Judy Kay-Wolff

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel for using their lovely melodic contribution as an intro, but I cannot help reflect upon the gradually deflating excitement, pleasure and convenience of our once-favorite pastime. I savor the memories of my early introduction to our unique and exhilarating game itself and all the marvelous people with whom I have crossed paths. However, as with most good things, they eventually come to an end … and recent happenings, as gloomy as they sound, point in that direction unless we can do an immediate About Face .. which is no easy chore.

Perhaps the most distressing aspect of bridge is the recent (though long ongoing) discovery and investigation of cheating .. especially at the highest of levels .. in world competition. Research into the insidious happenings initiated by Boye Brogeland, Kit Woolsey and many other concerned, outraged and dedicated bridge lovers has unraveled previous efforts to expose same, via videos, monitoring, etc. which is in the process of turning this into a reality. Although one pair has officially confessed, the other accused parties’ fates are awaiting hearings .. to adjudicate innocence, punishment or compromised penalties .. at the hands of specially appointed committees. Obviously the shame involved can be earth shattering for our once majestic game, but regardless of the consequences, cheating in any form MUST BE STOPPED! Nationalism and politics are very much involved, but nothing should interfere with halting its continuation AT ANY COST.

On the lighter side, we too, here in the states, are having our own problems .. mainly because of our nation’s downtrodden economy. As I have alluded to before, it has taken its toll on Las Vegas tournaments which have been bearing the brunt of the situation over the last several years. This weekend’s Sectional was proof positive!. Because of earlier contractual commitments made by officials of our Unit with Strip Hotels (which are centrally located for most players), we got locked into contracts we were unable to fulfill (falling far short of room commitments), therefore placing us in great financial jeopardy. As a result, for the last two outings we were forced to travel to a substantially more affordable (but less convenient) locale in Henderson (The Boy Scout Site) which (even by super highways traveling in daylight and returning at night) takes about half an hour and is over twenty miles away from our location (and many attendees are from our area). Some prefer to avoid the fast lane and travel through the more heavily traversed areas which takes close to forty-five minutes or more and from the last two tournaments (with substantially fewer in attendance), it was obvious the site (though super in many ways) was a deterrent. Those at the helm did the best they could — supplied many goodies and were quite accommodating — but travel time discouraged many regulars from attending.

As described earlier, the huge, well lit room had plenty of empty tables. It looked more like a large duplicate with two sections. There were pair games and teams, but the Monday/Tuesday Teams (and I don’t know about other days) proved to be a total farce. There was a minuscule number of entrants with diverse abilities; thus, handicapping which turned about to be a Ripley’s Believe It or Not …. because as I wrote earlier .. in the three-team Final, the winner turned out to be four excited individuals who lost to both finalists (not winning their last matches) but winning overall .. virtually by their handicap. No more handicap team outings for me. The next event into which my team entered (which I must confess was extraordinarily good — was composed of Ken Bercuson, Ronnie Rubin, Bobby and moi — bringing up the rear). In spite of it .. we won both the Wednesday and Thursday afternoon one session Swiss teams (four six board matches) with scores of 72 out of 80 and 76 out of 80. No, they are not typos and I am not bragging .. just making a point! In fact, it is embarrassing! Can you imagine the absence of so many top players and teams in a LV Sectional to have such a weak field????? There was a pair game going on simultaneously, with a couple of pretty good pairs .. but the superstars were sparse for the first four days. We took off today as I was suffering from total exhaustion though we got door to door service the last two days. The absence of top players at a Las Vegas Sectional is unique .. especially since the Scout Site was less then ten minutes from McCarren Airport with a nearby hotel.

As far as localities, I think it all boils down to not having more convenient Strip hotel sites as in the past. It was obvious the Henderson location was not as conducive to attract players and most of us feel if we had a more central location, this week’s Sectional would have been a bigger draw, considering we have at least five well-attended nearby duplicate clubs almost daily which (except for one) was closed during the entire time of the Sectional. If anyone has any suggestions, we certainly would welcome them.

We have high hopes for our Regional at Bally’s this summer from June 6-12 and we are optimistic that we will have lots of out-of-towers as well as locals. Check our website for all the details (schedules, special hotel rates, etc.). I am about to make my reservation for the week and eagerly await seeing all our out of town friends again. No more daily treks for this old broad!


SamMarch 5th, 2016 at 5:35 am

Yes, it is a far cry from the tournaments I attended twenty or so years ago. Hopefully, returning to the Strip will draw more players and restore the excitement that seemed to be missing earlier in the week.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 5th, 2016 at 5:43 am

Hi Sam,

Just returned from dinner and saw your message. I already heard from a couple of out of town friends who are now checking into airline reservations for our June Regional back at Bally’s. It figures to be a full week of activity .. bridge, blackjack, poker and whatever else floats one’s boat!

Vincent GeorgeMarch 5th, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Judy, I found your blog by mistake but I am glad I did. I was looking for a blog about bridges that span rivers. I am against cheating in anything. This was a nice read. Thank you.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 5th, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Hi Vincent,

What a pleasant surprise. Fate works in such strange ways that you should happen upon my tirade about cheating at bridge — among other things.

Mac KennedyMarch 10th, 2016 at 7:06 pm

I remember in the early 70s when I was starting to play. Sectionals 100-120 miles were a day trip back home and back the next day, 2 lane black top and no express ways. Hotels were for Regionals and like Philadelphia there was snow and lots more of it.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 19th, 2016 at 12:11 am

Sorry Mac, I didn’t see this until just now.

You were more adventuresome than I was to take on those long round trips. At that time I was married and rarely travelled to Regionals other than New York where my late husband, Norman Kay, played with Edgar Kaplan. I loved a weekend in The Big Apple with all the incredible eating facilities and Friday night theatre if he was not starting to play until Saturday. But, of course, NY was just as prone to have big snowstorms as Philly. Also, living in town near the railroad (30th Street Station) allowed us to avoid driving as the Pennsylvania Railroad was just a mile from where we lived (and Norman worked).

Now, living in Vegas with Bobby, for the last ten years, I almost forget what that white stuff looks like as we only play locally .. with few exceptions during the early years of our marriage. I don’t miss the exhaustion (or expense) of traveling three times a year to the nationals — and local sectionals and regionals are normally a hop, skip and a jump to the Strip where we are now scheduled for the next few years.

Hard to believe the route bridge has taken since I began back in the mid fifties. No one could be more indebted to the fate of learning the game in my college days!

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