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All comments by Richard Willey
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Steve, while I have a great deal of sympathy with your original claim that bridge pros can not expect the organizations like the ACBL will help adjudicate / enforce contracts between them and their clients, what you're posting now is complete nonsense. It's the economics equivalent of psychobabble.

I'm sure that you believe that bridge pros have some moral duty to pay significantly more towards facilities fees and the like. However, morals are inherently subjective. For example, I am pretty far out on the left, however, when I read your posts the first thing that comes to mind is “From those according to their ability to those according to their need” and even I have some issues with this.

What you are proposing is completely unenforceable. If the ACBL doesn't official recognize that pros exist, how are they suppose to codify anything like this…

I have absolutely no issue with designing pricing schemes in which which costs are allocated to individual in a fair manner. If high level bridge requires screens, then place the cost for screens on the people competing in those events. If the true cost of renting a facility is $foo, then build this into the entry fees rather than screwing over people stupid enough to trust the ACBL to contract for hotel rooms. But this notion that pros should pay more in ridiculous. The only thing that you'll do is drive this all underground.

Couple other quick points: With respect to ski pros, tennis pros, golf pros and the like. In my experience, the way these things often work if that the organization that “owns” the property finds a way to have their own officially licensed teachers / pros and, in turn, skims money off the top. However, it's very rare that they ban third parties from teaching. There are exceptions (hair salons, strip clubs, etc), but these locations are able to exercise very tight control over their properties.

> Bridge NABC tournaments are played in top tier venues
> more akin to private country clubs than public parks.

Are you on crack?

Even top tier ACBL Nationals (and I consider the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino to be such a location) are a significant step down from a good country club. (Or at least the ones I frequent). When you consider the number of ACBL Nationals that are held in convention centers or other such locations ….
July 20
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> Ability to guess which oppo has a specific card seems
> unrelated to collusively cheating pairs.

I think that this depends on the specific set of adversary powers that you are worried about.

For example, if I am worried that the adversary has cracked the hand generator that the ACBL had been using up until a couple years ago, then this is very much a concern.

If I am worried that the adversary has paid someone off and gotten copies of the hand records in advance…

If I am concerned that the adversary has someone watching BBO Vugraph and is wiring me hands…
July 20
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The subtitle of the book is “Includes Valuable Tips to Improve Your Game”
July 20
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It's unclear to me whether “guess where the queen is” is one of the tests that the expert system is using.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the analyses that gets included in the book is a comparison in performance before / after 2015. It would be curious to understand why this innate ability on the part of various players changed so dramatically at this point in time.
July 20
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This is something that you'd need to coordinate with Nic
July 19
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Probably should have mentioned it before, but Hammond include hashed values for the names of pairs that his system identified, so IF said individuals get convicted later on, it is possible to validate some of the claims…
July 19
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> Why should I trust Mr. Hammond to be able to discern
> that a 50-50 guess is not a 55-45 guess in a specific
> context?

From my perspective, he's done good work in the past.

As I already noted, if folks are interested in testing the quality of his implementation, this can be done by running artificially generated data through the system and examining whether it is able to detect “cheating” and at what sensitivity.
July 19
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This has absolutely nothing to do with anything being discussed in this thread… But thanks for playing!
July 19
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All very interesting.

How much does it cost?
July 19
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> It would seem that those playing by the rules, and apparently
> deserving of the vacated first and/or second placings, would
> have been deprived of that rarified opportunity and honor,
> and will be so deprived for the future?

I don't think that we can be at all confident who would have won a given event had cheating pairs not been absent.

Please note: I believe that this holds true regardless of whether or not a team that contains cheats happened to have won the event in question.
July 19
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From the looks of things, some of the earlier techniques were based on simple comparisons. The more recent stuff appears to be multivariate in nature.

With this said and done, the algorithms are calibrated based on the performance of pairs who have been flagged as cheaters.
July 19
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> How would a positive result improve the situation other
> than validating the need for more or better safeguards?

In my mind, actually doing something to make cheating more difficult rather than pearl clutching is a significant improvement over the current situation. (Especially given the CAS decisions)
July 19
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Good thing that the output is being anonymized…
July 19
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> I continue to believe that it will be a very low probability
> that the prosecution will be successful without knowing
> how they cheated. We may know the victim is dead but
> as a juror or trier of fact I want to see the gun with
> the fingerprints of the accused.

I don't necessarily disagree. However, to me at least, being able to successfully prosecute individual partnerships isn't of primary interest.
July 19
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Far be it for me to speak for Nic, however, I suspect that the decision not to release the code and data is twofold.

1. If Nic were to provide a listing of the various routines that he is using to draw inference this would allow partnership to change their behavior as to avoid detection

2. If Nic were to release the code + the data set, folks could replicate the analysis and specifically identify pairs who are being flagged as cheats. In turn, this could lead to legal issues.

From my own perspective, I think that concern 2 is perfectly valid. I think that issue 1 is currently reasonable, however, I suspect that the value of secrecy in this area may decrease over time.

Couple comments:

1. I would love to be able to play with the code and the data. However, I understand why this might not be possible.
2. If there are concerns with the accuracy of the methods, the best option would seem to be generating dummy data sets that include “nefarious” hands and seeing how well the code is able to detect this.
July 19
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Lindo Michoacan Gourmet Mexican Cuisine
https://www.michoacanlv.com/michoacan-mexican-restaurant-menu-1.htm

If the vegan does eggs, you're golden. if not, there are a variety of appetizers
July 18
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Perhaps…

A week or so ago, the good folks at BBO provided me with hand records for every bid ever made at a table that player foo was sitting at. (There were something like 30K bids in total)

Regretfully, I don't have any information what said bids showed. Nor do I know who player foo was or what bidding system they played nor what system was played against them.

However, I can calculate how many times the auctions

1N - all pass
P - 1N - all pass
P - P - 1N - all pass
P - P - P - 1N - all pass occured

In total, these four auctions amounted to 16.8604651 % of all the 1NT openers

So, in short, I can give you a remarkably precise number. I'm just not sure what it actually shows…
July 17
Richard Willey edited this comment July 17
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Thank you for posting this.
July 17
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You might want to consider what happens if teams decide to drop.

For example, a team from flight C does amazingly well and comes in 4th in the overalls in the Swiss. They decide that they don't want to play in the top bracket of the KO.

Who advances?
July 15
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FWIW, I've been skeptical about using rating systems for bridge ever since the days of OKB, but seeing these never ending arguments about masterpoint allocations, KO formats, and the like is actually starting to cause me to re-evaluate my position. Combine this with improvements in machine learning and I think that it might be time for the ACBL to consider biting the bullet and implement a ratings system to complement Master Points.

People keep bringing up a couple problems with the current system. First and foremost, players / teams who have no chance of “winning” a match lose interest a drop out of the event. A dynamic rating system provides new ways to “win”. My team of schulbs might play against and lose decisively to the number 1 seed, however, if we beat the spread our ratings will actually improve even though we lost. If we can get folks to focus on this type of achievement rather than absolute win / loss they will (hopefully) end up with a nuanced appreciation of the game.

Coupled with this, we keep hearing about players who accumulate too many easy Master Points playing against weak competition and then give up on the game when they place into a higher bracket. here, once again, more dynamic ratings might help avoid these issues.
July 15
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