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The Burgay Tape
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The Burgay Tape affair was surely the hottest scandal ever in the bridge world.  The news hit the press on 1 May, 1976, just before the start of the Bermuda Bowl (with, for the first and only time, the Olympiad following directly after).

 

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

Burgay claimed he had tapes of a telephone conversation with Benito Bianchi, in which Bianchi had openly discussed the signalling methods using the placement of cigarettes that he had used when partnering Forquet...

 

Here some names and background.

Giorgio Belladonna and Pietro Forquet:

Great Blue Team players, named in the Burgay Tape as cheating via illicit signals.

 

Benito Bianchi:

Pietro Forquet’s partner in the Blue Team victories, Bermuda Bowls of 1973 and 1974. Recorded in the Burgay Tape, allegedly confessing to using illicit signals with Forquet.

 

Leandro Burgay:

Well-off Italian expert. Winner of the 1997 and 2003 Transnational World Teams Championship. Mr Burgay has declined to reply to my emails.

 

Luigi Firpo:

Professor of politics and history, President of the Italian Bridge Federation (FIB), 1970–1978.

 

Jamie Ortiz-Patiño:

Geneva-based, very wealthy, President of the WBF from 1976–1986. Member of the Swiss team for the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympiads.

Here is the first news that the public saw:

 

Associated Press, 01 May 1976

ROME (AP) — Italy's world championship bridge team, accused last vear of using foot signals under the table, is being charged with a new bit of chicanery this year: smoke signals. The case has evolved Info a nationwide scandal and tempers are flaring.

The man leveling the charges, a leading Italian player who failed to make the famed "Blue Team", says there is even a tape recording to back up the allegations. But those accused of misusing their cigarette smoke say their accuser is jealous, that the tape has been manipulated and that the case is going to end up in court.

The controversy has rocked the team on the eve of its title defense in Monte Carlo starting tomorrow.

The charges are that Benito Bianchi, now retired from the team, and Pietro Forquet exchanged messages with smoke signals from cigarettes they were smoking during a championship game. Where and when the game was played are not known.

...

The charges do not come from abroad, but from a leading Italian player — Leandro Burgay — and he has produced an alleged taped phone conversation with Bianchi to support his claims.

Burgay said Bianchi confessed his tricks during a conversation which was taped and sent to the Italian Bndge Federation. Burgay also produced the testimony of an expert that the tape had not been manipulated.

The federation, however, said that no matter who was nght, Burgay acted improperly in taping the phone call and handed him an immediate six-month suspension.

The federation has sent the tape to a specially appointed committee of experts to get their view of the case.

...

"The tape was surely manipulated. Bits and parts of my conversation with Burgay have been pasted together to change the meaning of my words," Bianchi protested. "This is going to end up in court."

 

Now, an important topic has been raised above: The question as to the tape's validity.

The 7th edition of the Encyclopedia says, under Cheating Accusations:

...it was never proved that the tapes were authentic*

Is that true or false? We consider further evidence later.

Meanwhile, Benito Bianchi said that the tape was "pasted together to change the meaning of my words." Burgay said that he had the "testimony of an expert that the tape had not been manipulated."  They can't both be right!

 

Now let's wind the clock back, for there were many interesting events before the press release, above, on 1 May 1976...

 

=====================================

* I spent some time looking into this statement. I could not find its source, and an editor of the Encyclopedia declined to answer my emails.

What is the background? Why did Leandro Burgay call Bianchi? How is it that Bianchi spoke about illicit signals?

In February 1976, the Italian Bridge Federation (FIB) held trials in Rome for the upcoming world championships to be held in Monaco. Leandro Burgay and his partner, Adriano Abate, were in contention going into the last round. According to Burgay*:

– The results of the last round were never announced

– The scoring was rigged to exclude his partnership

– Giorgio Belladonna and Benito Bianchi subsequently apologized to him for what happened

 

The next day Leandro Burgay called Benito Bianchi and had a lengthy conversation. Burgay enquired of Bianchi how Burgay might have done better. According to Burgay, Bianchi described the cheating methods used by Forquet, Bianchi, Belladonna and other players. The methods involved the use of cigarette positioning and head movements.

This call was taped by Burgay, who was, at the time, in the insurance business**. The next day, in late February 1976, Burgay went to Professor Luigi Firpo, President of the Italian Bridge Federation. Burgay handed over a copy of the tape.

The FIB dismissed the matter as a hoax, suspended Burgay’s membership and said that Burgay was trying to blackmail his way onto the Blue Team. But Burgay had made no demands and the team had already been selected, so FIB President Firpo had to withdraw the blackmail accusation. Burgay was suspended for six years; Bianchi for six months. But why six months? If Bianchi had been having an innocent chat, as Bianchi later claimed, why any penalty at all?

 

Burgay then upped the stakes somewhat - he contacted EBL Treasurer and soon-to-become WBF President Jamie Ortiz-Patiño

 

=============================================

* https://www.diariodelweb.it/sport/articolo/?nid=20121210_272745

and

http://sport.diariodelweb.it/sport/articolo/?nid=20130107_275955

 

** Now in the tv/movie business. https://popcorntv.it/streaming/telenovelas

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

Burgay was evidently a wily man. He taped the conversation and made copies of the tape, depositing 4 of the originals with a public notary before handing a copy to the Italian Bridge Federation...

...I [Ortiz-Patiño] drove to the Italian end of the Mont Blanc Tunnel and, in the Restaurant Mont Blanc, listened to the original tape. This contained none of the splicing effects which apparently he had added to the version submitted to the WBF in order to lure Bianchi into admitting to the conversation.

I understood the tape well and was in little doubt of its authenticity, the background noises and such like being thoroughly convincing. The tape was recorded on a Sunday and indeed one could hear church bells sounding on the tape. In places, my jaw literally dropped. The media would have loved it: smoke signals, pauses, commonplace words with coded meanings — all these came into the picture. How, I wondered, could we defend our championships from ridicule in the light of this? ... Burgay told me his partner had gone into hiding*.

 

Some points:

- Copies of the tape are multiplying. FIB has one, the WBF has one and "a public notary" has four copies.

- In my view, Ortiz-Patiño blots his copybook right away. There is no thought of, "What is the best way to deal with this very grave accusation?", only, "How can we avoid being laughed at?"

 

Ortiz-Patiño correctly wished to determine, was the tape authentic or was it not?

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

[Professor Firpo and long-time Blue Team captain Carl’ Alberto Perroux] may have felt that it might be hard for the WBF to prove the authenticity of a magnetic tape, but it so happened that I was in a rather strong position. Earlier in my career I had been of some help to the CIA, who had the best resources in the world for this kind of thing. Confident that they would be happy to return the favor, I sent them the tape. Back came the message: ‘The tape is genuine’

 

So, the tape appears to be genuine. But what about Bianchi's statements on the tape? Were they, or were they not, an admission of the use of illicit signals? It would seem that an investigation was called for. And that's what happened.

Sort of.

 

===========================================================

* An Italian friend, Alessandro, was kind enough to spend some hours with me while we translated various documents from Italian into English. I advised him that he should be very cautious about discussing his work with other Italians; it was probably wisest to never talk about it. The threats that I was to later receive, telling me that what I was doing was "dangerous", make me think I was right to give that advice.

WBF Secretary Lemaitre called long-time Blue Team captain Perroux and demanded an immediate inquiry by the FIB. The EBL passed a resolution saying that it referred the Leandro Burgay accusations to the WBF and would support and abide by the WBF decision.

The FIB summoned Burgay and Bianchi to an enquiry held on 23 April, 1976.

New York Times Bridge Book:

[the FIB’s] designated expert, Signor Bacicchi, reported to the federation that the tape was authentic and had not been doctored … the Managing Board of the FIB announced officially that the players selected for the World Championships (who included Forquet and Belladonna) "turned out not to be involved."

"Turned out not to be involved."

Right. No facts, no report, no transcript of the tape, just a baseless assertion.

The WBF was dissatisfied with the "findings" of this report-free one-day hearing.

 

On May 1, the day before play started in the 1976 Bermuda Bowl, news of the Burgay Tape hit the newspapers around the world. Luigi Firpo, President of the Italian Bridge Federation, was under pressure. At a WBF meeting on the first day of play (May 2, 1976) he promised "serious enquiries".

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation, quoting FIB President Firpo:

Should the inquiry determine that the tape was authentic and furthermore that the declaration by Bianchi of his cheating with Forquet was confirmed, then the Italian Bridge Federation would renounce all European and World titles won with either Bianchi or Forquet on the team.

 

Strange wording, given that the tape had three times been authenticated — by Ortiz-Patiño’s contacts at the CIA, the FIB’s Sr Bacicchi and Burgay’s own expert. And high stakes, for here are the relevant victories by Bianchi and Forquet:

Bermuda Bowls

Benito Bianchi: 1973, 1974

Pietro Forquet: 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967 1969, 1973, 1974

European Championships

Benito Bianchi: 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971

Pietro Forquet: 1951, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959

Olympiads

Pietro Forquet: 1964, 1968, 1972

 

But the cavalry came just in time... the FIB produced an exonerating report, showing that the tape was bogus and all was well.

Sort of.

Special to The New York Times — Cheating Charge Held Unfounded

Monaco, May 20, 1976

Allegations of cheating at bridge brought against some members of Italy’s world champion team have been judged to be unfounded.

A 90-page report prepared by a committee of the Italian Bridge Federation states that charges made by Leandro Burgay involving Giorgio Belladonna and Pietro Forquet, winners of 31 world titles between them, are not supported by the evidence. With different partners, the two players were alleged to have used cigarettes to convey improper information.

The tape recording of a telephone conversation between Mr. Forquet [sic] and Benito Bianchi, the former world champion, was examined by an expert, who found that the tape had been carefully spliced at two crucial points. This splicing operation made it appear that some innocent remarks were incriminating to other players, particularly Mr. Belladonna and Mr. Forquet, the expert determined.

 

Now this is very strange. Either the tape was legitimate or it was not. How is it that the tape was spliced, yet three experts, the CIA included, determined that the tape was genuine? If this NYT "Special" article is true, why does this news not appear anywhere else? Why was this revelation never heard of again? Was the tape spliced or was this an attempted cover-up? No matter, this "splicing" matter was dropped and this exonerating "90-page report" was never heard of again.

 

Of course, FIB was quick to move on and determine the facts once and for all.

Not.

Ten months went by and FIB did nothing, until a hearing in Bari, February 1977.

The New York Times Bridge Book

The hearing … relied heavily on an alleged statement by Bianchi on the tape, "I did not do those things with Pietro [Forquet]."

Really? If that was the case, then everyone, FIB, WBF, Ortiz-Patiño and so on, would have heard it. Why, then, was the WBF so insistent on an enquiry?

Leandro Burgay had an opinion.

New York Times, 16 June, 1977:

The ethics commission, in its Bari hearing, did not listen to the original tape because Burgay said that he had handed it to a state court in Milan. He said he had done so to press criminal charges of fraud against whoever had tampered with the recording.

Specifically, the insurance executive denounced what he said was a spurious insertion into his original tape that would clear Forquet of the suspicion of having used the cigarette code for cheating. "A clear cover up." Burgay said in an interview. "The Mafia is a joke compared to this affair"

 

So once again we are confronted with a possible attempted cover-up. Either the tape had Bianchi saying, “I did not do those things with Pietro,” or it did not. If it did, why was this not passed on in a report to the WBF? Why was this second revelation never heard of again? As with the "splicing" report, this matter vanished, quite possibly in response to Burgay’s suing for fraud. Perhaps as a consequence of this legal action, his suspension was cut from 6 years to 1 year. Bianchi’s six-month suspension was changed to a censure.

 

Now, take a moment to reflect on the actions of the FIB. If the tape did not contain a confession of the use of illicit signals, why the delays? Why the silly reports that vanished? Why not just release a transcript? Everyone could then see that there was no admission to the use of illicit signals, and the matter would die then and there.

 

Another four months went by and the FIB did nothing, their two gambits with the tape’s supposed exoneration of Bianchi and Forquet having been declined.

In June, 1977 the WBF had a tantrum.

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

The following letter has been sent to the President of the Italian Bridge Federation, Professor Luigi Firpo:

"... The Management Committee deplores the manner in which the investigations of alleged serious improprieties have been handled by FIB and further that the undertakings of the FIB President given to the Executive in Monte Carlo have not been fulfilled..."

Of course, Firpo replied, dealing with this matter to everyone's satisfaction.

Not.

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

The FIB letter described its judicial system, including recently introduced statutes and new provisions, continuing: “The FIB believes with clear conscience to have taken, quite scrupulously and with every lawful means, all possible and necessary steps to find out the truth...”

The Management Committee felt this was not a satisfactory response.

Quite. What on earth have "statutes and new provisions" to do with, "Did or did not Bianchi admit to the use of illicit signals in world championships?"

Four more months went by and the FIB did nothing. On the 26 of October, 1977, during the Bermuda Bowl in Manila, the WBF held a meeting and had a bigger tantrum.

 

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

... Professor Luigi Firpo, President of the Italian Bridge Federation, undertook certain commitments to the WBF ... To report in detail its findings and decisions together with full documentation including a certified copy of the tape to the European Bridge League and to the World Bridge Federation ... .

Should the inquiry determine that the tape was authentic and furthermore that the declaration by Bianchi of his cheating with Forquet was confirmed then the Italian Bridge Federation would renounce all European and World titles won with either Bianchi or Forquet on the team ...

... the reports since submitted are inadequate to form a basis for any reasonable conclusion.

 

The WBF then suspended Italy’s membership for an indefinite period.

Chicago Tribune, 27 October, 1977:

The World Bridge Federation decided Wednesday to suspend the Italian Bridge Federation on grounds that it failed to investigate thoroughly charges that its players used smoke signals to cheat in world competition. It delayed the suspension, however...

 

And we see something very interesting; the first hint of a WBF cover-up:

Associated Press article, 27 Oct 1977:

...Sources said that the suspension might not be imposed if the Italian federation satisfies the world group that it was taking action to police itself.

 

Really? What has the FIB "policing itself" to do with the submission of a report about alleged Blue Team cheating, as previously demanded by the WBF and promised by the FIB president?

 

Luckily, Benito Bianchi had an explanation for this sorry mess.

Associated Press article, 27 Oct 1977:

Bianchi, reached for comment Wednesday, repeated his contention that Burgay doctored the tape but added that even so, there is no evidence in the tape that he said he had used smoke signals with Forquet. “The Americans insist in misinterpreting the tape,” Bianchi said. “The tape shows Burgay and I were discussing smoke signals as a hypothesis for anyone who wants to cheat.” Firpo stated in Milan “we investigated the charges fully and we found no evidence of any cheating.”

Now this is a most interesting statement.

Firstly, how is it that all the experts who reviewed the tape found no evidence of "doctoring"?

Secondly, if it is indeed the case that the talk was about “smoke signals as a hypothesis,” and if the charges were “investigated fully” and there was “no evidence of any cheating,” then clearly there was no reason not to publicly release a report and a certified transcript of the tape. But in practice the FIB fought tooth and nail to prevent that.

Thirdly, we see that Bianchi is a liar. At the start, Bianchi said, "The tape was surely manipulated. Bits and parts of my conversation with Burgay have been pasted together to change the meaning of my words."

Now, after three experts validated the tape, he maintained that the tape was a casual discussion of a hypothetical scenario.

 

The WBF suspension had been stayed until the 15 of March 1978, but things were getting a little awkward, because the suspension would prevent pairs from Italy participating in the upcoming Pairs Olympiad, Rosenblum Cup and Venice Cup in New Orleans, June 1978.

The FIB, under pressure, held a meeting in January 1978. Professor Luigi Firpo, President of the FIB, was removed from his post. Guido Barbone, Blue Team NPC, 1967 Bermuda Bowl, replaced him.

 

Daily Bulletin, New Orleans, 1978:

At the same [FIB] meeting substantial changes were adopted in the By- Laws, especially concerning unethical conduct.

Still no word about the content of the tape. No transcript, either. Just more irrelevancies about the FIB "policing itself."

 

Now things get really weird.

In March, 1978, the WBF took up the option to stay the suspension of the FIB for another 3 months. We now see the second hint of something somewhat “untoward” in the WBF handling of the matter.

 

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

[I, Ortiz-Patiño] received a special delegation from the FIB, and the frank exchanges at our meeting proved helpful. I was left with the impression that, at long last, the necessary “administrative changes” would be made. Fortunately, they were.

 

Truly incredible. The WBF no longer has any interest in, “Is Burgay’s tape true? Did Bianchi really confess to cheating with Forquet in Bermuda Bowls?” No, their sole concern is, “necessary administrative changes.”

Unbelievable.

So what were these “necessary administrative changes”? There are a few clues. We were told, above, about new FIB by-laws “concerning unethical conduct.” Ortiz-Patiño gave an interview in 1978. He refers to...

Daily Bulletin, New Orleans, 1978

... national organisations which, through their own weakness, fear, or the laws of their country over which they have no control, are unable to weed out these [cheating] players from their own organisations.

More on that, shortly.

 

The next news of note takes place during the Pairs Olympiad in New Orleans, June 1978. The WBF had a meeting with the new two Italian delegates, Sandro Salvetti (NPC, Bermuda Bowls 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979), and new FIB president Guido Barbone (NPC, Bermuda Bowl, 1967 and co-author of a book with Blue Team member Camillo Pabis-Ticci).

 

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

Ortiz-Patiño: We all felt thoroughly convinced that the WBF and FIB could go forward together in the spirit of reconciliation. The WBF was now able to write to the new FIB President withdrawing the threat of suspension.

Right!  Go forward together in the spirit of reconciliation. Of course, what else would anyone do? Why bother with finding out, did or did not Bianchi and Forquet use illicit signals in world championships? 

Now I think we can say that there are three possibilities:

1. The tape was a fabrication. No case to answer.

2. The tape recording was real, but it was not a confession of cheating. Rather, as Bianchi said, the talk was all quite innocent and grossly misrepresented. No case to answer.

3. The tape recording was real. It was a genuine confession of cheating and cheating methods used by Forquet, Bianchi, Belladonna and others.

 

I think we can discount possibility number one. The original tape was verified several times. Bianchi and FIB denied its authenticity without any grounds.

As for the second: the matter would be quickly and simply resolved by releasing a transcript of the tape. But that never happened. Nothing like it. In fact, about 850 days went by with the FIB producing no meaningful report (other than the 90-page one that vanished, about the splicings that weren’t there) and no credible findings and no transcript. The report they did produce contained irrelevancies about new statutes and provisions, and the finding of “no cheating” was nothing but a baseless, evidence-free assertion. And yet suddenly the whole matter went away, with a ridiculous line about "the spirit of reconciliation."

So that leaves us with option 3 – the tape was true and Burgay was telling the truth all along. If you are able to come up with an explanation for what happened other than this, combined with a WBF deathly fear of scandal... well, that’s interesting. I certainly can’t.

And if it is the case that the tape really did have Benito Bianchi detailing Blue Team cheating methods, observe what a dreadful conundrum FIB President Firpo faced:

– Contest the authenticity of the tape. Burgay could run that through the courts

– Announce that Bianchi was just engaging in silly chit-chat. Burgay could run that though the courts

– Announce that the tape was true and correct. Now there’s the minor matter of handing back 26 winning team trophies, which Firpo agreed to in 1976, along with an explosive scandal of monumental proportions.

 

So, a tacit deal was done, and the earlier strange statements about "necessary administrative changes" and the FIB "taking action to police itself" provide clues as to what it was.

Alfred Sheinwold column, 1 October 1978

When Italian bridge players elected new officers, Ortiz-Patiño met with them to work out a reconciliation. As a result, the WBF made all world championships invitational and did not invite some of the most famous players to the 1978 championships.

Forquet, early 50s, and Bianchi, a year older, had played their last game for Italy, with the exception of Forquet’s appearance at the age of 80 in the 2005 World Senior Teams.

While researching Blue Team matters, I have come to have quite few gripes with a particular class of person: Bridge journalists of the day.

Limiting a look at journalists' delinquency regarding the Burgay Tape (further articles are planned), recall that the WBF’s position went from this:

The WBF Management Committee... deplores the manner in which the investigations of alleged serious improprieties have been handled by FIB and further that the undertakings of the FIB President … have not been fulfilled.

The Management Committee is of the unanimous view that it is imperative that FIB take immediate and drastic steps...

To this:

... we all felt thoroughly convinced that the WBF and FIB could go forward together in a spirit of reconciliation. The WBF was now able to write to the new FIB President withdrawing the threat of suspension.

 

For journalists to let the WBF get away with never issuing a report with findings, or a transcript of the tape, is disgraceful.

Now, an important question is: Does a copy of the Burgay Tape exist? Well, certainly at one time, there was no shortage.

 

New York Times Bridge Book:

February 1976 … Burgay … walked into the office of … the President of the Italian Federation and gave him … an audiotape. 82

 

The First 50 Years of the World Bridge Federation:

Burgay … made copies of the tape, depositing 4 of the originals with a public notary … 83

 

Associated Press article, 3 May, 1976:

Italian lawyers who are also bridge players have been asked to investigate the matter for the Italian Bridge Federation. They have completed theirexamination of the tape

 

Agence-France Press article, 10 May, 1976:

The tape is in the hands of an Italian magistrate …

 

NYT News Service, 19 June, 1977:

Burgay said that he had handed [the original tape] to a state court in Milan.

 

The Lone Wolff:

The tapes were delivered to the WBF Executive Council in 1976 before the Bermuda Bowl in Monte Carlo.

 

Associated Press, October 27, 1977:

Although the contents of the tape were never made public, world federation officials said they revealed a cheating system ...

 

https://www.diariodelweb.it/sport/articolo/?nid=20121210_272745 :

FIGB made 3 more copies of the tape in presence of Dr Tracanella and Dr Mazza.

 

Surely they aren't all lost! Luckily, the cavalry is on the way.

Sort of.

On 16 April, José Damiani was kind enough to submit to being In the Well. I took the opportunity to ask some questions, and Mr Damiani replied.

 

AW:

Mr Damiani,

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions.

Regarding the Burgay Tape affair of 1976-1978, Mr Ortiz-Patino reports in “The First 50 Years of the WBF”:

 

The following letter has been sent to the President of the Italian Bridge Federation, Professor Luigi Firpo:

"… The Management Committee deplores the manner in which the investigations of alleged serious improprieties have been handled by FIB and further that the undertakings of the FIB President given to the Executive in Monte Carlo have not been fulfilled."

… Professor Luigi Firpo, President of the Italian Bridge Federation, undertook certain commitments to the WBF … To report in detail its findings and decisions together with full documentation including a certified copy of the tape to the European Bridge League and to the World Bridge Federation …

… the reports since submitted are inadequate to form a basis for any reasonable conclusion … the IBF has failed to meet the commitments … Further resolved that IBF membership in the WBF be temporarily suspended…

 

Mr Damiani:

- Did FIB ever submit a report with findings about the Burgay Tape?

- Did FIB ever “meet the commitments” that President Firpo made, regarding providing a certified copy of the tape to the EBL and WBF?

- If a FIB report was submitted, why was it kept secret, and what did it say?

- If a FIB report was not submitted, why was Italy's suspension removed?

- Where is the copy of the tape that was given to the WBF Executive Council?

 

José Damiani:

Dear Mr Wilsmore

I am terribly sorry I can’t answer your questions at the moment for a very true reason I am getting old but not enough to have witness this story and you have my word I know only what Jimmy wrote in the book I am afraid that even Bobby Wolff , part of this discussion,today , does not know much morethan myself . However I will try to get informations and tell you what I learn

 

To date, I have not had the good fortune to receive further information from Mr Damiani.

Come to think of it, I don't have a lot of luck when it comes to emails. The list of bridge office holders and official bodies that refuse to answer my emails is quite long.

So, what next? What is the chance that the WBF will abandon its policy of "minimise the scandal"and start being open?

 

Steve Bloom thinks this is a good idea; in Bridge Winners comments, he says:

If the Burgay tape was not bogus, and not a hoax, then there is real evidence. If Italy wants to deal properly with this, then release the tapes to a group like Boye has assembled, and let modern sleuths determine if it is a fake.

Today's scandals should have proven to everyone that hiding evidence harms us all. You want to exonerate the Blue Team? Let's examine the tapes. You want to convict the Blue Team? Let's examine the tapes!

...

As we are seeing now, the history of our game needs honesty, and needs the IBF to release all their files to some modern sheriffs. If that means clearing the Blue Team, and ending these 50-year old rumors, fine. If that means convicting the Blue Team and vacating 50-year old titles, also fine. Let the evidence speak.

 

Was the Burgay Tape the real deal? Bobby Wolff thinks so:

… while Jimmy [Ortiz-Patiño] was in Dallas he informed me that every member of the Blue Team was implicated [in the Burgay Tape].

Burgay also informed me in Shanghai, 2007 that while the tapes were all 100% true in everything involving bridge and what went on, that he still loves Italy and does not relish the role of being thought of as being a traitor to Italian bridge, but rather realizes, like I do, that the world deserves to know the truth. 

 

So, here's a suggestion: email or talk to your friendly local WBF representative. Ask him to make enquiries.

Real ones.

Not the "I'll get back to you," or "Thank you for your enquiry." or "We are working on this right now," type.

Real ones.

 

Meanwhile, I have received an email from a Big Name that says that my book annoyed the WBF on two fronts:

- Bringing up the Burgay Tape and the indefensible actions of the WBF

- Exposing (via Donna Compton's account*) the events at the hearing into Elinescu-Wladow's 2013 D'Orsi Cup "win".

 

In each instance it is possible the WBF was complicit in attempting a cover-up. My opinion is that, at least to date, they have been successful in concealing the truth about the Burgay Tape.

As well, Big Name tells me the WBF has taken some action in an attempt to avoid confronting these "issues." An alert reader might guess what this action is.

But, that will be another article... I'm still gathering information.

 

Now, maybe Big Name's statements are nonsense. I don't know, and nor, very likely, do you.

But if it is the case that the WBF wants the Burgay Tape affair kept quiet, I am prepared to be a contrarian and make a noise about it.

Hence, this article.

 

=======================================================

* http://www.pbb-webinars.com/behindthescenesgerman.html

Scroll down to the end and look for the paragraph beginning:

I emailed the “then” WBF Legal Counsel...

and read on.

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