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All comments by Boye Brogeland
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Jon was a great guy, both at and away from the table.

I got to know him when I moved for studies to his home town Bergen in 1992. After a while Erik Sælensminde and I teamed up with him and Arild Rasmussen, and in the late nineties we also played together for Norway. Jon was a superb player and a very supportive team mate.

Jon was also a fine bridge writer, with a daily column for many years in the second largest (now largest) newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten. In the Norwegian bridge magazine Bridge i Norge, he wrote plenty of good articles, starting his series “Umbrella Bridge” back in 1976 in the very first edition.

During bridge events it was a treat to meet Jon and go out for dinner together. He always had a big smile on his face, lots of good stories to tell and interesting subjects to discuss (including bridge hands).

You will be missed, Jon, both at and away from the table.
July 19
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Thanks, Tony - and well done qualifying for the Bermuda Bowl. It sure is irritating with different explanations (that may influence ones decision) and I am not certain who had it right of Kvangraven and Tundal.
June 20
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Hi Tony. Wasn’t this a redouble (of 4 hearts) after an initial Splinter (of 4 diamonds) so that (the passed hand) dummy needed at least 12 black cards to fit the explanation? Was it clear that you got the wrong explanation, or could it be that the redouble was just the wrong bid (responding to 4 hearts as Blackwood) in this position?
June 20
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This certainly seems like a time to reflect over past and current scores. I guess different people will draw different conclusions. The main thing is that we unite in playing the game right from here on out.
June 18
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Many thanks for posting this, Ante. An interesting break down of the numbers.
June 18
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The relatively low butler winning score (compared to prior cheat infected events) sure seems like proof that the most succesful cheats didn't take part. I would be extremely pleasantly surprised, though, if nobody was cheating.
June 18
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I'm sorry Gonzalo, but I don't follow your logic on this hand. Why couldn't your partner have 9x instead of J9 because of the tempo the card was played in?

In some of these situations I think we believe we sense more than we actually can sense. We get a feeling of how the hand looks like, not necessarily because of the tempo, but because of a deja vu like experience. Yes, now he had that hand, so you can say “my feeling was right - I knew it!” If he would have had 9x, you might not have thought much more about it. I am pretty sure psychologists can help us understand how our brain works in certain situations.

Just analysing the hand I think J9 of diamonds with partner is more likely as South would be closer to a 2NT bid over 2 hearts if he actually had KQJxxx of diamonds and two black queens.

What we should get better at, both experienced and non-experienced partnerships, are bidding and playing in tempo when faced with tempo sensitive situations. Top players pretty much know which situations are tempo sensitive, and I believe we should be willing to accept a bad result in order not to transmit UI in these situations.

A very good start is for declarer to stop insta-plays at trick one in order to give opponents 15-20 seconds to think about her/his play and what the hand is about. After that time period the card should be played in tempo unless the defender still needs more time to decide which card to play. That extra time will become UI for partner which must not be taken advantage of.
March 19
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This sounds like a fine mess. Get us out of it!
March 19
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So what if the Monegasque Bridge Federation swiftly had found Fantunes guilty of cheating (but maybe not admitted it was collusive) and put them away for one year, which they felt was appropriate. Now all countries (and the EBL plus the WBF) have to accept this outcome and let them back in a year - in the name of reciprocity?
March 19
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Exactly, Adam. That's why the EBL and the WBF have to find a solution so that CAS doesn't have the final say in important decisions for bridge. Either they have to give up the Olympic dream and part totally with CAS, or they have to make their major tournaments truly invitational so that the cheats can be kept away even if they get lucky at CAS.

It's refreshing to see a WBF official taking part in a sensitive bridge discussion on Bridgewinners. I hope that you will work hard, Mr. Pascal, to solve the unsatisfying CAS situation. Players around the world are longing to hear more than words from the WBF.
March 19
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This hand is bizarre. Feldman going for the end play in clubs and Meckstroth not unblocking the jack of clubs under the ace for partner to take the last two tricks! Did it really go like this?
March 18
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Hi Richard.

I am very disturbed by your comment(s) here. It seems like you (and a few other contributors) are projecting players' reasons for supporting “Say no to cheats” through a) a lack of knowledge or/and b) your own standards. In my view most players want a fair game, played with integrity and active ethics. But, and I hope I also have most players with me on this, we don't want the game to change from a card game into a computer game. I want to feel the excitement by sitting down next to my opponents and partner in a fierce but fair battle. I want bridge to be a social game where you meet people in their flesh. You would have to take away a lot of the intriguing facets of the game in order to make it cheat free (and normally the cheats are one step ahead anyway, so good luck in catching the tech cheats going forward).

If we apply your thinking, Richard, to other sports, say golf, why shouldn't every PGA tournament be played with golf simulators? Everybody gets the same conditions and nobody can move their ball a single millimetre away from where it landed. Perfect, or maybe not?

Your paragraph about hitches I think say more about you (and your take on top players) than it does about (most of) the top players. In my not so humble opinion I believe you are dead wrong.
March 18
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First to Bernard: What you write here sounds very promising. So this means that Fantoni-Nunes and Fisher-Schwartz have a 10 year ban from WBF events? And what is the situation for admitted cheats like Piekarek-Smirnov? And what about Balicki-Zmudzinski? What about Buratti-Lanzarotti? Please explain the WBF take on all these pairs and their various “levels” (sentenced/not sentenced, admitted/not admitted).

So to Kirsten Rita: I realise there are different views about how long a sanction should be for cheats. Personally I compare it to doping. Yes, as bridge players we feel mortified about collusive cheating. On the other hand, if you were a clean cyclist or a clean athlete, you would probably feel as mortified with all the doping going on in your sport totally limiting your chances for glory (and some people would probably add money, which to me is of minor interest in this perspective). Sure, it would be nice to lock them (bridge wise) away for eternity and not having to face these people. As you may want to do with other people committing other sorts of crimes. On the other hand I believe people should get a second chance (it's a good Norwegian value :-). Compared to other sports (I have heard the arguments that you can play bridge for a life time, while other sports you are just active for a few years, but I don't think sailing has different bans just because you can do that sport your whole life) I feel five years are reasonable. But I would really like the cheats having to confess before they are allowed to enter a major event. They need to realise that the way they have been playing the game is cheating. Period. Unless they are able to accept this, in my view they will never be able to play bridge properly.
March 18
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Dear Mr. Pascal. You sound like the WBF General Counsel David Harris in the fall of 2015: “Witch hunt”, “Kangaroo court”. It's still so far from the truth and, though not surprising, disappointing to see that your take on this hasn't changed. The players are fed up by lawyers not grasping the core issues when it comes to cheating and protecting the game.

Yes, there are different views on how long a ban for collusive cheating should be. In general Americans seem to feel life bans are in place, while Europeans are not comfortable with putting someon away from life. Here is my suggestion for a minimum sanction (and let the Americans do their own thing) by the EBL and the WBF:

5 year ban, but 4 year ban if you admit to cheating and spare the organizations for going through a costly legal case.

If you are found to be cheating after your first ban: Life time ban.

But never, ever invite the cheats to any major tournament before they have confessed that the cheated the game. If they don't accept this, how can we ever come remotely close to trusting them playing bridge as it should be done?
March 17
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When something is broken, we should try to fix it. Too many organizers seem reluctant to make changes. If there are legal problems to get anything done because of CAS and the Olympic dream, just leave it behind! The integrity of the game is far more important than being under the olympic banner. And going forward major tournaments should be by invitation (only). There the ACBL, EBL and the WBF can actually learn something from the IOC: Even though some of the Russian athletes were found not guilty by CAS, they still weren't allowed to participate in the Olympiad as they weren't invited. It can be done, but unfortunately there has been lacking a willingness to do it.
March 17
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The initiative to voice players' concern about this topic came from Zia after the EBL lost in CAS and Fantoni soon after showed up in Barcelona to play. But this isn't an anti-Fantoni campaign - it's a statement of how important the integrity of the game is for most players. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like the WBF grasps how strongly the bridge community feels about a fair game, and how off-putting it is when known cheats don't get sanctioned or can lawyer their way to a light sentence.
March 17
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It certainlly sounds good, but I'm afraid it has gone more than two and a half years since the cheating scandal broke. That's getting close to a 1000 days. What results have the WBF achieved? Why haven't the WBF financially supported the EBL which has spent an enourmous amount of time, money and effort of actually DOING something? Take leadership and make it happen - or there should be a new world organization. The way things have been going I would prefer the ACBL and the EBL pulling out of the WBF and run de facto world championships.
March 15
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One of the problems is that they haven't done enough. The last two and a half years the EBL, with Eric Laurant as the driving force, has done a lot, the ACBL has done a bit, but the WBF has done next to nothing.
March 15
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They are in high demand :-), but I will make sure you get one (or two). Anyone I can deliver them to?

If others are interested too, you can PM me or come to the fifth floor of the Marriott (outside the Grand Ballrooms where the Vanderbilt is played) where there will be badges put out on one of the tables. I also think that there are badges available (for free) at the book stand.
March 15
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Most people want justice to be served. It strikes me how little the lawyers have contributed to that when it comes to cheating in bridge. That goes for the lawyers of the known cheats, but also for the lawyers calling the shots at the WBF.
Feb. 9
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