The Bermuda Incident
|The Bermuda Bowl world championship was
held in 1965 in Buenos Aires, site of the infamous finger-signaling
scandal. British experts Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro were accused
by American players B. Jay Becker and Dorothy Hayden (now Truscott) of
holding their cards with different numbers of fingers in accordance with
the number of hearts they held. When the allegations leaked out during
the event, British captain Ralph Swimer forfeited all his team's matches
and withdrew Great Britain from the competition. The degree of
correlation between fingers and hearts was very high; however, it is
debatable whether or not Reese-Schapiro benefited from the alleged
exchange of information. Those who sided with the players argued the
latter, suggesting that it was improbable the British pair was cheating
if it never gained points on the deals in question.
The British Bridge League eventually found Reese and Schapiro innocent of cheating; however, the World Bridge Federation found them guilty and banned them from WBF events for three years. Bridge writer Alan Truscott wrote a book about the affair entitled The Great Bridge Scandal, while Terence Reese wrote his own account, Story of an Accusation.
|As experienced tournament players may
know, the United States uses a playoff system to determine which team
gets to play in the annual world championship. These team trials, as
they are known, ended scandalously in 1977 when two players, Larry
Cohen* and Richard Katz, abruptly quit in the middle of the final. At
the time, event officials were investigating rumors that Katz-Cohen were
transmitting information illegally. Before any formal accusations were
made, however, Katz and Cohen resigned from their team, which then
forfeited due to a lack of players.
But not only did Katz and Cohen quit their team and the event, they resigned their memberships in the American Contract Bridge League, the national body in charge of the team trials. Soon afterward, Katz and Cohen filed a $44 million lawsuit against the ACBL and three tournament officials for defamation of character, false allegations of misconduct, and forced resignation from the League. The whole affair managed to get settled in court, where the ACBL agreed to readmit Katz and Cohen, who promised in turn to not play with each other again. Monetary compensation was not made to the pair.
*Not the Larry Cohen famous in tournament bridge circles for his book, The Law of Total Tricks.