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All comments by Richard Willey
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As far as I can tell, table presence is a mysterious ability to pick up on minor hitches and ticks in the opponents, while simultaneously not noticing any such behavior by the partner who you play with orders of magnitude more frequently.
Dec. 4, 2015
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I prefer a system in which alerts/announcements are EITHER

1. Automatically provided to the opponents from the system file (without any indication to the pair making the bid)

or

2. Typed out by hand

The choice will depend on whether the current bidding sequence has been populated into the system file.

In a perfect world, I'd like to have a app editor that watched me play and manually alert/announce and automatically populated this information into the system file. This would have the advantage that common bids get quickly get populated into the system file. We should converge on something useful relatively quickly.



Dec. 4, 2015
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Hi Fred,

Thanks for posting such a well written description. In particular, documenting your cost assumptions is much appreciated. Here are a couple additional points that you might want to consider.

First: I suspect that you might encounter problems where people accidentally “see” a hand on a tablet at another table. It is possible to equip the screens with a privacy filter so the screens can not be viewed at an angle. The following link provides a representative example.

http://www.amazon.com/3M-Privacy-Desktop-Monitor-PF19-0/dp/B00028ONIA

Second: I think that there is value in having a mechanism by which you can demonstrate that the hands for a session are being dynamically generated in a “secure” manner. You want to make sure that people have faith both in the hand generator program and the mechanism used to seed the system. I’d recommend a system like the following

1. Use an open source program to generate your hands (Hans van Staveren’s Big Deal would be the obvious choice

2. Have a set of teams collaboratively generate the seed the program at the start of the event. Here’s one possible (elaborate) implementation. At the start of the round, four teams are chosen at random. A hand of bridge is dealt out, with a member of each team receiving the cards. Each player shuffles his own hand, marks down the order of the cards, and then hands the cards to the TD. The TD then shuffles and deals a second deck. The seed for the round is generated from (the set of four hands specified by the players salted with the second deck). At the end of the round, each principle (the four teams and the TD) publish their input in generating the seed to verify that the set of hands match the specified seed.. This may seem silly and over engineered. Perhaps it is, however, this system will provide enough randomness to be cryptographically secure. People trying to social engineer the system would need to have players on four different teams collaborating, plus have the Tournament Director in on the act.
Dec. 4, 2015
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> Jan, given ACBLs demonstrated inability to police both the
> game and their BoD it gives me little comfort to hear
> Nicholas only had access to certain parts of USBF software
> prior to trials. How can we entrust computer security to
> those who have failed us in those and all other regards?

Earlier in the thread when you stated

“Richard, only USBF can state definitively whether or not Mr Hammond's access to their system would have enabled him to retrieve hand records.”

You might want to tack on another clause like “Unless the USBF disagrees with me, in which case I'll ignore what they have to say”
Dec. 3, 2015
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The BBO system only works if folks flag the content and Gabrielle's posts are far too amusing to want to censor. (I am halfway convinced they're some bizarre type of performance art)
Dec. 3, 2015
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> Perhaps ACBL should offer Mr Hammond the opportunity to
> cede copyright / ownership claims on Score+ in exchange for
> dropping investigation into his involvement in the Score+
> bidding process (as a member of tech committee) and his
> suspicious behavior just prior to start of 2013 trials.

Comment 1: Is the ACBL actively investigating Mr. Hammond? In previous posts you kept complaining that no one but you cared about this, so its kinda difficult to reconcile your claims.

Comment 2: So, you are advocating that it is appropriate for the government to threaten individuals with investigations in order to force them to give up their personal property? (Given all you complaints about criminal over reach by the US government, it is surprising to see you advocate these kinds of tactics. I guess anything is fair so long as you dislike the victim)

Dec. 3, 2015
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Excuse me…

When did we establish that Hammond had access to the USBF computers?

We know that he attended the trials to watch how things were being done. This is not the same as having access to their machines.

You keep making lots of assumptions and given your strong dislike for Mr Hammond, I'm not incline to give you much latitude here.

We've already established that you refuse to talk to Hammond. I am curious whether you have bothered to talk to anyone at the USBF to validate any of your claims. (or would that detract from your fun little insinuations?)
Dec. 3, 2015
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> Please tell me you think someone displaying such bizarrely
> defensive behavior, without provocation, should be given
> access to sensitive data such as hand records the day
> before USBF trials are to start?

Personally, I don't think that ANYONE should be granted access to the hand records the day before the trials are supposed to start.

At the same time, I don't think that you have demonstrated that Hammond had access to the hand records. (I don't anything about what type of physical security is used nor whether there are any mechanisms to detect whether the hand records might have been opened)

FWIW, I have already described that system that I would implement in an electronic playing environment to generate hands in a verifiable and secure manner.






Dec. 3, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Dec. 3, 2015
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Gabrielle Sherman wrote:

> So far it seems nobody cares. What would you suggest I do?

There is an old Polish saying that you might want to familiarize yourself with.

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy
Dec. 3, 2015
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With respect to your claims about a lawsuit:

1. If you are going to throw around expressions like “nobid contract fraud”, you really might want to familiarize yourself with basic vocabulary like “no-bid contract”. In this example, there were competitive bids. You reference them yourselves. Furthermore, the fact that a lower bid was rejected does not mean that there was fraud. I suspect that whoever made the decision to accept the bid from Hammond (which should have been the ACBL President and not the BoD) will be able to hide behind the “Business Judgement Rule”.

2. The thought of a non-profit expected to make millions of dollars by suing its own board is laughable. As I mentioned earlier, I suspect the decision to accept a contract should be made by the CEO, not the Board. If this holds true, the Board's liability would be limited to a failure to fire Hartman after the fact. In turn this will limit damages.

3. I'm not even sure who has standing to bring a suit. The board isn't going to sue itself and if the members sue the board, the board can and will spend the ACBL treasury to defend themselves.

4. I don't know what (if any) rights Hammond signed away if he was a volunteer member of an ACBL Technology Committee. With this said and done, I would expect that the contract that he signed with the ACBL after the fact would supersede this.

With respect to your claims about the 2013 USBF team trials:

You are very careful not to directly state that “Hammond stole hand records and gave them to team foo”. You're not honest enough to do that. Instead, you insinuate the same (these are all direct quotes from you, BTW)

“I am a talented ”instinctive“ player both at life and bridge and I felt something was wrong…”

“I strongly felt something was amiss (things like terrible calls being rewarded unusually favorably and the general ”steamrolling“ feel of the event)”

“I would suggest Nicholas Hammond is untrustworthy based on personal observation and the observations of myself and others, including world class players, at USBF trials. I would think there should be concern about access to sensitive software data like hand records.”
Dec. 3, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Dec. 3, 2015
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> I have told you my information could save the ACBL millions
> of dollars. Why not just write me a private note and make a
> judgment on my information AFTER seeing evidence?

Gabby,

I read through your information, spent a night sleeping on, and read it over again. Here are a few quick comments:

1. With respect to the ACBLScore+ debacle, you don't appear to be introducing useful new information to the discussion. More specifically, nothing you had to say is going to save the ACBL any money, let alone “millions of dollars”. I agree with much of your general sentiment. The ACBL's management of the ACBLScore+ project was at best incompetent and may even have been negligent. However, this is a far cry from malfeasance. Even if something criminal took place - and rejecting a lower price bid is far far removed from criminal -
this does not mean that it will be possible to recover any funds.

2. Your claims about cheating at 2013 team trials are highly subjective and impossible to verify or falsify. I am a strong believer in open discourse, however, I don't see any value making any of this public. I'd go so far as to guess that the ACBL official who told you not to publish any of this was not concerned about damage to the ACBL's reputation; rather he was trying to do you a favor.

3. Overall, it feels as it you are using strong negative personal feelings as a justification to make grandiose unsubstantiated claims.
Dec. 3, 2015
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FWIW, Gabrielle sent me a copy of her claims about Hammond and the ACBL.

I don't see anything in here that could or should be considered proprietary. There certainly isn't any proprietary information or anything that would be covered by an Non Disclosure Agreement.

I suspect if an ACBL official did try to squelch the publication of this information, it has more to do with a combination of strong sentiments and unsubstantiated/subjective claims.
Dec. 2, 2015
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Was said official speaking in an “official” capacity or just voicing a random opinion?
Dec. 2, 2015
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From my perspective, a lot of the problems that people are identifying as “Vugraph”issues are actually constraints with the messaging software that is folded into the BBO client.

I'd love to see the existing implemention replaced with something like “Zulip” (Zulip is a IRC derived group messaging application that we use extensively at Akamai) Zulip - and several other similar apps - support a bunch of functions that would come in handy such as threaded group conversations, persistence, inline images, etc.



Dec. 2, 2015
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Not sure about the rest of you, but if I am discussing competitive methods over a NT opening, we're talking about methods in direct seat only. I don't assume that these hold in balancing seat and I certainly don't expect them to hold if partner is a passed hand and responded has made some kind of bid.

For example, suppose that I have an agreement with partner that we are playing DONT and the auction has started

(1N) - P - (2D) - ???

I would not expect partner to assume that a 2H bid by me showed the majors.
Dec. 2, 2015
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If nothing else, this would prove that top pairs can still win a tournament playing SAYC.

All kidding aside, SAYC may be a simple system, but its far from a good system. I would prefer to see players using BWS or some such.
Dec. 1, 2015
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I don't see much reason to have expert commentators. If someone is good enough to be providing commentary, I'd prefer to have them playing and explaining what they are thinking in real time rather than commenting from on high.
Nov. 30, 2015
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Why aren’t there any Twitch Channels for Online Bridge?

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Twitch is an extremely popular platform for live streaming feeds of individuals gaming online. Twitch currently has about 100 million visitors (spectators) each month. Roughly 1.5 million people are currently creating content. (I myself spent a fair amount of time this weekend watching some guildmates streaming their matches from the “Crowfall” pre-alpha). If the ACBL and other bridge organizations are serious about recruiting new players to the game - in particular if they want to reach out a younger demographic – then I would strongly recommend that they start sponsoring individuals to start creating content on Twitch.

I’d like to see mid and top-tier talent playing a complete online tournament and explaining the major decisions that they are making. As Kit has already noted, there are some books that take this approach (I own several). However, if the goal is promotion, putting videos out for free is likely to reach an awful lot more people than selling books.

One interesting approach might be to try to get a number of players to live stream the same tournament and then see if it is possible to edit together the hands into an intelligible whole.
Nov. 29, 2015
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One way in which full disclosure could be improved is by creating a linkage between the non-FD alert / announce system and the FD tree.

Imagine a situation in which every time you alerted / announced a bid, that information was automatically populated into an FD card. From then on, if you had the identical sequence, the alert would be generated automatically. The system should converge pretty quickly.

The larger problem involves bids whose meaning depends on the definition of the opponent's bids. For example, you play different overcall structures after weak and strong NT openings. Here, you probably require some mechanism to standardize the conveyance of information.
Nov. 28, 2015
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I voted 4 for three reasons

1. 2NT gives the opponents two cue bids.
2. The opponents will strive to bid game over 4. In turn, this will make it difficult to sensibly investigate slam.
3. Swans play best in the long suit. Same applies with an 8-5


Nov. 24, 2015
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