Back by Popular Demand – It’s Silver Linings Week!
During the May event, more than 31,000 members won silver masterpoints® by playing in Virtual Clubs on Bridge Base Online, and it’s time for another round of chances to win!
How do you participate? Simply play in your usual Virtual Club game during the week of July 27-August 2, Monday-Sunday. You’ll earn DOUBLE regular club points, which will be SILVER instead of black.
If you’re not familiar with a Virtual Club yet, it’s an online space on BBO just for your regular club – usual games with your friends to support your local club.
Here’s how Silver Linings Week works (there have been a few changes from last time):
- Any Virtual Club game that starts between 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 27, and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 2, will automatically be included in the event.
- All games will pay DOUBLE regular club masterpoints®, and the points awarded will be SILVER instead of black.
- You do not need to do anything special to participate these games; Virtual Club play is automatically included.
- This is not a STaC (Sectional Tournament at the Club). There will be no overalls or combining of scores. It’s your regular club game with new, temporary conditions.
This opportunity is only available to clubs that have created a Virtual Club on Bridge Base Online. If your club hasn’t signed up yet, it’s not too late! Club managers can fill out a short form to get started.
Black Point Online Games on Bridge Base Online
In these unusual times, ACBL has partnered with Bridge Base Online (BBO) and The Common Game to bring members a way to play and earn black, silver, red and gold masterpoints® while sheltering at home.
Events use matchpoint scoring, and masterpoints® earned in these games will count toward annual races.
Remember, as in any bridge game, cheating online is prohibited. See FAQ below for additional information.
Daily Online Events
Two kinds of events are held every day on BBO – Support Your Club Games and Daylong Tournaments.
Support Your Club Games: These pair events are held on BBO three times a day (10 a.m., 5:10 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eastern time), and the majority of the game fees will be given to your local club to help during this difficult time. The games award black points, and your partner may be any other ACBL member with a BBO account. Registration opens two hours before each game time.
Daylong Tournaments: A solo event, this kind of event is played with BBO’s robots. You have up to 24 hours to complete your game, and it doesn’t have to played all at once. You can even pause in the middle of a hand. Register anytime, and you’ll have until midnight Easter time to finish the 18 boards.
Visit your local club from home with a game in a Virtual Club on BBO. These games are the same as the regular club games held at the club, and they are similar to the Support Your Club Games (just at your club’s typical game time). If your usual club is not yet a Virtual Club, have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Special Online Events
Periodically, ACBL will hold events and tournaments on BBO that award silver, red or gold masterpoints®. New events will be announced on the ACBL site, on this page and via email. Please visit acbl.org/confirm to be sure you are receiving ACBL’s emails.
Online Bridge Event FAQ
Support Your Club games start at 10 a.m., 5:10 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. See acbl.org/virtual for special tournament schedules.
Play a few of the 18 total boards in the morning, some more after lunch and the rest in the evening. Or play them all in one sitting! Register anytime, and you’ll have until midnight Eastern time to finish the boards.
Sometimes BBO experiences network errors, this guide will explain what to do if you experience any issues.
This guide explains the different formats available for daylong games.
For an online regionally rated event, each series consists of four available sessions – series one is the first session each day for the four days, series two is the second session each day for the four days, and so forth. Players can play in as many sessions as they want of each four-session series, but the four series are separate events.
ACBL Virtual Club Games – Visitor Policy
Due to face-to-face bridge play shutting down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACBL moved quickly to allow bridge clubs to start playing online on the BBO platform. There were three main objectives to an online social bridge club project, branded as Virtual Club Games:
- Allow bridge clubs to continue to operate and generate income so that they could survive the period during which their club was shut down.
- Allow our players an opportunity to play with friends from their local club. The social aspects of bridge cannot be understated. Everyone could have played in Speedball games or Support Your Club (SYC) games, but a large majority of our players want to play with the people whom they know.
- Replace some of the table fee income that ACBL lost.
To implement Virtual Club Games, a list was created for each club. The list included players who had played in that club from January 2019 through February 2020. New ACBL members who listed a particular club as referring them were also added to the referring club’s list. What has in effect happened is that we have turned every club into an Invitational club, but the ACBL is still awarding full masterpoints®. Why did this need to be done? Why not just let everyone play wherever they want? While allowing a totally free marketplace may have actually helped objective #3 above, it would have destroyed objectives #1 and #2. If every player could play everywhere, the friendly club atmosphere goes away and, even worse, price wars could start as clubs realize that pricing their games lower than others would attract more players. Without this invitational club concept, the ACBL might as well have just started running SYC games all day every day and forgotten about Virtual Club Games.
Virtual Club Games have worked quite well, but one major issue is that the ACBL cannot totally prevent clubs from allowing players who are not on their list into their Virtual Club Games. This is due to some BBO technical limitations, particularly when it comes to non-members (we have no way of including them on club lists). There are some genuine reasons why it might be right to allow someone into a Virtual Club Game who is not on that club’s list of members. Please note that this policy will be reviewed on a regular basis and is subject to change. We have moved very quickly into the online world and continue to learn new things every day. The main objective is, as always, to do what is best for our members and our clubs.
Revised Visitor Policy
Your online club, as an invitational club, is not required to allow anyone into your Virtual Club Game who is not a member. For Virtual Club Games, a member is someone who appeared on the particular club’s list of previous players. You may, however, allow non-member players into your Virtual Club Games with the following stipulations:
- You may allow anyone who has played in your club since January 1st, 2019 who was left off your initial list of members.
- You may allow your membersto play with a visiting partner, but the number of visiting players should be kept to less than 15% of your field, on average (the ACBL will consider weekly numbers in the aggregate, not individual games).
- You are not to solicit outside players to find a partner and come play at your club. You may communicate with your members to tell them they are welcome to bring a guest partner but “selling” this too much may jeopardize your ability to stay under the allowed threshold.
- Guest pairs are allowed but will count as two visitors. This should be used for circumstances such as a couple that moved away from your area a couple of years ago or for limited point pairs looking for a game because their options are limited.
The mechanism to allow a visiting player into your Virtual Club Game is to “follow” them on BBO with your VACB ID. The problem is, once you have “followed” them, that player can register for your future Virtual Club Games without visibility to you. Nevertheless, you are responsible for keeping your visiting players under 15% of your total entries!
Violations of Visitor Policy
Repeated violations of this Visitor Policy will lead to consequences up to and including removal of the club’s ability to run online games. Please remember that your ability to run your club games online is a privilege, not a right. None of the ACBL’s 2020 club sanctions included anything regarding running games online – any sanction was solely for face-to-face games.
While on the topic of violations, this also applies to other issues that may arise. The vast majority of bridge clubs have shown a great sense of cooperation and community and have been more than willing to assist other clubs. That being said, there have been a few incidents of what the ACBL considers as unfair business practices (examples: unreasonable price undercutting, purposefully scheduling games to mirror a competitor’s schedule, naming events to appear as a competitor’s events). Please be aware that unfair business practices (including allowing too many visitors) will not be tolerated. Depending on the flagrancy and level of these violations in the ACBL’s sole opinion, warnings, suspension and revocation of a club’s VACB rights will be considered.
Effective date: July 24th, 2020
As in any bridge game, cheating in online bridge is prohibited. Do not share any private information about your hand with your partner or anyone else. Discussion via phone, video, in person or any other means is not allowed.
When you play on BBO, every call and every play are recorded. If you cheat online, you will get caught! In addition to player reports by Bridge Base Online, there are automatic surveillance tools to alert the game operators of potential cheating. If a player is found to be cheating in an ACBL-sanctioned game, the club will bar that player from BBO. In addition, the player may be subject to discipline under the ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations. Both ACBL and BBO are doing everything possible to maintain the integrity of these online games so that honest players can be confident of a fair contest.