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All comments by Richard Willey
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> Steve, a mostly “electronic playing environment” can be
> had while also being “face-to-face”.

It could. I don't think that it should.

A partial solution provides some benefits. Most notably, record keeping would become much better. In turn, this would allow one to do detailed statistical analysis of player choices in bidding and play.

However, you'd also lose out on some very significant security improvements. I'd very much prefer to see a system in which all of the North players are segregated in one room, all the South's in another, …

My primary concern is that a pairs may be building radio systems into their clothing and using this to signal information about their hands. The further you are able to separate the players, the more powerful the transmitter will need to be, and the greater the chance that you will be able to detect them signaling.

I understand that this will chance many aspects of the game. In particular, players won't be able to watch one another play and can't take advantage of various types of “tells”. Then again, my understand is that seizing upon tells isn't supposed to be part of bridge.

Here's a silly hypothetical that sums up my feelings

I'm going to offer you two choices regarding how to conduct the Cavendish.

Option 1: Players compete face-to-face using playing cards, however, the opportunities for cheating are magnified immensely

Option 2: Players compete using computers and are segregated by direction. The opportunities for cheating are extremely small.

It's fine if you prefer Option 1. (Just don't go and complain about people cheating in high stakes events if you decide to go down this path)





Aug. 1, 2015
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Couple thoughts on the cheating front:

First, while I see lots of people complaining about cheating, I don't see anyone willing to implement mechanisms that would add real security to the game. More specifically, I don't see people willing to consider switching to an electronic playing environment. An electronic playing environment would make it orders of magnitude more difficult to cheat. Moreover, the potential to keep perfect records would permit real statistical analysis of hands. However, people are unwilling to do this because it is oh so very important to push little pieces of pasteboard around the table. If the problem isn't serious enough to warrant investing in real controls, then shut your pie hole about the problem.

Second, people seem to be focusing on using bridge authorities like the WBF and the ACBL as the regulatory body to deal with issues around cheating. Given the amount of money that is thrown around hiring top talent, I wonder whether it might be better to consider pressing for criminal charges. If you cheat at cards in a Nevada casino, you can be subject to criminal prosecution. Might be worth seeing whether there are similar options for bridge. (It avoids the whole issue surrounding lawsuits against the ACBL and ups the ante for the folks who are cheating)






Aug. 1, 2015
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The problem with dividing the world into Us and Them is that you are always going to be someone else's “them”.
July 30, 2015
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The only time I ever read the Bulletin is when someone else comments on some particularly egregious editorial and I need to see for myself that some would commit something so stupid in writing.

In contrast, I watch online Vugraph's at least once a week and typically prefer international events.
July 30, 2015
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I don't believe that item 111-100 is the proposal that is in front of the BoD this time around.
July 30, 2015
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> Concern for the large increase in dues has been an agenda
> item since dues were increased at the turn of the century.
> the above motions were from 2001 (013) and 2006 (061).

I am well aware of this fact.

Every few years, a small number of cranks band together and go tilting at windmills. The rest of us sit back and laugh. The fact that this has been tried many times before doesn't mean that you are any more right, it merely shows a slow learning curve.

Frankly, the only thing that surprises me about this go around is that I haven't seen more people gripping about the US Women's team in Shanghai.

July 29, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment July 29, 2015
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Mike, are you reading the same version of the proposal that I am? Here's a link to the proposal as it was described on Bridgewinners:

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/chicago-bod-motion-proposes-that-the-acbl-stop-paying-wbf-dues/

I am attaching the relevant text:

_________________
New:

The ACBL shall not pay any amount to the WBF for membership dues.

Chapter VII

B. WBF REPRESENTATIVES

Representatives of Zone 2 to the World Bridge Federation shall be appointed by the Zone2 NBOs under rules which shall be adopted jointly by those NBOs.

Effective January 1, 2016Estimated cost/savings: $165,000 yearly
____________________

Neither the text of the proposal nor the projected cost savings seem consistent with your claims that this proposal is simply switching the payments from the general fund to the International Fund.

Perhaps that is the intent of the sponsors of the amendment. However, this is not the motion that is being voted on.

FWIW, part of the reason that I am so sure that this motion is going to fail is that this motion is a blind expression of unthinking rage/spite rather rather than a thoughtful or considered policy proposal.



July 29, 2015
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IMHO, one of the issues that lead to the implosion of the BBO forums was the introduction of a bunch of irrelevant discourse about politics and economics that resulted in a fairly toxic environment.

I am dismayed to see these sorts of asides start to leak in to Bridge Winners as well.
July 28, 2015
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I think that folks are getting a bit too worked up about the proposal regarding WBF funding.

The “black helicopter brigade” has been bitching about international bridge for years. They’ve never been able to move the ball towards the goal. This particular proposal is particularly ill considered in that it fails to describe what would happen if the motion actually were to pass. I can’t believe that this is going to go anywhere.

I have no doubt that the vote is going to be closer than normal because of the necessity that several BoD members recuse themselves for conflict of interest.

Personally, what has me concern the most is that this appears to be yet another case in which the ACBL’s counsel is providing highly suspect advice to members of the Board in an attempt to marginalize their role. Most of the discussions to date have been focused on (ACBL versus USBF) or (Pros versus the hoi polloi). I think that (ACBL CEO versus the BoD) is a more useful lens. And, while I have little use for much of the ACBL BoD, I think that the current CEO is many times worse.

I think that a reasonable discussion can be had regarding the appropriate relationships between the ACBL, the USBF, and the WBF. I am not unsympathetic to the suggestion that the relationship between the ACBL and the WBF should be wound down in a considered and deliberate manner. Sadly, proposals like the one currently being considered are at best a distraction from the more serious discussions that need to happen.
July 28, 2015
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I'm dubious. Players who pick up the game in their mid 60s aren't going to be as strong as ones who learned in their teens/twenties and have been playing for 30 years.
July 24, 2015
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I wonder why the flight A players aren't showing up.

I suspect that it is a combination of

1. Flight A players are dying off quicker
2. Flight A players can find better games on BBO


July 24, 2015
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Hi Phil

I believe that it would be prudent for the WBF to have contingency plans in place in case the ACBL goes pear shaped. I think that there are a number of significant risks in assuming a constant stream of $$$ and manpower from the ACBL.

With this said and done, I think that a suggestion that the USBF start running NABC events is highly problematic.

1. Running a large event like the Nationals requires a big cash reserve. If the USBF were in a position to run the Nationals, then they wouldn't need to run the Nationals.

2. The contracts for ACBL Nationals are worked out years in advance. This system would take forever and a day to unwind.

3. If the ACBL Nationals are making significant amounts of money, I can't see the ACBL ever wanting to give up the revenue stream. If the ACBL Nationals aren't making significant amounts of money, I can't see the USBF wanting to take responsibility.



July 22, 2015
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I have a copy in near perfect shape that I am willing to part with for a bit less that $100…

(Its weird to occasionally see people with names like TheGarve on BBO and wonder whether they're the individuals being referenced.)
July 22, 2015
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1/2 Euro is roughly 54 cents at current exchange rates.
July 20, 2015
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Personally, I don't think that this is an unreasonable proposal.

The ACBL is circling the drain. Perhaps its better if the organization started unwinding its positions and allow the USBF to grow into a more legitimate institution.

Since the ACBL will no longer need to have representatives participate in the laws commissions or sit on appeals panels, the ACBL can go back to doing what it does best (whatever that might be).






July 20, 2015
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Couple quick points

1. I don't see any option for “The ACBL and the USBF should be run as completely separate organizations with no cross subsidies and no shared governance.”

After all the idiocy surrounding the Shanghai incident, I think that the the USBF would be much better served if they severed all relationship between the two organization. (I understand the desire to tap into ACBL funding, however, this comes with a number of significant costs and given how dysfunctional the ACBL is these days the USBF should go it alone)

2. People are incredibly lazy. If you move towards on option in policy, very few people will opt in. However, this change won't reflect anything about people's beliefs about USBF funding. (There's a lot of very good literature regarding opt in versus opt out models for funding retirement savings. Even in cases where these sorts of decisions have enormous impacts on short term take home pay and long term retirement nest eggs, laziness prevails.

If you migrate to an opt in model, you aren't giving people a choice, rather you are gutting funding to the USBF and hiding behind a choice argument.




July 20, 2015
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One other issue that is worth mentioning.

Over the past 1o years or so, I have seen an alarming decline in the standard of play at both clubs and tournaments.

The 65 year old players that the ACBL is recruiting are never going to be nearly as strong as the players they are replacing.
July 18, 2015
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I know that we have a number of ACBL officials who read these forums. It would be nice if someone would post the text of the letters in question.
July 18, 2015
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He's also talking about the need for term limits as part of his re-election campaign…
July 18, 2015
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As I recall, the reason that a 1 opening on a 4=4=3=2 shape is treated as natural is complaints by the Americans that they didn't want to deal with folks playing convention overcalls over their short club openings. (Sadly, the BBO forums are down right now so I can't check the original discussions around. I'm pretty sure this happened after a match against the Dutch team who were playing Holo Bolo over conventional minor suit openings)
July 18, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment July 18, 2015
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