X Club and Pianola

Our Club is a participant in the X Club, whereby we get to deal and play the same hands as other participating clubs in our region. The advantage of this is that the results on the hands can be calculated over the entire region and thus the effects of relatively small table numbers and variable field skill levels are removed and you can see how you would have performed in a much larger field of players.
The X Club results are displayed on the Waikato Bays website and can be accessed via this link:
Select the night (which may be the under the “week before” tab) and the grouping of clubs that includes Rotorua for the night you are interested in and you can see your results, the individual hand etc. You can then look at how you bid and played the hands to see how improvements can be made.
To help further you can also join Pianola. This is a package that is available under X Club and there is no cost to you at all. To quote from the Pianola user guide:

Pianola gives you a personal history of your own results with your average score over time, and with each of the different partners with whom you play.
We also calculate your average on all the boards where you were declarer, dummy, defender-on lead and defender-not-on-lead and show you these statistics as an average over time and on a game-by-game basis.
By subscribing to Pianola Plus, an optional upgrade, you get analysis of your bidding accuracy and card play ability. When you’re a Pianola Plus subscriber you can also play hands again with card – by – card guidance about how to achieve the most tricks possible.

The Pianola analysis is emailed to you automatically once you have registered. You can do this yourself by emailing Michael Neel or indicating you wish to join Pianola on the sheet on the Directors noticeboard in the clubrooms and we will forward your email address to Michael. You will be sent a login name for Pianola and you can start to look at your play and defence statistics.
There is another level available as a paid subscription for either $12 per month or $100 per year. As outlined above this enables you to replay hands and it gives you a running analysis of the tricks you can expect to make as either declarer or defender depending on the card you play next.
How good is it? I’ve looked at it all briefly as it was made available during the Congress for the Congress hand only. I can’t say I delved into it in depth, however it seemed extremely good and uses double dummy techniques so the result is as good as possible, irrespective of whether it would be “normal” play or not. To get a “feel” for its use for you, you can join Pianola and get the X Club level results and it is possible to try Pianola Plus for a period for free, so it is possible to try before buy and make your own decision of another tool to help you achieve the level of play you desire!
– Alan Dick

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