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The StepBridge rules for playing bridge on the Internet are clear and simple.


A StepBridge account is a personal account. You alone are responsible for everything concerning your account; you may not put your account at a third party's disposal. When the rules are broken the Technical Committee (TC) of StepBridge will issue a warning or impose a sanction. No director is present during play, so please email violations of the rules and complaints to the TC - admin@stepbridge.com.au - their decision will be emailed to you.



In 'live' bridge you could insult your partner if you comment on his/her bidding or play. In StepBridge this is even more so. The subtle distinctions people convey by their body language and intonation are much harder to convey by keyboard. Keep this in mind and when playing with an unknown partner, do not try to teach bridge - even unknowingly - or make other comments that could be annoying. If in your opinion your partner is not up to standard, the best thing is to end your partnership - a description follows below -. On the Internet using capital letters continuously is looked at as 'yelling'. Also avoid using multiple question marks and/or exclamation marks.

Termination of partnership

You are in no way obliged to continue playing with someone if you would rather stop and play with a different partner. Please avoid negative comments, finish the current board and leave the table yourself. Do not ask your partner to leave the table. Announce well before the last board that this is going to be your last board by typing a short message such as ' last board, tx all'. This is sufficient.

The play

Always wait to be seated. It is impolite to sit down at a table without being invited. A player may have lost his/her connection or the seated players want to invite a specific player. Please show respect and ask if you can sit down and play.

Whenever a player loses his/her connection with the server during play, the chat box announces the loss of connection. afterwards. The players still present must wait at least 2 minutes for the player to come back. After 2 minutes the players still present are free to invite a different player.

Table Hosting

The table host or host has more powers than the other players. He/she may remove a player, reset the score or ask for a new board. However, before he/she does any of the above, he/she must consult the players present.


Alerting at StepBridge can be compared to playing bridge with screens, as is usual in international matches, although the comparison is not 100%. All players alert their own bids and where necessary explain the meaning in private to the opponents. To alert your bid, click on 'OK + Alert' in your bidding box after selecting your bid. Your partner does not get to see the alert and therefore you will not convey any illegal information. Alerting means 'warning the opponents that an explanation may be required'. Not only must conventional bids be alerted, but also non-conventional bids of which the meaning could be unclear to your opponents. In other words, alert your bid if there is a possibility that your opponent may misinterpret your bid. The 'alertability' of a bid also depends on the level of your opponents.

Any bid likely to be misinterpreted by one or both of your opponents should be explained privately and at once by: 1. ALT + upwards arrow or 2. Clicking on the 'To' area to 'Opponents and Kibitzers'. If your opponents are of your own level, an 'Alert' will be sufficient. If you are nonetheless asked for the meaning of your alert, reply by private message.

Naturally you only need to explain the meaning of a bid that is within the conventions prearranged with your partner. If you deviate from your system -a 'false cue' for instance - explain the meaning of your bid as set out in your system card. If a bid is not defined in your system, and your partner probably understands its intended meaning, you must explain the meaning of your bid to the opponents. For instance, if your partner knows that a bidding sequence such as 1 H - 3 NT is game forcing with hearts but without a singleton or a void, and this is not on your system card, you must alert the bid and explain accordingly.

Never explain the meaning of your partner's bid, even if asked to. The opponents will get first-hand information from your partner. Explanations from both players will show up the misunderstanding; this will give the opponents a disproportionate advantage.

Summary of alert rules:

  1. Bids must be alerted if their meaning could be unclear to the opponents.
  2. The player, at his turn to bid, must alert his own bids.
  3. There is no maximum level for alertable bids. Bids over 3 NT must also be alerted.
  4. The player making an alertable bid must send a private message to the opponents explaining the bid according to their system card.
  5. It is not obligatory to explain a bid that has been alerted. If the meaning is obvious an explanation is not necessary, unless one opponent explicitly asks for one.
  6. Players explain their own bids only. Players do not explain partner's bids.
  7. If all players follow the alert rules as set out above, the TC will not need to intervene at a later date. Unauthorized information or incorrect explanations will not occur, as is the case with the normal alert rules.
Convention / System Cards

StepBridge sets no limits to conventions players may use. However, before play starts you must inform your opponents of any unusual methods. If that is the case the opponents are free to look elsewhere.

The system card is a tool for understanding your partner; it also helps the opponents to understand your bidding style. On the top half of the system card there is space to enter information about yourself. All players must see to it that their system cards are as clear as possible. We strongly recommend filling out your true name and a number of basic bids on your system card. If there are special agreements about the implementation of the system card, inform your opponents - and repeat same if a different player joins the table. For instance: 'we play (user name) system card; or ' we play X's system card, reverse signals and weak two's instead of strong two's'.


Playing bridge by computer cause the so-called 'misclicks'; StepBridge makes it possible for a bid or a card to be taken back. If the mouse is not properly handled it is easy to click on the wrong bid or card. A 'misclick' occurs when at the time of 'clicking' the player intended to make a different bid or play. There is no misclick if a player changes his/her mind and chooses to bid or play differently.

Bids may be undone during the bidding by clicking on 'Undo' in the menu 'Play' or by pressing on F5. This option is only available to the player whose turn it is. That is why an opponent has to agree to undo the bid or the play. The opponent can refuse if, in his/her mind, there was no clear 'misclick'.


The leader can claim all or part of the remaining tricks. The opponents will be shown how many tricks are claimed and all boards will become visible to the opponents, permitting both opponents to evaluate the remaining tricks. The opponents can accept or refuse the claim. A claim must always be accompanied by an explanation of the order in which cards will be played, unless it is simply a matter of playing trumps and top tricks.