March 30, 2007

Amusing Bridge Hands

Inspired by reading Justin Lall’s blog recently I thought I would follow his example and post some amusing hands of my own from a local duplicate I played in last night.

I was playing with my regular partner, Dan Cardnell. It was bridge mate scored and consequently we were able to monitor our progress as the evening progressed. It was a Mitchell movement and for most of the evening we were sat 2nd EW but going into the last round we got overtaken and moved down into 3rd. Keen to regain 2nd we sat down at our final table against a couple of ladies and on the first of the 2 boards I held:

AKxxx Ax A7xx Ax

RHO opened 1H and I doubled, LHO bid 1NT, partner passed, RHO bid 2C and it came back to me. I had been hoping RHO would pass so I could penalize 1NT but with that option removed I briefly considered 2NT before settling on 2S. Partner bid 3S and I tried to decide whether or not to bid 4. It seemed likely we had no spade losers so that was 8 tricks but I was still unsure what was best. In the end I decided to bid game which passed out, a heart was led and dummy came down with:

Jxxx xxx xx Qxxx

If trumps were 2-2 then I could just ruff 2 diamonds for the contract. If trumps were 3-1 I might be able to sneak a club through to the queen, ruff 2 diamonds and still make it. Consequently I won the ace of hearts and cashed the ace of spades. RHO showed out meaning my hopes for the contract looked somewhere between small and non existent. Never the less I played a club up remembering just after I played the queen that clubs had been bid on my right so this was almost certainly pointless but strangely it held so I had eliminated 1 loser. I then gave up a diamond to set up the ruff which was won by my RHO who then also cashed her heart and then played another heart which I ruffed. I then played a spade towards the jack hoping LHO would duck and I could still ruff 2 diamonds but she (unsurprisingly) won her queen. She then continued a diamond which I won in hand, I then ruffed a diamond on table and cashed the jack of spades. Crossing back to hand with the ace of clubs I drew the last trump on which RHO threw her last diamond promoting my 7 for the contract and the beer!

On the second hand of the round I was 1st in hand at favorable vulnerability and held:

J JT9xx Axx T9xx

I made, probably not the best bid, of 2H showing 5 hearts and a 4+ card minor. There was no opposition bidding and partner bid 2NT as a strong enquiry. I responded 3C – weak with clubs and partner raised to 6. RHO tabled a small spade and dummy came down with:

AKTxx – KQxx AKQJ

I ran the lead to my jack which held and then proceeded to ruff 2 spades high, crossing back each time in trumps, I then crossed back with a diamond, drew the last trump and when diamonds broke 3-3 claimed all 13 tricks. 940 was an outright top for the board and the final results for the evening showed we had won our direction.


December 19, 2006

Third Year Project

I am currently working on my third year project which is to develop a program that allows beginners in the card game bridge to practice their bidding with a computer partner to help them improve.

The program is being written in Java and so far it is able to bid simple hands without any opposition bidding though the human player currently plays through a command line rather than a graphical user interface. An example of the program as it is at the moment is shown below:

Would you like to open or respond? For opening type o or for responding type r.
o

North

KJ8
A106
A97
K852

Please type your bid in the form of one number and one lowercase letter or p for pass.
1c
1 Diamond
Please type your bid in the form of one number and one lowercase letter or p for pass.
1n

1 Club
1 Diamond
1 No Trump
Pass

South

Q104
Q5
Q10532
Q103

The bidding system being used is Acol (4 card majors and a weak no trump) and so after the 1NT bid North has shown a 15-16 point hand with 4 clubs. South has only 8 points and so knows that the total points between the two hands is 23-24 and that there is not the required 25 points for game. Consequently it passes.

My next objective is to add a graphical user interface for the human to use rather than the command line.

I will try and keep this blog updated with my progress and any questions or feedback (good or bad) would be much appreciated.


Internship Interviews

I have had quite a few questions recently from people about to do internship interviews asking what the interviews were like. Most of the final round assessment centre days were similar between the banks and normally comprised of a group exercise and 2 or 3 interviews.

The group exercises varied a bit from company to company but often required the group to prepare and then make a short presentation on a topic using information given to you by the assessors. The presentations were often related to the company to a greater or lesser extent and so some knowledge of any particular new initiatives at the company (e.g. One Bank strategy at Credit Suisse) was often useful thought not essential.

The interviews were either 2 on 1 or 1 on 1 and were not technical, they normally lasted around 30 minutes each. They were ‘Competency Based’ interviews and focused on projects that you had worked on (especially team projects) and what relevant experience you had for the area you were applying for. The first round phone interviews with Credit Suisse were also Competency Based not technical.

Goldman Sachs were a little bit different to the others in the format that their group exercise and one of their interviews took. For their group exercise you had to pretended to be a group of managers choosing people for an important task (specified in the brief), each interviewee was given about 5 cards each of which had a quality and a person’s name and there was then a discussion as to who would be best suited to work on this important task. For one of the interviews you were given some relatively simple economical data and had a chance to study it before being asking some questions about it in an interview.

I hope this information is of some use, it is almost a year since I did my interviews so I may have got a few details wrong but I think it is a fairly accurate account. Best of luck to all of those doing interviews, I really enjoyed my internship last summer and would strongly advise others to do one.


May 09, 2006

Screenshot of Apple's homepage

Screenshot of Apple's homepage as it appears on my iBook running Mac OS 10.4.2 and QT 7. Somewhat amazed that Apple would not have anything in place to detect that my software is a few months out of date and redirect me to something that will display properly!

Screenshot of Apple


February 23, 2006

More Interviews

Monday morning saw me catching the 0920 train to London for a final round assessment centre with Goldman Sachs. This comprised of one group exericse and one competency based interview as well as lunch and a tour of the offices. The group exercise was first and by the end of it I knew I would not be successful as I had not managed to contribute sufficiently in what was a fairly loud group.

The next day I returned to London determined to do better and again the group exercise was first. The exercise went much better possibly helped by a smaller and quieter group. After this were 3 interviews focusing on various skill areas which seemed to go reasonably well with only a few unexpected questions. A tour of the offices then concluded the day and I returned to Coventry to await the results.

Today (Wednesday) turned out to be judgement day, this morning I spoke with Goldman Sachs where the rejection feedback was much as expected. Then this afternoon I got the fantastic news (that I still cant quite believe) that I had secured a place on the Credit Suisse summer internship program and consequently will be spending 12 weeks of this summer in Canary Wharf.

Now it really must be time to get some sleep and if this all seems any more real in the morning!


February 17, 2006

Unis' Festival and Interviews

It has been quite a while since I have written anything but at the end of what has been quite a busy week I felt the urge to add something new.

Last weekend was the Universities' Bridge Festival which was being held at Warwick for the first time ever and I think all concerned felt it was a great success.

The Saturday saw an alcohol fuelled Swiss Teams event with 13 teams competiting and congratulations go to Michael Bryne's team who won with an amazing 95 VPs out of a possible 100. The Warwick B Team which I was captaining did well (including scoring 4VPs off Michael Bryne's team) and were in a position to finish second with 1 round to play but we met some good opposition and lost heavily to finish 5th. Much thanks has to go to Matt Haig who gave up a day to organise the triella movement to avoid a sitout with the odd number of teams.

After a long night of bridge and poker in the chaplaincy, Sunday was the pairs event. The partnerships were created by taking someone from a top team from the day before and pairing them with someone from a bottom team and so forth so that the pairings would be of roughly equal standard. The event was played over 2 sessions with lunch in between and the day was then finished off with a session of speedball.

Overall a most enjoyable weekend and many thanks to the tournament directors Mike Bell and Mark Reeve and to Paul Edkins (president of the society) who was heavily involved with the organisation and planning of the weekend.

This week Tuesday and Wednesday saw me in London for interviews with different investment banks trying to secure a technology internship for the summer. Monday was Goldman Sachs first round which involved two 30 minute interviews – one based on a business situation which I had 30 minutes to prepare and the second a comptency based interview. Both of these passed off without major incident and I was free by lunchtime to get some rest before an 0830 start on Tuesday. Tuesday was a final round assessment centre with Citigroup which consisted of a mathematical reasoning test, a diagramatical reasoning test, a report and a presentation on a business situation, 2 competency based interviews and finally a group exercise. The day was fairly tiring but by the end I thought it had all gone fairly well and I was hopeful that I might be successful.

On the way home on the train I heard from Goldman Sachs that I had been successful the day before and had reached the second and final round the following Monday.

The next day the news was less good – an email from Citigroup told me that although my 'skills and experience are strong' I had been unsuccessful. I should be hearing from them early next week to get some feedback on what was good and what was (crucially) not so good.

So now I am trying to catch up on university project work before I head back to London next week for Goldman Sachs final round on Monday and Credit Suisse final round on Tuesday!


February 01, 2006

Reply from Credit Suisse

That was quick and good news aswell! I have just heard from Credit Suisse that I have been successful and am through to a final round assessment centre on 21 February in London.

January 31, 2006

Phone Interview

Well, this morning I had my first ever phone interview and I think it went OK. The interview was for a possible IT internship with Credit Suisse and if I have been successful there will be a final round assessment centre sometime during February. So now all I can do is wait and see!

January 30, 2006

Pangram or is it?

MSN Message Font Window

Just noticed that the pangram in the message font window of MSN Messenger (Mac version) has been misquoted such that there is no 's' and so is not quite a pangram! Well done Microsoft!


January 21, 2006

First Entry

Well, this is my first entry having just setup my own blog, I will add something a bit longer when it isn't 2:30 in the morning.

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