Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Richard Willey
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Hi Fred

This is interesting to hear. I know that you believe that the audience will that broadcasts happen in real time.

I hope that there is an option to introduce a 10 minute delay to the stream.
Sept. 2, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Hi Bobby,

I apologize for not providing a point by point response to your questions / comments. With this said and done.

1. I am making a proposal for our most prestigious events, not everyday games at regionals or even the nationals. Long term, this might trickle down. I certainly don't insist on it. (Arguably as online bridge becomes more and more popular, you might have the base demanding something more familiar to them than pasteboard)

2. I very much believe that a properly designed system would very much improve the security of these events. (These days) I work in internet security, so I would never want to claim that something is 100% safe. With this said and done, I do believe that physical separation of players will make cheating enormously more difficult. In conjunction with this, the opportunity to have complete records of every card played and every bid made for all major events will make statistical analysis much more powerful. I think that the combination of the two factors will be a game changer (bad pun, I know)

3. I strongly believe that this type of format will dramatically improve opportunities for broadcasting bridge. Turning the tournament feed into a Vugraph type feed is a trivial enhancement. If you want video, have a camera on each of the four players and make it look as if they are at the same table. Simply put, I don't think that having four people sitting at the same table is necessary related to the popularity of a bridge broadcast.

4. If I were implementing this type of system, there would be no such thing as a pre-duplicated hand. Rather, you would have audited code along with a mechanism to generate the seed for the hands at the start of each round of the the tournament.

Consider the following proposal.

At the start of a tournament round, you hand a deck of cards to the members of 4 teams. Each team selects 13 cards at random and hands these back to the official. The official shuffles them all together. Viola. You know have a seed for the computer program that is generating your hand. At the close of the round, the seed hand is published and everyone can verify that the tournament hands match the seed.

This system is not perfect (if the individual who wrote the system is in collusion with a team, you potentially have a problem) However, auditable code will help to protect against this.
Sept. 2, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Couple quick thoughts:

1. Were the Israeli team to fall on their swords, I'm not aware of any provably equitable way to choose their replacement. Arguably, the easiest thing for everyone involved is for the Israeli team to show up and play and for the rest of us to wish them well.

I understand the strong desire not to have the Israeli team benefit from the (supposed) infractions of Fisher and Schwartz. However, wrt to the Israeli team and the Bermuda Bowl, I think that the best thing is for folks to put this behind them and move forward.

2. Some folks are suggesting that the Israeli team should “Do the right thing” and resign. I don't think its fair to force my aesthetic choices on a third party. Ultimately, this is for them to decide. I hope that they are happy with whatever course of action they choose.








Sept. 2, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I hope that other teams don't refuse to play against the Israeli team based on the charges filed against Fisher and Schwartz. (I'd be surprised if any do so)
Sept. 2, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Part of what destroyed the Bridge Base Online Forums was the intrusion of political discussions.

Given the highly polarized political landscape in the US, giving us all additional reasons to dislike one another doesn't seem like a good way to improve this site.
Sept. 1, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Yeah… Here's the thing…

Fisher and Schwartz screwed over some incredibly rich sponsors. The kinda people who have money to burn. The kinda people who might want to underwrite a lawsuit simply to cost Fisher and Schwartz money because this has value as a deterrent.


Sept. 1, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Assuming that you have enough data, here are two statistics that I would be interested in seeing.

1. How often do Fisher and Schwartz find honors in their partners hands compared to the field as a who.

For each partnership, calculate the % chance that an opening led hits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 honors in their partners hand. Show the Probability Density Function for the field as a who and show where Fisher and Schwartz are located. If you have a large enough data set, it might be interesting to also examine “blind” opening leads where the partnership has no bidding information to rely upon.

2. Relative strength at Defense compared to Declarer play.

I had originally been more excited about this method before the videos suggesting that Fisher is peaking at the opponents hand. None-the-less:

Look at the ratio of the partnerships strength defending compared to their strength declaring auctions that are commonly played by the field.

Present the results as a scatter plot with a trend line and label the point for Fisher Schwartz.





Sept. 1, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Fisher and Schwartz have already retained counsel and instigated a lawsuit directed at Boye. (I had no knowledge of this when I posted my thread, however, I hardly think this was premature in light of this)
Aug. 31, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
FWIW, be very concerned about what Jeff Meckstroth has to say.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a set of arbitrary new changes banning your methods (it happened to me when I was trying to get permission to play MOSCITO and then again with assumed fit methods)
Aug. 31, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I am glad that this is happening. Even so, it feels like closing the barn after the horse has bolted.

I still very much believe that the best way to deal with this issue is switching to an electronic playing environment.

This is the best way to have the comprehensive hand records needed to detect this type of chicanery. It will also make it much more difficult to transmit illicit signals.

I understand that this type of move won't be popular, but I think that the number of large events that are being won by individuals who appear to be cheating indicates that change is necessary.
Aug. 30, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Hi Sartaj,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree that an strong asymmetry in the skill within a partnership might present a problem with the method that I proposed. Ultimately, the proof is going to be in the pudding. I would still be very interested in seeing how this ratio is distributed across a large number of partnerships and compare this with the value for a few select pairs.

The suggestion about opening lead catching honors feels like a more specific version of defensive efficiency. I would still like to be able to normalize this value. (Compare it to something else rather than look at it in isolation)

Aug. 30, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.


I've been trying to come up with a relatively straight forward way to estimate whether or not a pair is exchanging some form of illicit information and came up with what I think might be a promising approach. I am curious what folks who play in top level events think about the following:

Let's assume that a pair is cheating by exchanging unauthorized information. (They have a wire that they are using to convey information about hand strength or club length or heart length or whatever).

There are some types of actions at the bridge table where this information will be extremely useful. (opening leads, partnership defense, bidding). However, there are other types of actions where this information will be of much less utility. For example, consider declarer play where you are in the same contract as the rest of the field. In theory, your ability to exchange illicit information might have allowed you an unusually efficient auction that might conceal some useful information from the defense. Even so, I would expect that a pair that was cheating would have much less of an edge in this case than during other types of actions.

If this is true, than a dramatic skew in a partnership's skill in (defense) versus (declarer play in “field” contracts) might provide a useful signal to infer that a pair is cheating.

If I had a large data set, this would probably be the first slice that I would look at.
Aug. 28, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I'm not going to comment in depth about any of the hands that Boye has presented. (Those who have seen me play know why I am hesitant to do so)

With this said and done, after reading through the web site, I did have a few quick thoughts.

1. Boye is claiming that Fisher and Schwartz were signaling club length. However, Bessis suggests that the pair was signaling hand strength. If Fisher and Schwartz were changing what piece of information they were exchanging across events, the statistical analysis is going to be a lot more difficult.

2. Boye's analysis is highly dependent on having access to detailed hand records from online Vugraphs. Once again, if you shift to an electronic playing environment, you're going to have much better records

3. The number of cases in which the Israeli Bridge Federation has taken action against Fisher and Shwartz is concerning


Aug. 28, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
This can be hand coded without too much difficulty using any one of a number of dealing programs.
Aug. 28, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
You are representing my claim correctly.

One of the things that impressed me most about the the way that the WBF dealt with the Doctors was the fact that they were able to develop a hypothesis and then collected additional hands to that they used to test the hypothesis.

Aug. 27, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
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
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
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
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
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
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
> 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
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
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
.

Bottom Home Top