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Wan Li Unplugged

Readers may recall the discussion of Wan Li and his remarkable feat during the 1990 Epson Worldwide pairs on page 1 of this article:

To recap:

- a report is here:

- We read:

The runners-up playing in Beijing, with a score of 84 percent that would have won in any previous year, were Wan Li, chairman of the National People's Congress, and Rong Le Di, an executive of the National Sports Federation.

- At the time Wan Li was Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and, at his passing, government flags were set at half-mast

- Wan Li would have won but for the amazing Sorin Lupan, whose mighty 88% effort generated bridge magazine articles that were perhaps not as flattering as they might have been


I received an email. It reads, in part:

In the early '80s I had the opportunity to play against Wan Li in Beijing.... It was a command performance in the Great Hall of the People... During the match,Wan Li seemed more interested in watching the television and every bid and play he made was after an aide sitting at his side whispered in his ear.


At this point I fully expect an outraged cry from the Chinese equivalent of Saviero Margiotta  ( ), denouncing all I have written, for everyone knows that Comrade Wan regularly ran a three-minute mile and could have knocked out the effete, decadent Muhammad Ali just by scowling at him. Why, he would have scored 95% had he not been busy designing hydro-electric plants in between rounds.


But I have a different point of view. I quote from here:

It is clear that our Worldwide Bridge Contest, which started with Epson and entered into the Guinness Book of Records, is a perfect example of the way bridge can be of benefit... People all over the world can play at the same time, without distinction of age, sex, race or religion.

"Without distinction". Right. 

Except when corrupt authorities open up a copy of the handbook early and station a programmed "aide" to assist certain worthies with their play.

Now of course this is nothing compared to the ruination inflicted upon high-level bridge by F-N, F-S and perhaps others. Still, it is a fact many thousands of players entered the Epson in good faith, joining together in the spirit of liberté, fraternité and... what's  that other one? Umm... I remember! égalité.

A joke, n'est pas?

And we might care to consider how potential sponsors would like to have their name associated with crap like this. They wouldn't and that's not a joke.

All the same, there is something entertaining to be found in this disgraceful affair. When the Epson results came out there must have been quite a to-do in Beijing! I bet tables were pounded, teeth were gnashed and heads rolled, for the Chinese bridge authorities had been out-cheated by a renegade Westerner!


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