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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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@Jeff. You wrote: “Alas, you are not the party who chose to terminate the contract; the ACBL is. ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Board allowed themselves to run by the then League Counsel. Not how boards are supposed to operate.
Oct. 22, 2018
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The scoring software project was written off because ACBL did not own the Copyright to the software. They had an outside lawyer tell them a year into the contract that they could not use it without owning the Copyright. May sound very silly; but that's why.

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

The software works; it makes running ACBL events quicker/faster/easier. Was used at the late NABC. Ran large Swiss events 20 minutes faster. Still hoping ACBL will use it….
Oct. 21, 2018
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The ACBL's case was based on cheating in ACBL events - only.

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

The FIGB (Italy) case was based on cheating in an EBL event and a WBF event (I believe I am correct in this - if I'm not someone please correct me).
Oct. 21, 2018
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@Al: You were on the WBF Executive Board that declined to prosecute FN for cheating in WBF events. Careful where you point fingers.
Oct. 21, 2018
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I do have the ability to analyze the hands using Bridgescore+. It is able to cover all the hands, not just some.

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

There is data missing from some early WC. If anyone has access to the Bulletins, and the time to convert to LIN files (or PBN I don't care), let me know.
Oct. 21, 2018
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@Judy. You stated, “BUT RATHER with THE WORLD BRIDGE FEDERATION who has protected their Italian brethren for over six decades!” But when Bobby was President of the WBF nothing happened with anything with the Italian Blue Team. Why criticise the current WBF when your husband was President of the same body?
Oct. 21, 2018
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But.. Jan… I thought they gave you those nice WBF shirts!
I agree with everything you say; but my point remains the same. ACBL members have come to expect certain things at NABCs.
At NABCs, local volunteers organise the food/entertainment. The ACBL gives the local committee $x per table; with a guaranteed minimum number of tables so the local committee has a known budget. The local committee works with the hotel and pays for the food. The food is ridiculously expensive but part of the ACBL hotel contract is that $y will be spent on food. Often the local district/unit organises fundraisers to raise additional funds. I know for our district that this is the tens of thousands. There is no reason for this. ACBL staff can as easily pick food items from the hotel menu. But… as an organization it is “nice” to include local volunteers.
Everything is a trade-off.
The expectations of WBF players are very different than the current expectation of NABC players.
I was addressing Steve and Peg's comment upthread.
Apart from Al (who is on the WBF executive board), and you, where there any other true volunteers?
I don't know salary of the VuGraph operators, but it seems that everyone else was being paid - which is probably as it should be.
There was also no cost to the local bridge players.
As an occasional volunteer, I remember sitting through hours of meetings while it was decided what the $3-$5 registration gift would be. At the same time thinking how much effort was being wasted on what should be a simple decision.
In this regard, the WBF appeared to be far more efficient.
Oct. 21, 2018
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Wasn't Bobby President of the WBF from 1992-1994?
Oct. 20, 2018
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$1,600 for 9 days of bridge. Cheaper than NABC events on a per day basis. Assuming you make it to the final… quite expensive if you don't make it to the last 64 and have only played for 2 days.

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

The ACBL model is collect per day.

For the WBF pairs events, you play all the way through (in the B event if necessary). Cost was $50/day. Same as ACBL NABCs.
Oct. 20, 2018
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The WBF just ran an event in Orlando. No local volunteers (that I am aware of). You don't necessarily need volunteers to run a bridge event. You may be used to them; but that doesn't mean you need them.
Oct. 20, 2018
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I have offered ACBL to run Bridgescore+ at Hawaii for the NABC to run Swiss events. Still waiting to hear back from them.
Oct. 20, 2018
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1962 Bermuda Bowl.

Session 1 (1a). Board 8. Mathe-Von Der Porten bid to 6 on their 10-0 heart suit. 7 makes. At the other table Chiaradia-D'Alelio also bid to 6 but Nail makes a good sacrifice of 6.

Session 3 (1c). Board 37. Belladonna-Averelli stop in 4NT. Coon-Murray bid to 6. 7 is biddable and makes.

There were some makeable grand slams in the semi-finals but I didn't list those.
Oct. 20, 2018
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1959 Bermuda Bowl.

Segment 9. Board 152. Belladonna-Averelli and Fry-Lazard stopped in game. 7NT, 7 and 7 all make. Requires the doubleton Qx of diamonds and the king of spade finesse. Not likely to bid 7.
Oct. 20, 2018
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AW wrote “

MH:
…US pairs were routinely outbid on slam hands.

False.


Not quite true. MH's full sentence was:

“However, to my mind there is at least one huge reason why the US started to beat the BT. Moyse had long complained, in WC write-ups, about the go as you please approach to bidding espoused by the leading US players of the late 190s (sic) into the 1960s. His main thesis was that US pairs were routinely outbid on slam hands.”

Let me assume that MH meant late 1950s to 1960s.

I have (some of) the data from 57 BB, 59 BB, 62 BB so thought I would look at it.

Starting with makeable Grand Slams

1957 Bermuda Bowl.

Session 2A. Board 25. Sobel-Seamon, Chiaradia-D'Alelio both bid and made an easy 7.

Session 3A. Board 51. Koytchou-Ogust bid to 5. It didn't help that Chiaradia opened third seat with a 2-2-6-3 3 HCP hand with 1. At the other table Belladonna-Averelli bid to 6NT. 11+23 HCPs. It certainly didn't help that Goren opened in the first seat with 1 with his 4-3-3-3 2 HCP hand and Leventritt with the 3 HCP replied. The Italians still got to slam. All levels of 7 make, except 7.

Session 4B. Board 90. 7 makes. Requires dropping the stiff king of clubs offside and the queen of spade finesse. Both sides stopped in game.

Session 5A. Board 97. 7 is makeable on a 4-3 fit (clubs are 3-3). Both Koytchou-Ogust and Belladonna-Averelli preferred their 6 contract on a 5-3 fit.

Session 7A. Board 155. 7 makes by East. Leventritt-Goren and Chiaradia-D'Alelio both made it to 6. At the Italian table, Ogust opened in first seat with his 2 HCP and was immediately raised to game with this partner who had 6 HCP.

Session 7A. Board 160. 7 makes if you drop the offside doubleton QJ of clubs. 7NT, 7 also make if you play AKx opposite 1098xx and drop the double QJ of clubs. Leventritt-Goren and Chiaradia-D'Alelio both made it to 6.

Session 8A. Board 177. Sobel-Goren bid to 7. Siniscalco-Forquet stopped in 6. 13 top tricks.

Session 9A. Board 202. Sobel-Leventritt and Chiaradia-D'Alelio both stopped in 4. 7 makes (clubs break 3-3). 6NT and 6 both make.

Makeable, and biddable grand slams are two different things. On these boards, I would say that the Americans faired slightly better.
Oct. 20, 2018
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Anyone can. It's in the ACBL BOD minutes.
Oct. 19, 2018
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Jim: Find someone in the hotel/convention business and chat with them.

You will find that they need to sell rooms, convention space, and food/beverage.

It's a trade off. They will offer differing pricing based on what you want.

If you are ACBL, you want free space. So they will price the rooms accordingly BUT make sure you commit to $$X for the food/beverage. They will put a minimum number of rooms and make sure that you commit to that. This is how they are selling the convention space “for free”.

If you are a business, you can buy block of rooms and all is included. See next convention you go to, see how much food/wine is served.

If you book a wedding, hotel will charge a lot for the space/food

Talk to whoever runs a sectional/regional in your local area, assuming it is at a hotel. Have them share the pricing and the negotiations that are involved.
Oct. 19, 2018
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Gatlinburg is a convention center model.
Oct. 19, 2018
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Yes. Except for events which are invitation only. Then we will see.
Oct. 19, 2018
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From the minutes. The then BOD were:
George Retek #1, Paul Janicki #2, Joan Gerard #3, Craig Robinson #4,
Sharon Fairchild #5, Margot Hennings #6, Bob Heller #7, Georgia Heth
#8, Shirley Seals #9, Bill Cook #10, Beth Reid #11, William Arlinghaus
#12, Suzi Subeck #13, Sharon Anderson #14, Phyllis Harlan #15, Dan
Morse #16, Bonnie Bagley #17, Claire Jones #18, Donald Mamula #19,
Merlin Vilhauer #20, Bruce Blakely #21, Ken Monzingo #22, Rand
Pinsky #23, Al Levy #24, and Richard DeMartino #25.
The ACBL representatives were:
Glenda Calkins, District 3 Director Elect, Michael Kovacich, Chairman
Board of Governors, Peter Rank, League Counsel, Robert Hartman, CEO,
Dee Wallace, Jeff Johnston, Vicki Campbell, Chris Patrias, Patricia
Glover, Jim Miller, Dana Norton, Carol Robertson, and Kelley McGuire,
Secretary.

Chris (a well known TD), Carol (runs Clubs), Kelley are the only ones still at ACBL.
Oct. 19, 2018
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