Monday, July 6, 2009

BBO : The dark side

There are numerous ways to capitalize on BBO as a means of improving one's game : Watching international stars on vugraph, partnership bidding, playing against strong opposition.

However, the hope that we will improve by playing , say, 10-board team matches where one can see a live score is misguided. The psychological dynamic in bridge is at least as important as one's skill and the dynamic for such a match is a long way away from bridge. Add to it the fact that there is hardly ever an opportunity to build momentum in such a short match (even with hidden scores).

Eventually, bridge is all about optimizing your delivery and hampering their delivery. BBO play does neither. Hoping to win on concept alone is quixotic.

Hampering their delivery can be achieved by
a) Building momentum on your side by getting strong scores creating fear and uncertainty in their head.

b) Playing quickly and/or in tempo consistently to shake them out of their comfort zone. Strong declarers and defenders use the time when the opposition is thinking to work out their own strategies for various developments. So that when it is their turn to play, they appear to play "without thought". This builds pressure.

c) Physical and psychological intimidation. This is undoubtedly a big factor in the success of some top players, especially versus weaker opposition.

It all boils down to shaking them out of their comfort zone.

1 comment:

  1. Agree, very much. Also, even without the cumulative effects you describe: sometimes, choosing the play at a single point in time is strongly influenced by what you read from the opponent(s). Against stronger opposition, you don't get so much feedback, but against weaker opponents, you read them (their body language etc) as much as their cards. That is completely absent from online bridge. You can never be sure what is going on anywhere else around the table.