More About the Bots
Some of the bridge players looking at this page may well use a bridge robot like Jack 6.11 for practising, or for when your playing partner isn't availabale. This section will tell you a bit more about the bridge robots mentioned during my tests or Championships, and which ones are still available to buy, or are free. There are robots here that are now only used on a web based bridge server, and not available to buy any more. There are also some private robots here as well, which I have been lucky enough to acquire, thanks to those bridge robot authors for supporting this event. So here is a bit about their history and availability below.
Jack is probably the most famous of the bridge robots here, and Jack has won the Official World Computer Bridge Championships 10 times from 2001 to 2004, and in 2006,2009,2010,2012,2013, and 2015. Jack is still commercially available and the current version is as above, Jack 6.11. See Robots Taking Part page.
WBridge 5.12 is probably the next most famous of the bridge robots here. The author Yves Costel made the program freely available a while ago. Like Jack, WBridge has won the Official World Computer Bridge Championships a few times, 5 times in fact, in 2005,2007,2008, and 2016 to 2018. WBridge is still freely available. The version used at the official World Computer Bridge Championships is a few IMPs stronger than the 5.12 version I use here because Yves has added the Veronica Ventos Boost to his Championships version, Yves is also now involved in the more recent bridge robot breakthrough relating to Neural Networking, where WBridge was tested against some of the new thinking in bridge robot programming. See the link.
Micro Bridge 13.3
Micro Bridge has been attending the World Computer Bridge Championships dating back to the first event in the 1997 Championships. Micro Bridge was runner up in 20007,2012,2013, and 2016. Micro Bridge finally won the event the last time the Official World Computer Bridge Championship was played prior to COVID in 2019. Tomio Uchida is now retired and I am guessing that there will not be any further major new updates. The link to the Micro Bridge site is still live however, and Micro Bridge is still available to buy the 13.1 version which can be updated to 13.3 from the website. See Robots Taking Part page.
I have been lucky enough to acquire Shark 2.1 from the author John Vermehren-Norris, who was happy to support this event, Thank you John. Shark 2.1 2023 is one of the private bots here. This version was compiled after the 2011 and 2014 version that was twice World Computer Bridge Champion in 2011 and2014, and has also only lost twice in the tests against 9 other bots so far. So we are looking forward to see how Shark will do this year.
Shark has been attending the World Computer Bridge Championships since 2006, and as stated above, won the event in 2011 and 2014. Shark was runner up in 2008 and 2010, and reached the Semi Finals 5 times. Shark is no longer available on CD commercially, but the 1.8 version of the robot is now used on the SharkBridgeCompany server for online play. See Robots Taking Part page.
Q-Plus was also at the 1st Official World Computer Bridge Championships from 1997 and was Runner Up in 1997, and again in 1998,2000, and 2011. Q-Plus quite often makes it to the Semi-Finals of these events. Q-Plus is still commercialy available, and the global outlets are listed on the Q-Plus official website. for details see the Robots Taking Part page.
GIB is another one of the bridge robots that was at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships right from the start in 1997 finishing 5th in 1997, but came back and won the event in 1998 and 2000. GIB finished 4th out of 7 robots in 2002, but has not appeared at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships since then sadly. GIB is no longer commercially available, but is now used as the in house robot for Bridge Base Online. See Bridge Robot Authors links. I have played about with the settings of the original 6.2.0 GIB version, and modified GIB to strengthen it for this year. GIB is still quite strong for it's age, so still very playable at events like this. Matt Ginsberg has now moved on to other projects, and GIB is now continued as an online bridger server on BBO. I did however want to try GIB 6.2.0 at this event. As he has not appeared at a World Computer Bridge Championships sine 2002.
Meadowlark has been to the Official World Computer Bridge Championships a few times, and won one of the two events in the Millennium year in 2000. The Millennium year was interesting as It was the only year where the World Computer Bridge Championships was held twice. This was because the World Bridge Federation Olympiad, and the Bermuda Bowl were held in the same year. The ACBL tournament organiser decided to have a World Computer Bridge Championships at both events. Rod Ludwig has re-written Meadowlark a few times, since the early success, and the version for this championship, 4.2, is again a complete re-write specially for this and hopefully future events. Meadowlark is another of the private bots at this event and not commercially available. Meadowlark is however the in house robot for the TrickyBridge site https://www.trickybridge.com/ so is available for online play. Rod is happy to be contacted at the email address on the Robots Taking Part page.
Blue Chip Bridge 6.6.5
Blue Chip Bridge was also one of the original bots to appear at the 1997 Official World Computer Bridge Championships. Blue Chip usually finished between 5th and 8th place out of 8 to 10 robots between the years 1998 to 2006, but has not appeard at those championships since. Blue Chip is famous however for providing the first Table Manager at the Official World Championships. This was written by Ian Trackman, and it made it possible for bridge robots to play each other without human intervention, other than bidding convention enquiries due to robots coming from different countries and using different bidding systems. Bidding alerts and convention queries can be given by messaging between robot authors and the Table Manager Operator. Blue Chip Bridge as a program is no longer available commercially, and the website was closed down in 2020 as the authors have both retired. Details can be found at the site https://www.computerbridge.se/blue-chip-bridge/ . The Table Manager has since been superseded at the World Computer Bridge Championships by the French program Bridge Moniteur 1.7. Details in the other equipment used section.
Bridge Baron 29
Bridge Baron was also one of the original robots at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships back in 1997, and in fact won the very first event. That year was not played using a Table Managers as it more recently. It was actually done as a bidding and play competition against human opponents sitting in the opponent seats to compare the bots. Bridge Baron also finished as Runner Up in the years 2003,2004, and 2007. From 2009 onwards however Bridge Baron usually finished in around 6th place other than a Semi Final place 4th in 2014, and Semi Finalist again with a 3rd place in 2016. Bridge Baron is still commercialy available, and reasonably famous world wide. We understand however that the author Stephen J Smith has now left the company, and is no longer part of the project that has been taken over by Great Games Products Inc. Bridge Baron 29 has been withdrawn since this was written.
Bridge Captain 6.2
Bridge Captain only ever appeared at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships once in 2009, and finised 7th out of 10 robots. This was a good showing for a first timer. Bridge Captain beat Bridge Baron, and another regular participant, Robobridge at that event. Bridge Captain was formerly a commercial robot, but was made freely available when the author Bob Richardson retired a while ago. A lot of the links have started to be closed down on the Bridge Captain website, and the free version is now only available on the https://www.computerbridge.se/bridge-captain/ . site
Bob Richardson has moved on from Bridge Captain as a project and tells me he hasn't looked at Bridge Captain in the last 3 years or so, but Bob was happy for me to use Bridge Captain 6.2 as I wished at this event as one of the new custodians of Bridge Captain. I have added a
re-write of a couple of the bidding systems, as my bidding style for Bridge Captain will be different from Bob's 2/1 system that he used in 2009. Bridge Captain has had a couple of very fine results against two of the top 4 robots with my system re-write. But there is still work for me to do before the event starts. As a caveat I can't promise that I will do as well as Bob did in 2009. Bob has been happy to help me with some recent bidding issues. Hopefully I can iron these issues out in time. The details of the added systems can be found in the Programs section on the above site. Although the Standard American East Coast style system that I re-wrote has been removed during testing, as there were one or two problems that have since been fixed, The update will be made available once Bridge Captain is declared stable. They will also be made available on this site soon.