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Partnership Agreement

#1 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 14:03

“Partnership agreement” is one of the most complicated topics in online bridge. The root cause of the problem is three-fold:

1.The ephemeral nature of the online game. Many partnerships are casual and don't spend much time discussing bidding system.

2.The diverse nature of the player pool. Large online sites have player from all across the world. There are dramatic difference in the level of play. There is no clear consensus regarding the definition of “bread-and-butter” sequences

3.Strong differences of opinion regarding appropriate disclosure. There are constant debates regarding the dividing lines between “partnership agreement”, “general bridge knowledge”, and praying that two players are on the same wavelength.

Life gets even more interesting when we start adding “standard” systems into the mix. There is a lot of disagreement regarding whether the term SAYC refers to a relatively well defined system called Standard American Yellow card or “just” 5 card majors and a strong NT opening. Through in an application like BBO's “Full Disclosure” that automates alert strings and you have a recipe for some rather complex arguments.

Personally, I'd like to see an end to these discussions. After four odd years, they've started to grow rather tired. From my perspective, the solution to this issue is two fold:

Step 1: I think that we need to clearly differentiate between “formal” and “informal” play. Most of the games that take place on BBO are highly informal in nature. There's no director. There are no adjustments. There are no stakes. It just doesn't matter... In contrast, there are a number of other tables where the standard of play is much more formal. From my perspective, the Homebase Club is an obvious example. Ideally, I'd hope that the entities participating in formal play would work towards developing some behavioral norms. Over time, these will serve as the basis for a real set of Online Laws.

Step 2: I think that “formal” tables would benefit by establishing a protocol that explicitly establishes partnership agreement. (When use the term protocol, I'm referring a Diplomatic protocol rather than a computer protocol). Long term, I believe that this protocol should be based on the “Full Disclosure” application. For example, we could impose the following structure:

1. Full Disclosure files are the only legal convention cards

2. All partnerships are required to post a convention card (CC)

3. Posting a convention card requires that one player nominate a CC and the second player accepts that CC. Players “accepting” a convention card are provided with a mechanism to accept a subset of a convention card.

4. Bids that don't match the definition provided in the convention card will be treated either as a mis-bid or a psyche.
Alderaan delenda est
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#2 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 15:34

Agree Richard.

Why did we need 4 years to agree on that?
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#3 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 15:57

csdenmark, on Mar 23 2006, 12:34 AM, said:

Why did we need 4 years to agree on that?

You and I are not sponsoring organizations.
In isolation, our opinions are completely irrelevant.
Whether or not we agree is also irrelevant.

What does matter is whether or not actual sponsoring organizations like the ACBL or, for that matter, HomeBase decide to formulate policies.
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#4 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 16:14

hrothgar, on Mar 22 2006, 11:57 PM, said:

csdenmark, on Mar 23 2006, 12:34 AM, said:

Why did we need 4 years to agree on that?

You and I are not sponsoring organizations.
In isolation, our opinions are completely irrelevant.
Whether or not we agree is also irrelevant.

What does matter is whether or not actual sponsoring organizations like the ACBL or, for that matter, HomeBase decide to formulate policies.

In isolation, our opinions are completely irrelevant
No they are not. Organizations are groups of indivials sharing the same kind of basic views.

Without active individuals organizations are only monsters. That's what you very often have accused ACBL. But I am very happy for the position of ACBL that convention cards are mandatory for their events. I would very much welcome the ability for software to be helpful enforcing the rules. They have no other options today than spot-checks. The other organizers have probably even less options to enforce.

It is important also to be aware that MBC is formal play too.
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#5 User is offline   pclayton 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 16:30

Your definition of a 'formal' vs an 'informal' game is a little vague. Are you saying a formal game is one run by a sponsoring organization, or is it at the table server's discretion in the MBC? Or either?

If its an ACBL-sanctioned event, then the orgs will (supposedly) enforce the orgs rules with respect to disclosure, agreements, etc..

I like your approach, however, if just to raise the expected standards of partnerships for online bridge with respect to disclosure. I like the idea of serving a table, playing with a partner, and having a FD cc ready. Our opponents will be under the same obligation. If they are looking for a more casual game, they can move on.

For these 'formal' games, perhaps FD agreements need to be in place for the (say) first two bids a partnership makes. Beyond that, I think its difficult (and cumbersome) for a partnership to come up with every conceivable auction for 3 or even 4 calls a partnership can make.

Does FD support some type of text function where a partnership can disclose meta-agreements? For instance, instead of coming up with every instance a jump shift by responder occurs, an FD note pops up that says:

"A jump shift (or or higher) by responder in a competitive auction shows the suit bid and a fit for opener's suit".

It would be annoying to assemble in FD format every possible auction where a fit jump would apply.
"Phil" on BBO
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#6 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 16:54

pclayton, on Mar 23 2006, 12:30 AM, said:

Your definition of a 'formal' vs an 'informal' game is a little vague. Are you saying a formal game is one run by a sponsoring organization, or is it at the table server's discretion in the MBC? Or either?

If its an ACBL-sanctioned event, then the orgs will (supposedly) enforce the orgs rules with respect to disclosure, agreements, etc..

I like your approach, however, if just to raise the expected standards of partnerships for online bridge with respect to disclosure. I like the idea of serving a table, playing with a partner, and having a FD cc ready. Our opponents will be under the same obligation. If they are looking for a more casual game, they can move on.

For these 'formal' games, perhaps FD agreements need to be in place for the (say) first two bids a partnership makes. Beyond that, I think its difficult (and cumbersome) for a partnership to come up with every conceivable auction for 3 or even 4 calls a partnership can make.

Does FD support some type of text function where a partnership can disclose meta-agreements? For instance, instead of coming up with every instance a jump shift by responder occurs, an FD note pops up that says:

"A jump shift (or or higher) by responder in a competitive auction shows the suit bid and a fit for opener's suit".

It would be annoying to assemble in FD format every possible auction where a fit jump would apply.

Does FD support some type of text function where a partnership can disclose meta-agreements? For instance, instead of coming up with every instance a jump shift by responder occurs, an FD note pops up that says
Not exactly. You have 15 lines in front page to make such a description. I don't think that will be possible for pick-up partnerships.

I think it might be helpful for development of FD if you will be able to come up with some thoughts about that. To me it looks very important.
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#7 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 17:00

I don't believe that my concept of "formal" play can't really exist without some kind of external organizational structure. Its certainly possible to consider each and every table server as their own sponsoring organization with the ability to establish their own set of rules. (Personally, I couldn't care less what some random group of Uzbek's decide to do at their own table. For all I know/care they're found some way to gimmick the GUI to play Spades rather than Bridge)

With this said and done, we're trying to achieve some measure of predictability and consistency. In my mind this requires a couple things:

1. An established set of rules
2. A mechanism for ajudicating the rules

Even if it were possible for the Main Bridge Club to agree to item 1 what's the enforcement mechanism?

I suspect that the my vision is more compatible with the establishment of private bridge clubs using BBO's infrastructure. For example, we could see a virtual version of the "Griffen's" with individuals acting as directors and players who agreed to follow their rulings.
Alderaan delenda est
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#8 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 17:25

Richard - Main Bridge Club is NOT a feeding line for serious bridge tournaments. The team matches looks to me as having no meaning - the same I think is the case for individual tournaments. OK we agree if those 2 examples are what you call 'informal play'.

Much too long Main Bridge Club has been stephmotherly threated because of the false assumption that it is not serious.

We must have a total stop for all suckings away from MBC.

From my perspective serious bridge is more connected to Main Bridge Club than anywhere else. A simple button will be able to enforce convention card to be mandatory. All tournament set-ups with intensions to be serious are waiting for that too.
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#9 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 17:39

csdenmark, on Mar 23 2006, 02:25 AM, said:

Much too long Main Bridge Club has been stephmotherly threated because of the false assumption that it is not serious.

We must have a total stop for all suckings away from MBC.

From my perspective serious bridge is more connected to Main Bridge Club than anywhere else. A simple button will be able to enforce convention card to be mandatory. All tournament set-ups with intensions to be serious are waiting for that too.

You need to spend a lot less time trying to design buttons that prevent players from being able to leave your table and a lot more time thinking why it is that they want to leave in the first place.

In all seriousness. You are NEVER going to get the wild/chaotic world of the Main Bridge Club to all follow your dictatorial pronouncement of the week. I don't even understand why you would want to.

Create your own club where you and like minded individuals can play.
Create your own set of rules.
Be happy.

But please stop trying to force me to do things.
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#10 User is offline   DrTodd13 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 18:29

In my opinion, the general way that online bridge systems are organized promotes a chaotic environment that many find distracting and not fun. People have nothing invested in pick-up partnerships and have a great deal of anonymity and so feel no problem with hurling insults or leaving the table the instant partner does something with which they disagree. Playing a forcing pass system, we experience a great degree of table churn despite our warnings. Sometimes we will go through a dozen or more opps in just an hour. Regular tables aren't quite as bad as this on a normal day but table churn can still be annoying. IMO, what you need is a system whereby people can agree on a system, post a CC and then other people can view another pair's CC before agreeing to playing against them. Then, you would also want the ability to specify a minimum number of hands to be played...just like you can in a tournament. You would always be free to logoff but if you tried to log back in before the match you were in completed then you would be stopped.

This options would only be available in "formal" mode though. You would still want to retain a simpler option for people who just want to play for fun. I agree with Hrothgar though. We have two groups of people who are trying to get along in the same space...the small percentage who are serious and want formality and others who just want to kill some time and goof off. The former are so few in number and so difficult to support that I wonder if we'll ever see anything catering to them. As it is, we don't even know who is serious and who isn't.
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#11 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-22, 19:42

pclayton, on Mar 22 2006, 11:30 PM, said:

Does FD support some type of text function where a partnership can disclose meta-agreements? For instance, instead of coming up with every instance a jump shift by responder occurs, an FD note pops up that says:

"A jump shift (or or higher) by responder in a competitive auction shows the suit bid and a fit for opener's suit".

It would be annoying to assemble in FD format every possible auction where a fit jump would apply.

An application like FD, which is providing auto-alerts, needs to be programmable. The current approach is completely static, so that only sequences that are defined explicitly are documented (and documentable).

Scriptability would not only help in contested auctions, but for defining uncontested sequences as well. You could, for example, define an entire relay system that way or specify rules when a double is support/negative/penalty/you name it (OK, this is competitive again, but you get the point).

This would need further symbolization of the bidding, along the lines of Richard's suggestion towards semantic tagging of bids (e.g. 1NT is tagged as "strong balanced" or 1 is tagged as "strong club").

Of course programming of systems in such a way would be restricted to experts and additional tools would be needed for non-technical users to create system descriptions (of course one could always combine it with a static approach like the one we got at the moment).

--Sigi
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#12 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2006-March-23, 04:25

DrTodd13, on Mar 23 2006, 02:29 AM, said:

In my opinion, the general way that online bridge systems are organized promotes a chaotic environment that many find distracting and not fun.  People have nothing invested in pick-up partnerships and have a great deal of anonymity and so feel no problem with hurling insults or leaving the table the instant partner does something with which they disagree.  Playing a forcing pass system, we experience a great degree of table churn despite our warnings.  Sometimes we will go through a dozen or more opps in just an hour.  Regular tables aren't quite as bad as this on a normal day but table churn can still be annoying.  IMO, what you need is a system whereby people can agree on a system, post a CC and then other people can view another pair's CC before agreeing to playing against them.  Then, you would also want the ability to specify a minimum number of hands to be played...just like you can in a tournament.  You would always be free to logoff but if you tried to log back in before the match you were in completed then you would be stopped.

This options would only be available in "formal" mode though.  You would still want to retain a simpler option for people who just want to play for fun.  I agree with Hrothgar though.  We have two groups of people who are trying to get along in the same space...the small percentage who are serious and want formality and others who just want to kill some time and goof off.  The former are so few in number and so difficult to support that I wonder if we'll ever see anything catering to them.  As it is, we don't even know who is serious and who isn't.

Agree Tood it would be an enormous improvement of software if set-up of tables in MBC would have the same options as those for tournaments.

I think most people playing tournaments knows quite well that the majority of tournaments make no sense understood as a competitive event. They simply try to escape the problems which has been created for MBC by the introduction of tournament set-up. My assumption is that there are much more serious persons available than those we often see in MBC. We certainly don't know how many but I don't think the non-serious persons are a minority.

I think we need to deal much more with the topic of pick-up partnerships. We need to see to that FD will evolve in a way which make pick-up partnerships less vulnerable to annoying misunderstandings. We need a way to make targeted announcements for a decent partner to that person who needs a partner.
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#13 User is offline   csdenmark 

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Posted 2006-March-23, 07:18

hrothgar, on Mar 23 2006, 01:39 AM, said:

csdenmark, on Mar 23 2006, 02:25 AM, said:

Much too long Main Bridge Club has been stephmotherly threated because of the false assumption that it is not serious.

We must have a total stop for all suckings away from MBC.

From my perspective serious bridge is more connected to Main Bridge Club than anywhere else. A simple button will be able to enforce convention card to be mandatory. All tournament set-ups with intensions to be serious are waiting for that too.

You need to spend a lot less time trying to design buttons that prevent players from being able to leave your table and a lot more time thinking why it is that they want to leave in the first place.

In all seriousness. You are NEVER going to get the wild/chaotic world of the Main Bridge Club to all follow your dictatorial pronouncement of the week. I don't even understand why you would want to.

Create your own club where you and like minded individuals can play.
Create your own set of rules.
Be happy.

But please stop trying to force me to do things.

Quote

dictatorial


You are welcome to disagree with me Richard - No problem.

Questioning my motives are unacceptable and will cause our conversations to stop.
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#14 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-March-23, 08:28

Sigi_BC84, on Mar 23 2006, 04:42 AM, said:

Scriptability would not only help in contested auctions, but for defining uncontested sequences as well. You could, for example, define an entire relay system that way or specify rules when a double is support/negative/penalty/you name it (OK, this is competitive again, but you get the point).

--Sigi

I like to differentiate between scripting and conditional logic. I agree that FD requires conditional logic so players can define different defenses based on NT range, etc.

Scripting is a whole different story. I think that it would be a mistake for Fred to spend time developing a scripting language. From my perspective, the easiest way to proceed is to document the file format for Full Disclosure. This would allow players with programming experience to write a Python/Perl/Whatever script to populate a static FD file with a series of relay sequences...

Much easier
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#15 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-23, 08:43

hrothgar, on Mar 23 2006, 03:28 PM, said:

I like to differentiate between scripting and conditional logic. I agree that FD requires conditional logic so players can define different defenses based on NT range, etc.

Scripting is a whole different story. I think that it would be a mistake for Fred to spend time developing a scripting language. From my perspective, the easiest way to proceed is to document the file format for Full Disclosure. This would allow players with programming experience to write a Python/Perl/Whatever script to populate a static FD file with a series of relay sequences...

Much easier

Easier but eventually not powerful enough.

Well, in theory it will be as powerful as a completely dynamic approach but your bidding trees will grow huge given a sufficiently complex system.

Add in conditional logic: now you will possibly have many of these already complex sequences several times. As a simple example take a defense to 1NT, where the sequences might be generated by a script but ultimately differ in (possibly only a few) spots depending on the strength of the opening which is defended.

There is already a fuss being made about slow login times and that the profile shouldn't become larger because that will make it even slower yada yada. I don't want to know what people will think if half of BBO starts transfering 500kB convention cards (these will eventually having to be received by every opposing pair in a tournament). Compression might help a lot here, however.

Probably Fred indeed should spend his developing time with other issues than this one. I would, however, like to see an API to Full Disclosure so one could maybe write a plugin that will allow scripting -- let's call it the dynamic convention card API.

NB the file format for Full Disclosure is documented already (it's fairly trivial for that matter).

--Sigi
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