Cam French

Stand Tall

Burton Cummings – Stand Tall


You just won a tournament, a title, a National Championship or a Bermuda Bowl. You are basking in the glory.

To your horror you later discover you had cheating team mates at the other table. You were cheated too.

Now we will further presume you had no idea that this partnership cheated, because if you did you would never have played with them in the first place. But you did. Through their unlawful acts your entire team has been tarnished. You cheated (albeit unwillingly) and won. Period.

Would you toss your unlawfully won title back?

I asked many experts this question from Grant Baze to Paul Soloway and they all said what you would expect them to say. Grant once found and reported a scoring error that dropped him from (if I recall) winning the event to fifth or sixth place. To him, it was a no-brainer. It really isn’t that tough. Do you really wish to retain an unlawfully title?

Capp’s team and Norfolk are not the only ones impacted by this. This happens more often that you can imagine, scoring errors (not exactly cheating) but if you knew you lost 9 imps on the board and the opposition has you winning 3, you fail to explore the truth, you are cheating your opponents and the game.

In my local unit, I recall a team captain reporting a false score (the other team had an error in his favour) and he submitted a false slip, having failed to reconcile the difference. Unfortunately for him, they discovered their error, and reported it. Soon the miscreant was sitting out a 30 day suspension. This is different obviously, but why someone would do that just puzzles me. I mean do they forget this is a game based upon ethics and integrity? I guess the sad reality it yes – they choose to forget.

So, with (unknown to you) cheating team mates at the other table – you score a victory. Would you toss it back when you learn the painful truth?

I am going to step out on a limb and speculate that precious few would say no. I think I am on terra firma with that guess. Which begs the obvious question – why can’t Sternberg, Sontag and Weichsel toss theirs back? Are they just embarassed, or do they consider it a lawful victory or are they simply above the spirit and letter of the laws? I don’t pretend to know. Maybe they can weigh in and enlighten us all.

Maybe a little of of all the above.

We deserve better. The game deserves better from two of its superstars.

And if pointing the finger at those who benefit from cheaters makes me look bad, well, so be it. They should be ashamed of themselves. Stand tall or stand down. As Al Roth would say – what is the problem?

Well would you or wouldn’t you?




John GowdyOctober 5th, 2011 at 4:51 am

Well lets see… I won something and I hear that our team mates had a hesitation blackwood auction that won us the event.

I am on record saying that this kind of result should not be allowed.

Or perhaps my partner in the retelling of how he made 3NT says he saw the key card card in LHO..

Should I kick back the win?

What if I played with a pair who was not convicted

but whose reputation has just now come under question… should I wait untill they admit to cheating (or get caught) before renouncing the win?

A very slippery slope and not one I care to walk.

Take care of your table/partnership and I guess watch with whom you play

Jim FoxOctober 5th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

What’s the problem is right. If I found out this happened, not only would I not accept the championship, but I would blast my teammates, verbally, if not physically, from here to kingdom come.

Should be auto.

I also have a problem with people who make a big thing of never posting or blogging again, but then keep showing up.

CamOctober 5th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Hi Jim,

I accept that shot.

Never say never. This (the CD story)consumed three years of my life. I have moved on.

I think I have the right to weigh in occasionally. I earned it.

And yes, I have moved on. Other fish to fry.

TY for your comment. This (now) is an occasional distraction versus a daily grind.

And BTW I have no problem with someone who never posted before on my blog suddenly deciding to do so. Welcome.

Was it a “big thing”? Wow, glad to hear you were chagrined at my “retirement”. Like Chucky – “I’m BACK”, if only on occasion. 🙂



Not an ExpertOctober 5th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I think this really ought to be an official decision, not a player decision.

If they’re known cheaters, their awards/wins should be expunged, along with their teammates, unfortunately.

I think it is easy to put this on the players, and maybe they ought to step up, but the real people who ought to step up are the organizing bodies to address the issue.

I think it places players in an untenable position if there is no formal process. They either damn themselves by rejecting awards that may be legitimate in the interests of appearing clean, or they damn themselves by not rejecting awards that could be tainted.

I don’t think placing innocent players in that position is of any benefit to the game.

Cam FrenchOctober 7th, 2011 at 12:17 am

Dear Not-An Expert,

If your team wins through cheating, like it or not you become part of that package. Remember the Black Sox scandal. Shoeless Joe does. This title was unlawfully won, of that there is NO question.

And yes, the League should have performed to a much higher standard. Ron Feldman said “the LEAGUE broke a fiduciary trust with its members”. When the League lies, thwarts restorative justice, it diminishes itself. No one wants to go back there – Bobby was right – “too painful” for some. Especially those who failed to acquit themselves with distinction.

Let’s remember this is a game based on ethics and proprieties. This case suggests those attributes were AWOL by all parties.

There is an onus upon the player like it or not to do the right thing. For example, if you discovered (as happened here in Toronto) that your partner was bringing a prearranged fixed deal to a team match, would arrive early, insert his hand into a board, and then pull off a nice transfer the threat double squeeze, the onus is on you to report him. Period.

Would you want an unlawfully won trophy on your mantelpiece?

When I win the Singold, unless my partner is Hamman, you better be suspicious – hell even if it is Hamman – I don’t have the talent. So when Cokin and Sion “compensated” for their lesser talent than their counterparts, they cheated the field, the game, everything. It is beyond the pale.

How others could retain that simply escapes me. I hope someone can enlighten us all. Please do.

I don’t see much standing tall. I see a lot of lying low and ducking for cover. Shame.


Not an ExpertOctober 8th, 2011 at 12:03 am

But you’re asking the players to take the role of judge and jury for their partner.

That’s not their job. That’s the league’s job.

I think your invective is misplaced. It is the organization, not the players, who should act.

John Howard GibsonOctober 9th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

HBJ : As I have always maintained cheats in any other major sport are stripped of the ill-gotten titles and gold medals straightaway. The honourable thing to do is for all concerned in this team to hand back the title to those who would have won it BUT FOR THE CHEATING. Then if this doesn’t happen the governing body should step in and publicly humiliate this lot by formally announcing to the world, that stripping of this title was necessary act in the interests of preserving the integrity of the game. If this doesn’t happen the game of bridge has no integrity left.

These other 3 players who naively bask in their own innocence must be complete areseholes fools. In law they are the equivalent of ACCOMPLICES AFTER THE FACT in that they now know of a crime but choose to remain silent ( and disassociated from it ). Heavens knows how they can live themselves possessing the STOLEN CONTRABAND and refusing to give it up.

Finally, I admire you as much as I do Judy for relentlessly keeping up a campaign for justice, because eventuality it will arrive if the pressure is maintained.

Cam FrenchOctober 9th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

To Not an Expert I ask – where are the ethics of the heist’s car drivers? (Sontag/Weichsel/Sternberg)

If you drive the getaway car for the bank heist and share in the spoils, you are just as guilty as those who pointed the guns.

They retain an unlawfully won title. Doing so diminshes their standing. I mean really – you can carp at the League all you want and yes they deserve a kick in the derriere, but these guys?

Pathetic. This is a game of ethics and a section of the rule book is called “Proprieties”. Where are theirs?

Let’s see somone stand tall. I won’t be holding my breath. And why can’t you post under your own name? Just asking…….


Not an ExpertOctober 10th, 2011 at 11:50 am

I can see where others suggest you give it a rest.

Whether it is an unlawfully won trophy is a decision of the organization, not the innocent partners.

You seem to have decided that since the organization has abdicated its responsibilities that a lynching will do instead. The answer remains: Get the organization to shoulder its responsibilities.

Cam FrenchOctober 14th, 2011 at 11:15 pm

To Not and Expert;

You clearly are not an expert, at least not in the field of ethics. More likely a coward who cannot even post his name. Note than everyone but you (on this commentary for example) has no problem stating their name.

Why do you hide behind anonymity?

The bridge universe (yes that includes experts) would throw unlawfully won titles back, but no – you (like Peter Weichsel said to me) “ask the league.” Sontag was more direct – he said “fornicate yourself.” It is a better answer than his partner’s.

The League was horrific, no doubt. That does not absolve the players in question. If you won an unlawfully obtained title – would you throw it back? Or would you wait for toothless laws to try to take it back from you?

You bring up “invective” and “lynching” and refuse to post by your own name.

You are quick to position the blame and absolve those who share in the culpability.

Post under a real name or hide behind a facade. Your call. Your anonymity diminishes your voice.

I asked everyone from Grant to Paul – would you throw back a title if to your horror you discovered it was obtained through cheating?

You can imagine they all said yes, and Grant (for one) found a scoring error in his favour but reported it, and it dropped him from 1/2 to sixth.

The elite are for the most part very ethical. They want to win fair and square, resent being cheated and would be horrified to be affiliated with cheating team mates.

So unless you care to post your name – please don’t insult us with more drivel. The league can only be as strong as its members, and in this sordid case – our members AND our League were derelict in their duties.

Why would such superstar players who want to win fairly (recall the Lancia cars?) keep an unlawfully won title?

There is no answer and doffing it off on the league is buck-passing at its worst.

Stand tall, post your name or stand down and get a life. You want to lie in bed with cheaters? Be my guest.

“I can see where others suggest you give it a rest.” LOL. Would that work better for for you? Don’t like people calling a spade a spade? Get your own blog. Leave mine alone unless you have a real name.

And for the record, I welcome diverse opinions. When you slag behind the brick wall, you are a coward. Step up and stand tall or shut up.


There now I feel better having got that off my chest. Anonymous coward! 🙂

John Howard GibsonOctober 25th, 2011 at 9:50 am

HBJ : Please read my latest blog ( dated 25/10 ) …I’m sure it will strike a favourable chord with you.

Cam FrenchOctober 30th, 2011 at 7:12 pm


I read your blog, enjoyed it and posted there. Thank you for the kind comments.

I am not so sure that “eventuality it will arrive if the pressure is maintained.”

1) it is difficult to maintain the pressure and

2) A lot of the expert community just doesn’t give a hoot.

Sadly I doubt it which was why I approached them to see how they feel. let’s just say they are happy to retain their loot and less than enthused about anyone who dared to question that. Shoot the messenger.

Thank you for caring and expressing your outrage and support.


Selah BectonJanuary 15th, 2012 at 8:35 am

Thanks again for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

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