Judy Kay-Wolff

The Many Faces/Phases of Bridge (Part II)

I am beginning to understand the older one gets, how earlier recollections can be so biased.  In the early sixties, my life had been jam-packed with countless non-stop activities (particularly enraptured by bridge) and I never realized how really narrow and sheltered my life experiences were until my trip to the World Championships in 1968 to Deauville with Norman.  It was the first time I ventured off U. S. soil in over thirty years.  But, heaven knows, I surely made up for lost time.  

Because of some temporary political unrest in France at the time, Dame Fortune diverted us to London for a three day stay before crossing the English Channel and motoring down the coast to our final destination for the start of play.  I was in awe as I visited Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace .. monuments I read about but never saw; but .. you would not believe what really captivated me … of all things …  personally seeing Winston Churchill’s bunker in which he was sheltered during the World War II air raids .. though we were told he often ventured to the rooftop to see what was happening around the city.  

Didn’t get to see much of Deauville.  Two memories: hearing the bombs from World War II still being detonated in the harbor as I kibitzed the world championships, and getting to meet Omar Sharif for the first time (although I saw more of him when I officially oversaw and publicized the touring Sharif Circus when they visited Philly a few years later).   I must add .. I never met a more modest, friendlier, non-assuming individual than Omar.

Four years following the French trip, we had a two day layover in Hawaii, took an excursion to Pearl Harbor and eventually on to our final jaunt in Taiwan for another WBF outing.  That was an eternity ago and we continued attending all the NABCs  with one or two exceptions until Norman slowed down and passed on soon after.  It was an exhilarating way of life and I savored looking  back through many photo albums which captured the highlights of those years!   I soon awakened to the reality the time had come for me to slow down, savor the memories and enjoy those so-called ‘golden years’ without long flights, endless intrusive (though necessary) security checks and frequent layovers .. spending idle hours in airports.

Surprise, surprise!  One day in the Fall of 2003, I looked up and there I was on a plane to Monaco accompanying Bobby Wolff (whom I married two months later).  He was still actively participating in countless ACBLs, International Invitational Events and more World Championships (and definitely in possession of all his marbles even now approaching 85 in October).  It was constant packing and unpacking for the first eight years of our married life. At this juncture I stopped counting .. but it included three trips to Far East (Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan), two to Italy, one each to Istanbul, The Netherlands (Veldhoven) and San Paulo!  We are now settled down, relaxed and ecstatic with an idyllic life here in Vegas .. going wherever we want .. whenever we want .. with no time guidelines.  I told Bobby the next airline venture I make (hopefully not too soon) figures to me in a brown box to Philadelphia.   However, as I am constantly reminded  ..  NEVER SAY NEVER!

Enough tripping the light fantastic.  My final chapter and verse of the Many Faces/Phases of Bridge deals with more serious matters .. the nitty-gritty of what exists today and the uncertain future of bridge in the coming years. You might need a drink or tranquilizer before reading it!!


LisaMay 1st, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Being from a bridge playing family, I can attest to what you say. Bridge is not only a source of entertainment and meeting friends, but it is a challenging mind game. Some become obsessed when trying to improve; others give it up because they cannot tolerate the sense of frustration and failure. Sounds like you weathered the storm.

Judy Kay-WolffMay 1st, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Yes, Lisa.. but sometimes it is worse than a passing storm .. often you find yourself in the path of a tornado or cyclone. Being intelligent does not in itself make a good bridge player. Some have inherent talent which makes cultivation much easier. Others, like myself, had rough sledding, but I was fortunate to have been under the tutelage of two world class players which helped my learning process although did not do much for my ego at the time.

I am proud to have persevered to the point of enjoying the game, making thousands of casual friends and many close ones with whom I have stayed in touch over the course of decades.

My life has been enriched beyond my wildest dreams and allowed me to travel the world and visit places I had read about in books during my youth. A dream come true!

Some things are worth fighting for. Learning bridge is at the top of the list.

ANWMay 2nd, 2017 at 9:27 am

Hate to be a nitpicker, but…

1967 – Bermuda Bowl in Miami
1968 – Olympiad in Deauville

Norman Kay was on both teams.

Judy Kay-WolffMay 2nd, 2017 at 3:01 pm


You are far from a nitpicker. With all your recent efforts and research, I respect the accuracy of your correction and will change the year. Thanks for picking it up.. I knew Norman represented our country two consecutive years shortly after our marriage in 1963, with Miami first followed by Deauville.

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