Judy Kay-Wolff

You Must Be Kidding!!

After weeks of Internet blurbs, stories, tales, accusations, et al. — any bridge player who can count to thirteen (even slowly) has been overwhelmed by the many versions of who has been doing what to whom — be it locally, nationally or internationally and suspicions of the time frames. Oft-times they sounded like fantasies or exaggerations and so many different valid contributors offered such outrageous suggestions and implications, one could not distinguish fact from fiction. At times, I suspected some blatherers of possessing sick senses of humor … but, hey .. we have been blessed with Freedom of Speech (sometimes a bit overdone). Where I was born and raised, it was a strong American principle!

At this point, most have realized I was referring to all the gibberish (good and bad) on recent Bridge Winners articles. The overwhelmingly popular subject matter focused on CHEATING (much of which I personally have known about since the 60s) but most naive people chose to close their eyes and turned their heads in denial. Alas, no more. The jig is up!

It is out there for public consumption (in all its glory .. and disgrace)!! My reaction was threefold: (1) Cheating is a blight on the perpetrator and a curse on anyone or anything it involves (especially, in this instance, the original great name of bridge); (2) Confession is always good for the soul (but best if not needed); and (3) EXASPERATION FOR THE UNENDING SALUTES OF ADMIRATION AND PLAUDITS FOR THOSE ADMITTING TO SUCH DISGUSTING INTENTIONAL, PREPLANNED METHODS OF VIOLATING THEIR OPPONENTS’ EQUAL RIGHTS is more than I can tolerate!!!

Whether our once wonderful game will ever be restored to the heights and supreme stature it once earned universally will be left in the hands of fate and depend upon the strength and driving efforts of those who are willing to attempt to restore bridge’s unrivaled place in the sun by issuing unyielding punishment to deliberate violators who sinned without care or concern for the repercussions or eventual consequences.


AlanSeptember 20th, 2015 at 1:16 am


I have always admired your candor, but even more obvious is your love and honor for the game.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 20th, 2015 at 1:48 am

Dear Alan,

Flattery will get you everywhere. But seriously, bridge has enveloped such a large part of my life and having conjugal associations and both Norman and Bobby (who have witnessed much over their combined bridge careers) has made me so resentful of all these rah-rah reactions of people (either naive or newbies) who are hardly in a position to judge recent developments and are unaware of earlier "goings-ons" in the bridge arenas. Perhaps if the 'powers-that-be' (or were) had the guts to step up to the plate earlier, we might not be where we are today.

What does sadden me is that when recent teams/individuals considered it morally right to resign or withdraw (voluntarily or by force), many innocent victims fell by the wayside. Though these situations are humiliating to the game and unfair to many faultless people involved, perhaps it will help bridge turn the corner and reconsider their options and goals. I am an eternal optimist and I pray it is not too late.

Sorry for the rant, but this is serious stuff.

ReneSeptember 20th, 2015 at 3:47 pm

I find the overall tones of those rendering opinions so strong .. though of varying mind thoughts and suggested solutions. At the same time, it causes me to wonder if much of this has been known (but not disclosed) for a long time .. and SUDDENLY the bubble broke. It is a sad day for bridge.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 20th, 2015 at 7:37 pm


I, like you, am far from an expert, but my longtime personal surroundings have influenced my views. I think the difference in cultures (civilizations, traditions and ideals) as well as degrees of punishment (or lack of it) have played a major role. As many of you old timers were well aware, bridge became an enjoyable livelihood for many. Decades ago the early choices were (1) Comply; or (2) Be replaced .. ala .. take it or leave it. Most chose to keep plying their trade as normal options were less appealing and not as intriguing or lucrative regardless of how much innate talent one possessed.

And remember, it takes two to tango and you can’t dance alone! Otherwise, why would there have been a need for screens, footboards, monitors, videos, hidden cameras, et al.? Appropriate coughing and cigarette lighter clicks added to the extraneous means of reaching right decisions even after the introduction of other deterrents. Just think about it. This recent explosion was brought about by the keen observations of rightfully suspiciously irate competitors or administrators to take measures to stop the offenders dead in their tracks. The thoughts and other proposals suggesting solutions have just provoked others to view us as robots — forced to conform by proposed visual and/or modern day advanced scrutiny options.

Our forefathers must be turning over in their graves realizing how far their incredible game has sunken by need to satisfy egos and money-grubbing. Top performance is down on the list of goals for culprits. It has been replaced by
“qualifying” with an eye toward moving on toward victory.

The introduction of sponsorship incentives was just another nail in bridge’s coffin (although certainly not it’s original intent). Why be chained to a desk from nine to five when other alternatives were there for the asking??? We have reached a sad time .. and the question is: How strong are those at the helm and how much do they care? Time will tell.

Howard Bigot-JohnsonSeptember 21st, 2015 at 11:03 pm

HBJ : The solution to the problem must start at club level , where those in control positively reinforce ethical behaviour with praise and commendations , and name and shame those proven to persistently use unethical tactics at the table ( eg hesitating before playing their singleton in a suit )
It’s takes courage but a firm and fair approach will reap dividends in the long run.
As for tournaments , people should only be allowed to enter if their clubs have ranked or rated them as ” ethical ” and ” honest ” players.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 22nd, 2015 at 5:02 pm


You and I are basically on the same page as far as our passionate hatred and disgust for cheating. However, your entitlements to complaining are based primarily upon heinous experiences over the years mostly at the club and local levels, witnessing both subtle and obvious methods of gaining illegal advantage.

I, on the other hand, via eye-witness observations as well as personal friendships and respected associations and conversations with many of the top American and Canadian players in world events became privy to unending despicable tales of unclean hand and tactics of other extremities, methods and systems employed against them .. starting back in the sixties .. particularly by one group who undoubtedly should have ‘gotten the Boot.”

However, they were offered options which have been public knowledge for decades, but obviously did what was best for themselves .. affecting and tainting the long time beauty and honor of our once beautiful pastime. Most from that era have passed on .. but replacements from other areas have carried the gauntlet in their place and continue as we speak. After decades of hushed earlier times, the ugliness and disgust of recent inhumane methods employed at the table have fortunately come forth .. courtesy of Bridge Winners. The accepted methods of presentations, accusations, confessions, inappropriately misdirected expressions of admiration for such ‘honorable and respected’ admissions of guilt (forgive my sarcasm) have revolutionized the once highly earned respect of contributors, players and kibitzers. Ugly remarks and incorrect descriptions by individuals relying on gossip, trusted hearsay and word of mouth misquotes have distorted the facts. Don’t believe everything you read. It is reminiscent of our old children’s game “Whisper Down The Lane.” Most astounding is that two of the self-confessed ‘heroes’ personally suggested meted-out options of appropriately handling their “behavioral indiscretions” .. comparable to ‘My crime and My punishment.’

To those who challenge my reaction — choose whatever words fit your fancy. Call my diatribe anything you choose. However, far be it from ‘crying WOLFF’!

Paul E.September 23rd, 2015 at 2:23 am

While I have never met Bobby or Chip Martel, I have more confidence in their integrity than of their accuser on Bridge Winners about something that happened 17 years ago. His supporters there know about as little as I do about the facts of the situation, but are still ready to defend his accusation and proclaim that he was “cheated.”

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 23rd, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Hi Paul:

The attention called by the above ‘situation’ offended me in ways other than innocence or guilt of the two individuals named. It was a long time ago (although I was sitting in Veldhoven when Mr. Fredin approached Bobby). It was a very civil conversation where Peter reiterated his long built-up resentment and disdain for being mishandled and causing him to drop in the standings. The story he told Bobby was far from the exaggerations and hyped up sidelines I have just read about.

It seems the more far reaching problems and actual issues were:

1) Physical body or arm movements exhibiting emotional instability and lack of control have no place in our game and certainly are disturbing;


(2) Even more disheartening, ludicrous and embarrassing were the countless rousing, exuberant offers of support, cheers, endorsements, compliments and plaudits by many who were in serious admiration for confessing to committing such deliberate, unacceptable, pre-conceived and unauthorized methods of deceiving their opponents.

Is this the manner in which the world of bridge salutes and admires deliberate and intentional villains. I suppose everyone has different standards.

However, the comical aspects (which presented a new prospect to me) were that the ‘accused’ who admitted to their ‘pre-arranged collusion” also suggested methods of punishments for themselves. That was a ‘first’ for me. It’s comparable to being their own Judge and Jury.

If this is the direction we are heading, as much as I once loved
the game, I’d rather see it disappear than carry on as the farce the above has portrayed.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 23rd, 2015 at 6:55 pm


For the CNBC version of bridge cheating assertions which I have been informed about [by phone and internet], go directly to their site from this morning. I have received several emails about the article but have not had an opportunity to examine it myself, so I cannot attest to the facts one way or another. It is rather lengthy .. so be prepared.

Just as any other juicy gossip topics, you will hear many versions. Thus .. garner the facts .. then judge for yourself! This is a very sad day for bridge .. far from the beautiful mental challenge to which I was introduced in the 1950s.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 24th, 2015 at 4:12 am

Just returned from a fabulous informal ‘break the fast’ dinner .. hosted by bridge playing friends of ours .. and you can imagine the subject that consumed most of the guests. The interesting facet of the backgrounds was that the majority were old time bridge players .. but from so many different walks of life and different parts of the country who had retired and settled in Vegas. Yet, everybody had something to contribute .. but most noticeable was how somber the mood and the joy and excitement seemed to be absent.

It seems like a bad dream but those familiar with universal bridge history took it with a grain of salt as so much of the background was known. However, my reaction is now at least we (and all the troops) know the problems which face us and can make a concerted effort to get back on course.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 26th, 2015 at 4:47 am


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