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All comments by Jan Martel
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My understanding is that the ACBL is hoping to break even on these events.

Of course, you can argue all day about what “make a profit” means - surely it is advantageous to the ACBL as well as all of us if they have work for their directors so the directors don't go off and find other jobs during this difficult time. And also if they provide opportunities for players to compete in serious events, and for people to watch those events.
3 hours ago
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Even if BW doesn't get anything, there are going to be credit card fees, so that $200 entry produces something less than $200.
4 hours ago
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That's gross income, assuming they have 256 teams, no Juniors, and no one who chooses to buy & install a camera.

Net income would be after paying directors, people to record and stream so you (generic of course) can watch delayed Vugraph from some of the matches, people to set up the matches, people to analyze the play for potential ethics issues, and undoubtedly some other things I'm not aware of.

I know that when I run a 6 day tournament with not very many teams, my directors' fees run about $10,000, and that's for 1 or 2 directors per day. For this, if they get a lot of teams, as your gross income number assumes, they'll need at least 10 times as many directors as I would. And although of course the directors are ACBL employees, the fees charged to tournaments are designed to cover the salary & benefits of the directors and maybe a little bit more for ACBL overhead. So there's about $100,000 in expense without even looking at other people who will be needed.
4 hours ago
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I think this inspection will be by human beings, not computers. No algorithms involved, just a bridge player saying that something looks “off” - you don't need nearly as many hands for that kind of analysis as you do for Nicolas' analysis.
July 10
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I agree with Kyle - it's fun and cute! Of course I'm even less the demographic you're aiming at than Kyle (he's still reasonably young :-)). But my grandson is trying it, having never shown any interest in bridge before, so maybe …
July 8
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1) If we used some sort of machine readable bidding cards, how would the players on the other side of the screen know what had been bid? The purpose for using tablets for bidding isn't to replace the Vugraph operator, it's to replace the tray and bidding box and bidding cards, all of which can cause accidental UI. It's only if we used tablets for everything that we'd be able to do Vugraph broadcasts without an operator.

2) It has always been possible for someone to produce an edited version of a Vugraph presentation in less time. No one has wanted to do that so far, and my guess is because people watching don't want to see only the “good parts” - what one person thinks is “good” may not be what someone else thinks is “good.”
July 8
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I don't think we want anyone, including commentators, to change the order or tempo of play. Maybe we'd like to have someone make a completely different show out of only the “interesting” hands, but mostly I think we want an accurate report of what happened, including tempo.

As a Vugraph operator I've often stopped to ask myself “what is s/he thinking about here?” and I think I've learned from that experience.
July 7
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I have contacted BBO and been told that this is on their “long list” of things to do, but when it will get done is not known now.
July 7
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Apologies if this is something of a thread hijack :-), but as our time online has lasted longer and longer with no obvious end in sight, I've started to wonder if there are ways we can use the experience to improve security and the whole experience for face to face high level events when they return.

I can tell you almost to the minute (well, not really, but definitely month & year, more than 10 years ago) when I gave up on barring kibitzers at USBCs. Kibitzers are a significantly lower security risk for f2f than online, but there can still be issues (one of my friends remembers when she was about 10 and said “you have a diamond” to her mother, who had just revoked; I'm sure most of you know the story of the slam on the last board of a match where the fact that the kibitzers remained and were on the edges of their seats led declarer to pick up a bad trump split). To prevent that sort of thing, the USBF decided we should not allow kibitzers at the Open USBC that year. When I went into a playing room to do something Vugraph related and saw the wife of a famous player sitting next to him, I asked the DIC how that had happened. The DIC explained that he couldn't bar her; she'd be too upset. I'm a big opponent of selective enforcement, so from then on I didn't push a ban on kibitzers.

As we discuss having Vugraph with a delay, I can't help wondering about f2f events. My opposition to delayed Vugraph for those has always been that the operators wouldn't be able to do as good a job, and wouldn't want to do any job, if there wasn't interaction with commentators and spectators.

But what if we didn't need operators? With our time online stretching and stretching, are bridge players becoming sufficiently comfortable with using electronic devices instead of cards that we might return to a f2f environment where bridge is played at a table with all 4 players there, but using tablets instead of cards? Until this year, I thought that was something in the distant future - my focus was on using tablets to replace bidding boxes, which I believe would remove a lot of UI when playing with screens.

Now I wonder. If the players used tablets, we would have a complete record of the bidding and play that we could show on a delayed Vugraph without operators, a perfect record for those writing about a major event, and data to analyze when allegations of wrongdoing were made. Can f2f benefit from the lessons we're learning in this difficult time?
July 7
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People can (and do) say things on the internet that are based on speculation and even building “straw men” - I know that a lot of people seem to think that a delay would be just for the spectators, not the commentators. But I don't know of anyone who's actually in favor of that. It certainly isn't the way we're doing it now, although that is very far from what we'd like to be able to do, and I do not believe it would ever be the way we did it in the future.
July 5
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@David - I don't know of anyone who's suggesting that commentators should be allowed to watch a match in real time if it is being delayed - that would make it possible for a commentator to collude with a player, or for someone to claim that a commentator had colluded with a player, and none of us want that.
July 5
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@David - if kibitzing is delayed, that includes for Vugraph commentators - they will be watching the exact same delayed broadcast as the spectators.
July 5
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Greg is right that the only way we've figured out to do delayed Vugraph is less enjoyable for commentators and spectators and more difficult for organizers than real time Vugraph. But that's because BBO hasn't yet come up with a way to allow kibitzing of what happened 10, 15 or 30 minutes earlier at a table that mirrors what we now have at a “live” table (things like being able to review the bidding easily and look at what happened on previous hands at both tables). Providing that facility isn't easy, but it is possible, and if we all ask for it, instead of trying to convince people to live with the ease of cheating with live kibitzing, I hope that BBO will provide it.
July 4
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And me, although I don't play any more, so maybe I shouldn't be “voting” :-).

And just to be clear for anyone who doesn't know it, I was one of the strongest opponents to having Vugraph delayed when serious bridge was all face to face. I'm not sure where I'd come down now if we magically returned to a safe world where we could all go to one place to hold major bridge tournaments. But worrying about “what if” isn't helpful in the now. And there are enormous differences between how it was and how it is.

If real time kibitzing is allowed in online bridge, it's just too easy for a player to get a little “help” on a difficult decision by going to BBO and looking at all 4 hands.
July 4
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Of course there is - allow kibitzing but only with a delay from when the deal was actually played. For that to work well, we need BBO to implement something better than we can do now.
July 4
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The best feature of screens is that you don't have to see your partner's face :-)
June 29
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Sixteen teams have now entered the USBF INV2, so entries are closed except for teams that want to be on a waiting list.
June 29
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me too - I was glad to see this article so I knew it wasn't my issue. Thanks.
June 28
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If you have your EBU convention card in electronic format, you can make a tinyurl or bitly URL to it (I like bitly because you can make the URL what you want, like Kalfcc), and you can paste the URL into the BBO convention card so people can copy and paste it into a browser to get to the cc. Even better, use the BBO Advanced 2/1 convention card, delete all the text and then type “EBU convention card” and the short URL you created into the System Summary box and people can right click on the URL and open it in a new window or tab.
June 28
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:-). He did help with the back - but yes, it was his fault because he didn't think it was safe to go to my regular hair person! I did his first.
June 28
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