Review "BRIDGE CHALLENGER"
P. O. Box 136-M
Cambridge, MA, 02138
"BRIDGE CHALLENGER" consists of 2 programs: BRIDGE deals hands randomly and defends against you, and DEALER is used to save special deals on cassette tape (BRIDGE will accept these tapes in lieu of the random hands). There is no bidding sequence; the human player simply select the contract after viewing both the North and South hands. Hands may be replayed (good for trying alternate lines of play) and if you don't like the N-S hands you can request to play E-W (but then PET defends with the N-S hands, now labelled E-W).
The defense suffers from the absence of bidding cues, but it is no pushover. I tested it against defensive deals 41-46 in Alfred Sheinwold's A SHORT CUT TO WINNING BRIDGE (1961), and although I am far from an expert, I was able to make 4 of the 6 hands (2 with an over-trick) on my first try. Best defense sets all 6 contracts.
The program is in ‘packed’ BASIC, but is a tight fit in PET's 7167 bytes; I finally got tired of the OUT OF MEMORY ERROR message and deleted Line 3, a REM Statement (Sorry, George!); it works fine now.
The program should be helpful to beginners who need experience as declarer, or to experience players who want to try alternate lines of play. It has never failed to load, and there is reasonable documentation, neatly printed. It exists; it works; and I found it to be well worth the money.