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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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ACBL Alert Procedures: http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/play/AlertProcedures.pdf
Page 6:

'Pre-Alerts are designed to act as an early warning of any unusual methods for which the
opponents may need to prepare'

From Page 1:
'This procedure uses the admittedly “fuzzy” terminology of “highly unusual and
unexpected” as the best practical solution to simplifying the Alert Procedure. “Highly
unusual and unexpected” should be determined in light of historical usage rather than
local geographical usage. To ensure full disclosure, however, at the end of the auction
and before the opening lead declarers are encouraged to volunteer to explain the auction
(including available inferences).'

I agree with Steve.
3 hours ago
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@Steve: All announcements are alerts. All announcement require the use of the alert strip/card if bidding boxes are in use. The fact that almost no-one uses them does not mean that you should not use them.

In ACBL land, there are 4 types of alerts: announcements, alerts, pre-alerts, delayed alerts. They are all (reasonably?) well-defined. See http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/play/AlertChart.pdf for more explanations.

Most players learn these ‘rules’ from observing other players. I have yet to see an ACBL class where alerts/announcements are taught/explained to players. I have yet to find a player that would be willing to attend such a class. But that does not mean you are not expected to know these rules.

If you are one of the more experienced players at your club/tournament; it is (somewhat) incumbent on you to follow the rules so that less experienced players ‘know’ them.

The OP, David, has over 10K MPS; he is on the USBF board, he has been/is a coach for US Juniors. The understanding of what is an alert, what is an announcement should be basic bridge knowledge; the correct procedure (the fact it is rarely followed is immaterial) for announcements/alerts should be standard bridge practice in clubs/tournaments.

For anyone over 1K MPs, I would have expected that at some point you would have read the rules of Bridge, and also read the (then current) ACBL procedures.

I am not trying to be too much of a pedant about this; but we can only expect so much from TDs. The ACBL has put this information out there. It is up to us as players to read it if we have questions. If we still don't understand then by all means ask questions, post on BW and educate ourselves.

Take Golf as an example. Lots of people play golf, but almost no-one has read the Official Rule of Golf (I had to once, I was President of a Golf Club, but before that I never had). We learn the rules of Golf (or tennis, pick your favorite sport), by having other players tell us the rules. If we get multiple different explanations, we keep asking until we find someone who agrees with us (or actually can cite the rules).

Very simply; this is an alert - it is a partnership agreement - the opponents are entitled to your agreements. It is NOT an announcement (these are well defined by ACBL).

@David: There might be some players on Eminiar VII willing to play these rules.
11 hours ago
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I was very clear that I was only providing the technology, not the vetting. Any names had to pass the TD censor, not me. We did announce nothing political; but anything else was fair game.

Fun names are cute; but anything that someone could (reasonably) take offense to should not be allowed.

Now… if you can sneak a name past the censor, that's a different story.

The best (??) were ‘Three Men & A Baby’ (the baby was in his 30s), “Jersey Shore”, “Goodykoontz”. Next year I am hoping for more creativity.

I think the censor would have allowed 6NTs, or even 1NT.
17 hours ago
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I played in Gatlinburg all last week; was in Bracket 1 of the KOs in the afternoon, along with some loser Swiss.

For every match; our pre-alerts were

“We may overcall at the 1 level with less than 6 HCP, we may overcall at the two level with less than 10 HCP, we have been known to pre-empt with worse than Qxxxxx”

The opponents would look confused - the general comment was, “that's standard bridge isn't it?”. It may be, but not in ACBL land. All are required pre-alerts.

(I did overcall once with Jx KJ10xx xxx xxx, third seat red v. white with 1; I think my partner once overcalled with <10HCP at the 2 level, and I think he once preempted with worse than Qxxxxx - we only play once a year - so these are part of our understanding of each other's system and required pre-alert. I did open one hand with 8HCP in first seat, but these we generally pass so this did not meet the condition of ‘routinely open with less than 10 HCP’. I passed many 11HCP hands).

I would then explain that these were ACBL required pre-alerts; I would also explain that you are not allowed to add new pre-alerts during a match - all pre-alerts must happen before the first round. I don't think we played a match against anyone that was familiar with any of these rules. Including playing against many professional players. That's bad.

We played one match against a player on the Conventions Committee. Response was - first I've heard of all of that.

As my partner would point out, the reason for the heavy sarcasm in my voice in giving these pre-alerts is that these are all considered ‘standard bridge’ and probably should not require pre-alerts. Particularly for anything in an event with players with > 750 MPs. However ACBL has regulated them. The fact that they are rarely enforced is a separate problem.

If anyone has posted on this thread, or is curious what the current ACBL rules are, see http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/play/AlertProcedures.pdf

The rules about overcalls and pre-empts are on page 6.
18 hours ago
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For delayed alerts, see http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/play/AlertProcedures.pdf

Starts at top of page 5:

'Delayed Alert (or Post-Alert): Alerts given after the auction is completed for
Alertable bids above the level of 3NT starting with the opening bidder's second turn to
call. The dummy or declarer Alerts the defenders before the opening lead. The defenders
Alert after the opening lead has been made but before it is faced. See below under
“Types of Alerts.”'
18 hours ago
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I forgot to mention that we allowed team names (did not have to be a player name) for the Swiss. I think all names passed the TD censor. Next year, y'all need to be more creative and have some fun with them. (Nothing political allowed!).
20 hours ago
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The table count was up by over 100 on the first day, despite several people not being able to make the Monday 1pm start because of weather delays in northern airports.

The weather was wonderful. Wednesday was 79, and many took advantage of the weather to do other things.

The schedule is very amenable for 3 sessions/day, particularly teams.
Morning Swiss/KO; the large bracketed KOs (1pm, 7pm) which Gatlinburg is famous for. If you want 3.5 sessions, there is also a dinner bell.

This year there were tweaks to the schedule.

Evening starts were 7pm, not 7:30pm. Saturday and Sunday were bracketed Swiss events. Saturday had the overflow in the top bracket; Sunday had the overflow in the bottom bracket. These events had 211, 201 teams respectively.

The large KOs were 265, 302, 275, 228, 159 teams.

Gatlinburg is usually the leader in new technology.

Bridgescore+ (BS+) was used for events involving over half of all tables in Gatlinburg - it started all of the KOs, Compact KOs, Dinner Bells etc. Average start time is now under 2 minutes from the last sale/correction. There are still a very large number of team MP corrections, including over 25 after start time. I want to reduce this to 0. Every correction restarts the procedure for starting a large KO. Some technology was introduced for that.

BS+ has now been used in Gatlinburg for the last 6 years.

There are still a large number of teams that report incorrect masterpoints. I know that some teams were disqualified in the KO events when this is caught. The TDs don't like to do it, but it is only fair. I am sure the disqualified teams were upset as well. I want to get this number down to 0 for all subsequent years.

ACBL also used BS+ and ran some events in parallel (not sure of all the events that they ran in parallel as I was playing in the afternoon/evenings).

Bridgescore+ ran the morning Swiss events. ACBL brought 8 laptops to Gatlinburg (thank you!). We used these to power the projectors (3) and for players to input their Swiss results (4). We used two laptops for the Gold Rush (70+ teams) and one each for the A/X and B/C.

Am curious on the player feedback on this.

For running a Swiss, BS+ is automated. You set up the number of teams, the inventory, and the event runs itself.

The results were amazing. The average session time in the mornings was 3 hours 18 minutes (start of event to last result entered). There are no TDs needed to enter results or at round change time for BS+ - all TDs are on the floor. In the evenings with similar events, but run with ACBLscore, there were 4+ TDs behind the results tables, and all evening Swiss were still waiting on results after 3 hours 45 minutes.

The 3 hours 18 minute average does not include Gold Rush. In the morning the Gold Rush Swiss only played 21 boards. On Thu/Fri, with 74 teams, the Gold Rush sessions average finish was 3 hours.

BS+ has introduced the concept of a “Team ID” (TID). Once we know the players on your team, we can enter all the players with a single unique TID. We know your exact masterpoint total. Some teams pre-registered before Gatlinburg, so knew the exact MP total for bracketed events. ACBL actually used this for some events where the data was transferred into ACBLscore which saved the TDs from entering everyone's names.

More use was made of the TID this year. I want to improve on this for subsequent years. The concept of having to fill out an entry form - after you have entered (!) - will hopefully soon disappear.

One of the main projectors was run with a $35 computer. Hardware to run these events is getting cheaper all the done.

I'll post more on the technical details after the final reports are done.
20 hours ago
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Announcements are strictly defined - 1NT ranges, “may be short”, “transfer”, “forcing”, “semi-forcing”.

All announcements are alerts, and require the use of the alert card/strip if bidding boxes are in use.

You are confusing everyone by using the term announceable in your OP.

Whatever the options are for the OP, announceable is NOT one of them.

See http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/play/AlertProcedures.pdf for a lengthier description of announce/alert.
22 hours ago
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Monday was bad weather to get into Gatlinburg; but sun screen weather today. Good weather for rest of week. Table count is up. Technology working great; will post separately on that. Up over 100 tables on Monday, despite bad weather in North East. I know several players were not able to get in.
April 18
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Every round is set up as a Round Robin (RR) run over two regular rounds.

9 team brackets has more teams winning gold than an 8 team bracket (4/9 instead of 3/8). It should also play quicker (because of the RR).

Geoff was the DIC of Gatlinburg. He passed away about 15 months ago from cancer.
April 14
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Jeffrey's Chart has your team name, number, and your running score after each round.

There are two variants. In the East, the rounds are shown 1, 2, 3, etc. In the West, the rounds are reversed so the final score and rank is shown next to the team name/number.

The TD hand writes the captain names, and running scores, and hangs on the wall.

Some TDs have a little fun and instead of announcing the team total translates that to a phrase.
April 14
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Fun stuff: Bridgescore+ supports team names - they do not have to be the Captain's name. When you register to play in the Swiss, you can pick your own team name. “Grizzly Bears”, “Team Monaco”, or “Fun Times”, pick whatever you want. Please keep it PG; but whatever you can get past the TD censor is fine with me. Nothing political. The DIC can remove your team name if it is deemed inappropriate. Keep it short - it won't display on the projector if it is too long. 12-15 characters.

The default name is “Team <number>” which gets replaced with the last name of the first named player, e.g. Captain's name, when the names get entered.

Have some creative fun picking team names for the week.

You can use different team names for each event.
April 14
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One step is to get it included on the games on airplanes. Marketing starts out with exposure.
April 10
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The ACBL issue was based on the implementation of the PRNG, not as much the choice.
April 9
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ACBL did this back in 2013.

See http://www.learn2playbridge.com/
April 8
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Wikipedia contains a link to most DD reports. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Contract_Bridge_League

If any of this is out of date, please update (e.g. Kevin's is not listed).
April 5
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@Richard. We've probably worked in different industries. My experience is both commercial and government, including SCI. Initial independent review is considered best practice. Everyone comes at the problem with different backgrounds. Computer security is both art and science. Results are then shared.
April 4
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Reviews of cryptographic documents should always be done independently. Best practices.
April 4
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There's a vulnerability in the proposed method. Hans - let me email you.
Bridgewinners is not the best place for cryptographic discussions…
April 4
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@David: This presumes you are connected to the Internet; which is a separate problem.

There are hardware solutions; but they are expensive.
April 2
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