Judy Kay-Wolff

DISGUSTING ‘OLD HAT’

The following blog (from Bridgevaria by Ed Hoogenkamp) appeared on our bridge blogging site

Forcing pass? ***

Sunday, 20 September 2009 07:00

The 1957 World Championship for teams in New York, USA vs. Italy. No one knew this was to be the beginning of an era, the era of the Italian Blue Team. It won its first world title that year and was virtually unbeatable until the early 1970′s. ……………………….

… and it follows with a hand deifying what I vehemently and sarcastically call “The Exalted Blue Team.” True, they featured three of the very best players in the world (Garozzo, Belladonna and Forquet) but I am getting sick and tired of the lionizing of a team that the world of bridge knows cheated for well over a decade, resulting in their fourteen consecutive dirty world championships. THERE IS NOT A TOP PLAYER (who has not self-deluded himself) IN THE WORLD ALIVE THEN OR NOW WHO WOULD NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT FACT. Blame it on their culture, their ego or the fact that their captain Albert Perroux told them in no uncertain terms that if they did not ‘help’ their partner, there were others waiting in the wings to replace them.

I speak from personal experience as my late husband, Norman Kay and many dear friends and partners who have since passed on always fought a losing uphill battle at their mercy — but there was not an iota of doubt the game the Italians were playing was hardly cricket. True, they were never charged, tried or convicted because the Powers-That-Be feared a scandal that would rock the world and knock bridge off the map and so nothing was ever done. If in doubt, get the gory details of the Burgay Tapes from the Father of Bridge, Jamie-Ortiz Patino who was the President of the WBF at the time.  (Jimmy verified the  famous Burgay Tapes by using his influence at the CIA which officially confirmed their authenticity!)

At one period in the seventies, Patino told them not to appear the following or any other year as their credentials would not be accepted. (P. S. they did not show up although he relented twice a few years apart and allowed Garozzo and Belladonna to participate in 1979 and 1983).  It is time the truth was accepted and if you have any doubts, read The Lone Wolff or write to my husband Bobby Wolff who was in the thick of things and has many more details than I care to reveal now. It is time the Blue Team’s camp followers woke up and accepted what really happened starting half a century ago. It is a disgrace the bridge world will apparently never live down, continually exacerbated by bridge writers who shamefully deny the truth.


92 Comments

Ron LelSeptember 23rd, 2009 at 5:03 am

Parts of this post have been censored by administrators

There is no evidence and all the comments are unsabstatiated.

AnonSeptember 23rd, 2009 at 10:44 am

A-ha! At last, a bite. Let battles commence.

David BabcockSeptember 23rd, 2009 at 1:08 pm

When the Burgay tapes have been reliably rendered onto the Internet for public scrutiny, there may even be something to battle about.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 24th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

To Ron Lel:

I don’t know who you are, where you come from or what your game is. But first, I suggest you learn how to spell if you are going to blog. WOLFF has two “f”s — not one and if you want substantiation of his greatness — I think eleven world championships bears it out. At almost 77, he is still playing sensationally. Jealous? Hardly!!! And — as ethical as humanly possible!

As far as substantiation, check it out with Jimmy Patino. His word is good enough for me. When Bobby was writing his book, Mr. Patino came to Dallas and we sat for hours over dinner and lunch discussing all the details and incidents of the Blue Team and the Burgay Tapes.

Judy Kay-Wolff

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 24th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

David:

To my knowledge the Burgay Tapes were confiscated by the Italians and have never been seen or heard of since. However, the Godfather of the World Bridge Federations’s recollection and recounting of his experience with the CIA at the time was good enough for me. Read The Lone Wolff for the details.

David BabcockSeptember 25th, 2009 at 9:07 am

According to the Lone Wolff. “the tapes were delivered to the WBF Executive Council in 1976″ (p. 200) — but the tapes were, some time later, “confiscated” by the Italians? On what authority, and how? And we are really to believe that in the interim, during which there was time for the CIA to analyze the tapes, no one on the Executive Council thought to have a copy made, and that Jimmy didn’t think to ask his contact at the CIA to make a copy nor, later, to ask whether that might have been done as a matter of routine? Sorry, but if I’m on a jury and the police say: we found a smoking gun on the floor, but someone in a club the defendant belongs to showed up and took it and we never even took a picture of it — and if that’s the best they have by their own account — that defendant is walking..

BTW I didn’t recall last night having read anything in the book about the CIA having checked the tapes, and I did not encounter anything like that in my quick re-browse last night, but as the book is not indexed, I could easily have missed something. I will welcome a page reference.

Ron LelSeptember 27th, 2009 at 3:52 am

My “game” is that I get sick and tired of people casting accusations at those better than they are out of sheer jealousy. I remember discussing tsome of the attitudes expressed by Wolff with Tim Seres, one of the greatest players ever. His attitude was that Wolff’s comments were absolute balderdash. [[ name calling and slander removed by admin ]]

If you are going to throw around accusations, at least offer a modicum of proof.

MarthaSeptember 27th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Ron Lel:

I can only assume that you are Italian, and as such feel that you must defend your fellow countrymen. All the bridge world is aware that there was cheating going on by the Blue Team. Are you, after all these decades attempting to make this untrue with your cries of innocence. Or perhaps think that the passing ages have erased people’s memories. The Bridge World has a long collective memory, and what went on with the Blue Team will not be forgotten.

As to the petty sniping concerning Mr. Woff’s abilities…the record speaks for itself. The man has eleven World Championships, not to mention countless National Championships, hundreds of Regional wins and thousands of Sectional and club game records. He did all of this without cheating, or ever having his integrity questioned. As to being disliked by a large number of players, what exactly is that suppose to mean. There are many, and I rest assured that you may be counted among them, who being jealous of other’s ability, feel justified in attempting to build up their own egos by making unfounded statements. I never knew bridge was a popularity contest. But, I have personally witnessed many players finding it an honor to be able to play against the great Bobby Wolff. I have never seen him anything but gracious at the table and willing to spend his time answering questions in a polite manner. So yes he is a great player, but most of all he is kind and generous in sharing his bridge expertise, and that is what also makes him not only a great man but a Gentleman.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 27th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

To Ron Lel:

Your comments do not make sense.

Of all Bobby’s many friends and colleagues, the two he has admired most are Patrick Huang from Taipei, Taiwan and Tim Seres from Sydney, Australia.

Bobby had known and respected Tim and Dick Cummings for at least 40 years and, of course, was devastated by their death. They both chose him (check with Denis Howard) to inscribe the foreword for their book written about 8 years ago, which he did, and felt honored to do so.

Also it was Denis who, after questioning Alfred Sheinwold’s motivation way back in the early 1970′s in accusing the Italians (Blue Team) of cheating, then, after the two Italian foot soldiers were caught red-handed in Bermuda, 1975, wrote “Anatomy of a Scandal” which was published in the WBF book on Bermuda detailing the championship. If you haven’t read it, please do, since it may enlighten you, (assuming you want to be enlightened), on what was and is still going on in the world wide bridge world.

Bridge needs to clean up its past. The World Bridge History, authored by Jimmy Ortiz-Patino, is coming out very soon (expected out last year) and many pertinent details can be gleaned from it. The Burgay tapes were sequestered by Italy soon after their release to the WBF by the Italian Bridge Federation, never to be seen again.

For further reference please consult Leanadro Burgay, still alive and well, whom Bobby extensively interviewed in Shanghai during the World Championship in 2007. Also discuss with the current great Italian players, Bocchi, Duboin, Versace and Lauria about all the different ways the Blue team were out and out cheating. If you do, and take their comments in stride, I guarantee you that they will capture your attention. Unless you are mererly a troublemaker (which is entirely possible), you should seek the truth “and the truth will set you free”. BTW, the USA, along with many other countries, has also had its share of high-level bridge cheats, which likewise (for all the wrong reasons) has been swept under the rug!

In your (ir)rationalization to protect the innocent, you make it much more difficult to right the wrong and encourage its continuation. Please perform either your God given duty to do a thorough investigation of the sources above or forever shut up.

Ron LelSeptember 28th, 2009 at 4:38 am

Fwiw, I am Australian, not Italian. My comments do make sense. Tim was always a perfect gentleman. He was completely convinced that the Blue Team was clean. We are not talking about Facchini and Zuchelli here, so don’t attempt to obfuscate the issue. Again you have resorted to baseless smears with not one iota of evidence.

And to Martha, I leave you with a quote from Pappa the Greek, “You have as much knowledge of what you are talking about as the man in the moon.”

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 28th, 2009 at 5:17 am

Ron:

I had no clue what nationality you are and I really don’t give a hoot but your baseless rantings don’t speak well for the Australian people, many of whom I know personally and admire.

Your remarks are totally irrelevant, meaningless words — mere babblings. First of all — the fact that Tim was always a perfect gentleman has nothing to do with the issue of the Blue Team. Instead of raving and ranting with denials of their guillt, why don’t you devote some of your misdirected energy to verifying the many sources I suggested to you — people who were front and center at the time and far more knowledgeable than either of us. “The Vegetables” were a ‘given.” — but I am shocked that you even acknowledge that fact.

AnonSeptember 28th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I’m chortling, because my post re. the bite was spot on.

In any case, I should point out a logical fallacy. That Ron is Australian does not mean he in any way “speaks for the Australian people”.

If (as an example) I discovered that Ron is left-handed, and I find Ron’s tone and content of writing is different from the FIVE left-handed people I know in this world, I show only my lack of debating skills if I admonish him by comparing him with the left-handed people of the world.

I should also point out another trait commonly displayed when responing to comments. The first line of defense used is “Who are you?”. My point is: Why should it matter who? Does your response to a set of comments depend on who is making them? Or does it depend on the factual (and not so factual) content of the message?

HenkSeptember 28th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Judy,

If you accuse somebody of something, you should prove it. You don’t, you quote people who

have passed away, sources that cannot be verified anymore, etc. Instead, when people

comment, you tell them to go look for themselves.

Well, I did, I have read “the lone wolff” (which is definitely amongst the top 10 worst book in my

collection of 600 odd books). I’ve also read all the world championship books since 1955, the books

by Truscott, Reese, Chua, Fox and a few dozen who cover the Blue team in the period 1957-1969.

The deals and the texts alone don’t convince me of anything. I could be wrong here, but until you post specific hands or trends in the data, I’m not going to change my mind.

MarthaSeptember 28th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Ron Lel:

Attempting to explain facts to you is much like what Robert Heinlein once wrote:

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig”

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 28th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

First, to answer “Anon” who obviously (by his first response) was itching for a battle as was apparent from his initial remark:

The reason I asked in the first line of my comment to Ron Lel, “Who are you?”:

I tried to get some reference on the internet on him to determine if he was indeed a bridge player of sorts or just some bozo browsing the network for something to do. Naturally, the track record, credibility, knowledge, experience, years involved, etc. makes a big difference in the reliability of his opinion. He keeps beating a dead horse, refusing to go to the sources (still very much alive) to verify the facts.

So, keep “chortling” as you got your wish.

———————————————————————————————————————

Now to Henk:

True, you can’t check with dead bodies, but that is true of Ron’s reference to Tim Seres’ remark as well. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. As far as verifying the facts themselves, I provided the sources to Ron. If it matters so much to an individual, it is his or her responsiibility to do the checking. I personally lived through it with my first husband Norman Kay and the entire upper echelon of bridge society (not only the Americans — but the universal bridge hoi polloi was chattering about it as well). As a widow, I married Bobby Wolff (a very honorable human being who cares only about what is best for the game) and I once again heard the same reports confirmed. Furthermore, he played against the Blue Team more than Norman in world championships and even in the Sharif Traveling Circus where a blatant situation arose — one which actually caused Bobby to accost Omar and tell him “I quit” (in the middle of the tour) — but Omar took care of the problem by speaking to those guilty who agreed to stop and desist!

As far as your taste in reading The Lone Wolff, I’m disappointed, but thankfully have not had to endure that comment from anyone else. Many skeletons were unleashed and dirt removed that had been swept under the carpet for far too long. Sometimes, the truth hurts and it is normal for people who distrust the author to be critical of his work. Bobby’s only mission was to set the public record straight in the hopes the game would proceed in the right direction, getting back on track as the most majestic game in the world. At this juncture in history, with professionalism and sponsorship entering the picture, it is a tough task as the game of bridge itself is no longer in first place. The almighty dollar has taken over.

PIMOSeptember 28th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Tim Seres ( a Hungarian who changed his name to Seres from Schwartz ) loved Bobby Wolff, who by record and in life is, like Tim, also one of the great players in the world. I would love to see the worst 10 books ( on bridge ) list and no, The Lone Wolff is at the other end of the spectrum. The ethics of the European players are not the same as those of the US. BOTH GROUPS HAVE THEIR CHEATS, the only difference between the two is that the US attempts to expose, correct and/or rid themselves of such on a more regular basis. It is fact that the Italian Blue Team cheated. It has been proven that they cheated. Because someone says that Tim did not think so does not make him correct. Tim, like Mr. Wolff, also was one of the great gentlemen in the world of bridge. Perhaps the writer should remember that Tim never said anything to discredit another player, especially in public. To insult the author ( a pathetic sour lady? ) shows an insensitivity which is disrespectfully and reflects an ignorance of one of the most insightful as well as informed authors on this blog. As to Anon, it can matter who someone is, and you have responded to blogs on other subjects to which Ron had responded. Ergo, are you one of his bridge partners, actually Ron himself or just a friend who shares a mulitude of common interests with Ron? Like your example of lefties, the answer to the last question doesn’t matter, as it is only an observation….Later

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 28th, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Henk:

Before I read Pimo’s discourse on the subject, I was about to ask (out of curiosity) which were the remaining “worst” nine. I am sure the bridge world at large would like to know which ones, in your esteemed opinion, qualified in that distinguished category.

Judy

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 28th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Pimo:

It is obvious you have been on the bridge scene a long, long time (not unlike myself). One had to be around in the sixties and seventies to have witnessed what was actually happening but for fear of giving bridge a bad name, those in a position to do something positive about it, remained silent — observing, just twiddling their thumbs and keeping their hands behind their backs for fear of a scandal. Believe me, I was there in the flesh, so in my situation it was not a case of whisper down the lane. I was an eye witness and sadly had two husbands at the mercy of the culprits — at different stages in my life!

As the years passed, the U. S. has assumed a more direct and fearless responsibility for ridding the game of proven cheats. Unfortunately, we have had our share and many have been weeded out and partnerships dissolved or individuals barred or suspended. What bothers me almost as much as the actual immorality those many years ago is the denial of guilt and the unquestioned, naive acceptance of what one has been told without seeking out the facts and details. I just find it despicable for people to pass judgment on subjects they know little or nothing about. Bobby has a favorite expression which goes something like — “Better to remain silent and thought a fool — than speak out and remove all doubt!”

Pimo, thanks for sharing your remembrances of those days gone by!

Judy

HenkSeptember 29th, 2009 at 8:12 am

Judy:

If I analyze your post, it doesn’t say much more than “The Blue Team cheated according to my former and current husbands”. It doesn’t show hands, it doesn’t show patterns, it doesn’t show anything other than a few vague statements to things people have said more than 40 years ago. If I then look at all the material that you point to (and I’ve read over the years), I cannot come to any other conclusion than that there is insufficient proof for the claim that the Blue Team cheated and, hence, they did not cheat.

And since you asked, in random order.

1. The Lone Wolff

2. The Anchor System, by a Mr. Jensen Anker of Denmark. The author describes a system where

in the first round, both partners show their point count, then claims that the the system will

always reach the right contract.

3. The 1965 world championship book (guess what is not discussed in there?)

4. The 1996 world championship book

5. The HPS by VJ Delmain.

6. Victory Bridge, Evert Wasch

7. The hog in the 21st century, Philip King

8. Bridge is a contact Sport (Abern)

9. Following the Law (L.Cohen), this is just a money making attempt.

10. Reisinger Challenge (cannot quickly find my copy to check who wrote it). It is one of those books with play problems that are so obvious that it isn’t a challenge.

Marek BatianiSeptember 30th, 2009 at 4:28 pm

One thing is disturbing me in the whole discussion on cheating/ not cheating. I assume that if

“the whole bridge world acknowledge the fact that they were cheating” it should be relatively easy to prove it… If it is so obvious to everyone, there whould be some prove, no?

Given the cases of Reese-Schapiro and footsoldiers back then and Buratti-Lanzarotti in current times, it seems that whenever there is some tangible prove it is brought up.

Marek Batiani

P.S.1. I’m nobody in bridge so don’t browse internet to search how good my game is ;-)

P.S.2. I’m Polish and although my name is kind of italian, I have nothing to do with Italy ;-)

JUDY KAY-WOLFFSeptember 30th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Dear Marek:

Today is a busy day for me but I did not want your comment to go unanswered. I appreciate your candor (and both your P.S. remarks). There is much background to R/S, the Foot Soldiers (a/k/a The Vegetables) and Buratti-Lanzarotti (a/k/a known as The Cars) — as well, of course, the Blue Team. As soon as I can get the time to assimilate the facts and put them on paper, I will post a comment. I guarantee you will get an education from my reply and a better understanding of why matters were handled the way they were in each of the instances.

Thanks for writing.

Judy

More AnonOctober 1st, 2009 at 12:37 am

A. There is a rec.games.bridge discussion that happened a few days ago (after the original post here) which may make interesting reading to the author; should be easy to google & locate

B> Factoid that may only interest me: Whenever anyone posts a comment on an article featured in this blog, the author will respond to or acknowledge it. This is uniformly true regardless of the comment being negative, positive, neutral or nearly random. However, on this post, there are two comments by “Martha” that go un-acknowledged. Is this “Martha” a psuedonym created to add credence?

This could be wrong, but the similar writing styles in “Martha” and Judy make it curious. Isn’t it curious that David Babcock, Ron Lel, Anon (i.e. me in an old avatar which was put on moderation???), Henk, PIMO and Marek get a response / rejoinder but not Martha??

C> I have not stated whether I respect the opinions here or whether I believe the Blue Team was great. It could easily be one, both or neither; that is not the point. If (as Marek mentioned), it was easy to prove beyond doubt, it would have been proved beyond doubt.

The key reason for my posts is that Bridgevaria posted a random article about a random play by the Blue Team and that was enough for the “battles” (as I put it earlier). That’s the odd thing about this all….

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 1st, 2009 at 2:58 am

To ANON (has the cat got your tongue or are you nameless)?

First of all, I have a normal life outside of bridge blogging which keeps me busy and don’t have time to google or browse the other sites. The only reason I commented on Mr. Hoogenkamp’s remark was because it appeared on bridgeblogging.com and knocked me for a loop.

Actually I stopped reading when I arrived at the naive deification of the Blue Team and never even bothered to observe the hand as it is meaningless in the scheme of things. I was not really concerned with the “random play” but irate that people who are not in positions to judge situations starting 60 or more years ago jump on the bandwagon tossing bouquets. I don’t have time to read any of the other sites, so if people want to respond to my blog, they know how to do it just as you did.

You alluded to the fact that I (the author) responded to all but “Martha” (and by the way loved her sense of humor about teaching a pig how to sing). It was wonderful and deserving of a comment but I missed my chance to say oink, oink! What more was there to add to what she said. I concur with her view! As far as I was concerned, she was right on target. Half the people that stick in their two cents were either not born at the time of the illustrious Blue Team’s Reign (or were knee high to a grasshopper) and have little knowledge of the actual background, details and nuances that portray a different view.

And, to rest your uneasiness — Martha and I are not interchangeable. The woman has a mouth and mind of her own and I take my hat off to her for her candor. By the way, you refer to yourself as “as an old avatar which was put on moderation.” I beg to differ! You were not “put on moderation” — but rather self-appointed!

You will just have to be patient until I have an opportunity to respond in detail to Marek, and perhaps you will have a better understanding of the entire scenario, much of which is not public knowledge. I have a very good source who witnessed many incidents personally. Old age has its advantages.

Judy

Ron LelOctober 1st, 2009 at 9:20 am

A few further comments.

1) What on earth is the point of asking the present day Italian Team about anything, when they we mere infants when the Squaddera was at its peak?

2) It is easy to accuse someone of cheating when their bidding ability and knowledge of competitive bidding is several levels above yours so that you are not capable of understanding it.

3) If Wolff (is), was such a paragon of virtue, what about the doulbe standards applies in the Katz-Jacobs, Wolff-Hamman 3NT appeal?

4) I and others are still waiting for your proof.

Ron LelOctober 1st, 2009 at 9:29 am

Attempting to explain facts to you is much like what Robert Heinlein once wrote:

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig”

Martha, SHOW me the facts.

Anon.DoesthatBotheryouOctober 1st, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Judging from what is written here, Judy seems to be as clueless as people born after the incident. Just saying that there is proof without providing anything does no good to anyone.

Show the proof, or shut up, lady.

Judging from Mr Wolff’s book, he does not seem to be too much of an authority too.

Blair Fedder L224430October 1st, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Fact: there are no singing pigs, nor can they dance…

Fact: the Italians cheated….

Fact: When confronted and exposed they still continued to cheat…

Fact: Wollf, among others, confronted their lack of ethics ( that meant cheating in this case ) during the US tour involving the competitive matches between the Aces and Blue Team….

Fact: Judy and Martha are two women who use their real names, both famous in their on right, who live in Las Vegas

What motivates your stand in defending the Italians, Ron and Anon? Why do you attempt to degrade and insult the woman who wrote this blog concerning the incidents?

Your right to argue is perfectly understandable, but to lie, as in your reference to Tim Seres stating that …” I remember discussing tsome ( sic ) of the attitudes expressed by Wolff with Tim Seres, one of the greatest players ever. His attitude was that Wolff’s comments were absolute balderdash. It might interest you to know that Wolff is disliked by a huge number of players.”… is pure filth. To dishonor Tim, especially as he can no longer defend himself, makes you an untrustworthy friend as well as a pathetic sour man, to use your own words. Give it up and move along Ron ( and Anon ). Your lies and anger have no place in these blogs…..

Cam FrenchOctober 1st, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I was re-reading Truscott (NY Times Bridge Book) with a more jaundiced eye and saw exactly was Judy spoke about in this blog.

I have been reading some on-line reactions to it and I think the consensus from the doubters is that it is easy to throw mud, a lot tougher to produce documentation, witnesses, and hands that speak to the case with relevance.

Truscott does just that. He said the Manoppo brothers in an analysis of 400 deals lead 75 times from and ace or king and hit honours in their partner’s hand 100% of the time! Somehow this evidence was considered sufficient and of course to even a novice observer – too good to be true.

I may cull from his book and other sources and do something in that vein.

I want to thank you Judy for pushing this topic out into the open. Regardless of amending the historical record (I know in most cases that is not possible), it (cheating) represents a blight upon our game and deserves to be eradicated and exposed for what it is. Your efforts support this and I hope I can contribute in some small way.

I guess it was a real eye opener to learn about your idols. I love reading Reese, and his books Master Play and Play These Hands With Me remain favourites. That said, knowing he was a cheater breaks my heart and diminishes his stature.

Truscott showcases cheating (with hands, witnesses and anecdotes) of the Blue Team, Reese/Shapiro and many more.

One hand for your viewing pleasure.

Schenken and Belladonna held vul vs not:

A5

9

K10976

K10732

(They heard the identical bidding)

LHO P RHO YOU

1S Pass 1NT ?

What would you call? In these days (according to Truscott) the unusual NT was novel and therefore not an obvious choice .

Schenken bid 2D which seems normal enough.

Belladonna bid 2C which in Truscott’s words “a decidedly odd decision. Two diamonds would allow for the possibility of introducing clubs later. Two clubs may have been a lucky guess, but it fitted West’s {his partner’s} hand. The Italians had a habit of making lucky guesses.”

btw partner’s hand was

J8643

A83

A

AQ64

And the Italians bid and made 5C at Belladonna’s table and went one down in 3H at the other.

Granted, this is not iron-clad proof. But it is representative of Truscott’s theme and it is worth the read.

You can get the book from my friend Vince Oddy (on sale now) at

http://www.vinceoddy.com

A shameless plug, as he just gave me two of this book as an anniversay gift. (One for me, one for my dad.)

I urge the writers to keep the forum cordial, insults and personal attacks are against the very fabric of the game. They are not allowed at the table, they do not belong here. That said, thank you Ray and Linda Lee for providing unabridged commentaries.

The truth is that high level cheating is difficult to detect and difficult to prove. That said, it represents a cancer upon the game and it is incumbent upon us as players to restore the integrity and fairness this is inherent to the game we love. This blog is one small step in that direction.

C

For another cheating story see http://cam.bridgeblogging.com/?p=7

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 1st, 2009 at 9:26 pm

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT (INSTALLMENT I)

You guys are using typical paparazzi tactics, trying to inflame a potential news source into finding a good story. I’d like to say you are barking up a wrong tree (but maybe not) and though I certainly do not think (at least at this time) that your group deserves anything worthwhile — perhaps later, I will think differently.

Obviously, there are episodes related here where I was not physically present. I guessed at what probably transpired and in some cases, the mood of the moment. The actual information I garnered was derived from many reports I have received from those whom I consider extremely responsible, reliable individuals who have no personal axes to grind — with the best interests of the game in mind.

I have sincerely tried to downplay most of the evil depicted, keeping in mind the quotation, “There but for the grace of God go I!”

Since the issue is so involved and complex, it is too laborious to write and to absorb in one sitting, so it is my intention to present it in several installments, covering a number of allied situations.

 

I’ll start by answering your blistering questions but first I am going to assume that your entire group, such as it might be, cannot be as unknowing and as stupid as some of your questions indicate, but I’ll chalk it up to what I allude to in the above paragraph.

First, before we begin, I want to suggest some ground rules and by so doing, set the rules under which we must live.  Some years ago, perhaps 20, there was a personable, well-liked man who was well known in the gambling world in America named Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. As American football was gaining in popularity — the TV shows, usually preceding the football telecasts on Sunday, needed commentators and Jimmy The Greek became one of the most popular. He was fun, incisive and had a keen sense of humor. Then one Sunday someone asked him why most of the better football athletes were Black instead of White. He answered what I thought was intelligent, stating candidly in his opinion, that many male Blacks have very strong thighs and legs enabling them to be both football-strong and even more importantly, likely faster than other races. For that piece of knowledge he was eventually (not more than a couple of weeks later) fired and banned from ever returning to what he did best. Simple story, but a learning experience for all who would care to understand. His comments were said to be racial profiling and hence off limits, and in extremely bad taste. Exit Jimmy the Greek.  Such is the pattern of the world, or, at least, in America, where before anything is said it must be carefully considered by the speaker (or writer) or else dire things will (not might) happen.

1.  A former companion of mine before I married Judy (nine years after the death of my wife, Debbie) lived much of her life in Italy, still traveled there at least once each year to see old friends, spoke fluent Italian and loved the culture. It then became natural for her, after being with me, to go to National Bridge Tournaments (three per year) and at that time seeing many foreigners, some from Italy who attend our tournaments.  It was routine for her to gravitate to the new fine Italian players, Versace, Bocchi, Duboin, Lauria, Ferraro, Sementa, LanzarottI and Buratti as well as greet a few of the older ones, Benito Garozzo and Dana DeFalco and some others who I may not remember. We all, as one would expect, became good friends. I, of course, had known Benito and Dana for many years, especially Benito whom I had known since the early 1970′s and Dana who played on the Italian 1974 team held in Venice, although he and his partner, Franco, did not play against us in the finals.

 

At this time I will go on record (as I have repeatedly done before) as saying that Benito is the best bridge player that I’ve ever played against. He was (is) brilliant in every aspect of the game — imaginative bidding, superb and technically superior at declarers and defenders play, marvelous competitive judgment, innovative bidding strategy, and far and away the best bridge psychologist ever.

For example, I have played against him over the course of my lifetime, estimated to be at least one thousand plus hands, (including many months on tour with the Omar Sharif Circus in the early seventies). When I was declarer, Benito, by his body actions and demeanor, which were strictly above board, had a talent for convincing me (and certainly others) that the declarer was adapting the right line of play (when indeed he wasn’t) and visa versa. It was legitimate mental warfare and he had the talent to brainwash his opponents (including yours truly) into sometimes changing horses in midstream and switch to the losing course. In other words, more than any other — Benito was (and is) the greatest. His combined talents and execution are second to none!

…. to be continued (a series of possibly three or four more)

MarthaOctober 1st, 2009 at 10:04 pm

More Anon:

First let me thank you for stating my writing style is similiar to Mrs. Wolff. I admire her ability with words. Next, I must apolgize to Judy for having her writing compared to mine.

I have played bridge since the early 1970′s. I have won a National Championship, about 100 Regional Championships and several hundred Sectional Championships. I have in excess of 7000 points and have played with great players and on great teams during the years. I have had the pleasure of being present when discussions would take place concerning the events of this present blog. I learned a lot by just listening.

I have volunteered my time and energies to make bridge more enjoyable for all the players. I was not one who sat idly by and watched others do the work. I Co-Chaired the largest ACBL National in the history of the league and for about fifteen years I also Co-Chaired all the Vegas Regionals and Sectionals. I quit playing to pursue other challenges and endeavors. Now, I only play a few times a year and only in local tournaments.

Ron:

Go find your own quotes.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 1st, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Dear Martha:

Thanks for responding. For a while I was beginning to think I had an alter ego I knew nothing about. It is obvious from your response and the report of your track record, that you care very much about the game. I think you (and the entire world of bridge) will be shocked to learn about what went on behind closed doors (and screens) when Bobby finishes his installments on these very controversial (but little known about and very hushed up) subjects.

Judy

Ron LelOctober 2nd, 2009 at 12:47 am

Blair Fedder, I have played against Tim many times in National and State events. At the end of matches you don’t sit there in stony silence, but engage in conversation. A few years ago I asked Tim about the comments regarding the Squaddra Azzura. He poo poohed and cheating allegations concerning them. So, before you blithely accuse anyone of lying, I suggest you get your facts straight.

As far as Bobby Wolff being disliked, I am afraid this is so. Many regard his influence and push as the reason for the current system restrictions in place. This has angered a lot of people. One current Australian International refers to the Bermuda Bowl as a “no fear event”, for example. However that is off the point and I am only giving you the reasons behind the comment I made.

I look forward with great interest to reading the rest of Bobby Wolff’s comments.

Fred GitelmanOctober 2nd, 2009 at 1:32 am

Ron,

Whoever is responsible for systems policy is in a no-win situation – plenty of people will disagree with your decisions no matter what they are. I for one think the WBF’s current systems policy is quite reasonable and I would not be happy if it were radically different. I would bet that most high-level players share this view even if none of them happen to live in Australia.

If Bobby is indeed partly responsible for the current WBF systems policy then I for one am grateful for what I think is a (largely thankless and essentially impossible) job that has been done quite well (IMO).

However, if I happened to strongly disagree with the existing WBF system policy, I certainly would not “dislike” those who set such policies. In fact, If I found myself feeling that way I would hope I would see the need make an appointment with my local psychiatrist.

I like to think that, regardless of what I thought of the decisions made by those who set systems policy, I would appreciate their willingness to put themselves into a painful no-win situation in the interest of serving our game.

Hating the rules is no justification for hating the people who make the rules.

It is very convenient to blame Australia’s lack of success in international bridge in recent decades on system restrictions, but to suggest that those in favor of some systems restrictions feel that way out of some sense of “fear” (a suggestion I have heard from Australian players more than once) is both ignorant and patethic (IMO).

Fred Gitelman

Ron LelOctober 2nd, 2009 at 3:36 am

Fred,

I have no doubts that serving on a systems policy committee is indeed a thankless task. You are never going to satisfy everyone. On the rest of your comments, well we just have to agree to disagree particularly with regard to your last paragraph. The comment is not so much that top players “fear” arcane conventions and systems, but rather that these regulations are in place to protect clients, the livelihood of the top players. However we are getting somewhat off topic here, aren’t we?

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 2nd, 2009 at 5:30 am

Ron:

You make mention that Bobby is disliked for his “influence and push” regarding restrictions.

First of all, he hasn’t been involved in that WBF realm for years; and, secondly, if he helped in any way to create regulations to clean up the game and make it more equitable, he dons that crown of unpopularity proudly — equating it to a Badge of Honor.

Ray LeeOctober 2nd, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Alan Truscott, in ‘The Great Bridge Scandal’, pointed out that it is essentially impossible to prove cheating from the evidence of bidding and play. Reese’s own book, ‘Story of an Accusation’, dissected the bridge evidence against him with the author’s accustomed incisive clarity. Nonetheless, Reese and Schapiro were cheating — read Truscott’s book if you need any convincing.

Having said that, I draw readers’ attention to an article called ‘The Curse of the Blue Team’, by Frank Vine. This originally appeared in ‘The Bridge World’, and can be found in the IBPA Book of the Year ‘North of the Master Solvers’ Club’, a collection of Vine’s work. Disguised as a humorous piece, it looks at some of the Blue Team’s more spectacular bids and plays, actions which worked brilliantly as the cards lay but, in Vine’s view, were substantially anti-percentage. As I started by saying, this in itself proves nothing — but it has to sow at least some seeds of doubt.

Fred GitelmanOctober 2nd, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Ron,

Yes we have gone off topic. I apologize to other readers. My only excuses are:

1) Unlike you apparently, I do not see myself as being qualified to speak on the actual topic

2) You were the one who started the off topic discussion

3) I found your off topic suggestion so demented that I thought it really needed to be addressed by someone

I find your attempt to clarify the “fear” issue equally off base (and for the record I don’t believe that this is what all of those who use the fear argument are trying to say). Apparently either you don’t understand the real reasons behind the thinking of those who disagree with you concerning systems restrictions or, more likely in my view, you don’t want to understand.

In an effort to prevent further off topic posts and because I have found that there is not much point in trying to convince those who see black helicopters that they do not exist, I am not going to try to enlighten you here. The real reasons are well known. If you really want to understand why many disagree with you, you won’t have much trouble finding the information you need elsewhere.

Fred Gitelman

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 2nd, 2009 at 2:42 pm

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT (INSTALLMENT 2)

I could speak in similar fashion about both Giorgio Belladonna and Pietro Forquet who led Italy in the early Bermuda Bowl years (middle 1950′s keeping in mind Benito did not join the team until 1963). Both Giorgio and Pietro would make everyone’s very short list of the top fifteen bridge players of all time. However, we all know that it takes four players at the same time (and really six) since there are great endurance factors in big time bridge, forcing four man teams out of existence because of the grueling conditions of play.  The problem for Italy, at least at that time, was that the remainder of Italy’s choices for the team could at best be described as fairly competent club players, but not nearly ready enough to take on the world’s best.  Another important description would be to remind the reader that in spite of how good Belladonna, Forquet and later Garozzo were, there would not be a lot left from which to choose compared to the world class players, especially the ones mostly from the USA (which also included Murray and Kehela from Canada).  Even though Michael Jordan, according to most, is generally considered to be far and away the best basketball player of all time, he (even with all his talent) was not able to come close to winning until the Chicago Bulls signed other great players to play along side of him.

So it was with Italy, until Carl Alberto Perroux entered the Italian scene.  At some point about that time he was basically appointed the permanent Non-playing Captain and was known to ‘point’ the whole team in the direction of  ‘helping each other’.  The players selected could maintain their ordinary occupations and lifestyle, adopt whatever bridge systems suited their individual partnerships (Roman Club, Neapolitan Club, Quadri Livorno or some derivatives of those or other systems), but the only ‘constant’ was that  ‘helping partner’ was a prerequisite for being selected to (and remain on) the team. It doesn’t take a genius (now or then) to accept the following premises: 

1.  It is important to get off to the right leads against game contracts, particularly 3NT and against all slams; otherwise it is hard to win while playing against equal or better teams.

 

2.  It is also important to know when to either come into the bidding or stay out — when one’s first chance is at a higher level than desired. The wisdom and safety of such action is usually dependent on the relative strength of partner’s hand which is difficult to determine off the cuff.

3.  It is sometimes important to switch to the suit partner desires on certain key hands after the opening lead has been made.  Remember even though your partner would have preferred you led the suit he wanted originally, it would be too revealing and sheer folly to attempt it on every opening lead and you would be immediately exposed for what you are.

4. Finally, there are times when one would like to know whether partner has a maximum for his bidding or a minimum (not always a cinch for success) — but definitely helpful in determining whether to pass or take further action.

 

When screens first came into worldwide view during the Bermuda Bowl in Bermuda in 1975 (celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the initiation of the Bermuda Bowl Event), bridge cheating had to vary its method of communications to stay effective and that change did entail more risk than before. At this time, it may be well to mention that while screens didn’t appear officially until 1975, (Bob Hamman and I, along with Eddie Kantar and Billy Eisenberg, were invited and traveled to Jimmy Ortiz Patino’s villa in Geneva to practice with the Swiss Team and helped determine what types of screens worked best and were more functional overall during the summer of 1974). 

It also is probably worth mentioning that Italy in the 1950′s, and for their own trials, employed the use of screens designed by Mario Franco. At that time, they were called the Franco Boards. No fools they!!!!!!!! Playing for and representing Italy (and trying to win the World Championship for their homeland) was one thing; but what about the qualifying process among the Italians itself? The Franco Boards were their self-designed form of equity to protect one pair against the other. Something needed to be done to conduct a fair contest and they proposed the Franco Boards as their home-brewed solution. Isn’t it strange the screens were originated in Italy, of all places, before they were universally used!

…. to be continued

Danny KleinmanOctober 2nd, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I can testify about Garozzo from personal experience, having encountered him only once, when we both played in the Omar Sharif Invitational Individual (Atlantic City, May 1990). Against a 1H-2H-4H auction, I held S-A1074 H-J943 D-K98 C-104, and led the diamond 8. Declarer won with dummy’s queen from D-Q5. Dummy had C-QJ865. My partner was Garozzo, and when he banged down his card with special emphasis, I knew that a club lead would have worked; yes, Garozzo had clubs bottled up, C-K972.

My “table feel” is very poor, but if I could tell from Garozzo’s mannerism what he had, imagine how well Forquet, Belladonna or any other regular partner could read his mannerisms.

I never met Belladonna, but I did study the 1966 World Championship Book, as I was particularly interested in the Roman Club that he and Avarelli played. In my book “Bridge in the Tower of Babel” I examined their use of that system, writing a long chapter I called “Bid With the Romans.” Their bidding deviated from their system so often that I concluded they were either terrible bidders or basing their calls on something other than their hands and their supposed partnership methods. That chapter contains some 77 bidding problems of which the pair got only 8 right, but you need not take my word for it, as you can check the deals and my analyses of them for yourself. You might also ask yourself, “Can conclusive evidence of cheating be obtained from studying hand records alone in conjunction with knowledge of partnership agreements?” You might be surprised.

LindaOctober 3rd, 2009 at 5:58 am

I started to play bridge mostly in the 70′s and then stopped for a long time while I raised my family and worked a tough job. In those early days it would never have occurred to me that anyway cheated. I was shocked when I heard that Reese had been accused of cheating and I was unaware that the Italians might have cheated.

When I returned to the game in the 90′s it was obvious that people were cheating. The whole game had changed so much, not least because of the amount of professionals who played the game. I heard people discuss cheating, people cheated against me, I participated in ethics hearings against someone accused of cheating. People I knew were found to be cheaters. But I still didn’t really consider that most of my heroes cheated. I still saw it as rare and isolated.

When I got to know Bobby and Judy and read Bobby’s book, I was shocked and astounded at the number and level of the players who were cheating. I become more aware of stories, cases, proven cases of bridge cheaters. It saddens me. Are these people trying to kill our game?

Well I have not seen the definitive evidence, I believe based on much I have seen and heard in the last few years that it is very likely the Blue Team did cheat. I can only imagine how awful it must be to lose a world title to people that cheated against you.

I understand the problem of making accusations but still we need to give these things an airing.

Judy has a wonderful way of getting people to talk about and think about important issues.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 3rd, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Thank you Linda for having an open mind. You must understand I had just come onto the serious bridge scene in the form of a new bride in the early sixties and was, as I said before, the proverbial fly on the wall. I watched and listened in amazement.. The main concern then was to prevent a scandal and that is why most people remained silent. Perhaps if sometone had the guts then to drop the bomb, it would not still be going on today in other sizes and shapes. Lionizing The Blue Team is a lark.

Bobby’s next installment (exclusivey about the Blue Team) is going to open a lot of eyes and

help them to realize these accountings are accurate. He was there in the flesh and (like many others) suffered the injustices because no one knew how it should be handled. He did whatever he could — but it was not enough. To a serious and knowledgeable bridge player, the hands and stories portrayed today will be an eye opener and leave little doubt. However, to the rank and file — it may be over their heads. Bobby will be posting it this morning. Maybe it should have been entitled Revelations 101.

Judy

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 3rd, 2009 at 2:31 pm

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT (INSTALLMENT 3)

It is probably appropriate at this time to take on the more grizzly aspect of this ongoing detailed report since some of the readers have been holding their breath, so — on with it.  If this was an Alfred Hitchcock production, he would save this for the last installment and probably include twists and double twists, but, alas, this is real life so I’ll get on with the facts and not propel the suspense.

Some of the incidents described below occurred during the celebrated Omar Sharif Circus Tour. For those not around at the time, the Circus consisted of three teams: (1) The Circus, managed by Leon Yallouze, consisted of Omar, Claude Delmouly, Garozzo, Belladonna, Forquet and sometimes Yallouze played himself; (2) The Aces (Eisenberg, Goldman, Hamman, Jim Jacoby, Lawrence and yours truly); and (3) the local stars in the different cities we were visiting.

 

The three hands elaborated on below each occurred in different venues: 1. Las Vegas, Nevada in 1971; 2. Bal Harbor, Florida in 1972; and at 3. St. Paul, Minnesota in 1971 — all involving members of the Italian Blue Team.

 

1.  This hand emerged during the Aces-Blue Team $50,000 challenge match held at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.  The contest preceded an invitational KO — about 22 teams — mostly from North America — plus the Blue Team and was held after the challenge match.  Since, at the time, I did not think about preserving all the hand records (if there were such things), the spots cards are missing but I guarantee you the attending stories are totally accurate and worthy of relating – in all cases speaking for themselves!

              

As South I held:

    s. Jxxxx

               h. AKQ109x

               d. x

               c. A

 

I was playing with Jim Jacoby (North) against Pietro Forquet (West) and Benito Garozzo (East). 

North was the dealer and no one was vulnerable.

North        East         South          West

Pass         Pass       4 Hearts      All Pass

 

The opening lead was the Q of spades with the opponents playing Rusinow or what could be labeled Journalist leads.

 

The dummy (North) came down with:

 

      s. 10xx

        h. Jxx

        d. Kxx

        c. KQJx

 

Everyone followed.  There was a ‘small hitch’ and then the King of Spades was continued whereupon East overtook and gave his partner a spade ruff and then West cashed the Ace of Diamonds.  Later I asked about their leads and was told ‘nothing special’, but we lead the Queen from K/Q and the Jack from Q/J.  If questioned, I suspect East would say that partner would continue with a small spade if he didn’t just have the doubleton KQ, but plays like overtaking, while possibly the absolutely right play, would seem to at least take some time to make such a radical move … not merely a short pause.

 

Before proceeding to the next one, it would be proper for me to discuss a policy that Jim and I formulated while playing against the Italians during the 840 Board Sharif tour.  If we were declarer at a suit contract (and the queen appeared in dummy opposite the ace in your hand), when a small one in that suit was led, it became a total waste of time (and possibly lowered chances of taking an extra trick) by rising with the queen, since the king, in these particular situations was ALWAYS held by the 3d chair player.  Strangely coincidental, but particularly so, since if the dummy held nothing higher than the jack, that suit was then led by someone who often had the king.  Maybe they were just very LUCKY!

 

2.  During the 1972 Olympiad and while playing the Round Robin, I had the session off and went into the Vugraph to kibitz and fortunately heard Eric Murray, who also was sitting off while playing for Canada, and commentating from the podium.  Finally the last hand arrived with Italy’s Belladonna and Avarelli playing against Germany.  The around-the horn-players and their hands:

 

West (Avarelli)        North (German)      East (Belladonna)     South (German)

s. void                   s. xx                        s. AKJx                     s. Qxxxxxx

h. AQ10xxxx         h. J9x                      h. K8                        h. x

d.10xxx                 d. AKQJ8x              d. 9xx                     d. void

c. xx                      c. Jx                         c. AKQx                    c. 10xxxx

 

North dealer, Both sides Vulnerable

 

The Bidding in the Open Room

North                    East                         South                     West

3 Diamonds          Double                    Pass                        Pass

Pass

Belladonna cashed the AK of clubs then the AK of Spades and then led the King of hearts and another and after cashing the high heart Avarelli led another heart promoting a trump trick to hold declarer to only 5 tricks and collect +1100. 

In the closed room the Italian North also opened 3 diamonds but over East’s double West bid a normal 4 hearts and when the defense started out by leading 4 rounds of diamonds declarer ruffed with the King and later had to lose the setting trump trick to North. +100 to the Italian NS.

 

As the vugraph room was filing out, I ran into Eric Murray and we both headed to the elevators (both with wry grins on our faces).  Lo and behold when we got to the elevators, Benito Garozzo was just getting off, having not played that set of boards (and there was no BBO back then that you could watch in your room).  Eric seized his chance and approached Benito, saying “I’ve got a bidding hand for you. May I ask what you would do?”  He replied “Sure!” Whereupon Eric gave Benito, Avarelli’s West hand with the seven hearts to the AQ10 in it and related the earlier action.  “What do you bid over the double?”  Benito smiled, shrugged and said “4 Hearts.”  “What is your 2d choice?”  “I don’t have a 2d choice.”  “What if someone made you have one?” “5 Hearts, I guess.”  “What is your 3d choice?”  “6 hearts, but that is ridiculous.”  “What is this all about”?  “Your teammate Walter passed”.  “Walter passed Giorgio’s double?”  “Yes.”

“What was the result?” inquired Benito.  “+1100.”  Benito then quickly replied. “You know — after thinking about it, he is probably right. ” AND INDEED HE WAS!! 

 

3.  What happened in Bal Harbor was a hard pill to swallow and a tough exploitation to forget. Now here we are on the 1971 Circus Tour.

Jim Jacoby and I were finishing up a routine session against Belladonna and Garozzo when on the last hand I picked up a nondescript 10 points with a 4-1-4-4 distribution. Being dealer and with neither side vulnerable I passed, and so did Benito on my left. Jim opened 1 heart and Giorgio doubled, whereupon I redoubled which was the customary style in those years with those types of hands.  It then went Pass, Pass, back to Giorgio.  After studying (something Belladonna almost never did, being a very fast natural player), I knew nothing good was about to happen. When he paused a long time, it ALWAYS spelled trouble for his opponents with a capital T.  Sure enough — he emerged with a Pass.  Jim immediately asked him if Benito’s Pass indicated penalties whereupon he quickly answered “NO”.  The carnage amounted to 3 down (Jim had only Kxxx in hearts) — minus1000 for our side. Belladonna held K10xx, AJ, AQxxxx, x leaving Garozzo with Q109xxx in hearts, Everyone left the table as the session was finished — everyone but me.  

And speaking of ‘finishing’, that was what I was prepared to do! Pick up my toys and go home! I had absolutely no doubt (and was totally convinced) of what all the Blue Team’s opponents were facing.  After talking to Joe Musumeci, retired Strategic Air Command Colonel and now Coach of the ACES and lifelong great friend. I decided that I HAD ENOUGH, and it was painfully obvious I (and the Aces) foolishly had a one way ticket to nowhere.  Word soon got out about my recalcitrance to leave the table as obviously the light had dawned and I was deciding how to handle the situation. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to see we were being played for chumps. A little while after the incident, I heard (in those days I could hear) a knock on my door.  It was Omar and he wanted to talk to me.  I told him exactly what I thought and he seemed to understand exactly, and I mean EXACTLY.  After exchanging some pleasantries, he promised to get right back to me, but pleaded with me not to leave town which was my hell-bent intention — to abandon the Circus post haste.   I courteously agreed.   Sometime later in the day he contacted me and reassured me “everything is going to be OK,” which, to me, meant things will be different (no more fun and games at the Aces’ expense).  St. Paul had been the fifth stop on the tour with only Detroit and Philadelphia to come.  At this time the Circus was about 150 IMPs up with around 280 hands still to go.  However, the complexion had changed drastically after Omar’s tete-a-tete and Detroit was uneventful.

We finished the tour in Philly (coincidentally organized and supervised by my present wife Judy who was married to Norman Kay at the time) and we were all greeted and cheered by an enthusiastic, jam-packed audience. Justice eventually triumphed because (although the Philly locals won the three-way match) — in the final tabulation, the Aces prevailed on the tour — beating the Circus by 101 IMPS!

 

Since undertaking this task of trying to convince others of different non-trusting generations, not to mention cultures, it is no wonder that the entire world is in turmoil.  It figures, at least to me, as the universe gets smaller (and it certainly has with the internet and the interfacing) we all have a chance to grow and understand ourselves.  Though our thoughts, senses of humor, morality and just about everything else is different — the one commonality we all should have is a true love for the game of bridge.  And if so, we need to treat it as we would a newborn child, with much delicacy, sensitivity and respect.  Everyone should band together to create a continual honoring of the game itself, not a short cut to making a living or any other goals of self-absorption.

 

…. to be continued

Larry LowellOctober 4th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I have followed this topic and read ALL the books plus this blog and I am NOT convinced by these three latest examples that cheating is proved.

I do believe that Reese-Shapiro did send signals, but that they did not use them. Cheating almost covers their behavior, but not quite.

Was it Roth or Root that said that they never made an overtrick playing against the Italians? (i.e never made an extra trick)

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 4th, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Larry:

It is impossible for me to understand your statement and inane reasoning. If Reese and Schapiro didn’t take advantage of the signals, you must think that The Foot Soldiers were

giving weather reports under the table. Either you are trying to be funny, are just plain naive or you believe in the supernatural.

Richard WilleyOctober 4th, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Is there a point to any of this discussion?

Absent some kind of primary evidence, all we have is a massive game of “He Said / She Said”. Regretfully, that is never going to solve anything.

We’ve known for years that various bridge luminaries believe that members of the Blue Team cheated. We also know that there have been any number of cases where baseless cheating accusations have been levied against different individuals.

I sincerely doubt that rehashing these accusations – yet again – will lead to any kind of startling new revelations. Don’t get me wrong: If there is some kind of new, primary data to be had, I’d love to see it. However, I don’t see what recycling the same hoary old stories is going to achieve.

dannyOctober 4th, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Instead of focusing on players of days gone by, who we can do nothing about, why not attack the problems in 2009? There are rumors about some pairs floating around, and we are still woefully lax, particularly in the ACBL regarding screens, convention anouncements, and potential use of electronic communications.

Danny

Richard WilleyOctober 4th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Danny wrote:

> Instead of focusing on players of days gone by, who we can do nothing about,

>why not attack the problems in 2009? There are rumors about some pairs floating

>around, and we are still woefully lax, particularly in the ACBL regarding screens,

>convention announcements, and potential use of electronic communications.

People who are still alive can, and will, sue you…

If people want to get serious about dealing with cheaters, the first thing to focus on is comprehensive record keeping. I’ve long argued that major events (The Bermuda Bowl, the Spingold, The Cavendish, etc. should be conducted using an electronic playing environment).

Put all the Norths in one room, all the Souths in another, all the Easts in the third. Have them compete using BBO or something similar. You get three (enormous) improvements over the existing situation.

1. You automatically get comprehensive VuGraph coverage. The benefits for spectators would be enormous.

2. You get a comprehensive record of bid that is made and every card that is played. This allowed you to do real data mining / statistical analysis of opening leads, bids etc.

3. Cheating becomes a lot more difficult. In particular, you can easily run movements in which everyone is playing the same boards at the same point in time.

Unfortunately, no one seems interested in taking real, practical steps to deal with the issues that are coming into play. Instead, the prefer the prefer big flashy pronouncements which give the appearance of change while doing virtually nothing to address the root causes…

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Addressing Danny’s valid suggestions:

With money and professionalism having taken over the game and personal agendas all over the place, bridge has become virtually impossible to regulate. You should read some of the emails from subjectively involved parties about awarding of seeding points to teams including foreign players leading up to the trials to represent the country. It would make you puke.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 12:20 am

To Richard:

Rehashing the Blue Team’s performance accomplishments without proof accomplishes very little in your eyes, but it doesn’t negate the fact that my late husband, Norman Kay, and many other great American players were deprived of world championships that may have been rightfully theirs. I am sick and tired of listening to the lionization and deification of the “exalted Blue Team”when there are so many ‘standout’ hands (some of which Bobby has cited), which prove my point beyond a shadow of a doubt. Perhaps it is above the caliber of some of the readers

and, if so, I apologize!

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 1:28 am

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT! (INSTALLMENT 4)

As a leadoff to this installment, let me digress and introduce some history with which many are unfamiliar.

While an active member of the ACBL BOD, in the Spring of 1985 at the Montreal Nationals, I helped create the role of Recorder. In order to lodge a complaint against an opponent for questionable demeanor and avoiding face-to-face confrontations or accusations, a provision was made to file a “Recorder Slip” to investigate suspected inappropriate behavior. The “Recorder” would be available to all who wanted to file a detailed report for suspicious action which may or may not involve nefarious activities. In all due modesty, I feel it was one of the best procedures for bridge in general (and especially the ACBL) as so many problems had already surfaced and there was no fair, organized method by which to handle it diplomatically.

I continued in that position for around 10 years and in about 1995 resigned as District 16 Representative (Texas and Mexico) to assume the role of President of the WBF, because I thought otherwise it might result in a conflict of interest between the ACBL and the WBF. I surrendered my Recorder’s role because my Number One Special Assistant, Bob Rosen from Florida, (with the assistance of three or four diligent persons sharing the responsibilities of this very active enterprise), had become so proficient. I, indeed, felt comfortable entrusting the job to him and his staff. He exhibited the talent of great communication, willing time-consumption (averaging about two hours per day at every National), was NOT wimpy, had wonderfully balanced judgment, was fair minded — but above all — loved the game of bridge and all its glories).

It may be of interest to the reader that neither I nor any of my many assistants (through those years) received any remuneration or even expenses and all did it only for the love and honor of the game itself. During that time, we estimated that there were ten husband and wife pairs (or possibly ‘significant others’ since we never saw their marriage certificates) who were stealthily cheating across ACBL Land. During my tenure we processed four of them out of the League, some with confessions published in the ACBL Monthly Bulletin with their admonitions to others not do it. However, we could not satisfactorily (at least during that time period) prove our cases against the others, but perhaps caused them to think twice before continuing to employ their evil art.

Since I retired (and up to the present time) I do not know what has happened (as one can guess these activities were and are highly confidential). But I fear, based on what I have seen and heard, that at the present time, although our detection equipment has markedly improved, the human quality of the people in charge has probably taken on less of a sense of urgency. It may be of interest to note that Bob Rosen continued in that position until he was fired by the ACBL BOD when he dared to challenge, and with indisputable reasons, the ethical behavior of one of the more visible members of that Board itself. That only reinforces what I have always suspected — it is self-gratifying and no doubt productive for organization lovers to assume leadership in ‘do-good” projects with an opportunity to exhibit their superior leadership, but when that performance is threatened, challenged and defied by Board politicians, their good intentions are quashed and fall by the wayside — doing the game a big disservice!

Meanwhile, back at the bridge ranch, when I and others were trying to upgrade our Junior program into the same league as the Europeans, I conceived Bridge Aptitude Tests which examined the youngsters on their ability to understand the vagaries of our game which requires special talents and work ethics. I would like to now transform that educational topic into what it takes to determine bridge cheating. Let’s assume that we are now all attending an imaginary class which the Bridge School provides — called Bridge Cheating 101. I think I will start (and finish) with one particular hand which actually occurred in the 1971 Bermuda Bowl Final between the USA (Aces) and France:

Dealer: East

Vul: Both

North

K Q 6 3

8 6 3

J 7 6

J 6 4

West

East

J

9 8 7 5 4

9 4

7

9 8 5

A 10 3 2

A Q 10 9 8 3 2

K 7 5

South

A 10 2

A K Q J 10 5 2

K Q 4

Void

 

South

West

North

East

Pass

1♣*

3♣

Dbl.**

5♣

6♥

All Pass

 

*Aces Club (system stolen from the Italian Blue Team Club)

** 6+ HCPs

Before examining the hand, I want to direct your attention to the Vugraph room simultaneously viewing the hands as they were being played. After the auction and before the opening lead (keeping in mind no screens were in use since they were not introduced to the WBF until 1975 in Bermuda) — the redoubtable Gabriel Chagas appeared at the Vugraph station. He was in Taipei representing Brazil (which he has done for countless years and continues to do so quite ably). In his position as a kibitzer in the finals, he clutched the microphone at the Commentators Table and offered the audience a proposition:

He said: “I’ll make a wager with anyone or everyone who would like to call that bet that West leads a diamond.” He got no takers and sure enough the 5 of diamonds came out of the West hand. That, in itself is very curious. In addition to holding the ace of clubs (on this bidding not very attractive), West did hold a singleton spade and with declarer almost certainly being void in clubs might be missing another ace (as indeed he was). But we still have not arrived at the reason why this hand may be the most pertinent one (or at least very close) to be discussed in Bridge Cheating 101.

When East won the diamond, he studied (???) and then led back a club, having decided (???) that his partner didn’t have a singleton diamond (denying the possibility of me, the declarer, having 1-7-5-0 or possibly a 2-6-5-0) …. certainly reasonable patterns.

However, I think even more likely you’d find a 4-7-2-0 or maybe a 4-6-3-0 distribution — either of which might fit the bidding (making a spade ruff a very enticing possibility). Two facts were self-evident: 1. I was void in clubs; and 2. West would have no reason not to suggest to partner that he return a club since he was not prepared to ruff anything nor did he have the king of diamonds.

This may be over the heads of some of the less sophisticated readers, but I will volunteer that in this realm of high level bridge, East-West were regarded as one of the best pairs in the world (having won countless important titles including the World Open Pairs) and make few judgmental errors. Moreover, they were recognized as a VERY suspicious unethical pair by many ‘in the know’ in top echelon bridge. I would say that anyone in the East seat who would return a club, ESPECIALLY a world renowned player, would automatically be regarded “guilty as charged.” Without ‘help’ — a club return is futile — since a diamond or spade are the ONLY possibilities to set the contract on a ruff — but both defenders obviously knew that was not the case!

Getting back to the humor of it all ….

A situation like this is not titillating while intense competition is going on, but in retrospect, long after the fact one may manage a smile. Four years later (1975) in Bermuda after the Vegetables/Foot Soldiers (Facchini and Zuchelli) had been found guilty of touching each other’s toes underneath the table (both during the bidding and before the opening lead), it is mind boggling they were allowed to keep playing instead of Italy having to forfeit. At the very least, they should have been homeward bound and not permitted to continue play. (Talk was that Bermuda had put up $300,000 to host this world famous event, and it would be humiliating to have a scandal break out on their home turf). Anyway after the WBF verdict (guilty) was proclaimed, the Vegetables were still in action preparing to take on Indonesia which also included a very suspicious pair often written about as “highly toxic”. Again, our impish friend Gabriel Chagas was present in the Vugraph room as these two countries battled each other in bridge and couldn’t resist …..

He commandeered the microphone and suggested to the administrators, “Why don’t we take the screens down (first year of screens) so the audience can see some real bridge”. Gales of laughter erupted. In fact, it almost rivaled the scene two days earlier when a telegram arrived from Eric Murray, of Canada, after the ludicrous trial of the Vegetables which acknowledged them playing footsie but not disqualifying them or their team.

The telegram read: “Dear Mr. Sheinwold: I would like to volunteer for the North American Team. I play a reasonable game of bridge and take a size 14 shoe”. Sincerely, Eric R. Murray.”

This was also read aloud in the Vugraph room, and again met with resounding laughter and applause from all but the Italians who didn’t think it was very funny. Senses of humor sometime come to our aid at the darkest of moments.

…. to be continued

Richard WilleyOctober 5th, 2009 at 1:35 am

Judy:

No one is disputing your motivations. However, there is a lot of disagreement about your tactics. You can’t prove your case by cherry picking hands and stories about the CIA and mysterious tapes and the CIA come across as outlandish.

I’m not disputing that the Blue Team may have cheated. (I don’t have a dog in that fight). However, I very much believe that there is insufficient evidence to prove anything definitively.

For what its worth, I’m not making any claims about my abilities as a bridge player. I readily admit that some of the hands might be “above me”. I will say the following…

I was in the top handful of my class at MIT. At the moment, I’m making my living working in the field of statistics and data analysis. I do consider myself to be in a pretty darn good position to comment on issues related to hypothesis testing and what constitutes “proving beyond a shadow of a doubt”.

To quote the great Inigo Montoya “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 5:43 am

Henk:

Regarding your taste in books, I thought you might be interested in the celebrated writer and syndicated columnist, Frank Stewart’s review of The Lone Wolff captioned “A PROVOCATIVE BOOK”:

“In all my years of reading and reviewing bridge books, I’ve encountered nothing as riveting and provocative as “The Lone Wolff,” Bobby Wolff’s new autobiography. Everyone with whom I’ve spoken has said, “I couldn’t put it down.” Wolff, 11-time world champion and noted administrator, offers a compellingly honest account of his life in top-flight bridge and his opinions on its state.” (To be quite frank, many people have boasted to me they read it in one sitting).

I guess you were outside the sphere of Mr. Stewart’s peers who “… couldn’t put it down.” In fact, I suppose it would be impossible for you to comprehend why they embatked upon a second printing as well!

To each his own!

Bobby WolffOctober 5th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

To Richard, Danny, and Larry Lowell,

First thanks for writing, and I will offer the following individual comments to all of you.

Richard, With what has been written up to now and will soon be completed, I am intending to mention the Burgay tapes and from them the long term President, Godfather and cofounder of the WBF (1958) Jimmy Ortiz-Patino in 1976, after he confirmed the authentication of the tapes with the American CIA and together with the Executive Council of the WBF barred every member of the Blue Team from ever participating again in the World Championships these episodes will be covered and soon released in his book, World Bridge History. He relented on two occasions (1979 and 1983) and I, as Chairman of the Credentials committee, relented in 2005, but only in the Senior Bowl. I recently interviewed Leandro Burgay during the Shanghai WC in 2007 together with the current totally honest coterie of Italian champions who volunteered so much new (at least to me) information, all corroborating what, as you say many people have known for years. (back to you, but perhaps, if this complete post is read, I will not need to)

Danny, You are right that we should be primarily considering 2009 and not years past, but to not remember the past is to help cloud the future. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, the focus on bridge by the ACBL in the USA is merely to satisfy the aging bridge population, stay out of harm’s way and see the game we love continue for a while and then evaporate. We need people who love our game and refuse to sit on their hands but demand that we care about getting bridge in schools and not lose the unbelievable beauty of what it represents. Europe and now China, sees it that way, but why North American does not, at least to me, does not speak well for our judgment, our motives nor our work ethic to make sure we don’t get left at the post. Sadly now, and when talking to the Special Services division in some of our Universities when we bring up Bridge, their response is usually “Oh yes, I remember my grandparents talking about that game”.

Larry Lowell,

By your post, you seem to be conflicted. What you think, or for that matter, what I think, really doesn’t mean much in the way of getting things done. My purpose for telling this rather lurid story is not to shame anyone. except the powers that be, like myself, who at least at one time, did not do enough to keep bridge on a balanced road to being recognized as the greatest game, and by a large margin, ever invented.

To all,

To be perfectly clear, Benito Garozzo, Pietro Forquet and many of the others are feeling, wonderful, worthwhile very intelligent people who I and everyone else who knows them, loved to be around. Unfortunately their culture is different than other countries, with certain, at the very least, questionable conduct not only permitted, but rather encouraged. but, after all isn’t that the problem with the world itself and sure to take on greater importance in the immediate future with the blending of ethnic nationalities in what is becoming a very small world. Shouldn’t that mean that our politicians should consider all of these ultra important differences in trying to go too far too fast in improving world living conditions and dealing with the problems inherent in mass immigration.

Getting back to bridge, the history and traditon of the game itself has to be remembered in a forthright, honest way, if for no other reason, than to show what could happen if we do not consider the human condition. As many of us in America are sports fans, what do any of us think would happen if in any of the big time sports, we left it up to the players to referee their own games? To say chaos, would be an understatement. In a broad sense that is what has happened over the last large number of years in bridge as we didn’t have the money, nor the organization, nor in many cases the inclination to police our sport.

For us to achieve what can be achieved all who are interested and have the time to give to it should recognize what is required to get the most out of our spectacular sport. Every positive emotion having to do with mental skills is available to at least a significant degree in the playing of competitive world bridge. Problem solving, arithmetical ability, human psychology, legal deception, analytical process, detective work, and mental endurance are just a few which could be mentioned.

The motto of the WBF is “Bridge for Peace”, a perfect description of what our game represents. Because it is mental not physical, people can play it well to very high ages (I should know that as well as anyone) and the admiration between the very good players for each other, regardless of nationality, religion, appearance, or ethnic background, the commonality of the high level bridge world is, at least in my opinion, unparalleled.

Let’s not throw this unique opportunity away. For it to become a reality we need to discuss it, organize it, promote it (for example, get it in Northa American schools), finance it, police it, see the potential for it, and above all, simply nurture and love it!

Richard WilleyOctober 5th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Mr. Wolff:

Thanks for the courtesy of a reply.

The information that you are supplying about Jamie Ortiz-Patino’s book is interesting, to say the least. If the Executive Council of the WBF barred all members of the Blue Team from ever competing in a World Championship, this would represent a truly remarkable piece of data. It will be interesting to see just what Ortiz-Patino puts on the table…

From my own perspective, I have a few immediate follow-up questions

• When the WBF Executive Council barred all members of the Blue Team from ever competing, who precisely was covered by this ban? (The membership of the Blue Team changed dramatically over time. I’d be interested in understand who was covered said penalty applied to)

• Did the WBF Executive Council specify why this ban was put in place?

• Why was the sanction relaxed in 1979, 1983, and 2005? Equally significant, were there any occasions when members of the Blue Team wished to compete in a World Championship but were barred from doing so?

• Is the WBF willing to confirm these claims? I understand why the WBF might not being willing to do so. I don’t believe that a refusal by the WBF to confirm said claims necessarily invalidates Ortiz-Patino’s description. If, however, the WBF were to official confirm these account it would lend a lot more credibility to what Ortiz-Patino is saying.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

To all:

Just for the record, the above blog (Installment 4) was written and posted yesterday (before the most recent comments from Richard Wiley and Danny Kleinman were seen) — due to some technical difficulties (I was told they were ‘found in the muck”) which caused them not to be posted until this morning but apparently are printed and placed according to the date of receipt.

Bobby’s response does not address their recent remarks as he never saw them until this morning, the above installment being the last ‘comment.’

And, I assume “Danny” and “Danny Kleinman” are not the same commentors.

DannyOctober 5th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

No, Judy we are different people. Though at one time Danny Kibitzed myself playing with yet another Danny, Danny Gerstman.

I still stand by the notion that we should be looking to the future. Yes, Bobby, we should not forget the past; but we don’t need other examples of cheating to know it happened.

The main thing is that it is still happening, and we need to do more about it now, more than ever, with the sums from sponsors seemingly accelerating ever higher.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

“Danny” — whoever you are — insisting to be veiled in a cloak of mystery for some unknown reason. I totally disagree with the “forget the past” theory. My intention was simply to dispel the myths of the “unbeatable Blue Team.” I was there when it was happening. Where were you?

How can you look toward the future when there is NO leadership and everyone seems to be going in their own direction, tending to individual agendas and what is best for themselves. I see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes and have been watching it since the early sixties. I lived through the abuse and disappointment and the events of the last few decades have done little to convince me that bridge wlll ever be played solely for the beauty and sanctity of the game. In addition to the earlier scandals, the appearance of professional bridge has given an entire new meaning to the game.

It was always my fervent belief that the country should be represented by the three best pairs, but alas one can buy their way onto a top team (even with the purchase of foreign players to help gain qualification) and in the world championships are not even required to play half of the matches. Bridge has become a total farce and I defy anyone to tell me differently. It was not the intention of our bridge forefathers and they must be turning over in their graves when they see what has become of a once-wonderful game intended to be played by ladies and gentlemen.

I have always called a spade a spade as I despise subterfuges and excuses! Until we get the “right” people at the helm, with pure intent, the game of bridge will not move forward (if indeed, it is not too late already).

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Mr. Willey,

You seem to me to be a conscientious, bridge informed, interested party who, like I do, wish the best for bridge.

The WBF has in the past, and currently, become a mixture of various types of substantial people whose interests vary depending on whether they are world class competitive players (not many), gregarious individuals who love to play and administrative (most) but almost 100% responsible successful people from all corners of the world, who have happened to place the future of bridge at a very high level of importance. Jose Damiani from Paris, France who runs a very successful public relations firm, succeeded me as President in 1994 and is stepping down next year (after a record setting 16 years) for Giannariga Rona from Milan, Italy, a prosperous Italian lawyer and one who has been in Italian bridge administration for many years. Giannariga has been the guiding force in putting on several World Championships held in Italy during the last 20 years or so. Jose has worked miracles in getting bridge into the Mind Sports competition, which is a branch of the main Olympic Committee, but, at least up to now, they have not granted us entry into the Real Olympics because of the so-called lack of physicality in bridge (the Olyjmpic committee should examine the exhausting pace involving continuing pressure faced by all the bridge playing participants before they put paid to that notion).

Having said the above, let me answer your questions. Jimmy’s book was scheduled out a year ago, but after talking with him and seeing him during the recent WC in Sao Paulo, Brazil he told me that he is hoping to get it out the end of this year, but it may take till mid 2010 before it appears. Because of the World economic meltdown, the people helping him do the book have been busy with other things and so the book is suffering this delay. Of course, the Burgay tapes will be mentioned and discussed in Jimmy’s book and while Jimmy was in Dallas he infomed me that every member of the Blue Team was implicated. Burgay also informed me in Shanghai, 2007 that while the tapes were all 100% true in everything involving bridge and what went on, that he still loves Italy and does not relish the role of being thought of as being a traitor to Italian bridge, but rather realizes, like I do, that the world deserves to know the truth.

That same attitude seems to permeate the new and much younger group of current Italian champions who in their way, each told me that whatever I had heard about the Blue Team was probably understated and that, in reality it was much worse. There is no doubt that it would be best, just to clear the air, for some kind of open forum to take place where everyone who feels brave enough to speak the truth can help us bury this hatchet forever. When that day comes, if it ever does, bridge itself will be rewarded and, in addition, it will also be honored.

In order to be able to play in a WBF event, the WBF has to invite every player and so it is an easy thing to not invite someone who has become persona non grata. Jimmy, always being afraid of a scandal (witness Bermuda 1975) has been reluctant to take public action since he wanted to keep cheating possibilities away from public airing (not to mention the possibility of law suits). Jimmy, with the blessing of the WBF Executive Council, barred all members of the Blue Team, but for whatever reason, possibly because of their pleasing personalities and their sheer off the charts greatness, allowed Garozzo and Belladonna to play in both 1979 and 1983. Ironically they lost both years, after winning almost 14 straight years.

A situation that I haven’t told yet occurred in 1983 in Stockholm. We were the finalist team playing them in a 176 board final. The scores were always close throughout, but with about 64 boards to go, I talked to Benito (after hearing G2 from my spies) that when they weren’t playing against Hamman and me, both of them took cigarette lighters to the screened tables. I asked Benito (in a stairwell between floors) to please stop bringing lighters to the table with them. He looked quizzical and I then offered, Bob and I also will promise to not making any noise whereupon he made what is to me a worthwhile quote, “I’m not worried about either one of you and never have been”. In any event, he agreed and the noises stopped and we were very happy and totally thrilled to have won the match by 5 IMP’s thanks to the last two hands of the match.

I, representing the WBF Credentials Committee, allowed both Pietro and Benito to play for Italy in the Senior Bowl in Estoril, Portugal in 2005. I cannot tell you why I did, only that the Senior tournament, at least then was not very important, and luck had it that their team never got going. My bet is that they were above reproach in Portugal. I do not know if Jimmy had any requests from Blue Team members to play other than the ones I mentioned. Because of my status on the Credentials committee I have been doing this for about 25 years and have never had to turn any Blue Team member down, although I have turned a number of others down from around the world (including some from the USA). Finally the current Executive Council is possibly unfamiliar with much of what I have just told you. I remember talking to Jose Damiani quite a few years ago and since he didn’t even come on the scene from France till he was the Non-playing Captain of the French team in 1980 in Valkenburg, Holland when his team beat our team in the Finals so he hardly knows much about the whole deal, probably only what Jimmy may have suggested to him from time to time about keeping an eye out for this or that.

As a final rejoinder to you, I suggest that trying to determine bridge cheats in a scientific manner will result in much chaos. That fact alone has caused the WBF to some extent and the ACBL to a much larger extent to try and stay away from lawsuits since juries or judges deciding the case will have no clue as to what to look for. To me, after all my experience through many active years only know that my intuition tells me which, at least to me, is where it’s at.

Cheaters seem to act differently at the table. Many go into their evil act when first they pull their cards out of the boards immediately and transmit and receive while their opponents are still in the act of sorting their hands. I could go on and on, but I would soon get boring, if I haven’t already.

dannyOctober 5th, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Judy:

You know me very well. We talked about your forum in Sao Paulo.

I don’t want to forget the past, as those who forget the past are condemmed to repeat it.

While all talk of curtailing nefarious doings is good, I’d prefer to focus my energies going forward. I don’t forget it, I am aware of it, and just want to work on the future.

When you say there is no leadership, I think you are mistaken. You may not like the views the leadership takes, but that is the way it is. I see plenty of what goes on behind the scenes. I am on several USBF committees for example.

I too would like to see the 3 best pairs represent the US. Alas, when that proposal was put forth, Bobby, myself and one or 2 others voted for it, and it was a landslide agaisnt us. Indeed, several top pairs have suggested they wouldn’t even play in a pairs trial.

I would like to believe my intent is pure, as I am neither a professional nor a sponsor. Alas, my 1 vote is just not getting anywhere.

Danny

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 5th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Danny:

I can only suspect who you are and it would not be to your advantage to go public if you serve on so many of these “well-intended” committees. Right?

Your letter is very compelling and sincere but since you and Bobby are in the minority, I think the future of bridge is very bleak with no relief in sight. Sure — pairs refuse to play in Pair Trials (and we all know why and whom they are). I once attended a meeting where one of them spoke up against a Pairs Trial (even every fourth year) because it is absent of “camaraderie.” That is plain B. S. and what he was really saying was: Without camaraderie, we have no sponsor and we won’t get paid to play. You didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure it out! Just wake up and smell the roses and see what the game has turned into. It is all about money, money, money!

I should think it would be an honor and privilege for any top player or pair to represent his or her country with no strings attached. With all the money the ACBL garners from membership dues and other sources, it should be their responsibility (together with the USBF) to pay the entire basic expenses of all those playing on U. S. Teams. That does not mean First Class, per diem for exotic dinners and fancy hotels — just enough to cover basic expenses. However, that was far from the case in Sao Paulo. The stipend turned out to be an absolute joke. The “amateur” (non-professionally paid) individuals got a pittance but that same “pittance” also went to the pros in addition to salaries and free dinners with the sponsors. The hotel dining rooms were replete just about every night with “sponsored” dinner parties. Money is no object to a player whose tab is being picked up.

So, as long as professionalism is here to stay, don’t be looking for perfection or to ever have the three best pairs. If it happens, it is by accident.

As long as committees are geared to the needs and desires of those who have their hands in the till, i.e. personal agendas, seeding points, bye-rounds, conditions of contest (particularly movements of specific events), etc., bridge will not move forward in the right direction — only to be controlled by those with self-interests. It has become obvious, you can’t fight City Hall — but at this point it matters not to me. As far as I am concerned, at the higher levels, it is a lost cause.

Bobby has had a long successful career both nationally and internationally and has contributed mightily and unselfishly at the administrative end in local, national and international venues. I truly feel sad for what lies ahead and the future of the game.

HenkOctober 6th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Mr. Wolff, Richard,

One thing about this ban puzzles me. If we look at the line-up of the Italian teams in 1976 and later, then we see the following Blue Team members participating:

1976: Belladonna, Forquet, Garozzo (both Bermuda Bowl and Olympiad)

1977: Italy did not qualify

1979: Belladona, Garozzo

1980: Garozzo

1981: Italy did not qualify

1983: Garozzo, Belladona

1984: Garozzo

that strikes me as odd. Why would one ban a player only to re-admit him the next time he shows up to play?

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 6th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

To Henk,

Thanks for the information. I’ll try and check out the answer as to why this happened, but meantime I’ll tell you what I know now.

In 1976, in Monte Carlo, the Burgay tapes were offered into evidence as the 1976 Bermuda Bowl began. Then, after the Bermuda Bowl was played, the 1976 World Team Olympiad (WTO) began a few days later, the first and only time both events were held at about the same time. In 2000 the Bermuda Bowl was held in January of that year, but was really the 1999 event as Bermuda had some problems securing the playing space necessary in 1999. Later in the year (2000), the World Team Olympiad was held in Maastricht, Holland.

Back to 1976, the Bermuda Bowl was won by the USA and then the WTO was won by Brazil with Italy finishing 2d in both events. After Jimmy and the WBF’s research on the Burgay tapes and their resultant decision became final, the bar theoretically began in 1977.

We have already discussed B&G being allowed to play in 1979 and 1983. As to Garozzo playing (I assume without Belladonna) in 1980 and 1984, both WTO’s in Valkenburg and in Seattle, his name might have slipped through the cracks or perhaps the Italian team starting in 1977, without the Blue Team competing in Italy for the right to play in the WC, no one may have payed proper attention. Remember Jimmy, in his fierce desire to keep bridge scandal free, would not have been pleased if the Italian team’s absence with the publicity attached, stirred up the pot.

I was on both the USA teams for the WTO in 1980 (Valkenburg) and 1984 (Seattle) and France won in 1980 and Poland won in 1984. I do not remember Benito being at either event, but since at that time I knew nothing about the Italians being barred I would have not suspected anything unusual. I do not remember Italy being a factor in either event.

What this might teach us is the importance of not only telling the truth, but not fearing what repercussions the truth might bring.

Again, thanks for your information. If you are puzzled because of possible inconsistencies, perhaps you should seek Jimmy Ortiz-Patino out and ask him or decide to wait until his book, World Bridge History, is released.

Roy HughesOctober 6th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Cam French gave a hand from Alan Truscott’s “NY Times Book of Bridge” where Belladonna, was in 4th chair holding

S A5 H 9 D K10976 C K10732

vul vs not and heard the bidding go 1S pass 1NT to him. Belladonna overcalled 2C and found his partner with

S J8643 H A83 D A C AQ64

Does this imply that Belladonna had improper information about his partner’s distribution? Looking only at this deal, I would say no. Overcalling 2C is consistent with planning to run to 2D if doubled in 2C, a tactic not uncommon at the time.

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 7th, 2009 at 4:42 am

Hi Roy,

While tending to agree with you, and for the exact reason you gave, I guess the lesson to be learned is the insidiousness of possible cheating.

Haven’t many of us, if not a vast majority, played bridge for rather long spells of time without ever considering that the opponents, usually strangers or almost, are cheating us. We’ve all dealt with unethical or intimidating opponents, but that is vastly different than stealthy cheating since unethical or similar overbearing behavior is obvious to all at the table, especially the ones doing it and eventually that behavior becomes boorish enough so that the perpetrators are given a choice, “Shape up or don’t continue to play here”.

With cheating, particularly to the uninitiated, everything seems cheery to the victims except, of course, the results.

The subject hand is a well known one, but I, at least up to now, never heard possible cheating mentioned with the discussion of it. If my memory serves, at the other, table Howard Schenken overcalled 2 diamonds (with the 5-5) and his new partner Bobby Nail (a John Gerber decision as Captain of the US team) passed.

I tend to enjoy philosophical discussions about great competitors in sports and just about everything. What does the group think about how Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGruire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmero, Jose Canseco and many more will be thought of about 20 years from now and compared to Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx and others? The next question is , Don’t we all think that all of us and the rest of all fans of whatever competition deserve to know if everyone was playing by the same rules and, if not, what was happening? Without that knowledge most all of us should be conflicted enough to give up caring.

I probably have had a unique experience in being able to play against the American greats when I was very young and then as bridge bidding developed have played against all the super current experts from around the world. If anyone is interested, I think the current Dutch and Norweigan teams would wallop our best American teams of 50 years ago, close to even in the play, a slight edge to the old Americans in intimidation and brutal psychology, but an enormous edge to the Scandinavian young players in overall bidding, especially in the constructive area, as well as a significant edge in partnership harmony and teamliness. Of course, the Nickell team as well as the new and great Italians do not take a back seat to anyone. Cheating, one may ask; Are you kidding? of course not!

We must go ever onward, ever upward, but I do hope that after I check out, that the high-level bridge world matures enough to recognize what an overwhelming positive experience bridge can be, both as a World Bridge for Peace and, of course for being able to spend almost a full lifetime doing what we love most. In order for that to happen we must police our sport, diss the unhealthy intruders, and demand level playing fields. Easier said than done!!!

Ron LelOctober 7th, 2009 at 7:09 am

Bobby,

I have not yet commented on your revelations, as i wanted to read all of them at leisure. However, I would like to draw your attention to the comments made by an ex partner of mine. They match my own views regaring Avarelli’s pass on:

s. void

h. AQ10xxxx

d.10xxx

c. xx

“I believe the Italians (just the Romans??) used double on all 2 suited

hands as well as 3 suited ones. So the hands that michaels, UNT, leaping

Michaels etc are used for nowadays were a double in those days.

In its earliest forms, the roman club used an exclusion response (a suit

they could not play in – not a preemptive leap in the modern

terminology) so that a 2 suited doubler could know which suit to bid,

possibly for this very reason.

Since Belladonna could be 5-5 in the other 2 suits, on the hand in

question, it is plausible that Avarelli just assumed from his heart

length that B had the other 2 suits and just tried to make sure of a

plus score by passing. ”

Further, picking a few hands at random is not indicative of proof of cheating. You need to provide evidence of methods.

Yet More AnonOctober 7th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

ISSUES WITH YOUR CLAIMS AND DEBATING TACTICS:

Part 1: Judy Kay-Wolff

—————————-

From the original text,

1. “I am getting sick and tired of the lionizing of a team that the world of bridge knows cheated for well over a decade, resulting in their fourteen consecutive dirty world championships”

2. “THERE IS NOT A TOP PLAYER (who has not self-deluded himself) IN THE WORLD ALIVE THEN OR NOW WHO WOULD NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT FACT”.

** Issue: In both, there is a LOADED reasoning. e.g. the bracket in #2 speaks louder than the capitalized sentence. Consider any top player who reads this blog

(2a) If you the reader ACKNOWLEDGES that the Blue Team cheated —> come on in. You deserve your top player badge, you knowledgeable, wise, great, top player, you!

(2b) You have heard whispers/accusations but are not fully convinced —> please accept the label of “self-deluded” as a parting gift!

3. The claim is Jaime Ortiz-Patiño “verified the famous Burgay Tapes by using his influence at the CIA which officially confirmed their authenticity!”.

** Issue: David Babcock’s comment of 9/25 was never addressed. (Quote)…we are really to believe that in the interim, during which there was time for the CIA to analyze the tapes, no one on the Executive Council thought to have a copy made, and that Jimmy didn’t think to ask his contact at the CIA to make a copy nor, later, to ask whether that might have been done as a matter of routine? Sorry, but if I’m on a jury and the police say: we found a smoking gun on the floor, but someone in a club the defendant belongs to showed up and took it and we never even took a picture of it — and if that’s the best they have by their own account — that defendant is walking..”(End Quote)

4. (…)if you have any doubts, read The Lone Wolff or write to my husband Bobby Wolff who was in the thick of things and has many more details than I care to reveal now.

** Issue: Despite four long posts that followed (by Mr Wolff), there is not much available in the form of concrete evidence.

Curiously, the analytical approach listed by Danny Kleinman is so much clearer; Mr Wolff could not achieve such clarity in 1 book, 4 installments & numerous follow-up comments. One wonders if all the brouhaha on this blog is aimed at selling more copies of Mr Wolff’s book; I for one would rather buy Mr Kleinman’s suggested book — Bridge in the Tower of Babel.

5. I earlier said Martha & Judy had similar styles of writing, and that Judy did not comment on Martha. As a rebuttal, Judy made a couple of follow-up jokes and praised Martha (Quote) It is obvious from your response and the report of your track record, that you care very much about the game. (End Quote).

** Issue: What was left unsaid is that Martha is (as is Blair Fedder) connected with the Lone Wolff — the names appear in “Acknowledgements” in the book. I find it curious that the chest-thumping support comes mainly from close friends/collaborators.

As Mrs. Kay-Wolff attributes a lot of importance to age, I list a quote from my great-grand mother. Her husband was a renowned judge. She said “(Mr X) talked to me extensively about the law & court proceedings, and over the last 50 years I came to understand the process of law much better than many lawyers. Yet, I have no automatic authority in matters of jurisprudence”. Guess why the quote is here.

Part 2: Bobby Wolff

——————-

6. Mr Wolff started off by writing that people posting here were trying flame tactics. However, per my count, the put-downs, innuendos and veiled sarcasm from Judy numerically exceed those by other posters collectively. One poster said “Judy has a wonderful way of getting people to talk about and think about important issues”. I think a more apt adjective in lieu of “wonderful” is “invidious” (sorry, count up by 1 for the “bad guys”)

7. I recall reading somewhere that Mr Wolff prides himself on his lawyer connections (close family members are lawyers?). Also, I believe (heard?/read somewhere?) that World Class bridge players have a higher IQ, have sound organizational skills and have excellent reasoning abilities.

My apologies for being blunt, Mr wolff, but neither your book nor the posts on this topic have a lawyer-like and organized/logically presented points addressing the issue on hand. It is a discourse about various conversations & events told in a rhetoric-heavy style, with a lot of reliance on hear-say and innuendo. To wit,

(7a). I found it odd that in this debate about the Blue Team you introduced a hand record of a match between USA & France! What’s the connection? How does it buttress your claim about the Blue Team?

(7b). It is claimed that the Blue Team consistently cheated (and as a result won) for over a decade. Yet, with the exception of the Foot Soldiers, are you saying the modus operandi employed by these cuplrits was never identified by anyone from any team in any event?? When you compare it to known cases, this looks odd because the accused players played thousands of hours in full view of at least 2 and sometimes over 50 people. In contrast, weren’t both Reese/Schapiro & the Foot Soldiers “caught” within a few days?!

8. In Installment I, you praise Benito Garozzo (Quote) I have played against him over the course of my lifetime, estimated to be at least one thousand plus hands, (including many months on tour with the Omar Sharif Circus in the early seventies). When I was declarer, Benito, by his body actions and demeanor, which were strictly above board. (End Quote)

Yet in Installment IV, you talk about the same person and a lighter incident?! I don’t get it. Can you please crystallize and re-state your exact claim? Is he named, or is he not?

9. Strange standards:

(9a). Mr Wolff writes: (Quote) …he (Jimmy) still loves Italy and does not relish the role of being thought of as being a traitor to Italian bridge, but rather realizes, like I do, that the world deserves to know the truth (End Quote)

(9b). He also writes: (Quote) I, representing the WBF Credentials Committee, allowed both Pietro and Benito to play for Italy in the Senior Bowl in Estoril, Portugal in 2005. I cannot tell you why I did… (rest of quote truncated)

If you believe they (or some of them) were cheats, how did your ethics fit with these players getting leniency (to play)? Doesn’t it clash with the high moral standards you expect to be applied in such situations?

If Jaime and you were justified in your actions because you had the authority delegated to you, why (in the USBF context) remonstrate when the authorities use powers bestowed on them to take decisions e.g. choosing a 3rd pair for USA2? And I don’t need to (but I will) rub it in that USA2 won the Bermuda Bowl this year with a third “weak” pair.

10. Also in connection to questions re. Jaime Ortiz-Patiño’s statements to you, your statements asking us to contact him directly is NOT OK. Excuse the weak analogy but it’s like Prosecution asking Defence to contact a witness who will buttress the Prosecution’s case!

11. Quote from Mr Wolff’s reply to “Richard, Danny, and Larry Lowell” on 10/5:

“Unfortunately their culture is different than other countries, with certain, at the very least, questionable conduct not only permitted, but rather encouraged. but, after all isn’t that the problem with the world itself and sure to take on greater importance in the immediate future with the blending of ethnic nationalities in what is becoming a very small world. Shouldn’t that mean that our politicians should consider all of these ultra important differences in trying to go too far too fast in improving world living conditions and dealing with the problems inherent in mass immigration”

Er, what? Say that again? Did you just label an entire nation?

And what was that about “mass immigration”? My limited intellect keeps popping the word “xenophobia” in my head.

—————

Mr Wolff, you are well respected and there must be many people (including me) willing to listen to you in a balanced manner. But you have to provide us with lawyer-like & cogent details.

Surely you would have the Championship Books for all these years (especially as you participated in a few later ones). You could have tested and identified illogical bids and anti-percentage defensive plays in large numbers from these books and thus buttressed your claim.

Sadly, you have left me as much in the dark as before. For my sake, I hope to get a better understanding of this issue by reading someone else’s book!

Roy HughesOctober 7th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Bobby W. — re S A5 H 9 D K10976 C K10732 (1S P 1N ?)

Yes, your memory is serving you well! Thank you for the reply.

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 7th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Ron,

I do agree that a few isolated hands are not credible evidence that cheating is going on. However, with that being said, I find it very hard to agree with any of your other philosophies.

One of my very best friends (at least used to be since we have been apart for about 17 years), Denis Howard, a countryman of yours, possesses a superior work ethic, off the charts intelligence, and a great desire to do whatever is best for bridge. He used a term while writing “Anatomy of a Scandal” (opposed to Terence Reese’s views from his armchair in London, the Bermuda Bowl incident in 1975). He discusses their certain guilt and finishes it by saying anyone who thinks otherwise is “willfully self deceptive.” Such is the same view I have of you except I would like to add “boundlessly naive.” While neither of those traits are in the least bit criminal, I would also like to think of that type of personality better than the other option of considering you an aberrant troublemaker who loves debating and discussing just to cause rancor and bad feelings.

Much of the direction my long career has taken me has to do with the pathos involved in policing bridge. Believe me, it is not a pleasant task, but it needs to be done by someone who loves our game. There are very few volunteers, because to a person, the culprits never admit anything until they are caught like a rat in a trap, where their only way out is to attempt to mitigate the punishment. If you have read many of my blogs you will realize some of the problems involved. This is and should not be a discussion or debate between would-be lawyers and that itself begins to discuss the problems involved.

If you want to believe what you say about Avarelli and Belladonna’s sequence in my recent blog it would be up to you, but you would be alone among so called top players’ thinking, who would agree that it is outright scandalous cheating. You mention 2 suiters; well if Giorgio’s hand had contained three less diamonds and replaced them with 1 more heart and 2 more black cards the swing could have easily been 3 diamonds bid and made one direction and 7 hearts bid and made the other way. Never in recorded bridge history did that happen to any partnership of the Blue Team, at least to my knowledge, coincidence maybe, but how can anyone in his right bridge mind defend Avarelli’s pass unless he knew that Giorgio had 3 diamonds.

Why should I (or perhaps we) continue to discuss these long ago hands? There is nothing which can happen that would convince you that the exalted Blue Team could have possibly cheated. How about in America when OJ Simpson was found innocent of the cold blooded murder of his wife and her friend. Should the justice system decide that he wasn’t guilty because he was found such? In a form of cowboy justice, the powers-that-be then found him guilty of another trumped up indiscretion in order to get even. To me this was horrible for my country to desecrate our justice system by so doing, but so they did.

Contrary to what some may believe, I am not here to persecute the memories of the Blue Team, but rather I am here to chronicle what has happened while up close and personal with what has occurred; otherwise it will all die with me. The self-serving notions of the top bridge players are, like, I guess, the top players in other world wide sports who are only interested in making money and getting glory. Helping the future of the game is not part of the equation for them. I tried to educate possible replacements for me with ways to detect cheating in the high-level game since normal sleuths do not know enough and are certainly not trained in the unique qualities of our game.

It is certainly clear to me that you and your friends want to make it as hard as possible for me to get my messages out. This Anon who writes should be ashamed of his posts since in the recent one he has substituted Jimmy Patino’s name for Leanadro Burgay making what both of us are saying, virtually unintelligible. It is hard for me to muster the strength to constantly fight these ridiculous battles when people, in my view, continue to say that black is white. Bridge cheating is hard to prove and will never be able to be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, but when it happens we must do what is necessary to right the wrong, both to save the game at that time and, just as importantly to give people a correct chronicle of bridge history. Also what has surprised me is that cheats once caught seem to begin to understand what they had been doing to the game itself and, believe it or not, confess in detail and also sometimes take other pairs, doing the same, with them.

I can only close by advising you, ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 7th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

TO “YET MORE ANON”:

Nothing is more despicable to me than a blathering fool who is too cowardly to identify himself but rants and rages pure nonsense. Obviously, you must have lots of idle time on your hands and I suggest you look for more productive outlets than tirades about a subject which you personally know little about. I will not dignify a response from a frenzied individual who is so out of control and stupidly interchanges the roles played by Patino and Burgay in the famed tapes.

The only purpose of my original blog was to set the bridge chronicles straight about something that happened half a century ago that was gospel to those in the know and to prevent a recurrence in the future as it makes bridge a total farce. I have neither the time nor desire to prove anything to spinelesss creatures like you — so peddle your fish elsewhere.

Judy Kay-Wolff

Richard WilleyOctober 8th, 2009 at 12:40 am

Bobby Wolff wrote:

> I do agree that a few isolated hands are not credible evidence that

> cheating is going on.

The main is that, other than a few isolated hands a wide range of anecdotes that can’t be verified, you aren’t offering much in the way of credible proof.

Case in point: You are assert that Jamie Ortiz-Patino banned all members of the Blue Team from competing in International Tournaments in 1976. Henk showed that members of the Blue Team competed in such events in 1979, 1980, 1983, and 1984. In two of the remaining years (1977 and 1980) Italy didn’t qualify. (Out of curiosity, does anyone know what qualification methods the Italians used in 1978 and 1982?).

There doesn’t seem to be any documentation proving that this ban took place.

If there was a ban, it certainly wasn’t enforced in any way, shape, or form.

Simply put, its very difficult to know what to think about this claims.

In a similar vein, all this talk about the CIA and Burgay tapes sounds lot like the fanciful tales that I hear from my 10 year nephew… Some people might be impressed hearing random references to the CIA. From my perspective, if you can back up these claims with credible, documented facts these types of arguments detract from your case. I don’t believe my nephew when he said that a deer let him ride ride on its back. I think that claiming that Patino-Ortiz has enough clout to call in a favor at the CIA is much much more credible than said story. However, you still need to provide proof.

I understand that its probably not possible to provide, with absolutely certainty that the Blue Team cheated. Luckily, there are entire mathematical disciplines related to studying just these sorts of issues. [Statistics is not an arcane science, nor is it black magic]. Moreover, the fact that something is difficult to prove and you need to invest some legwork isn’t an excuse for not trying.

You spin some wonderful tales. People love a scandal and I’m sure that lots of people will eat this type of thing up. However, speaking as someone who spends most of their life chewing through data analysis problems, it doesn’t look like you’ve bothered to do your homework.

(For what its worth, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that members of the Blue Team were cheating. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ve been able to adequately prove this)

Richard WilleyOctober 8th, 2009 at 12:53 am

Judy Kay-Wolff wrote:

>Nothing is more despicable to me than a blathering fool who

>is too cowardly to identify himself but rants and rages pure

>nonsense.

This is a discussion thread on an Internet forum. For better or worse, anonymous posting is part and parcel of this communication medium. Fixating on the fact that “YET MORE ANON” is using a nom de plume while avoiding all of the points that he made in his post really doesn’t help your credibility. I have no idea who “YET MORE ANON” is (don’t really care either). Based on the name that he’s using, I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that he chose this name trying to bait into just this sort of rant.

>I will not dignify a response from a frenzied individual who is so out of control and stupidly

>interchanges the roles played by Patino and Burgay in the famed tapes.

It certainly appears as if “YET MORE ANON” made a mistake. Its unclear whether this shows genuine confusion about the facts or whether this is a simple typo. Its completely appropriate to point out these types of factual errors. However, using this as an excuse to ignore all of the other points that “YET MORE ANON” makes doesn’t make you look good.

You’re coming as very petulant… I understand that you feel very deeply about all this, but these sorts of posts aren’t helping your cause.

Obviously, you must have lots of idle time on your hands and I suggest you look for more productive outlets than tirades about a subject which you personally know little about. I will not dignify a response from a frenzied individual who is so out of control and stupidly interchanges the roles played by Patino and Burgay in the famed tapes.

Anon.DoesthatBotheryouOctober 8th, 2009 at 1:22 am

LOL @ Judy.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 8th, 2009 at 1:45 am

TO: Richard Willey, Anon (by any other name). et al.

I don’t have to justify anything. Do your own research and draw whatever conclusions make you happy. I could care less what you think. Blogging at one time was a classy operation

used by civil people until individuals like you came upon the scene and changed my mind.

Lose my number.

Anon.DoesthatBotheryouOctober 8th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

LOL again at the ‘classy’ comment. Your comments that appeared before definitely are not classy.

When you make blanket statements about a controversial topic, expect some heat.

Learn to take some criticism, it is for your own good.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 8th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

To: ANON.DOES THAT BOTHER YOU

If the statement was “classy” I sure didn’t mean to waste it on you. You , like many others, don’t know enough about the subject to come in from out of the rain. I suggest you wait until you read Bobby Wolff’ statement’s to appear on this site today and maybe you will have a change of heart. It’s not about criticism. It’s about people who don’t begin to know half the facts and consider themselves authorities.

Anon.DoesthatBotheryouOctober 8th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Sure, I will wait. I expect it to be as compelling as his ‘installments’.

Hallelujah, we are blessed!

Yet More AnonOctober 8th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Richard Willey,

It was something worse than a simple typo. Actually, I misread the section and (for some unknown reason) thought Jaime said that instead of Burgay. It is clear I got confused; I acknowledge my fault and thank you for your support.

Mrs Kay-Wolff,

Please consider Point (9a) withdrawn. However, that does not change the rest of the post nor does it dilute the question I posed (or is it, had the temerity to pose) to Mr Wolff.

To anyone interested / wants to know:

1. I do not wish to post my name. I think it is my choice; and I fail to see why it should matter.

2. I originally posted two comments as “Anon” (#2 in the list, and the one about Australians and left-handed people).

When I posted the third comment (the one about rec.games.bridge and Martha’s style of writing being similar) as “Anon”, the comment was referred to a moderator (i.e. it did not appear on this blog). That’s why I changed to “More Anon” and also talked about my previous ID being put into “moderation” mode (i.e. blocked)

When I tried to post my fourth comment (the long one yesterday morning), the message was lost (not sure whether due to a second block, or a mistake by me). So I moved to “Yet More Anon”.

I do not need to explain my position or justify my actions; but you will note that I waited and read every one of the Installments without interruptions. My third comment is before Mr Wolff started, and my fourth is after he finished his Installments

3. I have not commented or evaluated a single bridge related decision here. I did not comment on whether Avarelli’s pass is justified etc. I am not an expert; nor do I profess to play the game at the highest levels.

I am an average man (a “Joe Shmoe”) who has lived on this planet long enough to know what to say and how to say it.

On the other hand, my long-time life partner is a bridge expert (almost world class). He has regularly played at the National level, and participated in Trans-national and unrestricted international events. We have hundreds of bridge books in our home and I have read most of them.

He chose not to critique any of the deals presented here (his choice & I respect it); and as I do not consider myself qualified to evaluate, I have not commented on any bridge deal in specific.

4. However, my confessed limitation in bridge do not detract from the points posed by me.

I do not claim that I deserve a proper response from Mr Wolff. But I am curious ….

YMA

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 8th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Anon,

Your last short blog makes sense. However, put your hand in mine and recognize some important truths:

1. Some, wonderful in more than a few ways, people are not accustomed to the rough and tumble, not to mention at times downright insulting, results of internet blogging and consequently, since their senses feel no less than violated, they respond violently. Judy who is a wonderful responsive wife to me and is a very talented creator, writer, organizer together with an off the charts work ethic met, and married me some six years ago.

2. Since we were both very ensconsed in the bridge world, her with her successful marriage to one of the best American players ever, Norman Kay, who represented America a number of times but always lost to the Blue Team and during which there was much evidence and a whole lot of talk about their alledged cheating, and me, also with a career centered around bridge and filling in the gaps making what she suspected no less than a certain 100%.

3. Judy, who in addition to the above had always been successful in her enterprises whether it was putting on shows at the Nationals, writing award winning poems, running a highly successful baseball card business or owning thorougbred horses in racing, has NOT been accustomed to dealing with the relatively younger generation of brash, prove it, at times somewhat-less-than-civilized behavior-type people who get emboldened being able to say anything at anytime and not worry about being challenged on their civility.

4. I understand her feelings, especially since she values the truth and everything that goes with and at least, from her point of view, wants to avenge Norman’s never having won a World Championship in spite of, at least during his time, of being on what was probably the best team in the world, but was prevented from doing so by what Judy now knows to be the truth.

5. All very heady, cogent reasons, but (if you understand people) you may realize the strong emotions this could create. From my point of view, having lived so close to this and so many comparable happenings it defines in NEON LIGHTS the insidiousness of what cheating at bridge represents.

6. Although my bridge career has had many fortunate events for me such as the creation of the ACES team, being able to play on so many very strong teams, writing a syndicated world bridge column and also achieving some bridge administrative goals while still being able to make a very decent living I, still had to suffer the indignity of losing to the Blue Team or a reasonable facsimile, four years in a row (1972-1975) and although they were a good team and fully capable of winning honestly, they didn’t believe in taking that risk. In 1973 in Brazil while edging the Blue team out in the Round Robin (1st stage of the competition) for 1st place ahead of their 2d place finish and before our final started the London Bookmakers put up the odds on our final match as 21 to 1 in favor of the Italians. No fools, those London bookmakers and so it proved!

7. My intention for this post is solely for better understanding between adversaries. I can assure you that now, and for the last fairly large number of years, my intentions have been only to leave bridge with the best legacy I can help provide. Obviously as I grow older and less productive there is only a few things I can do, but I intend to keep trying to improve the game, help with the Junior involvement, still play effectively at my level, work with the WBF in trying to keep professionalism from eventually ruining the game and causing many teams from being diluted in ability, helping to continue to police the game and discourage unethical and worse from succeeding as well as continuing to try to be a grand old man for Bridge for Peace.

The future of this much smaller world we live in vitally depends on different cultures finding ways to understand each other. Up to now the world probably doesn’t get a very high grade, leaving it up to us to show the way. I’m willing, how about you and I hope many others.

adminOctober 8th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

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BOBBY WOLFFOctober 8th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Richard,

While a few isolated hands are not clear proof of cheating, they do, if aberrant enough, begin to weave a suspected pattern which usually begins a cheating investigation. It is safe to say that the hands represented do not begin to show innocence.

World Bridge History, by Jimmy Ortiz-Patino was supposed to be released at the Beijing 1908 World Championship. Panos Gerontoupolous, Jimmy’s main liaison and information gatherer has written me a few times about the delay and just a month ago while in Sao Paulo I met with Jimmy and Panos and have since updated what is to be expected.

It seems a bit impatient of you besides disrespectful to question me on something which Jimmy alone has told me several times at different meetings when I am powerless to determine exactly when his book is coming out. After it does, I will expect an apology from you since you continually refer to absolutely no proof that what I said is true. I ask you, if you wish to contact Jimmy please ask him yourself, but if you don’t, please cease and desist until the book is out. It is not as if I have a staff available to produce magic.

Your comment about the ban, shows not only your inexperience in understanding how the bridge world works, but also the difficulty in enforcing the ban itself. World bridge does not have a staff of people devoted to doing all the tasks necessary to be done. There are and have been quite a number of players who have played on the Blue Team. None of those players, beginning in 1977, have shown up since, D’Aleio, Pabis-Ticci, Chiardia, Sinascalco, Avarelli, Bianchi, others and all but Garozzo and Belladonna are accounted for. I explained, in enough detail, about Benito and Giorgio and why Garozzo might have slipped through the cracks. Since he has been living in America for probably 20 years no one might have even noticed when he showed up, playing for Italy (assuming he did when research by someone evidently showed that he did, although I, being there, do not remember seeing him, but at that time did not know of the ban). Also Richard, to you these small scientific facts are very meaningful, but to me the meaning is much more practical. In spite of my rating Benito the best player of all time, since his travels to America many years ago I am pretty sure, but not 100% certain, he has not won a major US event since. Is that fact what you would suggest as being a scientific one, and if so, I discount his results since his partners and no doubt teammates were probably far less than world class.

You talk about the Burgay tapes and the CIA involvement as part of my fanciful tale, but once again your argument begins to border on the absurd because as I stated clearly this is Jimmy’s bailiwick. It begins to appear that you, Richard, have given away whatever credibility you started with and are probably a scientific nerd who thinks your statistical approach is the key to the universe. I respectfully disagree!

While I agree that it is difficult to determine cheating to anywhere near a 100% certainty I also do not think that so called mathematical disciplines can do much, if any, better. Bridge does not lend itself to mathematics due to its artistic nature. When Mr. Lel and his friend thinks Avarelli was correct in passing 3 diamonds doubled it becomes a Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Wonderland World and should make one realize how difficult it is to deal with bridge cheating. When you suggest I need to exercise more legwork, it completes the farcical cycle since I probably devoted more time to these exercises than the next 10 people combined.

I am not interested in weaving a tale or exposing a scandal. I am only interested in correcting the deification of some people who should, instead, be forced to wear Scarlet “C”s! Thank you, Nathaniel.

Your statement of not being surprised if the Blue Team is eventually found to be cheating seems like a cheap way to protect yourself, in case, someone associates you with being in their corner. I would normally think that a person with your educational background and success would have more self-confidence and character than that.

Obviously, I am getting weary of all this ugliness, but sometimes pure goals are worth the sacrifice.

Richard WilleyOctober 8th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

>Your statement of not being surprised if the Blue Team is eventually

>found to be cheating seems like a cheap way to protect yourself, in case,

>someone associates you with being in their corner. I would normally think

>that a person with your educational background and success would have

>more self-confidence and character than that.

As I noted earlier, I really don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t have much emotional investment in whether or not the Blue Team cheated. What I do care about – or at least find interesting – is the process by which these types of issues can be established.

I recognize that it might appear as if I am nit-picking your argument. To some extent, this is driven by the fact that you are the one advancing a thesis. I am simply trying to point out areas where your arguments don’t seem particularly convincing. All that I can do is (try to) assure you that if some was trying to prove that the Blue Team was not cheating, I’d probably be just as skeptical.

With this said and done:

>Your comment about the ban, shows not only your inexperience in understanding

>how the bridge world works, but also the difficulty in enforcing the ban itself.

>World bridge does not have a staff of people devoted to doing all the tasks

>necessary to be done. There are and have been quite a number of players

>who have played on the Blue Team. None of those players, beginning in 1977,

>have shown up since, D’Aleio, Pabis-Ticci, Chiardia, Sinascalco, Avarelli,

>Bianchi, others and all but Garozzo and Belladonna are accounted for.

Some of these players stopped representing Italy LONG before 1976

I quickly tried to determine when this listing of individuals last represented Italy:

Siniscalco – 1959

Chiardia – 1963

D’Alelio – 1972

Avarelli – 1972

Pabis-Ticci – 1972

Benito BIANCHI – 1974

Forquet – 1976

Franco – 1976

I don’t think its realistic to claim that the fact that Siniscalco and Chiardia didn’t compete internationally from 1976 on is evidence that the WBF banned the Blue Team. I’d be hard pressed to say that D’Alelio, Avarelli, and Pabis-Ticci were materially affected by the ban. (If you were arguing that these individuals were impacted by the introduction of screens in early 70s, that might be a very different story)

If I were a betting man, I suspect that something like the following:

The WBF might very well have wanted the Blue Team broken up. In particular, they wanted to make sure that the foot soldiers never competed again. The WBF informed the lesser luminaries on the team that they were no longer welcome to compete. The WBF may have (informally) discouraged Garozzo and Belladonna from competing. However, they certainly were not willing to enforce any kind of ban nor were they willing to formally issue any kind of ban because a major cheating scandal would disgrace the administrators ever bit as much as the players.

I find something like this entirely plausible and if you were advancing this as your thesis, I’d be much less skeptical. Unfortunately, this type of story isn’t nearly as interesting. Personally, I think that your desire to tell a compelling story is causing your to overstate your ca

Wayne BurrowsOctober 8th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Hi Admin

I am writing as an interested reader of your blog. Most recently I

have been following the blog written by Mrs Kay-Wolff with several

comments by Mr Wolff.

I note that you have moderated this blog based on insults and name

calling. It seems ironic and somewhat hyprocrytical to me that you

moderated comments by some posters on this basis whilst leaving

unmoderated the posts by Mrs Kay-Wolff and Mr Wolff. After all it

seems to me that the posts by those esteemed posters seem to be based

on name calling and insults. What could be more insulting than to

make public accusations of cheating. And especially so when many of

those insults are levelled at players who are unable to defend

themselves. In most bridge environments with which I have been

associated making public accusations of cheating is one of the worst

offenses that can be committed.

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 9th, 2009 at 12:36 am

Richard,

Since you said and have convinced me that you are not trying to take either side, I will retract the part of my latest blog having to do with your not being surprised if the Blue Team is found to be cheating. I apologize for taking the wrong slant on what you really meant.

I realize that my points may not convince a relatively novice bridge player into thinking they cheated, but my intention was to primarily convince members of the International Bridge Press Association (IBPA) to quit lionizing a long ago team which was always a fraud, from soon after their inception. Since I have been 100% certain of such a thing, it has given me grave consternation whenever their team was remembered quite differently and by 90% plus of the members of that organization. The real kicker is that inspite of the probably accurate percentages I have related, the members of the IBPA have done this knowing exactly what the real situation has always been. Go figure, but it probably has a great deal to do with how the various members of the Blue Team treated the press, always using their gregarious and pleasing personalities along with the warmth and care their whole country symbolizes.

The above does not speak well for the fourth estate, but what else is new and many like instances materially affect the media all around the world and especially in the USA. They need to be much tougher mentally and to perform their jobs in a much more conscientious and fair manner.

To repeat, even though to play bridge well one has to approach much of it in a scientific manner, but in spite of that, my personal life is not based on science, but rather intuition. To solve problems there is usually a blend between science and intuitive to find the answer. If so, I’ll let others do the science and I’ll provide the imagination (my enemies will call it voodoo),

When I mentioned the post 1976 years all I probably needed to say is that from then on, after Jimmy issued his bar, the basic Blue Team’s reign officially ended, although there were a few occasions already noted where G&B returned as a pair. I must admit that it does aggravate me for you (or anyone else) to consider that I am lying to you about Jimmy’s ban. Since I would never say that if Jimmy had not told me and others and, in addition, was going to write details about his secret meetings with Burgay after the Italians learned where Jimmy and the WBF got their information. According to Jimmy they met at a non-descript restaurant located on the Swiss-Italian border where Burgay told him of his very ugly treatment by other Italian bridge players and administrators. I haven’t before nor will I ever try and present an official case against a group, most of whom have died. I still regard Benito as a good friend, except there will be some who wonder how any kind of friend could turn canary. To me, bridge will never take 2d place to any other factor and I believe strongly that attitude must be shared by all for bridge to achieve what it needs to achieve.

I would not accept your bridge supposition about the reasons for how and why the WBF handled it after the Burgay tapes officially exposed them. The WBF and the ACBL for that matter handle cheaters very gingerly which is wonderful for preventing law suits and off the charts awful for the future of bridge. In effect it emboldens cheaters or worse still, players who are tempted to stray. IMO, upon being found guilty, a cheater should immediately face a lifetime ban with no parole except in exceptional cases involving young players who might convince the powers that be that they didn’t know what they were doing. From my vantage point it seems to me that once one becomes a cheater he DOES NOT reform, although he often will say he will.

Finally I am not interested in telling a compelling story. I have enought trouble convincing you or anyone else that I am not simply a liar. I am tired of going through that type of cross examination and wonder why that is so, since my views and my actions have always been totally transparent to anyone who takes the trouble to follow through on what happens.

You seem like a nice man and my crossing you was probably unnecessary and, for that I apologize, but that is what stressful situations can cause.

Please read Cameron French’s post today on this same Bridge Blogging site. I have never officially met him (he is from Toronto), although we have exchanged emails on a couple of subjects. After his post, to say the least, I feel he is a kindred spirit and understands what is important for the future of bridge.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFOctober 9th, 2009 at 12:43 am

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN (particularly Wayne Burrows) and his above criticism:

Perhaps you (and everyone else following this blog) should begin by reading the brilliant masterpiece posted by Cam French today on bridgeblogging and then you might understand why “Admin.” felt the need to intercede. The cheating of the Blue Team was not a figment of my imagination. I became the ‘target’ for simply telling it like it was because dreamers want to believe otherwise. I liken it to road rage.

First of all, since blogging is cost-free, it attracts a coterie of people with idle time, big egos and mouths who have nothing to lose — and who possess absolutely no clue whatsoever about the facts. They step up to the plate and criticize real incidents about which they know nothing and even labor the point of statistics. Those who know anything about the game realize statistics enter into the way suits break and certain percentage plays but do not begin to affect the inner working of the bridge mind — the driving self-serving ego, the burning unparallelled desire to win, the shame of losing for their homeland, the threat of being removed from the team and being replaced by players more attuned to their partners’ mannerisms, etc. Like it or not — those were some of the incentives.

Yet the hundreds of competitors of the Blue team had to suffer those slings and arrows because to make them public knowledge at the time would have created a worldwide scandal. It might have been the best thing that could have happened to the game — as it would have put a halt to such deceit once and for all and most likely, the deserving winners would have emerged from the contests. One time Bobby (after the introduction of screens) asked Benito and his partner to please leave their lighters in their rooms for the next segment — which they did. (P. S. Bobby’s team won — by 5 IMPS, I believe. Who knows what would have happened otherwise)?

My original blog which set off the detonation merely stated I was sick and tired of hearing about the Blue Team being deified and lionized. As Cam said, I was not in the bleachers — I was behind home plate and witnessed the crucifixions at close range for several years. No, I cannot begin to produce evidence. It never occurred to me to keep records but since I kibitzed, I was present during the many conversations at the post mortem in the hotel room after ugly, deliberate machinations occurred on certain hands. It was almost fifty years ago and I cannot recall one to relate (although Bobby knows of many — one particular one against my late husband, Norman Kay, which was a world famous travesty).

I take exception to your remark about the poor players who are not able to defend themselves. How about those who were cheated and abused while living and breathing until Jimmy Patino decided to make an effort to clean up the game. Who was defending and protecting them before Jimmy took a strong stand?

Unfortunately, the Johnny-come-latelys jump into the ring with nothing more than a desire to enter the fray, froth at the mouth, demand proof and see their name in lights (except Anon and his Anonymous entourage).

Mine was not a “public accusation of cheating.” Mine was common knowledge and it is time after fifty years to recognize what happened to the many victims of that era! The top players knew it. So, why not the rank and file?

adminOctober 9th, 2009 at 12:52 am

Dear Wayne Burrows,

I did respond to your email personally, but for everyone else who is reading this blog and wants to know the answer as to why, the answer is simple:

This is not a debate forum. This is the personal blog belonging to Mrs. Judy Kay-Wolff. Mrs. Kay-Wolff is entitled to say and/or do whatever she feels like doing on HER blog. Everyone else is fair game.

Ron LelOctober 9th, 2009 at 4:05 am

To Judy Kay Wolff:

Once you commence a blog whatever you post becomes a matter of public record, “personal blog” or not. As such you should be able to accept and cope with criticism if and when it arises; otherwise why blog at all.

Ron LelOctober 9th, 2009 at 4:25 am

Now lets look at another hand:

S A5 H 9 D K10976 C K10732

S J8643 H A83 D A C AQ64

The bad result that the USA gained on this hand was solely due to the action of Bobby Nail.

Bobby Nail is an expert. Holding the second hand he passed the 2D overcall. Give this hand to any 10 random experts and everyone of them would find a bid on Nail’s hand. This would probably lead to a 5C contract and a flat board. The only reason I can see for anyone passing is inside knowledge that the D suit opposite is poor; in this case, a pass makes a lot of sense. So how did Nail know that the Ds were weak? Was he wired?

Of course I don’t think the above scenario is at all the case, but you can see how easy it is to construct a cheating allegation from flimsy evidence.

Another one: Meckstroth and Rodwell get superb results. However, they were caught together in the toilet during the bidding of a hand. Does this mean they discussed a hand(s)? I seriously doubt it and think the comment is laughable, but again, seeds of doubt are sown.

PimoOctober 9th, 2009 at 6:57 am

Hello Everyone,

Having spent years playing rubber bridge with and against the ” LITTLE GIANT “, I learned much about the game of bridge, sometimes at my expense and a few times at his. What a great friend, mentor and delightful man, as well as opponent, was he…the only reason that anyone would pass Jxxxxx Axx A and AQxx is NOT because they are wired. The beauty of the game is the multiple decisions that are available on almost every hand. This discussion for this blog has found the bottom of the well. I would like to suggest to the administrator that any further accUSAtions (veiled as the previous blog is, it still looks, walks and smells like such), be deleted…The argument presented by Mrs. Wolff is that the Italians were cheats. To insult anyone as to their feelings on this topic is in poor taste. The arguments have been presented and will continue as to why and how they cheated. To argue against this point, fact is needed, not disparaging remarks directed at contributing writers…. Thank you.

Ron LelOctober 9th, 2009 at 7:47 am

Pimo: “I would like to suggest to the administrator that any further accUSAtions ( veiled as the previous blog is, it still looks, walks and smells like such )”

Pimo, before commenting, I suggest you read what I wrote! My next sentence is “OF COURSE I DON’T THINK the above scenario is at all the case, but you can see how easy it is to construct a cheating allegation from flimsy evidence.”

PimoOctober 9th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Thank you Ron. I have read all your comments, including those on other blogs. My comment concerning your remark was written after I had read all your remarks and my comment still stands. The sentence beginning with OF COURSE….. is not a disclaimer. It is instead an attempt to use an invalid summation of puesdo fact to prove a generality, as in this case, of: ” you can see how easy it is to construct a cheating allegation from flimsy evidence. ” You have made other such innumeraric remarks in this blog and elsewhere…. Take heart to my remarks and join us in an unbiased and open format of discussion that is based on the subject in question. This is my final word on this point. It is time to move along…Sincerely, Pimo

BOBBY WOLFFOctober 9th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Ron,

Although having made up my mind to stay away from both the intensity and chatter you (and your kin) bring to these battles, one of your later blogs bemuses me to the point of going against my better instinct.

When you mention the Belladonna and Schenken hand “5-5 in the minors” and suggest that some may think that Schenken-Nail might have exchanged illegal information about Schenken’s weak diamond suit which caused Nail to pass, an action that no one else who you know would take. It is just the opposite. If Nail knew that Schenken’s diamond suit was so weak, he would have jumped at bidding on since, in order to be bidding vulnerable, his outside values would directly fit Nail’s hand allowing bidding and making game a real probability.

Second, when you discussed Meckwell’s toilet episode, you rendered your opinion that it would be laughable for others to think that they may be exchanging illicit bridge information. If so, isn’t that the very reason not to wind up standing side by side at urinals during live incompleted bridge sessions, especially when this occurred during the middle of a hand which was then being played. I doubt very seriously that their opponents were laughing very hard while this was happening.

Ron, it is these kinds of specious posts that leads to the very hard feelings which now occur. These hard feelings then manifest themselves with the suggested slander back and forth which you claim.

Still another subject. You remind me that I am not liked in Australia since I am against destructive bidding and certain artificialities which deprives, according to your side, innovation in bridge. If you had bothered to check I have not been involved in any kind of system decisions or discussion since 1988 when I stepped down and off the systems committee due to lack of time. Twenty one years ago I abdicated from what the Australians are evidently still accusing me of. Shouldn’t truth and reality bear some influence on what is said?

The challenge here is simple. I, Judy, and the people who agree with us think that the historic Blue Team cheated during their reign as Bridge Champions. You and your group do not think so and continually want to be supplied with facts. I do not choose to further discuss this point as I do not think that your group is really interested in finding the truth, but rather just rising up against a group of people you do not like. What is the sense in continuing these discussions since there will never be a winner or worse yet, nothing gained. All I am interested in is a clean and honest slate concerning the past which could lead us into a bright future for World bridge and for the hoped absence of cheating or just as important, the appearance of it.

adminOctober 9th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

This post has denigrated beyond repair, and therefore, this thread is now officially closed for discussion. To read more discussions continuing on the subject of the alleged cheating of the Blue Team, please direct your attention to Cam French’s recent post “Stealin’ (When I Should Have Been Buyin’)