Teammates accuse top Israeli bridge players of cheating
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Teammates accuse top Israeli bridge players of cheating

Four members of team hand back three trophies, saying they 'believe in a clean game'

Israeli Bridge player Lotan Fisher at an international tournament in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube)
Israeli Bridge player Lotan Fisher at an international tournament in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube)

The normally sedate game of bridge was hit by a scandal this week when two world class Israeli players were accused of cheating by their teammates, who have handed back three of the prestigious titles they won together.

Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz were named and shamed by teammates Boye Brogeland, Allan Graves, Espen Lindqvist and Richie Schwartz, with Brogeland writing on the bridgewinners.com website earlier this week that they “believe in a clean game.”

“If you have a cheating pair on your team, I believe you should lose whatever master points, seeding points and titles you have won together,” he wrote. “The Schwartz team from the two previous cycles… has decided to give up the Spingold Trophy, the Reisinger Trophy and the North American Swiss that we ‘won’ in 2014 and 2015. We believe in a clean game and we love bridge.”

Fisher and Schwartz have denied any foul play, and Fisher has accused the foursome of acting out of envy at their superior skills. “Jealousy made you sick,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “Get ready for a meeting with the devil.”

Israeli Bridge player Ron Schwartz, left, at an international tournament in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube)
Israeli Bridge player Ron Schwartz, left, at an international tournament in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube)

The Telegraph said that Brogeland did not specify how the cheating took place, but the four were in agreement that it had happened.

“What I am going to write now, I would ask you to take some seconds or minutes to think about,” Brogeland wrote, according to the Telegraph.

“Very soon there will come out mind-boggling stuff. It will give us a tremendous momentum to clean the game up, from the bottom to the very top. But it will take courage and it will demand standing up against the powers of the game.”

Fisher previously dismissed prior allegations that the two were engaged in foul play, the Telegraph reported, quoting him as saying that such accusations are “the price of success.”

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