5 Gaps Between Online Partners (& How to Bridge Them)

Online dating and online bridge have a couple of things in common: Instant hook-ups and partnerships can happen with a swipe or click in the online world. Sometimes, people are compatible from the first message; other times, it takes time or several more swipes to find a match.

One partner likes wine while another prefers drinking whiskey – and only ones with an e, mind you; one partner hoped for dinner at a fancy restaurant while another was fine with take-out. Partnership misunderstandings are common, especially on first-time dates. Bridge is no different.

It’s normal for instant bridge partnerships to have disagreements or different playing styles. It’s not normal to get stuck on them. Either find a different partner or learn how to bridge the gaps.

Here’s an examination of 5 gaps between online partners – and how to close them.

1. Technologically Advanced Players and Newbies

A transition to online play on platforms like BBO is a natural move for many, although this isn’t true for everyone. There are some players who might still be stuck on the basics of operating their smartphone while their partners are programmers by day.

In this case, point the appropriate partner in the direction of resources that can help.

It’s impossible to expect the entire world to be tech-savvy. Many players are new here – and there are still many people new to the internet as a whole who might find their way here.

Be nice, be patient and you might turn your partnership into gold.

2. Playing the Same Conventions Differently

How people define bridge conventions can depend on where (and when) these conventions were learned. 

Just one example of this lies with Stayman. Older resources had the high-card points for opening with Stayman listed as strict – while newer users of Stayman are taught to relax with a HCP or so less to open.

Are you playing the same conventions differently? 

Always make sure that you and your new partner are on the same page when it comes to conventions; additionally, you might encounter conventions that are obscure or regional (and look just like something else at a glance). 

3. Gaps Between Speedy and Thoughtful Players

Many players are quick-thinkers who have the right card in a couple of seconds; others need to look at their cards twice before laying one down. It’s true for almost every board game I could list, and it’s true for bridge.

Add both sides of this coin to a partnership and one partner might feel overwhelmed by their partner’s speed while the other gets impatient with the delay.

One way to work on this is through kibitzing past games, or simply to practice until you can develop a fluidity as a partnership.

4. High Stakes and Pleasure Players

It’s true for any career, sport or game you could name that participants are doing it for different reasons.

Why do you play bridge? 

Obviously, as a pastime and because (most) players are enjoying it, but there are deeper reasons. Some players are in the game exclusively for pleasure or fun while others might be interested in playing for higher stakes.

If a partnership doesn’t share the same goal for the game, then it opens up a lot of potential frustration.

How do you fix this? 

Discuss your goals before the next game starts. 

Even when you have different goals, you can still play a damn good game as a partnership.

5. Veterans and Newcomers

Bridge partnerships are often composed of veterans and newcomers. Increasing play through online bridge platforms means this combination might be on the increase. 

Experienced partners should take the lead where possible, although this doesn’t exempt the newer player from having to do the research and practice It takes to improve their own game. Drills, private lessons,  obsessive kibitzing; there are many solutions that can help to solve this gap for partnerships who feel they aren’t quite equal in terms of ability or experience. 

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