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All comments by Nick Krnjevic
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Great stuff Sam.

GIB also plays a particularly idiosyncratic variation on Hamman's Rule: unless clearly ace-asking, NT bids are to play, regardless of context or level.

I learned this the hard way.

Sitting in 4th seat I held something like J-AQxxx-Q-KJxxxx, and made the mistake of bidding 5NT after it had gone 3D-X-5D…….
July 2, 2017
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Ed - this was an ACBL event - Unit 151.
June 29, 2017
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John - I'm curious- what other purpose do you have in mind that would suggest bidding 1NT over the double with no fit no hand and no long suit?
June 19, 2017
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The Hippopotamus Song lives on in YouTube
June 17, 2017
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On the opening board of the first duplicate tournament that my partner and I played in we were taken aback when RHO (a red-faced, elderly gentleman) exclaimed “Alert” after his partner had opened 2 clubs.

Since neither of us had ever heard of the Alert procedure, we stared blankly at an irritated RHO who barked “I said ‘Alert’”.

Pard and I were slouching (we were university students) and assumed that we had broken yet another unspoken rule of conduct that was known to all over 40.

We looked sheepishly at each other and sat bolt upright in our chairs, in an effort to look “alert” and respectful.

RHO, who thought he was being rudely ignored by long-haired wastrels, turned puce.

Fortunately, a kindly director came to our rescue.

It took us several months to muster up the courage to return.
June 13, 2017
Nick Krnjevic edited this comment June 13, 2017
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Bob - are you aware that two of the most successful partnerships in the history of bridge (Martel-Stansby/4 world titles and Hamman-Wolff/7 world titles)both played Flannery?
June 9, 2017
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Henk - while the Court's emphasis on the principle of the proportionality is understandable, the decision the Court then proceeded to render is incomprehensible.

The lower tribunals found that W and E had engaged in systematic cheating in bridge's most important event,the world championships.

The Court acknowledged that W and E showed no remorse and continued to refuse to admit the allegations.

The Court expressly acknowledged that it did not disturb the lower tribunals' finding that W and E had systematically cheated at the world championships.

The Court looked to Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”)case-law for guidance.

Applying EU Law, which places significant importance on the principle of proportionality, a long series of CAS decisions have developed the principle of proportionality in sport cases.

This principle provides that the severity of a sanction must be proportionate to the offense committed. To be proportionate, the sanction must not exceed that which is reasonably required in the search of the justifiable aim.

In the Katrin Krabbe case (circa 1995), a Munich Court held that sanctions that exceeded two years were excessive because they effectively amounted to death penalties. This two year standard has generally been followed unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Given that the CAS has relied on the principle of proportionality to *reduce* sanctions that amount to death sentences for first-time offences, it was certainly open to the Court to hold that a 10 year sentence was excessive given that this was W and E's first recorded offence.

A decision to reduce the sanction by some measure would likely have been consistent with the relevant jurisprudence.

But that's not what happened.

Instead of reducing the sanction, the Court *cancelled* it. So there is no penalty.

Worse, the Court reserved W and E's rights to claim damages from the DBV, and awarded them costs.

While it would have been eminently reasonable the Court to grant such relief had it been determined that W and E were innocent, it is frankly incomprehensible that convicted cheaters should not only face no sanction whatsoever, but also receive costs and the right to claim future damages (for what?).

The good news is that the relief awarded by the Court seems to breach the principle of proportionality to as great a degree as the initial sanction.

As noted above, to be proportionate, the sanction must not exceed that which is reasonably required in the search of the justifiable aim.

A two year suspension is a reasonable sanction to impose on systematic cheaters because the effective prevention of cheating - which is clearly a justifiable aim - cannot be achieved without imposing sanctions that are a meaningful deterrent.

The rash of cases involving cheating at the very highest level (Fantunes and F/S being only the most recent examples)shows that meaningful sanctions are indispensable in order to guarantee the fair conduct of bridge tournaments.

The Court's ruling is, perversely, also disproportionate - but in the other direction - because it completely undermines the legitimate aim the DBV was seeking to achieve.

By removing all sanctions the Court is sending the worst possible message to would-be cheaters: “if you are caught you will be no worse off than those who play by the rules”.

The Court couldn't have found a better way to ensure that cheating not only continues, but will also increase.
April 29, 2017
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Meyer - I sympathize. We have several Y-1s in our unit.

But I think the problem is the player, not the system. The latter is not the cause of his misconduct - it simply increases its frequency.

But I agree with you that player memos should be filed.

I am the Unit Recorder, and have to remind players who complain about our Y-1s that one cannot remedy the absence of player memos by simply asserting that “everyone knows he does this”.
April 26, 2017
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Meyer - you describe player Y-1 as someone who a) snaps, glares and displays emotion; b) has been frequently admonished for this behavior, and c)has made no effort whatsoever to change his conduct.

I am having some difficulty understanding why you also describe this player as someone you believe is not being “unethical intentionally”.
April 25, 2017
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Maugham's memorable description of Monaco as “a sunny place for shady people” is another quote that the contemporary bridge player will find relevant.
April 25, 2017
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Jon Baldursson and Tom Carmichael each satisfy the first two clues.
April 21, 2017
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Thanks for the update Laura - I checked the Landgericht Köln database but the judgment is not yet available.

Given that the 35 page ruling focuses exclusively upon the severity of the sanctions it should make for interesting reading.
April 20, 2017
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Laura- assuming the judgment is a public document (which should be the default mode), do you know/can you inquire whether the DBV will be posting same online?
April 20, 2017
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The second hand was truly a partnership effort.

After Trezel led the inspired D5, it was Jais's turn to show his unerring judgment. He spurned the obvious D continuation and switched to a club, even though declarer was a huge favorite to be void.

Little wonder that a pair which enjoyed such a finely-tuned rapport was able to win a World Open Pairs Championship, a Bermuda Bowl and an Olympiad……
April 19, 2017
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Seems prudent to wait for a second clue since more than 1 player fits the parameters.
April 18, 2017
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Gordon- I am familiar with judicial review of administrative decisions made by private bodies because this was a minor part of my legal practice.

I have an understanding of German judicial review because I can read the English-language articles that are available.

I do not have an understanding of the specific workings of the German Bridge Federation's procedure for filing complaints because I can't read German, which, not surprisingly, is the language of the Federation's website.

But it seems reasonable to assume that there is an efficient process for doing so.
April 12, 2017
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Gordon - I think we are at cross purposes.

What you refer to as the “German legal system” only comes into play at the stage of judicial review of the private body's (i.e. The German NBO) disciplinary process.

The focus of the Court's scrutiny is whether the private body's disciplinary proceeding followed its own rules, and whether natural justice was observed.
April 12, 2017
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Kieran - if players had taken the time to fill out and file a recorder form when they suspected they had been cheated the German NBO would be able to address the concern raised by the Cologne Court

The cheating “trial” is a two-stage process. At the liability stage the Disciplinary Committee determines if the pair has cheated. Assuming that significant hurdle is cleared, in the case of the Doctors a potentially very large number of *written* complaints (i.e. properly completed recorder forms) could have been be entered into evidence at the sentencing stage had players consistently filled and filed out such forms (assuming the German NBO has a recorder form procedure).

Gordon - once cheating has been established at the liability stage, the Disciplinary Committee can consider the written recorder complaints as factual evidence that is relevant for the purpose of determining the severity of the sentence.
April 11, 2017
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Ed - it would be interesting to know if the prosecution introduced evidence establishing that a) prior to Bali the Doctors had been the object of a litany of recorded cheating complaints, and b) these complaints had not given rise to formal charges because the proof required to obtain a conviction (i.e. cracking the code)was exceptionally difficult to obtain.

If that evidence was made one can reasonably argue that the ruling is wrong in law because past convictions is the wrong standard for determining if the sanction was excessive given the players' playing history.
April 10, 2017
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Peg- the flip side of the coin is just as bad.

My partner made a timely tactical bid that kept an international class US pro partnership out of game on the last hand of a round-robin Rosenblum match. The visibly annoyed declarer claimed after a couple of cards were played. After my partner put his hand back in the board the dummy grabbed my partner's cards and rummaged through same.

In response to my comment that it was customary to ask to see the hand, he simply shrugged and left the table without saying a word.

It was particularly satisfying that this hand provided us with the margin of victory in the match.
April 7, 2017
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