History of the BIL

Beginners and Intermediates to Apply for Membership - Click Here

Teachers/Mentors to Register - Click Here

How It Came To Be

As a teenager I had thought about learning to play bridge but study/work/marriage/family somehow got in the way. When I retired I took up golf! While searching around under a bush one day for that ever elusive golf ball, muttering about playing bridge instead I was told that there were bridge lessons starting in a few weeks time.

The lessons went fine (well relatively so ) but then it was off to the Bridge Club - the least said the better, my friends and I were for ever in Trouble! You had to feel sorry for the Director!! After a few weeks of this I decided that I had better concentrate on golf. So I wrote my resignation -Posted it. Returning home I decided I’d take one last look at Bridge via Google and there was this reference to Bridge Base with a keyword educational - I looked, I downloaded and...

That was mid 2001. There were FOUR tables playing in the Main Bridge Club.I kibitzed awhile and read some of Fred Gitelman's notes.On his site he invited you to email him with any questions, I did. The most I expected was an automated reply (this is after all cyber space) I was absolutely amazed when the very next morning there in my inbox was a reply from him -a personal reply ! I became a devoted Fred fan and Bridge lover from that moment on. As I sat there marvelling upon this the phone rang, it was my bridge teacher - "please reconsider your resignation", she said. I did.

In 2001 on BBO there were only a few tables playing and they were, of course, all *experts* in my eyes I just kibbed and kibbed and played a little. Then Cascade - (Wayne) started giving Acol lessons in the Main Bridge Club, it was always a struggle to stop the Advanced players from taking over.

BBO continued to grow. The Main Bridge Club was, and still is, a very scary place for beginners and even for some Intermediates in which to try to play/learn and develop their game. I would no sooner find a few fellow beginners and they would be gone.  I wrote an article in the Bridge Base Forum on the need for the Main Bridge Club to be split up so that there was somewhere for the Beginner/Intermediate players to congregate. Fred’s reply made it clear that there would not be anything like that in the near future- it  became a reality in Jan 2007. In 2002 there was no tournament facility on BBO and Fred and Uday were focused on bringing that into being.

I looked at the Private Clubs and thought that maybe one of those could make do in the meantime. I did some research and wrote up a proposal but when it came to sending it off to Fred I would put it aside. I kept asking myself why on earth would he let someone who cannot even play bridge have a Private Club for the purposes of teaching people to play bridge!!!

Then the tournament room came into being and Inquiry (Ben) who is the BBO Forum Moderator for the Beginner/Intermediate section decided to hold a tournament for Beginners and Intermediates -  it too was taken over by the Advanced players as at that time there was no way to restrict a tournament to a level. He thought of starting a Private Club so he could use it’s restriction capabilities. Fred said no - Private Clubs were not for that purpose and so Ben suggested to me that I start a Club.

I dusted off my proposal, brought it up to date and taking a deep breath emailed it.   The very next morning there was an email from Fred -

Hi Maureen,  I am about to get on a plane and I may not be able to respond to e-mail until Monday, but what you are planning sounds great (I will respond in detail next week) and I have set up your private club... Regards, Fred 

Sure enough I logged on and there it was - Help!! What have I done and he’s flown away!!

And so on September 3rd 2003 The Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) was born.

The Plan:

My idea was to provide a sanctuary,

  • somewhere where mentors could bring their mentees and play in peace,
  • somewhere where teachers who wanted to donate their time could hold classes to pass on help at a beginner , intermediate level without interference from those who think they ‘know it all’.
  • somewhere where players who want to enjoy a social game without stress could play with their peers.
  • somewhere people could compete, if competition is something they enjoy , against their peers.
  • somewhere people could make friends and form partnerships.
  • somewhere I could learn to play bridge!

I have been fortunate that members both honorary and general have volunteered to give their time in helping with the administration of much of the activities that I have instigated.

  • Help for the teachers to run their sessions,
  • Help to run tournaments,
  • Contributions to the Gazette,
  • Help for members with language difficulties,
  • Help with LIN files ( aka 'movies') .
  • Help for new members
  • Help to hold hosted practice sessions
  • Help to run courses ( notably the Beginner Bridge Program )
  • Help with the movie catalogues
  • Help to arrange Special Guest Events

Without that assistance the BIL would cease to exist. I and the membership are indebted to those who provide this much needed assistance. The BIL to keep on growing and improving needs the members to co-operate with one another and to work together.

Return to Start

Through the Years:

The Early Months:

Byroner (Charlie), one of the first of the BIL’s  Honorary members, became the Guardian of the Remove Club button – during those first few months I would say, "I can't do this" and he would use logic and reason and I would promise to leave the remove club button alone for another day! He continued to take a daily part in the BIL as a broadcaster to December 2005, as Assistant Manager  from July 2004 to October 2005 and contributing a weekly column for the Gazette from January 2004 to July 2005.

During Nov 03 / Feb 04 Fred and Uday spent innumerable hours revamping the whole of the Private Club facilities - every advance took away some of the stress. I know I added to their stress with my constant Wishes!! (at one stage I had some 40 pages of them !!) 

In December 2004 I had a decision to make - give up learning/playing bridge or close down the BIL. The time involved in ruuning the BIL meant I did not have the time / energy to do both. I chose to keep the BIL going. The last time I played on BBO was during a Play with the Stars tourney in December 2004.

Much Has Happened since then

FRED has generously presented 11 of his very Special THINK with FRED sessions - the 10th to launch the BIL's 10 Anniversary celebrations ( Aug 31, 2013) - (I have one personal wish -  to be able to sit alongside him at his computer and watch him while he does one of these sessions -  it is beyond my imagining how he can analyse the cards, type his thoughts, telling you what the other players have and play the cards simultaneously, when I deal random boards ! ).

Teaching Sessions:

A wonderful group of people have volunteered to set aside time to hold regular weekly teaching sessions. It is a huge commitment in their busy lives – not only to be online for 90 min - 2 hours that each session has allocated to it but the hours of preparation of hands and notes beforehand.

In addition several World Class and Expert players have from time to time given one off special sessions.  In 2005 too a number of the Upper Intermediate members initiated sessions and presented lectures – members helping members.

From time to time special "Listen to the Experts" sessions are held where a group of expert players play and comment, explaining to members their choice of bid, lead etc.

Between them they have pioneered a host of different formats for presenting lessons. As soon as any enhancement was made by Fred/Uday to the software we were immediately seeking ways we could use these to improve / create ways of delivering the lessons (which usually ended up with my sending even more wishes to BBO Admin).

Each teacher has their own unique style and members are so very fortunate that they have so many to choose from. They use several different formats Tournament/Review, Play/Discuss, Play/Review/Discuss, Lecture/discuss.

In July 04, in collaboration with the BIL,  Jake presented a Bridge Movie Lesson – "Myths" in the Lecture Hall – to the best of my knowledge that was the first time the Lecture Hall had been used since the very early days of BBO when Fred presented a series of 9 lectures . Geofspa, Hoki an Miksa followed , however the Lecture Hall software was far from robust and BBO became focused on getting a Web based version of BBO online so the lectures were abandoned.

Several of the teachers have also made use of the BBO Chatroom and the Partnership Bidding facilities ( BBOWIN5.2.21) to conduct a lesson, sometimes moving from the BIL to there and back again.

From Dec 2007 to Dec 2008 Hondo717 took on the task of Quiz Master loading fortnightly Quiz for the Intermediate players while I provided ones for the Bginners and Youth members. In Sept 2008 - 2010 Onlyyuman took on the role of Quiz Master for a monthly Beginner quiz. Since then has been the go to teacher for answers to the BIL Library - Ask a Bridge Question facility.

In 2009 TwstofLime introduced the concept of a Beginning Bridge Program teaching the first group an 8 week course for Starter players, Bridge 101. This was followed by Bridge102 taught by XX1943, Basic Declarer play .To be followed in 2010 with Bridge 201 - Robzim Competitive Bidding and Bridge 202 Hondo717, Basic Defense. In January 2010 - 2011 Gowanlock became the Co ordinator for the program expanding the program to 2 series a year - 16:00 aand 22:00 ET to cater for a greater number of members. Spetember 2012 - 2013 DianavD took on the role. In 2013, 3 full series14:00, 16:00 and 22:00 ET being scheduled.with the help of the BBPAsst team and a BBP_Regstr and a growing team of Tutors . These are pre registered sessions in addition to the Open sessions held daily ,

Other pre-registered sessions for the intermediates were also introduced 2010/2011 Aspiring - 2/1 courses and Leggygodiv - Defense, Negative X and Cuebid courses with more being added each year by Angel Blue , Karen10, Obsugar, Peter51, Rich_a

In addition most months there are visits from Guest Expert and World Class players.

In 2011 Memex08 began holding monthly sessions to teach members how to get the most out of BBOWIN5.2.21. In 2012 members were now almost exclusively using the BBO Web Client so Sandy57 took on the task of running bi-monthly Web Client Q & A training sessions.

Welcome Help from Members

Just one week after the BIL came into being Hope (Nada) ( RIP February 8, 2017 ) volunteered to hold twice weekly Hostess sessions –  starting a table and getting members playing together, I was too busy organising to make time to do this.  I am convinced that had she not done so the BIL would not today have the reputation of being a friendly place to play.  In July 2004 she recruited and ‘trained’ a team of Host/esses  so that members can get help in several languages. Nada continued to work tirelessly for the welfare of the BIL until 2014 – with her team of Helpers they ran help tables  every Sunday throughout 2006, assisting new members in the use of the tables and answering their questions. She often had chatroom discussions for those having difficulty finding their way around.

In March 2011 I introduced the concept of daily Hosted Practice Sessions and was fortunate enough to have sufficient volunteers to be able to schedule up to 30 hours a week when a BILHost would be on duty in the BIL for new members to play with to get encouragement to open tables, ask questions about the software and get to meet fellow members for soical games.

A key factor in the continuance of the BIL in 2003 was a response I got to a bulletin that I sent out mid November 2003 asking for Volunteer Helpers -   Flytrap (Mary)  wrote to say she would be willing to give it a go and on 13 November  started as a Lounge Assistant.  On the 3 January 2004 she took on the role of Assistant Manager until November 04

To help with taking the administration issues away from the teachers so that they can – teach !  Mary recruited a team of helpers – the Lounge Assistants (now using the id BILAssist when on duty ) who keep order during a lesson and arrange the change over of players for the teachers, if required.

In 2007 MIKSA formed a group of talented programmers who undertook to convert some of the special sessions into "Bridge Movies' LIN files so members could review them at leisure . In 2009 Nome began converting Watson's Play of the Hand classic into a series of Bridge Movies, a monumental task but one that is of immeasurable value for those learning to play bridge, the movies bringing the text to life. He completed the task having converted Part 1 and Part 2 in December 2011 along with several hundred Mentoring with Hondo717 movies covering the gamut of topics. He recruited help to assist with the proofing. 2012 he has been joined by Karen10 with help from GG_Bridge converting lessons and guest visits.

In 2010 ARVINA (RIP Nov26, 2012) started on the revamp of the Bridge Movie listings to make them into searchable catalogs by Teacher and Subject - a truly mammoth task. She recruited additional help and she and her team went to work and mid 2011 the catalogs went online providing members with yet another worthwhile resource. It will be a never ending task as the library of movies continues to grow.

In February 2008 Twstoflime ( Sandy) initiated the BIL's Scribbler's Team writing numerous illustated help files for inclusion in the BIL Library's FAQ and translated Notes section . In conjuction with this effort Peterb370c formed the BIL Friends , members who would assist members to put into practice the help available in the FAQ in the About BIL section of this website. In March 2012 BILFriend group reformed headed by DianavD to sponsor new members. In Jan 2012 FM75 (Fred) started a long term project of writing up user help notes for the BBO Web Client to assist with the transition from the now outdated BBO WINdows version to the web version. This went public on Feb 12, 2012.

In October 2008 Twstoflime persuaded her friends Robzim and Onlyyuman to become the BIL's Special Event Team to enable more visits and participation from the Bridge Elite - October 2008 - Halloween Tournament of Terror, January 09 a record breaking New Year Marathon in the BIL , February 09 - Valentine Special Tournament , the June 09 Solstice Party a spectacular Team Match with 9 of the world Elite Bridge Players partnering 8 BIL Players selected by random Draw and several special tournaments with Women World Champions in September 09. Since then there have been numerous events and visits from the Bridge Elite. The marathon having become an annual event looked forward to by BIL players, teachers, mentors and BIL grads. The 2010 one running for 7 days. 2011 was restricted to 3 days with a team of EventHsts led by Sandy57. Mid 2011 Tjtoo (Joan) took over the role of Special Event Team (SET) Coordinator starting 2012 off with 4 sessions by Canadian Champion Thurston, a valantine tourney/review and for March a wearing 'o the green tourney/review, there have been many more since then. Learning4 took over the hosting of the Marathon Table NY 2016 and providing Google doc assistance for the Marathon management.

Tournaments:

In October 2003 I held  a Pro/Am Tournament  with 39 tables!  78 expert and world class players partnered a member.  Another "partner an expert"  tournament was held as part of the BIL’s first birthday celebrations.  These are a nightmare to organise!

In December 2003 MINK pioneered the addition of a regular tournament for members to compete with one another. In 2005 he began adding a review of a board selected by the players during each tournament.  He retired from this self appointed task on 10 March 2006.

Since then there have been a continuing series of  tournaments and team events. In 2005 several members started a regular weekly series of For FUN tournaments  (ave 7 per week).

14 March 2005 saw another major milestone in the BIL’s continued development with the introduction of the "ACES HIGH" tournaments. These were  pay for tournaments, entry fee $1 -  earning BBO Masterpoints and other prizes – the feature prize in April/May/June being a Monthly Draw  which included a private lesson with one of the BIL teachers , for participation not results. Spwdo (Marc) assisted with the initial set up for the Aces High series and directed the majority of the early tournaments until his duties to his own organisation took up his time.

It was hoped that these tournaments would provide funding for the ever growing costs of administration , however the numbers participating did not and still do not fulfil this need. They evolved into Play with an Expert/Star  where the guest comments on each board and a monthly Jackpot series - points awarded daily – prize money accumulating with prizes for top placings, random draws . To ease the burden of record keeping for these tournaments  Quiteacard (Pete)  introduced me to the wonder of Excel Pivot tables.  Having the website meant members were able to access the running daily totals. May 2009 Fijukeit undertook to keep the running totals up to date throughout the month. Late 2011 saw the introduction of the Power of One Masterpoint Matchup series run by Arvina and in February 2012 Sandy57 introduced the Exchange tournaments - Imps & Mpts 50% > recd on the day being converted to Reward Points which in time can be redeemed for Pvte Lessons/Books/CD/ cash etc.. The Jackpot scoring was also at this time switched to Exchange/Rewards. Arvina also built up a team of TDs - the Dreamteam - to expand the number of practice / fun tournaments being held each week, now being managed by Sandy57 and Iandouglas.

.From May 2006 to March 2007 Cheeseball (Susan) took on the task of organising a regular monthly Honorary Challenge tournament - a Special Guest reviewed each board as it is played. This was an Individual tournament offering members the chance to be able to play with the guest as partner and/or opposition. Members have been fortunate to have the opportunity of playing with several of the bridge elite. Dec 06 saw the introduction of a BridgeMaster series the main prize being access to a Set of Bridge Master deals.

May 2009 the Special Event Team introduced the monthly Honorary Invitation Tournament - Honorary members partner a BIL player in a 12 bd Imps pairs tourney with the Teachers/Mentors/Graduates commenting to the Kibs at their table and giving helpful advice to their partners when waiting for round changes, and the introduction of the New Year Marathon This was followed in 2011 with 1st/2nd and 3rd Sunday Hon/player T's with guest speaker providing a review in the BIL after the tourney.

Teams:

In 2006 Geofspa masterminded a Team League which BIL members were invited to take part in.  Fourteen teams took part. The contest was won by BILL'S BILlies.  2006 also saw the introduction of a bi monthly Youth Team tournament between the Youth groups in Germany and USA.. June 2009 - there was the Solstice Party

Throughout 2008 Hueray made provision on his Ray's Ladder website for members to hold BIL pairs and teams Ladder contests

October 2010 IanDouglas started a round robin series of team matches, followed in 2011 with a 6 team series of Knockout Matches - the winners meeting in Jan 2012 to play off for BIL Team Match Champion 2011 title . The 2012 series started in February with a 10 team round robin with a Championship match Dec 2012.

August 2013 - 2017 AlanRick took up running a weekly beginner/intermediate team match which in late 2014 morphed into Intermediates only

November 2014 - 2015 MWhitehe started a twice weekly Beginners only Team Match

Mentors:

Members are fortunate to receive help from those who

  • regularly Mentor members on a one on one basis
  • those who call in and play with members and mentor tables,
  • those who come and play in the Listen to the Expert sessions

The task of finding mentors for members was becoming onerous and on 22 May 2005 I was so very pleased to accept Aspiring's (Des) offer to become the BIL’s  Mentor Co-Ordinator.  It is a difficult and demanding task -  time zones, language difficulties, system variations and of course more members wanting a mentor than there are those with the time/skills to do the mentoring.  Des continued to build up a great team until October 2007 when she handed over the Mentor Coordinator task to Chipmonk (Chris) who continued to expand the programme.

With the launch of the BIL Library website and now having the membership database online it was decided to create an integrated Mentoring programme back office ( a Mentor Console) to streamline the cumbersome and time consuming administration. This has been a much more difficult task than it sounded and a very costly one. In January 2009 the management of the mentor programme reverted back to the BIL 'head office' for testing and practical use of the Console . DaveTaylor took on the role of Mentor Program Liaison Officer in 2010/2011. It soon became apparent that the Mentor Console would need further upgrading and this work was commissioned mid 2011. Due to the rapidly changing technology another complete rewrite was undertaken in January 2014 going live November 2014.

The numbers of members who are being helped to improve their game thanks to the dedication of so many volunteer mentors continues to grow .The feedback from those who are helped is reward in itself.

Membership:

The membership continued to grow rapidly in those early days, new members being added daily. On 29 January 2004 there were 470 members on the mailing list. On 20 June 2006 - 4810  from around the globe representing some 88 countries. The first member to join was Laird (John) .  By June 2006  some 9000+ members had passed through the BIL. On 31 December 2006 the active membership stood at 6393. On 1April 2007 - 6919. On 31 July 2008 9250, with members in 125 countries. When the Annual Support Fee was introduced January 2009 members were given to 31 March 2009 to decide whether to take up a paid membership ( $10 p.a.). The active membership dropped back to around 500 by end 2011 .Players continued to join almost daily and made the most of the 60 day free trial membership but only those serious about wanting to learn take up an annual membership.

Initially anyone who applied with a beginner, novice or intermediate skill level was accepted .When the membership first topped the 3000 more stringent membership criteria were introduced – all members were then required to be on the mailing list. Along with this change the Welcome Information Sheet  was introduced – so now every member upon acceptance receives Help Notes to enable them to make full use of all the wonderful facilities that BBO has to offer Followed 15 days later with a series of 'overview' help.

Anyone joining with beginner as their skill level was sent a comprehensive list of website links, provided and kept up to date by Sceptic. These directed the members to sites that focus on the Basics of Bridge. In 2006 these were added to the BIL Club News and today have their place in the Beginner Section on this site. Several initiatives were tried throughout 2004 to help the beginners – a blog site, beginner only tournaments, beginner only lessons and latterly the Beginner Bridge Program courses.

The BIL Library has a dedicated section for Beginners so they have their own QUIZ and Ask Bridge Question facilty

The BIL Library has a dedicated section for the Youth membership with their own QUIZ and Ask Bridge Question facility. They are the future of bridge.  In 2006  Azir (Carolyn)  in Atlanta and Chicken (Thorsten) in Germany formed groups for youngsters to join - the beginning of the BIL's Youth Section and ran bi monthly inter country Team Matches throughout 2006/2007. There is an annual promotion to encourage parents/grandparents to involve their children and bring them to the BIL to learn. In 2012 a Father in ireland googled and found the BIL and I was able to arrange for a mentor to work with his 4 children ( 6, 7 11, 12) online and face to face. The youth section was closed in 2015.

The youngest member to join was 6 and the oldest member 94.

August 2004 saw the introduction of a BIL Graduate membership to enable those members who now feel their skill levels have reached Advanced status to remain BIL members in an Honorary capacity thereby being able to return to the BIL to play with and help new members.  Mentors will recommend members to have their status changed.

The setting up of the BIL ClubNews website (by JRG) in February 2005 enabled the membership recording process to be revamped once again with the addition of an application form that members could fill in with all their details and then emailed to me for transferring to the database and ultimately onto the BBO site.

With the launch of this the bilbridge.com site my dream of an semi automated membership facility became a reality , though the additions to the BBO BIL list still had to be done manually.   -  Cross one thing off the wish list – add another!

There are considerable costs involved in administering the BIL . The BIL is of necessity self funding. I was reluctant to impose a compulsory membership fee as I would have liked the BIL to remain free for all beginner , intermediate players to join and enjoy.

From 2004 until January 2009 Members assisted by

  1. taking part in the BIL's Pay for Tournaments from which the BIL retains 5 - 20% of the entry fee (depends on the # tables playing) or
  2. by making a voluntary annual membership contribution
  3. by paying a Premium Membership fee Aug 2007 to March 2009 to have unlimited access to this site
  4. by supporting the bridge sponsored links listed in the BIL Shop

However with the ever mounting costs of maintaining and developing the BIL Library and with administration costs soaring I reluctantly introduced an Annual Support Fee of just $10 per annum in January 2009 effective from April1, 2009 . With the bank processing charges amounting up to 13% and the BBO Tax of 20% to pay it was necessary in September 2010 to increase the Annual Support Fee to $20, the Premier membership being reduced from $15 to $10 . While this did not cleared the BIL's debt it did enable the day to day expenses to be met and the work on the Mentor Console to be continued and the BIL Library site to be maintained. New members given a 60 day free trial to assess the BIL's value to them. By March 2013 Costs had continued to rise and new memberships falling so on April 1, 2013 with the restructure of the BIL the 60 day free trial was abandoned and the membership changed to a single fee of $45 p.a. which gives all members full Library access.

The net proceeds from the Annual Support Fee are used to support the BIL activities, events, prizes, website programming, mentor programme console development , mail distribution charges, administration expenses, debt reduction, and more. The BIL is not affiliated to BBO and has to fund its own activities. The BIL does not receive any sponsorship, grants, subsidies whatsoever.

Communication:

I had to learn basic LIN codes to enable the BIL’s Club News  to be created, this was available to members 24/7 accessible from the BIL Lobby on BBO. -  with much needed help received from JRG (John Goold)

Every week  (since 13 September 2003) a  News Update (renamed the Gazette in February 2005) was sent to all the members keeping members up to date with what has/is happening and providing them with valuable bridging advice from the teachers, and feature articles sent in by the Honorary membership and members.  In October 2006 I had to discontinue the practice of only emailing them as going out to over 6000 addresses invoked the ISP's spam alerts around the globe and soon large groups of members were having  the Gazette blocked.  I had to learn to convert them into a webpage so that all members could access them via the Net. Special bulletins are still emailed out periodically and in 2009 the Gazette became a monthly publication with the use of an out sourced Mailing List Provider

The Mailing List Provider also made it possible to introduce a monthly Bulletin to the Honorary membership and to be able to send regular illustrated Bulletins featuring any special events. New members are sent Help Notes to get the most out of their BIL membership on BBO and another specific to using the BIL Library website.

February 2005 Ladystar17 (Rosemary) prevailed upon her friend Lynne (who does not even play bridge!) for space on her Invision site to establish a  FORUM  for members to use to interact with one another.  That was launched on  21 June 2005.  

Then in February 2005  P_C  (Dewanjee) offered his expertise to establish a fully functional web home for the BIL  and it is for this that I started writing this BIL history.  The BIL Library - bilbridge.com site was born. 

Spwdo (Marc) made space available on his site for the version 1 testing. Dee was assisted during the site development of version 2 with the web page editing  by Callmegail (Gail). As the site evolved I did  frequent rewrites of the material and nearly drove Gail to distraction. It soon became obvious that I would have to 'take the bit between my teeth " and learn to do the data entry myself. And so to version 3 and my joining the space age. 

To make all this effort a reality  Lanor Fow (Daniel) gifted the web hosting/ server space  to use during the final development stages. When Dee's work commitments prevented his continuing Daniel came to the rescue and helped to continue the work on the site until he too no longer had the time to spend on this.

By the end of 2006 it became obvious that to get the site online and usable by the membership and administration I would have to engage the services of a professional group - SPF Multimedia, Timaru, NZ took on the task. This the BIL Library website was launched by Fred on August 26, 2007 The development of the site is ongoing, the major task during 2008/2009 being the construction of the initial Mentor Console, which with the growing demand and changes in technology has meant a complete rewrite the latest version going live end 2014.

In January 2009 the BIL Alfresco Cafe was added to the BIL Library - a FORUM for members to interact with one another and JohnTaylor (John) took on the task of Chief Administrator for it . Due to insuffiecient support for it the Forum was closed in 2014.

In February 2013 the BIL joined the digital age with AlanRick starting a BIL Facebook page www.facebook.com/bilbridge this was discontinued in 2017.

Return to Start

The Present (January 2019) :

On the whole I think the BIL still does achieve the goals set out in 2003, except for my personal goal – I still can’t play bridge!, the organisation is such that the BIL has become a full time ‘job’ albeit an unpaid one.

It has been a rocky road , a real roller coaster -  there have been  lots of laughs, lots of goodwill , but much agro and  buckets of tears too.

March 12, 2013 saw a huge change with the BIL Restructure with the:

BIL LIBRARY: Our Lounge where you can relax, read and absorb.

The LearnBrdge - Private Club on BBO ( our Classroom) where teachers and Mentors may hold PREREGISTERED group classes for specific skill levels, working on specific topics. The Classroom was closed July 1, 2015 by BBO. Since then all mentoring and closed courses have been held in the BILies Retreat - making life somewhat difficult for the Teachers as they have to use the Permission to jopin on the table which disrupts the flow of the lesson.

The BILies Retreat - a Public Club on BBO where you attend Open Teaching Sessions, Hosted Practice Sessions, Special Events and socialize with fellow members and too can bring along your non BIL Friends

First tables in the BILies Retreat:

BIL Players have the opportunity to learn from some of the best of the world’s bridge experts, play in exciting tournaments, have easy-to-read instructions for using BBO software, and—perhaps more importantly—share the love of bridge with friends around the world.

With a great team of dedicated Volunteers, Teachers, and Mentors; the BIL provides BIL Players with opportunities to

  • attend free open teaching lessons every week,
  • attend weekly practice sessions
  • play in free daily tournaments with players of similar skill levels,
  • compete for BBO Points in daily level restricted tournaments - collect BIL Reward Points to exchange for lessons/cash
  • access one of the best libraries in the world of online bridge for beginner and intermediate players
  • have access to the BIL's extensive interactive 'bridge movie' collection
  • attend any of the BIL’s Special Events featuring some of the world's leading bridge experts,
  • sign up for level restricted Courses
  • apply for one-on-one mentoring (6 mths free lessons with a mentor )
  • have the use of the "Ask Bridge Question" to get your queries answered by an Expert
  • test your knowledge with the many types of Quiz for all levels
  • receive a complimentary copy of the monthly BIL Gazette with news and articles
  • have access to the Gazette archive ( each one has articles to learn from)
  • receive emailed bulletins announcing upcoming Courses ( for your level) and news of Special Events
  • compete in BIL sponsored Team Matches (when available)
  • receive one on one BBO software help from the BIL Friend Group

The Future:

My Wishes:

  • That all members will benefit in some way from their time with the BIL, be that just a brief stay or a long one.
  • That member's bridge skills will be enhanced and that they will reach whatever level of  expertise they desire.
  • That members will forge friendships and partnerships that will last them the rest of their days.
  • That members will come to share my belief that to be a GOOD bridge player one must first learn to be a GOOD partner by embracing.

The BIL creed -  Cherish your Partner and Respect your Opposition.

Gratitude:

I do not have the words to sufficiently express my gratitude to all the wonderful VOLUNTEERS who have rallied to the cause and given so much of their time, money and mental energy to allow the BIL to achieve what has been achieved to date. To each and everyone I say THANK YOU.

To FRED, UDAY and SHERI I thank you for entrusting me with the task and on behalf of every BIL member I THANK YOU for the incredible GIFT that is BBO.

Maureen Hall (hallway) – New Zealand
Founder / Manager

BBO – Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) - circa September 3, 2003

“What you Learn with Pleasure you Never Forget”

And remember

“Experience teaches only the teachable”

Return to Start