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The Videos Speak: Fantoni-Nunes
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Editor's note: Bridge Winners has received overwhelming evidence alleging improper communication between the world’s #1 and #2 ranked bridge players, Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, during the 2014 European Championships. The pair was on the Monaco team that placed second in this event, earning Monaco a spot in the upcoming Bermuda Bowl.

Many people worked on reviewing Vugraph and video evidence, but we would like to especially give credit to Maaijke Mevius from the Netherlands, who originally contacted Boye Brogeland with her theory that the angle at which Fantoni and Nunes placed their card on the table when they led conveyed information about their holding in the suit. Brogeland immediately recognized that she was onto something, and enlisted others to assist him, including Ishmael Del’Monte, Brad Moss, Kit Woolsey, Jeff Meckstroth, Chris Willenken, Norman Beck, Tom Hanlon, Per-Ola Cullin, and Steve Weinstein. From there things moved quickly, with many people reviewing hours of footage and testing the theory.



The Videos Speak: Fantoni-Nunes

I examined the following hypothesis regarding the way Fantoni-Nunes placed their opening lead on the table:

  • The card is placed vertically when:
    • the led suit contains an unseen high honor (ace, king, or queen) OR
    • the led card is a side-suit singleton in a trump contract
  • Otherwise, the card is placed horizontally.

I examined ten matches where Fantoni and Nunes were recorded on Vugraph at the 2014 EBTC.  The ten matches in question are listed below. For each match, you can view YouTube screenshots of the opening lead for each hand at the point in time when Fantoni or Nunes made an opening lead.

Full-match Board-by-board screenshots

On the next page of this article, for each match, the following information is displayed for each hand they were on defense:

  1. The board number
  2. Whether it's a suit or notrump contract
  3. The holding which was led from.  If a trump was led, this is indicated by "tr"
  4. The rank of the card led
  5. My observation about the placement of the opening lead card
  6. A link to the video of the match at approximately the time the opening lead is made


Monaco - Bulgaria  (<--- view full match screenshot recap)

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
18 suit AKJ A vertical 29m58s
19 NT Q653 6 vertical 33m21s
21 suit A3(tr) A horizontal 46m3s
22 suit Q1075 7 vertical 63m55s
24 suit QJ7 Q horizontal 74m17s
25 suit K87643 3 vertical 82m13s
26 suit K1087(tr) 7 vertical 87m56s
27 NT QJ96 Q horizontal 95m4s
28 NT J862 6 horizontal 102m45s
29 suit J10532 J horizontal 107m56s
31 suit 97653 7 horizontal 126m7s

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Denmark

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
17 suit 1084 8 horizontal 13m21s
18 suit AKQ A vertical 31m50s
24 suit KQ10865 K vertical 81m9s
26 NT 10854 4 horizontal 91m3s
29 suit 9543 3 horizontal 114m18s

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - England

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
17* NT Q9873 3 vertical 10m48s
19 suit AKQ A vertical 45m35s
20 suit 8(tr) 8 vertical** 52m40s
21 NT J10542 2 horizontal 62m21s
23 suit J9432 2 horizontal 82m06s
24* NT 10976 10 horizontal 85m18s
25 suit 653 3 horizontal 92m06s
26 suit KQ1094 K vertical 99m13s
27 suit 53 5 horizontal 105m01s
28 NT K9876 9 vertical 107m04s
31 NT 1054 5 horizontal 157m03s

* = BBO record incorrect

** = signal does not match hypothesis

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Iceland 

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
17 suit KQ10983 K vertical 12m51s
18 NT AKQJ103 A vertical 16m50s
20 suit AKJ A vertical 27m53s
21 NT AQ863 3 vertical 36m51s
23 suit KJ105 J vertical 51m35s
24 suit K5 5 vertical 64m31s
28 suit AK105 A vertical 101m39s
29 suit J(tr) J horizontal 109m38s

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Ireland

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
18 suit J82(tr) 2 horizontal 24m58s
20 suit 53 3 horizontal 39m52s
21 suit 10854 4 horizontal 50m27s
23 suit Q10943 10 vertical 72m7s
24 suit 65 5 horizontal 77m21s
25 suit 1076 7 horizontal 86m33s
27 suit A94(tr) 4 vertical 99m23s
29 NT 8764 4 horizontal 115m41s
31 suit 632 6 horizontal 129m13s
32 suit AK102 A vertical 138m31s

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Norway

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
17 suit J103 J horizontal 17m33s
21 suit 10853 8 horizontal 55m56s
25 NT J94 4 vertical** 87m40s
28 suit QJ1072 Q horizontal 105m12s
29 NT 103 10 horizontal 109m15s
30 suit J J vertical 119m1s
31 NT A843 4 vertical 125m58s

** = signal does not match hypothesis

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Poland

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
2 suit 2 2 vertical 18m6s
3 suit A3(tr) A horizontal 29m1s
4 suit A8754 4 vertical 38m13s
6 NT QJ10952 Q horizontal 47m23s
8 suit KQ9832 K vertical 62m22s
12 suit 83(tr) 3 horizontal 87m52s
13 suit 52(tr) 2 horizontal 93m13s
14 NT K742 7 vertical 98m56s
15 suit J10542 J horizontal 102m52s
16 suit AK753 A vertical 110m48s

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Romania

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
3 suit J932 3 horizontal 32m45s
5 suit KQ105 K vertical 43m21s
7 suit KQJ542 K vertical 53m1s
8 suit 42 2 horizontal 58m56s
11 NT 74 7 horizontal 78m4s
12 suit J(tr) J horizontal 87m192
14 suit KQJ42 K vertical 99m5s
15 NT A1042 4 vertical 103m30s

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Russia

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
1 NT QJ653 3 vertical 14m33s
2 NT K953 5 vertical 22m18s
4 suit 97 7 horizontal 32m15s
7 suit K9764 4 vertical 52m44s
12 suit 53 3 horizontal 95m32s
14 suit Q72 2 vertical->horizontal** 107m03s
15 suit 84 4 horizontal 111m06s
16 suit Q1094 10 vertical 117m16s

** = signal does not match hypothesis

BBO hand records of the match

 

Monaco - Sweden

Board Type Holding Lead Orientation Video
17 suit 82 2 horizontal 13m45s
18 NT QJ106 Q horizontal 27m35s
21 suit J109(tr) J horizontal 57m25s
24 NT 10986542 10 horizontal 74m56s
27 NT K107652 6 vertical 93m9s
31 suit 1084 4 horizontal 123m6s
32 suit AKQ5432 A vertical 135m54s

BBO hand records of the match

 

There were 85 hands in this sample.  On 82 of the 85 hands, this simple hypothesis correctly predicted the orientation of the opening lead.  

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