KNOWLEDGE / BRIDGETIME SCORE
The six major frustrations with bridge scoring systems
A bridge club depends on a system for scoring tournament results. Scoring systems can be anything from manual scoring to modern online scoring software.
But what are the biggest frustrations that bridge clubs experience with bridge scoring systems today? We have put together the frustrations that most frequently recur in our discussions with bridge clubs.
The scoring system may impede the development of the club
Many bridge clubs score tournament results manually or use older scoring programs. In the worst case, these scoring methods can impede the club’s development.
It is difficult to recruit tournament directors
The tournament director needs to have excellent bridge skills to score results by hand. In many bridge clubs there is often only one person who can do this, and the club is highly dependent on that one person.
The older scoring programs used by many bridge clubs also require tournament directors to have significant computer skills as they use obsolete technology.
The need for tournament directors to have both bridge and computer skills put members off from offering to be tournament directors. Consequently, many bridge clubs find it difficult to recruit a new tournament director when someone retires. If no tournament director with the requisite skills can be recruited, the very survival of the bridge club may be under threat.
The Bridgetime Score scoring software eliminates the above disadvantages as no particular computer or bridge skills are required to use it. The only skill required is the ability to use a web browser. Bridgetime Score is intuitive and easy to learn. In principle, it means that all club members can be match directors, which makes it easier for the club to recruit them.
Match directors should not be confused with tournament directors. A tournament director needs in-depth knowledge of the rules of bridge so that, for example, they can make a final decision on an issue. Bridgetime Score is so easy to use that match directors can lead a match without in-depth knowledge of bridge. If a decision needs to be made on an issue, a more experienced tournament director can provide assistance.
The club offers a limited range of types of game
The older scoring programs used in bridge clubs are difficult to apply to games other than pairs tournaments for many tournament directors. Swiss pairs, for example, is hardly ever played at bridge clubs today. Barometer tournaments also involve a great deal of additional work for the tournament director. Team tournaments are especially difficult to hold. They are usually played with manual protocols and manually scored match results, even at clubs that use a scoring program. Consequently, pairs tournaments are often played at clubs instead.
Bridgetime Score can be used to hold all tournaments, regardless of the type of game, in the same way as for pairs tournaments. All that needs to be entered on the table is the contract, opening leads and results. Bridgetime Score handles the rest. For a Swiss pairs tournament, Bridgetime Score calculates pairs’ table places for the next round as the game progresses, and the places are displayed on the table straight after each round. For a barometer tournament, Bridgetime Score displays the results of the round on the tablet before the next round starts. This includes how others played the boards, the round results and the overall positions so far. For a team tournament, Bridgetime Score scores the match results (VP) straight after each match, and displays a full match protocol on the tablet, board by board with won and lost IMPs. All game results are also displayed automatically after the tournament on the club’s own tournament website: ”www.your_clubname.bridgetime.eu”.
Manual scoring of tournament results is time-consuming
When we talked to members of bridge clubs who score game results by hand, the following frustrations emerged.
It takes a lot of time to score results manually
Scoring tournament results by hand often takes more than an hour after the end of the game. The manual protocols also need to be checked again to minimise errors.
Communicating results manually is also cumbersome as the results have to be distributed by email or printed and handed out at the next tournament. Or they have to be entered on a PC for display on a website.
Hard to correct incorrect entries
On account of the human factor, manual protocols sometimes contain errors. Incorrect manual protocols are often difficult to correct afterwards and sometimes an entire board needs to be discarded. And if a decision needs to be made, it takes extra time.
Another problem that creates frustration is when a board has been replaced in the wrong compartment. It is then very complicated or almost impossible to correct the error afterwards with manual scoring, and the board often needs to be discarded.
It is also difficult to level out the points scoring manually when one board has not been played as many times as other boards.
Solution to frustrations 3 and 4
The solution is to use a computer program to score bridge results. There are many scoring programs to choose from. Unfortunately, most scoring programs are obsolete and require tournament directors to have excellent computer and bridge skills to use them. The solution is to use scoring software that requires neither computer skills nor bridge skills. Bridgetime Score is such software. As it is also easy to learn and intuitive to use for both match directors and players, the transition from manual scoring to using Bridgetime Score is simple.
Older scoring programs are cumbersome to use
Local installation on a PC requires IT skills
Older scoring programs require local installation on the club’s PC. The software has to be downloaded and installed. Software updates also need to be downloaded and installed and in some cases another program is required to integrate match data from the card table with the scoring program. All of this means that the club needs someone with IT skills to perform the installations.
The whole solution also requires ongoing maintenance of the club’s IT environment, which includes updating the operating system on the PC, managing server apps, various device drivers, backup apps, etc. This also requires IT skills.
Older scoring systems also often consist of a combination of software for scoring match results (most software was developed in the early 2000s when PCs and Windows entered the mainstream) and modern technology such as wireless networks. The combination of old and new technology makes the scoring system as a whole complicated and difficult to use. Several programs need to be integrated and there are many sources of errors, with the result that troubleshooting is difficult and requires excellent IT skills.
Programs are now developed as cloud services, also known as software as a service, which means a web-based program that is provided online. Bridgetime Score is such a program. All you need to use Bridgetime Score is a web browser, for example Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Edge, Google Chrome or Apple’s Safari. The cloud service offers the club many advantages. For example, the club no longer needs its own IT environment and all data is managed in the cloud service. The club therefore no longer needs any IT skills. It does not need to download or maintain other programs or worry about backups as they are automatic with Bridgetime Score. Bridgetime Score is subject to constant maintenance and development. New versions of the program are installed in the cloud as they are developed, without the club noticing.
Older scoring programs have a limited service life
Most scoring programs on the market are so antiquated that they have been overtaken by new technology. Adapting these systems to the new cloud technology is very difficult as they are too technologically advanced. In principle, this means that the entire scoring program has to be rewritten. It is therefore very unlikely that the developers of older systems will develop new scoring systems as cloud services. None of them has done so yet.
As the older scoring programs have a limited service life, bridge clubs have to be prepared to switch to a modern program at some stage. The next generation of match directors will also find it hard to use the obsolete scoring programs.
When making the transition from an obsolete scoring program to a new program, it is important for the new program to be as user-friendly as possible to make the transition as smooth as possible for both tournament directors and players. Bridgetime Score is based on the same principles as other online software and is therefore intuitive and easy to learn.
It also uses state-of-the-art technology. All you need to use Bridgetime Score is one tablet per card table, a tablet or PC to lead the tournament and an internet connection in the tournament premises (a landline connection or a mobile broadband modem). The tablet can be of any known brand.
For all pairs tournaments, Bridgetime Score automatically creates a PBN (Portable Bridge Notation) file with the tournament results, formatted according to the international standard. The file can then be imported by other bridge systems. For simultaneous tournaments organised by Svenska Bridgeförbundet, the Swedish bridge association, Bridgetime Score automatically creates an mc2 file with the club’s results.
Bridgetime Score has maximum data security and is backed up every 24 hours. The entire operating environment is monitored continuously every minute from various locations worldwide. Bridgetime Score is available 24/7/365.