Bridge playing computer games have become significantly better over the years as programming techniques improve and computer speeds increase.
Programmers teach computers to play Standard American with a few additional conventions and variations. Each bridge program has its own secret techniques that help the computer compete more effectively, allowing a program to never have a bidding misunderstanding with another copy of itself.
When a computer encounters a situation in the bidding or playing that it does not recognize it uses a technique called simulation. The computer shuffles through all the possibilities it has been taught and responds with a bid that has the best chance of leading to the best results.
Programmers teach the computer to use simulation techniques when playing the cards based not only on the auction but also on the cards played. In defending the program pays close attention to its partnership signalling agreements. The opening lead is said to be the hardest card for the computer or Robot to figure out. As technology improves the computer will become an even more challenging opponent or better partner for the human. The computer program never criticizes or has an unkind word for its partner and is always ready to play.
There are many great Bridge programs on the market that offer players a challenge and opportunity to practise their bridge skill. The companies who develop these programs have competitions amongst themselves. After nine round-robin segments, with each program sitting out one round, ‘Wbridge5’ a game developed in France topped all competitors. Close behind was’ Jack’ a program developed in the Netherlands, followed by Micro Bridge from Japan and Bridge Baron from the United States. Other programs that competed were Q-Plus from Germany, Oxford Bridge and Blue Chip Bridge from the UK, Meadowlark Bridge USA, and Sabrina from France. Jack, who had been a two-time winner in previous competitions, was only beaten by one victory point.