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All comments by Richard Willey
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Few quick comments here:

1. If teams are failing to complete their system cards, it would seem that the appropriate action is to start enforcing the penalties for this lapse. Giving up on the system card would appear to be rewarding teams for inappropriate behavior.

If large numbers of teams are failing to fill out the cards properly, post examples of what type of disclosure you deem appropriate and hold players to these standards.

2. Not everything can be on the top line of your system card. From my own perspective, I would consider it far more useful to know that the opponent's were playing a strong club system than to know their NT range. Moreover, if I know that the opponents are playing a strong club, my immediate assumption is that they are playing something OTHER than a 15-17 NT

FWIW, I think the claim that a weak NT falls under the category:

“bids that may require advance preparation”

is ridiculous. This is a team trial, not a beginner's game.

3. Why should players competing in a USBF event be reliant on completing ACBL convention cards? From the sounds of things, the lines between USBF regulations and ACBL regulations are muddy at best, I think that you would be much better served drawing clear and distinct boundaries between the two organizations. Part of this means self reliance.

Dec. 31, 2015
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This example had nothing to do with forcing pass systems.

Introducing this concept into the discussion is an irrelevant distraction at best.
Dec. 31, 2015
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The method being described is completely unsound. I can't believe that this can ever lead to a positive expected value if they were disclosed in advance.

More importantly, the methods are sufficiently non standard that they should be disclosed in advance such that pairs can defend appropriately.

FWIW, the MIT club used to have a member named Binkley who had a similar philosophy about balancing. (He believed that the opponents should NEVER be allowed to play in two of a major).

I recall one occasion where Binkley was sitting to my right. Partner opened 1S, and I was sitting on a balanced 20 count with two card support. I made the “obvious” raise to two spades and it went pass, pass to Binkley. Sure enough, Binkley doubled, and that's where the fun started.
Dec. 31, 2015
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FWIW,

I don't think that Gabrielle should have been banned from Bridge Winners.

It might surprise people, but I agree with many of Gabby's core critiques.

1. I think that the ACBL's existing management structure is grossly incompetent.

2. I think that the ACBL's management of ACBLScore+ rises to the level of malfeasance.

With this said and done, I also think that Gabby has a very active imagination, she has a very limited understanding regarding corporate governance, Requests for Proposals and the like, and many of her critiques spiral off into paranoid fantasy.

These posts really undercut her message. Still, I don't see any reason to ban her.





Dec. 19, 2015
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In general, I think that open discourse and transparency is the right way to deal with these sorts sorts of issues. I don;t think any of us believe that the WBF is doing the right thing by sweeping this all under the rug.

However, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Just as we demand open discourse from the WBF, we must allow the accused an equal chance to present their case.


Dec. 17, 2015
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> Since 2♣ is an artificial bid, why not have a bright line
> test similar to the one they have for 1♣ openings.

Because little old ladies would screw this up all the time and god forbid that we ever enforce rules against the geezers who make up the bulk of the membership.

In contrast, strong club players are expected to have enough grey matter left to be able to read and understand regulations.

Dec. 15, 2015
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The ACBL has publicly stated that the minimum hand strength for a 2 opening is up to the personal judgement of the player making the bid.

Stupid, I know. (But this is the ACBL we're talking about. Why would one expect anything better)
Dec. 15, 2015
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While I am a firm believer in the benefits of open source software, I don't believe that the ACBL has an appropriate user base to support a successful open source project.

With this said and done, it might be possible to do something useful if one were to broaden the scope and try to produce something with a more international flavor. (And regardless of whether or not I think that an ACBL only Open Sorce project would/would not be successful, I don;t see any good reason not to make the code base much more public)
Dec. 13, 2015
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This comment has been marked as inappropriate by the moderator(s).
Dec. 11, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Dec. 12, 2015
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> Since beginning of (bridge)time there have been several
> changes, but one important thing has always stayed the same:
> Four people sitting at one table each holding 13 cards.

> There is nothing incorrect in that statement.
> One can play in other enviroments. The fact that some
> thousands play online for leisure or practising purposes at > any given time does not make the statement incorrect.

Rolf. You are repeatedly explaining that English is not your first language and asking for special treatment because of this. This is all fine and well. However, stop trying to lecture me about about the correctness of what you have written because the words that you are putting on the page don't mean what you intend.

When you use the expression “always stayed the same” you are asserting an absolute. You are claiming that every game of bridge involves a table and cards. You have already admitted that this is not true. Some people play online games for fun. Many national bridge organizations hold serious tournaments online. (For example, the ACBL holds the collegiate championships online. Several ACBL districts hold their GNT qualifiers online)


Dec. 11, 2015
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> It is arrogant to think that I did not find the top search
> result which by google terms usually is Wikipedia. The
> context which it was used still told me nothing.

Let me start by quoting from the wikipedia article that Rolf claims to have read and fails to understand

“When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim (”no Scotsman would do such a thing“), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule (”no true Scotsman would do such a thing“).”

Next, lets review the discussion thread

Rolf kicked things off by making a universal claim

>>> Since beginning of (bridge)time there have been several
>>> changes, but one important thing has always stayed
>>> the same: Four people sitting at one table each
>>> holding 13 cards.

I pointed out that this is incorrect, noting that at this very moment, thousands of people were playing on line (many of whom were playing in events sanctioned by their NBOs)

>> I just logged into BBO. As I speak, there are 1900 tables
>> playing bridge. If I log in again in a couple hours, I'll
>> also see a couple thousand tables playing bridge. I'd bet
>> dollars to donuts that the total number of hands of bridge
>> played in a given week on BBO is larger than what you see >> in any national bridge organization.

Rolf responded by explain that these people who I claim are playing bridge are not true Scotsmen

> To the best of my knowledge the tournaments where you go
> and play bridge are all played in the same ‘old school’ way:
> Four people sitting at one table each holding 13 cards.
Dec. 11, 2015
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Gary,

Once again, I am commenting about the design of the system. I am not claiming that a specific incident has taken place.

Look at your last post. The ACBL is openly stating that the processes that it currently uses can not be trusted for use in the semis. I think this does a better job demonstrating that the existing system is badly flawed than anything I could point to.

The reason that the existing system encounters these is that it was designed for 20 year old technology. Hand records are generated in a central location, physically transported to the playing site, and then stored in a “secure” manner until they are needed.

I am pointing out that if/when we migrate to a new architecture there is no need to be handcuffed by these limitations. Instead, we have the opportunity to make significant improvements. However, in order to do so we need to be cognizant of the short comings of the existing system.



Dec. 10, 2015
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I think that our standards regarding what it means to be “secure” are very different.

I would NEVER trust a system in which a single rogue individual could compromise the security of the system.


Dec. 9, 2015
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They are. However, the generate, transmission, and storage aren't done in a particularly secure manner.

There have been cases where the ACBL has sent the same hands to different tournaments on different days. The existing system requires that we put trust in individuals rather than processes.
Dec. 9, 2015
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> However, with correct software design, it isn't likely.

Well, the birthday paradox is in play… (I am actually sitting in a meeting where we are analyzing the implications of hash table collisions)
Dec. 9, 2015
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> Discussion is related to dealing software and is only
> slightly relevant to the thread. Don't worry about it.

Huh. I would have felt that secure methods for hand generation would be fundamental to any proposal to move to an electronic playing environment.

Just last week, we saw a ridiculous screed that, in part, involved the security of the hands for the 2013 USBF team trials. I think that said thread does a good job showing why

1. The hand generation system must be secure
2. Equally important, it must be possible to demonstrate that the hand generation system is secure
Dec. 9, 2015
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> To the best of my knowledge the tournaments where you go
> and play bridge are all played in the same ‘old school’ way:
> Four people sitting at one table each holding 13 cards.

I have never seen such an blindingly obvious example of “No true Scotsman”
Dec. 8, 2015
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FWIW, I think that the mechanism for generating the seed and whether to provide a salt is much more interesting than the minimum seed size.

As I have noted before, I think that it is strongly desirable to have a mechanism in which

1. The seed/salt is generated in an open and secure fashion at the start of each round of play.

2. The seed/salt is keep secret until the close of the round of play

3. The source code for the executable is available so people can that the hands played are consistent with the seed / salt

(For aesthetic reasons, I think that there is some value in generating the seeds and the salt using physical desks of cards)
Dec. 8, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Dec. 8, 2015
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> The number one question you have to answer is what happens
> when the system crashes, how do we carry on from where we
> are at. If the answer is “we can't” then this system is
> dead in the water.

All of the brains for this system are running on a server. Hot swapping a tablet should be pretty trivial.

If your local server crashes, life gets a bit more complicated. However, even here you should be able to recover pretty easily. Recall the system that I propose where your hands for a session are being generated from a known seed. This will allow you to recover all of your hands even if the server needs to get rebooted.

I would also expect that this system to feature a local server which is echoing information to the central BBO servers. The primary reason for this is to avoid overloading the local server with spectators, however, it also provides remote storage and recovery.

I (personally) would be far more worried about a network outage than a server crash.
Dec. 7, 2015
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> Since beginning of (bridge)time there have been several
> changes, but one important thing has always stayed
> the same: Four people sitting at one table each
> holding 13 cards.

It is hard to imagine a statement that is so wrong.

I just logged into BBO. As I speak, there are 1900 tables playing bridge. If I log in again in a couple hours, I'll also see a couple thousand tables playing bridge. I'd bet dollars to donuts that the total number of hands of bridge played in a given week on BBO is larger than what you see in any national bridge organization. (Oh yeah, its worth noting that many of those players are earning master points)

Dec. 7, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Dec. 8, 2015
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