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All comments by Jan Kamras
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Joining the choir in congratulating the winners but must also congratulate my friends in the runners-up. What a season, especially for the twins!
Nov. 29, 2018
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Henk, Donald et.al. At the time the contract was signed with Opatija there was to be a new venue which, in addition to the sports hall where the ETC 2014 was held, would have been large enough. Alas, the project was delayed, and staying in Opatija would have meant playing in 3+ venues, kilometers apart. “E/W pairs move for the next round. Pairs at tables 46 to 80 take a shuttle bus outside ………” would not have been a popular TD announcement.
Nov. 14, 2018
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First of all I sincerely apologize to Jean-Charles for contents of a private conversation having reached the public domain. They originate from an internal email I sent to my colleagues on the EBL board, and was never intended to go any further. I believe Jean-Charles knows me well enough to realize this. I will find out how this happened.

As to whether or not the EBL decision was stupid, or whether or not there was no choice, allow me to briefly explain the background.
The previous EBL board, before any of the disciplinary proceedings was formally opened, much less resolved, found it appropriate to decide in advance how the rankings would be determined afterwards. I find this prudent, to avoid later accusations of the results being influenced by the outcomes of individual proceedings, perceived conflicts of interest etc.
After a lengthy study and arguments over pros and cons of various alternatives it was decided that (1) in case of a full round robin event “moving up” would be used whereas (2) “leaving vacant” would apply to events ending with a KO phase.
Reasonable people can argue about which alternative is best (or rather “least bad”), but can you imagine the reaction of the bridge community if the EBL had not followed its own decisions?

Now we are facing a new situation, not foreseen in the previous decision, and we will at our executive committee meeting next week discuss the best (or, again, the “least bad”) way to handle it.
Nov. 2, 2018
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Hi everyone. Please note that I am writing this in a personal capacity, but of course with some insight into the matters at hand.

I cannot help but start by sharing some personal frustration over some posts, mainly on the other thread (I will not mention names). A lot of disparaging comments were voiced about what the EBL has, or rather has not, done or achieved. Together with Eric Laurant (and partly the late J-P Meyer) I spent the better part of two years, unpaid, investigating and prosecuting all cases of alleged collusive cheating that were formally put before the EBL. We had no play-book to go by and surely, in hindsight, made some mistakes along the way. Still - we got all but one (BZ, and that is too complex a story to tell here) pair convicted in the EBL Disciplinary Tribunal (i.e. including FN).
I will accept *informed* criticism for any mistakes made in the process but I will *not* accept criticism alleging that the EBL was/is not interested in seriously going after cheating.
End of venting.

Let's first discuss appeals and CAS, a subject where there exists a lot of misconceptions. Confession: Earlier I was of the same opinion as most pundits here on BW, i.e. that if the price for membership in the “Olympic family” is that convicted (by us) cheaters can appeal to CAS, the price is too high. I might still feel that way if leaving the IOC would solve the problem of appeals to non-bridge courts, but I have been told by legal expertise that it wouldn't.
Apparently there is such a thing as “natural” universal laws that stipulate that one always must have the right of appeal somewhere, and if CAS is out appellants can have their case heard by a civil court (probably in Switzerland). Does anyone really think that we have better chances there? Look at what happened in Germany. At least at CAS we get to appoint one of the three arbitrators. At least CAS is specialized in sports. At least with CAS we may have some chance to influence the procedures (as we have done with WADA, to get certain exemptions from the doping testing protocol due to the different nature of our sport).
In summary, I doubt we are better off in the civil court system.

So what can we do for the future?
1. In relation to the OP there is a similar “protocol” in the EBL, but tailor-made to the type of competitions, awards, points etc. that exist in it's events. For non-KO events the “move up” principle is used but for KO events the positions are vacated instead (an exception being if both finalists are DQ'd the 3rd and 4th move up). All EBL (and WBF) KO events start with some form of Swiss or RR qualification and it was felt that there were too many imponderables to determine what might have happened without the disqualified teams. Nothing wrong with the recommendations in the OP - there are reasonable arguments for both approaches.

2. We have learnt a lot from the cases handled, both the wins and the losses. There are aspects both of our Laws of Duplicate Bridge and Disciplinary Codes that could be made much more clear and specific, making it more difficult even for a non-bridge player to rule the way CAS did. Both WBF and EBL are now working on this.

3. Both WBF and EBL are working on introducing some “restrictions” on CAS. E.g. that for all matters concerning bridge technicalities, table procedures, bids and plays it must appoint its own world-class bridge expert from a predetermined list. Similar for statistics.

4. We can improve the process of preparing the cases, witnesses, presentation etc, etc.

5. I personally want to handle matters such as masterpoints as purely internal and out of the realm of CAS. We'll see.

6. Finally, and I will not go into further detail, WBF and EBL events remain by invitation only.

PS: I understand the frustration caused by the EBL having to publish such a final ranking from 2014. And, again, I am personally dismayed. We had however promised affected NBOs to publish the 2014 ranking before the end of 2018, provided all cases were finalized.

PPS: What part of the content is “potentially objectionable” as the system warns me?
Oct. 15, 2018
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I have not received any communication from Mr Hasselgren.
I may anyway comment on the whole matter in a few days.
By the way, for starters, I share the dismay.
Oct. 12, 2018
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I haven't been visiting BW for a while so belated but sincere thanks to y'all for your good wishes.
Aug. 6, 2018
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I believe some of you misunderstand the review process. The only thing reviewable is the *process* used by the TDs (Laws applied, questions asked when polling, facts not considered etc.) in arriving at their ruling, not the ruling itself. If the ruling is “no adjustment” after an impeccable process it will stand after a review no matter how much the reviewer disagrees with it. Those requesting a review are required to state what part of the process they want reviewed.
Contrary to what Paul L opines I believe this type of review puts more pressure on the TDs, not less, to adjudicate cases in a very deliberate way applying the proper procedures.
As to frivolous requests for review one can disagree with the level of “punishment” but I have personally always argued for a “unit of payment” that has equal value for all competitors. IMPs/VPs do, money does not.
June 20, 2018
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I totally agree, and this should be compulsory reading for all responsible for youth bridge in their NBOs.
I haven't read all posts so forgive me if repeating something, but the Swedish federation is very much going that way, particularly the mini-bridge thing to get them playing cards and learn trick-taking quickly.
June 20, 2018
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Mike: I have never heard of “aggregate” being the other part. It is IMPs converted to “BAM-points” according to a suitable scale that depends on the no. of boards per match. I like it a lot for shorter (say less than 12 boards) matches compared to just IMPs/VPs since it awards good bridge skills even on rather boring sets.
If indeed aggregate points was the complement to BAM, I would agree with your assessment.
June 20, 2018
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Thanks a lot Kniffe!
June 9, 2018
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Thank you Tom!
June 9, 2018
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Hi Tom. My comment was limited to DB's assertion above (and a general opinion about trials). I frankly have no idea how the SC should have decided in the situation at hand. Luckily I have never had to face something similar since I never held direct trials. If you held a gun to my head I would probably have changed the order of play (since the SC knew the problem b4 the start) so that the original line-up faced the other a priori top contender also in the first RR, and then counted the whole thing. If a time could be found in the calendar I might have favoured a long tie-breaker, say 96 boards, with the format dependent on whether we prepared for the Europeans or the Venice Cup, picking the third pair (in consultation with the winners) from the losers. I would have avoided relying on X-imps - too unreliable under the circumstances i.m.o.
April 5, 2018
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April 5, 2018
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Hi David B. Your assertion of that SC position not being unreasonable assumes that one could actually empirically determine what the effect in fact was. It seems many posters disagree that looking at specific X-IMP differences in a vacuum (or whatever method was actually used) could accurately determine the effect. If there was universal agreement that it could, I believe the original thread would have consisted of only a dussin or so posts. :-)

That being said, I think the SC were in a tough spot and at fault is to a large extent the use of directly deciding trials in the first place (no empirical evidence, that I know of, for this assertion either, but it is my strong opinion supported by lots of “anecdotal” evidence).
April 5, 2018
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Exactly Maurizio. Thanks to the reciprocity clause which someone earlier criticized so strongly neither the WBF nor EBL can disregard the FIGB suspension.
Jan. 13, 2018
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FS did not appeal. Their conviction stands.
Jan. 13, 2018
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Mr. Monsour. You are clearly clueless about Swiss law in general and your comparison is ridiculous. Your assumption about reasons for wanting to be domiciled in Switzerland is also way off, even insulting, although I frankly don't get the connection to bylaws.
Btw, do you include the US among your “normal countries”?
Jan. 13, 2018
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Seeing the name of the “BulGer” team, I wonder why the “France” team is not named “Freden”? Or is it too close to you know who? (In Swedish it means “the peace” btw). Or “Swance”? Maybe not politically correct for German speakers?
July 4, 2017
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My friend Al Levy wrote:
“All this will disappear in ? years when we are playing on tablets, in separate rooms.”
And so will the joy of playing bridge, at least for me.
Feb. 22, 2017
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Eugene - just to be perfectly clear and as I stated in my “flagging remarks” I have no problem with Mr Weber accusing someone of being “inept” or whatever. Being inept is neither illegal in bridge nor in civil or criminal law. However corruption is, and publicly accusing people (who's names are known or can be easily found out) of it is totally unacceptable without providing credible evidence.
I don't think you (or Mr. Weber) can use your “… allegations well and truly substantiated …” defense here.
B.t.w. I do respect and appreciate the work you are doing. It is a difficult balancing act.
Feb. 20, 2017
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