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All comments by Richard Willey
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A more interesting question is whether F-S wouldbe able to launch a future claim regarding the right to be forgotten. That wouldn't apply to a contemporaneous discussion, but could come into play in the future.
Sept. 6, 2015
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Let's ignore misclicks for the moment:

The issues that you raise are no worse for an electronic playing environment than one that is using screens. (It would be trivial to implement an electronic playing environment whose disclosure and tempo structures work just the same as a set of screens).

As for the lack of a “confirmation” button; Implementing this into a GUI is, once again, trivial. (Deciding whether or not you want to have a confirmation button is a lot more complicated. I, personally, would leave this as a user configurable choice).

Lets jump back to misclicks: If you play the wrong card at the bridge table (“Oh Shit” notwithstanding) you're pretty much screwed. I see no reason why misclicks should be treated any differently, especially if folks have a confirmation button.


Sept. 5, 2015
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As Josh notes, no one is suggesting an electronic playing environment for low level play.

As for the opinions of folks at the regional, I think its realistic to assume sample bias. I personally don't bother to play at clubs/sectionals/regionals because I can find much better games online.
Sept. 3, 2015
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Hanan,

Assume for a moment that the IBF were to find Fisher and Schwartz innocent. Do you expect that the ACBL or the WBF would drop all proceedings against Fisher and Schwartz?

Conversely, lets assume that the ACBL were to hold its own trial and convicted Fisher and Schwartz. Would the IBF be bound by this decision?

I think that that answer to both questions is an obvious No.

Simply put, the IBF is welcome to do whatever it wants. I even admit that I will find the results of this interesting. But its silly to suggest that other organizations stand bye.

From my perspective, the most interesting case would be if the IBF chooses lesser sanctions than the WBF or the ACBL.
Sept. 3, 2015
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I personally believe that forfeiture of all prize money won and fees charged would have more deterrent value than a lifetime ban from bridge.

As such, I think that it would be reasonable for the penalties to reduced to, say, a 10 year ban on playing bridge, a life time ban as playing as partners, and forfeiture of a bunch of money to an internationally recognized charity.

Sept. 3, 2015
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I'm not aware of any reciprocity agreement between bridge federations.

The decision of the IBF is probably important to Fisher and Schwartz. As for the rest of us, I think that we care a lot more what our local federation decides, as well as the WBF.

I'd add the Cavendish to the list, but it looks as if they've already sorted things out a couple years back…

Actually, this raises an interesting question. Fisher and Schwartz weren't invited back to play in the Cavendish. I wonder what went down there and question whether this should have been more publicly disclosed.


Sept. 2, 2015
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Hi Fred

This is interesting to hear. I know that you believe that the audience will that broadcasts happen in real time.

I hope that there is an option to introduce a 10 minute delay to the stream.
Sept. 2, 2015
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Hi Bobby,

I apologize for not providing a point by point response to your questions / comments. With this said and done.

1. I am making a proposal for our most prestigious events, not everyday games at regionals or even the nationals. Long term, this might trickle down. I certainly don't insist on it. (Arguably as online bridge becomes more and more popular, you might have the base demanding something more familiar to them than pasteboard)

2. I very much believe that a properly designed system would very much improve the security of these events. (These days) I work in internet security, so I would never want to claim that something is 100% safe. With this said and done, I do believe that physical separation of players will make cheating enormously more difficult. In conjunction with this, the opportunity to have complete records of every card played and every bid made for all major events will make statistical analysis much more powerful. I think that the combination of the two factors will be a game changer (bad pun, I know)

3. I strongly believe that this type of format will dramatically improve opportunities for broadcasting bridge. Turning the tournament feed into a Vugraph type feed is a trivial enhancement. If you want video, have a camera on each of the four players and make it look as if they are at the same table. Simply put, I don't think that having four people sitting at the same table is necessary related to the popularity of a bridge broadcast.

4. If I were implementing this type of system, there would be no such thing as a pre-duplicated hand. Rather, you would have audited code along with a mechanism to generate the seed for the hands at the start of each round of the the tournament.

Consider the following proposal.

At the start of a tournament round, you hand a deck of cards to the members of 4 teams. Each team selects 13 cards at random and hands these back to the official. The official shuffles them all together. Viola. You know have a seed for the computer program that is generating your hand. At the close of the round, the seed hand is published and everyone can verify that the tournament hands match the seed.

This system is not perfect (if the individual who wrote the system is in collusion with a team, you potentially have a problem) However, auditable code will help to protect against this.
Sept. 2, 2015
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Couple quick thoughts:

1. Were the Israeli team to fall on their swords, I'm not aware of any provably equitable way to choose their replacement. Arguably, the easiest thing for everyone involved is for the Israeli team to show up and play and for the rest of us to wish them well.

I understand the strong desire not to have the Israeli team benefit from the (supposed) infractions of Fisher and Schwartz. However, wrt to the Israeli team and the Bermuda Bowl, I think that the best thing is for folks to put this behind them and move forward.

2. Some folks are suggesting that the Israeli team should “Do the right thing” and resign. I don't think its fair to force my aesthetic choices on a third party. Ultimately, this is for them to decide. I hope that they are happy with whatever course of action they choose.








Sept. 2, 2015
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I hope that other teams don't refuse to play against the Israeli team based on the charges filed against Fisher and Schwartz. (I'd be surprised if any do so)
Sept. 2, 2015
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Part of what destroyed the Bridge Base Online Forums was the intrusion of political discussions.

Given the highly polarized political landscape in the US, giving us all additional reasons to dislike one another doesn't seem like a good way to improve this site.
Sept. 1, 2015
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Yeah… Here's the thing…

Fisher and Schwartz screwed over some incredibly rich sponsors. The kinda people who have money to burn. The kinda people who might want to underwrite a lawsuit simply to cost Fisher and Schwartz money because this has value as a deterrent.


Sept. 1, 2015
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Assuming that you have enough data, here are two statistics that I would be interested in seeing.

1. How often do Fisher and Schwartz find honors in their partners hands compared to the field as a who.

For each partnership, calculate the % chance that an opening led hits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 honors in their partners hand. Show the Probability Density Function for the field as a who and show where Fisher and Schwartz are located. If you have a large enough data set, it might be interesting to also examine “blind” opening leads where the partnership has no bidding information to rely upon.

2. Relative strength at Defense compared to Declarer play.

I had originally been more excited about this method before the videos suggesting that Fisher is peaking at the opponents hand. None-the-less:

Look at the ratio of the partnerships strength defending compared to their strength declaring auctions that are commonly played by the field.

Present the results as a scatter plot with a trend line and label the point for Fisher Schwartz.





Sept. 1, 2015
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Fisher and Schwartz have already retained counsel and instigated a lawsuit directed at Boye. (I had no knowledge of this when I posted my thread, however, I hardly think this was premature in light of this)
Aug. 31, 2015
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FWIW, be very concerned about what Jeff Meckstroth has to say.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a set of arbitrary new changes banning your methods (it happened to me when I was trying to get permission to play MOSCITO and then again with assumed fit methods)
Aug. 31, 2015
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I am glad that this is happening. Even so, it feels like closing the barn after the horse has bolted.

I still very much believe that the best way to deal with this issue is switching to an electronic playing environment.

This is the best way to have the comprehensive hand records needed to detect this type of chicanery. It will also make it much more difficult to transmit illicit signals.

I understand that this type of move won't be popular, but I think that the number of large events that are being won by individuals who appear to be cheating indicates that change is necessary.
Aug. 30, 2015
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Hi Sartaj,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree that an strong asymmetry in the skill within a partnership might present a problem with the method that I proposed. Ultimately, the proof is going to be in the pudding. I would still be very interested in seeing how this ratio is distributed across a large number of partnerships and compare this with the value for a few select pairs.

The suggestion about opening lead catching honors feels like a more specific version of defensive efficiency. I would still like to be able to normalize this value. (Compare it to something else rather than look at it in isolation)

Aug. 30, 2015
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I've been trying to come up with a relatively straight forward way to estimate whether or not a pair is exchanging some form of illicit information and came up with what I think might be a promising approach. I am curious what folks who play in top level events think about the following:

Let's assume that a pair is cheating by exchanging unauthorized information. (They have a wire that they are using to convey information about hand strength or club length or heart length or whatever).

There are some types of actions at the bridge table where this information will be extremely useful. (opening leads, partnership defense, bidding). However, there are other types of actions where this information will be of much less utility. For example, consider declarer play where you are in the same contract as the rest of the field. In theory, your ability to exchange illicit information might have allowed you an unusually efficient auction that might conceal some useful information from the defense. Even so, I would expect that a pair that was cheating would have much less of an edge in this case than during other types of actions.

If this is true, than a dramatic skew in a partnership's skill in (defense) versus (declarer play in “field” contracts) might provide a useful signal to infer that a pair is cheating.

If I had a large data set, this would probably be the first slice that I would look at.
Aug. 28, 2015
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I'm not going to comment in depth about any of the hands that Boye has presented. (Those who have seen me play know why I am hesitant to do so)

With this said and done, after reading through the web site, I did have a few quick thoughts.

1. Boye is claiming that Fisher and Schwartz were signaling club length. However, Bessis suggests that the pair was signaling hand strength. If Fisher and Schwartz were changing what piece of information they were exchanging across events, the statistical analysis is going to be a lot more difficult.

2. Boye's analysis is highly dependent on having access to detailed hand records from online Vugraphs. Once again, if you shift to an electronic playing environment, you're going to have much better records

3. The number of cases in which the Israeli Bridge Federation has taken action against Fisher and Shwartz is concerning


Aug. 28, 2015
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This can be hand coded without too much difficulty using any one of a number of dealing programs.
Aug. 28, 2015
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