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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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No screens.
April 16
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They are in there. The book is out for review at the moment. The charts make it much easier to see who is cheating than just tables/lists. Probably later this year before it is published.
April 16
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@Michael: The question is how much naming I'm allowed to do. For example, if I generate lists based on statistical data, but it is obvious from the list that this is also a list of cheating players, can I list the names? Example: opening lead to partner's honor. Just a statistical list of partnerships and percentages. But the implication is obvious when you see the known cheaters and then you see some other names as well. Probably going to have to remove all names from all lists apart from the known cheating pairs. I've fighting to keep some of the names in. If there are any top pairs (I base most of the work on the top 100 pairs based on the amount of data I have) that are willing to have their names listed; I'll be happy to include them. Examples would be percentage of times that you happen to find partner with an honor. There are other stats that I might be able to keep the names and the data, for example, percentage of time that you lead trumps.

@Avon: Thanks. I chat with Bob at most NABCs. We had breakfast in Memphis. I guessed the wrong last digit on a bill (odd/even) so I had to pay. I need to figure out how to cheat at that. Bob was able to verify some of the names on my list; including some from long ago.

B/L is an example where statistics can catch a cheating pair. There are others.
April 16
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@Jeff: “The Hammond Software was not in the best interests of Members”.

I think, if I understand your remark correctly, that you were implying that was an insult to the members from management/BOD.

Just in case….

ACBLscore+ was developed and delivered. It's now renamed Bridgescore+. ACBL choose not to use ACBLscore+ because they don't own the Copyright. That's a management and BOD decision. Peter Rank was the league counsel who negotiated the contract for ACBL negotiated away the Copyright early on; after he was told it was important he threatened BOD members with the Star Chamber for discussing anything to do with ACBLscore+.

Bridgescore+ is going to be used in Gatlinburg next week for nearly all of the team events. I also manage to find time to play two sessions a day; in other words it doesn't need a full time person on staff to run it. The KO events will start two minutes after game time (or the last sale/last team MP correction, which ever happens last). Previously it was 25 minutes after the last sale. It requires 7-8 TDs to start the big KOs, previously it was 13+. Swiss events will run 15-25 minutes faster than ACBLscore and require fewer TDs.

Every time I run Bridgescore+, players seem to like it.

If you are going to be in Gatlinburg, ask the Members if they like the software.

Oh…. and no single member of management from Horn Lake has ever wanted to see Bridgescore+ in action. Only one BOD member has ever seen it work at a tournament. Every other BOD member doesn't want to be seen near it.
April 16
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I'm reasonably computer literate. I've worked as a Vugraph operator. I talked with Jan. Based on my knowledge, I think it is fairly easy. It's not like writing some new Bridge scoring program or something like that.

The harder issues for Gatlinburg are logistics. We need a bar stool, table of some sort (there are alternative if we use a bar stool), laptop. Somewhere safe to sit. Corner of the hall is the best suggestion as we have no little rooms available. Hand security is an issue; but we have TDs at Gatlinburg who have done this. Including providing the hand records on a USB stick for the Vugraph operators. Jan has written procedures that are easy to follow; she was willing to provide. Gatlinburg has a dedicated WiFi network that is separate from the Guest network so no worries about Internet speed.

Convincing the local organizers and DIC that it is something worth providing is the tough party; the technology is easy (for me). There is no money in it for them; only more cost and work. Gatlinburg is sometimes bigger than an NABC only without the support staff that ACBL can bring to an NABC.
April 16
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Click “Like” if you are a regular Vugraph commentator and would be willing to commentate for 2020.
April 16
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Click “Like” if you would be interesting in volunteering to run a Vugraph station for a session at Gatlinburg in 2020. If you click on “Like”, please PM me how much you would like to get paid; or if you are willing to share the information, put a price per session in the comments. FYI: At NABCs, the going rate is $50 per session (3-4 hours of work). Gatlinburg won't be paying NABC rates!
April 16
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Click “Like” if you would be interested in watching Vugraph in Gatlinburg in 2020.
April 16
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On Facebook, you require access to my friends list in order for me to play.

While that restriction is in place, I won't be playing.
April 15
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Currently with my lawyer for review. Fortunately I have a very good one. By the time they are done, there may be nothing left in the book :-(
April 12
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@Greg: Let me show you the Lanzarotti evidence. I'll email you. It is stronger than F/N. I'll make it public at some point; probably in a book.
April 12
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That would appear to be yet another not-so-subtle dig at ACBLscore+. I'll post something separately about ACBLscore+ - getting tired of the constant knock-downs of the project.
April 12
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“please don't ask about problems with player identification in matchpoint / bam events”

So let me state them… depending on which organization is doing the VuGraph the names may, or may not, be correct. Usually they are wrong in the LIN file, and you can't use LIN data for MP/BAM games for any player analysis.
April 10
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It would be nice if we can find some volunteers to take the data from old World Championship and equivalent books and put in a LIN format or equivalent. The Vugraph Project - see http://www.sarantakos.com/bridge/vugraph.html has put some of these events in readable format but there are still many missing.

I have a database of 11,000,000+ records that I use for cheating detection; also in an SQL database, the analysis of data from older tournaments has been interesting when compared to the modern tournaments.

Kudos for Florentin for collating the data.
April 9
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@David: Most since 1997. Just added 2019. There were 22 5-0 breaks in 2019. Here's the last one: https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=62155 Board 9.
April 5
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Yes. Simple. Yes. Can't.
April 4
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I have it in Bridgescore+ but I don't release the data. It's in a format easy for Bridgescore+ to search.

For your Vanderbilt question: the answer is 102 hands, but I haven't included 2019 yet.

This is the most recent:

https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=56219

Board 16.
April 4
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From the horse's mouth… (my company did the ACBLscore+ work).

Richard is incorrect in some statements; it is the details that are very important.

ACBLscore+ was a project to replace the current ACBLscore software used in clubs and tournaments.

ACBLscore is written in Pascal, it had reached the end of its useful life, the sole developer was about to retire. The file format could not be usefully extended by much more (e.g. no data in Swiss/KO events others than win/loss, total VPs, no Bridgemate support for team games, masterpoint calculations were getting harder etc. etc.)

ACBLscore+ is a web based application that replaces ACBLscore. It uses a web based front end so that the club managers and TDs can easily learn the software. It uses a modern SQL database on the back end. No-one really cares what the middleware (interaction between the web browser and SQL database) is. Much easier to learn than ACBLscore.

The contract was $1.4m. It was six phases. Two years. ACBL could cancel without cause at the end of any phase. We could cancel with cause after 60 days notice. Each phase was well defined with specific verifiable criteria at the end of each phase. Payments were tied to phases.

ACBL owns the code developed for the contract that was written during the contract (April 2012-March 2014). As is common with software developers, we had some code that would be useful to the project that we had previously developed (“library and other code”). We owned the code that was developed before the contract started, and all work after the contract finished.

ACBL has a full license for all code that was delivered to ACBL for the ACBLscore+ contract. Similarly, Hammond Software has a full license for all code delivered to ACBL. We can turn around and resell this code to other customers.

However, for all code delivered, Hammond Software owns the Copyright to the code.

If ACBL made any enhancements to the code, they would own the new code and the Copyright to the new code. Hammond Software would have no rights to anything ACBL developed post contract. But ACBL would have to acknowledge that Hammond Software was the Copyright owner of the original code and that somewhere there would be an acknowledge screen/page that read

Copyright © Hammond Software, 2011-2014

Wanting to have that line removed from all versions of ACBLscore+ turns out to be expensive.

The contract was negotiated by Peter Rank. He is now deceased, hanging out elsewhere as someone put it. He was the ACBL legal counsel. During the negotiations he insisted on a 10% reduction in the cost - good negotiating you might think - and at the same time agreed to all the language regarding ownership/copyright/licensing. The licensing deal meant we could re-use the software for other customers. Which, we have, only about 50-80% of the code in ACBLscore+ is bridge specific, some is reusable for our other customers. As an example, there is code in ACBLscore+ that creates Word files for hand records and write-ups. We reused parts of that code for a company that handles loan documents in 50 states to customize the text per state. Replacing a field for a BOARD_NUMBER with text is the same as replacing a field for a STATE with text. This is how some technology companies make money - re-using custom software.

The contract took 3-5 months to negotiate. We had to add language to the contract to protect ACBL. It was clear that Peter and ACBL had not negotiated a large technology contract before. For those involved with technology contracts, one of the items you want is protection that code will be in escrow so the delivering company cannot withhold the code. You want periodic code drops for the same reason etc. etc. All of these items were missing from the original contract created by ACBL. We added them in for ACBL protection.

One year into the contract, ACBL did another technology project - learn to play Bridge. They used an outside counsel to review this contract, not Peter. At the same time outside counsel reviewed all existing ACBL contracts, including ACBLscore+.

Outside counsel told ACBL that they did not own the Copyright to ACBLscore+ and ACBL would have no protection if someone “stole” the code.

At this point, ACBL stopped paying the invoices on ACBLscore+ for several months until we gave them the Copyright for free. At the same time they insisted that we carry on working on the contract. The outstanding invoices were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We paid all the contractors, but put nearly all on furlough. At the same time - about a year into the contract, ACBL stopped providing any and all technical and legal support. For example, we were ready to put the software out for alpha testing at select clubs, but without approval of the legal indemnifier from ACBL this could not happen.

ACBL finally paid the invoices. The delay was a few months. Before they stopped paying invoices, we were slightly ahead of schedule and also under budget. All of this is fully documented in the monthly status reports we delivered (yes, we added that requirement to the original contract as well).

As with any software project, there are critical path items. When the critical path items became delayed enough that the contract was not going to be delivered on time, we were forced to provide 60 days notice to ACBL that they were in breach of the contract and give them time to fix. They didn't. I think there were about 20-30 separate items that had a documented 3+ month delay from ACBL.

We agreed with ACBL on a mutually accepted end date. We delivered the code, walked away from the contract leaving money on the table. I offered to run some events with the software at the Dallas NABC so that the directors could be trained in the software. ACBL declined.

We worked with ACBL for about two months on negotiating a new contract. The work was very close to completion, save the critical path items. At least one of the critical path items was 6 months, so that would have been the length of a new contract. The main sticking point was that ACBL wanted the Copyright to ACBLscore+. They wanted it for free, having originally agreed to negotiate it away for about $150K. They also wanted full ownership rights and the Copyright to anything that we developed for any new customer we have have that used any code from ACBLscore+ going forward. For any technology company that is never something you can agree to. So, in my loan processing example, they wanted to own all the code for that and the Copyright for that even though it was paid for by someone else.

I continued working on the code. It was used in Gatlinburg in 2014. It has been used in Gatlinburg ever since.

When ACBL/us could not negotiate a new contract, we walked away. It was a very simple business arrangement. Two companies could not agree terms on a new contract. I have no hard feelings towards ACBL. They ended up paying off the contract in full; not something we asked them to do.

ACBL were now a little stuck. They had invested $1.4m on software that their outside counsel told them they could not use. The reason is that they did not own the Copyright to the code. ACBL league counsel had negotiated the copyright away.

I will maintain that the ACBLscore+ contract was $1.4M; with just under $100K in travel. I use the number $1.5m. Close enough.

ACBL hired an outside consultant to look at the ACBLscore+ code and write them a report on the ACBLscore+ software. The outside consultant said it was great, the design was great. I was told the report cost about $100K. Ask your DD for a copy. It was not the answer ACBL wanted.

ACBL wrote off the ACBLscore+ project at $1.5m but also wrote off an earlier Java attempt to replace ACBLscore ($100K), the outside consultant is about $100K - I don't know the amount, but I think it was released at a BoG meeting. ACBL wrote off $2M, the remainder is probably legal bills. I know how much money we had to spend on legal bills.

I renamed ACBLscore+ as Bridgescore+ for legal reasons.

If you are not a lawyer, I cannot explain to you the difference in technology law between ownership of the code and ownership of the copyright. IANAL. If you are a technology lawyer, you hopefully can explain it to someone. Also explain why ownership of the Copyright is so important for a software product that you plan to give away to free to all club owners/TDs. My lawyers still can't figure that one out.

I have offered to run Bridgescore+ at all NABCs ever since. ACBL has declined every time except for one Swiss in Atlanta last year. Ran the event about 15-25 minutes faster. I made the same offer at the Memphis NABC going on now - ACBL declined.

The good news about Bridgescore+ is that is was used extensively in 2015 to help with the database work with detecting cheating in Bridge.

So… there is a $1.5M piece of Bridge software that ACBL has paid for. It works. Parts of it still need to be done - see critical path items above - will not deny that; but some of these require some co-operating with ACBL. It would replace ACBLscore. It would handle all the technical problems that plague ACBL live. It can even calculate the correct masterpoints for events and the Masterpoint module is completely stand-alone from the main software so is very easy to maintain and update.

I continue to use Bridgescore+. It remains invaluable to the work on detecting cheating.
March 29
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March 27
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment March 27
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