Conditions of Contest
Used Equipment - I will be using a 2.5 Ghz, Quad Core laptop, with 8 Gigabytes of ram for this event. Two Table Managers will be used for this event. More details will be explained below, and the origens of the equipment will be in the section Other Equipment Used. The host laptop will be connected to a router with Cat6 network cable to minimise network drop out during play. There will be matches like there were in 2022, that will require some manual help for the opposing bots to be able to bid and play. This will be explained below. For the Table Manager games, I have to use two Table Managers because one of the competing robots can only connect to one of them. The completed PBN files from the games played will verified through the Jack 6.11 bridge robot first, and then through Bridge Composer 5.98 to create LIN files for showing the games played, like earlier in 2022. They are run through Jack first because Jack has the ability to turn a PBN 2.1 or 2.0 file back to PBN 1.0 after the file is exported with Jack, which is then readable by all the bots. Scoring will be automated for the first time in 2023 to avoid spreadsheet and user error. This will be created by the completed LIN file through NetBridgeVu. More details about the scoring below.
Set Up - An automated systen that Björn Hjalmarsson has been working on for me, for the robots that can't use a Table Manager has proved problematic. Thanks to Björn for a very gallant effort with this work. But despite these problems with automation, I am still going to have rounds of 32 boards per match. So 16 boards Open and Closed room to make up the 32 boards. The stand alone games are achieved by have two of the seats switched to human on each bot. I have to tell one bot what the other one has done for the bidding and the play. The other two seats are automated by the bots being used, but the peaking of hands must be switched off in each bot to comply with the Blue Chip Protocol. This has already been tested, and all robots have managed to stay within the time limits. 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 2023 has also changed, there will now be 10 robots competing this year in the Round Robin, previously it used to be only 7 or 8, and I only ran a very quick tournament from the Quarter Finals last year due to technical problems discovered in the scoring.
When I started the test games of 32 boards for this year, i couldn't squeeze 5 matches a day in to the schedule, due to the lack of Table Manager in some games. So the games for a specific round will move in to the next day until the Semi Finals, and the Final which will be held on the same day .
There will be no Carry Over for 2023, like they use at the official World Computer Bridge Championships. 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). I believe that a robot playing another robot with accurate information input for the systems and conventions, and the same Jump Shift values must be able to understand the bidding of the opponent robot without human intervention, unlike at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships, where they are allowed to transfer convention information to add to their bots via the Table Manager Controller. I have achieved this in most cases, however because some of the bridge robots do not like certain styles of bidding systems for system matching. There will be a late change to the competition rules whereby A bridge robot will use it's preferred bidding system and conventions, as long as that the opposing robot can accomodate them. The bidding system details with the chosen conventions will be added to both bots before a match. Jump Shift bidding point differences which cannot be altered in some cases without affecting some robots performance badly, will have to be checked through the Table Manager alerts, to make sure bids have been understood. This has been tested by checking the info of the bridge robots bidding. Very few alerts or misunderstangs are appearing during bidding from the Table Managers, with the new rules,so this does work. Of course, I have to check the bidding by sight for the Stand Alone games, to make sure a bot isn't disadvantaged.
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.
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.
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. I will be doing a seat change at the half way stage of a match for 2023, to mimic Open and Closed Room competition. This is done so that the North South and the East West cards will be played by both robots during a match. I cannot use the Immediate Second Round option through Bridge Moniteur which is used at the Official World Computer Bridge Championships because my scoring software cannot move the Dealer or Vulnerabilty from North to start as East in the Second Half without generating errors.
Robot Settings - As only 60% of the robots taking part can use a Table Manager, the peaking mode of all the robots is switched off throughout the event, and two of the seats in each bot are set to human, so that i can input the bid and play from the each bot. 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. Certain conventions can be turned providing the convention is not an integral part of that bidding system. The differences may include the different strands of Standard American bidding for example, that also needs to be checked by sight or through alerts being answered through the Table Manager to avoid bidding misunderstanding. 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 will be set to play to Team IMP scoring, from there the Victory Points will be calculated. I have talked with the robot authors about some of the bidding issues and Jump Shift matching,as they know there robot's settings better than myself. This is to achieve as fair competition as possible.
Time Limit Of Play- The time limit for play will be 4 minutes per board or 16 boards in 64 minutes. This is in line with the ACBL guidelines for the World Computer Bridge Championships. In testing this has been slightly slower for the stand alone games requiring human intervention. At the main event however the time taken is not slow enough to incur a time penalty as discussed in the ACBL Championship rules, or the rules for this event.
Scoring- Scoring will be Victory Points and Team IMP because of the Open and Closed Room set up.