Steve Hurst reviews the latest in bridge gizmos: bridge applications
for the iPhone (also suitable for iPod touch and iPad)
Note: all screenshots were taken on an iPhone and are about 60% of real size
iBid grammar errors which at times made the that partner would ruff high to promote
information difficult to read. Sometimes my trump queen. Partner ruffed low
the card representations aren’t in English allowing declarer to overruff, draw trumps
either, resulting in suits headed A-R-D-F and cash winners to make the contract.
rather than A-K-Q-J. Partner was given a second chance when
The descriptions of the conventions declarer inexplicably decided to continue
seem to be accurate, though many people to play on hearts and this time partner
seem to play slight variants on most couldn’t help but promote my queen as he
conventions nowadays. Unfortunately the had started with jack doubleton.
descriptions are often too short to learn
from, as there is insufficient space to
explain the pros and cons along with
several example hands, so the application
is mostly for reference. The reader wishing
to learn new conventions would be ad-
vised to look elsewhere.
Most iPhone users will have ready access
THE iBid application is a mini-database to the internet and therefore have ready
of bridge conventions listed in semi- access to convention definitions on-line. I
alphabetical order in one large menu. can’t see myself using the application but
Selecting one of the conventions displays I’m sure it will prove useful to some. The
information about that convention in a iBid application is available from the
large scrolling page. The information is iTunes store for £2.39.
always in a fairly small white font on a
black background, which may not be
suitable for several of our readers. Omar Sharif Bridge That was +50 to the good guys and I
thought I would be in for an easy game.
THIS application allows the user to play Unfortunately it was not so easy playing
rubber bridge against computer oppo- with a partner who was rarely on the same
nents. A quick visit to the options menu wavelength in both the bidding and
allowed me to agree some conventions defence. I opened 2™ playing ‘Standard
with my electronic partner. The system American’ and partner drove to slam with
options available were basic but adequate a flat 14 count. The expected ten tricks
for a casual partnership. There were were available, but that left us two short.
plenty of options to customise the visual My partner and I atoned for that
experience of the game but alas I couldn’t misadventure by quite amusingly both
make it feel anything but cluttered. doubling the opponent’s final contract of
On to the game and my first hand with 5® on the same hand. Declarer must have
high expectations. The opponents reached known he was doomed at that stage!
a reasonable 4´ contract and I led a heart The interface felt very cluttered (see
from J-10-8-7. Dummy came down with next screenshot) but I suppose for a
™A-K-Q-5-3 and declarer won with the complete bridge-playing experience there
Often the information describes how ace. I was somewhat shocked at trick two is rather a lot to fit onto one small screen.
the convention came into being, which I when declarer played the ™3 off table Despite the above criticisms, I found that I
found quite interesting. The author of allowing my ten to take the trick, the re- had fun playing the game, though one
iBid is not a native English speaker and maining hearts having originally divided would struggle to actually call it bridge.
alas the text is riddled with spelling and 2-2. I continued another heart, hoping The computer Artificial Intelligence is
14 English Bridge October 2010 www.ebu.co.uk