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All comments by Eric Kokish
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Like Geoff Hampson I see no reason to limit forfeiture of titles to four years. Unless there is a reason that we do not see, what is magical about a four-year window of sharp practice?

On the other hand, while these guys are collusive cheaters with one another, is it reasonable to assume that their casual or one-event pairs partners gained from their association with the bad guys.

If, for example, the expelled players were proven to have stacked decks, scooped results from other tables, or enjoyed the fruits of illegal wires it would be reasonable to assume they MIGHT have done the same with unwitting partners, then those partners might well have “enjoyed” unmerited success.

Once we decide vacating titles is a good idea, how can ACBL in good conscience not do so for that infamous Men's BAM Teams in Norfolk in which Cokin-Sion were known to be cheating?

Four years seems arbitrary and inadequate and unfair to other victims of the impugned pairs.
July 27, 2016
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Are we having fun yet?
Jan. 15, 2016
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It's nice to see so many thoughtful ideas. I like Dave Caprera's best so far. For what it's worth I would never name a treatment after myself. This one stems from an article entitled “Recapturing your Birthright” and I call it “Birthright” – of course, it's gone through some life changes since its publication, which is as it should be.
Jan. 14, 2016
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To the comment that “we need more young players” I can add that Canada feels that need especially dramatically. We also need to keep our best young players when the pro market is so lucrative in the USA.

Although we have a significant boomer demographic in our bridge community perhaps some of our younger older players can still arrange some romantic interludes to “growing” some future bridge prodigies!
Jan. 3, 2016
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I find it amazing that there have been 266 comments on this. West knew 1NT had SOME range. At any point he could have learned whether his suspicion that it was strong was accurate. If ACBL deems South's faulure to announce the range a sin of omission I think the game is in deep trouble.
Jan. 3, 2016
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Without trying to identify how illegal information was being transmitted there were plenty of questionable deals in major events going back a significant number of years that would point an investigator to look more deeply at all of the impugned partnerships. When we are presented with a highly opinionated article showing us a small sample of deals and loaded with statistics that are surely based on similarly subjective views of right and wrong, egregious, unlucky or otherwise-characterized actions, my instinctive reaction is always going to be at the very least skeptical. In this case, having reviewed the final for the World Championship Book and watched every deal from the Commentator's table, I would not have considered publishing statistics without publishing the analysis – there are far too many intangibles and attention-necessary deals to justify such quantifiable statements. My skepticism about this article gets a capital S.And that's based on the “performance” conclusions without considering the not-remotely-subtle allegations that (despite the claim of deep analysis) expect the reader to take the author's position on faith.

While the video evidence has made all the difference in detection and confirmation, I believe that the deals themselves would have provided plenty of evidence once a decision was made to look closely at the bridge. However, without the dogged efforts of the researchers in the last few months I can't say that all that bridge evidence would have been enough to convict.
Dec. 18, 2015
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I am overwhelmed!

And almost speechless.
Nov. 5, 2015
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An event like this one could convince me to think about becoming an active player again, which is saying a lot.
Nov. 5, 2015
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I knew Sidney to say hi at the Nationals, but in 1998 in Lille we were both staying at the same small hotel and usually had breakfast together, which was the start of a long run of memorable discussions about many things other than bridge, although he was the NPC of the Nickell team for many of the years I was the coach. We suffered together to that frightening tenth session of the 2003 Bermuda Bowl in Monaco where our guys exchanged one body blow after another with Italy until the bitter end, which Yogi Berra would have loved dearly as it was the prototype for “it ain't over til it's over.” Everyone had to wait several hours for an appeals committee to decide the outcome, which eventually gave Sidney another gold medal to add to his collection. He was always delightful company and had the heart (and appetite) of a lion. The bridge world takes another body blow. Enough, already!
Nov. 3, 2015
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The circumstances seem almost surreal. A few extra minutes to finish a deal seems entirely reasonable but how could play continue so long after expiration of time and without supervision (not hovering and nagging) but to ensure that no improper information could reach those still playing. The facts need to be investigated regardless and if it emerges that WBF lacked the staff to deal with three very late tables then the event deserves to have more staff dedicated to its proper running. There is a strong implication in the report of the incident that if there was not active collusion by the teams still playing there was the possibility or the appearance of improper behavior. It is impossible for WBF to ignore what happened or could have happened, but again it's difficult to appreciate why this was not pursued further on site and/or on BW and other social media outlets until just now.
Oct. 31, 2015
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I can't imagine that Sweden realized the score was incorrect. Do you think anyone had the time or inclination to say: “How did you make 5NT on board x?” after losing a key match heavily?“ I still don't know how or why the Canadians discovered the error either, given their frantic circumstances about a missing passport and imminent flight arrangements. But what matters is that the incorrect score was reported before the next phase – the KO — started and there was ample time to fix this error and restore the true ranking of the teams. ”Something drastic“ seems to cover this score correction request perfectly. What could be more drastic for the fairness and prestige of the event?

Let's not deal with Canada and Sweden here. Good will can safely be assumed despite the reservations expressed by Cathy about selective trust. The play would be reviewed and scrutinized if deemed necessary. The real question is how could WBF through its agent – the TD – and perhaps after consulting with the DIC (which I strongly doubt) dismiss the claim as tardy and in any case without sufficient importance?

Peter Finch had it exactly right in Network: ”We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more."

Perhaps a WBF official could say something . . .
Oct. 29, 2015
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All the Zones should have mandatory membership in a sort of World Interpol. Each zone is expected to deal conclusively with incidents involving players in their NBOs. Ideally, each NBO would liaise directly with its Zonal Oversight body, and all active cases and materials relating to those cases should find their way to each Zonal body, to be further made routinely available to the other zonal bodies so all cases can be accessed without needing court orders or private investigators. If WBF does not establish an irreproachable Commission with undeniable powers and fair procedures in place, then it might be time for the world to move on to a new world organization.

It's high time for the WBF to take the high ground and establish uniform and transparent procedures for dealing with its member NBOs and the members of those NBOs; cheating is not the only issue.
Oct. 28, 2015
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The report on Bridge 24 marks the ex-VP as a principled and honourable man. Perhaps his comments will not fall on deaf administrative ears.
Oct. 27, 2015
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Some experts might admit to mis-guessing a queen once every few years.

I am guilty of worse: I mis-guessed a Gawrys. Either that or my eyes saw his twin brother in Chennai at the Opening Ceremony. I thought that strange as he was not on the Bermuda Bowl or Senior team and remarked on that on Bridge Winners. A few days later Slawek Latala told me had only that day been on the phone with Gawrys in Poland and PG was deciding whether to come with Klukowski to join the remaining foursome. At that point my expert powers of detection led me to believe I had been mistaken earlier. That made more sense.

Much later when I ran into Radek Kielbasinski about a week later there was smoke coming out of his ears and he let me know how my mistaken identification had unfairly represented Poland's position. I apologized to him for seeing stars (so to speak) who were in a different constellation but could not apologize for my poor eyesight and indeed had no intention of going any further with this non-incident, though in retrospect perhaps I should have brought the matter back to life from its crypt in the BW article archive because by then TGG (The Great Gawrys) and TKK (that Klukowski kid) had been playing for several days. Clearly, the PBU had every intention of sending them, so what difference did it make if I “saw” them before they were actually there?

I am disappointed at the way the whole affair was handled but mostly disappointed with PBU for refusing to at least consider the evidence and merits of the WBF's case for uninviting B/Z before refusing to withdraw from the Bermuda Bowl.

Regardless, the Polish team in Chennai played better bridge than everyone else and deserve their victory and the respect of the bridge community.

I can't help but wonder whether I will be turned away at the airport if I come to Poland for the 2016 World Championships.
Oct. 26, 2015
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Allan Simon for Secretary of State!
Oct. 19, 2015
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Say it ain't so. We were led to believe that this could never happen again after Geneva and that the real score at the table would prevail as long as the next phase had not yet started. If the error was found and reported before the QF started that ought to have been good enough.

For shame, WBF, for hiding behind the same dumb interpretation of a rule that was allowed to determine the wrong winner in a Rosenblum Semifnal 25 years ago.

Was Sweden offered the opportunity to withdraw before the start of its QF match - the next phase of the event? I'd find it hard to believe those guys would not withdraw, unlike the German team in Geneva that went on to win the final.
Oct. 14, 2015
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About 5-card suits: consider the Vinje Signal, which deals with parity of the hand - three odds and one even suit, or vice versa. Knowing of exactly 5 cards in one suit will soon reveal whether that hand is odd or even – and by extension reveals the parity of the closed hand. That is an encrypted signal of sorts and potentially hugely useful to already good defenders.
Oct. 14, 2015
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For shame, Reisinger haters. It is not simply two pairs playing Matchpoints. It could be improved only by precluding score comparisons after each round. Estimating your game accurately is one of the skills in BAM and should be a key component of your strategy late in the event. The current Barometer format removes that element from the event.

The Soloway would be a nice addition but should not overlap the Reisinger at any point. Avoid Thanksgiving and attendance will probably improve. Start with the Reisinger or end with it and either move the BRP to a different NABC or run it over the last three days of the Soloway with drop-ins from late KO matches to the BRP, which are fairly large fields that won't be corrupted by a few extra pairs being added with little or no carryover.
Oct. 10, 2015
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David's belief that Klukowski may well have continued with 4NT had Gawrys retreated to 4S in reasonable tempo (not too fast, not too slow) might resolve the pure bridge issue and confirm that 6S would be the contract without taking advantage of the UI, but that should not be the end of the matter. If Gawrys were deemed to have taken advantage of the UI he would have committed a serious infraction – even non-collusive misbehavior can be actionable – one that would merit both a procedural penalty in IMPs that should be covered in the regulations, and perhaps at least as importantly, an immediate fully transparent report in the Daily Bulletin, which would act as a form of public censure.

Sure, a bridge argument could be made that Klukowski, with no club control (though no one has yet confirmed whether (a) Gawrys would cue-bid a SECOND-round club control, and (b) whether a redouble by Klukowski would indicate FIRST-round control, or © whether he might pass the double with the club king to see whether Gawrys could redouble to show the ace - or a void)“had to” have a H control as he had only one diamond honor and was missing the spade queen. But the counter-argument may be stronger: with the cards Gawrys needed for slam (in spades or diamonds) Klukowski would bid again over a signoff by Gawrys.

While there is apparently plenty of support for the current ruling process (no appeal, survey of expert opinion by the TD, possible later review by a single reviewer for imperfect survey wording) we are asked to take it on faith that (a) the correct questions and accurate scenario were presented by the TD to the “panel” and (b) the experts sampled were suitable for the instant case, and © in the absence of a written summary the matter has been resolved properly.
Oct. 10, 2015
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The first 20 minutes seemed promising and open but I had to leave - you're all saying the Polish situation was not made any more transparent and we don't know whether the evidence was offered the PBU and deemed by its executive to be insufficient to withdraw its team. It's a shame that this case remains shrouded in mystery. If only Balicki had paid all those parking tickets . . .
Sept. 29, 2015
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