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A Chimp's Charter Suspected Breach of 16D

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 14:03


There was a massive swing on this board in the North London club multiple teams this weekend. WW, North, opened 2NT (20-22) and South, SB, transferred to hearts intending to bid 4NT as RKCB, but ChCh, West, wandered in with a bid of 4S despite the unfavourable vulnerability. WW bid 5H but East raised to 5S and South tried a pass, surely forcing even at these colours. WW recounted his points and doubled - "4 quick tricks, pard, and they are vulnerable". Unfortunately there was no defence, and SB, South, thought nothing of it until he entered the score in the Bridgemate to find that most NS pairs were in 6H (usually failing) or 6NT (always making) except the Precision pair, who had just played the board, who also conceded 5Sx=.

"Did you hear anything about this board the last time it was played, you sleaze ball?" asked SB of ChCh. "How could I?" replied ChCh, "it was just played at table 13 right across the room, and this is table 1."

"Hmm", responded SB, "you could have known that North would have opened a strong club at table 13, as the NS pair there are playing Precision. You could have seen that East was declarer so might well have made a two-suited overcall. And when South showed long hearts at this table, you could have anticipated that East had short hearts." He paused for breath. "The last is authorised, of course, but the fact that East was declarer when the board was just played was not."

"Rubbish", replied ChCh, "I thought 4S was a reasonable shot, as you were quite likely to have a slam on, and even at these colours it might be cheap." He continued, "I did not see who was declarer the previous time it was played, and it would be very difficult to tell at this distance".

"You could have seen when you went to get coffee from the kitchen", responded SB, "with anyone else I would not be suspicious, but for someone with the ethics of a snake, I think it is case proven," he added.

The TD was called. How should he rule, and how should he deal with SB's allegations?
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 16:05

I don't see how SB has a leg to stand on. His accusation is based on totally circumstantial evidence -- ChCh could have gotten extraneous information, so he assumes that's the justification for his action.

This is SB at his most eggregious, and he deserves a hard DP. Score stands.

#3 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 16:14

View Postbarmar, on 2019-March-17, 16:05, said:

I don't see how SB has a leg to stand on. His accusation is based on totally circumstantial evidence -- ChCh could have gotten extraneous information, so he assumes that's the justification for his action.

This is SB at his most eggregious, and he deserves a hard DP. Score stands.

If East had hesitated over 2NT, we would poll 10 Wests of ChCh's ability. None would remotely consider 4S at adverse and we would impose a PP on West for flagrant use of UI. Should we not do the same here and conclude that the only reason for 4S must have been some UI from another source?
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#4 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 18:05

If this SB's "Best Behaviour at Bridge" somebody needs to teach him the error of his ways. Currently, I believe, a standard dp in England is 50% of a top. I would give him twice that. Score stands.
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#5 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 18:07

The difference is that we can identify an actual action (the hesitation) that transmitted UI. SB is just guessing that ChCh overheard something from another table, there's no evidence of it other than ChCh's action.

He's basically saying that when someone does something wild or gambling and it works out, it's prima facie evidence that they had a wire.

#6 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-17, 18:40

View Postbarmar, on 2019-March-17, 18:07, said:

The difference is that we can identify an actual action (the hesitation) that transmitted UI. SB is just guessing that ChCh overheard something from another table, there's no evidence of it other than ChCh's action.

He's basically saying that when someone does something wild or gambling and it works out, it's prima facie evidence that they had a wire.

Here we can identify an actual action (East becoming declarer on the immediately preceding round) that might have transmitted UI if viewed. The only pair who opened 1C were the Precision Pair. All the other Norths opened 2NT. When we look at the East hand, it is normal to bid over a strong club, but no Easts bid over a 20-22 2NT at adverse. Sometimes the hand itself is enough to indicate further investigation. On the Internet, the auction 1NT-3NT-6NT often occurs, and usually leads to a ban on the miscreant. I think you are being much too trusting of ChCh here and SB is completely justified in making the allegation he did. In my view the only justification for 4S would be that the person has cheated used UI from an outside source. And he could not really have overheard something, but could well have overseen something ...
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#7 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 02:42

Your reasoning is based on ChCh having ďthe ethics of a snakeĒ. Iím not knowledgeable about those ethics, AFAIK snakes might be the most ethical beings in the universe, just unlucky enough to be creared the way they are, but itís clear that ChCh is a cheat, at least according to you and SB. Then there is a simple question to be answered: why let him play at this club? If he is a cheat, he should be banned, if he isnít banned, the club doesnít consider him a cheat and neither should the other players until proven otherwise. If that is the case and he is still admitted, you should avoid this club.
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#8 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 04:09

View Postsanst, on 2019-March-18, 02:42, said:

Your reasoning is based on ChCh having ďthe ethics of a snakeĒ. Iím not knowledgeable about those ethics, AFAIK snakes might be the most ethical beings in the universe, just unlucky enough to be creared the way they are, but itís clear that ChCh is a cheat, at least according to you and SB. Then there is a simple question to be answered: why let him play at this club? If he is a cheat, he should be banned, if he isnít banned, the club doesnít consider him a cheat and neither should the other players until proven otherwise. If that is the case and he is still admitted, you should avoid this club.

As I think WeeJonnie says in another thread, the jury is always out on ChCh, in that he is very cunning, and the evidence of his cheating is hard to find. Without absolute proof the club will not ban him. The club committee has discussed it many times, and they follow the principle:

In criminal law, Blackstone's ratio (also known as the Blackstone ratio or Blackstone's formulation) is the idea that:
It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.
As expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.
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#9 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 08:36

View Postlamford, on 2019-March-17, 18:40, said:

Here we can identify an actual action (East becoming declarer on the immediately preceding round) that might have transmitted UI if viewed.

"might have" and "if viewed" are the critical qualifiers. We need evidence that the UI was actually transmitted, not just that it could have been, and his actions are consistent with it having been.

This is similar to the "God in the gaps" argument -- people can't imagine an explanation for some phenomena other than supernatural intervention, so it "proves" that God exists. It's bad logic.

#10 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 09:04

View Postbarmar, on 2019-March-18, 08:36, said:

"might have" and "if viewed" are the critical qualifiers. We need evidence that the UI was actually transmitted, not just that it could have been, and his actions are consistent with it having been.

This is similar to the "God in the gaps" argument -- people can't imagine an explanation for some phenomena other than supernatural intervention, so it "proves" that God exists. It's bad logic.

I could equally quote Occam's Razor: Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case the one that requires the least speculation is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation.

So, here all we need to do is assume that ChCh saw that East was declarer on board 13. The rest he was well capable of working out using best (sharp) practice. That is a much more likely explanation than ChCh bid 4S on tram-tickets and found the perfect dummy, and that it was just coincidence that East-West made 5Sx= as well on the previous occasion it was played.
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 09:41

I am not going to assume that any player is a cheat on some other player's say-so. Making a ruling on the basis of speculation that a player "must have cheated" or "must have had UI" or whatever is just wrong. Now if there is a considerable body of evidence that a player does strange things when he might have UI, that would, imo, be enough to provide a basis for ruling. Note: "everybody knows that ChCh does this" isn't good enough. If he might have done it, record it. When you think you have enough to convict, hold a C&E hearing. Note: this applies equally to the bully (SB) as to the cheat (ChCh). Both are wrong, both should be sanctioned.
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#12 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 16:41

I have no problem with someone coming to me and saying "There was something fishy on a particular hand, but have nothing solid to base it on, please keep an eye on them". When they want me to penalize them on that with nothing but a feeling, that I consider out of line. I'd give SB a ZT warning...and keep an eye on CC.
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#13 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-18, 17:49

View PostHardVector, on 2019-March-18, 16:41, said:

I have no problem with someone coming to me and saying "There was something fishy on a particular hand, but have nothing solid to base it on, please keep an eye on them". When they want me to penalize them on that with nothing but a feeling, that I consider out of line. I'd give SB a ZT warning...and keep an eye on CC.

Colin the Corgi is mortified that he is being tarred with the same brush as Charlie the Chimp...
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#14 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-19, 05:54

View Postblackshoe, on 2019-March-18, 09:41, said:

When you think you have enough to convict, hold a C&E hearing. Note: this applies equally to the bully (SB) as to the cheat (ChCh). Both are wrong, both should be sanctioned.

When Boye Brogeland started his site www.bridgecheaters.com, he met with almost universal approval. I say "almost" as the WBF did not like their feathers being ruffled, and they thought that these direct allegations rocked the establishment. I was firmly on Boye's side, and his allegations led to further evidence, including that produced by Kit Woolsey. Boye's self-confessed way was:

"My approach to discover cheating by world class players is to look at non-obvious actions and the success rate of these."

A similar approach was taken by the EBU, who have convicted (on the balance of probabilities) at least two people based on their success in bidding slams. "Maybe they were just good at bidding slams", you might respond. However, the test is not whether they bid to a solid slam but whether they bid to too many 50% slams, or even 25% slams, that made. In those cases, the players in question "had access to" the pbn files, or hand records, for the evening. There was no evidence, as in this thread, that they did view the pbn files or hand records but they were still found guilty.

Such is the case with bids like 4 here. It IS prima facie evidence of UI from another source. It meets the Boye test of a non-obvious action that was very successful. Of course we need several such actions, not just one, but ChCh has provided, in this forum, plenty of those before!

I totally agree that SB's bullying manner is unacceptable, but it is for that he merits a PP or DP, not for the allegation itself.
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#15 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2019-March-19, 06:46

View Postlamford, on 2019-March-19, 05:54, said:

When Boye Brogeland started his site www.bridgecheaters.com, he met with almost universal approval. I say "almost" as the WBF did not like their feathers being ruffled, and they thought that these direct allegations rocked the establishment. I was firmly on Boye's side, and his allegations led to further evidence, including that produced by Kit Woolsey. Boye's self-confessed way was:

"My approach to discover cheating by world class players is to look at non-obvious actions and the success rate of these."

A similar approach was taken by the EBU, who have convicted (on the balance of probabilities) at least two people based on their success in bidding slams. "Maybe they were just good at bidding slams", you might respond. However, the test is not whether they bid to a solid slam but whether they bid to too many 50% slams, or even 25% slams, that made. In those cases, the players in question "had access to" the pbn files, or hand records, for the evening. There was no evidence, as in this thread, that they did view the pbn files or hand records but they were still found guilty.

Such is the case with bids like 4 here. It IS prima facie evidence of UI from another source. It meets the Boye test of a non-obvious action that was very successful. Of course we need several such actions, not just one, but ChCh has provided, in this forum, plenty of those before!

I totally agree that SB's bullying manner is unacceptable, but it is for that he merits a PP or DP, not for the allegation itself.

You forget (or ignore?) one important part of Boye's activities:

It is true that he used statistics to discover suspected foul play, but these statistics were only the first and easy part of his activities.

Evidence was found from (for instance) video recordings that proved a sinister correlation between manners and results.

No player was to my knowledge ever convicted from suspicious statistics alone.
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#16 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-March-19, 09:07

View Postpran, on 2019-March-19, 06:46, said:

No player was to my knowledge ever convicted from suspicious statistics alone.

Exactly.

And the characterization of ChCh as having "the ethics of a snake" (is there not an actual snake in the Menagerie?) is also something that would probably not be allowed in a court of law. IANAL, but it's my understanding that "prior bad acts" are generally not allowed to be presented as evidence because they'll bias the jury, who should only take account of the actual evidence in the case at hand.

Everything SB claimed in this case is purely speculative.

#17 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2019-March-20, 08:30

I would have the hand recorded - unfortunately the size of ChCh's record forms' folder is approaching that of War and Peace. I do note that Ch Ch does not deny hearing anything about the hand and it is possible he heard about the hand elsewhere and deduced that it applied to this one. ("How Could I?" is a phrase often used to deflect questions.). If I was accused and innocent, my answer would be of the form "Certainly not" (or something stronger).

There is, regrettably no evidence (other than the actual result) that Ch Ch received EI, just speculation. Bridge relies on the honesty of (the overwhelming majority of) the players. There is still no prescribed rectification for a breach of Law 73B2.

(I can't remember there being s 'snake' in the menagerie - almost without exception the characters are mammals/ birds.)
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#18 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-20, 09:17

View Postpran, on 2019-March-19, 06:46, said:

No player was to my knowledge ever convicted from suspicious statistics alone.

Certainly the last player to be banned by the EBU (for cheating; there was one other banned for abusive emails recently) was convicted solely on statistics - there was no video evidence.
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#19 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2019-March-20, 17:23

View Postlamford, on 2019-March-20, 09:17, said:

Certainly the last player to be banned by the EBU (for cheating; there was one other banned for abusive emails recently) was convicted solely on statistics - there was no video evidence.

Was he one of the players investigated by Boye?

You cannot possibly have overlooked that I specifically referred to Boye's investigations (and wrote "to my knowledge")?
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#20 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-March-21, 05:47

View Postpran, on 2019-March-20, 17:23, said:

Was he one of the players investigated by Boye?

You cannot possibly have overlooked that I specifically referred to Boye's investigations (and wrote "to my knowledge")?

I did not overlook that, and I did not mention the EBU player to show that you were wrong about Boye's investigations. I was indicating that at least one RA has banned players using only statistical evidence.

And there was no video evidence (to my knowledge) regarding Smirnov and Piekarek, aa they admitted the offence.

"Three weeks after a fellow bridge professional threatened to name and shame those he believed were cheating, German bridge partners Josef Piekarek & Alex Smirnov have publicly confessed to "ethical violations".

And, for completeness, everyone who has been banned from online bridge has been convicted based solely on their actions on hands. There is no video evidence there!
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