In the current circumstances with bridge clubs closed and events cancelled, many of our members are thinking of playing online bridge. Some will already be familiar with what is available but here is some information to help those who do not already play online, pointing them in the right direction to investigate the various options. This replaces the pre-COVID-19 information about online bridge.
Bridge Base Online
Bridge Base Online (BBO) is the largest international online bridge provider. Signing up and playing in many of the games is free, though they also have tournaments that are paid for. This is the platform on which our EBU tournaments are run and where our Virtual Clubs' games are held. Clubs that are interested in this can find more information online. BBO is also the place where our popular Lockdown League takes place.
Our EBU games run every day at 11am (Relaxed 9-high game), 12 noon (fast game) and at 2pm, 3:30pm, 7:30pm, 9pm. They are all 12 boards long and cost $1.50.
EBU members do not need to register your EBU number anywhere with BBO. When you register for an EBU tournament it should prompt for your EBU number only if we do not already have it stored on BBO. If you have played in an EBU tournament and it has not appeared on your record in My EBU then please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will sort it out.
Since BBO is an American company payment is in dollars and the most common bidding systems are Standard American type (sayc or 2/1), although it does have an Acol Bridge Club, which can be found under Play or Watch Bridge -> Casual -> All Private and Public Clubs. Members who need to buy BB$ to play in paid games should buy them through the BBO website and not through the app, which will add on a significant surcharge.
Our advice to players who are interested in playing in paid games is first to sign up for a free login to BBO and play in some free games to familiarise themselves with how the game works, so that they can take part as soon as they are ready. Help with doing this is available in this document.
NB In tournaments, BBO records all table history including chat between individual players at a table. This can be accessed by our EBU TDs but will only be used for the purposes of disciplinary and ethics cases or resolving disputes about timing or disclosure.
Funbridge hosts our regular daily online robot games, which give EBU master points. Information about them is available on our webpage. They have also provided a document explaining how a club can create its own (robot) games exclusively for its own members.
Bridge Club Live is a UK based online bridge provider, which runs a wide variety of individual, partnership games, tournaments and Special Competitions for which EBU Master Points are awarded. These are uploaded monthly to the EBU and payment for the licence fee for these is included in any of the monthly, quarterly or annual subscriptions which are available. For more information and a generous free 50 day Trial, specifically for VALID EBU members, click here.
BCL also offers a social room for casual play, for which a half price “Social Membership” is available. Whilst around 60% of its members are British and Acol is prevalent, all systems are catered for and members from all over the world are playing 24/7. Ethical behaviour is very important in BCL and all reports submitted regarding quitting, rudeness or serious ethics are fully investigated.
A separate dedicated online Teaching Area is open for Teachers and Students. Teachers can upload their specific card deals and themes and run specific 2 hour teaching slots. Full details here.
Another new facility already active now, allows F2F members to associate themselves with their F2F club that is listed on the BCL Website when playing bridge online. This allows them to find each other within the main club and to play with their regular partners as if they were at the club. In addition, their results are grouped specifically for their club members and they also get EBU Master Points when playing in approved tournaments. For further information email: email@example.com.
A few other options have been suggested by members:
https://www.bridge-at-home.com/en is a site where four people log in independently and select a seat, then they are given their hands from a previously played event on a screen, so they can then play among the four of them and be told what they would have scored (the basic app is free, but you may have to pay to play hands from e.g. Bermuda Bowl finals). It's really designed for four people in the same room, but with a decent Skype connection can probably be used remotely.
http://www.correctcontract.com/login is not a site for playing bridge, but for practising unopposed bidding - players can tailor the sets of hands to practice their slam bidding, or try out some tweaks to their 1NT system etc.
http://rpbridge.net/cgi-bin/xwd1.pl is a similar resource but might be found to be more flexible. It is also worth noting that bidding tables on BBO can easily be set up, with silent opponents and a specified number of HCP between the two hands.
Something for family members who don't currently play bridge is to learn Mini-bridge and there is a free progam available for this from Blue Chip Minibridge, as well as information about playing bridge itself while self isolating using Blue Chip Bridge.