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Hybrid sessions

We had a club committee meeting last night. One of the main topics was the lack of numbers at our regular sessions. We currently only get half the numbers we did pre-Covid. Having looked at other Bridge club sites this halving seems quite typical. It was suggested that there were two main reasons for members not playing at the club: a. wariness regarding Covid: b. not enough tables and the likelihood of a 3 or 4 table sit-out. The possibility was suggested that a hybrid session could be run thereby increasing the number of players and that may enable the club to survive - the view was expressed that we may not get back up to more regular numbers until next spring.
I promised to post a message on the EBU forum website to see what advice there might be regarding running a club hybrid session. It seems that while the concept may be easy to understand the practicalities might be not so easy to implement. For example, would two directors be required - one for the F2F session and the other for the on-line players (this assumes the directors would also be players)? Would extra equipment be requires at the club? Would we need robots to play? What would be the best platform to use for the on-line bridge? I'm sure there are many other factors to take into account but if anybody can help or particularly if they have experience of running a hybrid event then this would be much appreciated. Alan.
P.S. Of course, if anybody has experience of getting numbers back up (free sessions, for example) then that would also be appreciated.


  • Thanks Gordon. I'll pass on your note to other committee members. Alan

  • At Petersfield BC we have done a couple of hybrid type things as we start to return to F2F.
    Firstly we have supplemented a F2F session with a robot pair to avoid a (lengthy) sit out.
    Two board sit-outs are just about tolerable, but as AlanB says, with small fields 3 and 4 bd sit-outs may be required.
    We used a BBO Teaching table, following the procedure given in the February 2019 Club Focus, as amplified here https://www.ebu.co.uk/newsletters/?id=44&page=13. This worked very smoothly, and was appreciated by most of the players: a few hated playing on tablets, but you cant please everyone!
    I guess you will probably have to use BBO as the platform because they have the robots.
    The main issue was selecting a suitable movement. You will need a one with a stationary NS at table 1 playing the boards in ascending order. They are in EBUScore under 'specials'.

    Secondly we have run two true hybrid sessions. In each case there were ~5 F2F tables and ~5 RealBridge tables.
    Synchronising the moves is impossible, but I was still able to TD both sections. (I also played in the second event to make up numbers, but I wouldn't recommend that!. )
    The first ran well, but someone (aka me) uploaded the wrong boards in the second!
    We used RealBridge because that is the platform that these players have chosen to use during LockDown.
    I guess it would work with BBO (or other platforms) but I can't comment.
    Merging the two sections is easy with BBOtoXML see https://mirgo2.co.uk/bboextractor/index.php?section=7
    One issue which I have not yet tackled in hybrid events, is half tables; in particular a half table in each section.
    I would be interested to hear if anybody has a neat solution to that.


  • The obvious solution to the problem of having a half table in each section is to have one volunteer pair who are willing to go to the club with their laptops and to play in whichever section works best.

  • Alan - one thing that is proving very popular F2F at both Richmond and Wimbledon is incorporating either a lunch or tea break into a session.
    These sessions have proved the most popular since reopening with the number of tables in double figures, but of course they are daytime sessions and it is difficult to run such a session in the evenings unless you start earlier than the normal 7.30.
    I assume that if you are hiring a hall it may be difficult to switch sessions to the daytime as it may be being used by other organisations then, but it might be worth thinking about especially as winter approaches.

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