Judy Kay-Wolff

Would You Believe????

Do you remember as kids how intrigued we were with magicians and all that phony-baloney stuff? It was always a fascination and here I am… still mystified even at my age. While watching a football game this afternoon, the conversation casually turned to Bobby’s Texas birth site. He reminisced that one time he was invited to a San Antonio TV station with two or three 5:00 News Broadcasters in the early to mid sixties and performed on stage (live!) an incredible feat. He asked someone to shuffle a fresh deck of cards, hand it to him (which he reshuffled a few times), then had the person remove a card (so he could not see it and return to him the remaining fifty-one cards). Bobby then turned the deck over (face up), thumbed speedily through them to come up with the denomination of the card… Ace? Deuce? Six? Ten? Queen? WHATEVER!!! Of course, if it was the wrong card, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Obviously, he hit pay dirt.

After I heard the story, I replied… “O. K. This one I gotta see. Do you still remember how to do it?” About one minute later I handed him a freshly shuffled deck, he went through the exact routine with me this afternoon… and damned if he didn’t confidently smile and ask me to flip over the missing EIGHT (of CLUBS)… and it sure was! This made me realize (after playing bridge with Bobby for over thirteen years)… what I always suspected… maybe he can see through the cards!!


SamNovember 15th, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Hi Judy:

What a welcome relief to turn my mind away from the last few weeks of both the approach to (and repercussions of) the recent election. I always knew Bobby was pretty sharp. While kibitzing him, I was never sure what trick he'd have up his sleeve next.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 15th, 2016 at 7:09 pm

Good morning Sam:

Believe it or not, despite celebrating our 13th anniversary next month, I never had an inkling till yesterday Bobby had any leanings toward card tricks (and that wasn’t the only one he performed for me). I suppose when you have “numeracy” (of which I am devoid), it makes numbers and cards so much easier to deal with … AND … is such a huge advantage at the bridge table. Oh, well, one can’t ‘have everything!!’

SamNovember 16th, 2016 at 7:32 pm


Never heard the word ‘numeracy before and I didn’t know whether that was good or bad.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 16th, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Well, Sam, I never heard that word either until Bobby entered my life.

Until about eight years ago we attended all NABCs as well as Asian and European cities, but because of travel inconveniences we curtailed our activities and now play together bi-weekly at a lovely local club and our Sectionals and Regionals. Our results have been pretty good as they were with Norman, so it is normal for people to mutter under their breath .. ‘Sure …….. Look who she’s playing with’ …. and I would be the first one to agree.

When we married,I gave up KS for a much looser system (easier for me and harder for the opponents)!

Finally on to Numeracy. As a kid I was good in arithmetic but unaware bridge playing goes way beyond! When we started playing, Bobby incessantly (even with good results) kept explaining why my actions could be much improved. I originally thought his manner was demeaning but I now know his many taught disciplines were integral to our success.

My wounds were finally soothed when he recently said … and I quote: “Dear, of all the many innumerate persons I have ever partnered over the years, YOU ARE NO DOUBT THE BEST!

How do you answer that?

Art KorthNovember 17th, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Bobby’s comment to you is certainly more of a compliment than one I used to tell my ex: “With the exception of you and me, everyone in the world is crazy. And I am not sure about you!”

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 17th, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Hi Art:

Funny thing, the first time I heard that expression was from my mother eons ago. However, it often appears that way.

As you can imagine, it is exciting to play regularly with a world class champion .. and though it can be frustrating at times, one cannot imagine how much I have learned and the difference in my style and outlook. I take the game very seriously, but it is hard to play catch-up at 82. All one can do is try their best! And .. yes, I did take Bobby's remark as a compliment! We all have different ways of expressing ourselves! Bobby does not beat around the bush. He tells it like it is.

AlanNovember 17th, 2016 at 5:02 pm

It sounds like what you are saying is that being intellectual or smart does not determine your bridge potential. I have often heard that bridge is the most challenging card game in the universe. Do you agree?

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 17th, 2016 at 6:01 pm


Take it from one who was introduced to our game about sixty years ago. Intelligence alone does not necessarily give one natural instinct or so-called ‘smarts’ to climb to the expert level.

The perfect example of this theory are two of the most respected, creative, industrious, wealthy and successful men in the universe: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. However, though geniuses in their respective fields does not make them top players. They have both adored the game for decades, have made popular appearances at major tournaments partnered by top players. Few could be more fascinated and captivated by bridge though they along with thousands, are merely popular lovers of the game. However, their appearances provide much pleasure and excitement to those in attendance and they certainly have a positive effect on the game.

So, summarizing the above, Bobby was right on target! The key word to bridge success is numeracy!

Georgiana GatesNovember 20th, 2016 at 5:15 pm

We have a Nobel prize winner in our unit. He’s a solid player, but nowhere near a top expert.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 21st, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Hi Geoergiana,

Out of curiosity .. whom may that be??

By the way, ‘numeracy’ does not cure all ills. Just look around at some of our bridge experts! I now recognize how much it helps at the table .. but you must possess many other attributes to enjoy a healthy, normal, well-adjusted successful life. Not winning consistently is not the end of the world, but it sure doesn’t bolster one’s ego.

roger pewickNovember 22nd, 2016 at 6:51 pm

Look to Bob Curl, of buckyball fame. We are fortunate to have him.

Mac KennedyNovember 22nd, 2016 at 9:44 pm

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Omar Sharif did the same thing with extras on the set to practice his card skills. As you know an important element of bridge is remembering who played what and when.
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving
Just got back from a visit to family in Ottawa no time for bridge this trip

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 23rd, 2016 at 12:45 am

Hi Mac,

I got to see a lot of Omar when he brought the Circus to Philadelphia. He had more kibitzers than you could shake a stick at .. and many did not even play bridge. He was warm, friendly and very unassuming. I remember after one session, I saw many ladies forming a line. Out of curiosity,, I asked what the attraction was. I should have figured it out myself. It was Omar’s suite.

That was forty six years ago. Funny the things one remembers!

Georgiana GatesNovember 23rd, 2016 at 6:29 pm

He’s Dr. Robert Curl, professor emeritus of chemistry at Rice University. He shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1997, for the discovery of “buckyballs”.

He also was instrumental in getting Eddie Wold to teach a bridge class at Rice University.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 23rd, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Hi Georgiana,

When Roger briefly named him above, out of curiosity .. I researched him. Very impressive!
I was, believe it or not, more delighted that he encouraged Eddie to teach bridge at any educational level. Bobby brought that to the scene in China but unfortunately it did not become a reality until about ten years later.

Now, over two hundred million children are learning it in their school system and many European educational institutions are following suit. (No pun intended)!

Georgiana GatesNovember 27th, 2016 at 2:43 pm

This thread is more relevant than I thought. The ACBL has added another Nobel prize winner. http://cdn.acbl.org/nabc/2016/03/bulletins/db3.pdf. He’s Magnus Olafsson, originally from Iceland, a cowinner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 28th, 2016 at 7:04 pm

It is sad we don’t have one smidgeon of these very dedicated geniuses to help turn the ACBL around. The more I read, the more sickening it becomes. I hardly recognize some of the names. Guess the many greats of old have either passed on or lost interest. Oh, how I yearn for the good old days when I did not attend only two nationals in forty-some years. I miss the people .. but not the chaos that accompanies it. I guess that is the price of growing old.

Bigot-JohnsonDecember 1st, 2016 at 8:44 pm

Sadly there is no such thing as magic but there is as sure as hell deception and trickery which leaves onlooker bemused and bewildered. We look to see what is happened butour eyes are cleverly diverted to see only what the trickster wants us to see …..not the reality of how the trick is done.
This is so true of a top class bridge player who performs apparent miracles by the cunning art of deception , leading mortals like me to make wrong assumptions and conclusions.
We are all told that bridge is about reading the cards but sadly most of us are cursed to play the game looking through cracked and cloudy spectacles.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 2nd, 2016 at 5:32 pm


What a candid observation. A perfect example is my sitting across from Bobby as an obedient dummy and not realizing until trick 13 what he had accomplished. Very few are blessed with that’ magic touch.’ I am convinced it is inbred .. or what Bobby refers to as ‘numeracy.’

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