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All comments by Avon Wilsmore
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Damo:

I agree that extraordinary claims call for extraordinary evidence.

However, given the 1958 declarations, the 1963 Gerber Letter, the 1974 Sheinwold articles, the Burgay Tape, and what we read in the bridge autobiographies of Hamman, Swanson and Wolff, I think my claims are quite ordinary.

You write, “Everybody's bidding is strange….”

Possibly so, but what is truly strange is:

- How often a BT player's partner just happened to have a suitable match for weird and/or non-systemic calls (i.e. almost always)

- The incredibly-low rate of payouts for extreme conservatism or extreme aggression (i.e almost never)
Oct. 5
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Yes.
Oct. 5
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Another consideration is, do I have any defence?

An AQ and a king (two quick tricks, for aged Culbertsonians) provide some comfort, should partner start doubling.
Oct. 4
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Damo:

If you have studied the book and reject the conclusions, I thank you for putting in the effort and have no argument with a reasoned refutation.

So far as I am aware, there are no peer-reviewed bridge journals to which I can send my work. And if there were, I wouldn't bother; it is not a scientific paper.

However, you can await the reviews in The Bridge World, the ACBL Bulletin, Poland's “Brydż” and the Dutch “IMP Bridge Magazine.”
Oct. 4
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Adam:

Kaplan's article, “New Science” appeared in Dec 1956, not 1952. It was reproduced in the December, 1997 issue of The Bridge World, and is also to be found in the book, “Edgar Kaplan: Bridge Master”.

My book has a chapter, “New Science and That Old Black Magic”, that quotes parts of Kaplan's article, along with some of Rubens' additional comments from 1997.

In that chapter I discuss some highly-suspect actions of American players in Bowls of the 1960s, and say why I believe these to be of a different class to those of the Blue Team.

I am surprised that you draw a parallel between intonation-based information transfer (in Kaplan's words:
“… the auction… in which the one-notrump bid (i.e., responder's second rebid) can be either a sign-off or a progressive bid, is ideal when the sign-off is in a flat, listless tone, and the progressive bid is in ringing, pear-shaped tones.”
and deliberate, pre-arranged collusive signalling.

In any event, that two noted American pairs of the 1960s were encouraged to spend more time with their families is no secret.
Oct. 4
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The problem we are considering is D'Alelio's call with
Q 4 J 6 5 10 9 8 7 6 K Q 3
after 1S X 3S ??

The text then reads:
————————
As we have seen, partner can have a modest hand and shortage (singleton or void) in any suit. D’Alelio, in the Bermuda Bowl one year earlier, doubled 1 with:
A Q 8 3 A 10 6 5 4 K J 5 4

So what is the right action, given that partner can have shortage outside spades?
————————-

The purpose of the text is to illustrate that the doubler can be very short in any side-suit, not to say, “This is a possible hand.”

I apologise for any ambiguity and, should there be a second edition, the text will be improved.

The amazing Blue Team judgement in competitive auctions is discussed further in two chapters, The Range Signal and The Shortage Signal.
Oct. 4
Avon Wilsmore edited this comment Oct. 4
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I'm guessing the question is addressed to me…

I have never seen a copy of the book, although I have read the Word document so many times I can recite it verbatim.

I have asked for some to be sent to me, so I can hand out some freebies to some people who were of great help in proof-reading. That will be my first sighting of the actual book.
Oct. 2
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As regards the betting odds, you can find Wolff's account here:

http://judy.bridgeblogging.com/2009/09/20/disgusting-old-hat/
in a posting on October 8th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I wrote to Wolff on 1st August, 2013; here is part of his reply:

“Perhaps the night before we were to sit down in Brazil in 1973 and play the final against Italy I asked a British bridge journalist (do not remember his name) to check with the British bookmakers if he can conveniently do it, (as you know legal in Britain) as to what the price was on our upcoming match. He did and told me right before we sat down to play, although somewhat sheepishly, 21 to 1 in favor of the Italians.”

You say, “…there appears to be no corroboration…”

Not so, albeit not definitive.

Alfred Sheinwold, in “To Geneva with Screens”, Popular Bridge, 1974, describes the Blue Team as, “…a team that is better than a 20-to-l favorite…”



BTW, the attacks on Wolff in the “old hat” blog posting above really are quite something.

Wolff:
“…(Ortiz-Patino) confirmed the authentication of the (Burgay) tapes with the American CIA…”

Comment:
“…all this talk about the CIA and Burgay tapes sounds lot like the fanciful tales that I hear from my 10 year nephew… You spin some wonderful tales.”

Later, Ortiz-Patino himself wrote:
“Earlier in my career I had been of some help to the CIA, who had the best resources in the world for this kind of thing. Confident that they would be happy to return the favor, I sent them the tape. Back came the message: ‘The tape is genuine’.”
Oct. 2
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Computer Haiku:
———————–
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Microsoft is like that.
Oct. 1
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It's a long story, but there are some matters going on in the background… later, when these matters are resolved, and if it is the case that the book's premise (that the Blue Team engaged in illicit signaling) is accepted, I will consider an e-book edition.

The final say will depend on the good graces of my esteemed publisher.
Oct. 1
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There are no current plans for an e-book.
Oct. 1
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Hamman & Associates, LLC
Oct. 1
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Anyone who wants information can PM me.

No guarantees that I will have anything useful to say - I have never seen a copy of the book and don't know its dimensions or weight. I can, however pass you on to a contact at the publisher.
Oct. 1
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May I suggest that you reread the text, p76, hand 1?

- I did not supply an 11-card hand for D'Alelio.
Here is the real hand: Q4 J65 109876 KQ3

- I never suggested that his partner could have a 4-0-5-4
Oct. 1
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No Amazon.

There are sellers in various countries… Baron Barclay in the US.
Oct. 1
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Thanks for the comment.

The next time I have a few thousand hours to spare, I will spend it on a task that is easier and pays better - collecting cans & bottles from rubbish bins.
Sept. 30
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Hi Jan,

As you will see in the Swedish “Bridge” (Jan 2018), Amders Wirgren commented on Jannersten's views:


“When I started playing bridge seriously in 1969 I always read Eric Jannersten in Bridgetidningen with great interest. When a world championship had been played, it used to go like this:

Another world championship has been played. Italy won again, and the Americans protested again. When will they learn that they lost to a better team? Bad sports are what they are.

For many, many years I thought this description was true: that the Italians won because they were superior and the Americans protested just because they didn’t win. I don’t think so any more.”


As for the question, “What were the views of respected non-US players?”…

Danny Kleinman:
“From 1956 to 1969, the Italian “Blue Team” dominated world bridge competition like no other team in the history of sports … Those with personal experience claim the Italians cheated … Most of those who allege cheating are vague: unwilling or unable to document their accusations, to identify themselves publicly as accusers, to state specific illicit signals transmitted.”


Were any of these players from Europe? I have emails that make it clear, the answer is “Yes.”

Why the silence? Why not speak out?

We could ask the same question about the opponents of Lanzarotti-Buratti, Fantoni-Nunes, Elinescu-Wladow, Sion-Cokin, and so on.

It is my view that there some who spoke out, and many more who wanted to, but they were sure that the official channels for investigation were ineffective.


David Harris, WBF General Counsel:
“However, the WBF does not approve of the current lynch mob mentality and approach that is being utilised by a small number of people … The WBF will not tolerate cheating, neither will it stand by and watch kangaroo courts claim some legitimacy when they have none.”


It is my opinion that the WBF DID tolerate cheating, and that an unofficial policy of “minimise the scandal” was in place from 1957 onwards.
Sept. 29
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The account of Avarelli's pass of 3 is correct:

- It was witnessed on VuGraph by Bobby Wolff and Ron Von Der Porten

- As part of my research I spoke to a member of the opposing team (Germany, Round 3, 1972 Qualifying)
Sept. 29
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We are going around in circles. If you PM me and leave your email address, I will send you a PDF of the Burgay Tape chapter. Then you can see the complete case.

It is fact that the WBF had a copy of the tape; this is documented.

“So the natural and logical answer to your questions is that in the end the WBF realized (or had to admit) that they had no valid reason to question the findings of the FIB commissions that had investigated the matter, which is why they lifted the threat of suspension.”

We disagree on the above.
Sept. 28
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Anyone can check a free sample (the Takeout Doubles chapter) and decide for themselves…

https://www.bridgeshop.com.au/under-the-table-wilsmore-paperback-edition.html
Sept. 28
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