Judy Kay-Wolff


The rules, laws and alerts of the ACBL never cease to amaze me.   Another one came to the fore today.  Many fewer people do NOT play Puppet Stayman than those who employ its use.   Of course, PUPPET STAYMAN IS ALERTABLE.   WHY THEN, TO THOSE WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE RESPONSES, IS IT NOT INCUMBENT UPON THE PARTNER OF THE 3D BIDDER TO ALERT (and/or explain the meanings of the responses)??????????????    (For those unfamiliar with the system, the responses to 3C are:  3D denies a five card major but promises one or two four card majors; 3H and/or 3S promises five of named suit; and 3NT denies either a four or five bagger).  Why the secret society?

I find a similar incongruity with the response to SUPPORT DOUBLES! Standard procedures (when using the system) is to RAISE WITH FOUR, DOUBLE WITH THREE AND PASS WITH TWO OR LESS.   If the first two are alertable, why then sit like Charlie McCarthy when you pass and deny three.   However, some partnerships sometimes play they do not have to redouble with three with a minimum.   If it is optional, why should it not be alertable?   You and partner both know you MAY have three.   Why not let the opponents in on it?   THE INCONSISTENCY AND GETTING AWAY WITH WHATEVER YOU CAN AT THE TABLE, TO ME, IS NOTHING SHORT OF THIEVERY. 


It is really intolerable that the ethics of bridge have become so waivable and are employed when it is in one’s best interest only!   Maybe we ought to move backward a step, take a good look at what is happening  and revise some of these sometimes/yes and sometimes/no alerts.   Bridge is not a crap shoot or a guessing game.   That is why we have rules, laws and red printing on our convention cards.


Robb GordonFebruary 1st, 2011 at 8:17 pm


Yes, actually it is.

However, there are myriad problems with the alert procedure. I think we discussed two of them.

1. 1C (1H) x most people play this as negative showing 4 spades, no alert. Some play it as negative denying 4 spades. This is alertable. But what about 1C (1H) 1S? Most play this guarantees 5. If you are playing the latter double treatment it only promises 4, but is not alertable.

2. We play ASTRO cuebids over the majors. They open 1S we overcall 2S. We are showing FOUR hearts and SIX clubs. 95% of American tournament players are showing 5 hearts and an unspecified 5 card minor. Either way, no alert. Can this possibly make sense?

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 1st, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Hi Robb:

I think there is a confusion factor on #1. I am talking about an auction (that is standard if there is such a thing) — that proceeds:

1C P 1H 1S — The opening bidder (1 clubber) raises to 2H with 4; doubles with 3 and passes with two or less. We feel that is alertable. Many do not alert the pass. If that is their understanding, we feel it is withholding of agreed information.

2. As far as #2, Bobby and I play it similarly. Michaels shows AT LEAST 5 CLUBS AND specifically FOUR OF THE OTHER MAJOR. Has nothing to do with the other minor. We alert, saying 4 hearts and at least 5 clubs. Right or wrong, we give our oppponents their money’s worth.

John Howard GibsonFebruary 1st, 2011 at 11:15 pm

HBJ here,

HI Judy, I really with you on this one……the game’s gone crackers with its complex rules on alerts and I and many others still remain in a fog. Either, we are all restricted to a fairly standard system card providing a level bidding playing field. OR we can all use bidding systems that remain a secret to us, providing a level completely-in-the-dark playing field.

Any other option is a recipe for confusion, cheating and disaster. Yours HBJ.

LarryFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 4:19 am

The ACBL has deemed cue bids as self alerting (no need to alert). In one of my partnerships I play top & bottom cue bids (4 of the Major and 5 of the minor) and we always alert anyway.

Alain LacourseFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 4:58 am

I do consider it a courtesy to my opponents to know what our bids do promise, even if in some situations, it is more a matter of treatment than a matter of convention.

For example, we play a disciplined weak two spades, requiring a 6-card suit headed by KQT, AJT or better, no void, no 2 aces, a side 4-card minor, and 8-9 non vul, 10-11 vul. This is very restrictive, but very descriptive. However, by ACBL alert rules, treatments need not be alerted, so we are not forced to alert here. I guess alert rules were decided so that the pace of the games is kept reasonable.

Some systems have many bids that are very descriptive. But they are treatments, not conventions. Conventions are fairly quickly told. But treatments can be quite long to describe, and this slows the pace of the game.

Unless ACBL revises its alert procedure, I guess to forewarn players that they are entitled to ask for details on conventions and treatments of their opponents, even though the bid is not alertable, is a good practice.

Cue bids are a good start. Every time we hear our opponents double, we ask for information, there are so many versions of these… we do play top and another, but the spade suit can be a crappy 4-card suit (5432), but a heart suit is either 5-card or a very good 4-card (KQTx or better), yet another version!

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 6:16 am

Dear HJB:

Many players (often at the top echelon — but certainly not all) alert at their convenience. We really must have some abiding standard strictures so we are all playing the same game. Not too much to ask. It seems we ae adding to the turmoil in the world in our own way. Bridge is straying from the straight and narrow and it is not a good reflection on the game!

Yes, as you say, the game has gone crackers. Here in the States, we call it ‘bonkers” but I sure get your point. Same difference.



Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 6:26 am


Just because the ACBL has deemed cue bids as self alerting — what exactly does that mean??? Some are standard and others are much more complicated. It is the other side of the partnership that bothers me. They have every bit as much of an obligation to offer an explanation to the opponents.

Not everyone is a world class experienced player. We have a mixed bag and the less experienced ones are entitled to a little consideration. You want to lure the younger generation into the fold and welcome the old timers as well. The whole bidding structure has been revised and people are entitled to know what is going on in today’s world.

Good for you for alerting!

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 6:51 am

Dear Alain:

You make so many good points in the interest of the fairness of the game and revelation of certain understanding beknownst to only one side of a partnership.

“…. by ACBL alert rules, treatments need not be alerted, so we are not forced to alert here. I guess alert rules were decided so that the pace of the games is kept reasonable.” My answer is “Let them take a hike!.” That is ridiculous! Equity should always be the bottom line and all efforts should be exerted to keep it and preserve it!

Which is more important? (1) Rushing from one board to the next willy-nilly as if you are at Dover Downs or Santa Anita; (2) Or sharing with the opponents the meanings of specialized bids which you and your partner employ — to which they are entitled.

This rush to speed up the game is acting as a major force to encourage withholding of information, cheating, hedging and many other untoward actions (including ‘pulling of boards’ in Swiss Matches — especially when the two contenders are playing each other for the title).

Our objective should be to keep the game moving at a decent pace not worry about the sounding of the alarm. Maybe the directors should be wearing fireman’s caps rather than ACBL Badges.

Thanks for taking the time to share your views.


bobby wolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 8:43 am

In dealing with life changing or possibly even more importantly, event changing procedures, let us understand the genesis of these aberrations.

As has already been mentioned, although not in detail, why the ACBL has apparently directed our game toward what has been clearly pointed out, the DUMBING DOWN of our alert procedure in the interest of speeding along the play so that the could-be Alzheimer’s patients be able to get back to their own or old folks homes in time for their early dinner specials. Nothing less, nothing more.

What, in practicality has this ugly practice accomplished? Let me count the ways as it has allowed the foxes to attack bridge henhouses by never disclosing such important partnership understandings as:

A. raising partner with 4 trumps, using Support doubles to show 3, but passing or bidding something else to show fewer than 3. My humble opinion is that forcing the pass to be alerted would reduce enough of the value from playing support doubles to render that convention a significant minus to continue playing it.

B. When a partnership uses a cue bid in some kind of familiar way, but in reality has special restrictions such as a major suit cue bid showing the other major (but making it usually a 4 card suit and while at the same time of accenting a specific minor, longer clubs). Depriving the opponents of this information is tantamount to cheating at bridge because that information in the bidding and especially in the play as either a defender or declarer is often critical to success.

C. Rigidly disciplined weak two bids are necessary for the opponents to know, both for decisions in the bidding (in a competitive auction) and certainly in the defense when the weak two bidder becomes the declarer as well as the advantage deserved to one of the opponents who may instead become declarer.

D. As Robb Gordon eloquently explained about the various ways of playing negative doubles, either showing or denying certain major suits is also absolutely critical for the opponents to know for them to have any chance of consistent success and by not disclosing that information is, at least to me, almost as bad as it gets in bridge, and yet the ACBL has effectively high-fived the transgressors and wished them Godspeed in their wretched endeavors.

The reader will note that I have only touched on the various examples given from this sub set of ACBL players, but I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination to get the overall significance of the problem.

Getting back to the ACBL’s BOD’s problem of attempting to cater to what they think is the prevailing attitude of large numbers of ACBL players as to the simplicity demanded by them:

May I point out that the same now current alert procedures fit in perfectly with the devious intentions of the above average bridge playing foxes (often professional players or almost) whose average matchpoint score or KO or Swiss result goes up exponentially with all this information being legally withheld from their should-be-entitled opponents.

At the very least, shouldn’t the above be deemed at least appropriate for a general debate to be scheduled and held in upcoming ACBL monthly bulletins.

At least for me. I would love for the opponents of what I am saying, to state, what I think, will be their totally pathetic reasons for all to attempt to digest.

To close on a lighter note, but possibly not so to Les. When I moved West I toured a bit and visited Tombstone, Arizona where I appropriately saw a short epitaph in a featured cemetery:

Here lies Lester Moore, 4 shots

from a 44. No less, no more.

Robb GordonFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 9:03 am

Here is the problem with alerting your ASTRO (or Top & Bottom) Cue Bid – by ACBL regulation, an alerted Cue Bid SPECIFICALLY shows that the bid is NATURAL. So if the auction goes 1S (2S)! the opponents technically should assume that the 2S bid shows spades! Now, I am sure most people would ask, particularly over a major direct, but I would hate to be on the committee when this case comes up.

No, self-help is not the best answer. The best answer is that the law (in this case the regulation) is an ass. It is time to use common sense. You alert if you think a normal human being would not be expecting a bid/pass/double to mean what it means in your partnership.

This is also consistent with what Edgar Kaplan had in mind when he introduced the Alert (originally the phrase was “Please Wait) in The Bridge World 40 years ago.

bobby wolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 10:07 am

Hi Robb,

Even though you, as an oft times chairman, not to mention normally a laws follower, are vitally concerned what the specific law tries to say, still you are now saying that since the laws now have to be seen or better told, heard, to be believed, I tend to totally agree with you.

When I mentioned about the laws are now dumbing down I was probably underestimating the problem. For you to tell us that when it now goes a 5 card major opening one of that suit that then if that opener’s LHO now bids 2 of that major, an alert without being asked by an opponent would show length in the same major, it has now gone off the charts straight from the nut house and I will further state that no self respecting combination bridge player and crazy person (somehow the definition does not seem so far-fetched) might even laugh at himself for so playing that meaning to that bid.

Whatever, it just adds more credibility to the suggestion that anyone who considers himself an asset to our game should alert when he thinks the opponents should be alerted (regardless of what the laws say, if for no other reason than even many TDs do not know what they say). That alert should be given whenever he, the alerter. would like the opponents to alert him if a similar (or, of course, identical) situation arises.

How else can we deal with what is obviously happening where almost all we hear belongs in the “Theater of the Absurd”?

The only disappointment I have to express might be your ambivalence in being on a committee wherein you would consider yourself conflicted by what you know is right and by what you think is what the ACBL has to say about it. If everyone would just follow his or her heart and forget about unknowledgeable people who happen to think they are in charge espousing how to do things in exactly the wrong way, there now comes the time for a revolution. Without one we do not have a game which anyone should deem worth playing.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 10:35 am


Another auction just came to mind. We play, for example, 1C P 1H (EITHER 2C or 2H are NATURAL — TO PLAY. Similarly, 1D P 1S (EITHER 2D or 2S are the same — NATURAL — TO PLAY. WE WOULD NOT DREAM OF NOT ANNOUNCING IT. NOT EVERYONE PLAYS IT THAT WAY.



The Lawbreaker

KevinFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 12:41 pm

With regard to Puppet Stayman in normal club/sectional play, the biggest problem is that the 3C bid IS alertable effectively telling partner “wake up: my responses are puppet responses.”

I’m fine with the support doubles “non-alert” since that’s a common auction. Folks good enough to make use of the information will know to inquire.

1S-2S (no alert) when playing Bergen raises is more problematic to me.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 12:57 pm


It’s the FOLKS NOT GOOD ENOUGH to make use of the information that I worry about.

And yes, Bergen raises, can (if not properly alerted) cause problems.

Better be safe than sorry.


Robb GordonFebruary 2nd, 2011 at 8:38 pm

My response to this over the last couple of years is to petition District Directors and the Competition and Conventions committee. Supposedly they are “working on it”.

To clarify, this is not a problem with the Laws of Bridge (which delegate regulations like this to sponsoring organizations) but to the regulations that have been promulgated to date. I believe that these regulations were promulgated with good intentions, but the unintended consequences that have appeared should be address in a more timely fashion.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 5:22 am


I hear what you are saying and I know you are one of the “good guys” — but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Maybe the underlying problem lies in the so called “sponsoring organizations ” who may not be qualified to make such far reaching determinations either because of personal agendas or lack of knowledge and experience. I know it is hard to get volunteers, but discretion is the better part of valor. Perhaps soft-spoken expert committees can be formed to alleviate this serious problem.

Bridge rulings and event determining results are left (especially at the club level) to people who are barely qualified. Sure, they can read out of a book but when any bridge knowledge and judgment concerning convention disruption or unauthorized information are involved, they are out to lunch. I know of one club policy where they do not like to “buck’ the other’s decision. Is this about personalities, egos or bridge. The solution I suggested is that a small committee be convened of the top players (and we have plenty of good ones) and any non book/judgmental calls be rendered to the experts on a committee who would know most of these rulings in their sleep. Of course, no one likes to relinquish power — and that is what it is all about.

I am just sick and tired of beating my head against a stone wall only to realize the game has not only taken second place to the rising greed of professionalism but to self-indulging directors as well.

Bridge will never take its rightful place as the greatest game in the world unless people straighten up and fly right and leave their egos at home.

bobby wolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 7:12 am


There is only one point left to be made. The person or people chosen to either make or greatly influence the decisions to be made must be:

1. Independent free and high-level thinkers who are only interested in producing decisions which are in the best interest of the current procedures which vitally effect bridge education and therefore the results of our bridge tournaments.

2. Find a blend of simplicity and common sense which will keep personal agendas from adversely effecting alerts and table happenings from giving an edge to players who prefer to not disclose understandings which will certainly lessen their advantage and therefore reduce their scores.

3. The people chosen to influence and therefore determine our rules MUST keep in mind the delicate balance between full disclosure and not, but still, at the same time, keeping the game moving and also to find a way to convince players of their ethical responsibility to others while playing the game.

4. The somewhat unusual nature of the ethics of our game, with its partnership strictures and responsibilities, has always been present ever since its inception 80+ years ago. Consequently those unique requirements should ALWAYS be featured in any kind of presentation of what bridge is about. Without them, we have no game left, or for that matter worthy enough, to be played.

EllisFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 8:16 am

Iam not sure if any double should be alerted, not god forbid because I wish to hoodwink anyone, but I have a feeling alerting of doubles, be they support or otherwise is more likely to alert the partnership using them than the opps defending them.

on the same subject, a non double in a support situation would tend to deny 3, the non doubler may have many reasons for not doubling, maybe he has a trap of one of the opps suits, maybe he just overbid the first time and wants to get out early.

So a bid which tends to deny, but does not actually deny a particular holding becomes a problem in the alert procedure.

Just my 2 cents


Robb GordonFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 8:37 am

“Maybe the underlying problem lies in the so called “sponsoring organizations ” who may not be qualified to make such far reaching determinations either because of personal agendas or lack of knowledge and experience.”

First of all, as you probably know, there are differences (called elections) in the Laws between Zone 2 (ACBL) and much of the rest of the world.

Secondly, I think you would be hard-pressed to codify specific alerting regulations into a document that is formally revised only every 10 years or so.

Finally, the Competition and Conventions committee (you can look up their names at http://www.acbl.org/about/competitionConvention.html ) is made up of competant volunteers who I believe try to do a good job and are well qualified.

But I guess time will tell whether I am right and these issues are addressed of I am wrong and stronger action is needed.

Gary M. MugfordFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 8:45 am


In a number of the comments above, I still feel my “ADVANCED ALERT” is still a solution. It alerts users who hear ALERT and ASSUME they know what the explanation would be from their own expertise and get ‘surprised.’ A perfect example would be top and bottom cue-bids where the world expects Michaels.

That said, it doesn’t cure the lack of explanations issue. A partial solution there was a habit I picked up as a novice first playing against ‘expert’ players. BEFORE making my lead in these circumstances, I would ask for a review of the bidding with all bids explained … without resorting to convention name shorthand. I wrote this practice on my scorecard (for self-defence) and I insisted on doing it as the partner of leader if s/he didn’t. It was a way to learn the ‘expert’ game and to be as fully informed as I could be.

Is it a solution for potentially competitive sequences. No. But the practice did have a couple of benefits. It occasionally prevented an uninformed disastrous lead. AND, by not getting explanations as the bidding progressed, occasionally the ‘experts’ got into a series of misunderstandings … usually with the result that the lead was meaningless. The hand had been won in the bidding … their bidding.

ALL of that said, I still fear over-explanation of bidding agreements because, as you know, I’m still an impatient young punk who believes Bridge is a timed event. There HAS to be an accord as to what is reasonable for the opponents to be expected to know and what is needed for them to know to be fair … on this particular hand. Would that Solomon was alive to day to figure out THIS conundrum.


JaneFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 8:53 am

In Kevin’s post earlier, he mentioned that if a partnership is playing Bergen, but the auction goes one spade- two spades, this should be alerted. I was not aware this would be an alert unless it means something unusual. I do play Bergen with some of my partners, and we alert all the Bergen bids, of course. Can you educate me, please?


bobby wolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 10:15 am

Hi Ellis,

With all due respect, Ellis, and I can assure you that I am a firm believer that, from your previous posts, you are an ethical bridge player and a good guy, however, your reasons for being against many alerts are simply, IMHO, not valid.

Since an alert is only meant to disclose the system or conventional understandings of your partnership, but then when someone turns up with a different hand or whatever, that he thought it showed it is NOT a direct violation or illegal.

However it may now be worth noting that any partnership which consistently violates their own system and understandings will be subject to extreme scrutiny and soon after be subject to timely and appropriate discipline for such actions.

As an epilogue, I will accept what you say, but only value it as worth one cent instead of two.

bobby wolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

Hi Robb,

Since you and I appear to be on the same page I will agree with most of what you have to say, but in order to do the job necessary, I would suggest that if one has good intent, understands bridge, but is probably not sophisticated enough to arbitrate on the rather complicated problems involved with common sense application, then he should as his approach, VISIT the committee and consider himself a work in process, before he will hopefully become properly educated and then be eventually 100% included in the decision making process.

bobby wolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hi Gary,

My guess to what adding King Solomon would say in response to being ask to join an important bridge committee would be: “Your half-cocked bridge situations are brought about by a number of poor judicial decisions and before I can come up with one of my famous right-on judgments, the entire early procedures MUST at the very least, be modified”. “Furthermore, yes timing is important, but for bridge to continue to be the great game it is, we need to take care of other things first and then slow play, because of a better understanding of responsibility, will tend to take care of itself”.

bobby wolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 11:02 am

Hi Jane,

Forgive me for eavesdropping in your comment to Judy, but she asked me to answer.

The simple raise to 2 spades by the partner of a 1 spade bidder is usually effected by whether that pair is playing Bergen raises or not.

Since Bergen raises are meant to take full advantage of “The Law of Total Tricks” and raise the bidding as high as is practical as soon as possible, especially when there is a known 9 card fit in a major, the raise of 1 of a major to 2 is usually (almost always) based on only 3 card support since the LAW strongly suggests that space should be taken away from the opponents when 4 trumps are held in support of partner. (Sometimes a 4 card raise is psyched by responding 1NT, first in order to ostensibly slow down the bidding, but in actuality, by far the most important reason, is to try to give the opponents an incorrect view of the distribution).

With that as a backdrop, at least as far as I know, when you now raise your partner to 2 of his major, and of course playing Bergen raises, you are under no legal duty to inform the opponents of probably having only 3 trump, but it is a nice touch and hopefully will be contagious, not especially to only alert an otherwise not necessary to do so bid, but your willingness to go beyond what is expected and against your own interests, is a wonderful tribute to you and thus to the game itself.

I, for one, appreciate what you individually apparently bring to the game. The only issue I really feel strongly about is being 100% opposed to those who say or even slightly suggest that going beyond goes over the line and becomes illegal. To those I would say that they should give up lawyering which only tends to show their selfish and boorish motives, and rather switch to making bridge the game it is entitled to be, one which is played by ladies and gentlemen and I. for one, am glad to be considered one of them.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 11:45 am

I was delighted to return home from my appointment with the masseuse (as a result of a bad fall over a year ago — and nothing else seems to help) to find that Bobby had gotten to Jane, Ellis, Robb and Gary before I had a chance to hit the keys.

Some of you do not know that Bobby is President Emeritus of the World Bridge Federation Appeals Committee and no doubt has done more for bridge on a world wide, international, national and local level pro bono than anyone in the history of the game. He loves it more than any other devotee I ever met and is interested only in restoring it to the majestic status it once had when he came upon the scene. Perhaps this will explain his passion and candor when he replies to the various commentors.

He makes me very proud!

Mark LombardFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 1:51 pm


It’s so funny…when I was a student of bridge in Philadelphia in the mid-90’s, my friend from New York used to send me Bobby Wolff’s bridge column. I figure he stuffed about 25 columns, all newsprint, mind you, into an envelope and popped it into the mail. Bobby Wolff was quite a hero to me (I particularly remember those columns mentioning Dr. John Fisher). And then in the early 2000’s, Bobby took a special interest in a local project promoting bridge at my club (thanks to JKW, the great matchmaker), and even visited us for our launch party! He’s not just a great friend to the giants of the game, but also to guys like me! The world would be a sadder (and shadier) place without The Lone Wolff!

JaneFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Thanks for the info, Bobby. Just wanted to be sure I was not missing something on Bergen raises versus simple raises.

I doubt you remember this, but last year I was playing against you and Judy in a club game, and you opened one NT, Judy announced the range, and my partner bid two clubs. Judy looked at me, I said nothing, she passed, I passed, and then you looked at me. Before you passed, you asked if there should have been an alert. I said no, we were playing all bids over NT openings as natural. You said this may have been the first time an opponent bid two clubs as natural against you, and then you passed. Of course you let us stay in that atrocious contract with your five clubs. I held a stiff club, seven hearts to the queen and out. Had you been courteous enough to double, I could have joyfully bid two hearts (maybe I should have anyway)and taken my partner off the hook, but nooooo! Just a funny story, I thought, but in this case, should I announce partner’s bid is to play? It was written on our convention card, and since opponents have the right to ask about any bid, I did not announce it. Just curious???

bobby wolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Hi Jane,

I appreciate your response and particularly so, since I know and respect you for wanting the same thing Judy and I want, a harmonious bridge world who love the game and value Active Ethics.

No, I do not actually remember that hand, but have no doubt it occurred exactly as you described it. First, although I do not remember exactly what my 1NT opening held, I might have been trading on your relative inexperience by passing the hand out for the following reasons:

1. When a player opens 1NT he relinquishes captaincy of the hand to his partner and since Judy did not respond she showed a preference for allowing your side to play the hand.

2. My advice is for you to have bid your weak 7 card heart suit immediately because of the likelihood if you don’t, your partner will be stuck playing the hand with her probably fewer than 7 clubs as trump.

Your bid is not to be looked on as a move forward, but on this type of bidding, rather only a correction of the contract.

Regarding the possible alert, I am relatively sure that a natural bid of whatever (2 clubs in this case) would never be required to be alerted, but since so many tournament players play conventional overcalls over their opponents 1NT opening it seems polite and convenient for you to speak up and alert and even go on to say natural. In the game we want bridge to become at the clubs and for that matter in every form of competition is friendly, helpful and, of course, always actively ethical.

Thanks for your question, your inquiring bridge mind and for being so very gracious.

Good luck and lol,


Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Dear Jane:

How refreshing to read your entertaining comment and question to Bobby, especially in your combination position of Liaison, Director and new co-Owner of the recently relocated magnificent Las Vegas Bridge Club Flamingo site. It was indeed a curious question (and situation) and believe me, it gave me pause as well.

You are a welcome addition and the players like and respect you because of your gracious and pleasant personality.

More people in your position should be curious about certain situations of which there are so many varying opinions. I am not a director, though a veteran player, and only know the basic rules. I don’t pretend to know more — although by attrition of old bad habits and marriage to two HOFers, even a dumb-dumb would have to improve!

However, there are many instances that frequently arise where even long time, very experienced, excellent players/directors don’t know the answer. No one said that bridge is a simple game because of the scads of constantly changing rules, laws and alerts. However, equity is the bottom line and that is always Bobby’s objective.

He is only too happy to answer queries such as yours and I promise you (believe me!!!!) you will not always get the answer you are hoping for. (I speak from experience).

He shoots straight from the hip but players and directors alike will get a sound explanation and the reason behind it. Someone has to educate the public. This process is in big demand and too long in coming.

Bobby’s only objective is to maintain the beauty of the game and is proud of the strides that Dixie, Joanne and you have made to make it a more palatable and pleasant atmosphere in which to play. Thanks for caring. I would like to clone you for your candor and not being too proud to question if “2C” was an alert.

See you tomorrow,


JaneFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Thanks again. I so wanted to bid two hearts, but my partner that day was a superflighted A player who was mentoring me for awhile, so it did not seem prudent to change his bid, plus playing against BW, I could see getting the red card pulled out, down a bunch. Of course we were down a bunch anyway. So it was all Judy’s fault! She was not going to save me either. She was a good ship’s captain on this hand.

I appreciate your prompt responses and the advice.

JaneFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 7:27 pm


Wrong Jane. I am not the owner of the club. Jane, the owner, is a good friend however, and she is a doll.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 pm


We both assumed it was J.R. Sorry. If you are there tomorrow, come over so we will get to see the “RIGHT JANE” and attach the name to the face. (Incidentally, there are a lot of Janes in the bridge world. My partner for thirty years is named Jane).



bobby wolffFebruary 4th, 2011 at 6:05 am

To Judy,

Me Tarzan, you Jane. Where is Cheetah? Now we must wait to see who killed JR or at least superseded her.

“It seems we stood and talked like this before, the clothes you are wearing are the clothes you wore, the smile you are smiling you were smiling then, but I can’t remember where or when. Things which were happening for the first time seem to be happening again”.

bobby wolffFebruary 4th, 2011 at 6:21 am

Hi Mark Lombard,

Much thanks for the very kind words.

In your comment you skimmed over the sensational project you presided over in Philly by putting together the “Wall of Fame” which became a composite of all-time greats of the bridge past magnified by Philadelphia’s contribution to the list. Philly will always be remembered by me as the cradle of perhaps the most prolific top drawer bridge city the world has yet realized. If so and to many others you are the reason for all that deserved acclaim.

It seems there is always, usually someone behind the scene, who is responsible for fantastic things to happen, and between you and my wife, Judy it is all I can do to just try and hold my own.

Always the best,


EllisFebruary 4th, 2011 at 8:30 am

Dear Bobby,

Dear Bobby

Consistently flauting partnership agreements is not something worth discussing( it is only good if you want to keep partnerships for less than a day)

My position is more on the alert of a double waking partner up as to your methods than responder having semi phsyched.

Support doubles is a low level possibility , responsive and maximal doubles are slightly less frequent and often forgotten by responders.

In the auction 1CL PASS 1H 1SP , playing support doubles , double would show 3 hearts, not doubling does not deny 3 hearts, it would often imply lack of above but it doesnt specifically deny them.

with a hand that looks like qjxxx jxx void akqjx , Iwould tend to open 1cl to avoid the rebid problems.

If my partner now alerts the pass with a tends to deny, would this alert now not implant some psudo knowledge in ops thinking process and cause them bad judgement.

Much along the lines of dont think of elephants, once said one can not help but think of elephants.

Truthfully Ifind the screen solution one that prevents multiple ethical problems, although in a long match you can work out whats going on at the other side of the table by tempo. However I do find that screens reduce the social interaction , which is a large part of why we love the game so much.

my other cent


bobby wolffFebruary 4th, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hi Ellis,

Your latest blog was worth at least 3 cents since most, if not all you said, is worthy, truthful and to the point.

Yes there is always the possibility that alerts will, instead of making sure the opponents are brought up to date, rather impart unauthorized information to partner and as you say, wake him up. However, the game must go on with most all rules designed to make the game more playable, with the idea of eventually catching stealthy opponents in a broad net if their intent is indeed deemed unhealthy.

In regard to support doubles, it is necessary to protect inexperienced opponents by requiring them to alert the negative part of their convention. Sure they may not double while holding 3 of partner’s major, but it should at least be called to their opponents attention. The major reason is to teach the game by making all players aware of, while playing all of these so-called super conventions instead, all of a sudden, begin to realize some significant down sides while playing them in understanding that the opponents will per force have better judgment both if they become declarer or if on defense, as well as of course in bidding judgment itself.

Most inexperienced players do not realize this rather large advantage which only makes them bigger targets while playing. Also some of the principle foxes are on the committees who make the rules therein carving out their own personal keys to the henhouse.

In recent years some of those foxes were instrumental in giving the higher seeds two rather than one round of 4 way matches (3 go forward) in our major important KO national team games just so their mark would be present in the conditions of contest of helping themselves to unfair advantages. Sadly, very few of our bridge law enforcement types even begin to realize what is happening, making their evil plans easy to implement.

The beat continues through the glens and dells, and only due diligence will slow the onslaught, which in the absence of other worthwhile ethical people joining in the crusade eventually collapse in toto.

Sometimes it becomes difficult to just lay up a nickel, which, in turn, caused me to raise your worth 3 fold.

Keep on trucking!

bobby wolffFebruary 12th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

The 5 day sectional held at Bally’s here in Las Vegas ended yesterday and will be deemed a success. The attendance was significantly higher, the hotel cleaner and certainly more modern.

Judy and I did not do well, especially in results, but played reasonably, although not good enough to ring any bells or even have ourselves chirp, “ding dong ding dong ding”.

On another front, since this was the first tournament since the ill fated one last October, which has caused so much consternation with me concerning the ACBL attitude toward errant tournament directing, slow play and especially assessing the blame I think it prudent for me to report the connection I had with that topic.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, was very respectful

to me and the views I have suggested. There was never a cross word or even provocative question asked of me regarding anything I have said, written or done during the last few months, but after talking to the chief TD at this tournament and the last, Bill Michael, I want to mention different views between the two of us, which possibly caused the rather vast chasm

to exist and sadly for me to possibly continue unabatedly

This tournament’s treatment of late play was much milder particularly so since nothing like the last tournament’s closing event, a Swiss Team playthrough did not require of the players to play 8 boards using 7 board time restraints.

If anyone remembers the circumstances leading to the problems last time featured the pulling of many boards because of time problems and, of course, the arbitrary penalizing of a team when no evidence as to who was at fault was found and, of course, no effort to determine was ever considered, much less exercised.

I brought up a small problem that existed when after playing 4 boards and calling for the caddy to take those boards to the other table we were brought back 3 boards from them. Then after playing 3 boards we were then ready to play the 4th board but it was not delivered to us, so we called for the caddy, but it took 3 or 4 minutes for him to arrive and then another minute for him to go over to the other table and bring back the concluding board for us to play.

I mentioned to Bill that the caddies should be more responsive, especially so when the TD’s were so intent on penalizing players for even 1 second or more lateness. He strongly disagreed to the caddy’s responsibility and insisted that the other table should have immediately called for the caddy to come pick up the 4th board.

While realizing this is a petty situation, it still goes, at least in my opinion, to the heart of the problem concerning lateness, responsibility and punitive penalties. For penalties to be enforced the directing staff needs to come into this type of justice with clean hands and the caddies not being trained well enough should require the TD’s themselves to be on the spot with making up for that lack of training. Bill thought very differently and abrogated all responsibility, therefore shifting it to the players involved, certainly not the working staff.

Since politics in real life seem to be changing to what Bill believes, it would be hard for me to win an argument for what I think it should be, but for the life of me and my lifelong training is that ties for complying should be broken in favor of paying customers if only, in this particular case, of not penalizing a table which had to wait because of administrative non-compliance. Bill couldn’t have disagreed more, so I didn’t tell him that if I was the DIC I would be out myself among the tables making sure this sort of thing didn’t happen rather than even consider penalizing a team for lateness due to the above gaffe.

Perhaps others who read this will understand both sides, and the parallels between Bills view of bridge administration and our federal governments expectations resound resonantly clear, at least sadly to me.

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running distanceJanuary 10th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for finally talking about >Judy Kay-Wolff