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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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“Boye, Jeff Meckstroth, Steve Weinstein and many others said here that the top level bridge is clean now”

Not true. See a recent thread. Boye acknowledges that there are still cheaters out there at the top level. We both know who they are. As do plenty of others.
Feb. 29
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@Timo: Ask Boye. He knows. We all know that we can't publish names. We are all naive if we think it is not happening. c.f. Cycling (motorized bikes)/Doping (Swimming), Baseball etc.

@Murat: Statistics. No, but I know the areas of the game they are cheating in; finding their methods means looking at videos, but if they modify the yes/no signal based on a board number or vulnerability it is virtually impossible to detect. Yes. Yes. Yes. No.
Feb. 29
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There are still some cheating players at the top level of Bridge.

The top players know who.

But proving that a pair is cheating is currently very difficult for NBOs, unless you can detect a code.

There are also cheating players at the lower levels of Bridge…
Feb. 29
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The original concept for Live for Clubs goes back to ACBLscore+.

Back then (2012-2014), the manual effort of clubs (+ ACBL) to generate financial and masterpoint records was large. Worse, there were some clubs that had a mismatch between their financial records (how much they paid ACBL) and the masterpoints reported.

The concept for ACBLscore+ was “Trust, but Verify”. Trust that the clubs were doing everything right, but verify the data. Without the individual game files, the verification was impossible.

Expect Live for Clubs to expand. It's software. For example, the monthly reporting of masterpoints is something most clubs like to post, it's easy data to generate. Put in a software request with ACBL.

There are usually teething problems with any new software; in this case some functionality has been lost, but a few requests and I would expect this to change.
Feb. 29
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Sam's Club is one of the larger clubs. He doesn't have to worry about Home Style. He's already got some great teachers for beginner duplicate :-)
Feb. 28
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Sam: Let's chat. I've got 2 or 3 different ways of creating this information for you.

1) Monthly masterpoints list
2) Non-member points

Anything else on the bucket list?
Feb. 28
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@Adam: “I think the problem is especially bad in long team matches”

I disagree.

Back to your first sentence in the OP, “Slow play is going to kill high-level bridge”.

You need to better define, “high-level Bridge”.

I think we need to separate the arguments into Pairs, Swiss, KO.

Let's take Regional events. I'll use Gatlinburg as the example, lots of events.

It is rare for a KO match to go beyond regulation time. I know because we sometimes pre-sell to the losers for the next event; you can see from the empty tables in the KO area.

I don't know much about Pairs games in Gatlinburg.

There are some slow players in Swiss events. ACBL has CoC, using proper tools (shameless plug: Bridgescoreplus), the TDs can not only enforce the time penalties, but have documentation to prove that scores were reported late. For the last few years at Gatlinburg, I've brought an atomic clock with me, just to prove the time stamps are “real time” (it also helps if someone wants to buy an entry at 1pm and TD has closed sales). I think once players know that penalties are enforced, they will improve. See previous comment about experience running Swiss with penalties and Board influence on TDs.

Let's take Nationals.

For the main events: Spingold/Vanderbilt; the earlier rounds are generally done in time. One slow pair will only slow up that match. This should be a separate topic from other events.

Reisinger: The first day is not Barometer. Can't remember about second day. Third day is Barometer. I did Vugraph for the last Reisinger. There were some slow players. I don't know if any warnings or not; but I do know that some players were complaining about missing their breaks. With the last day of the Reisinger, you are down to small group of players that are general self-policing. Rather than an entire BW discussion, including many who never will play on the final day, this is probably best done by discussing with those that play at that level.

For the NABC+ pair events: this is where I think the major problem exists. We have a limited amount of time per round; if you are following a slow pair, it is very frustrating. Particularly as you will probably be following them in the second session as well. I've got to the point where I write down the number of minutes left in the round on my scorecard when I follow a slow pair; inevitably there is one round where we are “slow” (we started late), and the TD wants to issue a warning, but nothing is ever done to a “top” pair that is slow.

Fast pairs are generally handled well. All players and TDs know that penalties are issued. One fairness issue would be to have cameras on all tables and players would have the ability to appeal a late play if it can be shown that they were not responsible (slow uncontested auction by opponents taking 5 minutes to 6H).

Bottom line: I'd like to see TDs enforcing the rules. I'd like to see ACBL have CoC for NABC+ pairs events that document the penalties (Fast Pairs has this). TDs have the tools (BWS data).
Feb. 20
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The ACBL has regulating authority. The Laws don't prescribe a penalty. The ACBL CoC for Swiss events does. The ACBL Fast Pairs CoC prescribes the penalties.
Feb. 19
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There are different merits to each system; but an issue is which is better to teach to new players.
Feb. 19
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@Peter: I made the suggestion (to the right person) during the 2018 Orlando WBF events to change the order for subsequent rounds. It's a simple coding issue. Either randomize, or sort in reverse order (fixes for one round). It wasn't going to be fixed at Orlando, but should be for subsequent WBF/EBL (same software) events. ACBL is a different story.
Feb. 18
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Hardy is definitive 2/1; but he includes many treatments that almost no-one uses. Lawrence has a derivative 2/1. Main difference between the two is “strength” v. “length”. In a 2/1 auction, does opener's rebid show strength or length. Example: 1-2-2. Does 2 promise 6 spades or not?
Feb. 17
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The ACBL has a book that beginners can buy. It is written by Audrey Grant. I give it out to my class. It has 4 chapters. First chapter is general; second is 1NT openings, third is major suit openings, fourth is minor suit openings. This would be “beginner bridge”. No transfers.

SAYC is what you are supposed to have to play if you do not have two completed convention cards at the table. See http://web2.acbl.org/documentlibrary/play/sayc_card.pdf

A “pickup partnership default” would assume that all teachers that teach beginners give the same class. This doesn't currently exist in ACBLland.

You could argue that there is some benefit to a “beginners card”, “sayc”, “2/1”, “expert 2/1” that is prefilled out and players could make changes to when filling out a card.

Also, players learn different conventions at different times. Trying to standardize on the conventions that are taught is also difficult. I would argue that Blackwood, Stayman, Transfers are the minimum. Others disagree.

@Chris: I set homework. And expect them to do it. I'm the mean teacher.
Feb. 17
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For egregious late plays the TDs will sometimes put a “dot” over the team name on the Jeffrey's Chart to indicate the number of late plays issued.
Feb. 17
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Click on
http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?d=n&v=0&w=skt763h96djt74c98&n=s85h753dak9632ck2&e=sj4hkt42dq85cj753&s=saq92haqj8caqt64&a=PP5C(Generated)PPP
to see this hand on BBO. You can then use GIB to find the solution.

Nice hand. Order of cashing tricks is NOT obvious.
Feb. 17
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Feb. 17
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The ACBL really has nothing to do with “pickup partnership default”.

Most Bridge teachers start Beginners with SAYC, no transfers.

I just finished a 6 week beginner class. I taught 2/1, Blackwood, Stayman, 2 level major suit transfers, std carding/discards. Other teachers at the same club teach SAYC, no transfers.

There is no “right” or “wrong”.

Most beginners start out with SAYC and “graduate” to 2/1.
Feb. 17
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“@Nick - bridgemates solution is unrealistic. Haven't you ever forgotten to score a board till you were into the next one? If you are going to have a real slow play enforcement policy you need something that is totally objective and totally non-discriminatory.” (FYI: I prefer Nicolas not Nick).

Bridgemates were considered unrealistic for pairs and team games. Until players started to use them. On the rare instances (they do happen, but they are rare), when a player forgets to confirm a score (thought they pressed the confirm button, but didn't), or when the TD/DIC/ACBL is responsible (think round 1 when the Bridgemates are not active until almost the end of round 1), give the TD the ability to waive. If a pair gets a late penalty. These should be the rare exception.

What can ACBL do?

1. For pairs events publish what the late penalties are.

The CoC are here: https://www.acbl.org/tournaments_page/charts-rules-and-regulations/conditions-of-contest/

The Swiss CoC, http://web2.acbl.org/coc/SwissGeneral.pdf (this appears to be a more recent version than the one I referred to earlier), does list the penalty. Warning for first offence, 10% of highest possible match score for second offense, 20% for third, 40% for fourth etc.

There is currently no prescribed penalties for late plays in pairs events.

2. Enforce.

For pair events, the data is in the Bridgemates.

For Swiss events, use Bridgescore+. The time that each round is started is known (the time of the last assignment being posted), there is a running clock on the projector, the time that the match is reported is recorded. Bridgescore+ runs the events faster than ACBLscore, and needs fewer TDs. Bridgescore+ is certified by ACBL. It has run events at NABCs.

3. Change the session 2 matching algorithm (see upthread).

Very frustrating being behind a slow pair in session 1 to know that you will have the same problem in session 2.

I've followed very slow (and famous) pairs at NABC+ pairs events. One time I complained 10 times in 13 rounds because we had to wait. Including after one break round! Nothing ever said to the other pair. No penalties ever issued.

Edit: Added more in (1)
Feb. 17
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To be completely correct, it may have been an MABC board member, not a D7 board member. The distinction is lost for those not from D6/D7. (Quick summary: MABC is the entity that used to run the tournaments in D6/D7). The gentleman (for it was a he, not a she) has, I think, been on both boards. At the time I don't know which board he was on. I've been on the D7 board; I seem to recall he was also on the board when I was on it. But when this happened he may have been on the MABC board, or the D7 board, or both.

D7 can always repeat the experiment. Run Swiss with Bridgescore+ and enforce the late plays. D7 keeps track of the time that all scores are entered. The clock is supposed to start when the last assignment of the previous round is posted. ACBL gives you time to shuffle/deal/play/score/report. If the report is not presented when the clock runs out, you are late. See page 3. https://cdn.acbl.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Swiss-Teams.pdf. Despite the numbers in the URL, this is the 6/20/2016 version. I don't know if this is the latest.
Feb. 17
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Not mine to name. I was helping the TD run the event with Bridgescore+. I am not an ACBL TD or TA. Because I am often close to the TD station, I cannot help but overhear some conversations, or the TD will share information with me about the event and the reasons decisions are made. The ultimate running of the event is up to the TD/DIC. What actions the TD/DIC took afterwards are things I am not privy to, nor should be privy to.
Feb. 17
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District 7 implemented this in a Swiss event. Two session. Plenty of warnings given out before the event started and during round 1. Event was run with Bridgemates and Bridgescore+.

Automatic assignment of penalties following the ACBL rules.

There was one team that was late in rounds 1, 2 and 3. A District board member was on the team. He has self-convinced that he is a fast player. Yet, he is a slow player. Every round he blamed the opponents for being slow. Yet each of the teams he played against only had one penalty (when they played his team). He complained so much at Round 4 and during the break that the DIC removed all penalties for the second session.

The District has not repeated this trial.

All the other players loved it; except the one District board member. He was powerful enough to kill the implementation.
Feb. 15
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@Robb: “Regulating authorities have tried just about everything except waterboarding (covert observation and penalty, warning and penalty, begging, prohibiting slow pairs from playing together on teams etc).”

Actually ACBL have tried very little. Bridgemates record the time stamp of each board. Trivial to auto-assign penalties. You could publish video and if a pair can show they were not responsible, their penalty is removed. Notify pairs that have been auto-assigned a penalty by having a director drop off a pre-printed notification during their next round.

Both ACBL and WBF fail in second session assignments. If you follow a slow pair in the first session, you are likely to follow them in the second session. This is a known problem, reported many times, that remains unfixed. WBF said they might fix it. Fix it to keep the section assignments for session 2 but reverse the order of the pairs.

Neither of these simple fixes have been tried or implemented.

And if you want software that does the automatic assignment of penalties, let me know :-)
Feb. 15
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