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All comments by Laura Woodruff
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Goodness me, I'm staggered by the hostility in some of the comments on this site. It's not so much what is said as the tone in which it is said. Can people not keep their tempers and comment calmly and rationally? Is there a sub-text here of which I'm not aware?
Sept. 7, 2015
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It occurs to me, having posted my previous comment, that a recent incident of the same kind has occurred, and was dealt with by the WBF (if my reading of the reports is right - I didn't take much notice of the coughing doctors beyond the initial hoo-hah). That being so, would it not be appropriate for the EBL or WBF to conduct the hearing?
Sept. 7, 2015
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Hi Roy, it's fine now that I can see the whole thread. It was just that I received Roger's comment by email, so couldn't see that the ‘dumb’ remark referred to something else on the page. I was most puzzled, not knowing what I had done to deserve the epithet.

I do indeed see a problem with the IBF's organising the enquiry, and not only on account of potential conflicts of interest or previous convictions under their auspices. If the accused pair were to be found not guilty by the IBF, would the rest of the professional and international bridge community be satisfied with this outcome and prepared to accept the exonerated players back into the fold? It seems unlikely, yet acceptance by the parties of the verdict of a tribunal is axiomatic in proceedings of this kind.

Moreover, the accusations refer, not to any event organised by or held under the aegis of the IBF, but to the 2014 European Championships and to the Spingold; it would therefore seem appropriate for either the EBL or the ACBL to conduct the process; or, possibly, since the events for which evidence is available cross zonal boundaries, the WBF itself. Unfortunately, neither the WBF nor EBL appears to have foreseen the possibility of cross-zonal cheating at this level, and their (identical) disciplinary codes make it clear that they will not involve themselves in disciplinary actions against NBO members, as opposed to NBOs themselves. It seems extraordinary to me that these bodies should have barred themselves from exercising disciplinary functions in respect of breaches of the Laws occurring during their own events.

Would the ACBL be able to take account of evidence from tournaments held elsewhere? Would Messrs Fisher and Schwartz recognise the authority of the ACBL in respect of incidents occurring outside its jurisdiction?

If not, would the parties agree to a neutral tribunal (Switzerland springs to mind, or possibly New Zealand, though that's rather a long way away)? Who would meet the costs of transporting and accommodating the judges to the witnesses or vice versa?

I suppose the IBF could formally delegate the proceedings to another NBO, in which case the players wouldn't be able to refuse to accept its competence to try them.

It is astonishing to me that the WBF and Zonal Organisations should have failed to anticipate an action of this kind and at this level and arising at least in part) out of a Zonal or World event. Even if the umbrella organisations didn't want to involve themselves in disciplinary proceedings against individuals, they should surely have set in place a protocol for dealing with cross-boundary (national or zonal) incidents.
Sept. 7, 2015
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Oh, I see. Unfortunately, when I received the email notification of your comment I couldn't see Roy's. It's probably best to avoid references of this kind, for that reason.
Sept. 7, 2015
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Unless, of course, you're accusing me of being ‘dumb’, which you presumably used in the American sense of ‘stupid’.
Sept. 7, 2015
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I didn't say “dumb enough to flippantly regard”.
Sept. 7, 2015
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There seems to be some confusion here about the nature of due process (or natural justice if you prefer). There is no inherent conflict between an accusation laid by an individual and natural justice, provided the individual who has laid the accusation is not also part of the tribunal trying the case. Since Boye will not be either prosecuting or judging the case, his accusations are at present just that: accusations. The fact that some of the evidence is in the public domain does not contaminate the judicial (or quasi-judicial) process, provided the judges or jurors do not reach a conclusion as to Fisher and Schwartz's guilt until they have heard both prosecution and defence and examined and considered all the available evidence from both sides.

This discussion on bridgewinners is simply the equivalent of a good old chat in the pub about someone who's been arrested for a very public crime. None of us has any standing in the matter (if we had been appointed to the disciplinary panel, it would of course be quite improper for us to be commenting here).

Admittedly it may be difficult to form a disciplinary panel whose members have not already seen and considered the evidence published to date; but no one has yet heard the defence's rebuttal of the charges, and provided the members of the disciplinary tribunal retain an open mind and have no stake in the outcome, justice can still be served.
Sept. 7, 2015
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“… bloggers/posters were ready to convict on Boye's say-so. Wouldn't that qualify for a lynch-mob approach?”

I don't think that's right, Jols. They were ready to convict because many of them already knew, or at least strongly suspected, and Boye's announcement simply took the cork out of the bottle. It was also important for fellow professionals and internationals to show support for Boye, who had taken an enormous professional and personal risk. Finally, even amateurs like me would immediately have realised that someone in Boye's position would not have taken such a step without overwhelming evidence.

That's not quite the same as convicting on Boye's say-so, is it?
Sept. 6, 2015
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That seems a sensible decision.

As to who should be promoted, has the EBL not already got a policy and procedure for dealing with this sort of thing? If not, they should have - the problem was foreseeable. In principle, though, unless the disciplinary process has been completed, the Israelis have been found guilty (please note I am not assuming they will be) and their Euro 2014 results voided, it seems fairly clear that the next-placed team should be promoted. It may not be completely fair, but it would conform with the normal principles of other legal and quasi-legal processes: for example, if caught drink-driving, one may continue to drive until one has been found guilty in court; and Israel's withdrawal is hence the same as a withdrawal for any other reason.
Sept. 5, 2015
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Yes, “ During a match the players may converse only in English unless both captains (in team games) or all four players at the table (in pairs events) agree to use some other common language at their own risk.” I have once or twice played a match in French, because the opponents' English was worse than my French. I don't think we bothered consulting our captains, because we didn't know in advance. It's unlikely, however, that anyone passing UI in French would remain undetected - enough people understand enough of it that someone would twig. Hebrew is a different matter, as is Hungarian, for example.
Sept. 3, 2015
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I do ask my opponents to comply with the rules. I'm just pointing out that it can be quite awkward, and some players, especially those who have not played in international competition before, hesitate to enforce non-bridge rules such as the English requirement, for fear of appearing rude or hostile. Any TD who overhears a non-English conversation at the table should presumably be enforcing the rule whether or not an opponent has asked for it to be enforced. Everyone should, however, be complying with the rule without being asked.
Sept. 3, 2015
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There is a good reason why the WBF insists on an official language, which is (also for good reason and conveniently for me) English. If the rule about conversing only in English were strictly enforced, it would at least allay suspicion, and at best would prevent covert discussion. It's quite difficult for a player at the table to say to opponents “Please speak in English” without sounding hostile or even Blimpish if the player making the request is a native English-speaker. I'm not offering any suggestions as to how the rule might better be enforced, merely proposing that it should be.
Sept. 3, 2015
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