Judy Kay-Wolff


I was about to finally address the issue of sponsorship/professionalism, when this timely subject arose and since the UNITED STATES BRIDGE FEDERATION SENIOR TRIALS is about to begin (at the Marriott in Las Vegas, on Monday, July 6th) — I  thought it was MORE PRESSING to bring to your attention (for those of you who take international bridge seriously) what is about to happen:


1. Wasn’t the handling of the Shanghai Witches’ disgusting performance at the closing WBF ceremony last year not humiliating enough?  As most know, the embarrassment of the United States Venice Cup winning Women’s team action went unpunished for their unauthorized display of an anti-Bush sign.    Right or wrong, they had signed three documents forbidding them to get involved in any political issues.  The USBF apologized to the WBF but the women (except for one) and their confederates stood firm and eventually the issue was put to rest by sweeping it under the carpet.

The reason:  A wealthy sponsor was against these poor innocent damsels in distress offering an apology for their public behavior abroad and engaged a law firm who ended up threatening to sue the USBF as a group and individually.   What happened?  You can figure it out.  MONEY TALKS and you know what they say about  B.S.   It WALKS and sure enough THE WOMEN WALKED OFF SCOT-FREE!

2.   Two weeks ago at the UNITED STATES BRIDGE FEDERATION OPEN TRIALS in White Plains, NY, an issue arose with an ensuing terribly sad ending — with participant Dickie Freeman taking sick, leaving the site and dying a a week later.   Before Dickie’s unexpected death, there was a lot of controversy about the eligibility of the Nickell Team at the world championship  (since neither Freeman nor his partner Nickell played in the required final matches making them ineligible — a written condition of contest).   However, the USBF Conditions of Contest (and shame on whomever wrote them and pushed them through) forbids the change of COC even though, of course, this was unpredictable.  Thus, the Fleisher team was forced to play Meckstroth and Rodwell and Zia and Hamman, the big guns, without the appearance in the finals of the sponsor (Nickell) and Freeman and had no redress BECAUSE YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE CONDITIONS OF CONTEST.  (THAT was LAST WEEK — but THIS IS THIS WEEK)!  What will happen now is anyone’s guess — but the newest pending atrocity is in place and about to be witnessed in LV, starting  Monday.

3.  It was learned recently because one of the senior players became sick, that the team will probably be forced to withdraw from the event (dropping the number of teams from planned eight to the unexpected seven).  THE CONDITIONS OF CONTESTS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE A MOVEMENT TO HANDLE SEVEN TEAMS, but for some ulterior reasons (perhaps the inconvenience of changing already-made flight returns, or possibly the desire of some pros to play over the weekend at a regional or sectional and ending the event a day earlier  — whatever…)  it was decided to change the movement to some OUTRAGEOUS, INEQUITABLE, UNFAIR  ONE WHICH ALSO AFFECTS THOSE WHO LOSE THE FIRST DAY — despite the fact a seven team movement is already in place in the present COC.    LAST WEEK WE OBSERVED THE COC WITH THE OPEN TRIALS, BUT THIS WEEK THE SENIORS ARE BEING TREATED LIKE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS (and some teams will be getting screwed if they go through with this home-brew change of Conditions of Contest).

JAN MARTEL, PAST CHAIRMAN OF THE 2008 USBF AND NOW SERVING AS THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF THE USBF and my husband, Bobby Wolff, who has been involved in these types of issues for at least thirty years, have been at it for the last few days.   Bobby tried to get her to re-think her plan (too involved for me to get into )– but apparently, she is determined, as usual, to do things her way.)   Other issues seem to be involved –yet they are not being discussed by the USBF.  If you are curious to know what is happening, pose your questions here and I promise you Bobby will be happy to give you the entire scenario!

(By the way — I know this isn’t baseball — but it seems appropriate here too, AFTER THREE STRIKES YOU SHOULD BE OUT!


DavidJuly 4th, 2009 at 6:34 am

what is a 1908 USBF?

MichaelJuly 4th, 2009 at 8:31 am

Not playing in the final match does not automatically make them ineligible according to the CoC. It generally tends to result in that, but illness is allowed. The text of the CoC is:

2) No exemptions from the play requirement will be granted prior to the start of

play for any reason. Once play has begun, if such a failure occurs:

a) Prior to the final match, …

b) In the final match, the Tournament Conduct and Ethics Committee will

normally decline to submit that player’s name to the USBF as a team

member, but it may include the player if there is a clear reason for failure

to play the required number of boards other than bridge skill.

In either instance, the Tournament or USBF Conduct and Ethics Committee may

discipline a player and/or the player’s team if such player failed to play the

required percentage of boards for non-health related reasons.

The regular partner of a player who failed to play the required percentage of

boards for a health related reason shall be considered to have a health problem


Now you may think this CoC is poor, and may wish to not allow people to have health issue exemptions and/or not think the regular partner of a health related person should have the health issues, but the CoC of the USBF is clear that a health related reason is the legit reason for not playing. The USBF convened a committee essentially to tell, was the health reasons true, or were they faking the health issue. As was obvious at the time, and is only more obvious now with the sad news of Freeman’s death, he was legitimately sick. Therefore the CoC says he and his partner are excused.

You may think the CoC is silly, and think the USBF should change it in the future, but I don’t think you can legitimately fault them for how they handled the issue this year given the CoC.

I will not comment on the women who were smart enough not to vote for Bush (where it is up to one’s opinion on if they were punished enough, or too much, or not enough) nor on the Senior issue (where I’m not exactly sure what is happening, or what should happen according to the CoC).

JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 4th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

David: Simply a typo being corrected to 2008 but what’s a hundred years between friends! Thanks for your quick read and pickup!


JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 4th, 2009 at 2:59 pm


Why is it you continue to refuse to identify yourself??????? I have asked you before — and really am reluctant to respond to the comments and quotes of a cowardly ghost. You speak as such an authority (and perhaps you are on a committee that is responsible for some of these issues and debacles — past and possibly future). IF SO, STAND UP AND BE COUNTED.

And, in case you are unaware, there is so much politics, personal issues and agendas, that exist on several of the committee rendering these ‘final’ decisions, many should have recused themselves. DETAILS!

With Dickie gone (who was a close and respected friend for 40 years), I question how the 2009 Brazil team will be determined. Because of the past proven ineptness of the Committee, former chairman and possibly present group, I have absolutely no faith they will do the right thing with either the OPENS and SENIORS — yet to be resolved.

Judy Kay-Wolff

MichaelJuly 5th, 2009 at 3:34 am

Where before did you ask me to identify myself? Why is my identity relevant to the point that I was making above about the CoC of the USBF?

The only other place where I’ve seen you address a point I made (where again you didn’t address the point but instead attacked the messenger) was on your blog post of April 29th where in the comments people were talking about if 1H-P-1NT(could have a 4 card spade suit) should be alerted.

On May 10th (responding to active comments where there were two previous comments on May 9th) I commented and provided the link to the ACBL alert chart that clearly in plain English covers this exact bid and instructs that it is improper to alert it.

On June 4th, nearly a month later, you posted asking me if I served in an official capacity of the ACBL. And then on June 6th you posted “WHAT’S THE MATTER, MICHAEL? CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE?” which I didn’t see until June 27th, when I replied to your first question and answered that I’m not in any way an official of the ACBL.

Again related the the USBF, I’m in no way associated with the USBF. I sit on no committee and am not even a USBF member, I think (I’m an ACBL member, so if we are automatically all USBF members then I am, but otherwise I have never played a USBF event nor paid any special USBF fees).

But one doesn’t need to be an official to find public documents. The USBF CoC is online, and I quoted directly from it. My identity doesn’t effect that text. I could be Jan Martel and the CoC would say what it does. I could be Sarah Palin or the ghost of Michael Jackson and the CoC would still say what it does.

You don’t need to attack someone’s identity to attack their arguments. I generally don’t post my last name for two reasons: 1, on the internet people often post handles or other information for a variety of reasons; 2, I’m not a bridge celebrity so my last name doesn’t really provide much useful value to anyone.

But it isn’t exactly a state secret either, and my email address is with the forum administrator or someone since posts require it (I thought you as blog author might have access to it). Anyways, I’m not the only one who has posted to bridge blogs with the posting name Michael (I.e., not all the Michael comments are from me). But this one and the one I reference above are from me, Michael Bodell, a recreational ACBL player living in California who is not a member of the USBF nor an official of any capacity in the ACBL (not even an administrator of a local unit or club).

Anyways, I enjoy your blog (as obvious by the fact that I read and comment on it) and I enjoyed “The Lone Wolff” even if I don’t always agree with you or your husband on certain things.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 5th, 2009 at 6:32 am


When someone begins a comment …. “Um, ….” I consider it rude and sarcastic and no doubt took other priorities ahead of the one I eventually wrote to you. But, since you took the time to explain the time gaps and reasons, I understand what transpired and why.

As far as the cast in stone COC, etc.: People can quote the Conditions of Contest and the alert processes from now till doomsday and it won’t crack any ice with me. My husband has contributed more to the administrative ethics of the game and understands more about conditions of contests than anyone in its history and I’d put my money on his rationale far before some possibly inept group who do not understand the implications and the necessity of protecting innocent opponents by non-alerts.

Bobby and I play Flannery(4S/5H), so we tend to alert 1H P 1N does not necessarily deny four spades. We play two-way Stayman (2C NF) (2D F) (2H and 2S are natural). Therefore, when we bid 2H or 2S, we automatically alert it is NATURAL AND NON FORCING as opponents might think the alert of 2H means transfer to spades and 2S is minor suit Stayman. We also play 1NT over a major is ‘intended’ forcing as often partner, with a balanced minimum, chooses to pass and we shoot it out at 1NT. All of these may be alerted without long explanations but we feel ANYTHING WE KNOW — OUR OPPONENTS ARE ENTITLED TO KNOW AS WELL. SIMPLE! As far as slowing up the game, these explanations are brief and clear.

For your clarification, the ACBL is the U. S. parent organization of all Zone 2 bridge players. The USBF governs only international events (7 members), and is a dues paying organization to make you eligible to play in international qualifying events.

I can also understand now your attitude, being a “recreational ACBL player living in California.” and play for the fun of the game. I cannot play with a blase attitude as I feel as long as the ACBL is awarding master points and accepting our money, we must live by certain standards that apply to all. If a penalty or reprimand is in order, it certainly should be done in good taste and explained fully, privately if necessary.

The good news is that after some of the recent screwups and lack of clarity, some committees have agreed to review their policies, so in the long run, perhaps something good will have come from all this fuss.



Mark LombardJuly 6th, 2009 at 1:42 am

Two things are certain here:

1. As you said, money talks….

2. You’ll be sure to fill us in on what happens this week!