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Just For Clubs - Setting Up Your Bridgemates

By Bill Jacobs

Does your club use bridgemates for scoring? Do you provide pre-dealt hands, hand records and a results website?

If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then this article is for you.

Bridgemates, particularly the hideously expensive Bridgemate II, provide a host of options for how they operate. I want to focus on just one of them: the display of what other tables did on a board.

At the clubs where I played and directed, the other table results were available for display. You would enter your result, the bridgemate would say: "View Results?", and you could then discover how well you scored.

Then I started directing at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, and they have set up their bridgemates not to display this data. I was shocked: wouldn't it vastly detract from the players' enjoyment not to see how good, or bad, each score was?

Surprisingly, they didn't seem to mind.

And then I started to notice that the game was a little bit quieter than normal. And quicker. No rising hubbub every 7 minutes as someone read out the other results, and the table discussed them.

And volume and speed are not the only benefits of being unable to view the other tables' results. No longer do the North-South pair have to peer over or ask, whilst the East or West player (the one who verified the score) looks at the results. No longer do players argue over why they got a bottom, and assign blame. No longer does one have to listen to an opponent say, nauseatingly: "it's a top for us, partner".

Such relaxation! And what do you lose? Nothing really. You have the hand record at the end of the game. You can go home and look at the web-site in privacy. That will have all the details you need. Whether your club uses Altosoft, or Bridgemaster, or Bridgewebs, the data is all there, pleasingly arranged for your viewing pleasure.

I decided to try switching off the display of results at my club, Northern Bridge Club in Rosanna. I turned it off for a few sessions, and then polled the players on their opinions.

There was over 90% approval for not showing results. And trust me, just about everyone voted: this was no postal plebiscite! People have a real opinion on these matters. And the approval was forceful: "so much more pleasant" was a constant refrain. I hadn't realised how much rancour and discomfort this reviewing of other table results had been causing.

Of the few people who didn't like the change, a common reason was: "I want to know how I am going, during the game." There is a solution to this (with Bridgemate IIs). You can allow players to view their ranking at the end of each round. Essentially, this is barometer scoring. I switched that option on, and now players can optionally take a look at their rank at the end of each round.

Not too many pairs bother, and the feature is entirely non-intrusive, but it's there if players want to know their current position.

There are a couple of side effects of not displaying other table results. Players cannot pick up blatantly incorrect scores from other tables, although the best scoring programs do a decent job of this anyway. That's a small negative, but a big positive is that should a score get entered against the wrong board (usually the board the table is about to play), you no longer see those results. This of course is a Very Good Thing.

In summary, I recommend your club at least trial turning off the display of other table results. You might be surprised by the response.

(Thank you Bill for you permission to reprint this article - VBA Bulletin Sept 2017)


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