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All comments by Richard Willey
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Heres a shorter version of Wolff's comment: “If your methods suck, don't bother improving them. It's far easier to ban the competing approaches.”

Thank god Wolff isn't allow to participate in drafting regulations or issue rulings any more.
Jan. 28, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Jan. 28, 2016
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<Richard puts on his economist hat>

From my perspective, the best way to frame this proposal is to ask what the ACBL is “selling” in exchange for the entry fees that it collects.

1. If you believe that the ACBL is selling the chance to play the game of bridge, then the four player versus six player distinction is meaningless. Only four individuals are playing at once. The fact that there are six players on the team is a distraction. The price change is best viewed as the ACBL ratcheting up fees in order to recover from the recent financial debacles.

2. If you believe that the primary ACBL business of the ACBL is selling masterpoints, then the four player versus six player distinction is salient. The six person team is collecting significantly more masterpoints and it seems reasonable to charge them accordingly.

From my perspective, the arguments about bulletins, lunches, snacks, and the like are a distraction at best.
Jan. 24, 2016
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the lovely thing about fresh snow is that it makes a pretty good toilet paper substitute
Jan. 23, 2016
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> if you successfully argue that it should be a “user fee” for those in the events, then have you
> not also provided justification that WBF dues should be the same kind of “user fee” upon those
> who are directly involved.

Hi Don

Traditionally, I have been very supportive of providing funds to the WBF. Regretfully, I have concluded that I was wrong on this front. Today, when I think of the WBF, three things come to mind

1. Wasting enormous amounts of time, resources, and credibility on a Quixotic quest to join the Olympics

2. A complete failure to police the game such that 15+ years of events are irrevocably tainted

3. Selling broadcast rights to events to third parties thereby preventing spectators from watching games

I no longer have much problem with cutting off funds to the WBF…

Jan. 21, 2016
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This is starting to be a bad joke…
Jan. 20, 2016
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Statistically speaking, no one attends the Bermuda Bowl either, so your argument seems moot.

I think that the more telling argument is that I doubt that clients will pay so the pros will boycott…
Jan. 20, 2016
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Initially, I was kinda horrified at this idea, but its starting to grown on me. This has the virtue of simplicity, which is a powerful argument.

As Lukasz notes, this solution isn't perfect. In theory, a member of the Czech team might decide to conspire with a member of the Estonian team. In practice, the rewards from this conspiracy would be decreased dramatically and the difficulty in conspiring would (arguably) increase.
Jan. 20, 2016
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How many do I need to open 2NT with a stiff opposite the same partner for this to constitute an agreement and how many times if Zia is the one opening 2NT? Or, alternatively, how many times does Zia get to open an 8 count in third seat?

Jan. 19, 2016
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> Otherwise, you might as well have no system. It cannot function handling tens of thousands of > reports throughout ACBL-land.

I agree that this type of system would be wildly implausible if you are working in Excel or trying to examine the data by hand. Conversely, if the recorder system is built on top of a well designed database, this type of analysis becomes pretty trivial.

The question becomes: Is the ACBL willing to invest the effort to do this right?

Jan. 19, 2016
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I don't disagree with your comment about clubs. I do think that it is possible (and desirable) to have a disciplinary system for the top levels of the game that is not used for the hoi polloi. I don't think that the average player would expect or appreciate the laws being applied to them, nor would they be happy paying for such a privilege.
Jan. 19, 2016
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I don't believe that the system that is being described is intended for use at the club level,
Jan. 19, 2016
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I want to stress the following: Any system that is premised on recording “unusual” actions is badly flawed and (potentially) useless. Whatever system gets constructed needs to record ALL actions, “usual” and “unusual” both.

I recognize that this isn't going to be practical for all games, however, for the “important” ones there needs to be pervasive monitoring and recording.

As a practical examples, assume for the moment that you have recording every occasion where I have psyched a white on red 1NT opening in third seat over the part two years. You really can't evaluate this without knowing the frequency with which this occurs. In turn, this requires that you also record all the hands where I had an appropriate hand for said psyche but chose some other action.

Jan. 18, 2016
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I would argue that the mechanisms necessary and methods proposed are intended for the highest levels of the game. Table fees for these events should be adjusted accordingly.
Jan. 18, 2016
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Let me start by wishing the committee good luck with this endeavor and to thank you for publishing your proposal and requesting comments.

From my own perspective, the critical lesson from last year’s cheating investigations is that private groups of concerned individuals seem to be better at driving these sorts of investigations than membership organizations like the WBF or the ACBL. As such, I think that the primary area of responsibility for the ACBL and USBF is collecting and publishing comprehensive records for top tier events. If you are playing in the semi finals of the Spingold / Vanderbilt / team trials what have you, the expectation should be that you are being video taped and that these hands records are publically available for third parties to analyze. (The WBF should be doing precisely the same for the Bermuda Bowl, the Olympiad, what have you).

This should be done with the expectation that concerned individuals will be analyzing this data trying to identify cheaters. Personally, I think that it is a lot better that this take place in the clear light of day on public web sites like Bridgewinners. I agree that bringing premature charges can be harmful to individual’s reputations. At the same time, I think that it’s a lot better that this happens in the open as opposed to whispering campaigns on private mailing lists.
Jan. 18, 2016
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I'm guessing that we could attract even more players if we dispensed with the card game altogether and started showing movies…
Jan. 17, 2016
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Ray,

I have had enough run arounds with the ACBL that I don't expect that my participation would be welcome. However, I'll tell you what: If the USBF commits to a system that does indeed enforce penalties for failing to fill out System Summary forms in an adequate manner, I'll be more than happy to put a system in place to make sure that they get reviewed…

<Running off to Iran on vacation for a couple weeks. Expect to be back on 1/11>







Jan. 1, 2016
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I don't view directors call and appeals committees to be “fun and beautiful”.

The way you avoid these issues is by putting the appropriate processes in place to ensure that the original problems do not occur.

Unfortunately, this means that some of those irresponsible 18 to 25 year olds need to be expected to follow the rules of the game that they are playing. I don't think its ridiculous to expect this. Indeed, I think that it is patronizing not to do so.

Jan. 1, 2016
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Agree with Robin.

And, on the flip side, this also means acclimating teams to the idea that they are expected to fill out their convention cards.
Jan. 1, 2016
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If can't trust a pair to fill out a convention card, I'd hardly value any “community service” that they provide. I'm guessing that the amount of time that I spent supervising the idiots would more than outweigh any contribution that they made.

As I recall, the players are spending a fair amount of time and money to show up at this event. I am guessing that the one motivation that they all hold in common is that they want to place well. If it were me, I'd ding their entire team in the standings.

25% of the maximum round score for each round that they fail to have an appropriate system card filled out feels about right.


Jan. 1, 2016
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There's nothing wrong with deciding that folks don't want to invest the time and effort to develop processes to prevent these sorts of problems.

Just don't be surprised when these sorts of incidents happen. Its an almost inevitable consequence of the decisions that you're making.

From what I can tell, the “offending” side didn't do anything wrong, especially in light of the confused regulatory regime.

Its a pity that a procedural penalty can't be assigned to the organizers.

Jan. 1, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Jan. 1, 2016
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