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All comments by Nick Krnjevic
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Roger - you raise a very good point. Committees are generally comprised of the club's best players. Consequently, if the offending party is a weak player, his actions are very rarely measured against the standard of his peers.

Which is why so many club players are mystified (and aggrieved) when what was to them (and the universe of their peers) a 100% action is rolled back by the committee.
April 26, 2014
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Steve- is that the pair which also played canuck-cuebids over their opponents weak-2bids: (2M)-3M means "I have a stopper, do you have a running suit?'
April 22, 2014
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Ron - Martel/Stansby and Hamman/Wolff, whose partnerships won 10 Bermuda Bowls, 1 Olympiad, 1 Rosenblum and 2 World Open Pairs titles, both played Flannery.
April 22, 2014
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Jeff- Messrs. Hanlon and Townsend have represented Ireland and England, respectively, on multiple occasions in World Championship team-play.

With respect, your bald dismissal of their opinion as to what constitutes acceptable bidding at international play (which is the relevant standard for the purposes of reviewing the Doctors' actions) is more than a little counter-productive.
April 14, 2014
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Steve - I'm a Montrealer born in Australia, so Shanghai doesn't push any political buttons with me either way.

And your post was on a subject I heartily agree with - the BOD would benefit from a far more involved electorate.

But it seemed to me that you did your own cause more harm than good by describing in particularly negative terms (fiasco, outrageous etc.) an issue that I suspect a considerable number of BW members see as being far more nuanced than you do.

The approach seemed counter-intuitive.

Hence my questions.
April 11, 2014
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Ominous?

Hardly.


Here's your reply to Mike Ma:

“I don't think 100% of the people agree with me. Just for the record.”

Since you decided to go “on record” to contradict Mike on an issue that you perceive to be black and white, I was intrigued to see if you would also go on record with your perception of how many others shared the same view.

It's interesting that you chose to answer by using ACBL members in general as your yardstick, rather than ACBL members who are also members of Bridgewinners (which was the forum you chose to post in).

Do you think the two groups share the same perception?
April 11, 2014
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Steve - for the record, what percentage do you think agrees with your perception of what happened in Shanghai?
April 11, 2014
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@Rainer

You're quite right in saying that cheaters don't play double dummy or bid double dummy.

But that's because bridge is 4 handed and the ‘signal’ cheaters (as opposed to the Ken Warren-type ‘wander around the room and look at other people’s convention cards type cheaters) are only privy to information about 2 hands.

So the cheating action, which is very often the best lead and/or shift when considered in the context of the combined assets contained in the cheaters' two hands, might not show a tangible benefit (and occasionally might be detrimental)because of the vagaries of the full lay-out of all 52 cards.

But that's simply happenstance.

When I refer to ludicrous success, it's in the context of how often the cheater's offbeat action happens to combine particularly well with undisclosed assets in partner's hands.

A particularly vivid illustration of blatant cheating without positive result can be found in John Swanson's book on the Bermuda Bowl. He describes a member of the Brazilian team doing an accurate play-by-play prediction for the VuGraph audience of what Jais-Trezel were going to lead, and shift to. Although the hand proved to be unbeatable, Jais-Trezel's bizarre defensive plays were optimal when considered solely in the context of the combined assets in the defenders' hands.
April 11, 2014
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@Kit

I have no doubt that Cokin - Sion were more subtle than Ma - Santosa. Mind you the Cokin/Sion hands that appeared in the post-verdict BW report, which includes the hand Gary references, were pretty egregious, and suggests that the difference between the pairs was more akin to Camry vs Lexus as opposed to Lada vs Ferrari.

But I suspect that both pairs were identical in one area: they only stepped out when it was right to do so.

And regardless of whether C/S had explanations that seemed semi-plausible, how can a world-class pair fail to notice that their team-mates' anti-percentage actions had a ludicrous success rate?

April 10, 2014
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@Gary

Correct: the pair was Ma - Santosa.
April 10, 2014
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Kit - I must confess to being quite surprised by your assertion that Sontag/Weichsel had no idea that Cokin/Sion were guilty of anything.

With respect, as Gary suggests, if they didn't strongly suspect their team-mates were up to no good then S/W were being wilfully blind.

And I can speak from personal experience. While playing in my first ever NABC in Bal Harbour in Fall of ‘83,
my partner and I played in a regional Swiss with an MIT pair who used baseball catcher/pitcher signs to cheat rather than Cokin-Sion’s pencil placements.

We were Montreal rookies who had come to play in the Non LM pairs. We were doing well, but couldn't help notice the spectacular results the MIT pair put up each session.

We were students at the time, as were they, and chatted with them informally on several occasions during the course of the non-LM event.

After they won the non-LM pairs (by a country-mile) they asked us to join them in a regional Swiss. We agreed, and the next day were surprised that to see that they had a curious knack for making some particularly counterintuitive competitive decisions as well as leads that were frankly downright bizarre.

Since we were not very experienced, and generally played against similarly bad oponents, we were used to seeing lots of bad bids and leads.

What was unusual was that none of their eccentric decisons ever turned out badly. Even though we were wet behind the ears, by the end of the day we were increasingly uncomfortable about their ability to find the deadly bid and/or lead.

And when we asked them, the explanations were thin. One reason proffered for unusual leads was they felt they “needed a swing”. Strange competitive decisons were justified on the ground that “I misread the vulnerability”, or “I misheard the auction”.

We declined their invitation to play with them in the Reisinger.

The following year they were part of a team that upset Edgar's team in the GNT qualifying, and they were subsequently banned for life after being videotaped at the NABC.

Given that we - who were innocents - were curious about bizarre results, asked for explanations, it's beyond me that Sontag/Weichsel a) didn't ask Cokin/Sion for explanations, and b) didn't notice that the bizarre, anti-percentage stuff was only being done when it was right.
April 10, 2014
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Thanks for being in the well Bobby.

Two questions plus an optional bomb:

a) if you and Steve were playing for your life, which pair would you pick as team-mates? (disclosure: I asked Rodwell the same question when he was in the Well, and got the politically correct non-answer: ‘am very happy with current team-mates and hope never to have to play for my life’ - given your straight-shooting style I'm looking forward to your answer);

b) In an earlier reply to another poster, you mentioned having a bad taste in your mouth when you and Steve won the World Open Pairs - I can readily understand why you must have been particularly frustrated by the 2006 silver medal; can you expand on why you were not a happy camper at time you won gold in 2010? (optional bomb question in the event you feel like *really* speaking your mind, and damn the torpedoes: do you think you and Steve would have won gold in 2006 had pairs not been national representatives?)
April 10, 2014
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Gabrielle - please ignore anyone who suggests that filing a player memo would be a waste of time.
Those who proffer such advice actively undermine the Recorder system.

Without the player memos cheaters will be able to act with impunity -assuming they are not as arrogant as E and W.
April 5, 2014
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Benoit - unfortunately, people who play with pairs that have long been suspected of cheating are very often not the type of players who take the moral high ground when their team-mates get busted.

I can recall a case very close to home in which the long time regular team-mates of a pair of notorious cheats (one of whom was subsequently banned for a few years) professed to be “shocked” and “disgusted” when their buddies were finally nabbed.

But when the convicted cheat's suspension was completed, the ‘shocked’ team-mates promptly began playing with their old buddies once again……
April 5, 2014
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The WBF's litigation exposure has been significantly reduced by the mandatory arbitration provisions that WBF event participants are subject to.
April 5, 2014
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The IOC tried to make it up to Roy Jones by awarding him the Val Barker prize, which is given to the best stylistic boxer at the Olympic Games.

Not surprisingly, he is the only silver medalist to have ever won this award.
April 5, 2014
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Dustin - if only that were true. The ACBL Disciplinary Commission records are littered with examples of recidivist cheaters being banned for life after being caught a second time.
April 4, 2014
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Hence their phlegmatic reaction to the ruling…
April 3, 2014
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Nigel - you may find Barnet Shenkin's detailed review of the affair to be of interest. I have take the liberty of reproducing below a segment from Barnet's concluding article. The complete set of articles can be found on Barnet's website(http://www.shenkinbridge.com).

One of the World’s leading monthly bridge publications “The Bridge World” (USA based), published in 1965 articles about the event and invited Rixie Markus to give the opinions of the English bridge community. The editor, Alfonse Moyse Jr., received a number of letter from Mrs Markus, one of the World’s best ever woman players. She was a good friend of both of the accused and, although she had not actually been in Buenos Aires, defended them stoically. The magazine published some of her comments which included the following sentence “How can I ever play for my country where my captain becomes a part of a conspiracy to convict me of a crime.” Ralph Swimer, the captain, did not receive this and other remarks well and when she would not withdraw them or apologise started a libel action. The case came to court in February 1969. At this action Swimer reaffirmed his earlier views. During this trial the famous letter described earlier was opened and read. This is where Swimer tells of Schapiro’s alleged confession in a walk in the park. Swimer had then addressed the letter to himself. The London Times quoted from the case. Mr Swimer said ”I saw them cheating with my own eyes“. When asked “are you absolutely sure you saw Reese and Schapiro cheating“ he replied “Absolutely”. The jury had to decide whether the remarks against Mr Swimer were defamatory. While it appeared to observers that the judge leaned towards Swimer, the jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict, which was required under English law. The costs of the action were some 26000 pounds, a very substantial sum in these days and were shared by Ralph Swimer and Mrs Markus. Swimer decided not to pursue the matter but there is no question that his whole life, of which bridge was a very big part had been changed forever.


In June 2005 David Rex-Taylor wrote an article published in many countries, and referred to in many national newspapers, including the New York Times. For a long period of time, Rex-Taylor was the editor of the International Bridge Press Association. He said, his close friend, Terence Reese had privately told him what had really happened. He said the conversation started after his referring to the comment allegedly made by Schapiro to Swimer. “That evil man made me do it.” Rex - Taylor substitutes the word “wicked “for “evil.” Reese started by saying “hardly fair comment by Boris, wickedness didn’t come into it.” The story was only to be revealed forty years after the incident, and after the deaths of both Reese and Schapiro. According to his account, Reese was researching a book into cheating that he was going to have published. Rex - Taylor writes about Reese ”He persuaded a reluctant Schapiro that, as world champions, it would be quite unthinkable that they would cheat, that no one would be even paying attention to such an idea, and that in any event, absolutely no signaled information would be used in any way whatsoever during the actual play….“


“A reluctant Boris finally agreed, strictly on the understanding that the whole exercise be revealed in full detail in the book on cheating, with analysis to prove that they had both acted honourably throughout the play of the hands, as if they had no prior knowledge of the heart distribution, so confirming their worthy innocent objective and secondly, that publication be a priority— Although judged not guilty in the UK at a hearing widely considered flawed by blatant cherry- picking of both evidence and witnesses, elsewhere the pair were proven guilty. -Reese could not reveal the true explanation at the time as the very objective of his extraordinary operation- effectively an author’s failed publicity stunt- had so spectacularly back-fired in abject failure. Pleading anything but innocence was therefore not an option for either player.”
April 2, 2014
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Barry - your personal freedoms are subject to the rules and regulations imposed by the organizing body. When you bought your entry you contracted to respect those rules and regulations. If you choose to perceive them as containing unreasonable constraints, you can exercise your personal freedom not to buy an entry.

Alternatively, in the short-term you can contest, via the established procedure, the interpretation and/or application of the rules/regulations, while in the long term you can lobby for change from within.

April 1, 2014
Nick Krnjevic edited this comment April 1, 2014
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