Bob Northam at his computer for a game of online bridge.
Bob Northam at his computer for a game of online bridge.

Bridge players take to the world wide web

WITH four people sitting arounda card table, well within 1.5 metres of one another it is no wonder bridge players have taken to the internet.

Card games were one of the first things ruled out under coronavirus restrictions as people were ordered to keep their distance, though Clarence Valley bridge players have found a solution.

Grafton Bridge Club president Bob Northam said more than 70 per cent of members had joined the only online bridge club in the country - Stepbridge Australia

"It has allowed them to continue playing the game they love in the comfort of their own homes," he said.

"A GBC Whatsapp group has allowed members to organise games and remain socially connected whilst in isolation which is great for everyone's mental health.

"Club members have continued to play on Tuesday nights and Thursday afternoons socially on Stepbridge.

"For those members of a more competitive nature Stepbridge has tournaments for all skill levels of players from Novices to Open and members can play in about 4 different time slots everyday of the week."

Mr Northam said it was not uncommon for some online tournaments to be full with players from around the country.

"These online tournaments can have up to one hundred pairs playing with players from all over Australia."

"As you wait for the tournament to begin it is not uncommon to find the temperature is 29 in Airlie Beach, 3 degrees in Yass and sunny in Clontarf West Australia.

"Some of our members have taken to tournament play like ducks to water and are playing two a day almost every day."

Mr Northam said local members have had varied successes in these tournaments but a highlight for the club was Carolyn Seymour and Dennis Ford won an an Open tournament last week.

"If you have lots of time on your hands while self isolating and would like to learn the game of bridge check out our website and contact a committee member for details on how we can help," he said.

Their website can be found at https://www.bridgewebs.com/grafton/



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