We are pleased to advise that the CBAI has agreed an arrangement with BBO to offer the facility to our affiliated clubs to run as a virtual club on the BBO platform.

This means that you will be able to run your normal club game on BBO at a time of your choosing, including during peak BBO times; thanks to the virtual club status, your tournaments will be prioritised over casual games at the same time.

Now for the practicalities:

1. You will need to formally sign up with us to be approved as a virtual club to avail of this facility.
2. You will need to nominate a “Tournament Organiser” (including their BBO nickname, please) to be responsible for the organisation of your games. This should ideally be someone who is familiar with the workings of BBO. We can help get them up to speed if necessary, and have included some explanatory guides at the end of this post. The organiser does not have to be a qualified Tournament Director. The BBO software eliminates a lot of the infractions common in real-life bridge (it is impossible to revoke, play out of turn, or make an insufficient bid, for example). So the organiser’s role is to set up and run the event efficiently, to make sure all the participants know what to do, and to adjudicate in cases where a board is not completed for lack of time.
3. There will be a “table money” charge of a minimum of $1 per session, to be paid using BB$, which can be purchased via the BBO site. The minimum charge of BB$1 will go to BBO; if you choose to charge more than that, then the revenue will be shared between BBO and the CBAI, and we will rebate our portion back to your club.
4. Your games can be used to award Masterpoints within the CBAI scheme if you wish. If you do want to award Masterpoints, we recommend that you keep a record as you would with a real-life game, at least initially. We do not recommend that you award prizes, financial or otherwise, for games played online.
5. You can limit participation in your games to your members (and pre-approved guests) via an “approved list”.
6. We need to guarantee a certain volume of activity to BBO as part of this arrangement, so if you sign up and then find that your members do not wish to continue to play online as a virtual club, please advise us accordingly so that we may give the facility to another club instead.

To sign up as a virtual club, please contact either Paul Porteous (paul@cbai.ie or 087-6996686) or Dermot O’Brien (info@cbai.ie or 087-9075663).

For those of you new to BBO, the platform itself has a brief guide for new players, which includes an introductory video by Australian Peter Hammonds (sliynk) that you will find useful. And Paul Gipson (paulg), an Englishman now resident in Scotland, has produced an excellent series of short videos that will give you chapter and verse on a lot of BBO activities, from the basic to the complex. Our thanks to Paul for permission to include the link to his work here. Finally, we have set out in this document the key requirements for running, and for entering, an online tournament.