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All comments by Dwayne Hoffman
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Kevin - I agree with that approach as well. What I am hopeful of is an unified and clear set of steps for the ACBL to take forward on.

Peg & Gene - Considering that our attendance at many regionals are down, the space issue that screens present would not be terribly imposing. Yes, the entry costs is something that would need to be considered (and storage of screens too). Yes, the transportation of those items would need discussion. However, if we're going to bring decent players upwards into high level competitive bridge, why not have screens at a certain level? Since the Mid-Chart permits its use in a 6,000 MP cumulative and up, why not use that as a break even line for their use? This is a topic I intend to bring up in November at our next Unit Board meeting because I've had at least 4 different players wanting screens, and 2 of them want them in every tournament game (which I believe is true overkill)!
Sept. 28, 2015
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Kevin, my good friend -

I can answer partly why they are waiting until Spring 2016. The CEO might be required to run the idea of the cameras, in concert with the tech group that is modernizing the ACBL, at a formal get together (i.e. NABC) first.

As it relates to the recordings and such, I believe all regional rated events and higher, where there are two or more sessions, should be recorded and mandate the use of screens.
Sept. 27, 2015
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If there is a question that I consider to be potentially inappropriate, I call the director immediately. This also applies to any follow-up question that is seeking information. I've gotten to the point where I carry a pad of paper to ask my questions.
Sept. 24, 2015
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4 card majors! :-)
Sept. 23, 2015
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Dawn -

I appreciate your thoughtful response. Let me offer a few thoughts of my own.

#1 - It is very true that the rate of cheating in chess has skyrocketed. So has the accusations of such, which when proved to be false, is quite damaging. Unlike chess tho, bridge at least attempts to place the onus onto the accuser. I do agree that the NCBO's have been woeful, and that there is a way forward from this. As Mr. Regan is in essence on call for FIDE, we are still basing a claim of cheating on a single person. Not good enough. There has to be protection against false accusations built into the system, and chess does not have this. There have been recent examples of people being wrongly charged, and it has brought considerable harm to their tournaments and possibly, their reputations.

#2 - The ACP and FIDE still have not come to terms fully with the evaluation of evidence.

#3 & #4 - To say that “people are doing it” is almost redundant in nature. The Ivanov case was frankly a sordid affair. I have examined 5 of his games, and can attest that in at least 3 of them, the move order was sufficiently irregular to warrant future examination. Coupled with the amount of physical evidence (!), I do not blame the BCF in banning him and FIDE removing him.

#5 - Mr. Regan's naiveté is very evident here. It is quite rare for a player to have four equal moves in the middlegame. Additionally, to assert that the probabilities becoming more statistically significant is a fallacious argument, because certain positions are understandably dynamic, and therefore further calculation is required that transcends 2 or 3 moves. The issue I have with using z-scores to be a prime determinant, is that there has to be a consistent base of measurement in order to have a valid standard deviation, which in turn generates a valid z-score (for those not math inclined, all a z score states is how many standard deviations an element is from the mean). Since it can be proven that certain subsets of moves are forced sequences, that skews the z-scores appropriately.

Now, how does all of this relate to bridge?

Cheating in bridge has been going on for a long time. Whether people like to talk about it or not, it simply cannot be denied that is has been ongoing. The Buenos Aires Affair didn't happen because someone did not like the tango. The 1975 BB affair did not happen due to people not liking shoes. The list goes on and on. One of the core problems that trying to use a pure statistical analysis, is that there are so many systems and conventions in circulations, that determining what is “normal” is almost impossible. This is why I like some of the ideas about having an independent panel who are familiar with the myriad of methods in play. We must always default to human analysis and never to what a number may tell us.
Sept. 23, 2015
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As a BLM in the ACBL, and a 1950 rated correspondence chess player in the USCF, I have an unique perspective on how both sports have been evolving.

One of the critical deficiencies in Mr. Regan's analysis is that with different chess engines, they weight different areas of the game (i.e. tactical play versus strategic play; dynamic positions versus locked positions, and so on). So if a chess player happens to have a large number of highly ranked moves in the eyes of a chess engine, some assume that that person received outside assistance. I have ran at least 150 CC games through a chess engine, and the error rate was so fantastically low, that to the uninformed, you would affirm that those individuals were cheating.

What people forget is that statistical truth that “correlation does not imply causation”. This is where bridge is remarkably different than chess, because in bridge we are using video and audio evidence in concert with statistical analysis to determine if cheating has occurred. This has not yet occurred in chess, and it is why Mr. Regan's analysis cannot be taken at full value. There exists, like in bridge, forcing sequences of moves to maintain or furthering an advantage that chess players must take, and therefore the weight of these subsets of moves will often highly in the eyes of a computer. It does not prove however that a player is cheating. It is thus logical to discount those specific sequencing of moves (what in chess we call “combinations” and “tactical motifs”) because they are in essence, mandatory. And, chess engines are dramatically changing the way the game is played to a more materialistic style. Conditional probability is less valid as a measurement of outcome because of the inconsistent weighting; furthermore, linear regressions and curves also become skewed due to the natural outliers that will come about.

I see the ACBL's mechanisms to be superior to the USCF, when it comes to discovery of fact, discernment of innocent until proven otherwise, and most critically, process management via the recorder system. The USCF only has a direct appeal mechanism to the Ethics Committee, which is cumbersome, and places an unfair onus upon the appellant. Can the ACBL improve in this area? Absolutely. However, to compare it to the USCF is no contest - we do a lot better in Horn Lake than our counterparts in Crossville.
Sept. 21, 2015
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As a board member of Unit 243 here in south Florida, we had to move to the 10 and 3 schedule because of the increased rush hour we experience when our snowbirds come down for the season. Additionally, even tho we do have some night games in our unit, the amount of attendance for those are a fraction of our larger daytime games. What may surprise some of you is that we've had to institute handicapped knockouts due to a lack of turnout.

I do agree that daytime bridge is increasing, and it should continue to do so as baby boomers retire. However, I also believe that a revisitation on the type of events being ran might be of benefit. I'd like to see more IMP Pairs events for one.
Sept. 17, 2015
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Change requires things to get a bit messy. And, change is sorely needed in our game. It is quite clear to me that the governing bodies have a lot of explaining and doing in the near future.
Sept. 14, 2015
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I have written more recorder memos this calendar year, then in the last 5 combined. It has been for all sorts of things. I do tho believe that in terms of the mechanics of the game itself, there maybe need to institute processes at regionals and NABC's to document times per bid/play, in addition to the audio/visual monitoring.
Sept. 4, 2015
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Reasonable cost, pleasant area, and right time of year.
April 10, 2015
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Henry - My problem is, I tend to play quickly. So this self-imposed delay is to sort out my thought process before playing. I think you would agree that consistency would avoid any irregularities under Law. Of course discovering a 5-0 trump split or a side suit at NT breaking 5-1 is cause to rethink things, but it prevents me tanking when it could be grossly inappropriate to do so.
July 12, 2012
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I like doing all my thinking on defense at trick 1, even when it's obvious. It helps me maintain tempo throughout.
July 12, 2012
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I agree with the conclusion of the article. I feel that often in our bridge lives, our partners are the best players we know.
Sept. 2, 2011
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I'd have good agreements in:

Interfering against a strong club
Coping with Polish/Swedish/prepared club systems
Combating two suited takeouts (Michaels, top and bottom)
Carding, carding, carding - my reg pard and I have spent quite a bit of time in this area alone

Consider:

How complex do you want the general method? Have always felt that opening style = overcall style = preempt style for consistency.
Playability when you're tired and grinding is very important.
Preparation in the 1NT/2NT engine, 2C (assuming strong) engine - it should I feel be almost automatic for time conservation.


Feb. 4, 2011
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I might have overcalled a little frisky 2 to start, but since I've led trump, I'm going to exit one here. It feels right to be passive here to me.
Nov. 5, 2010
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