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All comments by Jeff Roman
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This is a horrible response to a young person speaking her heart.

Mr. Watzdorf, did you really think that the juniors of the bridge world, many of them teenagers or even younger, were not going to be stunned and hurt at what has happened? Do you really think that the cynicism which you spew so readily was already hardened to the same extent in our kids?

I am a 57 year old retired bond trader who has been playing bridge professionally for about 16 years now. I am about the last person on Earth you would call naive, and my heart is BROKEN.

Brigitta, let me say this to you: I am extremely optimistic that the stunning revelations and attendant pain we are going thru right now will absolutely lead to a better bridge world. There are smart and dedicated people examining ways to clean up our game, and I trust they will succeed.

Never lose the sheer joy of the game (I haven't, and I've been playing for 43 years) and, as the saying goes…

“Don't let the bastards get you down”. :)
Sept. 26, 2015
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The heat THEY generated? Gene, that goes directly to my question. IS catching cheaters part of the job description of bridge organization administrators? And even if it is, how in the world were they supposed to do it? Are there any bridge admins who are also world class players? Let me say again…my post here is from genuine curiosity. I really am asking because I really don't know. My concern is that a lot of heat is falling on people whose job is to see to it that the game grows, that the finances are in order, etc., and not at all to catch cheaters.
Sept. 25, 2015
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This has been floating around in my mind since this thing started, and this seems like the right thread to finally ask, so here goes…

Up until now, has it been the job of bridge organizations to catch cheaters? How were they supposed to do it? I have seen it said over and over that there were whispers. Well, the whisperers were players, and in the three specific cases, their peers, i.e. TOP players.

I am reminded of some of the scandals in the securities industry where the SEC eventually conceded that the problem was that in some cases the cheating being done was so sophisticated, and involved products that were so complicated that there would only be a handful of people in the world who could have caught that it was happening, and those people certainly aren't going to work for what the SEC can pay (sound familiar?).

The bottom line is this: Finger-pointing doesn't help us. Even if this post is about to educate me with responses like “what are you, nuts? Of COURSE they were supposed to catch cheaters, and this is why we want resignations”, (I will end by repeating myself)

What will ultimately define us is where we go from here.



Edited to fix a typo.
Sept. 24, 2015
Jeff Roman edited this comment Sept. 24, 2015
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It seems to me that there has to be at least some degree of “1)” in all these cases. After all, after cheating, and particularly after cheating and winning…at some point you have to look at the guy in the mirror.
Sept. 23, 2015
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This post seems unfair and uncalled for. Are you suggesting that the German bridge organization knew they had a pair that was cheating but thought “well, at least they'll bring home a gold medal”? Or perhaps you are suggesting that a month ago if German bridge officials were asked if they were committed to ethical conduct at bridge, they would have equivocated in their answer? The same could be said for every bridge organization and, as has been stated so eloquently by so many, the entire bridge community. I applaud Herr Wenning's post. What will ultimately define us is where we go from here.
Sept. 22, 2015
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Proposals to introduce technology in an attempt to prevent cheating are misguided, for it simply can't be done. (See Larry Cohen's post, above. Our next cheating pair will be ex-NSA agents, using technology we can't even imagine.) What Boye (and so many others, myself included) has been saying all along is that what needs fixing is the process by which, and speed with which, allegations of cheating are handled. It starts here: Cheat at bridge? Sure. Cheat at bridge and go undetected? Impossible.

While acknowledging my great respect for Michael Rosenberg, his desire to eliminate things like leads out of turn and insufficient bids astound me. Bridge is a mind game. Loss of focus is part of the game, and it costs you.

The best thing that could come from the sadness of the last weeks is that a process gets agreed to and implemented, inspires confidence in competitors that bridge is contested fairly, and ultimately allows us to keep the game of bridge as we know it (including the external social, and in-game human interaction) intact.

Sept. 18, 2015
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Chris, same question to you as to John Wilmott. When you say “the structure was unable to do this that is the real problem”, what do you mean by that?
Sept. 17, 2015
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I'm not sure I understand this post. Are you suggesting that it is the function of sponsoring/governing associations to catch cheaters?
Sept. 17, 2015
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Allowances are not made for people who are “not very good”, but it is appropriate to make allowances for the inexperienced. One of the funniest bridge stories I ever heard was…an inexperienced pair was playing against an experienced pair. The inexperienced pair had the auction 2nt - 3c* alert! - “Please explain” - “I'm about to bid a 5-cd major” … after the hand, some questioning revealed that their agreement was, over 3c, if you have a 5-cd M, you alert, now 3M shows 5. If you only have 4, you don't alert. “It's called Puppet Stayman. We just learned it. It's great!”. :) The obvious course (after they stopped laughing) was to educate, not level accusations.
Sept. 4, 2015
Jeff Roman edited this comment Sept. 4, 2015
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While I sympathize with the concern, the reality is that this (convicting someone of cheating for playing badly, or taking a flyer, or just “going with my gut” and getting lucky) has never happened (yes, that was a challenge) and will never happen. It was suggested on one of the threads that less than World Class players need to be included on the LC committee, for the LCs of the world don't understand how lower level players think. But the thing is…we do (and I say “we” even tho I would absolutely not fit Chris' definition of World Class). I have been teaching this game for many years, and served a zillion committees. Believe me, we know the difference between something done by a person or pair that you would be willing for them to swap their hands back and forth and then play them for money…Lynn's example (cheating? You mean you devised a plan where you make wild, undisciplined preempts and offer your opponents a number?), and an ongoing, systematic scheme where a pair that is seemingly unstoppable takes actions time and time and time again that range from head-scratching to bridge silly but that always work. To sum up…cheat at bridge? Sure. Easy to do. Cheat at bridge and go undetected? Nope. Especially if you're a pretty darn good player to begin with. If you're a lesser player, well…imagine that I scheme to pass the “I wanna be a brain surgeon” exam, and then pass it. How long do you suppose it would take a brain surgeon to determine that something was, well…amiss?
Sept. 4, 2015
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Overall, (and we can now include Kit's thread “The Video Speaks”) this is a stunning body of work. I am so very grateful to all those who have spent their time, energy, and extraordinary minds to this process. It would be difficult to overstate what you have done here, all the way to possibly saving the very game of bridge.

Thank you.
Sept. 2, 2015
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Amazing how long this took. This isn't outrage, it's a game plan. Boye, when the time comes, you will have an outpouring of support, and I will be part of it.
Aug. 31, 2015
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The main idea is to have opener rebid 1nt (instead of having to jump to 2nt) to show the bigger-than-1nt hand. One scheme as presented to me by Huub Bertens is that a 1d response over our natural and theoretically nonforcing, 2+ 1c opening shows 0-6 any, others are natural and show 7+. Over 1d, 1h by opener is either hearts or a weak nt. Responder can now bid 1s to ask. This makes 1c - 1M - 2nt forcing, 1c - 1d - 1nt shows 18-19 balanced, and 1c - 1d - 2nt shows stronger than a jump rebid to 3c.
Aug. 27, 2015
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Michael, Flannery would've been on my list, until… Some years ago I played with Bart Bramley in a Regional Open pair (we both had gigs that didn't start til Tuesday. I WAS going to play golf, but when suddenly given the chance to play with Bart…) and when we got to that box, it turns out that he feels pretty strongly (my gift for understatement on display here) about playing Flannery. To me, that means it has to come off the list of things that I most dislike. :)
Aug. 26, 2015
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I'm not going to get into specific hands because it is not my place to do so, but having been shown many of them (ranging from head-scratching to jaw-dropping), the simple fact is that sure, people make these bids and plays all the time. But make bids and plays like this and beat the best teams in the world time and time and time again?

It appears that cheating is a bit like pornography:

“…I know it when I see it.”
Aug. 25, 2015
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My story along these lines was slightly different, but I sure felt sheepish at the end…our opps uncontested auction was 2c - 2d - 2nt - 3d - as my lho was detaching a pass card I said “excuse me, but before you pass, could I ask, do you play transfers in this auction?” (meaningful stare…3d bidder nodding)… 3d would've made, 4h went down 1. sigh…
Aug. 22, 2015
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I would want to be in 6d. I would fly K of clubs at trick one, play diamonds, eventually ruffing a spade in my hand, isolating the spade guard, and make 5/6/7 if hearts are 3-3 or either opp started 4-4 or longer in the majors (if the diamond hook loses and they don't play a heart, we also make if either started 4-6 in hearts and clubs). I would also try to notice if the QJ10 of spades ruffed out.
Aug. 20, 2015
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Given the high-handed rant which Mr. Plotkin indulged himself in without knowing the facts, and obviously not knowing Mike, my guess is that as a believer of everything he reads he has had plenty of practice extracting his feet from his mouth. The more important point here is for the ACBL to realize how much work they have to do to repair this situation. There are plenty of Plotkins running around who don't read BW.
Aug. 18, 2015
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John Adams is thoughtful, and has made some good points in this thread. One thing made me laugh tho…having served on many appeals with him when we were both in the Washington, D.C. area, I'm trying to imagine his reaction to “John, could you sit an appeal, the outcome of which will not affect anyone?…Nope, this is just for art.” :)
Aug. 18, 2015
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