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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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I contacted ACBL to see if they would be willing to release all of the details of the ACBLscore+ project. Took a while to get a reply. But they declined. They could see no useful benefit. If they would agree; I would be happy to release all of the monthly status reports, redacted to avoid any embarrassment over names; all of the executive status reports etc. etc.

As I have repeatedly stated, I have nothing to hide from this contract or this work. If ACBL would be willing to release, I have no problems.

The last person that posted on some of the financial aspects on the ACBLscore+ project was promptly suspended by the ACBL for violating the NDA. Again, I have nothing to hide.

@Joe: The original contract had full mutual licensing. Very simply, either side could go do whatever they want with the code. After the contract was over, ACBL wanted to do a new contract. The sticking point is that they wanted us to give up the mutual licensing agreement from the original contract, and give them copyright to the existing code for free, and fully own all the code and the copyright of any derivate works should we decide to develop any other software that used any of the ACBLscore+ code base. Some of this code base was ours from before the contract started. They wanted that as well.
17 hours ago
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I think WBF sponsored some of this. There was a demonstration in Orlando.

Check out the HOOL video: http://youth.worldbridge.org/introducing-hool-by-amaresh-deshpande/

Also, more HOOL information: http://youth.worldbridge.org/category/teaching/hool/
Nov. 12
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@Jan: It depends on who you mean easier for.
For the main ACBL office; if all they have to deal with is one incoming check from a tournament (regional/sectional) that represents the ACBL fee (sanction + table fee), this is very easy for them. The detailed work is passed down to the DIC.
Strictly the sponsor is in charge of a regional/sectional. But ACBL made sure they were in charge of the cash so that they got paid first; and also this avoid volunteers handling cash.
So… DICs for many years were paying cash to the TDs for expenses and doing all the bookkeeping for the tournament. The sponsor signed off. ACBL got their check.
Not saying it was a perfect system; just saying how it used to work. I think they have changed it some.
Nov. 9
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In the US, it used to be the case that a lot of the tournament expenses were paid in cash, e.g. director per-diems/hotels etc. (not sure if this is still true).
There is costs for writing business checks etc. These costs are avoided with cash payment.
Nov. 9
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Margaret: reach out to D7 and their experience with vouchers. They should provide you with the name of the person who mostly handles this. He can provide his experience.
Nov. 8
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Re: What can be done:
Some Districts (e.g. D7) sell vouchers for use at tournaments. If the amount of the entry is the same as the voucher; it makes selling entries much easier. If your District does this; make sure that you number each voucher (to prevent photocopying), and also put an expiration date on the voucher (for accounting reasons).
There is some post-processing afterwards; and a volunteer needed to sell vouchers; and a fee for credit cards. Everything is a trade-off.
Cash is convenient and quick. Top sellers at the NABC average 7 seconds per customer. Not something that can be done with credit cards.
Nov. 6
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Jerry Helms wrote about if 1 is forcing in his October 2018 Bulletin article.
Nov. 5
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The cost of installing/running such a device is small. You can buy small USB powered cameras for under $20. Run with a USB Power Pack $20. The stand to mount them on is under $20. No cables needed on the floor.

Charge up the power pack between sessions. All data stored on a micro USB card. Copied to a computer between sessions.

Now…. here comes the problem …..

EVERYONE will claim that they bid in tempo. No-one does. I've probably looked at more bridge video than most.

I did run this experiment (with permission) at a D7 Regional about 3-4 years ago. In my case the camera had WiFi ability so I could sit elsewhere in the room and watch through the camera remotely (I was not playing).

Basically you cannot put cameras on non flight A players. Tempo is terrible. Last thing anyone wants is a permanent record of them on YouTube hesitating and for the rest of their life be accused of cheating. The Gold Rush players are there to have a good time.

When I put the camera on the A players (pairs event); some of the worst offenders were the D7 Board Members. With my camera mounted high and unobtrusively; I could watch most tables. I had no idea the hands being played, so no idea if there was a needed hesitation; but you could tell very easily if someone has a problem with passing/bidding. It happens ALL the time.

I think in your case it was egregious; or so it seemed to you at the table. Your issue seems not to be the tempo; but the sighing.

What you would now have to do is to look at the video not only of that particular board; but all boards they play to see their normal tempo/normal sighing. This is time consuming.

Once people start realising this; then they will deliberately take a long time to bid even when they have nothing to think about. Pass-2-Pass-2-Long slow pass with 0 HCP because I have to bid my normal tempo. This is the unintended consequences.

Beware the solutions; there may be more ramifications than you think.

If you can find a willing teenage; and spare about $50-$60 ordering some items; then ask your local Unit is willing to run an experiment. Stick the camera on you for an entire session. Then go back and watch it and time how long it takes you to make each call. Time from when the previous bid was placed to when you made a call. But… before you do this; write down what you think your normal tempo is. Then let us know what it actually is.

IF… you are going to do this.
Make sure that the video is only kept for the period of the tournament; not put on line anywhere.

FYI: You should also avoid posting sufficient detail in your post so that the suspected culprits can be identified. The results from the sectional will go up shortly and anyone can look up your last round opponents. On Board 28. Of the last session.
Nov. 4
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President
Oct. 30
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“work quality” - well, it works quite well…. Gatlinburg is best example. It was used for most of the cheating cases. It's quite robust.

I have all the documents from ACBL and the lawyers to back up my statements. I said nothing when the contract was over; and continued to say nothing. It was only when ACBL started to make false claims that I started posting.

You are welcome to ask your local TD to run it at your next regional and see how it works.

CRM is a different problem. Not a legal issue.
Oct. 22
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@Jeff. You wrote: “Alas, you are not the party who chose to terminate the contract; the ACBL is. ”

Actually, we were the ones that terminated the contract. We gave ACBL the required 60 days notice in early January 2014 that they were in material breach of the contract and that we would need to terminate the contract unless these breaches were corrected. They were not. We walked away from the contract in March 2014 leaving money on the table.

We then attempted to negotiate a new contract with ACBL. The sticking point was the Copyright. ACBL wanted it, and in addition, wanted us to give up all of our rights to the software. And wanted to own all software that we may create that may be based on a derivative of any of the ACBLscore+ software for any industry. They wanted all of this for no fee. We said no. All of this is fully documented in the email correspondence.

ACBL came back in May? 2014 and wrote us a check for the remainder of the contract. In exchange, we gave them the additional software that had been added for Gatlinburg in April 2014.

ACBL then claimed that they had “terminated the contract”.

In actual fact, the contract had ended. The software was delivered. ACBL claiming that ‘they terminated the contract“ is marketing-speak.

The lessons learned for ACBL are unfortunately with people who are no longer there.

If any ACBL board or staff members are reading this, ask to see copies of the ACBLscore+ Monthly Status Reports and also the ACBLscore+ Executive Status Reports. They document all of the problems that arose, along with suggested solutions.

The most obvious example is ACBL not having anyone with any (software) project management experience. Some critical path items were held up by ACBL for 6+ months for a 2 year contract. ACBL took full responsibility for this.

The software was ~ $1.5M. ACBL wrote off $100K for an earlier Java version (nothing to do with us). They also spent ~ $100K ? on having someone review the ACBLscore+ code. Of course, that report was never made public, because it was very favorable to the code, not what then management wanted. I suspect the other $300K was legal fees but you would have to ask ACBL.

The ACBL league counsel tried to cover all of this up by putting gag orders on ACBL board members and threatening all of the board members with the Star Chamber. This is where the board should have stepped up and hired outside counsel to review what had happened. They didn’t.

I'm reiterating a lot of what has previously been posted; but when the perception is ”ACBL terminated the contract", this is a completely false narrative to protect those that screwed up the original contract and/or don't understand how Copyright works with software and how to protect software. (ACBL gives ACBLscore away for free… the plan was the same with ACBLscore+… and you want to protect against giving something away for free because….????)

The Board allowed themselves to run by the then League Counsel. Not how boards are supposed to operate.
Oct. 22
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The scoring software project was written off because ACBL did not own the Copyright to the software. They had an outside lawyer tell them a year into the contract that they could not use it without owning the Copyright. May sound very silly; but that's why.

The lesson learned - actually it occurred about 1 year into the contract - was have outside counsel review all legal contracts over a certain amount. The then league counsel - Peter Rank - who is now hanging out elsewhere - did not get the ACBLscore+ contract reviewed by outside counsel. The board didn't get it reviewed. The CEO didn't get it reviewed. A year into the ACBLscore+ contract they did hire an outside counsel to review a new contract for “learning to play bridge” (see http://www.learn2playbridge.com). At the same time this outside counsel reviewed all other technology contracts. The outside counsel recommended re-writing the original ACBLscore+ contract to include the Copyright. Peter Rank had negotiated a 10% cut in the price of the contract in exchange for the Copyright. My company wasn't willing to give up the Copyright (and all other licensing) for nothing despite all ACBL demands. At that is when the problems started….

The software works; it makes running ACBL events quicker/faster/easier. Was used at the late NABC. Ran large Swiss events 20 minutes faster. Still hoping ACBL will use it….
Oct. 21
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The ACBL's case was based on cheating in ACBL events - only.

The EBL case was based on cheating in EBL events - only.

The FIGB (Italy) case was based on cheating in an EBL event and a WBF event (I believe I am correct in this - if I'm not someone please correct me).
Oct. 21
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@Al: You were on the WBF Executive Board that declined to prosecute FN for cheating in WBF events. Careful where you point fingers.
Oct. 21
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I do have the ability to analyze the hands using Bridgescore+. It is able to cover all the hands, not just some.

There is some data from 1955 onwards, see http://www.sarantakos.com/bridge/vugraph/

There is data missing from some early WC. If anyone has access to the Bulletins, and the time to convert to LIN files (or PBN I don't care), let me know.
Oct. 21
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@Judy. You stated, “BUT RATHER with THE WORLD BRIDGE FEDERATION who has protected their Italian brethren for over six decades!” But when Bobby was President of the WBF nothing happened with anything with the Italian Blue Team. Why criticise the current WBF when your husband was President of the same body?
Oct. 21
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But.. Jan… I thought they gave you those nice WBF shirts!
I agree with everything you say; but my point remains the same. ACBL members have come to expect certain things at NABCs.
At NABCs, local volunteers organise the food/entertainment. The ACBL gives the local committee $x per table; with a guaranteed minimum number of tables so the local committee has a known budget. The local committee works with the hotel and pays for the food. The food is ridiculously expensive but part of the ACBL hotel contract is that $y will be spent on food. Often the local district/unit organises fundraisers to raise additional funds. I know for our district that this is the tens of thousands. There is no reason for this. ACBL staff can as easily pick food items from the hotel menu. But… as an organization it is “nice” to include local volunteers.
Everything is a trade-off.
The expectations of WBF players are very different than the current expectation of NABC players.
I was addressing Steve and Peg's comment upthread.
Apart from Al (who is on the WBF executive board), and you, where there any other true volunteers?
I don't know salary of the VuGraph operators, but it seems that everyone else was being paid - which is probably as it should be.
There was also no cost to the local bridge players.
As an occasional volunteer, I remember sitting through hours of meetings while it was decided what the $3-$5 registration gift would be. At the same time thinking how much effort was being wasted on what should be a simple decision.
In this regard, the WBF appeared to be far more efficient.
Oct. 21
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Wasn't Bobby President of the WBF from 1992-1994?
Oct. 20
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$1,600 for 9 days of bridge. Cheaper than NABC events on a per day basis. Assuming you make it to the final… quite expensive if you don't make it to the last 64 and have only played for 2 days.

The WBF model is you pay for the event, no matter how long you are in the event.

The ACBL model is collect per day.

For the WBF pairs events, you play all the way through (in the B event if necessary). Cost was $50/day. Same as ACBL NABCs.
Oct. 20
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The WBF just ran an event in Orlando. No local volunteers (that I am aware of). You don't necessarily need volunteers to run a bridge event. You may be used to them; but that doesn't mean you need them.
Oct. 20
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