WHAT do the following phrases have in common?
'Bid to the four level',
'Discard the club on the heart ace'
'Hold up the ace at trick 1',
'Bid your longer suit before your shorter',
'Ruff the suit good'?
I'll tell you the answer in a moment.
The spell-check facility on the computer is a
godsend to me, pointing out my frequent typos and
my (also frequent) genuine misspellings. Some
suggestions for proper names were considered
hilarious in the early days, but the joke has waned
and they barely raise a smile now. Kambites
(Gambits), Dhondy (Dowdy), Jeronimidis (no spell ing
suggestion). See what I mean?
Then computers thought they would start
correcting our syntax and grammar, but that can be
a minefield when dealing with a specialised
vocabulary, where some words have new meanings.
The answer to the starter quiz is that Microsoft
Word thinks those phrases can all be improved as
'Bid to the four levels'
'Discard the club on the heart ache'
'Hold up the ace hat trick 1'
'Bid your longer suit before you're shorter'.
'Ruff the suit well'.
This last example amuses me because elsewhere
Americans (and English football managers) like to
say 'good' instead of 'well'. It is nice to see Microsoft
attempting to hold back the tide of modern (and,
some would say, incorrect) usage.
Here are a few other examples: 'four clubs is
Gerber' becomes 'four clubs are Gerber'; 'he made it
with a finesse' is transformed into 'he made it with
finesse', and 'single suiter' becomes 'single suitor'.
(This makes sense; you wouldn't want a suitor to be
married, would you?) One of my favourites comes
from the Bridge Base Online Operator Guide, where
the instruction 'click on the "less" icon' generates the
suggestion 'click on the "fewer" icon'. For all you
other less/fewer pedants out there, isn't it great to
see the computer get it right?
If trying to improve individual words and phrases
is a minefield, computer translation of whole
articles is a war-zone. There are some wonderful
apocryphal examples of translating from English
into another language, and then another, and then
back into English: 'out of sight, out of mind'
becomes 'blind lunatic' and 'the spirit is willing but
the flesh is weak' becomes 'the booze is good but the
meat's gone off'.
Here is a report on a deal from the match between
Great Britain and Finland in the 1979 European
Championships in Lausanne. It is on the internet in
Chinese. When I was asked if I wanted it translated,
I said yes.
East showed a Weak Two in spades and Tony
Priday, known here as Pulaidi, became declarer in
4™ as South. Now over to the computer:
´ Q 6
™ A K 5 4
t Q 10 9
® 9 5 4 2
´ J 10 ´ A K 7 5 4 3
™ Q 9 8 7 3 ™ Void
t 7 4 2 t 8 6 5
® J 10 6 ® Q 8 7 3
´ 9 8 2
™ J 10 6 2
t A K J 3
® A K
West family first lead ´J, dream home lid Q, K club
won eat. Club continued to mention ´A, then
founding a small plum. Makers won second step stone
plum, a ™J, to the West family ™ dream home ™Q and
dream home ™K. Club ace missing door, when he
16 English Bridge June 2015 www.ebu.co.uk
Computers Get it Writeby Simon Cochemé
Bridge with a Twist
Bridge with a Twist