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All comments by Nick Krnjevic
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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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Nigel - there seems to be some confusion as to the nature of the relationship that exists between a voluntary organization and its members.

The relationship is contractual, and the members are subject to the administrative process (which includes disciplinary proceedings) adopted by the organization.

The aim is not to create “procedural perfection” but to achieve a balance between fairness, efficiency and predictability of outcome.

The duty of fairness requires that those affected by a decision be given prior notice that a decision is about to be made or some
action taken. It also requires that any case to be met must be disclosed and some reasonable opportunity for participation in the decision.

However, unless required by law, the duty of fairness does not usually require an oral hearing to satisfy the requirement that an individual be given the opportunity to participate in the
decision-making process. While an oral hearing has clear advantages over written submissions (particularly where credibility is an issue), they are also more costly and time-consuming.

And while a higher standard applies if the member's property and/or civil rights are affected by the inquiry, that is not relevant to the matter at hand.

As such, it will generally be satisfactory in an expulsion case for members to make written submissions. Necessarily, any denial of the right to make submissions would be a breach of the duty of procedural fairness.

In the instant case the accused were provided with the opportunity to participate in the hearing via video conference.
While you may not perceive this to have been a reasonable option, EU and North American courts and arbitrators regard videoconferencing as an efficient means of facilitating and accelerating the resolution of cross-border disputes in a manner that reduces the time and cost involved in litigation.

In sum, the WBF seems to have met its obligation to have transparent rules in place that treat all members equally, and to have followed those rules.

That the accused chose to refuse to participate in the process does not render it, or the subsequent ruling, unfair.
March 31, 2014
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Congrats to Nickell - terrific comeback (yet again…)- am looking forward to Steve's comments on his pass over 7D - was he really looking to psyche a first round diamond control?
March 31, 2014
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Rainer - the DBV's complaints about the need for a transparent process would have substantially greater weight had they not been presented by Ulrich Wenning, who, in addition to being the DBV President, was a member of the same gold-medal winning team as the pair that was accused of cheating.

With respect, it is very difficult to understand why Mr. Wenning did not remove himself from the process given that he was in a position of manifest conflict of interest.
March 30, 2014
Nick Krnjevic edited this comment March 31, 2014
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Glenn - that the private, non-confrontational approach was not kindly met speaks volumes…..
March 30, 2014
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Henry was the DIC for Montreal events for decades, and I greatly enjoyed kibitzing with him at considerable length over the years. He could hold forth on a very wide range of subjects, and possessed a particularly sharp sense of humor.

Henry, who had ‘seen it all’ over the course of a long career, was not only the final authority on the Laws and Regulations in this neck of the woods, but also had a strong sense of ‘right and wrong’.

Consequently, exceptionally, Henry would grant himself discretion to protect ‘his’ tournament players from unsavory customers. I can recall on more than one occasion when a local pair, long under suspicion of engaging in what the English refer to as ‘sharp practice’ (and who were subsequently banned by the League for a lengthy period), had a particularly egregious result summarily reversed by Henry. The message was very clear: “bridge-players in my tournaments are not going have to put up with that nonsense ”. The pair in question never appealed a single one of those rulings.

Henry was an original - Montrealers will miss him, and we extend our sympathies to Myra.
March 29, 2014
Nick Krnjevic edited this comment March 29, 2014
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2 v 31 (i.e. Nickell v Maksymetz).

On paper this rates to be a blowout, but Maksymetz has a pair (L'Ecuyer-Marcinski)playing a complex and particularly effective relay system which won them a number of Bridge World Challenge of the Champ matches a couple of years back.

Given the right hands, these methods may in some measure offset Nickell's considerable edge in card-play and judgment.

Think of it as a Mad Scientists v the Masters match-up.

March 26, 2014
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Or, as Alice Roosevelt Longworth famously put it: “If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me”!
March 16, 2014
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Congratulations!

Glad to hear Erin and Abigail are doing well - I assume Jason is still recovering.
March 2, 2014
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Hi Eric-much appreciate your extended stay in the well - very generous of you.

Further to your comment about the importance for the defenders to identify distribution, can you share your views on the pros/cons of Vinje signals, i.e. playing high-low in trumps shows a hand with exactly one odd-numbered suit. conversely, playing low-high shows a hand with one even-numbered suit.
Feb. 28, 2014
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Hi Eric - two completely unrelated questions:

a) In earlier days I dabbled in systems that ran into the hundreds of pages, but found that it was a bit like carrying a golf bag that had 50 clubs - we had a club for every shot, but the effort required to drag the bag around was exhausting and we lacked confidence in remembering obscure sequences.

Do you and/or Jeff occasionally succumb to ‘fear of system’ and avoid embarking upon a particularly arcane sequence because you're uncertain that one of you may not be on firm ground - or is the partnership philosophy to plunge into the thickets and assume pard will be on the same page?

b) If you/Jeff were playing a team game for your life, who would you pick as team-mates?
Feb. 26, 2014
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Same (as in level) cards played in the first two rounds are played for next 6 rounds?
Feb. 24, 2014
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Bill - with respect, plenty of light can be generated without the need for any heat.
Feb. 20, 2014
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Greg - congratulations! I was intrigued to see that the text you wrote with Matt Pharr is praised as much for the clarity of its presentation as for its technical achievement. I'm curious - once you had worked out what you wanted to say from a technical perspective, how much more time (many multiples?) was spent before the two of you were satisfied with the literate programming side of task?
Feb. 19, 2014
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