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All comments by Richard Willey
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From my perspective, the single most useful piece of information was the note about Amazon Fire pricing coupled with the observation that these could be used as a substitute for BridgeMates.

As such, it feels as if you might have buried the lede.

I would prefer to see something along the lines of:

1. Here is how you can deploy “X” for $30 a table + 10 hours of time.
2. Note the existence of Amazon Fire's on sale
3. Describe the download directions for the set of software that needs to be deployed on them
4. Combine this with directions for getting the software for the PC ot whatever that while be running the server
Nov. 30, 2017
Richard Willey edited this comment Nov. 30, 2017
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Here's the rub: There are whole families of systems that open much lighter in 1st / seond and more conservatively in third / fourth…

I don't see why one set of methods (relatively sound in 1st / 2nd and relatively light in 3rd / 4th) should be protected while the converse should be discriminated against.

If light openings are good bridge, let people play light openings….
Nov. 29, 2017
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FWIW, I am strongly of the opinion that efforts like “Active Ethics” which attempt to place some set of external aesthetics at the same level as the rules and regulations of the game is a big mistake. As the Roman's famously said “de gustibus non est disputandum”.

You might personally like an effort to

1. Ban psyches
2. Address “convention disruption”
3. Make sure that people dress better
4. Are friendlier
5. Are setting a good example for the rest of us
6. Just say no to drugs

or even

7. Engage in active ethics

However, ultimately these are your own personal preferences. They have little to nothing to do with the game as defined by the Laws and the local regulatory structure. And, while you might feel very strongly about a bunch of this stuff, I suspect that you're going to find a whole bunch of other people who appreciate

1. Their ability to psyche
2. The latitude to improve their methods over time
3. The comfort of wearing jeans or even sweat pants
4. The ability to be a curmudgeody jerk
5. The joy of not living their life on a pedastal
6. A world full of hookers and blow

and of course

7. The expectation that they will be judged based on the rules of the game and not some random idiot's whims about what is right and proper.
Nov. 28, 2017
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Not at all. I am saying that I care much more about process than I care about the content of the Convention Charts themselves.

I don't particularly care whether the new convention charts are more liberal or restrictive about conventions. That's all ephemeral and can change (if the system has a working process). What I do find extremely valuable is

1. The efforts to clarify vocabulary and definitions
2. That the Convention Charts do away with a lot of very broken process - most notably the ability of members of the C&C to use the Defensive Database to completely neuter the Midchart.

As such, I see any attempt to bring the later cluster$)*(@^ back into play as undoing the most significant accomplishment of the new chart.

Once again…

Over the course of the last 15 or so years, how many defenses has the C&C actually approved? (Five or so methinks). We've seen multi year stretches where the C&C has refused to accept any new Defenses for approval. We've seen much longer stretches where submissions just disappear into the void.

Who in their right mind would ever let this atrocity have a chance to claw its way back into the light? In the immortal worlds of Hannover Fiste:

"Hanging's too good for it. Burning's too good for it! It should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!
Nov. 26, 2017
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Sorry…

This whole “Approval process of suggested defenses for artificial preempts” has me sufficiently worked up that I need to vent once more.

The ACBL's C&C Committee failed to produce ANY suggested defenses to ANY methods for years at a time. (Take a look at the Wayback Machine if you don't believe me)

Its currently been two years since the Committee has bothered to produce minutes for its meetings.

Any plan that has a requirement that the C&C Committee either communicates or produce work product will not be able to maintain forward momentum. Moreover, I'd go so far as to argue that any system that is adding such a requirement to a project is consciously undermining the initiative.

As I mentioned earlier, the system should be designed such that the C&C has the opportunity to bless defenses to new methods if they so chose, however, the absence of such a defense can not prevent players from adopting legal methods in a timely manner.
Nov. 26, 2017
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Thanks for clarifying. Few immediate thoughts:

1. I think that you've done a great job creating the new Convention Charts and, in particular improving the language and vocabulary that ACBL members have available to discuss these issues.. However, I believe that - ultimately - the decision of what Convention Chart should be used in what event belongs to the individuals running the event themselves. Historically, the ACBL has delegated this responsible to the local level. Club owners do whatever the damn well please. Individual ACBL districts have seen fit to ignore and amend the existing convention charts. As such, I would prefer to see these linkages removed from the existing charts rather than made more explicit.

2. I think that it is essential that we learn from the mistakes with the existing defensive database… The C&C Committee use the convention approval process to ban methods that they don't like. I see nothing wrong with a well organized system to develop defenses to artificial methods, however, I consider it imperative that players be able to use methods that are legal. I personally would prefer a system based on crowdsourcing defenses.

If a player wants to play an artificial preempt for which there is not approved defense

A. They post an accurate description on an approved web site
B. A timer starts counting down
C. Three months later, that preempt becomes legal to play

In the mean time, folks who want to suggest or discuss defenses to this method have the option to do so. At the end of three months, the C&C has the responsibility to either bless one of the suggested defenses or submit their own official defense. If the C&C fails to do so, then I guess having a defense to this preempt isn't that important.

In all seriousness, a convention chart where the C&C can veto incredibly large sets of bids simply by doing nothing undermines this entire effort.
Nov. 26, 2017
Richard Willey edited this comment Nov. 26, 2017
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So, looks like the Board of Governors decided to punt any decision on the new Convention Charts.

Given the process used to develop the charts I would have thought that there was more than ample time to for folks to reach a decision.

Can anyone comment on why the decision was postponed?
Nov. 26, 2017
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Thanks for clarifying. Can't say that I am pleased by the decision to defer this motion…
Nov. 26, 2017
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Congratulations to all…

Silly question - This is ACBL Nationals.

Its kinda weird seeing so few American's placing. IF we look at the top 10 or even top 20 pairs, it looks as if the overwhelming majority of the folks who placed are from Europe.
Nov. 26, 2017
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If I am reading things properly, the new Convention Charts were approved, however, they won't go into effect until this summer


Item 173-20: Revised ACBL Convention Charts

1. The ACBL Convention Charts, including the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart and Open+ Chart, attached to this motion be, and herby are, approved;

2. The current General Conventions Chart, ACBL Mid-Chart, ACBL Superchart and ACBL Limited Conventions contained in Appendix 6-B of the Codification be, and herby are, retired and replaced with the ACBL Convention Charts, including the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart and Open+ Chart; and

3. References in the Codification (and any other ACBL rules and regulations) to the General Conventions Chart, ACBL Mid-Chart, ACBL Superchart and ACBL Limited Conventions shall be revised to refer to the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart and Open+ Chart.

Effective March 7, 2018
Deferred to Summer 2018 in Philadelphia, PA
Deferral carried unanimously
Nov. 26, 2017
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I have long felt that BBO should have a bot compete in the ACBL tournaments, if only to provide a reference pointing regarding how strong the bots are relative to the field…
Nov. 24, 2017
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> We have a first amendment right of assembly in this country.

> That means we can have our own clubs, and invite who
> we want, and states can't pass laws that infringe on this right.

1. Could have sworn that this discussion was about Germany, not some fictionalized version of the United States

2. Even in the United States, the government can and does pass laws that impact freedom of assembly all the time and these laws have been upheld in the Supreme Court

> Ray talked about laws in California. Those laws can't be applied
> to private organizations, only public ones. Why? Because the U.S.
> does have a constitution.

3. Still wrong… If you are discriminating against a protected class then Federal Law trumps state law.

You are on somewhat stronger ground when you distinguish between

1. Actions taken by the organization
2. Actions taken by a large number of individual members of the organization

And, of course, individuals and indeed organizations, can always decide to break a law if they are prepared to pay a penalty.
Nov. 17, 2017
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As Yehudit has already observed, the issue for players at large is NOT whether or not the Drs can play in Germany. (If people want, this sort of issue can be dealt with via social pressure)

The real issue is the WBF.

I have long been supportive of the WBF, however, the organization's decision to chase after recognition by the IOC comes at a very high price. The company has wasted enormous amounts of money and executive focus. Equally significant, we had to tangle our fates with the World Sport Organization and its court system.

For me, I think its time for the NBOs to either

1. Force the WBF to de-emphasize IOC recognition, seize back control over regulating the game, and institute better controls over cheating

or

2. Support the establishment of a new regulating body

The decision with the Drs. is a symptom, not a cause…

Nov. 16, 2017
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Wouldn't it be a shame if everyone they played against were to accidentally spill hot coffee all over the Drs…
Nov. 15, 2017
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In order of mistakes made and potentially made

1. South could (maybe should) have opened 1
2. North's 1 seems normal
3. South's pass seems normal (waiting for a re-opening double)
4. 2 by North seems normal
5. South needs to act over 2. 2N seems normal

In terms of severity of mistake, I think that passing 2 is, by far, the worst action
Nov. 9, 2017
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> Bidding should be judges on the arrival at a percentage
> contract or a superior score, not just the score.
> Good contracts go down often.

I disagree completely.

I firmly believe that a quick an uninformative bash to an adequate contract is often better than a long informative auction to the “optimal” contract.

At the end of the day, bridge is judged by the score card you hand in. And I am perfectly happy to hand in a card full of ugly impure contracts that happened to make on imperfect defense along with a bunch of nice pluses when the opponents had a blind guess whether or not to balance…
Nov. 8, 2017
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Hi Emily

I would find the following experimental design interesting.

Look only at hands that are played in the same contract.

Break this into two sets

Set 1: Hands that have an identical bidding sequence

Set 2: Hands that have unique bidding sequences

See whether there is a statistically significant difference in the number of tricks won

If there is, it would be interesting to know whether the number of bids made is inversely related to the number of tricks taken by declarer.
Nov. 8, 2017
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Planning and organization are not the ACBL's forte…

These things seem to come together at the last moment
Nov. 7, 2017
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> Richard - if it is so easy to do this, then why hasn't a version
> that can beat all the human players at bridge yet been found?

My entire argument is not that this is easy, rather I claim that no one cares enough to spend the amount of money that is necessary. Moreover, I have made multiple comments to the effect that the folks who are working on DeepMind and the like have several orders of magnitude more resources available to them.

> Also - who are the people who are going to do this programming
> - and what data do they use? Since the best players in the world
> cannot agree about ideal system, meanings for bids, what makes
> the most sense after a few bids - then who is going to ideally
> program the computer?

Did you bother to actually read the original article that was posted?

The key point that it made was that NO ONE programmed the program in question. It watched another computer play Go, inferred, the rules, and taught itself how to play.

In a similar vein, the same program was able to learn how to play a wide variety of video games by using a camera to watch the game that was being played and determining how to play.

With respect to bidding system, there are two sides of the coin.

1. What system will the computer be competing against.

It doubt that a computer program that has only learned how to play a strong pass system like REGRES would fare particularly well in the short term against a pair playing 2/1 GF. However, if the computer is able to train against the bidding system and carding methods that are being used it should do fine.

2. As to what system the computer will play… I have no idea but II would dearly love to see what it came up with.

I suspect that the initial match would require using some “lesser” computer program to train the real contestant. The humans would need to agree that they wee playing system XYZ, Jack or some other program would be taught XYZ. The “real” program would then train against Jack and then compete against the human team.
Nov. 6, 2017
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> Every pair that the computer plays against plays a different version of bridge.

If the computer can play better against any one version of bridge it will be able to play better against “all” versions of bridge. (Provided of course that we actually live in a world where players need to disclose their methods. If folks are lying about what they are playing the problem space expands, but I doubt that this poses an insoluble problem.

> How will the computer handle ‘psychic calls/ plays’ - even if
> told (how?) the probability of a human making a psychic call
> against a computer.

Its very easy to program a computer to go and whine to the director.

On a more serious note: Computers are already at the point where they are beating World Champion humans at Poker. A psyche is no different that a bluff. Both are simple examples of mixed strategies and relatively easy to define.
Nov. 6, 2017
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