Judy Kay-Wolff

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… but it must be done piecework as time permits!

My head is still spinning from trying to interpret this morning’s attempt to hear and understand the intended informative (though hardly audible) WBF Press Conference which was barely coherent and hard to comprehend about the recent cheating allegations. And… of course, we never got anywhere near the nitty-gritty of the purpose or intent for a universal airing of this unspeakable bridge atrocity. To me, a presentation like that was an insulting waste of time with embarrassing attempts to explain the reasons for postponing earlier action.

However, on a personal note, I’d like to share some of what was alluded to (but not emphasized) in TLW:

  1. At a Reisinger many years ago, Bobby noted someone (who routinely paced up and down the aisles between rounds casually glancing at hands the individual was about to play). In that event, each pair skipped a table downward en route to the following round. If you had good eyesight and an attentive memory, it was a huge edge. Being no scaredy-cat, Bobby (witnessing the routine procedure) approached the Chief Director suggesting the table arrangement be changed to 1/3/5/7 etc. rather than 1/2/3/4 etc. When the resentful and lazy challenged Director In Charge of such a prestigious event questioned Bobby’s reasons, he refused to do any re-arranging and replied, “If they want to cheat, let ’em.” That’s right! “LET ’EM.” By coincidence I might add… this pacing culprit was also the same person (playing a strong club) who, after a diamond opening (holding Axx Kxx Q10x Kxxxx followed by a spade overcall by LHO, a Pass by partner and a 1NT response raised to three by the spade overcaller, was ‘blessed’ with divine inspiration of leading the 10 from Q10x. Lo and behold, he was lucky enough to find his partner with K98xxx (opposite the opponent’s Jx/Ax) Boy, some people have all the luck.
  2. Another incident which will forever bug me was undoubtedly (and may remain) the most ludicrous case in the amazing annals of bridge history… defiantly referred to THE “OH SHIT CASE” where Bobby (because he always unyieldingly fought for equity and honor and was opposed to using his position to ask for so-called ‘favors’) was not a ‘favorite’ of either the Chair or Co-Chair. If you are not familiar with the details, ask a friend or read up on it. It may perhaps retain the distinction as the most outrageous ruling in bridge history. Despite their personal dislike of Bobby and how he revered the honor of the game, neither offered willingly to step down and be replaced and I blame Bobby for being such a ‘woos’ and not requesting both prejudiced-bearing jurors to automatically remove themselves from the case. Yes — Bobby refused to stoop to requesting justified recusals from both obviously personally opinionated individuals. My only consolation is that they will forever be remembered in the annals of bridge as to the two most-deluded and haughty ‘personalities’ rather than the more descriptive plural word beginning with an “a” and ending with an “s.” Obviously Bobby lost the case but has the pleasure of being the most respected and honored “victim” involved in undoubtedly the most preposterous bridge decision in history… and a hard one to rival!

And the beat goes on! It is high time that these tales became known. LATER!


13 Comments

JRGSeptember 27th, 2015 at 12:33 pm

You can read a good report by Rich Waugh on the Oh Shit case. Here is a link to the PDF file:
http://www.bridgeace.com/Deal_of_the_Day/2011-04-13%20Oh%2C%20Shit%21.pdf

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 27th, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Good morning JRG:

Although there were many uncanny stories about this happening, I had never seen such methodical accounting (exhibited by your link to Mr. Waugh’s description above) accompanied by the exact hands and auctions. This report should give us all pause as to what is required, expected and demanded of our ACBL Directing Staff — with a sincere effort to prevent repeat performances.

HOW COULD THIS ACTUALLY HAVE OCCURRED? How could the facts have influenced any lucid committee to rule this way — let alone waste time on such a preposterous set of circumstances? How could dummy (!!) have had the guts and shame to protest and proclaim his side was injured and take this to Committee??

WORST (AND MOST FOOLISH) RULING IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME!!

JRG: I will be eternally grateful that you went to the trouble to seek out the exact post aptly entitled OH, SHIT by Mr. Waugh, dated April 13, 2011.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 27th, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Hi again JRG:

An afterthought:

I’m not a golfer, but if my memory serves me correctly, isn’t this whole disaster reminiscent of a “mulligan?”

JRGSeptember 27th, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I’m not a golfer either, so I looked it up on Wikipedia…

“A mulligan is a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or a blunder. Its best-known meaning is in golf whereby a player is informally allowed to replay a stroke (though this is against the formal rules of golf).”

So yes, it is reminiscent of a “mulligan”.

JOANIESeptember 27th, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Though bridge does not play a major role in my life, I have always been curious who makes appointments to certain committees or are they elected? After talking to many of my more involved bridge playing friends, they don’t seem to have any of the answers I am seeking. Is it based on capability? volunteerism? Perks? Just what determines who serves?

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 27th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

To be quite candid, I have no clue. I played for the enjoyment and fun of the game with no false aspirations of reaching expert heights. My involvement leaned in other directions and though active in the entertainment aspect at tournaments, I never got involved with the hoi polloi making decisions which impacted results of contests or bones of contention. However, after marrying Norman (and receiving quite an education from Edgar as to ethics and management) .. and then, of course, observing even more from Bobby .. I realized there is BRIDGE and also ‘bridge.’ I cannot overemphasize how crucial it is to have the head honchos of today not only be expert players but have an overwhelming sense of honor and responsibility to run a clean ship and not be influenced by friendship or political affiliations. Easier said than done.

Perhaps I can get Bobby to offer some input when I can free him from his computer.

JordanSeptember 29th, 2015 at 8:53 pm

The “Oh Shit” case even superceded Jaggy’s failure to alert Stayman [didn’t promise a 4 card major] in the 1991 (LV)Spingold QF, resulting in a 3 IMP gain being tossed; a 3 IMP penalty being levied, resulting in a tie match and an 8 board playoff which was lost at 2:00 a.m.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 30th, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Hi Jordan,

Sorry I didn’t see your note until just now. I have been so absorbed, disturbed, disappointed …. anything but shocked .. about the recent events which now seem to be coming out of the woodwork about eternal cheating. Incidentally, I had never heard the (pardon the cornball term) .. Shaggy Jaggy story. Couldn’t resist! Yet, the others which involve long time cheats are inexcusable and it is pathetic to have allowed them to thrive for so long without respected authorities speaking up without fear of recrimination.

Your appeal concerning alerts must be one of many which rarely get publicized and I believe few people feel obligated (unless pressed or stared at) to voluntarily alert .. especially at the lower strata at a club game. I am a stickler about violation of rules and I feel learning ethics is equally as important as counting to thirteen.
What bugs me even more are when players (NOT intending to make a timely call) ask a question (obviously as a lead directing attention getter)!

Even though these endless ugly stories have been featured on the Internet for a couple of weeks now, I am very much in favor of stopping these insidious bridge atrocities with little sympathy for the bad guys! They are a blight upon our once wonderful fame!

I know this is way off topic but had to share my feelings with someone who learned and followed the game since his toddler days. I still think of your wonderful parents often!

Cheers,

Judy

JordanOctober 1st, 2015 at 4:40 am

Always a pleasure chatting with you. After Sion-Cokin, the ACBL started video taping “problem pairs”; and I know they were useful in catching Moses Ma et al at the Washington Summer Nationals in ’84. Perhaps that got overshadowed by the kidnapping of Edith Rosenkranz at the same tourney. For better or worse Ralph had to distance himself when Sion-Cokin broke in Atlanta in ’79 because Billy was the opponent he’d beaten in the GNT playdowns. all of this is has been extemely disheartening, and a far cry from the game i grew up with.

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 1st, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Hi again, Jordan:

It is nice to chat with someone who shares so many memories (good and bad). Your father would turn over in his grave if he knew what was going on. With the intervention (or perhaps interference) caused by the Internet via the plethora of blogs, rants, criticisms, accusations, dogged omniscient opinions and the never ending back and forths, it has really turned me off. Of course, there are a few exceptions .. but they are in the minority. I guarantee what Bobby forgot, most of these who froth at the mouth with such authority — have no clue about. Of course, the main problem (especially in bridge) is most of these bright people who are in charge may be smart or even brilliant but not in the positions to which they have been appointed or selected. Politics is rampant — even worse than before.

I am sure you have been reading BW (if you have a strong stomach) and though there have been some very informative suggestions and until-now unknown history of chains of events), I have to give it a rest every now and then.

My biggest regret, as I have said time and time again, I wish these cheating scandals (especially overseas) had been targeted in the 1960s onward and perhaps Norman would have garnered a world championship trophy rather than his many second place plaques, cups, etc. I am bitter. Yes, indeed!

Today’s scandals turned out to be unavoidable. It was just a question of time catching up with them. Too little, too late.

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 1st, 2015 at 6:10 pm

OH, another tale of interest:
About twenty years ago, a promoter of one of these expert overseas bridge teams was interested in having someone arrange an exhibition match/s here in the States. Apparently, the bridge group (terrific players) had a difficult time finding someone to set it up as they were not in the financial shape to get it rolling. Looking for a solution, Bobby was asked by the gentleman in charge .. "What can we do?" Pulling no punches, Bobby simply replied, "Stop Cheating!"
What goes around .. comes around!!

Georgiana GatesOctober 1st, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Regarding the “Oh, shit!” case:

I am an occasional partner of Ed Lazarus, who serves on the National Appeals Committee. He was one of the two dissenters (the vote was 3-2).

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 2nd, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Hi Stranger!

Although it may go down as the worst ruling in the history of the ACBL, I am happy to know my old friend, Ed Lazarus, was one of the sound minded two dissenters. Not even sure if there was a close second .. especially in a major event.

As I recall, Ed lived in a neighboring state (possibly Delaware) and we crossed paths often but lost touch. Please send our regards.

With all that is going on, I find it hard to stomach, especially comments from some seemingly know-it-alls who believe the words of others who know not from whence they speak. Sadly our game has changed immeasurably .. and not for the best .. according to my observations. I hope it is not too late for a reversal of fortune .. but only time (and the right people at the helm) will determine that!

Stay in touch.

Judy

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