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All comments by John Wilmott
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Hi Oleg, My criticism is not aimed at Boye, of course not, what he has done for the game may pay dividends for decades. Tend to agree with your secondary point; that the authorities knew the bridge world suspected F/S for years and chose not to investigate. Boye took real risks, his career, a litany of lawsuits, and the possibility of being subject to a substantial ban.

I was unaware of a ‘plea bargain’ arrangement made with a third party. If such an agreement had been agreed and had been posted here in the past, I apologise for resurrecting the issue. I do not have a problem with such a course of action. Cheating is as corrosive to the game as steroids are to Athletics.

Just how close ‘deep throat’ came to identifying the methodology employed by B/Z would be of more than a passing interest.
Feb. 22
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OK Gene, three years ago you might have been aware of the gossip surrounding BZ, I was not, sorry. To my mind they were a pair in good standing. I just thought that Balicki was a slightly unpleasant opponent with the persona of a bad tempered nightclub bouncer, whereas Zmudzinski was a highly cultured individual. I would be shocked if many placed them in the same category as Fisher-Schwartz. Maybe I am drawing an unfounded conclusion, I am sure you mix in more elevated circles than I do.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who through extraordinary diligence uncovered the malfeasance that has contaminated the game.

I do think one is entitled to ask why one pair has come under so much scrutiny as opposed to fifty other top partnerships? If they are working to a list drawn up by a statistician maybe the time has come to present the list and the data for the sake of transparency.
Feb. 22
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Why were BZ ever suspected?
Were all the top pairs investigated so thoroughly?

It would be good to hear from the investigators.

BZ were never suspect in the same way that Fisher-Schwartz were. If it is because of their success at short suit leads against notrump contracts then I think the hands and the bidding should be made available to all bridge players, frankly, all pairs that have a high ‘strike rate’ on such a list should be presented.

We have ‘fingerprint’ evidence with F/S and F/N. The majority of criminal cases are decided on circumstantial evidence. The placing of the cards on the bidding tray is a good example, consistent with too few variables. Is it enough to convict? Should the bar for conviction be set above that of a criminal court? I think not. The integrity of the game is essential to its survival, for it to continue the world's best players will have to be actively ethical.
Feb. 22
John Wilmott edited this comment Feb. 22
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No one is going to develop a cheating system based on what cards they touch in dummy when defending. To believe such a contention is farcical. Balicki is highly febrile when playing bridge.
Feb. 19
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Robert, do you have compelling evidence to suggest they cheated? I am sure the EBL would be happy to reconsider the verdict if you can present it.
Feb. 16
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In the age of Sabine Auken, it would be a brave man who ventured the notion that men are inherently superior to women at the game. Nonetheless men are more successful. Why?

Bridge is a game of aggression, from the auction to the last trick, and everything in between, the acerbic comments, calling the director for perceived rather than real transgressions, temper losses, no one who contributes to Bridge Winners can disagree that many matches can be unpleasant experiences, more so when the red mist descends. Men thrive in such circumstances, women underperform.

Women are outperforming men in the more trivial aspects of life, to mention just a few; Academia including the sciences, the professions, literature, more women write fiction than men and more women read it. Try attending a poetry reading, the majority of readers are women. This list would need several paragraphs to elucidate the point.

The problem is not how women perform, it is the atmosphere in which the game is played.

Male 55+
Club player at best
British
Feb. 7
John Wilmott edited this comment Feb. 7
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FN were suing for loss of earning to the tune of €850K. I think they were looking at alternative facts.
Jan. 26
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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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