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To Boye Brogeland

This morning I learned that my teammates, Alex Smirnov and Josef Piekarek, with whom Sabine and I were scheduled to play in this year's Bermuda Bowl, have asked that we withdraw the German National Team from those championships as a result of ethical violations committed by them in the past.

I am not writing this post to address those actions, but rather I wish to offer my sincere, public, and most humble apology to Boye Brogeland for my many posts criticizing him, his statements, and his actions.

Boye,

You and I spoke on the last Sunday in Chicago and again a few times on the phone this past week regarding the whole issue of ridding our bridge community of unethical players. It is true that you and I have had some differences in the past and I can very honestly say that I was relieved when it started to feel like they were evaporating as we shared our similar thoughts and I looked forward to resuming the friendship we started so many years ago during our first dinner in Las Vegas.

I believe our goals in the area of bridge were exactly the same and to me, it felt as if we were working well towards achieving the same result. I hope you can show a little more patience with me while I explain my side of the story during the last few days, which is important to the context of my apology.

For some time now, Sabine and I have been frustrated with what we felt was an unlevel playing field in high level bridge and even more so from seeing those we felt responsible competing against one another in one final after another. We could not have been more happy to see that you had taken a more proactive and aggressive approach to bringing those problems into the public light and getting them resolved one way or another.

While we agreed very strongly with your quest, we were also aware that there were some rumors regarding our teammates Alex and Josef who we knew would be a likely target of your investigations. Sabine and I both thought it was very important that we did everything we could, even if it meant sacrificing our dream of playing the BB, to ensure that we were part of the solution and not part of the problem.

I decided that an open conversation with my teammates would be necessary for me to be satisfied of their innocence, I had a talk that lasted well over an hour, discussing the rumors, possible solutions, how much better it would be if they came out in front of any evidence and promising to help in any way possible in case it was needed. I have known Alex and Josef for quite a while now; they are both kind and gentle people and while the conversation felt insulting, I hoped they would understand.

By the end of the call, I was assured that they had no special signaling, no special agreements, and there was no cause for concern.

Sleep was difficult that night, and when considering carefully each and every word that was said during my conversation, I was left with a slightly uneasy feeling. So despite the enormous discomfort caused by essentially accusing my friends and teammates of being cheaters just before the biggest event in bridge, I decided another call was necessary to make completely sure I was satisfied with their innocence.

The conversation went mostly the same as before, with the biggest difference being that while I spoke to Alex, Sabine also spoke with Josef. We both finished completely convinced that they had no guilt whatsoever and all felt totally at ease continuing our quest towards the Bermuda Bowl.

The more time that went by without any evidence surfacing, the more comfortable we became with their innocence. We knew there were many people watching each and every video for anything unusual, and it seemed that if anything strange had existed, it would have turned up by now. Instead all we heard were reports about our teammates looking perfectly clean, during the bidding, during the play, and on opening leads.

When I began to read rumors of new evidence, this time statistical, I started to get upset. I love numbers, and always have, but also know how misleading they can be when not presented fairly. I became convinced that due to the lack of any factual evidence, those in charge were prepared to accept evidence that had no factual basis and was purely statistical. While I don't disagree with this approach completely, it relies on a solid knowledge of statistics. I had been sent some data that I felt was unconvincing and thought they were planning to use that as proof against my teammates. As a result, I decided that I should try to discredit the posting along with any resulting judgments that might have followed in the bridge community.

Here is the apology part:

Boye, It was stupid and foolish of me not to trust you to act responsibly when making such serious accusations against fellow bridge players. I had no reasonable grounds to think that you would act in such a manner, and I know now that I was completely wrong in my thinking and in my actions.

It was very wrong of me to include in my posts anything that was personal or unrelated to the actions in question. I hope you can understand that I was only hoping to try and help defend my teammates who (at the time) I felt were being wrongly accused, as any good friend would feel is their responsibility.

For those actions and for any others that I accidentally failed to mention, I am truly, truly sorry for any hurt, harm, or bad feelings that resulted from my actions, words, and posts.

Most humbly and sorry,

Roy Welland

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