## 28.9.19

### AN AVERAGE HAND CONTAINS A STRAIGHT, ACE HIGH.

Do the math, dear reader, there are four hands of thirteen cards in contract bridge, thus, although in social play there is an above-the-line bonus for holding the cards of a royal flush in one hand, that's only ten high card points, and it helps to have a few more honor cards to essay a contract.

Seventeen high-card points and distribution in my hand; ten high card points and some strength in the suits other than Hearts.  Here's what I mean about a not-regular Saturday bridge column: this simulation dates to late June, while I was still attempting to understand how the bots bid, thus I did a simple raise, and the partner bot interpreted that (correctly) as sufficient length in Hearts.  Game on.  West leads the ♥2 (leading conventions are not something I fully understand, particularly bottom from three in the trump suit): Three, Six, Eight.  Cheap trick: perhaps that was intended to take one ruff in Clubs or Spades away, given West's short holdings.

No obvious way to avoid losing a trick each to the ♠A and the ♦A; there's a ♣K and a lot of establishable Clubs outstanding should I make a major error.  Otherwise, looks like ten tricks, forced.

I opt for what I understand to be a safe course: ♣2 to the Ace (there aren't enough Clubs in my control to worry about combinations); lead the ♣Q to a ruff (all the Hearts in hand are controlling); lead the ♠K with the intent of smoking out the Ace and promoting the Queen and Jack; West covers, so far so good, returns the ♦2 (again, bottom of three?): Three, Eight, Queen.  The ♦A is still out, we'll see that it's immaterial whether playing it now or saving it to cover the King.  (But there was one time, in a simulation I didn't record, when the East bot was holding the King to guard the Queen and it didn't grasp that when West showed out, I had that King surrounded, for at least one overtrick.  Information technologies aren't necessarily more clever than humans.)  Again, I opt to drive out the Ace with the ♦5: Four, King, Ace.  But now there are no Diamonds left in hand, and when East returns the ♦6, I cover with the ♥J, lead out the three remaining Hearts, then the ♠Q that I promoted at the fourth trick, the ♠7 to the ♠J and we're done.  In retrospect the ♠2 in hand to the Jack, then back with the Six to the Queen, and lead out the Seven for an overtrick rather than having to lead the ♣J to West's King in garbage time might have been better practice.  It takes time to develop sufficient sight of the table to consider that possibility, or to watch for West covering the Two with the Three, which promotes the Nine ...