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All comments by Avon Wilsmore
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Lawrence and Wirgren:

http://www.newbridgelaw.com/
April 26
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Nick did say, “speak definitively”

Anyone can have an opinion on anything, but they would do well to be aware of the areas where expert views count for more than all the amateur opinions in the world.

Bertrand Russell:
Where experts are agreed, the average man would do well not to suppose the opposite opinion is certain
April 25
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Page 2:

It's fortunate for you that the 8 and 9 were not swapped…
April 25
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I agree with Frank that social pressure can be a powerful force, and it's one that can be used to bring rogue elements into line.

For example, who paid for F-N's high-end lawyers? What was this action designed to protect? Now, if this person knew in advance that such an action would result in becoming a bridge leper, unable to form any strong partnership or team…

Instead, we have recent video evidence of the WBF President giving hard-core cheats a hearty welcome.

Meanwhile…

Tim Seres, The Bridge World interview, Jan 2013:

I was at the 1979 Bermuda Bowl when Malcolm Brachman’s team won. Ever since then, I have been a little uneasy about the matter of playing sponsors at the highest levels. If a wealthy person engaged a top-class tennis player for the afternoon, no one would think anything of it. But if, say, the finals of the Men’s Doubles at Wimbledon had a billionaire of club standard playing, I suspect that there would be quite an uproar. That will not happen for two reasons: bridge appears unique in the ability for a team to be able to carry a player of lesser skill, and in other pursuits the rewards that come to top players from prizes, advertising, and indirect sponsorship allow them independence.
April 25
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Avarelli auction corrected… thanks.
April 24
Avon Wilsmore edited this comment April 24
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I, on the other hand, think Paul's idea is excellent.

I also think that it is exactly what Nicolas Hammond has already done… a statistical analysis of certain types of action - opening leads, dummy-play trick-taking and so on.

My understanding is that known cheating pairs stick out like (insert your preferred cliche); their opening leads are supremely successful, while (often) one member of the partnership is an inept dummy player.


Example:

1972 Olympiad Final, board 67

Avarelli, in 2nd seat, they are vul.
QJ1032 A103 Q9832

P P P 1D
1S 2H 4S X
all pass

Avarelli-Belladonna were playing Precision; earlier, GB had opened 1D with J7 and J9.

So how to explain Avarelli's opening lead of A, a choice of no one, not even a beginner? And it just happened to suit GB's hand… quel surprise.

Meanwhile, as we see here, by 1972 Avarelli had trouble with a simple finesse and had lost all concept of the idea of “exceeding tolerance”.

https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/another-look-at-walter-avarelli/
April 24
Avon Wilsmore edited this comment April 24
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The Blue Team played 1,752 hands in World Championship finals and I have studied every one of them many times, as well as every deal in qualifying rounds and semi-finals.

That is quite some data-set and I submit that a study of all these deals can arrive at only one conclusion.

When we see actions like this:

Siniscalco, nil vul
87 KQJ4 AJ85 Q63
1S ?

Garozzo, they are vul
QJ1063 A932 A4 96
1H ?

Each time a pass was chosen. Each time Forquet had rubbish… and a singleton spade opposite Garozzo's hand.

What would you say to a beginner who passed those hands?

Furthermore, the big boys didn't play much EC… Forquet never played past 1959, Belladonna played 8 times from 1960-1979 and Garozzo 6 times from 1960-1979. Regardless, I went through many EC Daily Bulletins and found some “interesting” hands. Space considerations led me to limit my manuscript to world championships and some Lancia hands.


Richard, don't you find the total silence from all Italian sources somewhat puzzling?

Anyway, stay tuned. There is new news coming.
April 24
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Tim Seres on the Manoppos:

Playing against them was the eeriest experience I’ve had at the table. They would pause at the oddest moments with nothing much to go on, and, as declarer, I knew they were about to play the one card I didn’t want to see.
April 23
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Bring it on!

Maybe one day we will exchange signed copies…
April 23
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There are a few ways…

Larry Cohen:
If, on dozens of relevant deals, an expert player makes repeated extreme bids/leads/plays and has no rational bridge explanation, something is wrong … If the pair in question is really clean, they should be able to explain their actions.

Boye Brogeland:
My approach to discover cheating by world class players is to look at non-obvious actions and the success rate of these … when players and pairs choose non-logical actions, which in addition have a great success rate (the actions are deemed as non-logical because you would expect them to have a lot worse success rate than 50 %), we should raise an eyebrow. The proof is in the pudding.


And, for reviewing a pair that has a large number of hands on public record*, anyone can do what I did… go through every instance of opening lead, takeout double and overcall. Doing that for Blue Team hands is truly enlightening.


* bridgewinners.com/article/view/new-bridge-software-complete-bridge-database/
April 23
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Lore.

I want it deeply-ingrained in how people view bridge - an honourable, decent pursuit, enjoyed by a wide range of people, all of whom put integrity and ethics before results.
April 23
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Karen's comment:

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/venice-bridge-tournament-harris-pairs-withdraw/?cj=794643

And I agree 100%. A lot more needs to be done as regards the forfeiting of titles.

I would like to see it part of bridge lore, that any and every title is stripped away, no matter how long ago the cheating occurred or how much a sponsor might be annoyed.
April 23
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A curious fact:

Nabil posted an article some weeks ago…

bridgewinners.com/article/view/strong-hand/

Now he's unverified…
April 22
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2140.

Partner has
x x AKQJ10xxxxxx
April 18
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Double of 2NT shows a takeout double of 2.
April 18
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Mr Damiani is correct, the matter of “will they be allowed” is up to the WBF, and is (I believe) decided on a case-by-case basis.

Alfred Sheinwold column, 1 October 1978:

When Italian bridge players elected new officers, Ortiz-Patiño met with them to work out a reconciliation. As a result, the WBF made all world championships invitational and did not invite some of the most famous players to the 1978 championships.
April 17
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Certainly Wolff's opinion is worth much more than mine… still, the rate and timing of Goren's unfortunate mental decline is uncertain.
April 16
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Mr Damiani,

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions.

Regarding the Burgay Tape affair of 1976-1978, Mr Ortiz-Patino reports in “The First 50 Years of the WBF”:

The following letter has been sent to the President of the Italian Bridge Federation, Professor Luigi Firpo:

“… The Management Committee deplores the manner in which the investigations of alleged serious improprieties have been handled by FIB and further that the undertakings of the FIB President given to the Executive in Monte Carlo have not been fulfilled.”

… Professor Luigi Firpo, President of the Italian Bridge Federation, undertook certain commitments to the WBF … To report in detail its findings and decisions together with full documentation including a certified copy of the tape to the European Bridge League and to the World Bridge Federation …

… the reports since submitted are inadequate to form a basis for any reasonable conclusion … the IBF has failed to meet the commitments … Further resolved that IBF membership in the WBF be temporarily suspended…



Mr Damiani:

- Did FIB ever submit a report with findings about the Burgay Tape?

- Did FIB ever “meet the commitments” that President Firpo made, regarding providing a certified copy of the tape to the EBL and WBF?

- If a FIB report was submitted, why was it kept secret, and what did it say?

- If a FIB report was not submitted, why was Italy's suspension removed?

- Where is the copy of the tape that was given to the WBF Executive Council?
April 16
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Fixed… thanks.
April 16
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What did partner have?
April 16
.

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