In April of the difficult 2020, we were approached by a group of teachers with a request to help them teach bridge online; in a short three-month time period, we came up with a concept and product to brighten the lives of instructors and students alike. The Shark Bridge Teacher's Console changed the way the game is learned and practiced.
In June 2020, the Shark Bridge Company was founded by Milen Milkovski (Canada), Plamen Panayotov (Canada), John Norris ( Denmark) and Michael Woywode (Germany). From felt to right: Plamen, John, Milen.
Here is how it all began.
It all started in 1997 when John Norris, a pro player and coder from Denmark, laid the foundation of Shark's bidding and play engine. John wanted to make a robot bridge player who would play the way humans do. He made a lot of structural drafts and small drawings of how the modules should work together, but it took some years before he actually started the programming.
In 2006 Shark for the first time participated in the world bridge computer championship and finished last. But already in 2007 Shark was close to a place in the semifinals. Then in 2008 Shark made it to the semifinals, but narrowly lost to the eventual champion WBridge5.
In 2009 and 2010 an individual world championship was held in which the robots played everyone but themselves. Shark won both these championships. This proved that John's idea was good, but that he had to add more shared brain factor. Shark lost in the semifinals in the robot teams event.
In 2011 Shark won the computer bridge championship, convincingly beating QPlus in the finals.
In 2014, Shark won the championship again, beating Micro Bridge in a close, very well-played and low-scoring final.
In 2016, Shark lost its semi-final match against Wbridge5 on carry-over IMPs.
In 2018, Shark narrowly missed the semi-finals.
Now a bit more about us.
Milen Milkovski has worked on a number of bridge games for mobile devices since 2008 (the year the iPhone was born and revolutionized mobile devices). He was instrumental in bringing the popular Audrey Grant's bridge and iBridgeBaron to Apple and Android devices. Both apps are the highest rated bridge games in Apple's App Store. In 2014 he started the work on the most human-like play and feature-rich computer game---Shark Bridge. Milen learned to play the game of bridge when he was 12 and is grateful for the opportunity to have a career closely related to his favorite card game.
Plamen Panaytov is a long-time bridge enthusiast as well as Milen's high school buddy and bridge partner. Plamen has expertise in business development and bridge, bringing a unique combination to our team. To reach our goal of having the most popular and enjoyable computer bridge game, we need a solid business model behind it, allowing us to dedicate our time to it.
Michael Woywode was the latest member to join in the effort. Michael brought expertise in modern WebApp development and design. He is the brains behind the easy-to-understand bridge table that Shark Bridge now uses.