In the current circumstances with bridge clubs closed and events cancelled, many of our members will be thinking of playing online bridge. Some will already be familiar with the options below (there may be more providers, which could be added to this list if we are informed of them) but here is some information to help those who do not play online, to point them in the right direction to investigate the various options. We will be adding to this as things progress.
Bridge Club Live is a UK based online bridge provider, which runs a variety of individual and partnership games for which EBU master Points are awarded to members as well as a social room for casual play. There is a free Guest room for players to try it out and a range of membership types to suit those playing more seriously. Most of its members are British so whilst Acol is prevalent, all systems are catered for and members from all over the world keep the bridge going 24/7. They have just issued a press release detailing enhancements made to help accommodate the increasing demand for online bridge from F2F Club players.
They have also just released a document explaining how a club can create its own (robot) games exclusively for its own members.
Bridge Base Online (BBO) is the largest international online bridge provider. Signing up and playing in many of the games is free, though they do have some tournaments that are paid for. Since it is an American company payment is in dollars and the most common bidding systems are Standard American type (sayc or 2/1).
For students who would like to practice their bridge, please register for a free trial with No Fear Bridge via this link.
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.
Another member has also suggested http://rpbridge.net/cgi-bin/xwd1.pl, which is similar to the above suggestion but he feels is more flexible. He also points out 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.
Finally, we have now started running our own EBU games on BBO with a 12-board game at 7.30pm every evening and another at 9pm. Assuming there is enough demand, we intend to expand soon after by having afternoon games as well. Each game now costs $1.50, of which 50c goes directly to clubs by reducing their affiliation fees. To play in these games you will need to buy some BBO$ in advance.
Our advice to players who are interested in playing in them 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 are ready to take part as soon as our games are running. Help with doing this is available in this document.
This information will be updated as necessary.