Judy Kay-Wolff

Realistic Depiction of Bridge Dereliction

It is over two months since word resounded universally about the disgusting deliberately distorted alteration and re-creation of some form of the original ballot presentation for the Election of the 2016 Las Vegas Unit #373 Board of Directors. Many conscientious and quite outraged members contacted various representatives of the ACBL protesting both the validity and mishandling of the pretense of what the parent organization accepted as legitimate (in their normal defensive position of closing their eyes and ears to avoid law suits).

I had hoped what you are about to read would not be necessary. Thousands of readers already know that our normally honorable and respected membership has been infiltrated by a few greasy low-lifes and haughty mules who went off half-cocked to accomplish their own illegally designed agenda… disadvantaging several of the legally selected contenders for the 2016 #373 Board of Directors. However, it is time the facts were made public!!!!

There once were some witches — from Vegas

Hell bent — on their mission to plague us

Deceit was their goal — with intent to cajole

and stealthily — grab Board control

No one was aware — of their need to beware

Of a deceitful attempt — to invade or ensnare

Most will remember — sometime in November

Hearing the Election — was nearing

But no one suspected — or vaguely expected

Bewitching –by nominee switching

One candidate learned — his bio was spurned

As his photo was dissed — right off the list.

Most slates range — from A to Z

In alphabetical order — we would agree

But nothing’s for sure — or guaranteed

For politicians — have their own creed

Imagine the glee of — a shocked Mr. V

By his three notch move — to the 4th slot groove.

A brilliant Rhodes scholar — you need not be

To catch on to the point — of my poetry!!!

The rest of the story will be of interest as well. For clarification the eight candidates were:

1. Justine Hancock 5. Nelson Orth
2. Bert Kulic 6. JoAnn Sprung
3. Bob Lafleur 7. George Vasilevsky
4. Gary McGough 8. Sue Weinstein

They were presented to the Unit membership by mail, including a pre-addressed envelope with an election cutoff date, a ballot to be filled in if you chose to participate and an alphabetical list of candidates on black and white paper. It was two sided (1-4)(5-8) with a small photo on the left and an accompanying resume on the right. So far so good. And, I might add, if a club wanted to support the project and be impartial, they would make a copy of the second side (5-8) and tape it either below or to the right of page 1 and put it in a prominent spot for their customers to see all eight. But, that is not what happened… and suddenly (when the subterfuge was detected)… all hell broke loose!!

It was noted that No. 4 (supposedly the photo and bio of Gary McGough) vanished and was replaced by that of George Vasilevsky originally No. 7 (whom I really believe had no part in the rearrangement of the ballot).

At that point the entire voting process became ludicrous and horrified our unit which figured out exactly what happened immediately and everyone had a pretty good idea of who was involved. Live witnesses and documented records with names, dates, times, directions, scores and sites leave no doubt as to the facts and the culprits. This occurred at two duplicate clubs: Spring Mountain right here in Vegas and far off Mesquite (about an hour-plus motor trip).

To have posted the double sided original black and white presentation of all eight candidates would have been perfect (although it had already accompanied their ballots). However, the disgusting miscreants preferred their own agenda.

Here is what apparently happened: Using someone in the Unit with questionable power, motive and access to the original facial shots, the evil deviants took the original photos of the four they favored (Hancock, Kulic, Lafleur and Vasilevsky — had them reproduced in magnificent color and presented the images (of their choices) on beautiful professional photographic shiny paper opposite their bios to adorn what they posted to attract and influence unsuspecting voters. And, of course, they highly recommended supporting them. They obtained Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 7 (Justine, Bert, Bob and George), used their original colored photos, made Gary McGough do the disappearing act from Slot 4 where George took Gary’s place. So, what the public saw on arrival was not the official one prepared by the Unit… simply a bastardized version. Is that what our bridge organization is all about now?????

There was no prominently displayed second black and white sheet (with 5-8) — only their colored, doctored up version of Page 1.

The original, authentic black and white side two, which was not easily sighted, should have featured candidates Nelson Orth (#5), JoAnn Sprung (#6) (though George Vasilevsky (#7) retained his original spot simultaneously plus being upped to #4 as well) .. and closing with (#8) Sue Weinstein.

If you are frustrated in your search for Gary McGough… good luck to you. He is still MIA on the original versions which magically disappeared or were placed in some unknown place. This may be hard to envision and understand because of such clever, detailed maneuvering!!! At Spring Mountain when the owner was confronted, she denied any knowledge or permission and immediately rectified the problem by removing the ‘fake’ one. I know nothing about the Mesquite episode, but it was confirmed the revised colored version enhanced their surroundings as well.

Just for the record, besides the Unit and District Reps, I was in touch with every imaginable so-called official (including the President of the ACBL Board of Directors), who was already made aware by different outraged members who went ballistic, of these bastardly attempts to confuse the public on several occasions over the last two months. However, the ACBL are consistent in their usual lethargic, closed eyes do-nothing policy. By sitting by idly, yet knowing the facts, in the eyes of the public… they share the guilt.

Here it is January 24th… and they have done absolutely nothing official about it.. The best I could get was a reply on Friday from our District Fiduciary admitting “he” was getting it from all sides. WOW, how comforting!!

I think it is imperative that all ACBL members be made aware of the indifference displayed by every ACBL official contacted obviating their total disregard for one of America’s greatest standards… the fair, democratic voting process… on which our country was founded.

Obviously, they just don’t give a damn!!! Well, I DO!!

Dismay, Disgust and Disappointment

Because I have not posted since early December, I have received several calls and personal emails from loyal concerned readers questioning if I was o.k. — curious about my wellness or whether I just decided to throw in the towel. “WELL” I am. But DISGUSTED AS WELL. THROW IN THE TOWEL? NOT THIS OLD BITTY. Read the rest of this entry »

As We Are Approaching the Holidays…

we should all be experiencing that traditional happy, exhilarating, uplifting feeling. However, in the Las Vegas Bridge Community, the general aura is ANYTHING BUT!! Perhaps I am spoiled having been weaned on the East Coast many decades ago where those at the helm were among not only the best players, but the most qualified organizers and administrators as well. I was not aware of the difference until the last two or so years where a few inexperienced personalities crept in, dominated the scene, ran the show (by their own agendas) … and here we are cratering — before the new year with little hope .. unless there is a huge turnover at this upcoming ballot count and announcement of the new BOD on Sunday, December 13th. The local scuttlebutt is frightening as at one time Vegas was the scene of the most fantastic Nationals AS WELL AS REGIONALS AND SECTIONALS – which are now rapidly hitting the skids. Not hard to figure out why.

The standard BOD count is eight (plus a 299er Rep.); however, in light of much discontent and lack of harmony, some have quit before their appointed time (and understandably so). Because of the tremendous need for fresh volunteers to get Unit 373 back on track, several long-time experienced veterans (who have relocated in Vegas) have been recruited in the hope their contributions will reverse the errors of our recent ways and hopefully unify a morally distressed group of members, restore the popularity and convenience of our tournaments sites and try and rescue our plummeting financial situation .. if it is already not too late.

BUT .. THERE IS A RUB OR TWO OR MORE, especially regarding the actual handling of the election process:

  1. THE BALLOTS WERE MAILED OVER A WEEK AGO AND THUS MOST (not wanting to miss the deadline) checked their favorites, sealed and stamped their self-addressed envelopes immediately dropping them in their nearest mailbox and considered it a done deal! THEIR VOTE HAD BEEN CAST.
  2. HOWEVER, the order of sequence of election protocol seems to have been what is known as A/B (most alphabetical smarties can figure that one out!!!!!). It seems automatic to me that before casting one’s vote, protocol would have dictated the voting body would have an opportunity to ‘officially’ meet the eager candidates, speak with them in a relaxed atmosphere and discuss any troubling issues. However, no formal arrangement by those at the helm was made IN ADVANCE to allow such an informative get-together before casting one’s vote. Some of the candidates have informally appeared at a couple of the clubs .. but that left much to be desired. It should not have been left to ‘hit or miss.’ And, this Thursday the official word is on the street that a local club is graciously hosting the candidates and players for an informal lunch and chat before game time. All invitees agreed to appear but one was unable to participate in the duplicate. A lovely gesture by LVBW .. but TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE by the inept organizers who put the cart before the horse.

Another quite troubling controversy concerning a change in policy at a local club concerning BRIDGE MATES scoring has JUST been brought to my attention. Hopefully, it is just a disturbing rumor, but that will have to be investigated and confirmed or negated.

I felt compelled to share the above with you as it is imperative that members of organizations must be totally informed of all matters which directly affect their future… BEFORE .. NOT AFTER .. the fact.

From Equity to Monarchy!

Hope things are more respectfully and equitably handled in other bridge Units than here in Las Vegas. We seem to be undergoing a brutally unpopular Bridge Revolution where unilateral Board decisions are rendered and carried out without the normal respectful consideration of others entitled to render approval or disapproval. ‘One Man Shows’ seem to be the order of the day although those in the hinterlands who are out of touch are no doubt unaware of the blatant discord that has pervaded the ranks of Unit 373. Read the rest of this entry »

The Passing of a Beloved Bridge Hall of Famer

November 3rd.  I returned home this afternoon to find a sad (though not unexpected) telephone message from Sidney Lazard’s wife Betsey that Sidney is now at rest after a rather lingering illness.  Both Bobby and I have enjoyed longtime friendships with Sidney .. mine stemming from his relationship with Norman and Edgar  for what seemed like an eternity — while Bobby and Sidney enjoyed a partnership which dates back to the mid sixties.   I am awaiting a return call from Betsey and will share whatever information is available.

Where is Our Once Wonderful Game Heading?

To be quite candid and crude .. my most accurately descriptive reply would be into the proverbial ‘crapper.’ Everywhere one looks .. be it our local scene, national or international venues, ugly situations non-conducive to happy campers seem to have engulfed our game.

Right here, in Vegas, we are experiencing vocal discontent and disappointment, despite sincere and earnest latecomers on the scene trying desperately to fix what’s broke — namely, the unit morale and obvious discontentment and unhappy reflections of the present site selections. This disaster would have been resolved and put to rest two years ago had we not witnessed personal ego/control freak issues. Obviously, the stressful worldwide recession has played a huge part in the difficulties encountered and the site selection problems we face as I write; but, that is something we have to live with (and work around), eventually restoring our tournaments to national prominence as we are a Utopian bridge resort site. At one time, our Sectionals (with such great drawing cards via headliners, casinos, elegant restaurants, etc.) were showstoppers .. sometimes outdrawing even a few Regionals. I find the scenario so very sad as I reflect upon hundreds and hundreds of tournaments I attended and counted the minutes till the entry desk opened. Alas, no more. It is definitely an uphill battle and I pray for a turnabout.

The national scene is a far cry from when I started attending nearby NABCs back in 1957. The events were splendorous .. including the manner of dress as well as the respectful conversations exchanged .. regardless of table results. I savor those memories of the elegant old timers who (with few exceptions) conducted themselves with aplomb and dignity. Criticism was not expressed rudely across the table and polite partners did not discredit the opponents in their presence. That was unheard of! And, although sponsorship had already appeared on the scene, money had not yet publicly reared its ugly head and changed the direction and personalities of those involved. No need to elaborate on what affect professionalism has had on bridge .. even to the point of featuring weak players of substantial means to be representing our country which, to me, is an embarrassment to the game. Of course, there are a handful of exceptions but I always believed world championships were intended to be a conglomerate of the best of what each country could produce to battle their peers.

However, the ugliest possible issue has now arisen (both here .. but mainly abroad .. although the U. S. can hardly enter the court with clean hands): Cheating in events sponsored by the World Bridge Federation. Perhaps I am ‘hit’ harder than most, being married to a man who has unselfishly (pro bono) devoted over sixty of this eighty-three years to high level bridge, serving in more official and unofficial capacities than anyone in the history of the game. I am not alluding to his trophies, commendations, and awards .. but rather to his involvement in giving his entire being to cleaning up the game, ridding it of despicable, underhanded deliberate cheaters and checking every nook and cranny to make certain others were not lurking there .. ready to pounce upon unsuspecting victims)!

Though the current cheating adventures (hardly a secret) were dropped upon the Bridge Winners Site like an atomic bomb, a huge prior awareness by top players became immediately evident. It was like waiting for the proverbial ‘pin’ to drop. and, thank heaven it did! With Boye Brogeland and Kit Woolsey at the helm (plus the eager help of countless qualified techies examining videos and scrutinizing hundreds of hands), this unified team (which has earned the gratitude and respect of thousands of supporters and fans) is unrelenting in justifying their findings with an undeniable determination to putting an end to these appalling practices .. regardless of the shame it brings to the game or specific individuals.

CHEATING AT BRIDGE HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH. IT IS TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT, PROCESS OUT ALL THE CULPRITS AND RESTORE OUR UNIQUE GAME TO ITS ORIGINAL RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE SUN!

SCOUTING FOR SITES


At our occasional Ladies Monday luncheon tete-a-tete (which include bridge players of all ilks .. active, retired, somewhat inactive and in-between), someone piped up asking if there wasn’t a Sectional coming up soon and where.   I was floored for a minute as this event is a bit off the beaten path .. any way you look at  it.  I retorted it was a three day event .. being held next Thursday, Friday and Saturday with ten and three starting times.  When asked for more details, I briefed them of the following: Because of earlier confrontations about the site and tardiness in coming to a decision, we are departing from the normal site choices.  This LV tournament is being held at an unusual location:  The Donald J. Reynolds Scouting Center on Paradise Road down by the Airport.   Unlike most tournament locales, there is no overnight sleeping facilities but there are some hotels not too far.  In the absence of restaurants .. hot coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea and cold sodas are available at the cost of $1.00 each and six different box lunches are there for the asking  (if you order before 10 a.m.).  Prices are not listed but the varieties are quite appealing.    Guest lecturers, JoAnn and Danny Sprung, will be present on Thursday and Friday at 2:30 .. half hour before the afternoon sessions.  There is plenty of free parking and you figure to get home at a reasonable time.  My luncheon buddies were startled by the unusual change of venue and suddenly someone asked in which hotel will the March tournament be held.   After a hushed silence (as I believe it is still undecided), someone giggled suggesting .. "Maybe the Girl Scout Center?"   With that .. we all headed toward our cars.  Check out the flyer for more particulars to see if it works for you.

Life Before Computers et al!

I am dumbfounded when I reflect upon my bridge involvement prior to the Internet Era. In fact, it is hard to fathom how much it has affected my entire way of life. In the 'olden days' when I was young and eager to attend tournaments, especially the Nationals, I would count the minutes till the plane left. I was packed two days in advance and raring to go. That seems like an eternity ago to me… and in reality, it was! If you were forced to pass up a tournament or two, there was usually a time delay learning what was going on. Luckily, by some magic stroke of fate (or a technical miracle), along came BBO and enriched our lives beyond anyone's imagination. I will always consider it the greatest bridge achievement which has engulfed us in luxury and comfort by the flick of a button and tap of a key.

I loved the sociability of the NABCs (and world championships, courtesy of two exceptionally talented husbands); but nowadays the inconvenience and cost of travel (especially airport security which is a mandatory evil) has made me appreciate even more how much less stress we endure with the introduction of so many brilliant modern facilities now available. Better yet… insignificant costs attached to the upgrade allows us to savor the joy of the game from the confines of one's own dwelling. Who would ever have thunk world championships could be kibitzed via one's iPad… merely lying in bed?

Another incredible technique, of which bridge devotees were not aware (including yours truly) was introduced to us in conjunction with the alleged cheating incidents. The great advancement relates to monitoring by effective videotaping… particularly enabling great detective work by our finest expert players/technicians to help prove or disprove recent accusations… which is an unbelievable contribution toward ridding the bridge scene of unwelcome happenings.

This week, with two US teams in contention in the Bermuda Bowl, I found myself glued to either my office computer or bedroom iPad rooting for their survival with the chance of meeting one another in the semi-finals. Alas, no more… but USA2 is in for the long haul and has some exciting and challenging match ups ahead of them. Of course, my view of world championships is far removed from Bobby's as he has performed in more of these ultra high-level mind battles than you can shake a stick at. We began reminiscing about his international encounters before I appeared on the scene in 2003. In fact, the last Bermuda Bowl in which he played was my first experience kibitzing him in Monaco. Out of curiosity, since I knew the BB was such a prestigious contest for which one must qualify, I naively asked: "In how many did you participate as a contender?" "Twelve," he replied, "but that was a long time ago" he added. I inquired, "how did you do?" Looking down modestly, he replied: "Won seven, with four seconds and ended up third when you kibitzed." Guess I was not his lucky charm… but I must admit that is one helluva record in spite of me!

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!

Residing in Las Vegas (exactly ten years this month) has introduced us to a totally different style of living to which Bobby (a native Texan) and I (from the City of Brotherly Love) have never been exposed!     When we married twelve years ago, living in Nevada was not even a wee consideration .. but as one grows older we have both learned life is so full of surprises.     In fact, it happened to me in living color this evening before dinner as I sat down at my favorite Blackjack Table at The Sun Coast.    A younger woman (who could be practically anyone to an octogenarian) was seated on my left and as the dealer was preparing for the next go-round, the lady introduced herself and said she lived here but was originally from Hawaii.   I introduced myself and said my husband was parking the car and would arrive at the table shortly.  Between shuffles, we chatted about our  backgrounds and when she learned we were bridge players (especially of Bobby’s prowess), it got her attention.    She proudly remarked her daughter had a dear friend living in Vegas who recently married a sensational bridge player who has played in many far off lands.   "Sure," I thought silently to myself!   Maybe she was confusing bridge with poker or backgammon.  And .. besides everyone has a different conception of what a "sensational" player really is.  I didn’t press the issue and we continued exchanging chips with the dealer for a while and then she excused herself and returned with cell phone in hand.   She was bubbling to pass on the name of  the mysterious bridegroom.  Suddenly my jaw dropped as she inquired if Bobby and I ever heard of Geoff Hampson?"  I didn’t even know he lived in Vegas nor that he recently married.   Amazing the things one can learn at a blackjack table!!!

The Ruination of Bridge… Let Me Count the Ways

Following the publication of The Lone Wolff by MPP, I realized (after learning so many more interludes Bobby experienced over seven decades), that since another site approves personal rants and ramblings, it was time for me to share so much more that was left unsaid. Just consider it an addendum from The Lone Wolffess… Read the rest of this entry »

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