Please note that this page was first written in 2015 and because of the significant changes brought about by COVID-19 it has been updated by new information about playing online.
The internet now offers a world of opportunity to play bridge at home, whether with your usual partner on a night when you can't play at your club, with someone new, or on your own to improve your game.
Below is information on some of the options which are available, in particular those with which the EBU or EBED has a connection. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all options available, and is intended just to give some information to get you started.
Play in EBU competitions
You can play in EBU competitions on Funbridge.
In these competitions you will partner one of Funbridge's 'robots', and play against two other robots. You therefore don't need a 'human partner' to take part, and you can play whenever you wish as you don't need human opponents online at the same time. The competitions consist of 20 boards, and you can play them at any time during the competition period, stopping and restarting as often as you wish. Games take place every day and run until midnight (24 hours). Monday and Friday are scored by IMPs. Other days are scored by matchpoints.
Acol is one of the bidding systems available for you to choose (which isn't always the case with some online platforms), and you can set which conventions and carding methods you and your robotic partner play.
The games cost €2 (by charging you in Euros we can charge less than £2), and Master Points can be won. There is also a month-long and year-long competition with cash prizes.
The games are open to everyone.
We hope you will take part. Please see the FAQ for more details on the competitions and for information on how to take part.
Other games on Funbridge
Funbridge also offers other playing opportunities, including competitions, learning activities and quizzes. In all games you play with, and against, robots, so you play your tournaments when you want and at your rhythm, and you can pause a deal at any time to resume it later.
New customers can access some features for free for a limited time. Some features require a subscription.
Funbridge also provides live coverage of some elite competitions.
Help using Funbridge
For help using Funbridge please contact them directly using this form.
An Online Affiliated Club
Bridge Club Live (BCL) is affiliated with the EBU as an Online Affiliated Club and can therefore issue Master Points for their sessions which meet the necessary requirements for points to be awarded. These are full value ‘local points’, and count towards all EBU Master Point rankings, and can be earned in most BCL competitions – their movement tourneys and leagues, and the ‘Dido Tourney’, are all included.
Bridge Club Live offers all bridge players:
- Fast, fun and friendly bridge in a format that suits you
- Drop-in Drop-out (DIDO) Match Point Pairs and Social Room
- Individual, Improvers Pairs and IMP Pairs Tourneys and Leagues; Teams Competitions and Leagues
- F2F clubs can set up their club to get special results, grouped for their members plus ease of finding your friends. This is not a dedicated room
- A full range of special competitions, some of which are unique in the world of bridge
- An environment that is virtually free of quitters, rudeness and cheating because of our unique policing policy
- An Incident Reporting system instantly available from the Table
- 24 years professional experience of dealing with all issues whether technical, bridge or behavioural
- Full bidding and play records of every card and deal played
- Simple System Disclosure cards for all partnerships
- EBU Local Master Points monthly to EBU Members
- Discussion forums on bridge and other matters
- New Teaching Club specifically for approved teachers and their students with dedicated hands uploaded specific to each lesson theme. (June 2020)
- Members reunions annually
It is hoped that the Online Affiliated Club category benefits EBU members who play some of their bridge online. This is additional to the EBU Competitions which are run through Funbridge each weekend (see above), the Online Knockout Teams competition, and the change that permits some matches in other knockout competitions to be played online. These changes will enable players who have difficulty playing ‘face-to-face’ with their regular partner, and those in more remote parts of the country, to become more involved in ‘affiliated’ competitions organised by the EBU or by affiliated clubs.
Please note that the ‘members benefits’ of playing at an Online Affiliated Club relate only to the issuing of Master Points. Participation in a competition run by an Online Affiliated Club does not afford the player some of the benefits which would come from participation at a ‘face-to-face’ club – the player does not become a member of the EBU through Universal Membership; magazine points cannot be earned through these competitions; the results will not be included in the National Grading Scheme.
A special offer for EBU Members - try BCL for free
Any EBU Members, not already a member of BCL, can enjoy a free trial of BCL for 50 days. Simply complete this form on the BCL website to submit a few details and you can give it a try on the days you're not at your local club.
Help using Bridge Club Live
For help using Bridge Club Live please contact them directly. Their details are available here.
No Fear Bridge
Supporters of the England U16 squad
No Fear Bridge provides a variety of online learning activities suitable for beginners, improvers and 'advancers' to learn how to play bridge well.
There are minibridge hands for complete beginners, through to exercises for advanced players - the England U16 squad used the site to practice ahead of the 2018 World Youth Team Championships.
There are some elements of the website which are free, and some which require a subscription.
Play or watch VuGraph online
Bridge Base Online (BBO) is a popular website for those wanting to play bridge, but also the method by which the majority of major events are 'broadcast'. Major international and domestic events can be watched, with accompanying expert audio and/or text commentary - there is rarely a time when a high-level match is not being shown from one corner of the globe or another.
And once you are inspired by the professionals you can play too in the BBO competitions or social rooms. Registration is free, though there are charges for some of their competitions. BBO is also the default option for playing EBU knockout matches online - the Online Knockout itself, and early rounds of some of the other competitions.
You can also use BBO to practice, as you can set certain parameters - for example dealer always has a balanced hand with 12-14 points - and practice bidding with your regular partner.
BBO is not affiliated with the EBU.
Help using Bridge Base Online
For help using Bridge Base Online please contact them directly. Their details are available here.
A great resource for students and teachers
Vu-Bridge is an internet-based software programme which allows bridge students to play set hands designed in such a way as to improve their bidding and play.
In collaboration with Paul Bowyer, Vu-Bridge has created three series of 24 lessons (each with 20 interactive deals and a quiz consisting of 10 bidding questions) known as V-Blue. V-Blue is designed to help teach beginner level students of bridge. The bidding system employed is Bridge for All Acol (with strong two’s, four card majors and a 12-14 weak no trump).
V-Blue provides material covering a three year curriculum corresponding to the three initial years of bridge learning for players who have already have a basic understanding of the game: i.e. the rules of contract bridge and the playing of Minibridge.
The totality of the V-Blue on-line system will consist of 1440 interactive set deals (of which 480 will become available during 2016) plus 720 bidding questions in the form of interactive quizzes.
Free for EBTA members and a reduced price for their students
An agreement has been reached between Vu-Bridge and English Bridge Education & Development to offer access to V-Blue free to EBTA teachers and at a discounted rate to EBU students. EBTA teachers should check the Teacher's Zone of the EBED website for further details.
EBTA Teachers who sign up have full access to V-Blue to assist with their lesson preparation, including pbn files which are available to download from the Teachers’ Zone. Hand narratives are available from the V-Blue site for all the hands. Students who sign up will be able to play many more hands than they would be able to complete during lesson contact time - with expert guidance on bidding and play issues, all arranged by topic with the added benefit of quizzes to test their knowledge. Full guidance on how to use V-Blue is provided on the Vu-Bridge site.
Help using VuBridge
For help using VuBridge please contact them directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EBU's Online Knockout Teams competition runs from January each year, and offers a chance for those who play online to compete in a knockout teams competition. See the event webpage for more details.
Numerous apps are available for you to play bridge on your phone or tablet, whether you want to compete, practice or learn.
Kripa Panchagnula and Jonathan Clark tested a number of Bridge Playing Apps in the December 2019 issue of English Bridge magazine.
If you are looking for software to install on your computer so you can play against three computer-operated opponents, or so you can practice certain scenarios, then there are a few options. Some of these were reviewed in the October 2015 issue of English Bridge magazine.