"The District 8 Solver's Forum" is a bidding contest. Every two months six new bidding problems are presented on the District 8 Advocate home page at URL:

District 8 Advocate

If you go there and click on the "New Problems" link in the left menu, the set of problems for the next column will display. Clicking "New Column" will display the current column. The columns consist of a panel of experts that discuss the hands. The various bids for each hand are assigned a score and the solvers receive a total score for the six hands. The solvers with the highest scores become panelists for the next set of problems. Scores are accumulated for the calendar year and the solvers with the highest total scores become panelists for the following year.

You're always the South player. The information you have to work with is: your hand, the vulnerability, the kind of bridge being played (e.g. IMPS, Matchpoints), and the auction that led up to up to the problem you're now trying to solve. To participate, figure out what action you'd take and enter it in the bidding box on the right side of the screen. Optionally, there's a Comments Box immediately below each hand where you can enter comments about the option you chose, options you thought about but didn't choose, your stupid partner, or anything else of significance. At the end there's a space to enter your name, City and Country, and your email address. When everything looks good, click on the "Submit" button at the end and your answers will go sailing off to District 8 where they may become part of the new "Solver's Forum" article.

There are a few things that the Cranky Forum Program (CFP) will complain about. If you don't enter a bid for one or more of the hands, the screen will return with an error message under the bidding box. If you just forgot to enter a bid, you can do so on the error screen and re-submit; if you really didn't want to enter a bid there's a special "No-bid bid" you can use called "XX" (The unknown bid!) in the lower right-hand corner of the bidding box which will stop CFP from complaining about your not entering a bid. CFP will also complain if you didn't enter a name, a City-Country, or an email address. We use the Name and City/Cntry on the lists of solvers who got high scores. We use the email address to notify you if you're a panelist for the next month and to nag you if you don't get your answers in on time! Mostly we want to make sure you didn't just forget to enter one or more of the fields. If entering personal information makes you queasy it's quite ok to put in Clark Kent in the name field, Smallville for City, and for email address!

CFP won't complain about missing comments, but it will complain if they're too long. The comments box will let you enter an unlimited amount of data, but...we'll only use the first 320 characters. You can tell when you're running over the limit when you start seeing scroll bars on the side or bottom of the box.

Finally, CFP will complain if you wait too long to submit your answers. There's a countdown clock in the upper right part of the screen that gives the number of days left in the current forum. When it hits zero, CFP won't accept any more answers for that forum. The good news is that the new article should be coming out soon after and a new forum starting.

So...enjoy the forum, and good luck.