stair step to a higher level pageConstraint Files for Bridge Base Online


IMPORTANT! Don't read just the text you see; SCROLL DOWN!

Bridgebase Online allows us to form a "bidding table" where zero to three of the players at the table will be robots (See GIB). The auction transpires, but the resulting contract is not played out— excellent for bidding practice.

One option when sitting at a bidding table is to press the "Deal Source" button where you will see a series of tabbed windows. There, specific bidding constraints can be entered for the hands BBO will deal. The "Advanced" tab leads to the most powerful feature: the ability to enter constraints in a programmer-like language. Through this, you can specify very tightly how BBO will deal the cards in a way that lends itself to practicing a given convention or situation. The links in the table below lead to constraint files I have used.

To use a constraint file, click one of the links below and copy the file (text only). Be sure to copy the entire thing, parentheses and all; they matter. You may save it to your own machine or just paste it into the BBO bidding table's advanced tab. Before you leave the "advanced" tab, be sure you check "Use this input for the Dealer program." If you forget to check this box, the content you just pasted won't be used.

The robots you bid against can be made silent or noisy. When you create a BBO bidding table, check the radio button labelled "Opponent's Bidding" "Controlled by Host". This will cause the BBO robot players to bid their hands per the GIB schema rather than being silent throughout.

Important: Switcheroo. You and partner may be confident that you can handle every combination of hands that might respond to a one notrump opener, but are you just as confident that you could handle the same 26 cards if the opposite hand were the dealer (in other words, the responding hand is the balanced 15-17)? This is the sort of thing switcheroo forces you to check. Don't be surprised when BBO makes the "wrong" hand the dealer.

P.S. #1. The Deal Source feature can also be used at BBO's Teaching Tables.

P.S. #2. Click this to view our YouTube video tutorial that walks you through the procedure described above.

Table of Constraints

File Name Description or Challenge Pub Date (yyyy,mm,dd)
Shortness Showing Showing shortness in the non-trump suit (or asking for it) allows us to diagnose Duplication of Value and revise our hand value accordingly. This constraint deals such hands.
• On 9/20/2016, added the option to turn on a switch that forces a singleton ace or king to reveal that this too can indicate Duplication.
• On 1/13/2018, added singleton queens and jacks.
2018-01-13, Orig: 2016-08-25
3NT after partner's preempt Partner preempts 3 of a minor and you are looking at 19-21 HCP in a somewhat balanced hand. Do you dare convert to 3NT? The hands dealt by this constraint reveal how much you need to know your partner. What suit quality can you expect? What chance of an entry? new2017-08-29
Penalty Pass Partner opens and gets overcalled. Shall you penalize? Or compete? How? new2017-08-13
Bizzaro! Bizarre, one-suited hands don't come up often, making them tough to handle. Practice them with this. updated See the constraint text for a description of the added switches. updated 2017-08-01
orig 2012-05-12
Lebensohl Over Weak Twos Deals hands for those who want to master using the Lebensohl convention versus opponents who open the auction with weak two bid.

See for example Lebensohl at Wikipedia.
Walsh Rebids For genuine Two-Over-One players, a one diamond response to opener's one club "denies ... a four card major suit unless [responder] has at least five diamonds and the values of an opening hand." (Hardy) Notice the advantages of this concept with this constraint.

Hardy, Max. Two Over One Game Forcing - Revised. Louisville: Devyn, 1989. Print. p.45
1N_AllCases.txt All hands that need to respond to a 15-17 NT opener. Updated to include the following switches:
1. to change the notrump range,
2. to force the NT opener to have a 5-card major,
3. to disinclude any given type of responding hand.
See the documentation in the constraint file itself for details.
Orig: 2010-01-21
Slam Cues Can you and partner diagnose when it is that you have the general values for a slam but have two off the top in some side suit?

This constraint file contains a switch, aptly named theSwitch. On line 6 of the file, theSwitch=0 forces both partners to have the same uncontrolled suit; change it to a 1 (the digit one) when you want just one partner or the other to have one.
Slammish Long Minor Common problem: Partner opened a strong NT and you are staring at a one-suited club or diamond hand that may find a slam complement in partner's hand. How do you proceed? Also check out MSR 2015-12-16
2 Club Opener Derailed You wanted to open 2 clubs (Game Forcing), but the opponents open first. How do you recover? 2015-11-22
Niemeijer Partner opens 2NT. Can you handle all the continuations? One such method is found at Niemeijer 2015-07-21
Their 2-suiter Partner opens and the opponents chime in with some two-suited convention. Can you diagnose the continuations and get to the right spot? 2015-06-15
Awkward Super Minor A common problem: you hold 19 - 21 HCP, one long minor suit, and need an effective second call. Test your system and your knowledge. 2015-04-05
1NT Forcing The Forcing Notrump is widely acknowledged to be the weak sister of the 2/1 system. Thus the need to master it (with this constraint file). 2014-12-06
Forcing Pass Rule: If you and I as partners constructively bid a game, and the opponents press on, the *very* first pass by our side is absolutely unconditionally forcing for one round. The forcing passer's partner is forbidden from passing: he must either double for penalty or "take the push" and bid one more. 2014-09-04
Escape 1NT Doubled There are any number of escape sequences to remove 1NTX to a low level suit contract. Test yours with this constraint. If you use a weak NT opener, change the range on the line in between the asterisks.

Also, if you are not one of the many who follow Richard Pavlicek's "Aces and Tens" regimen to upgrade 14+ to 15, just skip those hands since they will be included in these deals. For details on the method, see Aces and Tens.
Ingberman See the Bridge Guys for details. 2014-06-09
2- and 3-Way Game Try See the file's internal comments for Web links explaining this topic. 2013-11-24
New Minor Forcing
and rarer ones
Is it a New Minor Forcing hand or just a one-off? The second file generates New Minor Forcing hands that occur more rarely allowing us to skip the more common ones that the first file generates so many of. 2012-12-17 and 2016-01-26
Namyats If you want to play Namyats, better practice with this constraint before springing it on partner in a real game. 2012-04-18
Game Force Whether it's a game-force opener or just a wannabe, can you reach the best spot? And what if the stronger hand isn't the dealer? Or worse, what if partner is a preempting hand!? 2012-03-18
Three-Suiters The 3-suited hand can be a magical fit or a maddening mess, especially when deciding between penalizing, pushing, and slamming. See how well you and your partner deal with them. 2012-01-10
Massive Whether a massive fit or a massive misfit, is it game, slam or just a part score? Can you handle the slam controls (including voids)? And how about duplication? For this one, be sure you turn on "Opponent's Bidding" "Controlled By Host" to see whether you can also handle the interference. 2011-02-13
Jordan A river of Jordan hands. And can you navigate the minors as well? 2011-02-09
Smolen-ish Is it Smolen or a wannabe? How often does your system get to the optimum contract and right-side it? 2011-01-14
MajorsB.txt More of those majors. How do you handle these? 2010-08-30
Majors.txt You have the major(s). Now what? Game? Slam? Backing into NT? 2010-08-05
Their1NT.txt When "they" have a strong 1NT opener: can you steal the auction? Is there a game your way? Undertand partner's continuations? Test it all with this. 2010-06-01
4SF.txt - 4th Suit Forcing? New Minor Forcing? And what then? Some hands are rather nice, but also rather awkward to bid. 2010-05-13
WeakTwos.txt - Is it a Weak 2 or 1 of a suit? What if you aren't the first one to bid (overcall or jump)? How does partner continue? 2010-03-13
CrissCrossOrOther - Respond with CrissCross, Inverted Minor or some other treatment over a one club or one diamond opening. 2010-01-21
drury.txt - Over partner's 3rd seat one-of-a-major opening, how do you respond and continue? 2010-01-21
1NT_Rubensohl.txt - What do your bids mean when the opponent's interfere with your 1NT auction? 2010-01-21

Last updated: Jan 15, 2018 12:26