Judy Kay-Wolff


A jubilant United States Team captured the Bermuda Bowl in Sao Paulo Brazil.  From left to right … are Peter Pender, Lew Stansby, Hugh Ross, Bobby and Captain Alfie Sheinwold (holding the Trophy) At the extreme right is The Godfather of the WBF — the legendary James Ortiz-Patino who recently passed on.   Strangely, two of their winning teammates were missing in action – Chip Martel and Bob Hamman.  So, blame it on other diversions of the absent pair or an off-target photographer who had one too many during the Banquet — but this is the way I found this photo in a deeply buried box of Bobby’s bridge memoirs!  With apologies to Chip and Bob …


This photo rekindled for me so many heart warming memories of one of the most delightful bridge players I have ever gotten to know – the unbelievably versatile Peter Pender.   Born to a very wealthy family, he resided on Philadelphia’s Main Line but was so down to earth and humble, you would not have a clue to his background or multi-faceted accomplishments.  Not only was he a bridge star,  but a celebrated pianist and figure skating gold medalist as well (and great at living room ‘word games’ as personally evidenced in Bob Jordan’s apartment many a night).  When he left Philly and headed for California (where he purchased a ski resort), Norman and I never lost touch.   Each time we were drawn cross country for a tournament, we contacted Peter in advance and arranged to meet him for lunch or dinner.  Sadly Peter died in the prime of life at the tender age of fifty-four in 1990. 

No doubt, my life has been so richly enhanced by my marriages to Norman and Bobby.  Getting it “right” twice is rare and I will be eternally grateful that these unions have enabled me to travel the world and meet so many truly incredible individuals who shared my ‘passion’  for the game (i.e., most of the time).   The referenced group encompasses both rank and file duplicate and tournament players whom I happened upon by chance — plus many celebrities (and  their spouses) who made enormous contributions as administrators and players over the course of more than half a century.   Lucky me!

Will Convention Disruption Ever End?

My deep rooted suspicions are — IT WILL NOT! Why, you ask???? Because the people at the helm are either too lazy or too selfish to do anything about it. Bobby doesn’t suggest that misinformed (uninjured) persons be awarded windfall scores they do not deserve (as is the case below) but the miscreants who bastardized the auction should have a “reasonable” number of points subtracted from their score on that board. He suggests the scores remain the way the results reflected. However, people who play systems they forget (even if they are not themselves injured – or even gain by their “forgets”) should be penalized. It may be an incentive to refrain from playing systems they can’t remember or don’t understand or fail to recognize when they arise.

Here is a recent hand. The bidding: South opened a light 1 hand and (believe it or not — West Passed); North responded 1 and East bid 1NT. When asked what it meant, West explained it was for the two unbid suits (hearts and clubs) — corroborated by their convention card. Despite South’s club holding (AKQX), she passed and West bid a meager 2 to end the auction. The Director was called and made, I believe at the present (and in effect for a long time) — the right ruling — but that is immaterial.

True they missed a game so NS was not injured (and actually gained) because of the passive bidding by West causing them not to find their game. Perhaps justice triumphed due to ineptness or inexperience — but that is not the answer. When you play conventions (well recognized or home brewed), you should understand them and their purpose, remember them (or course), and have your partner alert (when required). Believe me, the embarrassed lady felt awful when she laid down her dummy as her bid did not reflect what the opponents were led to believe. Incidentally, they were a married couple and no doubt it was not the first time they had played together.

The hands:


No one can deny that the less Convention Disruption occurs – the better our wonderful game!!

How do you feel about the subject? In this case the innocent parties were not injured — but how about the next time? and the next? and the next???

What A Difference The Years Make

Here I am at the popular District 17 Regional at the Riviera in Las Vegas two months short of fifty years after spending my honeymoon in Sin City in August of 1963.   We stayed at The Flamingo (compliments of Tobias Stone’s connections .. and friendship with Norman).   It was absolutely amazing.   I was starry-eyed as it was a far cry from the historic sites of Philadelphia.  There were not a flock of hotel casinos in those days.  In fact, I learned that The Riviera was the 7th one to appear on the scene.  According to a reliable internet source, this hotel’s address was listed as Winchester, Nevada.   That was news to me, so I checked it out and learned it was situated in an unincorporated town and part of LV Township of Clark County which was a section of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Riviera opened on April 20, 1955 as the first high-rise and the ninth resort on the Las Vegas Strip. It is one of the oldest and most famous casino resorts here. It also broke new ground in its design. Previously Strip resorts resembled roadside motor courts.   I must confess, I do remember visions of those motels which served as great conveniences for motorists.

The opening of the Riviera, along with The Dunes and the Royal Nevada casino resorts within a month were the subject of a famous issue of Life Magazine, on June 20, 1955. The headline was Las Vegas—Is Boom Overextended? and a story about how Las Vegas had built too many hotel rooms to be profitable.  In retrospect, it is ludicrous!  Too many?  Never!  Peering out of the rotating top of the Stratosphere all you can see in the distance are immense high rise casinos with neon lights galore.

As I walked through the halls of this old (though renovated) relic, I saw countless nostalgic photos of the beloved entertainers of my day – with dates and names.   Some reminders of their talents also appear in the elevators.  My memory is not as keen as in earlier years (as witnessed by occasional lapses at the bridge table though somehow Bobby is able to compensate for them) – but coming back from breakfast this morning, I leisurely inspected them and found (photographed either alone, in pairs or groups) some of my all-time favorites … Jack Benny, George Burns (who at 96 in 1993 got a lifetime contract to The Riviera),  Jack E. Leonard, Milton Berle, Bob  Hope, Marlena Dietrich and Satchmo,  Engelbert Humperdink and Elvis, a then relatively unknown Barbara Streisand who appeared in a bit part at the hotel, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. Jerry Lewis, Mamie van Doren, Lionel Hampton, Liberace, Liza Minnelli .. and so many more.  Those were the days.   Now most are dead and gone but their legendary talents will forever remain with us. 

The hotel has visibly lost its early glamour and the facilities are all downhill and sinking fast.   As mentioned earlier, the casino allures are virtually empty.   Out of curiosity, I asked a dealer at the $25 BJ table what became of the $5.00 ones and he replied four weeks ago they upped them to a $10.00 minimum (as they no doubt could not make a go of it by accommodating the two-bit players like myself).  And, immodestly Bobby tells me I play BJ better than he does.  Honest Injun!  However, I am a lousy loser and would rather spend it at Chico’s than lose it at the table.  Born and raised in Philly (only sixty miles from Atlantic City) when casino gambling came upon the scene in 1978 at Resorts, my old friend and partner, Barbara Brier, and I were regulars from the 10 a.m. openings till late afternoon — so when I moved here, gambling was no big deal.  I could take it or leave it.   Active blogging on this site, one long running Soap Opera I’ve watched for thirty years and taping CSI and Law and Order SVU, et al. are more enticing to me than the sporting tables.  They’re perfect for fifteen or twenty minutes before dinner at our nearby Sun Coast – but I could survive without seeing another blackjack table ever again. 

Sorry I have gotten sidetracked by personal memories, but what I intended to stress is how the older casinos now lack luster.   The hotel’s eating facilities (excluding the somewhat pricy – but excellent cuisine of the R Steakhouse) won’t make The Hit Parade because of their chintzy portions, excessive prices, absolutely hopeless service, length of waiting time for seating and obvious shortage of help) and are uninviting.  Blame our current administration if you will – but the restaurant staff is certainly affected by the 29-employee limit to avert additional taxes.  Sometimes it is difficult to even understand or make oneself understood because of the language barriers and twice this week, we have received something we did not order.  They do have a Food Court but it is a hike away from the main thrust of the hotel and unless you like jogging, you are too tired to eat by the time you arrive there.  There is also a relatively cheap upstairs buffet – but nothing to write home about.  Most convenient (near the playing space) is a Java Bar which features beverages, sandwiches, croissants and has a few small tables to accommodate customers.  The lines are long and the table space not always available.  So, as I see it, filling the belly (despite the preponderance of options) is not ideal.

In addition, the allure of gambling is faltering.  To most of the tournament attendees it is not a novelty as we no longer see bridge players in the casino at the tables where they would frequently cluster between sessions.  The hotel’s physical facilities are adequate at best, although the hotel workers are lovely and accommodating.  Yes, the playing space is fine and the bridge personnel is top-notch and untiring.   Jane and Bruce Rubin, Co-Chairs, have virtually killed themselves in putting on this event and made the best of what they had been dealt.   Hopefully, our sites will be improved and the accoutrements as well. 

To me, the decor of the Riviera with all it’s priceless photos are reminiscent of the thrilling early days of an up and coming form of entertainment — but as we are aware, all good things eventually come to pass – and affordable bridge comfort is our primary focus.


as seen through the eyes of a longtime tournament bridge player with a good memory.   America is not the same (nor is the rest of the world).  Perhaps the economy and states of mind are similar to that of The Great Depression.  I pity the younger set as they will have to survive all the changes.  The older folks only have to sustain themselves till the time arrives – hopefully later than sooner.   Yes, this is a maudlin subject – but this week at the tournament has brought it to the surface in spades.   Don’t  misunderstand me – I am not pointing the finger to the tournament organizers who have gone above and beyond.   They have done the best they could under the circumstances which were willed to them by the former administrators who are since gone – and sadly the ball rests in their corner.   They are feverishly working on better conditions for the future of our Unit and District.

The hotel itself has undergone immense changes.  The stores on either side of the hallways between wings are history (which is good) and have been replaced with slots, slots and more slots – but better than the pre-existing situation..  Before the change, the passers-by (namely our players) were always being hawked by the sellers, trying to collar them  into their booths to buy products they did not want.  It was downright annoying but you could not avoid it other than by taking the long way around by walking outside in the humidity of the swimming pool area.  That is one positive happening – but they are in the minority.   I understand the hotel staff couldn’t be nicer, but that doesn’t solve any of the other problems.  The wing we are in must be half a century old.   The doors don’t automatically shut and if you don’t remember to bang them tight, there is no telling what will remain when you return.    Because the locks must be so old, the keys don’t always work and this week was not the first time we have gone to the desk for replacements.    The people on the staff are very accommodating.  They are not the problems.  Incidentally, the playing facilities themselves are close to ideal – although separate.  The huge games (KOs, Swiss, etc.) are held in the terrific downstairs humongous area whereas the 10 and 3 Stratified are held in the Monaco Tower Penthouse with a beautiful view of the City.

The casino itself is practically barren with a roulette table, a couple of poker ones and a definite shortage of blackjack tables – an obvious departure from the past.   There were two $25 tables (sure, just what I was looking for!!!), one ten buck one (filled) and one with hoards of people standing in line waiting for a seat, so it must have been the $5.00 one for sensible players who had time between sessions and wanted to lose less money.  Make no mistake.   Regardless of how good you are with cards and numbers, you do not have the edge.  Far from it.  Also the Sports Book is small in comparison to others with a shortage of seats during popular events.

In the old days,  there were at least a dozen gambling tables in action throughout the day and nights were always packed – but always enough seats (and standby dealers) available for willing ‘gofers’ who enjoy the excitement of gambling.   I happened to watch one old dame (who was a decent player) playing for twenty-five and fifty dollars a shot (and doubling down when called for – like money was water) and within fifteen minutes won well over five hundred bucks and cashed in and thanked the dealer — walking away without even leaving her five or ten bucks.   Give the dealer a break.   They depend on tips.  I was told they only make $7.00 an hour.   Winning players (especially with a return of five big ones) not tipping is unheard of where we play – up in Summerlin where there are always plenty of tables of all denominations.   There is a shortage of customers there – not table opportunities.

A significantly disturbing problem to me were the eateries.   Up in our suburban casino, there are eight very reasonably priced marvelous eateries (many are open 24/7).  There is a deli, Friday’s, a terrific and extremely inexpensive coffee shop (Cafe Sienna), The Oyster Bar (delicious!) with a counter and tables, a wonderful Mexican Restaurant open four or five days a week, a desert and ice cream parlor for people who want a quick nosh, a more than adequate reasonably priced buffet where you can pig out to your heart’s content – and the two more expensive ones (one closed on Mondays and the other on Tuesdays).  Those premier ones are SC Prime (steaks, fish, et al.) and Salvatore’s (formerly Fellini’s) – which specializes in Italian food(and I might add their artichokes are to die for).  Obviously, the latter two are more expense but not out of sight!  Which brings us to the present site food situation (or lack of it):

In the last year (since we were here last), they have done away with Katy’s (a huge 24-7 coffee shop with good food and more than affordable prices).   It is no longer there (but converted to something else – for poolside use it was rumored – but I don’t know for sure).   At the entrance to Katy’s there were some merchant booths, but they have been replaced by slots, slots and more slots (as above).  What does that leave for the bridge players who eat at all times of day and night depending upon their game schedules??  The best (and only) fine restaurant is the lovely R Steak House (for fine cuisine) which is open until 10 (so if you are playing in a session that begins at 7:00, you are barred from a leisurely late dinner in the hotel).  By then, players are too exhausted to leave the hotel.  They have some oriental place called The Banana Leaf which, for lunch or a light dinner is fine – but professes to be open at 5:00 a.m. for breakfast.   Bobby who couldn’t sleep, went down early 5:45 and as he was leaving, kindly awakened me to advise of his plans.  I agreed to meet him at 6:15.   When I (surprisingly) arrived on time, only he and another man were on the scene and his order had not been taken as yet.  Knowing me, I stormed into the kitchen where they had one non-English speaking attendant who had no clue what I was saying when I asked for a waiter – but he only smiled.   One hour after they featured their designated “doors open” sign (which should have added – but without service), a waiter appeared.   The omelet prices were high and any kind of bread (even plain toast) was $1.95 extra.  The food was mediocre at best.   Then, when I wanted to charge it to my room, he asked for identification.   I gave him my driver’s license, my credit card which had the name of Wolff, my check in slip with room number and when he said they would not accept it, I jumped up and said “I am not paying” and started to head for the exit.  With his tail between his legs, he returned and accepted the credentials.   It was an early morning nightmare.  Nice way to start the day. 

Hey, I am not done.   The day before, we wanted to grab a quick bite.   The Banana Leaf was already crowded for lunch (and by then they had one or two more in help, thank heavens), so we dashed into what is now known as The Victorian Pub.  It was 12:15 by then with 1:00 starting game time.  There was a crowd but as we started to leave, one of the players from our duplicate whom I recognized, asked us to join us as he was alone.  How nice!   Then he added he had been waiting 40 minutes for his sandwich.  I stood up and counted about twenty tables and a bar – with one bartender and one visible waitress.  I accosted someone to bring me an iced tea which I got ten minutes later.  By 12:40 no one came to take our order, so I thanked our host, left three bucks on the table for my drink and departed for the game – but if you know me – though starving — I won’t shrivel up.  The day before we went to the Buffet upstairs for something like twelve bucks (and you get what you pay for).  Long wait and cold food, so we checked that place off the list also.  That left a counter near the downstairs playing site which offered drinks, pre-made sandwiches, croissants and other bakery products – and we have been relying on it to sustain us.   You take what you can get – and believe it or not – the sandwich we shared in the room was marvelous.  So much for dining at the playing site.

From what I understand – other sites have been pre-arranged for future tournaments, so we will not be faced with the same problems.  But please understand, the bridge organization has been treated like royally.   The room rates are super, there is a huge choice of events to select from, the playing rooms couldn’t be better and the bridge staff (directors and caddies) have been well chosen.   I am not blaming our Unit.   Believe me, they are making the best of it but, I (like many) look forward to better gambling and eating facilities for the future.  After all, this is Sin City – a major attraction even for dyed in the wool bridge players (many of whom enjoy the table action) –  but let us make everything appealing to our guests.  (By the way attendance is terrific –especially with the newbies)!

I believe all of the above is attributable to the State of the Union, the political unrest and the horrific times we are being forced to endure.  We all pray things will have a turnabout – but no assurances in the near future. 

What a cry from the old days!



There’s no telling where these were snapped as Bobby and Omar (on the left) with Benito (on the right) joined forces on opposing sides on many occasions.  Could have been at the Sharif Circus, a world championship or at one of Mr. Yeh’s fabulous outings in Asia.  

The happy news is all three (who are admitted octogenarians — with Bobby as the youngest as he approaches 81) are still well and alive and enjoy reputations in the bridge world – each in their own way.  Omar is pretty much in seclusion.  I don’t hear much about him anymore except when I google him on the internet and it appears he has returned to Cairo; Benito,  who resided in the States for several decades, lost the love of his life, the beautiful Lea DuPont, a couple of years ago and returned to his native Italy; and Bobby, to which I can personally attest, is savoring his semi-retirement with me (at least he professes to), is still writing his popular column Aces on Bridge which appears in 100 newspapers worldwide, is responding to questions and comments on his daily AOB blogsite which can be found here, is still as sharp as the proverbial tack, and as I write this from our hotel room at the Riviera (the one in Las Vegas – unfortunately not the French attraction) we are enjoying the Regional which continues until Sunday. We have attended no NABC but a nearby one in SF in five years and have happily contented ourselves with the casino life on occasion, wonderful dining in our suburban Summerlin LV area and fulfill our less demanding bridge urges at the local duplicates, sectionals and regionals with a marvelous group of warm residents (mostly transplants) who have retired here.  Such is life – but a wonderful one at that!


                                  KRAUSS AND MATHE

Edgar and Norman played on several teams with Don and Lew – and this was snapped on one of those occasions, but I cannot be sure when or where.   I do remember a world championship in 1971 in Taipei when the foursome of Mathe, Krauss, Swanson and Walsh added Kaplan-Kay as their third pair but there is no assurance the featured photo above was taken there.  I do, however. vividly recall on the never-ending initial flight with a stopover in Hawaii, I kept getting smacked in the head during of a wet washrag fight between John and Dick every time I arose from my seat.  Sort of broke up the monotony of being airborne.

Don and Lew were as opposite as night and day.  Don was sweet, kind, warm and friendly whereas Lew (although I had seen the mellower side of him during our tour of the remains of The Arizona in Pearl Harbor on our way home from Taiwan) was normally tough as shoe leather.  I actually enjoyed him that day.  In the world of bridge,  he was normally far from what one would describe as “self-restrained.”  Lew was, shall we say, explosive and impetuous?  It was his way or the highway.   But ..  I do remember one of the funniest bridge incidents involving Lew at the Trials at the old Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City long before it was imploded.   Lew screamed for the Director and at the top of his lungs vehemently insisted that he stop the mice from scampering  back and forth across the rug as it was very disruptive and interrupting his trend of thought.  Soon as I heard that, I hightailed it out the door – never to return.  Mice are not my favorites!

Don, on the other hand, was more of a social being.   He afforded Norman and me one of the greatest thrills of our lives when we were visiting California by inviting us to join him for lunch to meet a “good friend” who adored bridge.  Of course, we were game as it sounded so mysterious and intriguing.   His good friend turned out to be the legendary Hollywood Screenwriter/Producer/Director Billy Wilder  who was  credited with such successes as Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, The Seven Year Itch, etc., etc., etc.   He was like a World Grand Master in the Motion Picture Industry and as a human being.   What was even more astounding was his modest, down to earth demeanor as just one of the boys.  Norman and I both found it surprising that he wanted to turn the conversation away from his never ending monumental achievements and talk more about Norman’s bridge successes!  I still reflect upon it as The Afternoon of a Lifetime and Don arranged a repeat performance the following summer when we returned to the West Coast. 

It’s bizarre that my mother (who was a very bright and astute women) used to think that bridge was such a waste of time.  She viewed it as a ‘traveling circus’ (and she wasn’t referring to Omar).   Looks are deceiving!


In the world of bridge, few people are distinguished by their first names alone.  Seymon Deutsch, of Laredo, Texas who passed away yesterday, was one of those individuals.   When you spoke of Zia or Edgar (or Omar for that matter) — you need say no more.  Seymon enjoyed that unique prominence as well.

To Bobby, Seymon was not just “another nice guy” to whom everyone took a fancy as evidenced by the dozens of internet comments and tributes already posted.  Bobby had attended the University of Texas in Austin for his first two college years but returned to his native San Antonio to earn his degree from Trinity University.  That is where they met for the first time and … it is easy to guess where … at the Student Union where Seymon was found playing bridge    While attending college at Trinity, many a dinner was shared with Bobby’s family at their home.  In fact, Bobby served as a groomsman at his wedding on January 3, 1959.   They remained close buddies for over half a century.  Seymon loved the game and the players loved him in return.  His claim to fame which is unprecedented is that he captured TWO World Championships for Zone 2:  The 1988 World Team Olympiad (pictured below) and the 1994 Rosenblum.

Seymon was the owner of an upscale women and men’s clothing store, spent much time in his lovely home away from home in Aspen and adored his beautiful wife, Linda, and their four children — but bridge was his true passion.   Seymon will be sorely missed by all those whose lives he touched.


If you look closely, you will find Captain Dan Morse, SEYMON, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Bob Hamman, Jim Jacoby, Bobby Wolff and WBF President Denis Howard.  Incidentally, this is the only World Team Olympiad the United States ever won!


Perhaps the most fitting example is "If it ain’t broke — why fix it?"    In the blog you are about to read, I (as a ‘lay’ person), feel strongly .. IF IT IS BROKE — YOU MUST FIX IT.  At the outset, let us set the records straight.   I do not profess to be an expert.   However, being around Edgar and Bobby (besides my experience working in a law office following my college graduation) and after digesting what Bobby had to say at length — I feel it is imperative to step up to the plate and give bridge players pause to think about the concept.   On countless occasions I have seen the legal process (at the bridge table) go up in flames — both as a personal victim and observer.    Enough of this background.  Let me just cut to the chase.

I have benefited from Bobby’s knowledge and decades of experience with both the ACBL and the WBF, the latter of which has recently honored him upon his retirement (due to his increasing deafness — not lack of deftness) by naming him Chairman Emeritus of the WBF Appeals Committee.  I might add that replacing the "Godfather" of the WBF (the late and great James Ortiz-Patino) and doing so while Jimmy was still alive, was a very bold move — symbolizing the incredible intellectual respect the hierarchy of the WBF had for Bobby and his views of bridge jurisprudence.  His contributions of attempting to strive for equity and honorability are unparalleled.   He has no personal motivation.  He is especially intolerant of inept players serving on committees with lack of bridge knowledge and skills and deceiving people by occupying the catbird seat.  The committee members must be as good as the players over whom they are sitting in judgment.   Attrition has played a large role in compromising the positions of those who make crucial rulings.  As you may have surmised, this blog was provoked after the incomprehensible and irrational score change in the Fleisher-Nickell USA II Trials match — and though in my personal opinion, was off the wall, had no bearing whatsoever on the overall outcome.  In any event, there is much to consider and it is time get it out into the open.

Breaks in Tempo (BIT) sometimes passing on Unauthorized Information (UI) and Hesitation Disruption (HD) are the three main distractions which often come into focus.  Because Bobby has been so entrenched in attempting to prevent advantages garnered from the above, he has been thought of as Public Enemy No. 1 although his sole purpose is to clean up the game and return it to its rightful place in the sun but is opposed by those who will gain advantage (either ego or personal) by whatever means is thought to be necessary.  In the current issue, the outcome could have decided which team represented the United States as USA II this year in Bali.   Fortunately, it did not come to that.  His staunch view is that in situations like the subject one, the concept of ruling is not like the "normal committee member" has been instructed to rule.   Every case is different and requires excellent judgment by the Tournament Director who is summoned and then later, if necessary, by the Committee.  In his judgment, the MANDATORY requirements of a ‘qualified’ committee are:

1.  Superior Bridge Expertise — at least close or similar in degree, to the appellants and/or the alleged culprits, and the ability to diversify bridge thinking such as clearly understanding the increase in value of the Willenken hand with the bidding (not the tempo) of the hand.

2.  Knowing the particular circumstances of the hand involved (including nuances) such as competitive action by the opponents  — also tendencies in competitive auctions, lead directional doubles, their reputation and most importantly — the leanings of the particular players who might have broken tempo.   To veer from the impersonality of the issue so far, I feel it is necessary to mention the two challenged individuals are two of the most ethical players to honor the game — Chris Willenken  (opener) and Michael Rosenberg (responder).  To get a better idea of the problem involved, go to the USBF site and look at the "big hand" which opened 1D (with 22 HCP) and chanced being passed out and missing a game (or even slam) — but backed his judgment based on his cards (preponderance of controls and prime trump honors.  Note –  he ONLY had the AKQ10 of spades which were to be trump)!    Any move by South (which Bobby felt was in order) would have clearly indicated to a top partner, holding XXXX  KX  XX  AQ10XX that a slam was destined to be bid.

3.  Considering the possible circumstances that must be given to what the break in tempo (behind screens) could have been caused by and which of the players was responsible.  You must look at the hands to understand the issue. 

4.  More importantly than usually assumed, the Committee Members (who were polled by phone on such an important issue) MUST be able to think for themselves, not be unduly influenced by others who CLAIM to know the intent of the law, but in reality, are only espousing what he (or she) thinks are supposed to be the guiding principles.   Hogwash!


The ruling in the subject case thankfully was not a match-changer (although in Bobby’s opinion) was handled improperly (which is a kind word for disgustingly).    According to him, until the organizations involved (USBF and ACBL) which play a major role in determining which pairs or teams represent our Zone in world competition, rise to the occasion and stand up and bite the bullet by recognizing the lack of qualifications of some committee members and the loopholes in our process — we will be lost in the desert — unprepared to handle future similar rulings — with latent miscarriage of justice!.

In the case at hand, it is obvious the recent Committee did not even consider how strong the opener’s holding actually was (22 HCP but not suited for either 2C or 2NT).    And, playing behind screens, how could the opener be sure what caused the delay in sending the board back?  Passing 4S holding  AKQ10  AQ9X  AKXX  X) — to Bobby’s educated way of thinking  — was absolutely NOT a remote consideration and would not be deemed  ‘expert "bridge’ as any of his peers view it.   After a 1D opening, partner responded 1S and when he jumped to 4C showing shortness and a double ensued, partner bid 4S.   Holding such a monster with majestic trump support, would anyone (especially an expert?)  ever consider AT LEAST NOT MAKING A MOVE TOWARD SLAM (or jumping to 6S himself as Willenken actually did).   Incidentally Bobby pointed out that when 4C was doubled, with such an excellent partnership as Levin/Weinstein, you can be sure he didn’t want a heart lead so if partner did not have the HK, the finesse was on side.   This Committee was out to lunch to forbid opener from bidding again and, despite being well intended, should hang their heads in shame.

This debacle was reminiscent to Bobby of the winner-changing result of the recent Vanderbilt ruling which served as an albatross to the rest of the field.  As time moves on, we customarily go forward, but according to situations like the two above, it is apparent the judicial process of our once-wonderful game is making great strides toward regressing.  It is impacted with sloth and irresponsibility by not having the Vanderbilt issue ruled upon immediately between sessions regardless of the state of the match — rather than selfishly delaying it to the conclusion (never foreseeing the remote possibility it could affect the outcome) and instead (by it’s controversial decision)  ‘appointed’ the winner instead of rightfully allowing it to be "decided on the playing field" — regardless of the bizarre untimely ruling. 

In the best interest of our beloved game, it is imperative to immediately take stock of our frightening bridge avalanche and encourage and awaken our administration to right these grievous wrongs with time being very much of the essence!   I truly believe Edgar (one of our most astute lawmakers) would totally concur with Bobby and is probably turning over in his grave as I write (perhaps muttering the word ‘Indeed’!).



On the far left you will see one of Atlanta’s most popular bridge idols, Margaret Wagar, who despite her thirty three National Titles, was sweet and very understated – a typical Southern Belle.  Next to her is another one of my favorites, Andy Gabrilovitch, from Maryland, who was a close friend of the Kays and Kaplans and attended all of our celebrations.  Beside him is Norman and then on the far right .. a young Edgar Kaplan always with pipe in mouth.  The exquisite young gal staring at the camera is a mystery to me (but as long as she wasn’t Norman’s partner, it makes no never mind!)



is an apt description of this group’s tryout in Memphis for the U. S. Team.  The year is cloudy to me but from the youthful looks of Meckwell, it was a few decades ago (and must have been snapped before the group was eliminated from the event) as you will spot a smiling group of contestants, starting with Norman, Jeff Meckstroth, Bill Root, Richard Pavlicek, Edgar, Eric Rodwell and seated in front was their handsome Captain – Cliff Russell.  


Jeff and Eric look so shy and innocent.  I still think of them as young lads breaking into the big time.  They certainly have made their mark and it is difficult to fathom that they are both now in their mid fifties.   You know what they say about time flying when you’re having fun.   However, I just finished watching their team (Nickell) succumb easily to Fleisher in the Trials Final to determine who will represent our country as USA II in Bali.  The Fleisher team includes a talented and likeable array of dedicated gentlemen (pictured below), including (from left to right) Chris Willenken, Michael Rosenberg, Zia, Captain Marty Fleisher, Chip Martel and Mike Kamil.    They will be joining The Kranyak Team who emerged as USA I (with Gavin Wolpert, and a pair of Kevins – Bathhurst and Dwyer) and an unnamed pair to round out their sextet.  Good luck to all.