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All comments by John Wilmott
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Hi Peg, I tend to agree with the tenor of the last few posts you have made. Unfortunately, I think you have taken a slightly wrong turn. I do think that men bring something rather different to the table, not so much a larger brain, more from the endocrine system, manifesting in sustained aggression.

I have no doubt that the best women players declare and defend as well as men, I am not even sure the point is worth making, there have always been plenty of women who have displayed outstanding natural ability at our great game. None here can deny the presence of an insidious aggression, sometimes spilling over to violence, is an ever present aspect of the game played at the highest level and for the most part is perpetrated by the male sex. I would be astonished if women played at their best in such an atmosphere. Over four hours I would expect that most would feel intimidated to the point of unwarranted deterioration.

Some might be happy to dismiss the points made here as anecdotal, so be it, I agree, my points lack data and measurement. I would be sincerely interested if others have made similar observations. More than grateful if some are aware of research in this area.
Jan. 18
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Just suppose they are reinstated in Italy, so what? That will be the only place they could play and probably as jobbing professionals. Why not wait out the sentence and come back into the game in three years. The average time for a civil suit to be settled in Italy is nine years.

They will never be allowed to play in ACBL sanctioned events. I am pretty sure that if they are litigating the FIGB they will be barred from any EBL events.
Jan. 11
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Most of their income has come from outside of Italy. Suing FIGB will not address the loss of income. That has been decided by the supranational bridge organisations such as the EBL, ACBL and the WBF. If FIGB or CONI dismissed the charges against them, could they continue to earn the money they once did?
Jan. 11
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Easy, 6 points; 3 for a king and3 for a singleton! Next…
Jan. 1
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Hi David, I would seek permission from Samantha before exploring the topic of why men do better in open results, we have corresponded in the past on this subject.

We can at least agree that questioning the ‘practical competence of women’is done and dusted and not worth debating.
Dec. 25, 2016
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The focus of this discussion is on sexism rather than the difference in the results between the elite players of either gender.

Is ‘everyday sexism’ something that all male participants in the game think they do not indulge in? No male players believe they are the superior sex (in bridge terms) who are reading this discussion thread? None here have said so. In my experience, most men know better, women certainly do.

I would be interested to see if any men here could honestly deny they have never heard a pejorative comment regarding ‘women players’.

As women continue to compete successfully in the wider world of commerce and the professions, (I live in the United Kingdom where the leaders in the four principalities are all women), sexism will inevitably corrode.

Frankly, I do not think competence is up for debate.
Dec. 24, 2016
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I admit it, I didn't notice the earlier post…
Nov. 9, 2016
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So many of these quizzes are obviously meant to settle arguments between fraying partnerships. ‘You see… 99% of the bridge world agrees with me’.
Oct. 22, 2016
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Rubber bridge, a very course game. The chap on your left was an effective peeper, he had a habit of swaying in his chair and took full advantage. My partner decided to take revenge. He placed his queen of diamonds in his heart suit. Our man finessed the heart jack and placed his hand on the table claiming his 3NT, when I had the audacity to win the trick with the queen and defeat the contract the poor man fell off his chair, I kid you not, he picked up his glasses and gave them a good clean.
Oct. 20, 2016
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Hi Gene, I read your post, and for what its worth I was not offended.

I was not suggesting you have another sport's authority check your work, NBO's just don't have any processes and procedures in place. The truth is that all tennis players at the highest levels are tested for PED's, none at your local club. That's as it should be. The fact that there is no testing for bridge players at the highest level is frankly unacceptable. This idea that it's akin to a gentleman's club looks far too cosy and does the game no good.

You make my point when discussing the Cavendish. ‘How confident do you feel that ALL of the cheats in the game have been identified?’. In 2012 Fisher-Schwartz won the event. Let me ask you, how confident were you they were not cheating at the time? Wladow-Elinescu came in 8th, no doubt you have it on good authority they didn't cough once during the tourney. Smirnov-Piekarek came 9th, confident that they were not cheating? Fantoni-Nunes came in 11th, surely they were not cheating. As a matter of interest, can you name an event where so many participants in the top 11 places were caught cheating? I think you might have lost the argument.

Gene, I have never played in a club where screens have been used, (I was not being condescending) I don't think it is appropriate for club level bridge, just as I don't think the club level tennis player should be tested for drugs. Do I think all players should be tested in the (any) games richest event? Absolutely! Do you know how inexpensive cameras that can automatically record onto a hard disc are, cheaper than a bridge table. The software purchase would be a lot less than the directors fees for a single large tournament. Half the cctv camera installations in the world use such software. They certainly do not depend on security guards to identify what was taking place while some were sleeping. It alone does not convict, it would whittle down those that do. I hope that this clarifies the matter.
Oct. 16, 2016
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Hi Gene, all of the recommendations are for the most important tournaments only. Do you play with screens at your local club? Does that mean we shouldn't use screens at the closing stages of the Nationals? Please try to follow the tenor of the argument.

The use of VAS technology on CCTV helps whittle down the number of suspect pairs. It does not convict in itself.

Here are some points for you:

Since we can see the world championships on a live stream, how is this so different?

What level of integrity does the world championships have if all participants can't be scrutinised? There is the problem of confirmation bias if we only examine those pairs that are already suspect. Is this a fair way to run the game?

If you were responsible for the world championships and you were asked if all participants were checked for their integrity, by the head of another sports authority for instance, how foolish do you think you would feel if you had to answer in the negative, considering the level of cheating that has been exposed in the last 18 months.

How confident do you feel that all the cheats in the game have been identified?

Bridge has to have the same level of professionalism that any other worthy world championship has, if not better. At the moment the top of the game resembles the peloton at the Tour de France.
Oct. 16, 2016
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Alan, any measures to make security as close to bullet proof as possible will only be used in the most important competitions in the game.

If an event requires screens, then why not record all sessions automatically. Why not scan all partnerships for idiosyncratic and repeated movements after the event. Then present the evidence to a panel. This is unobtrusive and could be made as a condition of competition. Just the sight of a camera at a table will deter most who are contemplating the notion of cheating.
Oct. 16, 2016
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Hi Gene, Every match at the world championships can be recorded, every pair can be analysed. Let's suppose that the software throws up three pairs that are suspect. Then you can devote forensic analysis by the world's leading players to those that the software suspects.

It is not one or the other. It is both. A system can be built that can record every gesture made by a player, if there is a correlation between holding and a nod it might not be conclusive proof of cheating, but at least you have something to analyse.

We're probably agreeing with each other.
Oct. 15, 2016
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David, I have no doubt you have studied VAS and its application for CCTV, it is well established and inexpensive. If you wanted to analyse a 1000 boards played by a particular pair in several tournaments to detect unusual but oft-repeated movements to find a correlation between leads, bids and plays it will be a lot cheaper than have half a dozen experts analysing the boards. If you wanted to analyse every pair that competes in a world championship, think of other sports and PED's, I promise you it will not be done by a panel of experts.

If it is too expensive to check any pair playing in the world championship then the integrity of the tournament has already been compromised, like it or not.
Oct. 14, 2016
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How would you describe a transmission if it is not a suspicious pattern of moves and signals? If you digitise the video you can detect and quickly codify the idiosyncratic movements of the bidding tray, or the orientation of a card played. The beauty of using such systems is that you can search the data by card orientation or the placements of the bidding tray. The same is true for audio signals.

The deployment of such systems is not so expensive. Banks use such technology at certain branches where they are looking for heteroclitical behavioural patterns.

These systems will catch more cheats than hours of hand analysis.
Oct. 14, 2016
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Nicholas, Investment does not need to go beyond AI and neural nets and the digitising of video and audio, imho. It works very well for poker.

You're correct that the imbalance is normally the other way, but that is in an open system. Here we are discussing one that is closed and has considerable time constraints. The obvious caveat is that there are no electronic devices on any of the players at the table, including watches or implanted audio devices.
Oct. 14, 2016
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Hi Nicholas, I agree with your point about one touch pad cyphers. I have also mentioned the problem on previous posts. But for every $1 invested in detection will cost the cheaters $10. Cameras and microphones will deter many, it will also raise the investment required by the players to pursue their wicked ways.

The use of AI systems and neural networks will act as a deterrent to all but the foolhardy. These systems are used on internet poker sites to detect cheats. Video data on the placement of cards as well as the orientation can be logged and monitored. Sounds can be matched to plays. Using ‘deep learning’ strategies it will become increasingly difficult to cheat.

I don't see too many experts sitting around a table in the future wondering what they might have played.
Oct. 14, 2016
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All we need is the transmission. Once you have that it will be a matter of time to detect the methodology employed. Then the forensic analysis.

I have seen thoughtless plays and bids challenged and seen players prep for an appeals panel and reverse engineer the logic to fit the facts. The best one was when a team suggested to the player to use the principle of vacant players. As our hero walked into the room he turned to his partner and asked, ‘what is the principle of vacant places?’.
Oct. 14, 2016
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Allan, the main problem with the Nunes example is that it hurts your case. Nunes was ultimately cleared of cheating by the ‘wise men’ of FIGB. They were convicted because the transmission of the code was easily detected. I hasten to add, at a much lower cost than having to use forensic analysis on a 1000 boards.
Oct. 14, 2016
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Allan, what threshold do you think is reasonable before you can convict because the players were utilising something beyond normal bridge logic? 100? 1000? 9 world class players that earn quite a good living at the game. $50 per board per player. 1000 boards it might just cost too much to convict at close $500K.

I think it is cheaper looking for the transmission of information.
Oct. 13, 2016
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