BridgePal Scoring System

1. BridgePal App User Guide


This section assumes that the BridgePal app has been installed and configured as described in the section "Scoring Unit Setup". If the BridgePal app has been configured correctly then, providing that the PC is switched on and apache is running, the app will now display "CONNECTED, Session not yet started ". This is because the BridgeScore scoring application has not yet been started on the PC or a BridgeScore session has not yet been started. Details on how to do this can be accessed from the Help menu within BridgeScore.


When a BridgeScore session has been started tap on the "Retry" button shown underneath "Not Yet Ready". The scoring unit should now display the BridgePal start screen. Tap on the "Start" button to start the session on this scoring unit.

The first input screen requires the table number to be entered. If BridgeScore is currently running two or more sections in parallel, a section number entry field is also displayed above the table number. When the value(s) have been entered tap on OK to continue.

The next screen requires player IDs for North, South, East, and West to be entered (these will have been configured in the player names database maintained with BridgeScore). The OK button can be tapped after each entry to move to the next input field. Alternatively, tap on each input field to select that field as the current input field. At any point an incorrect entry can be cleared by using the DEL key.

When all fields have been entered the OK button will display a screen showing the player names for this table, and inviting the user to confirm they are correct. If they are not, the BACK key can be used to go back to the previous screen and amend the player ids.

When the player names have been confirmed to be correct, use the OK button to display the number of the current round, the player names, and the board numbers to be played in each round.

Tapping on OK moves to the contract entry/result entry screen for the first board, except when the movement requires boards to be shared with another table (in that case a set of buttons is displayed, allowing selection of the board number for contract entry).


As the user fills in the details of the contract the displayed keypad instantly changes so that only the buttons valid at this stage of contract entry are displayed. First the level of the contract is entered:

Then the suit, or "NT", and whether the contract has been doubled or redoubled:

Then the declarer:

Now the lead is entered:

And finally the number of tricks, after the contract has been played:

When the contract/result has been entered, the OK button brings up a screen summarising the contract, result, and score for that board and inviting the opponents to accept the data by tapping the ACCEPT button.

If all is well, ACCEPT displays the traveller for the current board showing results for all tables that have played that board so far, together with the score and percentage. Alternatively, CANCEL provides an opportunity to go back and modify the contract/result.

If "Entry Validation" has been enabled in BridgeScore an alert message may appear on the above Traveller screen if a possible error is detected. The "Hand" button will only appear if one or more options has been set in BridgeScore to view the hand record and makeable contracts, to play the hand with card by card double dummy guidance, or to manually enter the hand record into the BridgePal. All of these features are described in the section on Hand Record Functionality. Tapping the ERROR key enables the user to select any board number in the current round in order to change a contract and result that has been incorrectly entered.


Tapping OK on the traveller displays the contract/result entry screen for the next board, or the details for the next round. Note that if the table has accidentally played boards out of sequence the board number on the contract entry screen can be changed by tapping on the board number and then selecting a different board number via the buttons that will be displayed (only board numbers for the current round can be selected).


At the end of the session, when all boards have been played, a RANKING button is shown which enables players at the table to see the current ranking for the session. A REFRESH button allows the ranking to be manually refreshed (because all tables may not yet have finished playing).


2. Special Functions

There are a number of infrequently required functions that are implemented through the BridgePal app's menu.

Refresh

Manually initiates a retry of the last request made by the BridgePal device to the scoring PC. Should not normally be necessary.

Find BridgePal Server

This causes the BridgePal to listen for 20 seconds for a broadcast message containing the ip address of the scoring PC. Broadcast messages are sent by running the bridgepalBroadcast.exe application on the scoring PC. If a message is received the app will configure itself to communicate with the scoring PC using that ip address. See section on BridgePal configuration.

Reset Table

Rarely required, but is used to return to the BridgePal start screen. Normally this would only be necessary at the start of a session if the wrong table number has been entered.

Replace Failed Unit

This function can be used to take over scoring midway through a session from another failed device (e.g. if the battery has run down).

Providing the new device is not in the middle of an active session the user will be prompted to enter the table number of the failed device. Type in the table number and tap on the OK button - the unit will now resume the session that was in use on the failed device starting from the screen that was on display when the unit ceased to function.

This function will have no effect if the unit on which this menu item is selected in the middle of an active session.

Upload Logs

Uploads logs from the BridgePal app to the scoring PC. This function is for development/diagnostic purposes.

3. Hand Record Functionality


BridgePal implements a number of optional features which can be individually enabled from within the BridgeScore scoring program. These features rely on the availability of a PBN file containing the hand records for the boards being played in the session. This PBN file path is specified in BridgeScore (if the session consists of hands created by a dealing program and dealt by machine or created from curtain cards). Alternatively, the PBN file may be created by entering the hand records via the BridgePal after they have been played at a table for the first time (in the case of hands shuffled at the table). The optional features are:

  • Validation of the entered contract, alerting the user to possible errors in contract entry

  • Display of the Hand Record and makeable contracts (if available), after the hand has been played at the table

  • Manual entry of the hand record, via the BridgePal, with automatic creation of a PBN file, if the hands are dealt at the table

  • "Play" the hand on the BridgePal in double dummy mode, with card by card guidance, after the hand has been played at the table

Validation of the contract, if enabled, takes place when the traveller screen is displayed.


The other functions are accessed via the HAND button on the traveller screen. This button is only displayed if it is required in order to access the specific hand record functionality that has been enabled from BridgeScore.


3.1 Contract Entry Validation


If contract entry validation is enabled for this session in BridgeScore, any anomalies detected will be reported as an alert message overlaid on the traveller screen. These checks cannot detect all errors, and also may sometimes produce an alert when the entered contract was in fact correct. However, the message is a prompt to the user to double check that the contract was entered correctly. The user should tap on the OK button on the overlaid alert message box in order to dismiss the message. They can then tap on the "Error" button if necessary in order to go back and correct the contract entry for this board.


There are two types of validation checks made:


A check is made to see whether the lead card entered is consistent with the Declarer. If not it will be reported as below. This is a definite error unless the wrong PBN file for this session was selected in BridgeScore, or a previously entered hand record for this board is incorrect (if using manual hand entry).



Another check is made to see whether the specified suit seems reasonable for the specified declarer. If the makeable contracts information for this board indicates that the defenders could make 9 or more tricks in this suit then it is considered probable that either the declarer or the suit is incorrect. Of course, this cannot be stated for certain. the following message is displayed.



3.2 Viewing Hand Record


Tapping the "HAND" button on the traveller screen will show a display like the one below. The "Play" and "Edit" buttons will only be visible if those functions have been enabled for this event from BridgeScore. If no makeable contracts are available then "*" characters will be displayed in the makeable contracts table.


3.3 Hand Entry


Hand Entry is intended for recording hand records that are manually shuffled at the table. If hand entry has been enabled from within BridgeScore and no hand has yet been entered for the board that has just been played then tapping on the HAND button on the traveller display will display the hand entry scrren:



Tapping on any of the four quadrants (North, South, East, West) allows the suit holdings to be entered or edited for that quadrant. Tapping on one the suit symbols in the column on the right hand side of the screen selects that suit as the current suit. Tapping on the keypad below the hand diagram allows individual cards to be allocated to the holding for the current direction/suit, or de-allocated if they are currently allocated to that holding.


The following screenshots show the hand entry screen at various stages of completion. The buttons on the keypad are shown in various colours. A grey button indicates that this card in the current suit is not currently allocated to any of the four directions. If the button is shown as green then this card for the currently selected suit is already allocated to the current direction. If the button has a white background then it is allocated to a different hand for the current suit. Tapping on a white button will display a message asking if you wish to move this card to the direction currently being edited.

 



When 13 cards have been entered into three of the quadrants, and the fourth is empty, the remaining cards will automatically be allocated to the fourth quadrant. A message is displayed asking the user to check the hand carefully.



When the user has checked the hand the "Save" button should be tapped to record the entered hand to the PBN file. This action also performs calculation of makeable contracts if the BridgePal is an android device running android version 3.0 or later and the Bridge Solver app (v1.22 or later) is installed on the device. A brief message will appear on the screen while this is taking place.


When the Save has completed, the hand together with the makeable contracts (if available), will be displayed on the "View Hand Record" screen. It will also be available for viewing at other tables after they have played the hand. Note that tapping the "Save" button will only record the hand if all 52 cards have been entered, otherwise a warning will be displayed.



Tapping the OK button will now return to the traveller screen. Alternatively, if an error is spotted, the "Edit" button can be tapped to return to hand entry mode.


3.4 Playing a Hand


This feature, if enabled from BridgeScore for the current event, is accessed via a "Play" button on the "View Hand Record" screen. The button will only be displayed if the BridgePal is an android device running android v3.0 or later, and the Bridge Solver app (v1.22 or later) is installed on the device. Clicking on the "Play" button will launch the Bridge Solver app, producing a display like the one below:



The button near the top right shows the contract entered on the traveller at this table. Clicking on the button will start playing that particular contract:



Of course, in a club bridge session there would not normally be time to play through the hand in Bridge Solver. However, it is often useful just to look at the effect of various opening leads. In the above screenshot the actual lead made at the table is indicated by a blue asterisk on the card button. Each lead card has a subscript which shows the maximum number of tricks that can be made by the defenders if that card is played and the declarer and defenders make optimal choices subsequently. The cards with a green background are the optimal choices at each step. In this particular example it can be seen that an optimal lead card was played at the table.


The context sensitive "Help" button in the Bridge Solver app provides more information about how to use the app and the options available. When the user has finished using Bridge Solver, tapping on the "Go Back" button (bottom left of the Bridge Solver display) will return to the View Hand Record screen.