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How much change would we tolerate to eliminate (probably) illicit communication in major teams events?

Most "teams" events are actually contested by a collection of 2-3 pairs with no requirement for any form of team interaction at the table.

A simple regulation that any given pair should play no more than 25%* of the hands in a match/event would have a tremendous impact on reducing both the potential, and impact of collusive cheating.


The impact of successful cheating by a single pair (were it even to occur) would be much less significant to a match.

Team captains/sponsors/coaches would be far more rigorous during the process of putting a team together.

Cheat dependent pairs would struggle to demonstrate their ability during selection/team-building.

High success variance for a specific pair line-up would would be an easy flag for further investigation.


There would (IMO at least) be other benefits to change of format  - not least the right for the winners to say that no matter what opinion there is on who were the best players there should be no doubt who delivered as the best TEAM.  Bidding agreements might be a little simpler and more accessible to spectators (better IMO, ymmv).  The "fantastic player, but hardly anyone will tolerate him as a partner" might actually learn, and come to value, the benefit of behaving vaguely decently and stop being so disruptive at the tables [*** if you think I have you in mind when writing this you are probably right!]


I am not secure in my belief that the discovery of 4/5 bad apples vindicates the purity of the rest of the barrel.  Indeed the pathetic lack of sophistication of the mechanisms/info transmission of the pairs for whom I have seen the evidence incline me to believe that no way have we found any who are actually "good" at cheating (I know I could think of several better methods before lighting the second half of my breakfast).  I believe that a "psychological" solution will prove far more effective than a technological one (ask law enforcers about keeping up with criminals).

BTW, my first love of the game is the cut-in Chicago format where the ability to make the most of a variety of partners is a key part of the skill that makes a complete player so I'm obviously a little/lot biased on this issue.


*Feel free to reduce this for teams of 5/6.

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