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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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“please don't ask about problems with player identification in matchpoint / bam events”

So let me state them… depending on which organization is doing the VuGraph the names may, or may not, be correct. Usually they are wrong in the LIN file, and you can't use LIN data for MP/BAM games for any player analysis.
April 10
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It would be nice if we can find some volunteers to take the data from old World Championship and equivalent books and put in a LIN format or equivalent. The Vugraph Project - see http://www.sarantakos.com/bridge/vugraph.html has put some of these events in readable format but there are still many missing.

I have a database of 11,000,000+ records that I use for cheating detection; also in an SQL database, the analysis of data from older tournaments has been interesting when compared to the modern tournaments.

Kudos for Florentin for collating the data.
April 9
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@David: Most since 1997. Just added 2019. There were 22 5-0 breaks in 2019. Here's the last one: https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=62155 Board 9.
April 5
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Yes. Simple. Yes. Can't.
April 4
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I have it in Bridgescore+ but I don't release the data. It's in a format easy for Bridgescore+ to search.

For your Vanderbilt question: the answer is 102 hands, but I haven't included 2019 yet.

This is the most recent:

https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=56219

Board 16.
April 4
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From the horse's mouth… (my company did the ACBLscore+ work).

Richard is incorrect in some statements; it is the details that are very important.

ACBLscore+ was a project to replace the current ACBLscore software used in clubs and tournaments.

ACBLscore is written in Pascal, it had reached the end of its useful life, the sole developer was about to retire. The file format could not be usefully extended by much more (e.g. no data in Swiss/KO events others than win/loss, total VPs, no Bridgemate support for team games, masterpoint calculations were getting harder etc. etc.)

ACBLscore+ is a web based application that replaces ACBLscore. It uses a web based front end so that the club managers and TDs can easily learn the software. It uses a modern SQL database on the back end. No-one really cares what the middleware (interaction between the web browser and SQL database) is. Much easier to learn than ACBLscore.

The contract was $1.4m. It was six phases. Two years. ACBL could cancel without cause at the end of any phase. We could cancel with cause after 60 days notice. Each phase was well defined with specific verifiable criteria at the end of each phase. Payments were tied to phases.

ACBL owns the code developed for the contract that was written during the contract (April 2012-March 2014). As is common with software developers, we had some code that would be useful to the project that we had previously developed (“library and other code”). We owned the code that was developed before the contract started, and all work after the contract finished.

ACBL has a full license for all code that was delivered to ACBL for the ACBLscore+ contract. Similarly, Hammond Software has a full license for all code delivered to ACBL. We can turn around and resell this code to other customers.

However, for all code delivered, Hammond Software owns the Copyright to the code.

If ACBL made any enhancements to the code, they would own the new code and the Copyright to the new code. Hammond Software would have no rights to anything ACBL developed post contract. But ACBL would have to acknowledge that Hammond Software was the Copyright owner of the original code and that somewhere there would be an acknowledge screen/page that read

Copyright © Hammond Software, 2011-2014

Wanting to have that line removed from all versions of ACBLscore+ turns out to be expensive.

The contract was negotiated by Peter Rank. He is now deceased, hanging out elsewhere as someone put it. He was the ACBL legal counsel. During the negotiations he insisted on a 10% reduction in the cost - good negotiating you might think - and at the same time agreed to all the language regarding ownership/copyright/licensing. The licensing deal meant we could re-use the software for other customers. Which, we have, only about 50-80% of the code in ACBLscore+ is bridge specific, some is reusable for our other customers. As an example, there is code in ACBLscore+ that creates Word files for hand records and write-ups. We reused parts of that code for a company that handles loan documents in 50 states to customize the text per state. Replacing a field for a BOARD_NUMBER with text is the same as replacing a field for a STATE with text. This is how some technology companies make money - re-using custom software.

The contract took 3-5 months to negotiate. We had to add language to the contract to protect ACBL. It was clear that Peter and ACBL had not negotiated a large technology contract before. For those involved with technology contracts, one of the items you want is protection that code will be in escrow so the delivering company cannot withhold the code. You want periodic code drops for the same reason etc. etc. All of these items were missing from the original contract created by ACBL. We added them in for ACBL protection.

One year into the contract, ACBL did another technology project - learn to play Bridge. They used an outside counsel to review this contract, not Peter. At the same time outside counsel reviewed all existing ACBL contracts, including ACBLscore+.

Outside counsel told ACBL that they did not own the Copyright to ACBLscore+ and ACBL would have no protection if someone “stole” the code.

At this point, ACBL stopped paying the invoices on ACBLscore+ for several months until we gave them the Copyright for free. At the same time they insisted that we carry on working on the contract. The outstanding invoices were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We paid all the contractors, but put nearly all on furlough. At the same time - about a year into the contract, ACBL stopped providing any and all technical and legal support. For example, we were ready to put the software out for alpha testing at select clubs, but without approval of the legal indemnifier from ACBL this could not happen.

ACBL finally paid the invoices. The delay was a few months. Before they stopped paying invoices, we were slightly ahead of schedule and also under budget. All of this is fully documented in the monthly status reports we delivered (yes, we added that requirement to the original contract as well).

As with any software project, there are critical path items. When the critical path items became delayed enough that the contract was not going to be delivered on time, we were forced to provide 60 days notice to ACBL that they were in breach of the contract and give them time to fix. They didn't. I think there were about 20-30 separate items that had a documented 3+ month delay from ACBL.

We agreed with ACBL on a mutually accepted end date. We delivered the code, walked away from the contract leaving money on the table. I offered to run some events with the software at the Dallas NABC so that the directors could be trained in the software. ACBL declined.

We worked with ACBL for about two months on negotiating a new contract. The work was very close to completion, save the critical path items. At least one of the critical path items was 6 months, so that would have been the length of a new contract. The main sticking point was that ACBL wanted the Copyright to ACBLscore+. They wanted it for free, having originally agreed to negotiate it away for about $150K. They also wanted full ownership rights and the Copyright to anything that we developed for any new customer we have have that used any code from ACBLscore+ going forward. For any technology company that is never something you can agree to. So, in my loan processing example, they wanted to own all the code for that and the Copyright for that even though it was paid for by someone else.

I continued working on the code. It was used in Gatlinburg in 2014. It has been used in Gatlinburg ever since.

When ACBL/us could not negotiate a new contract, we walked away. It was a very simple business arrangement. Two companies could not agree terms on a new contract. I have no hard feelings towards ACBL. They ended up paying off the contract in full; not something we asked them to do.

ACBL were now a little stuck. They had invested $1.4m on software that their outside counsel told them they could not use. The reason is that they did not own the Copyright to the code. ACBL league counsel had negotiated the copyright away.

I will maintain that the ACBLscore+ contract was $1.4M; with just under $100K in travel. I use the number $1.5m. Close enough.

ACBL hired an outside consultant to look at the ACBLscore+ code and write them a report on the ACBLscore+ software. The outside consultant said it was great, the design was great. I was told the report cost about $100K. Ask your DD for a copy. It was not the answer ACBL wanted.

ACBL wrote off the ACBLscore+ project at $1.5m but also wrote off an earlier Java attempt to replace ACBLscore ($100K), the outside consultant is about $100K - I don't know the amount, but I think it was released at a BoG meeting. ACBL wrote off $2M, the remainder is probably legal bills. I know how much money we had to spend on legal bills.

I renamed ACBLscore+ as Bridgescore+ for legal reasons.

If you are not a lawyer, I cannot explain to you the difference in technology law between ownership of the code and ownership of the copyright. IANAL. If you are a technology lawyer, you hopefully can explain it to someone. Also explain why ownership of the Copyright is so important for a software product that you plan to give away to free to all club owners/TDs. My lawyers still can't figure that one out.

I have offered to run Bridgescore+ at all NABCs ever since. ACBL has declined every time except for one Swiss in Atlanta last year. Ran the event about 15-25 minutes faster. I made the same offer at the Memphis NABC going on now - ACBL declined.

The good news about Bridgescore+ is that is was used extensively in 2015 to help with the database work with detecting cheating in Bridge.

So… there is a $1.5M piece of Bridge software that ACBL has paid for. It works. Parts of it still need to be done - see critical path items above - will not deny that; but some of these require some co-operating with ACBL. It would replace ACBLscore. It would handle all the technical problems that plague ACBL live. It can even calculate the correct masterpoints for events and the Masterpoint module is completely stand-alone from the main software so is very easy to maintain and update.

I continue to use Bridgescore+. It remains invaluable to the work on detecting cheating.
March 29
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March 27
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment March 27
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@John. ACBL has all the ACBLscore+ software. I've continued working on it as Bridgescore+. Bridgescore+ has now been certified by ACBL to run events. It did run some sessions at the Atlanta NABC. Large Swiss events run 15-25 minutes and need fewer TDs.I've offered to run events here in Memphis, but they declined. I know this is off-topic and not part of the OP, but anytime someone complains about ACBLscore I want you to know that the software is there, it works, and that ACBL chooses not to use it.
March 27
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@Barry. You wrote, ‘Is it the case that Bianchi-Manca were not ”helping their partner“?”

No one will ever know the answer to that. ’

Actually that's not true. I have software that can tell.

If someone has the data from 1960 in a computer readable format, e.g. LIN file, let me know.
March 24
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My Dad has been a proud member of AA for over 50 years. That's the UK Automobile Association (AA). He always wonders why Americans won't help him toast his 50 year member badge and safe driver certificates.

The ALZ use of funds are at https://www.alz.org/about/finances/use-of-funds

Charity navigator (independent analyser of charity funds) is at https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12848#
March 19
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Horn Lake, ACBL's headquarters, is 17 miles from Memphis. They have an excellent Bridge museum. If you have the time I strongly suggest a visit. Includes all video clips, library.
March 19
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One of F/N witnesses at the CAS hearing spoke about the “Prosecutor's fallacy” and the claim was that this applied to F/N. The EBL bridge expert could not cite a hand where they cheated, i.e. made use of the transmitted information. F/N introduced cases where statistics had been shown to be false: the Sally Clark case being cited. You are welcome to google “prosecutor fallacy” and “sally clark” for more details.
March 17
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There is statistical evidence. There is video evidence. They can be separate. From the video evidence, you need some statistics to determine if it is random or not. If cheating the signal can be forced, e.g. F/N orientation of a played card - every played card has an orientation, or can be dynamic (B/Z rubs chin). For F/N the volume of the data is such that the statistics can be minimal - it becomes obvious after seeing ‘n’ hands. For B/Z, you need to watch enough videos to convince yourself that it is not random. The threshold of passing to “beyond a reasonable doubt” is not defined and up to the observer.
March 16
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Big red anagram
March 9
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Napoleon was not short. He surrounded himself with tall guards giving the impression he was short. He was average height for the era. Failure to correctly convert French measurements to English also created the myth.
March 8
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Gatlinburg Regional has similar costs. Entry fee is $12/person/session. http://web2.acbl.org/Tournaments/Ads/2019/04/1904009.pdf. Registration gift. Event staff. Transportation/logistics etc.

It does not have screens; but ACBL charges extra for events with screens.

Gatlinburg will be bigger than Hawaii NABC. No requirement to stay in a host hotel.
March 7
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It was not $2,000,000 on bad software. Peter Rank negotiated away the Copyright before initial contract was signed. Half way through the contract, ACBL's outside lawyers said they needed the copyright. ACBL wanted it back for free. Ask your DD to see the report of an independent outside consultant they hired post ACBLscore+ to review the software. See what they said. Ask your DD to review the letters from ACBL's outside counsel on ACBLscore+ starting one year into the ACBLscore+ contract and continuing through the end of the contract. Jay Whipple liked the software so much that when he was running the ACBL Technology Committee, he transferred some of ACBLscore+ to his private company to improve its products - ask him.

Last week, Bridgescore+ (ACBLscore+ successor) ran team events at Chattanooga Regional. Next month, BS+ will run all (most?) team events in Gatlinburg. has done for last few years. I'm playing two sessions a day; events run themselves when set up properly. Gatlinburg is bigger than some NABCs. Last several NABCs I've offered to run all team events at NABCs, ACBL has declined. I'm not making these offers because the software is bad.

Bridgescore+ did run Senior Swiss one day at Atlanta NABC last year. Sessions finished 15-25 minutes faster. Needs fewer TDs.

Technology isn't going to make a small 8 table Swiss run much faster; but significantly improves larger events. Ask your local TD how bad the current back-end is; how complicated it is to figure out masterpoints. How much time they spend repetitively typing names.

The focus on ACBLscore+ needs to be on the legal issues, not technology. ACBL management tried to cover up the legal problems. Ask any DD that was on the BOD during the ACBLscore+ project what happened.

I will continue the protect the reputation of those that worked on ACBLscore+, including myself, any time anyone makes false claims/statements about the software and what happened.

I'm a bridge player myself; I want to see modern technology used. This year (and several previous) I wanted all team games in Gatlinburg to run with Bridgemates, pre-duped boards, hand records etc. etc. All possible with Bridgescore+.
March 7
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I put some pictures in the status report, but these are mainly for D7 and Gatlinburg as trying to decide best equipment to use.

Jonathan Steinberg also posted a couple of pictures: http://imageevent.com/jon911/2019chattanoogaregional?p=44&n=1&m=20&c=5&l=0&w=4&s=0&z=2
March 6
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