All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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For those interested, I have been updating http://www.detectingcheatinginbridge.com/statistics.html after each day of play.
Sept. 25, 2019
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I have 138 boards for Chiaradia/D'Alelio on lead. Their error rate (bad lead according to double dummy) was 24.6%. Far higher than their contemporaries and today's players. If they were cheating on opening lead, they were not doing it very well.
Sept. 25, 2019
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@Richard. I have 39 deals with Roth declaring against the Italians. On 8 of them he made an “overtrick”, one or more than the contract. But this is not a good usage of the term in this context IMHO. For example 4+1 or 2+1 is an “overtrick”. Either way, I still rate Roth's claim as false.

Here's an example:
http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?n=sK5hAQ76542dQ43c4&e=sA106h8dKJ875cAQ53&s=sQJ943hK103d10cK876&w=s872hJ9dA962cJ1092&d=W&nn=Tobias%20Stone&en=Pietro%20Forquet&sn=Al%20Roth&wn=Guglielmo%20Siniscalco&d=w&b=16&v=e&a=PP1D2SPPP&p=DA
At the other table:
Sept. 25, 2019
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I devote ten pages about opening leads in my book. The range for top pairs (> 400 boards) is 15%-23%. Figures 50 and 51 from my book. The Italians are within the range. The graph follows a normal distribution. There are some outliers. I would not read anything into the statement about 16-21%. If anything, the pair that is at 21% is worse than average.
Sept. 25, 2019
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Top level players give up a trick on average 19% of the time on opening lead.

The Italians he played against are in the 16%-21% range.

I have Roth declaring 39 hands in the 1958 and 1967 Bermuda Bowl when playing against the Italians. In 6 of those boards, he made an “overtrick” (which I will define as one more than Double Dummy allows). Two of them were because of the opening lead; the other four came during the play of the hand.

Roth did not have the advantage of double dummy analysis and computers when he made his statement. These are his overtrick boards:

1958 (no play details)
Segment 6, boards 94, 99, 109
Segment 7, board 121

1967

Top players make an “overtrick” approximately 25% of the time.

Roth was only 15% against the Italians.

I rate Roth's claim as FALSE.
Sept. 24, 2019
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Sometimes there are assigned scores. 288 is a multiple of 16 (x 18). Just guessing as to reason.
Sept. 22, 2019
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I've published statistics from the Vugraph data for each pair on how they defended after the opening lead. This is a good test of how well the partnership is working on defense. See http://www.detectingcheatinginbridge.com/statistics.html. Only 33 pairs had enough boards (94) to qualify for the list. Moss/Lall ranked #31 of these 33 pairs.
Sept. 22, 2019
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“I played against the King of Bridge journalism”, Tom said regally.
Sept. 21, 2019
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Something like that.

The point was that Helgemo didn't play as well as he normally does.

However, statisticians will point out that there isn't enough data for true analysis.

I'm offering you both sides of the coin.
Sept. 20, 2019
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@Daivd: Familiarity. Laziness. Don't really like them (results presentation). I generally use Tor if I know I'll be searching for things I want to avoid ads on.
Sept. 18, 2019
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“I should be playing another game”, said Tom w(h)istfully.
Sept. 18, 2019
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@Espen: Full details of the drug(s) he was taking are posted at http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/anti-doping-violation-by-geir-helgemo-results-in-team-zimmerman-disqualification-from-orlando-rosenblum-cup/

WADA _requires_ all IFs to publish details on all failed tests. No privacy at all. If you agree to play in the main WBF events, you give up your medical privacy.

Helgemo was taking “Clomifene and synthetic Testosterone”. Clomiifene is often sold under the name “Clomid”.

There's a lot of discussion on the link I provide about what these drugs do along with a lot of inaccurate speculation.

The real reason why he was taking those drugs should be a private matter and should remain so; unfortunately it is semi-public knowledge, which makes this case even more tragic. Talk to a medical professional and they will explain what the combination is typically used for.

The WADA issue is that these drugs have been shown to improve certain performance. For example, see https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03028532

To oversimplify: “After a man reaches the age of 30 years, testosterone levels gradually decrease, falling an average of one percent each year.” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266749.php), Men start their andropause around age 30. For some men, this can present as a “mental fog”. Difficulty remembering things, lack of focus/concentration. Here is a sample site: https://evexiasmedical.com/andropause-may-affect-how-you-feel/.

The drugs listed can improve the “mental fog”, concentration issues of andropause.

Now that I've spent 30 minutes searching for some of the above on Google, I'm starting to get some very weird ads, so I suggest using Tor (the browser, not the player) to visit these URLs.
Sept. 17, 2019
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Sept. 17, 2019
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@Espen: WADA provide a template for International Federations (IF). This makes logical sense. Each IF can then use those rules with minimal changes and without having to spend large sums and create a policy. It is logical for WBF to use this template. The fact that someone at WBF read the policy and added something specific for Bridge is a positive, not a negative. The rules are clearly defined for an individual or team in the WADA template. Someone added a rule to cover pair events.
Sept. 17, 2019
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@Greg. It is getting into semantics. Was Helgemo's test “In competition” or “during or in connection with an Event”? There are different rules. If the first, the team is automatically disqualified. If the latter, WBF has discretion.

The WBF rules are at http://www.worldbridge.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/wbfantidopingregulations.pdf

11.2.1 An anti-doping rule violation committed by a member of a team in connection with an In-Competition test, automatically leads to Disqualification of the result obtained by the team in that Competition , with all resulting consequences for the team and its members, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.
11.2.2 An anti-doping rule violation committed by a member of a team occurring during or in connection with an Event may lead to Disqualification of all of the results obtained by the team in that Event with all consequences for the team and its members, including forfeiture of all medals, points and prizes, except as provided in Article 11.2.3.
11.2.3 Where a Player who is a member of a team committed an anti-doping rule violation during or in connection with one Competition in an Event, if the other member(s) of the team establish(es) that he/she/they bear(s) No Fault or Negligence for that violation, the results of the team in any other Competition(s) in that Event shall not be Disqualified unless the results of the team in the Competition(s) other than the Competition in which the anti-doping rule violation occurred were likely to have been affected by the Player's anti-doping rule violation.
11.2.4 If an anti-doping rule violation is committed by a member of a Pair this automatically leads to Disqualification of the result obtained by the Pair in that Competition, with all resulting consequences for the pair including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

11.2.1-11.2.3 are boilerplate from WADA recommendations for International Federations. 11.2.4 is a WBF addition.

If reliable sources (Jan Martel) are to be believed, then Helgemo's test was on the evening of the first day of the final.

Is this an “In-Competition” test and 11.2.1 must apply; or is this “during… event” and 11.2.2 applies.
Sept. 17, 2019
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The original post stated, “The Anti-Doping Tribunal found that the doping violation had not influenced the performance of the player”.

How?

What criteria did they use?

Who did the work?

AFAIK, I am the only person with any software that can measure the performance of a player. I generally use the software to detect cheating, but it can also detect changes in performance (one of the markers for a cheating pair, or when a cheating pair stops cheating). It can also be used for coaching, to find the weaknesses in someone's game for improvement.

So…. I was curious… I ran the results through Bridgescore+. Did Mr. Helgemo perform differently at the Orlando 2018 tournament?

The answer is yes (*).

Here's the details…

First, the usual caveat, in determining performance a small set of boards is usually not enough to perform rigorous statistical analysis. The number of boards for this sample is below the threshold that I typically use for evaluating a player's performance. Some of the tests I use require a large number of boards. Some require smaller.

I looked at their lifetime values, pre-2015, post-2015 and from Orlando. There is a significant difference for some top pairs from before 2015 and after 2015. Helgemo/Helness (HH) have similar data before/after 2015.

I have 264 boards for Helgemo/Helness for Orlando. This is data from Vugraph. Lifetime I have almost 6800 boards.

See my book (www.detectingcheatinginbridge.com) for more details on the functions.

Their declarer rating for this tournament (1.43) was less than their lifetime declarer rating (1.55). A higher value is better.

Their defense rating for this tournament (1.21) was higher than their lifetime defensive rating (1.03). A lower value is better.

These numbers are meaningless without context. I took the top 100 pairs based on amount of data from top tournaments. I then rank them by their declarer rating. HH are #12. If I use their values from Orlando, they would rank #44.

I do the same but with the defense rating. Lifetime they are #22. One may expect higher from a top pair but #4 is Fisher/Schwartz, #5 is Fantoni/Nunes, #6 is Buratti/Lanzarotti, #7 is Piekarek/Smirnov, #9 is Balicki/Zmudzinski. If I use their defensive rating from Orlando they would rank #61. Before you ask, pairs #1, #2, #3 are simply brilliant bridge players who, lifetime, have defended better than those players I just listed.

In other words, HH declared worse and defended worse than normal.

Helgemo's lifetime declarer rating is 1.78 (13). Helness is 1.37 (103). The number in the brackets is the ranking of the top 200 players (from the top 100 pairs).

For Orlando, Helgemo's rating was 1.36, Helness was 1.5.

I look at another statistic. How many (compared to Double Dummy) errors did they make as declarer. In both cases, HH each made fewer mistakes when declaring than their lifetime average. You may be puzzled why this appears to contradict the values above for Helgemo (not Helness). Each function tests something different. Very simplified: the rating value increases as the defenders make more mistakes, declarer “flair” so to speak. The double dummy statistic reflects accuracy of card play. Lifetime both Helgemo and Helness have very similar double dummy declarer error rates. For Orlando, Helgemo made fewer mistakes than Helness and had a higher increase.

Next, I look at their individual performance while defending. Helness was consistent. Same rating that he has had lifetime. Helgemo was worse. Quite a big drop (relatively). Helgemo made more defensive mistakes than usual.

What about opening leads. Helgemo was worse on opening leads than normal. Helness better. BUT…. there are only 74 boards with Helgemo on lead, 58 with Helness on lead. Doing statistics with small numbers like this is incorrect.

The bidding is more complicated to analyze so I haven't.

Summary:

There is probably not enough boards to pass rigorous statistical standards.

Helgemo played worse than he usually does, particularly on defense. Helness was consistent compared to his lifetime.

Does this prove anything?

Absolutely not.

Any player's performance in a tournament can be affected by many factors. You cannot necessarily make any correlations with any drugs he/she may be taking.

From my book (page 108)

“With another pair, I noticed significant dips in playing ability during certain time periods. When I talked with the coach to try to understand the results, it appears I had detected when one of the players was having an affair and a subsequent divorce. The tools really do detect cheating! Imagine the impact on top level bridge if I started publishing that data…”

(Just to be clear, the player I referenced in the book is not Helgemo or Helness).
Sept. 17, 2019
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The original post stated, “The Anti-Doping Tribunal found that the doping violation had not influenced the performance of the player”.

Who or what is the “Anti-Doping Tribunal”?

I can find no reference to an Anti-Doping Tribunal. The first and only reference to the WBF Anti-Doping Tribunal is in the press release.

Who is on the Anti-Doping Tribunal? What are their qualifications.

Who appoints people to the Anti-Doping Tribunal?

The press release raises far more questions than it answers.
Sept. 17, 2019
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The original article stated, “The decision has been endorsed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

This was puzzling for me. IANAL. CAS exists to resolve disputes. It is not an advisory or an endorsement board. I cannot find any reference on the CAS site to this endorsement.

Can anyone provide details on who at CAS made this endorsement?

When did the WBF make this request to CAS?

Presumably it must have happened after the “Anti-Doping Tribunal” and before the WBF Executive committee.

Sept. 17, 2019
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Several comments, some of them long, so I will post separately.

http://www.worldbridge.org/rules-regulations/anti-doping-regulations/ has the WBF anti-doping rules. They went into effect on January 1, 2015.

http://www.worldbridge.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Players_guidelines.pdf has the player guidelines.

According to this document, which was published before the event in question, page 2,
"Whether or not substances are expected to affect performance is bridge is irrelevant. If they are on the WADA prohibited list then they may not be used without a TUE (Therapeutic Exemption Certificate) “

The bolding is in the original document.

(For the conspiracy theorists, when you have a url with ‘2018/05’ you automatically assume that this file was uploaded in 2018. Possibly in May (05). For this file it appears that it was most recently updated on May 20, 2019; after the Orlando competition. Whenever you are dealing with a ”living" file, it is normal to include a version number and date in the body so that it is clear when the file was changed. Those are missing from the Player Guidelines document. My comments are assuming that this file has not changed in substance since May 2018 though clearly the current version is a later file. If you are a player, this means that you are responsible for downloading the current version of the file each time you play - looks like WBF may choose to update older documents with newer rules. Nice.)))
Sept. 17, 2019
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Sept. 17, 2019
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I think you meant to write “Bridge player” and not “Sumo wrestler”. Bridge does have a precedent with Disa and a diet drug at the Montreal 2002 event. See https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/canada/1406037/Bridge-player-is-stripped-of-medal-for-refusing-drug-test.html.

In this instance she was not awarded the medal, the team was allowed to keep theirs.

The difference between 2002 and 2018 is that the WBF now has rules in place for what happens if a player on a team fails a drug test.
Sept. 17, 2019
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