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All comments by Jan Martel
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ACBL C&C Committee web page (it always takes me forever to find this, I don't know why): http://www.acbl.org/about/competitionConvention.html
Minutes are posted through Summer 2011.
Oct. 1, 2012
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A brief explanation of the flags. If I remember correctly, the USA team was called “USA” and the Europe team was called “Europe.” If that is correct, the BBO Vugraph software automatically put US flags next to each USA player. The operators could have put flags next to the European players by entering the country in the player's profile, but the software wouldn't automatically do it (I've been trying to get someone to develop a player database that could be linked to player profiles in Vugraph broadcasts that would fill in the player's real name, country and biographical information, maybe including a picture, but no one has volunteered so far :)).

The operators may or may not have known they could enter a country for a player and that would cause a flag to display; if they knew, probably they didn't have time. The operators couldn't remove the US flag that is displayed for all players on a team called USA. For instance, in the Spingold, a team called “Denmark” had players from the US and Germany - as the operator, I edited their profiles to show their correct countries, but the Danish flag was still displayed on screen.
Sept. 19, 2012
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We haven't used webcams for several years and maybe the technology has improved, but when we did try to use them, they used a lot of bandwidth, which meant that they made the internet connection for the operators less responsive. They were also difficult to set up and control, but that was probably because we were learning.

The best-ever camera part of Vugraph for me was in Geneva, where professional TV camera people were in the rooms - they moved around and focused on everything (I still remember a player's foot swinging back and forth). But of course that meant having professional equipment and people involved and I'm sure it was very expensive as well as difficult to arrange. And they needed VERY hot lights, which I heard made the playing rooms quite uncomfortable.
Sept. 16, 2012
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I very strongly agree with Fred & Uday that Vugraph should be free for the spectators. On the other hand, perhaps this would be a good time (although maybe not the right place) for me to renew my periodic request for voluntary contributions to improve the quality of Vugraph from USBF events (although I organize Vugraph at ACBL NABCs, I'm not involved in budgeting for those events).

To give you some idea of the expense of Vugraph for a tournament organizer, the budget for the 2013 USBC includes approximately $6500 for Vugraph and website. That covers the fee we pay to operators ($20 per quarter), half of my expenses (I figure that half of my time is Vugraph, the other half is general tournament organization) and programming costs for the USBF website. I'm not paid for either tournament and Vugraph organization or website maintenance and content, but I'm not competent to do all that's needed for the website.

The budget shows a $3000 loss for the tournament; total expenses are about $45,000. In the past, no matter how careful I am not to be too optimistic at budgeting time, the Trials tend to show a slightly higher loss than was budgeted. The USBF goal is to run the Trials at break-even, but that's difficult.

I'd very much like to spend an additional $12,000 or so on Vugraph for the USBC. That would pay the travel, hotel & meal expenses of 5 people in addition to me for the rounds of 16 and 8, 3 people for the Semi-Finals and 2 people for the Finals. With those people, we'd have experienced operators at half of the Vugraph tables in the early rounds, when I can't be an operator because I'm needed to supervise and trouble-shoot (I'd much rather be an operator :-)). In the Semi's and Finals, we'd have all experienced operators, since I can be an operator unless Chip is playing. Usually there are enough local volunteers (I consider people who are being paid the munificent sum of $80 a day to be volunteers) for half of the tables.

Then there are the Senior & Women's Trials, which are shorter than the Open, so involve fewer days. Still, the Vugraph budget is about $5000, for the same things as the Open. And I'd need another $10,000 or so to pay expenses for enough experienced operators.

So if 1000 people contribute $25 each, or 100 people contribute $250 each or 10 people … we could go a long way to providing the sort of Vugraph coverage we'd all like to see. To contribute, go to the USBF website and click on the red “Online Donation Form” button and then on “Make a gift for Vugraph and Website Development.” I'll be doing some more solicitation soon!
Sept. 15, 2012
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@ Roland: I'm sure that it is possible for the operator to wear a headset to listen to the voice commentary without having it audible to the players, but I for one would not want to do so. Voice commentary is great when you're watching at home, but for all of the reasons that make it great, it would be very distracting to me as an operator. Written commentary scrolls across my screen and I can read it or not; voice would be there in my head while I'm trying to concentrate on the spot cards, alerts, explanations, etc etc.

@ Kit: Kibitzer comments for operators work just as they do for commentators - as an operator, I can put +++ in my profile and all kibitzers can message me or I can leave it out and only commentators and Yellows can. I usually put it in, but hope that kibitzers will understand when I'm not able to respond to their messages.

@Paul: I definitely second that. And no matter how hard we try, internet connections will sometimes get bad. I've had the exact same connection be great one day (or at one time) and terrible another - it depends on how many people are online and probably on lots of other things I don't understand.
Sept. 15, 2012
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Helgemo was Levin's screenmate. During the auction, he told Levin that XX was takeout. Helness first told Weinstein that XX was strong and then retracted that and said he didn't know. After the opening lead, Weinstein asked if he was entitled to know what Helgemo intended by the XX and Helgemo told him it was 100% takeout.
July 27, 2012
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The first half of today's GNT Semifinal match between Spector & Bramley will be on BBO Vugraph. If both matches are close at the half, we will try to show both of them the second half, otherwise we will show the match that is closer.
July 14, 2012
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There isn't any question but that the players, organizers & directors were of the opinion that ACBL options applied. That's what is stated in the USBF General Conditions of Contest. The question is whether that is the correct thing to be doing, since some people (Ron is not the only one) believe that this is a WBF event to which WBF “Laws” should apply.
June 30, 2012
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But ACBL does sanction them. Just as they sanction (and don't run) Sectionals & Regionals.
WBF doesn't run them either. They aren't WBF events, although they are selection events for the WBF events.
If WBF requires that USBF events use 12C(1)c and ACBL requires that they don't, how is USBF supposed to know what to do?
June 29, 2012
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Thanks for finding Law 80A1 - I foolishly looked in the definitions section. But why aren't the Trials conducted under ACBL auspices when they are sanctioned by ACBL?
The decision not to use 12C(1)c is an election that has been made by ACBL. In the ACBL edition of the Laws, there is a footnote that says “* For ACBL sanctioned events, 12C1© does not apply and 12C1(e) does apply (see Elections 1, p. 136).”
June 29, 2012
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That's an interesting question. The Laws don't define “Regulating Authority,” so I'm not sure how we know which entity (WBF, ACBL, USBF) is the Regulating Authority for the USBF Trials. USBF runs them, both ACBL & WBF award masterpoints. ACBL sanctions them; WBF considers them “Zonal Championships” at least for some purposes (strangely, if you go to the WBF website and click on “Competitions -> Zonal Championships -> Zone 2, you get a link to a list of NABCs).

I can find nothing in the WBF Constitution or Bylaws about the application of Laws to events that award WBF masterpoints. The WBF Conditions of Contest don't apply to Zonal Championships and they don't say anything about the application of 12c even if they were relevant.

I'm also not sure that elections under the Laws make those Laws not the same Laws. So I don't know whether IF the USBF events are supposed to apply ”WBF Laws" that means the Laws without any of the optional elections, including that under 12C(1)c.

Our Directors think that USBF decides which of the sections of Law 12C apply and therefore that since the USBF General Conditions of Contest provide that 12C(1)c does not apply they cannot award weighted rulings.

I recognize that there should be () around the c in 12C(1)c, but I can't figure out any way to keep the computer from turning that into ©. There must be a way; I just can't find it.
June 28, 2012
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Actually, the USBF General Conditions of Contest do not currently allow weighted rulings. The USBC Directors have asked that we change the GCOC to allow weighted rulings and it is very likely that will happen, but for this event, the rules were ACBL rules, where a weighted ruling is not allowed.
June 28, 2012
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The rule about number of boards played is in the “Awards” section on page 18 of the tournament regulations. It applies only to masterpoints:
“Master Points will be awarded in accordance with the EBL Master Points scheme provided that
the player has played at least one third of the boards played by his team.”  
June 21, 2012
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I don't understand why you would want to reduce the scores from the first stage against qualifying teams - as I understand this basic format, the concept is that by the end all of the teams who qualify have played each other, either in the first or second stage. So long as the matches in each stage are the same length, it shouldn't matter whether you played a qualifying team in the first or second stage of the event. The relevant issue is whether you carry over any of your score against teams that didn't qualify, where only half of the qualifiers played those teams.
June 20, 2012
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We will be unable to have all of the teams in the USSBC (Senior Trials) Round of 8 play the same boards, because that stage of the event is being played in one large ballroom. We hope to be able to divide the ballroom into 4 sections with 2 tables in each so that we can use only 2 different sets of boards, with one table in each section playing one set and the other one playing the other set. In that way we'll be able to have two matches playing the same boards and the other two matches playing another set of boards. If we are only able to show 2 matches on Vugraph (at the moment we do not have enough operators for more – if you're in the Chicago area, and would be interested in being a Vugraph operator, please let me know), those two matches will be playing the same boards.
May 18, 2012
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Congratulations! And well done Brandon to wait until long enough after the NABC that you'll be home for his birthday, at least most of the time! Our grandson was born on St. Patrick's day and we're never around for his birthday.
April 4, 2012
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It is very hard to change matches after the first or third quarter, because not all of the matches start at the same time. We will switch matches for the second half, but with so many close matches, it's hard to know which to switch to.
March 21, 2012
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The email from the WBF started with:

14th World Bridge Games
Open, Women, Seniors Teams
World Transnational Mixed Teams
Lille Grand Palais
Lille (France)
9th to 23rd August 2012

And then went on to include the information Jonathan posted above, so I think that the dates and site are now firm, at least for bridge. Whether this event will include other mind sports games is less clear, but this email came from WBF not IMSA.
March 7, 2012
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Congratulations, Kyle. You're not only a great player and class act, but a WONDERFUL teammate!
Feb. 28, 2012
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Great article, Dana! Thanks for a smile (or several) to start the day.
Feb. 24, 2012
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