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All comments by Richard Willey
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Interesting to note that Welland and Auken were also involved in a committee hearing involving a failure to prealert a midchart convention. (In this case a transfer advance of a 1 opening). I don't believe that this requires a defense and the failure to pre-alert was crucial to the decision.
March 21, 2015
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I am going to buck the tide and recommend Precision in the 90s by Barry Rigal. I'm not fond of the treatment of symmetric relay in the last section of the book, but other than this the book has always struck me as very strong.

I also like Jannersten,
March 20, 2015
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Nic, you're also a smart guy and I am willing to give you credit for understanding the difference between a technical debate about the best way forward and a political game of “cover my ass”.

Of course, this leads me to conclude that what you are doing here is largely political posturing. You know that the existing CEO can not admit to having made a mistake wrt ACBLScore+, not can he allow his direct reports to undermine him. (If you don't understand this I apologize)

I think that you need to ask yourself what your goals are:

If your end goal is to see as much of the ACBLScore+ code adopted, then your best option is to step back into the shadows. Work with the Technology Committee to get a reasonable set of APIs published and then help the adopt individual pieces of ACBLScore+ as stand along modules.

If instead, your end goal is to crucify Hartman, go on with what you're doing.

Personally, I think that either goal is reasonable and I wish you luck regardless…



March 17, 2015
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I am watching the video as we speak. I am currently listening to a detailed explanation about generating a requirements document.

I can not help but believe that this should have happened before the software was written and delivered to the ACBL.
March 13, 2015
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Hi Debbie, thanks for bringing attention to the Learn to Play Bridge program. I just spent a few minutes playing around with the program and was absolutely horrified.

Rather than presenting a laundry list of complaints, I'd like to draw attention to one key issue. It takes close to 40 seconds for example hands to load and start playing. (This was for my high end gaming PC, on a FIOS connection).

I work at Akamai. Our bread and butter is making web sites load quickly. The reason for this is that if a web site doesn't load in a couple seconds, people walk away. The following Infographic isn't all that far off.

http://loadstorm.com/2014/04/infographic-web-performance-impacts-conversion-rates/


Having an application like that on your web site is an active dis-service to recruiting efforts because it makes it look like you have no clue…

March 12, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment March 12, 2015
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Not the answer I was hoping to hear, but I appreciate the quick response. Thanks!
March 11, 2015
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Any chance that the Technology Committee meeting will provide either an audio or a video stream/
March 11, 2015
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I'd like to focus attention on one specific line in Greg's most recent posting

> ensure that … the development and deployment
> happens in a robust, modular way.

From my perspective, this last requirement is potentially the most important and might provide a way forward.

I have long been concerned that the existing ACBLScore implementation is trying to do way too much. I think that the ACBL would be much better off identifying a bare minimum set of functions that ACBLScore must perform and relying on best of breed products for other functionality.

As I understand matters, the key functionality that ACBL score MUST perform is communicating with the ACBL database to verify membership and record masterpoints. I know that it does a lot more (it handles movements, it prints results, it can be used for display purposes). I think that you're a lot better off being able to take an ACBLScore file and use this to generate necessary inputs for third party programs to handle this functionality. Who knows, some of these can be modules from ACBLScore+.

Regardless, until you can simplify things, its going to be a cluster$)(^##



March 8, 2015
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@aviv: I don't want to get into a debate regarding the merits of the multi or its history. I will simply point out that your definition of the word “destructive” leads you to misdescribe a number of bids that most of the world considers inherently destructive.

I have never seen a good definition for the expression “destructive” (The most accurate that I have seen is "something that the other team plays but we don't)

From my own perspective, the entire notion should be dropped…
March 6, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment March 10, 2015
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> Preempted are clearly constructive since they
> are descriptive and aim to reach the best contract

So, is a 2 opening bid that shows 4+ Diamonds and 4+ cards in either major also constructive?

March 6, 2015
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Aviv wrote

> Constructive = methods which are descriptive and aim
> primarily at reaching the best contract

> destructive = methods which are non descriptive and aim
> primarily at preventing the opponents from having a
> “constructive” auction.

And I reply: That's one possible definition. Might even be reasonable one. However, let me throw a couple points out there for your consideration

1. You describe a multi 2 opening as a prototypical example of a constructive convention. However, throughout much of the world, the multi 2 opening is used as a prototypical example of a destructive convention. The definition that you propose doesn't allow people to agree what conventions should be classified in bin X versus bin Y.

2. Your definition is based on an eternal value judgement. Bridge isn't about getting to the “right” contract. Rather, it is about scoring more points that the other person. An unfortunately, a slow plodding deliberate auction that lands you in the “right” contract may very well score worse than blasting to the “wrong” contract, but seeing this come home via a blind opening lead or a poor balancing decision by the opponents. FWIW, I don't see anything wrong with you're liking this part of the game, at the same time I don't think that there is a requirement to enshrine your subjective value judgements into the regulatory structures.

March 6, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment March 6, 2015
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> The whole “variance” argument strikes me as incorrect, in the
> sense that playing a weak notrump or four card majors or an
> aggressive preempt or overcall style will easily raise variance
> without touching “banned” methods.

All of the methods that you describe are natural and up until recently could only be regulated by the Endicott “hack”. (You know, the one they use in ACBL land to ban 1NT openings that could be made on a 9 count).

I think that powers that be would restrict this if they thought they could get away with it.
March 6, 2015
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Aviv, please explain how you define “constructive” and “destructive” (As far as i can tell, the single most significant difference is the destructive methods are always something played by the “other” team).

There is a reason why I characterize this discussion based on the variance in expected results.

1. I think that this is a much easier mental model to apply
2. I think that this is much more consistent with the stories that the regulators tell
March 6, 2015
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Fred, its really admirable that you're willing to defend your friends. Here's the thing: I don't judge people based on their public statements. I've long noticed that there are discrepancies between what individual's claim and what they do. I find it a lot more useful to look at incentive structures and assume that they are going to act in accordance with them.

In particular, when I am evaluating the behavior of a group of individuals who spent months stringing me along and lying to me, I tend to be even more skeptical about what they claim.

Here's an analogy that folks might find useful. I know of someone - a bridge player in fact - who went to jail for price fixing the lysine market. Folks had a dinner every now and then and they never explicitly said there were going to restrict trade or discussed anything specific, but you know what. By the end of those dinners everyone had a pretty good idea what the price of lysine was going to be.







March 5, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment March 5, 2015
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> Richard's first paragraph disparages the motives our some
> of our leading players who have volunteered to do a painful
> and thankless job by serving on the ACBL's C+C Committee
> (the body that is largely responsible for creating policy
> in this area).

Oh, say it isn't so. I am being chided by an objectivist for not being suitably appreciative of the altruistic behavior of himself and other leading players….


March 5, 2015
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I quit playing in ACBL events because they wouldn't allow MOSCITO.
March 5, 2015
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I think that there are two dimensions to this question.

The first is a desire amongst professional bridge players to deliberately suppress the amount of variance inherent in board results. Assume for the moment that your team and my team are contesting a short board match. Objectively, your team is better. On any given hand if we land in precisely the same contract, your team expects to score +.25 IMPs, with a standard deviation of 1. It’s not impossible for my team to win a 10 board match, but it’s not particularly likely. However, let’s suppose that my team can take actions that will significantly increase the standard deviation. Alternatively, we might decide to play a weak NT rather than playing a strong NT. Increasing the variance of the board results will significantly increase the likelihood that we will win a match. In fact, in some cases it may even make sense for use to adopt methods that have a lower expected value if, in turn, this increases the variance. (The classic example here is Woolsey's recommendation that you play to drop the Queen of trump missing Qxx rather than playing for a finesse) I would argue that all the ridiculous arguments you see about “destructive” methods, are in fact an attempt to reduce the variance in board results and allow the expect declarers/defenders to maximize their edge.

The second dimension is that vast majority of the American bridge playing population is too hidebound to be able to adapt to anything that they haven’t done for the last 20 years. Sorry if I come across as harsh, however, American bridge players want to be told that they excel at a game of skill without being willing to invest in the time and effort necessary to do so.
March 5, 2015
Richard Willey edited this comment March 5, 2015
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My team has always found Heilmeier's Catechism extremely useful in evaluating projects.

George H. Heilmeier, President and CEO of Bellcore

1. What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.

2. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?

3. What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?

4. Who cares? If you're successful, what difference will it make?

5. What are the risks and the payoffs?

6. How much will it cost? How long will it take?

7. What are the midterm and final “exams” to check for success?

March 4, 2015
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Hi Gary,

I am speaking as an individual who is broadly in favor of the motion that was originally submitted. At the same time, I am quite concerned regarding the processes that appear to being followed.

I understand that you might find this distasteful, but the easiest way to defuse this situation is to post a copy of the revised motion and, if feasible, amend the document to show how this differs from the original text. Trying to bluster through this type of incident is simply going to rile folks up and lead to a much bigger conflagration down the pike.

(In a similar vein, I have no idea what transpired at the BoG meetings, however, ignoring the Rules of Order for the meeting in order to shut down a individual's proposal isn't going to sit well. You're going to piss off supporters of the individual in question but also raise a bunch of questions in the minds of individuals like me who value do process. It would have been much better to vote down the motion in the question, thereby demonstrating the sense of the BoG)




March 3, 2015
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> (are there any reported cases of cheating via electronics
> in high-level bridge)

If anyone was cheating in this manner, how would we ever know?

What I do know is the following:

1. Not only is there strong incentives for people to cheat, we have direct evidence that players engaged in just this type of activity.

The German team that just won the senior world championship was stripped of their medal for because one of their pairs cheating. (And were not talking about a minor infraction. We're talking about a deliberate per-arranged system to convey information about hands via coughs).

2. It is trivial to cobble together an electronic system which would be much more difficult to detect than the coughs the Doctors were using and provide much more information




March 2, 2015
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