Judy Kay-Wolff

Bridge Food for Thought

I was rather amused by the “official statement” of an “authorized ACBL official” to form an alliance with the EBL in an effort to resolve the countless problems that have emerged… defacing our once-wonderful game. If you ADD THE TWO GROUPS TOGETHER, they combine to form the universal unchallenged ‘Father of Bridge’ — THE WORLD BRIDGE FEDERATION. The ultimate aim of the WBF is to promote and honor the highest level of bridge competition in the world in an effort to strengthen and attempt to further its existence for many years to come. Political alliances should not deter them. Supporting the efforts of the WBF should be their primary consideration!

Bridge here in Zone 2 seems to be focusing on attracting more members, giving away floods of master points, raising tournament and ‘special club game’ fees (and salaries) and promoting what Bobby laughingly refers to as HCW (High Card Wins) — without any deliberate effort to further and protect the expert game which has sunken below the performances of many other nations. Worse yet, from talk over the last few years, it was rumored (not confirmed) that the intent and desire of the Board of Directors (with a couple of exceptions) was to vote to stop paying dues to the WBF which offers the only chance for top level bridge to survive on this side of the ocean. On the subject of money, I know since the inception of the ACBL eons ago, Board members were proud and honored to serve without pay… originally with only minimum expenses and perks. Now, there is talk about rearranging the structure with salaried participants. Our heroes of old would turn over in their graves if they saw what has become of the administration of our special game.

No one is denying the glorious intention of going all-out to rid our game of cheating of any kind, in all corners of the world. However, though many private groups have made valiant efforts at organized bridge in this zone, we must go all out to ‘officially’ get it into our schools here. Because of Bobby’s unyielding efforts starting over two decades ago at the Great Hall of China (despite intermittent delays), bridge was recognized and is now OFFICIALLY considered a ‘real’ curriculum there and 200,000,000 children are learning the game there as well as in many European cities. In the eyes of hosts of appreciative bridge lovers, this should be a PRIORITY… but alas, other projects come first.

As far as unifying the EBL and ACBL to ‘zero in’ and stop cheating… better late than never! — I wish they had awakened to that issue back in the sixties and seventies when my late husband, Norman Kay, his team-mates and other worthy competitors kept losing to the revered BT — taking over half a century to let the truth be known. Sadly, we cannot turn back the clock… but the ACBL should have higher and more crucial goals — like SUPPORTING THE WBF BOTH SPIRITUALLY AND FINANCIALLY… strengthening our universal bridge authority.


SamJune 23rd, 2016 at 4:20 am

I agree concerning the school issue! What could be more important than officially putting bridge on the school curriculum! It assists an individual in so any ways and helps to develop valuable assets for later life. It is far from ‘just another card game!”

Judy Kay-WolffJune 23rd, 2016 at 4:39 am

You don’t have to be a mental giant to observe the downward turn in Zone 2 bridge. The youngsters in Asia and Europe are loving their exposure to their new play toy .. with many positive ramifications other than merely ‘playing cards.’ I wish I had learned the game earlier in life. However, just watching world class players like Norman and Bobby made me realize how much there is to the game — with never ending opportunities in so many areas. We should be grateful to the many bridge pioneers who helped develop the game .. enhancing our enjoyment as time went by!

ReneJune 23rd, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Thanks for your candor .. but you never did mince words!

Judy Kay-WolffJune 23rd, 2016 at 2:49 pm

It is about time someone spoke up about the farce that has been going on in recent years. It appears, because of people like Boye Brogeland, Kit Woolsey, et al., the cheating issue has been exposed and all-out efforts have been exerted to discover, prove and exterminate its existence ASAP. Not an easy job .. but at least we now have the bridge FBI on top of it.

We have even more disgusting goings on involving budgets, expenses, perks, unqualified committees, political intervention without the best interests of the game at heart, etc., etc. Unless people wake up and make themselves heard instead of staring into space and watching our game (at least on this side of the ocean) being navigated in the wrong direction .. I fear it will cause the extinction of high level bridge in due time.

Darwin AfdahlJune 23rd, 2016 at 5:15 pm


As usual, I enjoyed your comments, June 23 2016.

I didn’t understand your reference, “revered BT”

Judy Kay-WolffJune 24th, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Hi Dar,

…. Revered Blue Team.

Perhaps you are too young to remember, but the sadness is still quite vivid in my memory and will remain forever heart wrenching.



Judy Kay-WolffJune 24th, 2016 at 2:48 pm


I neglected to add, my Bobby suffered the same experience in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975 (partnered with Bob Hamman and different teammates). As they say .. and the beat went on!

AlanJune 24th, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Many serious bridge players have the same well-founded concerns as yours. What has happened to our leadership? Why are the true experts remaining so silent on many of these frightening issues? Are those ‘sitting on high’ capable of overriding positions taken by more knowledgeable, better qualified well-screened and proven individuals? Sounds like politics are taking over. What the hell is going on?

Judy Kay-WolffJune 24th, 2016 at 7:21 pm

Right on. Alan! Tell it like it is.

I admire your candor. My gut feeling is that the organization is gradually being taken over by people who may be well geared in other fields .. but unqualified to deal with high level bridge. Much money (admittedly) according to ACBL officials has been wasted (not deliberately of course) on the computer issue debacles. But, in real life, it has to be chalked up in the minus column. Enough mistakes have been made and it is OURS TRULY, the members, paying the bills. We should have our say.

It is hard to imagine how the powers that be do not understand how necessary the very high-class game means to the future of bridge. Without it, the word BRIDGE is not worth the paper it is written upon.

I am not knocking the beginning, middle class or even experienced players who are all trying to improve. Bridge affords joy and enormous pleasures to people at all levels. My life has been enriched by sixty years on the scene and I am merely an average player who has had a very fortunate life by being in the right place at the right time.

However, priority should be afforded to those whose talents will uphold the majesty and beauty of the game for centuries to come. Without recognition of that responsibility, those at the helm should move on where their talents are appreciated.

It all boils down to the fact that those making such earth-moving decisions should be aware of their responsibilities and, if incapable or unwilling, be replaced by worthy successors!

Bobby WolffJune 25th, 2016 at 12:36 pm

To attempt a cut to the immediate scenario:

1. Long lasting incredible work ethic and attention to detail by some real bridgelovers, led by Boye and Kit plus the ability to use videos have produced a beginning to the end of cheating at bridge.

2. The next step is to take advantage of what appears to be the foreseeable future for what we might and IMO should assume to be the immediate result of what our bridge heroes have accomplished.

3. While future deterrents to preventing more stealthy electronic cheating should never leave the drawing board and always be evident, I do not see that task as #1, at least in Zone 2 (North America).

4. At this moment, or in fact, time has wasted in not spending more effort, research and publicity in promoting bridge world championships and doing our utmost to, as has been done in both Europe (first) and China (second) teaching bridge in an official way (school systems) so that we can all be assured that the foundation has been laid for the perpetuation of our great game for decades and likely centuries to come and not be excluding the Western Hemisphere from being a major part of this necessary enterprise, if indeed we hope that contract bridge is here to stay, the world over.

5. Instead of having a “cold” war between the administrative leadership in North America (ACBL) and the small representative of our high-level international participation (USBF) we need to join together in full anticipation of between those two groups making every effort to duplicate what those other continents have accomplished, while in the meantime promote high-level bridge as the vehicle it really is, teaching life qualities not available in other forms of endeavors, not necessarily having to do with making money, but rather the teaching of problem solving, partnership cooperation (also involving active ethics), risk management and the overall logic involved with making a success of worthwhile endeavors and the work ethic which is required to do it. Possible a short cut explanation is the ability to use one’s mind to figure out how and what it takes to be successful in whatever is chosen.

6. While the many high-level experts in North America need to give their time and effort to promote and help in whatever way thought beneficial to further our game, the administrative group has to be willing to do the same, giving their time and effort to the same goal, instead of negatively impacting what, at least to me, is the real danger of, by not being mutually cooperative, the effectual extinction of high-level bridge within our geographical location.

In other words, one group will not be able to survive without the other. The high-level group needs tournaments to play and financial support in the way of certain expenses plus the contributions necessary enabling the WBF to continue to provide necessary World Championships which is the spoon which feeds the project of championship bridge.

It is doubtful (and I think impossible) to consider that the promotion of the lesser bridge game will be able to eventually sustain the interest necessary to last many more decades which IMO will be more accurately calibrated by only years.

The time is now, while bridge is now flourishing in the places which have followed those suggestions above making those continents some years ahead of our side of the oceans, but still able for our side to, in due time, to catch up and with American ingenuity in tow, to not stop there, but actually go past and in a cheating free environment raise the playing of bridge an enterprise for all intelligent people the world over, to love and above all, respect.

We need to be an important part of this glorious process and, for that to happen, we need to make the important changes recommended and do so immediately.

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