Michal Nowosadzki, the Polish world class player, confessed that, playing in BBO, he entered as a fake kibitzer in order to snatch unauthorized information from opponents and partner’s hands. He did this for some months; when his partner started suspecting, he reassured him, but later he disclosed all in BridgeWinners’ forum. In my opinion, he’s not a rascal, but only a man whose uprightness fell asleep for a while, later awakened by his own senses of fault and by his partner’s shouting.
Alas, the case is strengthening an already rooted wrong belief: that online bridge is prone to cheating, by fake kibitzers or by phone or other. I’m going to explain why these beliefs are untrue. In 1742, the Londoner Edmund Hoyle published a Short treatise on the Game of Whist… wherein he explained the right techniques to play, and that the knowledge of the technique would have allowed to detect the swindlers, who couldn’t explain their success. Infacts, every move in bridge, a card, a trick, a bid, tells a story, and that’s a living story with its logic, not a fairy one: none could tell that he dropped instead to finesse because he “felt” that chances (32%) were better than 50%, as none could tell that “O Sole Mio” was composed because it were raining, or that the Second World War had been started by the Polish who overran Germany. And the logic of the card doesn’t depend whether being online or at a real table.
I hope that this article would be read by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), that is starting the “Online Spingold” with disheartening rules as the ban to kibitzers and a video camera for each player. We still can’t see where the wave arisen by Michal Nowosadzki will go to break; so far, he has demonstrated that cheating is possible, but it’s impossible to conceal its by-product. The Covid-19 has changed the World; let’s mould the new one without the ancient’s fears.
Paolo Enrico Garrisi