Inhuman Competitors
GIB wins the World Computer Bridge Championship

Reprinted with permission from the March, 2000 ACBL Bulletin

In addition to the Bermuda Bowl, the Venice Cup and other assorted events at the Orbis World Bridge Championships, a computers-only contest was held that attracted eight of the better-known software programs from around the world. When the smoke cleared, Matt Ginsberg's GIB was at the top of the silicon heap.

GIB (Ginsberg's Intelligent Bridge player) is no stranger to the winner's circle, having won several computer championships at the national and world level. Ginsberg has also managed to secure notoriety for his creation through its participation in the par contest at the world championships in Lille, France in 1998, as a "member" of the vugraph panel at several NABCs and as an occasional "panelist" in The Bridge World's Master Solver bidding forum.

The eight competitors played a round-robin of 10-board matches against each of the other programs. The top four programs advanced to the semifinal knockout round. GIB (U.S.) topped the round-robin phase, followed closely by WBridge (France). Micro Bridge (Japan) and Bridge Buff (Canada) were the other semifinalists.

In one 38-board semifinal, GIB defeated Bridge Buff 118-79, which included a 21-IMP carryover. In the other semifinal match, WBridge defeated 133-107 due to its carryover of 32 IMPs.

In the 54-board final matchup, GIB led WBridge 178-77 after 48 boards when WBridge's programmers conceded.

This deal is from the final:

                       S K Q 9
                       H A Q J
                       D 9 6 4 3 2
                       C 8 6

  
S 10 6                    N           S 8 7 3 2
H 10 9 2               W     E        H 7 5 3
D 10                      S           D A K Q J 8 5
C A J 10 9 5 3 2                      C ---

                       S A J 5 4
                       H K 8 6 4
                       D 7
                       C K Q 7 4
Dlr: West
Vul: E/W

 West    North   East    South
 GIB     WBridge GIB     WBridge

 Pass    1D      Pass    1H
 Pass    1NT     Pass    3NT
 All Pass
West (GIB) led the D10, and East overtook. Double dummy, declarer can now make his contract due to the bizarre layout in the defenders' minor suits, but on the run of East's top diamonds, declarer pitched two clubs and a major-suit card. Now there were only eight tricks available, so declarer finished down one, minus 50.

At the other table:

 West    North   East    South
 WBridge GIB     WBridge GIB

 Pass    1NT(1)  2D      3D(2)
 Pass    3S(3)   Pass    4S
 Pass	 Pass    Dbl     All Pass

(1) 11 to 14 high-card points. No four-card major unless 4-3-3-3.
(2) Stayman, no stopper.
(3) Oops.
East led a top diamond and switched to a low heart. Declarer, North, won the jack, cashed the HQ and played a club towards the dummy. East erred by ruffing. The DK was ruffed with the SJ. The SA and SK were now cashed leaving this position:
                       S Q
                       H A
                       D 9 6 2
                       C 8

  
S ---                     N           S 8 
H ---                  W     E        H 7 
D ---                     S           D Q J 8 5
C A J 10 9 5 3                        C ---

                       S 5 
                       H K 8
                       D ---
                       C K Q 4
GIB ruffed a diamond in dummy, crossed to the HA, pulled the last trump and played a club to the dummy, endplaying West, for plus 590.

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