Conditions of Contest
Used Equipment - I will be using one 2.5 Ghz, Quad Core laptop, with 8 Gigabytes of ram for this event. One Table Manager will also be used for this event. More details will be explained below, the origens of the equipment will be in the section "Other Equipment Used". The laptop will be connected to a router with Cat6 network cable to minimise network drop out during play. This year will be an all Table Manager connection event. This will be explained below. Due to the time taken in matches, and problems, rounds may well slip in to the next day. The championship boards will be created by Bridge Composer 5.98, and then the created PBNs are run through Jack 6.11 first. Jack has the ability to turn a PBN 2.1 or 2.0 file back to PBN 1.0 after the file is exported, which is then readable by all the bots taking part. Scoring will be automated firstly through Bridge Moniteur 1.7.3 and then transferred to a LIN file using TMPbn2LinVG to avoid spreadsheet and user error, like in previous years. The created LIN files will be viewable through NetBridgeVu. More details about the scoring below.
Set Up - As this year is an all Table Manager connection event, using Bridge Moniteur 1.7.3. I am going to have rounds of 32 boards Open and Closed room, per match. A function known as Immediate 2nd Round within Bridge Moniteur 1.7.3 will be used for the first time, so that seat switches of previous years is not needed. The Semi-Final and Final will also be 32 Boards. The four highest placed robots from the Round Robin stage will move on to the Semi-Final.
The format for 2024 may change depending on numbers of robots playing. If there are more than 9 robots then 2 divisions of 5 robots will be used. The bridge robot authors are only allowed to have one robot at the event. This is to prevent the possibility of a robot author having a duel possibility of winning, when the other robot authors have supplied one robot only.
As stated above, because the number of boards has moved up to 32 boards for this year, it could be difficult to squeeze 4 matches in per day in to the schedule, even with the Table Manager. So a round of play may go in to the next day.The Semi Finals, and the Final will be held on the same day .
The Carry Over will be re-introduced for 2024, like they use at the official World Computer Bridge Championships. Carry Over is the lesser of the difference between a robots finishing position in the Final Table and the Head to Head result of the two robots, in the event of two robots meeting again in the Semi Final, having already played each other in the Round Robin stage.The championships may also over run the expected date of finishing if unforeseen problems arise.
The alerts during bidding will tell me if the bidding has been understood correctly by the bots. Bidding alerts will be used by me as Tornament Operator to check for bidding discrepancies (see Bidding Discrepancies below). At the Official World Computer Bridge Championships, they are allowed to transfer convention information to add to their bots via the Table Manager Controller. I do not have robot authors on site at my event. So this procedure cannot be done. So there is a new rule for 2024 where by the bridge robot author is responsible for the bidding system and convention choices used. There will be no system and convention matching done from a central point (by me) like earlier in the year for the 2024 event. For 2024 All bridge robots authors will use their preferred bidding system and conventions. The robot authors will have to be aware of systems and conventions used by the opposing bot. I will contact each of the bridge robot authors to get details of their preferred system and conventions, so that the opposing bridge robot author is aware of what is being used. The bidding system details with the chosen conventions will be added to both bots before a match, and added to this site for reference.
Biddding Discrepancy Procedures -
1) A repeat of a hand can be done, but only rarely, and will only be done once. The programs must be the same programs that started the match, so only the involved conventions can be changed to try and improve the bidding misunderstanding for that hand.
2) The repeat of a hand is not done unless the result is significant for that match or other matches. in the view of the Tournament Organiser. This is to say that if such a situation affects a Semi-Final or Final place for the robots playing the match where a disputed hand occurs, or the swing of a result affects another robots, position at the Round Robin stage. Then the hand should be replayed.
3) It should be understood that misunderstandings will not be uncommon for this form of contest as the bridge robot authors are not there to watch over their program. Steps have been taken for 2024 to improve this, with the introduction of a new rule, mentioned above in bold.
4) The updated hand goes into the final output, and no special notes are added, except which conventions have been changed to correct the disputed hand.
5) A hand can be thrown out if in the opinion of the Tournament Organiser, the mismatch of conventions cannot be rectified in a fair manner. The hand is not replaced with another one.
6) If there is a complete system mismatch, whereby a wrong bidding system is used by accident by the Operator. Then a whole match would be repeated, not just some of the hands. If it is discovered that a few hands need to be fixed then the whole match could be considered for repeating. This is to avoid cherry-picking hands. A match could be repeated or a hand could be repeated, but not both. If a match is repeated, and an unfair situation is still present, the hand will be thrown out, with the hands set to All Pass for that board with a zero score.
Board Generation - The boards will be generated by Bridge Composer 5.98 for all of the robots, but then will be run through Jack 6.11, to bring the PBN 2.1 files back to PBN 1.0, for some of the older bots that can't read PBN 2.0 or 2.1. Immediate Second Round option through Bridge Moniteur which is used at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships will be used for the first time.
Robot Settings - Due to the robots needing to understand the bidding and conventions of the opponent robot. The bridge robots can use their preferred bidding system and conventions, providing that the opposing robot has the system or conventions in their setup. This should be determined before the event starts.Table Manager alerts will be used by the Table Manager Controller to avoid bidding misunderstanding, which have to be picked up by sight otherwise. The systems and conventions used must comply with the ACBL list used at the World Computer Bridge Championships, see link http://www.allevybridge.com/allevy/computerbridge/WCBC_coc.html . Robots settings will be down to the bridge robot author and hopefully relayed to me, to make sure the setup is okay. This is to achieve as fair competition as possible.
Time Limit Of Play- The time limit for play will be 2 minutes per board for each bot per board, or 16 boards in 32 minutes each. So 32 boards matches should take about 2 hours and 8 minutes to complete.This is in line with the ACBL guidelines for the World Computer Bridge Championships. In testing this has been okay with some bots being slightly quicker. for the test games. Slow play is rare with Table Manager connection, however if the time taken is slow enough to incur a time penalty e.g 15 minutes over a time control the offending robot will be fined 3 IMPs. Bots will also be fined 3 IMPs for any faileure to play a board, as discussed in the ACBL Championship rules, or the rules for this event. If the time taken to complete a match is slightly outside the 15 minutes buffer, then the decision to award a penatly will be at the discretion of the tournament controller.
Scoring- Scoring will be Victory Points and Team IMP because of the Open and Closed Room set up.