"Play smarter, not harder"

You are here: Home > Trivia > LaTeX

An ACBL Convention Card Editor in LaTeX

Why another convention card editor?

One, because I can. Two, because the existing editors (from BridgeWinners, Merlin Vilhauer, and Chuck Tesler) have their little quirks, and this way I can have complete control over exactly where everything is on my card and how it looks.

Yes, mine has its own quirks too — most importantly, since it is TeX-based, it is not a WYSIWYG editor. I provide a template with a true/false toggle for whether you want each checkbox filled in, and a slot for inserting text onto every blank line of the card. When you compile your .tex file, you get a full-color PDF (example) of your filled-out card.

Installing grbcce

The source code is in two parts. The style file, grbcce.sty, needs to be downloaded and installed like any other LaTeX package. (You can either save it into its own folder, ~/tex/latex/grbcce or ~/localtexmf/tex/latex/grbcce, or save it into the same folder as my grbbridge package if you have already installed that.)

The template file, latex_cc_template.tex, can be saved wherever you want your final document to appear and opened in the LaTeX editor of your choice. (I use MiKTeX 2.9 and TeXnicCenter but you can use whatever you'd like.)

The blank template file will compile to look like this (compare to the ACBL's official blank card if you wish.) You can also see a filled-out example card and the source that produces it.

The package has several dependencies:

All are readily available online and well documented.

Version history of 'grbcce':

Suggestions for improvement and requests for new features are always welcome. Drop me a line and let me know how you like it.

Interested in customized help with LaTeX?

Do you need help formatting a manuscript in LaTeX, or want a custom package made for your typesetting needs (bridge-related or not?) That is one of the services I provide through my consulting business, Excelsior Statistics and Optimization. Your initial consultation about your project is always free.

Convention cards

The laws of bridge have always required that you disclose your bidding and carding methods to your opponents, but have never said how. Each country (or the World Bridge Federation for international championships) sets its own rules for disclosure.

In the US, the first convention cards of the the 1950s were primitive, barely asking anything more than your notrump range and whether you played strong or weak two-bids. The card became more complex as bidding evolved. It has had its present 8-by-8½-inch layout since 1981, with just a few slight revisions (mostly changing items from red to black or vice versa to match current alerting rules.)

If the proposed new system regulations are adopted in the summer of 2018, the convention card will likely be completely overhauled again too. Murphy's Law being what it is, maybe my releasing a LaTeX editor for the existing card in 2017 is just the impetus needed to ensure that the ACBL board moves into the 21st century!

This page last edited 17.12.17