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All comments by Matthias Berghaus
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Maybe it is such a subtle way that those who know (if there are any, but from other comments I believe there are) that they deem it wiser not to make it known. Maybe others not yet caught use the same method, or realize a weakness in their method? We do not need to now. Those who have to judge need to know, but they should be chosen (amongst other criteria) for their ability to keep their mouth shut.
Sept. 21, 2015
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To be exact, they got life as a pair, and ten years individually. Wladow is over 70, Elinescu over 60. But I agree with David, if they were to go to a court… On the other hand, E/W never confessed. I am no lawyer or judge, others surely are more knowledgable there.

But…

If they get X years, X being a number small enough to be meaningful in regard to their lifespan (Alex is in his early 30ies, I think, Josef is 50something), who is going to sit down at the table opposite them?

Shapiro won a title decades after the incident, with a partner (AFAIK) nobody would even begin to think of as a cheater (my conjecture, I didn`t know them personally).

Is there a sizeable probability that one of them would want to return to competitive Bridge _and_ find a partner to play with him? That may even depend on what went on. Josef has a history (there was mention of two cases. I know only one, and I am German, playing for 30 years now). Still, there is a history. Find a partner again? Difficult. There are those so far above suspicion that they may risk it, but would they be free to form a new partnership? And would they want to do so? Knowing Alex and Josef (not very well, and knowing Alex better (had you asked me then, I would have counted him among my friends. We drifted apart through his playing in Australia and elsewhere, so we lost contact, but at the few times we met we were still friendly to each other), even if I know Josef longer) I would lay long odds against Josef finding a player even at national top level, ever. I can barely envision Alex to do so, depending on what happened, what is still gong to happen re confession and so on.

I have no strong opinion on a just number of years (or life), I lack to much data for that, but the number of years of “official” ban may not be all there is to it.
Sept. 21, 2015
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I understand what you say, but how could having Israel, Monaco and Germany at the event not cause damage, even if the pairs in question had been removed? There may well be damage, as you say, but I maintain that it would have been even bigger if the teams were to play, and the cause for the removal of said pairs be known afterwards.
Sept. 20, 2015
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How can it be too early to confess? Never mind why they did so, but how can it be wrong to say so if you cheated? Would spectators and sponsors feel better if they learned after the fact that cheaters took part in the event they watched and/or financed? don`t think so….
Sept. 19, 2015
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We have been hurt by cheaters contaminating the game we love. Now we get reactions akin to paranoia, except that it is by completely sane people. But they are going to realize that this would not solve the problem. No system can be made completely foolproof, because fools are _very_ inventive. The best one will ever be able to achive is very, very safe procedures. But to what end? And at what price, financially, and more important, at what price to the game? Remove cards from a card game, players from a Bridge game, you name it, is not the solution. We can`t go on trusting everyone to be honest, true, but suspecting everyone…? That way madness lies.
Videos and inquisitive minds have taken us to the point where we are now, at a point where cheating in the documented way is no longer feasible at top level, with video documentation and so on.
We have to think about how anyone could still cheat now, and what we can do to make that impossible, sure. If we believe that cheating is forever gone we can don the fool`s cap, right now. But removing ourselves from our game can`t be right.
Sept. 15, 2015
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Well, you and me, in the long run. Who else? Each NBO has only the money of the members to work with, whether they get it by memberhip fees, marketing, or whatever. No sponsor has paid large sums to any federation bigger than, say, Monaco, and maybe not even there (I have no idea, and Monaco is my example because it is small, and Andorra is not known for Bridge). So what do you expect?

As someone else said in a different context: The good news is: we got enough money. The bad news is: at the moment it is in your pocket….
Sept. 15, 2015
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Even worse, it will always be not fine with more than half, because some people are always against whatever decision is taken, on principle….
Sept. 15, 2015
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Tony, your first hand is probably easier in Fantunes than in Standard, as you have shown 14+ anyway (not having 4 spades on this auction). 5-5 though, and three aces… Bidding could be right (especially X needs very little from pard), even if I just possibly would pass in Fantunes (which I sometimes play). I was going to write probably, but I am not so sure whether I could really get that PASS card on the tray… Still, there is much which can`t be conveyed well, such as tempo and other things one is aware of which lead to one`s conclusions. I have my experiences with the Doctors…

Edit: On further thought: No, I would not be able to pass, even if I know that it might occasionally be right.

Even if I were willing to dismiss that hand as “system” (which I am not, having seen Kit`s statistics and a few videos), your second example is unbelievable, as are Peter Fredin`s. I agree that this can`t be explained by the opening lead shenanigans, it being before said lead…
But we need not know every detail, there might be impressionable folk reading this.
Sept. 14, 2015
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I second that. Fantunes (which I play with one partner, mostly online) has its highlights and its drawbacks. We have some trouble with 2 of a major, for reasons set out elsewhere. With “additional” agreements…
As you say, every structure has pluses and minuses, and in a short match amongst equal sides the teams hitting the fewest snags has an advantage. As we have seen they are ways to obtain an advantage playing 96 or more boards. The mind boggles.

I would like to say thanks again to everyone dedicating time and energy to uncovering this.

On one hand I would like to know what it was the Dutch (?) lady saw, but I surely don`t want to be told openly so others can learn from it. I rather die from curiosity than let someone else learn what he/she should avoid…
Sept. 14, 2015
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Strictly from the curiosity department: The official tournament language of the top Belgian league was (and to my knowledge still is)…. English. There are three official languages in Belgium, French, Flemish, and German. German is spoken by very few people, and there is no club in the german-speaking part of Belgium, and the other rwo groups couldn`t agree (not uncommon there..). So the Federation agreed on a language for them.
Sept. 4, 2015
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Weeeeellll, a couple of years ago, 2010 IIRC, a fellow director (forgot who that was I have to admit) at an EBL TD event told me that he had talked to members of the Bulgarian team how they had fared against the doctors (this was about something like quarterfinals 2008 or 9…). The response he got and reported to me was “No problem. Whenever they coughed, so did we…” At that time I didn`t know what that was supposed to tell me. A couple of years later I could interpret it much better. Wish I knew then what I know now.
Sept. 3, 2015
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Lawyers in the German Bridge community have offered the opinion (not supported by any hard facts I know of) that the delay is likely because of too much work for the court, apparently a common occurence. If any reason was given the two sides keep mum about it.
Sept. 3, 2015
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Reminds me of a story, I think it was by Eddie Kantar, where he took a couple of hobby bridgers (professional athletes and other celebrities) to play a (very) short match vs. the Dallas Aces. His hobby team was allowed to look at each other`s hand before the bidding started…. Now, what else (in essence) is this signalling but looking at each other`s hands? Combine this with some competence in bidding and play, and voila…
Sept. 3, 2015
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Great job from all, especially Boye and his team, Ishmael for his analysis, and alle who helped them with it, probably too many to list without forgetting some. Some time ago I was in awe of Eddie Wold for catching the doctors, and now this…

If ever I meet some of you, the drinks are on me :)

Does anyone (probably Ish, from the amount of footage he collected and watched) know whether there is footage of F-S playing against the doctors? Pretty unlikely as they ususally played N/S themselves, but _that_ would be something to warm my heart on a cold winter day…
Sept. 2, 2015
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