Recently, high-level tournament bridge has been in the global press, and the reports are disturbing. Within the span of a month, two of the world’s most successful bridge partnerships were publicly accused of cheating on a popular bridge website. A third pair preemptively stepped up, confessed to ethical violations and withdrew from the world championships. A fourth pair, who traveled to Chennai, India for the world championship, had its invitation revoked a day before the contest was to start, and they were not allowed to participate.
Leading the crusade to clean up bridge at the top is Norwegian Boye Brogeland. He posted access to a series of questionable hands on the Internet to allow the expert community to conduct an unprecedented investigation into the accused cheaters’ methods. Hundreds of players, including world-class experts have scrutinized tapes of past play.
To fulfill the ACBL promise that tournament bridge will be an honest game, the League is eager to harness the eyes and minds of players around the world. Therefore, the ACBL is taking the following immediate steps:
- Videotape every table in major NABC team contests from the quarterfinals through the final, and posting these recordings on YouTube.
- Form an ad hoc committee of bridge players, including experts, which will explore ways of reducing cheating at all bridge levels.
- Strengthening ACBL’s process of investigating and disciplining cheating. This process is well underway with the use of three full-time ACBL staff.
- Notifying a player’s national bridge federation, the World Bridge Federation and the other seven WBF zonal organizations whenever the ACBL takes disciplinary action, and make our evidence available should any of these entities want to pursue their own case.
Players expect the organizations charged with safeguarding the game they love to work together – and they’re right. It is only through the governing bodies and the player community joining forces that the vision of a 100% cheating-free game will be realized. Count the ACBL in.