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All comments by Michael Albert
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The cost of a single BridgeMate is (the last time I looked) significantly more than the cost of a tablet with pretty reasonable specifications. So, given the right app, clubs could simply buy a set of cheap tablets instead of bridgemates. I have long believed that this is the way forward particularly as, done correctly, it would allow much more opportunity for customisation than the current versions seem to.
Sept. 27, 2016
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@Jim Sorry I wasn't clear - I meant you were in third seat with a real 1 call, but fourth seat knowing your agreement could now psyche a strong raise of 1 since your partner would “know” it was you. :)
Sept. 13, 2016
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@Jim (and not entirely seriously) Do you reveal this understanding to your opponents? Suddenly it's a lot more attractive in a 1-1-1 (Jim) auction for a fourth seat Yarborough to psyche strength since your partner will “know” it's you.
Sept. 12, 2016
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Speaking as someone with an amateur knowledge of both Go and Bridge, and a professional one of computer science, mathematics and games in general, I both agree and disagree.

The disagreement comes from the fact that one of the key features of Go is a spatial recognition/matching problem on a grid. It turns out that this is smack in the sweet spot for convolutional neural networks. It also comes in part from the fact that, various good efforts notwithstanding, we still don't quite understand how to deal with games of imperfect information, and games where the primary effort is at communication (i.e., both the play and the bidding in bridge).

However, I also agree that if you told me Google/IBM/Facebook were about to drop a bundle of money on bridge playing agents and asked me to bet at even money whether a computer team would beat the 2021 Bermuda Bowl winners in a long match, I'd take the computers.
Sept. 8, 2016
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Yeah, not really a problem here. The main reason for pre registration here is the relatively small fields and so the need for the director to figure out sensible movement/seating/seeding in advance (particularly given the constraints on the number of boards that must be played). Of course a sensible director always has at least one pair (and preferably two) on standby in case of no-shows.
Sept. 5, 2016
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In New Zealand all (or almost all) tournaments *require* pre registration, though payment is generally on site. The larger tournaments often offer online payment options, and the national tournament requires both advance registration and advance payment (see http://www.nzbridge.co.nz/congress.html)
Sept. 5, 2016
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I can't believe there have been 14 comments already and no one has suggested it was OP's fault for omitting the apostrophe in “Who's”. :)
Sept. 5, 2016
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@Eugene: I suspected you'd catch that one. Though, in the days of Kaplan's editorship an editorial position of The Bridge World on a Laws related matter could be taken as a pretty strong indication of a position being supported in the laws commission. So let me try once more (though thoughts of mountains and molehills are not far from mind).

Imagine that I live in a town where vandals are routinely defacing or damaging any cars parked on the streets. The leading local newspaper suggests that everyone should make sure to park in parking garages, and install cameras at home to monitor the situation if they don't have off street parking available. But beyond that no one seems to be worried about addressing the underlying problem. Am I troubled? I think I am. Am I considering moving? I suspect so.
March 31, 2016
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@Eugene: I will risk stretching an analogy past its breaking point. I don't see an issue with any individual deciding to install a security system or take a self defence class. The corresponding problem is when the mayor in a public speech recommends that everyone install security systems because there's no plan to deal with rising crime levels. Or when a university administration's response to violence on campus is (only) to promote self defence classes.

@Oren: Fair enough mentioning to opponents when they might be showing you their cards - this is proactive and generally helpful. Personally, I find it very easy to focus on the table and the dummy, almost blanking out the rest of the environment while playing a hand, but I realise that's not the same for everyone.
March 31, 2016
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Am I the only one who is troubled by the Bridge World's need to offer this advice, or indeed the apparently general feeling that such advice is of value?

Why should the accepted practice be to try and protect yourself against those taking improper advantage of how you do, or do not, sort your hand? Does this not normalise and implicitly accept that behaviour?

If so, should we be surprised to discover that there are some who draw the inference that if behaviour of that sort is widely tolerated, perhaps there is no reason not to practice other, more direct, forms of taking unfair advantage? That it's just another way of ‘playing the game’?
March 31, 2016
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I think there's another fast pass in this sort of situation that's even more revealing:

1 - 2 (p)
4NT - 5 (fast pass)

This says “Not only don't I have a lead directing double of 5, I didn't have one for any other Blackwood response either.”

And I agree - it's a very hard habit to break!
Nov. 3, 2015
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It's certainly used predictively in cricket. When the ball strikes the batsman in front of the wicket one needs (sometimes) to determine whether or not it would have gone on to hit the stumps. Of course in that context it's not important to be able to do it in real time, but my impression is that the hold ups in assessing its evidence are not hold ups with Hawk Eye, but with the human being associated with the procedure.
Oct. 27, 2015
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I have a lot of respect for Matt, but at least at the level things are presented in the linked article, I have a hard time seeing what's significantly different between this and what the widely used “Hawk-Eye” system already does (or could do).

http://www.hawkeyeinnovations.co.uk/

Disclaimer: I have no commercial interest in nor any direct connection with Hawk-Eye.
Oct. 27, 2015
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It's interesting to me that the sports that require the greatest level of sportsmanship (and least gamesmanship) from their participants, which I take to be golf and snooker, are also those that require that participants show the greatest respect for their opponents, at least while play is under way. And, there seems to be a corresponding effect in the opposite direction as well.

While the ACBL's “zero tolerance” policies and similar efforts elsewhere have attempted to enforce such respect, they are far from uniformly successful, and widely ignored by some partnerships. The behaviour one sees routinely at a bridge table would be akin (at the very least) to conducting a loud conversation with your caddy while your opponent was lining up a putt, or taking practice swings while he or she was teeing off.

I have never understood why bridge has never developed a detailed protocol about behaviour and mechanics at the table - applicable in principle to all, but expected to be followed scrupulously at the highest level. If anything, it tends to work the other way with top pairs being given greater latitude than the duffers. Perhaps it's not entirely coincidental that, were such a protocol in place, conveying UI by mechanical means would be significantly more problematic.
Oct. 4, 2015
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It's probably worth noting that the WBF code is very largely (possibly entirely, I can't be bothered to check line by line) a copy and paste job from the WADA code.

https://www.wada-ama.org/en/resources/the-code/world-anti-doping-code

So I don't think a great deal of effort was devoted to producing this particular document.
Oct. 4, 2015
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Ed,
One can obtain a “Therapeutic Use Exemption”. See the link at

https://www.wada-ama.org/en/questions-answers/athletes-and-medications
Sept. 30, 2015
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And as regards (1), this is the WADA approach. Winners (of sufficiently major events) are always investigated. Whether the community could or would support the costs of such investigations is an entirely different kettle of fish.
Sept. 16, 2015
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Barry, you probably shouldn't come and play at a bridge club in New Zealand. I suspect you'd find many of the players in the group to whom you're referring opening this as a weak two in , but using a multi 2 to do so. And they wouldn't apologise for it.
Aug. 20, 2015
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<humour mode on>
I have sometimes imagined calling the director after one or more such fixes:

DIRECTOR: What seems to be the problem?

ME: I'd like to note a possible 74A2 violation.

DIRECTOR: Oh? And what was this alleged violation?

ME: Well, these opponents play so badly and irrationally that it's interfering with my enjoyment of the game.
<humour mode off>

74A2: A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might
cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might
interfere with the enjoyment of the game.

(surely playing irrationally is an “action” right?)
Aug. 20, 2015
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Here in New Zealand, this convention is known descriptively as “range finder” and used (often with considerable extensions) almost universally by every level of player. Since I only arrived in 1996 I can't speak for its vintage, but it was certainly already widely played then.
Aug. 10, 2014
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