Judy Kay-Wolff

An Enjoyably Uplifting Half an Hour …

As you may remember from a former blog, one of the most celebrated players and theorists from the fifties and sixties was a rather high spirited fella by the name of Tobias Stone (Stoney to his friends).   He was the long-time partner of Alvin Roth, co-author of the Roth-Stone System popularized and adopted sixty years ago.  Stoney, who will be 93 on June 8th, migrated from New York to Vegas about twenty-five years ago and is as sharp as a tack although he has succumbed to giving up his apartment where he was living alone as his motor skills and eyesight are on the downward swing.   However, if you heard him and his unbelievable memory, you would be amazed.    When Bobby and I visited him at St. Joe’s South in Las Vegas yesterday, he recalled stories of Edith Freilich (Kemp/Seligman/Seamon) who recently passed away.  He and Bobby discussed the great women players of our generation and they agreed that Edith was a notch below Helen Sobel and Stoney judged Philadelphian Sally Young (with whom I was privileged to partner in a duplicate) as the number three female standout.  Of course, Stoney has been out of the bridge loop for decades and does not know all of our younger female superstars. 

By the way he was also a champion backgammon player although sports and bridge absorbed most of his time in the Big Apple.  

After their favorite subject, Stoney turned to basketball and asked Bobby about the upcoming finals and they discussed Dallas’ chances of beating Miami and also spoke of LeBron James and his controversial actions when he jumped ship to play for the Heat.

I can only say, I hope that this reading audience at 93 will also still have all their marbles (present company included) and such an incredible sense of recall of days gone by (especially in the world of bridge).  Tobias Stone is truly remarkable!


JSMay 28th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Although Stoney was fading out as I was becoming mesmerized by the game in the late sixties, I remember all the hilarious stories Norman would tell about him as a friend, partner and teammate. He was a devil, to say the least, but everyone loved to be around him as it seems he was a laugh a minute. I remember hearing how he used to captivate his audience in the wee hours of the morning at P. J. Clarke’s in New York City. Funny the things one remembers!!!!

I enjoyed reading how on top of things he still is and I am sure he loves when you and Bobby visit him as no doubt most of his contemporaries are long since gone.

Judy Kay-WolffMay 28th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Dear JS:

What a great memory.

Sadly, his friends are scatttered all over the country. I believe the only one who is still constantly in touch with him by phone is Roger Stern, an old close dear friend of his.

In fact, when in California for a tournament in the last year, Roger flew into Vegas for the day — just to see him.

RobinMay 28th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I remember a funny tale you related about Stoney and your good friend, Barbara Brier. Barbara visited Stoney in the early days in New York and often stayed over at his apartment. By coincidence, both wore wigs and would never be seen in public without theirs. As the story went, Barbara got hungry (not unusual, you said) in the middle of the night and went to raid the ice box when Stoney appeared with the same urge. Both were horrified and caused them to make a pact not to wear their hairpieces after hours. Every time I hear Stoney’s name, I think of the incident.