THE MASTER SOLVERS' CLUB
By: Ruth Edmondson
Originally Published in Bridge Magazine, Christmas,
The Master Solvers' Club was exceptionally easy to install and run. A small book of instructions is provided, though largely unnecessary - all options are shown on the screen and are accessed by a click of the mouse.
If you've read any of the magazines containing a bidding competition for a panel of experts, then you'll know what to expect. You have the option of choosing any quiz from 1994 to 1996 from The Bridge World. (Other quizzes may be added at a later date, though with eight problems to a quiz and twelve quizzes a year there should be plenty to keep anyone occupied for a long time!)
Having chosen a quiz, you can enter your name and be included in the panel of experts. The screen displays the panel, your hand, the bidding to date and a choice of alternative bids. On selection of a bid, the bids made by the panel, the marks for each bid and a commentary (written by an expert) are shown. The commentary is informative, witty and amusing, and includes quotes from the panel.
A running total of scores is kept and at the end of the eight problems you can see how your score matches up against the experts. There is an option to read the quizzes instead of trying to solve them, but half the fun is trying to beat the experts!
The Bridge World is an American publication, so the Bridge World Standard (BWS) bidding system is not Acol. The BWS can be displayed at any time; however, it would have been useful to be able to print it for reference instead of having to scroll through it on the screen. Lack of knowledge of the BWS is no great handicap, though - some of the panelists don't know it either! All in all, good fun with plenty of opportunity to learn, and improve your judgment and hand-evaluation methods, for the intermediate (or better) player. Well worth its price.