While Handz works perfectly well as a board game played at one or more tables, a goal at The Center for Bridge Education is to have an online site host the game. This will maximize the reach of the program and provide an important path to bridge. We hope that players who give Handz online an honest try will become bridge players in nearly half the usual time.
Online play requires less instruction than play at a table. Miscounting and revoking are eliminated; scoring is done by computer. In early levels, the high card points and distribution of each hand are updated by the computer after each trick. This acts as instruction for what to watch during the play. Advancement is rewarded for achieving simple results.
The difficulty of finding competent, committed instructors available for extended periods is an obstacle to learning bridge. Most bridge instructors are retired players, often several times the age of students, which diminishes the prestige of school bridge clubs. The online version of Handz will make it possible for students from different schools, different states, and different countries to form associations of young competitors who may one day compete in youth bridge competition…and someday much later, in world competition.
To promote the game of Handz and provide play advice, young stars from the San Francisco bridge program are making video snippets to improve players’ competency in a format that is familiar and painless. Students do not join clubs to read instruction manuals. Attempts to entice young people to play the game should use young faces to counter the stereotype of bridge being a game for old people.
Play Online Against the Bridge World
In short order, a group of Handz players on a bridge site can compete with bridge players. A table of Handz players can team with a table of bridge players for team matches. Handz players have some advantages over bridge players’ bidding constraints. Since each team would have a Handz pair and a bridge pair, the matches will be balanced.
Handz players can matchpoint score their results against bridge tournament results. As players get proficient, they can expect to do exceptionally well, even win. Nothing encourages like success.
This project is being led by CBE Board Member William Zhu with advisory support from Board Member Richard Bellerose.