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Why?

Did they? How did they? How do we prove it beyond reasonable doubt? How do we deal with the immediate aftermath? What should we do to clean the game up going forward? All of these issues have captivated the BW community over the past fortnight.I may have missed this theme under the thousands of posts but no one seems to have asked the question, "why?"

For an amateur bridge enthusiast like myself, once I read Meckstroth post "there is zero doubt" and I saw the videos posted of board/tray placements corresponding to opening lead preferences with beyond doubt correlation, the question that is really keeping me up at night now is why???

Bridge is a wonderful game based around language and problem solving. It is a beautiful game and like non other because it relies on trust and an understanding that those playing do not cheat. Bridge double dummy is as one dimensional as solving a Sudoku. There is no point having an auction, or thinking about the best line as declarer or defender. Apart from ruining the competitive side of the game and any chance opponents have, above all else, knowing what pard has makes the game boring. There is no game, just as there is no society if everyone cheats at their neighbours' expense at every opportunity.

There are many questions/opinions from others I would be interested in knowing your perspective on here...

The line that argues F-S were motivated by the money? This is the one I have the most difficulty with. No one starts playing bridge for the money. The top pros make a paltry living compared to what they could in almost any other endeavour in life, considering the high IQ/intellect and other skills needed to be a top bridge player. Also, F&S seem to be at it not just in the big money events. Financially would it make that much difference in expected value terms if they played their best clean game compared to the one using all their methods in an event such as the Polish Premier league? Many on the site believe F without any shenanigans is clearly a world class player and surely he would have no problem getting on a sponsored team without the nonsense.

I guesstimate F has been mentioned individually around ten times more than S on BW. Why is that? Is it because he was the one recognised as the world star and everyone is disappointed and let down or is there more to it? Is it because he is more good looking and charismatic and cocky than S? Or is it because of his past having been a naughty boy and banned for a while as a junior? I have never met S but F once last year at the TGR auction pairs. I had heard the rumours but engaged with him as he was a charming young guy and even let me sit behind him and kibbitz during the tournament and explained many squeeze and tactical considerations to me when he had never met me before. Even in the posted videos he was being a consummate schmoozer even during the play of the hands against Norway and Netherlands. Was this just to get an edge by charming the opponents into showing him their hands? Or is F just a good all around guy especially away from the table but just can't help himself from cheating?

Was it the pure joy or addiction to winning that caused FS to so pre-meditatively conceive of such an extensive bag of tricks?

Do they have literally no respect or feelings for their competitors, or did they feel that cheating at the top was so widespread as in cycling they needed to do the same? I know they were virtually idolised by some of their team-mates, did they not worry about letting them down in such a big way?

To look at opponents' hands if they hold their cards up or to misclaim to try and gain an edge I can somehow understand as occurring in the heat of the moment as competitive juices flow but in so many premeditated acts were they delusional or believed they were infallible? How often do young people perpetually cough? And to cough in events so soon after the doctors had been caught? To manipulate the boards and look at opponents' hands and come back and deliberately try to signal to partner whilst all on camera??? Did they think they were going to get away with this as a pair until retirement even though rumours had been swelling for so long?

I can try and rationalise: they started cheating, it worked, they gained a lot of success and it just became the norm for them in a Maddoff type way. What I can't understand at all and find a lot more perverted is that now that they have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, instead of owning up and walking away from the game to get on with their lives, they come up with just a couple of half-hearted  defences on Facebook. If they really are innocent why not try and explain a lot more (just as MP did so well to crush cheating rumours on BW) of their bids or their board placements or coughs etc etc? Rather than make a ridiculous law suit for a million usd against Boye?? Perhaps I am just naive and there are cheats in every endeavour in life and we have to live and deal with it.

Many have argued to me in person that they are conmen and none of these questions matter, just that they are barred going forward. However, these are some of the moral and ethical questions that have been troubling me and I am sure many of you. I have tried not to make this too personal and hope this tread does not become a place just to abuse F&S just a place to try and rationalise and gain some understanding from this regrettable saga. A lot of answers to these questions will be pure conjecture and of course are made on the assumption that they are guilty, although not proven in a court of law yet.

 

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