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All comments by Richard Willey
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Greg,

As I understand matters the Conditions of Contest require any participant to register their system a month in advance of the event. This seems more than reasonable.

With this said and done, this very reasonable system does create a problem when you need to substitute in a new pair at the last minute. There will (necessarily) be a conflict between two conflicting goals.

From my perspective, insisting that a Polish pair play a system that their North American opponents approve of doesn't seem like a good way to square the circle. I think that it is much more reasonable to allow the pair in question to play ANY system that is (pretty much) the same as any other system that has already been registered for this event.

FWIW, I think that a very interesting debate is possible regarding whether the Poles should be allowed to augment their team if one of their pairs needs to be disinvited at the last minute. I am not convinced that this was necessary or desirable.

However, I very much agree that this kvetching about bidding systems is at best a distraction from the real issues at hand.
Sept. 28, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 28, 2015
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Barry Goren wrote

> As usual Boye U have no idea how to go about things . So
> far all I have seen is u making accusations and taking
> credit . Have u actually managed to figure out how people
> are cheating ? So far from all I know about the first 2 the
> answer to that is NO !

I don't have a clue whether or not Boye personally broke any of the ciphers that F+S and F+N were using. Then again, I don't really care because I am smart enough to understand that these technical considerations are a relatively small part of the grand story.

For better or worse, Boye was the prime mover behind a large group of people who produced some truly remarkable results. Between them, F+S and F+N tainted almost every major event over the last decade and no one did a damn thing about this other than complain. Boye is the one who ended up forcing action and this is a hell of a lot more important than cracking any one cipher. (Don't get me wrong, its great that Ish and per and the like did what they did, but Boye is the one who got the ball rolling)

I''m still not sure whether he is a Danton, or a Robespierre, or something completely different. It will be hard to say until the Comité de salut public settles down into something more process oriented. Regardless, it will be interesting to watch.

Sept. 27, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 27, 2015
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It would be interesting to know how many people are stupid enough to continue cheating when they have the extra special cameras trained on them…

Seriously, this just seems stupid.
Sept. 27, 2015
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> So now, we have the Polish foursome playing plus a known,
> world-class Polish pair being added to that team.
> Meanwhile, Monaco, Israel and Germany are out (correctly)
> and were replaced. What's wrong with this picture?

There are a number of other BIG differences between what happened with the teams from Israel, Monaco, and Germany and what took place with Poland.

Most notably, in the former cases the evidence regarding the pairs that are accused of cheating was presented well in advance of the event. From what little I know of what's going on, it sounds as if there evidence in these cases is much more conclusive.

I don't find it at all surprising (or even disappointing) that - as of yet - we're seeing a events unfold.

In particular, given the stress that the WBF placed on “process” during the press conference, I would expect that if ANY of the teams had decided to force the issue with the WBF, they would have been allowed to play with the accused pair uninvited.

Sept. 27, 2015
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> Imagine a simple modification of Fantunes code:
> in deals with even numbers vertical/horizontal has
> one meaning, in odd deals the meaning is reversed.
> All you would get from observation would be that
> sometimes they play cards horizontally, sometimes
> vertically. Decoding would be difficult.

No it wouldn't. People have know how to crack polyalphabetic ciphers since the days of Babbage. None of this is rocket science and would be pretty trivial to implement as a computer program.

What makes life difficult is when folks are using electronics to cheat.

Sept. 27, 2015
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> letting them play two different systems for the
> first 3 days and the 2nd 4 days is outrageous

I think that it is a big mistake to start conflating the fight over system regulations with the cheating discussion.

It was a bad move when Hamman did it. It's equally bad now.

Systems regulations is a very loaded topic. At best, you're going to alienate people who might otherwise support you.

Sept. 27, 2015
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> Shouldn't the number of teams to the World Championships be based on number
> of officially registered players in the country?

Cornelia,

What makes you think that this isn't true?

Last time I checked, the number of slots per Zone was right in line with the number of bridge players.

(It's up to individual Zones to decide how they want to allocate their slots)


Sept. 26, 2015
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Melanie, did you bother to do any research on the history of the WBF or its management structure before writing this last piece?

Believe me, I don't think that the WBF is perfect, but claiming that it has a European bias seems pretty silly. The WBF certain ISN'T dominated by the United States, however, that's more a reflection of the unhealthy state of North American bridge.

If anything, I expect that North America's representation on the BF will decrease, especially if one of the countless attempts to cut off funding ever happens to pass.
Sept. 26, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 26, 2015
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I hope that this continues to be true
Sept. 25, 2015
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The question is not “Does Boye bluff?”, rather it is “Has Boye made a mistake?”

I would hate to see the good work that he has done discredited by a less than convincing claim.
Sept. 25, 2015
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I want the system to be auditable.

Its not enough that the system generates “good” seeds. We also need to ensure that participants are able to verify that the system is behaving as expected.

Using the system that I describe, the seed number for the RNG can (and should) be reconstructed at the close of the round and everyone can verify for themselves the the “right” set of hands were generated.

If we “salt” the system with an addition input we're actually introducing complexity and exposing ourselves to an additional type of attack. If I were particularly clever and was able to control the salt, I could actually use the power to force the seed to whatever value I wanted.
Sept. 25, 2015
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Larry,

If you believe that you have found flaws with the proposed implementation, its best if you disclose them publicly.

Best practices in computer security are based on open disclosure. “Security through Obscurity” does not work. It's much better to identify flaws and allow people the chance to improve the system based on the new information.

As a practical example, earlier in the thread you suggested that cheaters could comprise the hand records. I showed how a system could be implemented that would collaboratively generate a seed for the RNG that would make this extremely unlikely. (Note that I didn't say impossible. There is no such thing as perfect security. The best that we can hope for is to significantly increase the difficult of cheating and improve our ability to detect this cheating when it does occur)


Sept. 24, 2015
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And why is it that there are 1,001 different books out there on technique, but no public discussion on how crucial it is to read your opponent's hitches or watch how they slot their cards….
Sept. 24, 2015
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There is a small to medium sized group of idiots on the ACBL BoD who seize on any excuse to try to defund contributions to the WBF.

They never get anywhere.

The fact that they are using this latest controversy to push the same tired proposals is meaningless.
Sept. 24, 2015
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Here I was, all excited to hear about bidding in the UK…
Sept. 23, 2015
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Oh good, then the decision has no bearing on the ACBL.

(If USBF decisions were binding on ACBL events, this might call into question that whole silly little charade where people pretend that the USBF and the ACBL are separate organizations)
Sept. 22, 2015
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The day the ACBL starts caring about the spirit of the law, I might do once again.

In the mean time, I have some nice little laminated cards printed that say “I have a lawyer on retainer and will sue you personally.”



Sept. 22, 2015
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As with any exchange with the ACBL, I recommend asking the same question 3-4 times just to see the number of conflicting responses that you get.

At the end of the day, the only thing that actually matters is whether the local director in charge is friend yours or of the opposing side and how much you are willing to spend on lawyers.
Sept. 22, 2015
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I wonder whether it would make sense to tie the minimum length of the base suspension to the length of the partnership?

F+N were playing together for 15+ years. Their ban should last a minimum of 15+ years.

I find this attractive because it ties the length of the ban to the length of time that the pair was contaminating results.
Sept. 21, 2015
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Encrypted signals use a key that is known to the defense but not (initially) to declarer to encode the signalling method.

For example, consider a case in which we use standard count and attitude if the “key” takes value A, but upside down count and attitude if the the key takes value B.

Some possible examples of a key include

1. If we know that declarer has a nine card trump fit, the key takes value A if trumps split 2-2, otherwise B

1. If we know that declarer is missing the queen of trump, the key takes value A is North holds the Queen, otherwise B

Note that if declarer can break the signal (he can determine that the defense is using UDCA) he can use this information to derive information about the placement of the Queen or how trump is splitting

Sept. 19, 2015
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