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What Might a “virtual” NABC look like?

The ACBL’s summer Nationals in Montreal are (roughly) four months out and its far from clear whether the Face-to-Face event can / should be run. In the case of the Spring Nationals, the outbreak of the coronavirus was essentially coincident with the event itself. And, regretfully, I don’t think that there was any practical way to run many events online. (It’s nice that a variety of teams are volunteering to play demo matches that people can watch, but this is very different from running actual ACBL sanctioned events)

However, July’s a while from now and there might be enough time to plan / build / support virtual events that might be run even if the F2F event had to be cancelled. It might be interesting to try and kickstart some discussions about what some of these events might look like.

I’m going to throw a couple examples up there: I welcome other suggestions / comments / what have you.

Event 1: “The Century” Individual

The idea here is to provide a game that is as secure as possible. As such, we’re willing to sacrifice a whole bunch of other features such as duplicating boards, knowing who you are playing against, etc. in order to make it as difficult as possible for players to collude.

  • The ACBL specifies some standard system for the event
  • Four players get randomly assigned at a table
  • No user names are displayed (you’re listed as North, South, East, West)
  • The hand gets dealt and played
  • Scores are assigned using total points
  • After one board, players can either go to a new table or exit the event

I called the game “The Century”. The reason for this is that there is going to be an awful lot of luck intrinsic to this type of event. And, as such, you need to make sure that players complete a whole lotta boards for this all to even out. I haven’t run any numbers, but I’m guessing that 100 or so hands would offer a decent amount of protection against getting bad hands / drawing bad partners.

This is obviously very different that the pairs and teams events that folks normally compete in, however, for folks who claim that the game has gotten too complicated and bidding is too confusing – well, this is for all intents and purposes old school rubber bridge…. It would be interesting to see how things went.

Event 2: The Mini-Bridge Century Individual

An even simpler version of the game, this time based on minibridge.

  • Three players are seated at the table
  • Hands are dealt
  • The hand with the most HCP’s is declarer
  • His partner is dummy
  • Declarer choses the contract (1N, 2M, 3m, any game, any slam)
  • Score are assigned total points style

The goal for this event is not so much to have a rated event that is assign Master Points, but rather to have an entry level game that new players can compete in even if they have (almost) no experience with bridge. Ideally, the ACBL might try to do some promotions around this…

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