July 24, 2001
In an attempt to standardize alerts for the sanctioned Word Computer Bridge Championships (WCBC), a 'table manager' program was written by Blue Chip Bridge and all contestants 'plug in' so as to communicate with others. Not all interested programs were able to get this feature ready for this year's event, unfortunately, but enough to make it a go.
Last yearís winner, Meadowlark Bridge rrnet.com/meadowlark experienced technical difficulties in its program and will not be ready in time to defend its title.
Also, GIB www.gibware.com who won the World Computer Bridge Championship in Bermuda, stated other promotional events prevented the program from arriving in time.
BRIDGE FORUM co-ordinator, Avrom, has been doing a lot of the ground work and will continue to do so. Between the two of us we will let you know IF the GIB event does take place and more on the WCBC. We should have some results tonight given the first cycle ends today.
Conditions of contest are at the www.funbridge.com website. It was decided by the participants to run a double round robin, with the top two programs squaring off in a 64-board final.
From the Toronto NABC Daily Bulletin, Number 4
Editors Brent Manley and Henry Francis
The ACBL's fifth annual World Computer Bridge Championship starts today and continues through Saturday, when the final will take place. Six programs from six different countries are scheduled to compete. The format will be a double round-robin coming down to two finalists. Matches will be played in the Saskatchewan Room on the mezzanine level at the Royal York Hotel.
This year's sponsor, FunBridge.com, is a French and Canadian software company specializing in innovative and entertaining online bridge activities. They can be found online at www.funbridge.com and www.goto.co.uk.
Last year's championship was played in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in conjunction with the World Bridge Federation's World Bridge Team Championships. For a history of this event event see www.members.aol.com/ allevy/Maastricht.
Last year's champion, Meadowlark, has withdrawn from this year's competition, citing programming difficulties. The contestants are Blue Chip Bridge from the UK, Bridge Baron from the U.S., Micro Bridge from Japan, Q-Plus Bridge from Germany, WBridge5 from France and Jack from the Netherlands.
An exhibition pitting three top human teams against computer opponents will take place later in the week. Times and participants will be announced later, but Zia has said he wants in.
Digital data quiz (Answers below)
The 5th World Computer Bridge Championships (WCBC) is currently being held as part of the NABC, with competitors from France (Wbridge5), Germany (Q-Plus), Great Britain (Blue Chip Bridge), Japan (Micro Bridge), the Neth-erlands (Jack). and the United States (Bridge Baron). To celebrate this event, Caitlin, founder of Bridge Forum (www.bridge- forum.com) and a self-confessed ‘computer addict' puts your knowledge of such computers to the test with the following questions.
1. Which program has been sold commercially the longest, at 22 years?
2. Which program won the 2000 WCBC at Maastricht?
3. While all computer software is educational by nature, how do Bridge Master 2000, Bridgetrix, and other similar programs differ from the competitors at the WCBC?
4. Which program has finished second in the WCBC the most times?
5. Which international star played a match against (and with) seven programs, eventually beating the field?
6. Which computer program is used as the robot player on ACBL Online?
7. Which program has won the WCBC the most times?
8. Which actor has lent his name to two different bridge products for the computer?
9. Who initially proposed and has coordinated the WCBC since its inception?
10. What is the major difference between programming for bridge and chess?
Digital Data Answers
1. Bridge Baron, developed by Tom Throop in 1979, and currently in version 11 for Windows and Macintosh.
2. Meadowlark Bridge, developed by Rodney Ludwig of the US. Technical difficulties with the program at this time have prevented Meadowlark from participating this year.
3. With instructional software such as those mentioned, one gets constructive lessons and predealt hands that aim to help raise the level of one's game. The programs in the WCBC are designed to think, and thus raise the level of one's game against other computers and humans.
4. Q-Plus, developed by Hans Leber of Germany, lost to Bridge Baron in Albuquerque, GIB in Bermuda, and was nipped on the last board of the final at Maastricht by Meadowlark Bridge.
5. As detailed in the book, "Man Versus Machines" by Marc Smith, some two years ago, Zia Mahmood faced seven computer programs in a series of matches
6. Q-Plus. On some online sites robots — also known as 'bots' — are used to fill a table if need be.
7. GIB, developed by Matthew Ginsberg of the US. GIB was invited to participate this year, but declined, saying other promotional events prevented his appearing.
8. Omar Sharif, whose name graces a program for the PC ("Omar Sharif on Bridge") and Macintosh ("Omar Sharif's Bridge Deluxe").
9. Al Levy, ACBL District 24 Governor, proposed the annual competition in 1996, and the first WCBC was held at the Albuquerque NABC in 1997.
10. "Chess is a game of perfect information and therefore a deterministic game. Bridge is a game of incomplete information and therefore a game of probability." — quoted from Al Levy's report on the Maastricht WCBC in the International Computer Games Journal, December 2000.