Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Counting the Hand 3

Using the BBO Web-Based Hand Viewer

The previous post covered how to find viewable hands (.lin files) that have been played by expert players.  This post covers how to view them with the BBO web-based hand viewer.
Follow the method given in the previous post and open a table just like the example shown above. The next bit is both important and slightly silly. Click on any of the Movie links.  The web-based hand viewer will open showing you
the hand.  As it opens squint so you can hardly see anything except a blur.  Now try to click on one of the player name zones. The South name zone is circled in the adjacent image.

When you successfully click on a name zone the other hands will become hidden. Now it is safe to look. I said it was slightly silly.

If you look back at the table you will see that there is a results column that shows both the contract and who was declarer.  You can use this to decide in advance which seat you want to make visible while you squint.  For example the third hand in the table was played by West. So if you wanted to count the hand from the point of view of the declarer's right-hand opponent (which would be South) then it is the South name zone you are trying to click on as you squint. As we will see later using aaBridge avoids all this fun.

Using the next and previous buttons you can now watch the play.  I agree that the BBO online hand viewer is infinitely better than a list of the cards played.  But in many ways it just does not work for me.  When I look at the South hand my brain tells me that South has more cards in clubs than in spades. I can clearly see that the clubs are one card longer than the spades.  But my brain is being fooled, there are exactly 4 cards in both suits.


Windows users have the alternative of installing the BBO client and clicking on the Lin link. A couple of clicks later and they should see something like -

This old NetBridgeVu.exe application can be very pretty.  (I am still a regular user of it as a client for playing on BBO.)  However, it fails disastrously as an 'Off-line Counting Trainer' because you always get to see all four hands!

The next post will cover aaBridge.

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