East Norfolk Bridge Club
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u3a 40th Anniversary

Useful resources for 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Our next  meetings for 40th Anniversary is

Wednesday 28th September at 16:30 hrs

using the F2f AV system on the Club page in BCL

East Midlands Chris D.
East of England Tony 
London Lisa
North East Pam 
North West George
Northern Ireland Pam
Scotland Marilyn 
South East Val
South West SuzzieQ
Wales Philip
West Midlands Pam 
Yorkshire & the Humber Pam 


a) Click here for contact details of Regional Trustees

b) Click here for u3a regions with Bridge groups (u3aSites)                                      c) Duplicate Bridge Only

d) Click here for map of all u3a regions (and clubs)






We are hopeful that the following article will appear in April 2022's Third Age Matters magazine


Or perhaps you’re unable to get to a Bridge Club?
Don’t have a Partner? Would like to improve your game?
Rusty? Not played since University?
Enjoy the challenge of playing competitively?
without any obligation.

About fifteen months ago, I saw an article in the u3a online Newsletter inviting members to play Bridge online and was disappointed to find the list was already full when I applied a few days later. However, around a year ago, a second invitation appeared, I got in touch, was welcomed warmly and haven’t looked back.

Everyone is welcome to try playing online from complete beginners, to those with basic experience or improvers and more experienced players. Beginners will be given a mentor to provide support and show you round the website. Complete beginners will be added to a waiting list and start as a group later, when a reasonable number of starters have registered for a class to begin. There are resources to help Improvers to develop their skill. And best of all - the list won’t be full! Steve from East Norfolk and Tony from Great Yarmouth u3a will welcome you.

I admit I had reservations as I’m not really an ‘online’ socialiser. To my surprise I found it comfortable, relaxed, have made several online friends, and have improved my Bridge – although my partners may not always concur with that.

I’ve played Bridge online on Bridge Club Live with u3a members in Dorset, Wales, Hampshire, Derbyshire, Norfolk, different parts of London, Cornwall, Bristol, Surrey, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Leicestershire and more. And I live in the North East of England.

In the “Social Room”, you’ll be able to play with others from all around the world if you wish, 24/7. In some “rooms” you may chat aloud with those at your table, to other u3a members waiting to start playing a match and of course to your personal mentor.

For more competitive Bridge players there are regular friendly duplicate sessions against partnerships in other u3a clubs, and we take part in charity matches.

Advantages of playing Bridge online include not having to go out in the cold and dark, you can make a cuppa whenever you wish, you’re welcome to join alone or with a friend/Bridge partner. If you join alone, help will be given to find a partner you can enjoy playing with. If you’ve just fallen in from the garden and are slightly awry (and possibly muddy) or you want to play in pink fluffy slippers, nobody will see them! And you’ll be warm and comfortable, at home.

And that’s not all! If you enjoy playing after your free trial, you’ll be eligible for 3 months free membership. thereafter it’s only £1.66 per week – and you can play 24/7 at no extra cost. How good is that?!

New year’s resolution? Or perhaps you’d like to learn something different, stir up the grey cells and improve your memory? Fill the odd few hours with something interesting? Or take on some of the best? Come and join us.

How did the initiative begin?

Tony Bullen and Steve Carter (of Great Yarmouth u3a) joined forces with Frances Halliday (of Palmers Green and Southgate u3a) in the Summer of 2020 with the express purpose of playing online Bridge. During the course of that year they encouraged more u3a'ers to join them under the auspices of East Norfolk Bridge Club that provided the infrastructure that was needed to play online.

The number of weekly sessions was increased during 2020/21 to accommodate other u3a clubs culminating in them hosting u3a'ers from over 20 clubs playing online Bridge during u3a week in June last year. They are also hoping to repeat the same success for the 40th Anniversary celebrations this year.

To find out more please contact Mobile 07749 888830 (voicemail) or email u3aBridgegroup@hotmail.com 

Pam Rayment
Guisborough u3a


Whilst we have only asked for a response to 4 specific questions:

a) Would your Bridge group participate?

b) If so, would you want to play online or at your own club (using simultaneous pairs)?

c) How many pairs do you think would want to play?

d) Would you use the opportunity as a means of recruiting non-u3a Bridge players to join your local u3a?

many Bridge Group leaders have asked further questions.

Here is a sample response to email enquiries (such that we're not all "re-inventing the wheel" with our responses)

F. A. Q.s

Have you decided on the format for how a national game will be played?

It’s early days yet and we’re still working up ideas, but our leader has contacts in both the BCL and BBO camps so one that is looking pretty definite is an inter-u3a match played on both BBO and BCL platforms using the same cards.  Thus those used to BridgeBaseOnline play on that, and those accustomed to BridgeClubLive play against those used to BCL (which saves having to learn something new, especially when it comes to alerting).  Playing 40 hands has a nice ring about it, most likely in two sessions....

Hope that helps and rest assured we will be in touch again nearer the time.



Another email from London region asks:

I have a couple of questions:  

1) Is the week of 18th September set in stone?   Can the tournament be held the following week beginning 25th September?

The week of 17th September to 25th September has been designated as the official 40th anniversary week (Wednesday 21st being the actual start date 40 years ago).

We will be holding our Bridge activities during that week: however, there is no reason why you cannot play the same hands the week thereafter.

2) Do you have a tournament director / co-ordinator lined up?

We have Tournament Directors on hand to solve any bidding or playing issues, as well as Bridge Co-ordinators for both BridgeClub Live (BCL) and Bridge Base Online (BBO). We are hopeful of finding a similar post for RealBridge before September.

3) If we play online, would the tournament be held on BBO?

We are hopeful that tournaments will be played on all three major platforms - BridgeClubLive, BridgeBaseOnline and RealBridge at a time to best suit your club's normal playing days

As we don't have a venue and instead play in each other's houses it would probably make sense to play online.   But we will go along with the majority's preference.

Your members will possiby derive more enjoyment by playing online, but we will look into the possibility of also sending out some pre-set hands to play, with an explanatory commentary from a Bridge expert for post-match discussions


Many, although not all, of our regular players have been playing online during the lock-down (as has the rest of the world), using BBO in our
case .  Accordingly I think that online will be the most appropriate option for us.  Having said that, I would personally be curious to know
how a simultaneous pairs event would be organised.

During the month of April, we are planning for Jack Rouse (our Subject Adviser) to play the same set of hands on BBO that we will be playing on BCL. We should then be able to combine the two clubs' results using the USEBIO.xml results file. The results (if successful) will be published on Thirsk's and East Norfolk's Bridgewebs pages.

A similar trial will be undertaken with RealBridge should we have a focal point and sufficient interest from that platform.


An interesting idea.  I am asking my players. Please can you tell me how many boards you envisage playing in a session?

We envisage accommodating two distinct types of u3a Bridge Player:

a) Those used to playing 'competition' Bridge upwards of 2 tables

b) Those playing 'social' Bridge - 4 people meeting once a week/month for a friendly competitive game of Bridge, generously interspersed with tea and cakes...

a) We would normally play 16 or 18 boards. However, we have had some suggestions that we might want to play 40 boards - to coincide with our 40th anniversary; we will be looking into the practicality of that option, possibly by playing 20 boards at each of two sessions

b) This group can play as many hands as they wish (maybe 16 hands over a 4-week period?)

We will send the same sets of hands in both cases in advance of the game and a comprehensive analysis of 'how the experts would have played' after the game.

If your group does not fit into either of the above, please let us know before 31st May 2022 and we'll look into how we can help.


We are keen and eager but inexperienced in contests of this sort. Several of us have played in Café Bridge events.  Would it be similar to this?

You're half-way there already !! A typical café bridge event is a duplicate pairs bridge game set up over multiple cafés and restaurants. Pairs move to a new venue after each round, guided by a movement card or roadbook, while board sets remain on their starting tables throughout.

We would send the group organiser the hand layouts in advance (one per day, Mon-Fri if required) and the Bridge Fun event could either be played as per café bridge or in a hired hall for the session


1. presumably you would send the hands to someone - probably me - who would (a) have to deal all the hands and (b) would not be able to participate in the tournament.

Yes, we will send you the hands in advance of the game(s) and one person would deal the hands but not play.

2. How do we get the results back to you?

In order to combine your individual club's results into a national result we use a standard XML file format; this is normally automatically generated using standard Bridge-scoring programs such as EBUScore or ScoreBridge.

3. We have a 2 hour session booked with our hosts, and if it is, for example, a 26 board tourney, we would have to extend the booking to 3 hours - which may be possible, but we would need to know in advance.

In all likelihood we will be playing 16 or 18 boards which most players should be able to comfortably complete within 2 hours.


What is ScoreBridge?

ScoreBridge - is a paid-for, commercailly available Duplicate Bridge Scoring Program that has an 8-week trial period - more details at ScoreBridge - Download Trial Version


Our numbers are dropping.- perhaps you could let me know what will be the minimum numbers of people I would need to participate?

As a consequence of Covid-19 this is happening at many u3a Bridge groups.

To combat this we will be looking into the possibility of setting-up local "u3a Bridge Hubs" where you could go to play in the competition with like-minded Bridge players


Do you propose to send an E-File of the hands for loading into the Club's dealing Machine?

Yes - the deal hands (for each of 5 days) will be sent as a PBN (Portable Bridge Notation) File for easy uploading. If you are playing on BBO then you will need to convert the file to a LIN file before uploading.


Can you explain the meaning of 'simultaneous pairs’?

Simultaneous Pairs is a form of Duplicate Bridge whereby pre-determined hands are sent out in advance to all participating Bridge groups. The (18 or so) hands are then pre-dealt by a non-playing member and placed in boards/wallets for subsequent play. After the hands have been played, the results are sent to the organising body and added to all the other results, giving an overall 'national' score, such that individual pairs can gauge their performance against a national result as well as a local result. It is customary for a Commentary to follow the competition, written by a Bridge expert, which explains how the hands should have been bid and played.


We would probably be able to get 3-4 pairs together, but are not keen on the idea of playing two sets of 20 boards.

 After feedback from our u3a Bridge Groups, the most likely number of boards would be 16 or 18.


I would like to know the likely standard of the participants. 2 of us are Club standard; all the rest are relative beginners/improvers but definitively not Club standard.

 We are hoping to have "something for everyone". Your Beginners can participate by playing pre-dealt hands (on a  day of their choice) and comparing their bidding and play against an expert's view. We are hoping to set-up local Bridge Hubs where your club players could attend (or host) a specific day's simultaneous pairs. Alternately they could play on line and we will be organising coaching sessions nearer the time to assist.


Would you have the same boards being played? If so, the Friday players who also play on Thursdays (and I am one of them) would have a distinct advantage!

 No, We hope to send out five separate sets of hands for each of Mon-Friday such that you can play as many times as you wish.


Comprehensive list of ALL u3a clubs in each District - click on the link to access...

East Midlands
East of England
North East
North West
Northern Ireland
South East
South West
West Midlands
Yorkshire & the Humber

Thanks to Fran, for the resourcing.


Click here for link to u3aBridgeGroup Bridgeweb site