The Simple Club Program
NOTE: the Simplified Club program has not been supported for a number of years and has issues when running on Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 machines. We have decided to no longer offer the program as a download from this site. The next generation of the program, called the Bridge Coach, is available for Windows 8 and 10 machines in the Windows Store.
Simple Club is a special purpose bridge program primarily designed to help teach two bidding systems: the Simplified Club system, a modification of the Schenken Club system as descibed in the book "Better Bidding in 15 Minutes," and the American Contract Bridge League's Standard American Yellow Card system. The Simplified Club system is intended to provide a relatively easy to learn method for bidding hands with less ambiguity and room for error than many commonly used systems. The Standard American Yellow Card system has become widely accepted as a standard, particularly with the advent of internet bridge games.
The program allows you to bid the South hand with the computer bidding the other three hands, and it provides a brief explanation of the reasons for each bid it makes. The explanations of each bid is, of course, where its particular value as a teaching tool lies. You can then rebid the hand with the computer bidding all four hands to compare your bidding with that of the computer. An interesting exercise is to rebid the hand using the other bidding system to compare the results.
It is necessary for the best use of the program to start out with some understanding of the bidding systems used. The Simplified Club system can be learned fairly quickly, as Schenken's name for his book implies. We provide an outline of the system in the menu on the left which should be sufficient to get started. The Simplified Club Manual, also in the menu to the left, provides a more detailed discussion of the system. We like the system because of its simplicity and lack of ambiguity. The Standard American Yellow Card system is substantially more complex than the Simplified Club system. After playing thousands of hands under each system, it is not clear to us which is the more accurate overall. Nevertheless, particularly given the popularity of the Standard American Yellow Card system, it is worth learning. The best summary of the Standard American Yellow Card system is probably the one contained in the ACBL SAYC System Booklet, available on the ACBL website, which you can access by clicking here. There are also numerous books and websites discussing the system.
The Simple Club program also allows you to play the hands. If you are more interested in being declarer than in defending, you can have the program give various levels of preference to the North-South hands when dealing the cards. In the alternative, you can select the "Play All Hands" option and play all the hands as declarer regardless of who wins the bid. There is also a feature that enables you to switch from defending a hand to being the declarer and vice versa.
The above gives a general description of the program. Sometimes the best way to get a better understanding of what a program can do is to read the operating instructions, so we have included a link to an on-line version of the program's instructions in the menu to the left.
When you are ready to install the program and try it out, click on the download entry in the menu. The program is complete freeware without limits on use or annoying screens asking for contributions. The program has a function for giving us feedback, and we hope you will use it. We are particularly interested in cases where you think the program did not bid a hand correctly or made a particularly foolish play of the cards, but we would also like to hear your ideas on other improvements we could make to the program. And if you have any questions about the program and how it operates, feel free to email us at Support@SimplifiedClub.com.
The program and this web site are works in progress. We will be working to improve the documentation for the Simplified Club system and for the program. We currently intend to keep the program primarily as a bidding teaching tool and have not, and do not expect to, spend a lot of time programming superior card play.