Speed up by making a claim
This article is for those who find themselves running out of time in most rounds. You might not think you are slow, but do your boards often disappear before you finish playing them?
One step towards speeding up is to become comfortable with making a claim, or making a concession. To do this you will need to practice.
Firstly you always need to keep an eye on the clock and remember that there are only six minutes per board. With only three minutes left, BBO will stop you from starting the last board.
Press ‘Claim’ and write an explanation about why you will win the tricks e.g. “All trumps, top hearts”. This is the same in face-to-face bridge.
With BBO, the best time to claim is after you have just won a trick. All four hands will then be visible to your opponents.
Both opponents have to agree to your claim for it to be accepted. If one or both don’t accept, the hand has to be played out.
To make a claim work smoothly, the declarer needs to clearly explain their intended line of play AND the opposition needs to examine the cards carefully to see if this is correct.
Next time you believe you will win the remaining tricks, have a go at claiming!
In order to see what happens and have it explained again, I have found this YouTube video.
Running out of time and score adjustments
Recently there have been concerns from some players about score adjustments that have been made after the hand has been timed out.
In all the sessions that I run, I allocate six minutes per board and this is sufficient for the vast majority of players to complete the three boards of the round. If I allocated seven minutes per board, then the majority of players would have long breaks between rounds, which they do not find satisfactory. With face-to-face bridge I can move players for the next round when a table is slow and so only inconvenience a couple of tables. However, with online bridge that is not possible.
It is the responsibility of players to bid and play, without long deliberations, in order to keep within the time period. This means that players need to keep an eye on the clock. Also, the declarer can claim for making a certain number of tricks, when it is clear that they will make those tricks. This saves time that can then be used on a more difficult hand in the same round, plus it allows the score to be known before time runs out.
I have seen time being consumed when there are many chat messages asking for more information about bids. Players can minimize the number of questions by putting in their basic system summaries on the page ‘Account-Settings’, under ‘Other’ which is under ‘Real Name’, OR by adding a chat message in the Chat Manager that details your system which you can display at the beginning of each round.
If you would like more detail about a bid you can either press on the bid itself or you can write a more specific question by pressing on the bidder's name and sending a private message. If someone asks you for more detail about your bid, please give the length and strength as agreed with your partner and NOT specifically what is in your current hand.
Now what happens if, after doing all the above, you still run out of time?
The system (or in some cases the Director) looks at the hand onwards from the point at which play has been curtailed. The general score adjustment process: the system's single dummy analyser automatically assigns a result for any board where 6 or more cards have been played (providing there are not multiple lines of play remaining). For the other situations where less cards have been played or where the final result is less obvious, the system simply flags the board for further examination by the director.
Sometimes players complain that their opponents dawdled in the play of the hand, presuming that the declarer could see that they would go down and thus hoping for an average if they ran out of time. This is why assigning a score for any unfinished board is important, providing it can be determined.
In conclusion it is best if you try to ensure that you never run out of time!
New feature to see how others did better than you.
Results from last Friday 27th August will have a new feature.
Click on your name to see how you went with each board. If there is one on which you did badly, click on the Board number. You will see what others bid and scored.
Now the new feature is found if you click on the symbol (normally an "M" for Movie) to the far right of each score. You will be taken to a page the shows the hand and contract.
When you press "Next" the first card played will be showed. Continuing to press "Next" you will see how the hand was played.
To reduce how many times you need to press "Next", you can press on "Options" and choose "Advance card by card". Then you will only have to press "Next" once per trick.
Have fun and I am sure you will learn a lot from reviewing your boards.
How do I setup a statement about my system?
There are two ways to do this.
(1) You can go to the Account Tab, and under your Real Name, there is a light grey "Other". You can type over this with a brief summary of your system, eg SA, Better minor, !NT= 15-17, weak 2s, Blackwood etc"
This will reduce the number of questions you get about your system.
(2) Another option is to write a message in Chat Manager. To do this click on the white section where messages appear and you will see a range of options, press "Chat Manager". Then you will see a line labelled Message. Type your statement there and then press the Add button.
When playing, you can open up Chat Manager and press on your message, check that it is going to the Table, and then press Chat.
You could do this at the beginning of each round to introduce yourself and give a summary of your system, eg "Hi This is Sue and Jan, We play Standard American, Better minor, NT=15-17, weak twos, Blackwood, ...."
How do you ask your opponent about their bid?
If there is no explanation for a bid or you just want to check, you can ask by
(1) press on the bid - a bubble will appear that indicates to the bidder that more detail is required, or
(2) you can press on the player's name and then you can message them with a specific question, eg is this weak or strong?
The player who is questioned needs to answer about what the bid means in their system, NOT the exact nature of their current holding.
Messaging during a bridge session
I sometimes get messages that end up on my computer when the player meant the message to be received by everyone at the table.
You need to change the direction of your message to Table during a session.
If you have a PC, it is easy to fix as you just have to look to the left of the message line and press on the blue rectangle to choose "Table".
On an iPad, you can make use of the time at the end of the round, or wait until you are dummy to fix the problem.
You need to press the Message tab and then on the next screen press Chat at the top of the screen. At the bottom of the screen is the word "Channel". Press on the line below and select Table
Help with revision of a session
If you want to see the BBO movies of your session in order to see how other tables scored better than you, go to
There will be a list of Quiet Club sessions. If you want to see the sessions from Alexander, RSY or MCC, you need to substitute the club number instead of 3441 to 3304, 3448, 3406 respectively.
Click on the session,
Click on your percentage (in blue)
You ca see how you played the hand by pressing "Movie" and you can see how others went on that hand by pressing on "Traveller". If you would like to see how they played the hand, then press on their "Movie"
If you do this with your partner, then you will be able to refine you system and work out how you could have played or defended each hand better.
Other information sheets can be found at http://www.laikel.com/2020/clubs/BBO-articles.html#
The easiest way to get to the session is
Log into Bridgebase Online (BBO)
Press Virtual Clubs
Find the club name and press on the title
Then enter our partner's BBO name and press invite. They need to be online at the time and they press Accept.
You should then be able to see your BBO names in the Entries.
If you need to get some more BBO money
press on this article Purchasing BBO money