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All comments by Richard Willey
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“Security theater” may be public, but it is hardly positive…
Feb. 21, 2016
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While I applaud the effort, I think that the method being chosen is badly flawed. This strikes me more as “security theater” than anything that will have a serious impact on cheating.

As the discussion around the cheating scandals indicate, a biased set of “strange” hands isn't sufficient for anything real. Rather, one needs a comprehensive corpus of hand records covering a given set of time.




Feb. 20, 2016
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One minor point: I think that you are using the word “director” when what you mean is “proctor”.

With this said and done, I agree with your main points

1. There seems to be a gross discrepancy between the funding being awarded and that being used to secure the games

2. Diverting money to cover travel expenses to Nationals and then having KO determine the winner would seem to be a worthwhile change
Feb. 16, 2016
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You have much more faith in authority than I do.
Feb. 15, 2016
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For better or worse, English is the lingua franca of International Bridge. This is officially recognized at the table and during management sessions of the WBF.

The issues that are being dealt with here affect numerous groups and individuals outside of the individual countries that are (currently) prosecuting the accused.

It seems right and proper that these proceedings are conducted in a manner that makes it as easy as possible to share the results. This applies equally to Germany, Poland, and Israel.


Feb. 15, 2016
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Not only haven't I done this, I had never thought to do so.

However, I now know what I need to do next time I go to a tournament.

(I think it would be funnier if I inserted a second or maybe a third Ace of trumps into the deck)
Feb. 15, 2016
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> Richard: why should Fisher–Schwartz prepare a document in a foreign
> language for a committee meeting which will be held in everyone's
> native language?

1. These hearings are of widespread interest to a number of different zonal organizations who will need to make a decision whether or not to bar Fisher and Schwartz because they do not hold good standing with their own National Organization. As a practical example, it has been suggested that the ACBL can avoid the significant expense of hearing by simply rubber stamping the decision by the IBF.

2. (Assuming that F+S are convicted), teams such as Schwartz will need to decide whether or not to vacate titles based on this decision.

As such, it seems reasonable to conduct these proceedings in a language that is accessible by more people.

FWIW, I work for a company that has a couple offices in Israel. I know for a fact that their documents are written in English and their meetings are all conducted in English even when none of us gringos are present. Why? Because because my colleagues know that they may need to communicate the details of their work outside of Israel and are smart enough to know that it is easiest to plan for this from the start.

Feb. 15, 2016
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As I understand matters, the issue was not with BBOSkill developing a rating system, but rather the load generated from constantly downloading hands from an interface not intended for bulk data transfer.
Feb. 15, 2016
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I am surprised by the (relatively) short amount of time between the second hearing and the decision. Personally, I'd want more time to think about stuff.
Feb. 14, 2016
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Lovely. Everything appears to be in Hebrew. That's going to make it much more difficult to understand what's going on…

Feb. 14, 2016
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Is there any reason that I should care about any of this? In all seriousness, all this discussion about coughing and judgement on one particular board seems like a distraction from the real issue (the board and tray signals).

I sincerely hope that the prosecutors in this case see fit to restrict themselves to the clearest and most compelling examples. So long as it is possible to demonstrate that the pair was passing illicit information using one signally method, there is no reason to try to demonstrate that the pair was cheating using a variety of cheating methods.

Introducing weaker examples can only provide the defense with an opportunity to distract people.




Feb. 13, 2016
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>A liar and a cheater. Who cares what he says.

So nice that we were able to dispense with hearings and trials and move directly to the execution…

Personally, I think that we owe it to ourselves to pay very close attention to what Fisher is saying.

1. The process that we are working through only works if we are willing to given F+S a fair hearing

2. The critiques that F+S raise and their success during the actual legal proceedings need be carefully considered when collecting data during future cheating incidents

With this said and done, I read Fisher's comments and thought that it consisted of self serving drivel and unsubstantiated claims. It did nothing to convince me of the merits of his case.
Feb. 9, 2016
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thanks for the correction
Feb. 9, 2016
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FWIW, I view this as a reasonable precaution on the part of the IBF. F+S have already demonstrated a proclivity for filing lawsuits. A public announcement that the IBF will handle attorney fees should certainly help reassure their panel and might help dissuade F+S from suing.
Feb. 9, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Feb. 9, 2016
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Unless, of course, the ACBL feels that the IBF sanction is insufficient
Feb. 6, 2016
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I recently renewed my subscription to The Bridge World simply to see how they covered the recent imbroglio that has shaken the top levels of the game. Sadly, I felt that the discussion did not rise to the standard that I've seen on this web site.

I probably won't be renewing.

FWIW, the reason that I stopped subscribing last time around was (what felt like) a very parochial approach to the game. Lots of discussion of 2/1 GF and North American pairs. Not much discussion regarding other approaches…
Feb. 2, 2016
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A lot of you are acting as if you had some kind of god given right to an unobstructed auction when you have good hands. There is no such thing.

In a similar vein, the purpose of bridge is not to have beautiful descriptive auctions. Rather, it is to achieve the best score at the end of the session. Sometimes we achieve this by getting to our best contract, other times we do well by forcing the opponents to make a blind guess.

Personally, I think that it is a mistake to try to use the convention charts to force the game to adhere to a set of personal aesthetics. If you genuinely believe that there is too much “obstructive” bidding, adjust the scoring tables such that people are penalized more if they fail to make their contracts. (It's been done before. Maybe its time has come again)



Jan. 29, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Jan. 30, 2016
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> If you conducted a poll on this site asking – “Are you familiar
> with the details of the Lillie ruling” – what do you suppose
> the percentage of affirmative answers would be? My
> own answer would be negative.

If only I had thought to provide a link to a web page providing a summary of the decision and the debate around it in my original post…

How much embarrassment might I have saved myself…

> Why is it my obligation as your reader to fill in the factual lacunae in your opinions?

I don't think that the gap is in my opinion, but rather in your familiarity with the subject. In any case, there's no obligation for you to inform yourself on anything. (It would probably interfere with your ability to pontificate.

A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

Jan. 28, 2016
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Ray, you accused me of creating a straw man.

I offered the 1998 Lille example to demonstrate that my characterization of Wolff's position is consistent with his own quotes. (If you want I can find plenty of other more recent examples. I used that one because its the first one that came to mind and I knew that I could find it easily on a search engine)

The 1998 had nothing to do with me - something that would be blinding obvious if you spend a modicum of time actually familiarizing yourself with the discussion. I guess that informing yourself would cut down on your time available to write ignorant snarky responses.
Jan. 28, 2016
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> If you throw bids out at random, you're turning the contest
> into poker, which is not what I'd like bridge to become.

I disagree with this comment on oh so many levels.

First and foremost, Wolff Wolff's objection is to any method that he finds aesthetically displeasing. A 10-12 HCP 1NT opening - the example that Wolff choses in his last post - is hardly a “random” bid. It is merely one that Wolff happens to dislike.

If this were simply a matter where Wolff's aesthetics happened to be violated, I wouldn't care that much. However, Wolff had a proud tradition of issuing rulings in which he placed his own personal feelings above to the law. He not only admits to issuing rulings that have no basis in the laws, he crows about it. The results of which are travesties like the 1998 Lillie ruling.

Since Ray has accused me of constructing a straw man, let me include a direct quote for il Duce.

“Consequently, to create a level playing field we MUST eliminate the following insidious trio of i's:

intimidation
intentional convention disruption
inactive ethics.

Primarily because of this, bridge justice at the very high levels has to be handled in a different way than natural justice. We need to roll up our sleeves and fight the i's the only way we might have a chance in order to stop them or at least slow them down. We cannot wait for 100% evidence of violations, but must rather act with harsh punishment for apparent disrespect of the game itself. Yes, at times it will be subjective, but as long as solid people are in control, it will work. And at the very least, under threat of bad scores (plus some embarrassment) the players will be aware of the horrors of not conforming.”

This type of attitude should immediate disqualify anyone from serving on a committee or drafting regulations.


https://web.archive.org/web/20080124173854/http://www.blakjak.demon.co.uk/lille8.htm
Jan. 28, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Jan. 28, 2016
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