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All comments by Ben Thompson
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That is spectacular. GIB becomes the first AI to past the Turing Test, and it turns out its mission in life is to be a prankster.
July 13
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The full hand:

♠ Q8
♥ 106
♦ Q1084
♣ KQ932
♠ AK10652 ♠ J9743
♥ J432 ♥ K8
♦ 6 ♦ AKJ93
♣ J10 ♣ 7
♠ -
♥ AQ975
♦ 752
♣ A8654

The winning (and only successful) lead is of course a low - for 2 off, just to rub it in.

I led a - could be through dummy's side suit with partner covering it, or just broadly give partner a more useful holding. I wasn't completely confident that both my aces were standing up and in any event I didn't want to release one on the go and risk blowing the setting trick blind.

I rejected the low very early, and I would have been surprised if anyone had voted for it!
July 12
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Do you play any sort of checkback after a 1NT rebid? And is that still on in competition?
July 2
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So inflexible :)
July 2
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Assuming the limit of my system discussion is “2/1 with 1 could be short 2+” then I would say:
- 2 had better have long or else
- the likely excuse for not bidding 1 instead of X with long is being worried about 1 being non-forcing
- you wouldn't worry about opener passing 1 if you were invitational because that's effectively rejecting an invite
- so the likely strength for choosing this path, undiscussed, is game forcing
- which is still a bit messed up because pard could have cued 's instead of bidding 2 and we all would have been clear that the forcing thing was happening

… but I could make an argument that 2 is non-forcing with 4 and 5+. If we were to discuss this sequence, or have substantial partnership experience in something vaguely like it, this sort of meaning might be where we land.

If this really is a no agreement situation, shortly after this hand is over, I'll be telling partner that bidding a new suit below game is blanket forcing in competition for at least the rest of the session. Not best in all situations but better on average than blanket non-forcing and substantially better than no agreement. If you've got seconds to make an interim agreement, someone should just state a (decent!) simple one.
July 2
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Nice work by EW to go low & slow with the 10 card fit - which left a lot of inconvenient shapes for partner open in the NS minds.

If you're going to bid a slam that depends on a good fit, you're never going anywhere if you don't find the fit. South had 2's more than promised; getting that on the table instead of 3 small 's would have gone a long way to solving this problem.

Note that getting to 5 instead of 3NT would have been a good idea if North had been a little weaker. That also depends on South getting his length on the table.
June 24
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With KQx x AKxxx Qxxx I'd probably rebid 2NT actually. Bit worried about ruffing a with a honour, and the likely alternative of playing 3NT from the wrong side.

I'd be happy to bid 3 with Hxx though (especially if partner understands that's my likely holding) because that's 2 little ruffs if we play , and I'm less worried about wrong-siding the stopper if we play 3NT because there's a fair shot then that pard has a wee bit of help there.

Life is more comfy in the auctions where you can still have 4 - and therefore do - because you're less worried about dudding your stopper
June 22
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Depends on whether you're more interested in getting the 5th or 6th clearly stated (working off the given auction). You would sometimes rebid 's with 6-4 but you would almost never rebid 's with 5-5 so I think rebidding your 1st suit as the default is better value. But I completely agree making the cheap rebid the default is completely playable; you just need to agree.

This is the rare auction where I would raise 4th suit with Hxx because (a) it's so unlikely I'll have 4 (maybe only 4 rats with 2 strong minors) and (b) the 4-3 fit with my 3154 opposite pard's 45xx could easily be the right spot
June 22
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It's handy to have a default rebid defined in 4th suit auctions. I usually play opener rebidding his suit as the default. I like raising 4th suit to be real (and a sound opening), preferably really real as in 4 of the suckers but I can live with Hxx.

So I would:
(1) rebid 3H genuine raise on the actual hand, and showing moderate extras like this because I didn't raise the first time
(2) rebid 3D because it's the default and I have one of those default inconvenient hands
(3) same as (2) but if I'd had half a stopper I would have rebid 1NT. I wouldn't be keen on rebidding 1NT on this hand missing a and on an auction that encourages a lead across my weakness.

If I had had 6, I might have rebid earlier or just been willing to treat them as a 5 bagger
June 22
ATB
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Who knows but the evidence of the exactly one hand we have says he makes weird overcalls but sound penalty doubles. And “weird” is not “erratic” - if he consistently overcalls this sort of way he is entirely reliable
June 21
ATB
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Robert, yes your point is right on point - even if 4x is making, it's a long way from clear with East's hand that 5 will be any better (and it can, as here with 4x going down, be a lot worse)
June 21
ATB
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Robert: Your example hand isn't a penalty double, it's a 5 bid. With that hand, 5 could be making. Maybe 6 on a really bad day.

It's also too strong for a 2 overcall. It's closer to a 3NT overcall
June 20
ATB
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I wouldn't overcall 2 with AJxxx (or KQJ9!) either - but AJ1097 is a very different proposition

AJ1097 is good enough to mitigate the risk of trouble, you want it led, the holding is well placed and comes with fillers, and the A scores. Put all those positives together, and 2 will be common enough around the room.

The broader point is that East made quite a nice 3 bid, then apparently lost faith in himself and tried to mastermind it with 5. That's for the B flight pros.
June 20
ATB
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Goodness me. Give West something like K1094 A9 J10 AJ1097

That's an unremarkable 2 overcall. 5 is going to be at least as hopeless a contract as on the actual hand … and so will 4x.

East's delayed 5 is a unilateral and egregiously bad action that duly got punished. West said “I heard you, I understand you have a shapely pile of crap, thank you for your helpful 3 bid, and 4 is going down”. If it makes, that's West's fault. It doesn't. It isn't.
June 20
ATB
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Think about it in terms of the old “egregious error” thing. If the oppos do something dodgy and you subsequently do something superbly bad, you get to wear the consequences of your superb badness.

In this case, centre hand opponent is the most dangerous opponent, but East's 5 bid is so egregiously bad they get to wear a big chunk of blame.
June 20
ATB
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If East had said 5 off the bat, I would have said 100% West. But having said + as a passed hand in an auction that clearly says the oppos have at least the balance of strength, the delayed 5 is suicidal. East should have known that West would figure that East had something like this when he doubled 4.

I still give a little bit of the blame to West for a bid that deserved 100% of the blame and led East a little down the garden path, but East's bidding was, in the end, far worse.
June 19
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So the EBU selection trials should be an Individual? Speaking as an Aussie, I think the EBU should definitely try it … and report back on Bridge Winners in a few years time :)
June 19
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I would rule one off because declarer's stated reason for getting it right doesn't stack up. East might discourage (if that's truly what they were doing) with 3 or 4 , for a variety of reasons.

If declarer had said that East couldn't have the last defensive because he didn't play it at trick 10 (for a trump promo) instead of the 10, then I'd probably believe him and let him have his 110.
June 17
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Putting to one side the inherent failings of selection by selectors, selectors should come at every selection opportunity with an open mind and with the intent of selecting the best team for the particular target event and its peculiarities.

In this case, there are several strong reasons to expect the teams to change.

The World Champs are more than a year away. It's unlikely that the best team today will be the best team then, although one would expect substantial overlap between best teams now and then.

The World Champs are a different event, and the nature of knockout is somewhat different from round robin. Although skills are very transferable, some pairs are more suited to one format than the other.
June 17
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Ed, I would say the law merely offers some guidelines and some examples of etiquette (polite behaviour). That is a long way from defining ethics (moral code).

That is, manners are not morals
June 17
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