A deal consists of all the usual properties such as the hands, board number, dealer, vulnerability, bidding, contract, declarer and lead, plus five optional free-text fields:
Where required, the intention is for this to be a brief summary of the deal. This is what is displayed in the Deal List. If the title is blank, then a default of Board nn is used, where nn is the board number.
- Intro & Analysis
These will be used in different ways depending on the purpose of the deals, but a typical use is for Intro to contain a short introduction ending in a question, and for Analysis to answer the question in detail. Another common usage pattern is for Intro to contain a bidding commentary and Analysis a play commentary.
- Lead note
Intended for analysis of the the lead. You might discuss alternatives.
Intended to record the source of the deal. This gets filled automatically on import from DLM or PBN files, and when using BDM’s Deal Generator.
All except Source accept text short-cuts (see below). The deal panel gets enabled whenever a single deal is selected in the Deal List, and the user can then manipulate all the deal’s editable properties.
There is also an Optional output checkbox that marks the deal for optional output in MS Word Reports and HTML Reports. This is described in the report documentation.
Deals can be created in several ways. The user can click the New Deal icon, or duplicate the selected deals with the Duplicate Deal icon. There is a Standard Board Set icon to create blank deals with pre-populated board number etc (see below). And there is also a Generate Deals icon to create a set of deals with specified properties (see below).
Deals also get created when you use the import functions, and when copying deals to another folder.
Deals are edited directly in the deal panel. All editable fields are optional except the board number. The three drop-down fields (vulnerability, dealer and declarer) have selectable blank options. Move from field to field with Tab (forwards) and Shift-Tab (backwards).
The Title, Intro, Analysis and Lead note fields accept short-cuts:
- Suit symbols: !s, !h, !d, !c.
- Denominations including no-trump: #s, #h, #d, #c, #n, together with capitalized versions: #S, #H, #D, #C, #N.
- Positions: ^n, ^e, ^s, ^w, which always get capitalized.
- Partner and opponent: ^p, ^o, together with capitalized versions: ^P, ^O.
- Tab: – – – (three consecutive hyphens).
They are converted on Save, on leaving the field, and if F11 is pressed while still in the field. There is a Help form listing these, which can be toggled on and off with F1.
In addition to these short-cuts for editing, there is smart logic when you paste into the fields, to cater for third-party annotation. (For instance, “W led CQ against N’s 3S contract” would get changed to “West led ♣Q against North’s 3♠ contract”.)
The Contract field accepts simple character short-cuts:
- Denominations: s, h, d, c, n (or capitals).
- Double: x or *.
- Redouble: xx or **.
For example, 7c** translates as 7♣xx.
The Lead field also accepts simple characters:
- Suits: s, h, d, c (or capitals).
- High-cards: a, k, q, j.
For example, ck translates as ♣K. You are strongly recommended to use the suit-first convention for cards, otherwise exported PBN files may be incorrectly formatted.
The Auction table is enabled whenever the Dealer is set. Within the table you can move around existing bids with the scan keys. Use the following short-cuts to enter calls:
- Pass: p or the spacebar.
- Denominations: s, h, d, c, n.
- Double: x or *.
- Redouble: r.
- End: e.
- Question: ?
As soon as a call is recognized the cursor moves to the next position, so you can enter an auction very quickly.
Ctrl-Delete deletes the focused call and shifts the following ones down. Ctrl-Insert shifts the focused call and the following ones up and inserts Pass. These are particularly useful if you manually change just the Dealer after you have entered the bidding (as opposed to rotating the whole deal), because BDM rotates the bidding in this case.
The cards in the hands are edited from a separate window. Click on the Edit Hands icon or on the central green ‘felt’ except on the position letters themselves. Select or deselect cards by clicking and swiping across cards you want. You can click and swipe multiple times to include all the cards you want to select. You then move the cards by right-clicking the destination. You can also use right-click and drag to add a card to the current selection and drag to the destination. This is particularly useful when moving a single card.
Although this is a non-standard selection and move technique, it makes selecting from multiple hands, multiple suits and multiple ranges within a suit very quick, and it is easy to get used to. You can select an entire hand using the All check-boxes.
The window has its own undo/redo facility (independent of the main form’s undo) and there are also buttons to clear all the hands or reset to the original position. You can also rotate the hands clockwise, swap suits and randomly distribute any remaining cards. Suit swapping and hand rotation change the dealer, vulnerability, declarer, contract, lead, auction and show hand settings, if the deal already has those set. It also performs textual replacements in the free-text fields and you are advised to verify that the annotations still make sense.
You don’t have to enter all the hands, nor a full deal, but you need to use the Allow partial hand check-box to save an incomplete deal.
Once you have saved or cancelled, the main form displays the HCP count for any non-blank hands, and recalculates the makable contracts if necessary.
You can set which hands are shown for the deal. Use the Show Hands icon or toggle positions on/off by clicking the positions letter in the central green ‘felt’. The show hands settings are persistent properties of the deal and there are options to use them in some of the report format items.
You can optionally display the ‘non-shown’ hands greyed-out instead of hidden, using the Display hidden hands as disabled option on the Settings tab. You can toggle the setting without using the Settings tab using Ctrl-P to quickly preview the hidden hands. The setting does not affect the output generated in reports.
You can rotate the deal clockwise directly from the main form with the Rotate Deal icon. The dealer, vulnerability, declarer, auction and show hand settings are also rotated. It also performs textual replacements in the free-text fields and you are advised to verify that the annotations still make sense.
Until the deal is saved, changes you make can be cancelled using the Cancel Deal Changes icon or with the Esc key. When you do this, all changes since the last save are lost – they do not form an entry in the undo list.
Note that saving the hands from the Hand Design window automatically saves the deal. The rationale is that the user may have spent much effort in designing the hands, and has already had a chance to cancel.
Changes to the deal can be saved with the Save Deal Changes icon or with Ctrl-S. An entry is created in the undo list.
As well as the deal being automatically saved when the user saves the hand design, it is also saved when the deal selection is changed from the deal list, when the folder is changed from the folder tree, and on normal program exit.
A makable contract table can be displayed for full deals using the Makable Contracts icon. Par results are also displayed if the vulnerability is set. The information is not saved with the deal.
The determination of makable contracts is a non-trivial process and may take a noticeable time on some machines. Because of this, makable contracts are not shown by default. However, once calculated they are remembered and displayed within the current deal list until the user changes folder.
If you really want, there is an option on the Settings tab to auto-calculate makable contracts. This setting is deliberately cleared on program restart.
Linking to Bridge Solver Online
In addition to displaying makable contracts, there is a Solve icon that links to the Bridge Solver Online website to allow you to follow lines of play.
Moving within the Folder
You can use the Deal List’s Move Up and Move Down buttons to move a single deal up and down the deal order within the folder. You can also drag a multiple deal selection to a new position within the deal order. In the latter case the insertion point is indicated with a line cursor.
Moving and Copying to a Different Folder
You can drag the selected deals to move them to a different folder. Or you can copy them to a different folder by holding the Ctrl key down while dropping.
The selected deals can be deleted with the Delete Selected Deals icon. A deletion confirmation dialogue verifies the action, but this can be switched off on the Settings tab.
Creating a Report for a Single Deal
There are drop-downs for MS Word and HTML reports on the Deals menu for generating a report for a single deal.
For MS Word this is intended as a trial report. The generated document is created in a standard temporary location and the application attempts to open it. The Test Report drop-down button shows all the defined report formats, and one of them can be set as the default format allowing you to use F10 as a short-cut. You would normally run BDM on a machine with MS Word or similar installed.
For HTML, an output filename is solicited, because the user may well be generating the output to use on a website.
Creating a Standard Board Set
A standard set of blank deals can be created using the Standard Board Set icon. The user selects the number of deals from a drop-down. The deals have pre-populated sequential board numbers, with corresponding standard dealer and vulnerability.
Generating Specific Types Of Deal
A set of deals with specific characteristics can be generated using the Generate Deals icon. The options for 1NT and strong balanced hands attempt to create non-trivial responding hands. There is also an option for Weak Twos. All three generate opposition hands that generally speaking balance their HCPs and distribution.
There is a more generic option where the user can select HCP ranges for each hand.
The Search icon has options to search specified deal fields. You can specify the case-sensitivity and whether BDMs text short-cuts are interpreted in the search string. The latter allows you to search, for example, for titles containing 4♣.