Judy Kay-Wolff

The Power of the Press

Thanks to bridgeblogging.com, thousands of readers are privileged to survey the various newspaper bridge columns that they would not ordinarily be able to enjoy because they are not carried by their hometown press.  Amazing — the benefits we have all derived with the introduction of cyberspace  — for whatever purpose suits us.

I must confess, however, I yearn for the days of Alan Truscott’s daily, yes daily (including Sunday’s) column in the New York Times.  The newspaper industry was thriving and the bridge community cried out for it to be presented every day!   Of course, there was always a lot of action to report about in and around New York alone — but many bridge players all over the country had New York Times subscriptions — some merely to keep up with the current bridge goings-on.

The Kays were among them.    Norman and I were just married and living in a high rise.  At 7 a.m. every morning, when we would hear the thud of the newspaper being tossed against our front entrance, we would both make a bee-line for the door to see who would retrieve it first.   One would think Norman, being a broker and a sports fanatic, would be interested in the stock market closings or the late evening scores, but I used to have to wrestle him for the Bridge Section.   Alan was a unique writer, quick on the uptake, extremely well-rounded, always did his homework and produced an entertaining column — managing quite often to ad a personal touch to the featured hand.    Perhaps I am biased because he always gave Norman great press and on occasion I’d even see my own name in lights.  In fact, I recently came across the January 15, 2005 column which he dedicated to some, shall we say, “unusual combinations” (and I am not alluding to card combinations).   

This is the prelude to the hand Alan wrote up in which Bobby and I successfully defended some innocuous 4H contract and by accident I helped to beat it for down five.   I don’t recall the hand (and sometimes I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast — or if I have eaten at all), but the clever article was reminiscent of the old game of Musical Chairs and he capitalized on the theme.   It was captioned:  

BRIDGE; Changing Partners When the Game is Marriage.

“Those at the top of the bridge rankings and their connections sometimes surprise us by marrying each other when not in the first flush of youth.”

“In England, Jane Juan, a world champion, married Tony Priday, a European Team Champion.   Sally Sowter Horton, a world champion, married Raymond Brock, a world champion runner-up.”

“On this side of the Atlantic, Betty Sheinwold married Edgar Kaplan, who with her former husband. Alfred Sheinwold, invented the Kaplan-Sheinwold System.   Much more recently another of Kaplan’s partners, Sidney Lazard, married Betsey Wolff.  And a year ago the world champion, Bobby Wolff, former husband of Betsey, married Judy Kay, widow of Kaplan’s longtime partner, Norman Kay.”

Got it straight????


Riki TikiJanuary 10th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

This reminds me of the obituary that Tom Lehrer cited when he composed the ALMA LYRICS:

“There appeared in the newspapers the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary that has ever been my pleasure to read. it was that of a lady name alma mahler gropius werfel who had in her lifetime, managed to acquire as lovers practically all of the top creative men in central europe, and, among these lovers, who were listed in the obituary, by the way, which was what made it interesting, there were three whom she went so far as to marry.

One of the leading composers of the day: gustav mahler, composer of das lied von der erde and other light classics. One of the leading architects: walter gropius of the bauhaus school of design. One of the leading writers: franz werfel, author of the song of bernadette and other masterpieces. it’s people like that who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished.”

BOBBY WOLFFJanuary 11th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Hi Riki Tiki,

Here it is 3:30 in the morning and I’ve reverted to finally reading my loving wife’s recent blogs, of which I concur in No Trump, but meanwhile have also run into your personal obituary of Alma Mahler, Gropius, Werfel.

Trying to equate Alma with at least one of the popular blog topics in the bridge world, it is clear that she awarded grand coup ratings to three of her lovers, joining them in matrimony, while, no doubt discarding others who obviously didn’t meet her standards or perhaps just live up to the considerable competition. Perhaps the ACBL could learn from her examples and beef up the requirements for reward.

As a fitting climax to her efforts, it could be said that she only dealt with real life masters of success, even if it could be thought that even the losers enjoyed at least an occasional simple squeeze.

pimoJanuary 11th, 2010 at 7:43 pm

You’re not the only one involved in musical chairs. Isn’t Chip Martel married to Jan Martel who was married to Lew Stansby, who is married to Joanna Stansby who was once Mrs. Mike Lawrence. Bridge people sure do a lot of square dancing.