Bridge is a somewhat late arrival to the games party in the grand scheme of time.
And as such it is still in its infancy as it progresses to becoming a global game accessible for all.
The complications of the language of bidding, the special tools needed to record performance and the powerful thrill some get from keeping knowledge for only a select few have long created an impression that bridge is a difficult game – both to play and to organise.
Well, 2020 blew all that out of the water – thanks to the exceptional talents of a group of volunteers who later sold to an equally talented group of entrepreneurs and developers – competitive bridge online is a reality. With it’s arrival has come a complete explosion in the volume of information available to us all. From grassroots players, to world championship organisers – the playing field has been levelled.
It is such an exciting time for our game! We have grown up.
Through lockdown we were given daily access to how we played, how we might have played, and our clubs learned how to bring bridge to us in new ways.
The game is now in its seductive 20s – we are full of awareness and more skills to use our knowledge.
So what has changed in our bridge world forever?
We can play competitive bridge every day at any time should we so wish. Google cannot yet pinpoint our online games. But that’s OK because we are much better at looking – BBO is now a verb, we know how to “see you on Realbridge” Meet you in the lobby is the new norm for non spousal partnership arrangements.
Who does what has changed – within 15 months we have gone from the Director/ Scorer co-ordinating everything – to the push of a few buttons to a set of protocols established in locations far remote from playing venues. Our partner’s can be robots such that we need never miss out on the camraderie of our groups.
How we pay/collect table money – few have used cash for many months. Few think handling cash is clean. Far simpler to pre-pay in bulk BBO/RealBridge style at the click of a button – even the ice cream truck takes credit card!
How we access information – Sending an email within a few minutes of game time to reserve a seat, find a partner, or complain about a players behaviour are all a breeze. Event promotions mean a link to a web page which can be accessed on phone/laptop or tv screen.
How we play – we are not limited by geography so session times have become less traditional, movements can be more flexible to increase the number & variety of opponents for a fairer game – howell, mitchell and even BAROMETER play – once the domain for only very special games – daily format whereby the majority of players can compete fairly
There can be no going back.
We have invested in tools specifically to help the face to face game thrive – let’s get our game through it’s early adult years. Let’s get our game up to speed face to face and in doing so break down the barriers of elitism and the strangehold of union monopoly -and open our wonderful game to all players, everywhere, anytime.