The news that two German doctors have been found guilty of cheating at the world bridge championships in Bali last year — by dint of some well-timed coughs — has made headlines around the world. In fact, no one on the international bridge scene is too surprised: Michael Elinescu (61) and Entscho Wladow (71) have had a reputation for cheating for some time. I played against them at the European championships in 2011, and have never forgotten my partner David Gold whispering in my ear: ‘It’s the German doctors, hold your cards up!’
I must say, they seemed very pleasant to me — and I can’t bring myself to feel any real sense of outrage. In truth, I think the episode has done wonders for the image of the game. Normally, we’re made to sound like such a bunch of bores. Just look at the way the scandal was reported: every headline talked about the ‘genteel’, or ‘sedate’ world of bridge being shocked. Nonsense! Those of us who love competitive bridge know — and relish — just how cut-throat it can be. The passion, the adrenalin and sense of danger, the making and breaking of enormous egos…it’s all part of what makes bridge so exciting. Indeed, what sort of game would it be if it didn’t have its cheats?
Try not to cheat here. You are East — cover up the rest of the cards. This deal cost the greatest team in the world the Vanderbilt Trophy last month. It was the last round of the final. Gier Helgemo and Tor Helness of Monaco were W/E, Steve Weinstein and Bobby Levin of the Nickell team were N/S:
And Helness led…the ♥2. Disaster for Monaco. The slam now made easily on a club finesse. Did you fare better? And be honest — did you peek?
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