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All comments by Hanan Sher
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I agree Gary, and feel absolutely no guilt. But I still am uncomfortable with the unintended fumble.
an hour ago
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I suspect that there are those Vugraph spectators, myself included, who find comments about what happened at the other table (or what is happening at the same moment) part of the drama. It may be obvious but still worth a reminder – duplicate bridge is not played in a vacuum. What goes on at the other table, or other tables, is part of the story, dare I say an integral part. For example, I was just watching a match in the Youngsters Final of the World Youth Championships. On the last board, the team that was trailing had to make game in spades to overtake the team in the lead. That added considerable interest to the bidding – though it was clear, from seeing the hands, that it would take a miracle to make four even if the trailing side managed to bid it. Without knowing what was known, because a commentator mentioned it, there would have been no reason to bother watching what was in reality a very routine hand at the end of an interesting and exciting match. Incidentally, the same argument Gabor makes about reporting what happened during a single hand could be applied to the scoring for an entire segment, where the running scorecard on BBO indicates the running score on all boards that have been completed by both sides. For those interested in suspense, maybe that option should be eliminated. Or perhaps the BBO people should add an option where the viewer can choose either to see or not to see the running score. In the same way, perhaps the commentary could be turned off as an option for those who share Gabor's view about “taking away much of the fun.”
an hour ago
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The problem, of course, is that at the level I play on there are never any witnesses, other than the four players at the table. And on those occasions when one might complain about a BIT in the holding-up ace or king situation, the offenders will deny – not just deny, but deny vehemently - that there was any break at all.
At the top expert level, where there are screens and videos and viewgraph ops and maybe multiple kibbitzers, these things are less likely to happen. But what about among us smaller fish (I don't consider myself a minnow, but I'm not in the shark category either, for sure.
There's another problem as well, in which there is no bad intention: the inadvertent fumble. Recently that happened to me, as a defender holding the single 10 in the trump suit. Declarer led towards the Axx in dummy and I – knowing full well what card I was about to play because I had only one – couldn't manage to get that card out of my hand in tempo. Even though I had set it to one side in the spread of cards in my hand, to make it accessible. Now I'm not a teenager by any means (I've been playing competitive bridge, off and on, since the early 1960s) and my manual dexterity isn't what it once was. In the end, I had a brief exchange, more or less polite, with the experienced declarer, who of course played for the doubleton queen to drop rather than taking the hook. And was mortified that my fumble, inadvertent and explainable as it was, had the effect of a deliberate coffeehouse, which it wasn't. But how do you make the distinction without an outside witness? In this case, declarer could have insisted, rightly, that there was a BIT on my part. And I'd bet that my partner, who probably was thinking about the previous hand as he often does, would have said he hadn't noticed any.
I'm concerned about this particularly because, provided I'm healthy enough to continue playing competitive bridge into the ninth decade of my life, it's pretty certain that it won't be the last fumble.
17 hours ago
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I've been playing competitive bridge, first in the U.S. and for many years in Israel, almost as long as Peter has. And I agree about all of the changes. I don't know if it's encouraging or not, but there are two things that may not be as bleak as he suggests/implies. 1. Though there's been little success in attracting younger players in many places, youth programs that exist now and didn't back then have been bringing at least some younger players into the game. At the top levels, seems to me that there's a substantial number of former players at the junior level. Not any sign of a mass movement, but still… and, 2. The Boomers who make up the backbone of the ACBL, and possibly bridge organizations around the world, were youngsters or less 60 years ago. Leaving some hope of survival for organized bride in the mid-life and later age groups.
Aug. 14
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It's a matter of priorities. Are they, as Cathy Chua suggests, getting a feel of the table than can't be done on a viewgraph, no matter how good the operator happens to be, or “saving” the money to transport, house and pay on-the-spot reporters for the benefit of the high remuneration and extravagant per diem lavished on WBF employees and the various, numerous functionaries. (It's also like the difference between attending a football match/game and watching it on TV. Can reports drawn from each possible be equivalent?) Ya pays yer money, and takes yer choice.
WBF, ACBL and other NBO salaries etc. are a another matter, which I don't think should be discussed on this already immense thread. If someone wants to start a debate on that, I'd suggest doing so on a separate thread where it can get the attention it deserves. Thanks
Aug. 14
Hanan Sher edited this comment Aug. 14
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It would be unfair, illegal, even disgusting to post a copy of Horton's book online. Plagiarism is abhorrent, but so is that kind of retribution. BTW, Horton's articles in the Youth Bridge Bulletin apparently are written after seeing matches on the Internet, could it be that the WBF saved money by not flying the writers it employs to China? Or was that just for Mark Horton?
Aug. 14
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You both may be correct. Although this matter has been known for some time, and I'm sure Alder, who edits the bulletin, was informed.. Perhaps no one else is willing to work for the wages they offer.
Aug. 11
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For the benefit (or detriment) of anyone who's still interested.
I've just noticed that at least one article by Mark Horton has appeared in the Bulletin of the World Youth Championships currently taking place in China. Thought it best to post here rather than separately, ‘cause on the one hand I’m not sure an issue should be made of it, and on the other I don't think it, as reflective of the WBF's attitude towards the gentleman, should be ignored. (Article was in the first bulletin, I can't testify to others as I've had trouble opening the PDF links. )
Aug. 10
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It's a borderline case, probably would be considered plagiarism by a court – even though the “author” changed some of the wording, the section is still readily identifiable as being taken from the original. The second “writer” could have been a trifle more clever, and said exactly the same thing while replacing about 50% of the words, and there'd probably be no case. Unless the same thing was repeated systematically throughout the book…
Aug. 7
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Don't understand. The diagram i get has bidding starting with east, as follows 3 p 4 4 p ? – nothing like what seems to be described in the question. is the diagram wrong? is the bidding missing something?
Aug. 7
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Richard, what you are suggesting seems slightly far-fetched, since it does not take into account the endless variables that could, and do, affect the outcome of bridge matches and other sporting events. A board-by-board analysis, to achieve the high degree of accuracy you suggest, might have to take into account all kinds of relatively subjective things like what the player had for dinner the previous night, the state of his or her health, allergies, jet lag, domestic disputes with spouse or other non-bridge partners, etc. Sure, in cases like that of the former Monaco team some adjustments should be made, but it can't all be reduced to science. If it were, would there be any point in actually playing a match? Rather than just taking all the data, giving it to a superputer, and declaring the winner.
Aug. 7
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With all due respect, referring to the “tainted” wins by the former Monaco team, four of whose members were on the Gawrys winners, is entirely unnecessary. No one that I know of has accused the four “survivors” of that team of anything untoward. All that's necessary is to congratulate them and their new Polish partners.
Aug. 6
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Love to get back to bridge Sarah. All that's necessary is for Mark Horton to admit what he's done, fully and without equivocation, and many people will move on, knowing that he's violated a basic principle and that he genuinely – genuinely is the key word – regrets it. Anything less loses him any semblance of sympathy and brands him as an absolute scoundrel, with what I suspect will be serious repercussions to his professional career. (Need I elaborate?)
Aug. 5
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Mike. Nice story. In the mid-1950s Charlie Goren's ghost writers were Lee Ferrer and Mike Michaels, not sure in which order but I know both of them had that job. As for exchanging hands – and changing them as well – it's obviously not the same thing. I would imagine that it's a pretty common practice, picking up on themes and I ideas but changing the cards. Ideas of that kind are not, to the best of my limited knowledge, covered by either intellectual property laws or by custom. By the by, no one I know of accused Reese and Boris Schapiro of copying hands without attribution – or even, I'd venture, copying anyone else's finger-signalling methods. :)
Aug. 4
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It would have been perfectly ok were he to have, say, paraphrased what was written, putting the ideas in his own words. Or, in the alternative, put it all inside quotation marks and identified the source. Unfortunately Horton did neither: He simply lifted whole sections of someone else's work and blithely attempted to pass that work off as his own. That's simply dishonest.
And yes, it does not really affect the “meat” of Mark Horton's work. All it does is reflect on his character.
Aug. 4
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I'm not sure that polite is relevant here. Clark thought/thinks that he has evidence of plagiarism, a serious offense. Let's say it was something else, like assault, even embezzlement. Could he be expected, in such a case, to call the offender and say, I'm going to turn you in to the police, just though you ought to know first so that you can prepare your alibi? Why?
Aug. 4
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Clarification. Wanting to know Mr. Clark's motives and impugning them are two distinctly different things. In one sense, his motives make no difference at all, but on the other it would be interesting to know what prompted him to investigate.
Aug. 3
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Previous comments are all hypothetical and may well be correct – or entirely incorrect, there's no way of knowing. It would be helpful were Mr. Clark to clarify the matter.
It's also worth adding that Clark, whatever the case, had no obligation to communicate in private to Horton. It's immaterial if “the story I Sarah Teshome heard” is accurate, truthful or plain and simple disinformation. A sees B committing an offense, A goes to the police. A has no obligation to tell B, particularly if – as seems to be the case here, judging from what's been presented – if he's convinced that B is a serial offender.
Aug. 3
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John, the difference is that “some of us” must do it on their own time, with their own resources. Which makes it much less likely.
Aug. 3
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John, you're both right and wrong. Journalists expose lies BECAUSE IT'S THEIR JOB TO DO SO. It wasn't Clark's job to investigate, something launched it. You may be right, it might be as simple as noticing something familiar in one of Mr. Horton's articles. Or it may be something else. And in any case, subsequently compiling a number of examples and collating them to confirm the suspicion takes time and effort, it's not as easy as Christopher Monsour suggests. I'd done that many times in my professional life, when it was my job, and would not expect many people to do so just out of curiosity. The motive is not necessarily nefarious in any way, but I'd still love to know why.
Aug. 3
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