RealBridge Director Guide

This is a guide for directors, teachers and club owners, explaining in detail how to run an event using the RealBridge web app.

See here for the multi session round robin guide

Revised 21 December 2020

Session Login Screen

Login process

(changed 20 January 2021)

  • There are three different links for the three different roles of Player, Deputy Director, and Director. Each person should use the correct link. Deputy Director and Director can also play. A session can have multiple Deputy Directors and Directors.
  • In the top left-hand corner of the login page, you can choose the language to be used. This changes the language throughout the RealBridge application.  Each user has their own language-setting. For example, one player can have it set to French and another can have it set to English. Currently RealBridge can be used in English, French and Italian.
  • Enter the full name. Two players with the same name can log in to the same session, as long as they both enter an ID Number (and the IDs are different).
  • ID Number: whatever you like.
    • Typically: federation ID, Club ID, or email.
    • This data is included in the USEBIO field.
    • Can be left blank.
  • Session key is embedded in the link.
  • High contrast UI: tick for people who are colour blind.
  • Those who have more than one camera and microphone can choose from drop-down menus.
  • If a player is logged in and happens to log in elsewhere, with the same name (or the same combination of name and id), the earlier instance of their login will close. The latest login becomes the only login. The reason we have done this is that some people were logging in multiple times unnecessarily.

Media Verification

  • On the login page, for all persons with camera: a video preview is at bottom right.
  • A sound bar shows whether the microphone is working (horizontal, green, running from left to right).
  • The best way to test prior to playing, and self-diagnose issues and resolution, is to visit the camera test page.
  • Players do not have to have video and sound, though it makes the user experience better. We recommend that Director and Deputy Director do have both.

In the lobby: Director and Deputy Director view

In the yellow band at the top of the screen

  • Person's name appears at top left.
  • Session name is where you name the event. This forms part of the file names for output files. It also appears on the scorecard and leaderboard. As a Director you can edit the name directly in place. You must do this before the start of Round 1.
  • Buttons
    • USEBIO outputs 3 files (USEBIO without LIN, USEBIO with LIN, PBN). Can be output at any time. The USEBIO version is 1.2
    • Advanced currently has functionality for:
      • Inputs for USEBIO (currently Club and session parameters).
      • Import/export session configuration.
      • Kicking players from seat to lobby.
      • Rebooting session.
      • Destroying session.
    • Scores
      • For Director/Deputy Director, shows scores for completed boards, including the current round.
      • For players in the lobby, shows scores for completed rounds.
      See also section on Scores detail

Under the yellow band—on the right

(changed 21 December 2020)

  • Information on event
  • Buttons to add and remove tables (will change slightly)
    • Add tables (including half tables) when you like, up to the end of Round 1.
    • Remove tables when you like, up to the end of Round 1 (only empty tables, or half tables). Removing a table also tidies up and condenses.
      See Game in progress for more about this.
  • Current round number
  • Timer information
  • Session settings button opens window.
  • Open session button. Allows players to join the session. Until you have clicked this, players cannot log in. Only Directors and Deputy Directors can log in. If a player tries to log in, they will see a message saying: "Director has not opened the session yet".
    The idea is to allow the director to fill in the session name, enter session settings, and add tables, before the players arrive. All of this can also be done after opening the session.
  • Start round button. This appears after you have clicked Open session. It changes name based on the round.  At the start of each round it disappears, then it reappears when enough tables have finished for you to start the next the round. See Moving players for the next round for details.
    To reduce the risk of accidentally starting an event early, for Round 1 only you have to click twice. After the first click, the button changes to Confirm. If you don’t press Confirm, after five seconds the button reverts to saying Start round 1.

Under the yellow band, lower down on the right—chat

  • Chat text (colour and name indicate who typed it). The chat box is taller for players compared to Directors, because players have more room at the top. Requests for the Director are bracketed by diamond symbols and identify the player and table.
  • Send chat button to send chat to lobby (anyone can use this).
  • ANNOUNCE button is visible only for Director/Deputy Director. Announcements go to all tables, and the lobby. Announcements are centered and delimited by spade symbols.
  • Lobby: panel shows list of people in lobby; number in brackets shows how many people are in the lobby. 

Below the yellow band—on the left—tables

(changed 21 December 2020)

  • Switch view button. You can view the list of tables either as a diagram or in a grid.  This switches between the two views.
  • Sort dropdown. Changes the order in which the tables are displayed. By default it shows them in order of table-number.  The available options are
    • Table number, ascending order
    • Table number, descending order
    • Tables with empty seats first
    • Slow tables first
    • Fast tables first
    • Highest scores first
  • Filter lets you search for a player by name. Enter any part of the player's name, and the list of tables will just show tables that match.
  • In diagram view, a table with four seats. In grid view, a table where the rows are tables and the columns are compass positions.
    • Click seat (eg Sit E) to sit (anyone can do this). The seat is now shown as occupied.
    • Click on the table number to visit the table to give rulings or help (only a Director or Deputy Director can do this). For someone else viewing from the lobby, the table now has orange border, and the name of person in attendance is displayed. At the table, you appear in the top-left corner.
    • After the Director or Deputy Director has left, the table reverts to black border.
    • If the table has called for a director but a director has not yet gone to the table, the table has a red border. See Director Calls.
    • If the event is Teams or Practice tables, under the table number is a box for the team name or table name. Click this to edit it.  For Practice tables, you might want to label your tables for particular categories of players, like "Novices" or "Players without partners".
    • When a table has completed the round, the colour changes from green to a grey-brown colour.
Lobby with sort
Lobby as spreadsheet

Session settings details

(changed 21 January 2021)

  • Choose scoring method, to configure the event. Current list is:
    • Practice (this is for Supervised Play)
    • Teams
    • Matchpoint pairs
    • IMP pairs
    • Board-a-Match
  • Choose movement. Current list is:
    • Mitchell (2 winners)
    • Switched Mitchell (1 winner)
    • Howell
    • Swiss
    • Head-to-Head matches
    • Round robin (With and without an intermission. See appendix A)
    • For Head-to-Head the number of tables must be even.
    • For Swiss and Round robin, if you have an odd number of tables there will be a sit-out. In a Swiss, the team with the lowest score that has not already had a sit-out will sit out.
    • For Head-to-Head matches, if you want to change opponents or change your lineup, you must change seats at your home table between rounds. See Appendix C for more details and advice.
  • Set boards per round and number of rounds. Be careful to get them the right way round.
  • If appropriate, choose a VP scale. This will only be enabled when relevant.
  • Set the timer, if required. The timer is for information only. It appears on every table, under the board, and also in the lobby. You can specify whole minutes or minutes & seconds.
  • First board allows you to start at a board other than 1, if playing a single event in multiple sessions, eg 1-24 morning, 25-48 afternoon.
  • If required, choose self-alerts and explanations. If this is not ticked (and screens are not in use), alerts will be by the partner of the bidder. (will change slightly)
  • If required, use choose screens.
    • The screen is lowered when cards are accepted. (slightly different for teams - match "acceptance" causes the screen to be lowered)
    • The screen is raised at claim or trick 13.
    • With screens and normal alerts: this part of the system will change shortly.
  • If using deals from an external source, load a PBN file of the deals.
    1. Click Choose file
    2. Select a file
    3. System displays number of deals loaded
    4. A confirmation message showing the name of the file is displayed in yellow text
    If the file contains fewer deals than specified for the event, the system adds extra deals, making sure that the new deals have the correct board numbers. Eg, for a 24-board event starting at Board 1, if PBN has deals 9 to 14, then the system will create 1 to 8, and 15 to 24.(will change slightly)

Notes on movements

Mitchell movement: verified by Ian Mckinnon (author of Duplicate Bridge Schedules).

Howell movement: verified by Ian Mckinnon. Variation of Flower. The fastest pair should be seated at 1 E/W to minimize bottlenecks. See Limbo tables.

Session settings

Advanced director actions

(changed 21 December 2020)

  • Club and session parameters.
    • These parameters are for EBU events.
    • The parameters will be output in the USEBIO file.
  • Advanced session config
    • Import session configuration.
      • Click Choose file
      • Select a file
      • System displays "Successfully loaded file".
      • A confirmation message showing the name of the file is displayed in yellow text.
      • In the lobby view, the players are assigned to their correct seats.
    • Export session configuration.
      This exports the current state of the session, for use in the next session of a multi-session event.
      • Click Export config
      • A download link appears in the chat window
      • From the lobby, right-click on the link (CTRL-click on a Mac) to save the file
    For more information about importing and exporting session configuration, please contact the RealBridge support team.
  • Remove a player
    To remove a player from a table and move them to the lobby:
    1. Select the player
    2. Click Kick player to lobby
  • Reboot session
    To erase and restart the session entirely, click Reboot session twice. This:
    • Removes all the players.
    • Deletes all scores and hands played so far.
    • Removes all the tables.
    • Resets the session parameters to the defaults.
    After this, you may rejoin the session and set the session parameters. Your players will be able to log in again.
    This option should only be used after a serious error, when you need to start again from scratch.
  • Destroy session
    To destroy a session permanently, click Destroy session twice. This:
    • Removes all the players.
    • Ends the event permanently.
    • Stores the scores, hands, bidding and play on the RealBridge results server.  Players can view all of this information using the same link as they used to join the session.
    • Deletes the session from the Club Admin screen. (If you already have the Club Admin screen open, a refresh will be required to see this.)
    After this, you can not use this session again for playing. The link stays active forever, but it is now a link to the records on the results server.
    This option is to be used after the session is over and you have saved all required results, hands and configuration.

Advanced director actions

Director calls

Only one person can be at the table as director at any time. A playing director can also be present, but only if sitting in a seat.

The player clicks the Director button. Now:

  • All directors get a notification (yellow text in chat, bracketed by suit diamond symbols).
  • Players at the table get a notification.
  • Viewed from the lobby, the table border changes to red.

A Director (or Deputy Director) goes to the table by clicking in the middle of the table. Now:

  • The director appears at the table, in the top left-hand corner.
  • The director sees all four hands.
  • From the lobby, the table border changes to orange, and the director's name is displayed next to the table.

When the director leaves the table:

  • The table border returns to normal.

Starting a game

Adding tables

Click plus to add a table or tables before the event starts.

For adding tables after the start, see Game in progress.

For all teams events, the Director can input the team name in the box under the team number (directly typing on the table). This team name is displayed in all places that show results and information about the team.

Combining and removing tables

At any time before the event starts, click Minus to remove empty tables, or to combine half-full tables.

Eg: N/S at table 1, missing opponents, and E/W at table 7, missing opponents: they get "married" to make a whole table.

Entirely empty tables are removed.

Half tables and sit-outs (will change slightly)

Half tables can exist. A half-table can be opened up to convert to a full table. See Game in progress.

Empty tables

(changed 21 December 2020)

Realbridge will not allow you to start a pairs or teams event with a completely empty table. If you need to add tables during Round 1, you will still be able to do it after starting the event.

Practice sessions can be started with some open tables set out. As people join, they can sit and start. So you can start on time (or even a bit early) and easily accommodate latecomers.

Starting the first round of the event

(changed 21 December 2020)

Do not start a pairs event with two half tables. If you do that, and then the holes do not get filled in, you will be stuck with two sit-outs.  Before you start the event, click minus to shuffle up any gaps.

The Start round 1 button starts the event. After clicking it, click Confirm.  See Moving players for the next round.

If you have an empty table, you will see the message "Can't start pairs event with an empty table".

Start round 1 Confirm

Game in progress

Adding tables during Round 1

In a pairs event, tables can be added in round 1 only, not later. That is, before the move for Round 2 has been made.

In a teams event, you cannot add a team after the start.

Opening and closing seats during Round 1

In a pairs event, if you started Round 1 with a half-table, or if you have added a table after starting, the empty seats will have the words "Open the NS seats" or "Open the EW seats". To allow players to sit, click this.

Starting play with a late-arriving pair

Once a table has been filled up, if you want to allow them to play the first round, go to the table and click Play round. If you don't do this, the players will start with Round 2.

Removing empty tables

If you have added a table during Round 1 but you don't need it, remove it by clicking the Late table button. This method will not combine two half-tables.

After Round 1

The buttons for adding and removing late tables do not exist after the move for Round 2.

Meaning of numbers on the tables

(changed 8 January 2021)

Looking at a table from the lobby, you can see how far through the round they are:

1.P  Acceptance of players at start of match (at teams and Swiss pairs only)
1.0  Deal 1, bidding stage
1.5  Deal 1, trick 5
1.E  Deal 1 ended, prior to start of Deal 2. (Players are seeing the yellow screen, relevant for rights and director calls)
2.7  Deal 2, trick 7
R1  Round 1 is complete
R2a The first half of round 2 is complete (Only applicable to Round Robin 2x1/2) 

Moving players for the next round

When more than half the tables have completed the round, the Move button is displayed and enabled for the Director. The name of the button shows which round it relates to.

It is nice to make an announcement prior to moving, allowing people to finish their conversations. (will change soon)

When the Move button is clicked:

  • Pairs that have completed the round, and can move, do so
  • Moving pairs who have finished but have nowhere to go (when the destination table is still playing), go to a virtual table, called a limbo table. See Limbo tables. They get a notification, a yellow Post-it message in the middle of the table.
  • Pairs awaiting opponents get a notification, a yellow Post-it message in the middle of the table.
  • Pairs who are still playing continue to do so, but the moment they are finished, they are instantly moved.

If necessary, the Director can END a board. See End deal.

Limbo tables

See the previous section, Moving players for next round.

Limbo tables have the same table number as the table that the pair are waiting to go to.

At the limbo table, they get a notification in the middle of the table explaining why they are waiting.

From the lobby, the appearance is similar to a grey overlay on the table. It is a good idea to compare this to a half table and a table that is waiting for opponents. The key is to look at the table adjacent to a late table. See Appendix A for details of movements.

Claims and Undos


Depending on the mode of play, these can range from liberal (allowed to undo all the way from Trick 13 to the beginning of the auction), to entirely disallowed. The current implementation only allows liberal undos. (will change)

After an undo request, the undo must be resolved before play continues. Possible resolutions are:

  • Both opponents accept (or, if the undo request was by a defender during the play, declarer accepts)
  • An opponent refuses. Play continues.
  • A player leaves the table. The undo is canceled.


Declarer or a defender can claim. A claim can be made any time after the opening lead.

After declarer has claimed, both defenders are prompted to accept or reject the claim.

After a defender has claimed, declarer and the other defender are both prompted to accept the claim. (This is because a defender is allowed under Law 68B2 to object to his partner's claim.)

After a claim, the claim must be resolved. Possible resolutions are:

  • Both players accept.
  • One player rejects the claim. The players should call the Director to adjudicate. Alternatively, play continues, with the non-claiming side seeing all four hands. Note that the appearance and layout change for the non-claiming side.
  • A Player leaves the table. The claim is canceled.

Skip deal

(changed 20 January 2021)

This can only be done by a Director at the table as director, and only after the cards have been displayed to the players. Skipping awards 50/50 as the default (artificial) score and discards the auction and play that has happened so far.

End deal

This can only be done by a Director at the table as director, and only after the cards have been displayed to the players. Play ends at that point. Initially the score shows the tricks taken by declarer up to that point. If the play has not started, the result is shown as Passed out.

Normally the Director will modify the result afterward.

Score changes

(changed 21 December 2020)

In the Scores window, for any completed board, or board that has been Ended, the Director can change the contract, declarer and result.  The Director can also give an artificial adjusted score.  See Appendix B.

After a change to a score, a star appears next to the amended result for anyone viewing the scores.

Scores detail

(changed 21 December 2020)

  • During a round, a Director or Deputy Director (who is not seated at a table) sees the results of all completed boards.
  • A player (including a playing Director/Deputy Director) can only see results and comparison from completed rounds, plus completed boards from the current round.
  • After a table has completed all the boards for the round, the players can see the results and comparisons from other tables.
  • For example, playing 3 board rounds:
    • After finishing Board 1, the players can see the diagram for Board 1, their own bidding and play, and any alerts or self-explanations.
    • After finishing Board 2, the players can see this information for Boards 1-2.
    • After finishing Board 3, the players can see complete information for Boards 1-3 at every table that has finished the board, together with the IMPs or matchpoints. This information updates as other tables complete each board.
  • We advise using the word "Review" to describe the ability to review the auction, play, written explanations, and alerts. This is the action of clicking the result (wherever that exists, eg traveller, personal scorecard, etc).
  • When a score has been adjusted by the Director, the Director sees it immediately. The players will see it at the end of the round, or earlier.

Exporting results, deals and bidding/play record

Click the USEBIO button and three files are generated by the system. These can be saved. (will change slightly)

The files are:

  • USEBIO 1.2 file
  • USEBIO 1.2 file with play (LIN data inside the USEBIO file)
  • PBN file

Windows command to save: right-click

Mac command to save: CTRL and click at the same time

Android: press and hold


As a Director/Assistant Director, the chat window shows what you have seen during the entire session. If you join a table, you do not see chat that was typed before you arrived. If you leave RealBridge and rejoin the chat window is empty it is as though you have never been there before.

Commonly-occurring requests for help

(changed 21 December 2020)

Situation Advice
I cannot play a card from dummy Check for two taps UI settings.
Never call it double-click.
Advise looking at Settings icon, and reading the description of the two taps mode.
My bidding box is missing Check if it is their turn to bid. A player only gets a bidding box when it is their turn to bid.
I can't lead Check whether the auction is over. When the auction is completed, the contract is displayed in the bottom left, near the trick stacks.
Last trick—cannot see it Check whether the player has already played to the next trick.
Complaint about seeing last trick when partner has played Describe the face-to-face action of not quitting a trick. Seeing last trick is the equivalent to this, as in online play you don't physically turn over your card to finish the trick.
Next deal will not appear Deal has E indicator. A player has prevented the next Deal from appearing by clicking Pause. They must now click OK.
Next Round button is not visible Fewer than 50% of the tables have completed the round.

Appendix A: Notes about scoring & movements

(changed 20 January 2021)


RealBridge now uses the Neuberg Formula.

Sit-outs in VP events

In a Swiss or Round Robin teams with an odd number of teams, using VPs, sit-out matches are scored as 12 VPs.

Similarly, in a Swiss Pairs with an odd-number of pairs, using VPs, sit-out matches are scored as 12 VPs.

These results are included in the USEBIO file.

Round Robin (2x1/2)

See here for the multi session round robin guide

  • This new Round Robin teams format has an intermission halfway through the round.
  • After the first half-round has been played, players will be automatically moved back to their home table. The table will indicate the status R1a and the following icon will appear

  • Once the players have finished discussing the boards, the director can press this button to continue round 1.

  • Note: The timer will start again for each half-round, so make sure the time is set appropriately. For example, if you are playing 16 boards per round, you must set the timer for approximately 55 minutes (the time it takes for 8 boards).

Board-A-Match (BAM) Teams

  • These are scored using the European PAB method
    (0 = Loss, 1 = Draw, 2 = Win).
  • BAM teams can be played as either a Head-to-head, Round-robin, or Swiss movement.
  • The USEBIO button generates an extra pair of files with "_pairs" in the name which are the event re-scored as matchpoint pairs. This is necessary for some national ratings systems.
  • In some countries, Board-a-Match is called Point-a-Board.

Appendix B: Adjusting Scores

(changed 21 December 2020)

Assigned adjusted scores

You can assign any single result to a board.

Artificial adjusted scores

There are nine options:

  • =/=
  • +/-
  • -/+
  • +/+
  • -/-
  • =/-
  • =/+
  • -/=
  • +/=

The adjustments are in the order NS/EW, so +/= means AVE+ for NS, AVE for EW.
The subject of “multiple adjustments for one pair” is handled differently by some score systems. The method we have used is consistent with the wording of the laws, and verified by a WBF committee member. We compute scores like this:

  1. Compute "raw percentage" for boards played.
  2. Apply all AVE= adjustments.
    If your raw percentage is > 40%, apply all AVE- adjustments.
    If your raw percentage is < 60%, apply all AVE+ adjustments.
  3. Recompute the session percentage, and apply any final adjustments.
    This is when the AVE+ >60% or AVE- <40% happens. 

IMPs: teams and X-IMPs

For teams, the minus infractions AVE- results in minus three IMPs (-3). The adjustment is only applied to one side.
For X-IMPs, the minus infractions, AVE- results in minus two IMPs (-2). The AVE+ is plus two (+2).

If the adjustment "balances" then it goes in the normal IMP score columns.  That is:

  • =/= is just 0
  • +/- is +3 to the first team
  • -/+ is +3 to the second team

If the adjustment doesn't balance then the IMP score for the board is 0 and the adjustments go in the (invisible) separate column - so the total scores / VPs will be correct.

For head-to-head matches, ONLY =/=, +/- and -/+ are selectable.

For more about this topic please refer to EBU White Book

When are adjustments seen?

  • When the Director makes an adjustment, the Director sees it immediately.
  • Under most circumstances players will see adjustments for a previous round as soon as the adjustment is made. If they disconnect and reconnect, they will see the score adjustments at the end of the round. 
  • A player in the lobby will only see the refreshed scores at the end of the round.

The simplified rule is this:

  • At the end of the round, all scores shown reflect the adjustments.
  • The Director always sees the refreshed scores immediately.

Appendix C: Advice for Directors

(changed 21 December 2020)

Session name

Please try to remember to put the session name in the yellow band at the top of the screen. Use a meaningful name. This name:

  • Is shown in the results, at the top of the results screens.
  • Is recorded in the USEBIO file.
  • Is recorded in the RealBridge log files.
  • Appears in your invoice.

After an event is finished

To make use of the results server, you must not reboot the session, otherwise you lose your “permanent results”.

Good housekeeping is to:

  • Make sure you have made all the adjustments you want to make.
  • Make sure that you have saved any USEBIO files, PBN files, settings files that you need.
  • Destroy the session, ideally within a few hours of the event being completed.

After you have done this, the link stays active forever, and it takes the players to the results.

Using the Redial button

Remind players to use the redial button every hour, or at other times if they notice video or audio problems. It is the pair of curved arrows near their name, to the right of the eye.

Going to the table as director

It is always better/safer to join the table by clicking the table, unless you are intending to play.

In particular: during Round 1, if there is a sitout pair, avoid sitting in the missing pair's seats. If you do, the movement will think you are going to play.

Big Sur – big problems

For Mac users: The latest version of MacOS (“Big Sur”) has created issues with using the Safari browser. So, if you have MacBook and iMac users who have upgraded to “Big Sur”, please ask them not to use Safari. Any other browser like Chrome will work fine.

iPad users must continue to use Safari.

Playing and directing at the same time

Option 1

Use one device, using the same browser, log in twice, and put your windows side-by-side. Alternatively, if you have two monitors, arrange on window on the left, for playing, and one window on the right, for directing.

If you use two different browsers (eg Chrome and Edge), then your camera will only work on one of them.

Option 2

Use two devices. For example, one computer for playing, and a tablet (or smartphone) for directing. It is possible to direct using a smartphone, but not to play.


  • RealBridge is a sound free (ping free) application. We plan to enhance the notification features for both playing and non-playing directors.
  • Keep in mind that your microphone might be outputting your voice to two tables, if indeed you are at both tables, and had not muted one of them.

Team head-to-head matches

Explained by using an example: 4 rounds of 8 boards. (of course, any number of rounds, and any number of boards are possible)

Ask every team to sit at their table. The Director starts Round 1.

  • The system moves the East/West players for each pair of matches.
  • When the first round ends (8 boards are played) … both tables indicate R1, and the colour of the table changes from green to a grey/mushroom colour.
  • The system moves the East/West players back to their home tables, for a post mortem
  • During this time the players can choose to:
    • Stay as they are
    • Change partnerships, including asking 5th and 6th members of the team to join, and another pair leave
    • Change seats

You might wish to ask the captains to agree on who is going to change seats. Or perhaps, you can agree that the even numbered teams change the East/West to North/South.

Of course, if you want a compulsory change of opponent, then you need to agree that both teams in the match don’t do the same thing.

Now, as director, Start Round 2. (boards 9 to 16).

The rest of the match follows as in the above steps.

Director checklist

  1. Name the session – yellow band
  2. Add tables
  3. Session settings
  4. Advanced for club name and number, if needed
  5. Open the session now, or 45 mins before game time (recommended)
  6. Double check before start
  7. Remove unwanted/empty tables
  8. Make sure that you don't have two half-tables
  9. Reconsider your movement. You may want to change from Howell to Mitchell, or vice versa.
  10. Start
  11. 45 minutes later, remind to click Redial
  12. Get your USEBIO and PBN files, and remember to save them
  13. About an hour after the end of the session: Destroy (via Advanced)