LONDON August 14th 2001
Australian enthusiasts will get more opportunities to play bridge on the internet thanks to an agreement signed this month with the British-based International On-line Bridge Club (IOBC) who provide the well established "Bridge Player LIVE!" software.
The agreement, which follows negotiations with the Australian Bridge Federation means the IOBC will provide an online bridge service for a trial period lasting up to two years. Under the arrangement there will be two phases during which the Australian Bridge Federation can assess the value of the service. In the first phase, which is scheduled to last 6 months, the IOBC will allow ABF members through their own organisation to play online using the service the IOBC provides currently to the English Bridge Union. In the second phase, the IOBC may provide the ABF with its own dedicated Online Bridge Server located in the UK or Australia.
Nick Justice, Managing Director of the IOBC, said today "The increasing popularity of online bridge coupled with the growing number of bridge enthusiasts throughout the world is the driving force behind this agreement. Our experience of running the online bridge service for the English Bridge Union puts us ahead of many of our competitors and the ABF have recognised this fact in signing this agreement. We look forward to working with the ABF to make this evaluation a positive membership benefit for their members." The IOBC estimates that the site would attract some 1500 members during the first 18 months.
Sue Maxwell,the EBU Marketing Manager in conversation with John Hansen who manages the ABF Masterpoint Centre in Perth, said "England and Australia have enjoyed a reciprocal agreement regarding Master Points and players that play on the ABF Online club may earn Master Points using a well tried and successful formula (similar to the USA) whereby, only one third of the Master Points earned online may be used towards any rank. Therefore no rank can be achieved by playing online exclusively.
I must say that since doing this ourselves on our online club, many members have appreciated this new service, especially people to whom access to a 'real' duplicate bridge club is difficult. The service is, of course, free, as part of their membership to the EBU"
Under the agreement, each month, the Bridge Player LIVE! server will send electronically, all Master Points that have been earned online by Australian participants and these may be registered to those points to members name on the ABF master point ranking list after applying the ABF formula.
The IOBC will also provide a dedicated email discussion group and a dedicated web forum similar to those provided for the EBU members through its website dedicated to their on line players at http//www.ebuonline.co.uk
The International On-Line Bridge Club (IOBC) http//www.bridgeplayer.com launched its latest Java client earlier this year, (a Chinese version is has just been released) thus enabling the widest range of users (including Apple/MAC owners) to enjoy its on line bridge service with players from around the world. This version operates alongside its well established Windows product that has been running for over 6 years.
JOINTLY ISSUED BY
The International On Line Bridge Club Limited
14 Landons Close, Prestons Road London E14 9QQ England
Contact Nicholas A. Justice, Managing Director
Tel +44 (020) 7538 8215
Fax +44 (020) 7515 3887
The Australian Bridge Federation
PO Box 397
Fyshwick, ACT 2609 Australia
Contact Keith McDonald
Telephone (02) 6239 2265
Fax (02) 6239 1816