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All comments by Richard Willey
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> As for the bridge organizations - have you served on any unit
> or district board? Run for a seat on them? Even voted for
> anyone? Do you take your grand concerns anywhere than
> just behind your computer? Wanna make it right, get involved.

To quote Bakunin, ‘The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.’

For me, making it “right” is seeing the ACBL dead and buried.

The organization looks to be beyond redemption and until is passes on, I don't see much hope of another group rising in is place.

<I do admit to occasional cynicism. The ACBL's new convention charts look to be a big improvement. If these get adopted without being neutered by a new Defense Database I might re-evaluate things. I also think that the new ACBL CEO has the potential to make some positive changes. For example, his ideas about replacing the monolithic ACBLScore system with a set of interfaces and components seems well conceived>
10 hours ago
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Hi Timo,

To some extent, I think that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

1. I am a pretty firm believer that “what's done is done”. Once a convicted party has served out whatever terms of punishment that the legal system has administered its undesirable to pile on even more after the fact.

2. In this case, the proper governing authority levied a permanent ban, however, they were overruled by an external body that claimed that the Turkish Bridge Federations bylaws don't provide the organization with this authority. (You, and I am sure, a bunch of other folks consider this to be illegitimate)

FWIW, here's what I would recommend

1. Amend the TBF bylaws so this doesn't get repeated
2. While you're at it, introduce an additional change that anyone who is convicted of collusive cheating needs to be invited to participate in any event that the TBF is running. (This is a slightly more nuanced version of what Tim Bourke proposed above. It avoids the necessity of actually having to “invite” people that you do want to play)
3. In the short term - until you can get the bylaws changed - you might have to suck it up. However, there is nothing to stop individuals who are running tournaments from amending the conditions of contest to require that the same invitations be granted to convicted cheaters.
Dec. 13
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David, thanks very much for posting this.

Its interesting, and I need to think about some of it.

FWIW, while you are applying this to consider the conditions of contest for a given event, I think that it might be worthwhile to apply some of the same insights to awarding masterpoints.

Arguably, the way in which the masterpoints that are awarded for an event are divided should be in proportion to our confidence that the team that came in place “foo” in the event actually was the foo most skillful team in this event.
Dec. 7
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And the ban is for a single event…
Dec. 6
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Ramen is a style of Japanese noodle which is almost always served in broth with some accompaniments (sliced pork, soft cooked egg, baby corn, and sprouts are all traditional choices). It would be a rare cup of ramen that would break the bank account of anyone attending Nationals…

Many folks get kinda maniacal about their favorite ramen shop and the particular consistency of the noodles and style of the broth that is served.

For what its worth, I am particularly fond of the spicy miso ramen at a place called kikanbo

https://curiouslyravenous.com/2015/05/11/kikanbo-ramen-kanda/
Dec. 3
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> The laws of Bridge, however, forbid forcing passes as a fourth seat opener.

Not sure that I quite agree with this…

You are welcome to make said bid, however, I don't expect you to derive much satisfaction from it…
Dec. 1
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From my perspective, the single most useful piece of information was the note about Amazon Fire pricing coupled with the observation that these could be used as a substitute for BridgeMates.

As such, it feels as if you might have buried the lede.

I would prefer to see something along the lines of:

1. Here is how you can deploy “X” for $30 a table + 10 hours of time.
2. Note the existence of Amazon Fire's on sale
3. Describe the download directions for the set of software that needs to be deployed on them
4. Combine this with directions for getting the software for the PC ot whatever that while be running the server
Nov. 30
Richard Willey edited this comment Nov. 30
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Here's the rub: There are whole families of systems that open much lighter in 1st / seond and more conservatively in third / fourth…

I don't see why one set of methods (relatively sound in 1st / 2nd and relatively light in 3rd / 4th) should be protected while the converse should be discriminated against.

If light openings are good bridge, let people play light openings….
Nov. 29
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FWIW, I am strongly of the opinion that efforts like “Active Ethics” which attempt to place some set of external aesthetics at the same level as the rules and regulations of the game is a big mistake. As the Roman's famously said “de gustibus non est disputandum”.

You might personally like an effort to

1. Ban psyches
2. Address “convention disruption”
3. Make sure that people dress better
4. Are friendlier
5. Are setting a good example for the rest of us
6. Just say no to drugs

or even

7. Engage in active ethics

However, ultimately these are your own personal preferences. They have little to nothing to do with the game as defined by the Laws and the local regulatory structure. And, while you might feel very strongly about a bunch of this stuff, I suspect that you're going to find a whole bunch of other people who appreciate

1. Their ability to psyche
2. The latitude to improve their methods over time
3. The comfort of wearing jeans or even sweat pants
4. The ability to be a curmudgeody jerk
5. The joy of not living their life on a pedastal
6. A world full of hookers and blow

and of course

7. The expectation that they will be judged based on the rules of the game and not some random idiot's whims about what is right and proper.
Nov. 28
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Not at all. I am saying that I care much more about process than I care about the content of the Convention Charts themselves.

I don't particularly care whether the new convention charts are more liberal or restrictive about conventions. That's all ephemeral and can change (if the system has a working process). What I do find extremely valuable is

1. The efforts to clarify vocabulary and definitions
2. That the Convention Charts do away with a lot of very broken process - most notably the ability of members of the C&C to use the Defensive Database to completely neuter the Midchart.

As such, I see any attempt to bring the later cluster$)*(@^ back into play as undoing the most significant accomplishment of the new chart.

Once again…

Over the course of the last 15 or so years, how many defenses has the C&C actually approved? (Five or so methinks). We've seen multi year stretches where the C&C has refused to accept any new Defenses for approval. We've seen much longer stretches where submissions just disappear into the void.

Who in their right mind would ever let this atrocity have a chance to claw its way back into the light? In the immortal worlds of Hannover Fiste:

"Hanging's too good for it. Burning's too good for it! It should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!
Nov. 26
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Sorry…

This whole “Approval process of suggested defenses for artificial preempts” has me sufficiently worked up that I need to vent once more.

The ACBL's C&C Committee failed to produce ANY suggested defenses to ANY methods for years at a time. (Take a look at the Wayback Machine if you don't believe me)

Its currently been two years since the Committee has bothered to produce minutes for its meetings.

Any plan that has a requirement that the C&C Committee either communicates or produce work product will not be able to maintain forward momentum. Moreover, I'd go so far as to argue that any system that is adding such a requirement to a project is consciously undermining the initiative.

As I mentioned earlier, the system should be designed such that the C&C has the opportunity to bless defenses to new methods if they so chose, however, the absence of such a defense can not prevent players from adopting legal methods in a timely manner.
Nov. 26
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Thanks for clarifying. Few immediate thoughts:

1. I think that you've done a great job creating the new Convention Charts and, in particular improving the language and vocabulary that ACBL members have available to discuss these issues.. However, I believe that - ultimately - the decision of what Convention Chart should be used in what event belongs to the individuals running the event themselves. Historically, the ACBL has delegated this responsible to the local level. Club owners do whatever the damn well please. Individual ACBL districts have seen fit to ignore and amend the existing convention charts. As such, I would prefer to see these linkages removed from the existing charts rather than made more explicit.

2. I think that it is essential that we learn from the mistakes with the existing defensive database… The C&C Committee use the convention approval process to ban methods that they don't like. I see nothing wrong with a well organized system to develop defenses to artificial methods, however, I consider it imperative that players be able to use methods that are legal. I personally would prefer a system based on crowdsourcing defenses.

If a player wants to play an artificial preempt for which there is not approved defense

A. They post an accurate description on an approved web site
B. A timer starts counting down
C. Three months later, that preempt becomes legal to play

In the mean time, folks who want to suggest or discuss defenses to this method have the option to do so. At the end of three months, the C&C has the responsibility to either bless one of the suggested defenses or submit their own official defense. If the C&C fails to do so, then I guess having a defense to this preempt isn't that important.

In all seriousness, a convention chart where the C&C can veto incredibly large sets of bids simply by doing nothing undermines this entire effort.
Nov. 26
Richard Willey edited this comment Nov. 26
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So, looks like the Board of Governors decided to punt any decision on the new Convention Charts.

Given the process used to develop the charts I would have thought that there was more than ample time to for folks to reach a decision.

Can anyone comment on why the decision was postponed?
Nov. 26
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Thanks for clarifying. Can't say that I am pleased by the decision to defer this motion…
Nov. 26
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Congratulations to all…

Silly question - This is ACBL Nationals.

Its kinda weird seeing so few American's placing. IF we look at the top 10 or even top 20 pairs, it looks as if the overwhelming majority of the folks who placed are from Europe.
Nov. 26
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If I am reading things properly, the new Convention Charts were approved, however, they won't go into effect until this summer


Item 173-20: Revised ACBL Convention Charts

1. The ACBL Convention Charts, including the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart and Open+ Chart, attached to this motion be, and herby are, approved;

2. The current General Conventions Chart, ACBL Mid-Chart, ACBL Superchart and ACBL Limited Conventions contained in Appendix 6-B of the Codification be, and herby are, retired and replaced with the ACBL Convention Charts, including the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart and Open+ Chart; and

3. References in the Codification (and any other ACBL rules and regulations) to the General Conventions Chart, ACBL Mid-Chart, ACBL Superchart and ACBL Limited Conventions shall be revised to refer to the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart and Open+ Chart.

Effective March 7, 2018
Deferred to Summer 2018 in Philadelphia, PA
Deferral carried unanimously
Nov. 26
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I have long felt that BBO should have a bot compete in the ACBL tournaments, if only to provide a reference pointing regarding how strong the bots are relative to the field…
Nov. 24
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David, which relay systems have you studied / played? (Because I've played both relay methods and more natural systems and there is absolutely no comparison between the amount of information that you have available using the two methods)

I know that folks don't often use the expression “Slam Killer” to describe relay methods…
Nov. 24
Richard Willey edited this comment Nov. 24
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> FWIW, the natural system continues to outperform the
> scientific ones, given the same level of expertise for the
> practitioners of each.

I think that the track record of various scientific systems in events like Challenge the Champs puts this claim to the test.

> I have been playing a natural system for 26 years. My experience
> has been different from what you describe.

A good relay system will reveal partner's precise shape well below the game level and will often allow you to place all of their controls before you cross the safety level. And all this only requires a couple pages of agreements.
Nov. 23
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Few quick thoughts:

For a beginner or an intermediate player, I suspect that the ability to find good sources to learn from - be these books or other players - is more important than the technical merits of the system that you are playing. In turn, this suggests that you (probably) want to start by focusing on whatever system is in common use wherever you might be playing. Moreover, you're going to be facing a bunch of folks at the table. Ideally, you want to understand the system that they are playing as well as they do. (Disclosure is great, but nothing substitutes for actually knowing the opponent's system)

With this said and done, I think that there is a lot of confusion about the relative ease of learning a natural system (say EHAA or Acol) and learning a highly scientific system like REGRES or MOSCITO. I think that the natural systems have a lower bar to entry - “Just bid the suits that you have in your hand!”, however, they provide a miserable base to build upon and relatively quickly you are forced to either develop expert “judgement” - by which people mean “Learn 1,001 special cases” or start resorting to that “Old Black Magic”. Conversely, the scientific systems might force you to memorize a number of basic principles, however, once yo do so you will (hopefully) find that these are applied in a consistent manner.

Here's how I think about things…

Imagine that we were to graph a curve showing the relationship between

X = The number of facts that I need to memorize
Y = The number of different bridge hands that I am able to show

I would guess that the curve for a natural system is concave upward and the curve for a well designed scientific system is concave downward. As you start out, the natural system will outperform the scientific system. However, at some point in time, the two curves cross and after that…
Nov. 23
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