Judy Kay-Wolff

To Be or Not To Be????????????

Over six months have passed since young, respected world class Norwegian expert Boye Brogeland introduced the ugly subject of international cheating at the highest levels; and it seems we are no closer to extinguishing the fire (other than the self-proclaimed confession of the German pair). They got a mild sentence from their own organization — four years barred (with two years of probation) — but never to play together again. They are the least known of the pairs.
However, three other extremely high profile celebrated world renown ‘winning pairs’ were allegedly accused of cheating and the ‘powers that be’ (whomever claims that responsibility) have been very lethargic in resolving the problems .. with postponements of meetings at both the Denver and Reno Nationals. I suppose we may have to wait until the Washington Summer Nationals (four months off). Though the entire bridge world is anxious to have the attacks resolved one way or another .. drawing attention away from the alleged despicable actions was not to be. In the minds of many, it will cause universal humiliation and embarrassment to not only the individuals .. but their native countries as well. It is obvious they are postponing the inevitable as long as they can.
My own gut feeling (and that of many knowledgeable bridge personalities) is the reasons behind the obvious stalling tactics are: Nationalism, Cronyism and Political Alliances. Nobody wants their nation to be the deserved targets of universal shame. However, the longer it drags on, the worse it is for the game!!


4 Comments

Howard Bigot-JohnsonMarch 13th, 2016 at 8:53 pm

HBJ : Often it is the potential threat of lawsuits which is worrying for those wanting and needing to ban the cheating players involved. The case against them has to be rock solid without any shadow of doubt, but sadly shadowy behaviour is hard to prove and nail down with irrefutable evidence.
Cheats are usually very clever , full of cunning and devilish trickery. Their tactics may change in order to avoid any patterns of wrongdoing , so necessary to establish proof.
I firmly belief that the isolated instances of cheating in high profile events may be just the tip of the iceberg. A great deal must go on undetected as with performance enhancing drugs in such sports as cycling , tennis and athletics. Where the rewards are great so is the temptation to bend or circumvent the rules.
I remember one long distance athlete from the Baltic state beating the system and cheating on his rivals by having blood transfusions before the big race , which of course helped him to win. Since then the drug detection agencies seem to be one step behind the cheats, who move onto new generation of drugs…. not yet listed and outlawed.
Can anything be done to stem the tide ? I just don’t know , but education at the grass root levels on the important of honesty and ethics is a start.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 14th, 2016 at 12:55 am

Hi HBJ,

It is indeed rare for you to post one of your masterpieces without your humorous cynicism directed at our once-wonderful game. There is so much truth in your comparison of cheating in other sports in relation to bridge. The recent alleged cheating revelation via videos, first-hand accountings, etc. not so much about the rank and file (which would not surprise me) — but about once revered world class players who have made their mark on bridge society has knocked both Bobby and me for a loop. I don’t think anyone has done as much pro bono for the game as my husband .. which encompasses over seventy years. He had known about many unsavory partnerships (both here and abroad), but was taken back to learn another top pair was ‘in the mix” though at this time not public knowledge.

Believe me, HBJ, Zone 2 does not go into court with clean hands. Most of the villains have met their makers but all is still not kosher on the Western Front either. However, this recent brouhaha may cause people here to clean up their acts. Just imagine what would happen if the Committee who was selected to adjudicate the accusations would go easy on them and allow them to continue to play. What would be Zone 2’s position? Would our players succumb to enter the same events (especially world championships) or choose to take their toys and go home? Hopefully, that will not be an alternative. Otherwise, high level bridge is doomed!

Bobby genuinely fears that if they don’t deal with pairs proven guilty (who are not just a figment of one’s imagination), it will eventually destroy universal bridge — making world championships a thing of the past. I pray this will not happen and thus, EVERYTHING POSSIBLE should be done to sift out and (if convinced of their guilt) forever ban the culprits .. who care more about their egos and bank accounts!

SamMarch 14th, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Judy,

Have you see Mr. Rona’s statement in today’s ACBL DAILY BULLETIN from Reno?

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 14th, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Yes, Sam, I have.
From my view, it is far too easy going and too much emphasis is put on future prevention and discipline. Accused wrongdoings of the past should be given immediate attention. I think the WBF, EBL or whichever country is involved should make it a priority to try the accused culprits ASAP and either acquit or condemn and punish them to set an example. WE MUST DEAL WITH THE EXISTING PROBLEMS NOW and not drag out the worldwide scandals it has already called to the attention of the public. From my standpoint, the punishment should fit the crime!
Has anyone ever given thought to the consequences (even in the court of public opinion) that would be caused by any justly accused tainted partnership which shows up to play. It will bring irrefutable flack to the event (perhaps causing others to withdraw) .. leaving a horrible legacy for our game.
We all have regrets cheating was never nipped in the bud .. but IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.

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