Judy Kay-Wolff


I am writing to you from The Wynn in Las Vegas, where Marty Bergen and Larry Cohen are holding their BERGEN-COHEN REUNION SEMINAR.   First, about the site.   Over decades of travel, especially to world championships with Norman and Bobby, I have stayed at some elegant hotels – but this one is in a class by itself — electric curtains and shades, incredible telephone set up, a “standard room” which in most hotels would be considered a deluxe suite, a compartmental bathroom (larger than Bobby’s den which holds six wall TV sets) etc., etc.  It will be hard to return to our little nest in Summerlin which we call home.

Why am I here (with Bobby)??  Good question.   Larry, a dear friend for twenty-some years, asked me to recommend some directors for their duplicates.   Before I knew it Dixie Perkinson and Sue Grue were lined up to co-direct, handle partnerships, etc., etc. and Martha Beecher (who ran LV tournaments for many years – who just happened to be my real estate agent and good friend) was appointed Head overseer as Larry and Marty were not arriving until game time and much pre-preparation was needed.      My role, besides being head of what Bobby named Judy’s Angels (Dixie, Sue and Martha) was as chief decorator – making novel centerpieces out of old photos of young Larry and Marty from twenty or more years ago with  teammates, et al.   It was really a labor of love and kept me out of trouble for a couple of months working on them – changing, adding, redoing, etc.   Today, I was finally able to enjoy the fruits of my labor when I peeked into the Petrus Room to see the centerpieces on the breakfast tables.  This is just Opening Day of a three day seminar (consisting of two scrumptious meals daily, lectures with both Larry and Marty individually and two duplicates per day).   The amazing part is that as soon as the word got out, they had over 140 eager beavers signing up for this three day junket.

Later!   Back to work!


Robb GordonJune 22nd, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Good luck with that. The students have great teachers!

Judy Kay-WolffJune 22nd, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Yes, Robb:

They are somethin’ else. Bobby and I walked into their joint lesson at the tail end as I had been busy re-decorating the tables for lunch. It was held in a huge meeting room with long desks, holding about seven or eight on each side of the center aisle. Packed to the hilt — with Larry and Marty on the podium armed with new fangled microphones and a tremendous vugraph screen.

It was like a scene from Laurel and Hardy or Burns and Allen — a laugh a minute! One of the most entertaining bridge experences which I’ve been privileged to share.

Since so many of the attendees seemed familiar with each other, I assume they must have signed up for other cruises given by Marty or Larry and met each other on the high seas at one time or another.

Larry had been waiting 27 years to tell the following story and the setting was absolutely perfect! Picture this — Bobby sitting along side of me suddenly sees a hand appear on the vugraph screen captioned: 1983 Spingold. Larry, after having casually introduced Bobby (with all his credentials) a few moments earlier, narrates the following:

Marty (playing with Larry) opened 2D (which equates to a weak 2S) with some god awful spade holding with a 5/3/3/2 shape.

Bobby (his LHO) with KJ10 AXX Q AKXXXX bid 2N and naturally Bob Hamman, his partner, raised to 3NT wth AQ9XX KXX XXX QX. Since the opening leader did not have a spade to lead he led DJ from J109XXX and Larry and Marty rattled off the first six tricks for down 2.

In the other room, on the NS cards they got to 6C and after the opening diamond lead to the ace, defender brilliantly figured out to give his partner a spade ruff for down one.

Thus, they only lost two imps (-100 v. +50). The hilarious ending to the story is the only slam that NS can make is 6S with AQ9XX opposite KJ10 — spades being the suit that Marty essentially opened [promise not to laugh] holding: 876XX XX AKX XX.

Everyone headed for the Mouton Room for lunch with smiles on their faces. Sensational cuisine — but not recommended for those who are watching their weight.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 22nd, 2010 at 7:12 pm

By the way, someone just wrote to me privately asking who the rest of Bobby’s team was. Sadly, Hamman and Wolff are the only ones still alive. The other partnerships were Goldman and Soloway, Brachman and Anderson.

ChuckJune 23rd, 2010 at 3:02 pm

No new stories from the Seminar? The Wynn sounds more like The Taj Mahal (the real one). Never been — to either.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 23rd, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Well, Chuck, this place is unto itself. I have been spoiled all my life by a very decent lifestyle — but you have to see this palace to believe it. It is bigger than huge — with an adjoining passageway to Steve Wynn’s other showplace — The Encore. In fact, it is so tremendous, I had to rent a scooter to shuttle back and forth from my room to the playing and dining sites in another section of the hotel.

Bear in mind, Bobby and I are only here because I volunteered to help Larry. We live in Summerlin, about twenty minutes N.W. of the Strip and never sojourn here unless to pick up visitors and bring them to our neck of the woods for lunch or dinner. The continual congestion of The Strip is a no-no for the majority of locals and rarely frequented unless mandatory.

This morning I joined Bobby for a “late” breakfast in The Terrace Room, and because our table was adjacent to the window facing the corridor, we could not help notice everyone scurrying to and fro. The service is A-1 and no wonder — they must have a thousand employees. The casino and hallway are adorned with magnificent fresh flowers, green shrubbery and one designer boutique after another. As we were awaiting breakfast, my eyes became glued upon a man, clad in a spotless handsome Wynn uniform with scissors in hand going from plant to plant to plant — manicuring the greenery by snipping away the undesirable tips. The employees are always on call and go out of their way to cater to the patrons to keep them happy.

I think one of the attractions of the Seminar is not only the popularity (both individually and as an old partnership) of Larry and Marty but the luxury of such a grandiose setting.

Besides, the players pay in advance one flat (reasonable) amount for three days in Bridge Paradise and are treated so cordially as if Larry and Marty knew each and every one of them personally. Excitement exudes from the group.

Finishing the second day of play, it is quite obvious the seminar is a tremendous hit and it would not surprise me an iota if they came back here next year.

My part in this extravaganza was signed, sealed and delivered months and months ago when I made up fourteen table centerpieces — with a myriad of bridge — related knicknacks. The only problem (which I did not learn until I arrived Monday afternoon) was that I could not gain access to the dining areas the night before but must wait for set up until 7:00 a.m. which entailed getting up at 5:30, having our own breakfast at an ungodly hour and then setting up my decorations before 8:30 (then taking them down while they clean off the table, put on new cloths and then start anew for the luncheon repast).

It has been a very rewarding experience to be a tiny part of such a huge bridge love-in, but I look forward to returning home and being able to sleep late (till at least 7 a.m.). No rest for the weary — at least these last three days!

Bobby has been such a terrific sport that I agreed to play with him this Friday afternoon. Am I a good wife — or what?