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Cheating Allegations

#701 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-October-13, 15:57

View PostPhantomSac, on 2015-October-13, 15:07, said:

Mike all of these pairs were cheating in multiple ways, they were too greedy to do just 1. However to "catch" them it is better to just nail one down as a lock and not present the other ones which may only be true 95 % or 90 % of the time for whatever reasons. The reason of multiple hypotheses is because they are cheating in multiple ways. The evidence needs to be so rock solid to satisfy the people even though obviously saying "here are 10 ways that they cheat, one is 100 % and the others are only 90-95%" should be more damning, in the real world it's not as smart as saying "heres a way they cheat that is 100 %" since it doesn't give people anything to latch onto in order to defend that pair.


I think you know this already, but I have said nothing at all intended to defend BZ. I am inclined to suspect that they cheat, because I take Brogeland seriously and respect the work he has done and his success rate. I also recognize that there is definitely evidence of unusual behaviours that seem to have some correlation with holdings on the hands picked out to demonstrate that correlation. My concern is about process, and the risk, which I do not think is trivial here, of a wrongful 'public conviction', the effects of which would be devastating to an innocent pair

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Even with this thing people are like omg 1 in 17,000 that is ridiculous how can you call that evidence lol. The bidding gap thing is real but getting enough evidence to make it 100 % is very very hard and time consuming, most likely because sometimes people mess up their code (like forgetting your system or having a brain lapse), or sometimes they don't use it (often this is because they are playing against other cheating pairs or very top pairs, for instance FS would sit EW against some pairs).



I am not calling for 100% proof. I want evidence that has been logically analyzed: tested. I don't want nor would ever expect that analysis of a hypothesis would have zero false positives or zero false negatives. I would be content with a strong preponderance of evidence, especially when what is at issue is the interpretation of behaviours that are inconsistent with the spirit or the letter of the law. Having a pattern of gaps in the bidding is weird. If one does that, then one forfeits the right to require absolute proof, imo. By behaving in a way that predictably lends itself to inference of cheating, one can no longer, imo, claim that we should assume that the behaviour was innocent until overwhelmingly shown otherwise.

Doing the statistical thing, that gets people saying something is 1 in 17,000 etc usually, when I see it, seems silly. One can play almost any game one wants that way, just by stipulating the original odds....which usually correspond to the personal view of the writer, not a real statistic. I think you are well aware that about 83.62% of statistics are made up.

But one doesn't need this sort of pretend-analysis. One can apply a robust sense of practicality to most situations. Analyse the hands, test the hypothesis on a LOT of randomly selected hands, and do so with those doing the testing naïve to the actual hand or the actual hypothesis (thus two sets of observers...one saying a behaviour occurs on a hand, and the other looking at the hand to see if the hand matches the presumed meaning of the signal). Any correspondence with few false results will be persuasive.

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Anyways lets just wait for Boye to present his evidence, it's pretty evident that Kit and Boye are not on the same team. They obviously have very different styles but it is Boye's that has gotten everything done so far. I understand as a lawyer this must be very distasteful to you but I still think of it as civil disobedience/a protest. In fact it wouldnt shock me if the WBF was disbanded after all of this or someone else made a new league.




I was initially disturbed by the public outing of FS, on what was at the time incomplete evidence. As the postings continued, showing that the various bridge authorities had been grossly wanting in their response, and the evidence of cheating mounted, my views shifted, as I think I wrote in a number of posts. With more knowledge of context on my part came a change of opinion and I find nothing wrong with how Brogeland and the Interpol handled FS, FN and the Germans.

I find nothing wrong with the way they reported BZ to the WBF, nor in the way that Brogeland and Woolsey (who seem at least broadly aligned to me) have handled the BZ issue. I do think that a number of BW posters, and even some here, have jumped rather hastily onto a bandwagon that may not hold up....tho if I were a betting man, I would bet that it does hold up. However, I wouldn't ever want to see anyone convicted of a serious offence merely because my gut tells me that they are guilty.

We need an organization that looks like the WBF (in the sense that its rules and constitution look very good) and that would almost inevitably eventually take on the worst characteristics of the WBF...including the sense amongst its leaders that the WBF's main purpose is to afford them luxury vacations subsidized by the players. Some things are unavoidable.
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#702 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2015-October-13, 18:16

FWIW, I share many of Mike's concerns regarding the prosecution of B+Z.

From my perspective, the process started in a much more haphazard manner with multiple competing hypotheses about how B+Z were cheating and little in the way of strong evidence supporting any of them.

At this point in time, I am I am feeling much more confident about the claims.

1. There is now an in depth analysis of a very specific claim.
2. Woolsey has clearly identified the set of videos that was used to develop the hypothesis.
3. In a similar vein, there are multiple sets of videos that can be used to validate the hypothesis.

I personally consider the explicit use of training sets and validation sets to be very significant as it helps protect against issues involving data mining.

At the end of the day, I think that one well validated claim about cheating is sufficient to convict.
Sadly, I think that we are there...
Alderaan delenda est
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#703 User is offline   benlessard 

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Posted 2015-October-13, 20:08

On BW i was among the first to criticize Boye ways of doing things.

Here are some of my posts.

--"Personally i respect those who work hard to get data to protect us against cheaters, I know its really hard and tedious work, however i have a minor complaint, I dont really like this hype building approach. Accusing someone of cheating is a serious thing, its not a music show or a Michael Bay movie.
IMO it would have been better to say nothing and than just post the whole thing."

--"Its the method that I have a problem with, i dont doubt the courage of the convictions. Im pretty sure Nick think the same way.
Comments like … “Very soon there will come out mind boggling stuff that would even make a Hollywood movie surreal.” & “The Scandal in Buenos Aires (Reese-Schapiro) is peanuts compared to what's coming out.”
Is hype stuff that I would expect for the Transformers 5 movie or for the Iphone 7.
If you want to look cool-headed and professionnal just do it directly, make a clear statement rather than insinuations and give examples and arguments right from the start. Later you can add stuff to further strenghten your case.Saying damaging insinuations without showing proof or providing arguments is a faux pas on forums and a bad idea under the law.



I still think that many Boye T and J and Ishmael hands where jokes compared to hand brought by David Gold and those by Thomas Bessis additionnal kudos for Thomas for clearly explaining the hands rather than just say "see its obvious"
Boye hypothesis that he tought they showed club lenght was also laughable.

So overall I was strongly critical of Boye approach and views however im not totally braindead I know that if he was willing to give away his title he must be 110% sure of his thing, I also know that if your a top level player that see cheaters bid and play for a long time you will know it beyond any reasonable doubt that they are cheating. However knowing something and proving something isnt the same thing especially when you need to convinced others. When somebody is sure of his things and want to make the bridge world a better place we have to give him credit.

In retrospect I think Boye was the well needed taser shot to make the machine start so ive absolve him of all of his sins. I think he did well to stay a bit on the sideline once the machine was working. He also did well to stay away from the poker table especially if D Gold,T Bessis and Kit are playing.

The combination of Boye to start the fire and Kit to finish the cooking was a nice combo imo. So even if i didnt like the way it started in retrospect I thing the institution of bridge are too rigid and passive and need a serious kick in the ass from time to time. The WBF had 9 days to get a strike team working on the Poland video but deep down many of us know they probably did nothing. I feel the last BB could easily have been saved but is going to end up in the trash like many others tournaments.
From Psych "I mean, Gus and I never see eye-to-eye on work stuff.
For instance, he doesn't like being used as a human shield when we're being shot at.
I happen to think it's a very noble way to meet one's maker, especially for a guy like him.
Bottom line is we never let that difference of opinion interfere with anything."
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#704 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2015-October-13, 21:00

View Postbarmar, on 2015-October-13, 11:36, said:

... And being a good player doesn't necessarily mean you're an expert on the Laws, while high-level TDs are expected to be. So the theory is that a panel of directors should be more qualified to handle appeals.

Huh? I thought the AC's were told the laws and asked to make judgements on fact.
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#705 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 01:38

View Postaguahombre, on 2015-October-13, 21:00, said:

Huh? I thought the AC's were told the laws and asked to make judgements on fact.

In England we have a rule that our TDs are not usually allowed to be on appeals committees in EBU events, even when they are there as players rather than as TDs. I think it has more to do with the perception that players can appeal to a different group of people, possibly with different perspectives, than those who originally made the ruling. If information about the laws is required, the committee can ask the TDs. That's why I support having appeals committees even though I think most directors' rulings are good and not all committee decisions are better.
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#706 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 01:49

View Postlamford, on 2015-October-13, 11:14, said:

Why could they not have an AC made up of volunteers drawn from players?

They could, and they may well have considered this, but I can see potential problems with such an arrangement. By the time of the quarter-finals of the BB there were no players still in the event who wouldn't have an interest in the outcome of such an appeal. There may well have been suitable players in the Transnational, but I don't know if their schedules coincided. So you might well be scrambling around trying to find suitable willing volunteers, which could lead to an uneven quality of committees. Of course the actual arrangement involves finding suitable willing volunteers to be polled, but I think it's easier to find someone to give an answer to a question or two than to get them to give up half their dinner break.
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#707 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 02:06

View Postbillw55, on 2015-October-12, 12:46, said:

I think the general gist is that the WBF has failed to act with respect to these particular pairs, over a period of several years, perhaps even decades in some cases; and that this is de facto evidence of intent not to act.

You need objective evidence if you want to accuse and convict someone of cheating and any Bridge discussion or expert poll will tell you how far experts can differ in opinion on Bridge matters.
This makes this game interesting but Bridge arguments are often dubious evidence of cheating and hard to apply, particularly in areas like opening leads.
As far as I can tell all the evidence forwarded lately in all cases is by video taping, which allows retrospective analysis by many.
I admit I do not like to be taped without my unforced agreement and it is a pity we need this surveillance technique because it seems to be effective.
Taping seems to be for cheating what fingerprints and DNA samples did for criminal cases.
Video taping is a fairly new procedure. Speaking of decades of failures is a bit besides the point.

Rainer Herrmann
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#708 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 07:14

View Postrhm, on 2015-October-14, 02:06, said:

View Postbillw55, on 2015-October-12, 12:46, said:

I think the general gist is that the WBF has failed to act with respect to these particular pairs, over a period of several years, perhaps even decades in some cases; and that this is de facto evidence of intent not to act.

You need objective evidence if you want to accuse and convict someone of cheating [].

I fully agree with you on that.

The point that Bill is trying to make is that the WBF seems to have taken an extremely passive role here. The impression that we get is that over the years the WBF will only act if they are presented with a large amount of objective evidence, preferably in a nicely formalized way (so that WBF is protected in legal procedures, should the "villains" sue).

We would like a more active role from "some authority" (the WBF would be nice, but a sheriff and a posse will do fine, as long as the WBF recognizes their jurisdiction, and as long as their methods can stand criticism):
- When there are serious allegations of cheating, the alleged cheaters should be seriously (and actively) investigated.
- Measures should be considered to prevent cheating

Rik
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#709 User is offline   xeno123 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 11:09

So I have a rather different question. Why didn't Fantoni/Nunes win everything in sight? From what I gather they are somewhat stronger than the Israeli pair (particularly Schwartz). And why bother with Fantunes? Why not just play one of the more standard systems and rely on their UI to give them a significant edge? Once we know they have been cheating, it seems more probable than not they also used other methods aside from their card orientation. If they used them intermittently or infrequently it might well be impossible to detect them.

The only real solution here is to make a couple of the top events all-electronic. That would be enough to deter cheaters - suddenly there would be a big discrepancy between their results in the all-electronic tournaments and everywhere else.
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#710 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 11:48

View Postxeno123, on 2015-October-14, 11:09, said:

So I have a rather different question. Why didn't Fantoni/Nunes win everything in sight? From what I gather they are somewhat stronger than the Israeli pair (particularly Schwartz). And why bother with Fantunes? Why not just play one of the more standard systems and rely on their UI to give them a significant edge?
If you make some strange-looking decision, playing an esoteric system, then it's less likely to attract adverse comment. Critics are unlikely to be familiar enough with relevant details of your methods to reach a consensus judgment.

View Postxeno123, on 2015-October-14, 11:09, said:

Once we know they have been cheating, it seems more probable than not they also used other methods aside from their card orientation. If they used them intermittently or infrequently it might well be impossible to detect them.
Hrothgar is right that we're lucky that so many cheaters used such primitive methods. At the time of the 1965 case, Reese and others pointed out that even the most basic cheating method should feature
  • Simple binary message e.g. you are good or bad for your current action.
  • Large repertoire of signals so that you don't have to repeat the same signal.
  • Different "one-time pads" for each session (e.g. the words of a poem you both know), to ensure your cypher is impenetrable.
  • Trigger to switch signalling on and off e.g. when you are far ahead in a match or fear that you are being watched.

View Postxeno123, on 2015-October-14, 11:09, said:

The only real solution here is to make a couple of the top events all-electronic. That would be enough to deter cheaters - suddenly there would be a big discrepancy between their results in the all-electronic tournaments and everywhere else.
I agree. RF shielding might protect players from newer cheating trends. The game would be quite different without tells from opponents, unauthorised information from partner, coffee-housing, and gamesmanship.
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#711 User is offline   iandayre 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 15:18

View Postcaptyogi, on 2015-August-28, 04:24, said:

For Cheating in Bridge Game what all methods can be used ?
I narrate one or two methods which come to my mind.
Man is a Creature, all the time progressing, it is this thinking ability of Man, has brought Man from Caveman to Present Status.
Thinking can be Constructive, for the betterment and Progress of Mankind, at a same time it can Destructive type also.

At Local Level Club Tourneys, if there is one Bermuda Level Player and rest normal Exp, Adv, Int and Novice, in Local tournament he will win many times ( nobody will say much ), but not all the times, if it happens all the times , eyebrows will be raised.
Same Player and Regional Level or National / International ( Europe International can be as Good as National Level for USA, India ), where there is competition is Tough and Equally Good Players ( Bermuda / National / International Level ) are there, Results should be mixed, but now if One particular player keeps winning hands down, match after match, thrashing other Top Class Teams 20-0, if eyebrows are raised, gossiping starts, there should be no harm, you cannot directly accuse, but investigation / brain storming starts, what is wrong in that ?.

I put forward some hypothetical , but possible Cheating Methods

Cheating Method 1 :

Expert Level Player gets involved in Dealing, Machine Dealt Boards, copies .PBN or .LIN files on pen drive , takes them home and at peace goes through all the deals, makes note of Typical Deals and makes Good Use of this information on the table, every round of 8 to 10 deals, IMP Scoring, 2 deals, where Slam or Game is not possible to bid , but it is Cold or other way round , Slam or Game has to be bid , but it is bound to fail for sure, are Good Enough for your team to give 20-0 Win.

Cheating Method 2 :

With somebody in Dealing Team or Vu Graf Team, who is willing to compromise integrity, Cheating Expert makes a deal with him ( of course at cost )and gets Dealt Boards .PBN or .LIN files on pen drive, 20-0 victory is assured.

Crooks, Cheats, Terrorist, Guerillas their brain is working overtime all the times, trying device new new innovative methods, world is facing brunt everyday, How Bridge can be exception, we are part of this world. We better prepare to counter such destructive methods and stay alive or perish.

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#712 User is offline   iandayre 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 15:21

In all the famous cheating scandals over the decades, the method of cheating has involved illegal communication between partners at the table. Some methods used have been foot tapping, coughing, and placement of pencils. I do not believe that anyone has ever been caught having had improper access to hand records before the event.
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#713 User is offline   Hanoi5 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 15:32

View Postiandayre, on 2015-October-14, 15:21, said:

In all the famous cheating scandals over the decades, the method of cheating has involved illegal communication between partners at the table. Some methods used have been foot tapping, coughing, and placement of pencils. I do not believe that anyone has ever been caught having had improper access to hand records before the event.


Then you haven't seen Fisher-Schwartz record in Israel.

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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#714 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 15:41

View Postxeno123, on 2015-October-14, 11:09, said:

So I have a rather different question. Why didn't Fantoni/Nunes win everything in sight? From what I gather they are somewhat stronger than the Israeli pair (particularly Schwartz). And why bother with Fantunes? Why not just play one of the more standard systems and rely on their UI to give them a significant edge? Once we know they have been cheating, it seems more probable than not they also used other methods aside from their card orientation. If they used them intermittently or infrequently it might well be impossible to detect them.

The only real solution here is to make a couple of the top events all-electronic. That would be enough to deter cheaters - suddenly there would be a big discrepancy between their results in the all-electronic tournaments and everywhere else.


1. I think it's impossible to know how strong F-N are - they likely were already cheating when they had their first major successes.
2. It's much easier to cheat when you play an unusual system - it will be much more obvious if you make (say) an overaggressive raise based on the extra information if your partner's opening bid is a bid and style your opponents are very familiar with. I don't think it's a coincidence that Wladow-Elinescu were using very similar 2M openings.
3. F-N were winning a lot. And unless you have the full hand records, there is still a lot of randomness in bridge - especially if you have cheating methods that help to make some aspects of your game (say, defense) flawless, but aren't effective enough in other aspects so you are still mediocre at them (say, slam bidding).
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#715 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2015-October-14, 19:02

View Postxeno123, on 2015-October-14, 11:09, said:

So I have a rather different question. Why didn't Fantoni/Nunes win everything in sight? From what I gather they are somewhat stronger than the Israeli pair (particularly Schwartz). And why bother with Fantunes? Why not just play one of the more standard systems and rely on their UI to give them a significant edge? Once we know they have been cheating, it seems more probable than not they also used other methods aside from their card orientation. If they used them intermittently or infrequently it might well be impossible to detect them.


I thought the same as you when this all came to light, but it's been suggested to me that's not the case - there was 14 years between their last appearance in the juniors and their world pairs win that heralded their arrival on the world stage. I suspect they'd never have played a Bermuda Bowl or Europeans without cheating.

Their two-level openings and their leads both benefit greatly from an extraneous binary signal. It's possible they adopted the methods having decided to cheat.

The most interesting cheating method is that of the Israeli pair. "We open 1C or 1D almost at random because we know what to lead anyway and it gives us an excuse to not lead the suit partner's bid". Mind you, I've no idea why they didn't just open 1C on all balanced hands...
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#716 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2015-October-15, 00:13

View Postiandayre, on 2015-October-14, 15:21, said:

In all the famous cheating scandals over the decades, the method of cheating has involved illegal communication between partners at the table. Some methods used have been foot tapping, coughing, and placement of pencils. I do not believe that anyone has ever been caught having had improper access to hand records before the event.

Players are much less likely to be able to get access to the hands at a national or international event than at their local club.
Gordon Rainsford
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#717 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-October-15, 05:42

View Postcherdano, on 2015-October-13, 15:56, said:

Now you are just being dishonest. The post I quoted made it clear that you were writing a long post about the newest allegations, verified by Kit Woolsey in a detailed methodical post, without having read that post. Instead, you were basing your long opinion on a short off-hand comment.

Meanwhile:

It could mean that I am an idiot who is quick to believe allegations without evidence. Or maybe, I wouldn't write such a statement unless I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the allegations, and also spending some time verifying some of them.

Given that you have proved repeatedly that you are unable to understand basic statistical principles about verifying such hypotheses, maybe it's not for you to decide which of the two is true? (But if you need some help - maybe it helps you to know that I am highly skeptical about some of the allegations against B-Z?)


As it happens, you are correct that I had not read the long BW thread being referenced here. I had been following all of the many BW threads, I thought, but had mistaken the thread about the 5 card signal as a continuation of an old thread where I mistakenly thought that the posts were rehashing old hypotheses, and that was a mistake on my part.


[removed]

I make a lot of posts. I make mistakes in them on occasion. I have never claimed otherwise. Look at my profile: I have always admitted that some of my posts are bad. However, I make them in good faith, even those that I later regret as making me seem foolish. One reason is that I try to learn from my mistakes....clearly by now I ought to be better than I am if I were learning every time :D I am, however, human and thus prone to error.

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This post has been edited by diana_eva: 2015-October-17, 12:29

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#718 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-October-15, 18:04

I think it fair to say that the discussion about whether proof exists that BZ cheated has become more moderate in tone over at BW. I think it fair to say that the notion that it has been proven that they cheated by any particular method is not now accepted by any moderate or dispassionate observer. In particular, there appears to be very strong evidence, beyond any reasonable burden of proof, that B on occasion would make a hand gesture but only when holding a 5 card suit.

He has been found to do this as declarer and when looking at a hand with nobody else in the room. The two most important findings appear to be: he does this only on some hands containing a 5 card suit...on many, and perhaps most, he makes no signal even tho he holds such a suit, and he never makes the signal unless he is holding a 5 card suit.

The inconsistency of gesturing, and the gesturing in circumstances where there is nobody to benefit from the 'signal' suggest that what has been found may be an unconscious result of B mentally evaluating his shape. However, it is also entirely possible that this is a signal, on defence, triggered by Z...which would explain why there are non-signals with a 5 card suit...Z hasn't asked for the information. There are other possibilities as well, which mostly (as far as I can tell) would point to cheating as the explanation.

The reality is that so far none but the 'damn them, they cheat' brigade seems persuaded that there is sufficient evidence to show a method actually in use. This is NOT proof of innocence, but it is reason for us to continue to defer judgement or, if we have formed our conviction that they cheat, to think once more about why one thinks that way.

To be clear: I am not espousing the view that they don't cheat. The jury is, almost literally, still out on that. For one thing, Brogeland seems to have said that he has more evidence on the spacing of bidding cards hypothesis and that that has been shared with a bridge authority (I think the European Bridge organization but am not sure). So there will undoubtedly be more developments before any clear conclusion can be reached. For one thing, on the 5 card suit hypothesis, I gather that efforts are under way to see whether a trigger behaviour by Z can be identified, that seems to prompt the gesture by B. Such would, if validly tested, seem pretty powerful.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#719 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2015-October-15, 18:15

View PostMickyB, on 2015-October-14, 19:02, said:

Mind you, I've no idea why they didn't just open 1C on all balanced hands...

Perhaps, if they only gave an illegal binary signal, they could seee the benefit of TRIBAL ..
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#720 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2015-October-15, 18:45

View Postnullve, on 2015-October-13, 12:31, said:

cherdano, I'll ask you again: Can you (cherdano, not Balicki) control your hand movements enough not to signal numbers on every second hand you defend after the screen is opened? If 'Yes', how do you know?

Have you looked at the video snippet I posted in reply last time you asked that question?
Yes, I am sure I am not unconsciously signalling hand shape with such blatant movements. How can I know? I try to keep a poker face and not give anything at the bridge table. Of course, I may fail, but I would notice if I fail that blatantly. In fact, I started watching others more while I was dummy tonight, and I am sure noone else at my table was making unconscious Balicki signals.
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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