Online Bridge Clubs – What’s Behind The Curtain ?

Online Bridge Clubs – What’s Behind The Curtain ?

By Alex J. Coyne © 2020 Great Bridge Links

Have you ever wondered about the software powering your favorite online bridge club? Who are the robots? Great Bridge Links did some digging to find out what popular bridge software are running the online bridge clubs today.


  • Software: NextGen

Bridge Club Live is one of the online bridge clubs affiliated with the English Bridge Union. They also run Bridge4Free separately from their online for-members bridge club.

BCL runs on NextGen bridge software created specially for it, based in Java and designed to run in most browsers.

Bridge Base Online

  • Software: Bridge Base Online / GIB

Of course, there’s Bridge Base Online itself, one of the largest online bridge clubs in the world. It runs on the trusty Bridge Base Online software, which in turn is powered by GIB, the bridge playing equivalent to HAL 9000.

GiB, “Goren in a Box” or “Ginsberg’s Intelligent Bridge Player” (written by Matt Ginsberg) won a few World Computer Championships in the late 90s but disappeared from the arena around 2002 when it was sold to BBO. Ginsberg is not associated with the software’s development on BBO.


  • Software: Bridge Base Online

Microsoft Bridge Club was launched in 1999, but officially came to a close during December 2005. Today, MSN still offers bridge without the club aspect, powered by BBO.


  • Software: BridgeBaron

Meet iBridgeBaron, the mobile equivalent of BridgeBaron software. It offers online play, tournaments and several varieties of bridge (plus custom bridge challenges). It’s been a contender in the World Computer Bridge Championship several times.

We’ve been tracking the World Bridge Championships – if you’re interested you can see how the major software packages have fared over the years. Click here ->


  • Software: WBridge5

Bridge-Now is a web-based online duplicate bridge club with users all over the world. It runs on WBridge5, a WCB Championship winner for several years including 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2016. The website for WBridge5 is available here.


  • Software: Q-Plus

iBridgePlus is an app and online bridge club running off the Q-Plus bridge engine. We tracked down creator Hans Leber, who revealed that the Q-Plus bridge engine “consists of about 100, 000 lines of code (written in C) and additionally about the same amount of bidding rules.” Development of Q-Plus started back in 1989.

Synrey Bridge

  • Software: Synrey Bridge

Synrey Bridge is one of the premier bridge apps and online bridge clubs for users in China, although it’s getting more publicity everywhere else. The Synrey team bought over the license to MicroBridge circa 2014 and developed Synrey from there.

Sky Bridge Club

  • Software: Designed by Graeme Turnell

Sky Bridge Club is one of the largest online bridge clubs in the world and the software that runs the platform was designed by Graeme Turnell.

TrickyBridge (Official Release TBA)

  • Software: Meadowlark

Anyone remember good old Meadowlark? Rodney Ludwig, creator of Meadowlark, let us know that it should soon be the engine that runs TrickyBridge, a new bridge learning club in progress (and also happened to reveal that Meadowlark might experience a revival very soon).

Watch for our interview with Meadowlark, coming soon!

Would you like to see your online bridge club or software added to this list? Contact us with information about your online club and the software behind it and we’ll update the page!

Photo by ray rui on Unsplash