Timer for Duplicate Bridge:

A Low-Cost Professional Timer For Your Club

Copyright 2017 by Paul F. Dubois. All rights reserved. Version 1.

Timer For Duplicate Bridge As Shown In A Club Setting

Timer for Duplicate Bridge displays the time remaining in a round and the number of the round; this supports a Director in keeping the game length within acceptable time limits. Timer runs on any iPad running iOS 8 or later. An older iPad can be dedicated to run Timer; often a club member will donate one. A fully-charged device should have no trouble finishing two sessions without a power source.

Timer also runs on any iPhone 5 or later. Timer can be useful as a personal, small-screen timer for a Director.

Table of Contents

Quick Start


Before launching Timer, the user should go to the device's Settings, tap Do Not Disturb, and tap the "Manual" switch to "On". The Do-Not-Disturb half-moon icon appears at the top of the device. This prevents timing interruptions from such things as text messages and notifications.

The Timer app prevents the device from sleeping when the Timer screen is visible.

Timer sounds a warning tone when there are two minutes left in a round, and another tone at the end of the round. If these tones are not wanted, mute the device.

Launching and Setting Timer

Begin the Timer program by tapping its icon, which is a small version of the timer screen labeled "Bridge Timer". The Settings screen appears first.

The user changes these default values to set up a session.

The initial settings shown are Timer's default values: 9 rounds; 3 boards per round; no extra time between rounds; 7 minutes per board; and no formal break.

Change each value as desired, by tapping the "−" or "+" to the right of the value. After setting your desired values, tap Timer in the upper-right corner to display the Timer screen.

Note: For less than 3 Boards Per Round, the ACBL standard "Time Per Board" is 7½ minutes.

We suggest using Practice Mode to practice use of Timer's features before using Timer in a live game.

Timing The Session

The Timer screen at the start of the first round of 9.

Initially, the "− | +" adjustment controls for time and round are visible. Tap Start to begin timing. The adjustment controls and the Start button disappear, and the timer updates the screen every five seconds.

The Timer screen displays the time remaining and the Round number.

The user may tap the screen anywhere to pause timing. The "− | +" controls and the Start button reappear.

The adjustment controls are available when timing is paused.

At the end of each round, a "Move" screen counts down the extra time set on the Settings screen by the "Seconds Between Rounds" control, if any. The default is zero seconds.

Timer pauses at the end of the round set by the "Break After Round" control. There is no specified time for a break; Timer waits for the user to tap "Start" again.

When the session is complete, the "Game Over" screen appears. After one minute (or sooner if the user taps Settings), Timer resets itself and presents the "Settings" screen, ready for a new session. Tap the device's Home button to leave Timer, and reset Do Not Disturb if desired.

About Interruptions

Note: Using the device's Home or Lock buttons during timing pauses the Timer and removes it from the screen. After this or any other interruption, or even a device reboot, Timer always remembers where you were in the session. Launch Timer from its icon and restart it from the Timer screen.

Should you not want to be where you were in the session when an interruption occurred, see the section on Adjustments, or the use of Reset to start a new session.

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Full Documentation

Using The Settings Screen

On the Settings screen, the values displayed can be increased or decreased by means of the "+" and "−" controls that arenext to each field. The adjustment buttons can also be pressed and held to accelerate the change.

The five values are:

  1. The number of rounds to be played.

  2. The number of boards per round.

  3. The number of extra seconds of movement time between rounds. A value of zero starts the next round immediately.

  4. The time allowed per board. ACBL standard is 7½ minutes per board for two-board rounds, and 7 minutes per board otherwise. Novices may require more, and "fast pairs" less.

  5. The number of the round after which the timer pauses for a hospitality break. Leave this value at zero if no formal break is planned. After a break, the user starts the timer by tapping Start to resume play.

    Alternatively, how to add time to a round in order to make it a "hospitality round" is explained in Adjustments, below.

Timing Swiss Teams

For Swiss Teams, lower the Break After Round value to zero and then tap "−" one more time. The value changes to an "S". A break will occur after every round.

Set "Number of Rounds" to the number of matches, and "Boards Per Round" to the number of boards in a match, typically 4 and 6 respectively for a club Swiss. (Swiss mode also works for a team match played in segments, such as four segments of 15 boards each.)

Additional Controls On The Settings Screen

The top bar contains:

The bottom bar contains:

Timing the Session

Tapping "Timer" in the upper right of the Settings screen displays the Timer screen. The timer is not running—yet. The upper panel displays the time remaining' in the round, and the bottom panel displays the Round number and total number of rounds. Each of the two panels has a "− | +" control to adjust its value.

The adjustment controls are visible when the Timer is paused.

Tap the yellow Start button to start the timer. The Start button disappears, as do the "− | +" adjustment controls. The timer updates the time every five seconds.

Tapping the Timer screen anywhere pauses the timer; the Start button and adjustment controls reappear. Tap Start again to resume timing.

Tapping the "Settings" button in the upper left of the screen takes you back to the "Settings" screen. The timer is paused.

Making Adjustments

Begin all adjustments by tapping the Timer screen anywhere to pause the timer. The Timer display reveals "− | +" controls at the bottom right of each panel, and the Start button reappears.

Add time to a round simply by waiting that amount of time before tapping Start, or tap the "+" control in the time panel. Each tap increases the time left in the round by about 15 seconds. Pressing and holding the button accelerates the change.

Similarly, decrease the time remaining in the round tapping the "−" button.

The Round Number "− | +" controls in the lower panel have a more complicated behavior:


Timer goes to the start of the next round.


First tap: Timer returns to the beginning of the current round.

Second tap: Timer returns to the beginning of the previous round.

After using the Round Number "−" control, the time remaining can be reduced by means of the Time "−" control if the full time per round is too much.

During the "Move" period between rounds, tapping "+" advances to the next round.

When adjustments are complete, tap Start to resume timing.

Returning To Settings

Tapping Settings in the upper-left corner of the Timer screen pauses the timer and displays the Settings screen. The current time and round are remembered.

Once timing has started, Boards Per Round is no longer adjustable. Also, the Number Of Rounds cannot be lowered below the current round. Use Reset, below, to have complete freedom of adjustment.

Boards Per Round cannot be changed after timing starts.

After changing any values as desired, tap Timer to return to the Timer screen; then tap Start to resume timing.

Changing Time Per Board does not take effect until the next round starts.

Resetting The Timer

Tapping the Reset button at the top left of the Settings screen returns all Settings values to default values, and forgets the current time and round number. Reset on these occasions:

The Adjustment Cookbook

In this section we give instructions for the most common scenarios.

In the following cases, begin by tapping the screen to "Pause".

In the following cases, begin by tapping the "Settings" button. The timer pauses and the Settings screen appears. You do not have to separately pause first.

To have two or more breaks, set up the first break by setting the Break After Round value on the Settings screen. When the Timer pauses at that break, return to Settings to increase the Break After Round to the next desired value. Then tap Timer. When you have finished the current break, tap Start.

Additional Notes

Variations In The Timer Screen's Appearance

Colors of letters and backgrounds alert players to different phases of the session. The time display turns red during the last two minutes of a round. Different backgrounds indicate a Break, if enabled by the Break After Round value; the "Move" period, if enabled by the Seconds Between Rounds value; and the "Game Over" screen indicating that the last round has been completed.

Varying colors in the display are used to show the Timer's different phases.

Timing Half-round Movements

Some movements have "half rounds" in which the boards and players move every two of these periods. The scoring program and devices show twice as many rounds and the East/West players and rovers move every other round. For example, the movement H7ROVER has 14 rounds of 2 boards, but the players tend to think of the movement as 7 rounds of 4 boards, because they move 7 times. In our experience, using the larger number of rounds is confusing to them. If you choose to match the scoring devices by using 14/2, be sure to set Seconds Between Rounds to zero.


Contact Information

For support, or to make suggestions for improvements, please email the author at pfdubois@gmail.com. Our website is pfdubois.com/timer, which contains this document.

Our Privacy Policy

Timer For Duplicate Bridge does not collect any information at all, including informationabout users, or what they are timing. It does not use any of the device's resources such as the camera, microphone, location, or network. There are no in-app purchases.


Thank you to my fellow directors at the Livermore Bridge Club for their suggestions and enthusiasm for the project. Thank you also to:

  • Professor Paul Hegarty, Stanford University, whose free course on iTunes University let me get started in iOS programming.

  • Rob Percival, for his excellent, incredibly detailed course on iOS programming on Udemy.com.

  • The members of Stack Overflow (stackoverflow.com), whose postings solved many an iOS puzzle.

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