The Great British Bridge Scandal
By Deborah Davis
It is 1965, at the World Bridge Championships in Buenos Aires, and the American team believe they have cracked a code. Could it be true that two British players are guilty of cheating?
Directed by Tracey Neale
In 1965, at the World Bridge Championships in Buenos Aires, the American team led by Dorothy Hayden observed Britain's top players, Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro, using finger signals during bidding. Hayden cracked the code: the British pair were signalling the number of cards they held in their hearts suits. Ralph Swimer, Britain's non-playing Captain, was informed. He observed his team playing and confirmed Hayden's suspicions. They reported their findings to the World Bridge Federation. Reese and Schapiro were summoned to defend the accusations and chose to remain silent. The WBF found them guilty of cheating. Swimer conceded the championship on behalf of Great Britain. Reese and Schapiro returned to London, their international reputations destroyed.
But for the four participants, the drama had only just begun. The British Bridge League set up its own inquiry under Sir John Foster QC who imposed a criminal burden of proof; the prosecution was required to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Deborah Davis picks up the story as the case unfolds and the battle for the truth begins.
Deborah Davis, a qualified lawyer and freelance journalist, has written five plays for Radio 4 and a stage play, Court Pastoral, selected for the International Playwriting Festival. Her radio drama, Balance of Power, was selected for the Brit List in 2009 coming in joint 4th place. The script is now in film development.
|Terence Reese||Nick Waring|
|Boris Schapiro||Stephen Critchlow|
|Dorothy Hayden||Laurel Lefkow|
|Ralph Swimer||Clive Hayward|
|Leonard Caplan||David Cann|
|Sir John Foster||Michael Bertenshaw|
|Simon Goldblatt||Joe Davies|