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All comments by Richard Willey
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> but are you willing to be considered a “random crank?”

I was not referring to myself, but rather, pointing out that the system that you are proposing does not scale.

There is a reason that organizations typically sponsor discussion forums and actively participate in them…
June 3
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> Let them hear from you directly and not have to
> read Bridge Winners to get your input.

As a rule, I think that it's a lot better if the ACBL were to invest some time and effort to read discussions on sites like BW and see how conversations evolve rather than encouraging random cranks to bombard management with their suggestions…
June 3
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> Let's not just hope results are positive, let's also
> see how we can assist and cooperate to make this happen!

My own experience with the ACBL suggests that they prefer style over substance. The organization would rather focus on security “theater” than make meaningful changes. In much the same way, this appears to be an example in which the organization is trumpeting a flashy new program with no clear evidence that they are doing the necessary groundwork that is required for success.

FWIW, I think that a number of individuals have made constructive suggestions. However, I doubt that any of this will matter.
June 3
Richard Willey edited this comment June 3
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FWIW, I'd like to see more than one metric used to assess the health of the organization.

I think that we need one set of metrics that is focused on the age of the player base to better understand the when membership rolls / revenue streams collapse. However, I also think that we need to track something like the cumulative boards played by the membership. (From what I can tell, we are losing a lot of very very experienced players and replacing them with elderly novices and this is going to have an enormous impact on the nature of the game)
June 3
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If the prospects aren't playing an intro level Bridge Master deal within a minute or two of landing on the site you are doing things very wrong.

Either

A: You're landing page is broken or
B: You're not targeting the right people

Instruction should essentially be

1. You / dummy versus the other two players
2. Highest card wins
3. Lead what you want
4. You need to take at least foo tricks to succeed

Initial deals focus on NT contracts
After a few of these you can introduce the notion of trump

The important thing is to get your prospects playing ASAP and have them figure things out by experimentation rather than lecture
June 2
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> what is ready in place now for online lessons?

If it were me, I'd take advantage of the fact the all of BBO's Bridge Master deals are now available for free.

Provide a very pared down site that is basically just introduces the necessary rules for trick taking games.

Then give them a bunch of Bridge master deals to experiment with

Finally, steer them into online mini bridge

If they like all this, you can start worrying about bidding…
June 2
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Few quick observations about this program (From the ex-marketing type)

1. Tracking lead conversion is certainly a best practice. I'd be extremely leery about any serious marketing program that didn't adopt something similar to this.

2. I have significant concerns about any such program that isn't grounded in a demographic model that can trade off between acquisition cost and the net present value of the future cash flows that a new member will generate. My understanding is that the ACBL has nothing resembling this.

3. It's unclear to me whether it's better to be steering prospective members to brick and mortar versus online resources like BBO. I'd like to see some A/B testing that compare the two approaches.
June 2
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Can you expand on this?
June 2
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The expression “marketing funnel” is hardly flavor of the month. The basic notions have been used for close to a hundred years.
June 2
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I would add the following question to David's:

1. If you convert a lead, how many years do you assume that they will be a paying customer?

2. How much revenue do you expect to generate from them each year?

3. What conversion rate do you need in order to break even?
June 2
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> I believe Richard W. also ought to apologize for the
> claim/implication that the attempt to stifle methods
> should be laid solely at the feet of the US.

Take what you can get Michael

Especially given that my original post started with the following caveat
“ONLY by the US? Probably not… Primarily, that's a whole nother story…”

After all, we are trying to be careful in presenting what people have said, aren't we?
June 2
Richard Willey edited this comment June 2
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Michael Kopera sent me a copy of Cohen's Maastricht article.

Sadly, it appears as if I - at the very least - exaggerated Cohen's position and might very well have misrepresented it altogether. I apologize to both Mr Cohen and the broader community.
June 2
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@steve

Where to begin:

1. Lines 8 and 10 refer to Opening Bids while line 7 is talking about Opening Preempts so I don't think that your claim that the my reading of line 7 makes lines 8 and 10 superfluous could ever hold true

2. Line 8 bans “An Artificial opening bid showing two suits, neither of which is known.” Line 10 bans “A 2-level or higher opening bid that could contain less than Average Strength showing a known suit and an unknown suit, where the unknown suit could be the suit opened.”

Let's assume that I wanted to play a (weak) preemptive 2 opening that shows both majors and at least 5-5 shape.

I claim that this opening is

1. Outside the scope of lines 8 + 10
2. Not natural
3. not quasi natural
4. Not a 2NT opening

Absent line 7, this opening seems permissable
With line 7 present, it looks to be banned
June 1
Richard Willey edited this comment June 1
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> Ekrens is not.

I don't believe that this is quite correct

The Open Chart bans “7. An Artificial opening Preempt below 3NT; except, 2NT may be used to show two known suits.”

In order to avoid being natural, a bid must be either natural or quasi natural

An Ekrens 2 is clearly not natural.

Quasi natural is defined as follows:

*** “Quasi-Natural”:
a. A minor suit bid that is either Natural or shows a pattern that meets the definition of a Natural NT opening.
b. Any opening bid at the two-level or higher showing 4 or more cards in the suit bid.

An Ekren's 2 classical shows patterns such as 5-4-3-1 and 5-5-2-1 that don't met the definition of a natural NT opening so you're S.O.L.

However, an Ekrens 2 opening would be fine because it shows 4+ cards in the suit bid. Alternatively, eliminating the unbalanced hand patterns from 2 also works.
June 1
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The Open chart bans artificial preempts below 3NT, however, quasi natural bids are specifically defined as not being artificial, so if your Ekren's 2 bid promises a pattern that would normally open 1NT you're fine.

Alternatively, an 2 opening that shows 4+ Hearts and 4+ Spades (and could be unbalanced) is also fine.
June 1
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> All that (if my hazy memory is even close to accurate)
> seems a LOT worse than the ‘case’ you cite.

Michael, the fact that someone from Poland did something that they shouldn't have is non responsive to my original claim.

Is anyone able to scan a copy of the the Medals at Maastraach article from the January 2001 issue of the bridge world and send it to me? Otherwise I'm going to need to buy a back issue…
June 1
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>> “Did the ACBL launch a crusade trying to get psyches banned?”

> I don't know. Please provide any evidence you have of this.

Check out the article by Don Oakie in the February 1978 Bulletin
June 1
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> I'll reserve judgment, until I see the article(s?), as
> to whether Larry (et al?) suggested Polish Club
> was “unfair” or “insidious”

Cohen complained about Polish Club in BW articles about both Maastricht and Lille. As I recall, he went so far as to suggest that the tournament schedule should be adjusted such that North American teams could be shielded from playing against Polish club. (I believe this was in Medals at Maastricht)
June 1
Richard Willey edited this comment June 1
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>> “Do USA teams work the refs trying to get other players methods banned?”

> I don't know. Please provide any evidence you have of this.

The example that immediately comes to mind is the following case from the 2007 Bermuda Bowl.

A pair on the American Team was playing non forcing 1 opening that might be opened on a doubleton. The Dutch team was playing a defense to conventional minor suit openings called Holo Bolo.

The North American team was able to convince John Wignall that this 1 opening was natural and therefore the Dutch team was playing unlicensed conventions and that Brink Drivers were playing an excessive number of the BSCs…
June 1
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ONLY by the US? Probably not… Primarily, thats a whole nother story…

Do players who used to play Weak Opening Systems blame US regulators for neutering their methods?

Do USA teams work the refs trying to get other players methods banned?

Do prominent US players like Larry Cohen write diatribes explaining how unfair it is that they need to play against pairs playing insidious methods like Polish Clubs?

Is the US notorious for incredibly conservative convention regulations?

Did the ACBL launch a crusade trying to get psyches banned?
June 1
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