Judy Kay-Wolff


Quite by chance, last week I surfed the site of Bridge Winners as I personally know and respect many of the talented players, theorists and writers who partake.   The subject arose called “Suit Up” pertaining to the dress code proposed by the WBF in a continuing attempt by their organization to convince the International Olympic Committee to recognize bridge as an Olympic Sport.  It would no doubt enhance its importance and majesty in the eyes of the world and would have its beginning by focusing upon the uniforms if displayed in The Netherlands in October.   In order to comply with their rules, the mundane requirement of uniformity of clothes is supposedly mandatory.   (It is undetermined if it is T shirts, Jackets, Blazers,  Trousers, etc.   Nothing has formally been declared or barred).

I was horrified at the radical attitude of one of the former (?) Canadians who jumped ship in pursuit of professionalism with no sense of patriotism to his newly adopted country.  In a sense, it is similar to being a mercenary.  Bridge was simply a game and crossing  the border a means to accomplish it.  The fact that his team was presented with some kind of medal was his only source of satisfaction.   How sad.

I should like to think that anyone who partakes in the competition has a love of (and respect for) the country he or she represents and wearing a uniform or national emblem revealing it to the world would be of importance to the individual.   WRONG!   Winning or losing is all that seems to matter to some.

Perhaps I’m of a different ilk, age and culture but envision many of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents who risked their lives en route to Ellis Island who couldn’t read, write or speak

English.   They just wanted to embrace the freedom and liberty of what the United States of American stood for.  To any American citizen, that overwhelming feeling of pride should never wane or falter.

This should apply to any country to which you migrate – not just the U. S.


JordanJuly 20th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

The ability of competitors to be able to compete to the best of their ability, should be unfettered by unnecessary sartorial requirements. The WBF presumably not be amused if a team competed with all players wearing matching hoodies in order to accommodate their hoodie wearing teammate, but that would seem to comply with the rule. Surely we would not like to see players being subjected to dress codes that women beach volleyball players were [I’m not if it is still the case] by having to wear tight, short shorts whereas men could wear baggy shorts. Surely bridge players would object if they were told to dress in a way to give the game more [some?] “sex appeal”. When players compete, they should look neat and presentable, beyond that they should be allowed to be comfortable as they see fit. Ceremonies are a different story and “uniforms” seem fine then.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 20th, 2011 at 8:20 pm


The IOC makes the rules — not the WBF, ACBL, USBF, not you, not me. At this point, to my knowledge nothing official has been forthcoming other than the original message from Mr. Rona, WBF President, and no stipulations have been stated.

I think it would be a big waste of money to ‘suit up’ for two performances: opening and closing ceremonies only. All men have either tuxedos or suits and the women are not a problem. I personally think t-shirts with emblems for country identification are fine for the games but my opinion does not matter. However, I do believe since all the other countries in the IOC seem to live up to the standards (and I haven’t heard of any deaths lately), we are making a much bigger to-do of this uniform ordeal than it deserves. Besides, as said before, the decision is NOT ours.

John Howard GibsonJuly 21st, 2011 at 12:07 am

HBJ : As much as I may come across as a rogue, charlatan, maverick and cavalier….. I do feel uniforms have much to recommend them.

1. If you are a part of a team then why not demonstrate this privilege by dressing up in the team colours ( be it jacket with badge, tie or T-shirt )

2. Uniforms ensure all team members are given an equal standing or status, otherwise we will end up seeing the star player wearing the white tuxedo and bright red tie !

3. Name me a professional football team ( anyone will do ) that come running out onto the pitch all wearing different outfits ?

4. Since so many men have no bloody dress sense at all, let alone having a sense of occasion…..uniforms would overcome both these handicaps

5. Since bridge is all about discipline then hey….. why not apply a bit of it to accepting a decent and sensible dress code

So Judy, when it comes to representing your county, or country, I am completely with you on this one.

( ps. you might have noticed in my recent blog how club officers at the Slaughter House Bridge Club are committed to wearing suits, ties, and shoulder holsters )

John Howard GibsonJuly 21st, 2011 at 7:02 am

HBJ : Tx for tidying up my mis (double key) spellings.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 21st, 2011 at 9:12 am

Dear HBJ:

There is no argument to what you say It is all with an eye to having bridge accepted as an Olympic Sport and either you conform or you don’t. Most people are just frothing off at the mouth but it is meaningless as we are not in charge.


Steven GaynorJuly 22nd, 2011 at 8:03 am

The charter of the Winter Olympics state that ALL competitions be held on snow or ice. Bridge does not fit that definition. Those running the Summer Olympics are looking to eliminate events, not add them. While bridge is a recognized event by the IOC, even sports like baseball, bowling and golf are not in the Olympics right now (golf may be back in 2016).

It seems clear to me that Bridge will NEVER be an Olympic event, summer or winter. To pursue this goal is a big time and money wasting endeavor.

HOWEVER, Bridge is part of the World Mind Sport Games, first held in Beijing in 2008. In 2012 the event will be in Manchester, UK. This should be a well-attended event, fun to follow or participate.

Any ‘olympian’ efforts we make should be to enhance the Mind Sport games and the world’s bridge players participation in it. Let’s go for it!

Bobby WolffJuly 22nd, 2011 at 9:12 am

Hi Steven,

I appreciate your passionate plea updating your opinions on bridge’s attempt to invade the Olympics.

And while I agree wholeheartedly on your personal endorsement of our participation in the Mind Sports games in which Jose Damiani has worked overtime to not only achieve, but to also chair the organization into the future.

However, because of the regular Olympics being a political organization, anything is possible and waiting to be accomplished at an unknown time in the future regarding what bridge could achieve.

In the recent past both Mr. Juan Antonio Sammaranch, and along with his wife an avid bridge player from Madrid, Spain and recent past President of the key Olympic committee and the late Mr. Hoddler an Olympic icon and vehement bridge enthusiast have expressed very positive remarks about the wonders of bridge competition, which although it was not enough to convince an old-fashioned Olympic committee upon first blush, one should never say never about the changes time could bring.

Bridge is truly an unique spectacular, competitive game and one day, if enough energy is spent, promoting the right people it’s quest may just succeed. BRIDGE FOR PEACE and that has been proven by warring nations who appear to hate each other all have bridge players who defy their governments and have best friends among its severest enemies. Overall respect may be the answer to bringing even the most violent foes together, chiefly through the avenue of total respect for one another and for learning how people can learn to get along through understanding commonalities instead of emphasizing differences.

In the name of Jimmy V, NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER GIVE UP!

Richard WilleyJuly 23rd, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I think I think the entire idea of bridge as an Olympic sport is very ill conceived.

I don’t think that the supposed benefits from recognition as an Olympic Sport justify the very real costs involved in the endeavor. I recognize that some countries directly link state funding to participation in the Olympics and I certainly appreciate that some players and administrators would like to be able compete for those funds. With this said and done, given current budgetary realities, I think that it might be more difficult than one thinks to demand a slice of said pie (implicitly shrinking the amount of money available for real sports) I would personally feel dirty trying to claim a share of any such pool of money. I don’t think the publicity that we’d generate would be positive. (People already laugh at the thought of bridge as a “sport”. Just wait until we try taking money from other, better established programs)

I personally think that the constant stream of inane regulations represent a real imposition on players. The only reason that we’re imposing lunacy like drug testing, speech codes, and now uniforms is this quixotic quest for Olympic gold. We’d all be better of if this were abandoned. Personally, I think that the real motivations behind “Bridge as Olympic Sport” boil down to the following:

1. The desire on the part of some administrators to get a share of all that filthy lucre associated with the Olympic games. (The IOC is notoriously corrupt. The financial shenanigans involved in selecting locations are legendary)

2. The desire on the part of some players to be able to auction off Olympic gold medals to well heeled “sponsors”. (I think that there is going to be some real ugliness if any sponsors appear on a “national” team)

Bobby WolffJuly 23rd, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Dear Mr. Willey,

Your comment tends to baffle me and although I cannot testify, much less guarantee, the authentic intentions of the inside bridge relationship between the WBF and the IOC I, for one, have never begun to see any evidence to what you claim.

The official relationship between the IOC and the WBF began during my WBF Presidency around 1992. Since then there have been much interest by many of the higher-ups in that organization which has resulted in some positive dialogue but mostly dead-ends when it came to commitment to bridge as a sport. However there has always been real interest by their committee to try and get a real feel for the world love of our game, the mental energy exerted, the physical endurance required, and the up close palpable competitive nature of the glory and concentration required to play it on a world class level.

When you talk of enormous or at least not to be afforded costs I do not know to what you refer. When you speak of corruption, I do not doubt that some lesser morality individuals have tried to get some piece of the pie you talk about, but when it comes to saying yes or at least maybe to world bridge I have neither experienced, been witness to, nor heard about any untoward behavior.

When you attempt to extend your influence into behavior which may, at least according to you, represent a real imposition on players such as wearing comfortable garments which emphasize the countries colors, drug testing which we should all know is worthwhile even if the Olympics didn’t care, speech codes such as suggesting that when the player is attending an awards ceremony honoring our worthwhile winners, it is the wrong time and the wrong place to make negative political comments which could reverberate around the world.

Attempting to be associated with competition for Olympic gold would he a high priority to at least a small percentage of world class participants whatever the sport if for no other reason than to show the world that person can get it done.

Finally when you talk about real evil motives by administrators to share in unjust riches abounding from just having an important event you talk in such riddles that Batman and Robin may have difficulty in understanding.

I do agree that bridge, if eventually successful in achieving Olympic status, even if only to a small degree should never allow a less than world class player (unless he or she was allowed to be on the team but not play) to participate as a valid competitor, because to do so would validate the sophistry needed to try and fool the whole world and as far as I am concerned would reflect poorly on who we are.

I’m not quite sure what you mean when you suggest that we, as a bridge organization, want to encourage auctioning off Olympic Gold to well heeled “sponsors” and at this point your comment so stuns me that I do not believe that such an accusation deserves a response.

Lastly, I have no desire to try and put you down or hurt your credibility, but your overwhelming negativity could only come from someone who hates the game or at least the people who are directly involved and for that I am very sad.

The whole world has laughed before at people and organizations for trying to move up, but my beliefs are that specific motive is probably the best one ever devised and if warring countries, religions and nationalities would look for creativity instead of the hate involved in ridiculing honest effort, our topsy-turvy world would be better placed.

Richard WilleyJuly 25th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Fine. Why don’t we focus on a specific issue. rug testing seems like a simple, reasonably constrained topic.

> When you talk of enormous or at least not to be afforded costs I do not know to what you

> refer… When you attempt to extend your influence into behavior which may, at least

> according to you, represent a real imposition on players such as wearing comfortable garments

> which emphasize the countries colors, drug testing which we should all know is worthwhile

> even if the Olympics didn’t care.

First: I don’t accept the basic premise that drug testing is worthwhile. For simplicity, let’s divide the set of drugs into “Recreational Pharmaceuticals” and “Performance Enhancing Drugs”. Let’s start with “Recreational Pharmaceuticals”. I’m not personally a drug user, however, I couldn’t care less if members of the US Olympic Snowboarding team like to stoned. In a similar vein, I can enjoy the chess games of Bobby Fischer even though he was a raging anti-Semite. I don’t make the mistake of placing these types of media figures on a pedestal. It saves me a lot of disappointment. More importantly, I think that its a big mistake to start crafting rules about what is or is not “acceptable behavior” that are unrelated to the game. Next thing you know, we’ll be prosecuting people because we don’t like their personal politics or the way they dress…

Moving on to performance enhancing drugs, I have yet to see any kind of serious explanation what might constitute a performance enhancing drug for bridge. (I know that caffeine, nicotine, and beta blockers are all theorized to help maintain concentration. However, I hardly think that the WBF will ever take action against any of these substances) More over, given the age and health of many of our stars, all sorts of drugs are required as medical necessities.

Simply put, drug testing boils down to nothing more than political theater.

Next, let’s move on to the question of costs. I’d argue that there are very real costs associated with implementing a drug testing regime. Even if we ignore administration and management, because everyone knows that the ACBL and the WBF excel at administration and management, attempts to actually enforce these policies are going to create all sorts of policies.

I’ll point to the idiocy involving Disa Eythorsdottir and Lynn Deas 10 years back. For anyone who doesn’t remember:

The WBF instituted a “random” drug testing regime at the Montreal wolrd championships

Lynn Deas was originally selected for the drug test.

Deas was on a variety of medications which would (obviously) cause her to fail a test

Disa was selected for the drug test in Lynn’s place. Disa refused to take the test and was stripped of her medal

Disa subsequently sued the WBF (I don’t recall hearing how this one ended up, however, she isn’t listed as a medal holder)

I see a lot of cost and annoyance with zero offsetting benefits. I can’t imagine why one would want to bother with all of this outside of the whole Olympic drive.

I’ll note in passing that I’ve played in a lot of ACBL events at Nationals and I can’t recall ever needing to pee in a cups. Obviously, what’s good for the goose must be good for the gander. If drug testing is so useful, why don’t we see this in widespread use in the Spingold or the Vanderbilt?

Bobby WolffJuly 25th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Whether drug testing has a legal or practical use for the playing of high-level bridge might be debatable, but that question may be moot, if in fact, the WBF seeks to secure an opportunity to be thought of as an Olympic sport.

When you surmised in your previous comment that many smaller nations get some kind of subsidy for various competitions, including bridge, which, of course, is very important to them, both from the prestige it creates and the availability of at least some subsidy for the players.

Why then does your next question about why doesn’t the ACBL require it in our major team events? Obviously since no one has requested it be done, it would be unnecessary for it then to be implemented.

Carrying on the above theme, if it is the aim of the parent USA bridge organization (ACBL) together with the WBF joining together in search of an incredibly worthwhile association, with the IOC, why wouldn’t we do what might get us closer to success by complying rather than arguing?

In Disa’s case the fact that she refused to be tested is somewhat incriminating and if there are stated rules (which may or may not eventually be required) isn’t it best to do what is asked, rather than to just rebel against that authority?

Although I do not know the details, the cost of drug testing at WBF championships, at least up to now, is a very negligible expense.

I agree with you that the fact that Bobby Fischer was a raging anti-semite should not detract from his reputed chess ability, but I do not know what application that fact has in our discussion.

Perhaps the recent ghastly murderous spree by the young Norweigan is also indicative of something other than what meets the eye, but if so, as far as what his results will always remain as being one of the biggest individual mass murderers of all time, a distinction not recommended, and will not nor ever, sell in Peoria.

Very simply!

1. Whether it is in the cards for bridge to ever be an Olympic sport still remains to be seen.

2. Until the above is 100% off the table, it appears wise to comply with the IOC’s wishes because of the huge upper of being an approved Olympic sport would bring to our otherwise great game.

3. The mere talk of an association with the IOC is enabling to smaller countries in their dealing within their country as to money allocation.

4. Until the cost of our position gets out of hand, and IMHO it has not been close to that up to now, the decision whether to drop it now or soldier on, is not a difficult one to make.

Steven GaynorJuly 26th, 2011 at 7:31 am


I would be thrilled, no, make that THRILLED to see bridge part of the Olympic games, and since you have more ‘inside’ info than I, I will take a ‘wait-and’see’ attitude about this, and if I can help in any way let me know.

Bridge is truly a world-wide activity. I remember one day at the Mpls bridge center when I (an American Jew from Detroit) was playing with an Iranian, and our opponents were from Sri Lanka and Bulgaria respectively. We were playing, laughing, enjoying each others’ company and camraderie, and it occurred to me how great the game is, how it brings us all together and reminds us that no matter where you go, people are people.

To me, this trumps any of the logistic problems mentioned in earlier posts. The more international events with good will we hold, the closer we will come to understanding and being at peace with each other.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 26th, 2011 at 7:59 am


I am touched by your real-life story that you personally experienced. It was reminiscent of an incident at the WBF championship in Deauville, France almost fifty years ago when the Israelis were scheduled to play Omar’s team (Egypt) and he received word from Nasser to concede (forfeit) the match and not play. (He later mentioned he had a son living in Egypt at the time and had great reservations for his safety and that might have affected his personal decision).

Omar (who happens to be a terrific gentleman despite of his fame and popularity) went to the Israeli suite, picked up the tab for lunch room service and played rubber bridge for a few hours. Class will tell.

Richard WilleyJuly 27th, 2011 at 11:26 am

Here’s the core of my argument in the simplest form:

1. I don’t believe that the WBF will ever be successful in getting bridge accepted as an Olympic sport.

2. Even if bridge were accepted as an Olympic sport, I don’t think that there would be all that much in the way of tangible benefits

3. Efforts to lobby the IOC are costly, especially when one considers the opportunity associated with the time and $$$ that have been invested to date. (I’m well aware that its a fallacy to consider sunk costs. Then again, many people have been pointing out that the WBF has been tilting at windmills for well over a decade)

4. There are also real costs to conform to IOC standards. When you look “Drug Testing”, “Uniforms”, “Speech Codes” in isolation; individually they don’t seem that bad. However, the total cost and annoyance value starts to add up.

From my perspective, any reasonable cost benefit analysis would suggest abandoning this effort.

Richard WilleyJuly 27th, 2011 at 11:33 am

>and if there are stated rules (which may or may not

>eventually be required) isn’t it best to do what is

>asked, rather than to just rebel against that


Always doing what is asked is nonsensical.

Always rebeling against the authority is equally inane.

Ultimately, these decisions are going to be determined by a cost benefit analysis, often involving lawyers.

I followed the Shanghai incident very closely and I have pretty vivid recollections of some of demands that the USBF tried to impose… As I recall, the US Women’s team was very successful in rebeling against the authority because, in this case, regardless of what the rules might have been, they had a stronger position.

Geoff HampsonJuly 27th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Sorry to back up the conversation but I was wondering something…

Does a superb sprinter from Jamaica who leaves his homeland in an effort to maximize his potential, in pursuit of a better life deserve the title “turncoat”? Are they “jumping ship”? Did my grandparents fleeing Europe “jump ship” to avoid gas chambers and starvation? Would you consider them unAmerican/Canadian if they didn’t agree with the foreign policy of their new nation, simply because that was their new home?

I realize that this attack was aimed at me. I don’t quite understand why representing the US should be synonymous with being proud of the US. I am not making a statement about how it feels to be American (which I am), I am simply saying that what I do is play bridge. When I win I am happy about winning as a player, when I lose I am sad I lost as a player. If I mess up a playing a hand I don’t feel that I have betrayed my nation, I have failed myself and my team. I do aspire to represent the USA to the best of my ability, not as a way of showing how proud of the US I am, but because I want to play my best always.

I find it interesting that almost all of what I hear from you is complaint or attack. It would be refreshing to hear something positive for a change.

Steven GaynorJuly 28th, 2011 at 7:46 am


Here is one vote in your favor. You have to do what you feel is best for you, as I have. That meant moving from my original hometown to a new city, a thousand miles away. It worked out well for me and from your success, it looks like it is working for you, too. Good luck in your bridge endeavors and in life.

Richard WilleyJuly 28th, 2011 at 8:55 am

> I am not making a statement about how it feels to be

> American (which I am), I am simply saying that what I

> do is play bridge. When I win I am happy about winning

> as a player, when I lose I am sad I lost as a player.

FWIW, I find your sentiments far more comprehensible than this “my country ’tis of thee” stuff.

I almost never find myself rooting for a given team because they represent the United States (or, for that matter, any other country). I often find myself rooting for teams where a partnership is using a bidding system that I like. I am occasionally lucky enough to be able to root for a team that includes a friend.

However, rooting for Team USA because they are Team USA feels very foreign to me (pardon the pun)

Bobby WolffJuly 28th, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hi Richard,

First, thanks for your clear update, which always tends to lead to all parties involved, if you will excuse me, to follow suit.

1. The WBF is already successful in being a member of the Mind Sports Olympic Committee (our long time former WBF President, Jose Damiani is now President of the Minds Sports Olympiac committee) which is directly connected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

2. I disagree strongly with your comment of not seeing many tangible benefits of being successful in our Olympic crusade.

A. Europe (and for the most part the 3rd world developing countries), not having near as many hugely popular revenue producing sports (mainly because of TV) uses the possibility of Olympic competition as the gold standard in sports and sets up the Ryder, Davis, and to a lesser extent the Americas Cup as well as other golf and tennis majors and, of course as their Prince Albert, the World Soccer competition,

to substitute for our 4 major extravaganzas of Baseball, Football, Basketball and Hockey who produce revenue out the Gaza strip and make it hard to get along with millionaires and billionaires out of a group of people who not long ago were just, at best, just working stiffs.

B. For bridge to be officially connected to the hallowed Olympics would make up for North America not having bridge in its primary and secondary schools and gaining popularity throughout Europe and now China which in time will have a major positive in the furtherance of the popular development of our game which hasn’t been seen since Charlie Goren stepped down from being on Time Magazine’s cover in 1958 and reducing our estimated current bridge population in the USA alone from almost 40 million people in the 1950’s to around only about 7 1/2 million people today.

C. Along with a successful association would (should) come an acceptance like Asia and Europe of bridge as a very positive logic lesson (involving numeracy, community logic, problem solving with detective work, and partnership harmony, while at the same time requiring conniving people (aren’t we all?) to practice Active Ethics (another term for following the Golden Rule) in order to be credible.

D. I do not know where you secure your information about costs for chumming up to the IOC, but I can assure you that, at least from the higher ups within the WBF they have reached in their own pockets (I know I have) to help with the few expenses necessary to keep closely in touch. The tilting at windmills ugly description comes probably from discontent people within the bridge world who seem to always be spouting negativity, often because if some project is successful that may tend to reduce their own importance (which it well might).

Richard, the other things you mention about drug testing, uniforms, and speech codes are basically non-entities compared to the overall picture.

Not too long ago I read a book about Robert Fulton, the steamboat inventor, who was ridiculed for his difficult efforts by others who had their own fish to fry, but, in the fullness of time he proved them all wrong.

The future will, as it usually is, the judge and while our efforts may not succeed I will check out, at the very least, thinking that if success was in the cards, it would be a very positive thing for not only bridge lovers now, but all those to come who then could experience what has enraptured me for so long.

Finally, after reading your epilogue post, about the Shanghai incident their position revolved itself with a wealthy bridge playing friend hired high price NY lawyers to scare the USBF BOD’s into dropping the charges against at least 7 players who had signed, at least on 2 occasions, a pledge not to bring up political references at WBF events. If you call that winning, and perhaps it is, your definition leaves me in search of what life should be about and not about using money to win all battles, just and unjust.

Bobby Wolff

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 28th, 2011 at 11:37 am


No need for an apology to “back up” the conversation as we are not talking about the same thing. You talk of grandparents fleeing Europe to avoid gas chambers and starvation. Thank heavens many had the courage to do so. That was a matter of LIFE AND DEATH. Not quite the same as crossing borders from Canada to USA to exploit your brilliant bridge talents. You did, what in your opinion, was best for your social and financial future. No one can fault you for that. But since the U.S. has afforded you such a tremendous opportunity which you readily took advantage of, I think you should show more respect and gratitude for welcoming you with open arms.

Now to the uniform issue. After I read the original mandate via a detailed regimen from our captain from Mr. Rona (which I had not seen before I blogged), I tended to take your side of the issue (amended as of the other day for 2011). However, unless there is a rebellion, all teams must follow the demands or will be penalized in 2012). I personally think it has been carried too far, but I have no say in the matter.

Bobby WolffJuly 28th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hi Geoff,

To my way of thinking, the word “turncoat” applies to Benedict Arnold in the USA and to whatever a serious traitor might be called during wartime.

You and Lebron James do not, at least to me, have anything in common with being a turncoat, leaving a person, a team or even an entire country in the lurch, sneaking out, or any term meaning it to be critical of one’s actions.

The only real difference to me between you and “business as usual” is that once a country accepts a foreigner into its domain, it should expect allegiance, law abidance, learning the language and for that person to be on its side in any major issues such as war and probably compliance with its laws, and if not, being prepared to argue his case in court.

Methinks that sensitive people, perhaps like yourself, would feel strange playing bridge for your adopted country instead of what you would normally prefer, e.g. playing for your country of birth.

Generalizations are never accurate, including this one that I have just made. Could it be that some Canadians, who at least appear to me to be as gung ho as is possible about singing the praises of its own country, have attempted (and probably succeeded) in creating a guilt feeling in your gut.

Let’s examine the facts according to me but perhaps not 100% accurate and possibly even way off. It seems to me that someone in Canada, if they really wanted your services for big time bridge (Bermuda Bowl and such) would have joined forces with other capable organizers and made it worth while for you and some number of others to play continuously for the Maple Leaf. It certainly happened with Murray and Kehela (MK), although bridge generally has improved in Canada (and certainly almost everywhere else in the last years). The problem in MK’s day was that, being realistic they needed at least one more experienced world class pair to play along side of them if they wanted to give it a probably successful conclusion. Even without the above they were very competitive, did well, but not as well as with another MK as their teammates.

Is Canada, if they had all their players together and still under the Maple Leaf, now capable of, at the very least, being in significant contention to win any world bridge event? You tell me although it is not likely you can do anything but guess that answer.

In any event, at least to my old eyes, but still very good memory, they didn’t make the effort, in bygone years, necessary to get it done, although it might not have been possible due to bad luck or whatever.

I doubt though that ANYONE from Canada could look either of us in the eye and say they did an acceptable job to try and make that happen. The results for many years now (35+) have indelibly shown that sloth rather than complete dedication ruled.

Is what happened bad? Again, you tell me that answer since, on the surface it didn’t hurt me, other than my credibility suffering, since I helped arrange that favored position, when Canada’s result didn’t jive with them probably (almost certainly) being the most favored relatively small bridge country in the whole world, with a (90%+ chance of playing in every Bermuda Bowl, other than the USA, is more favorable than any other country in the world since in the European Championship in those earlier days in order to qualify for the BB the European team had to finish in approximately the top 10% (4 out of 40) and the competition was much better than the bridge teams representing Bermuda and Mexico.

All of the above is a brief history, but for someone who is both sensitive, but very bright and possessed with top of the charts bridge talent, shouldn’t you be able to put behind what others possibly are needling you about.

Simply put, I would think that for you to not venture South in this case would be nothing short of outrageous and I feel a deep sense of patriotism for the USA, certainly rivaling the high holders of that in Canada.

In LeBron James case, he could have stayed a Multi millionaire, been presented with the keys to the city and help the owner (then, not now) help choose who he may need, along side, to have a good chance of winning the whole NBA championship.

In spite of that, I also think it is outrageous for him to not do what he thinks best for himself and his loved ones, if for no other reason than that is what life suggests to everybody. Couple that thought with the sloth that went on from the Canadian administrators (no criticism intended and only for accurate information) and who are you supposed to emulate?

You will have to deal with your specific feelings about bridge, loyalty and patriotism, but do not sell the opportunity that the USA presented to you and have done so millions of times to so many, beginning with arriving at Ellis Island.

Good luck


Sharon EddyJuly 28th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Hi Judy,

In the Big Picture, we are all playing on the EARTH team.

Surely, one day soon, we will evolve sufficiently as a species to see the merits of BRIDGE WITHOUT BORDERS.

Inclusivity would mean the end of discrimination based on race, including colour, descent, national origin, sex, age, religion, and marital status as we know it.

From the NW Zone, Namaste.

Daniel SkipperJuly 28th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Hi Judy,

I’ve never cheered for a country. There is a big group of players whom I wish do well and another group that I love to watch simply because of their approach to the game. Countries are merely a useful logical grouping.

~Daniel Skipper

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 28th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Without BORDERS OR TEAMS, there is nothing to distinguish one group from another — or to root for as evidenced with football, baseball, basketball, soccer, or whatever. Having been married to two great Hall of Famers, nothing can be more fulfilling than to see one’s national team do you proud. I do not look at it indiscriminately or from the bleachers, but up close and personal — and I would not trade that feeling of gratification for anything in the world (as long as the contestants were moral and honest players).

I am proud to be a loyal patriot and if the players are worthwhile individuals, they have my support whether it be a pair or team game – national or world variety. My heart fills with pride as the flag is raised or the National Anthem is played. Sorry, I’m just an old patriotic chick. To each his own.

Richard WilleyJuly 29th, 2011 at 7:25 am

> The future will, as it usually is, the judge and while

> our efforts may not succeed I will check out, at the

> very least, thinking that if success was in the

> cards, it would be a very positive thing for not only

> bridge lovers now, but all those to come

By definition, if this is successful its successful (and, don’t get me wrong. I’d be happy if we were successful in accompishing the end goals that you describe).

At the same time, I think that its necessary to temper rosy optimism. The efforts to lobby have been going on for well over a decade with little to show for the efforts. At what point in time should these efforts stop?

Objectively, how are you going to determine when its time to fold your cards and step away from the table?

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 29th, 2011 at 7:57 am


The answer to your question .. when the cards fall from my hands and my heart stops beating!


Richard WilleyJuly 30th, 2011 at 10:50 am

> The answer to your question .. when the cards fall from my hands and my heart stops beating!

If anyone in my company brought forth and argument like that during a strategic planning session they’d lose all credibility (and might very well see a new proposal rejected on the spot)

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 30th, 2011 at 12:06 pm


“Credibility” has much to do with considering the source!


Bobby WolffJuly 30th, 2011 at 12:35 pm


You still continue to baffle me, when you criticize, without having any direct experience or any credible information on how the subject in question is now standing, still trying to eventually secure Olympic status even if it only amounts to perhaps a 50% acceptance, with possibly a test run for Olympic doubters to learn more about what we are asking.

Like Shakespeare’s Cassius “Dost thou protest too much”?

And if not that, do you suspect that we supposed crusaders have our hands in the till or exactly what is your reason.

In December we are sending a team of top USA bridge players to Beijing to play for large cash prizes (by bridge standards) in conjunction with being a part of the Mind Sports of which the WBF’s former 16 year President, Jose Damiani, is now President of the Olympic Mind Sports Association. Our gladiators are getting their expenses paid in a first class way, indicating that at least some of the potential sponsors of such activity think kindly toward bridge and probably have a certain optimism toward its future.

Eighteen years ago in 1993 I, and two of my staff, had a major audience in Beijing at the main parliamentary building downtown among the very top leaders of the whole country, wherein they pledged not only allegiance to the game itself but a fervent desire to teach their bridge teachers to teach and firmly put bridge in the primary and secondary schools. Since then they have accomplished just that and with their population being over 1 billion people that could develop into something special.

I could go on to tell you many more positives which have been achieved, but why do I think and feel that you are the enemy of what the WBF is trying to do.

Believe me I hope I am wrong about your motives and that you are only like a picador at a bull fight in trying to get the bull to put on a more convincing performance.

If there is any more discussion to be made between the two of us, I, for one, will need to first quiet my fears.

Bobby Wolff

Richard WilleyJuly 31st, 2011 at 7:40 am

> Exactly what is your reason

1. The WBF has been working at this for well over a decade with nary a sign of success. I can’t help but believe that there is something more useful that folks could be doing.

2. The IOC has been very clear that Bridge will not be considered as an Olympic Sport. Winter sports are explicitly limited to those that involve snow or ice. The Summer games are contracting the number of sports that are involved.

3. We’re jumping through a lot of inane hoops trying to prove that we should be an Olympic Sport (creating the USBF, drug testing regimes, mandatory uniforms, …)

At the most basic level, I don’t think that these efforts have a positive expected value.

EllisAugust 5th, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Bottom line

In order to have Bridge respected enough to become an olympic endeavour, it needs to be respected enough in the WBF member countries for the IOC to even consider it. When we can government funding to educate juniors then maybe we will have reached the stage where becoming an olympic sport is a possibility.

Until such times pursuing it may be an a worthwhile endeavour but will ultimately prove to be fruitless. Our membership is roughly one fifth of one percent of the population, more people play mafia wars on facebook than duplicate.