Avoid getting caught in the trap that going to the club means going back to 2019 ways of doing things.
Sub standard bridge already existed prior to the pandemic, and the straw poll figures below certainly indicate this. So, as the new season of bridge games get underway at the club or online, take action and try new ways.
It doesn’t matter if you are not au fait with today’s ways. Learning as you go is what we have all had to do these past few years. Give it a go, what have you got to lose?
And when you need help – our IBEScore experts have come up with new ways for playing our favourite game.
I’m an organiser of bridge games. How can I BE DIFFERENT?
Put your customers first. Not traditions.
What does that mean? Well let’s consider what has happened to bridge players over the past 30 months.
Our tactile response to playing cards has shifted – cleanliness is next to godliness again. Online bridge has changed players relationships with technology – devices are friends, strangers are foes, table chat is visual not voice. Winning and losing is instant. The why and how is immediate.
Family dynamics have changed. Working from home and changing jobs affects availability and freedoms of movement. Hobbies have changed – Zoom Zumba is now a thing! Technology has made many options available for learning, growing and stretching our mental and physical well-being.
One subtle shift is a serious catalyst for fresh ways. Being in our home environment, surrounded by an abundance of information when we have played online, mean our smart bridge playing minds get bored in downtime.
Not to mention we have lost the art of small talk, and more so the willingness to “make nice” with strangers. Remember, during our time playing at home the view of a glaring partner was less imposing in a 5cm square box(if at all!). And our opponents annoying habits and clutter proved only a minor distraction online.
Rest assured we still advocate for the value of the physical action of holding cards, playing them and achieving a result in competitive bridge.
So, how can you be different and attract your players with all of these dynamics going on?
To bring fresh ways to stop players getting bored, perhaps think about how you might change the playing room – games are typically smaller at the moment, so this is a perfect opportunity to create an area for relaxing away from the table. What about near a charging station and encourage players to bring their iPads, phones, or even laptops into the playing room. IBEScore has in-app activities to fill the downtime – players can relax with one-spot diversions and review played deals.
If you have lost your venue, be bold and make a business offer to a local café/restaurant – they too have suffered during the pandemic, and there are wonderful opportunities to form new partnerships in venues where refreshment services are available. Check the lighting, is our top tip.
Do you need to play at the time you do? Bridge players like their game fix, and might have changed their habits sufficiently that new times and places to play might be welcome.
If you are going to change the venue, there’s no need to make more work for the organisation aspect. Putting yourself first as a player, suggests that using your own bidding box is cleaner, practical and makes life easy for all. That, plus a smart phone scorer and all you need is boards for a game anywhere, anytime.
Scoring. The ultimate new way to play bridge, is to change the scoring tool you use. We know this is a new way – IBEScore has only just joined the market – available to DOWNLOAD at no charge from the Apple store and GOOGLE PLAY.
IBEScore is easy to use, affordable and gives players meeting offline in-session rankings/scorecards and makeable contracts at the touch of their fingers.
No device sharing required. No waiting for results. No way anyone can cheat by entering scores and changing them. Even better when you are leading, or did something fabulous, you can screenshot it and share with family and friends!
So please be part of the future of our game. DO NOT accept and DO NOT deliver sub standard bridge. Maybe yesteryear was great for some. The statistics below suggest not so much for every player.
HISTORY tells us bridge needed fresh air before the pandemic forced us all online.
In 2020, we watched more than 100,000 players simultaneously visit one online platform from all around the globe on a daily basis. That was an amazing phenomenon to be part of. But it was not the only one. There used to be only a handful of providers, offering limited services with varying degrees of performance quality, giving bridge players few options. Certainly but a handful could compete for prizes and ranking points by playing online. Now, there are a multitude of global providers offering exceptional quality online games almost hourly. Players can compete for rewards and demonstrate success all within their own personal space.
From that happy bubble of abundance, organisers are hoping to simply extract their players and return them to playing the way they used to by opening the clubroom doors. It is a fantasy.
It’s been a veritable bridge revolution at home.
The pandemic created a little monster of need in many bridge players. The game environment has improved, the technology has strengthened.
Mediocrity when it comes to playing bridge need no longer be accepted.
It is with a broad sweeping brush that we say many players were already responding to sub-standard bridge with their feet. But there are some quick glance facts to support the thinking. Looking at nation attendance figures in affiliated bridge downward trends started prior to the in-voluntary bridge revolution.
The above table shows England was experiencing a steady decline over the ten years before the pandemic took all at table play away. Never to return if the 2021 and 2022 format changes and attendances figures are indicators. The below figures suggest the decline was not as dramatic in the USA, but noticeable.
In Europe, as these below figures from European Transnational Championships suggest, there is a more gradual decline. Figures from this event give a broad overview only, because by its nature the event typically only attracts top competitors. But sometimes local efforts to rally support have boosted attendances.
The national organisations will cry changes in venues, increasing costs and necessary reliance on friendly, wealthy contributions took their tool. However it came to pass, the statistics say players were already talking with their feet.
So this is a wakeup call.
Anyway it is gone!
Learn from the revolution. And be part of the future of our game.
DOWNLOAD IBEScore and give it a go today.
To use the scoring part of the IBEScore App, you’ll need a GAME CODE.
The game organiser (or someone who will act as Scorer for the session) uses the GAME CODE and a DIrector password to access the game creation features of this cloud based scoring system.
Players in a session simply type in the organiser’s GAME CODE.
IBEScore is a FREE* to use App for Bridge Game extras
(*Setting up and scoring in-session, viewing rankings, travelers and scorecards, researching, reading, learning and killing time with the world’s newest extra for bridge, require no payment. Extras, including virtual directing services, publishing results, adding deal files and movement/output customisations are available on subscription to IBEScore services.)