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Bridge and the Blue Team

#21 User is offline   Cascade 

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Posted 2009-October-14, 16:44

jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 11:17 AM, said:

It is impossible for a sane person to read both Reese's and Truscott's books on the incident and not be certain Reese and Shapiro cheated, period.

How many sane people have you tested this theory on?
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#22 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-October-14, 16:54

Cascade, on Oct 14 2009, 05:44 PM, said:

jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 11:17 AM, said:

It is impossible for a sane person to read both Reese's and Truscott's books on the incident and not be certain Reese and Shapiro cheated, period.

How many sane people have you tested this theory on?

Think of it as a postulate, not a theory.
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#23 User is offline   Hanoi5 

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Posted 2009-October-14, 17:02

I remember someone told me (after I read Reese's version) that after reading each book you were sure the author was right. So if you want to believe they cheated, you read Truscott's. If you want to believe they didn't cheat, read Schapiro. I agreed with this after reading both.

I also read about Reese confession and the posthoumous lawyer and stuff. A sad turn of affairs.

However, I think that signal cheating is not as bad (of course it's bad and illegal and should be banned), I repeat, not as bad as 'helping your partner' which is what Wolff and company seem to be saying about the Italians (besides the footsie and other stuff). So, if the Italians 'helped' themselves, that's not good bridge and a shame. But if they didn't, then it's all American jealousy.

View Postwyman, on 2012-May-04, 09:48, said:

Also, he rates to not have a heart void when he leads the 3.


View Postrbforster, on 2012-May-20, 21:04, said:

Besides playing for fun, most people also like to play bridge to win


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#24 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2009-October-14, 17:04

jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 11:17 AM, said:

It is impossible for a sane person to read both Reese's and Truscott's books on the incident and not be certain Reese and Shapiro cheated, period.

Cascade, on Oct 14 2009, 05:44 PM, said:

How many sane people have you tested this theory on?
I've read Story of an Accusation by Terence Reese (one of the accused) and The Great Bridge Scandal by Alan Truscott (who married Dorothy Hayden, the first to suspect Reese and Schapiro). I'm convinced by neither :blink:
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#25 User is offline   fred 

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Posted 2009-October-14, 17:41

I think that if an experienced bridge player did no more than look at the pictures in Truscott's book, he/she should be convinced that either R+S were cheating or that they were playing a big joke on everyone (hahaha).

Something like 13 years ago I played against Shapiro in the Macallan tournament in London. I had met Shapiro (a real character!) before, but at one point I turned around and saw that Reese (who I had never met before) was kibitzing. Reese seemed to be about as old as a person could possibly be - he reminded me of the old man at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

After the round I made a point to tell Reese that I thought his books were great, but I don't think he could hear anything. He died a few days later.

That was a strange experience.

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Posted 2009-October-14, 20:01

I had fairly lengthy discussions with Wolff on Judy Kay Wolff's blog. At the end, all that Wolff could say was that basically that the Blue Team cheated because he knew they were cheating. He presented NOT ONE IOTA of evidence to back up his claims, nor could he state their method of cheating. I found this extraordinary.
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#27 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2009-October-14, 22:47

fred, on Oct 14 2009, 06:41 PM, said:

I think that if an experienced bridge player did no more than look at the pictures in Truscott's book, he/she should be convinced that either R+S were cheating or that they were playing a big joke on everyone (hahaha). Something like 13 years ago I played against Shapiro in the Macallan tournament in London...
I could protest that I too played against R-S but I fear that "insane" Josh and "inexperienced" Fred may have been talking to my partners :blink:
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#28 User is offline   iviehoff 

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Posted 2009-October-15, 10:30

Without screens, accustomed partners just can't avoid communicating with each other, even without any deliberate attempt to cheat. We know top players read the opponents' mannerisms. How much easier to read your partner's. Perhaps the super-ethical deliberately don't do it. But if you are natural "table-reader" you might even be unconsciously reading your partner and not know whose vibes it is you are picking up.

So bridge eventually realised that screens would inevitably be needed.

Is the sum of the story that the Italians read each other's mannerisms and no one was surprised they had mannerisms because they were Italian? Because if so it isn't very interesting.

In theory you can show cheating through actual hands rather than observation of actual cheating methods. But you need to do statistical analysis and for that you need a sufficiently large dataset. And you need to get a large dataset for the kind of 99.99% statistical inferences will silence most of the doubters. Douglas Zare demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that (apparently) top internet backgammon player Hank Youngerman was cheating by analysing a database of his games. But it is easy to get suitably large datasets with internet backgammon. See http://www.bkgm.com/...b.cgi?view+1386

Though in practice in bridge it isn't so easy. It is legal to read the opponent's mannerisms, and if that is why you surprisingly passed partner's takeout double, smelling the opponent's fear, then that's fair enough and will distort statistical tests.
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#29 User is offline   athene 

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Posted 2009-October-15, 12:04

jdonn, on Oct 14 2009, 05:54 PM, said:

Cascade, on Oct 14 2009, 05:44 PM, said:

jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 11:17 AM, said:

It is impossible for a sane person to read both Reese's and Truscott's books on the incident and not be certain Reese and Shapiro cheated, period.

How many sane people have you tested this theory on?

Think of it as a postulate, not a theory.

I have read both Truscott and Reese and whatever other material I could find on Buenos Aires 1965 and I am 95% convinced Reese-Schapiro WEREN'T cheating.


The basic thrust of the prosecution's argument goes like this:-


1. We have accused them of cheating.

2. If they are innocent, then all of us who accuse them must be liars and conspirators.

3. Therefore, if you maintain their innocence, that's tantamount to accusing us of dishonesty.

4. Everyone should be innocent until proven guilty.

5. Therefore, since you haven't proven we are guilty, we are innocent.

6. Therefore, our charges are true.

7. Therefore, Reese-Schapiro cheated.


The simple fact is, people will see what they want to see. I am sure Reese and Schapiro annoyed a lot of people. I only met Schapiro a few times and never met Reese but they both seem to have been pretty unpleasant characters. I am sure they annoyed a lot of people. A lot of people, I am sure, WANTED them to be guilty. But believing these accusations is like believing all the people who claim they have been abducted by aliens. They aren't *lying* - they really believe they have been - but they are self-delusional.

People who are told "R-S are cheating; watch their fingers and see if they tally with this list of heart suit distributions" and report back that yes, magically the numbers tally, aren't necessarily lying, but it's naive to think they have proved anything.

The only compelling evidence would the equivalent of a double-blind trial (as used in drugs testing, etc).

i.e. give ALL the hand records of the competition to a strong bridge player who doesn't know ANY of the surrounding details.

Then ask him: "which of all these pairs playing in this event are signalling length in the heart suit?"

If that player, JUST from the hand records, says "clearly pair X, playing for team Y, are up to something", then there might be a case.
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#30 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-October-15, 12:20

athene, on Oct 15 2009, 01:04 PM, said:

The only compelling evidence would the equivalent of a double-blind trial (as used in drugs testing, etc).

i.e. give ALL the hand records of the competition to a strong bridge player who doesn't know ANY of the surrounding details.

Then ask him: "which of all these pairs playing in this event are signalling length in the heart suit?"

If that player, JUST from the hand records, says "clearly pair X, playing for team Y, are up to something", then there might be a case.

This is 100% wrong, examination of the hands is in fact the LEAST compelling evidence.

This wasn't talking on the phone while playing on BBO, this was a world championship. Reese and Schapiro were great players, they wouldn't take such blatant actions that it would be obvious something was strange. Examining the hands just leads to arguments and counter arguments about what one who was/wasn't cheating may have been thinking when they chose the action.

Instead try this. Simply look at the pictures in Truscott's book. Note how Reese and Schapiro hold the cards (including when playing with someone other than each other.) Then come up with an explanation for how the cards are being held other than cheating in some way.

That is 100% compelling without even considering the hands themselves.
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#31 User is offline   Lobowolf 

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Posted 2009-October-15, 13:02

athene, on Oct 15 2009, 01:04 PM, said:

People who are told "R-S are cheating; watch their fingers and see if they tally with this list of heart suit distributions" and report back that yes, magically the numbers tally, aren't necessarily lying, but it's naive to think they have proved anything.

You did get the version of the Truscott book that had the pictures, right? ;)

I don't know about "necessarily" proving things; barring syllogisms or tautologies, you pretty much have confidence levels. But in my view, the word "naive" best describes the position that they weren't cheating, in view of the photos. And that's not considering the alleged deciphering of the signals.

The argument that the information wasn't put to very good use doesn't explain away the photos. On a number of hands, information might not be relevant to the hand, or it might have been conveyed by a legitimate auction, or it might be too hard to take advantage of by giving the show away. It's like looking at 200 hands of blackjack played by someone who's counting cards. On 195 hands, maybe it doesn't affect his decisions at all. Are you going to conclude definitively that he's counting because twice he took insurance when the count was high, and 3 times he stood on 16 against a 10? Pretty unlikely. The blind test would also suffer from different systems, partnership styles, etc.
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#32 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2009-October-15, 13:23

athene, on Oct 15 2009, 01:04 PM, said:

The only compelling evidence would the equivalent of a double-blind trial (as used in drugs testing, etc).
i.e.  give ALL the hand records of the competition to a strong bridge player who doesn't know ANY of the surrounding details.
Then ask him: "which of all these pairs playing in this event are signalling length in the heart suit?"
If that player, JUST from the hand records, says "clearly pair X, playing for team Y, are up to something", then there might be a case.

jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 01:20 PM, said:

This is 100% wrong, examination of the hands is in fact the LEAST compelling evidence.
This wasn't talking on the phone while playing on BBO, this was a world championship. Reese and Schapiro were great players, they wouldn't take such blatant actions that it would be obvious something was strange. Examining the hands just leads to arguments and counter arguments about what one who was/wasn't cheating may have been thinking when they chose the action.
Instead try this. Simply look at the pictures in Truscott's book. Note how Reese and Schapiro hold the cards (including when playing with someone other than each other.) Then come up with an explanation for how the cards are being held other than cheating in some way.
That is 100% compelling without even considering the hands themselves.
R-S claimed that most of the press-photographs where posed and anyway they admitted that they didn't hold their cards consistently. A subsequent magazine article claimed (as far as I remember) that
  • Grips vary between players and players vary their grasp.
  • The most common number of fingers shown is between two and four.
Given that the photographs prove certain guilt to Fred and Jdonn, however, I will try and find the books to peruse them once more. I'm still intrigued as to how Jdonn explains the bidding and play records ...
  • R-S illegally passed information but refrained from acting on it ...
    • Because they knew they were being closely observed (as Flint told Reese at an early stage)?
    • Because Reese was gathering material for a book on Cheating (as David Rex-Taylor later claimed)?

  • R-S (great players) passed and used information, illegally, but ...
    • ;) So circumspectly as to be indiscernable from analysis of their actions? or
    • :) So ineptly that they consistently lost imps on the boards adduced to demonstrate their cheating (also, overall, the sessions in this competition that they played together were conspicuously unsuccessful)?

  • :) R-S (former World Champions) weren't American; hence must be cheats?

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#33 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2009-October-15, 13:38

nige1, on Oct 15 2009, 02:23 PM, said:

R-S claimed that most of the press-photographs where posed and anyway they admitted that they didn't hold their cards consistently.

Do you know anyone else ever from anywhere who admits that? And remember this is inconsistent from board to board (and partner to partner!), not day to day.

Quote

A subsequent magazine article claimed (as far as I remember) that

You wouldn't know which magazine by chance would you?

Quote

Grips vary between players and many players vary their grasp.

The second part is ridiculous. Show me the player that even thinks about his grasp as he plays. It's like saying you vary how you walk from step to step.

Quote

The most common number of fingers shown is between two and four.

Is it ever spread out with space between the fingers?

Quote

I'm still intrigued as to how Jdonn explains the bidding and play records ...
  • R-S illegally passed information but refrained from acting on it ...
    • Because they knew they were being closely observed (as Flint told Reese at an early stage)?

    • Because Reese was gathering material for a book on Cheating (as David Rex-Taylor later claimed)?


  • R-S (great players) passed and used information, illegally, but ...
    • ;) So circumspectly as to be indiscernable from analysis of their actions? or

    • :) So ineptly that they consistently lost imps on the boards adduced to demonstrate their cheating (also, overall, the sessions in this competition that they played together were conspicuously unsuccessful)?

2A. Except it wasn't indiscernable once it was picked up on, but it is simply unprovable.

I audit the revenue at a large casino. There have been instances of catching employee theft that had been going on for years, and suddenly one day something simply stood out to someone. After that point it was completely obvious to the person who caught it and those who were told, even though they had never noticed before under similar observation. It's like the opposite of the prior ufo example, if someone isn't looking for something then they are unlikely to notice evidence of it.

Quote

  • :) R-S (former World Champions) weren't American; hence must be cheats?

  • May I ask what country you are from so I can start insulting it every chance I get, or is it only funny in one direction and if smiley faces are included?
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    #34 User is offline   Cascade 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 13:39

    jdonn, on Oct 16 2009, 07:20 AM, said:

    Instead try this. Simply look at the pictures in Truscott's book. Note how Reese and Schapiro hold the cards (including when playing with someone other than each other.) Then come up with an explanation for how the cards are being held other than cheating in some way.

    That is 100% compelling without even considering the hands themselves.

    A few photographs chosen by someone with a vested interest, an accuser, out of hundreds of hands played in this event is hardly likely to be compelling and far less 100% even before you consider that some of the hands do not suggest that there was any cheating.
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    #35 User is offline   nige1 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 14:36

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 02:38 PM, said:

    Do you know anyone else ever from anywhere who admits that? And remember this is inconsistent from board to board (and partner to partner!), not day to day.
    Please look around you when you play, Jdonn. How is it relevant whether they admit it? :)

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 02:38 PM, said:

    You wouldn't know which magazine by chance would you?
    Sorry :( Had I remembered I would have given a reference -- as I have done consistently so far :)

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 02:38 PM, said:

    The second part is ridiculous. Show me the player that even thinks about his grasp as he plays. It's like saying you vary how you walk from step to step.
    Most people vary their walk from step to step depending on terrain. How is it relevant whether they think about it? and how can you tell? :)

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 02:38 PM, said:

    Is it ever spread out with space between the fingers?
    This is getting silly :( It is you, Jdonn, who is relying on photographic evidence to prove your point. If you want to make a case, then please do your own research :)

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 02:38 PM, said:

    2A. Except it wasn't indiscernable once it was picked up on, but it is simply unprovable. I audit the revenue at a large casino. There have been instances of catching employee theft that had been going on for years, and suddenly one day something simply stood out to someone. After that point it was completely obvious to the person who caught it and those who were told, even though they had never noticed before under similar observation. It's like the opposite of the prior ufo example, if someone isn't looking for something then they are unlikely to notice evidence of it.
    That is a poor analogy to Athene's suggestion. A better analogy: if you were told exactly how the theft was done, would you have a fair chance of finding the culprit? :)

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 02:38 PM, said:

    May I ask what country you are from so I can start insulting it every chance I get, or is it only funny in one direction and if smiley faces are included?
    If you summon up the energy, you can easily aquire that information by clicking on nige1. What insult? Americans (Soloway, Hamman, Wolff, and so on) have been accusing successful Europeans players of cheating for decades. I remind you, Jdonn, that it is you, who label people insane when we disagree with you. The smileys are because I enjoy argument provided it is friendly :)
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    #36 User is offline   jjbrr 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 14:40

    Smilies should be limited to ~3/post else they become annoying and a distraction. I guess this is a useful tactic for a post with a lot of words that doesn't say a whole lot of anything at all.
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    #37 User is offline   jdonn 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 15:22

    Nigel do you know what a rhetorical question is? When I ask something like "Do any other bridge players hold their cards with space between their fingers?" I don't want you to do research and come to me with a conclusion. It's a way of pointing out that the answer is no, people don't do that.

    Next point, when people perform a subconcious action, they don't do it noticeably differently from one instance to the next. The walking is a perfect analogy. When people hold their cards they are generally not giving concious thought to how it is done, and as such it is done in virtually the same way every time. No matter what your imaginary magazine says. Unless you are Reese and Schapiro playing specifically with each other, that is.

    My casino analogy was not poor at all despite your desire to misapply it. My point was in response to defenders of R&S who ask things like "if they were so obviously cheating for so long how did they go undetected?" The point being that things like that are only obvious in hindsight, but very difficult to detect before you know what you are looking for. You pervert the analogy by trying to apply it to a question that it's not designed to answer, as clearly the stealing of objects and the stealing of information can not be caught in the same way.

    And yes, the smileys are getting out of hand.
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    #38 User is offline   nige1 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 15:35

    jjbrr, on Oct 15 2009, 03:40 PM, said:

    Smilies should be limited to ~3/post else they become annoying and a distraction. I guess this is a useful tactic for a post with a lot of words that doesn't say a whole lot of anything at all.
    :( :( :)
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    #39 User is offline   fred 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 15:45

    nige1, on Oct 15 2009, 07:23 PM, said:

    Given that the photographs prove certain guilt to Fred

    Actually if you reread my post, what I said was that, IMO, the photographs should convince an experienced player that either R+S were cheating or they were joking.

    IMO it is beyond impossible that nothing was going on.

    I mentioned "experienced players" because I suspect most experienced have noticed that:

    1) almost all players hold their cards the same way
    2) virtually no players dramatically vary the way they hold their cards from hand to hand

    The fact (assuming you are willing to accept the photos and eyewitness accounts described in Truscott's book as facts) that BOTH Reese and Shapiro did 2) above in a near identical manner to one another means that we have entered the realm of the impossible.

    The fact (assuming...) that the way they did this just happened to correspond to how many hearts they held...

    Anyways, maybe they were just playing a joke on everyone, but I think an experienced player would have to be either truly naive or believe that Truscott fabricated evidence to conclude that nothing unusual was going on.

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    #40 User is offline   nige1 

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    Posted 2009-October-15, 15:45

    jdonn, on Oct 15 2009, 04:22 PM, said:

    Nigel do you know what a rhetorical question is?
    :( :( :)
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