Introduction to the BIL Mentoring Programme

"A teacher affects eternity; one can never tell where one's influence stops" - Anon

all text in YELLOW is a link to more info

Thank you for your interest in becoming a BIL MENTOR!!  We hope this page will answer some of the initial questions you may have.  If you need more information, please don't hesitate to contact the BIL Manager, Maureen Hall at or our Mentor Program Liaison volunteer, Dave Taylor at

To Register : Please fill in the BIL Honorary Membership registration form

What is "The BIL" anyway? -- A 4 Sentence Intro to A Whole World of Bridge Resources for Beginning and Intermediate Players!--

* The Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) is not officially affiliated with Bridge Base Online (BBO) -- but we do know that Fred likes the idea! 
* The BIL is a Private Club operating on BBO under the supervision of its founder, Maureen Hall, "hallway" on BBO. 
* BIL Members pay an annual support fee to cover the ongoing administration costs and the costs of developing the BIL Library and the Mentor Console and the whole operation is staffed solely by Volunteer labour. 
* BIL Mentors become "honorary members" and as a  mentor your BIL membership fees are waived in exchange for your valuable volunteer time and services.

Here's a more detailed history of the BIL.

Introduction to the BIL Mentoring Programme

Students who join the BIL are Starter, Beginner, Improving Beginner, Intermediate, Improving Intermediate, and Upper Intermediate level players who are interested and willing to learn to improve their level of play. 

The Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL) Mentoring Programme is one of the many BIL services offered to members.  BIL mentors are volunteers who provide in-depth instruction to individuals or very small groups one or more times per week for a period of several months, usually six.

The BIL also offers numerous Open Teaching Sessions every day throughout the year that all members may attend. These virtual "internet classrooms" provide BIL students a valuable exposure to Expert and even World Class players and a way to learn the basics and beyond in a group setting. There are series of incremental courses targeted at the various beginner levels as part of the Beginner Bridge Programme. We ask our students to become familiar with the basics of bridge by attending these kinds of sessions and playing in our tournaments and others for some time before they apply for a BIL mentor.

"My mentor has been excellent. To say I have learned a lot would be an understatement. This program is one of the best offered in the BIL, which is saying a lot. I do a number of the classes which hopefully will help me continue to learn"

The Role of the Mentor

Classroom style learning is wonderful, but we all know that the most effective bridge teaching happens in a one-on-one setting or between a teacher working with a pair of students playing as partners, and that is what the Mentor Programme is all about. We (you!) give those who are serious about working their way through to Advanced level and Graduation from the BIL the coaching they need. 

The BIL and the BIL Mentors all share a single goal -  To help BBO members  become better Bridge Players - by working together we believe we can do this.

We need mentors in all aspects and for all systems of modern bridge.  We have requests from prospective students for mentors who teach any and all of the 5 card major systems from SAYC to K/S to 2 over 1.  We also have students who want to learn Precision, ACOL, SEF, ForumD - you name it!  Some of our mentors teach every aspect of the game,  others prefer to focus on specific bidding systems or playing styles.  You tell us what you are most interested in and most qualified to teach.

 "I want to thank you so much for the mentor program.  It has been very beneficial to me and I am sure to all beginners availing themselfs of it.  Thank you so much for the program, the BIL itself, and all the hard work you and the other volunteers put in."

How To Get Started

Your registration information is sent directly to the BIL Manager.  Maureen will enable an Honorary membership for you and will send you the Honorary Membership Guidelines.   Once you are set up as an Honorary Member you will have access to the BIL's full on-line Library, and the extensive collections of resources available to BIL members.  You will find that the BIL Library has a number of resources to assist you and your mentees. Mentors may carry out their lessons in the BILies Retreat in the BBO Public Club section or if work with a small group if preferred can be given access to the BIL's learnBrdge Classroom in the BBO private Club section - this is by prearranged access only.

"Just wanted to say i think your program is awesome!!!!  so many have opportunity to learn the game correctly.  .... in the future I would be delighted to help beginners."


The Details

 Students are assigned to you for a six (6) month period. You may continue with the same one(s) if you feel they are making good progress, wish to continue with them and you wish to see them through to BIL Graduation.

It is expected that you will spend an hour or two with the member at least once a week (more often should it suit you/them). You can work with your Student in whatever way suits you both. This will depend on what area of the game the student most requires assistance with.

    * Bidding practice using the "Start a Bidding Table" ( on the BBO web client)
    * Play at a table in the BILies Retreat to discuss/comment
    * Play in tournaments to gain insights into areas that need working on during a one on one lesson
    * Set up hands / bidding sequences to go through at a table uploading the hands as requird ( using the BBO Teaching Table option)

* Homework may and should be given after every lesson with your student in an area which you feel they need to focus on.   Your student(s) are expected to do all homework set for them and to practice diligently in between your sessions.

* You can choose to work one-on-one or with a pair (partners) or a small group.

* Being a MENTOR requires: Dedication, Time, Excellent teaching skills, Volumes of patience, and a solid working knowledge of the use of the BBO software. 

We will work hard to find a good mentor/mentee match based on what you tell us about what you want to teach and how you wish to teach.  Even so, we know that not every match-up will be perfect but we do expect both students and teachers to exercise patience and overcome minor differences or setbacks.  Iif things are not working out between you and a particular mentee we understand, and we can intervene to help motivate your student to work harder for you.  If things still don't work to your satisfaction we will find you a new student.

 "I must thank you for this great teaching method for us new has certainly helped my game immensely. ...He has the patience of a saint - never upset when I made bad mistakes - just explained right away what I did wrong and .. there was always feedback after the sessions with reviews of our play. The one-on-one aspect of the mentoring is very helpful and hopefully when I get good enough I will be as patient and knowledgeable a mentor as he was with me."

"Report Cards"

We don't actually issue report cards, and we don't expect you to do that either.  But we do wish to ensure that the Program is satisfying for both you and for your students.  To that end, it is important that you communicate with the Mentor Liaison Officer Dave (DaveTaylor on BBO) regularly to

    * report on progress,
    * report any problems you may have encountered e.g. mentee being late for appointments, not completing homework;
    * any change in your circumstances which may make scheduling sessions with any particular mentee difficult;
    * or if you no longer wish to continue with mentoring.

After your registration is completed  you will be sent details of the member/s you are to mentor. Once assigned we expect mentors and mentees to contact each other and work out their own best schedules and methods. 

Typically we have a sizable list of students waiting for a Mentor so it usually won't take very long for us to assign a student to you.  We do our best to assign students to teachers in the same or nearby timezones but both student and Mentor availability is variable -- please do get in touch immediately if you and your mentee(s) cannot find suitable and convenient meeting times.

 "I want to thank you for the immense amount of time and effort that you and the rest of the folks at BIL invest in us intermediates and beginners.....the time I have spent with the teachers on BIL has made my bridge experience vastly more enjoyable. I feel I have gained and will continue to gain a deeper appreciation of the complexity and intricacies of this great game. ..."

Many thanks for your interest and we look forward to welcoming you to the BIL Mentoring Team!  By the way, If you know of any of your peers who may be interested in mentoring improving bridge players please ask them to contact us.

Maureen (hallway on BBO)
Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL)
Founder/Manager and BIL Mentor Coordinator

Dave (DaveTaylor on BBO)
Beginner Intermediate Lounge (BIL)
BIL Mentor Programme Liaison Officer

To register please complete the Registration Form
If you need more info or any assistance please don't hesitate to contact Maureen or Dave.