Dear bridge friends,
it’s really nice to see that our initiative, which enables us to practice our esteemed passion even in times of Corona, is enjoying great popularity. Unfortunately, it is feared that as long as the crises lasts, certain measures will be with us for a longer time. In our opinion, this applies above all to tournament bridge business, which will probably not be commencing up again in the usual way before late summer / autumn.
Therefore, the present form of Online-bridge will continue to accompany us as a welcoming alternative. However, with this form of bridge in particular, bridge ethical behaviour becomes extremely important. Subject on this matter, basically everyone should be aware that there exists a multitude of options for the exchange of unauthorized information. Eventually, no organizer can verify whether there are telephone calls, information exchange via messenger tools or even an oral exchange with partnerships that operate in the same household, which may happen.
Unfortunately (more often than we would like!) we receive complaints about calls/bids or leads which, according to the general bridge-technical conception, are unusual or highly risky and which subsequently turn out to be very successful. This could be, for example the arbitrary lead of a short suit against notrump-contracts, which has been bid by one of the opponents or skip-bids into game or even slams, which cannot be explained reasonable on the bidding.
Taking these circumstances into consideration and with a view to the fact that our tournaments should be accepted generally by the ÖBV as well, we decided to determine a transparent procedure for so called suspicious boards. Hence, if we get knowledge of a suspicious game (hereinafter referred to as the "case") – both by own observation as tournament director and via a reported note by a participant - the following procedure shall apply:
- The 'case' is judged by the three A-licenced tournament directors of the ÖBV working for “Bridge for Austria” (i.e.: Christian Bernscherer, Tommy Burg and Dieter Schulz). If there is no further action required, the case is considered as settled. In the opposite case, the player respectively involved is requested to provide her/his comment and the procedure continues as follows.
- The 'case' and the comments received are submitted to an independent Triple-Senate for review. This takes place without disclosure of names of the people involved. The Triple-Senate shall be elected from a pool of players experienced in such tasks (tournament directors or players with already sufficient skills in appropriate committees). In any case, at least one member of the Senate has to be legally qualified. Together with the 'case', any decisions that have already been made previously will be sent to the Senate (see 3).
- The Senate decides after the appraisal according to the following quadrinomial scale
- The game is considered safe, there are no further steps to be taken
- The game is noticable and will be recorded. Apart from that, no further measures are currently to be taken.
- The game is classified as very conspicuous and it is recommended to closely monitor the affected player or pair. If further abnormalities arise, the affected player should be suspended for an indefinite period without referring to a Senate again.
- The Senate considers it to be proven that the use of unauthorized information has taken place and therefore recommends that the affected player or couple be suspended for an indefinite period with immediate effect.
- The decision of the Senate will be communicated to the “Bridge for Austria” team, the players concerned are informed, and cases from (b) to (d) are flagged accordingly.
The decision of the Senate is binding for the “Bridge for Austria” team, and the affected player or couple doesn’t have any further opportunity to appeal against. If players are affected by a ban, they can ask for re-admission on the list of eligible participants after a month at the earliest, what the team “Bridge for Austria” decides consequently.
These rules may appear to be very strict to some; anyhow we are convinced too that they are completely needless for the majority of the online bridge community. Very much we hope also that we will rarely, if ever, have to execute these procedures.
In any case, we would like to convey to those - and we are firmly convinced that it is applicable on the vast majority - who act absolutely honestly in compliance with the bridge ethical principles that we want to do everything that appears possible to us so that they do not become victims to those using unfair methods. For these few who still cannot stop it, we should not tolerate them to sweep off the pleasure of all others and our work.
Sincerely the Team 'Bridge for Austria'