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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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Google forms may/will collect the data and use it to “improve” their service to “their” users.

See https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/

My kids' school had to stop using Google as it was in violation of the school's privacy policy.
Dec. 11, 2014
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There are lots of comments about results etc.

At some point I guess I need to write up what Bridgescore+ (the former ACBLscore+) is capable of and what ACBL are throwing away, but that's probably a separate topic of its own.

I played in some of the National pairs events, the one day Reisinger and am still in the 0-10K Swiss.

For the pair events, the first day started (the time that the last board was out to the last table) at 22 minutes (LM Pairs) and 18 minutes (Blue Ribbon). Metrics are important because that is how we can measure progress. I have a lot of metrics from the ACBLscore+ project, not sure what is still covered under NDA but somewhere I've got 2+ years of data.

I played with a pick-up partner in one of the National pairs and they were commenting how hard-working the directors were and what an amazing job ACBL was doing.

I said, yes, the directors are all working very hard, but I pointed out that it was 20 minutes past game time and we still didn't have boards. Our opponents were not from ACBL land. They were amazed at what was taking so long. They said they assumed it was a 1:30 start time. The problem is expectations. In ACBL land we expect National pair events to start 20-40 minutes (last NABC was 40+ minutes for start time). Around the rest of the world, they use a different system and expect pair games to start on time. Talk to some players from overseas and they laugh at some of the ways that ACBL runs events. Not to say we don't do some things better than elsewhere, but the lack of use of technology is embarrassing.

For the Reisinger, it was comical to see all the players (I think ~48 teams, so around 200 players) crowded around a print-out trying to see who qualified. (They each knew if they did, they wanted to see how everyone else did).

For the national events (Blues, Reisinger, Swiss etc.) “we” are all relying on folks like Jan to take a photograph of a print out and post it somewhere. There are no real time results. Imaging the NBA, NFL or MLB working this way.

The Swiss for me was even harder to watch. ACBL has the code to run Swiss and display on the wall. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JN70OsOVHo
This is an example of ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ using the data from the Atlanta 2013 NABC Swiss event and showing how it could be run. First day. 154 teams. The Swiss here is similar.

For each round of the Swiss, ACBL were using 3 TDs: one for score entry, one for writing the team total, one for putting new matches up on the rack. All players were crowded around, trying to read the rack. This would all be replaced by 1 TD, entering the data, with all the information displayed on a projector.

Because ACBLscore is single-threaded, non-networked, it is difficult to work with for larger events. ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ allows multiple inputs, and is networked.

At the Memphis NABC (Spring 2012), we rolled out Fast Results (yes, before the ACBLscore+ contract started). This had results to your phone, on-line display of results that were Javascript enabled. You could click and go to any board, any other section etc. etc. 2 1/2 years later, ACBL are rolling out something similar, only not as good as what they had 2+ years ago, and not as good as Jay Whipple's fast results. I am sure that the ACBL Live will get better, but it is very frustrating for me to see software being rolled out that hasn't been fully tested when I spent the last few months of the ACBLscore+ project wanting to run ACBLscore+ in parallel at NABCs (e.g. run in parallel for Swiss so could display results, run regional KOs etc.) and not being allowed. It is also extremely frustrating to navigate the various screens. Basically it looks like it was not designed by a bridge player, nor does it look like any mock-ups were done and the screens run by bridge players. Once you have a basic design in place, it can be very hard to change. I hope this is not the case, but I suspect that it might be. I heard, unofficially, that the developers were told, “just make it as good as Jay Whipple's”. They still have a way to go.

ACBL has the code to run KOs, run Swiss, using projectors. My Districts and others are using it. The list of “features” being added to ACBLscore are all features currently in Bridgescore+. But it would run under DOS, but then they are going to get rid of DOS… Go figure. Looks like they are spending $600K to re-do what they already have. Probably cost about half of that to finish Bridgescore+, including the roll-out testing, and doing the work where specs were never provided during the contract.

There were some motions at the BoD meetings that are deliberately aimed at making it harder for someone to use Bridgescore+ as an alternative to ACBLscore. One club manager told me that a board member had told them earlier this week that ACBL would do whatever it takes to stop Bridgescore+. It all seems so silly. There is innovation that happens outside of Horn Lake.

There is a new Technology Committee, but I hold out little hope. Perhaps I should throw down the gauntlet and have them come to a tournament where we can do a comparison between ACBLscore and Bridgescore+ and see which one is better. For the players, TDs, DICS and the sponsor.
Dec. 7, 2014
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Some of this may be a lot closer than you think.

As part of the ACBLscore+ project, I asked to sit in (quietly and with permission from all) on some of the NABC appeals. Belated thanks to Michael Huston for allowing me to do this. My intent was to find out how technology might be used to help with the appeals process.

If this is an event with hand records (e.g. Pairs), then ACBLscore+ can import the hand records and provide a better hard copy than the 18 to a page format currently used.

I asked BBO if they could update their HandViewer technology so that someone can run Gib (their Double Dummy Analyzer) during the play of the hand. This will help with the “how many tricks can I take now” analysis. They kindly and quietly improved their code and the change can be seen on the current version of BBO. Can't always use the DDA because you will assume that declarer does not drop the stiff K offsides, but can be useful in tricky 1NT (or 3NT) contracts where the best line of play may not be obvious.

For team games, ACBLscore+ has the ability of inputing a hand (using BBO's handviewer code - thank you to BBO for the free license), and then running a DDA (ACBLscore+ uses Bo Haglund's DDA, see http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb758135/).

Deep Finesse (see deepfinesse.com) can also do the same thing as can some other tools on the Internet, including some phone Apps.

Thomas Andrew's deal program, http://bridge.thomasoandrews.com/deal/, can help generate deals based on known parameters (i.e. single-dummy simulation). The data can then be fed into a DDA to generate outputs and results averaged.

As others have pointed out, Bridge is a single-dummy game. The knowledge that you may have because of your system may be different than others so the personal element of appeals is necessary.

The technology is out there. It takes someone who knows the technology to be able to provide it in an easy-to-use manner for TDs, screeners and the Appeals committees.

Bridgescore+ does all that ACBLscore+ can do, and more. At some point, I'll create a video and post on YouTube so you can see how some of this would/does work. I've used it at a couple of regionals to help the TDs make table rulings on most likely outcome.

Beware the dystopian future. I think there will always need to be a human element. But if we can use technology to help reduce the number of appeals, and improve the process within the appeals process, then we should.
Dec. 4, 2014
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I will be at Bar Louie, 1 Union Station, Providence, RI 02903 after the afternoon session today (Friday Nov 28). I will bring my laptop and be happy to answer any questions that anyone has about Bridgescore+, demo the software, how to get access to it for your district, how to use it for your district etc. Sorry for the short notice; having this on Saturday would take people away from WaterFire.

Depending on interest I may do another demo mid next week. I'm in Providence the whole tournament.

There is some room behind the bar at Bar Louie so I will try and set up there. Should be easy to spot - I'll be the one with the laptop.

I heard some rumors about performance and running on XP so I created an XP version of Bridgescore+ and a demo yesterday. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHnLURIKHmQ. Nothing fancy, starts and runs a KO but everything is native XP - software and browser.
Nov. 28, 2014
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Corey:

The intended rolll out of ACBLscore+ was tournaments first, then clubs. Simple reasoning: a lot of clubs use their local TDs for customer support, many ACBL TDs also run club games. Much easier to train tournament TDs then use them to help with clubs (in addition to ACBL support).

Pair events were a critical path item when the ACBLscore+ project started. (Tournament financials was the other). One year into the project, in April 2013, we had basic pair events functional (scoring, ranking, masterpointing) and demo-ed to ACBL in Gatlinburg. Between sessions, we took some Bridgemates, ACBLscore+ and ran a test pair event with our ACBL person helping to enter scores. Everything went very well. We entered the scores from, I think, a 299-er game that had just happened. All data in to ACBLscore+, game file created etc. At that point, I wanted to do a very limited release to clubs so that we could test the club interface and get some initial feedback on the UI from clubs but ACBL said no.

We then wanted to add the more complex movements to Bridgescore+ and asked ACBL for some more information on movements. We essentially put Pairs events on hold until we got that information. It took ACBL 6 months to provide this information (my estimate when we asked was about 1-4 weeks for them to do the work). We only got this information with a few weeks left in the project.

Long story, but take a critical path item, delay it 5-6 months, and the project is now 5-6 months behind. It's a critical path item. There were other issues, but these have previously been discussed.

As such, we haven't done much with pair events in over a year.

We've re-done the interface to Bridgemates (+ Bridgepads) so this needs new testing.

As part of our masterpoint testing, we import game files from ACBLscore, re-score them, re-rank them, re-masterpoint them and verify the results, so the core of the code is done. Just needs lots of testing.

The UI for clubs needs real-world testing. Small number of clubs running it in parallel with ACBLscore for 2-4 months. This needs to happen before a roll out to clubs. ACBL has the infrastructure to make this happen; we don't.

We decided the biggest impact for Bridgescore+ was team games. ACBLscore is very good at pair games, and handling all the issues that can occur; particularly with any errors in players or boards moving incorrectly between rounds. Therefore we have focused on team games.

We did do some work on making movements easier for clubs. This is a complicated topic. It is the reason for the 6 month delay. We do have some diagrams for Web based movements (these are actually provided under MIT license by Jon Gustafson). Jon was working on updates to his Web movement diagrams, they really help in understanding common Web movements which are becoming more common, even in club games, and particularly out west. I'll see if he has something he will release. The other printed diagrams from Bridgescore+ are similar to ACBLscore. So some new help with movements, better than ACBLscore but still similar.

Full support for a small club game is still some time off. Some code needs to be finished, but the longer delay is in testing with clubs, also the delay in setting up customer support to be able to handle support calls. The plan was to create a modern web based customer support system (think what Microsoft and others have with a knowledge base system), but also to have the traditional telephone support. That work was on ACBL's side of the ACBLscore+ project, but never happened. If we were to offer Bridgescore+ to clubs, we'd want to set up this type of customer support system or piggy-back off another company. Club times range from Bermuda to Hawaii so customer support hours can be long.

Michael gave the right answer, just trying to provide some background on why things are the way they are.

Nov. 26, 2014
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Kevin,

1) I believe the reason for BOD being ‘gagged’ is that league counsel has told them that there might be a lawsuit. Neither me nor my company has any intention of suing ACBL. Not even sure what we would sue them for as ACBL ended up paying contract in full even after we ended the contract early. Perhaps ACBL could sue me or my company, but again, it's difficult to see what for. They came back for more code in April/May 2014 after contract was ended. I suspect this ‘gag’ has been done to prevent investigation into the copyright issue.

2) If I've not been accurate, I'll be the first to correct it. Obviously I can only give my perspective, not ACBL.

3) Herein lies the paradox. And why everyone is confused. Me too.

Except that if your (new) lawyers tell you not to proceed with the software/project unless you have the copyright, and you can't get the copyright, and you negotiated the original contract and failed to get the copyright, you are a little stuck. You don't want to admit you messed up with the original contract (it was a lot of money after all), and it's smoke and mirrors time because you don't want people to find out the real reason.

All I can do is to release the software so that others can make up their mind on the real reasons behind ACBL management/lawyers decision.

4) I haven't released the contract figure, because ACBL hasn't. It was a fixed amount. Travel (had to be approved by ACBL) was extra. There was a lot of additional travel that I did that was not covered, but I thought it important to see other software in use at other bridge tournaments so my company paid for it. ACBL's internal cost will be extra. I don't know what it is. ACBL were supposed to provide 1.5 staff for 2 years for the project; this didn't happen so the project is about 3 man years behind (please distinguish between the “contract” and the “project”). ACBL did send some people to some tournaments to see ACBLscore+ in use so there are some internal costs that will be expensed to the project.

There were several people working on the software, not just me. I tracked the total man years in the project, ACBL has the numbers somewhere. It's man years, not some number of man months. The rates we had to pay were in line with other's estimates. It was hard finding good subject matter aware (SMA) programmers. I was fairly brutal if someone didn't perform because there was no margin for error. The rates we had to pay went up substantially after the board (a couple of members) publicly announced one year into the project that the project was ‘under budget’. This was the time when we were about to hire several new programmers and all of a sudden everyone's rate went way up. That problem alone cost an additional $80-$100K of a fixed-price contract.

Accounting for this becomes an interesting accounting issue.

If ACBL ‘throw it all away’, the software cost has to be written off, and it would be in the books.

If they choose to use some of it, then this amount can be depreciated over time. What they ‘throw away’ has to be written off.

Both of the last two paragraphs are accounting issues. ACBL is a non-profit, so ultimately it does not matter from a tax perspective. It does matter on how the books look. Therefore there will be a fiduciary ‘incentive’ to not write it all off. How much of ACBLscore+ ever gets used is a separate issue.

5) I haven't seen any ACBLscore timetables.

ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ was intended as a replacement for ACBLscore. They were intended to run in parallel for a period of time during the transition phase then ACBLscore would be dropped.

Bridgescore+ certainly could be a competitor to ACBLscore. It does the same thing (run bridge events at tournaments/clubs). But it's hard to compete with software that is given away for free and supported by sanction fees. If ACBL chooses to drop ACBLscore+, then I will probably continue to offer a version of Bridgescore+ to Districts/Units for use at tournaments for some time.

If I was just a typical contractor, I would have taken my money, said thanks and moved on to the next contract. Which is basically what I (and the others) did earlier this year. When ACBL announced that they were going to throw away all of the code, I thought this was silly and I don't like it when lawyers win and we (I'm an ACBL member as well) all lose out. I believe in the software enough that I've paid others to continue to develop it and invested more of my time and effort because there are some substantial improvements to players and TDs with the new software. Whether ACBL management now try and block it (there are some board motions in Providence), we shall see. If that happens, we all lose out.

ACBL have not publicly stated anything on open source for ACBLscore (or ACBLscore+), but privately have stated that it is unlikely to happen. The problem is support for any changes that are made. It becomes difficult for an organization with a small development staff to provide full support for open source code. Changes that someone may make to an open source product may not be in-line with what management wants. I strongly doubt ACBLscore will ever be open source.

I have actually tried to get some open source work done for Bridgescore+ (if it's Open Source then ACBL can also use it for no cost if they decide to continue with ACBLscore+).

==

ACBL management are in a difficult situation. No scenario is good. Either they wasted all this money and didn't realize it until the end. Or they failed to track the project sufficiently. Or they didn't supervise their end of the project correctly and failed to provide the necessary specs so that the work could get done. Or they didn't realize about the Copyright until they hired new lawyers. Or we did a terrible job of writing software and fooled them for 2 years. Or the new software is much better than they thought and they did a bad job of analyzing it. Or they failed to provide the necessary resources to get the project implemented. There is no good spin.

My position is well stated. ACBL got new lawyers in mid 2013/early 2014 who told them that without copyright, they can't protect the code, so they are going to throw it all away. During the ACBLscore+ contract, ACBL were supposed to provide certain resources (3 man years) and failed to do so. The ACBLscore+ “project” is now about 3 man years behind. The ACBLscore+ “contract” may be fine, but they can't roll out everything until the “project” is done. So they now have catch-up work to do.

Two of the four project managers I was assigned are no longer with ACBL.

The BOD is in a similar difficult situation. Who do they believe?

All I can do it put the software out there and let the marketplace decide. Which free product do you want to use? People are only going to choose Bridgescore+ if it is better than the existing product (ACBLscore). I know what the folks in my District are doing; I know what Gatlinburg is going to do for 2015.

There's a couple more things I still want to do with Bridgescore+. I will probably implement the new masterpoint rules if they get passed in Phoenix, so the software can be run instead of ACBLscore. After that I may be done, unless there is a compelling reason to continue. As long as Bridgescore+ can create an ACBLscore game file, then no-one will be any the wiser. Tournaments will make more money because they can use fewer TDs. TDs will be happier (if they are willing to learn new stuff) because the software takes care of lots of tedious data entry. As a player, I'll be happy because everything will run much smoother/quicker.
Nov. 21, 2014
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I've posted a Bridgescore+ status report at http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/docs/Bridgescoreplus_status_report_141121.pdf

The status report describes where Bridgescore+ is, what it would take in general terms for it to be rolled out. It's quite long (33 pages), but intended to be reasonably detailed. I also list nearly all of the original set of Risks/Risk Mitigations that were given to ACBL before the ACBLscore+ project started. A little too prophetic.

The ACBL BOD has a motion to look at the current state of ACBLscore+, so this document was intended to help with that process, should the motion pass. If the motion doesn't pass, then there are some districts that are curious on where Bridgescore+ is and what features can be used. Bridgescore+ is about 6 months further along than where ACBLscore+ was so it has more features/easier to use, more testing behind it, more real world use etc. etc.

I ran Bridgescore+ at a regional last month. Details at http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=145 It describes real world usage, including some useful metrics. If you read nothing else, see the Bracketed Swiss entry on November 2, 2014 as this is the most interesting example of how new technology can help. Event would have finished at least 15 minutes earlier and would require far fewer TDs.

I'm going to be in Providence for the entire NABC.

I will try and find a bar/restaurant close to the playing site and give a demo between sessions to anyone who wants to see/learn Bridgescore+. It will be easier to get into more specifics of Bridgescore+ at that time. Any Districts/Units that are interested in running the software can find out more information. Will probably try and do this the first Friday or Saturday of the tournament. I will post something here about the meeting.
Nov. 21, 2014
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Nov. 21, 2014
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http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp

is one of many sites that will tell you if a domain name is available.
Network Solutions was the original domain purveyor, there are now many more.

If/when you decide to register a domain name, there are lots of competitors out there. Network Solutions tends to be one of the more expensive ones.

However, it's free to see what's available.
Nov. 21, 2014
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The current ACBL club rule for use of the stop card is:

“For sanctioned games at clubs, the club may elect to discourage it's (sic) use and require no mandated pause.”

Therefore the rule at the club is up to the club.
Nov. 17, 2014
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http://web2.acbl.org/codification/CHAPTER%2012%20-%20Section%20A.pdf

Chapter 12. A.3.

F. Where Used
The warning is effective for all ACBL sanctioned events. For sanctioned games at clubs, the
club may elect to discourage it's (sic) use and require no mandated pause.


You can ask ACBL to fix spelling at same time (sic).
Nov. 16, 2014
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Peg,
You need to state if this at a tournament or club and if in ACBLland.

ACBL has different rules for clubs and tournaments.
Nov. 16, 2014
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More than one. Any publicity is good publicity…

Series 1
Episode 13
The Bat Jar Conjecture

Howard: Gentlemen, switching to local nerd news. Fishman, Chen, Chowdry, McNair aren’t fielding a team in the university physics bowl this year.

Leonard: You’re kidding, why not?

Howard: They formed a barbershop quartet, and got a gig playing Knotsbury Farm.

Penny: Wow, so in your world, you’re like, the cool guys.

Howard: Recognise.

Leonard: This is our year! With those guys out, the entire physics bowl will kneel before Zod.

Penny: Zod?

Howard: Kryptonian villain. Long story.

Raj: Good story. (Clasps hands to mouth in shock.)

Sheldon: Well count me out.

Howard: What? Why?

Sheldon: You want me to use my intelligence in a tawdry competition? Would you ask Picasso to play Pictionary? Would you ask Noah Webster to play Boggle? Would you ask Jacques Cousteau to play Go Fish?

Leonard: Come on, you need a four person team, we’re four people.

Sheldon: By that reasoning we should also play bridge, hold up a chuppah and enter the Olympic bobsled competition.

Penny: I want tickets to that please.

Leonard: Sheldon, what, do I need to quote Spock’s dying words to you.

Sheldon: No, don’t.

Leonard: The needs of the many.

Howard: Outweigh the needs of the few.

Sheldon: Or the one. Dammit, I’ll do it.
Nov. 15, 2014
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I think the ACBL policy only applies when ACBL is the sponsor, i.e. at Nationals.

I think it is a little unclear about Regionals and Sectionals.

Our Unit has chosen, so far, not to have a policy on events that we hold. Based on discussion outside of our board meetings, we find the ACBL policy too restrictive.

I think we all understand the intent of the policy; but for as a Unit we needed something that would meet our current requirements based on current practice.

Trying to draft a well written policy is very difficult. This is one of the benefits of having a mother organization - they can write one for all of us. Or to act as a template.

The example I listed above: when a parent I've known for 3+ years asks me to watch their kid go to the bathroom because extremely difficult with a policy.

However this discussion has nothing to do with an ACBL Board Motion. It's a discussion that you need to have locally (Unit/District) and decide what is best for your organization.
Nov. 5, 2014
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Obviously this can be considered a shameless plug, but at the same time as a player I get very frustrated with the lack of use of appropriate technology. I probably know more about how technology can be used to help improve our game, so it's hard for me not to vent.

I ran Bridgescore+ in parallel at the regional in Augusta last week. I was only using it to start KOs and display scores for Swiss using a projector. I did try a couple more things, but when running new software you don't want to interfere with the player experience.

I have probably started 50+ KOs at this point. Now at the point where the local TDs don't even bother with a cold backup of ACBLscore when starting a KO. That was a big step, particularly for some of the TDs. The full write up of last week is at http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=145

The best were the morning compact KOs. For some reason there is always a 3-5 minute lull before start time (9:00am) allowing the TD to determine the bracket size. Once they tell me that, software does the rest. We had matches and assignments up on the wall at 9:00:10, 9:00:17, 9:00:35 for the three different mornings.

On the last day, the regional had a bracketed B Swiss Teams at 10:00. There were 64 teams. First time I had tested the full Bracketed Swiss code, so I ran in parallel to test everything real-time, but did not display anything to the players. I was ready at 10:05 with table assignments, new team numbers, ready to display on the wall including handling all stationaries. Took 4 TDs until 10:21 to do the same using the old rack system.

There was comment earlier in this thread about “number of clicks/time” etc.

Rather than the example I posted about a pairs event, a bracketed Swiss may be a better example. In ACBLscore, each bracket has to be a separate event. So the TD has to repeat 8 times setting up an event for each bracket. I lost track of the number of clicks/data entries, but probably about 20-30 for each bracket/event. Then there were some errors, so they had to go through and re-do each bracket. Way too much set-up involved. Must have taken 2 TDs 5-10 minutes to do/check. Make an error, can't go back. With the new system, you set up the event, and each bracket is automatically set up. I almost wanted to give them the game file I could have created at 10:05, but that's going to need more testing before we roll it out.

Metrics are very important when looking at a new system. Got to be able to compare new with old and decide if the new is better. Any metrics that you readers can do of number of tables in KO/start time would help.

The Bracketed Swiss event brings up a very important point. With technology, 1 TD can be used to start a 64 team Swiss (I try and use a caddy for data input to Bridgescore+ - all they enter is number of points/number of players so could in theory do this event with 1 TD and 1 caddy). At this last event, we had 4 TDs needed to start the event. This has a big impact on the player experience (would have started at 10:05, not 10:21). It also has an impact on tournament finances. It would also have an impact on ACBL finances. I always used to say that ACBLscore+ would pay for itself. With 1,000 tournaments a year, cutting back on even as few as 10 TD sessions per tournament would have a huge impact on finances for units/districts/ACBL. This is a metric that no-one (to the best of my knowledge) has done.

I reviewed the ACBL reason for not wanting to deploy ACBLscore+. One of the statements was,

“We want our club and tournament directors to be able to run games
on their existing computers without expensive upgrades or
complicated new lessons.”.

We could have used the TDs Windows XP machine (those with Internet connection) to have started the event. No upgrade needed. We did need a printer ($125) and projector. I used an old mac laptop as my data entry machine. And another laptop to drive the display for the projector.

The ‘complicated new lessons’ was the interesting comment.

Effective use of technology does mean some training. Complicated? Not really. New? Certainly.

The ACBL Luddite mentality won't win out in the end.

ACBL has the software from ACBLscore+ that can be used to start a KO. They paid extra for it back in May of this year after seeing how it worked in Gatlinburg. I've obviously enhanced it quite a bit since then, added Bracketed Swiss, lots of other tweaks/improvements/performance enhancements, but they have the core code. If they choose to throw everything else away, then at a minimum the one piece they should keep and deploy is the starting a KO code.

Until they do, I'm still making this available (for free) to Districts that are interested.

Nov. 5, 2014
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Peg,

It's very complicated and probably worthy of a separate discussion somewhere. This topic started out as discussion on new ACBL Board Motions, not the current ones or current policies. So, if you want to start a separate discussion, I'd recommend that.

For ACBL it's very difficult. They have Units/Districts/Entities all working with kids/youth.

Let's define Youth as <18 (as per ACBL).

I've worked with Patty Tucker since before she started Atlanta Junior Bridge. I've taught in two different schools, worked with AJB since it started. As you know, computer security/security policy is my speciality,, particularly as it applies both to ACBL land and EU etc. I've had teachers leave me with 20+ 8-10 year old for over an hour in a school setting, because they “trust me”. I'm our current Unit (3200+ members) Past President. Our Unit is most of Georgia, including Atlanta. I wanted our Unit to adopt a Youth Policy, but both Patty and I looked at the ACBL policy and decided it was not appropriate for our Unit, so we dropped a motion to recommend it. We are still trying to work out what is best for our Unit and AJB. I was also a Cubmaster (120+ kids) for 5+ years and had to go through all the training, and even had an incident to deal with, so more familiar with most with Youth and incidents, both their impact on kids and also the possible affect on any organization. At an AJB Youth event, I'll have a parent (mom) ask me to take (watch out for) their (male) kids to the bathroom. Kids can be 6-15. Of course, I always say yes because I“m a parent too and understand their concern. That's very different from following a kid to the bathroom, but parents are rightly careful. It becomes v. difficult. The right thing is to decline to watch their kids, but what is a (mom) to do? If I say no, who do they ask? Trust is very difficult thing to acquire. One incident, and just like a ballon, gone forever. We try to organize bathroom breaks at youth events where we have someone (usually two) go to the bathroom to watch out for the kids, but it is not always possible. A break during rounds? Yuk. As a parent what do you do? Ask someone you trust?

As you know I have 3 kids that play. I take them to Nationals. I specifically point out some players and tell them never, never be anywhere X, Y, Z. Or be alone with them. Or get in an elevator with them. There may well be U, V, W, but I only know of X, Y, Z. Should I know of U, V, W, or X, Y, Z? I only know of them because of bar chat. (There may be one or 3 or 10, not telling).

But if you are a parent, and non bridge player, and don't know of U, V, W, X, Y, Z what do you do? You may have heard that there is a Z. But do you know we may also have U, V, W, X, Y?

You teach kids. One of your kids qualifies for a GNT/NAP event. Can you drive them there to help out their parents? If you are not a bridge player, or not covered by ACBL policy, sure, assuming their parents consent. But if you are covered by this policy you have to say no. So, you can't take the kids to the GNT/NAP 300 miles away, even though the parents trust you implicitly.

No policy can cover what a parent needs to do. Parents (who are not players) aren't covered. Volunteer bridge players who are, might be. It is a horribly difficult situation. There is no good answer. ACBL should have a policy. Their policy covers the events they run. Local events with local players/local volunteers are different.

Peg, I think you are covered. But it's difficult. If a parent says, ”take my child“, but the policy is ”don't ride with an adult“, what do we do?

It only takes one incident. ”We“ know of X, Y, Z. But I only know of them because of bar chat. There are probably U, V, W. But if there are P, Q, R, S, T what should we do? Don't fault ACBL or its policy. Be very careful what you vote for locally.

And please don't publish who X, Y, Z are, or might be.

It's a horrible situation. There is no answer. The legal rules in USA are different from other countries. ACBL is a multi-county organization. Publish a policy and there are legal ramifications. Belong to a Unit or District that has some $$ in their account and harder still.

I agree with all of the ACBL policy, from ACBL's perspective.

Make all your volunteers take the Boy Scouts of America Youth Protection training (see http://www.scouting.org/Training/youthprotection.aspx) and require them to give you their certificate number.

Be careful about adopting the ACBL's policy for your Unit/District/Local area. The ”good volunteers“ you want to keep, but we never know who are the ”bad volunteers" until sometimes too late. I had to deal with this very problem as a Cubmaster. It's not fun, or easy. You never know who are the abusers.
Nov. 3, 2014
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Nov. 4, 2014
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If you offer a ride, and it's for a youth (U18), then you cannot ride in the car alone with them.

See http://web2.acbl.org/documentlibrary/youthprotection/groupsmembers.pdf

This is causing some issues for areas that have a youth program and bridge playing volunteers. You can't offer them a free meal either. Same policy.
Nov. 3, 2014
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The ACBLscore license is, or at least used to be,

“This program is authorized for use only as shown and agreed on the ACBLscore
registration form.

Copyright © 1991 American Contract Bridge League. This program and, if applicable, the accompanying player information file (collectively, the ”software“) and related documentation are proprietary products of American Contract Bridge League which are protected by Copyright Laws and International Treaty. This Software and the related documentation and written material may not be decompiled, disassembled, reverse engineered, copied, transferred or incorporated into any information retrieval system, or otherwise used or reproduced without the written permission of American Contract Bridge League, except that you are allowed to make one archival/backup copy of the program and player information file.”

Having read it, I guess there is nothing in there to stop someone from reverse engineering the game file. Can't reverse engineer the program, but doesn't say anything about its data. I suspect we will very soon see a change to this license :-)
Nov. 3, 2014
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ACBL's interpretation is that if you create software that could extract data, you are violating the license agreement of ACBLscore (you click on this when you first install it) and thus are making/have made “unauthorized use of copyrighted ACBL materials or software”. And could now be banned for life. It's actually the creation of the software that is in breach of the license not the offer or the use (but IANAL as well).

I'm lucky. ACBL paid for the software that my company developed that did this and I have a license/agreement with ACBL giving my company rights to this software. Fortunately, my company also owns the copyright to this code.

So while me/my company should be OK, others may not.

The intent of 3.26, 3.27, 3.28 all seems reasonable. I just want everyone to be aware of how it is going to be interpreted. The possible effect is chilling, and nearly all Bridge developers in ACBL land are also players. Myself included.
Nov. 3, 2014
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On the face of it, 3.26 makes total sense. You don't want a club manager downloading the entire ACBL member database and sending an email blast to 170,000 people in support of their favorite charity/politician/spam/you name it. That's already covered when you download the Player Information File (PIF) aka (“Member Database”) from MyACBL.

Similarly, reading the wording of 3.27 and 3.28 makes total sense.

ACBL now want to extend any legal punishments of 3.26, 3.27, 3.28 to extend to not only civil remedies, but could expel you as a member from ACBL without having to go to court.

Everything may seem reasonable so far, until you realize how ACBL will interpret and enforce 3.26, 3.27, 3.28.

As I've already received my threat from ACBL a few weeks ago (am I the only one?), I just want everyone to be aware that this new power will be used not just from the obvious misuse (email blasts), but can also be applied to any situation.

Peg: to give you an example. You take someone's picture, and they give you their name and/or ACBL player number, but not where they live. If you use the ACBL Member Database to look up where that person lives (e.g. city, state) and publish, for example, “John Smith from Winder, GA” on your web site, and cannot show where you received in writing notification from John Smith that you could publish this information then you are in violation of the current ACBL rules for the PIF (see MyACBL) and could now be banned for life from all ACBL events. You may think I'm being silly, but I've already received my threat and this motion has not even be passed yet.



Nov. 3, 2014
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Nov. 3, 2014
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Item 143-01: Code of Disciplinary Regulations
has

3.26 Use of unauthorized collective member data for (a) email blasts or (b) profit in any way
or ( c ) to harass members of the ACBL.
3.27 Unauthorized use of copyrighted ACBL materials or software.
3.28 Unauthorized use of Trademarks registered by the ACBL


3.26 is designed to stop people like Chris Champion's Power Ratings, Matthew Kidd's ACBLmerge, Jay Whipple's Fast Results. It would also stop my company from, for example, making Bridgescore+ available if we charge for it. If any of us offer even as little as, say, ads on a web site around Bridge results, that is “profit in any way”. We all use “collective member data” in some way.

If a player has a bad Power Rating, that is “harassment”, Fast Results has email blasts. Any attempt to ask clubs to pay for software even with a freemium option is “profit in any way”. Technically offering any form of results is unauthorized use of collective member data.

3.27 sounds silly, but I know the intent. When you install ACBLscore, there is a message about decompiling any data. So, if you offer anything that reverse engineers the data, similar to what Matthew Kidd offers, then you will be stopped.

Before you think this is all moot, five days after I first posted on Bridgewinners, I got my first notification from ACBL threatening me with 3.27. Fortunately my company has a license for all code developed under the ACBLscore+ project so I'm not worried, and also it's not in the CDR yet, but I'm sure that this is the reason for 3.27. My company isn't affected (we don't use ACBLscore), but it would shut down everyone else that uses ACBLscore. The definition of ‘authorized use’ is up to ACBL.

If anyone was ever unclear about how valuable ‘copyright’ is (see other discussion topics), now you know.

Sadly this is all about control of data. Clubs own their results, Districts own Regionals, Units own Sectionals (all for the most part). ACBL are entitled to the data necessary to verify masterpoints etc. ACBL are trying to stop any third party entity from helping bridge players.

This motion would have a chilling effect on third party bridge products in ACBL land.

Item 143-86: Conflict of Interest Policy

(non financial interest)

This also seems targeted at Jay Whipple and his Fast Results, and possibly another board member that offers results in his local area.

Nov. 2, 2014
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Nov. 3, 2014
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