Synrey Bridge vs Micro Bridge

Synrey Bridge and Micro Bridge meet in the World Championship Finals but aren’t they the same robot?

By Alex J. Coyne © Great Bridge Links 2019

In the recent 2019 World Bridge Robot Championships, the robots Micro Bridge and Synrey Bridge unseated the reigning champions in the semi-finals and landed in the finals sitting across from each other. But wait. Didn’t Synrey Bridge purchase Micro Bridge in 2014?

To get to the bottom of this, we sat down with Erik Liu, one of the creators of Synrey Bridge for a second interview. Synrey Bridge is a premier online bridge apps for users in China, with an increasing number of users everywhere else in the world.

The Birth of Synrey Bridge

“The robot of Synrey was originally from Micro Bridge.” explains Liu.

“With the consulting service of Micro Bridge designers T. Uchida and Y. Uchida, the Synrey team learned the architecture and design principle of computer bridge systems. And by reading and analyzing the design documents and codes of Micro Bridge they acquired what they needed to develop the Synrey software.”

However, the current Synrey Bridge Robot have been entirely rewritten.

“Both the teams (Micro Bridge and Synrey) are currently designing and improving their  robots independently,” Liu explains.

Further Development

Synrey has reached an incredible 50, 000 daily active users as of 2019, says Liu. “The Synrey team has a very close connection with the end-users. Every day from users there are hundreds of feedback [messages] regarding the bidding and play of the robot.”

It’s this user feedback that gets recorded and analyzed in order to improve Synrey. “In the past six years, more than 30, 000 hours have been invested to improve the Synrey robot in various aspects.”

He says that the possibility for bridge robots to beat human experts at the game exists in the near future with the technology of machine learning.

What About that World Championship?

“In the 21st, 22nd and 23rd World Championship, Synrey reached the finals,” says Liu. “But Synrey has not won yet. I hope we’ll be more lucky during the next championship!”

Liu says that there’s no special way in which they prepare Synrey for the world championship.

Improving the mechanics of the Synrey robot is focused far more on making sure that the users enjoy playing against Synrey, rather than preparing for the championship or bettering other bots.

So, How Do Robots Compete?

Want to know more about robot tournaments? We asked for some insider information.

“When Robot A competes with Robot B, four Robot A’s will form a team. This team will compete with the team of Robot B.”

Convention cards, he says, are exchanged before the tournament. “The developer of one robot will input the convention cards of other robots into the system of his or her robot in order to make his or her robot understand the languages of others.”

“During the tournament, when the robot chooses one bid that needs to be alerted, the program of this robot will give an “alert”, and the bidding procedure is paused.”

He says the next step means the robot’s developer has to explain this step to the developer of the opposing robot. “After the developer of the opponent robot has input the explanation into the system of his or her robot, the bidding procedure is resumed and continues.”

For more information on how the World Computer Bridge Championships work, read Alex’s article The World Computer Bridge Championships  2018 here ->