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Playing A-part Together

With face-to-face bridge paused because of the outbreak of COVID-19, more than 50 Congresses and other events have been cancelled since mid-March. Most clubs are still closed. However, where there is a will, there is a way: the Australian bridge community has moved many club sessions and tournaments online. While most of these are on BBO, other online bridge platforms have also had an upsurge of activity.

We don't know if this foreshadows a permanent change in "bridge life", but if change is the only constant, it is good to see that we are adapting, learning and evolving. At the time of writing, more than 3,000 NSW players have tried playing in BBO tournaments hosted by the ABF and by NSW Virtual Clubs. 

The State Veteran Pairs from 24-26 July will (we believe) be the first online state event in history. If you have turned/will turn 70 before the end of 2020, why not give it a go? For the first time ever, you won't need to make any travel arrangements! Please view the details in the program brochure and enter online.
The ABF is now running the National Online Pairs on BBO every Sunday at 2.30pm start. The first session was on 31 May: congratulations to Eugene Graczynski - Wieslaw Przewozniak (NS winners) and Lori Smith - Barbara Travis (EW winners, with a remarkable score of over 73%). Effective from 7 June there is a separate field for Restricted players (fewer than 300 masterpoints). Details about how to enter etc can be found on the ABF website.

An ABF Youth event will be held on BBO from 26 June to 26 July, 2020. All states and territories are being invited to enter a team.
The NSWBA is asking for expressions of interest (EOI) from eligible NSW players.
Important things to consider:

  • You must be born on or after 01-01-1995.
  • EOIs from pairs are preferred, but individuals can apply as well.
  • The event format will be a double round robin against all the other states followed by a 48 board final. There’s no set schedule – team captains organise a mutually agreeable time to play each match.
  • The event is played online using BBO. You must be a registered BBO user. Prior experience playing on BBO is useful, but not essential.
  • EOIs to be received by Monday 15th June.

To submit an EOI, email providing your name, BBO username, ABF number and preferred email address (and the corresponding information for your partner if applying as a pair).
If more than 6 players apply, a selection committee will pick the team.
For more details go to

Travel Alert
- Coronavirus Update

As at 29 May 2020
The Australian Government is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and restrictions are currently in place regarding travel and public gatherings.
For the latest information about restrictions in NSW, please refer to the NSW Government COVID-19 website.

What can I do?
From 1 June, 2020 the following will be permitted in NSW:
  • travel to regional NSW for a holiday
  • visits to museums, galleries and libraries
  • pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants can have up to 50 customers
  • beauty and nail salon operators can begin treatments under strict COVID-safe guidelines
  • caravan and camping parks can open
  • some NSW National Parks will be open
A full list of current restrictions and the latest health advice is available at
Domestic Travel
NSW residents will be able to take a holiday anywhere in NSW from Monday 1 June, 2020 when intra-state travel restrictions are lifted.
Travellers from interstate will be able to visit NSW for a holiday from 1 June but will need to comply with the rules of their home state when returning.
While regional NSW will welcome visitors with open arms, holidaymakers should call their planned accommodation venues, attractions and tourism operators to ensure they will be open and confirm bookings before travelling.
Visitors and businesses must follow the latest health advice in terms of physical distancing, practicing good hygiene, and staying home if feeling unwell.
A number of Australian states have closed their borders and restricted intrastate travel. NSW has no border restrictions in place. Refer to the NSW Cross Border Commissioner for details.
Only residents and essential personnel will be permitted to travel to Lord Howe Island during the travel ban (effective 22 March 2020 until at least 18 June 2020), and anyone returning to the island will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

International Travel
At this time, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members are permitted to travel to Australia. All travellers arriving in Australia must self-isolate in a designated facility (such as a hotel) for 14 days in their port of arrival. See Australian Border Force for more information.
An international travel ban is in place for all Australian citizens and permanent residents with few exceptions.

Health and Hygiene
For information on how to protect yourself and others against COVID-19, please follow Australian Health and NSW Health expert advice
Good hygiene and physical distancing recommendations include:
  • Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Practice physical distancing by standing two arm lengths apart (1.5m) at all times

Upcoming Events

Events from now to 2 August (events that were planned for the coming year and have not yet been cancelled are shown HERE).

For face-to-face events, please double-check with the host to confirm whether it is proceeding as planned.

Aug 2 (Sun) Trumps Bridge Centre
Winter Teams

Jul 24-26 (Fri-Sun) State Veterans Online Pairs

Jun 26 - Jul 26 Online Youth Tournament

Every Sunday, 2.30pm start National Online Pairs (Open and Restricted)
BBO Stories by
Rakesh Kumar

When both sides have distributional hands, sometimes you might need to consider if your bid will "force" opponents to game. Rakesh had some fun being forced online!

Having fun with bridge on line #1
When the opponents force (you?) to game …
Book Review
Planning The Defense
by Barbara Seagram & David Bird

You defend twice as many hands as you play. Defeating a borderline contract can make a huge difference. Paul Lavings believes defence may be more important than bidding and declarer play. 

Click on the image for a full book review by Paul Lavings:
Be a Director
The Director's Courses have been put on hold for the moment. However our service of marking exam papers is still available. If you would like to make use of this unexpected free time to complete your examination, please feel free to email the paper to

We will keep you informed about when we will be able to resume the Director's Courses. In the meantime, please express your interest in hosting Director's Courses (if you represent a club) or in taking the Director's Course (if you're a player).

To better understand situations that arise when a director is called, Matthew McManus has explained several of them in detail, together with the reasons behind the rulings. His articles are written from the perspective of players – you may find them helpful in your quest to be a better congress player. Review his columns here >
The Association is pleased to acknowledge this 2019 Award. There are four categories:
  • Open
  • Intermediate <750 MPs
  • Restricted <300 MPs
  • Novice <100 MPs
Click HERE for our current list, as at 31 December 2019. This award is based on masterpoints earned at Congresses held under the auspices of the NSWBA during the year.
The NSWBA has decided to establish a central psyche register for all congresses held in NSW.

The laws permit players to deviate from their systemic agreements so long as the partner of the player who does so has no greater reason to be aware of this deviation than the opponents. Once your partnership has a history of deviating from its agreements in a certain situation you are required to inform your opponents of this tendency.

If you feel that your opponents have psyched against you, please email details of the hand to the psyche register – no action will be taken against players who are reported to the psyche register but once a pair has multiple entries in the psyche register, congress directors will be informed so that they are aware of this history when making their rulings.

A form which can be used for submissions is available HERE.
The eCongress News is a monthly newsletter published by the NSW Bridge Association. It updates you with the latest congress info, interesting hands and analysis from events, and tips regarding bridge laws.

Subscribe now >
NSW Bridge Association
+61 2 9264 8111
Level 1, 162 Goulburn Street,
East Sydney 2010
Do you have a story to tell or a photo to share after playing in a congress? Let us know, we will be pleased to publish it. 
Submit your stories / photos>

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