Are You IntoBridge? A New Online Bridge Platform Appears…
By Alex J. Coyne © 2022 Great Bridge Links
Are you IntoBridge? Pair Stefan Skorchev / Christophe Grosset have launched a new online contract bridge platform https://intobridge.com/ that promises a sleek interface, famous bridge player presence, and an effective data processing system to rule out cheaters and creeps from the table.
Great Bridge Links and Alex J. Coyne couldn’t resist digging into the topic.
Here’s what to expect from IntoBridge, and what co-founder Stefan Skorchev had to say.
IntoBridge is the brainchild of two bridge players that most seasoned players might have heard about before: Stefan Skorchev and Christophe Grosset.
The online bridge platform has kicked off to good publicity so far: Zia Mahmood has joined in, and the famous Acol Club has played their online games here.
If you know contract bridge, you’ll know why this is all good news.
- Free-to-Play Online Bridge
- USD10$ Per Month Supporter Tier
- Optional Audio & Video Chat
- Sleek, Easy UI
- Daily Bridge Quizzes (https://intobridge.com/daily-quiz)
- Bridge Bots TBA
Great Bridge Links: Where is IntoBridge based, what started the core idea?
The company is registered in the UK, however, IntoBridge has no physical office and its team is based in different countries – Bulgaria, the UK, Slovakia, Greece, and France. We are mostly bridge players.
The idea was born in the summer of 2020, when it became obvious that, due to Covid, all those people who would never play online before crossed the technological barrier and learned to play bridge on their computers and tablets. The market was underserved, the technologies were outdated, and the available options for clubs and organisations had much room for improvement.
How the project started? Christophe Grosset and I approached one of Christophe’s bridge students to validate the idea. Arnaud Flecchia, who we knew was experienced in consulting with start-up companies, and an angel investor as well.
He embraced the idea, offering not just his knowledge, but his confidence, and he became the lead investor. Soon after, we put together our business plan and began pitching it to potential investors.
By October 2020, we had the funding we needed to move forwards with our business plan, and, in January 2021, the active development of IntoBridge began.
Great Bridge Links: What are the key goals of IntoBridge?
One of the key goals of IntoBridge is to use the best of modern technology to enhance the social experience of playing bridge online. Another key goal is to ensure that anyone wishing to play can be accommodated, no matter how many players or kibitzers are online.
We provide optional video and audio communication to complement the chat function, so that everyone can choose their preferred method of communication..
Great Bridge Links: How do we keep creeps out of the lobby/game/etc.?
The only way of fixing this is an effective data processing system that can flag suspicious bids and plays.
Any players that are flagged would then undergo a thorough investigation and, if proven guilty, would be banned from the platform. This is what chess platforms do. It is the only way to find cheats at scale. This same process is what the major bridge federations around the world do.
Where we will be different is in the amount of resources that we will focus on this. More data, more reviews, more actions.
It must become clear to bridge players that if they cheat, we will catch them and there will be consequences.
We are open to partnerships with federations and one of our main goals will be to eradicate cheating from our wonderful game. It may sound ambitious, but we will give it our best shot!
Great Bridge Links: Are games always ‘play against people’ or is there the option of bot/solitaire bridge?
At launch, we will have no bots, however, we are actively working on developing our own robots. Furthermore, our software is built in such a way that other robots can integrate into our platform. We would like to offer our clients various choices so they can select the robot that suits them best.
Great Bridge Links: Are you planning your own tournaments, and where can users find a schedule of events?
Yes, definitely. The great Zia Mahmood just joined our team! We will run many events with his participation. Information will be everywhere, once the details are arranged. It is easiest if you follow the News section on our website. (https://intobridge.com/news/)
Great Bridge Links: Are you incorporating (e.g.) ACBL Masterpoints, or any other points/rewards systems?
We now have all the features in order to do so and already started reaching out to federations. We hope this will be possible in the near future. We will keep you posted.
Great Bridge Links: What does membership cost, if anything?
IntoBridge will always be free to play. For 10 USD a month, we will offer a single-tier subscription similar, for example, to Amazon Prime – one fee, get all extras.
That will give access to audio-video connection, advanced statistics (coming soon), and whatever other enhancements we build in the future. It is called Supporter, because by subscribing, people will really support the further development and help encourage more people to take up our favourite game.