Judy Kay-Wolff

Caught up in the whirlwind …

Bobby and I arrived in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and have been on a roller coaster ever since.   These 10:30 and 4:00 schedules (with several variations and changes) keep one on his or her toes.   The place is immense with playing on three floors of the Marriott and those less fortunate have to hike over to the other playing site at the Convention Center (though inside) about three blocks away.   For those who like to take their ‘constitutionals’ like Harry S. Truman — they love the exercise.   As for my partnership, we rented scooters.

Though there are many restaurants in the vicinity, the Marriott has only Starbucks and a supposedly lovely restaurant with the enchanting name THIRTEEN.  It is far from elegant, but you can have a nice buffet in the morning and either counter or table dining for lunch or dinner.   Not The Four Seasons, but beats going outside as far as I am concerned.   (However, they do give you 20% off on food with an AARP card). 

Attendance is down but I am sure that has something to do with the economy and it has not stopped both the foreign and local professionals from making their appearances.    The foreign nations are well  represented, but the American turnout has been a tremendous disappointment.  The room rate is $150 plus tax though we heard of several people going through Priceline.   DONT’ ASK!  Also, overnight parking is – would you believe? … $43!  (Now they say $36).   Big whoops!

The WBF events are scattered all over the hotel (3rd, 4th and 5th floors) with starting times at 10:00, 10:30 and 11:00.   You can’t tell a player without a score card and there has been much confusion as to who goes where and when.

But here in Philly, though we think the feature event is the world bridge championships, don’t kid yourselves!  The big news is the Phils sweeping the Reds and the opening day no hitter (with the Eagles just winning a squeaker over the 49ers)!  Lots of happy sports fans in the City of Brotherly Love tonight!


ReneOctober 11th, 2010 at 1:01 am

Dear Judy,

It is interesting that Philadelphia’s WBF bridge series has not drawn the expected throngs. I do agree that today’s economy must have contributed greatly but when did that ever stop a bridge player — to whom the game is more important than life itself.

I can’t imagine why they would not consider a Vegas site where they have huge banquet and convention facilities and are dying to get the large groups of conventioneers. I remember at one time you and Bobby interceded at the request of the Trials Committee to get the Suncoast for the Open Trials but other agendas prevailed and it was awarded to a Washington-Baltimore area site instead.

There is so much to do (for the kids, for spouses who don’t play bridge, an attraction of at least half a dozen eateries on the premises) el cheapo (as well as premier ones) and of course BJ, slots, roulette, etc. for those who want to take a break from the action.

It is just a question of finding the right hotel and right now with business down and lots of failing establishments — they would love our group. In fact, I understand a bid was made by Justine Hancock to the WBF on behalf of the Vegas Unit where the workers come out of the woodwork in droves (not drones).

You only learn by your mistakes and it would be criminal to not examine the possibility of a hotel like Bally’s which they had in mind for another type of bridge function. Besides, the airport runs are only ten minutes to The Strip. I know Larry Cohen had a wonderful four-day seminar reunion with Marty Bergen in June where they drew 144 students at about $1400-$1500 a clip (and Larry is doing it solo next year — same city).

It is the world’s great tourist attraction with much to say for Vegas being the place to go!


Judy Kay-WolffOctober 11th, 2010 at 2:10 am


You are right on target. However, I was one of the biggest proponents of bringing the WBF back to the States and potentially again to the Marriott because of my early personal administrative dealings with the hotel in our two nationals in 1996 and 2003). Of course, it was in great measure for selfish reasons — coming back to the city whch had served as my home base for some 69 years. Somehow the playing sites then were more compact, less cofusing where they were being held and the times and locations were not an issue. Here, because of the new (both U. S. and lovely foreign) directing staff not familiar with the hotel layout, there seemed to be lots of glitches.

One of the highlights of the week was the grandiose salute to outgoing President of the WBF, the legendary Jose Damiani, whose list of uncountable achievements and brainstorms have helped the organization attain their stature of today.

It has been an exhausting five days but it has flown by so quickly. Happy to be here but looking forward to returning at the end of the week to go to our local Regional at the Riviera! Pack and unpack — that’s the story of my life.

Nice hearing from you.


Judy Kay-WolffOctober 11th, 2010 at 4:31 am

You live and learn.

Bobby and I just “literally” opened the breakfast buffet. We learned some interesting tidbits from an unhappy waitress who had been there since its opening sixteen years ago and says for these two weeks they are working for practically nothing. Apparently, some of our guests are the reason.

First she explained that they cut out two eateries. One was JW’s Steakhouse. I didn’t remember the name — but I do recall the food being superb. I can’t recall the other one — but four, for sure, are better than two!

The other interesting observation, besides it being a ghost town in Thirteen, is that it contains tables, counters (and breakfast buffets only). She mentioned in a convention like this that because of so many foreign dignitaries and players, they tend not to tip by habit — apparently as it is included in most bills in their native lands.

Another bit of information which shocked me — they usually have a fabulous buffet with an omelet chef who was nowhere to be found (just hard dry scrambled eggs). We inquired why. They are charging $16 now and with the need to hire an omelet chef, they would be charging $20 (but because of our convention, she advised us the powers-that- be told the omelet chef to take a hike while the bridge group is here! I suggested putting on an automatic 18% tip (at least in the main part of the restaurant) but she said the hotel chain refused. A not very well thought out plan.

Anyway, these and other facts, explain why few people are in the hotel for mealtime — and an enlghtening education to a lay person such as myself totally unaware of the ups and downs of hotel management.

ChuckOctober 12th, 2010 at 2:45 am


I know major convention centers are essential but with the aging population in the game, why would they not use sites more convenient. I recall your telling me (at least about Philly) that the WBF events are primarily in the hotel itself and it is the Regional games that are held up the hill and over the pass — a few blocks (though indoors via a walkway) from the Marriott. I guess mostly locals play at the convention center and since they commute daily, they car pool or park nearer by. The only ones suffering are those who are staying at the main building and choose to play in the regional events v. the WBF high powered first class games.

By the way, what has been happening with you?

Always like your candid appraisals. You never fail to tell it like it is.


Judy Kay-WolffOctober 12th, 2010 at 2:55 am

Good morning Chuck;

I’ve seen better days at the table (a combination of fixes and under par play on our part) so we did not make the cut. That is the bad news — but not as ominous as it sounds. Just in the event of such a disappointment, we had Plan B. Today we are starting a regional knockout. Jane will be playing with one of Philly’s finest, Howie Cohen, with whom I played after Norman’s death as well and now one of her regular weekly partners. On the other hand, I have enlisted The Lone Wolff to round out our happy foursome. Not bad for a back up plan!