Judy Kay-Wolff


I just read (or admittedly angrily scanned) an outrageous blog on an associated site complaining about all the people who had problems getting into the U.S. for the world championship.   Perhaps (since most people know well in advance of their expected attendance), it would not be unreasonable (in fact,  in my eyes, mandatory) to seek advice how to assure that their papers were in order and acceptable.   Maybe this should have been investigated prior also by those at the helm here in the States – suspecting that in these times of terrorism (not threats – but terrorism in living color), some would be refused admission without formal pre-arranged documentation.

After 911 and the dozens of other successful and foiled plots, I was proud to hear that the United States is so overprotective of its citizens, residents and visitors.   To even suggest that no other world championships be held here is PREPOSTEROUS.    What our government did (or didn’t do) was in the interests of the safety of all those are on our shores – which is their first and foremost responsibility.


TonyOctober 3rd, 2010 at 8:46 pm

There are dozens of reasons you can be stopped at a border and refused admittance. What were they? Drugs? Previous offense? Possible terrorist relationship? Who knows?

In any event, I agree with Judy. Who would ever (especially in these turbulent times and after 911) not check out and get advanced clearance by contacting the U. S. Consulate first? Incidentally, the underscored words IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS direct you to Feldman and Feldman Associates. Any relation to the author?

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 3rd, 2010 at 8:58 pm


Even before the days of 911 when Norman was traveling, we never failed to check out the requirements of our destination country. Since I have been married to Bobby, we have probably made eight or nine trips abroad and I have always followed the same procedure. Never a glitch!

Immigration attorneys are not the solution. Do your own homework to learn if you have a potential problem and, if so, how it can be rectified before you come face to face with the border patrol.

God Bless America for attempting to protect their own shores. The WBF should be proud that Philadelphia is hosting the site and those responsible for the problems should own up to their own neglectful behavior.

DiogenesOctober 4th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I would never attempt to enter a country, other than the one I am a citizen, without completely checking the requirements. Many countries require that I send my passport to the immigration authorities, for a visa, before arrival. You can not board an airplane for Viet Nam if your visa, or prior approval, is not firmly attached to your passport. Most countries require that you have six months, before your passport expires, to be allowed to enter. Cambodia insists that you have extra pages to affix their visa or you will be turned away at their border. We may now be “terrorists with toothpaste” but these are the rules. I may not agree with all of them but still must abide by them.

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 4th, 2010 at 3:44 pm


I guess it is known as “to each his own” and you are not going to tell that country how to

operate its immigration or security system.

What I am curious about in the case of the WBF problems, on what charges could they

possibly turn them away unless their documents were not current or they were

objectionable for some other reasons.

Bridge players have enough problems of their own — now immigation as well! On, well,

entries can be problems at the bridge table also.


Ed ShapiroOctober 4th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I came across that website also and my first impression — sophomoric — was reinforced as it concluded: “We recommend the USBF and WBF contact Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton to inform her of this appalling situation and hopefully remedy it.”

Have our players become so ignorant of the international problems we face today that they think this “issue” is worth Ms. Clinton’s time?

My two cents.

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 4th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Dear Ed:

Your comment was refreshingly humorous and besides — you just added a new word to my vocabulary (sophomoric). Love it! Thanks for writing.



Mark HangartnerOctober 4th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Dear Judy,

I have enjoyed travelling in America, friendly people, lots of good times. I have to say though that the border control is quite an ordeal. Yes we know about passports being in order, and luckily NZers qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. Sometimes after a long flight you just might miss a box to fill in and it becomes a big deal. I personally know many people who prefer to land in Vancouver not LA when flying.

On a refreshing note I’ve just been playing in NZ’s 25th annual Bridge Congress (yes we have just one annual national congress). The motel owner waved away my attempt to provide a credit card as surety against us damaging property or other misdemeanours. “No, Bridge players are fine”

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 4th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Dear Mark:

I enjoyed and appreciated your comments on travel. Bobby and I have sort of pulled in our wings. Except for Sao Paulo and tomorrow Philadelphia, we have enjoyed life in Sin City. Traveling (in our case not because of the border patrol) but all the mandatory security measures makes it so exhausting that we have stayed close to the nest.

Bobby, who is turning 78 in two weeks, is probably playing as well as he ever did. He is sharp and has not missed a beat even though he has not played actively for two years (except twice weekly with me in the local duplicates) just to keep his finger in the pot –and is it ever! At the club they do everything but bow and kiss his ring as they are thrilled to have someone of his caliber frequent the local games. However, maybe Philly will make his blood rush again and he’ll get into the swing of big time bridge once again.

To me, when God gives someone such a gift, it is criminal not to take advantage of it — so as you can see, I’m doing my part. Nag, nag, nag!

Got a kick out of the graciousness of your motel owner. Little does he know! Seriously, I know a lot of wonderful, caring, gentle bridge players and I have been blessed to be surrounded by thousands of them in the last fifty-five years when my addiction first set in.



Oleg RubinchikOctober 5th, 2010 at 6:51 am

Unfortunately the most often reason do not get a visa have nothing to do with drugs, personal history or safety. It is that officers who make decisions about entering visas to USA from some purer countries have clear instructions do not give permission unless person can proof that he or she will return home after trip is over. As reasonable as it sounds it does not always work the way it intended. There is a problem because no particular document or information can guaranty that officer will accept it as a proof. Actually there is no guaranty that officer will actually read or at least take a look at any document attached to case. The terrible misjudging happens so often that it can be count as a norm and there is no way to appeal the decision. By the way person asking for visa should pay a fee no matter what would be the answer.

Basically person who want enter to USA expected to pay serious for him amount of money and expect the answer like “You did not proof you are not a cheater. Stay home! If you want to get a visa pay again, maybe this time we will read your documents.”

Sorry but to get to USA outsiders need much more than just simply check the requirements and follow procedure.

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 5th, 2010 at 10:10 am


Perhaps I am on the inside looking out and you are on the outside trying to look in!

I agree, if the points made were true (rather than gross

exaggerations plus immigration attorney advertisements), there is a simple way to avoid a repeat performance.

The host country (whomever it may be) should band together with the WBF and formal advisories should be sent FROM BOTH GOVERNING BODIES to the AUTHORITIES IN CHARGE OF ADMISSIONS TO THE HOST COUNTRY ADVISING:

That the person named therein is authorized and has been invited to play in the WORLD BRIDGE CHAMPIONSHIP to be held IN (whatever country/city is hosting) and the event will be held from ____to ____ .

After due investigation, with no cause for rejection, an authorization should be released granting entry to our


All countries participating should advise their potential players that a form must be submitted to facilitate their admission. Sadly, that is what it has come to!

In today’s scary times of terrorism, I can well understand

that one can never be too careful. It seems the above

suggestion (together with an invitation) from the host country would cast suspicions on those with bad intents — not bridge players looking to compete in a high level event.

Just food for thought!

Bobby WolffOctober 5th, 2010 at 10:17 am

Hi Oleg,

While your analysis can very well be true, anywhere between 10 and 90%, the root cause can be traced to world wide unrest and distrust.

For my beliefs and judgment, terrorism is the cause. Others may say and believe that it is US Imperialism which is at fault. To that I can sincerely answer that without some powerful nation, wishfully a conglomeration of several ones, who cherish world peace and understanding, to come forward and lead the way and somehow be role models for what is best for the whole world in general.

Until brutal wars, hate, genocide and other uncivilized behavior is eliminated entirely, it seems to me that it will never lead to a direct and loving way to treat other countries citizens.

I realize that what I am suggesting right now, is nothing more than a pipe dream, but why wouldn’t you understand it as such and instead of complaining and competing, rather cry out to everyone what needs to be done. How could anyone suggest that any country, especially the standard bearer, to let down their guard and subject their people to evil doers, even if the odds are over 100 to 1 against.

It remains to the dissatisfied people like yourself to suggest the first dove, rather than to take it up from the middle, after the chaos and brutality has already started. All organized groups involving fallible people, such as our immigration department, are subject to politics and subjectivity. The answer is not to have the necessity to have to call them to duty.

Jason FeldmanOctober 6th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

As the author of the related post, and also as an immigration attorney I would like to clarify several untruths. Many people did plan well in advance in their attempts to come. There is nothing such as a “magic form” to submit, and all these players were just to lazy to submit. Most did submit the required forms. And they were denied visas.

The truth is that unless someone is a very wealthy individual in a poorer foreign country (with a business and assets that will undoubtedly bring them back) officers are basically instructed to deny their visa regardless of what paperwork is prepared and any affidavits prepared on the prospective visitor’s behalf by a U.S. sponsor. Moreover, there is no way to communicate with many of the consulates in poorer countries for either the intending visitor or their attorney.

And yes, I do believe the a World Bridge Championships is worth the time of the State Department. They could easily send a memo to its officers informing them about this competition and instruct the officers to grant visas to players representing their country unless there is an actual security issue.

We volunteered our time and services (pro-bono) to help as many players as possible, but in many cases individuals from certain countries will just never be allowed visitor visas unless they are very wealthy and have unbreakable ties to their home country.

Jason FeldmanOctober 6th, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Also, as to the idea of a future World Championships not being held here. This was certainly not my idea nor my wish, but rather a rampant rumor we addressed, as many people have mentioned this possibility here at the tournament.

So far everything at the tournament in Philadelphia has been wonderful and I hope the U.S. hosts many more World Championships in the future.

Bobby WolffOctober 7th, 2010 at 10:25 am


There is no reason for me to doubt any so-called truth that you say is so.

Let’s say everything you say is not only true, but that if there is any doubt, it is probably because you are understating it. What then?

Why don’t you and perhaps other well educated bridge players go about correcting it in a very intelligent way. First of all, at least in the fairly recent past, high-level foreign bridge players were at least tempted to remain in the USA because of the professionalism opportunities they may run into once inside the country. Perhaps the immigration department had gotten wind of such possibilities and, instead of giving a major world bridge tournament a green light, it could have become a red light for a possible overstay on the visa. (I do not know specifically that this ever happened, but it wouldn’t surprise me).

Having said the above, perhaps you, especially being an immigration attorney, provide the state department and the immigration authorities information on what to do when an immigrating bridge player appears on our country’s front steps.

For perhaps 30+ years I have been either in charge of or at least a member of the WBF credentials committee (and for a long time also the ACBL credentials committee) being responsible for disallowing possible known cheaters or other unsavory characters from being invited to play at WBF tournaments). That would be a logical committee for you to work with and be a liaison with the US immigration department.

As you may or may not know, all these many years, at least for me, has all been pro bono, so that you are not unique in being at the same level with your work on this matter.

In other words, use first your knowledge from your profession and then be creative in what needs to be done to prevent what you want to see prevented.

Finally, it is extemely doubtful that the WBF will not want to have future WBF tournaments on our shores, since in the past only the ACBL’s reluctance to chance one since 1986 when because of total incompetence on their own part, the ACBL lost over $200,000 in holding the 1986 World Bridge Championships in Miami.

Sometimes asking around, instead of piping up, will be the answer to a possible solution, but often it is all a growing up process, even with a well-intended relatively young expert bridge player life yourself.

I hope you try and make a happy ending out of this unpleasant happening.