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The CHALLENGE: how to find cheaters without killing the game whilst doing that

I'm not even close to being a top player, but since i'm not aware of any of them having addressed this issue so far, at least not in this way, here's my $ 0,02 to save the game i love every bit as much as any top player ever did. And make no mistakes, the fallout from the cheating scandals is harming the game at all levels!


I think nearly everybody will agree with the following 2 statements:


A) Cheating is absolutely horrible and we should do everything we can to combat it.

B) Calling somebody a cheater when they are innocent is absolutely horrible and we should do everything we can to avoid it.


How do you get to a situation where you are able to expose A) without having run the risk of B)?

In other words:



To my mind that is the big challenge the bridge world is facing.

At the moment the situation is such that any investigation is automatically linked with a suspicion of cheating: i.e. if you investigate someone you do it because you are suspicious of them and if you are the subject of being investigated you know there are suspicions against you.

I'm fairly sure when doping tests were first introduced in e.g. athletics most innocent athletes must have been appalled at the idea, because they felt unjustly accused. These days (hopefully) it is only the guilty ones that object and the tests even extend to out-of-competition times. They are just accepted as a fact of life, nothing to worry about if you are innocent.

Further more, because samples can be kept over a longer period, sometimes doping can be proven years later, once detection has improved / caught up with the dopers.


Now for the bridge world: in many ways cheating is 'our way of doping'.

So what would / should our doping tests be?



Instead of looking at blood and urine and hair samples we analyse whatever we deem useful.

Don't think i'm the right person to make that list and besides it should be a flexible list anyway, to keep up with 'developmensts, but it would probably exist of all the things we have seen done by the crowd-sourcing: sounds, mannerisms, positions of cards, boards, time lapses, you name it.


Who should do this? Well, me obviously Tongue Out.

Seriously, this could be the trickiest part of it, because ideally this would be done by people who have NO connection whatsoever to the players being investigated (like someone working in a laboratory testing blood that they don't know who it came from), but the nature of our tests will be such that for some (but not all) of it you need the expertise of the group that's being tested.

Then there is also the problem of who's gonna pay for all of this. I don't have all the answers, but if the future of the game is at stake, surely this should be solvable.


One truly important thing we would need is ACCEPTANCE.

Once we all accept that being investigated carries no significance whatsoever (other than some recognition that you've reached a high enough level to be routinely subjected to testing) and certainly doesn't mean you are under suspicion of cheating, we have arrived more or less where a lot of other sports are right now.

In fact, some players might even welcome the idea of 'being put under the microscope', but by getting rid of the idea that being investigated is already more than halfway being accused, we at the same time make it more likely that we can catch anyone who is actually cheating, because right now we are almost in a situation where we can't investigate anyone for fear of accusing innocents.


WHO do we investigate?

Same as in other sports e.g. the top x finishers and another y amount randomly from the field in any of a number of designated major events.




We are somewhat fortunate in that we don't need out-of-competition testing: apart from people having prior knowledge of hands there isn't much gain to be had from cheating before a match.

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