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December 2016 English Bridge


f I had written this editorial in 1974 I might

have been introducing bidding boxes. They got

quite a bad press in those early days but today

you would be pushed to find a tournament or club

duplicate that doesn't use them. Even in Australia,

where they have been wedded to a bit of paper in

the middle of the table, many clubs have switched.

A lot of clubs also use the computer to score and

some of those have Bridgemates or other equivalent

devices on the table to assist. This allows

players to see their ranking, the

hands and how they did by the

time they are home.

In an EBU tournament you

get the results emailed to

you after the session, so if

you have gone to bed rather

than for a drink you can still

see if you have qualified. While

some items of technology are

not important to a club, it is going

to play a greater part at all levels. Watching

or playing online is either free, or very cheap and

the EBU online KO has proved a welcome addition

to the calendar for quite a few teams in the last

couple of years.

At the recent EBU Autumn Congress two things

made their debut and may well become more

common. The first was a simple (free) app made by

Bridgemate. You can download it to any iPhone or

Android. You can see your results for the session,

your current ranking, hands (provided you have

played them) - in short, a wealth of information. In

Swiss events it tells you which table to go to next. All

it requires is Bridemates and a set-up.

The second innovation has the potential to be

more far-reaching. The finalists in the Two Star

Pairs found a machine in the centre of the table and

a tablet which performed the functions (& more) of

a standard electronic scoring device. What does the

machine do? The Bridge+More (pictured) sits in the

middle of the table, connected to the internet, and

invisibly deals the next hands while you play. When

you are ready for the next deal - the cards emerge,

and four new hands are ready for play. Insert the

cards you have just played without messing up the

order and the dealer records the exact way the hands

were played. It will be a while before these reach

clubs because at present they are expensive. The

EBU is going to trial them a bit more and gradually

I think they will become more common and

affordable. They do away with the need for dealing

in advance; you need far fewer cards and no

wallets or boards. The tablets and

machines survived the 57 boards of

the final with almost no difficulty.

The scoring was instant although

perhaps the display could be

improved. One possible

luddite said, 'If you had told me

in advance these were going to be

used I wouldn't have entered but I

thought they worked well'. No more

picking up boards chucked along the

floor from the next table!


One of our vice presidents, Bill Pencharz, has

resigned. He is a former Chairman of the Union,

was our Honorary Solicitor for many years and I

would like to thank him here for the assistance he

has given the Union and me personally since I have

become Chairman.


I hear players talking gloom and doom

sometimes, perhaps lamenting the decline in young

players or lower numbers in tournaments. To

counter this there is the positive announcement that

bridge has been added to the programme at the

2018 Asian Games to be held in Vietnam. I hope it

goes well and others catch on. The World Bridge

Federation has also recently held its first online

World Bridge Cup in which Bill Gates was a

participant and the Chinese have held a camp for

aspiring young players, attended by 800

youngsters. r

Technology reaches new peaks

by Jeremy Dhondy

From the Chairman

From the Chairman




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