No doubt you have heard about the huge cheating storm that has blown up over the last 10 days. Here are some of the facts:
Boye Brogeland, Norwegian Champion and one of the most respected and liked players in the world, announced via the online forum BridgeWinners.com that four members of the Schwartz team, Richie Schwartz (sponsor and captain), Allan Graves, Espen Lindqvist and he have decided to give up the three American National titles they won in 2014-2015, the Spingold Trophy, the Reisinger Trophy and the Jacoby Swiss. Brogeland, who initiated the unprecedented action, accused their third pair, Israeli Champions Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz, of cheating.
From the moment they burst onto the international bridge scene by winning the first Cavendish Pairs in Monaco by a big margin, rumour has circulated about this pair, particularly their enormous success in bidding and leading. Of course, most serious players who love bridge want to believe there are young geniuses coming up to keep the game throbbing — but was it possible that these two could completely outclass their peers so consistently?
Boye has presented a number of hands and videos on his new website, Bridgecheaters.com, none conclusive in themselves, but when a pair gets so many anti-percentage decisions right, the talk won’t go away.
Look at this deal from the 2012 European Championships, where Israel faced England in the last match. Fisher was South and Schwartz North, playing against Tom Townsend and David Bakhshi.
Either Tom or David might have doubled the final contract, but it would still be a pick-up for Israel, 500 v 600. And there you have some of the facts.