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Why do Chess Engines Play so Much Better than Bridge Playing Computers?

  • #21

    This is slightly off-topic, but high-level bridge has been rocked with cheating scandals all through it's history, from the 1920's until today. There seems to be a massive amount of cheating going on, as well as a tendency for losing teams to make accusations.

  • #22
    Off topic.
  • #23
    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • #24
    LethalRook_1892 wrote:
    Off topic.

     

    Apologies, I guess I just got carried away.

     

    As to the topic, my guess it that it's simply from lack of interest. Bridge just doesn't seem to command the same degree of interest (from programmers, at least) as chess, poker, or even checkers.

     

    Not sure why that is, but it appears to be the case.

  • #25

    Hoping you get a bad opponent isn't the same as randomness, I hope that's clear.

    I wonder if part of the issue is that Bridge is simply a more social game than chess. 

  • #26

    Tournament bridge is far from a social game! I have played in "OTB" bridge and chess tournaments, and there is no difference in the extreme intensity and competitiveness! One big difference is that in bridge you have a partner, and when things aren't going well, I've seen some pretty ugly partnership arguments!

  • #27

    You appear to have proved my point for me. 

  • #28
    hairhorn wrote:

    You appear to have proved my point for me. 

    I'm not sure which point! 

  • #29
    mickynj wrote:

    Tournament bridge is far from a social game! [...] One big difference is that in bridge you have a partner, and when things aren't going well, I've seen some pretty ugly partnership arguments!

    My point was that Bridge is more social (not more polite), so is something you're less likely to want to play yourself on a computer. 

  • #30

    Yes, I would agree, although at least for us old-timers, chess played alone in a room is immeasurably less enjoyable than chess played i a tournament hall

  • #31
    zborg wrote:

    Probably because it's a multi-person game?

    Most of the axioms of mathematical economics don't hold in a 3-person trading world. Once the model has more than 2 traders the math gets really nasty.  Perhaps the same kind of problem is present in progaming a "Bridge Engine?"

    I conjecture a dedicated "Bridge Programmer" would know the quick and dirty answer to your question.

    Your first point is important. The theory of two player zero sum games is far better behaved than all other types. This is independent of whether the game is deterministic or stochastic (eg heads up no limit holdem and backgammon have been successfully attacked. Both were highly non-trivial!),

    However, a recent development was success by a poker playing program against some of the world's top players in a normal multiplayer format. Poker has considerable complexity making it difficult to find Nash equilibria by brute force, but probably not as much as bridge.

    I believe the difficulty in bridge is the depth of the reasoning that is possible. Eg you might think how is a player going to play based on his reasoning about your play and his partners play in light of what they know and how they have acted! And such reasoning can get deeper, in principle much deeper. There is a lot of variety in bridge bidding and it is important that a player extracts as much information as possible from the bidding to use later (this is a tricky aspect of the game - I recall it used to be a rule that an opponent can ask the partner of a player to honestly say what their partner's bid meant! This is a difficult thing for computers.

    As a disclaimer, I am a lousy bridge player (and vaguely recall playing a computer once).

  • #32
    mickynj wrote:

    This is slightly off-topic, but high-level bridge has been rocked with cheating scandals all through it's history, from the 1920's until today. There seems to be a massive amount of cheating going on, as well as a tendency for losing teams to make accusations.

     

    There is an interesting article about that topic here btw: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2016/02/competitive-bridge-cheating-scandal

  • #33

    In bridge, communication between the partners is essential. During the bidding process, they use coded bids to describe their hands to each other, so that they can arrive at the best contract. And during the play, they can signal their desire for their partner to continue leading a suit by discarding a higher card, or discourage it by discarding a lower one. There are very strict rules governing exactly how this information can be ethically exchanged. Naturally, it is a big advantage to a pair is they can exchange more information through secret, illegal means. Top bridge players are very smart, ingenious, and competitive people, so the temptation to cheat is sometimes too strong for a pair to resist. So every 10 years are so, there is a very serious cheating scandal at the highest level. This has been true ever since bridge became a big time game in the 1920's.

  • #34

    There's a fascinating, if depressing, article on bridge cheating in the Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheating_in_bridge

    While you're there, contribute a few bucks to keep the Wikipedia alive. It's an invaluable resource for everyone

  • #35
    mickynj wrote:

    Tournament bridge is far from a social game! I have played in "OTB" bridge and chess tournaments, and there is no difference in the extreme intensity and competitiveness! One big difference is that in bridge you have a partner, and when things aren't going well, I've seen some pretty ugly partnership arguments!

    One solution is to play in a lot of Individuals. When i played a couple of years ago--had an 83.49% game!? [this does not sound high to a non bridge player]

    Another solution is to play with a bot vs someone else with a bot. And even better to play money bridge. [bridge with a bot vs someone who also has a bot for a partner] I have been able to play against world class players this way...

    People are not so willing into, say, go to a 3 day tournament in Chicago when they can stay at home and play maybe 10 or more times as much.

  • #36

    I've never played in an individual event, partly because I played with a very pleasant and compatible partner. That was part of the fun for me. But an 83.4% game is a hell of an achievement! 

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