The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

The downside of intuition

I plan strategy intuitively. (I’ve mentioned this before). I could go with the reasons, but typically I study games away from the table (my musings here, sometimes by setting up a position and pushing pieces around, readings) and I find that my intuition generally works well.

And then there’s bridge.

There is a space for gut feeling in bridge, but also a space for technique. Here’s the funny thing, I study bridge technique. Quite a bit, actually. I’ve been working through Kelsey on Squeezes and while I didn’t ace the book 1 quiz, I got most of them right. (Those that I missed were typically choosing an inferior squeeze, like an ambiguous Criss-Cross Squeeze versus a positional).

Of course, it’s easier. Given two hands where I know there’s a squeeze, I can find it. But the number of squeezes (or potential squeezes) I’ve found at the table? A few. I play the first hand, and then suddenly realize (an hour or two later) that I’ve been playing on autopilot. I haven’t been consciously counting hands, looking for better plays, and whatnot. And the really annoying thing? I’ll say to myself “Slow down, think!” before the game. I just enter a zone and play. Often after a hand I’ll kick myself, realizing I had a better play.

My zone’s not bad, really. I’ve studied bridge quite a bit, so my intuition isn’t horrible. It’s “Solid intermediate.” But it’s not good, by any stretch.

Anyway, my goal for today is to “remain conscious” at the table. We’ll see.

Update — Well, I think I remained conscious, although I didn’t find anything really interesting as declarer. My defense was pretty good. (IMPs is much easier than matchpoints for defense). Really, the entire event was decided by grotesque mistakes.  So I’m glad our opponents made them. Winning is nice.

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Written by taogaming

January 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in Bridge

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