The Idiot Coup
Bridge Base Online (BBO) has a feature in which one can play against
robots, but then compare your results to a "star" who played the same
hand against robots. This can be a challenge at times; sometimes the
star is one who is bidding to take maximum advantage of the robots'
weaknesses. Doing so tends to cause very high variance results and
makes the game feel very different from bridge.
But taking advantage of the robots in the play is fun.
The robots are very bad, worse than most human beginners. Today, I
saw them fall for the Idiot Coup.
I get the lead of the 8 to the king and a diamond shift.
I win the Q with the ace, draw trumps in three rounds, and
knock out the A. East wins and leads a heart to his partner's
ace. Under this I unblock the K from dummy. West continues
with a second heart, so I ruff and claim.
I assume that the reason why this play worked is that the robots
evaluate positions without the information of how they got there. Any
human would know that if I wanted him to play a heart so much as to
throw away my king, it has to be wrong for him to do so. But if last
trick is forgotten, it's just as likely that a heart is cashing as
is a diamond.
Copyright © 2020 Jeff Goldsmith