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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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From discussions with TDs, this was planned by ACBL 30 years ago. But never got done. It got added to the ACBLscore+ project when ACBL decreed, “no paper” during the contract.

It was shown to ACBL at a Sectional tournament in Atlanta in November 2013. Code was available to them since then. But they didn't want to run it at the NABC in Phoenix in November 2013, or the NABC in Dallas in March 2014. I have no idea why. Perhaps they didn't want to show code they didn't have the copyright for. I wasn't going to be playing in the NABC Swiss in Dallas so perfect opportunity to showcase the software, but they said no. They have had the software since the end of November 2013.

I offered to run it (for free) in Providence in December 2014. Also offered to make it available (for free) in Dallas for March 2015 (I hope I'm playing in the event), but they have declined.

It appears that they only just discovered the fact that they had this code. Rather embarrassing as they spent $150K “reviewing the ACBLscore+ code”.

I did look at the visual display of some of the other scoring programs out there. For Swiss, ACBLscore's matching algorithm will match and assign teams while scores from the current round are coming in so need to be able to handle that situation for displays. Not difficult, just different.
Feb. 17, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 17, 2015
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Can someone make the edits to Wikipedia so we have all the data in one place. You don't even need to logon, you can make edits directly.

At this point, it is a cut/paste type operation. Cut something that works, paste it into the correct spot, edit it for the specifics.
Feb. 17, 2015
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The data should be objective, the results can be subjective.

Lies, damned lied, and statistics.

A spreadsheet could be created, interpretation of the results will depend on what you want to read into the numbers.
Feb. 16, 2015
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You can probably do the numbers yourself, you would not need an outside consultant.

The various table counts, average age of membership, number of tournaments are typically published as part of a report at the BOG meetings. You would just need to collate them.

One very important factor for determining these numbers is that each year there is a large turnover. I don't remember the exact number, but let's say it is 10%. So each year ACBL loses 10% of its current membership, and gains a new 10%. One important statistic would be the average age of the lost members, and the average age of the new members. As juniors would have a big impact on the average age, you may choose to factor those out. All of this is fairly simple to put into an Excel spreadsheet. I would guess that the average age of new members is fairly static, and below the average age of ACBL members. I would also guess that the average age of the lost members is above the average age of ACBL members. Pure speculation, but we should assume that someone, somewhere either has the spreadsheet or it can be easily created.

You can see the NABC attendance on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Bridge_Championships#Recent_tournament_highlights
Feb. 14, 2015
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This type of information is probably best put on Wikipedia unless there is a volunteer host.

I added a section on Districts to the Wikipedia page on ACBL.

I added the links above.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Contract_Bridge_League

If you have any additions, or I missed something above, please make it to the Wiki and not contact me.

It would be nice if we can get all District web masters to archive their DD reports.
Feb. 14, 2015
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Thanks.
quiet_assets is licensed under the MIT or GPL license.
I chose the MIT license.
Configuring quiet_assets reduces the number of log entries, thus speeding up the runtime environment.
Feb. 11, 2015
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Didn't see it.

I guess the first step would be ACBL contacting me to let me know. I haven't heard from Robert or Peter Rank. There may still be some NDAs in place. The board passed very strict rules at its last BOD meeting so I need to make sure that I don't violate any of those new rules, particularly as I got a written threat from ACBL last year. Yuk. Probably means yet more time with my lawyers…

ACBL has all of the status reports, the code. First step would be for them to show the Technical Committee all of this. Some of the Executive Status reports would probably be under strict NDA as they mention individuals by name. I assume that ACBL has setup all of the code, what they claim is wrong with ACBLscore+ from a technical standpoint. I assume that they have shown the new members of the committe how the software works (or doesn't!).

There are Wikis (ACBL has all the Wiki dumps) on documentation etc. I assume that they have set these up for the committee to review. There was several man years of effort in ACBLscore+. One of the Wikis documents all the issues that have a > 3 month delay, along with the tracking of when something was requested, the repeated requests for the information etc. etc. (I started the CYA program about a year into the project, about the same time I first documented problems to ACBL management).

My guess would be that they are going to take a 20th century Windows XP machine with < 512Mb of RAM to showcase ACBLscore+ to the committee then turn on full developer logging, run in developer mode, fail to properly configure database etc. etc.. Nothing can beat ACBLscore in DOS mode for speed of a single operation, but ACBLscore+ flat out thrashes ACBLscore for any tasks. See the Youtube videos. Starting a KO/creating KO game files etc. etc.

I've just focused on improving the code so it is easier to run at local tournaments and helps save our District/Unit in TD session costs (we need fewer TDs to run the events because of better use of technology). Given I never received some of the specs from ACBL, I'm no longer going to try and reverse engineer the parts of the code they never gave specs for. Too much work.

Some of the members of the committee has seen Bridgescore+ in action at tournaments, as have some of the other BOD members.

Am not sure to what technical depths the committee has gone to, or plans to.

I heard that Robert is going to be in Gatlinburg, so he will see the code there.

The recent fiasco with masterpoints (I understand that it is still not fully resolved) has been illuminating to all. ACBLscore+ has an 8,000 line C library that handles all of the masterpoint code, along with extensive test case and test suites. I wrote this in C because it was likely to be easier to maintain. It also kept the code as a self-contained stand-alone library so it could be independently tested outside of the UI code. I haven't updated this for the 2015 rules. As soon as there are a sufficient number of correct Game Files, I may look at this work. I'm still waiting on ACBL to deliver the Masterpoint Assignment and Eligibility rules.
Feb. 11, 2015
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For a list of the open source code, see

http://www.hammondtest.com:60000/license
Username: td
Password: happy

It lists all the open source code used in Bridgescore+. Only a small fraction is used on this site, but I have listed credits for all. There are over 70.
I am a firm believe in not re-inventing code that someone else has already done.

IANAL=I am not a lawyer.

ACBL did want separate license agreements with some of those providing an MIT license. Little unbelievable but there we go. The MIT license was created around 1988. May have been a little too new for the legal team at ACBL. I did have to try and explain what an open source license was, how it was free, they didn't have to pay for it, they didn't have to create their own license. But IANAL, they are.

Feb. 11, 2015
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I know who they are, both the individual and the firm, as have emails backing up all my statements above. But probably not appropriate to disclose.

Being known not to show up for scheduled conference calls with other lawyers without any excuse or reason is not something good to have on your professional resume.

It would be common to use different outside counsel based on their particular expertise so I would imagine that ACBL does not have one outside counsel but has access to several if needed.

They are “one of the top in the country” as described by ACBL to me. BTW, so is mine.
Feb. 11, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 11, 2015
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The original contract would have been different.

If you are a contractor, you normally have a work-for-hire type contract. Hiring company owns everything.

If you are a software company creating software (e.g. mine), then you often re-use code you have in from previous projects on new projects. This makes the code a lot cheaper for the company buying the software. It also means that you want to use the underlying code for your next project. This was the case for ACBLscore+, we were re-using existing code created before the contract started. And I've used the underlying code for new projects. The technology behind ACBLscore+ is very powerful. Very proud of it.

Take a look at http://results.bridgescoreplus.com. This is all code developed before the ACBLscore+ contract started.

The price would have been very different. The number of hours I spent on the contract work would have been very different (my time was billed monthly, not hourly).

ACBL got (insisted?) on a 10% price reduction during negotiations. I would not have agreed without the cross-licensing deal.
Feb. 11, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 11, 2015
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In reference to your “It is 2015” comment.

See http://results.bridgescoreplus.com

This is the results and Fast Results from the March 2012 Memphis NABC, almost 3 years ago. I found a back-up copy and put it back on-line. I added information about the Fast Results from that tournament.

See the on-line version of the Platinum Pairs, Sat evening semi-final session at http://results.bridgescoreplus.com/results/nabc/2012/01/120317-plat-eve-full.html

This was done before the ACBLscore+ contract started. I used the gfprint tool we had created, along with Jon Gustafson's results display. This is all 3 years ago. See how quick Jon's tool is for navigating around the event and looking at other scores, other players etc.

Now look at the results that ACBL are giving you with ACBL live, including the “Detailed Results”.

Compare the two for ease of navigation/speed, ability to find what you as a player would want to know.

Do you want 2015 or 2012?

Jon's made many improvements to his results display since 2012.
Feb. 10, 2015
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ACBL's firm no decision came from their lawyers. Backed by management and league counsel.

The original ACBLscore+ contract was negotiated by Peter Rank, ACBL league counsel. During the negotiations, he insisted on a 10% cut in the price. At the same time, my company got a license to the code. I do not think Peter Rank used outside counsel to review the contract. As he put it himself at the time, he was not an expert in technology contracts. The contract was a fairly typical contracting company contract. It was not a work-for-hire contract.

Just over a year into the contract, ACBL hired outside counsel to review all ACBL contracts, including ACBLscore+. Their outside counsel told ACBL management/ACBL league counsel that they needed to have the Copyright in order to protect ACBL. IANAL, but as the software was developed by Hammond Software, Hammond Software has the Copyright.

Starting around the summer of 2013, ACBL management and league counsel put enormous pressure on me and my company to change the original contract and make it a work-for-hire contract so that ACBL would own the copyright. They also wanted to take away my company's license, no compensation offered. ACBL engaged in some rather despicable business practices. They stopped paying invoices to try and force the issue. They went a few months without paying. My company had to borrow a lot of money (into 6 figures) to make sure that all of our employees and contractors were paid on time (they were). When ACBL did start paying, they back-dated some of the checks (or wrote the checks, held on to them before mailing them). The photocopies of the dates on the envelopes did not match the dates on the checks. During this time, I had to put some of the contractors on “furlough”, including some who were working on critical path items, which obviously had a big hit on the completion date. ACBL also stopped providing necessary required documentation and specs. Whether this inability to deliver specs was deliberate or incompetence we may never know. There were some incentives in the contract for early delivery etc. which obviously we were not going to be able to make. It would be naive of me to believe that the board was not aware of what was going on. ACBLscore+ was the most critical strategic technological development for ACBL in the last 30 years.

During what was supposed to be the most critical time for development and integration (last 9-12 months of contract), I was spending way too much time with lawyers trying to get this and other legal matters resolved, and trying to get paid. When we were able to set up a conference call between my company's lawyer, me, ACBL's league counsel, and ACBL outside counsel to resolve these issues, neither the ACBL league counsel nor their outside counsel bothered to show up for the conference call. Trying to get 3 lawyer's schedules together was difficult enough. To have ACBL not even show up for a conference call with no explanation ever offered was ridiculous. It all seemed to be part of the ACBL negotiation strategy. I have previously mentioned that anything with a 3+ month delay, or longer, could not be delivered. Some of the delays in getting simple legal issues with software releases resolved took over 6 months, and were still not resolved when we ended the contract.

We terminated the contract in March 2014. Couldn't deliver without specs. ACBL wouldn't deliver them. Still never received the masterpoint specs at end of contract. Over a 7 month delay with the masterpoint spec, with all work on masterpoints essentially on hold pending the specs. Most important output from the scoring program - scoring, ranking, masterpointing. No specs.

Despite all of this, HS delivered everything we were supposed to do, on-time, on-budget, except anything that had a documented 3 month or longer delay from ACBL.

In March/April 2014, ACBL/HS tried to negotiate a new contract.

ACBL were insistent that any new contract must be accompanied with a re-write of the original contract and making the original contract a work-for-hire contract. ACBL insisted on re-negotiating the original license agreement so that any and all new software that HS may create that was based on any of the code for ACBLscore+ would be owned by ACBL. For example, if a bank paid us to create some code for the banking industry that re-used any of the underlying ACBLscore+ code, then ACBL wanted to own ALL the new code. It was ridiculous and absurd. But they were insistent and intransigent.

Their outside counsel insisted that this had to be way.

Robert made one last attempt in May 2014 to see if ACBL had any leeway regarding re-negotiating the original contract. Their outside counsel said no. So nothing was going to happen with the ACBLscore+ code.

We politely declined to give up all rights to the code. We now use the underlying fundamentals for other projects. I used it to create the tool I described in this post. I think the majority of the code in this tool was done during one long flight around New Year. Going to take ACBL $600K. That's the advantage of using modern tools. ACBLscore+ is a very powerful tool. Took me a little longer to upload as I have been busy with other projects, but you can see from the dates of the YouTube videos that the software has been running for a while.

ACBL management and league counsel were now in a little bit of a pickle around May 2014. In a bit of fury they “terminated the contract”. As HS had now been paid in full, what it meant was that I did not have to make myself available to ACBL for up to 10 hours/month if they wanted to use me. Seemed silly; they didn't have to pay if they didn't use me. Basically they cut off their nose to spite their face because if they had any questions about the software, they had just removed their ability to ask!

Back to March/May 2014. The board were put on a ‘gag’ order. The BOD was told that there was a possible lawsuit, but not told who or why. If ACBL were to sue my company, the board would be involved. There is nothing that my company could sue ACBL for, we were paid in full after canceling the contract. The BOD should find out what this “lawsuit” could have been. Management/league counsel had signed a contract which outside counsel had now reviewed and told them that the software was useless (to ACBL).

So… all the software has been written off. The good news is that my company has rights to it, so it's not a waste. I've been providing it for free to Districts and Units since.

As part of the write-off, ACBL have written off $150K to “review the ACBLscore+ software”. At least this was the line item presented at the BOG meeting. I think they flew in 2 BOD members for 1-2 days in Memphis. Perhaps had someone look at it for a couple of weeks in Horn Lake. I suspect the vast majority of this $150K was in legal fees. You can imagine what my company had to spend.

All of this because ACBL didn't use outside counsel for the original contract.

Once you understand the legal dimension, it really doesn't matter about the technical stuff.

I suspect that ACBL management found a Windows XP machine with 512Mb memory from last century, tried to run ACBLscore+ on it, said it didn't work, convinced the two BOD members. I've not been involved with any demo to ACBL management. I do, however, quite happily run the software at the tournaments I've been at. Any time I hear a false claim about ACBLscore+, I'm happy to post a video on YouTube contradicting the claim.

Merlin Vilhauer (D20 BOD member) posted in his district newsletter (see http://acbld20.org/trumpet/2015Jan-FebTrumpetweb.pdf page 8) that “we're released as much information as possible without going into confidential agreements signed at the time the contract was terminated”. I didn't sign any. Can only be the lawyers. Or maybe someone else. There's a lot of conflicting information coming from ACBL. At least tell us who you've signed confidentiality agreements with.

Since the BW articles, ACBL management and league counsel have now threatened me with a permanent ban from ACBL. Fortunately, everything I have done is covered under the ACBLscore+ contract, and my company has full licenses for all software, but they've threatened me anyway. The ACBL Board have passed resolutions in Phoenix which were specifically designed to stop Bridgescore+ (the wording in some of the resolutions is identical to wording I got in an email threat from ACBL prior to Phoenix). So the board is complicit in the cover-up. I've posted elsewhere the questions that should be answered.

In the mean time, I carry on. My company was paid, and paid in full. I'm not complaining. I will however protect the reputation of the people that worked on the ACBLscore+ contract, and my company. We delivered.

Last week, we had a Sectional in Atlanta. Sunday Swiss had a 14 table AX Swiss, 42 tables BCD Swiss. All assignments/scores/leader boards etc. displayed on projectors. All run from a single server. Two different projectors, one in each room. All run from Bridgescore+. We don't even bother with the Jeffrey's chart or rack as backups any more.

So… the firm ‘no’ comes from the ACBL outside counsel based on his/her opinion on the league using software that ACBL do not have the copyright to.

Blame those at ACBL that created the original ACBLscore+ contract.

They negotiated the original wording, then wanted to change it for no compensation.

Peter Rank/Robert obviously have all the documentation from their outside counsel; I assume the board has been provided with it as well. The board should have been aware of this issue since summer 2013, certainly by the board meeting in November 2013.
I can't believe that the board were not told about the non-payment and the copyright issue. If they were not, then there are bigger issues at stake.

The ACBLscore+ software isn't perfect. It was ready for real live testing by TDs. It's what I've been doing the past year on a part time basis, making steady improvements. I've documented a roll-out plan.
Feb. 10, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 11, 2015
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Thank you all for your help.

New software is described at http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/600000-part-1/
Feb. 10, 2015
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Bob Hamman asked me to play with him at an NABC. He had left the main event early and was playing in the regional KOs. We were at breakfast and the event started at 1pm. I spent the rest of the morning studying the various system notes I had created over the years.

We met one hour before game time to create a card. I play with a lot of last minute pick up partners at our Sectionals/Regionals and I usually play their card and was expected Bob to say something similar, “show me your card and we will play that”.

But, no.

Bob start to describe what we were going to play, no real discussion allowed and none ventured. Who was I to disagree on the best treatment for a bid? I had spent some of my time in the morning re-studying 4 card majors, but we were going to be playing 5 card. After a few minutes, we had most of the right side of the card filled out and then we got to the 2D section.

“Do you play Flannery?”, he asked.

“Yes”. I had spent some considerable time that morning going over all my Flannery notes. I knew when in the fourth round of bidding if 4H is to play or 4H is a transfer to 4S, so yes, I knew Flannery. I tried to suppress a smile when I said it.

“Good. Here's how we are going to play it.” My smile went away.

Bob proceeded to give a detailed explanation of all the responses he wanted starting with 2NT and higher and all the follow-up bids. I had written Flannery in the small line in the 2D section in the ACBL convention card and started to write all of Bob's responses for 2NT and higher in the “Responses/Rebid” section. Very quickly I was out of room and starting to write smaller and smaller. I started writing into the 2H and 2S Response/Rebid section hoping that when we got to those bids that the responses and follow-up bids would not be as complicated. I quickly filled those up and then started writing in the 2C section. When that filled up, I started writing around the sides of the convention card until I had gone 3/4 of the way round in the tiniest font possible and then back again. Bob covered every different possible bid and rebid and scenario. I had used every possible abbreviation and shorthand I knew, including some I made up as he was giving the Flannery that we were going to play. My convention card was covered in tiny hieroglyphics and looked like the Rosetta Stone. Archaeologists years from now would not be able to understand my notes, and I suspect I may not either.

After I had written down all the 2D bids, we barely had any time left for the left side of the card before the event started.

And no, Flannery did not come up… but if it did, I was prepared!
Feb. 10, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 10, 2015
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Let me give an example.

Say Jeff Meckstroth is on a KO team, let's say he has 70,000.0 MPs, he plays with 3 other players, they each have 10,000.0 MPs. So the total is 100,000 MPs.

What is the amount of MPs used for this team for calculating the KO MPs?

Answer: 45,000

This is documented in the MPBook (page 5, max is 45,000).

Now he plays with the same team in a compact KO.

What is the amount of MPs used?

The answer is not 45,000. I have not seen the answer documented anywhere. This is the type of information that is lacking from the MPBook. Given the MPBook, anyone should be able to re-create the MPs for an event. Currently this is not possible for all events.
Feb. 7, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 10, 2015
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Peg: Not sure why you did not get your results, this would be an ACBL Live issue. You would need to talk to ACBL support.

I introduced Fast Results at the 2012 Memphis Platinum Pairs. I started work on it around November 2011, and first tested it at a Sectional in Atlanta in February 2012. Code took about 2-3 months to develop/test/release. ACBL has had the code since April 2012. It was part of the ACBLscore+ contract; I put it in Phase 1 of the contract so that there would be an easy quick win so ACBL could start to show benefits from the ACBLscore+ work.

Jay Whipple introduced his own version about a year later - known as “Fast Results”. Very popular with Regionals and Sectionals. I think he got frustrated with ACBL not releasing anything.

ACBL introduced their own version in Providence. Took them 2 1/2 years. I think they used their own version. They did not want to use the software previously created :-)

I'll see if I can dig out a backup so that you can compare the results presentation from what is now 3 years ago to what ACBL are offering.
Feb. 7, 2015
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Kevin,

It is fairly simple. Similar to what is done now, but automated.

Have all seeds go to the seeding table. Seeds entered into computer. These seeds are manually seeded, possibly with some computer help, by the seeding committee. Very similar to the current process. Seeds would get a monotonically increasing number, starting at say 501.

All others pairs get a monotonically increasing number, similar to what is done for KOs. Players would enter their MP total, just like as in a KO. Yup, going to use MP for the moment as the simplest seeding method for the anti-seeds.

At game time, TD decides the number of sections and number of pairs in each section.

Computer assigns seeded players across the sections. Computer assigns non-seeded players to fill in remaining seeds.

Just like a KO is started at ACBL, would display your pair number and table assignment.

Only I'd use a projector to display it all. Possibly two projectors - one for seeds, one for non-seeds.

Probably about a week of work to do seeds, a week of work to do the non-seeds. I"ve already got the code for projecting data. Probably about 2 weeks worth of work (this would include testing etc.)

If I thought that ACBL would realistically implement a solution, I would implement it. (They would not own the copyright :-)

If I have time, I'll see if I can get something done for New Orleans.
Feb. 5, 2015
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Kevin: You would have to look at each event and decide if they used 3 or 5 as the first seed. Take a look who was sitting in seat 5 for some sections and you can probably determine fairly quickly if this was the 1 seed or the 4 seed.

As best I recall the decision to use 3 or 5 was the DIC. May be different for each pairs event within the same NABC.
Feb. 3, 2015
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The Vanderbilt/Spingold have defined seeding procedures.

Each time seeding is done for the pairs events it is the subjective decision of the people on the seeding committee that day. I'm not sure that any records of kept of the seeding information from the National Pairs events.
Feb. 3, 2015
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The ACBL use different rules for NABC+ KO events, these are seeded across the entire field suing a published seeding method.

The ACBL NABC+ pairs events are seeded, but the seeding is manual. Only the teams that have requested a seed are seeded.
Feb. 3, 2015
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