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All comments by Richard Willey
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Said ACBL National Tournament Director was pulling stuff out of his butt.

The relevant section of the old convention chart is the following line under Allowed:

ARTIFICIAL AND CONVENTIONAL CALLS after strong (15+ HCP), forcing
opening bids and after opening bids of two clubs or higher. (For this
classification, by partnership agreement, weak two-bids must be within a
range of 7 HCP and the suit must contain at least five cards – See #7 under
DISALLOWED.)

There is NOTHING in this language that requires invitational values for a 2NT response.

Its a pity that the ACBL allows folks like this to direct.
5 hours ago
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What do you mean when you say “something I’d like to prevent from happening again”?

I really hope that you mean that partner and I need to improve our constructive bidding… Even more so, I hope that you recognize that sometimes you're going to get fixed.
12 hours ago
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Ultimately, alerting requirements in the ACBL seemed to be based more on what is “expected” or “traditional” rather than what is what is a natural bid, what's an asking bid, or what have you.

Historically, if you look at what's common within ACBL land, a 2NT response to a weak two opening is an asking bid, however, it also was also constructive in nature. As such, I think that a lot of people have an expectation that either

A. The pair has an agreement that the asking bid promises values, in which case this would qualify as a psyche

B. The pair has an agreement that the asking bid does not promise values, in which case the bid should be alerted
16 hours ago
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The question that I would want the answer to is whether or not the 2NT bid establishes a forcing pass. Wish that was part of the disclosure process.
18 hours ago
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Mt Damiani,

I don't think that anyone doubts that you have made major contributions to promoting the game of bridge. However, I would like to return to two more specific questions that I originally posed:

1. You stated that “Bridge has to call for a specific exception to rules regarding arbitration of players convicted of serious ethical violations.” What if this exception is not granted? Should we continue forward with efforts to align ourselves with the IOC or is this a dealbreaker?

2. “What would convince you that this effort <promoting “bridge as sport” and aligning with the IOC and CAS> should be abandoned?”
April 18
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Jose Damiani wrote:

> Did I lie

It's unclear if you are actually lying, but you are being disingenuous at best. It's very clear that you are attempting to mislead people by throwing out a stream of non-sequitors and irrelevant claims in an attempt to prop up your position.

There was a discussion whether or not the “bridge as sport” effort was yielding material (monetary) benefits. You said look “Bill Gates and Warren Buffet gave a million dollars. But that wasn't contingent on ”bridge as sport". it was merely something good that happened.

Don Mamula noted that the WBF provided accommodations for pairs that don't want to play against Israel, suggesting the WBF's treatment of people who don't want to sit against F/N or Lanzarotti / whomever seems arbitrary at best. You said the you never saw this happen while you were chair. Well, la de da… I don't know what you did or did not see, but

1. There numerous well documents cases in which Arab teams have refused to play against Israeli team. (Just look at Zia's autobiography)

2. To my knowledge, the WBF has never penalized teams for this and is now rigging the draws to try to minimize the chances of this happening.

Why do you bother with such transparent attempts at subterfuge?
April 17
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So, what you're saying is - and this is a direct quote - "“Why align with the IOC at all? The answer to this is brutally simple: money.” However, you're unable or unwilling to actually measure your results and provide ways that people can evaluate your success.
April 17
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I believe that there was a cut and paste error. This reply seems to be directed to a set of questions that Steve Moese asked.
April 17
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> As far Israel is concerned I never did or see what
> you said while I was in the Chair

While you were chair of the WBF, how many times were teams representing Arab countries scheduled to play against Israeli teams in WBF events?

How many of those matches were played?
April 17
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> one million dollars from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to
> teach bridge in schools and colleges in the US.

1. Were those grants every spent? If so, by who and on what?
2. Were those grants contingent on Bridge's status as a “sport”?
April 17
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The ACBL recently published an interview with you in an article titled “Damaini Defends “sport” definition for bridge”. The article left me with more questions than answers, the biggest being “What would convince you that this effort should be abandoned?” Any time that I am administering a major project for my company we establish a set of “success criteria” (how do we know that we have been successful). However, we also establish criteria by which we understand that the project has failed and we should move on to other things.

For example, in the section of the article titled “Bridge has to call for a specific exception to rules regarding arbitration of players convicted of serious ethical violations.” What if this exception is not granted? Should we continue forward with efforts to align ourselves with the IOC or is this a dealbreaker?

In a similar fashion you state “Why align with the IOC at all? The answer to this is brutally simple: money.” I understand that some countries are able to use IOC recognition to claw money from their governments; however, it is far from clear that the game of bridge is turning a profit here. How much money has the WBF been forced to spend in support of this program? Which countries have been able to get support from their National governments and how much does this amount to? Are we turning a profit? Are we turning enough of a profit to justify oh so many annoyances associated with the IOC? In a world where the benefits from IOC membership are limited to a small number of countries but the costs are being spread across all of the Zonal organizations why should the ACBL and the USBF provide support for these efforts?

At a higher level, if you believe that the WBF should continue with these efforts, perhaps you might compete Heilmeier’s catechism… I’ve always fund it useful in evaluating various proposals.

https://www.darpa.mil/work-with-us/heilmeier-catechism
April 16
Richard Willey edited this comment April 17
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Speaking for myself, I would hope to see charts in addition to tables. For something like this, I really would like to be able to look for elbows in the distribution and in most cases this is easier with a chart than a table.

Multivariate scatterplot matrices are especially welcome

http://www.sthda.com/sthda/RDoc/figure/ggplot2/ggally-ggplot2-matrix-of-plots-1.png
April 16
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> Suspecting that Richard Willey is being facetious …

Part of management training at MIT and at Akamai focused on how to apologize. Both places very much stressed that if you are at fault, there is an absolute requirement to assume responsibility.
April 16
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I would have liked to see a statement like the following:
As many of you are aware, the ACBL failed to meet the room block commitments that were required by our long standing contract with the host hotel. As a result, penalty clauses in the contract kicked in and the ACBL was required to remit $700K to the host hotel. There are any number of reasons why these events came to pass, but ultimately the responsibility lies at the hands of the ACBL’s executive management for locking the organization into risky and complicated long term contracts and the ACBL’s Board of Directors for failing to exercise appropriate oversight.

The ACBL will do its best to learn from its mistakes. Most notably,

1. We are re-assessing the way in which we book hotel space and evaluating whether the practice of inflating hotel room prices to subsidize playing space makes sense in the age of AirBNB.
2. We are reviewing all of our contracts for upcoming Nationals, with an aim to reduce our exposure to this type of event.
3. We are considering proposals to significant re-structure the Board of Directors, reducing its size and expense and refocusing its activities away from minutia like masterpoint allocations and towards real governance.

Once again, I am sorry. This sort of error should not have happened. We will do our best to make sure that there are no repeat incidences.
April 16
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What if we separated entry fees and masterpoint fees?

You pay foo dollars to enter an event. If you win, you have the option to pay bar dollars and collect masterpoints. Seems a simpler way to accomplish what Chris is suggesting.
April 16
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In the United States, price discrimination is sometimes legal.

For example, senior citizen discounts are perfectly legal. Charging a protected class “more” is not.
April 16
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On a more serious note, framing a topic as “Players continue to use AirBNB to evade paying their fair share of player space” suggests that Whipple really doesn't understand the issue here.

Players have no obligation to deliberately book hotel rooms at grossly inflated prices to help support the BoD's poor business decisions. The way to address this issue is to not sign these ludicrous contracts to begin with.

Note: I very much understand that the ACBL might be locked into some remarkably bad long term contracts. that doesn't mean that we shouldn't reform the business model that we currently use when negotiating with hotels. (I will point out the some folks, myself included, were warning about these issues 10+ years back)

FWIW, I have plenty of friends who negotiate and book hotel contracts for Science Fiction conventions and they like. They consider the system that the ACBL uses to be exploitative, unnecessary, and ill considered.
April 16
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“Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
April 16
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historically, the selection criteria have involved a number of factors including public relations / diversity goals.
April 16
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I missed the assumption about not having both a number or a letter.
April 16
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