Judy Kay-Wolff

Finally … “Under The Table”

After several years of investigation (and research together with some of the world’s most knowledgeable bridge aficionados), Avon Wilsmore is about to release a long-awaited saga which describes in detail cheating by the world’s most successful bridge team (winning fourteen world championships).

On September 12th I posted on my site “A Long Overdue Epic” which gives you specific details of its ‘coming out’ party… during the World Championship in Orlando, Florida which will be in session this time next week. It includes the Publisher, Distributor and Price.

I am curious as to the reaction of the Orlando attendees, a few of whom were victims of the old notorious Blue Team. However, the present and recent Italian Team, after ridding themselves of a convicted Italian pair, are far and away unlike their predecessors!

I have a vested interest that the truth finally be told via “suspect” leads, underleads, passes, bids, overbids, underbids, balancing and passing when it “just happens” to turn out right. I caught a glimpse of some of the hands cited and at times I gaped in shock and Bobby would hear me yelp: “YOU MUST BE KIDDING!” To guess right sooooo many times is beyond the stretch of even a psychic’s imagination! JUST YOU WAIT.

As many of you may know, I was/am the wife of two of the Blue Team’s victims: The late Norman Kay and, of course, Bobby. You can well understand my appreciation of Avon’s unbelievable efforts to present UNDER THE TABLE to many dubious or naive bridge lovers.


JoanSeptember 16th, 2018 at 9:34 pm

What an awakening espousal of what we are about to read. I knew Norman never won a world championship though his peers knew how deserving he was.

Can’t wait till its release.

JudySeptember 16th, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Hi Joan,

I am deliriously happy that the world of bridge will have something to seriously dwell upon.
Certainly some of the disbelievers will have reason to reconsider their strong feelings. The various actions cited are astounding. The book speaks for itself!!

Jonathan FergusonSeptember 17th, 2018 at 5:47 am

I’m stunned by these revelations. What took so long? Why didn’t one of the Aces write this book 40 years ago? Were they really so stupid that they didn’t know what was going on or were they just being beaten by superior Black Magic or were they too gutless to stand on principle? Regardless of which option you choose (I can’t think of a fourth option) it doesn’t look good for them.

I don’t know who I have more contempt for: The WBF cover-uppers or the cheaters themselves. Sad!

Avon WilsmoreSeptember 17th, 2018 at 6:16 am


I agree that it is startling that so little happened in response to Blue Team cheating.

But note that Hamman, Swanson and Wolff all discuss BT cheating in their respective bridge autobiographies; Swanson and Wolff were ridiculed, Hamman was ignored.

Alan Truscott discussed BT cheating in The New York Times Bridge Book… he might as well not have bothered.

In 1975, the US team wanted to not play against the cheating Facchini and Zucchelli… they were told that would result in a lengthy ban upon returning home.

The real culprits were the senior administrators (WBF, EBL, FIGB and ACBL) and their policy of “minimize the scandal”.

It is only post-Boye that the public is prepared to accept that collusive cheating at the highest level is a reality.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 17th, 2018 at 6:40 am


Every top player in the world has known about the alleged cheating issues referred to for decades. It was ‘taboo’ to speak about. It is the WBF (World Bridge Federation) who have protected the cheats for decades for fear of scandal though it was not gossip .. but rather gospel. Why target The Aces when literally thousands of other knowledgeable victims were well aware of the heinous behavior with which you are taking issue.

I think you should rethink your accusations
and acquaint yourself better with the people really responsible for putting a halt to exposing the horrendous goings on that could have been stopped by the reigning body long before 2018.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 17th, 2018 at 6:56 am

Hi Avon,

I just saw you ‘beat me to the punch” but certainly presenting a documentary of knowledgeable personalities explains it in more detail than I could have .. although I do recall your references. Thanks, as always, for rising to the occasion! The good guys of the bridge world are in your debt!

Jonathan FergusonSeptember 17th, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Avon and Judy,

Knowing about allegations is one thing. But the ONLY way to definitively expose it is to do precisely what Avon is doing: Write a lengthy book detailing dozens of examples of truly bizarre “decisions” that “miraculously” worked. Not mutter about how “We wuz robbed, I tell ya!” Not say “So and so thinks they were cheating and that’s good enough for me” or “Look at this one hand, doesn’t it seem fishy?” The evidence was all there, waiting to be assembled. All it took was ONE man to assemble it.

No honorable man would do less.

The victims of the Blue Team were not children or destitute men, one paycheck from homelessness. So why did they consent to being cheated year after year after year? We’re back to my original question. Shameful!

As to Why the Aces? Well, because they were the primary victims. They had the stature to make the charges heard, the expertise to build an ironclad case and the resources to get ‘er done. A better question is: Who else but the Aces?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Well, I have no opinion as to how “good” they were or weren’t but they sure did (next to) nothing.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 17th, 2018 at 5:08 pm


First of all, get your facts straight!!!

It was NOT ONLY THE ACES who got robbed .. but rather whomever The Blue Team opposed .. mostly their European comrades.

Secondly, I am Avon‘s NUMBER ONE FAN and most grateful for his longtime diligent efforts which will educate the public .. detailing the never-ending crimes perpetrated by the illustrious Blue Team.

Lastly, I was shocked by your unwarranted remarks of criticism and decided to look you up on the Internet as I did not recognize your name.
It was there I read on Bridgewinners (2016) in bold red print:

Suspended indefinitely from Bridge Winners. Reasons .. making too many political, rude and offensive comments.

And .. barring you from this site for incorrect statements and accusations .. leans me toward doing the same!

Jonathan FergusonSeptember 17th, 2018 at 5:18 pm


You should know that the folks who run that site aren’t exactly famous for their honesty or integrity.

Here’s the thread that got me a one-month suspension.


Insisting upon editorial control of my own profile on that site is what got me banned.

But if you wish that I not post on your blog, I will honor your wishes. Let me know if that’s the case.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 17th, 2018 at 7:46 pm


It took me an hour to reference the thread to which you directed me. In the middle, I had to stop and catch my breath before I finished reviewing your comments. You certainly have a mind of your own (as no doubt do I) but readers resented expounding upon your extremely strong principles .. right or wrong.

Getting back to our issue: My bone of contention is that you single out The Aces for not exercising what you believed to be their duty. They spent every waking hour practicing hours on end to improve their conventions and partnership understandings.

What about the hundreds of other Blue Team Victims. What did they do??? It was not until Avon decided to devote several years of his life to this worthwhile investigation that we will soon be blessed with UNDER THE TABLE.

I just wanted to make it clear you targeted the wrong people in your post here .. and, yes, you can comment here again if you choose.

Jonathan FergusonSeptember 17th, 2018 at 9:33 pm


I guess I don’t see the logic in spending “every waking hour practicing hours on end to improve [my] conventions and partnership understandings” just so that I can lose to flagrant cheaters and then do little, if anything, about it.

But I’ve said my piece and hopefully your readers are persuaded by your arguments if I happen to be wrong about this.

So what was your take on the Serena-Osaka tennis imbroglio? Are you #TeamSerena or #TeamRamos?

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 17th, 2018 at 11:15 pm


Bobby played professionally for the original Dallas Aces and they spent every waking moment trying to improve their partnerships and results. It was his livelihood! EVERY bridge organization (particularly the WBF) were blatantly aware of the goings on .. but preferred the status quo! And why not? They were winning almost everything in sight.
What could they gain??? It was not up to the players to act .. but rather each country’s administration (including the ACBL) but in matters such a these .. everyone feared scandals and lawsuits.

However, thanks to Avon, the time has finally arrived and I count the days until the world learns the truth!

As far as tennis, I don’t follow it.

In closing (in case you are unaware), Bobby’s bridge commitments and accomplishments are unequalled. Beside serving as President of both the American Contract Bridge League and the World Bridge Federation, he has won eleven World Championhips, created both The Recorder System and The Ethical Oversight Committee .. and toooo many other pro bono contributions upon which to elaborate.

Enough said!

Avon WilsmoreSeptember 18th, 2018 at 12:55 am

I think Jonathon has an entirely valid point, and it is a point that mystified me, although I would not aim his puzzlement directly at the Aces.

Some great US players saw late versions of the manuscript, and I received comments:

– Freddy (Sheinwold) would have loved this!
– Edgar (Kaplan) would have been over the moon!
– If only Alan (Truscott) could have seen this!

Well, &%#@ Freddy, Edgar and Alan, say I. They were bridge journalists and fine analysts, and had just as much access to the WC records as I have.

Why didn’t they sit down and do the hard yards, with so much at stake?

A true mystery.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 18th, 2018 at 4:47 am

Hi Avon,

We are usually on the same page, but I (and Bobby) feel differently regarding Alfie (never called him Freddy), Edgar and Alan. Norman and I knew the trio quite well (especially since Edgar was Norman’s partner for over three decades).

The bridge column business is very competitive and no doubt both Freddy and Alan devoted most of their time making certain their columns were precise, factual, accurate and illuminating. Edgar was totally focused on his popular Bridge World Magazine for many decades .. and his efforts reflected in its popularity and success.

How could anyone realistically give up their full-time livelihood and devote time to uncover big time cheating. It is a true MIRACLE for the world of bridge that you came forth and found it possible to dedicate the last several years of your life to researching, documenting and detailing so many unchallengeable instances of sordid, despicable cheating by so many underhanded methods.

In all fairness, I can understand why the trio never officially got involved. And, I cannot imagine ANYONE other than you who would have been so driven to bless and educate the entire bridge world with your findings!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Can’t wait until UTT drops that bombshell in Orlando!

Avon WilsmoreSeptember 18th, 2018 at 7:37 am

Well, no one got their act together, and world bridge paid the price.

While it is true that much time was required for a hand-by-hand examination, there was no need for that.

After the 1958 Bowl, Roth, Stone, Crawford, Rapee, Silodor and Becker all signed a document saying that the Blue Team cheated. This document was handed to the ACBL.

Had you, I, or anyone else I know, been in charge, we would have said words to the effect of, “Ok, boys, you have made the gravest possible statement. You have 21 days to have a comprehensive report on my desk, detailing the hands and actions that support this charge.”

But the ACBL filed the team’s accusation away and it was never heard of again.

Same with the Gerber Letter, same with the Burgay Tape, same with the hands from 1975 Bermuda Bowl, Round One.

Gary M. MugfordSeptember 19th, 2018 at 6:11 am

Judy (and you too Bobby),
The post wilful ignorance world regarding cheating is a better Bridge place than before. As many have insinuated and few have said outright, the whispers about Blue Team doubles and leads has had a looooong history. There are weapons now that weren’t available before. Massive analysis, review of videotapes and just common-sense thinking that cheating does occur. Avon Wilsmore has apparently decided that it was worth his time to apply these new tools. And after the fact, there seems to be compelling evidence against the Blue Team.

NOT Bobby’s opinion. Not Alan Truscott’s. Not Hamman. Not Swanson. Not any of dozens of other’s who believe the history of the Bridge world was changed for the worse. Just evidence of statistically unlikely lucky guesses against the run of the normal results from stepping outside the expected.

The effort has to be applauded. The vindication Bobby and his supporters (chiefly, of course, the unstoppable Judy), must feel is indescribable. However, attempts to do so will run into the opposition. The defenders of Squaddra Azzura and of the officials that cut off all investigation into them will not go quietly. It will be a windstorm of debate, mostly opinions.

What won’t be up for debate? The facts.

Thank you Mr. Wilsmore. GM

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 19th, 2018 at 10:17 pm

Hi Gary, I was so busy battling non-believer’s on Bridge Winners, I neglected a more prompt response to your magnificent reflections on this evil subject.

If you have a day to spare (!), check out Avon’s post (with close to 500 comments) on the pros and cons of The Blue Team Ethics!

Nice hearing from you!

Gary MugfordSeptember 20th, 2018 at 2:54 pm


The trick with batting your head against the wall is to miss it occasionally. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Look, the reality is that your crusade will not change many opinions. Either they believe their ‘friends/colleagues/teammates/partners/employees/countrymen’ were above reproach and simply better than the rest of the world and their mundane predictable by the odds results. Or they believe the facts and that once is a co-incidence and twice a trend.

I’ve been cheated on. At the table, on the Internet. It’s noisome. And I stopped playing local club Bridge once it became ‘a thing,’ that the club owner and director willfully ignored. And way back when, when I was a callow and stupid youth, I cheated once with my high school buddy when playing in a club of adults abeing treated like the little jerks we weren’t … YET. Left SUCH a sour taste in my mouth that it never happened again. And I spent a LOT of time asking my opponents to hold their cards back. And wearing a cap and staring at the edge of the table until the round was done. I took active ethics seriously and have for the better part of five decades.

Bridge players even have a word for cheating: Coffee-housing. We are trained from almost the first time we play the game, that honesty and integrity are paramount, but don’t expect everybody to share the opinion. Winning over all else trumps some players who believe in only winning with integrity. We had a creep at the local club who intimidated newcomers and who stroked his beard in a comical villain sort of way … when he wanted a non-obvious switch. He committed the Terence Reese tome on how to cheat to memory. He acted like a character in a Sax Rohmer pot-boiler from before the second World War. Despicable. And we were better off when he left the area.

Anybody who’s heard Bobby opine on the Blues has no trouble believing championships were stolen. I know I believed him. And that settled it for me. I never felt compelled to any action. It seems the likes of Brogeland and the current era of winners plus the efforts of Mr. Wilsmore who I don’t know beyond the threads at Bridgewinners, have finally said that inaction is permission by way of nothing stronger to let the cheats think they won and that they WON. Glad to see, however late, that one of those two victories will not outlive them.

Keep at it Judy. Feisty always suits you. GM

Gary MugfordSeptember 20th, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Oh, and Judy, I finally finished a book. Available at Amazon for your Kindle. And yeah, that’s me with the pirate patch on the cover. GM

Jonathan FergusonSeptember 23rd, 2018 at 6:49 am

While we’re on the subject …

I’m amused by the #saynotocheats thread over at BW. So much virtue signaling and White Knighting. Rather revolting. Have we forgotten the Whole Story thread already?

Everyone else can beta orbit some young woman, I’m with Justin Lall (and I’ve rarely seen eye-to-eye with him, but he nailed this:)

“But yeah keep your heads in the sand. Worship the blue team, worship fantoni and nunes, etc. And after that know that your favorite players are just smart enough to get away with what they can. The game is and always has been a farce and it’s really sad for people who just love the game. But the current (and past) models are unsustainable if you want a fair game. And no matter what, it will always be an unfair game.”

If we want to “Say no to” this behavior, can we start with this video?


bobmunsonSeptember 26th, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Judy, I just wanted to share that I have enjoyed (and shared your enjoyment) watching you on this web site as well as bridgewinners as Avon’s book is revealed to the world.

JRGOctober 10th, 2018 at 6:00 pm

I received my copy of Under the Table yesterday afternoon, so have just started reading it. Having just completed the chapter on the Burgay tape, I am left quivering with fury. It seems to me Burgay was the forerunner to Boye Brogeland. Anyone researching how he was treated can understand why it took so long for someone like Boye to step forward and risk his career.

JudyOctober 10th, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Hi Bob,

My sincere apologies for not responding sooner as I did not see your lovely message until just this moment! Until the WBF administration (including Mr. Rona) stop protecting their brethren .. the bridge world will never be educated as to the ugly goings on for many decades. So much for honoring our once-majestic game!

JudyOctober 10th, 2018 at 8:45 pm


Unfortunately, the ongoing blind-eyed policy of the WBF has made nothing of Avon’s masterpiece .. but eventually the culprits will be exposed for their despicable cover ups of non disclosure.

Jonathan FergusonNovember 26th, 2018 at 2:14 am

Judy, you haven’t posted lately. I hope you and Bobby are well.

This write-up is quite good, if you need a pick-me-up.


JudyNovember 27th, 2018 at 3:56 am

Hi Jonathan,

Finally got my Jonathan’s ‘right.’ Bobby and I are well .. just recovering from our Hawaii excursion.
We were very touched by your concern for our absence from my site.

However, rest assured. .. I will be back posting on a very popular subject before you know it!



Jonathan FergusonNovember 27th, 2018 at 11:22 pm

Hi Judy,

I’m glad you’re feeling like yourself again. What a dreadful hand you were dealt in Honolulu. I look forward to your next magnum opus.


JudyNovember 28th, 2018 at 12:37 am

Hi Jonathan,

Gradually getting back on my feet. Pain is subsiding and this old broad will be back plugging away in a few days.



Simon StratfordDecember 21st, 2018 at 11:27 am

As someone who knew Avon for many years I would vouch for his tenacity and steadfast adherence to facts and facts alone. Good on him for blowing the lid off this.

JudyDecember 21st, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Yes, Simon .. Avon is indeed one of a kind!

However, until Mr. Rona and the WBF stop deluding themselves and protecting their cheating heritage .. the bridge world will still be in the dark.

Avon could do no more!

Luigi AlibrandoFebruary 5th, 2019 at 6:36 am

Finally!…… It is the very same word I shout when I read on an online bridge books store that this title was published. My background: it was 1993 when I started to play bridge in my 20’s at Bologna and my first teacher was… Sergio Zucchelli, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about him as mentor but I knew that he was considered a “paria” in the high levels hallways. In that time it was absolute taboo to speak about his bridge affair occurred with Facchini almost 20 years before. I never saw him playing a single hand with his notorious partner but I must admit that I was fascinated about the reason that pushed them to cheat, and they were in good company…

The old Blue Team with some exceptions (eg. Arturo Franco, Pittala and few others), Buratti and Lanzarotti, Fantoni and Nunes and so on and on… why so marvelous players took each one for separate, felt the need to cheat together in order to achieve they constant great results? I feel ashamed myself to know that our Italian past and recent bridge history was taunted by this kind of thieves.

The only reason that I found to try to explain such reproachable behavior is: they were greedy. It wasn’t enough to win “often”… they had to win “always” and this word with haunt them for the eternity, because it’s for their fault that we Italians will ever been watch with a suspicious eye at high level bridge, even when the great majority of us are honest players. Great job Mr. Wilsmore, we new generation of Italian players appreciate your tremendous and accurate work!

Luigi AlibrandoFebruary 5th, 2019 at 6:41 am

I hope that my English was understandable… I lived in Miami and worked as Chef in some Italian Restaurant for a lot of years but it was Spanish… the language that I spoken mostly in the kitchens with my latinos fellas 🙂

JudyFebruary 5th, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Hi Luigi,

I was soooo impressed by your comment! Few people acknowledge the truth (especially the administration).

Regarding your addendum .. no need for an explanation. Your previous comment was magnificently presented.

Luigi AlibrandoFebruary 5th, 2019 at 8:32 pm

A friend of mine rang me after I let him a message on his phone about this book. He is from the old Blue Team generation of players. He said that it was no secret that the Blue Team used even unorthodox methods to cheat. It is rumored that they were wearing little radio-transmit apparatus in their shoes in order to morse code their cards, even if it is true or myth… we have to admit they were very ingenious, indeed. But the point is that we new generation of Italian players are enforcing a very strictly policy in order to wipe out our reputation, most of us stopped to praise that false victories and started to look for what they were… stolen ones.

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