybe East thought that declarer had A based on the bidding :rolleyes: Not unblocking results in down 4. I think I would probably lead K as West which would lead to down 5.
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#7 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 15:44

LOL, its a computer program! it doesn't 'think'. I've done this many times. I have a whole spreadsheet of them. Good grief! It's the Turing test guys.
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#8 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 15:45

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-January-13, 05:33, said:

Here is the full link so that you can replay the hand and enjoy the GIB bidding explanations 7NTX vulnerable.
For Gib to let 7NXX make is ludicrious.
Takes unblocking K near end as final nail in coffin knowing declarer has Queen
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#9 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 16:12

Again, GIB doesn't 'know' anything - it's not a 'learning' machine. It doesn't matter how often you do the same thing to it the response is the same. That is what the Turing test means. That is why 2-year-olds learn to stop hitting their heads against walls, but some Bridge players apparently don't!
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#10 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 16:29

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-January-13, 16:12, said:

Again, GIB doesn't 'know' anything - it's not a 'learning' machine.

That doesn't make any sense; of course it "knows" things. The whole algorithm is based around dealing hands that fit the scenario; if every hand dealt has a certain card with a certain player, then it "knows" that player has that card and acts accordingly. And of course, if you break every single rule of bidding, it's going to make incorrect assumptions; it's not capable of detecting psyches like humans are.

I just don't really get why you'd bother playing like this.
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#11 User is online   mythdoc 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 18:04

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-January-13, 05:33, said:

Yesterday, I saw someone complaining about 'cheating' on BBO because someone managed to get into a high-scoring spot for no apparent good reason. The hand can be found in 'Cure for Cheating'. Interestingly, If I had been dealt that hand I would have likely reached 6NT and possibly made it. here is the hand with my proposed bidding sequence. If you don't believe me, I include an actual hand that I played in the last super Sunday Tourney where I was the only person to make 7NT doubled and vulnerable against GIB. Why? Because GIB always makes a 4th down lead from the suit that was NOT bid by the opponents. If you can work your way into such a contract good luck. The first hand is the one that was complained about earlier. The second is 7NTX by me making 2490 100%. For the record, I have mentioned this approach a couple of times before ��. I guess it does raise the interesting ethical question: how do you alert an artificial bid to GIB? I see many complaints about ambiguous explanations by GIB (to put it mildly!), but there is, of course, no way to advise GIB ops that I am doing something artificial. Do GIB have Electric Fora where they can whinge about us?



To clear the record, first of all, I was not “complaining” in that other thread, went out of my way (I thought) to stress that. I welcome anybody to click over and see it. I was observing that on the deal you show above, one auction went 1-1NT-7, while another competitor OPENED 6. Those are very different auctions and call into question very different processes than the idea of psyching or faking out GIB’s robot defenders. Those are auctions where one has to be able to see the lay of the cards in order to fly directly to a top score.

As for your poll, I answered “no.” Individual play with three robots is different from bridge insofar as the partner and opposition are givens, whatever their limitations or quirks. Tricking the bots seems fine but knowing that your partner just happens to have 6 clubs opposite your 3, and that they split 2-2, making this the only grand slam that works, is not a case of tricking the bots, it’s tricking the whole premise of the competition.
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#12 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 18:09

View Postsmerriman, on 2020-January-13, 16:29, said:

That doesn't make any sense; of course it "knows" things. The whole algorithm is based around dealing hands that fit the scenario; if every hand dealt has a certain card with a certain player, then it "knows" that player has that card and acts accordingly. And of course, if you break every single rule of bidding, it's going to make incorrect assumptions; it's not capable of detecting psyches like humans are.

I just don't really get why you'd bother playing like this.


de gustibus non disputandum est

Personally, I don't understand why one would restrict one's self to a limited submit of the set of legal bids because of aesthetics...
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#13 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 19:55

GIB does not assume, know, learn or cheat good grief.
non est Deus in machina

OK, mythdoc - 'not complaining?' Here is what you wrote:

"This result was recorded in yesterday's free robot tournament (day one of two). I myself reached 4H and got a score in the 70's% for making 12 tricks. I have been playing BBO for about a month after a long hiatus from bridge. I cannot conceive any way to understand this result other than as cheating, using some kind of multiple login approach. Please correct me if I am misunderstanding. Thank you."

The bold part is my emphasis. Anytime an accusation of cheating is made against anybody, that's a complaint. If you do not wish to complain, then don't level accusations of cheating. The victim of your accusation could be an innocent party. You don't know. I myself have made misclicks that have turned out to be advantageous. At other times disastrous. GIB once had me in 3NT and I made no tricks at all!

necessario gustum gutturi
Regarding the question of whether or not it is a matter of taste, most players bid 2 when they really mean 4 or 4 this kind of Edwardian bidding system seems to be quite acceptable but is just as artificial. I cannot understand why everyone gets all out of joint at the idea of something else that's artificial. In this context, it is worth noting that although GIB is programmed to play 2/1 game forcing, the standard card for ACBL tournaments on BBO is SAYC. Other tournaments on BBO place their own system strictures on what can and cannot be done yet GIB are permitted in some as partners for $0.25 a pop: cheap friends indeed, and you have to play their system.


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#14 User is online   mythdoc 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 20:47

^^Then we’ll have to leave it to the court of public opinion to decide for themselves whether I “accused anyone” or “complained”. I say my words (that you quote) plainly acquit me. You say they convict. Ultimately, it’s beside the point, but...

In either case, in your thread starter you conflated my example with psyching, using a bidding sequence of your own invention, and then when I explained in detail how the ACTUAL bidding sequence had nothing to do with psyching, now you are saying it was maybe “misclicks.”

Again, I am content to leave it to the court of public opinion to decide for themselves if it was misclicks, a possible case of cheating, or if something else is the most likely explanation for it.
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#15 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 22:39

It's legal and ethical to psych, whether partnering a robot or a human. But off-topic ...

When a pair of humans, playing their own system, are pitted against a pair of GIB robots, then the game is unsatisfactory because ...
  • GIB explains its calls quite well but
  • GIB can't discover opponents' methods.

Although the humans might legitimately argue that ...
  • The humans provide a system-card -- it's not their fault that GIB won't read it
  • The humans are prepared to answer questions -- it's not their fault that GIB won't ask any.
  • The humans can even alert and explain conventional bids -- but GIB won't notice.
Nevertheless, manifestly, this game is unbalanced and the humans have an unfair advantage.

Other robots (like WBridge5) can play different systems and understand their opponents' methods. BBO's full disclosure seemed a promising step in that direction but we're told it's been abandoned.
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#16 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 23:32

Great point nige1! In fact, the ethical question that I have been struggling with is that when I enter a 3 robot tournament, I believe that I am playing against all the other people in the bridge community. That is the reason that I decided to explain my bidding practices. After all, in a robot tournament, I am competing against all the other players that enter. Not against GIB. It would be unfair if I did not share my system card with the BBO community. At least IMHO. Sometimes I do well, sometimes very badly: I always learn.
If I tell you that I am doing it, then it is not a psyche - it's a system. It may be a good (now there's a whole different topic) system, but it is no longer a psyche.
On a slightly different but similar note, here is a hand that was dealt in the weekly free instant robot duplicate Tournament that I recently came last in. In this hand though, it had all the features of 4 so when it was passed round to me, 4, 15 others got the same hand 4 were in 4=, 3 4-1 and 8 in 2+2. Every time, GIB led K. So the bidding did not affect the lead in this case. What features? A solid 5 card major, at least two outside tricks and passed twice. I know, reading tea-leaves but all good signs.

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#17 User is online   Joe_Old 

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Posted 2020-January-14, 09:28

Unfortunately, for players experienced in playing against robots, it isn't really bridge anymore. From experience they've learned to game the system, knowing that certain lies and deceptions tend to score well. In ACBL-land those deceptions would probably be viewed as systemic psyches and therefore illegal, but there aren't any cops in robot tournaments.

So, as long as there aren't any prohibitions against deception, feel free to confuse the computer, because after all it isn't bridge that you're playing.
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#18 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-15, 11:02

View PostJoe_Old, on 2020-January-14, 09:28, said:

Unfortunately, for players experienced in playing against robots, it isn't really bridge anymore. From experience they've learned to game the system, knowing that certain lies and deceptions tend to score well. In ACBL-land those deceptions would probably be viewed as systemic psyches and therefore illegal, but there aren't any cops in robot tournaments.

So, as long as there aren't any prohibitions against deception, feel free to confuse the computer, because after all it isn't bridge that you're playing.

While this is true to an extent, if you read the interviews with the players who have won the NABC Online Individuals, they mostly play normally, just stepping out occasionally. The only systemic adjustments they make are to take advantage of the "best hand" format. There are reasonable arguments that this also is "not real bridge", but since all the human players are aware of it, we believe it's still fair.

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