Entries 2018-Complete Results 22-Year History

computer championship.gif

Videos of 2018 championship
championship video
championship video, continued

Summary

The 22nd World Computer-Bridge Championship attracted nine bridge bots, each entry playing as a team of four identical bots. This year’s contestants were two-time defending championship, Wbridge5 (France), last year’s runner up, Synrey Bridge (China), Micro Bridge (Japan), Q-Plus Bridge (Germany), Bridge Baron (USA), Shark Bridge (Denmark), Meadowlark Bridge (USA), RoboBridge (The Netherlands), and TCS BridgeBot (India).

The final standing (on a 20 VP scale) of the 32-board round robin (bye=0):
Wbridge5 121.49 Q
Micro Bridge 112.93 Q
Synrey Bridge 108.21 Q
Q-Plus Bridge 97.51 Q
Shark Bridge 89.79
Bridge Baron 80.23
RoboBridge 65.68
TCS BridgeBot 32.61
Meadowlark Bridge 11.55

In two close semifinal matches Wbridge5, with a 3.7 IMP carryover, defeated Q-Plus Bridge by the margin of the carryover, 158.7 – 155 and Synrey Bridge bested Micro Bridge (Micro Bridge had a 1.7 IMP carryover)  87 – 78.7.

The final was a rematch between last year’s finalists, with the same result, Wbridge5 (with a 12.9 IMP carryover) defeating Synrey Bridge, 150.9 – 132.

Deals of Interest

also see 2018 IBPA Alan Truscott Award also see the WBF webpage

In a rematch of last year’s final KO, the last board of the match demonstrated the nature of robot play.

Board 64
Dealer: W
Vul: E-W
North
♠ 3
AQT2
AQT
♣ AT842
West
♠ QJT8
97
76543
♣ 75
East
♠ 942
K865
J92
♣ QJ3
South
♠ AK765
J43
K8
♣ K96
West
Synrey Bridge
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Wbridge5
1♣
2
3NT
5♣ (0 or 3 KCs).
.
East
Synrey Bridge
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
.
South
Wbridge5
1♠
2♠
4NT
6♣
.

opening lead 2

6♣ was reached at both tables, and at both tables the play was identical. Declarer won the diamond ten, and set about stripping the hand, spade king, spade ruff, diamond to the king, spade ruff, diamond ace, club ace, club king, and spade ace. At both tables East ruffed and led a heart into declarer’s AQ, taking declarer off the end guess of an endplay or heart finesse. If defending double dummy in the end game, East would see declarer taking the winning position in either case.

As Barry Rigal notes in his editorial comment that this deal both shows the strength and weakness of bridge bots. (see  http://championships.worldbridge.org/orlandows18-files/bulletins/Bul_16.pdf  p.5)

POSTSCRIPT:  Erik Liu reports that Synrey Bridge employs single-dummy as declarer but only double-dummy as defender.  East ‘thinks’ there is no way to beat the contract.  Yves Costel of Wbridg5 reports that his bot does in fact use single-dummy as defender, but there was a glitch (due to a combination of things).  After a fix, Wbridge5 replayed the deal as declarer and defender.  Yves reports that East does discard on the spade plays, coming down to a trump and king and one heart.  Wbridge5 declarer then takes the losing heart finesse!  Down one.

TCS BridgeBot, from India, is a new entry this year. Generally, first time entries have difficulty, even if they employ good play algorithms, as the concentration is on the play at the expense of working on bidding.

The TCS BridgeBot demonstrated good defense on the very first deal against reigning championship Wbridge5.

Board 1
Dlr: N
Vul: None
.
North
♠ T
AKJ853
952
♣ KQ9
West
♠ Q76
Q9
83
♣ AJT872
East
♠ J65
♥ T64
AKQT
♣ 653
South
♠ AK9432
72
J764
♣ 4
West
TCS BridgeBot

Pass
All Pass
North
Wbridge5
1
2
.
East
TCS BridgeBot
Pass
Pass
.
South
Wbridge5
1♠
3
.

Wbridge5 declared 3, which depended on avoiding a trump loser. TCS Bot played top diamonds and continued with a fourth round, thus promoting East’s trump 10 for the setting trick. Nicely done and showing promise for a future competitive bot.

Q-Plus Bridge picked up 14 IMPs on board 5 of the semifinal fourth quarter, on a board also played in the third segment of the finals of the three major team championships.

Board 5
Dealer: N
Vul: N-S
North
♠ 875
JT976
875
♣ J7
West
♠ 64
AQ8
KQT432
♣T6
East
♠ AJT9
K5432
A
♣ AQ9
South
♠ KQ32

J96
♣ K85432
West
Q-Plus Bridge

3♣ ¹
5 ²
Pass
6NT
North
Wbridge5
Pass
Pass
Pass
Dbl.
All Pass
East
Q-Plus Bridge
1
4NT
6
Pass.
.
South
Wbridge5
2♣
Pass
Pass
Pass
.

¹ Strong heart raise; ² 1 KC
Opening lead K, +990

Wbridge5 made the fatal mistake of doubling 6 with two sure trump tricks, as Q-Plus Bridge, warned of the bad trump break, bid 6NT which makes on any lead. A safe diamond lead would be won by East, a heart to the ace, cashing two diamond winners and leading a spade to South’s honor and endplaying South for the twelfth trick. At the other table Wbridge5 was in 6, down two, and 14 IMPs to Q-Plus Bridge.

In the other bot semifinal, Synrey Bridge was in 5 down one and Micro Bridge was in 6 down two. In human play the deal was played six times (twice in each of the three human-team final matches). 6 was the contract three times, down one or two, 4twice, once down one and once making, and once 5, making.

Two deals later saw games made at both tables.  Q-Plus Bridge picked up 16 IMPs when making 5x as N-S and 4 as E-W.  Micro Bridge picked up 10 IMPs by making 5 as N-S and taking the good save at 5x, down 1, as E-W.

Board 7
Dealer: S
Vul: Both
North
♠ 53
KQ6532
6
♣ J954
West
AQ7
T972
A32
♣T86
East
♠ KT98642

KJ74
♣ 32
South
♠ J
AJ8
QT985
AKQ7
West
Micro Bridge

Pass
3
Dbl
All Pass
North
Synrey Bridge

1
4
Pass
.
East
Micro Bridge

2
4
5
.
South
Synrey Bridge
1
Dbl
5
Dbl
.

Opening lead, A, -200

In human play the six final contracts, all making, were: 4♠ twice; 4♠x, twice; 4; and 5.  The law of total tricks was short two tricks!

Hans Leber, developer of Q-Plus Bridge, reports that he, and most of the participants, concentrate on errors and fixing them, so reporting good deals requires an added look, and a find in deal 2 of the semifinal match.  Looking at the N-S cards, game is excellent while slam is approximately 20%.  Q-Plus Bridge took advantage of Wbridge5’s takeout double to place cards in the bidding, and determine that slam was now a good prospect.

Board 2
Dealer: E
Vul: N-S
North
♠ KQ83
T5
AKJ63
♣ K9
West
♠ 92
QJ86
Q87
♣ AQJ5
East
♠ T64
943
52
♣ T8762
South
♠ AJ75
AK72
T94
♣ 43
West
Wbridge5

Pass
Dbl
Pass
Pass
Pass
North
Q-Plus Bridge

1♠
3
4♣¹
4NT
6♠
East
Wbridge5
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
Q-Plus Bridge
1
2♠
3¹
4¹
5²
.

¹ first or second round control, ² 0 or 2 KCs
opening lead 3, +1430

Note that 6♠ makes when trumps are 4-1, playing West for the ♣A and picking up the diamonds.

Board 5 of the last round robin segment was also played in the fifth segment of the three human team championships.  The top four bridge bots (Wbridge5, Micro Bridge, Synrey Bridge and Q-Plus Bridge) all bid aggressively to 6Only Synrey Bridge went down when it mistimed the play.  Playing weak NT, this was Micro Bridge’s auction.

Board 5
Dealer: N
Vul: N-S
North
♠ Q972
J42
QJ3
♣ AK3
West
♠ KT63
3
T9864
♣ 984
East
♠ J85
Q865
K752
♣ Q7
South
♠ A4
AKT97
A
♣ JT652
West
Shark Bridge

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Micro Bridge
1NT
2
4
.
East
Shark Bridge
Pass
Pass
Pass
.
South
Micro Bridge
2
3♣
6
.

opening lead 8

Micro Bridge rose with the spade ace, played the trump ace, diamond ace, club to the ace, and ran the diamond jack discarding the spade loser when East did not cover.  Declarer then picked up the trump suit and played to the club king, +1460.

Wbridge5, playing 6 from the South, received a trump lead. After pulling trump declarer played to the club king, diamond queen cover by the king, club to the ace, +1460. The bots appear quite aggressive in their slam bidding. On this deal most were rewarded. In human play the contract was 4 five times, making 10, 11 or 12 tricks, and once 6NT, down 1.

Board 14 of the same set was an easy 4 once North showed values.

Board 14
Dealer: E
Vul: None
North
♠ JT3
Q64
A5
♣ AQT94
West
♠ AQ8
AT73
K632
♣ J5
East
♠ K976
K985
Q84
♣ K3
South
♠ 542
J2
JT97
♣ 8762

At all the tables North overcalled 2♣ and West declared 4.   Synrey Bridge timed the play right after a spade jack lead.  Winning in hand, a club return was won by North’s ace and a club returned.  After a diamond to the queen and two rounds of trump, declarer ducked a diamond to North’s blank ace, +420.  At other tables 4 made three times, including Wbridge5 with more friendly defense, and went down 3 times, including Q-Plus Bridge.  3NT by Micro Bridge was down one on a club lead.  In human play, 4 was the contact at all six tables, making five times.  Only SMITH went down.  All human results can be found here.

Board 16 of the last round robin segment was also played in the fifth segment of the three world championship team events, the Rosenblum Open Teams, the McConnell Women’s Teams and the Rand Senior Teams. In two of the bridge-bot matches the contract was 4♠ at one table and 5♠ (and 5♠X) at the other. In both matches 4♠ went down while 5♠ made.

Board 16
Dealer: W
Vul: E-W
North
♠ 6
AKQ87
Q4
♣ QJT65
West
♠ AJ854
543
J72
♣ K8
East
♠ KQT2
T
KT653
♣ A94
South
♠ 973
J962
A98
♣ 732
West
Micro Bridge
Pass
3♠
Pass
5♠
North
Shark Bridge
1
Pass
5
Dbl
East
Micro Bridge
Dbl
4♠
Pass
All Pass.
South
Shark Bridge
3
Pass
Pass
.

opening lead, A

In 5♠ declarer must pick up the diamond suit with one loser, and only has one line of play to make, while in 4♠ declarer only needed to make one diamond trick (possibly early, either the first or second time led), with two options, one a winning line and the other a losing line. The losing option was reasonable and taken at both tables.
In the deal shown, North continued with the club queen, won by dummy’s ace. Two rounds of spades then a club to the king and diamond to the 10 and ace. With the diamond queen falling under the king, it was +850 for Micro Bridge. Synrey Bridge, also in 5♠ in another round robin match, after the heart ace lead won the club shift with the king, ruffed a heart, played a trump to hand and ruffed the last heart, ace of clubs, club ruff, pulled the last trump, and led a diamond to the ten. Q-Plus Bridge ducked, and the king smothered the queen, +650.

At the other 4♠-W tables North opened 1 and South raised to 2. At both tables a high heart was led the club queen continued. It is interesting to note that the lead of the K from AKQ leaves the location of the A unknown. If North is marked for the AK? and ♣ QJ, there is an even money chance that South holds the diamond ace.

With trumps 3-1, declarer can’t afford to pull all the trumps at the start. Even if declarer guesses right in the diamond suit, the defense will return a heart and if diamonds do not run with one loser, the defense will cash a second heart when in with the second diamond winner to defeat 4♠. If declarer pulls only two trumps and plays diamonds, declarer runs the risk of a diamond ruff. Possibly this is the best line of play in 4♠. A reasonable line for ten trick is as Shark Bridge and Q-Plus Bridge played, ruffing two hearts, pulling trump, and leading a diamond. This line requires declarer to ruff a club in hand, leaving only one trump in hand, so must guess right in the diamond suit. Note that Synrey Bridge in 5♠ played the same way and had no choice but to play North for queen and one diamond. In 4♠, if declarer guesses right, ten tricks are guaranteed (and eleven as the cards lie), if not, down one. Both declarers in 4♠ went up with the king, and down one.

In human play, no declarer was in 4♠! Past results show that the top bridge-bots are usually more aggressive in the bidding than the humans, but not on this deal. In the Rosenblum final, ZIMMERMANN made 5♠ at one table and LAVAZZA was down in 5♠ at the other table, when declarer, at trick three, led a diamond to the king, which can never win, even against a stiff queen. In the McConnell match, SMITH made 5♠ at one table and 4 at the other. The declarer play in 5♠ was best, picking up the diamond suit with one loser. At the other table, against 4, a spade was cashed and a diamond returned away from the king, for a make. West should overtake the spade lead and return a diamond. In the Rand match, MILNER picked up a small swing defeating 5x two tricks at one table and going down one in the same contract at the other table. MILNER, in defense, overtook the spade king, and played the club king, a club to the ace and a ruff for down two. At the other table, after a spade lead and continuation, declarer ruffed, plays three round of trumps ending in dummy and led a club. West correctly went up with the king, but erred by returning a club rather than a diamond, for down one rather than down two.

Some of the WBF championship play can be found on BBO archives, and all the WBF championship results can be found on the WBF website here.

A relatively simple declarer problem was not solved at all the tables.  This deal was from the last bot round robin segment, and was also played in the second segment of the three major team championships.

Board 14
Dealer: E
Vul: None
North
♠ 96
AKQ6
AKT85
♣ Q3
West
♠ KT742
875

♣ JT974
East
♠ QJ8
JT92
Q964
♣ A6
South
♠ A53
43
J732
♣ K852
West
Micro Bridge

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Shark Bridge

1
2
.
East
Micro Bridge
Pass
Pass
Pass
.
South
Shark Bridge
Pass
2
3NT
.

opening lead ♣J

The winning line is to win the second club return, or the third spade.  The bots (Micro Bridge, Shark Bridge, Q-Plus Bridge, Wbridge5 and Synrey bridge) in 3NT accomplished this except for Synrey Bridge, which, after a club lead and spade shift, won the second spade.

In the human team finals, all in 3NT timed the play correctly except for ZIMMERMANN, down on a spade lead.  5 contracts went down on a spade lead.

Board 6 of the same set produced a swing, with 5 a superior contract to 3NT.

Board 6
Dealer: E
Vul: E-W
North
♠ AT6
6542
KT
♣ AJ94
West
♠ J8
AJT9
984
♣ Q632
East
♠ KQ83
KQ
AQJ763
♣ 8
South
♠ 9742
873
52
♣ KT75
West
Synrey Bridge

1
3
North
Q-Plus Bridge

Pass
Pass
East
Synrey Bridge
1
2♠
5
South
Q-Plus Bridge
Pass
Pass
All Pass

opening lead 8

5 looks safe on a non-diamond lead and on a club lead when the diamond king is well placed.  In other matches Wbridge5 and Meadowlark Bridge played in 5, while 3NT was bid five times, down four times.  In human play only BAKER bid to 5. 3NT was bid at the other 5 tables, down four times.

2018 IBPA Alan Truscott Award