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Can you read the B/Z signals?

Nicolas Hammond has stated the following hypothesis:

This is an observation of all 26 boards from EBTC 2014 where Mr. Zmudzinski is on lead and Mr. Balicki/Mr. Zmudzinski have not bid. The original work was done some time ago, it has not been updated to include the Poland-Netherlands match.

The following is noted:

  • After the screen is opened, if Mr. Balicki extends 4 or 5 fingers in his right hand, this corresponds to the number of hearts in his hand.
  • If Mr. Zmudzinski moves or touches the led card after it is faced, then if Mr. Balicki extends 4 or 5 fingers in his right hand this shows count in the suit that is led. This is a 'trigger' with 'response'.

If this hypothesis holds on all 26 hands (or virtually all of them), it will be very convincing evidence.  I haven't double-checked, but I am confident that the data is accurate as far as the hand choice, opening lead, and actual hand goes.  The issue is with the observation.

Nicolas states what he believes he has observed for each of the 26 hands.  While I know these are his honest beliefs, they are still subjective observations.  Was that 4 fingers extended?  Maybe it was 5.  Maybe it was only 3.  It might be difficult to tell for sure.

Screenshots do not solve the problem.  With, say, Fantoni-Nunes they worked perfectly.  The reason is that their signal is static.  Once that card is played, it stays on the table in the same position for at least several seconds.  A screenshot during that time frame will give an accurate picture of what is happening.

The B/Z finger signals are not static.  They are there for a short time, sometimes a fraction of a second.  Two different screenshots taken at two slightly different times can produce substantially different results.  These cannot be trusted.

In order to determine exactly what signal has been given, it is necessary to watch the actual video.  Of course you can pause when you like, but you must be sure to see the full picture rather than a selected screenshot.

Are we seeing the same thing that Nicolas is seeing?  I thought it would be a good idea to put this to a test.

Below I have listed the links to the 26 hands in question at the point where the screen goes up.  These hands are in random order, not the same order as Nicolas has listed them.  All you get to look at is the video.  You do not get to see the actual hand, and you do not get to see what Nicolas believes he has seen.  It will be your job to observe and predict what signals have been given for each hand.

You should let the video run long enough to give them a chance to signal.  Hopefully Nicolas will tell us how long that should be.  I would guess something like 45 seconds or when the first card is called from dummy, whichever comes sooner.  

Do this carefully.  You don't have to go with your first impression.  Be willing to replay the video, play it at 1/4 speed, pause the video when you want, etc.  Do whatever it takes to make the best observation.

For each deal, write down your observations.  These will consist of two things:

1)  Did Z move or touch the led card after it is faced?  Two possible answers:  Yes, or No.

2) What signal did B give?  Three possible answers:  5 finger, 4 finger, or none.

At the bottom, I give the "right" answers -- Nicolas's observations.  I have the hand numbers in a random order so as to make it more difficult for you to accidentally see an answer.  Please do not look at these answers until you have written down what you believe the signals are for all 26 hands.

After you have completed your answers, check them against the "right" answers.  In order to get a hand correct, your answer must match the "right" answer for both Z's signal (yes or no) and B's signal (5, 4, or none).  If you miss either one, you have answered that hand incorrectly.

Tally up the number of hands you have answered correctly, and enter the result in the poll.

In addition to having some fun, the idea behind this poll is to determine whether or not Nicolas's observations really are accurate.  If most people are getting 23 or 24 hands right, that is a strong indication that Nicolas's observations are accurate and would go a long way towards verifying his hypothesis.  On the other hand, if most people are getting only 15 or 16 of them right that is an indication that Nicolas's observations aren't so clear, which would give us reason to question the accuracy of the hypothesis.







































25.        Yes       4

20.        Yes       4

21.        Yes       5

19.        Yes       4

9.          Yes       5

6.          Yes       --

2.          Yes       5

12.        Yes       --

8.          Yes       --

26.         No       --

24.         No       --

23.         No       4

22.         No       --

18.         No       --

16.         No       --

17.         No       --

13.         No       --

14.         No       --

15.         No       5

10.         No       --

11.         No       4

4.           No      --

5.           No      --

7.           No      --

1.           No      5

3.           No      5



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