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All comments by Jean-Baptiste Fantun
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Yves Costel, one of the co-authors of the paper, is indeed the developer of WBridge5 that had not won the World Championships for 8 years until its boosted version won the Championships in Wroclaw (2016) and in Lyons (2017).
Dec. 27, 2017
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I agree with Michal's comment and one of the co-authors of the 2 papers he quotes is Olivier Teytaud, a renowned French AI researcher whose works have been instrumental in solving the game of GO. As he is also co-author of the paper about bridge “Boosting a Bridge AI”, we can trust the approach to be serious, in spite of different previous commentaries from people who obviously do not understand what a seed and a PRNG really are.
Dec. 27, 2017
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For those who could not follow the webinar: https://youtu.be/u8x4T9bwUmM
Nov. 30, 2017
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Just mentioning this event I announced in a separate thread:

What if bridge was the next milestone of AI ?

Dr Ventos, a senior AI researcher http://vvopenai.monsite-orange.fr/ and a strong French player has been struggling for two years to convince her fellow scientists that bridge was much more than a game. Now she has a dozen academic collaborations worldwide, substantial funding coming soon and hopefully a bridge challenge that her system will be able to address in some time. Such an event would have a huge media impact on our favorite mind sport; beyond that, the system she is developing is likely to have applications in different areas like healthcare and finance (to start with) that have similarities with bridge.

Want to know more ? Dr Ventos will hold a webinar on Nov 27 at 11 a.m (NYC Time) https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6958887543473419777

For those not able to attend the webinar, there will be a youtube video available.
Nov. 26, 2017
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We played 230 boards in Wroclaw, perhaps most of which against Polish pairs. Very few of them had no Convention card and all of them were eager to explain their bidding, carding, etc in detail. What's more, Polish Club is basically natural and very easy to understand. Finally, I found the ethics standard exceptionally high and the only problem we had in 230 boards was against a non-Polish pair.
Sept. 26, 2016
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5 then 6 over 5, I want to play in 6 :)
Sept. 8, 2016
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I like to show that X shows a strong hand or just a good one with some shape, typically with 5+ diamonds. When partner bids 2 and not 2 over the X, i expect he often has 5 spades and I feel compelled to invite with this control-rich hand vul at Imp's.
Sept. 8, 2016
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The actual hand was xxx Kx xxxxxx xx

I reasoned that RHO maybe would not have bid 2 with this hand but I was wrong.
April 27, 2016
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If we are certain that declarer does not hold the K then the lead is a killer. The contract goes down on a lead if declarer has Kxx xx xxxxxx xx
April 27, 2016
Jean-Baptiste Fantun edited this comment April 27, 2016
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Well as you can guess I got the toss up wrong…again :) a 29 imp decision as our teammates were in 3NT
April 26, 2016
Jean-Baptiste Fantun edited this comment April 26, 2016
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I agree François about dummy's hand and the need to ruin West"s entries, it screams for a major lead. Would East bid 2H with xxx Kx Vxxxxx xx or alike ? Then is Kxxx x Vxxxxx xx more likely ?
April 26, 2016
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It is true that without video equipment there is little legal ground to prevent the Z team from playing in the DN1, although the “force majeure” argument is not totally convincing, allowing them to add 1 or 2 players beacause F-N are banned.

This is why I (and many French players) would like the FFB to adopt a new rule stating that each team having qualified for a competition playing with cheats is banned from this competition.

We are facing a situation and need new rules for that. If the rule is “if a player heavily subsidises the French bridge (or more accurately some French players), then he can revoke without enduring a penalty or he can change the contract after dummy comes down, etc”, the FFB should just let us know.
Oct. 15, 2015
Jean-Baptiste Fantun edited this comment Oct. 15, 2015
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The fact that the Zimmermann team has been allowed to add a 5th player is also regrettable, IMO. They have earned the right to play the Division nationale 1 with Fantunes on board, I think the whole team should then be banned from the competition, as I have expressed in another thread.
Oct. 15, 2015
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Salut François,

I am in line with most of what you are writing here.

About 'legal“ choices: if FN are not proven guilty yet, then the FFB has to accept that the Z team show up with them in the DN1. It would be a strange situation but from a legal point of view nobody could object anything. Maybe all teams would agree not to sit against our favorite cheats but that is another issue. Actually, the FFB decided that the Z team could add a 5th player, the argument being ”cas de force majeure" as you mentioned. I DO NOT understand this (force majeure is designed for sick people or so) and I strongly demand that any team including a pair of proven cheats be banned from all French competitions it has qualified for playing with this pair.

There has to be a strong incentive for teams and sponsors to be especially cautious when hiring a pair. We have been way too lenient on these ethical issues, the result being that the Zimmermann team (having qualified with FN) and the Zaleski team (with Lanzarotti on board) will be soon playing in the DN1. I find this situation shameful.
Oct. 13, 2015
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(Sad) end of the story: as we have predicted the Zimmermann team has been allowed by the French Federation to add Martens as a 5th player to be able to play in the Division Nationale 1, having earned the right to play in tis competition with the help of Fantoni-Nunes.

To all teams: do not fear recruiting people with a dubious reputation who might be identified later as cheats, it will have NO impact on your participation in the competitions you qualified for playing with those thugs.

Oct. 12, 2015
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Red, IMP, good trumps: 4 spades for me
Oct. 2, 2015
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Rolf,

I summed up the messages, phone calls, etc I got from other French players. Of course it is biased because those who do not agree with me would not call me. But I was trying to express a general feeling.

Speaking about Canossa, I never mentioned hoping that Mr Z would be humiliated in any way. I just wished he did not act as if nothing had happened.
Sept. 24, 2015
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Bernard,

I was in fact referring to Lanzarotti, whose presence in the DN1 is questionable IMO, to say the less.

I think we cannot compare a sanction in bridge with a jail sentence, the stakes are too different.

If we allow cheats in bridge to play again after some years away from the table, I have a feeling the expected gains (in the mathematic sense) are too high to deter people from cheating, especially in a context where financial stakes are becoming substantial. So I suggest that the only way to prevent people from cheating is to let them know they are facing a life sentence if they are caught.

I do not see why the FFB should not show the way in this matter and rule that any player who has been convinced of cheating (by another federation, WBF, etc) is not allowed to play in French Championships.

As has been said a trillion times on this forum those last weeks, bridge is a great game where it is very easy to cheat and where the stakes are getting higher. This is why I support taking strong preventive measures to clean the game on a long-term basis.

Sept. 24, 2015
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This is a minimal but good beginning, let's give the FFB some credit for that.

Time to mention that from the moment I posted 24 hours ago I have been overwhelmed by messages, emails, etc from French players (I did not know so many were familiar with BW) who strongly supported my action.

To sum up the majority's state of mind:

- everybody was shocked by the Z-team ‘s presence at the Finale Nationale d’Interclubs and those who were playing have noticed HH's low profile as opposed to their captain's attitude, making loud comments and jokes about “trays” and other cheating instruments.

- those playing last week-end would have appreciated if Mr Z had taken 5 minutes to deliver a small speech and apologize to all the teams that have been hurt by FN's cheats over the years.

- a team with MZ, HH and any other pair is of course welcome in French competitions but no special treatment by the FFB concerning their right to play is acceptable; too many people are now watching.



On a slightly different subject, all comments mentioned that players who have been convinced of cheating (with an established code, exchanging UI with fingers, etc) should not be accepted in French competitions and that if no rule could forbid their presence, then it was up to sponsors and teammates to prevent this from happening.
Sept. 23, 2015
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Roland, I do not want to punish anybody and it is of course impossible to take away titles if the cheat in the previous competitions is not proven.

Nevertheless, when I read somme comments expressing sadness for “poor M Zimmermann who is the one who has been cheated the most”, let me state that I feel bad for him but I feel worse for all the teams that have been deprived from titles and fair competition during all these years.

The least I would have expected from the “honourable, committed, innocent, etc” M Zimmermann is a little bit of empathy (why not a short speech at the beginning of the competition ?) for all those smaller teams. Auken-Welland did that and definitely showed their class doing so.
Sept. 23, 2015
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