Trust and Respect is Everything

When the pandemic began, everyone was stuck at home – we still are – it was uncertain when bridge would ever return. Luckily the bridge world showed great resilience. NBOs, BBO, and some private organizers quickly began to hold tournaments. Some of these tournaments were high level – the fields were not dissimilar to a Spingold/Vanderbilt – a bunch of world-class players and some sponsors plus the occasional all-expert team playing for the beauty of the game. All bridge is greatly important, but this article is about the high-level events. These events provided entertainment for the fans who could watch it all but also it gave a chance for bridge professionals to continue making a living. The sponsors were happy because bridge is their hobby. It is what they love to do in their spare time and they are happy to pay good money for it.

Many people did not take these events too seriously, certainly not like live bridge. Perhaps you played on your laptop with the TV in the background, perhaps while playing poker too, whatever. Not taking an event seriously is one thing. Totally destroying it by self-kibitzing is something else entirely. Obviously, everyone knows it was very easy to kibitz all 4 hands and play double dummy if you wanted to but there is an assumption that sponsors are not hiring professionals to see which player is the best at playing with sight of all 4 hands while avoiding doing too much to make it obvious – the fans are not turning up to kibitz this kind of game either. Sadly, a lot of people decided to self-kibitz anyway.

Those of you that did this might think it is not a big issue, you may have done it out of laziness, greed, boredom – I do not know. If you did, I urge you to go back through your hands and look at who you self-kibitzed against. Look especially at the matches where you self-kibitzed against friends, sponsors that you have played for, people you have dinner with, hang out in the bar with, travel with, have competed against your whole bridge lives – people trying to make a living and compete in a fair way. You are cheating those people out of success and in some cases even affecting their income while increasing your own. You are also cheating your fans, you are cheating your teammates, and you are cheating your partner. Our world is a special one, a privileged one, and it is not very big. Cheating harms it terribly and the only way to repair the damage is to regain trust and respect. The way to do that is to own up to what you did, say “sorry.” Then we can move forward.

There are A LOT of people who self-kibitzed. It is only a matter of time until all are exposed and some are convicted. You can fight with lawyers and make up excuses and tell lies or you can just come clean and cleanse the guilt. Face the music because:

Trust and respect is everything.

Two people so far have admitted publicly to what they did. Sylvia and Michal, when I see either of you, I will shake your hand – heck I am happy to have a drink with you. Note to trolls: I do not care nor do I want to hear anything about whether they had to confess etc., etc. – nor do I even know. What matters is that they did and they did it very openly – because of this I for one trust them both and am highly impressed, especially in the light of not one other person coming forward.

Thank you Michal. Thank you Sylvia.

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