BOREL support page

BOREL is a very sophisticated hand dealing program written by John Lowenthal (1938-1999) and continuously refined by him from 1987-1998. It is really a programming language to describe bridge hands and one uses it to chose to include or discard hands from the generated random deals. Many of the best players in the world use it to look at the possible hands when they have a specific hand on a specific auction, in other words, a bridge simulation. You may see it referred to in old Bridge World Master Solver’s Clubs. Others use it for bidding practice on specific openings that they wish to practice. Teachers can use it to generate specific opening and responding hands for a class. As an example I include my script to generate strong 2 openers along with several other useful basic scripts. One of the advantages of Borel is that you can specify hands where the opponents will not bid at a specific level.


The version I am selling for $49.00 (most of the proceeds will go to the ACBL junior fund as per John’s wishes) may not be the most current version but if you buy it you are guaranteed an upgrade if we find a more recent version. We (me with Celia and Lia Lowenthal) will be looking for the sources to see if it can be modernized. The documentation has not yet been completely scanned in (up to chapter 5 now) so if you buy it we will email it to you later. There is enough in the README to get started. plus there is a command summary included.

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In the meantime, we are recommending using a DOS emulator such as DOSbox to run it and I have included my Python script which prints hands from Borel generated files (BHG) files.

A number of basic scripts to generate hands are included. This is not a package for the technically challenged! It is best used by other programmers at this point or very computer literate types.
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The release is a ZIP file, it will not install itself. You need to unzip into a folder on your C: (or other drive) and then read the file called README.txt to find out how to run it.


2 thoughts on “Borel

  1. Jim Garner

    You have the executable and documentation… do you also have the original source code as well?
    With the original source code, it is possible to bring the program into the modern era and breathe new life into Borel.

    1st: the BHG format is not well known. You have writen the python script to interpret it, but how much more flexible would things be if we had the program write out JSON or XML? This can be accomplished with the source code and a compiler.

    2nd: Requireing people to use DosBox throuws off potential users. Many people interested in bridge these days are older, and do not ahve the experience necessary or desire to load DosBox. I am a software engineer, and I do nto want to bother with DosBox, though I will if there is no other way.

    3rd: Command line interfaces, if designed smartly, can be used as the interface between a UI program and a simulator. The uI can be written as a windows/MAC program or a web interface, calling the prgram as thoguh it were a serveice on the server. This is done with chess engines all the time. Stockfish, for example, is a simple command line program that utilizes UCI as its interface. You can dowload Stockfish to run on any device (Android, iP{hone, iPad, Windows, MAC, even run it from web-pages) People simply use it, and do nto think about how it is put together. This can be done with Borel.

    4th: Depending upon how it is put together, a redisign (while preserving the core logic) cna be accomplished to make it more maintainable, or more flexible. The time of its creation it is probably written in C, but could have been written in Pascal, assembler or FORTRAN. With the exception of assembler, these languages have modern counterparts and can be compiled in modern compilers and packaged to run directly on modern machines. A little work on the interface aspect may be needed , but designing the interface will be helpful (see above)

    I think it would be a good idea to breathe new life into Borel.
    As a software engineer and programmer with over 25 years experience, I might be able to help with the effort.
    Let me know what, if anything I can do.

    Jim Garner

  2. Kitty Cooper Post author

    Your ideas are all excellent and I did recently find a windows version of Borel which I might package up for people if there is nterest.
    Hoever the source code is gone. I got more files from his widow recently and I do need to check those for those missing sources but do not expect much …


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