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All comments by Richard Willey
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Hi Kit,

Greg and David are obliquely raising a very important point. Traditional statistical methods are based on the assumption that that you are using a “fresh” data set to test your hypothesis.

In this example, you are using the same data set to form your hypothesis that you are using to test that hypothesis. As a result, a lot of traditional tools such as confidence intervals and significant level aren't going to mean what they “normally” do.

Best practice would have been to divide your data into two data sets. Use one set to develop your hypothesis and use the second set to test the hypothesis.

Aug. 27, 2015
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Couldn't care less if the Bermuda Bowl winners are shooting up heroin between rounds. I respect them based on their ability to play cards, not their personal morality.

The whole issue with drug use is part of the incredibly ill considered attempt to get bridge certified as an Olympic sport. The sooner this is dead and buried the better.

(The cheating scandals are bad enough now. Just wait until we get to start auctioning off Olympic gold medals)


Aug. 26, 2015
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It probably comes as no surprise that I like this proposal.

(Time to go beat a dead horse). With any such system, the better your record keeping, the more accurate the resulting analysis.

If you want to implement this type of system, there are incredible advantages to shifting to an electronic playing environment. (And these advantages far outweigh an emotional attachment to pasteboard)
Aug. 26, 2015
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> Richard, can you give an example of a typical or
> specific ultimate frisbee appeal and how it is resolved by
> a player-based committee? I totally believe you, I
> just find it fascinating.

Couple examples that you might find useful

First - Its been 30 odd years sinve I played serious ultimate. At the time, most of the disputes involved the use of “picks” and “screens”

http://www.usaultimate.org/news/whats-the-call-picks/

Second, here's a write up from the Ultimate Rules regarding “the Spirit of the Game”

http://www.usaultimate.org/about/ultimate/spirit_of_the_game.aspx

Excerpts from the Official Rules of Ultimate: 11th Edition

From the Preface:“The integrity of Ultimate depends on each player's responsibility to uphold the Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should remain paramount.”

From Section 1. Introduction, item B. “Spirit of the Game. Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other ‘win-at-all-costs’ behavior are contrary to the Spirit of the Game and must be avoided by all players.”

Spirit of the Game sets Ultimate apart from other competitive team sports. For over 30 years, Ultimate has flourished, reaching a highly competitive level, without the use of referees. In Ultimate, the honor system works. Sure, human nature rears its ugly head from time to time - just as in any sport, just as in life. Yet, one of the many beauties of Ultimate is how, even amid the most difficult of situations, utmost graciousness is allowed to meet that challenge head on. Through this balance, Ultimate players are free to demonstrate the most honorable and the most joyous sides of human nature in sport.

Most Ultimate players care deeply about Spirit of the Game. The organizational challenge for USA Ultimate is to foster an environment where the challenge does not become,“to see what I can get away with”. Rather than dictate what Spirit of the Game is or should be, it is up to each player to do so for him or herself within the context of the teams he or she plays with and against.

<In other words, they're a bunch of damn hippees>
Aug. 25, 2015
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Jonathan Steinberg wrote

> Finally I have been arguing for many years that we must
> abolish player based appeal committees, remove bias and
> conflict of interest and let referees rule as they do in
> every sport except bridge (and only in the ACBL).

FWIW, you are quite wrote that no sport except bridge uses player based appeals.

I'll throw out Ultimate Frisbee as one of many counter examples (and before you laugh about frisbee, its a lot bigger and healthier than bridge)

Aug. 25, 2015
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Sabine wrote:

> several top players for a number of years already have
> supplied the relevant bridge federations with a wealth of
> circumstantial evidence incriminating the pair in question
> here. No action has been taken against the pair by any of
> those organisations, because no “proof” of method could be
> found.

I think that insisting that “proof of method” be provided before action is taken is incredibly short sighted.

It would be trivial for me to rig a transmitter and a receiver into some shoes or other article of clothing. Given the amount of money involved in the Cavendish and premiere events like the Spingold and the Bermuda Bowl I can't help put believe that someone is already doing so.

The fact that the the ACBL and the WBF are too backwards to take actions to detect these types of devices is all the more reason why insisting on “proof of method” is incredibly flawed.

Aug. 25, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Aug. 25, 2015
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I disagree with the decision to delete all of the “Gal Gerstner” posts.

I would have preferred that they remain, but the name of the account be changed to “Lotan Fisher's Sock Puppet”

Seems like a more fitting way to proceed
Aug. 25, 2015
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There's a reason that I framed this around the advantage that would acrue from transmitting a single bit of information
Aug. 25, 2015
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I suspect that this is a violation of ACBL regulations. With this said and done, the US has a proud tradition of civil disobedience.

From what I can tell Mr Brogeland initially brought accusations to the attention of the ACBL. The actions by Schwartz team, which I view as being equivalent to a public accusation of cheating, did not happen until various bridge organizations had the opportunity to act.

Its extremely difficult to judge acts of civil disobedience during the heat of the moment. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Aug. 25, 2015
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Might need to wait for another generation or so to die off, however, I think that this sort of change is inevitable.

At the end of the day, the numerous advantages wrt to broadcasting and security will trump a naive attachment to pasteboard.
Aug. 25, 2015
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Well, good luck with that.
Aug. 25, 2015
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The ability to transmit a single bit of information is sufficient to get one hell of an edge.

Do I have a max or a min for the bidding so far?
Passive versus active lead?

A shoe is an obvious place to stick this stuff, but the simplicity of the system would allow any number of designs.
Aug. 25, 2015
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Couple comments:

1. Switching to an electronic playing environment means that you have much more complete records which makes will dramatically improve the ability to conduct statistical analysis

2. The further apart your transmitter and receiver, the more powerful the signals that need to be transmitted and the easier it becomes to detect the devices

(FWIW, I've been arguing that we need to switch to an electronic playing environment since Tenerife)

Aug. 25, 2015
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One of the glories of online bridge is that you can click a button and completely ignore a user. I suggest learning to use this function, cause you aren't going to improve behavior on the internet…
Aug. 25, 2015
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Lot of cheap, low power electronics out there…

Easy to customize, hard to detect.
Aug. 25, 2015
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So it does.

Sorry. I stand corrected. Does anyone know when this clause was added to the Midchart? I hadn't noted this before know and am wondering whether it slipped in during the 2014 revisions.

Aug. 24, 2015
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I read your comment. I agree that the pass was a psyche. I don't agree that this was illegal.

My understanding is that responses to conventional bids are not automatically deemed to be conventional. More specifically, I don't believe that rebid over a pass or correct bid is convention (nor are many advances over transfers)

Since the ACBL prohibitions against psyching conventional bids do not apply, this psyche is not illegal.






Aug. 24, 2015
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Life would be a lot easier if the phrase “systemic psyche” disappeared from our vocabulary (indeed, I have long argued that life would be better if the entire outdated notion of a psyche was replaced with regulations around the use of “mixed strategies”)

The concept of a systemic psyche dates back to some old bidding systems like Roth-Stone where certain bids had multiple divergent meanings.

For example, a third seat one spade opening showed either a sound opening bid with 5 spades OR (4-6 HCP, with concentrated values in the spade suit).

The examples that you are describes are ones in which a pair (for whatever reason) has reason to believe that there may be some advantage to mixing things up a little. There is nothing wrong with them doing so.

From my perspective, the best way to deal with this issue is to require disclosure based on whether a forcing pass has been established.

For example, at pairs LHO opens a Precision 1H, white on red. RHO jumps to 3NT which is described as “to play”. The opponents can go down 9 tricks in 3N and still score a great board if we have a making game. As such, its entirely reasonable to use a raise to 3NT as showing either a hand that wants to play 3NT OR a preemptive raise to 4H.

I think that the best way to understand the relative frequencies is to understand whether the following pass is forcing.

(1H) - P - (3N) - 4H
(P)

If 3NT doesn't establish a forcing pass, this provides some very useful information.




Aug. 24, 2015
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> I'm reasonably certain that the people involved don't
> understand that they're violating any rules. They have at
> least a general idea of what private understandings are but
> don't realize that what they're doing falls under that law.

The players in question aren't violating any rules.

Within the ACBL, you can't vary your system within a round based on who you are playing against, however, it is perfectly legitimate for individual players to vary their bidding style based on the quality of the opposing pair.

Nor is there anything wrong with them discussing that in advance.




Aug. 24, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment Aug. 24, 2015
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If pairs are doing so, the frequency with which they cheat will decrease. Arguably, this is a good thing.
Aug. 24, 2015
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