Cam French

Collateral Damage I

Prologue

I recalled hearing second hand about Zeke Jabbour and his teammates being cheated out of some National Championship. It turns out that the venue was the Spring NABCs; hosted by Norfolk, Virginia in March of 1979 nearly thirty, yes 30 years ago. I do not and did not know Zeke, nor any of his teammates.  I learned about this cheating incident from Zeke’s spouse Sharon, whom I met through bridge some twenty five years ago when she lived in Toronto. I asked her to ask Zeke about the incident. Zeke contacted me, and he shared some insights. He provided two email addresses: Mike Cappelletti Sr. and Alan Falk.  It occurred to me that I might want to write about this, if it was a compelling story. Little did I know. Less, did I understand. One thing led to another and two years later, here we are. The plot is rich in duplicity, money, greed, politics, power, incompetence and treachery. There is cheating, lawsuits, damaged reputations, anger and resentment. In short, all the requisite attributes of an intriguing story.

Many bridge experts offered opinions, insight, ideas and more. It was a special thrill for me to liaise with some of the best bridge players in the world. These included such luminaries as Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Chip Martel, Harold Feldheim, Eric Kokish, Grant Baze, Danny Kleinman, Kit Woolsey and more. Many experts and a few ACBL insiders were eager to offer encouragement but did not wish to see their names in print. Accreditation has been made where possible, and if someone asked not to be on the record, that request was honoured. (sic) And a few, including Woolsey (after helping me) made it clear that I was "flogging a dead horse" and he was uninterested in further dialogue. And that is fine. Bridge is a game of ego, and we all have it. The meek may inherit the earth, but they will not win many bridge titles.

The team that had been declared the winners of the Men’s BAM event in Norfolk, 1979 included: Dr. Jim Sternberg, Allan Cokin, Steve Sion, Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel. The team that finished second included Zeke Jabbour, Gary Hann, David Hoffner, Mike Cappelletti, Sr., David Sacks, and Ron Feldman. Both Sacks and Feldman have namesakes in the ACBL who are accomplished bridge players in other geographic locales.

The crux of this cheating scandal is that the first place team (Sternberg) actually cheated the second place team (Hann) directly, and the cause and effect was that because the scoring was Board-A-Match, meaning “win-loss”, the winning team benefited by “winning” a bridge hand through cheating, because the second place team (Hann) would have been victorious. In other words, the effect of the cheating was direct and clear-cut. Interestingly, the non-offending team asked for a committee on a timely basis and for reasons which shall become clear – were denied the same. A further point of interest is the cover-up and denial of the League to prevent at all costs an accounting of what really transpired.

I confess a couple of surprises. First off was the lack of bitterness from the cheated team. Jabbour in particular was adamant that this was never about their team, but an episode which stained the game. I was told more than once -“just the facts”. When Feldman asked me how he and his team could thank me for my efforts in bringing their story to the light of day after nearly thirty (30) years, I told him that if the story succeeded in effective change, then I would like to be named retroactive NPC. He laughed and called it a “done deal”. My gain has been through new friendships and hopefully I will have the chance to develop them one day. There is also a certain satisfaction in telling a story. This one, given its sordid past, where so many thought it would never be told brings a little extra gratification for that reason alone.

Another surprise was the bridge expert community. The majority was forthcoming and agreed that it was a story that should come out. One expert was fearful of the potential damage to his reputation. Many were modestly encouraging, sharing an anecdote, a contact, or a lead worthy of exploration while quietly downplaying “success”. Well if success is that the story is published, and you are reading this, that is one benchmark attained. I think success should demand a loftier threshold. The light of print is a sound starting point. If this helps begets change, be that with regards to the past, the present or the future, only then we can pop the Champagne and start to celebrate. Until then, let’s keep the bubbly on ice, share an intriguing story, and let the cards fall where they may. Just the facts, and Ron – I’m holding you to that NPC commitment.

Cam French

_______________________________________________________________________

  Acknowledgements

As the famous line goes – “There really are so many people I could thank – but the truth is, I did it all myself.”

I wish.

No, there was help from many fronts. They are listed in chronological order. And of course there are names of bridge experts, ACBL officials and bridge journalists who specifically asked that their names not be used. That has to be respected. If you want to accuse Bob Hamman or anyone else of telling me state secrets, (Bob didn’t) – call him, not me.

Zeke and Sharon Jabbour: Helped to get the ball going.

Ron Feldman: Always asking, correcting, editing, offering insight, and suggesting new leads, the driving force and for his efforts I am grateful. 

David Sacks, Mike Cappelletti: quietly encouraging. David Hoffner, Gary Hann, surprised and positive.

Fred Gitelman: Upon request Fred wrote a letter of reference on my behalf to Kit Woolsey, which in turn convinced Kit and Chip Martel to dialogue with me. Fred (and Kit) subsequently asked to be left out of the loop, a request that was granted.

Kit Woolsey and Chip Martel; both sent emails detailing their perspectives and memories about how they detected and sought to discover how Cokin/Sion were cheating.

Bobby Wolff and Bob Hamman; both were supportive of a story coming out. Both suggested it would be “unrealistic” (Hamman) and “too painful” (Wolff) to expect any scoring corrections at this late point.

Jeff Rubens: Jeff advised that this story was “highly unlikely” to be accepted for publication in The Bridge World. Since he is the head honcho at The Bridge World, I had every reason to believe him. He also shared opinions into the legalities and likelihood of the ACBL ever re-visiting this episode. He also confirmed and shared some previously published material from TBW.

Ray Lee: Ray with his beloved Linda founded www.bridgeblogging.com and provided this forum for me and other bridge writers to post. He deliberately distanced himself from all (of my) writings, but welcomed them whether he agreed with them or not. I am grateful for this forum and his invitation to join.

Alan Falk who put me on to Myles Maddox. He also enlightened me about the change to the disciplinary code. Myles Maddox who helped put me in touch with Gary Hann.

John Carruthers: John took my page one and made it an editorial on his page one of the International Bridge Press Association. (See Appendices for details)

Gary Blaiss, ACBL archivist who answered my queries with professional courtesy.

Dick Vission for his editing guidance.

My friends, for being there. But of course, that is what friends are supposed to do. I consider myself fortunate as most of my lifetime friends, I met through bridge, even if we don’t play together anymore. Hopefully this story will create a few new friends, away from and at the table.

And just so we are clear I have never met Alan Falk, Kit Woolsey, Bob Hamman, Gary Blaiss, Bobby Wolff, Jeff Rubens, Chip Martel nor most of Team Hann. To call us "friends" would be an exaggeration. And some, not just those above, had zero interest in helping me. So when I use Bob Hamman’s (or anyone else’s) name, all it means it that we dialogued, not that they were collaborative. Some weren’t, and that is anyone’s right.

Adios from the "horse-flogger",

C

________________________________________________________________________

Preamble

I have tossed and turned with whether of not to post the entire story all at once. I decided to do it one delicious morsel at a time with Chapter 1 being the opening salvo. Think of this as a restaurant meal. You get different servings at different times. Chapter I is the appetizer. Chapter II is the main course. Chapter III will be desert. Chapter IV will be the cognac.

Why not do it all at once? Well, I am hoping that by launching this into a public forum, others may have contributions that I am yet to see. The truth is, the final product is not yet complete. Is it written? Yes. Is it complete? No. I ask the readers that if they have comments, insights or criticisms to post them on the blog for all to see. No secrets.

If a reader should have pertinent insight, preferably facts supported by witnesses and/or documentation then they are invited to email me privately at:

c.jfrench@rogers.com   or

danceswithwords@rogers.com

Please put Collateral Damage in the subject line, otherwise, my filters will move you to the ever-expanding Junk folder. And I will be using English (colour, honour, calibre) versus American (color, honor, caliber) spelling as this is an international story, albeit with its roots firmly planted in America.

C

____________________________________________________________________________

Chapter I

Say It Ain’t So

Chip Martel looked from his table across the floor and wondered…could it really be? He was watching two players who had enjoyed some tremendous successes in the last couple years.  When playing against them he grew increasingly uneasy, their motions were too animated, their results too uncanny. Stranger still, when they played with other partners, none of the exaggerated animation was present.  In his mind he thought, “They’re cheating.” In his heart he hoped it was untrue. How many others had like suspicions but were unable or, more accurately, unwilling to act upon them? That question would never be answered. He would be the catalyst.

Martel decided on exploration by stealth. He confided in Kit Woolsey and asked him how to investigate without raising alarm bells. Woolsey suggested they recruit a few experts to kibitz and analyze their observations.

The kibitzer had to be someone the perpetrators knew and trusted. Brenda Blumenthal was recruited to that end. At the end of the first session Kit Woolsey, Chip Martel, Paul Lewis, Brenda Blumenthal and Marc Jacobus got together to go over Blumenthal’s observations. The trouble was, almost anything could have been a signal and Brenda was unsure what she should be looking for. Some, Woolsey included, doubted that players of this calibre would be unlawfully communicating at all, or in plain terms – cheating.

The next night, Blumenthal was more attuned to the mannerisms. She noted that they looked at their present hand, and only then wrote down the result of the previous hand. They tended to position their pencils all over the place, on the top, below, in the middle of or to the right/left hand side of the convention card. The group encouraged her to record where each player placed his pencil after looking at his hand. On the third night (and the final session of the event) she recorded where the pencils were placed. When examined with the hand records, a correlation became obvious. The pencil placement indicated shortness, on the top (for example) clubs, on the right, diamonds, and so on. When they checked the hand records, the correlation was, in Woolsey’s words, “100% accurate.”[1]

They had cracked the code. Martel’s suspicions were validated. The group was elated at this success, and simultaneously saddened that their worst fears had been confirmed. They now knew that cheaters were winning events of a National stature. How long had this been going on? How much longer would it be allowed to continue?  And of course, what should they do with that information?

Bear in mind that this team (NPC Sternberg, Sontag/Weichsel accompanied by the cheaters Cokin/Sion) had just won a National Board-a-Match event by less than one full board. Also remember that the ACBL was still reeling from the Katz/Cohen scandal. They were suing the ACBL. The League had every right to be guarded with regards to catching and prosecuting cheaters. Sadly, the League was woefully unprepared and the fallout would be catastrophic, at least for a few.

When Woolsey confirmed Sion/Cokin were cheating, he did what he should have done. He notified the director (Hamilton), and advised him that they had indeed cracked their code. This was March of 1979 at Norfolk Spring NABCs before the end of the event. He was informed that “nothing could be done” until the next National event, scheduled for July in Vegas. Hamilton asked them to keep quiet about it and they agreed. Still, Woolsey was incredulous. Nothing could be done? Why not? What protections are in place for bridge players who have to play these cheaters in the meantime? What happens to the teams who were cheated here at this event? The short answer was – nothing. Jabbour and his team mates were designated as collateral damage.

David Sacks is reviewing his team’s results in the Men’s BAM at Norfolk. They played fabulously, only to be caught at the wrong end of photo finish. Paul Soloway walks past the second place team. Sacks stops Soloway and asks him for his opinion of a bridge hand he played versus Sion and Cokin. Soloway did not even wait for Sacks to recant the bridge hand[2]. Instead he instructs Sacks to find the tournament director and to report immediately the hand and circumstances therein. Ask for a committee.

If he had wanted to hear the facts, or had been a member of this prospective committee; Soloway and the bridge public would have learned the following:

1) With five rounds to go in the final session of the event, Sion had made a highly unusual opening lead against Sacks.

2) Prior to the final session, Sion and Cokin and their team had a commanding lead over all of the other teams.

3) Sion and his partner Allan Cokin were having a good final session.

4) Their teammates, Alan Sontag and Peter Weichsel were one of the most successful bridge partnerships in the world.

5) Given the Board-A-Match scoring, it would be unfathomable to make an extraordinary opening lead, particularly under such circumstances. 

6) The expert sees evidence in a different light than does the layman. He or she knows (like poker and other games of probability) that you win by consistency. To put it in golf terms, you don’t need to hit a hole-in-one every par three. You do need to hit the greens in regulation and stay out of the hazards. Cokin and Sion, upon further scrutiny were scoring a disproportionate number  of “holes-in-one”. According to Alan Truscott in a story in the NYT dated 7/11/99  in 1977 Sion was second and Cokin was ninth in the McKenny (now the Barry Crane 500) rankings. They finished second in the GNT Trials a year earlier 1978, albeit with different team mates. Here they were winning a major National event. To be kind, their modest (expert) rank did not match their extraordinary results. Something was rotten and this was America, not Denmark.

7) And if the ACBL had come clean, they would have had eyewitness testimony verifying the fact that Cokin and Sion where cheating in this event. (That is a big if, and it did not happen.)

At the BAM event, Sacks follows Soloway’s advice, but finds the director Mike Linah less than enthusiastic about the matter. Sacks is puzzled; he thinks a committee is his right. Linah tells him that “the deal will be recorded”. What Sacks does not know is that head director Hamilton and the director on the floor Linah face a horrible predicament. The Katz/Cohen scandal[3] had shaken the foundation of the League. If Katz/Cohen had won their lawsuit, they might have bankrupted the League. They could not reveal to Sacks that a pair of bridge players (Sion and Cokin, the very pair that Sacks had just played against and wanted the committee to examine hand from), and on the winning team was under suspicion for cheating. I conclude from the telling actions of the directors, that such a secret had to be kept at all costs. And so it was.

Hamilton was told upon confirmation of cheating that a code had been broken and cheaters had just won the event. What is the likelihood he kept that knowledge to himself? Not a chance. Hamilton was a former military officer, strict in terms of protocol, by the book, no nonsense and a dedicated soldier. He knew and valued the chain of command. He was comfortable whether giving or taking orders. He knew this one had to go back to central command. When he discovers the sad truth, he calls home to Memphis for some guidance, or more likely (this is the Spring Nationals after all and all the ACBL hotshots are in attendance) walks across the hall to consult with his superiors. He talks with Richard Goldberg [4](Executive Secretary and General Manager for the ACBL) where he receives his marching orders; he has no choice to switch to “battle stations”. The advice he received must have included asking for gag order. To that extent they were fabulously successful, as over twenty five years later, their secrets were still secure. 

Why wouldn’t Linah grant Sack’s committee request? Was it not standard operating procedure to grant such in 1979? Yes, of course. I have asked a few within the ACBL and they are dodging the question. It was the norm then and for a long time thereafter. Is it not logical to conclude that they (Linah/Hamilton) had a damn good reason for bypassing protocol? That reason is: instructions from high on above, i.e.  Memphis.

The relevant point is that Sacks and his team were never afforded a Committee hearing (e.g. Conduct and Ethics Committee Hearing) at the time they registered the incident of the unusual opening lead by Sion. Consider also, that all tournament directors are salaried employees of the ACBL. On the heels of the Katz/Cohen litigation, Chief Tournament Director Hamilton was either instructed to make this go away, or decided on his own that an incident of this magnitude could expose the League to more destructive litigation. We may never know, as both John Hamilton and Mike Linah passed away years ago.

What the ACBL wanted was the proverbial smoking gun. Live on video. What could be better than indisputable and incontrovertible evidence? Did Woolsey and his colleagues have indisputable evidence in-hand at the very time this occurred? Yes. Essentially the same evidence (with another session of a few more experts kibitzing Sion/Cokin) was used to convict them in June of the same year. So was there a reason to delay? Yes and no. The League through its directors Hamilton and Linah knew cheating had adversely impacted the results at Norfolk. But their superiors, were thinking about lawsuits and litigation, not fairness and some tainted tournament results. And I understand that. Some league officials realized or imagined that this case put everything on the line starting with the very existence of the ACBL. Does that excuse their betrayal of the Membership? Hardly. But it puts it into perspective, sunglasses for a sunny day.

From a League perspective, if the appeal requested by Sacks was launched, all hell could break loose and the perpetrators might go free. Worse yet, Sion and Cokin might sue the pants off the League for their damaged reputations or inability to earn a living as professional players. As the ACBL is in effect a monopoly in terms of being the only recognized venue for a Professional Bridge Player to pursue their chosen profession, the ACBL might have been held to have violated United States Anti-Trust Laws. When some potential litigant’s lawyer mutters the words "anti-trust", knees in the boardroom start to quiver like Jell-O.

I empathize with the decisions enforced by the ACBL tournament directors to deny a committee at that time by delaying any decision on the incident at Norfolk. What I don’t get is their denials, their lies, the cover-up and the steadfast refusal to make it right. We can all empathize and forgive a mistake, but come clean, confess, and redress the wrong. Or is that too much to ask for a game that prides itself on propriety?

Certainly one can also empathize with the victims of the swindle as their appeal is deep-sixed and the League betrayed its fiduciary duty to them as members. If they had done so to buy a little time, then come back to it, restore some healing, admit that a “short-term” cover-up was necessary for the greater good, well then I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it. That said the victims of cheating were deemed to be collateral damage. And it was not just Norfolk, but a horde of past (and even worse) future events. 

It is important to note that none of Jabbour’s team ever knew the details of Woolsey and company’s reporting that they had broken a cheating code perpetrated by Sion and Cokin, who were specifically cheating by “unlawfully communicating”. These findings were absolutely congruent with the same event, the Men’s BAM teams in Norfolk, Virginia in 1979. The members of Zeke Jabbour’s team learned about these details as part of my investigation of this incident as an independent party. This secret was (to understate the obvious), well guarded.

When I shared Martel’s and Woolsey’s emails with Feldman, Cappelletti, Jabbour and Sacks they were stunned. I am guessing they experienced simultaneous joy and anger. Elation that here was proof that the League knew, chagrin that the same knowledge was withheld from them for almost three decades. How might anyone of us feel when you learned that you were cheated out of a National title, and there was proof to validate that claim?

Some, like Bobby Wolff have trouble “looking back” In the words of Mr. Wolff, who was a long time member of the ACBL Board Of Directors, noted to me in an email:

“{Revisiting the event} is too useless, not to mention painful, to all concerned.  Believe me, Cam, it is not because I am too blasé to realize just how much one National Championship could mean to a possible winner, but rather just like when anyone or any team winds up losing, …the loser might have still overcome the fact alluded to, winning is winning and losing is unfortunately still losing regardless of the shape and size.

"Trying to look at life from both sides, ‘squeaking wheels’ get more done than do ones who do not squeak.  You are quite good at it, but it is just that, this time, you are squeaking up the wrong tree.  This tree has lost its branches, is ready for some fireplace, and cannot catch rabbits anymore. You, especially, should appreciate my book due in February." {5}

I like to think I am barking (squeaking sounds too feeble) up the right tree, regardless of its "shape or size". The bigger they are, well…….I do need some wood for my fireplace, and as for catching rabbits, well, I am more partial to largemouth bass and walleye. With pearls of wisdom like "winning is winning and losing is unfortunately still losing"; I admit I don’t get it. Winning by cheating may be heralded by some as "winning"; a strange position for a game that prides itself on ethics. I am sure it is painful for Wolff and others to look back, but so what? This investigation will explore what happened then, and suggest what might happen now. Wolff is entitled to an opinion, as is any other League member. As someone who has been so involved with ethics and cheating, I had expected to find him more empathetic. Perhaps more of a "Maverick"; alas he was not. That is his right. He preferred to let sleeping dogs lie and slumber, as it were. (I love those mangled metaphors.) When the arguments validate the cheaters, is it not time to rethink priorities? Shall we stand up and say – cheaters won and there is no way you or anyone can do anything about it because it is ….."too painful"?

The League is best served by providing bridge services, tournaments, and special events for its paying Members, as it is chartered as a Non-Profit Membership Association. It does not need its limited financial resources siphoned off to fight a barrage of legal battles. So to catch these or any cheaters necessitated clear, irrefutable, indisputable proof of their hands in the cookie jar. Some in the ACBL hierarchy determined that was not going to happen without further surveillance, corroboration and, in a perfect world – video evidence. So why not get the show on the road? July was a long time away. How many Regional, National, or other bridge tournament events could or would be compromised in the meantime? Were they to be added to the growing list of collateral victims?

Yes.

The sad, simple truth is the ACBL was not ready to cope with cheating.

Some including Edgar Kaplan and Jeff Rubens writing an editorial in The Bridge World (9/79)wondered why:

“What we cannot understand, not for the life of us, is why the ACBL should have been unprepared in the first place. This is A.D. 1979, after countless scandals here and abroad, with unchecked professionalism providing greater and greater inducements to the unscrupulous. It must surely have occurred to our officials … that cheating is a possibility to be reckoned with. The point is that the League management should not have needed those four months to improvise investigative techniques. Rather, they should have been already in place at Norfolk (emphasis TBW) trained directors and observers with the capability of conducting a thorough investigation…."

Edgar and Jeff knew it, but back in ACBL HQ, not a whole lot of investigative probing was going on. In fact, it was business as usual, and Woolsey was soon to discover. Woolsey faced an unpalatable predicament. Prior to the Vegas Summer ACBL Nationals in 1979, would be the Grand National Team Trials (GNTs) in June, where he was participating. The alleged cheaters Cokin/Sion (remember they have not even been accused yet by the League) would be on one of the teams in the zonal playoffs.  Woolsey called Hamilton and told him of the problem. Hamilton repeats that there was "nothing he could do". Three months after breaking the code in Norfolk, Woolsey discovers that there were no mechanisms in place, no investigations under way, no surveillance pending that the “nothing could be done’” had been sadly prophetic. If something was being done, no one shared it with him.

What should Woolsey do now? Here he was playing for the GNT title and he knew one pair would be cheating. He decided he had no choice but to tell his team mates, and then told the Chief Tournament Director of the Zonal playoffs Jerry Machlin. No one at the ACBL had bothered to tell Machlin. Why should they? HQ was blinded,  and had no plan to so much as investigate let alone adjudicate any hearing or incident.

Woolsey shares the code. If Machlin knew, he should have switched to poker as his apparent incredulity grew with more explicit details. Machlin had a couple of local experts (equipped with the code knowledge) observe the suspect pair. Woolsey would not have to face the team in question for his first match. Woolsey and Robinson kibitzed Cokin/Sion when they were sitting out. The result was chilling as the observers were able to call off the short suit being communicated with deadly accuracy.

After that day’s play Sternberg, (Cokin, Sion, Sontag, Weichsel) won while Woolsey’s lost, the word got out. Machlin said there would be a committee meeting on the matter the next day.  There was.  The committee heard the various testimonies, and found them guilty.  The match Sternberg had won was “forfeited”, and the team they had beaten declared the winners of that match.

Another National committee meeting would follow to ascertain their continuing status within the League. The secret was finally out. Allan Cokin and Steve Sion were exposed as cheaters who had done so brazenly, with a fabulous track record of success. Their ride was over, but the story was just heating up.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

End of Chapter 1

This chapter has been edited by the author pursuant to information (specifically corrections) provided by Chip Martel and Kit Woolsey.

If you as a reader, player, director, or ACBL official have anything you would like to add I invite you to post it on this site. See below for details. If you need to talk to me in private I can be reached at:

c.jfrench@rogers.com

danceswithwords@rogers.com

Comments are invited.

Chapter II will be posted shortly.


[1] Kit Woolsey in an email to the author.

[2] Soloway hears the names of the opponents, and does not so much as enquire about the hand. Does that suggest he harbored reservations about Cokin/Sion?  One thing for sure, he wanted it “on the record”.

[3] Katz/Cohen were alleged to have ‘unlawfully communicated” through “sniffles”. They were never convicted of anything, and some, led by Danny Kleinman, thought the charges were wholly false and outrageous. They were re-instated and not allowed to play with one another.

[4] He might have talked with Leo Spivak (ACBL President) or Lee Hazen (Lawyer and eventual "prosecutor" of the charges against Cokin/Sion) or any number of Board members or National Tournament Directors. The point is, even if the paper trail is long since gone, why not have a committee when it is asked for? The answer is, someone within the ACBL hierarchy advised them to have {the plaintiffs} stand down, to appease them in any way possible and by all means do not let the word get out.

[5] (See www.masterpointpress.com should you wish to purchase The Lone Wolff, Autobiography of a Bridge Maverick).


7 Comments

MichaelApril 8th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

I enjoyed the first section. I know you aren’t publishing all at once, but any schedule for when you do plan on publishing?

Fred LernerApril 10th, 2008 at 8:26 pm

The “appetizer” was quite tasty. Can’t wait for the rest of the “meal”

lindaApril 16th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

First let me say that I think you write very well. You make it sound like a detective story.

I have become more aware of the fact that there is a significant amount of cheating taking place in bridge at the expert level.

I am not convinced that there is any reasonable recourse for any event that took place so long ago but maybe by revisiting these issues it can influence how we reduce the problem today.

I know that I have been cheated against, although at the time I didn’t even consider the possibility that people cheated. It ruins the game and we must find ways to make bridge clean.

[…]  http://cam.bridgeblogging.com/?p=9 […]

Michael Lewis IOctober 15th, 2013 at 12:33 am

As always Cam your writing is enticing and informative. Cheating at bridge undermines its very foundation and thereby demands action. To avoid taking appropriate action to protect an organization while at the same time knowingly undermining the very game it is supposed to promote is unforgivable and implicates those decision makers as complicit and enabling. Shine the light on the cockroaches always and while inevitably they may not all be caught, every one caught is a welcomed and needed sanitation.

bernard uttleyMarch 31st, 2014 at 8:13 pm

A chilling story indeed! I have come back to bridge as a means of playing a team game together with my wife. Previously I played chess at an extremely competitive level. Cheating was never part of that game.
Now we have been playing in both Switzerland and Germany where we are members of the national associations.
My point is – cheating is ruining the game. Unbelievable leads, false bidding (assisted by partner), signals, hand positions, tapping cards – you name it, it happens. I estimate, if I cheated on 5 hands out of, say, 25, I would win the tournament every time – just work it out mathematically.
So, what is the problem? This lies with the person in charge – if that person will not help the innocent, sanction the guilty etc etc this game is due for the dustbin, at least PC programs don’t resort to cheating.
The worst is clearly, this feeling, they got an unacceptable advantage over us and other members. Several of my friends have been international players and today play only social bridge as the game has become too “intense” for some players who seemingly do not know the meaning of losing honorably. As I prepare to resign from the German Bridge Association who refuse to even acknowledge my report of multiple cheating in a weekend event 3 weeks ago, I read of the latest scandal to hit German bridge.
The authorities are not doing their duty, nor are tournament directors who continually refuse to punish miscreants.
We will have to stick to social games in future, playing league or national tournaments is risible in the face of this behaviour.

Sandra Ann ScottApril 18th, 2015 at 2:23 pm

I want to buy your book. Please let me know price and where it can be bought.

Leave a comment

Your comment