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All comments by Melanie Manfield
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I wouldn't call Don's approach “isolationist.” He's not saying that he doesn't want bridge players from around the world to get together.

And, in the F/N case, I think that the bridge organizations have made much better decisions than the CAS. It is important, of course, to have independent bridge experts involved in assessing these sorts of cases.

If this pair comes back into the game, you are talking about a pair that many believe were cheating for years – all the way to the top world ranking spots. Think of how “clean” opponents must feel. I just don't see the advantages of “legal super-control” from outside of bridge. However, it's a matter of opinion, of course.
2 hours ago
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If the corruption in the WBF and the EBL is deep-rooted, is there anything to be done?

How can we put ethics and having a clean game at the top of the priority list (rather than trying to fit bridge into the Olympics movement as being more important than anything else)?

Or, is it just going to come down to a choice among going along to get along, dropping out or starting a whole new organization (if that is possible) because there is no way to change the direction of these organizations?
3 hours ago
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Perhaps financial costs, as well as benefits, should be considered.

For example, the F/N case before the CAS not only cost time and money; in addition, the EBL has to pay 80% of total court costs, including F/N’s. And the EBL has to pay them 2,000 Swiss francs also.
4 hours ago
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Did the EBL just decide in 2016 to yoke itself more closely to the IOC movement and thereby subject itself to the CAS review?

Anyway, I'm going to stop focusing on the EBL – not really my issues, as I am not a European player.
22 hours ago
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It would appear (from looking at the EBL website) that the head of the Monaco bridge federation is also on the Ethics/Credentials committee of the EBL.
23 hours ago
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I would like to add, that it has been brought to my attention that M. Meyer posted (I believe) as a member of relevant committees of the European Bridge League (EBL).

And, my comments related to the hope (which seems to be shared by many duplicate bridge players in various countries) that the whole concept of linkage with the IOC/Olympic movement, will be reexamined by the WBL.

It seems that the EBL has linked itself even more closely with the IOC than has the WBL. However, I must acknowledge that I'm still not clear on all the details, and on all of the real-world implications relating to this case, going forward.
Jan. 15
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Thank you very much for providing this honest feedback about some things that went wrong with this CAS case.

However, I would like to add, that I think that many bridge players hope that there will be a major, overarching evaluation of whether or not involvement in the Olympic effort should be continued, weighing the negatives as well as the positives.
Jan. 15
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Thank you, Maurizio, for your thoughtful reply.

I had not thought of the point that F and N could be in good standing with the Monaco bridge federation.

Also, someone pointed out to me that the world championships in Orlando may have an ACBL sanction/approval as well (as being a world tournament), which I think would mean that F and N would be unable to play there. However, I don't know (yet) whether that is, indeed, the case (of course, I hope that it is).

I certainly empathize with the European players and the awful position they are in right now (if they will be encountering F and N soon at a European championship event). Also, not being a top, world-class expert, I recognize that I can't possibly understand how those players who were cheated over a period of years, must feel about this development.
Jan. 15
Melanie Manfield edited this comment Jan. 15
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So – this question is for Maurizio Sacco or anyone else knowledgeable about this – is it then correct that F and N are not in good standing with their national bridge organization, and will not have a chance before December 2018 to try to change that?

In other words, can we be certain that neither will be playing at the WBF Open Championships in Orlando, Florida in September (in which any member in good standing with his or her national bridge organization can play?).
Jan. 15
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Currently, the results of this informal poll show that 87% of those who took a position oppose WBF involvement, while 6% support it.

I think that it is also worth noting that, while 23% have moved from support to opposition, not a single voter has recorded that (s)he has moved from opposition to support.

The “sunk cost fallacy” (according to the Cambridge Business English Dictionary) is:
the idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money, time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do:
Economists would point out that the sunk cost fallacy is irrational, and could be described as “throwing good money after bad”.
Jan. 15
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It could be important for people who may not wish to encounter them at the bridge table in the future, to know when and where they may be permitted to play.
Jan. 14
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Re: Incident of team members sitting in the same direction at both tables –

The ACBL screwed up – then, outcries from members of the ACBL – people who play bridge, and who are affected by ACBL decisions – caused the ACBL to fix it (more or less).

Undoubtedly, the ACBL will screw up again. They will address concerns of members and may (or may not) “fix” something, again.

Is the WBF listening to the voices of its membership?
Should a non-profit or non-governmental membership organization listen to its members, and what is important to them?
Jan. 13
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Michael,

Stating that I “seem to have a very short memory”, is not really an answer to my question.
I do recall the matter of teams falsely reporting team members sitting in the wrong seats, for example – an incident to which you refer – but I don't understand how that proves your point. Would you argue that bridge players would rather have had non-bridge players decide the disciplinary actions that were taken in that matter?

Re: If the statistical evidence about Fantoni and Nunes was flawed – well then, the bridge panel would have figured that out. There was a great deal of care taken by Kit Woolsey, and by other top independent bridge experts, to review evidence. Many people took many hours (free of charge) to painstakingly review videotapes and other evidence.

Just because someone believes that a person should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, does not mean that they think the CAS is the appropriate venue to decide a case such as this one.

I do know this; on Thursday evening, some duplicate bridge players in the Washington, D.C. area, were expressing relief that the ACBL doesn't have automatic reciprocity with the CAS, so does not have to overturn its ban of F-N playing in ACBL countries (I think that that is correct – I certainly hope so). So, it would seem that some members of the community were satisfied with the bridge organization decision on this matter.
Jan. 13
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I disagree that it is “demonstrably false” that decisions by panels of bridge experts would be less broadly accepted than decisions by non-bridge players, in these matters.

Where is the evidence for that, Michael? I understand that there are people who feel as you do, but I believe that there are many who believe a well-chosen panel of bridge experts is the appropriate group to make these decisions.

We're not talking about prison time, here. We're talking about being sanctioned and facing probation, suspension, or yes, even expulsion from established bridge organizations, such as the ACBL.

And, I don't think anyone has suggested that bridge players should not have a right to defend themselves, or that: “everyone accused is guilty.” I certainly believe that anyone should have the right to answer charges.
Jan. 13
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I see the car dealership and the sports doping as two different situations.

When I recently purchased a car, a dealership employee whose job it was to upsell me on extras, was visibly angry when I did not purchase them. I see this as a systemic problem, where every customer (at an old-school dealership) is forced to listen, at least once, to a litany of “extras” which the customer most likely does not want to purchase.
It is a (not good) part of the system (which I believe is changing, to some extent).

Doping in sports is, clearly, a violation of the system.

While it is true that “the majority of bridge” is not made up of world-class experts, I would hope that most people would like the highest levels (and all levels) of the game to be “clean”, just as I would think that amateur athletes and even those who don't play a sport but are merely fans, would wish for it to be a priority for a game or sport to be free as much as possible from cheating.
Jan. 13
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What a devastating blow for high-level, international bridge this is.
Will this prove to be the end? The death knell? Obviously, I hope not.

But what is the answer? It's hard to speculate right now (plus I am going
to work on a local bridge column and go play a session of old-fashioned, F2F bridge –
while it still exists).
Jan. 11
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It's too early to draw conclusions – but if it was primarily the EBL case that was deficient in certain respects, it would certainly be worth analyzing what went wrong, how, and why.
Jan. 11
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I still don't understand how Rona got re-elected, given the overwhelming issues the WBF has had with (not) handling the cheating that took such a toll on the high-level game on his watch.
Jan. 11
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http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/obituaries/bs-md-ob-stephen-landen-20171102-story.html

Here is a link to the Baltimore Sun article on Steve.
Nov. 3, 2017
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There needs to be a minimum number of teams in Flight A/X in any event before a Flight B is constituted. That should be established everywhere.
Sept. 21, 2017
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