denver 2015 1DENVER FALL 2015 NABC – NOV 26-DIC 6

The 2015 Fall NABC is being played in Denver, this is a Bulletion 6 article:

Ever since the bridge world was rocked three months ago by Boye Brogeland’s accusation that two of his teammates in winning efforts had been cheating, World Bridge Federation President Gianarrigo Rona has been in the vortex of the scandal and all that followed.

Boye Brogeland
Boye Brogeland

The fallout has included new attention to bridge in the media, especially in Italy, where Rona lives. In Denver, two magazines – Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone – had reporters working on articles about bridge. Rona met with a Rolling Stone reporter on Tuesday.

There have been questions about the WBF’s commitment to ridding the game of cheaters, but Rona says the issue was on his agenda from the moment he became WBF president in late 2010. One of his first acts as president, he says, was to institute a disciplinary code and a method of adjudicating cases. He has also been working to amend WBF regulations to enhance the organization’s power to deal with any other bridge entity – including national bridge organizations – that fails to take action where it’s warranted. “We need the support of the federations,” Rona says. “If they don’t act against cheaters, we can act against them.”

Rona-Brogeland
Rona-Brogeland

As part of the WBF’s plan to address the issue of cheating, Rona travelled to Denver to meet with ACBL officials and members of a committee of high-level players whose job it is to screen reports of unethical behavior with an eye to prosecuting those considered serious enough to warrant suspension.

For convicted cheaters, the first offense will result in a 10-year suspension. A lifetime ban will be the punishment for a second conviction.

As of Jan. 1, there will be an email address on the WBF website (worldbridge.org) for interested parties to report possible violations. Accusers will have to provide details, but only the high-level players committee will see such reports. The identities of those who make reports will remain confidential.

Some reports and complaints may be discarded, Rona said, but those considered serious or potentially serious will be kept and maintained in archives on the players whose ethics have been questioned. Additionally, Rona said, security at tournaments will be increased in much the same way as the ACBL does with video recording of high-level events.vanity fair

At the 2016 World Bridge Games in Wroclaw, Poland, next year, all tables in the knockout phases of the teams events will have cameras and other methods of monitoring play. For the next Bermuda Bowl, in 2017, all tables in all stages of competition will have such monitoring. It’s a big job but necessary to preserve the integrity of the game, Rona said. “Bridge is a game of rules,” he said. “If you don’t follow the rules, you’re out.”

Rona says a lot of what has been circulated about the game in the wake of the scandal has been little more than gossip. He is committed to assuring a fair process – one that gives the accused the chance to defend themselves. Ever the bridge promoter, Rona has taken the opportunity while answering questions about cheating to extol the virtues of the game, especially for young people. “I hope the reporters will write about bridge as it really is,” he says.

Young players, he notes, “have friendship, learn communication and social skills and working with others, and they learn how to make decisions quickly.” That, he says, is why unethical play is such a scourge. “If you cheat,” he says, “all these things are trash. You cannot enjoy the game if you cheat.”rolling stone

Although the main purpose of Rona’s trip to Denver was to talk about the fight against cheaters, he also took time to promote the next world championship – the World Bridge Games in Wroclaw, Poland, next September. There will be four categories of teams – open, women’s, seniors and mixed. All players must be from the same national bridge organization (e.g., United States Bridge Federation or Canadian Bridge Federation), but each may send a team for each of the categories. The schedule will include pairs games in each of the four divisions with no limit on the number of pairs from each NBO. Wroclaw is easy to get to from major cities in Germany or from Warsaw. Rona says he is also hoping for a good turnout from various nations for the World Youth Teams Championships in Salsomaggiore, Italy, Aug. 3-13 next year.

For information about both tournaments, visit worldbridge.org.

By ACBL