Most of you are BBO users, and probably know of the robot duplicate tournaments that were introduced earlier this year. You play against three robots (the program GiB, on one of its faster, less skillful settings) and your scores are matchpointed against other humans playing the same hands. You always get the most hcp at the table. The attraction of this format is that you have many more key decisions per hour than you do in a normal human game; you wind up declaring about 55% of the hands, and the hands go by pretty fast. As a result some people I know are total addicts…I’m a very mild but steady addict, playing 3-4 12-board sessions each week. Of course, the context of some decisions is very different from real bridge, where you wouldn’t (I hope) follow the rule of “never count on partner’s judgment.” You can read a long series of articles on Glen Ashton’s blog and some on Memphis Mojo’s. As far as tactics, I basically open a 14-18 notrump (a bit liberal on distribution) and 19-21 2NT. This is not only to hog the hand, but also because partner’s bidding is not quite as bad as in other auctions.
Partly because it is rare to have useful statistics on individuals in bridge, I got curious about breaking down my results and those of others. Bridgebase will give you a file with a month’s worth of results, and I wrote a parser to break these down by who declared. I might compile more statistics at some point. Here’s what my program outputs now, from being fed the last 3 months of my results (SD=standard deviation):
North declared 105 hands(24.36%): NS averaged 55.22%, SD = 23.15
East declared 41 hands(9.51%): NS averaged 53.77%, SD = 28.04
South declared 243 hands(56.38%): NS averaged 60.55%, SD = 26.31
West declared 37 hands(8.58%): NS averaged 61.80%, SD = 27.91
Pass declared 5 hands(1.16%): NS averaged 50.81%, SD = 10.13
Total of 431 deals, Average: 58.60% SD: 25.93
(Statistics exclude 1 average minuses.)
Comments: It’s not surprising I average better as declarer than as dummy. This doesn’t necessarily mean I should hog it even more – on a hand where I artificially made myself declarer by putting it in an inferior contract, my average would certainly be less than the 60.55% above. In fact, I’m quite satisfied with averaging 55% as dummy – this is a rare instance where we can say for sure that any advantage over the field represents solely bidding judgment! Good players who I’ve looked at tend to average 53-55% as dummy – this partly represents bidding to the right level, and partly that the field sometimes takes hand-hogging to excess. Finally, note that the swingiest hands are when I defend. The field doesn’t like to pass, so defending leads to some tops and bottoms. I defend a few percent more hands than most people I’ve looked at. (One reason is I avoid marginal takeout doubles, fearing partner’s insanity.) The results are acceptable, with a mp average on defense only about 1% less than my overall.
The highest MP average I’ve come across is Mark Lair’s. This could surprise you only if you didn’t know he plays the GiBs quite regularly. Here are his stats for a 2-month period:
North declared 558 hands(30.56%): NS averaged 55.07%, SD = 23.15
East declared 132 hands(7.23%): NS averaged 57.14%, SD = 25.97
South declared 1009 hands(55.26%): NS averaged 62.42%, SD = 24.68
West declared 120 hands(6.57%): NS averaged 55.20%, SD = 27.18
Pass declared 7 hands(0.38%): NS averaged 62.69%, SD = 16.47
Total of 1826 deals, Average: 59.32% SD: 24.72
(Statistics exclude 72 average minuses.)
I can certainly live with being just 0.7% worse than Mark Lair, at this odd but entertaining form of the game.