Judy Kay-Wolff

For Bridge History Buffs

Scan0017

The above magazine cover from Popular Bridge came out in October, 1970 .. a few years after the contemplation of arranging the first Professional Bridge Team in the world.  By a strange coincidence, we learned that a former secretary to a Texas business tycoon had accumulated some bridge memorabilia from decades ago and wanted to find a worthy home for it.  When we learned of it, I contacted Lynda Chalk Barefield by phone and following a delightful half hour chat with my dear newly found friend, Bobby and I received a package on our doorstep.  The photo above includes six Aces, their Captain and Coach.   See if you can identify them.  More to come!!


11 Comments

Mike HeinsApril 30th, 2017 at 3:15 am

Top left to right — Bobby Wolff, Broadway Billy Eisenberg, Ira Corn, Joe Musumeci
Sitting left to right: Bobby Goldman, Jim Jacoby, Mike Lawrence, Bob Hamman

Judy Kay-WolffApril 30th, 2017 at 4:51 am

Right on, Mike!
I am attempting to have Bobby tell me the details how the Aces really came together. It was mentioned in The Lone Wolff but too long to detail some little known facts.

JoanApril 30th, 2017 at 8:17 pm

Judy,

Out of the eight gentlemen pictured above, do you know how many are still alive?

Judy Kay-WolffApril 30th, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Joan,

Sadly four are no longer with us: Ira Corn was the first to go, followed by Jim Jacoby, Bobby Goldman and Coach Joe Musumeci. The remaining four are still very much alive .. each doing ‘their own thing.’ They were all a credit to bridge with uncontested ethics and with a fierce love and devotion to the game.

Bobby is working with me to reveal the names of those who helped and encouraged the official formation of the Dallas Aces in the early years.

Mike HeinsApril 30th, 2017 at 8:44 pm

I started playing duplicate the year the Aces won their first Bermuda Bowl, I believe — 1970. A high school friend of mine and I bought the Charles Goren Precision book and assaulted the local duplicate club, certain we would immediately prevail. Of course we didn’t scratch for a number of sessions, but I remember that first section 5th sent us to the moon. (No stratified pairs then — we were competing against the pretty strong field of Champaign, IL.)

I remembered the stories from that Precision book talking about the Chinese team being beaten by the powerful Dallas Aces, and went and bought more books trying to find out about them. It wasn’t always easy to get information in those days, but eventually I haunted enough libraries and bridge tournaments to get quite well informed about the team.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 30th, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Hi Mike,

It is so nice to make a new blogging buddy. I recognize your name from posts elsewhere, but I don't recall our ever making earlier contact.

I well remember the Precision Team as I was good friends with some of their original likeable cast.

I started playing fifteen years before you and I really savor and cherish the countless
memories of the early days (those I can still remember as I have been on the scene for what seems like an eternity).

Welcome aboard and stay in touch.

Cheers,

Judy

Gary MugfordMay 1st, 2017 at 12:27 am

That was the year I started playing Bridge! My friend Don (we were chess club teammates) and his Mom and Dad played a lot of Bridge because Don had become too good for his Dad. They frequently had a neighbour who played, but I got inserted as a needed spare one night. I didn’t have anything going on with the lacrosse team I played on or the softball team I coached. Serendipity.

Now, the kitchen Bridge game at their house wasn’t actually real Bridge. The rules there included having dummy lay down trumps BEFORE opening lead. And all 1 level contracts were thrown in. Led to some interesting hands where no bid could be found, the worst example being on with 4-3-3-3 17 HCP with four small cards in the opened suit by RHO. Still, it was another trick-taking game to add to Euchre, Hearts, Spades and the most popular, Bug Your Neighbour. And it was fun.

Don, being the adventurous type, even took it on himself to go out to the nascent Bramalea Duplicate Bridge Club at the town library, where he discovered his parents weren’t all knowing. About a month later, he dragged me out to the club where I discovered certain truths too. The playing in front of me was the hardest part of that night, as I recall. That and declaring 1NT!! But, as luck looks out for the innocent, Don and I managed to win, getting .08 of a point from the far-off American Contract Bridge League. I remember virtually SKIPPING all the way home, yelling “WE are the Bridge CHAMPIONS of Bramalea!!” Really thought I was about to conquer the Bridge World and become the Bobby Fischer of card-chucking.

Took me exactly a year again of regular attendance to win. It helped that I got through Freddy Sheinwold’s Five Weeks to Winning Bridge by then.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t with Don. His family moved from suburban Toronto to suburban Montreal (not too far from Uncle Ken and Aunt Goldie). A bit of a trek to find a Bridge game we could play at since neither of us drove. Sigh.

Oddly enough, I also won at the first tournament I ever played in, winning (actually tying for first, but ….) the Novice Teams at the Canadian Nationals. Winning wasn’t hard in Bridge, it was finding ways to make it the first time all over again that was.

But I was able to take up a partnership with fellow student Blake (two years ahead) and then with Arvid, one year behind. Both helped me along, especially Arvid. We were a top Junior pair in the southern Ontario. Which was interesting in that Arvid’s father, the Good Reverend, was the head of the Canadian branch of a religious organization. One of THEIR tenets was a prohibition against gambling in particular and card-playing in general. I certainly was the face of the Devil in his mother’s eye. On the other hand, the Good Reverend recognized his kid was a wild child and that I actually had a moderating effect on Arvid. We didn’t exactly have his blessing, but we had his understanding.

Arvid and I were in contention to win the Rookie Pairs at the Nationals going into the final hand. I was the declarer and had to drop TWO Kings via the Rabbi’s Rule. Got one of those suckers. Not the other. We finished third. Then, it was off to college in the States for Arvid and, having graduated myself, it was onto to finding various partners willing to get into this new bidding system called Precision. And other sorts of adventures.

Keep up the reminiscing. It’s helping ME remember too!

Judy Kay-WolffMay 1st, 2017 at 12:30 am

Gary:

The Good Reverend had something in common with Ira Corn. Mr. Corn’s family not only did not allow any form of card playing .. but no cards were allowed in their home at all!!

CPMay 1st, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Didn’t Mark Blumenthal also play for the Aces?
Is he still around!

Judy Kay-WolffMay 1st, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Funny you should ask about Mark. His name came up in conversation just yesterday. Mark did play part time for the Aces in ’73 and ’74.

I met Mark when he settled in Philadelphia about fifty some years ago. Needless to say, he was extremely bright and we often played word games together. After he moved and played with the Aces, we sort of lost touch. Strangely, we found each other again .. and would you believe it was right here on this blog site??? I think he was living in Chicago. After many back and forths, our contacts slowed down. Eventually I learned he died from complications after open heart surgery. It was good to be reunited with him. .. even if only temporarily!

Judy Kay-WolffMay 11th, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Just received this from my friend Terry Smith (and confessing to not be so svelte myself) .. was not reluctant to post .. especially the latter reference.

‘Don’t know why this suddenly popped into my head but sometime in the early 1970’s I was in Chicago and decided to take a walk through the grounds of my alma mater (University of Chicago) when I spotted Ira and he spotted me, walking towards each other. Simultaneously we both said “What are you doing here?” turns out he got his Masters Degree there about 10 years before I graduated from the College (in 1959). Small world sometimes, isn’t it? Thought Bobby might get a chuckle out of this.”

“I also remember when we first moved the ACBL to Memphis the Board Members (or at least most of them) came to visit our new headquarters on Democrat Road. The next day board meetings began in St. Louis so we were all on the same plane flying there (what would have happened if a crash?) Ira and I were sitting directly across from each other. The stewardess brought an extension for Ira to buckle in but even that was not enough, so he rode with no belt on.”

“Funny how memories like this suddenly come back to me.”

Thanks Terry. Heard lots of “Ira stories”
… but not that particular one.

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