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All comments by Roland Wald
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It would be naive to think that Israel is going to publish what “Israel Standard System” is, if there is any. I think it depends on where in the world we are. I am pretty sure that Israeli security policy is to have bilateral negotiations far away from the public eye. Full disclosure applies at the bridge table; it does not as far as security is concerned.
July 6, 2013
Roland Wald edited this comment July 6, 2013
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David, it's not for you, me or any other outsider to determine what Israel considers satisfactory security arrangements for the Israeli women's team. Israel Security staff are experts, who, sadly, have been dealing with this issue for 65 years. They are obviously not going to discuss this in a public forum. I suggest that we leave it to the experts. However, for that to happen we need the Indonesian authorities to cooperate. There is still hope that they will.
July 6, 2013
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Canada follows suit. One would assume that there is a reason. http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/indonesia
July 6, 2013
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Canada says the same as Australia. http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/indonesia
It's easy for Mr Rona in Italy to say “The entire Nusa Dua area, which includes the Venue and the Hotels, is a closed and completely secure area”. I read something similar before Munich 1972.
July 6, 2013
Roland Wald edited this comment July 6, 2013
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Fair point, Jan, I just mentioned this because you and I talked about it some time ago, and we were not sure if the players could hear it or not. That's why I made the test.
Sept. 15, 2012
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I am confused. Something does not add up.

<quote> The following was written by the members of the 2012 US Buffett Cup team, in response to the comments they have seen on our site:

<snip>

Signed,

David Berkowitz
Alan Sontag
Brad Moss
Joe Grue
Joel Wooldridge
John Hurd
Bob Hamman
Justin Lall
Curtis Cheek
Marc Jacobus
Jenny Wolpert
Jill Levin
<unquote>

If you did not sign anything, why did “they” use the words ‘written’ and ‘signed’? Those words can't be misinterpreted, can they?

Sept. 15, 2012
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Brad, I apologised in one of the other threads, but I do not mind doing it again here. Mr Buffett did not deserve that, and I wish him all the best. I was ill-informed; just an explanation, not an excuse.

I have got a question for you, though. Why did you sign a letter you ‘neither wrote nor approved’ (your own words)?
Sept. 15, 2012
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Breaking NEWS. Operators can wear headsets if they like (if allowed to by the TD of course) and listen to the voice commentary. The players can't hear anything. We tested that a couple of weeks ago, with occasional shouts even. For obvious reasons they must not reply.
Sept. 15, 2012
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Brad, I am probably one of the ‘some’, but in my view everyone should be entitled to express his/her opinion as long as it's not injurious to someone's name or reputation. ALL of us were and are supportive of and appreciate what the volunteers did in Omaha. They did great, under the circumstances. But the circumstances should have been better.

We pointed to areas where the organisers failed. That is called constructive criticism. Then you can choose one of the following:

1. Retreat to a corner, whine and stand there as an offended schoolboy/girl.
2. Accept that you did not plan as well as you could have and make it better next time.

Rest assured that I had my critics during the ten years as the BBO vugraph coordinator. I did not always think that the criticism was fair, but some of it was, and then there was only one thing to do: try harder, so I tried harder.

One cannot please everybody no matter how hard one tries. That's the price you pay for being a public figure. But as long as you feel that you have given everything you can, you should not lose any sleep over it.

If the organisers in Omaha think they did all they could to make the vugraph presentation a success, I am sorry to say that there is something wrong with their judgement. And it does not help that 12 players on Team USA sign a doucument where the presentation was described as ‘occasional glitches.’

What planet were you on while playing? Earth I take it. Then stay there and trust ‘some’ of us when we claim that the presentation to the whole world was a disaster. That's what I think it was, and as you will have noticed, I am not alone.
Sept. 15, 2012
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I have to agree with Jonathan (there is a first time for everything), I think text commentary is dying, slowly but surely. Voice commentary is so much better, first of all because the commentators can keep up with the pace (yes, they do play fast on occasion). The text people can't, it takes too long to type, even if you are a quick typist. Often, the point you want to make is moot when your message appears on the screen.

That's one of the main reasons why most online teachers I know use oral tuition, through Skype for example.

P.S. Am I the only one who frequently gets ‘Couldn’t post your comment, the server returned a 200 error'? Most of the time it is indeed an error to concede 200 at BAM, but …

Sept. 14, 2012
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No-one said operating vugraph is easy, but it becomes a lot easier if organisers realise that it's a hopeless task without practise.

'The most critical factor in determining the success of these broadcasts is the quality of the operators. It is vital that these people become familiar with the software before the actual broadcast takes place. The software is easy to learn and it is subsequently easy to use, but operators should spend at least a couple of hours practising before the actual event.'

A quote from our Standard Vugraph Guidelines. If the Buffett organisers had asked for and read those guidelines, things would likely have been different. They did not, so one had to assume that everything was taken care of. End of story.

I mean, you don't approach a landscaper if you need to have a wart removed from your little finger. You see your MD or a dermatologist, the experts in this area.

Likewise, if you want a quality broadcast of a bridge event, you approach the experts on vugraph operation. I am sure USA can produce plenty, but they were not asked, were they? So the bottom line is that no matter how many players sign a document stating that this was a great event, vugraph was not a high priority for the event *organisers*. The players had no way of knowing what the world saw. I think they have a better impression now.

The organisers of future Buffett Cups are most welcome to get in touch; then I shall be happy to send them our (BBO) guidelines and technical manual. I even offer my expertise, free of charge, if they have additional questions. If interested, I suggest that they don't wait until the last minute. Because if they do, the project is destined for the collapse we just witnessed.
Sept. 14, 2012
Roland Wald edited this comment Sept. 14, 2012
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Well Jill, it takes 12 players to win it, so you all contributed significantly. Congrats!
Sept. 13, 2012
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By the way, many congratulations to Team USA on retaining the trophy!
Sept. 13, 2012
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They are welcome to call or write to me, preferably earlier than the day before, but I am not holding my breath :)
Sept. 13, 2012
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Point taken, I should not have generalised. I was just so disappointed that this great event deteriorated unneccesarily and got carried away. I am sorry.
Sept. 13, 2012
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Jeff, apparently I was naive when I thought that funds would not be a problem when we are dealing with a tournament named the ‘Warren Buffett Bridge Cup’. I am now told that they don't pay vugraph operators in USA, but that is a big mistake in my opinion. We do in Europe, because we realise that the success of a vugraph presentation depends on the quality of the operators. For obvious reasons it is easier to get the best if they get just a little something for their hard work.

By ‘eating more than they can chew’ I thought I made myself clear when I wrote that it's much better to have fewer tables with quality. If the organisers can't provide qualified operators for six tables, then accept it and go for less. That applies to USA as well as elsewhere. It is indeed possible that the event organisers did not realise how much skill it takes to operate vugraph, but that is a lame excuse. How can anyone expect to get quality if you grab six random people at the last minute, without even 10 minutes of training, and ask them to operate vugraph?

It can't come as a major surprise that it takes practise to achieve something you have not tried before. The organisers failed to take that into consideration. It could have happened anywhere, but it happened in USA. I don't think it's fair to call me anti-American because I pointed that out.

I offered a few suggestions, constructive criticism I would say. Are you not allowed to criticize what's going on in USA without being deemed prejudiced? I would have understood your anger if I had criticized without pointing to how it could have been done, but I did.

Finally, many thanks for your kind words regarding my contributions to bridge. I have tried to serve everyone, including USA, to the best of my ability and without prejudice. If I did not succeed, I apologise profusely. Although you don't seem to believe me, I am very much pro-American.
Sept. 13, 2012
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Eugene, Americans can teach us (me) a lot and have already in many respects. However, I don't think you can teach me anything as far as vugraph organisation is concerned. But upset? Definitely not.
Sept. 13, 2012
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Me anti-American? That's hilarious. People who know me can tell you that you can hardly find another European who is as pro-American as I am. I have been to your country 11 times, and I enjoy it every time. I am also a member of the ‘USA Friend Club’ on Facebook. Does it take more to convince you? I wrote:

'Please accept that there is a world outside the US, and that not all of us are idiots who can't teach you anything. We think we can, but you are not always prepared to listen.'

That is a fact, Jeff; you are not always prepared to listen to other views. Is that anti-American bias? If it is, then pray tell how I could have put it any nicer than that?
Sept. 13, 2012
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Dear Claire,

You may have seen what I wrote in the other thread, but in case you haven't, let me repeat it here:

'Please note that I do not blame the volunteer operators; they did the best they could under the circumstances. It all falls back on the organisers who must take the responsibility for the poor result.'

It would be a nice gesture if one of the organisers steps forward, apologises for the lack of planning and vows to make it better next time.

An apology is not the same as losing face. We all make mistakes (if we didn't the word ‘mistake’ would not exist). That apology will obviously be accepted, and then we can all move on.

Not once during the 10 years I served as a vugraph commentator did I have to give up because I was unable to follow the play and offer sensible comments. This was the exception to the rule. Like Debbie, I felt that I wasted my time.

Finally, a request to all Americans. Please accept that there is a world outside the US, and that not all of us are idiots who can't teach you anything. We think we can, but you are not always prepared to listen.

"Roland, we know you were involed in Wales two years ago. It was close to perfect. How did you do it?'

If I had been asked that question, I would have been happy to cooperate. All I got was an email from a desperate Donna Compton the day before, and that was obviously much too late.
Sept. 13, 2012
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Sponsor logos are disallowed in the Ryder Cup, not even on the bags. Tiger can have his name on his shoes (and probably has), but that's about it. The caps will just have USA and Europe on them.
Sept. 13, 2012
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