A Message from the President          ACBL Bridge Bulletin          August Issue

by Al Levy

The Internet is a boon to bridge.  It has changed the way the business of bridge is conducted and has greatly increased the bridge resources available to every bridge player.  The future holds many exciting possibilities for conducting business even more efficiently, promoting our game through various Internet partnerships, attracting young players, increasing our membership and generally enhancing the bridge experiences of every player.

The Board of Directors, special bridge committees and Tournament Directors conduct much of their business electronically, interacting through email and web boards.  Is teleconferencing far behind?  Most club owners transmit their club reports to the ACBL electronically.  The bulk of the vast amount of information sent to Unit and District officials is transmitted electronically or posted on the Internet.  Many bridge teachers use the Internet to teach and play with their students.

There is a wealth of Internet bridge activities and information available for every ACBL member.  Many ACBL members take advantage of some of the Internet resources available but, in general, these resources are under-utilized.  You might find it interesting to know about the full range of bridge activities available and, who knows, you might decide to start surfing the bridge-net.

The Internet is a great source of educational material for players at all levels.  Intermediate and Newcomer (I/N) players wanting to advance their game quickly, conveniently and cheaply will find the Internet particularly useful.  In my travels I encourage I/N players to improve their bridge skills by taking advantage of these free and exciting Internet resources.  Check out the beginnerís page link on my website http://www.ny-bridge.com/allevy.  It includes links to many of the best websites with excellent free lessons and quizzes.  Some of the best free websites are hosted by Richard Pavlicek, Kitty Cooper, Karen Walker, Fifth Chair and Bridge Forum International.  Linking to the ACBLís great new newcomer web page is a must.  It contains an overview of ACBL activities available to I/N players.  Also, there are two exciting software programs, developed by Fred Gitelman with funds from the ACBL, that can be downloaded for freeÖthe highly acclaimed Learn to Play Bridge I & II.

For advanced players there are online bridge publications.  The two most popular bridge magazines can be found at BridgeToday.com and BridgeWorld.com.  Caitlinís Bridge Forum International at.www.bridge-forum.com has many features for the enjoyment of advanced players.

Many clubs now have a website with club information and schedule of events.  Some clubs even post their games results on the Internet.

Almost every sponsoring organization (Units and Districts) has a website which includes their Sectional and Regional tournament information.  The tournament results of most tournaments are posted on the Internet on a day-by-day basis.  Links to these websites can be found at acbl.org.

Every player should explore the new ACBL website.  Interested in having bridge taught in a school in your area?  See the ACBLís wonderful Bridge School Lesson Program.  Are you a Junior player?  There is a special page just for you.  Look up your membership status and detailed masterpoint record, as well as the bridge races taking place in the ACBL and in your Unit.  A wealth of interesting and fun links can be found on the Cyber Library page.  The Case Books describing the NABCs appealís hearings are posted.  Most bridge regulations are posted as well as the minutes of the ACBL Board meetings.  The entire ACBL tournament calendar is posted.  Links to these websites can easily be found.  It would take a book to describe all the information available on the ACBLís website.

For general news from around the world as well as links to interesting websites, go to www.GreatBridgeLinks.com.  There are many International bridge websites that might be of interest to you.  One of the best is Anna Gudgeís bridge.ecats.co.uk

The Internet is used to run Inter Club Championship (ICC) Games.  Clubs sign up to play in advance and each game is scored across the entire field of all participating clubs.  This makes for significantly larger masterpoint awards.  Twenty-four hours after each game the results are posted on the Internet along with hand records, recap sheets and frequency charts of the hands played.

Canít attend the NABCs?  Follow the activities by viewing the Daily Bulletins online.  The finals of some of the NABC major team championships have been broadcast live.

The future holds even more exciting possibilities such as Internet TV and live broadcasting on a regular basis.  Partnerships, as with organized chess and Internet gaming sites, will lead to introducing bridge to younger players.

All this and I haven't even mentioned online bridge with its tens of thousands of players and many sites, including ACBL Online!