The International Budapest Bridge Festival & LoveBridge
By Alex J. Coyne
We’ve previously written about the LoveBridge platform before (“LoveBridge: Where Cards and Technology Meet”), and we’ve decided to bring them back for another interview. A little bird told us through the International Bridge Press Association’s monthly newsletter that LoveBridge and their system were used for the 42nd International Budapest Bridge Festival in 2019 to replace traditional bidding boxes and cards with tech instead.
Alex J. Coyne and Great Bridge Links caught up with Péter Talyigás from LoveBridge to find out what the platform brought to the tournament, why LoveBridge is perfect to bring some tech to new tournaments and what they’re planning for the future.
A Personal Take: Why Online & Tech-Aided Bridge
The core idea behind LoveBridge is replacing traditional paper bidding systems with tablets instead. While there are a few traditionalists who would prefer to stick to the tactile sensation of real cards, using a tablet can have a lot of potential for games and tournaments alike.
Systems like LoveBridge can help tournament organizers to make cheating harder, and playing easier. It’s the next step up, and it’s almost like using a real-life version of a Duel Disk – but for bridge.
It can add a new element that improves the game, but that’s not the only thing. Why systems like LoveBridge are great is the same reason why I prefer playing bridge online for the most part rather than off.
Physical limitations means that I travel very little, and online bridge is just more convenient whether I’m playing a full-scale tournament or just a quick game. For one, fluctuating issues with my vision means that I appreciate virtual cards with a zoom aspect in both an online environment and with LoveBridge – and issues like progressive arthritis also means that holding cards for long periods at a time can become painful – but not with online play through Funbridge, or with a system like LoveBridge where tablets are used in a real-life environment.
See? Useful – and every bridge player can likely find some good reason why they’d like to see LoveBridge in use.
With Péter Talyigás from LoveBridge
GBL: Does the use of LoveBridge make things easier for players in general, and what could it mean for players with physical limitations (like partial blindness or arthritis that keeps them from handling physical cards)?
It helps a lot the players. There’s no need for moving the boards. You don’t have to sort your cards. You are always seated to the right place and you always play the right board. No insufficient bids, no revokes. All of these solved in a way, where you are sitting at the same table with the same opponent – as you usually do.
From now on, you can download the convention cards of the opponent, so that is always at your hand. The system automatically tracks your records, so you don’t need to write your private score.
After the competition, when you are at home, you can check all the boards from all the table, how the bidding and the play went.
Speaking about people living with any kind of difficulties, yes we are thinking about the possible ways of helping them. At the moment we are not ready with these solutions but in the future this will be in our focus.
Our experience is that elderly people enjoy playing with the LoveBridge system because it is clean, it is simple to use and as abovementioned helps in a lot of ways.
GBL: Does the use of LoveBridge have any chance of eliminating cheating during games?
Absolutely. Speaking about high level bridge, where screens are used, LoveBridge eliminates every way of cheating which used visual contacts, such as fingers, movements of hands, sorting the cards, placing the cards and so on.
With this system the organizer can use a seating where North and East sit at one table and South and West at another. This way even the suspicious noises can be avoided. Since the broadcast can be delayed information from outside can not be reached.
GBL: How was LoveBridge selected for the use of the tournament?
To be honest it was not a big surprise, you will see that in two sentences.
But: The big achievement was that we played the first division of the Budapest MP Pairs Championship with our system. Eight consecutive Tuesdays – and one of the most honorable events in Hungary! That was a very brave and innovative decision by the Hungarian Bridge Federation.
Speaking about the last event I have to mention that Gyula Bódis is the owner of the project. Mr. Bódis have also sponsored and organized the International Budapest Bridge Festival for years (even then when the LoveBridge project did not exist even our fantasy). So the decision was easy, making it flawless wasn’t.
The event was very successful, the many international participants we had, they all want to come back next year.
GBL: Will it be selected for any tournaments in the future – and what can tournament leaders do who would like to use LoveBridge?
Yes, the system will be used more and more events in the future. For those who are interested, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Links & Contacts
International Budapest Bridge Festival