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All comments by Boye Brogeland
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Hi Les.

I can assure you that I didn't have our encounter in mind writing this article ;-). We all make “mistakes” in this department; breaking tempo when we really shouldn't. As an experienced partnership (speaking for Espen and myself) it doesn't take many fractions of a second's huddle to convey more information than by the played card itself. When this happens from time to time, it's paramount that the action taken is contrary to what the huddle suggests. That gives partner incitament not to break tempo in the future, and it's just fair play towards the opponents.

One of the problems with BIT, is the “what if” you are left with after the hand is over. Would he/she have found that defense/bid without the BIT? We will never know as he/she didn't face the problem he/she was supposed to.

So then you bring in the tournament director, try to break down the facts, win or lose the TD's decision, get an appeal against you or appeal yourself, show up to the appeal hearing in the middle of the night where the outcome will decide if you move on to the next stage of the tournament… I much rather prefer we get our act together and play the game as we agree it should be played.

I'm OK with your presentation of the facts (though I remember it more as a “dialogue” than as a “threat”). Don't feed the lawyers…
Aug. 16, 2018
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I feel there are too many of these “fact-finding missions” instead of addressing the real problem at hand. Maybe mandatory reports from the directors about conduct and ethics could scare some of the perpetrators?
Aug. 16, 2018
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Thanks for examplifying, Chris.
Aug. 16, 2018
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BIT is part of the game as thinking is the essence of bridge. The problem is when BIT becomes an integrated part of a pair's repertoire - and they are willing to take advantage of it. This summer I have played both the European Championships in Ostend and the Summer Nationals in Atlanta. My feeling is that, at least for the time being, deliberate tempo breaks in tempo-sensitive situations (top players easily recognize these situations) is the biggest obstacle to a fair game.
Aug. 16, 2018
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Espen forgot the system (he thought we only had agreed 1m - 1NT - p - p - dbl as short in the other minor, while the actual sequence just showed cards). I was pretty sure that we (I do the editing and typing of it) had put the convention into our system file, and it was what I meant my bid as. You may want to start with a double in certain situations without short clubs to get the other major into the picture (thanks, Dean) so I guess “short clubs” should go with “normally”. Pulling 1NT doubled to 2C is a suggestion to play there (and it was not alerted).

At the table I rationalised that I could bid whatever I felt like since doubles aren't alertable (I thought) in the USA, but I felt bad about it afterwards since the non-alert (if Espen remembered the system there was a much better chance of him alerting, while he probably never would have alerted a “just cards” double) made it more compelling for me to bid 2D, even though I had no guarantee of finding a better spot.

In situations like this, it's easy to argue/rationalise that you were just lucky and that your opponents weren't harmed. My concience said something else, so I went back to Peg and Peter's table with the disclosure they ought to have received in the first place.
Aug. 9, 2018
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Many thanks for kind words, Peter. As Kit says I should have told you about (what I believed to be) our agreement of the double before the opening lead, even though my pull to 2D clearly indicated short clubs. At the table I guess I rationalised that I wasn't taking advantage of partner's non-alert since I didn't think doubles were alertable in the US. Afterwards I felt bad about what had happened and that I possibly had stolen points from you by my (in)actions. I was happy that it was possible to correct it.
Aug. 7, 2018
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Congrats Joaquin and Phampa!!
Aug. 2, 2018
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KJx (personally I would lead the king) or AJx seem more likely than Jx for the lead. In addition RHO has to guess if the lead was from J10 or J10x; with the latter (as long as it isn't J109) he could play the other honor for the unblock to take it two off. To be able to win the opening lead and put you to a guess, RHO needs AK98xx; with A98xx it might not be so clear to return the 9 or the 8.
July 31, 2018
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The most unlikely thing to me is declarer having 10xx (he would always cover to block the suit when lefty has KJx/AJx) so I would play the 9.
July 31, 2018
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Thanks, Peggy. I am sorry that I didn't take the right (ethical) action at the table, but happy that it could be corrected.
July 30, 2018
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Jon was a great guy, both at and away from the table.

I got to know him when I moved for studies to his home town Bergen in 1992. After a while Erik Sælensminde and I teamed up with him and Arild Rasmussen, and in the late nineties we also played together for Norway. Jon was a superb player and a very supportive team mate.

Jon was also a fine bridge writer, with a daily column for many years in the second largest (now largest) newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten. In the Norwegian bridge magazine Bridge i Norge, he wrote plenty of good articles, starting his series “Umbrella Bridge” back in 1976 in the very first edition.

During bridge events it was a treat to meet Jon and go out for dinner together. He always had a big smile on his face, lots of good stories to tell and interesting subjects to discuss (including bridge hands).

You will be missed, Jon, both at and away from the table.
July 19, 2018
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Thanks, Tony - and well done qualifying for the Bermuda Bowl. It sure is irritating with different explanations (that may influence ones decision) and I am not certain who had it right of Kvangraven and Tundal.
June 20, 2018
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Hi Tony. Wasn’t this a redouble (of 4 hearts) after an initial Splinter (of 4 diamonds) so that (the passed hand) dummy needed at least 12 black cards to fit the explanation? Was it clear that you got the wrong explanation, or could it be that the redouble was just the wrong bid (responding to 4 hearts as Blackwood) in this position?
June 20, 2018
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This certainly seems like a time to reflect over past and current scores. I guess different people will draw different conclusions. The main thing is that we unite in playing the game right from here on out.
June 18, 2018
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Many thanks for posting this, Ante. An interesting break down of the numbers.
June 18, 2018
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The relatively low butler winning score (compared to prior cheat infected events) sure seems like proof that the most succesful cheats didn't take part. I would be extremely pleasantly surprised, though, if nobody was cheating.
June 18, 2018
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I'm sorry Gonzalo, but I don't follow your logic on this hand. Why couldn't your partner have 9x instead of J9 because of the tempo the card was played in?

In some of these situations I think we believe we sense more than we actually can sense. We get a feeling of how the hand looks like, not necessarily because of the tempo, but because of a deja vu like experience. Yes, now he had that hand, so you can say “my feeling was right - I knew it!” If he would have had 9x, you might not have thought much more about it. I am pretty sure psychologists can help us understand how our brain works in certain situations.

Just analysing the hand I think J9 of diamonds with partner is more likely as South would be closer to a 2NT bid over 2 hearts if he actually had KQJxxx of diamonds and two black queens.

What we should get better at, both experienced and non-experienced partnerships, are bidding and playing in tempo when faced with tempo sensitive situations. Top players pretty much know which situations are tempo sensitive, and I believe we should be willing to accept a bad result in order not to transmit UI in these situations.

A very good start is for declarer to stop insta-plays at trick one in order to give opponents 15-20 seconds to think about her/his play and what the hand is about. After that time period the card should be played in tempo unless the defender still needs more time to decide which card to play. That extra time will become UI for partner which must not be taken advantage of.
March 19, 2018
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This sounds like a fine mess. Get us out of it!
March 19, 2018
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So what if the Monegasque Bridge Federation swiftly had found Fantunes guilty of cheating (but maybe not admitted it was collusive) and put them away for one year, which they felt was appropriate. Now all countries (and the EBL plus the WBF) have to accept this outcome and let them back in a year - in the name of reciprocity?
March 19, 2018
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Exactly, Adam. That's why the EBL and the WBF have to find a solution so that CAS doesn't have the final say in important decisions for bridge. Either they have to give up the Olympic dream and part totally with CAS, or they have to make their major tournaments truly invitational so that the cheats can be kept away even if they get lucky at CAS.

It's refreshing to see a WBF official taking part in a sensitive bridge discussion on Bridgewinners. I hope that you will work hard, Mr. Pascal, to solve the unsatisfying CAS situation. Players around the world are longing to hear more than words from the WBF.
March 19, 2018
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