Exploring the Internet… by Al Levy

You could live your bridge life on the Internet, with everything from online play to watching Vugraph shows, news to forums, lessons to e-magazines, you name it and it’s there.  I started to put together the best websites for North American players and bridge enthusiasts, and was amazed at what a wealth of great websites I found. The best of them are listed on my webpage, “explore the world of bridge on the Internet” www.allevybridge.com/allevy/worldofbridge.html  My categories include: Youth; Online Lessons, Teachers and e-Magazines; For Teachers; Blogs and Forums; Online Play; Robot Play; International Websites; Books and Software; Marketing; Video Clips and Players in the News; Travel; and My Favorites.

An example of the variety of great websites can be seen in the Youth category.  You can see at the 12 websites listed some of the best youth programs in North America and throughout the world.  There are also 4 links explaining why kids benefit from bridge.

In the Online Lessons category there are a number of sites to improve your game.  Let me recommend pointing any aspiring advanced player to Howard Schutzman’s site, bridgesights.com/hondobridge, where you will find an excellent set of free lessons on play and bidding.  Also go to my Newcomer webpage at www.allevybridge.com/allevy/beginners.html The material and presentations are conducive to learning.

My favorite category is Marketing, especially the YouTube video clips.  The number of informative interviews of our bridge personalities is growing.   I recommend the video clips of Hall of Famers, many of whom let you inside their personal world.  Also, you can see many write-ups of well known bridge players published in the mainstream media, and links to peanuts cartoons where Snoopy plays bridge.

There is such a variety of entertainment on the Internet.  Look for the complete series of Bols tips or the Goren TV series.  Read the bridge column in the New York Times online.  I recommend surfing bridgebum.com, a reference site for bridge.  Interested in the world of social bridge?  Check out Maggy Simony’s Bridge Chronicles.  The now famous 92-year old Ms. Simony was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal. Want to read an interesting free e-magazine, one with an International flavor and with the most interesting interviews? Go to the Italian website, neapolitanclub.altervista.org.

My wife, Beverly, and I are hooked on a robot game.  Almost every day we play, separately, a 16-board set using one of the best robots, many-time world champion Wbridge5, in the other three seats.  Our individual overall scores are compared to a few hundred others who play the same set.  Go to bridgez.net to download the software.  It will keep you sharp and improve your game.  One caveat…it’s a French site (English isn’t always the best and you need to check on the conventions used).  Also look at the many robot sites and other online robot games available.  FunBridge has excellent graphics and works on iPad as well as a PC.

I participate in the BridgeWinners.com forum, where you will find the top players discussing bridge and bridge happenings.  Look at the collection of bridge blogs under Blogs …and more.  All this and I haven’t even mentioned online bridge play.  Of course you can play sanctioned bridge at BridgeBase Online, OKbridge and Swan Games.  I recommend surfing BBO for free non-sanctioned play or just to kibitz or watch Vugraph shows and much, much more…it will keep you entertained like no other site on the Internet.  Did you know that online play takes place all over the world at many International sites?  Take a look at the sample shown under International Online Play.

Explore the world of bridge on the Internet.  It will amaze you and entertain you.  Now if we could just let the rest of the world in on our secret, maybe we will once again be the game to play by everyone.  The Internet could make it happen!

Marketing our Game…by Al Levy

OK…enough bridge hands.  I met someone the other day who never heard of bridge!  Something is wrong.  The media is ignoring us, except for a few stories about successful business personalities who play bridge, some pics of retirement communities groups, and some PR when we come into a town with a NABC.  That’s all good, but not nearly enough.  We need to develop our own stars and grab some serious press.  A 50+ million play social bridge all over the world and organized bridge is healthy and growing in many countries.

We have the best ‘game’ of all times, the resources and organizations, the entrepreneurs, the stars and personalities, the national and International big events, and now we have the Internet.  Word is that ‘the word’ spreads fast on the ‘net.

There are websites focusing on youth, online lessons, teachers, online activities and play, International news,  major events, marketing, travel, books, supplies, software…some free stuff including bridge tools and robot play.  There are blogs and forums.  Websites, such as Bridge Winners, are bringing players together for a better bridge experience.   There are great video clips on YouTube and more.   I’ve put together a webpage “explore the world of bridge on the Internet” as a step toward looking at the big picture, with a focus on ways to spread the word to youngsters, adults and the media.

Marketing our game is all important.  That includes a national campaign to market through the Internet.  It’s a domino effect…if bridge is cool, kids will want to play...adults will be interested in everything from human interest stories to who’s who in the bridge world…and the media will follow, as well as sponsors.

Any ideas are welcome.  If you go to… http://www.allevybridge.com/allevy/worldofbridge.html  let me know about other websites.  The list is not complete as there are 100s of sites, but many are not up to date, too local or lacking in some way.