Is there a security risk having Bridgemate validate declarer and lead against the hand record?

Q: Can you use Bridgemate to cheat?

A: In theory, yes, in real life, no.

There is a potential, but far-fetched, security risk in Bridgemate. This page is intended to give tournament directors who suspect foul play a chance to deactivate settings that give such a possibility. Imagine the following scenario:

  • Hand records are uploaded to Bridgemate
  • Lead card validation is activated
  • Players are allowed to delete and re-enter results

There are two settings you need to activate in the Bridgemate settings in Magic Contest. Select Contest menu > Settings > Bridgemate and the Bridgemate Control settings tab.

  • One page down, under Optional entry > Lead card, you can activate Use the hand record to validate the lead.
  • Scroll further down to Options for the tournament director. Activate Allow players to change results and save the settings.

Now create the Bridgemate database. What happens is that after contract, lead and result have been entered, and East has pressed CONFIRM, the lead is validated. The hand record together with the declarer are used to decide if the lead card exists in the leader’s hand.

The security risk is the following:

Let us assume that North plays 7 spades, missing the queen of spades. North enters the contract and queen of spades as the lead. North continues by confirming the result himself. There are now two scenarios:

  • If the lead was incorrect, the Bridgemate gives a warning, and North can enter the correct lead.
  • If the lead was correct, the result is now confirmed. North now has to secretly delete the entered score and instead enter the correct contract and lead.

In both cases North now knows which way to finesse for the queen to make the grand slam.

In theory, yes, there is a security risk. In real life, no, there is no security risk, because East-West will most likely get suspicious that North spends two minutes pressing buttons on the Bridgemate instead of playing the hand.