Play online duplicate/tournaments with Stepbridge
Stepbridge is available across Australia and New Zealand. It is an online affiliated club – so you play for master points. There is always a TD director online during a tournament. It’s not unlike a normal club event. You meet in the (online) lobby about 10 -15 minutes before the start of the tournament and then play for about 2 hours. Either, arrange to play with a partner, or meet a new partner in the ‘lobby’ before the tournament starts, then register together.
Both imps and matchpoint tournaments are held. Stepbridge have just announced an increase in the tournaments played in response to the corona virus pandemic. There will now be tournaments each afternoon 1pm (weekdays) and 4pm (Saturday/Sunday) as well as the regular 8pm tournament every day. Stepbridge are also creating new tournaments in a time slot suitable for West Australian players.
First Time Use Users
You need to apply and be approved as a stepbridge user (web site link below). This takes about 24 hours. The stepbridge administrator will give you a password and username. Stepbridge will also assign you a buddy to help you get started, if you feel you need that
Your first 5 tournaments are free. After that you need to buy ‘participation points’ (see below – costs). It’s not a bad idea to go in and kibbitz (which you can do at any time at no cost) before you play in a tournament. Also if you have a few friends on stepbridge it’s a good idea to log on and have a casual game, which you can do at any time.
There are a few things to get used to. You should ‘self alert’ bids that have a special system meaning. For instance, announce point range for a 1NT opening, and number of clubs your 1c bid, as well as any normal alerts like transfers etc. When you ‘self alert’ the opponents see the alert, but not your partner. You can chat to tournament director at any time (right click TD to open chat). You can also chat to your partner before play starts or between rounds (right click on partner’s username). The Stepbridge web site gives answers to frequently asked questions (https://www.stepbridge.com.au/faq.html).
Stepbridge is a great platform for online tournament play. The standard is fair. Players are polite and friendly. It’s quick – tournaments last 2 hours. There is a great email summary sent by Stepbridge at the end of a tournament showing results, hands, bidding and play at your table. The TDs are helpful and friendly. You can see the systems that opposition are using. If you play regularly you should create your own system card(s). There are standard system cards, you can adopt your partners card or create your own.
The cost for first 5 tournaments is free, and after that it’s on a pay for use basis.
If you are an ABF member with home club, it is most cost effective to become an ‘associate member’ (cost $5) and then buy participation points. The cost is $3 a session (less if you buy in bulk) https://www.stepbridge.com.au/payment-fees.html.