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All comments by Richard Willey
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Take a look at the average age of ACBL members and then compare this to the target demographics for advertisers. Even if you could draw a decent crowd to watch this show, the TV stations wouldn't be able to sell add time.

If you want to create good content

1. Keep complete records
2. Provide good vugraphs
3. Hire someone like Eric Kokish to do a write up on the hands and then make this available for free download

(Kokish used to do a great job with the world championship books)

The fixed cost for generating the content should be quite reasonable and electronic distribution makes the marginal cost trivial…

June 26, 2014
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I find it remarkable that you use “increased ACBL membership” as a way to measure whether an event is good for bridge.

Personally, I think that broadcasting examples of high level play is a hell of a lot more useful than anything that the ACBL provides and I welcome the day that the sad remnants of organized bridge in North America get subsumed by the EBU or some such…

(Come the day that the ACBL can actually provide a useful membership services like regulating conventions or facilitating Vugraphs or doing anything other than separating geriatric cases from their social security checks I may change my mind)
June 26, 2014
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As Tom Thompson points out, the European Bridge League's conditions of contest clearly specify that teams that refuse to play against another team or contestant are to be expelled.

I understand that its unpleasant to enforce such rules. However, refusing to do so or playing along with the polite fiction that the Lebanese team was caught in traffic or whatever demeans the game.

If the Lebanese team is unable to aide by the rules of the event, then they damn well shouldn't be entering.
June 25, 2014
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I must say, it takes some real skill to fuck something up this badly. The USBF managed to turn what should have been a great promotional event for bridge into a blatant demonstration that organization doesn’t have its shit together.

The worst thing about this all is how trivial the dollar amounts are. I can’t help but believe that claims about money are masking something much more serious because $75K is chump change. In this day and age where a Kickstarter campaign for paper dinosaurs can raise $100 thousand in a matter of days, I can’t help but believe that the money could have been found pretty easily.

I’ll tell you what… I’ve had a pretty good year. I’m willing to chip in 25K towards plane fare. (And all I ask is that JLall and Kevin play MOSCITO throughout the event – cause I got to get my kicks and giggles somehow)
June 25, 2014
Richard Willey edited this comment June 25, 2014
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Hi Leo

Speaking as a fairly disinterested party, I think that you'll have a very difficult time getting the ACBL to reconsider their position on this. From my perspective, the key issue is the ACBL's decision to change the qualifications for Grand Life Master to specific exclude individuals who have faced a long term suspension. I can't help but feel that it will be extremely difficult to get the organization to immediately start making exceptions to their new rule.

FWIW, I agree that it looks as if the ACBL adjusted the implementation dates to make sure that you were excluded. I think that you have a right to feel that the organization singled you out. Potentially, they even did so in an unfair manner. However, this makes it seem even less likely that you'll be able to get an exception.

Obviously, there is nothing to stop you from trying to get the organization to reverse their decisions. FWIW, I wish you luck, but I can't help but believe that this won't be a productive use of your time.




June 18, 2014
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> If the guy needs to go for good reason, prosecute him
> for the valid charges.


No argument here. Just don't think that's the way the world works.
June 15, 2014
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1. Most serious events in the ACBL now use computer generated hands. The ACBL already tracks who plays in what event. It's not that difficult to extend this to start recording the boards that people play.

As I mentioned earlier, tracking the number of times that a player chose to open 1NT with a singleton isn't useful information in and off itself. (You can't calculate a frequency without knowing both the numerator and the denominator)

(I recognize that this requires some work on the part of the ACBL, however, if they aren't willing to do the basic work necessary to create a useful system, its probably better to have nothing)

In conjunction with this, restrict the use of the recorder system to events using computer generated hands.

2. Clarify that the recorder system is intended for serious violations like cheating.

3. Clarify the actual regulations around psyches, NT openings with singletons, and the like. Stop promoting semi-official opinions that are in conflict with the actual rules.





June 15, 2014
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My issue with the recorder system is that it captures incomplete information. Because the recorder system only captures cases that look strange to someone, there's no record of of hands that didn't look strange.

How are we supposed to judge the frequency of the event if we only record the numerator and have no way to measure the denominator?

In all honesty, I think the system is nothing more than Kabuki theater, designed to distract people who feel aggrieved by psyches with the illusion that someone cares.



June 14, 2014
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> Anecdote: I once saw a professional player banned from
> ever returning to a particular regional for violating the
> 1% rule.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that the player in question was banned for being a douche bag and “violating the 1% rule” was seized upon as an excuse.
June 14, 2014
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The example that you have constructed clearly seems to cross the line. With this said and done, it is also very far removed from behavior that you describe as illegal and warranting penalties/sanctions.

“If you do it more than once, specific partners will learn to expect it. That's illegal. So….when it happens against me I fill out a player memo and forward it to the Unit (or District) recorder. The reason for this is, if it happens again within the same partnership it becomes an agreement. One that is illegal. And penalties or sanctions apply.”

I don't know where precisely this line gets drawn in practice. However, its somewhere in between these two extremes. It would be nice if the ACBL were capable of explaining where this line is. I'm not holding my breath.

FWIW, you should (obviously) feel free to file memos with ACBL recorder as you see fit. With this said and done, I would be shocked if the recorder system ever took any type of action on most anything. The ACBL is extremely bad at developing repeatable processes. In order to work well, the recorder system needs a lot of infrastructure behind it. You need a decent database combined with some decent statistical tools and smart folks to run this. Based on what I've seen from Memphis, I suspect that all those recorder slips end up either in a large box somewhere in the back of an office or, less charitably, in the circular file.

If you really feel seriously about the recorder, why not try a little experiment and ask the recorder for information rather than sending him recorder forms. See whether any of this data is accessible.

June 14, 2014
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This is not an area where the ACBL provides good guidance.

IMHO the answer ultimately depends on a number of different issues.

1. If partner starts adjusting their bidding to cater to the possibility that you have psyched, you are clearly way over the line.

2. If partner is cognizant that you are likely to make certain psyches in a given situations, you are probably teetering on the line

3. If you've made the same psyche before, this doesn't necessarily create a problem.

From what I can tell, the key issue is that the action is not one that partner would necessarily suspect
June 13, 2014
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Steve, I understand that this is a topic that you feel strongly about, however:

1. Your interpretation of the regulations in North America is way off

2. As an experienced player, you have an obligation to be able to describe regulations as that, not as you might wish them to be or, at the very least to remain quiet rather than spreading inaccurate information.

It is well established that players are able to make the same psyche multiple times with the same basic hand type. The most obvious example is Zia, who has a plethora of time tested psyches that he uses repeatedly within long standing partnerships.

There are plenty of other players who do the same and there is nary a problem from their opponents or with the tournament directors.

Just to be sure, I contacted the ACBL and directly asked them whether there are any restrictions baring this type of repetitive psyche. When pressed, they stated that there are no regulations barring repeated psyches within a partnership.

I understand that you don't like this rule. (I doubt that the ACBL does). However, these are the actual regulations under which we play.

If you don't believe me, ask Horn Lakes yourself.

June 13, 2014
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I would phrase it differently:

The recorder system is designed to track things that need to be recorded. Opening 1NT with a singleton doesn't fall under this category.
June 13, 2014
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I assumed that you were referring to the use of a super accept to show a stiff. I have no problem with folks opening NT with a singleton and have done so myself on more than one occasion.
June 13, 2014
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I would argue that the case that you describe is an example of a deviation and players are allowed to discuss deviations.

(I think that your use of the word “exceptional” is significant)
June 12, 2014
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Out of curiosity, do you have any information about either the level of experience of the TD or level of the event?
June 12, 2014
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Hella no…
June 12, 2014
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The most common definition of “range” is calculated by subtracting the smallest observed value from the largest. A 14-18 HCP 1NT opening would have a 4 point range.

Range is a measure of dispersion, so it makes sense that a 14 HCP NT opening has a range of 0.
June 12, 2014
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There is some question whether this document has any legal standing. (The ACBL has a bad habit of publishing official looking interpretations which later turn out to have to be personal opinions)
June 12, 2014
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>The strong pass does give you slightly more room that a >strong 1?, but the main attraction is 1? with horse manure.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Strong pass systems were developed around the idea that players should be able to make descriptive, constructive, and limited openings as often as possible. These systems were designed around limited openings that typically showed ~8-12 HCPS.

As a consequence of this, the all of the strong hands (13+ HCPs got shoved into a sinjle opening. The only opening that gave people enough room was a pass. As a consequence, you needed some way to show the bad hands. Hence the fert was born. I do agree that pairs took advantage of the preemptive nature of the fert. (Marston and Burgess uses 2C fert NV and a 1H fert when vulnerable). However, its ridiculous to claim that these systems were designed in order to enable the fert.

The easiest way to demonstrate this is to compare strngth of the opening bid when pairs were forced to transition from strong pass type methods to strong club methods. The lower bound for the opening increased significantly, demonstrating the linkage between the strong pass and the limited opening.

If you prefer, just ask Marston or Burgess… They've always been happy to talk about this stuff.

May 29, 2014
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