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All comments by Magnus Olafsson
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Congratulations to all. We Scandinavians love underdogs. Wolfson actually won the best bridge team ever. It was such a fun to watch these boards. I’m ever so grateful for the display.
March 31
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Thanks Barry. Your TCG posts are always interesting. After the game today, seven of us NYCpros discussed the boards - like we normally do. This board confused us. It took us a fairly long time, roughly three minutes, until Peter Trenka found the solution. It’s actually simple, but far from being the % play. But it’s always fun to figure out what DD is thinking.
Dec. 13, 2018
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Hi both and congrats on your glorious career. You have always been wonderful opponents; polite, ethical and unusually professional being so young. I often talk about you guys with your sister, Sandra, here in New York.

I often wonder how a typical Tuesday evening in this great bridge family was. Did you play bridge (Sandra says you didn’t play much at home), or did you discuss bridge issues or did you simply try to solve the murder of Olof Palme? And, of course, I’m curious to know if you’re going to Reykjavik at the end of January.
Nov. 2, 2018
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Thanks Robb. This is very useful to us who register players movements (left hand on table = 0; right hand on chin = 1; etc) to establish a database for correlation analysis. There’s no code we cannot discover - given this quality of visual evidence. Thanks again.
Aug. 19, 2018
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Hi Stefan,

I’m glad you’re interested. It was fun to play and gave good results.

3NT was always six in a M and five in a m. Less than opening, of course, but vulnerability mattered a lot. I’m not saying that we had the best system, but it was something like this:

4C: p/c. Over 4D, 4H was another p/c.
4D: FG, slam interest, asking void (1-1, LH).
4H: p/c
4S: to play is S. Slam interest if H.
4N: slam interest in the minor.
5C: p/c.

You could probably design a better system.

Good luck and all the best.

Magnus
Aug. 9, 2018
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I played the Icebreaker during a six month partnership 1991-92 in Iceland with Bjorn Eysteinsson (the NPC of the Bermuda Bowl winners of 1991). He had played it in previous partnerships for a few years. I always thought Bjorn was the creator of the Icebreaker but I’ll check on it.

It was great fun to play the Icebreaker, resulting in some serious swings. A lot of pass or correct bids but also constructive relay bidding. 3NT was 6 of M + 5 of m, while 4m was 6 of that m + 5 of a M.
Aug. 4, 2018
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Leonard is, of course, right: the curve rises very slowly. Let’s say the opponents take the first three tricks - everyone following. The probability of a 3-3 break is now barely 40%. But let’s say you now take the next seven tricks (throwing one of the important suit), The probability of a 3-3 break is clearly 100%. Well, it’s no longer probability: it’s certainty!
May 25, 2018
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The Richard Pavlicek approach is, of course, the correct one. But, as a general point of interest, in January last year, I wrote an article here on BW on this issue (Mary and John and Bayes). In short, the conclusion is that the famous 35.5% probability of a 3-3 break, which is based on 13 unknown cards of each opponent, changes as the unknown cards become fewer. In fact, if you plot the curve, it begins at 35.5% and develops exponentially to 100%.
May 25, 2018
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Bridge everywhere is a fading “business” where all numbers are going down except costs and average ages of our “customers”. This path of decline will be long and painful. In such cases, managers need to think outside the box and have a hard second look at the way in which we have been conducting our business.

Steve’s article is a serious contribution in this direction; well structured and full of relevant ideas. However, changing a governance structure based on regionalism to one based on skill sets, will not be easy or quick. Perhaps, such a change is best implemented in small but frequent steps. I might be wrong, but I’ve the feeling that the current ACBL management has been taking or considering such steps.

I like Steve’s pro forma list, although I would suggest we should have “Youth recruitment” explicitly there. The long-run return of investment of getting young players to join the game is greater than any other. Of course, youth recruitment could be a part of other skills (#3,6,9 and 10 on Steve’s list) but it deserves its own status.
May 2, 2018
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TrueDeal sounds strong, authorative and descriptive. However, True Deal seems to exist here and there around the world. And, BTW, many thanks to Hans for this important work.
April 28, 2018
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Dear Mr Damiani,

Thank you for your contribution to this issue of such a fundamental importance for our game: cheating. Allow me to say that I respect the work you have done for bridge and I admire your many innovations, especially that you are the creator, and you actually implemented, the concept of mixed pairs and teams.

You may remember, or not, that we met at one of the EBL annual meetings. Probably in Killarney in 1991, when you were President of EBL and I represented the Icelandic Bridge Federation. My friend, the late Jens Auken of Denmark, was there with me. Your idea of turning bridge into “sport” wasn’t well received. The main reason for our lack of enthusiasm was your lack of being honest: your idea was based on financial gains for bridge but not on believes in ethics or purity of competitions.

The CAS case was a disaster. But it was such an obvious road to disaster that we should have known. Just like we know the 4-1 break has 28% probability.
Feb. 17, 2018
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E/W open 1C w all bal hands (11-13; 17-19, even w 2 clubs and 5 in M; an excellent system). My partner and I got the normal 500 in 2Sx (although I would never bid 2S on the S hand, being vul). N was simply silly rather than devious in his hesitation. But the more interesting question is: can you escape 200 in 3 H? I don’t think so, but… Thanks Vigfus (Fusi) for posting this.
Jan. 31, 2018
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Mike, credit to you for pointing this out.

After Boye raised the first big cheating case right after the 2015 summer national in Chicago, such a “disclaimer” was much discussed. It was one of 10 steps I proposed in an article here on BW in August or early September 2015. I traced there this idea to Larry Cohen (others may have been also suggesting this at the same time).

No one knows if this would hold water if a case would be taken to a US civil court. It’s my view that it would as long as there is a solid due process in place; procedure that would protect an accused individual, give him all opportunities to explain his part of the story, assume his innocence until found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and have a proper appellate system in place. Since ACBL has actually implemented such an impeccable system, I sincerely believe that US courts would reject to take on a case coming out of such a process.
Jan. 19, 2018
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Brilliant Doug, and especially your point that the standard of proof shouldn’t depend on the seriousness of the crime. The CAS “downgraded” the standard of proof to its “comfortable satisfaction” level. Yet, it found FN not guilty despite the fact that in 85 cases the horizontal/vertical position of the lead showed the predicted hand. It’s like having 85 unrelated persons of good standing showing solid indications of sexual harassment by Mr X, but because three said that they were not harassed by X, he’s found not guilty (the false-positive approach by the CAS). I can’t see any court on earth making a similar conclusion. And, as I tried to argue, it’s because of the limited experience the CAS has in dealing with cases where there are no witnesses or relevant documents. Doping cases - the most serious cases the CAS deals with - even have scientific reports of chemical analysis.
Jan. 17, 2018
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For centuries the Danes colonized Iceland, but we forgive them. I hope. Disa says Dennis is one of the very best ever (David Gold is my favorite for the best player ever), so I must say Congatulations Dennis. It’s not easy to win two of the best and toughest tournaments ever in one single year. You deserve it,
Dec. 8, 2017
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I think Andy got it right. Take 5 trump trucks in hand + A of diamonds + 3 spade tricks + finally one ruff in dummy = 10 tricks. E most certainly has xx-x-KQxx-AKJxxx for his vulnerable 3 level overcall. Bridge is such an easy game …
Nov. 20, 2017
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Thanks Donald (again!) for providing relevant information. The statement from Mr Harris clarifies some issues. Mr Harris, as you may remember, became famous for officially (in a WBF statement) calling us the “lynching mob”. Us, who in harmony and goodwill tried and succeeded in decoding the secret codes used by high level cheaters.

Although the statement clarifies, it raises even more questions. It’s clear that WBF will not be able to appeal to the German Federal High Court. It would only do so in the face of a clear procedural error made by the court in Düsseldorf and there are no signs of this. Assuming that this is the end of the case in the German system, as Nedju so correctly points out below, we need answers to the following questions:

First, what’s the total cost that we individual bridge players need to pay for this disaster? Remember, WBF is funded by our contributions to our national federations and by our entry fees at WBF events.

Second, why on earth did WBF enter this case, perfectly knowing that it did not have any direct authority over individuals who are members of member federations?

Magnus
(a proud member of the lynching mob).
Nov. 17, 2017
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Thanks Adam for being awake regarding this important issue.

Ever since the doctors took the ruling of the Disciplinary Board of the German Bridge Federation (DBV) of October 4, 2014, to the Civil Court in Cologne (Koln), many of us have been worried about the end outcome and the consequences for handling cheating in the future. To refresh memories, the doctors requested the withdrawal of the two penalties; lost bridge-related income would be compensated; their legal costs reimbursed.

After repeated initial delays in Koln, in late 2015 I wrote a short piece here on BW based on the worries that the court case of the doctors against DBF and WBF would be based on process and procedures rather than substance.

In April 2017, the Koln court finally concluded that the ban was abuse of authority regarding both bans: the life-long ban of the pair and the 10-year ban of the two individuals. DBF/WBF appealed.

The appeal court in Düsseldorf has now made public its ruling. Its judge, dr Jurgen Kuhnen, is one of the most respected names in the German justice system (also a Professor at the Institute of EU Laws), specializing in cases of an individual vs organizations (National as well as multi national). His conclusion was clear: due process was violated, written procedures in disciplinary cases vague or non-existing or nor made available to the doctors. He accepted the three demands. This is what I read from the summary; the actual judgment comes in a few weeks time.

It is of importance to realize that the judge didn’t address the issue of cheating.

This very sad case brings me now to three conclusions and/or suggestions, but please bear in mind that the final judgment is not yet available.

1. I can’t stand to read in German media how the doctors celebrate (with tears, as one article described it) this “victory” of justice and how they are now getting back lost income from sponsors and teaching. I for one have decided that I will never play against them even if it will result in penalties for me. And I say we should all take that decision.
2. I sincerely believe the DBF has done more than was humanly possible to do the right thing. Remember that the DBF is small and financially weak. I believe that due process was correctly respected by DBF and that the failure to win the case was strictly due to lack of proper written procedures by the WBF.
3. I call on the WBF to provide the international bridge community with clear and absolute explanations of the outcome. Moreover, the WBF should pay all compensations for the DBF. The WBF can finance this by the appropriate cuts in the travel budget for its board members.

Let’s be united in these steps.
Nov. 16, 2017
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Thanks Glen. This is exactly what Sabine Auken did but West played back a diamond and now she had to take prematurely a decision, i.e. before she could test the various 3-3 breaks. She made the percentage correct play but down one.
Aug. 15, 2017
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Tom,

You're absolutely and 100% correct (and I need to enhance my programming skills). Your way eliminates my condition that BOTH the diamond finesse AND the 3-3 club break have to be met (when both majors are breaking 4-2 or worse). Now clubs can behave badly. Thanks!
Aug. 14, 2017
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