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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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Microsoft Ready and Inspire 2019 convention (40K attendance) finishes today. Presume it might free up a certain person to come and play.
July 18
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I did start with WBF, not ACBL… Last time I complained about something with the ACBL, they changed their By Laws.
July 17
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Not useless for me because I teach, but I didn't use any of those images. My point remains the same. It should be easy for a non-ACBL writer to find a (free) image to use in a publication.
July 17
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Nowhere does it state that these are free for commercial use. There should be a lot more on this site so that someone who writes articles can use. See Gita's post on the problem.
July 16
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I found this the funniest and saddest quote. Someone posted the comment

“Article written about the authors’ discovery that playing the card game Bridge is surprisingly fun and enjoyable.

Shows picture of Texas Hold ‘Em”

The author, Gita Jackson, replied:

“PLEASE FIND ME A PICTURE OF HUMAN BEINGS PLAYING SPECIFICALLY BRIDGE THAT DOES NOT COST HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS TO HAVE THE RIGHTS TO USE, IN A HALF HOUR TURNAROUND, NUMNUTS”

Got to appreciate the author's sincerity.

Surely this is something that the WBF and ACBL can easily fix by making available a set of images/photographs that are free for commercial use and easily downloadable from their web sites….
July 16
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Details of book are at http://www.cheatinginbridge.com
July 15
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Or too young! Sorry about earlier typo.
July 12
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I played with my then six year old son at the Atlanta NABC a few years ago. It was an open pairs. We had no late plays, no director calls, and we didn't finish last or second to last. We played Stayman, transfers, no carding. Every child is different and will learn at a different pace. Your grandson is not too old to play.

My son got tired of every pair that came to the table wanting to know how old he was. He wanted to ask the same question in return but was too polite. He just wanted to play and not answer personal questions. We didn't return.

Make sure that when your grandson starts playing, it is in a positive environment.
July 12
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Do you think that the modern defenders are better than the pairs from years ago because there are more/better agreements on defense than years ago?
July 9
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@Avon/Peter: I cover 1955 in my book. Form your opinion from the data when you see it.

If you had to rank R/S, F/S, F/N, B/L, P/S, B/Z, E/W, Belladonna/Garozzo, Hamman/Wolff, Hamman/Soloway, Belladonna/Avarelli, Meckstroth/Rodwell, Lauria/Versace, Helgemo/Hellness on defense, what order would you put them in? I have a tool that can measure performance on defense)? How many standard deviations from the average would a pair need to be before you were convinced they were cheating?

I have the least data on R/S. When I include them in lists, I have the top 380 pairs in the world in a data set. I sort on a defense formula I use. What is the ranking of each pairs? Their ranking is anywhere from 1-380.

There is a second formula I use. If you rank high on both formulas, then you are either brilliant, incredibly lucky or you cheat. In this second formula, F/S rank first, then B/L.

The position of R/S on these lists, along with other data, gives me information on how likely they were cheating.

Pick your favourite top world class player. Do you think they are better than R/S when defending?
July 8
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@Jim. Some people have the 1965 book. But no-one has transcribed it AFAIK.

Avon and others recently did the 1958 Bermuda Bowl. I added summary information from the 58 BB to my book, but it was too late to add the player data to my player profiles.

A brief summary of 1958 was that the Bridge was equivalent to other Bermuda Bowls in that era.

I have an analysis of the 1955 Bermuda Bowl in my book. I know how well R/S played and can compare them to their peers in that era, can compare them to the top players now, and can also compare them to the known cheating pairs. I can do the same for all players from that era.

Any volunteers for transcribing 1965? Anyone have a copy of the book?
July 8
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One suspects that the R/S incident causes a change from 1963 to 1975.

There are some books on sale on eBay that have the 1963 Laws. It appears that there might be a 1971 Amended edition.
July 8
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David wrote, “The table record is rarely going to be demonstrative.”

A single table record is not. Multiple table records are.

Suppose setting the contract relies on switching to a certain suit in the middle of a hand. Dummy/I have the same cards in both suits. It is a 50-50 guess. A cheating pair will get this right more than 50% of the time. One hand says nothing; multiple do.

Let's say I cheat. Let's say I have double dummy knowledge. There will be situations where if I take advantage of my unauthorized information that I know I might get caught. This is a risk/reward situation. My perception of this risk may be different than yours. Therefore there will be some situations where I deliberately play the wrong card. If you look at my playing record, I am not 100% perfect. If I were, you would catch me cheating. Therefore I can cite all the times I was wrong as examples that I was not cheating.

I have software that does all of this. I can compare any pair's results to known cheating pairs. If you are better than the known cheaters in certain aspects of the game then you are highly suspicious. I know the known cheating pairs make mistakes. All cheating pairs do.

If someone is willing to put the data from the 1965 World Championship into BBO LIN format, this will be a great help.

Instead of a subjective analysis of the data, I can have software do an objective analysis.
July 8
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From http://www.worldbridge.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2017LawsofDuplicateBridge-nohighlights.pdf:

“The first Laws of Duplicate Bridge were published in 1928 and there have been successive revisions in 1933, 1935, 1943, 1949, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1997, and 2007. ”

I do not know what rules were in effect in 1963. Someone may have the book.
July 8
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1. Page 6. In 1997, Law 73B2 read:

The gravest possible offence is for a partnership to exchange information through prearranged methods of communication other than those sanctioned by these Laws. A guilty partnership risks expulsion.

The last sentence was removed in the 2007 Edition and remains removed in the 2017 Edition.

It now reads:

The gravest possible offence is for a partnership to exchange information through prearranged methods of communication other than those sanctioned by these Laws.

2. On page 7, someone is missing the five of hearts. N and S both have the three of hearts.

3. I have software that can look at the data and generated statistics on the likelihood that someone is cheating. There is some data from that era on The Vugraph Project, but there is no computer readable record of the 1965 Bermuda Bowl. If someone wants to enter it, I would be interested in running my software against the data. My upcoming book has a chapter that covers all data that is in the Vugraph Project so it includes data on Reese/Schapiro and others from that time period. The results were interesting; not necessarily what you expect, or perhaps you would expect. The software can tell me who was likely cheating at the time, within some statistical confidence levels. Book should be back from printers late next week; early the following week. Too late for me to add anything about 1965, but there was enough data on Reese/Schapiro to form an opinion.
July 6
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PM me. I'm taking pre-orders. Free shipping with pre-orders. $39.95. After that probably available through Amazon and some Bridge book-sellers.
July 3
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Avon provided me the 1958 data. No surprises. The data was consistent with other tournaments from that era. It was too late to include in the charts/graphs in my book but I did put the data into the chapter of players from that era. Looks like the book will be out this month. Hopefully before the Las Vegas NABC.
July 3
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I have data from 1955 onwards from the Vugraph project, see https://www.sarantakos.com/bridge/vugraph.html, and data from 2003 onwards from BBO.

My data does not include 1964. If someone wants to add from the WC books…

Reese/Schapiro are above average for opening leads, but not exceptional.

In my database I have hundreds of thousands of records from top tournaments from 1955 to 2019.

If I take the top 500 pairs based on amount of data from top tournaments, Reese/Schapiro are #474 based on amount of data. If I then sort by accuracy (did not give up a trick on the opening lead), R/S are ranked #103 out of 500. This includes all contracts. More importantly is an accurate lead for contracts which are not going to make. R/S rank #232.

By comparison, Belladonna/Garozzo are ranked #165 by amount of data, #61 for all opening leads and #182 for opening leads that, according to double dummy before the opening lead, are not supposed to make.

For both R/S and B/G I can provide many examples of “bad leads”.

Statistically I need a large data set to generate numbers on the likelihood that they are cheating on opening leads. Probably valid for only the top 200 pairs that I have the most data on.

There are a lot fewer boards on Soloway/Swanson. I only have 62 boards. They are ranked #793 based on amount of data. If I were to insert S/S into the list of the top 501 based on the amount of data they would rank #267 on the list of pairs for all opening leads and #108 on the list of pairs for leads to contracts that are not supposed to make (per double dummy). In other words, for the latter category - opening leads when the contract is not supposed to make, S/S are better than R/S and B/G.

Hamman/Wolff rank #69 on amount of data, #159 on opening lead and #318 on opening lead for non makeable contracts.

It is easy to twist statistics. I have better tools to detect cheating on the opening lead than the data I just provided. But the accuracy of opening leads is an important number.

I can provide LOTS of examples of bad leads from known cheating pairs. Actually I can provide example of bad leads from all players. No-one is close to 100% accurate on opening lead. World class players average just under 81% accuracy on opening lead (80.94%).

More details in my forthcoming book. Looks like it will be coming out this month. I have a chart of the top 100 pairs, based on the amount of data, and ask you to pick out Fisher/Schwartz from a scatter graph showing number of opening leads and accuracy of the opening lead. See how obvious their cheating is based on this statistic. I know the leading style of all the top partnerships (trump leads, xx leads etc.) and how good each player in each top level partnership is for opening leads. Over 10% of the book is on opening leads. Analysis of all the top level players gives insight into how to improve opening leads. More importantly I know the list of experts I won't take any opening lead advice from.

Sorry John - not enough data on you to make any of the tables, charts or graphs in the book but I do cover R/S, B/G, H/W and top pairs from the 1955-1991 era as well as data from all players from 1955-2019. The results are … interesting.
July 3
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As I said earlier, “No-one but the mathematicians would care unless you tied in a National event or a qualifier.”

There are only a small number of boards/IMP pairs that changed by 0.01 because of concavity. You would have to be most unfortunate to have hit one of them.
June 24
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