Judy Kay-Wolff

THE 2010 BUFFETT CUP

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,

“The Buffett Cup is a bridge trophy which is awarded biennially in an event between teams from Europe and the United States.”

“The tournament is modeled on the Ryder Cup golf competition and is held in the week preceding the golf event at a nearby location.   The competition was first held in 2006 and is named after its sponsor, American businessman Warren Buffett.   Teams are selected by invitation and must contain at least two female players.   The competition format is a mixture of team of four, pairs and individual sessions with  point-a-board scoring throughout.”

The record, to date, stands even – with Europe winning in 2008 and the United States taking the honors in 2006.  The Third Buffett Cup runs from this coming Monday through Thursday at the Miskin Manor Hotel in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

The 2010 contestants will be:

EUROPE:  Sabine Auken and Daniele von Arnim (Germany); Boye Brogeland and Erik Saelesminde (Norway); Giorgio Duboin an Antonio Sementa (Italy); Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes (Italy); Jason and Justin Hackett (England); Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness (Norway).   Paul Hackett as nonplaying Captain.

UNITED STATES:   Jill Levin and Jill Meyers; David Berkowitz and Alan Sontag; Bob Hamman and Zia Mahmood, Geoff Hampson and Fred Gitelman; Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein; Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell.   Donna Compton as nonplaying Captain.

This form of competition (sponsorless from a glance) is an exhilarating and refreshing change of pace to all other ultimate world bridge championships where money plays a major role.   However, I have two questions and if anyone can answer with certainty, I would appreciate it:

1.  WHICH INDIVIDUALS MADE THE FINAL DECISION AS TO WHAT PLAYERS/PARTNERSHIPS WOULD BE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE?; AND

2.  ARE THERE ANY MONETARY REWARDS INVOLVED (PAYMENT FOR PLAYING, EXPENSES, PRIZE MONEY, etc.) OR JUST FOR THE DISTINGUISHED HONOR OF REPRESENTING ONE’S COUNTRY?


23 Comments

LuiseSeptember 12th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I don’t know about expenses or prize money, but I know that the players are not paid for playing. From the Warren Buffett Cup website: “As in the Ryder Cup, none of the players are paid to participate in the event, which has quickly established itself as the Blue Riband of the professional bridge world.”

Also from the website: “The organisation of the event is down to a four-man organising committee consisting of: Paul Hackett, Joe Moran, B.J.O’Brien and Paul Porteous.”

As for the rest of your questions, you might get a better answer from any of the following (who are on the North American team this year: David Berkowitz and Alan Sontag; Bob Hamman and Zia Mahmood; Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein; Jill Levin and Jill Meyers; Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell; Geoff Hampson and Fred Gitelman; Non Playing Captain Donna Compton.).

LuiseSeptember 12th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

The website also mentions “The cut glass trophy the players compete for is pictured here.”… they didn’t specifically say that was ALL that they compete for, (that and the prestige of winning), but it certainly reads that way to me…

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 12th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Thanks, Luise, for taking all the time to try to answer my questions.

I can’t imagine that the four-man organizing committee of Hackett, et al (no Americans to my knowledge) would be in a position to judge who should best represent the United States. It would seem to me they did the legwork in setting it all up — but as far as picking the participants (at least the U.S. contingency), it would be a shocker to me — but at this stage in the game, I guess nothing should surprise me.

I just never saw anything publicized and was

curious.

Bob GellerSeptember 12th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Hi Judy,

The website for the Buffett Cup (see below, and scroll down to the bottom(

http://www.buffettcup.com/CupHistory/tabid/76/language/en-GB/Default.aspx

says “Bob Hamman put together his North American team.” I have no inside info whatsoever, but given that he is playing in the 2010 event I would assume he is still involved in putting together the North American team.

DiogenesSeptember 13th, 2010 at 9:44 am

Hi Judy,

Thanks for bringing the Buffett Cup to the attention of the ACBL members. Most Interesting. Nice to see a sponsorless competition. Please keep us all informed as to how competitors are chosen, and what if any rewards are offered.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 13th, 2010 at 10:42 am

Diogenes:

You are living up to your reputation, Diogenes. I am trying to ascertain the same information you asked about how the players were chosen.

According to Bob Geller’s reference above to the Buffett site, it does say …. “and Bob Hamman put together his North American Team ….” Since it appeared on the official site, I assume it is true but no guarantees. There have been all sorts of rumors and gossip and no way to know if there is any truth to any of it, but I hear a pair requested (and got) upgraded airline arrangements for themselves and their wives.” Whether it is fact or fiction, we may never know. But it was the same pair who years ago, turned down an offer to play in an English Invitational Pow-Wow as there was not enough involved to entice them to go on their own.

Welcome to the real world of bridge — like it or not!

John Howard GibsonSeptember 13th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Dear Judy, Throughout the history of MANkind, there are those who become self-proclaimed leaders, who set about recruiting people in their own image……. happy to become their trusty lieutenants, followers, disciples and sychopantic worshippers…… if only endorse the leader’s position, and in the process securing theirs, An all powerfully mutual back-scratching ( arse-licking ? ) cabal. That’s the way things are and will always be. Yours always on the ball, HBJ

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 13th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

HI HBJ:

I hear ‘ya, I hear ‘ya — but I don’t have to approve of it or conduct my life in such a manner.

From what I have been reading — I am not sure that I understand the whole rigmarole — but I’m not sure I really want to.

The only thing I am curious about is — who is paying the expenses and who is footing the bill? Maybe that is too practical a question. Forgive my stupidity.

Cheers,

Judy

John Howard GibsonSeptember 14th, 2010 at 7:53 am

Dear Judy, Slush Funds is usually the answer. Yours HBJ

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 14th, 2010 at 10:04 am

Dear HBJ:

Obviously, I know what a slush fund is — but what I don’t understand is what the purpose of this hush-hush event. It is named after Buffett. Where is the money coming from to support it? No one seems to own up to it. There are rumors — but not fair to take as gospel. Who takes responsibility for picking the team (especially the U. S. one) since bridge, by force, makes so many strange bedfellows. Why was a sponsor on the 2006 and 2008 teams (one with his regular pro) and this time it looks like there are no sponsors (thank heavens)? Why are there so few live kibitzers, and as Linda pointed out, the scoring hard to follow in person?

I guess I am just dense. Can someone knowledgeable just explain the concept of the Buffett Cup to me. I certainly understand that both Messrs. Gates and Buffett have been generous to our game above and beyond — but this does not explain to me the complexities of The Buffett Cup issues: — Who does the selecting (and why) and what does the end product prove?

KentSeptember 14th, 2010 at 11:39 am

Here’s an interview with NPC Donna Compton posted on the Bridge Winners site. She discusses the origin of the event and the selection process:

http://www.bridgewinners.com/component/content/article/2-latest-news/288-captaining-the-ship

Cam FrenchSeptember 14th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Why don’t you ask Fred or Alan or David or Geoff or or Warren?

I have their emails if you wish.

C

Cam FrenchSeptember 14th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Great posting Kent!

Thanks.

C

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 14th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Kent:

Thanks for the referral site. I do appreciate your answer. It got a bit tedious reading for me with several issues still unclarified. But, hey, whatever floats the boat of those paying the bills is what matters.

At least, for now, it appears there is no desecration of a well-intended top flight event infiltrated by sponsors. That is a refreshing change of course. Cannot remember the last time that happened.

markSeptember 16th, 2010 at 5:55 am

Judy

Are you suggesting that Bobby never plays professionally? Or that he never did? Wouldn’t he be guilty of denigrating top events as well?

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 16th, 2010 at 7:35 am

Mark:

I think you are a bit confused. Professionals and sponsors represent two different spectra of our game.

My reference here specifically is to this new hoopla — The Buffett Cup. In past years, it was obvious a sponsor played on the team. This year it appears to be strictly the true experts who belong there. If this is alleged to be an event contested by the best of the best, sponsors don’t meet the qualifications and turn these events into farces.

Professionalism has its place. It is a good learning experience for the less adept player who can afford the big bucks — but should be stopped when we separate the men from the boys — ceasing at the Trials which eventually determine who represents our country in world competition.

(Incidentally, even foreign pros are allowed to play in the qualifying events leading up to the trials (giving their clients “seeding points”) but must drop off and return to their native countries since they cannot, of course, playoff to represent the U. S.

Please get your facts straight. Professionals don’t “denigrate” top events, but sponsors do! Most professionals are true experts and certainly the contestants in this year’s Buffett Cup are well qualified.

markSeptember 16th, 2010 at 9:16 am

First, you didn’t answer my question. That is fine, I understand why you don’t want to. Since you think sponsors don’t belong in trials, does Bobby play professionally in trials? Does he play professionally in World Events?

Bobby WolffSeptember 16th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Hi Mark,

Judy has referred your questions for me to answer, straight from the Wolff’s howl.

Since I very recently have answered very similar questions I intend to keep this as brief as possible, but not fail to deal directly with it.

Up until 1995 (through 1994) the ACBL (USA, but not Canada, Mexico and at that time Bermuda) determined its International Team by inviting the winners of the four main team games (Vanderbilt, Spingold, Reisinger and Grand National Team) to play-off in a semi-final, final format, winner to be the team. In those days teams with sponsors on them, of course, remained intact and if that sponsored team won, they were locked in as teammates and in all cases, when 4 handed, augmented another pair). Keep in mind that those earlier years did not have anywhere near the number of sponsored teams which are currently playing (perhaps only about 20% as many).

In 1995 I decided to make an effort to improve representation by wresting the control of the trials from the ACBL, which they were happy to release. I then tried to formulate workable rules which, at that time, had to do with any and every team (subject to elementary safeguards, could get together, stay together, practice together and could always then compete in the International Team Trials (ITT), without having to overcome the momentus task of having to win a major US team game. There, of course, were certain seeding advantages accruing to teams playing in the ITT who did well in the four aforementioned annual teams.

The idea became popular and in the first year it was held in a non-casino hotel (The Alexis Park) in Las Vegas. I believe 29 teams entered and it was later hailed as a very successful start.

While before 1995 I had played professionally and did win the right to represent the USA on several teams with mediocre playing sponsors. First, please remember it is not being a sponsor which automatically makes the team questionable, but rather the subjective approach of being a player, usually well below world-class, who is on the team only because of the money he/she pays to be included among the top players around. Without mentioning specific names I leave it up to you to determine who you (and probably most others) would consider those less well playing sponsors from others who also pay but are world class themselves or at least close to.

Through the many years of my career there have been many times that, in effect, the best (or almost) player on the team also picked up at least the expenses of his/her teammates to enable them to be his/her teammates. I mention this only to acquaint those who are not familiar with the intimate history of top level bridge to become better informed.

I ran the ITT from my office in Dallas for two years before turning it over (upon his request) to Mike Becker who has since been the major domo.

Since the new ITT was formed I, at least in my evaluation, never played professionally (according to my evaluation) while representing the USA. Obviously before 1995 I did. However when the ACES won their first two WC’s in 1970-1971 and then for the next 4 years I was on the team which finished 2d to the Italian Blue team in 1972-75. I was on the winning team in 1977 (non-professionally as well as being on the winning teams in 1983, 1985, and 1987 all on non-sponsored teams. I then played with my great friend Seymon Deutsch and won the 1988 World Team Olympiad (the only time the USA had won before or since) and we then qualified and finished 2d in 1992 in the WTO with approximately the same team.

In any event, while my choice of keeping the USA International Teams away from mediocre playing sponsors has certainly not been a popular choice with almost all of the bridge professionals, but unless the administrative body of the ACBL, (ITT) takes a firm stance on selecting or at least encouraging our best teams to sally forth it will never happen. At least to me it is sophistry of the highest order to allow lesser players to latch on (by paying big money) to being on our ITT representatives. How can we as bridge players rationalize it to Olympic committees or even to other world competitive groups without having our tongues fully in our cheeks?

I say the above fully realizing that the US bridge world is blessed by having wonderful and successful people (for the most part) as being the sponsors I am referring to. While being proud of their friendships and their generosity, it still doesn’t change the core of this sad situation. Sad to me, because of my downright love for the game and all the wonders that it represents.

I have only one request to make from you Mark, and all the distrustful others who share your questions. Please, in the future, at least as far as I am concerned, please research the answers before challenging. In no respect do I think that your pointed questions are out of order. I just hope that my crusade will have others, including professionals fall in line with what I am hoping. Let’s put bridge first and allow our sacred Bridge World Championships to always have the best players possible representing our many countries, especially the larger, more publicized ones.

One last commercial before departing. On the just completed, or almost, Warren Buffett Cup, whoever organized the USA participation did a marvelous job of selection resulting in what I think is a fair ending–a convincing victory. With the European competition (not to mention the 3d world) getting better and better it will take, at least to me, better and better International teams to compete and win our fair share. My patriotism even exceeds my love for bridge and with it should be the USA’s demand for our best and brightest. Isn’t that really what life is all about rather than trying for the most money possible? For the legacy I would like to leave, I need much help.

MarkSeptember 17th, 2010 at 7:04 am

Thanks for the Response, Mr. Wolff. With due respect, your actions do not match your words. You say:

“Let’s put bridge first and allow our sacred Bridge World Championships to always have the best players possible representing our many countries, especially the larger, more publicized ones.”

And yet, for most of your bridge career, you have played the main events and the world championships on sponsored teams.

I understand that this was a very lucrative way to go, and you were playing on top teams to boot, but it still belies your premise.

Mark

Bobby WolffSeptember 19th, 2010 at 8:59 am

Mark:

 

Apparently you leave me no choice, but to create a historical blog which details my high-level bridge playing career, and will undoubtedly be boring to many, including myself. Obviously, I resent being categorized as insincere, especially since I am asking for cooperation within the expert bridge community and its administrators to be more careful in the selection of our International bridge teams, trying to persuade and then upgrade our selected players to three world class pairs.

 

Since the caliber of competition is consistently improving, especially from Zone 1 (Europe), for us, Zone 2, (North America) to stay, at least, on an equal level with them and the many fine teams from the developing countries around the world, we need to seek ways to improve what has become what bridge professionalism has produced in many cases, two fine pairs and a not so sterling twosome.

 

Of course, through the years there have been different parameters in the picking of Zone 2’s teams.  As already recently mentioned, starting in 1995 and the changing nature of our qualification to play in the International team trials (ITT), while one of the the purposes of that change was to make it available for up and coming younger players to get together, stay together, practice and still be able to be guaranteed to be qualified to participate in the ultimate experience of playing for the qualification instead of the terribly daunting task of having to win a major team game to qualify, which had the negative effect of disheartening the formation of younger teams due primarily to time allowed, formidable expense, and above all the unlikelihood of the achievement of bearding the lion.

 

Delving back into bridge history, which to answer you is most necessarily required, it was the very reason the Aces (in 1968) were formed.  Since there does not appear to be another Ira Corn around, perhaps we need to take a harder look into what will be needed to serve as a winning substitute in order to keep North America’s bridge reputation in tact.

 

And now, back to recorded bridge history.

 

In 1970 (Sweden) and 1971 (Taiwan) the Aces won their first two World Championships, Bermuda Bowl (BB), with the team of Eisenberg, Goldman, Hamman, Jacoby, Lawrence and Wolff.  In 1972 with Soloway replacing Eisenberg we finished 2nd in the World Team Olympiad to the Blue Team.  In 1973-1975 we also lost the BB to the Blue Team, finishing 2nd each time.  The 1973 team (Guaruja, Brazil) was Blumenthal-Lawrence-Goldman and Jacoby-Hamman-Wolff playing in two threesomes.  In 1974 (Venice, Italy) our team was Blumenthal-Goldman, Murray-Kehela and Hamman-Wolff, while our 1975 (Hamilton, Bermuda) team was Kantar-Eisenberg, Soloway-John Swanson, Hamman-Wolff.

 

In 1976 the Aces did not qualify, although my team of Charlie Gabriel-John Fisher,Jim Hooker-Charlie Weed, Hamman-Wolff did win the GNT causing HW to have to break dates with Murray-Kehela and Soloway-Swanson in the Spingold since we then became locked in to the ITT as the qualifier.  We lost in the trials to Peter Pender’s team.  IN 1977 our team of Eisenberg-Kantar, Soloway-Swanson, Hamman-Wolff did win the ITT and won the WC (Manilla, Philippines).  In 1978 a new World Championship was created, featuring the World Open Pair and the Rosenblum Teams to be held every four years called the World Bridge Championship (WBC).  Since the WBC has become totally Transnational (players can play in all events with different nationalities) it has adopted a somewhat social reputation and although the events are nothing short of magnificent, at least for cross country competition, it has become insignificant.  It may be worth mentioning that in both 1978 (New Orleans) and 1982 (Biarritz, France), the first two years of its creation the teams which Hamman-Wolff were on, won the American bracket in the Rosenblum and went on to finish 3rd-4th in the event. Also the addition of the WBC meant that beginning in 1977 the Bermuda Bowl would be held only every other year instead of every year with both the WBC and the WTO (World Team Olympiad) each held every four years.

 

In 1979 we qualified for the ITT but lost to the Brachman team (who went on to win the WC in Brazil).  In 1980 our team of Passell-Hamilton, Soloway – I. Rubin, Hamman-Wolff went on to finish 2nd in the World Team Olympiad (Holland) losing to the French.  In 1981 we again lost in the ITT with Granovetter subbing for an ineligible Paul Soloway to complement the same team HW had in Holland in 1980.  In the years 1983, 1985, and 1987 HW won both the ITT and the WC held in Sweden (R. Rubin – M. Becker, Weichsel-Sontag, Hamman-Wolff), Sao Paulo Brazil (Pender-Ross, Martel-Stansby, Hamman-Wolff) and Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Lawrence, Pender had qualified but was too sick to play-Ross, Martel-Stansby, Hamman-Wolff),  In 1984 my team of Brachman-Andersen, Soloway-Goldman, Hamman-Wolff after winning the Spingold, then won the ITT but finished a dismal 5-8 in the WTO in Seattle losing to the Austrians in the quarter finals.

 

In 1986 my team of Jim Jacoby-Hamman, Seymon Deutsch-Wolff won the GNT, playing four handed and then after adding Meckstroth-Rodwell for the trials won the ITT qualifying us and then winning the WTO in Venice, Italy for the 1st and only time the USA has ever won the event.  Meckwell played straight through and Hamman and I played half the time with each other and the other half with our other partner, Hamman with Jacoby and me with Deutsch.  In both 1989 and 1991 we failed to qualify for the team.  In 1992 Seymon’s team including Zia, then ineligible to represent the USA of Rosenberg and Meckwell won the Spingold and then added HW to their team for Salsamaggiore, Italy and the WTO.  We lost in the finals, again to a great playing (and super ethical) French team.  In 1993 we did not qualify, but in 1995 (first year of the new trials) our team of Nickell-Freeman, Meckwell, and Hamman-Wolff won the BB in Beijing China, fortunately qualifying for the later stages and then beating what, at least up to then, was the best team in the event, Canada (Molson-Baran, Gitelman-Mittelman, and Kokish-Silver).  They deserved to win, but we got the luck when it counted and they probably tired toward the end.  In 1997 my team of Freeman-Nickell, Meckwell and Hamman-Wolff won the right to play the BB in Hammamet, Tunisia and while playing great got to the finals again losing to the French, and although our team played very well beating some great teams including the other American team and the Italians along the way we lost to the French who again deserved to win.

 

After that I was fired from the Nickell team and although I did win the World Senior Team in Maastricht, Holland in 2000 (Woolsey-Robinson, Mohan-Sutherlin and Morse-Wolff) the only BB team I qualified for was in 2003 with (Wildavsky-Doub, Rajadhyaksha-Landen, Morse-Wolff) and we finished a credible 3rd losing to the Nickell team in the semi-finals (they went on to win) in Monte Carlo.  Of the twelve BB’s I played in I finished 1st seven times, 2nd four times and 3rd once, NEVER having played professionally.  The only times I played professionally was when I was locked into the trials by winning a major event with a sponsor.  It may be interesting to note that Seymon, my great friend since we attended Trinity University in San Antonio together (and played bridge as partners) in the middle 1950’s, won the WTO on my team and the  Rosenblum in 1994 in Albuquerque making him the only player in the world to win those two events.  He has also won the Vanderbilt and other National events independently, is very ethical and a credit to the game, although his bridge playing is not world class.

All of the above is chronicled with the sole purpose of denying what you Mark, are accusing me of.  While certainly not remaining crystal clear of sponsorship, the above record is hardly comparable to any of today’s modern professionals.  Surely the bridge selection process has been varied through the years, with general sponsorship playing a significant part in the enabling of world class players to participate internationally.  However, I think our administrators, in order to live up to their responsibilities to encourage and provide an opportunity for our very top players to be included every year at least a chance of having our three best pairs enter as the USA representatives.  Without which –we are doomed to lose our position as ‘honestly (and I use that multi-purpose word advisably) the best bridge playing nation over the last 60 years (but not without some significant warts along the way).’ 

Without attention to what figures to be the future we are not now headed that way with little chance of anything substantive changing.  People like you, Mark, could join the crusade in favor of what is needed, but, instead, you tend to attack the messenger of our plight. I, of course, do not know who you are which would tend to make the reader (and, of course, me) understand your motives or lack of same.  I, now, and in the past have never been unclear as to what I think is needed to achieve what should be Zone 2’s motive for the near future.

 

Sure we can all just forget about what the USA and what I had hoped would be all of Zone 2 also, but I have grown weary of dealing with malcontents only trying to satisfy their own rather selfish motives as applied to Zone 2.

 

Finally something which I think needs to be said.  When talking about sponsors we need to make it clear that it is not wrong to include sponsors on future Zone 2’s teams.  However that sponsor needs to play as well as Nick Nickell and possibly a few others who might make the grade as a legitimate choice for the team.  Nick, as certainly his long time partner, the late Dick Freeman, have always represented Zone 2 with distinction, both in the qualifying stages and in the equally fierce World Championship itself.  He is a very self-confident top level bridge player and holds his own quite respectably in any competition. Many other sponsors, although truly respectable people, do not have the whole package necessary to be able to challenge Nick, if for no other reason of not having his confidence, study and devotion to the game, extremely valuable experience, and an unshakable persona of just being able to compete effectively and on every hand.  It is not being a sponsor which excludes players from consideration! It is rather a combination of (in most cases) of not being quite world class and unfortunately not being able to overcome that deficiency (usually of carrying over to hurt self-confidence) and therefore enabling the top-class players from around the world to be able to best those less accomplished contenders.  Let only the Zone 2 players who can stand up to the rigors of the huge mental battles always and continually be present in the attempt to accomplish bridge supremacy which will always be ever present.

More about Nick Nickell. Playing with Freeman, he won 3 straight Reisingers (93-95), 4 straight Spingolds (93-96) which included 33 consecutive Spingold Matches — with Nick and Dick certainly holding up their end. If you think it is so easy — try it sometime. Nick is far from what any respected, knowledgeable bridge player would consider a sponsor. He would be a tremendous asset to any team!!!!!!

 

In the meantime, I hope you are satisfied with the bridge history I have provided, just to overcome and negate your accusations and reestablish my credibility which you might have been trying to destroy. I was attempting to be your friend and at the same update the records for those who are just out of the loop or are not aware of the circumstances and statistics of the last forty years.

 

Bobby Wolff

 

Robb GordonSeptember 20th, 2010 at 11:30 am

I knew all this stuff and I was still impressed!

The basic problem is incentive. I would never be in this position, but

notwithstanding my opinions about sponsorship at the world level, which are

pretty close to Bobby and Judy’s, if a sponsor, even a weak one, approached me

and offered me a gazillion dollars, I would find it hard to resist.

You can’t blame somebody for trying to (legally) make a living.

For a time the ACBL attempted to regulate professionalism, not

very competently or successfully. Then they “de-regulated”. Deregulation

has done for bridge what it did for banking – like throwing chum on the

water for sharks. Experts from all over the world came to the US –

not only to play in our events, but to establish residency so they could

have the rich economic reward that comes from competing in the US trial!

So – if we were to re-regulate professionalism, which I think we should, we

then have the following tasks –

1. Define a professional for the purpose of regulation, and register them either within the ACBL, USBF, or their own organization (not a travel agency but a full time, dedicated, not-for-profit organization).

2. Define a sponsor for the purpose of regulation (neither of these is as easy as it sounds).

3. Establish a code of ethics for professional players, that everybody should follow, but that would carry onerous (felony-like) penalties for professionals who miss the mark.

4. Establish a judiciary to enforce such a code that is beyond reproach, and has no appearance of conflict.

5. This is the toughest – establish a panel to decide exactly who does or does not belong on a US team in a WC event. If you can figure out #5 my hat is off to you!

Bobby WolffSeptember 21st, 2010 at 3:52 am

Hi Robb,

Thanks much for responding and especially for your positive ideas.

If all or even any significant part of your recommendations were either implemented or, at least, explored I know where my vote would go to elect the right commisioner and that would be, in the absence of an unknown deity suddenly emerging, certainly you.

In addition to your carefully selected necessary caveats for just the beginning of the dawn of Zone 2 (soon to include the whole world) bridge nirvana, we must recognize the first step which in the zoo like early potential months, would be to insure the animals stick to playing and improving their partnerships, but leave the administration free to develop the business.

What a wonderful surprise it is for me to hear what you have to say and I dearly wish that some enterprising ACBL BOD members would consider the incredible benefit such a plan would do for the future of the ACBL and world bridge.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 21st, 2010 at 7:55 am

Dear Robb:

I responded to you in the wee hours of the morning, but as I returned to sleep, I started to reconsider. For a GAZILLION DOLLARS (especially in this economy) I might confer with Linda and have you and Bobby go for it together. After all — a gazillion isn’t chopped liver!

Seriously, I respect your preachings and I know it is from the heart! The problem is most of those involved place the green stuff miles ahead of the honor of representing one’s country with the best our nation has to offer.

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