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All comments by Avon Wilsmore
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You are seriously maintaining that Forquet rebids 3 with:

xxxxx AKx Ax Qxx ?

As they say in America, I am like wow.

You write, “I have no idea. But it is beginning to occur to me that neither do you.”

Maybe, but Bart Bramley has a different view:
This is the most thorough deal-by-deal examination ever done.
Oct. 16
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The hand is from 1963, board 9 of the final.

BG and PF were playing Neapolitan (4CM canape).

They seldom raised 1M openings with three trumps.

Maybe Garozzo expected Forquet to correct to 3♠ with five.

Maybe. But where are the silly fits that follow when Garozzo is 1-3-6-3? They don't exist.
Oct. 16
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Any play works when there is bare king onside.

Cashing the ace picks up bare king offside.

Low to the queen picks up bare two and bare jack offside.
Oct. 16
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We saw another example in “The Blue Team Rule”.

Garozzo
A 6 5 10 6 4 k q 3 2 9 4 3

1S p 1NT 3C
P P ?

After responding 1NT, Garozzo followed up with 3.

Did Forquet have a 5-3-2-3?

I'll give you a clue: Where are the 4-2 fits? They don't exist.

I have more examples in a chapter called, unsurprisingly, “Finding Four-Four Fits.”
Oct. 16
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That is not the point.

Where are the 4-2 fits?

They don't exist.

To say, “if you don't play negative doubles” is more than a little ingenuous.

Another example:

1959 Bermuda Bowl Final. N-S vul
Avarelli
Q 9 7 5 4 K 9 2 J 10 9 3 2

1 dbl pass 2
pass 3 ?

Avarelli is in 3rd seat. Belladonna's 1 showed 12-16 bal.

At the table, Avarelli wandered into the auction with 3 and was doubled.

Here are two hands from the same match where Belladonna opened 1:

Board 79
A x A x x x J 10 x x A x x

Board 89
A 10 x x A x x Q x x K x x

One of them was the hand where Avarelli bid a four-card suit at the three-level.

Which hand do you suppose GB had?

I'll give you a clue: Where are the 4-2 fits? They don't exist.
Oct. 16
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Rubbishing hands and systems is not the thesis of my book.

A lack of regard for the lesser players (and their methods, of which nothing remains, unlike 1958 Roth-Stone) came after studying every Blue Team WC deal.

The book's analysis of the BT in action (as others have pointed out) is two-fold:

- Sets of similar hands where a BT player chose Option A
- Sets the same similar hands where a BT player chose option B

In every case, partner's hand was a suitable match.

As Anders Wirgen said, “It is impossible to have such accuracy, unless you know something you shouldn’t.”

Some of these BT choices are outright lunacy. See my “Blue Team Rule” article for examples.

Where are the hands where such bizarre actions, from the winners of 10 consecutive Bowls, went for a number?

They don't exist.
Oct. 16
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From the book:

On these two hands from 1962, Avarelli had to decide how to
proceed when his side’s 1 (12-16 bal) opening was overcalled with 1.

Here Avarelli was responder and chose to bid 2, a 4-4 fit.
9 8 4 A Q 6 2 9 6 5 A 4 3

Here Avarelli was the 1 opener and Belladonna responded 2 after the overcall.
K J 5 4 K 7 K Q 7 3 10 6 3

Avarelli chose to pass and Belladonna had five good hearts. How did Avarelli know this was not a 4-2 fit?



In 1969 the Blue Team still did not use Negative Doubles, when they were much “the norm”.

As the hands above (and others in the book) show, they didn't need them.
Oct. 16
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So, once again, wasn't Mr. Guthrie's point quite different from the impression that your carefully selected excerpt was meant to convey, Mr. Wilsmore?

In fact, the quote of Nigel's that I supplied is taken from my book. I quote nothing else and emailed Nigel a couple of years ago, seeking his permission to use it.

You maintain that I am guilty of “highly selective quoting that distorts the original meaning”, while Nigel clearly has no such view.

Puzzling.
Oct. 16
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I think Gary Hann has a certainty filed away somewhere…
Oct. 16
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…highly selective quoting that distorts the original meaning of the quoted text…

We do not agree.

But let's get down to business.

What is your opinion?

1. The Burgay Tape IS an account of the cheating methods of the Blue Team

2. The Burgay Tape IS NOT an account of the cheating methods of the Blue Team

Bobby Wolff:
Burgay also informed me in Shanghai, 2007 that while the tapes were all 100% true in everything involving bridge and what went on, that he still loves Italy and does not relish the role of being thought of as being a traitor to Italian bridge, but rather realizes, like I do, that the world deserves to know the truth.

If you hold the second opinion, who is lying? Wolff or Burgay?
Oct. 16
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Yes, the matter of “amnesties” is very strange.

Bridge d’Italia, June 1999
Amnesty is a measure (of general character) related to exceptional events with which the F.I.G.B. terminates an infringement, and if there was a conviction by a final judgment, it terminates the execution of the sentence.

So far as I understand it (and no guarantees that I do) they are similar to notable events in a monarchy; a king has a birthday, so a bunch of prisoners are given their freedom.

www.imp-bridge.nl:
Because Italy won the Olympiad in Maastricht in 2000 the Italian Bridge Federation granted amnesty to a number of pairs, including Rossano–Vivaldi. Apparently their reputation in their own country isn’t squeaky-clean.

That “Because” implies some sort of logical link between winning an event and “terminates the execution of the sentence”; how this link operates is beyond me.

From “Under the Table”:
I do not know what it was that Vivaldi — Rossano did to be subject to a two-and-a-half-year sentence; as with the Burgay Tape, details are not easy to find. But given that Lanzarotti and Buratti got the same sentence one might reasonably speculate that the matter was quite serious.

Well, the WBF certainly thought the matter was worthy of their attention:
… the Credentials Committee of the World Bridge Federation determined that the invitation extended to Enza Rossano and Antonio Vivaldi be withdrawn; consequently they will no longer be eligible to play in the 2016 World Bridge Games in Wroclaw.

If you are baffled by Italian “amnesties”, you are not alone. I am sure you will get excellent answers from this source:
FIGB President: presidenza@federbridge.it


We agree that the (apparent) attempted cover-up of evidence we find in Donna Compton's account is very concerning.

From “Under the Table”:
So it is possible that efforts were made at the highest level of the WBF to suppress critical evidence needed by a formal committee to hear a charge of cheating at a world championship. Donna Compton says, “We will never know.” She may be right. But the formation of an independent commission
of enquiry would go some way to resolving this.


But in my view, nothing comes close to the Burgay Tape for corruption and cover-ups.

Nigel Guthrie:
Perhaps standard protocol in Italy is to lose vital evidence, suspend the whistle-blower, turn a blind eye to his assault by a national team-member and postpone a full report on the investigation for more than 35 years.[/i
Oct. 15
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- A statement is independent of the speaker.

In any event, I play very little bridge. You are welcome to come to Thailand and kibitz me in a small duplicate.

- David Levin asked, “Was there discord between the two men? ”
I attempted to contribute some relevant information.

- From Wolff's “The Lone Wolff”:

Goren is a legendary figure in bridge, but the truth be known, he was never considered a top flight player by his peers. His real gift was salesmanship. He was a handsome man, always well dressed, with a great booming voice and an imposing persona. His natural charisma made him a phenomenal promoter of bridge. At the table, his bidding was good, and he had fine judgment in competitive situations, but he was otherwise mediocre.

- We have a real problem on our hands: How to deal with cheating. That known cheats hold world titles shows that the matter is serious. I prefer a hard examination of facts over being “nice”.
Oct. 15
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Reading old texts makes it clear that many US experts (Roth-Stone in particular, along with Jacoby and Schenken) regarded Goren (like Culbertson) as a great marketer and not a top-class bridge player.
Oct. 15
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That is peculiar… I use FF 62.0.3 and have no problem.
Oct. 14
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Damo:

I suggest you spend some time & go thru the actual book.

Kerry has quite an advantage in that area; first he reads the book, then he has an opinion.

Bob Heitzman read the book.

I just finished reading Avon's book. He recounts all the accusations against the BT over the years, many by very credible people. Many are not Americans. Then he goes through the hands. Offshape doubles is just the tip of the iceberg. He also discusses opening leads against slams, their uncanny ability to uncover 44 fits in competitive auctions, and many other topics. In every case he first discusses deals where they did weird things that worked and then goes on to show very similar hands where they avoided doing the same weird thing, when it wouldn't have worked. “Preponderance of the evidence” is a huge understatement…

…Maybe all the doubters should take their fingers out of their ears and read the book.


I have many emails from experts who have read the book.

The number that disagree with my findings: Zero.

Just like the number of off-shape takeout doubles the Blue Tream made, once the screens went up.

Edit-add.

This is not an attempted sales push. I don't care about sales. I want people to be aware that administrators have knowingly covered-up cheating for decades, and that, as a consequence, bridge has been shockingly-corrupt at the highest levels since at least 1957.

However much you are horrified by the current F-N debacle, things are worse than you think.
Oct. 14
Avon Wilsmore edited this comment Oct. 14
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Mike: I assert that there is no mistake.

Belladonna's unblocking required declarer not to have the 9

Avarelli's club duck (which cost an undertrick) required declarer not to have the 10.
Oct. 14
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Many thanks… corrected.

Memo to self: Proof-read BEFORE the second bottle of Cointreau.
Oct. 14
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I think Nick's comment should be printed off and stapled to the forehead of every BoD member's forehead.
Oct. 14
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Boye Brogeland:

We will never know the full extent to which bridge has been damaged by cheaters, but understanding the past can only help in achieving a vital goal: A clean game, now and in the future.
Oct. 13
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From “Under the Table”

As well as finding winning calls that horrify Garozzo*, Avarelli had other skills: he was a Tresette expert.

From Wikipedia:

“Tressette or Tresette is one of Italy’s major national trick-taking card games… There are… conventional signs that can be exchanged between partners:

Volo (“Flying”): The player lets the card drop or “fly down” from a few centimeters above the table. This sign signifies that the player has just played his last card of this particular suit…

Striscio or Liscio (“Sliding”): The player slides the card across the table before playing it. This sign signifies that the player has many cards of that suit”


An interview** records:

“(Avarelli) learned to play bridge without a teacher, but he was an expert at Tre Sette, a game similar to bridge … “It is played wherever Italians congregate,” said Avarelli.

Perhaps it is fair to make a correlation between the early training at Tre Sette and the fact that the Italians are the winners of five World Contract (Bridge) Championships. This may be the answer to the question why the Italians win so often.”


Maybe it is. Benito Garozzo is recorded*** as saying:

“… in 1943 in Naples … with … some friends and relatives we were playing Italian games like “Tresette.”…”



* This extract is from a chapter that discusses Avarelli's pass of a takeout double of 3X with:
94 AQ109743 10743

Two eye-witness accounts record Garozzo's shock at this choice.

** Florence Osborn column, Simpson’s Leader-Times, 14 June 1963

*** http://csbnews.org/interview-to-benito-garozzo-by-fernando-lema/?lang=en
Oct. 13
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