Mar 242003
 

Both Vul
IMPs
Dealer: East
Lead: HK

oguz
S A Q 10 4
H J
D Q J 8 7
C J 10 9 7
nano
S J 9 7 2
H K Q 4
D 9 4 3
C 8 6 2
[W - E] tinmarin
S K 6 5
H A 9 7 5 3
D 10 5
C Q 4 3
Maestro
S 8 3
H 10 8 6 2
D A K 6 2
C A K 5
West

Pass
Pass
Pass

North

1 S
2NT
Pass

East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 D
1NT
3NT

 

I confess that I am not entirely happy with the Gee-Spot formula, which, to review, is 100*(P(C) – P(G)), P(C) being the probability of success of the correct line, P(G) being the probability of Gee’s. Sometimes it doesn’t quite capture the achievement.

Take today’s hand, for instance, an excellent 3NT contract reached after a rare normal auction. The defense begins with four rounds of hearts, West discarding a spade on the fourth round. You or I cash a club, cross to a diamond, take the club finesse into the safe hand, and score ten tricks when East shows up with Qxx in clubs. 100% for nine tricks no matter how the clubs lay out. The maestro slaps down the ace and king of clubs. The queen does not fall. He plays a third club, and East wins the queen and cashes the long heart for off 1. He then complains that he tried three things and none of them worked. (Queen singleton, queen doubleton, and queen with West, if you’re counting at home.)

In a naked Gee-spot reckoning this scores:

100 * (1.0 – 0.61) = 39

A 39 Gee-spot is respectable, but not especially noteworthy. Yet who can gainsay the magnificence of his line?

The problem is even more conspicuous here:

N/S Vul
MPs
Dealer: South
Lead: CJ

konijn
S A Q 7 5 2
H A K 8
D 9 8 6
C Q 7
jdonn
S 10
H 9 7 6 5 2
D A Q 10
C J 10 8 2
[W - E] dragon
S 9 3
H Q J 10 3
D 7 3 2
C K 9 5
Maestro
S K J 8 6 4
H 4
D K J 5 4
C A 6 4
West

Pass
Pass
Pass

North

2NT
4 S

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 S
3 H
Pass

 

Another normal contract on another normal auction, although Josh can perhaps be faulted for failing to Bones four spades, especially at matchpoints. The club jack is led, queen, king, ace, and it’s Endplay 101. Pull trump, eliminate the hearts, discarding the third club from the closed hand, and exit a club. Eventually West will have to lead a diamond back to you or concede a ruff-sluff. Again, a 100% line for the contract.

Gee pulls trump and plays another club. West wins and shifts to hearts. Gee wins a high heart, and it’s still not too late: cash the second heart, discarding a club, ruff a heart, cross to the board with a trump and run the diamond 9, covering whatever East plays. But Gee runs the diamond 9 immediately, eliminating neither suit and giving West his choice of safe exits. West exits a club, ruffed on board, and now with AQ10 all offside in diamonds he has no chance to make the contract. (How he managed 41 of the matchpoints remains a mystery.)

The Gee-spot works out as:

100 * (1.0 – 0.88) = 12

A lousy 12 Gee-spot for that brilliant effort? Gee-ology, for good or ill, remains as much art as science.

  2 Responses to “Out, Damned Gee Spot!”

  1.  

    S.J. ‘Skid’ Simon’s characters from his classic book “Why You Lose At Bridge” are indeed immortal, and there cannot be better examples of the immortality of ‘Futile Willie’ than these, proving him still alive and well in his current incarnation as the great Geewillie. None in modern day is so skilled in the art of pulling dead rabbits from hats, spinning straw from gold, or spreading methane in his own spacesuit. These two examples, mere fodder to the STCP, are in Gee’s hands nothing less than nuggets of the artiste.

  2.  

    The Gee-spot formula misses the degree-of-difficulty factor. The 100% line in these two hands should be obvious to an intermediate, making any lesser line far worse than a simple probability computation might suggest.

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