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David - with respect, the section of the ruling you are referring to (par.44) is simply the CAS' summary of F-N's argument on that issue.

The reasons for judgment on this issue are found at pars. 104 et.seq. of the decision.

As is evident from par. 108 of the ruling, the CAS rejected F-N's submission and held that the chairman was eligible:

“108. Given the wording of this article, the Panel concludes that the Disciplinary Committee was duly constituted for conducting the disciplinary proceedings against the Appellants since it was compulsory that an executive member, such as Mr. Caric, chair the disciplinary body.”
Jan. 11, 2018
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Don - thank you for the compliment.

I'll reciprocate.

Having read your informative post about the unfortunate consequences of the EBL having followed the WBF's Olympic dreams,I was aware that the EBL was stuck with the CAS process.

My reference to “appeals” in the plural was intended to convey disagreement with the generic process selected by the EBL.

Perhaps it could have been put more clearly.
Jan. 11, 2018
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“If the EBL had thought, even for a moment, that this kind of thing could happen it might not have botched the affair. But it didn't, because it thought that the whole thing was an open-and-shut case to bridge players. Rightly, though, the affair was not going to be judged by bridge players.”

David - I agree that the appeal should not be judged by bridge players.

I don't agree that the appeal should be a trial “de novo” presided over by a panel whose members would not have been eligible for the first instance panel because they lacked the practical experience necessary to make informed findings of fact on bridge matters.

The appeal court can protect the accuseds if, as a matter of procedure, they were denied the right to a fair hearing.

But the appeal body should defer to the factual findings of the lower tribunal, and should only reverse the Disciplinary Committee ruling if it was predicated upon a determinative error in law, or a manifest error in fact.
Jan. 11, 2018
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David - I agree that disciplinary rulings rendered by NBOs should be subject to an appeal process.

But I believe that the scope of inquiry of that appeal should in turn be subject to the usual limits placed on appellate review of private law matters.

In particular, an appeal is *not* a new trial. Save exceptional circumstances, the appeal court does not hear witnesses, nor does it consider any evidence other than that which formed part of the lower court record.

The appeal court limits its review to the following issues:

a) did the lower tribunal err in law (a standard of simple correctness)? or b) did the lower tribunal commit a *manifest* error in its appreciation of the factual evidence?

Had that type of an appeal process been in place, F-N would have a major uphill battle since it seems that the EBL's witnesses had testified clearly and coherently before the lower court. Given the strength of the EBL's evidence, F-N would have had great difficulty demonstrating that the EBL ruling should be reversed on either of the two grounds set out above.

Unfortunately, per the combination of its regulations,and the absence of relevant EBL regulations limiting the scope of appellate inquiry,it seems that the CAS is entitled to conduct what amounts to a completely a new trial, in which additional witnesses are heard, and new evidence is filed.

As is evident from the following extracts of the ruling, that is exactly what happened in this case:


“30. On 19 January 2017, the CAS Court Office informed the parties that the Panel had decided;

(…)

(ii) to invite the Appellants to name an experienced bridge player in order to provide testimony on Mr. Drijver's statements;

(…)

32. On 6 February 2017, the Appellants appointed Mr. Carlos Fernandez Sanchiz as bridge expert in order to provide testimony on Mr. Bas Driver's statements.

(…)

39. After the respective opening statements, the following persons were examined by the Panel in order of appearance:

» Witness testimony:

• Maaijke Mevius (via tele-conference).

» Bridge expert conference:

• Mr. Bas Drijver (via tele-conference); and,
• Mr. Carlos Fernandez Sanchiz (in person), who was assisted by a translator, Ms. Silvia Borja Pardo.

}> Statistical and Data expert conference:

• Mr. Nicholas Hammond (in person).
• Ms. Marjolaine Viret (in person).
• Prof. Kenneth Regan (via video-conference).
• Prof. Greg Lawler (via video-conference).
• Prof. Peter Buchen (via video-conference).

40. During the hearing, the parties had the opportunity to present their case, to submit their arguments and to answer the questions posed by the Panel. At the end of the hearing, all
the parties expressly declared that they did not have any objection with respect to the procedure and that their right to be heard had been fully respected.

(…)

42. In their Appeal Brief, the Appellants attached two new expert reports:

(…)
56. In its Answer to the Appeal, the EBL attached two new expert reports:

(…)

123. (…) This decision is based on the evidence provided to the Panel *in this particular case*,(…)


(NK emphasis).


In sum, in accordance with CAS regulations, the CAS Arbitrators conducted what amounted to a trial ”de novo“.

What that meant in practice was that the EBL was back at square one. Instead of F-N facing the uphill battle of establishing that the EBL ruling should be reversed because it was based on either an error in law,or a *manifest* error in the appreciation of the factual evidence that was presented to the EBL, the EBL had to start over, and meet its significant burden of establishing, to a ”comfortable degree of satisfaction“, that F-N had cheated.

Worse (from the EBL's perspective), F-N, who appear not to have presented a strong case before the EBL, would get the benefit of a completely new hearing so they could bring in new witnesses and file new expert reports. So instead of having to defend the case it had previously made, the EBL had to meet its heavy burden in an entirely new case.

Even worse, unlike the EBL Tribunal, which had members having vast bridge experience at the world championship level (PO Sundelin was one of the 3 members),the CAS Panel,which was comprised of two Swiss lawyers from Zurich and a Spanish lawyer from Barcelona, does not appear to have meaningful experience of high-level bridge. Yet it was these inexperienced (bridge-wise) Arbitrators who would be assessing the credibility of the bridge witnesses they were going to hear and question, and who were going to decide whether the EBL evidence they heard during the new hearing was strong enough to meet the high burden the EBL had to satisfy.

Unfortunately, as Michael H. has pointed out, the EBL's witnesses do not seem to have been particularly well-prepared to meet the stronger, additional ”bridge“ evidence introduced at the CAS stage by F-N via their new expert,Carlos Fernandez Sanchiz, who analyzed a larger sample of hands than Mr. Drijver:

Since 2 of the 3 CAS Arbitrators preferred Mr. Fernandez' evidence to that of Mr. Drijver, it was a foregone conclusion that they decided the EBL had not met its burden of proof:


”116. Having heard the testimonies, the majority of the Panel finds that Mr Fernandez's statements were more consistent and convincing than the explanations (and presumptions)of Mr. Drijver which, in turn, were found quite contradictory to his previous statements about the “amazing effectiveness” of the Code. In short, the majority of the Panel is not convinced that the Code hypothesised by the Respondent provides the information asserted by the EBL.“


The bridge-naivete of the CAS Panel is reflected in their surprising conclusion that Greg Lawler's candid acknowledgement that it was possible that F-N had a more wide-ranging cheating code was an additional reason to rule against the EBL:


”117. Furthermore, the Panel has also noted that Prof. Lawler stated at the hearing (and in his report) that “it is possible that we do not know the entire Code, we are only considering
part of the Code”. This was seconded by Prof. Buchen who stated also at the hearing that ‘'we do not have the whole story because the original observations even went down to second hand leads and third hand leads and we are now been looking at opening leads“.

”118. The majority of the Panel follows from these statements that the (EBL) experts themselves find the analysis of the Code to be incomplete and considers that it cannot take the risk of
sanctioning the Players based on an alleged partial code (with inconsistencies) because there is a significant risk that the Code does not exist at all or that the subsequent hypothesis, if any, would be completely different than the one at stake.“



Given the nature of the evidence that was introduced at this entirely new hearing,it is hardly surprising that a majority of the CAS Panel concluded that the EBL hadn’t met its burden of evidence:



”123. Taking all of the above into consideration, the majority of the Panel concludes that the exchange of information through the Code has not been proven to its comfortable satisfaction and rules that the appeal flied by the Players shall be upheld, Such conclusion does not mean that the Players are innocent of any wrongdoing, it only means that the EBL did not manage to prove to the comfortable satisfaction of the majority of the Panel that the Players committed an infraction of the EBL Rules. The Panel realizes how difficult it is for the EBL to establish the existence of a “code” between players, given the multiple possibilities of potential signs (moves, gestures, sounds, etc .. . ). However, sanctions cannot be imposed on the basis of incomplete evidence. The present decision does not mean that the system of control provided by the EBL Rules is invalid or that it cannot be used again. This decision is based on the evidence provided to the Panel in this particular case, Future investigations by the EBL, based on more consistent and reliable data, may lead to a different outcome than in the present matter.“



I don't blame the CAS Panel for this result. Given that this was essentially a new trial, with new evidence, the CAS Arbitrators' ruling is reasonable because the EBL hadn't done the work necessary to meet its significant evidentiary burden.

Instead,responsibility lies squarely with the EBL.

First, I strongly disagree with the EBL's decision to have its Disciplinary Committee appeals conducted pursuant to this type of CAS Arbitration, which amounts to a new trial, presided over by bridge neophytes.

The EBL Tribunal has extensive experience in high level bridge.

As is the case with traditional appellate review, I believe the appellate court hearing an appeal of EBL Disciplinary Committee rulings should defer to the lower court's finding of facts and should not hear additional evidence save in exceptional circumstances.

This is particularly true when the appeal court has far less practical experience than the lower court.

As is the case with private law appeals,the appeal court should maintain the lower court verdict unless the appellant establishes,solely on the basis of the evidence introduced before the EBL Tribunal,that the judgment is based on either an error of law,or a manifest error in the appreciation of the factual evidence.

Secondly, having subjected itself to a appeal process that put it at the disadvantage of having to once again meet a very heavy evidentiary burden, the EBL should have expended far more effort countering the ”new and improved" case put forward by F-N.

However, as Michael H. has pointed out, it's not clear what went wrong at the preparatory stage: speaking from experience, this is an area in which Murphy's Law has enormous scope for application. So it would be unfair to point a finger at a particular witness, or attorney, or administrator.

But it seems clear that the appeal process should be changed,and the scope of appellate inquiry should limited to that applied in private law cases.
Jan. 11, 2018
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John -you seem to confuse disagreement with your views with “giving up”.

My view is that the national bridge organizations (NBO) should focus ion getting the laws changed so that future cheats will face very significant sanctions that are clearly spelled out, and which are imposed pursuant to a transparent adjudicative process that meets the basic procedural requirements for each jurisdiction.

Given that the appellate bodies have consistently struck down attempts to subject cheaters to penalties that were not provided for in the relevant laws/regulations, I don't see any benefit in pushing the NBOs to adopt retroactive provisions that are going to be rejected.

And it's time I followed Ray Y's advice, so we are going to have to agree to disagree as to whether that retroactive monitoring fee is a sanction.
(Typo edits)
Jan. 8, 2018
Nick Krnjevic edited this comment Jan. 8, 2018
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John - your examples are inapposite. The convicted cheats have already been sanctioned.
Jan. 8, 2018
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John - given the battery of appellate defeats suffered by bridge organizations that have tried to impose penalties that were not expressly provided for, I'd be surprised if a court would uphold an attempt to give retroactive effect to your proposal.
Jan. 7, 2018
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Bobby Fischer (or any other math, chess or music child prodigy). While their total IQs and visual spatial IQs vary, child prodigies in these areas all have spectacular working memory. Working memory involves holding information in memory while processing and manipulating other, incoming information.
Dec. 29, 2017
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Merci Veronique!
Dec. 29, 2017
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Thank you Veronique- much appreciated.
Dec. 28, 2017
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Kevin - Thanks for posting the link.

The authors appear to have considerable experience in AI.

Should be interesting to see how their work in this area evolves.

I also look forward to the authors making their French-language work available “gratis” (it seems to only be available behind a pay-wall in La revue nationale d'Intelligence Artificielle).
Dec. 25, 2017
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Steve- well done for reading the distribution.

But assuming West was trusting his partner's count in the club suit, and given your play of a diamond to the K, he can see that you're likely going down as long as you're limited to 1 diamond ruff.

So it looks like West had an automatic trump shift regardless of whether he had a singleton.

Since the failure to switch to a trump looks bad, how strong an inference can you draw from that play: if West can't see that he had to play a trump from a singleton, was it that much more likely he'd have played a trump from Jx?

The fact that West came into your big club auction, both red, with dreck, looks like a stronger inference of shortness.

Did they bid with the West hand at the other table?
Dec. 21, 2017
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Tom - I think we agree on where we are going (roll it back to 3NT), but I'm not sure we are taking the same road.

I understand that the bid that is chosen does not have to be an LA.

But I'm having some difficulty seeing why an insane leap to 6C is ‘demonstrably suggested’ by the UI.
Dec. 19, 2017
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Tom - my example hand types may well have been poorly constructed.

Assume that 4c is an LA, but 6c is a wild shot that would not be seriously considered by “a significant proportion of the class of players in question, using the methods of the partnership.”
Dec. 19, 2017
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John - while admittedly unencumbered by experience in this area, it seems to me that the “action vs inaction” crowd have the better of the argument.

Here's a practical illustration why:

Matchpoints

N opens 1D;

East bids 3S;

South has 3-4-1-5 with extras but indifferent clubs. He thinks for a year and bids 3NT.

West passes.

North has a reasonable minor 2 suiter. Assume that pass or 4 clubs are the logical alternatives at mps.

Assume North is not on firm ground as to what his pard's major suit bids would mean if he now bids 4C. He thinks one is a cue and one is RKCB for clubs, but he is not on firm ground.

He decides to take a wild leap to 6 clubs.

This happens to be cold. It also happens to be the contract N/S would always get to if North had simply bid a sane 4 clubs.

This is an easy one for Action vs Inaction crowd: the UI screamed for Action, so Action is not allowed, be it the LA of 4 clubs, or the rabid 6 clubs.

If I understand the reasoning of the “not pass is not a bid” crowd, they would prohibit a 4C bid, but not a 6C bid,because no one in his right mind would have considered that call to be a logical alternative to 3NT.

That doesn't seem right. If any form of demonstrably suggested Action - regardless of how counter-intuitive the initial Action may be -ultimately leads to the right end-point, shouldn't the focus be on Action vs. Inaction?

But as I said at the outset, I may well have misunderstood the arguments put forward by the “not pass is not a bid” crowd.
Dec. 19, 2017
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Jan - when Edgar uses a phrase such as “who but the great Avarelli…” in this context, I'd think twice before taking it at face value.

Edgar used selected adjectives in specific contexts to indirectly express views that could not be stated overtly.

IIRC, Jeff Rubens promised never to reveal the code.
Dec. 18, 2017
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Roland - since you sensibly emphasize the importance of solid evidence I assume you also strongly support Avon's request that the WBF release the transcripts of the Burgay tape….
Dec. 17, 2017
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Gary - I suspect your reply -with which I agree- is what the French aptly describe as a “dialogue des sourds”.
Dec. 15, 2017
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Timo - your NBO should give serious consideration to immediately adopting the national equivalent of articles 3.6, 3.8 and 3.9 of the WBF Conditions of Contest, which can be found at the following link:

http://www.worldbridge.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/generalconditionsofcontest.pdf
Dec. 13, 2017
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Michal - did you mean Stefan?
Dec. 10, 2017
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