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AUG_08_EB_p46 Bramzel 16/7/08 10:28 am Page 42


Playing bridge


Fran Bramzel systems, and thus enhance the sociability of to mend their ways, or head on out of

the experience. Many people who are not town! This stance scored very high on the

fast typists are content to read the banter ‘plusses’ in my mini poll.

BRIDGE provides us with a mix of that floats across the bottom of their In many, if not most, ways online bridge

entertainment, sociability, competition screen, adding just the occasional comment. is very similar to F2F bridge, but let’s be

and intellectual stimulation. For as long as Then there’s others who are like me – clear: it is not the same. Technical issues,

there have been people to play, we have gabby in life and just the same on the chat local dist r actions, etc. all make it

gone out in all weathers to clubs, for our bar! impossible to rely on ‘tempo’ and that can

‘fix’ of this addictive pastime. cause some CAPITAL LETTERS

Recently I was asked in the (i.e. ‘shouting’ on the internet)

context of my role in Bridge BRIDGE TEACHERS CAN DO IT ONLINE! on the chat bar.

Club Live, to explain ‘Online Our TDs, who are experts in

For a very long time we have been working towards

Bridge’ and found myself think- improving the availability of teaching within BCL for our

all the main systems, are

ing it would be easier to describe members, many of whom are really keen to improve their successful tournament players

a spiral staircase without using bridge expertise. as well as Senior TDs in their

my hands! So I set about We are offering qualified bridge teachers access to our own NBO (National Bridge

making a checklist and also members worldwide, so that they may contact and arrange Organisation), and are con-

asked a few of our members to lessons with you. Any payments will be strictly private. stantly alert to the idiosyncrasies

help me. Our offer includes the facility of a ‘Teaching Room’ where of our computers and ISPs (In-

First of all, being able to sit at hands may be specified by you and replayed with different ternet Service Providers). They

players in different seats.

our own computers in our own You will be advertised in our listings and promoted in our

are also well versed in the rules

home or office and play as few or news and mails – all free of charge. of bridge and the online

as many hands as we choose is For more information and to discuss this fully contact variations that may apply.

probably the single biggest Sometimes, because we are an

difference between online international club with players

(internet) and F2F (face to face) who speak many different lan-

bridge. We can fill ten minutes or ten In my sample, this sociability was a key guages, making system agreements

hours, and still answer phones, watch TV element in peoples’ enjoyment of Bridge can be rather time-consuming or even

(though the bridge definitely suffers), eat Club Live – whether online or at confusing. Software is catching up and

our meals or even work, while indulging gatherings face to face. making this better.

ourselves ‘for just a few boards’. Just like any private club, ours has rules For some people, there will never be a

Interestingly, most of my ‘helpers’ and we do enforce them. It’s true that substitute for F2F bridge. However,

play at least once a week in their local club some people think they can hide behind word of mouth is the best advertising and

– but still they managed at least a couple the relative anonymity of their online knowing that our members are our

of hours a day online. persona, playing chaotically as they never ambassadors, inviting and encouraging

Bridge Club Live offers a good variety would at the local club and, sometimes, their friends to try online bridge, is a sure

and quality of bridge, evidenced by the being quite rude in a way they would not sign that ours is a quality product and that

fact that many of my ‘sample’ regularly dream of if physically sitting opposite we are right to work hard promoting it to

play in competitions as well as in the their partner. new members.

variety of daily drop-in games. We have Without our Ethics Code and Admin- For EBU members we offer a special

different ‘rooms’ for each activity so the istrators we would be akin to the Wild membership rate plus the option to pay

match-pointed pairs room (MPs Room) West with players shooting off on the chat quarterly/annually or three-yearly

that is open daily for just a few minutes bar, exchanging unauthorised information So, according to my sample of helpers, we

short of 24 hours is the one many people or abandoning deals, ruining the enjoy- are fulfilling online, via our computers, all

find their way to when there’s only time ment of many and spoiling the game the factors that bridge players look for. They

for a few hands. itself. We make no secret of the fact that we had some reservations and they also offered

As technology has developed, so has our have an aggressive Ethics Code and that some ideas. We will be looking carefully at

ability to incorporate efficient chat those who flout it are quickly encouraged all of them.

42 English Bridge August 2008


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