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Maurizio Di Sacco interview - topics: LoveBridge (tablet bridge) and cheating

I have interviewed Mr. Di Sacco for the Hungarian bridge site. You can read the article here in Hungarian translation: http://www.bridzs.hu/hu/bridzselet/lovebridge_a_wbfszakember_szemevel__interju_maurizio_di_saccoval

In case your Hungarian is a bit rusty, here is the original English version. Smile

 

Hello Maurizio,

All tournament players know you very well, but for those who do not attend all the WBF events, please introduce yourself. Is being a WBF director a full time job? If not, what do you do in your private life?

Bridge is my profession, but I do not work exclusively for the WBF. I also wrk with EBL and some Federation.

What I could find: you are an Honorary Chief Tournament Director of the WBF, what does it mean? There are Head and Chief Directors, it is a bit confusing.

It means that usually I don't work anymore as TD: managing a championship is already too a heavy burden. However, I'm working as Head TD whenever situation permits to play both roles. I was Head TD and manager in the last World Youth Teams Championships, as well as in many small events (EBL Champions' Cup, WBF online and so forth).

Also, now you are the secreatary of a new comittee regarding e-bridge. What exactly are your goals?

My goal is to produce Laws which take into account all the peculiarities of playing with computers.

Do you think bridge will find its place among the e-sports? If so, how does the WBF plan to achieve that?

Bridge is not a proper e-sport, but it might well be played electronically.

LoveBridge is a very interesting new project, currently in live testing in Hungary, used in the top class of the MP championships every week, and all I can say is, it is a great device for top level players. Have you tried it yourself? What do you think of it?

I did try, but not enough to express a definitive opinion. I think that represents a good opportunity.

Many people were worried when new technology was introduced to tournament bridge (it kills the game!), like bidding boxes, and later, screens. Do you think the same thing will happen here, and people will learn to accept it, or is it more complicated than that?

As far as the social part of the game is kept alive (I mean, as far as bridge is played in clubs), I believe that at the end it will be as well received as bidding boxes were.

In my personal opinion, this is a great help to further cut down on possibilies to cheat in bridge, but it does not mean cards will not be used at most tournaments any more. What do you think?

Difficult. I learnt bridge almost 40 years ago, and I'm a card player since I was a little boy (I believe I was taught my first card game when I was just three). I know of many players, even young ones, who dislike the idea of playing without cards. Personally, I'm open to the possibility, and I welcome the opportunity to play in a cheating-free environment, especially at competitive level.

This may not be exactly up your alley, but people are still worried about cheaters, and how they can be expelled from the honest players' community. Has the WBF done some changes to their rules and regulations to make sure there will be less and less of them, and the ones caught cannot be back again?

We have made many progresses, both technologically and from the legal point of view, to allow ourselves to catch cheaters. However, as a few recent scandals proved, we are still far away from having our reasons to be recognised in courts, and in any case, the legal framework of sports makes impossible to ban cheaters for periods longer than three years (basically, we have the same regulations that other sports have about doping) for their first offense.

Back to LoveBridge: do you think it will be used in top level tournaments soon? If so, when? There is a rumor of a top junior event using it in 2019, can you confirm that?

I would certainly like to have some event played electronically, but they should be further events to be added to the calendar. For events played with cards to be turned into events played electronically we need specific decisions from our administrators, and it will take time. In 2019 we are likely to have a side event in a World Youth event being played on the LoveBridge platform.

Is there anything you want to add? Feel free to tell our readers.

Open your mind: one of the best sides of bridge is its possibility to be played in many different ways.

Thanks,

My pleasure.

Daniel

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