Fun and Friendly Bridge – A way forward.

“The EBU is not in a position to recommend or encourage clubs to re-open” – a recent quote from the EBU Chairman.

With little prospect of an imminent return to normal face-to-face (F2F) Bridge, your committee have been assessing the various options open to them. The EBU and Lincolnshire County Bridge are both offering competitive bridge via BBO and I think it is likely that some members have already taken part. Others of you may be using Funbridge to keep your hand in.

Bridge Club Live (BCL) are in the process of developing an on-line facility whereby F2F clubs can run their normal, weekly, duplicate pairs sessions on-line. Bassingham (Thursday evenings 7.00 – 10.00 pm) and Heighington (Monday evenings 7.00 – 10.00 pm) are going to trial this facility at least up until Christmas and probably beyond. As always, we will be emphasising the “fun and friendly” philosophy that we value so much. We have about 20 members who are familiar with BCL and who would, I am sure, support those members for whom on-line Bridge is a new experience. Even for those who are technically apprehensive, a little perseverance can be very rewarding – just ask Bill and Shirley Holmes who seem to go from strength to strength on-line!

Both Bassingham and Heighington Bridge Clubs are going to need a “critical mass” of participating members to make this work. If you are interested please have a look at the BCL website. For information about the F2F Virtual Club facility go to BCL Homepage – Members – Clubs – F2F Virtual Clubs.

To join BridgeClubLive (BCL) you have a couple of options:

1. If you are already an EBU member (and you are automatically if you are a Heighington member) – go to the EBU website – click on the link on their homepage for BridgeClubLive – that takes you to a generous, free, 50 day trial membership if you click the link. You will need your EBU membership number.

2. If you are not an EBU member or you’re not bothered about the free trial membership – Go to BCL homepage – Subscriptions. I don’t think their prices include VAT but it is £21 for 3 months or £72 for a year. This looks like remarkably good value to me whether you normally just play Mondays, Thursdays or both. Not only will you get the Virtual F2F sessions, you get unlimited play in the BCL Main Club, plus access to the Teaching Server (Barry and I are working on providing some sessions for beginners and improvers). In addition, BCL provide a coaching corner, with expert coaches, every Monday morning.

What about those partnerships that live in the same household? Not a problem. You need two devices in separate rooms and you must resist the temptation to shout into the kitchen “You should have led a xxxxxx Diamond!”. We trust you to uphold the high standards of ethics and etiquette associated with the club. Incidentally, although BCL does run on smartphones, I wouldn’t recommend using one for Bridge as the screen size is too small.

As is often the case, you may be in need of a partner. If so, I’m happy to act as a “partner finder”. Just get in touch – but don’t expect to get Andrew Robson!

We will be using the club websites and this Blog to try to keep you up-to-date with developments. I am sure we will all be grateful for a game of bridge with our friends over the coming months even if it is “virtual”.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy