DR. JOHN LOOKS FOR ANSWERS AS TO WHY CHEATING IN BRIDGE IS SO ENDEMIC.... ( First instalment of a three-part article )
In all sports there are cheats but their opportunities to succeed are severely limited by the presence of camera technology, stern referees and eagle-eyed match officials. However in bridge the opportunities for cheating seem infinite. So much so that all manner of cheating strategies can be successfully employed , especially with regards to all the low level soft stuff.
Nevertheless, the opportunity factor does not fully explain why bridge players in particular succumb so easily to the temptation of cheating. It seems to me that some of the answers lie within the nature and make up of a typical bridge player.
Bridge players by definition are logical thinkers , adept at calculating the odds and taking calculated risks. If logic dictates that rules need to be circumvented to win , then surely all ways of doing just that need to be fully explored and exploited. Indeed , a cold rational formulae might well be applied : weigh up the benefits of the unethical action against the costs of committing it , and decide accordingly. One extra top might well turn a top ten finish into a championship winning score card.
Moreover , bridge players live in a world where moral standards in society are in perpetual decline. With each downward step in society's demise , with crooked politicians and businessmen leading the way , players simply follow suit succumbing to the temptations offered by cheating. In other words, cheating is the result of a lack of moral fortitude and self-discipline. Whenever a situation or opportunity arises to bend or break the rules they will attempt to exploit it . Examples include loose table talk or a sly peek at their opponents' cards.
Further research on bridge players have led me to believe that cheating is the result of a highly subjective reasoning process which includes three types of argument : how players perceive the world of bridge ( clubs being seen as centres for approved cheating ) , how they view their opponents ( low down cheating dogs ) , and how they think about themselves ( resistance fighters determined to do unto others what they have done to them ). All this reasoning seemingly occurs on a subconscious level , with choices and decisions being heavily influenced by situational factors, to be discussed in the next part of this article.