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Cheating Allegations

#21 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 09:40

View Postmikeh, on 2015-August-28, 09:27, said:

However, I don't agree at all with the way that Brogeland is going about this. I appreciate that he is frustrated,

[...]

While anger, frustration and loathing of those who cheat can be difficult to swallow, surely the better approach would have been to alert the ACBL not only of the cheating but of one's idea of how they were doing it.

(Emphasis mine.)

According to Brogeland, this is exactly what he did. What exactly makes you think Brogeland is lying about this?

As I said above, Brogeland is possibly the best, and certainly one of the smartest bridge players (calling him "talented" is rather patronizing, IMO). I don't think he would have done what he did without having clear proof.

ETA: If Brogeland is wrong, then he'll have destroyed his own reputation much more than the reputation of F-S. This makes this very different from, say, a random BBF poster publicly accusing a pair of cheating.
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#22 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 09:50

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 09:40, said:

(Emphasis mine.)

According to Brogeland, this is exactly what he did. What exactly makes you think Brogeland is lying about this?

As I said above, Brogeland is possibly the best, and certainly one of the smartest bridge players (calling him "talented" is rather patronizing, IMO). I don't think he would have done what he did without having clear proof.

ETA: If Brogeland is wrong, then he'll have destroyed his own reputation much more than the reputation of F-S. This makes this very different from, say, a random BBF poster publicly accusing a pair of cheating.


Making the allegations publicly, and making that grandstanding announcement will prolong the process of catching the alleged cheaters. Surely they will lie low for quite awhile.

I had been wondering whether BB suspected what they were supposedly doing when he was their teammate. Since apparently he did, it's a little odd that he didn't speak up then.

I am disappointed that the names of the accused were mentioned on this forum, and I appeal to the poster who wrote them to edit his post.
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#23 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 09:54

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 09:28, said:

That's a bit of a biased summary IMO.

  • This started with a post from Brogeland hinting that he has strong evidence of cheating and has alerted the relevant bridge authorities (WBF, ACBL, etc.)
  • He explained that he was unsatisfied with their responsiveness, and that really wants the matter resolved before the upcoming world championships. He said he has the equivalent of a straight flush in spades, and would start revealing more cards (reveal more information, or put more on the line from his side) one-by-one until authorities would act.
  • The announcement that the Schwartz team wants to relinquish their titles (they won three tournaments with Fisher-Schwartz) is apparently the 10 of spades - and he said the J of spades would be coming soon.
  • Meanwhile, every single top player who posted an opinion made clear that they believe the accusations. E.g. Geoff Hampson wrote that when he declares against them, he always assumes that opening leader's partner has strength in the suit led. "So far, I have always been lucky [with that assumption]." Others (Michelsen, Fredin) started posting hands where in their view Fisher-Schwartz took ridiculous but successful actions in bidding or defense.


Brogeland did indeed say that he realized what is happening after looking through the hands at the other table in his team's quarter-finals loss to Cayne (which included Fisher-Schwartz). This apparently included three false claims, including one that wasn't caught until after the correction period.

I agree with your summary...that is how I read the BW thread as well. I still maintain that this approach by Brogeland, understandable tho it is on a human level, is not the way that these matters should be handled. Bureaucratic organizations, of which the ACBL is one, and especially small 'p' political ones, which the ACBL most assuredly is, not only need time to do things correctly, but we should all WANT them to do things correctly. The ACBL screws up enough procedural matters as it is....look at what has happened to Passell very recently...I know Mike, not well but we have been teammates more than once, and we are on friendly terms....and I believe his version of events in the absence of any compelling reason not to do so. So Brogeland is way out on a limb when he starts making public allegations of cheating, unsupported by evidence, merely because the ACBL hasn't yet done anything about allegations less than a couple of weeks old.

At this juncture, much as I dislike the notion that cheating happened, I hope that the allegations are made out, since otherwise Brogeland may be in a world of trouble, not least with the ACBL. Everything I know of him, which isn't much, says that he is an exemplar of the professional expert player and it would be sad to see him get severely punished for speaking out, even tho I think him wrong to do so.
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#24 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 09:59

Vampyr, you do realize that you are arguing in favour of letting them win a world championship first?
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#25 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:01

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 09:40, said:

(Emphasis mine.)

According to Brogeland, this is exactly what he did. What exactly makes you think Brogeland is lying about this?

As I said above, Brogeland is possibly the best, and certainly one of the smartest bridge players (calling him "talented" is rather patronizing, IMO). I don't think he would have done what he did without having clear proof.

ETA: If Brogeland is wrong, then he'll have destroyed his own reputation much more than the reputation of F-S. This makes this very different from, say, a random BBF poster publicly accusing a pair of cheating.

Arend: it must be something in the way I write or the way you read, but I wasn't the least patronizing when I described Brogeland. He is one of a small number of exceptional players, from my limited knowledge of him. I shouldn't have put a comma after 'honest' but I had meant 'extremely honest and extremely talented'. Is that patronizing?

And nothing I said suggests that he was lying! I didn't summarize my understanding of his posts...I just agreed with yours! Read my second post to see what I think: he is making a mistake, imo, by allowing his frustration at the perceived slow reaction of the ACBL to lead him to going public.

Cut me a little slack when parsing my posts: I get the impression that every time I post something, you look through it striving to find something that you can blow up, distort and score points in whatever mind game you think we are playing. I really don't understand this. I have never met you. We don't have any real life history. You seem to have an image of me in your mind, which is different from who (I think) I am.
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#26 User is offline   diana_eva 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:03

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 09:59, said:

Vampyr, you do realize that you are arguing in favour of letting them win a world championship first?



I also prefer to keep the discussion generic. There are no facts so far, all we know is some respected pros are putting their neck out there in a public accusation of cheating, forcing the authorities to act faster. Even if they are right, it's still inappropriate IMO for posters here to start trashing known pros (or anyone else obv) before they've been officially investigated.

#27 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:05

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 09:59, said:

Vampyr, you do realize that you are arguing in favour of letting them win a world championship first?


I have not argued anything at all. I have observed that Brogeland's actions will prove counterproductive to a timely investigation.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#28 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:08

View Postmikeh, on 2015-August-28, 10:01, said:

Cut me a little slack when parsing my posts: I get the impression that every time I post something, you look through it striving to find something that you can blow up, distort and score points in whatever mind game you think we are playing. I really don't understand this. I have never met you. We don't have any real life history. You seem to have an image of me in your mind, which is different from who (I think) I am.


LOL he has just done it to me too!
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#29 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:17

Mike, what do you expect me to do?

View Postmikeh, on 2015-August-28, 09:27, said:

While anger, frustration and loathing of those who cheat can be difficult to swallow, surely the better approach would have been to alert the ACBL not only of the cheating but of one's idea of how they were doing it.


The only way I can read this is to say that you don't think Brogeland informed the ACBL of his idea of how F-S were cheating.

Sorry I wouldn't have made the remark about "patronizing" if I had read your sentence as saying Brogeland is "extremely talented".

In any case, I think we simply disagree on this. You think it was wrong of Brogeland to make these public accusations of cheating. If his case is indeed as strong as he thinks it is, then I think he was right to do so. The ACBL has plenty of opportunity of catching them, having been informed of suspicion of cheating by this pair years ago (admittedly with allegations that were probably much less specific). Meanwhile, there is an upcoming world championship.

In my mind, two world championship won by cheats within 2 years would be a bigger problem for bridge than a public accusation of cheating from a world-class player.

As for Brogeland getting punished - I'd bet if he knew he'd get punished by the ACBL with, say a suspension of half a year, he'd still do what he did. He has much more to lose than to win - unless he considers making the game cleaner a win by itself.

Having said all this - I can understand Mike's view about public allegations. In fact, I'd frown a situation where it would be acceptable to make public accusations of this sort unless the accuser themselves has something to lose.
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#30 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:28

I know essentially nothing about this before today. I don't know the people involved, and I certainly do not play bridge at a high enough level to judge actions of top pros as unreasonable.

Still, the arguments about BB's risk to himself are persuasive. OK. But when I go to bridge winners and read the threads - searching for BB's posts - I must admit it sounds odd. Why all the drama about the jack of spades? This isn't a poker movie. It's real. Walking the dog on a career ending accusation seems like the wrong procedure to me.

He may be right of course. But either way he is a little weird. (again, just from these few posts.)
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#31 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:29

View Postdiana_eva, on 2015-August-28, 10:03, said:

I also prefer to keep the discussion generic. There are no facts so far, all we know is some respected pros are putting their neck out there in a public accusation of cheating, forcing the authorities to act faster. Even if they are right, it's still inappropriate IMO for posters here to start trashing known pros (or anyone else obv) before they've been officially investigated.

What's the problem with this? They are known pros, as you said. Are football fans also supposed to say "I think your favourite team has a player that dived yesterday in the match against my favourite team!"? In this case, it takes about 3 seconds to google the names. Avoiding naming them at this point can serve no purpose other than making this discussion unparseable and awkward all around, don't you think?
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#32 User is offline   diana_eva 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 10:39

View Postgwnn, on 2015-August-28, 10:29, said:

What's the problem with this? They are known pros, as you said. Are football fans also supposed to say "I think your favourite team has a player that dived yesterday in the match against my favourite team!"? In this case, it takes about 3 seconds to google the names. Avoiding naming them at this point can serve no purpose other than making this discussion unparseable and awkward all around, don't you think?


I was thinking more that I'd hate to see people start posting hands or accusations, of course it's pointless to pretend the names aren't known at this point. I shd have phrased it better I guess.

#33 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 11:04

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 09:59, said:

Vampyr, you do realize that you are arguing in favour of letting them win a world championship first?

Only a transnational one. They're not playing in the Bermuda Bowl.
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#34 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 11:08

View Postdiana_eva, on 2015-August-28, 10:39, said:

I was thinking more that I'd hate to see people start posting hands or accusations

It is only the hands that can allow the rest of the world to decide and I would welcome hands being posted. However, there is a restriction on naming the players on here, so it would first require the moderators to lift that restriction.
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#35 User is offline   diana_eva 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 11:15

View Postlamford, on 2015-August-28, 11:08, said:

It is only the hands that can allow the rest of the world to decide and I would welcome hands being posted. However, there is a restriction on naming the players on here, so it would first require the moderators to lift that restriction.


Why would it be appropriate for the rest of the world to decide?

#36 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 11:42

View Postdiana_eva, on 2015-August-28, 11:15, said:

Why would it be appropriate for the rest of the world to decide?


Because they are already being tried in the court of public opinion.
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#37 User is offline   kuhchung 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 12:24

Good job eagles, you opened the floodgates!
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#38 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 13:01

View Postcherdano, on 2015-August-28, 10:17, said:

Mike, what do you expect me to do?



In any case, I think we simply disagree on this. You think it was wrong of Brogeland to make these public accusations of cheating. If his case is indeed as strong as he thinks it is, then I think he was right to do so. The ACBL has plenty of opportunity of catching them, having been informed of suspicion of cheating by this pair years ago (admittedly with allegations that were probably much less specific). Meanwhile, there is an upcoming world championship.


I may simply be ignorant of matters of which you are aware, but in terms of pre-Spingold behaviour, I was under the impression that as with the racecars and Katz-Cohen back in the day and no doubt others there was a lot of whispering but no official complaint. If so I am not being at all critical of those who suspected cheating and did nothing, since the ACBL and, I assume, the WBF seem by their policies to make reporting suspicion problematic and few want to be the ones making such allegations without good evidence.

So my possibly mistaken impression was that Brogeland started the official ball rolling by his complaints post Spingold. If that is the case, then in my view, as explained above, he is flat out misguided in his well-intentioned desire to speed up the process.

Even if I am wrong, and less-specific complaints were made (less specific, that is, than whatever Brogeland observed or deduced), still it seems that he DID make specific allegations and he ought to let the wheels turn, even tho they seem to him to be turning too slowly.

Note that the alleged offenders are not playing the BB. I don't think anyone really sees the Transnationals as a 'real' world championship. It is sort of a consolation prize for the non-BB teams, and a way of raising revenue for the real events, as well as being a fun event. Of course, for the pros it is a way to make money and for the clients it may well be good for their ego, but it isn't a BB title.

In fact, imo, the transnationals would be a wonderful opportunity to gather evidence. It is, iirc, a long round-robin, so I would have assumed that, absent being alerted to the issue, the offending pair would display lots of evidence of wrong doing, such that they could be caught before the KO stage.
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#39 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 13:45

Well, according to Lotan Fisher the were "monitored by directors and kibitzers for years. And they found nothing." I would assume that such monitoring was based on receiving complaints.
(http://newinbridge.c...ot-bermuda-bowl )

Also, there were quite a few posts on BW about cheating from top players prior to Brogelands' revelations that sounded like they had been arguing for a while with authorities whether a pair could be convicted of cheating even if the method of cheating could not be established. In retrospect it sounds like they had been arguing the case of F-S behind the scenes for a while.
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#40 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2015-August-28, 14:19

View Postmikeh, on 2015-August-28, 13:01, said:

I may simply be ignorant of matters of which you are aware, but in terms of pre-Spingold behaviour, I was under the impression that as with the racecars and Katz-Cohen back in the day and no doubt others there was a lot of whispering but no official complaint. If so I am not being at all critical of those who suspected cheating and did nothing, since the ACBL and, I assume, the WBF seem by their policies to make reporting suspicion problematic and few want to be the ones making such allegations without good evidence.

So my possibly mistaken impression was that Brogeland started the official ball rolling by his complaints post Spingold. If that is the case, then in my view, as explained above, he is flat out misguided in his well-intentioned desire to speed up the process.

Even if I am wrong, and less-specific complaints were made (less specific, that is, than whatever Brogeland observed or deduced), still it seems that he DID make specific allegations and he ought to let the wheels turn, even tho they seem to him to be turning too slowly.

Note that the alleged offenders are not playing the BB. I don't think anyone really sees the Transnationals as a 'real' world championship. It is sort of a consolation prize for the non-BB teams, and a way of raising revenue for the real events, as well as being a fun event. Of course, for the pros it is a way to make money and for the clients it may well be good for their ego, but it isn't a BB title.

In fact, imo, the transnationals would be a wonderful opportunity to gather evidence. It is, iirc, a long round-robin, so I would have assumed that, absent being alerted to the issue, the offending pair would display lots of evidence of wrong doing, such that they could be caught before the KO stage.


I know two people who made official complaints backed up with multiple hands at separate events, and these are not isolated instances. Whether the authorities concerned (EBL and WBF) carried out a thorough investigation or not is a matter of speculation. :ph34r:

As an aside, I was only involved in one of these events and did not regard the hands as conclusive, but I do know whether or not I would fold against Boye's alleged Royal Flush.
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