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Computers and Bridge

I had just bought my first computer, an Apple 2+, in early 1980. I was working as a mail clerk at Canada mortgage and housing Corporation but I was interested in getting into the computer field. I had just taken up bridge and decided to write a bridge program to record and print out results of the match point game. I wrote this program using Apple’s BASIC programming language. It was pretty rudimentary where you could just enter the names of the people playing and then enter the scores off a traveling slip. After all the scores were entered the match pointing was done and the results printed off. In the spring of 1980 I asked Mel Jackson, who used to run the McNabb community centre Club on Percy St., Ottawa, if I could test it out. That night, I dragged my computer to the club. We used traveling slips and pick-up slips and at the end of the night I entered the scores on the computer and Mel did it manually. When the results came out the program beat Mel by almost 2 minutes. Fortunately that night there was no roving pair or any assigned averages as my computer program would not handle that.

Around that time CMHC, where I worked, was offering a programmer in training position where they would send you off to a school to learn the COBOL programming language in order to support the mainframe at our company. I was one of 125 applicants vying for five positions. I was lucky enough to do well in the test and become one of the applicants to be interviewed. I decided the best chance of me getting a programmer position was to present my matchpoint program at the interview. I got that position and I just retired from the government as a database programmer after 35 years of service and I can honestly say I owe it all to bridge.

My real reason for posting this is to find out does anyone know exactly when the first program was used to calculate results at a bridge game. I wish I had kept the printouts of my program and the results and exact dates from that bridge game but I did not. Later after upgrading my computer I donated my Apple 2+ to my sons school.

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