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All comments by Richard Willey
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Image recognition technology is pretty well advanced.

It shouldn't be that difficult to to aim a camera at a screen displaying an Our Game match, extract the cards, and generate a Lin file. At that point in time, you just need to watch each bid that gets made and each card that gets played.

I know that MATLAB + Image Processing Toolbox could do this without much trouble.


Aug. 4, 2014
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I guess that you can either have participation from Israeli teams or allow countries with significant Muslim population to host, but not both.
Aug. 4, 2014
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Against me, the opps had the following auction

(2) - 2 - (X) - P
(3) - P - (3) - P
(4) - All pass

I got dragged into the ensuing argument and ventured that they got off to a good start, however, East should probably bid 5 or even 6 over 3. (With that said and done, I also don't like to open 2 on a three suited hand if I can help it)



Aug. 3, 2014
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> In what sense are we “all screwed”?

I think that the bridge playing public would be much better off if the WBF weren't in a position to charge for Vugraph.

I am extremely skeptical of the WBF, especially where money is concerned. As a practical example, I think that the WBF's attempt at getting bridge approved as an Olympic sport is primarily motivated by the desire to sell of Olympic Gold Medals to well heeled sponsors and attach themselves to the incredibly corrupt Olympic system.

I would very much prefer a system in which there is an open feed for various WBF events, to which any one of a number of providers can choose to subscribe. Now that WBF believes that they have a valuable property that they can charge for, its going to be a hell of a lot more difficult to get something more reasonable established


Aug. 2, 2014
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It is considered bad form to simply state “Your argument is stupid” without explaining why…
Aug. 2, 2014
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Dave, I work in Akamai's InfoSec department. I spend an annoying percentage of my life trying to make sure that the no one manages to break SSL or DDOS our systems. Believe me when I say that your snarky little observation doesn't add to the conversation.

If the Chinese were manufacturing the processor or the RAM, I'd be seriously concerned. Introducing a flaw to the RNG would have serious consequences and be hard to detect. Introducing a side channel attack during assembly would be a lot easier to identify.

Please note: I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that the NSA has introduced just this type flaw into our chips. (I took a great class with Bruce Schneier last semester at Harvard Law School. We spent a lot of time discussing just that scenario. Here's the thing:

The “fact” that the NSA might very well have a way to break my encryption doesn't mean that I should volunteer to install malware on my system. And the fact that my laptop was manufactured in China doesn't mean that I can dismiss concerns about what applications I install.
Aug. 2, 2014
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One thing that I do find rather annoying. Years and years ago, when BBO was first getting started with VuGraphs I tried to convince Fred and Co that there was an advantage to using BBO's then dominant position to push for open standards for Vugraph and the like. Didn't have much luck. Now we're all screwed.
Aug. 2, 2014
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Please note: I am speaking strictly for myself here and a not for my employer.

Anyone stupid enough to install a random Chinese binary on their machine deserves what they get.
Aug. 2, 2014
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Alternatively, the date is way too noisy to draw a meaningful conclusion
July 28, 2014
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> To defray costs, the ACBL might begin building its own
>large modern Bridge Centers in strategic locations around
>the country.

>(…one of my few worthwhile suggestions. So, it bears
>repeating. :)


If you consider this idea one of your few worthwhile suggestions, I'd hate to see your bad ones. In all seriousness, this may be the stupidest idea that I've seen in years.

At the most basic level, the ACBL has about two and a half million dollars in the bank. Where pray tell, is the organization supposed to get the money to undertake a major real estate development “close to five star hotels”.

More daunting, what leads you to believe that the ACBL has the organizational competence build these bridge centers? The ACBL has a weak central executive and dysfunctional and distributed oversight. The organization is barely competent to negotiate for hotels contracts and you want them purchasing and managing real estate.

Last, but not least, a projections suggest that membership rolls are going to contract dramatically as the ACBL's players fall off a demographic cliff. In particular, participation in club games is plummeting. If anything, the organization needs to to be shedding fixed costs, not purchasing real estate.


July 27, 2014
Richard Willey edited this comment July 27, 2014
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From the looks of things, 7 of the top 8 seeds in the Spingold included at least one pair from outside North America. The next eight teams also included a very high number of non ACBL players / pairs.

Simply put, I don't find the results particularly surprising, especially given Nickell's early exit. I don't thik that this can be used to judge the relative strength of the field across the two continents. Rather, it would seem to reflect a more competitive labor market for bridge pros.
July 27, 2014
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Its extremely easy to do so, which is why no one in their right mind should ever input their credit card number into any such machine…
July 23, 2014
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Is there a complete version of the hearing available anywhere? I can find a bunch of copies of the press release and a abridgeded version of the report at http://neapolitanclub.altervista.org/eng/elinescu-wladow-affaire-report-of-a-hearing-of-the-appeal-tribunal.html however, I'm not having much luck finding an unabridged version of the report.
July 21, 2014
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Get enough sleep.

Bring “useful” snack food so you can nibble on vaguely nutritious stuff throughout the course of the day and avoid sugar spikes.

Its worth taking some time to see the Grand Canyon and some of the other geological formations
July 17, 2014
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>Where I think people will get in trouble with a more than 2
>point deviation is their typical definition of 1?, which
>usually mentions specifically HCP in the definition

Few quick comments:

Most strong club players that I know don't use HCP's as the primary measure to evaluate whether or not to open a strong club. (As a practical example, playing MOSCITO, the hand evaluation is based primarily on a combination of slam points - A = 3, K = 2, Q = 1 - and shape) On occasion, regulatory authorities require players to use HCPs to describe much more complicated agreements which creates all sorts of problems.

FWIW, MOSCITO uses a lighter strong club opening that most Precision methods. I've opened 1 on a number of 14 counts. I just sat down and tried to come up with a 13 HCP hand where I'd be tempted to open 1 rather than making a limited opening or making some kind of preempt. The closest that I was able to come was something like

KQJT98
AQJT98
9
Void

And even here, I'm feeling pretty doubtful. This isn't to say that I'd never want to open 1 on a 13 count, however, I can't think of a hand where I'd want to do so. With this said and done, if I did come up with such a hand, I don't think it would e unreasonable to treat this as a deviation. I don't believe that deviations aren't rigidly defined by HCPs - nor have I ever seen a regulation stating that a hand that if off by more that 2 HCP can't be considered as a deviation. Rather, the definition seems to hinge on the existence of a fuzzy boundary. 99% pf the time, the boundary defining this bid can be described by the following short, succinct, and easy to understand statement. However, once in a blue moon, there's an exception. Its not worth muddying the simple definition by including 1,001 possible violations. Rather, we create the notion of a “deviation”.

I used to spend a lot of time and effort trying to create a metric that I could use to describe different types of hands. Strong club openings, limited openings, preempts, … I even have a very complicated Dealer script that I use for bidding practice. I eventually concluded that the whole idea was rubbish. The only approach that I find works really well is provide a set of example hands that illustrate the boundary between different openings. Something like the following: “Here's a set of hands where I'm almost indifferent between a strong club opening and a limited 1 opening and here's why.”

I know this doesn't scale well from humans playing in tournaments, however, I think that this might represent a good form of disclosure for computers. “Here's a set of 128 hands that correspond with the auction so far”




July 10, 2014
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> ok, I've read it, and I think you are wrong on
> this case, Richard

No problem with that. If you have a chance, please provide your own interpretation of what the GCC says. In particular, what clause under openings allows one to play a Precision 1 opening?
July 10, 2014
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I agree that that 10+ HCP 1 opening covers non- forcing 1 openings (as well as Polish club and the like). However, there is no other language under “Openings” that sanctions a Precision type 1 opening.

Much as I might ridicule the ineptitude of the ACBL and their near complete inability to write decent regulations, even I don't believe that they are incompetent enough to suggest that licensing a set of responses to given opening is equivalent to licensing the opening itself, especially when there is alternative language in the “Openings” section that allow the opening in question.
July 9, 2014
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Chris, you have absolutely no idea about the convention regulations. Maybe you should study up some before giving advice.

The Precision one club opening is sanction under line item 1 of the GCC which permits the use of a one club opening that promises 10 or more high card points. (note the number 10, which is quite far removed from 15)

Lets assume that I'm playing a standard response structure over a Precise club, in which a one diamond response denies a game forcing hand and 1H+ all show different types of game forces.

Line item 7 under responses and rebids does indeed make reference to a 15 HCP lower bound on strong club openings. “ARTIFICIAL AND CONVENTIONAL CALLS after strong (15+ HCP), forcing opening bids”. However, this is moot because a precision type response structure is sanctioned using other parts of the same chart.

Line item one under responses and rebids sanctions any type of 1D response, so I'm fine there. Line item 3 under the same, allows any response that promises game forcing values. So I'm fine there as well.

There would be a bit more trouble if you were using a MOSCITO type response structure where there are a variety of artificial semi positive response to the strong club opening. However, even here you aren't going to encounter any significant trouble if you chose to upgrade the occasional 13 count. The ACBL is very clear about those cases where players can't exercise judgement. (mini NTs on 9 counts and the like). This isn't of them.

So, if someone like Chris calls the director, get ready for a good laugh cause any decent director will tell Chris to stop wasting everyone's time.

July 9, 2014
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Few quick observations which can be summarized as “The problem is framed incorrectly”.

1. From what I can tell, the partnership in question wasn't playing a strong, artificial, and forcing 2 opening, so all the ACBL rules about this are irrelevant

2. As far as I know, nothing in the ACBL rules prohibit psyching a strong, natural 2 opening

3. It's possible that the partner of the opener may have fielded the psyche by passing 3, however, its impossible to know without better information about the partnership agreement and responder's hand.


July 8, 2014
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The trivial amount of money involved is precisely why shouldn't hit Buffett up for funding.

1. If an organization can't figure out how to raise this small an amount, they really don't deserve support. Asking for this amount signals that you don't have your shit together.

2. Buffett can (essentially) afford to fund anything. You don't waste interrupts with individuals like this for piddily shit.

July 1, 2014
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