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Thanks for collecting the data
Sept. 11, 2016
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> If one were being serious about all this, one might look
> at their first and second seat openers to get an
> understanding about how light
> those are.

This seems like a meaningless distraction.

The crux of the matter is not whether or not the pair's 3rd seat openings are similar to their first/second seat openings, but rather how the pair bids in third seat holdings “values a king or more below average strength.”

It would also be interesting to understand whether B+L's bidding differs significantly from the field that they are competing against…

If there is a law that (almost) everyone is breaking, then I question whether or not its practical to single out one pair for punishment. Rather, I prefer adjusting the regulatory structure to align it with popular practice
Sept. 11, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 11, 2016
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Interesting choice to play armchair psychologist without knowing jack shit about who I am.

FWIW, I consider Justin a friend. I might be acting a bit harshly towards him at the moment. (I hope that he'll forgive me).

If the claim is true (and I haven't seen compelling evidence one way or the other) then I think that the root cause is a completely fucked up disclosure system that forces people to twist themselves into knots trying to with the licensing authorities.

As I mentioned before, I think that its important not to consider this as an isolated case, but rather, to see whether this type of action is wide spread or not…
Sept. 11, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 11, 2016
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For what its worth, here's how I would hope that things proceed:

1. The Powers that Be should examine the full set of hands records for B+L and determine that actual frequency with which they open white versus red in third seat and how corresponds to their announced methods. If possible, the data should be coded with dates so we can see whether the methods have changed over time.

(From my perspective, the only hands that are interesting are those that occurred during high level events)

2. Furthermore, I think that the precise same analysis should be conducted for other strong club pairs. For example, Chris Compton seems to think that this is just bridge. He plays strong club. It's probably worth seeing what he is doing in his partnerships. On a more general note, I don't think that we can properly evaluate B+L's behaviour without knowing what common practice is.

I would not be surprised to discover that this type of behavior is relatively common for top pairs playing strong club. If so, we might eventually need the bridge equivalent of a “truth and reconciliation” commission.

Please note: If this behaviour is, indeed, extremely common, my preference would be to reform the system's charts to make them conform to actual practice.
Sept. 11, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 11, 2016
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The odds don't matter
Whether or not something is good bridge doesn't matter

All that matters is whether or not you are playing games with disclosure to permit you to play an otherwise illegal method
Sept. 11, 2016
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Chris, with all due respect, you want to keep your mouth closed because you sure as hell aren't doing the side that you're trying to help very much good.

Closing your eyes and pretending that nothing untoward is happening doesn't provide you any protection. Saying that you are taking deliberate action to pretend that you don't know what's going on simply means that your are consciously colluding before the fact.

The correct bridge strategy is to work to get the regulations changed so the methods that you want to play are legal. If you aren't able to do this, then you damn well obey they laws rather than trying to do end runs around them.
Sept. 11, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 11, 2016
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> Right now, I am quite proud be a part of
> the ACBL, which clearly states as the
> second sentence of their CoCs: "Conditions
> of Contest (CoC) for an event may not be
> changed at any level of play during the
> course of that event.“

But the ACBL does change the Conditions of Contest during events…

The only thing that written rule does is demonstrate that the ACBL lies in addition to being fickle…
Sept. 11, 2016
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Let's be clear about what is being alleged:

A system that requires one to open in third seat regardless of strength is a HUM

There are lots of restrictions regarding the ability to play HUMs in the RR phase of the World Championships.

Concealing one's method in an attempt to avoid these restrictions is a very severe offense
Sept. 11, 2016
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Few quick comments

1. The is obviously an extremely complicated issue. I think that an awful lot is riding on the “quality” of the Spanish team's complaint. Without being able to see the specific charges that are being leveled against Bathurst - Lall it seems inappropriate to offer much in the way of conjectures

2. During the cheating cases involving F+S and F+N there was lot of discussion whether statistical inference was sufficient to convict folks for cheating. This example would seem to hinge on the same type of issue. A claim is being made that B + L's true methods do not correspond to their announced methods and a corpus of hands in being introduced as evidence. Interesting times that we're living in…

3. Here, once again, if we were using a computerized playing environment and had appropriate record keeping, it would be trivial to check the validity of the Spaniard's complaints

4. I disagree with Oren's claim that “It was utterly inappropriate to make such an accusation at that time and in that form.” Arguably, a team does not have standing to make a complaint until such a time as they are physically seated against the pair in question. The Spanish complaint hinges on appropriate disclosure of methods. It would seem right and proper to give the US team every opportunity to amend their disclosure.

I've seen any number of occasions where American teams and pairs have chosen to live by the letter of the laws while grossly violating the spirit. Turn about is fair play.

5. I am somewhat disappointed that the Spaniards appear to have backed down. If you are going to raise these sorts of charges, have the balls to carry through to the end. In a similar fashion, if you're going to do something like this and try a case in the court of public opinion, have a web site or some such ready to go to support your side of the story
Sept. 11, 2016
Richard Willey edited this comment Sept. 11, 2016
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I borrowed a copy of The Bulletin from a friend and looked it over this evening. I'm not sure whether providing discounted copies is a good way to attract juniors to the game.

I see an awful of ads for cruises and some bizarre letters to the editor, however, there didn't seem to be much useful content…
Sept. 7, 2016
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Just like to point out that there are obvious issues with selection bias in polling an online forum about discontinuing a printed magazine…
Sept. 7, 2016
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yeah, but these geniuses were just trying to update the masterpoint recording system….
Sept. 5, 2016
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For what its worth, I think that the real answer is “The ACBL wants to ban relay system because there was a really slow French pair back in the 1950s” (I am completely serious about this)
Sept. 5, 2016
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My first boss out of grad school taught me a number of valuable lessons (for example: “The HR department works for the company, not for you. Never trust them.”)

She had a number of practical examples regarding how small and medium software companies fail. One of them seems appropriate: “A company can always survive hiring an idiot. The idiot will soon be discovered and will be fired. However, some dark day two or three idiots will get hired at the same time. And they can start having meetings with one another. A soon there after, the whole thing turns to shit.”

The sheer level of incompetence of the organization is astounding.

They managed to piss away close to two million dollars on a failed software project and the CEO keep his head.

The player base is circling the drain, however, the management prefers to go whistling past the graveyard.
Sept. 5, 2016
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The motives are clear, however, the organization is grossly incompetent.

1. Too incompetent to write intelligible laws
2. Way too incompetent to provide consistent guidance about them

It took close to a decade for the idiots in Memphis (and later Horn Lake) to be able to clarify whether or not a preemptive 2S opening that promises 5+ Spades and a 4+ card minor was legal at the GCC level.
Sept. 5, 2016
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> I suspect the intent of disallowing 1N from invitational+
> was really to get at the 2/1 bids which were then free
> to be non-forcing. I mean who really cares about the NT
> call being stronger than normal

My understanding is that the genesis of this particular regulation was a deliberate and conscious attempt to ban “Breakthrough Club” after one of the cheating scandals in the 70s.
Sept. 5, 2016
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> However, compared with 2/1, you will be opening
> 1M less often playing a strong club.

I find this claim surprising.

For example, example MOSCITO uses four card majors and a majors first opening style. I'm quite sure that we show majors more frequently than one does playing 2/1.

Even if we were to compare 2/1 and Precision, I still think that precision has more frequent 1M openings. In my experience, folks playing precision will open with lighter hands than people playing 2/1 GF. These lighter hands are close to the median for the probability density function for hand strength and are far more frequent than the 16+ HCP hands that you're losing.

I haven't run a simulation for this this, but my gut says that Precision is going to win out on frequency of major suit openings.
Sept. 5, 2016
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> In general terms, precision usually works
> better in longer auctions and 2/1 in shorter
> ones. Of course, like any one-sentence summary,
> that is a gross generalisation and there are
> exceptions.

I disagree with this completely. The entire reason that one plays a limited opening system is to facilitate short uninformative bashes to an acceptable sport.

When I am playing MOSCITO, I live for auctions like

1M - 4M
1M - 3N
2C - All pass

Conversely, 2/1 GF is designed such that you can establish a GF at a low level and have as much room as possible to explore for strain and level
Sept. 5, 2016
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FWIW, here are my thoughts

The primary advantage to playing 2/1 is the size of the user base. There are a lot of people playing this system and this means that there are a lot of brains working on ways to improve the system. Coupled with this, its relatively easy to find strong players who can help you to improve your game as well as good training materials.

Balanced against this, I think that strong club systems are technically superior.

Here's a few thoughts about MOSCITO in particular

Strengths

1. MOSCITO places the opponents under enormous pressure. MOSCITO allows you to play an extremely aggressive opening style in first and second seat without self destructing. You are constantly forcing to the opponents to make blind guesses and are well positioned to collect if their guess wrong.
2. The memory load for MOSCITO is significantly smaller than for a natural system. Once you're learned a few basic rules, you're set
3. I understand the theoretical underpinnings of the MOSCITO system and can explain them concisely. (Try to get someone to do so for 2/1)
4. MOSCITO is high variance. If the card gods are smiling and you get hands that are well suited to the system, you're going to score well so long as you don't screw up.
5. There are going to be a bunch of sequences where you have much more experience with the auction than your opponents. As an example, MOSCITO auctions like 1M - 2M are specifically deisgned to fuck with the Law of Total Tricks… Youre going to have a much better intuitive understanding of the odds than the opponents
6. MOSCITO is fun to play

Weaknesses

1. You're going to declaring a bunch of 2M contrasts in 4-3 fits. (You better love playing Moysians and be good at it)
2. You're going to need to learn both standard and MOSCITO. (Otherwise you're never going to understand the negative inferences of the opponent's auctions)
3. Its difficult to find teachers who understand the system and can help you to improve
4. Jeff Meckstroth and Chip Martel are never going to sanction defenses to MOSCITO's transfer openings
Sept. 4, 2016
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> If we held a Junior/Senior event then we might
> insist that the Juniors sit in certain directions.

The issue is not whether one might require the juniors / women to sit in one direction, but rather the reasons that one would do so and the assumptions that would be drawn from this act.

My understanding is that the genesis of these sorts of rules is to have all the weak players sitting in the same position as to decrease the variance.

Please let me know if anyone has an alternative explanation for this rule.
Sept. 4, 2016
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