Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Allan Graves
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Yes I agree. We need strong legal advice about how to work such a document that binds me to the judgement of an august panel of super experts. In house type counsel will usually, because it is their job, find the argument against such a paper because it still puts the NBO in some risk. However if I sign such an agreement, obtain a lot of results etc that suggest to our august panel that I am , allegedly, a bad guy, and I am suspended and then find a lawyer to represent me, and then convince a judge that the august committee was wrong because although I am a world class player the multitude of illogical and successful actions and the almost complete lack of illogical and unsuccessful actions is simply co incidence and although I did indeed sign the document I want to change my mind on that.
Well I don't know. That seems worth the risk to me to have such a procedure.
Sept. 18, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
We had the hand evidence against FS and the videos from 2014 Eropeans Just way too many illogical bids and plays that were right.
This third pair whispering is wrong I completely agree. To actually talk negatively about actual people who actually are not within earshot actually, is a very bad habit that we all indulge in to some extent . Some more than others and should always be an ongoing “ self improvement ” project for everyone. Usually it is done under the mistaken belief that running others down behind there back will make you appear greater in some way or as “the gossip ”you are the center of attention. Of course the reverse actually occurs but we are usually too polite to point this out or , against our better judgement , we join in. If it is the policy of bridge winners to allow it then it is going to happen. This is different of course than criticizing organizations , submitting hand evidence to someone absolutely committed to follow through, or people in the public realm who have made , or not made , statements.
Part of being in the public realm is that you are open to criticism. I think we all know the difference.
Remember Bridge Winners started the campaign prior to the Chicago Nationals, not us afterward. We have a lot of work to do to analyze the process of the last two months
from the point of view of the systematic failure of the NBO's to protect the game . We need to put together a team of players and the proper processes to investigate suspect pairs with a new system of due process. First we need as Sabine had, full access the videos . The ACBL is afraid of legal issues if they release them in the way the Europeans do so we need a good legal opinion from outside ACBL land to give ACBL the cover that will alleviate those fears. Then we need NBO's to be serious about doing their job . Also remember the notion of committee of our best players world wide who can pass judgement based on “ clear and convincing ” so that a large data base of illogical but successful actions may be grounds for judgement. This process won't be easy and it will take everybody doing what they can to bring it about. Otherwise it will be back to business as usual . I hope we have come to realize that “ business as usual ” is a really bad institutional habit.

Sept. 18, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I prefer at the table bridge. if we invested in much better surveillance and considered electronic bidding at the table behind screens. ( no tray or bid boxes. UI issues recored etc. no pens or pencils ) then a lot of the major issues would be resolved. Remember we had the Israelis convicted as children but refused to ban them for life at that time and Isreal then continued to promote them on their teams. Proper follow up years ago re Fantoni Nunes by the NBO's might have got them then , allegedly.
Couldn't cheaters cheat in the 4 room proposal ?


Sept. 18, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Well said Geir.
Sept. 17, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I just deleted something , sorry
Sept. 17, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 17, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
You push a button when you alert and the opp presses a button to end the dialogue
Sept. 17, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Well put Richard. On another post I put forward my idea of a table that was covered in nice green felt etc. A real card table but the surface underneath the cloth read the bids and plays and they went to a server . No disputes about infractions , tempo , etc etc . All simply recorded All the data would be there for analysis and you not have to restrict it to later rounds at all. It would simply be the new tournament card table. This prototype idea seems to address the major concerns of both points of view. Face to face on a nice card table ( or we lose the human mystery that adds so much to the bridge experience) and a complete electronic record collected in a quite unobtrusive way for all sorts of good reasons , and in particular to use statistical analysis to spot abnormalities that may , and I say may, be symtomatic of cheating. From that we could intensify the scrutiny . If we can predict elections then we can program “ catch-a-cheat” This would be a very strong deterrent to anyone thinking of cheating as they would not only have to agree to cheat but also vary the cheating randomly to avoid exciting “Big Blue” They might get away with the cheat, but the rest of their game would probably be a mess. If anyone out there has any knowledge about how feasible this table would be to invent, please chime in.
Sept. 17, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 17, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
You know Hanan . With all due respect that is nonsense. If your house is burning down and your family is inside you don't walk three blocks to a payphone and call the fire department.
You are constantly intellectualizing for philosophical and troll reasons something that is very very real. Cheating is reality. Reality is hairy and has 4 legs fangs and claws and is right in front of you. It is not in some safe library with every creature comfort and a big soft chair while you look it up in some book to pontificate,
Sept. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
That said I agree with Michael that screens are a huge plus. These issues could be so easily
dealt with if the NBO would only invest the proper resources in taping and timing so that tactics
like a described could clearly be seen and proper rulings facilitated.
Sept. 16, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
In the infamous “ I see you are going to allow the 5H bid as the director ruled so is it ok if I take back my 5S bid ” ruling Ron Schwartz delayed markedly, allegedly , in passing the tray even after Richie had taken his time to pass Ron's 4S bid. That definitely pushed the situation into UI territory and is a well known coffee house screen tactic.
Sept. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I agree with Michael Rosenberg in this thread.
The next step that needs to be taken around the world is to pay attention to the NBO's . How are they appointed or “ elected” . What qualifications are required to be a board member.? How are they evaluated ? How transparent are their decision making processes ? To do this everyone needs to pay attention. The Bobby Wolff / ACBL Recorder story is shocking . FN should have been gone from the ACBL 10 years ago. The story of the ACBL director refusing to deal with information of cheating is shocking. The gutting of the ACBL recorder system and the treatment of Bob Rosen is shocking. People make mistakes. Incompetent people get elected. That is not the problem. The problem is we have not been paying attention to what they are actually doing and no one is holding them accountable. We either have to participate or be part of the system of accountability. If we simply don't care then we have seen what happens.
Sept. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
We need to take a much greater interest in our NBO's
Sept. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Over to you Mr Allavena . There is still time to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. If you are fighting to save “ due process” then that is not the battle ground. Everyone is in favor of due process. The problem is you didn't engage it when you had the power to do so. And now you are hiding behind it because the alternative is uncomfortable These thousands of outraged people have temporarily skipped over due process because we don't have any mandate to use it. All we have is reality. When the disease has gone and the patient has recovered then we will undoubtedly give due process another go. It is the civilized approach after all, Do we keep having tor remind you that cheating at bridge is not particularly civil ? Surely you have enough evidence to remove them from the Monaco team pending a hearing. l . Surely you cannot expect the world to tolerate you adding a new third pair and attempting to play the Bermuda Bowl . Monaco qualified for the Bernuda Bowl with Fantoni and Nunes leading the way. Mr Zimmerman can get a new third pair and he would be completely welcome at the next Bermuda Bowl and all the tournaments in between. He and his concept of a strong team in one of the worlds most beautiful places is a real asset to bridge in my opinion. You have more than enough evidence to charge FN. Give them a fair hearing or turn it over to the EBL. That is due process.
Sept. 15, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Well ,Ok I see your point.
I am willing to say that in extreme and extraordinary circumstances the end does indeed justify the means . FS and FN are , in my opinion extreme situations and I hope that Meckstroth et all are correct in that they are extraordinary.
Once the FN allegations and the Monaco affair are essentially resolved
then we can get back to rebuilding the manners , the means , democracy , rights of the accused fair play ,courtesy etc etc
The last few weeks these situations have had to be dealt with extremely because the due process and good manners approach had obviously failed. The Doctors , Fisher Schwartz, Fantoni Nunes and who knows who else . All right under the noses of the organizations.
What did you expect the players to do ?
Going forward we cannot go back to the status quo
I hope Mr Allevena will be part of the solution not only in the next few weeks but going forward but it can't be business as usual.
The average age of tournament players is rising ( in the ACBL the average age is 72 and 30% are over 80 ) Social rubber bridge is rapidly dying as a family and community recreation and when that is gone , the game is gone,.We cannot afford the public to lose much more faith in the honesty of our flag ship championships. It is bad enough that the average person looking for a recreation equates bridge with very old people. Now it is going to be very old people and their championship events are full of cheaters.
We need to re evaluate everything we do and how we do it going forward.
Bob Hamman, Paul Street and myself along with other concerned players and a lot of main stream support are working with the ACBL to do just that and I encourage you to come to our website, (it is in Beta right now,)
and participate. my email is allangraves@me.com and I will send you the link if you like when it is out of Beta
Sept. 15, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 15, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I am assuming that FN denied the allegations when asked by Mr Allavena and until proof is established it is of course correct for him to ask for due process. Boye was simply giving Fulvio and Claudio the chance to“ do the right thing ”if the allegations were true . I don't see what Boye did as a threat at all but rather giving FN and Monaco the courtesy of a heads up. There is not a spiritual tradition wether theistic or non theistic , wether religious or secular , wether Eastern of Western, wether modern or ancient, that does not have confession as the first step in the process of healing the damage to oneself and others caused by a destructive habitual pattern or addiction. Even Grandma's “ short term pain for long term gain ” is the folksy variation . FN , presumably feel they have been greviously wronged and therefore Mr Allevena is correct to defend them until due process is served.
I get that the “ best defense is a good offense ” approach but shooting the messenger has been properly debunked as a long term strategy to a good life.
I assume Boye did indeed criticize the National organizations for failing to protect the game. One of the many things that have come out of these scandals is that If a pair is cheating and are not stopped for a period of time ,the damage they do to the game , the people they hurt , and the damage they do to themselves is extreme. Therefore, going forward, the organizations need to take rumors or unsubstantiated allegations very very seriously. Mr Allevena undoubtedly has access to significant resources. What due diligence did he do before associating Monaco with FN ? You wouldn't hire a key executive without doing a lot of investigation.
We have all failed to guard the hen house. All of us. Regardless of the time line for the Monaco affair to play our lets make sure that we rouse our energy and rebuild our organizations so they can do a decent job of protecting and growing the game. It should not be downloaded to the Boye Brogelunds of the world because they have to do it without proper authority , potentially without support and without an accepted mandate. That is not easy nor fair.
Mr Allevena claims that he has the skills, authority, the support and the mandate and that things should be left to him , his organization, the EBL and the WBF.
Ok I'll bite
Lets see how this works out.
Sept. 15, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 15, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Thanks Michael , I have taken down the team pictures and other kudos from the “ Fisher years” Not good pictures of me anyway… bad lighting and unflattering angles.
Sept. 14, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
It would be good to start a new discussion on this topic as it is very important.
People will always find a way to cheat so“ all isolated electronic” is not complete protection. I agree with Christina in general that bridge as we know it today is inherently social . It is part of bridge to be focused, clear ,aware, and patient in a group of other human beings sitting at the table. At the same time one must be prepared to win and lose with equal dignity. If you withdraw from the social experience into “all electronic” you are simply solving intricate bridge puzzles in a timed environment. Its the social mystery that brings bridge alive both literally and figuratively. Boye, predictably has staked out the ground with the most sociability just plain bridge , and challenged everyone else to rise the to ethical challenge. I agree with him. However there is an old Tibetan saying that says, and I paraphrase , every one has Basic Goodness ( , or ever present good , ) . but hold on to your wallet. Perhaps the way to help hold on to your wallet is to have a nice bridge table , green baize etc but underneath the cloth an electronic rectangle that reads the bids you make and the cards you play and as they are fed into a main server. This would resolve so many issues as there would not need to be a vugraph operator, an individual score, a convention card ( electronic ) and the timing of every bid and play would be not an issue of contention. The game could finally be timed precisely for slow play etc , and the UI would not be disputed.There would of course be an umpire/scorer at each table as eyes on the ground and score backup. Lastly we could build on an idea by Magnus O that is basically feeding the bids and plays into computer programs that look for “things ” etc that would not only help isolate potential cheating patterns but also be a bid by bid , card by card, permanent record of everything that occurred. We could delay the broadcast of BBO ( sorry Fred ) and edit out the long thinks as we try to stare a King into an Ace. We could marry most of the social benefits of bridge with the technological advances that would both enhance the enjoyment and recording accuracy while safeguarding and securing the game in a number of ways. Of course we will always have people who cheat but since we have already determined we will always have them , then rooting them out will also be part of the game. There is no reason to worry. If you can do something about something then there is nothing to worry about and if you can't do anything about something then there is nothing to worry about. Regardless I am firmly in the camp who feels that , whatever we do, lets do it face to face with others and use the electronic technology ,if at all,as deemed appropriate for support and make that support dependent on the level of competition
Sept. 14, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 14, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Cold summer heat
Two horizontal
No Honour
Sept. 14, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Steve I did not know that one. thanks
I can also add to my post metaphor that we need to station sentries and maybe construct a good scarecrow.
Part of my post is to encourage us not to lose sight that when we see something that may need to be changed social media is a useful vehicle to build a consensus
and put consistent pressure on situations that lack transparency.
Sept. 14, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Congratulations to every one who participated in preparing and presenting the cases against Fisher Schwartz and Fantoni Nunes.. This is a great , great , day for bridge . We have learned over the last few weeks that through the power of social media and collective wisdom , the creativity and effort of both individuals and“ crowd sourcing” that we do not have to tolerate cheating. Indeed we have seen the power of a group to collect diverse ideas and opinions and mould them into beneficial action.
Since the the New Orleans nationals Bob Hamman , Paul Street ( a retired McKinsey partner ) and me have put together ,and presented to positive review , a proposed action plan to the ACBL board that offers solutions to help with the serious problems affecting the future of bridge , not only in the ACBL but around the world. In a couple of weeks we will launch a website , with not only our support but the support of some additional charter members. This site is designed to present our initial analysis of the problems facing the game , from the points of view of business strategy, marketing , growth, management, governance and the protection of the integrity of the game. It will also detail our proposed solutions that we presented to the ACBL board. This web site will welcome and encourage participation from every bridge player concerned with the future of the game. It will be a more edited forum than Bridge Winners but every ones opinion will be welcomed. There will be a petition that all can sign supporting the evolving theses as we hope to continue to work constructively not only with the ACBL but with Bridge administrations everywhere.The working title of the website is not yet decided but we have it up in Beta. . Feel free to contact me in the weeks ahead allangraves@me.com for the url of the site.

I also would like to gently set the record straight on some of the issues from the affairs of the last few weeks. Although the notion of “ the great imp” influencing bridge history is great drama in fact Fisher and Schwartz were probably done regardless of whether we won or lost that match.If we had won I would have waited until we had lost and gone to Boye and our team mates that I was sure they were cheating. Boye and Espen would have agreed ….
I had spent 30 boards with Fisher as a screen mate. His inauthenticity and emotional immaturity were jarring and I felt his movements and mannerisms were often unique and unnatural . Within the first hour I was convinced that some of their bids and plays were being influenced by non bridge events. Obviously this was emotionally distressing to me on a lot of fronts and I cannot remember playing worse in an important match than in those 30 boards. ( old partners need not comment )
I still remember the shock I felt as I executed a routine “open cards ” strip squeeze on Ron only to find he had led a club against from TXX, KJT9X , X, QXXX on an auction of 1D 1S ; 1NT P , his side not bidding ,and I crashed a trick or two in a routine contract. I noted that Lotan had XX in Hearts and the Ace of clubs. There were a few situations like that throughout the 30 boards. Emotional shock can be
dis associating and I suspect that this is also why I didn't channel my inner Perry Mason too smartly in the infamous committee . These hands that stressed me so much , were the same ones that Boye looked at overnight searching for“ the elusive great imp” . Once all avenues to recapture “the great imp ”had failed it wasn't very long before we began to talk about our ex teammates , that we were both 100 % sure about what had been and still was going on and what we had to do about it now. What “ the great imp ” had done was strengthen the resolve of Boye. ( It is always a bad idea to strengthen the resolve of a Viking if he is not on your team.) Boye's resolve since then has been unshakeable and I am sure it has inspired everyone involved. Actually there is nothing easier in life than taking a choiceness path and I know I speak for Boye as well , in saying that we would never make an easier decision than what we did next. The decision to go public, vacate our titles and accuse them of cheating , was choiceless because , through no ones fault , the atmosphere in the ACBL over time had become toxic and dysfunctional with regards to cheating. The recorder system option wasn't working and the the ACBL was also justifiably wary of legal action. The only remaining action for players were rumour and public accusation which are quite properly subject to severe sanction . The first option led to frustration and the second led to reprimand so the situation was Bateson's classic double bind. Any prospective cheat was aware of that, so the system had become the perfect enabler. It was clear that social media outside the ACBL was the vehicle , “Hey ,how about Bridge Winners ” said Newton as the apple hit him on the head and a separate website created by Boye to publish information. I think I suggested “ Place to publish weird information about bad guys .com” but he had a more direct name in mind. I never went on Bridge Winners to comment as i wanted to avoid being a distraction, to what others , especially Boye ,were saying. Sometimes it is best to stay silent and let others talk , give the situation some space as it were.
My role has been in the background, usually on the phone. I talked to Boye most everyday , sometimes more than once. He took about 10% of what I said to heart and some of the rest he used to sharpen his arguments. I also spent a lot of time phoning around the world encouraging old friends in other countries to follow up with their NBO and especially at the beginning throw in my dollars worth of encouragement privately to anyone who had stepped forward. One role I enjoyed was as liaison with some Americans who had stepped up and were working with the ACBL.
I do strongly resist the argument that outing Fisher and Schwartz could have been done better in some other , more “ due process” way. As it was the “due process” group had an open forum for their say but the substantive work was being done in the name of truth by those who were not afraid to call a duck a duck. Especially at the beginning that took a lot of courage. Busting through the wall of denial and fear that had plagued bridge “ due process ” for so long was going to take exactly what it ended up taking .
Note that once the network of those with the skill and motivation to do this work had been established by the Fisher Schwartz campaign, the offensive against Fantoni Nunes could be done behind the scenes. To their credit the ACBL was now on board with a team of Meckstroth , et all spending three days in Horn lake with permission to view the Spingold videos . This work will be very helpful in any prospective case the ACBL makes against both pairs. The Europeans had not been allowed to have this evidence so this was a welcome step for the ACBL to take. Would we ever have gotten the smoking gun vertical card observation from the Dutch Lady without the public campaign against Fisher and Schwartz? Would we ever have been able to get such qualified video guys ? or Code breakers ? or the thousands of comments calling a duck a duck . Well we will never know of course but lets assume that what happened ,happened because a myriad of well meaning actions coalesced to reveal the logical conclusions necessary to accomplish something very beneficial to a lot of people. The motivation to “do the right thing” had a lot a lot to do with the eventual success.
The speed of this has even been good for Fisher Schwartz and Fantoni Nunes. The sooner they can publicly admit the truth and “do the right thing themselves ” the sooner they can get on with the rest of their lives and accomplish something decent for themselves. It must never be ever again in the bridge world though. it is time they moved on. It is also time we asked both the Israeli Bridge federation, the Monaco bridge federation and the Italian bridge federation just what did they know and when?

Let me close with a poem by one of Spain's most revered poets.

The Wind one Brilliant Day.

The wind one brilliant day called
to my soul with an odour of jasmine.

“In return for the odour of my jasmine
I would like the odour of your roses ”

“ I have no roses , all the flowers
in my garden are dead ”

“ Well then I'll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and waters of the fountain ”

The wind left . And I wept. And I said.
" What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you ?

Antonia Machado

I feel we have barely ,just barely , avoided being the heartbreaking insights of this poem.

The earth , our game, is good , we still have a few flowers , left and the fountain has water.
We can begin again weeding , planting and watering …
but we have a lot of work to do .
Sept. 14, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Sept. 14, 2015
.

Bottom Home Top