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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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That means getting the player information before the event starts. Er… already tested it live in Atlanta at the last Regional but not going to say any more until something is ready for release. It's surprising how many iterations of testing you have to do to learn how bridge players think. I do have a day job… so we will see when it is ready for release. For me release now means first, I'm there doing it, second it means ready for any TD (with training) to do it. There's a gap from #1 to #2. Each step involves a few iteration steps. More than you'd think.

As with everything, always a little harder than you first think. Got to allow for foreign players who do not have proper credit in the DB.

Swiss is easier to handle.

KOs are harder because of all the things that happen in real life that you would not believe.
Oct. 7, 2014
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Roger, you posted, “I find myself wanting more, or better, answers or revelations on the ACBL-project issues, as is my right.”. We disagree on if this “is your right”. Nothing personal. You have made some poignant comments so far on this thread. I'm just another ACBL member when I make that comment. Our “rights” are defined in our Membership agreement. You'll need to ask ACBL about who shot John. Got to be a smoking gun somewhere.
Oct. 7, 2014
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Pete was the TC and oversaw the process but doubt he knows the details.

I brought 2 laptops, one projector, one WiFi router, one printer.

Use one laptop (old Macbook Air) to run the ACBLscore+ software. Connected via the WiFi router to a Macbook Pro. The Pro was connected to the Projector.

We did testing on Monday morning; my projector simply wasn't powerful enough, so Pete rented one from the Convention Center.

The Center then built a 7' mount over a power supply in the middle of the playing space. They mounted the projector on top of the mount. Took them 2-3 hours. I have always said that the most important thing about the projector is player safety. We spent a little time in adjusting the colors. The projector was good, powerful, but old. I think we ended up projecting yellow font - it was the most readable from a distance.

As teams entered, the TD entered the information into ACBLscore. I entered the same information into ACBLscore+ and the entry information was displayed on the projector through ACBLscore+. After the last entry was sold, the TD used ACBLscore+ to bracket (decide where the bracket divisions were), to match (randomly assign teams to each other in the bracket), then table (assign teams to brackets). Once that was done, we printed the information on to the cheap, fast laser printer ($125) I brought. We did this so that there was always a hard copy in case anything went wrong.

There was a lot of checking/double checking that information in ACBLscore matched ACBLscore+. Unfortunately, back then, most of this was manual. It's now automatic. The error rate for teams entering information is about 5% (i.e. about 1 in 20 teams comes back and gives a correction for the number of MPs on their team, or adds a player). The TD error rate (how often the TD mistypes a number) is less than 1%. The good news with a projector is that the last error gets fixed quickly because a team comes and complains.

Once we had a hard copy of the brackets, we would then “publish”, i.e. display the information on the wall. We did not “publish” until we had hard copy.

All the projection came through ACBLscore+ (as it was then called).

Once the event started, the TDs used ACBLscore to “run” the event.

Running the ACBLscore+ software was something I did, on a couple of occasions the TD ran the software, but these are ACBL employees. Not sure they are allowed to post. I'd give you my review of the software, but it is likely to be a little biased.

We didn't always run the software. Basically if I was playing, we tried not to run it because if anything goes wrong, I needed to be available just in case. (For example, after everyone is playing a team discovers that they are in the wrong bracket because someone read 8000 as 3000 when adding a player to their team - the fix for this is manual - have to move several teams - in this case 5 brackets were affected. TDs are used to this manually, but the information they were used to seeing was different. Based on that one occurrence, I added a lot more information to the printed bracket sheets so that the TDs can fix something manually a lot quicker). Mistakes to happen, TDs are v. good at fixing most of them, providing they have the right tools.

I've previously posted the metrics. One of the issues with new software is “is it really better”. Having metrics is a very important tools. I took a few metrics in 2013 so that we could test in 2014. For example, lot of testing in 2013 to determine the footprint of a WiFi router.
Oct. 7, 2014
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I've posted previously, business ethics prevents me from disclosing too much about the Hammond Software (HS)/ACBL ACBLscore+ contract. My current role is to protect my company's reputation, and to minimize our legal costs - other posts have led to polls on threats to sue my company. If ACBL chooses to release information about the contract and the work, I can't stop them. But at the same time, if there is mis-information I will probably try and correct it. I do not plan on being the first to release some information.

BW probably isn't the place to be having this discussion, but they started this chain. At some point, there's going to be enough information on this one thread for someone to write a book…

Bit of background because there is a lot of very careful linguistics going on.

The ACBLscore+ _contract_ was between Hammond Software and ACBL.

The ACBLscore+ _project_ included the work for the contract AND a lot of work that ACBL was going to do to be able to implement the code from the contract.

Even on some presentations to the BOD there was often confusion between the two words, and thinking that ONLY the work from the _contract_ was necessary to complete the _project_. Absolutely not. Lot more work to do the project than just the contract. That part of the work was outside the scope of the contract and was not HS responsibility.

There has been some very careful use of those two different word with some of the postings.

That being said…

I posted this on another thread:

In the middle of January 2014, I sent an 11 page letter to Robert Hartman (ACBL CEO). It was not a surprise, he had been forewarned it was coming. Basically it was listing “uncured material breach” of the contract which was a reason for Hammond Software (HS) to terminate the contract. It put ACBL on a 30 day notice, and then gave them an additional 30 days to cure. After 60 days, still not cured, so we set a termination date of March 31, 2014. Our final invoice went out at the end of March. There was still money left in the contract.

ACBL may have been worried that HS was going to sue ACBL for the remainder of the money in the contract. Never our intent.

We continued to work on the code, remember we were in negotiations for a new contract, but renegotiating the copyright from the original contract and ACBL now wanting to own and control any derivative work that HS may create from the original code, no matter the industry, no matter the time frame were non-negotiable items. So we agreed that there would be no new contract. We each wished the other well. No hard feelings.

To address the specific comments in Phyllis' email:

“The determination to terminate the contract was made after much study and with the best interests of all our members as the determining factor in the decision to halt the program.The determination to terminate the contract was made after much study and with the best interests of all our members as the determining factor in the decision to halt the program.”

The contract was terminated in March, or May, of this year. The “contract” and the “program” are two different things. The contract was delivered on time, under budget, but we could not deliver anything that had a 3 month of longer documented delay, or anything dependent on a delayed item.

" … an outside consultant …“

It was a company, not a consultant, though I understand most people may not know the difference or care.

”The Agreement provided for six specific milestones to be completed and tested by the consultant within stated time frames and for stated fees.“

There were six separate phases, three separate milestones, to use the wording in the contract. I think Phyllis meant Phase, not milestone. The Phases were to be completed by HS, but tested by ACBL. Really don't think we would be allowed to test our own code do you? The contract also had 4 deliverables but that is going to confuse everyone…

ACBL could fire HS if we failed to meet with the time line or $$ cost of any phase. ACBL were going to get to keep any time or $$ saved, i.e. if we delivered a phase early and under budget, ACBL kept the difference. And we did deliver some under time and under budget. Actually ACBL could have fired HS after the completion of any Phase, even if delivered on time and on budget without cause, 15 days written notice was all it would take.

”During August, 2013, the fourth milestone time frame was missed by the consultant“

100% correct. What Phyllis fails to mention is the reason. Phase 4 had multiple deliverables (10?). ACBL failed to deliver some of the documentation and specs required for HS to meet Phase 4. In fact, some of these were never delivered even by the end of the contract and had impact on other deliverables. Can't write code when we don't have the specs. In other words, be careful where the blame is assigned. I know what the original wording implied.

”Then in February, 2014, it was determined by ACBL management that the project was further behind in completing several of the milestones“

This was after the January 16th letter to ACBL that put them on notice that there were ”material breaches“ that would ”excuse further performance“. At that time I assume that the CEO did the necessary research to investigate and attempt to mitigate the material breaches. Note that the wording is the project, not the contract. It does get confusing. In the ACBL/HS Contract there are ”Phases“, it is certainly possible that the internal ACBLscore+ Project had ”Milestones“. I don't know.

”despite payment of the entire $1.4 million consulting fee to the consultant“.

Not true. As of the first end of the contract (March), we were under budget.

”The advisory group unanimously recommended that the ACBLscore+ Agreement be immediately terminated and the program halted because: (1) the Personal Web Server concept was too difficult to install and ensure functionality; (2) The software did not meet ACBL expectations for responsiveness and usability; (3) the software was largely incomplete and untested; and (4) user interface was completely foreign, and would require a significant investment for user training.“

The Agreement (contract) was first terminated at the end of March. Not by ACBL.

(1)..(4) are subjective. You are welcome to take a look at the Bridgescore+ YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeXxu-6NajvVDe0D467dhw and judge for yourself. (1) is not shown. For (2), I still have some videos that are in developer mode, at some point I'll re-do them in production mode. I normally make a comment in the audio on the video because developer mode does run slower. Ironically I typically run in developer mode at tournaments because it is easier and fast enough. This is the mode used in Gatlinburg and Atlanta. There are some performance videos on the site. See comparison between starting a 3 start pairs event in ACBLscore and Bridgescore+. You can decide on usability issues. Should be enough information on the videos to judge performance. Gatlinburg has the biggest tournament event on the ACBL calendar. Ran it there.

(4) was deliberately by design. No-one wanted to keep the old interface. ACBL already had one failed attempt to do that. The goal was to design for a club director/TD starting 5 years from now, i.e. someone with no baggage from ACBLscore. Some of the screens are currently designed to be transitional, I've written about some of the interesting things that you only discover when you run live and how we make them transitional. But the goal was to make it more friendly and user for Club Directors to learn. Only thing I can say is find a new Club Director and compare ACBLscore and Bridgescore+.

”In April, 2014, the Agreement was, in fact terminated. terminated.“

It was either March, or May, see prior discussion.

“ownership of the domain shall reside with the ACBL.”

this is a cut/paste from a sentence in the contract that was missing a word, better read as

“ownership of the domain shall reside with the ACBL.“

No big deal. I registered some domains, e.g. acblscoreplus.com. We added that wording to make sure that we did not run off with the domain in hopes that ACBL would make sure they used similar language in future technical contracts. You don't want the developer owning the domain name(s) when it is all done. This was wording we added(!)

” shall be provided with a free license-to-use and free license-to-distribute for all code developed during this project.”

No, we are not going to make it Open Source. Don't ask.

If ACBL and its committee thinks it is no good, fine. Everyone entitled to their own opinion. If ACBL won't use it, fine. Doesn't stop us. We've already committed to some districts to run it at some regionals, I have no problem running it. I obviously have a different opinion than the ACBL committee on the software. Won't be the first time. Doubt it will be the last. We agree to disagree. All we are running at the moment is software to help start a KO. Can also display all results/assignments from a Swiss on the wall. Simple stuff.

So… Bridgescore+. Same price as ACBLscore. Let the market decide. It would really help if ACBL would release the specs needed to complete the project. It is something that would be useful for all members, not just developers - an HTML page that lists all of ACBL's masterpoint eligibility and assignment rules in a single place (not the calculation rules). Sounds simple, but it is the only place the word “complex” is used for a component of a Phase.

“Had the ACBLscore+ program been completed and published, the ACBL would have obtained copyright protection by using the copyright symbol and terms of use language similar to those developed by outside copyright counsel for the recently published “Learn to Play Bridge” program. Since ACBLscore+ was not completed or fully tested or published, the copyright symbol and terms of use language could not be integrated into the final program”.

IANAL, but others have pointed out the legal issues. Complicated, but HS would have been listed at the copyright owner is what I've been told. It turns out this is now a really big deal for ACBL. Since day one, all the code has had a copyright embedded in it. Developer 101 stuff. This Copyright issue has been huge for ACBL since mid last year. Perhaps because of lessons learned from L2PB, I'm speculating. My lawyer is still confused on why.

I think Bridegscore+ uses about 70 different products so the License agreement lists all of those license agreements. Quite a complicated page… All of the other License agreements are MIT-License of similar, i.e. free to use, free to distribute.

The wording of the “terms of use” was requested from ACBL legal department on September 7, 2013 with a ‘need’ date of 4-5 weeks as we planned to release to clubs. As of the end of the contract the “terms of use” document was never delivered so there was no alpha release to clubs.

Roger wrote: “I find myself wanting more, or better, answers or revelations on the ACBL-project issues, as is my right.”

No, it's not. Sorry. Sounds like you are an ACBL member, just like me. We all vote for, and empower the Board, and implicitly the management to run the organization for us. But we are not entitled to every piece of possible information. I've only released something after ACBL has released it. I didn't post on the original ACBLscore thread, I only posted on this thread after some time. The only reason I'm posting is to keep the company's legal bills down. This contract finished six months ago and our lawyer is very happy.

I will repeat again: HS has no intention and never has had any intention to sure ACBL. Not sure how or where that rumor started. No idea what we would sue for.

My “two hats” is sometimes I post for me, sometimes for my company. I think it's obvious when I do each one. The Medieval Fonts for example was personal, same as the Open Source mapping to a bridge hand.
Oct. 7, 2014
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I've got some tools that I will probably release in the next version of Bridgescore+ that will help. Can go from hand records to Word etc. Still looking for more templates, but that comment won't make any sense until I release the code so you can see what I'm talking about.

My frustration is still with the on-line hand records (not the PDF). I get a little sea-sick reading them!
Oct. 7, 2014
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Took some time, but I may have figured out why the ACBL BOD was/is on a gag order.

In the middle of January 2014, I sent an 11 page letter to Robert Hartman (ACBL CEO). It was not a surprise, he had been forewarned it was coming. Basically it was listing "uncured material breach" of the contract which was a reason for Hammond Software (HS) to terminate the contract. It put ACBL on a 30 day notice, and then gave them an additional 30 days to cure. After 60 days, still not cured, so we set a termination date of March 31, 2014. Our final invoice went out at the end of March. There was still money left in the contract.

ACBL may have been worried that HS was going to sue ACBL for the remainder of the money in the contract. Never our intent.

We continued to work on the code, remember we were in negotiations for a new contract, but renegotiating the copyright from the original contract and ACBL's now wanting to own and control any derivative work that HS may create from the original code, no matter the industry, no matter the time frame were non-negotiable items. So we agreed that there would be no new contract. We each wished the other well.

ACBL then wanted the code that was shown in Gatlinburg, so we changed the contract end date, shipped them the code and invoiced them. Now, no money to sue about.


Oct. 7, 2014
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It was intended to be a one-time contract. Responsibility for the code would transition to ACBL after/during the contract, the plan was they would hire in-house developers to maintain the code and expand it. The original contract called for a few hours per month of my time as a consultant after the contract was over to provide 3rd/4th level support. But it was always supposed to be a one-time contract. Last thing ACBL would/should want is a dependency on a third party company for software that provides the majority of their income.
Oct. 7, 2014
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A couple of people have signed up. Going to take a few days while everyone becomes familiar with a new development environment, GitHub, programming language(s), tests etc.

Had the same experience when programmers first started out on ACBLscore+.

No-one yet willing to give estimates for time (elapsed and actual man-hours), which is understandable. Neither am I!

There a test case already written, very simplistic.

Not asking for comments, we will track on comments the project Wiki, but I will keep you informed of progress.

For all those that wanted to contribute, now is the time!
Oct. 6, 2014
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Kevin,
There is a difference between me (NH) and Hammond Software (HS).

I'm a long time volunteer, similar to yourself (posters on the list may not realize that we know each, have met in meetings etc. etc.), been Unit President, on District board, involved with junior bridge, including Atlanta Junior Bridge for some time.

HS is a blood-sucking for-profit American corporation.

Like everyone, I want a better experience when I play bridge.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, I can't give you the answers you want from ACBL about the ACBLscore+ work. That's protected under fairly standard NDA stuff.

I found myself in the position in July, that ACBL announced that they were discontinuing the ACBLscore+ project. HS has rights to the code. My district wants it used at their regionals, so I repackaged it, and volunteered my time at the Atlanta Regional and ran Bridgescore+.

No big deal, I set up about 20 minutes before game time, laptop/projector/network takes less than 5 minutes to get all powered on. I can then enter the team numbers, MP totals. The TDs are doing their job selling entries. A couple of minutes before game time, the TD indicates what the bracket sizes are likely to be. They give me the “table inventory” (available tables). As soon as selling stops, TD looks at list of teams, decides the brackets, computer randomly assigns matches, TD then decides who sits where (BSP provides defaults but TD can override), project on the wall. Takes < 1 minute with a little practice from entries closing to all brackets up. I can then go play. Much better experience for all, including me. I've given up 10-15 minutes of socializing before game time. But I get to start quicker, so does everyone else. I also volunteer at the hospitality suite later; I don't get paid for that either :-)

I've committed to D7 that we will run the software at its upcoming regionals. I'm on the D7 board. HS had pre-paid for various Internet hosting so marginal cost is $0. I've had requests from other districts so it was trivial to set it up so that other Districts can use. I'm reusing the infrastructure that had been setup for ACBLscore+ development.

I don't see how HS is going to make any money. ACBL has the same code, they can offer it for free. If I get to the point where there are costs, I may have to charge, but for now, it's free. But you get what you pay for.

If you want to use it for your own district, let me know. Happy to set you up. This part of the code is best for KOs that are 30+ teams. Any less and it makes little sense. You would be a perfect candidate to help a district with the setup. What I have found is that it is not the software that is the difficulty, it is the ability to set up a projector, wireless connection, couple of computers. Easy for the technically minded, little harder for the average TD who has not had to learn these skills.

It's interesting to see the learning curve. If you are technical, and a player, but not a TD, you have to learn a new language with starting a KO - e.g. box, ring, stationary etc. These all mean something to a TD, but a player is clueless what they mean. If you are a TD, there's a learning curve because you have spent 30+ years doing everything manually. All of a sudden there is a computer doing everything for you. Bit like the transition from manual scoring to ACBLscore. Try go teach a player what a TD does, and trying to explain to a TD how the software can help, and how to use it, is a little difficult. New language for both. This is where a tech-savvy bridge player can help TDs.

Starting a KO is one of the biggest time savers. It's but a small part of BSP, but big time saver.

One of the unspoken advantages to new software is the time/$$ savings. If BSP only uses 2-3 TDs to start a large KO, whereas before it required 10-13 TDs, you can start to see savings. These TDs are typically only needed at start time, to speed up the process of putting up brackets, tables into the rack. But they still have to charge for their time. You will sometimes see TDs move from a pairs event to help with the KO setup, then move back. Starting a KO is time consuming.

Same applies to a large Swiss. At the moment, there can be 3 directors - one entering the scores, one writing the current scores on the Jeffries chart, one putting matches in the rack. These are 3 TDs who are now not on the floor. Replace this with software so that you only need 1 TD to enter the scores, enter matches, and automatically display assignment through a projector onto the wall. This is the reason that Regionals are looking at the software. Big improvement in player experience.

Gatlinburg's other interest is player safety. The numbers at the start of a KO are huge - 800+ people crowding over director. But, implicitly, there should be savings on cost. Ironically the savings on cost may affect the ACBL bottom line, but that's not the issue for the TC.

I don't see how ACBL could ‘ban’ certain software from tournaments. Certainly if it starts to impact on their core code, e.g. “running” an event, “issuing masterpoints”, then I could see it. However, ACBL can't tell a TC/TD that they can't run Excel. Oops. Bad example. The ACBL can't tell a TC/TD that they can't run Word at a tournament. But we'll see. Certainly my district would be quite upset if ACBL tried to do that.

Perhaps it needs someone to post who has seen BSP, either at Gatlinburg, or the other regionals to comment. I know it's a little hard for a TD to post something. I do know that every Regional I have been to with BSP has asked for it to be used at their next regional.

BSP is ready and able to help run Swiss events. I'm comfortable enough with the code for it to run a National Swiss and put my reputation on the line if the software doesn't work. Results/assignments projected on the wall. We do that at D7 Regionals.

Re: volunteers:

I'm looking for tech volunteers to help set up BSP at Regionals. Experience has shown that the issues tend to be related to network setup. The TDs have all been wonderful, but setting up a network, Internet access, printer is not their forte. Sadly they have had little need to learn new computing skills. I can't travel to every regional and train TDs. But if you want to volunteer your time, I can provide you with access to BSP. You need to be willing to spend some time.

I've also set up some Open Source projects and asked for tech volunteers. My motives are quite simple. Yes, I'd love to have code written that can be incorporated into BSP. However, I've made this quite plain on various posts, this code can be used by other software. For example, I'd love to see a Swiss Pairs event at some Regionals. Until/unless there is code for a Swiss pairs movement, you won't see it in the ACBL land. If this code is developed, and is available for free, then there is some incentive for ACBL to incorporate into ACBLscore. I have already posted some code as Open Source for other Bridge related software so I'm volunteering as well.

May sound a little too altruistic, but the software is there if you want to use it.
Oct. 6, 2014
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Oct. 6, 2014
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Thanks. Fixed.
Oct. 6, 2014
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Given the flames I'm getting from other articles I may need to jump into one.
Oct. 5, 2014
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I have created a repository for the Swiss code. See https://github.com/njhammond/swiss_matcher

If interested, let me know your GitHub handle and I will add you.
Oct. 5, 2014
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Put simply, there was a contract between ACBL and Hammond Software (HS). It is not my place to divulge information from that contract.

I never posted anything until after ACBL first posted something and even then only posted something to protect ACBL from some of the various accusations that were being made against them. I've addressed the generalities in other posts.

I can understand your request for #1, and #2, but it is not something I can provide.

I sense everyone's frustration, but I cannot answer these type of specific questions. These are best addressed to ACBL.
Oct. 5, 2014
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Roger: if I post something that just says, “ain't true” then it won't pass the sniff test. Better to err on the side of verbosity. I know enough that the technical people reading this won't let me get away with anything.

For any more details on what “fell short”, please see the 4th paragraph of the article at http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=183, that starts “I am…”.

The last monthly status report for the ACBLscore+ project delivered to ACBL was 141 pages long. May give you some idea of the complexity of the project. The ACBLscore+ project was planned to have impact across all of ACBL - scoring, club finances, fast results, tournament finances, reporting, club management etc. etc.

Please read the quoted sentence from ACBL very carefully, “A working group consisting of Board members, internal staff and outside experts determined efforts to develop a completely new system ACBLScore+ fell short of what was required to work for the League’s members.” There is an implicit assumption in the wording that leads Roger to go from ”efforts“ to ‘your company’s efforts “fell short”'' but there is carefully no wording in the statement to that effect. Same with the October bulletin article. Have to read this very carefully.

I cannot speak for ACBL under the ”fell short" claim. All I can do is show the software.

Take a look at the proposed roll out plan, http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=44. This was written some time ago. Still true today. I stand by what is written there. Any proposed roll out needs to be slow. It will take effort to train the TDs in new software that has more capabilities than the existing software.
Oct. 5, 2014
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Like many on this site, I occasionally wear two hats. I have posted some things under my own name, but I'm also the CEO of Hammond Software, the company that did the ACBLscore+ work.

In this case, I'm posting as CEO of Hammond Software (HS).

I have not voted on this poll. I am unaware of the results of the 100+ votes when I wrote this.

Two of the proposed options on the poll were “sue the software developer over lack of contract performance”. Those are fighting words, and by implication state HS has failed to meet its contractual obligations under the ACBLscore+ contract. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are not aware that ACBL has any intention to sue HS, nor does HS have any intention to sue ACBL. We are not even sure what either party could sue for.

The ACBLscore+ contract was a time-limited and $$-limited contract. I have previously posteda more detailed response at http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=183. Basically the contract ended at the end of March 2014. As stated elsewhere, the contract was completed essentially on time, under budget, with the exception that any item that had a documented 3 month or longer delay from ACBL, or any item that was dependent on a documented delay could not be finished.

The contractors and employees working on the project were all informed that March 31 was the last day of the project. HS/ACBL began negotiations on a new contract before that time. In March I was working with the Horn Lake based person that was going to take over the ACBLscore+ code. The final ACBLscore+ monthly status report was delivered at the end of March, along with the final invoice.

As has been noted elsewhere, both HS and ACBL have full rights to the code. On the assumption that we might get a new contract, we continued working on the ACBLscore+ code. HS kept some of the original developers working on the code as there were many things that I wanted to add that were outside the scope of the original contract, but I knew would be beneficial to TDs/players/DICs/TCs.

The NABCs are run by ACBL. The Regionals are run by Districts. ACBL did not want ACBLscore+ demonstrated at any NABC, but the Gatlinburg Regional DIC and TC were happy to run the new software at their tournament in April 2014. Gatlinburg runs the biggest tournament events (20-30 brackets in a KO, can be over 300 teams) on the ACBL schedule. It is probably the biggest test of any new software. That Gatlinburg were willing to run this new software is indicative of the need to improve certain aspects of tournament management and also the maturity of the software.

In April 2014, we ran ACBLscore+ in Gatlinburg. We only used a small portion of the ACBLscore+ code, only for starting a KO, but it was a great success. The average KO start time (based on the time that the last table assignment was posted) dropped from 27 minutes to 15 minutes. Doesn't sound like much, but 200 teams, 800 players, 12 minutes saved is 160 man-hours. Starting a large KO in Gatlinburg required 13 TDs, with the new software the number is significantly reduced. Basically 2 TDs to start the event. More importantly it was a lot safer for the players, no longer did 800 people crowd around four 6' tables trying to read their assignments from a rack. We will be back in 2015. The start times will be even quicker as the software has matured and I have included a lot of feedback from TDs on what they want, and how they want it to run. This was the state of ACBLscore+, it was ready for TD feedback to improve its usage. Doing this live, i.e. “in the field” is the state of Bridgescore+.

ACBL sent some management people to Gatlinburg, whether to see ACBLscore+ running or for other reasons I do not know. I do know that there were pictures posted on the ACBL Facebook page showing the new screens, the projectors in use, along with statements about how wonderful ACBLscore+ was and the future. In the Orwellian system, those pictures and comments are no longer on the ACBL FB site.

ACBL wanted the additional features that were shown in Gatlinburg and wanted to change the ACBLscore+ contract end date to include this new software. We agreed, a new contract end date was set (towards end of May), we sent ACBL the newer code including all source code, invoiced them for the work. And again, parted ways amicably.

It was surprising to hear two months later that they decided to discontinue the entire project. Particularly after they had just paid more money.

I have repeatedly pointed out that there are 3 issues:

1. Original ACBLscore+ contract.
2. ACBL decision not to do a new contract with HS.
3. ACBL decision to “discontinue ACBLscore+”.

JoAnn, with your post, you are confusing #1 with #3 and making assumptions.

#2 was based on ACBL's insistence that any new contract required renegotiating the original contract, specifically in reference to the copyright.

If #3 is based on the copyright issue, then that is a separate topic.

As I have stated elsewhere (http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=183), #2 was a business decision, and I would like to think that ACBL/HS parted amicably. Certainly there are no hard feelings from either me or my company.

The good (?) news is that HS has rights under the ACBLscore+ contract to the code. I had never intended to do anything with the bridge part of the code, my company was only interested in the underlying technology, the engine that drives everything, but I had made commitments to run ACBLscore+ at our District (I'm in D7) regionals. After ACBL made the announcement to discontinue ACBLscore+ in July 2014, I took the ACBLscore+ code, continued to enhance it and re-branded it as Bridgescore+. I continue to work it, and to release new versions of it. It has been run at 3 regionals this year, with more planned.

HS had pre-paid various annual expenses, including Internet hosting, in anticipation of additional ACBLscore+ work. When that contract did not happen, the marginal cost to us to host Bridgescore+ is close to $0. After the success of Bridgescore+ at the Atlanta Regional in August 2014 (the KOs were starting at game time, or 1 minute after game time with 1 TD; by comparison the KO events that were not started by Bridgescore+ averaged 12 minutes and would use up to 5 TDs), I had requests from other Districts to run the software and have made it avaiable to them. 5 districts are currently looking at it, with one more interested. If your district is interested, ask the District Chairman (not the District Director) to contact me.

Starting a KO is but a small part of what Bridgescore+ is capable of, but it is a start. Even if this is the only part of the software that ever gets used, it is still something. Training the TDs to use new software, and to learn something new, when they have had 30+ years of using the software is challenging.

I am pleased to see that the October bulletin contains a statement that ACBL is going to roll out tournament results and prompt player results. This was part of the ACBLscore+ contract so you are starting to see benefits from the ACBLscore+ work. It was code that HS developed in early 2012, before the ACBLscore+ contract was signed, and was demonstrated at the Memphis NABC in March 2012. It was showcased at the various National pair events in Memphis. Over 50% of players signed up for the service. Immediately after game time (within 5 minutes), the players received a personalized text of their results, an email, along with a link to the Javascipt presentation of the results. We even had the ability to phone in personalized results in English, German, Spanish and Italian. After the ACBLscore+ contract was signed, HS delivered this code to ACBL. It has been very frustrating that ACBL has taken 2 1/2 years to roll out the software. All that was needed was for ACBL to provide a way for the TD to send the ACBLscore game file to a site on the Internet. That work was outside the scope of the ACBLscore+ contract, it was work that ACBL needed to do internally.

Also, from the October bulletin, I should point out that the the decision to wrap up HS's involvement with the ACBLscore+ development contract was made in March 2014, well before Merlin and Russ did any testing. I was not involved in any way with the work they did. I do not know when Merlin/Russ did their investigation. At the time, I do not think that ACBL even knew how to change ACBLscore+ from a developer mode to a production mode. I had no communication from ACBL to help set up a test (I would have been happy to).

There are a series of videos of Bridgescore+. See https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeXxu-6NajvVDe0D467dhw for the software in action. This is the Bridgescore+ YouTube channel. Or see http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=60 for a list of all videos. You can see what Bridgescore+ is capable of. I have had rumors that usability or performance were issues. See for yourself. Some of the videos have Bridgescore+ in developer mode; at some point I'll update them to run in production mode (just like a final release). Runs much faster.

One comparison is how long it takes to start a 3 strat pairs event at a Regional. ACBLscore requires 43 clicks/data entry and takes 2 minutes 49 seconds. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZMB95bc2iI. Bridgescore+ requires 4 clicks/data entry and takes 27 seconds. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ufahwQOmbk. See for yourself which is easier to use/run. The main target audience for the new software was new club TDs/managers and how difficult it would be for them to learn the software. It was not to target the current user base, though many features were incorporated to make an easier transition for the users.

There are several other features of Bridgescore+ that are ready for release. My limitation is in training users on the new software. One thing I have learned is that if everything works, it is the expectation. If someone goes wrong, it's the software's fault. Bridgescore+ is an extensive piece of software - over 200,000 lines of code. Currently Bridgescore+ has a very good reputation in the field (ask any players/TDs that have seen it or used it).

We have started with a simple step like starting a KO as this has the biggest impact on the players. But even this involves TDs learning new software to bracket, match, and table teams using a computer, not manually. Using Bridgescore+ to project Swiss information on the wall is probably the next feature you will see. The software has been capable of doing that for some time, we ran it at the Atlanta regional in 2014, we've been running Swiss using projectors in Atlanta sectionals for almost a year. Still using ACBLscore for the matching, to meet any ACBL regulations, but the event moves much faster with displays on the wall. For the last 4 NABCs, I've wanted to run the National Swiss, but ACBL has said no. That is how confident I am in the software, and how long this has been available. The offer still applies to Providence. I will be in Providence as a player, but it is simple to run Bridgescore+ and have the results displayed on the wall. It gets rid of the rack and Jeffries (scoring) chart. You can have the same TD enter results and do table assignments, freeing up at least 1 TD.

The results of previous BW polls, as unscientific as they can be, have been used by the WBF in relation to the “Two Doctors” case therefore BW polls cannot be silently ignored. HS was faced with the dilemma of posting something here, with its associated costs, or waiting to see final results and then have to potentially face a different set of costs.

JoAnn, please be careful with the wording of your polls. In this instance, the implication that HS should be sued “over lack of contract performance” has caused even more unnecessary legal activity for my company (talking with lawyers this week and over the weekend). As expected, the company's lawyer recommended against posting anything, but I wanted to set the record straight before a poll got out of hand and is used for anything. It is amazing how much our legal bills have been over the past year.

Flights are interested. The board mandated, I forget when, could have been in the 1990s or early 2000s that ACBLscore can run 5 strat events. I think it is just for 299er games at Regionals. That work is still pending. Some TDs run these events, but masterpoint the 4th and 5th strats manually. ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ support 5+ strats by default. Interesting to see how long it will take to see this retro-fitted to ACBLscore.
Oct. 5, 2014
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Hammond Software (HS) did not offer a 10% discount to ACBL if HS kept the copyright. I updated the description at http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=51 to reflect the actual details. See FAQ #1. The 10% cut in price required by ACBL, and the code ownership were discussed contemporaneously with the same person at ACBL. The ability to re-use the underlying code/engine in ACBLscore+ for other non-bridge related HS projects is huge.

I'm a little reluctant to post this, because if I post this correction here, and leave various other mis-statements uncorrected, then the assumption will be that the other mis-statements are correct (and there are several out there).

ACBL did change their mind during the contract about the Copyright issue. This became a very big deal for them 3Q last year. It could be that this is the reason that they have decided not to continue work on ACBLscore+.

HS has no intention of suing the ACBL; as stated elsewhere, not sure what we would want to sue them for.
Oct. 4, 2014
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It's common in layout to insert a space between each card, but not between 10. So a hand AQ108 would be displayed as A Q 10 8. There are various techniques to do this, depending if you are using an HTML based display (div/tables), or a Word processing tool, e.g. MS Word. At some point it would be useful for someone to survey various authors to find out the tools they use. For publishing you can add the various publishing software that is used as well. There are some special purpose bridge fonts. I've seen various tools that journalists use. Some are as bad as manually tabbing each suit for every hand.

I've got some tools that I will probably release with the next version of Bridgescore+. Given a bridge hand, or a set of hands, Bridgescore+ can take them and put them all into a Word document neatly laid out. I've got a couple of templates so far. If anyone has a Word template that they frequently use, and are willing to release it under the MIT-License, I can include it in the next Bridgescore+ release.

When I release the next release, will post something here.
Oct. 4, 2014
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Greg wrote the code to support Thomas Andrews's algorithm. I updated the hand record utility to version 1.0.2. Thanks Greg! I do not plan on making subsequent announcements of each version. The main purpose of writing this code was to showcase how Open Source (OS) could/should work. I suspect that there are many programmers reading this who have heard of OS, but not sure how it works. By creating a project, albeit a very small one, it gives some exposure. The Swiss teams is a bigger project. Stay tuned.
Oct. 3, 2014
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Electronic scoring (i.e. how results get to a Scoring Program), and Table Management are both separate topics. There are different expectations around the world in how Swiss Team events are run, from both players and TDs. Certainly the ACBL land, players expect to move each round, and with designated pairs of tables (e.g. C1/D1). ACBL TDs typically save one triplet of tables (e.g. G1/H1/I1) for the RR match. But that is ACBL land, other NBOs have different customs.
Oct. 3, 2014
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