Where will you find your next bridge partner?

The Partnership Desk

by Alex J. Coyne @ 2018 Great Bridge Links

Many bridge pairs are made up of couples, while others have been long-term bridge partners and friends; but there are times where your wife isn’t a bridge player, where your partner can’t play or where you just haven’t found a suitable match and you’ve got a game coming up. For those times, players look to The Partnership Desk. It’s where players go to pair up. We found out more about partnership desks and interviewed Diana Balkan from the South African Bridge Federation about picking a bridge partner.

Picking a Partner: SA Bridge Federation’s Diana Balkan

“Firstly, you have to be able to look at your partner across the table!” laughs Diana. “But seriously, you need to be of the same player standard.” She recommends that bridge players choose a partner from more or less the same experience level – or be willing to put in the work to teach them the ropes. “It’s imperative that you have the same results. You cannot take someone from a lower level who might not live up to your expectations.”

With her own bridge partner, she’s more than happy. They’ve seen international competitions, too. “We’ve been together for a while and we’ve just come off winning the SA Ladies’ Team Event.”

“I believe that you have to have respect for the ability of your partner. When choosing a team, you have to show the same level of respect for your teammates.”

“South Africa has a very odd manner of team selection for international play.” she notes. “They believe you need to have a pairs trial to select the team; I have a very different view on this: If you want a good team, you need a harmonious team.” Diana says that players who choose their own partners will end up being people they want to play the game with. “This allows teams to choose themselves rather than a pairs trial: The playing strength of your team ends up better.”

You can get in touch with the South African Bridge Federation through their website.

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Simple Rules for the partnership desk

In an article on Bridge Winners, Robin Hillyard shares his experience running an onsite partnership desk and suggests a list of simple rules. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Fill out a card and then  stay in the area of the partnership desk until someone has been found for you;
  • If you are unable to stay, provice your cell phone number and be sure to keep your cell phone on;
  • If you find a pair or a partner on your own, remember to return to the partnership desk remove your card (there are always half a dozen cards at game time with nobody around);
  • If you are looking for three to fill your “team” for a particular event, you will need to come to the partnership desk early;
  • Once you’ve found a partner, leave the partnership desk area before you start to discuss your convention card
  • Be sure to put your name and the event you’re needing a partner for, as well as your point total on our card.

The ACBL Partnership Desk Explained

Want to visit a new club? Are you traveling or new to an area? Need some gold masterpoints but your partner isn’t available for the tournament? Use the ACBL Partnership Desk and never miss a game again! ACBL Partnership Desk.

The American Contract Bridge League has an online partnership desk to pair up players and clubs. By logging onto the system, you’re instantly connected with anyone else on the ACBL partnership desk for club and online play. According to their website, all you have to do is create your profile and log in.

You can search through available profiles and players looking for partners or (as the ACBL recommends) add your listing and see what happens. Their member information – including playing stats – are available on their profiles, so you can check out a player beforehand. Searches can also be categorized by whether or not you’re looking for Club or Tournament players.

Click here to visit the ACBL Partnership Desk directly. You can also read their Partnership Desk guide over here.

Partnership Desks at Clubs

Sometimes you’ll just be looking for a partner for a club game. Most clubs have this service available through a simple phone call. Find the club you’re interested in visiting, and make contact through their website. Click here for a list of clubs in North America. Click here for links to other clubs around the world.

Partnership Desks at Tournament

Most tournament flyers have the name of the Partnership Chair. If you like to book a partner ahead of time, you can connect with the chair in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Great Bridge Links has a good list of bridge tournaments here but you can also find tournament lists on your local bridge organization’s website.

Other Partnership Desk Links

The ACBL Partnership Desk

Bridge Winners Partnership Desk – Posts from people looking for partners and/or teammates.

Be a good partner

And finally, no partnership article would be complete without a link to Marty Bergen’s excellent list of 21 rules for being a Good Partner. You can find them n Larry Cohen’s website.