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All comments by Steve Willner
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Why does the board have to be left on the table? Offhand I can't think of anything in the Laws that requires it, and if there is something, the screen regulations can override it. Is there some practical reason not to remove the board along with the tray?

(As may be obvious, I've never played using screens.)
Sept. 6, 2015
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For adequate statistics, you don't need a complete sample, but you do need an unbiased sample and one that's sufficiently large.
Sept. 4, 2015
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As John wrote, here I'm thinking only about the prevention stage. The “catching” and “adjudication” stages are different.

Perhaps a lawyer isn't needed to work on prevention. If there's an electronic environment, probably a cyber-security expert is. I think the stage magician may be the most important one to have.

In case it wasn't obvious, I'd expect to institute different measures for different conditions: pairs vs teams and various levels of play. If someone wants to cheat at my local club, they won't find it very hard. (Though in fact I gather some notorious cheats were caught there.) Despite that, I'm personally disinclined to change our practices very much. The finals of the Spingold are a different matter.
Sept. 4, 2015
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Mr. John Lowell and Ms. Hyatt: I am always trying to improve my writing skills. Could you please specify which words of mine you construed as suggesting viewgraph operators who can keep a poker face are a problem and also which words you took as a criticism of the operators?

To all: can anyone explain why my proposal of a high-def camera won't allow the viewgraph operators to do their jobs? (For clarity, I don't consider 720p to be high-def in this context.) Would two cameras suffice? I'd think a good camera would make it easier to see the cards as they are played.
Sept. 4, 2015
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My concept is to have a high-def camera directly above the table with all players and everything on the table within its field of view. I don't see why that won't work for viewgraph, but I'm glad to be informed if it won't.

High ceilings should be fine. Low ceilings might be a problem.

Perhaps the “great” BBO operators can keep a poker face at all times, though that's an uncommon skill. Are there enough people who have it? Even if there are, why put so much pressure on them if there's a viable alternative?

The skill of not giving anything away is unrelated to expertise of commenting.

I am at a loss to find anything in my post you can read as a complaint about the operators.
Sept. 3, 2015
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Per Ellis' concern, the viewgraph operator shouldn't be visible to the players in any case. If there's a good camera directly above the table, why couldn't the operator use a live feed from it rather than being physically present? Ideally the organizers would DVR the feed to let the operator “instant replay” anything he missed.
Sept. 2, 2015
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Now can someone apply the same math to the OP's proposal? You will need to estimate the fraction of deals on which a cheat takes an unusual action, the fraction of those you will fail to flag (“false negatives”), the fraction of deals on which an innocent player takes an action you flag (“false positives”), and the statistical confidence level you require. From those (unless I've missed something), you can estimate the number of deals you will have to examine.

Anyone care to plug in some numbers?
Aug. 26, 2015
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In Jeff's world, where public reprimand is a serious penalty, it's hard to imagine a case meriting public reprimand without probation. In Eugene's world, where public disclosure is normal, the disclosure itself is no penalty at all.
Aug. 20, 2015
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Calling someone a cheat _in public_ is worse. An accusation through proper channels (privately via a Director) is acceptable.
Aug. 20, 2015
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Does anyone know what ruling the Director made when first called to the table? The screen regulations should say how the Director should rule, but I don't think they do. If not, Law 16B2 applies.

This won't change the ruling if the AC thinks passing 4S is not a Logical Alternative.
Aug. 17, 2015
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Yes, I know about L23 and deliberately created my example to avoid it. With a balanced 9-count, no rational villain will want to bar opener, who might have a 19-count or a very strong unbalanced hand.

With some other hand type, (possibly the example you give though that's a bridge judgment), L23 could apply. L23 would be more likely to apply if opener is limited, e.g., in a strong club context.

My point is that responder (and the rest of the table) ought to be informed all this before choosing an option.
Aug. 15, 2015
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Yes on the C&E, and there will also be an adjusted score on the board.

In the auction 1-2-1NT/2NT, if the auction continues at all, and the OS does well _because of the IB_, Law 27D kicks in to take away the advantage. At least that's what's supposed to happen. As I indicated above, there are Directors who don't get these rulings right.
Aug. 15, 2015
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There's no Law prohibiting agreements over opponents' insufficient bids or other irregularities.

The ACBL, by regulation, prohibits varying an agreement you already have when an irregularity occurs. See way above for what that means, at least to within the ACBL's usual level of clarity. I think the EBU has no comparable regulation, but I could be wrong. Other jurisdictions may or may not. Personally I think such a regulation is a bad idea.

I am astonished that you think the OS “nearly always benefits.” That hasn't been my experience. The cases of benefit I recall are an IB, the bidder punts 3NT, and that's a good result. Most often in my experience the IB has no effect, and the next most likely outcome is the OS reaching a poor contract. If it were legal to make an IB on purpose, it would still be rare, and Law 23 (if properly applied) takes care of the few situations where a villain might want to make an IB on purpose.
Aug. 15, 2015
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A further thought occurred to me on the issue of informing players that there might be an adjusted score later.

Suppose in Peg's 1-2-1NT example responder has a balanced 9-count. He might choose to overbid slightly by correcting to 2NT, or he might pass and thereby bar partner from the auction. _Before he chooses_, he ought to know that if 2NT works out well and certain circumstances exist, the score will be adjusted to something less favorable. If he bars partner, the result might be horrible or might be great, but either way, that result will stand. At least I'm sure I'd want to know if I were responder. (In fact I do know, of course, but most players wouldn't.)
Aug. 12, 2015
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How can you “assign a different meaning” without doing it on purpose? “Just applying logic” is legal; an agreement is not.

In your 1-2-1/2NT example, it seems likely that opener will be required to pass for the rest of the auction.

If you argue that the present law is too complex for most Directors to apply correctly, I'll agree with that.
Aug. 12, 2015
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It isn't clear. If 1S-P-1NT would have shown 6-9 or 6-10, and the replacement 2NT shows 11-12 or so, opener should have been barred from the auction, and we are in Law 23 territory. If 1NT would have been forcing or “semi-forcing” and could have contained 11-12, then the replacement call of 2NT is more specific, and the auction can continue. The withdrawn 1NT is authorized information to both sides, but L23 and L27D protect the non-offending side to some extent.

I agree with those who say the table Director should have informed both sides about a possible adjusted score later, but I admit to lacking practical experience with how that works out.
Aug. 12, 2015
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You are extrapolating too far. An insufficient bid is not UI to partner, but there are a number of other protections (L27–27D in particular–and also L23) if the offending gains an advantage from the IB. (FWIW, I agree that L27 has immense practical problems that lead to wrong rulings, but that's immaterial here.)

That doesn't mean _having an agreement_ to assign different meanings to sequences with and without an IB is legal. L72B1 prohibits that even in jurisdictions that have no specific regulation.
Aug. 12, 2015
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John's last comment is critical: whatever the correct explanation of your agreements is, it's the same regardless of the hand you happen to hold. That applies during the auction as well as for leads and signals.

The correct explanation may, of course, vary with the visible circumstances. Probably the most common instance is suits versus notrump: there's no need to explain your “against suits” methods if the contract is notrump. However, if not playing the final board against these opponents, it's nice to start “Against notrump we…” to give a clue that other agreements might apply on subsequent boards.
Aug. 12, 2015
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Why would the League want to prohibit its clubs or indeed anybody else from using the new scoring software?

While it's not germane to this discussion – US copyright law is what it is – using the phrase “intellectual property” is taking a particular side in a political debate. Something like “legal restrictions on use of information” might be a neutral term, moving the debate from morality to utility.
Aug. 10, 2015
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“…the player making an insufficient bid is allowed to assign different meanings…”

I don't know where “we” learned any such thing, but I'd be astonished if it's true. The ACBL used to have a specific prohibition, but I couldn't find it in a quick search. Given the chaotic state of ACBL regulations, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Regardless of regulation, Law 72B1 prohibits infringing a Law intentionally, and L23 can be used to take away any advantage gained.
Aug. 10, 2015
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