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Standing Tall

The bridge world is entering a new era. Pairs suspected of cheating have been found. Definitive proof appears conclusive. Teams that included these pairs, or who qualified with the pairs, will not compete in the upcoming Bermuda Bowl.

Spurred by the outrage of “the Sheriff,” Boye Brogeland, other elite experts spent countless hours analyzing tapes, then cracking codes used by the suspect pairs. Now, much discussion centers around methods to make illicit actions more difficult for those who would cheat. And, for those who somehow would continue to do so, improved ways to discover and stop them earlier, rather than later, are in the mix.

Much has been said about all those who have contributed mightily to the cleaning up of our bridge world. Yet, one person remains unsung. That person is the President of the ACBL, Suzi Subeck.

Most new presidents assume their position with goals and a passion. For Suzi, hers was to clean up the game. Suzi, like others, had heard whispers and allegations. A long time successful and honest competitor, Suzi was appalled that the game she so loved could be tainted by some who resorted to illicit means. She knew that if cheating occurred at the top, it contaminated our entire game. Bridge had to be made “fair” – for more than a few reasons.

While we can offer suggestions as to why our competitions seemed unable to rid ourselves of these cheaters, we only know this for certain: cheating was fouling our game for way too long. Whatever the reasons, not only were the perpetrators continuing unabated, they were given our highest honors and accolades as they succeeded with astonishing regularity. Indeed, one pair occupied the #1 and #2 spots in the bridge world.

Suzi was determined to alter this. She knew evidence of cheating would be necessary, so Suzi worked hard to make sure it was available to study. Videos that seemed to be unavailable for too long, she found and made sure our experts had access. When it was necessary to have additional tapes for sufficient evidence, Suzi worked to ensure the tapes were made, and that the quality was high enough for our experts to discover and crack codes.She coordinated efforts, had countless discussions – and, with her usual pleasant and accommodating, yet determined personality - Suzi kept on, not giving up in the face of road blocks and naysayers.

The cheating scandal is one with villains and a number of heroes. Though the ultimate fates of the perpetrators are yet to be fully determined, we already are most grateful to the heroes who did what was necessary to reach this stage.

Not the least of these heroes is President Suzi Subeck. Without her passion and drive, there might not have been any other heroes. If not for Suzi, those who would seek to win by cheating might already be in Chennai, waiting to steal yet again from honest competitors.

While Suzi may be diminutive in stature, she has stood tall in battling this scourge. Suzi, the bridge world is forever grateful!

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