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Greeting, systems & chat

What happens when the game begins?

The short answer is that you find yourself at a table playing round 1 against a pair of opponents.

You'll also be in receipt of a number of short messages from the Director (some of which may have arrived in your chat area before the start of the game). As well as welcoming you to the game, they'll be saying things like:

  • Please greet your opponents at each new table and provide a one-line summary of your system.
  • We'll be playing (7/8/9) rounds of 2 boards each. Each round will last (18/16/14) minutes. Keep an eye on the clock!
  • Remember to self-alert any bids that you would normally alert or announce at the table.
  • You may call the Director using the link in the blue box (above the board number) with the three horizontal bars.

We'll be looking at the time-keeping, alerting and calling the Director later on. Meanwhile, first things first ...

Who are my opponents?

If you don't recognise their usernames, simply click on one to bring up their profile. If they've followed the guidance earlier in these notes, the profile will include their real name. (You get rid of a pop-up profile by clicking in the x-box top right.)

If the profile has no name, I usually introduce myself and my partner in my greeting, which invites them to do likewise!

How do I chat to opponents?

Via the chat box at the bottom of the screen. The important thing is to make sure that the blue button bottom left reads  →Table . That means that any chat message you send will be seen by those sitting at your table, including your partner. If it doesn't say  →Table , click on it and select  Table  from the pop-up options.

Greeting and system summary

After sending out a greeting (Hi opps, Hi Rose & Jane), either you or your partner (one's enough!) should send a quick system summary. This can be pretty short, eg:

Acol, weak NT, 3 weak 2s or Benji, weak NT, weak 2H/S

in which case it's no great problem to retype it every round. Or it may be a bit more elaborate, eg:

4 card majors, 12-14 NT, 2H/S weak, 2D = weak both majors, RKCB 1430; standard attitude, count & leads, McKenney discards

You don't want to be typing that over and over again, so it's best to copy it (select and ctrl-C) and just paste it (ctrl-V) at the beginning of each round. (Alternatively, you can store it in a Word file and retrieve it each time you play, ready for pasting into the Chat box.)

The clock's ticking ...

While all this is going on, clock's ticking away the time available for playing the hands, so it's good to be organised and get the preliminaries out of the way as soon as possible. (And if you're the dealer, you could make your opening bid first, to save time.)

This goes for other bits of chat during the round, too. There's a whole lot of time-saving 'text-speak' short forms that you'll soon be using fluently. These usually end in 'p' ( = partner) or 'o' (= opponents) and include:

ty, typ, tyo (thanks); glp (good luck); wdp, wdo (well done), wb (well bid), wp (well played), bl or hl (bad/hard luck) and the ubiquitous sp (sorry partner).

And now for one of the main differences between face-to-face bridge and playing on BBO ...