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Reisinger Vugraph Post Mortem

This year, we (ACBL and I) had very ambitious plans for covering the Reisinger: we would cover all 10 tables in the Final with both Vugraph and video and would also cover several SF tables.  In the end, we did that, although some things could certainly have been improved and others were much more difficult than I had expected. I’m writing this article primarily to ask for feedback on the difficult things – was it worth it, or should we have done something easier but perhaps not quite so good?

Before I ask my feedback questions, though, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people without whose help this couldn’t have happened:

  • Marcin Wasłowicz, who came to Denver to help us with video set up and trouble-shooting. His help was invaluable to the “newbies.”
  • Terry Norton, Chris van Leeuwen & Sam Whitten at ACBL, who investigated, chose and purchased the video equipment; programmed the computers to accept the video feed and overlay the BBO data and stream to YouTube; and set up and took down all of the equipment each day.
  • DIC Matt Koltnow, who gave me the scores each round as soon as he had them and also put up with my sometimes less than lucid questions and requests.
  • McKenzie Myers, Jay Bates and the rest of the ACBL Services crew, who set up all of the Vugraph equipment, rearranged the room so the operators could be positioned correctly, created flash drives with the hands for me, and helped in many other ways.
  • The 15 Vugraph operators, some of them doing it for the very first time, who dealt with the difficulties inherent in 3 board rounds and lots of tables amazingly well and stayed both calm and cheerful throughout.
  • The 6 kibitzers who provided me with auction, opening lead and results from the Closed Room tables on Saturday.
  • And last but not least, my wonderful husband, who made sure I had something to eat!

Now, for the three questions I have (if there’s anything else you want to comment on, please feel free to do so):

1. Linking the two tables of a match. In order to link the two tables of each match each round, we had to close all of the Vugraph rooms after each round, load the hands, team names and board numbers for the next round in one computer for each match, and then restart the broadcasts. With the sometimes limited time between the end of play in one round and the start of the next, this was pretty hectic, and I know that I sometimes didn’t get all of the matches up until after a few bids had been made on the first board. We could instead have shown the ten tables as stand-alones, without trying to link them to the other half of the match, in which case I wouldn’t have to restart every round and spectators wouldn’t be dumped back into the Vugraph Theatre and have to rejoin the table they were watching. Do you prefer having the tables linked, even though it means having to rejoin? If the answer is yes, I’ll work on a way to be more efficient.

2. Scores – I tried to have scores for the two teams entered into the Vugraph screens for each round. I failed miserably at this – it’s just too hard for one person to try to collect the scores from 10 tables, add them to the teams’ scores at the end of the previous round, double them, and input them with the hands at each of the five Open Room tables. I can think of ways to do this better (best idea I’ve had so far is to ask a spectator to cover each table and send a message to the Vugraph operator for the next match with the scores), but however I do it it’s going to slow the start of the next round, and I’m not sure it’s worth it. I was posting the scores from each round very promptly, thanks to Matt, so I’m pretty sure all of the spectators could learn the scores of the two teams before the first board of the new round was over. Maybe that’s enough. What do you think?

3. Closed Room results in the SF. For the Semifinal, we covered 4 tables each session. Although we could cover one or two more, I don’t think it will ever be feasible to cover all 20 tables. This year, I tried to provide results from the Closed Rooms by asking 4 kibitzers to follow the East West pair for each of the Vugraph tables and write down the bidding, opening lead and result of each board. I then entered that information into invisible Vugraph tables that were linked to the Open Room tables, so the contracts, bidding and result appeared in the movie. This worked well except when the Closed Room was significantly slower than the Open, and the round had ended before the Closed Room finished. In those cases, I had to restart the Open Room table and couldn’t wait to enter the Closed Room information. All of this was a lot of work, both for me and for the generous kibitzers who helped me. Was it worth it? If so, can anyone figure out how to improve on my methodology?

I don’t know how to formulate this as a poll, so please just comment with your thoughts. Thanks!

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