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Confession Is Good For The Goal
(Page of 14)

An article in progress regarding the history of cheating scandals keeps growing like a Russian novel. I keep trying to cut it back so that the readers attempting to get through it might not wonder for what crime they are being punished.

The thrust is how the world of bridge, with its usual, poorly conceived procedures, let Reese hijack the dialogue on the cheating accusation. Poorly conceived procedures is easy to prove. Heck, we still cannot even tell time. The world of bridge holds endless debates of AC decisions over things like what “five” means. We ensure that it is mathematically improbable that any two TDs when confronted with the same UI case would assign the same adjustment.

When it came to cheating scandals, the proceedings of the day were all closed door, hush-hush, stuff. This put Terence Reese center stage by default. An impact of his protests was that it adversely affected the bridge world moving forward in how it handled subsequent cases. Assuming, of course, that the bridge world is otherwise capable of moving forward in a constructive manner on its own. So my thesis likely has a tragic flaw.

Reese’s “confession” came up along with board 56 against Italy in another thread. It is convenient to extract the "confession" and some supporting argumentation regarding a couple hands from 1965 in this separate post.

Oh, speaking of confessions. I have IMPORTANT NEWS. Hamman, Wolff, and their teammates will be so relieved to hear this.

Ne Cheat Pas, N’est Pas?

Dear Bob, Bobby, John, Eddie, & Billy,

Plus, hopefully Paul also gets this info playing in that big card room on the other side. This is the most wonderful news. I have learned that you guys WERE NOT CHEATED in 1975!

Yep, it is true! One of hoofers told me that while they were communicating information about their hands, it was only because he intended to subsequently write a book on how one could still cheat (if they wanted to) during the world championships. And while they did possess illegally obtained information, you can rest assured that they are willing to place their foot on the bible and swear an oath that they never used this information against you.

So that makes everything OK now. Right?

Very truly yours,

David

P.S. In an ironic “footnote”, they also claim that it was they who first thought of the clever title Under The Tablefor their book on the subject and are currently planning to sue Avon for plagiarism.

(Legal Department note: for you concrete types, these are the sarcastic ravings of the author and we deny any truth in these statements beyond “clever title.")

Managing The Dialogue

Reese had the first run of his book Story of an Accusation ready to go at the time the Foster Inquiry issued its decision. The Foster Report handed Reese & Schapiro a not-guilty verdict on legal grounds. Armed with a brilliant bridge mind and his mighty pen, Reese was able to continue to deconstruct the case against him. And in the court of public opinion, how much easier is that task when the bridge public has no case put forth from the prosecution? All the public had was bridge media reports.

I shall contend in the later article that the legal principles Foster & Bourne leaned upon to produce their decision were not applicable to a bridge cheating case. But the fault lies not with Foster alone. And perhaps not entirely with the CAS in later cases. Though many suppose it does and it is always easy and convenient to blame others. Like partner. “That evil man."

It has been charged by members of the bridge community that people with no bridge expertise (i.e., judges) should not be making rulings on what we do. There is always a problem when these cases make the transition from our appeals to the court system. That a cheating decision can be subject to legal challenge and review is unavoidable. Only the naive believe that “the Olympic dream” or some other nonsense is responsible. Courts will always have final jurisdiction.

Say what you want about magistrates and attorneys - and I do. But the one thing courts, judges, and lawyers understand is procedure and process. Two words: due process.

What sort of process and procedures does the world of bridge provide? The world of bridge has pretty much the most arbitrary rules and random methodology ever conceived for regulations and laws. We are worse than any game, sport, or even country. One might argue that courts in North Korea are more arbitrary. But the obvious counter is that at least everyone in North Korea knows what the remedy will be.

Oh, wait! I just received word from the North Korean ambassador that they model their penalties just like a weighted score in bridge(!) Something like: 10% re-education, 15% work camp, 30% torture, and 45% execution. The actual percentage will vary randomly from TD...I mean from judge to judge.

Lest anyone wish to argue that “we know how to put forth a cheating case,” riddle me this: If we know so much about the issues, why did the bridge world spend so much time debating the table record(*) from Buenos Aires when it is completely irrelevant?

(* Table record refers to bidding, lead, play, and result. Hand record is limited to the deal information.)

Debating the table record in Reese & Schapiro is no more relevant to the central issue of whether they were violating bridge laws than whether that pile over in the corner is Reese’s self-serving assertions on Italy 56, or Sasquatch poop.

There is a simple reason why the table record does not matter.

It was not an element of the crime.

Therefore, it is immaterial.

Misdirection

Bridge players love to hash hands. Reese, who had few peers in the hash hands department, led us down that path since he knew it was a good way to deconstruct the case. Everyone followed his lead.

Reese wrote of his response when initially informed by Butler and Swimer in Buenos Aires of the allegations.

What I did say was:

(1) It might well be true that I held my cards in different ways at different times. I might also vary during the bidding of a single hand.

(2) What value was there in evidence produced by someone sitting at my elbow who could see what cards I held and could also see, when the hand was played, what my partner held? He would have every opportunity to correct any uncertain expressions.

(3) The only true evidence lay in the match records. ‘Go through the records,’ I told them, ‘and see if there is any indication of collusive play. I don’t recall any clever psychic bids or brilliant leads.'

#1 is not a refutation. If anything, it simply indicates an opportunity to send multiple signals if someone varies during the bidding of a single hand.

#2 is pointless. If the method of holding the hand does not correspond to data about the specific hand, there is no case. How does Reese expect someone to ascertain what the signal could possibly mean without seeing the cards?

Granted, an innocent Reese might have an issue responding. As Cathy Chua pointed out in Fair Play or Foul? the only task harder than proving someone cheats at cards is to prove someone does not cheat at cards. We shall take a closer look at Reese’s report of this initial conversation between Reese, Swimer, and Butler later. For now, see how quickly Reese went to the table record. In fact, #1 & #2 are simply his justifications for ignoring the visual evidence and focusing on #3 which Reese knows will constitute his best line of defense.

Reese purported to be shocked at the allegations: “The clichés about not believing one’s ear are unequal to the moment.” What I see is an agile, highly organized mind that just orchestrated the best defense with lightning speed. I could not have done better with a day to think about it. Well, I might leave out the sophism Reese will add at the end. Though people do buy this stuff.

As I am writing this article, on TV the true crime show currently has an old interview with Elizabeth Diane Downs proclaiming: “If I had shot my children, would I not have done a good job of it?”

In the final part of (3) Reese concludes with ‘I know we made a lot of mistakes, particularly against Italy. Do you think we couldn’t have done better in that match if we had had a cheating system?’

Downs is in prison.

Keeping On Track

Of what crime did Reese & Schapiro stand accused?

A response of “cheating” is incorrect. The word does not even appear in our Laws. The actual crime is a violation of Law 73B2. (The text of which has not, to my knowledge, ever changed.)

“The gravest possible offense is for a partnership to exchange information through prearranged methods of communication other than those sanctioned by these Laws.”

There are several approaches to establishing such a case. If there is a record of odd, varying habits (fingers, pencils, vertical/horizontal cards, coughing fits, etc.), these could well be a pattern of signaling. When the observed patterns link to the hand record in such a manner that “the code is broken,” those two elements together are sufficient to establish a prima facie case.

The original WBF committee hearing seemed to appreciate that. Reese gives his view of the proceedings:

"On the subject of the internal evidence the committee seemed to have shifted its position. The hands were no longer put in a makeweight. ‘You are not accused of winning illegally, but of signalling illegally’ was the argument."

Reese labels this a shift. However, it is the correct legal issue. There is no requirement in our law to prove damage to the non-offenders in such a case. There is no requirement to prove that Reese & Schapiro benefited. Which is the shorthand for why the Foster Report was wrong and Reese’s assertion #3 is not relevant. The proper legal argument became obscured after the fact.

This is not a theft case. Larceny requires the prosecution to establish value. Especially if the choices are petty or grand. There is nothing in our laws that requires proof that players gained from employing illegal communication methods.

In a homicide case, intent is often crucial to the charge as there are different classifications within the law. It might be negligent homicide, premeditated homicide, or many other types of homicide. In these cases motive is key, we need to make judgments about the defendant’s state of mind.

There are no modifiers of L73B2. No language that creates a category of noble cheating. (Terence & Boris) Or cheating in self-defense. (Alex & Josef). Or that cheating and stealing championships is classified as “The mostest, gravest-ier possible offense”.

If those factors matter, these mitigating circumstances are only an issue in the penalty phase. Lets check our sentencing guidelines. . . what was I thinking? There aren’t any guidelines because we make everything up as we go along.

Italy 56

This was a significant board. The Foster Report cites it as an exoneration of R&S. “In Italy 56, Mr. Reese, playing against Three Diamonds, failed to make the ace of hearts, after winning with the king when his partner had a singleton in hearts.”

Italy 56 is also important because Truscott never addresses this hand in his book other than with a weak, half-sentence footnote: “...the need for this was not easy to see.”

Reese
Q9
AKJ942
75
1054
Forquet
4
Q763
AJ10963
K9
Schapiro
108752
8
Q82
AQ72
Garozzo
AKJ63
103
K4
J863
W
N
E
S
1
2
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
56
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
From Reese’s “Story”:

This was primarily a “play hand,” but we remarked in passing on the opening bid of One Heart. If I know partner has a singleton heart it must be better tactics to pass originally, as did the Italian West. At the least, this example refutes the criticism of Italy 14, where it is said I passed a moderate hand because partner was short in hearts.

When East led 8 against Three Diamonds, I won with the King and returned a club. Obviously we could beat the contract only if partner had two tricks in clubs. I had visions of him making two clubs, then putting me back with the Ace of hearts.

If I know that partner has a singleton heart, I must cash the second at once and hope the defense will come to two clubs, two hearts and a trump. As the play went, North had ample discards for his three remaining hearts, for after two rounds of clubs, the remaining clubs in dummy were high. We took four tricks but never made a second heart.

The bidding in the other room with Belladonna-Avarelli E-W and Rose-Gray sitting N-S.

W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
N
2
P
2
P
P
P

2 was down two. I do not have the play, but it would have been interesting. Gray has chances on top heart and shift since the ten of clubs falls. Three spades, two clubs, two diamonds, and a diamond ruff. I think he probably played jack of spades on the first round, which is understandable. This does show that the table record is affected by other factors besides one pair possibly colluding.

Before addressing the play in 3, lets consider Reese’s initial assertions.

“If I know partner has a singleton heart it must be better tactics to pass originally.”

False. It cannot be better to pass an opening bid in one’s system, especially when partner is an un-passed hand. How does one later explain they had an opening? The whole point to cheating is to pass MORE information to partner. Not less reliable data.

BTW, even Deep Finesse does make a sub-par penalty double of 1. Which is -1 on perfect defense and would likely make in practice (South has to win the singleton lead and shift to a club into dummy’s AQ, and not play diamonds trying for a promotion, which seems to be a Logical Alternative). How wrong is it to open the bidding when one holds an opening bid?

“....as did the Italian West.”

True, but they play a different system. Therefore irrelevant.

“At the least, this example refutes the criticism of Italy 14, where it is said I passed a moderate hand because partner was short in hearts.”

Simply proof that not everything is a nail. Knowledge of the heart holding is just part of the picture. On Italy 14 Reese held: 98 AQ543 Q93 A98

Ten years earlier, vs. Roth-Ellenby, Reese passed in 2nd with: K94 Q9543 863 AK. Sometimes a woman is just a woman and there is no smoke. On this hand from 1955, Boris held a stiff heart and R&S reached the par of 10 tricks in clubs. Which is why an opener is just an opener.

Speaking of smoke, did you notice Reese’s illogical argument construction? Conflicting premises. Reese engages in this quite a bit throughout his book. Reese simultaneously argued that (a) the illegal information of short hearts suggests he should pass a marginal opening bid on #56 and (b) that it had no effect on his judgment when Reese did exactly that on #14. He claims this “refutes 14." Turn the nonsense other way round and it is now a conviction. Especially when everyone would rather play hearts with AKJ932 opposite stiff rather than AQ543 with one card in dummy.

Consider now what the play record indicates. Reese claims his defense indicates he could not have known Boris held just one heart because of his defense.

Is everything a nail? Sometimes a woman is not just a woman, she is a smokin’ woman. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell if the gun is also smoking.

The Play Record

Q: What is world-class defense on this hand?

A: Exactly what Reese testified to and did at the table. Club shift @ trick 2.

Q: When does K/A of hearts first win?

A: Knowing stiff heart is only part of the picture. To beat the contract, Reese would still need to find partner with four specific cards. The AQ clubs and Q10x of diamonds. Technically, not impossible, but exceedingly remote. Especially since Forquet could be expected to have a good suit for his bidding. Not AJ9xxx. With a broken diamond suit, Forquet might have tried 2NT or even passed the non-forcing advance. They did play 2 at the other table. What Reese would know, if he knew partner held a stiff heart, is N was 1462 (0463/1471/2461 remote & won't matter). If Forquet held AJ10xxx, he was always making his contract. The hand reads out in the play. Forquet will know that Reese has enough to open without Q and West is 2-6-2-3. Forquet takes the 3-2 odds of playing East for the queen of trump. (I would be scared not do so with Garozzo watching.) Fini.

Q: Did Reese’s shift cost?

A: No. It might have cost an overtrick if Forquet was held AQ of diamonds. But then Italy missed 3NT, so who cares? If his mates were there, an overtrick makes 0 IMPs of difference.

If partner holds the queen of trump the trick will come back. Certainly Deep Finesse looking at the hand record makes an overtrick. But only a fool would now finesse into the hand that has no entry for the cashing heart winner. After club to queen, ace, and a black card exit, Forquet is ensuring his contract and finessing Reese for the queen of trump. Reese probably knew he was simply trading his ace of hearts for partner’s queen of trump. He was far too strong a defender not to know.

Q: Anything else?

Yes. No one seems to appreciate Reese’s issue at trick two, which is why even knowing about the stiff heart, cashing the ace of hearts before the club shift may well be wrong.

Reese knows that Forquet holds at least one high club card. But Reese does not know whether it is the ace or king. From Reese’s viewpoint, against Ax of clubs in North, a start of king and ace of hearts followed by a club shift will concede the balance of the tricks when partner has Qxx. Forquet is now forced to safety play the diamonds and run the jack through East to ensure this contract. This is because if Reese is 2614/3613 etc, Forquet has to cater to the chance that East will win queen of trump and then put in Reese with a club to score a heart ruff. The safety play would be rewarded with an overtrick that would otherwise not be scored after king of hearts and club shift.

If North is x QxxxAJ9xxx Ax, it makes no difference whether the A is cashed or not.

To summarize, cashing the other high heart first, Reese might concede an ovetrick if North has A and he does not concede an overtrick if North has the K since the trick comes back. Do the math and tell me what the percentage play is.

Conclusion:

The table record proves nothing. Playing legitimately or not, Reese would shift to a club.

State of Mind

If one has played blackjack for profit, it provides a glimpse into the mind of a collusive cheat. Mind you, being good at blackjack is not cheating. But the casinos do not care. They will treat you like a lowlife and even list you in their database along with the real cheats. For players who pay attention and wish not to be found guilty of the crime of thinking, they have the same need as real cheats; avoiding discovery.

When the true count changes, the percentage play often changes as well. However, a smart blackjack player is not always able to take advantage of every tiny edge that might come his way. The count might go high enough that splitting tens has edge. I believe it was Ian Andersen who said: (paraphrasing) There are only two types of players who split tens. Very good players and very bad players. It will not take the casino any time to figure out to which category you belong.

(It was Ian Anderson who said: “splitting tens is for someone thick as a brick.”)

Even if someone wants to twist the numbers (overstate the chance of a set) to demonstrate a tiny edge on Italy 56 to K/A then a club, are we to believe Reese wanted to provide material for “Misdefend These Hands With Terence Reese?” Even if it mattered for an IMP or so, it seems doubtful that Reese would deliberately make a second-rate defensive play against the other “best pair in the world” with the rest of the bridge world watching.

Proving One Did Not Cheat(?)

If we accept that Reese told David Rex-Taylor that he and Boris did signal heart length, but only to show that it was possible, and Reese claimed he would later demonstrate through analysis in his book that they acted honorably, how could Reese do that? (For the record, I suspect Reese did tell DRT. Reese just expected Rex-Taylor would not ask the how question, or that he could otherwise dodge that matter.)

Consider this hand. The East hand and poll are here:

https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-2-0f0rx9cqkg/ There is a case for the minority choice (10%) of 2. So it is possible. but still by far the minority choice. Although 2 certainly does look like a much better option if we know partner has four hearts. How does one prove that 2 was “honorable” when Schapiro selected this option? (“Boris, you just screwed up my forthcoming book. Again.”)

Reese demonstrates his ability to argue the irrelevant: “Answer: Four Hearts is on for us, but to escape suspicion we have to let the opponents play in Two Diamonds.”

Not exactly correct. 4 was on for Shenken & Leventritt because they bid it. R&S languished in 2 when Reese passed(??) holding A1092 KQ43 J872 4. Not even a nudge from Reese. The auction draws up a stiff diamond in partner’s hand. So, did Reese “confess” to a bridge error? (Hardly.)

“East was stronger than he might have been (for 2) and that is what led to my failure to raise.”

Of course. It was Schapiro’s fault! Boris had too much stuff. Reese could not envision that his side has great play for a vulnerable games if Boris held just King third of spades and five small hearts with the A. In fact, 3 is not much in danger if Boris held: QJx10xxxx x xxxx. Though now USA is cold for game if Boris was that weak. 12 tricks in notrump from the South side on a low heart lead, 11 tricks on a heart honor. Cold from the North hand even against Fischer-Schwartz.

Think carefully about Reese’s words: East was stronger than he might have been. Words that virtually betray that Reese must have possessed illegal information for his pass. Reese hardly needs a decent hand from Boris for a vulnerable game - assuming Boris held five hearts. There are plenty of hands with five hearts that could produce a game yet would not have ventured an immediate 1 sandwich overcall; even today, by our more aggressive standards. R&S were fairly sound, even for their time. As evidenced by Schapiro’s pass on Argentina 141 at favorable over 1 holding: J8 K7543 KQ87 98. Also evidenced by Reese’s choice to pass over 1 on this board, whereas Leventritt doubled.

There are not that many hands that will make a game if partner is known to hold just four hearts, are there? The question is: did Reese make a silly pass given the legal information, or perhaps an odds-on decision with illicit information?

The Dog Sort of Barked, But Up a Wrong Tree

Reese wrote that he was asked to come down for a committee. This could have been on any minor matter. It was then that he was first told about the allegations of signaling in a conversation Reese reports with both the head of his league (Butler) and the British Captain (Swimer). Reese’s writings about the conversation seem a confession - of sorts.

Reese reported that Butler informed him “...I watched the second half...the signals throughout corresponded with the code as I had been told it.” Swimer confirms “on every deal the number of fingers shown by both of you corresponded with the heart holding.”

Reese: “the clichés about not believing one’s ear are unequal to the moment.” He then muses about perhaps what he should or should not have said. “What I did say was:” and he then issues his three counter-arguments quoted at the beginning of this article.

What strikes me is that Reese never asked “what signals?”, “what code?”. If someone is told that some mannerism was a “signal” and a “code” was discovered, the natural response is to question the observations. An innocent person would find it inconceivable that the odds of something they did randomly and unconsciously related to a feature of their hand. When Butler initially informs Reese of the accusation, he merely states “suspicious hand movements by both Mr Schapiro and yourself,” “you both held your cards in different ways at different times.” Butler: “connection between the hand signals and the hearts suit.”

Here is Reese’s report of his immediate thought: “Was it possible? Was the British captain here not, as mistakenly supposed, to defend his players, but to support the accusation?”

That is what Reese imagines to be impossibly absurd? That the captain should think his first duty was to the integrity of the game and not a player. The British captain represents Britain. Not Terence Reese.

According to Reese’s own account of being initially informed, he never once asks about what they thought was a signal, nor does he ask how it “corresponded with the heart holding.” Yet Reese appears to know immediately they are referring to heart length, not strength or specific honors. The later information would be extremely useful in defense and opening leads, a fact to which Reese could not be unaware. Heart length is useful in a 4-card major system like Acol. Still, R&S might have produced better table results with honor location - the more common choice of cheats.

Reese, before verbally responding with his 1-2-3 arguments muses in his book: “If I was going to say anything, I ought to have asked what happened when we held no hearts or five hearts or six hearts, etc. Later these gaps were plugged.” Later? The heart length had not yet even been mentioned.

Becker initially thought the signals related to point count. It was his partner, Hayden who thought it was distributional. According to Gerber’s account, he informed Carl Perroux that “my players and I feel that Reese and Schapiro are using a signaling method with the use of fingers.” The Italian captain replied: “I know, I know, my players know. But we don’t know if it is aces or distribution.” Gerber relates that Perroux had trouble with “asses” and “distriboosyon”. Perroux may well have meant values or shape and did not possess sufficient conversational English to be precise. Interesting that the only one who at first seemed certain what the fingers referred to was Reese. More interesting was that Reese later complained he heard this before from the Americans in Turin. Yet those allegations related specifically to telegraphing the strength of hands. It turns out years later that Oakie had recorded finger positions as well. But those were not decoded, nor even reported at the time. Oakie (and some others) did believe the height and direction of how Reese & Schapiro held their cards related to the strength of their hands.

(Truscott reports in his book the possibility that given the information that reached Reese & Schapiro about Turin, R&S stopped issuing the strength signals which had been spotted. But kept the finger signals believing those had flown under the radar.)

In any event, Reese’s own writings show no sign of amazement or confusion about what was being charged by Butler and Swimer. He learns about the heart length issue from Truscott, who Reese says he did not notice was in the room for the conversation with Butler and Swimer.

If all of this seems a bit fussy about Reese’s words, bear in mind that Reese and his attorney took nitpicking to a new level. Reese: “Alan Truscott now took the chair next to me. Had he been in the room all the time (as he said later)? I hadn’t noticed him. But of course he would be there."

More Mendacity

Reese’s book combines his fine writing style, skill for storytelling, a healthy sprinkling of interesting - though mostly irrelevant - details, along with his passive-aggressive manner to confuse and mislead. At the beginning of “Story,” Reese starts creating unfavorable impressions about Ralph Swimer, the British captain who provided corroboration. Some of the reporting is factual. Swimer was odd-man out for the second time. Reese/Flint, Schapiro/Konstam were 1-2 in the trials. Swimer/Rose were third, but the selection committee wanted Gray. Rose declined the invitation when Swimer was overlooked. A compromise was reached. Swimer as NPC and Gray added as a player.

At the time, Reese & Schapiro were going through a rough spot in their relationship and were “seeing other people.” But everyone wanted R&S back together for the Bermuda Bowl for the obvious reason that R&S were the strongest British pair. Their play record in Argentina confirmed that fact.

Reese adds the fiction he wishes to spin into his narrative. Reese wrote that he supposedly wanted to play Little Major with Flint against Italy. (“Flint is an expert on the Italian systems and he and I had prepared a number of skillful counter-measures. I hoped we would start, but Swimer...” ) Just too bad, I bet Boris did not know a thing about Italian methods Smile. Reese tries to imply that Swimer’s match-ups against Italy were responsible for Britain’s being easily defeated. (T.R. - “Now Swimer had his worst inspiration of the day.”)

Ironically, Reese went on to relate a hand against USA when Flint banged to slam off the unavoidable loss of ace & king of diamonds in their second suit. And of course, the fault was Flint's for not following the nuances of Reese’s preferred system. This was the pair that was going to dethrone Italy? One can bid that way against USA and push the board - indeed, it was a push. But Italy handled their slam auctions quite a bit better.

Perhaps Swimer knew what he was doing. The captain simply put in what everyone believed was Britain’s strongest lineup against Italy. When Swimer does put Flint in with Gray, Reese now claims that is a mistake and “Flint is a front-runner and not a puller-back of points...

Reese conveniently leaves out that he did get to play Little Major with Flint against Italy and they lost a whopping 57 IMPs in those 34 boards. For the other 110 boards against the Blue Team, Britain lost 64. The bleeding was nearly three times worse playing what Boris liked to call “The Little Corporal.”

It appears Reese’s ego could not assume responsibility for any part of the 121 IMP defeat. If Reese actually believed that he and Flint playing Little Major were stronger than his Acol partnership with Boris, all he had to do from the start was decline to partner with Schapiro. Just keep the partnerships as they had qualified. Reese prefers to blame Swimer after the fact.

Reese & Flint were also -1.6 IMPs/board against USA. This was in a match that Britain was leading until it was conceded.

A Final Puff of Smoke

I believe that Reese’s “confession” was just another charade and piece of obfuscation by Reese. Once Truscott put together details together, the one aspect of the case - the actual legal aspect - is what Reese could not shake. At the end of the day, Reese never provided an answer to the essential question Foster ignored. Why the unusual hand positions?

That Reese insisted his confession was only to be published after his death meant he could never be questioned. Reese would have an excuse floating around as one more item of the doubt he worked so hard to create.

My wife was a career teacher, specializing with behaviorally challenged kids. (Yeah, yeah, obviously we are a perfect match.) I was summarizing the details of the Buenos Aires case to her and asked this question.

“When Boris Schapiro was confronted in private by British captain Ralph Swimer with the evidence against him, what do you suppose Schapiro is alleged to have responded?”

Without missing a beat, my wife said: “He made me do it.”

Not exactly the quote, but an accurate paraphrase.

When people confess, they have a motive. A respect for the truth is seldom the goal. In Reese’s case, he went through two hearings, a book, and a revision of same(*) without ever mentioning why he and Boris played finger yoga.

(* At some junction, subsequent printings of “Story” had a section titled “Obiter Dicta” that Reese inserted before the first chapter.)

Judging A Book. . .

The cover of my copy “Story of an Accusation by Terence Reese” has this printed in red ink at the very top of the cover:

“A very personal account of the event that rocked the bridge world, related by its principal figure.”

My dad the editor would have rewritten that sentence to make what was being claimed clear to the reader. I am quite convinced that Reese was happy with his actual construction. Terence Reese was too proficient with words not to have them in the order he wanted.

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