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All comments by Richard Willey
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Michael wrote

>> If you know which pairs are “dirty” and you don't identify them
>> to the task force, then you could reasonably be judged as being
>> part of the problem.

And Gabrielle replied

> I fully intend to share everything I know regarding ethical
> improprieties with the committee. I can still remain skeptical
> of the committee's ability to overcome political inertia.

I believe that the presence (or absence) of a large library of videos in North America will be a much more important factor than inertia. I don't think that it is coincidence that so much evidence of cheating has been suggested so quickly after the introduction of videos in Europe.
Oct. 23, 2015
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10 years ago or so, I was partnering Tim Goodwin in a KO in Newton. The opponents were playing “Montreal Relay”, so I felt obliged to have a bit of fun and overcalled 1H on

S xxxx
H Qxx
D Axxxx
C x

or some such. Tim made an aggressive raise to 2H on something like the following:

S xxxx
H Kxx
D x
C Axxxx

and I found myself playing 2HX. The opponents lead a minor, and I ended up scoring two aces and six trump tricks on a cross ruff.

The opponents REALLY weren't amused about that one…
Oct. 23, 2015
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I'd be happy to participate in such a committee, however, I am not going to hold my breathe waiting for the invite.

I'm guessing that most folks don't have a clue who I am, so here's the high points from my resume.

My academic background is as a mathematical economist, focusing on game theory and mechanism design. I have a Masters in Economics from Indiana University and dual Masters in Management and Engineering from MIT.

For the last 20 years I have pretty much lived at the intersection of TCP/IP networking and mathematical modeling. I spent my first 10 years out of school working for various networking companies. For the last 10 years I have split my time between the MathWorks where I was the manager for MATLAB's statistics system and Akamai Technologies. I currently work with the Adversarial Resilience team at Akamai, focusing on event detection, capacity planning, and Transport Layer Security.

I don't have many real achievements in the world of bridge, though I am fairly well know on BBO (and earlier on OKB). Bridgewise, I am probably most proud of my MOSCITO notes (which I really need to finish one of these days)




Oct. 23, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Oct. 23, 2015
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I believe that many people have made gratuitous slurs about the Polish team.
Oct. 20, 2015
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> And why do we “owe” them anything at all?

We don't “owe” “them” anything.

Codifying a reduction of punishment is intended to provide an incentive for pairs to confess. I would argue that this provides as many benefits to the organization as it does to the accused pair.

1. A confession provides certainty and closure.
2. A confession avoids the need for a costly trial and even more costly lawsuit.

I'd like to point at the experiences of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa to illustrate some of the advantages in trying to reach an accord.



Oct. 19, 2015
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Hi Don,

Couple quick comments

1. I think that it is a good idea to have different punishments depending on whether or not an individual confesses. I understand the desire to apply a death penalty for cheating. However, I think that there are too many benefits from providing an incentive for individuals to confess.

2. I very much believe that Zonal Organizations need to establish clear and uniform guidelines. While I very much appreciate the good work that Boye and Steve have done, I consider it problematic that private individuals are cutting side deals with pairs over cheating charges. (Balanced against this, it appears as if Boye insisted that P+S describe the methods that they were using to cheat). FWIW, I consider the actions that the Cavendish committee took with respect to F+S far worse. As far as I am aware, they did nothing to disclose that they had decided not to re-invite F+S based on ethical concerns. I consider keeping this type of information quiet highly problematic.

Oct. 19, 2015
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> As I said, the only people who will really object are
> either cheats, or those who want to play with cheats.
> Everyone else will try to deal with the remote chance of
> playing with a cheater.

I'd said that you have a Manichean worldview, but that gives you far too much credit. Let's just go with simpleminded.

Personally, I think that the the most significant objections to any such proposal will come from the regulators who will rightfully fear the lawsuits that will come about from any attempts to impose a system based on collective punishment.

I suspect that any pair that doesn't have perfect information about the proprieties of their team mates to follow as a close second, and I don't think any of us approach perfect information.
Oct. 19, 2015
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> Is it so bad, to make there be a downside from agreeing to
> play with a cheating pair, and not to give those who CHOSE
> to play with them, a free pass?

I was raised with the view that systems of collective punishment are simple minded and barbaric.
Oct. 19, 2015
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> So, in 2016, someone who plays with a cheating pair, takes
> a year off. Loses everything they “won” with the cheats, as
> well. And the cheats go out for a long, long time.

Any proposal that the team mates of players who cheat should be banned for a year is a complete non starter. Any organization that attempted to enforce this type of rule would (deservedly) be sued into the dirt.

Proposals of this sort are so divorced from reality that they discredit more legitimate efforts to address the very real issue of cheating.

Oct. 19, 2015
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> BZ possibly being cheaters, meaning Poland qualified for
> the BB by cheating and therefor having no legitimate claim
> to the BB title, triggered a crowd-source investigation of
> publicly available information here on BW. The BW community
> managed to establish proof of cheating by BZ. Further proof
> was established on the basis of information that was part of
> the (undisclosed) Boye file that was sent to WBF.

There are some remarkable logical fallacies and leaps of faith in this paragraph.




Oct. 18, 2015
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> What part of data you use to develop a hypothesis and what
> you test it on doesn't change the data nor the reality.
> It's a voodoo thinking. This kind of thinking means that if
> you by accident looked at the whole dataset you are no
> longer able to use that as evidence which is of course
> nonsense.

Piotr, you appear to have strong opinions on this subject. Sadly, what you are posting is nonsense.

Dividing datasets into test sets, training sets, and validation sets is fundamental to statistics and machine learning. There isn't a decent statistics package out there that doesn't contain libraries and functions to do exactly this. (This very morning, I was using R's cvTool's package)

Moreover, other than you, I don't recall anyone claiming that you need to throw away a data set if you accidentally look at the whole thing. What has been said by multiple individuals is that if you do use the same data set to develop your hypothesis and test your hypothesis you need to be very careful in presenting your results because a lot of traditional analysis techniques are subject to bias.

Oct. 15, 2015
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Comment 1: The critical difference between what is happening today and what didn't happen two years back is the combination of video feeds that are accessible to the public and the good hand records. Once this came to pass, remarkable things started to happen.

Comment 2: I am not surprised that the owners of bridge magazines didn't go out tilting at windmills while simultaneously leaving themselves exposed to lawsuits.
Oct. 13, 2015
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> I play a light opening system. It is very tempting to
> psyche in third seat after partner's first seat pass
> denying as many as 10 HCP. But I consider this to be
> unethical. Perhaps I am wrong about this, but it doesn't
> feel right.

That's all fine and dandy. Just don't confuse your sense of aesthetics with the regulations.
Oct. 13, 2015
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> This “he's not taking a risk because he knows something
> about his partner's hand” is rubbish. That knowledge is a
> reward for methods which define your partner's hand better.

Kieran, that might be the way that things work in the antipodes, but here in North America its our god given right to ruthlessly work the ref in order to protect inferior bidding methods.


Oct. 13, 2015
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Hi Kit,

Really impressive piece of work. I especially like the fact that you have continued to improve methodology as the investigations continue. (I, for one, believe that dividing the data into a test set and a validation set significantly improves the reliability of the analysis)
Oct. 13, 2015
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I admit that I am having a great deal of difficulty determining what point it is that you are trying to make.

As far as I can tell, you are claiming the following:

If I am dealt a 5-4-3-1 hand, there is a percentage chance that one of the suits will be distributed 5-4-3-1.

This doesn't seem particularly controversial, nor does it seem interesting.
Oct. 12, 2015
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Don Mamula wrote

> The legitimacy for the WBF championships comes from two
> directions - from above in the form of IOC recognition and > from below in the form of recognition and participation by
> the federations.

Color me cynical, but I suspect that the most significant issue is actually the relationship between various national governments and the individual federations.

This doesn't matter much in the United States, but as I understand matters a lot of the European government provide direct financial assistance to their local federations.

I question what an attempt to disassociate from the WBF would mean to those sources of funding. (At the very least, I would expect competition for the $$$)
Oct. 11, 2015
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Anyone else believe that we'd be a lot better off if we got rid of the laws the prohibit hitching on singletons and the like?

Top level players openly state that reading the opponent's subconscious hitches is an important part of their game. (For example, see Meckstroth's comments regarding electronic playing environments and the like)

It seems ridiculous and neigh unenforceable to permit players to draw inference from hitches, but not allow the opposing side to muddy the waters.

I think that we'd be a lot better off openly admitting that this is part and parcel of the game and modifying the rules accordingly. If we need to sacrifice some vestiges of Victorian social propriety, so be it.
Oct. 10, 2015
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I have long opposed efforts by various members of the ACBL Board to cut off funds from the WBF.

Even at the start of the latest cheating scandal, I felt that this was misguided at best.

The latest pronouncements from the WBF are the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. This has to be the most tone deaf, self absorbed piece of masturbatory clap trap that I have ever had the displeasure to read.

From the tone deaf IOC reference to the veiled threats to its own player base, this articles shows an organization that has completely lost its way.

At a time like this, the only way forward for an organization like the WBF is a sincere apology, followed by a realistic plan to improve on the current situation. If there is one thing the latest crowdsorcing effort has shown, it is that the creation of yet another committee that will operate in silence is unacceptable.



Oct. 9, 2015
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“Baseball needs a little speeding up. You know how you speed up baseball? Everybody gets one swing, that's right. One swing, F*** you, you're out, sit down, next, let's go, come one, sit down, come on, let's go. Here's another thing that would make baseball a lot faster: If the pitcher hits the batter with the ball, the batter's out. You hit 27 guys, you got yourself a perfect game my friend. You get two really good accurate pitchers out there and you could be out of that ballpark in 15 minutes. You could be home watching football on TV and see some serious injuries. One more thing for baseball, out in the outfield I would have a series of randomly placed landmines. “There's Marshall, settling under that ball.” (EXPLOSION sound effect) “Holy s***!”

<George Carlin>
Oct. 8, 2015
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