Image copyright Jim Raines Image caption Alex Riley (left) was a natural at the opening match of the World Championships in Brescia, Italy
Finger pointing, clashes between officials and furious commentators have become a fixture of the sport since there was first taming of the bridge hands.
But it is suspected that there has been a ratcheting up of the rhetoric in recent weeks.
Although the root cause remains unclear, both the German and British Fairs Board have said they are stepping up their efforts to police the sport.
The BBC has spoken to a number of professionals about the way in which disputes have escalated – and whether there is any hope of a lasting solution.
‘Carpets’ (meetings to set up points)
Image copyright Bens
In the traditional format of the bridge world championship, two players go up against each other in an attempt to establish a chain of points. In this multi-point format, you are awarded a point for each time you get a point.
It is possible to set up and play for a larger number of points but it becomes much harder to defend against a two-point opening – and does little to improve your general chances of winning.
One aspect of the competitive game has changed completely over the past few years, and it is that all players now use large, shiny steps that they identify as normal points, simply as “point cards”.
“It started very slowly with the carpets but now you need two carpets at the beginning of each round”
This, said Solitaire Danage of the British organisation, is causing a whole new layer of conflict as the game becomes not only more intense but also more personal.
“It started very slowly with the carpets but now you need two carpets at the beginning of each round,” she said.
“It has led to the constant pointing. Players can’t stand it. It makes you worried about what someone is going to do.”
Peter Vincent of the German Fairs Board also saw the seriousness of the situation – and said more needed to be done to make it easier for referees and players to communicate.
“There is less and less communication between the referee and the player,” he said.
“We have met with every single federation. We want them to sign a memorandum of understanding so it’s more predictable for everyone.
“This is not to stop some pointing but to prevent a lot of argy-bargy”.
In a January meeting, representatives of all the Fairs Boards unanimously agreed to draft a new set of rules to regulate what is permitted from the start of a match to the end of the game.
Image copyright James Hudson / Barcroft Images Image caption UK professional Shaun Jenkins has been in France and Austria in the hope of moderating the actions of those who take a dive
“Everything is out of the PBR or the Fairs Board areas,” said Chief Gardener and Fairs board consultant Michael Schmoll.
“They come to the event and once they are there, that is when they start worrying”.
But while there is a growing willingness to combat the conflict that exists between the different players and the referees, there are still places where over-reaction is not uncommon.
A more recent battle is being waged on the international stage, in the final week of the World Championships in Brescia, Italy.
British pair Shaun Jenkins and Alex Riley were playing out their final game of the week in a tight tie for third place.
Jenkins was deliberately entering the tension with a neck injury, which had been allowed to get so bad that it prevented him from playing against his opponents in the start of the match.
It was a deeply unpleasant phase and accusations of cheating came flying back and forth.
“For me it was unacceptable. I felt I was getting sick on the sidelines,” said Richie Bauld.
Then, right at the end of the game, Jenkins, having reached three full points, changed his mind. He immediately started playing to a 4-0 lead.
Although due to the number of points on offer, his actions were not damaging for his team-mates in the final tie-break, which Jenkins ended up winning against the Dutch pair of Frank Renda and Sylvain Zavo.
“It’s a shame. We’re European champions and if we won the game it would have been our best result since 2012. It would have made the whole tournament.”