Judy Kay-Wolff

Responding to Blasphemy!

Following up with  Part II of “Tossing out the Trash” ……..

Below you will find Bobby Wolff’s straight-forward/take no prisoners response to a mistakenly self-proclaimed and unknowledgeable mis-interpreter of many passages of The Lone Wolff.  

Dear Mr. _____,

Your response is appreciated by me (G-d knows why/JKW), in spite of the extreme negativity in which it is given. My comments reflect my beliefs and overall attitude to our wonderful game.

The incident in ______ where two of your best teams unfortunately played the same direction and reported the match a tie is one that has happened before many times, even though in almost every other instance the reports were truthful — "We sat the same direction as our teammates."  The law regarding that is clear — both sides either get a 0 in Won-Lost or both get 0 Victory Points in a Victory Point contest.  To say that not one of the 8+ players on the teams didn’t know that law is stretching the truth enormously, and even if they didn’t, why wouldn’t they report what really happened instead of reporting a tie. 

My memory also tells me that either one or probably both (if they were playing each other in the 7th match) were in contention to at least place highly if not to win.

Jim Jacoby (and his lovely wife Judy, still alive and enjoying life) was one of my closest friends, in addition to being my first expert partner on the ACES.  My report was 100% true as to what happened to Jim during those long ago years (1968-72).  I am sure you remember me saying how well he played for an important time period in the development of the Aces, playing better than his famous father Ozzie, ever played.  He then, after the breakup, went back to the playing circuit and mixed it up with a too-fast-lifestyle and swish, away went his bridge expertise. 

I think it is proper now to mention that during the early days of Hitler’s Holocaust in Germany (which extended to most of Europe) one of his first public acts was a book burning where much of Germany’s significant and important literature were destroyed.  It doesn’t take an intellectual to realize why that was done  — "Destroy the truth and the future belongs to you".  Books, at least to me, because of their unchangeable nature, need to report only the truth in order for them to be worth printing; otherwise they may as well be random political policies or probably more descriptive, comic strips.

Competitive sports such as football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, and golf all have tons of statistics available enabling any devotee to get a good feeling about the difference in players and  recently, with so much media coverage, their personal ethics.  In bridge, the only statistics kept are events won, masterpoints earned and in some cases what the particular media writer tries to convey about various abilities.  It leaves the door wide open for propaganda (another of any dictator’s stealthy specialties).  Also worthy of note, until the public learned of Barry Bond’s possible steroid activity or Michael Vick’s "dog fighting" — both men were heroes.  Should we blame the messenger for that?

One specific episode in the book reported what happened in London in January 1998 when Jeff and I played against each other during the MacAllan annual invitational tournament. He doubled the final contract after his passed partner studied a long time before passing the 2d time saying "I am going to do what I was always going to do."  After the hand, after I looked nonplused, he asked me why and I retorted "I don’t think anyone else at this tournament would have doubled after their partner had studied the way his partner had".  To me that was well worth reporting, especially since the cloud of suspicion has been so great on that famous pair in many possibly shady episodes.

As to Bob Hamman dumping me because of bidding disagreements, that is Hamman’s story — not mine –and lately it seems to be the widely accepted reason.  While a small part of that is true, I think the major part was Meckwell’s wanting me to not be sniffing around while they went into their magic act.  Before I leave this subject, there is little doubt in my mind that they are one of the best pairs in the world today and cheerfully have also cleaned up their disclosure to the opponents, making them a much more honest pair to play against.  Shouldn’t the bridge world, at the very least, be treated to what my observing has seen through the years or should this book have been burned before it was released.

Congratulations, Mr. _______, on being on the______ International Team in ____  in ____ to compete for the World Open Team Championship. Without unduly antagonizing you, let me ask you — "Do you think _____ was doing the right thing to be sending you (perhaps you are overly modest and in actuality are a wonderful player, but assuming neither you nor your teammates are world class)?  That is not what World Championships are about in any competition.  If you were from Botswana and the event is the World Bridge Team Olympiad (every member country sends a team) and Botswana only has about 20 bridge players in their whole country, perhaps there would be a reason for it, but _____has proven it can compete against the best teams in the World — so why shouldn’t your administrators have the pride to make sure that their players have a chance to win the whole Megillah.  I am happy that you thoroughly enjoyed it but what about the integrity of the game and the Championship itself?  Do you feel right being there as a puppet player just for the thrill of being there?  There is nothing wrong with getting a thrill, but what about the inept, probably political and obviously out-of-tune administrators who sent you? Please do not give me the excuse of not being able to have your best players because they couldn’t afford to go.  If that is even remotely true, then _____ should not send anyone. ______  should mean more to you than that.

It is very doubtful that after reading this letter you will change a thought about my book or about me, but one day, perhaps after you die and go to heaven — you may think it through and understand how important this bridge chronicle is, if only to set the record straight. 

The famous Italian Bridge Blue Team cheated their way to 14 World Championships and until this time (and after a World Bridge History to be released [allegedly/JKW] in Beijing later this year at the next World Championship) there has never been a proper disclosure of what happened?  Many of the world’s best players have died, never having won one world championship because of their cheating.  Norman Kay, the late husband of my current wonderful wife, Judy, was one of those.  What kind of justice tells you that the Italian cheating should never have been revealed?  It is also true that the Blue team had three of the best all time bridge players (Forquet, Belladonna, and Garozzo) but the other players were about the same as everyone encounters in every bridge club in North America, certainly not world class.  Just relating this makes me want to grieve for Eric Murray and Sami Kehela two of the finest players and gentlemen to ever grace our game.

Again it pains me for you to feel as you do.  My only wish is that you would change your thinking a couple of notches and realize that every bridge player in the World is entitled to know the truth.  Perhaps you think that I have over emphasized or even downright lied about many events.  If so, all I can do is hope for you to "Seek the Truth and the Truth will make ye free".

Sincerely,

Bobby Wolff


14 Comments

ReneSeptember 6th, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Your Bobby sure doesn’t mince words but in the case of this babbler who is just frothing at the mouth (with so little on-the-scene real life experience), his spouting does not take on much significance — and is very unrealistic.

Good for The Lone Wolff for telling it like it is — though far too polite for my taste. Maybe with more Bobby Wolffs on the modern scene, the bridge world would be a far, far better place but few others have the time or interest to fight the demons.

Bob GellerSeptember 7th, 2010 at 12:28 am

Hi Judy,

Several of your previous posts have cited a book “World Bridge History” by Jimmy Patino, which was at one point expected out in Oct 2008. Could you please give us an update on what’s happened to that book? (As the book is related to the subject of this thread I hope you won’t think this question is off-topic.)

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 7th, 2010 at 7:36 am

Dear Bob:

Great minds think alike — so they say! Bobby and I had been wondering about the unusual delay ourselves as we were anxiousy awaiting its release. Mr. Patino had been working feverishly on it with Mr. Panos Gerontopoulos but perhaps because of the tremendous economic chaos in Greece, that could be the reason. In fact, we thought it would precede the release of The Lone Wolff.

And, no Bob, it is certainly not “off-topic.” Thanks for inquiring, If we get any word, we will get back to you immediately.

Judy

John Howard GibsonSeptember 8th, 2010 at 11:59 am

Dear Judy, Yet again your blog has given me another idea for a future Law Report involving B-J……this time with blasphemy being the controversial issue in question. As for your two recent articles ……what an amazing but distressing episode that must have been for Bobby. I always thought bridge players can be a touchy lot of individuals……but that guy is completely off the Richter Scale…….like a volcano highly reactive and extremely explosive……but spewing out rivers of vitriolic bile. If someone sent a letter like that me I’d be straight onto my lawyer or my hitman. Anyway, all fascinating stuff which makes your blog the most widely read and responded to. Yours HBJ

Cam FrenchSeptember 8th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Controversy is always compelling reading.

I guess that is why people buy the National Enquirer.

My only comment is that you (and Judy in the previous post) deleted so many names that it is like reading a government document that has been redacted (love that word, not the process it represents) for the famed “national security.”

It would have been nice to (as you note) to get the whole truth, names, warts and all.

That said, both the writer’s letter and your reply were interesting reading.

It is amazing how two people can look at the same story and one sees heads, the other tails.

C

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 8th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

To: Cameron French

Since your last schizophrenic outburst to me (and especially Bobby) some months ago, we made a pact never to get involved with you or your theories, as we never know when you are going to go off the deep end.

Judy Kay-Wolff

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 8th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Dear HBJ:

Your comments are forever thought-provoking and straight from the goodness of your heart.

Furthermore, your intent, although always taking a vicarious route and most humorous approach, undoubtedly gets your message across, with a deliberate view to poking fun at the perpetrators and trying to right the ship, but is no easy task.

It’s good to have a funny ally — in direct contrast to my shoot from the hip persona.

Cheers,

Judy

James McLarenSeptember 9th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Perhaps Mr Gerontopolous died of old age before he could finish the book. Arf, Arf, Arf.

Bernard SchneiderSeptember 9th, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I have a real problem when, in a dispute relating to a card game, a writer seeks to bolster his position by comparing another’s actions to Hitler

and the Holocaust. Such suggests, if not establishes, a lack of perspective and common sense, and impacts credibility, whatever the merits of whatever else is being said. For shame.

Bobby WolffSeptember 10th, 2010 at 10:03 am

Mr. Schneider,

While I understand your position and no doubt, others may agree with you, my reference to that mammoth evil was only to establish the heinous practice of book burning, the simplest way to hide the truth, and its implications.

Never forget also comes to mind, which, in the case of proposed genocides, could be another reason. I apologize for having offended you, but it seems debatable that it is a lack of perspective and common sense as well as lacking credibility.

Discounting actual history by refusing to acknowledge it is, at least in my opinion, ineffective as well as immoral, even if the stakes are vastly different.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 10th, 2010 at 10:06 am

To Mr. McLaren:

I am happy to inform you that as of an email received a couple of hours ago, Panos is still very much among the living. He has advised me that he passed on to Mr. Patino my question about the release of his much-awaited book.

Arf, Arf, Arf

Bernard SchneiderSeptember 10th, 2010 at 10:58 am

Mr. Wolff,

Thank you for your prompt and courteous reply. I was not offended; just to say that I believe you could have made the point you wanted without reaching for the Holocaust.

Bernard Schneider.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 11th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Mr. Schneider:

I beg to differ with your personal interpretation of what you considered Bobby’s ill-judged use of the world’s greatest atrocity (at least so far) — The Holocaust. I can think of no worse violation of human rights. LEST WE FORGET — NOW OR EVER.

I was very much involved recently in a blog entitled “Fight for Survival” and you can read in living color the fortunate struggles with blessed endings of two young children who escaped from Austria before Hitler and his animals went on their historic rampage.

I personally can think of no better example. I have no idea who you are or where you live — but I can tell you the word Holocaust still hits hard in the hearts and upon the lives and memories of the millions of people affected, directly or indirectly, and will continue until the end of civilization.

Down with book burning and may freedom of the press endure forever.

Judy Kay-Wolff

Bernard SchneiderFebruary 6th, 2011 at 8:08 am

Hi Judy,

I do hope this post catches up with you.

I believe you have made your case well as to instances of flagrant cheating by certain American players and Italian players.

Trying to parse exactly what you are saying, could you clarify your personal position on 3 specific players, namely Garozzo, Forquet, and Belladonna. Sometimes, my reading is that you believe that they should somehow, to an indeterminate extent, be associated with the cheaters, and sometimes I read you to say that they are outside that ambit.

Let’s assume that it is my inability to discern,and so I would appreciate a relatively clear statement as to these 3 individuals. I have no particular axe to grind; and am only asking of one who was much closer to the situation. If Bobby wants to weigh in, I would similarly appreciate.

Best,

Bernard Schneider

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