Judy Kay-Wolff


And they say WOMEN are busybodies.  I beg to disagree.  For those of you who have been following the argumentative and heady discussions (and have access to the ITTC and USBF sites) about the form of U.S. Representation every fourth year (Teams or Pairs), they make women look less petty.   Obviously, the pros and their wealthy counterparts, the sponsors, are all in favor of Teams for personal reasons of   today’s format -– god forbid the pros should lose one lousy pay date.  I remember well when this was discussed about seven or eight years ago, when Rodwell brazenly spoke up at a forum and said he didn’t believe in Pairs as you lose CAMARADERIE!   That, my friends, is pure BS.  It translates to good old fashioned money and payoffs which would disappear.

There are some expert pairs who cannot afford pro dates and want to form amateur pairs (no money exchanged) but the tide is very much against them.   How, in America. can you allow money to rule the roost (the conditions of contest) and bar two very good (and getting better as they glean experience) players from playing together as a twosome rather than as a team if they think they have a better chance to qualify together.  The rhetoric of the pros is nauseating – all about me, me, me – and anxious to get on with the vote and put this new proposal behind them, the sooner the better.   Fortunately, many others have spoken up against the carnivores who run the zoo.   Perhaps we can call their opponents, the  herbivores, who graze on nature’s plants rather than other livestock.

Stay tuned.   It will get worse before it ever gets better.


CPSeptember 23rd, 2011 at 10:40 am

I was always under the misapprehension that our objective was to get the THREE BEST PAIRS to represent the country.

John Howard GibsonSeptember 23rd, 2011 at 11:41 am

HBJ : Hi there…….Yes it is a curious question?……Do you select the best 6 players who have yet to prove themselves at being able to gel with each other into 3 unbeatable super pairs ? Or should selectors go for the best 3 pairs ( on current form and recent achievements ) knowing that brilliant individuals may have to be overlooked.

Indeed the curious thing about bridge is the concept of synergy in that a pair who really gel together form the equation of (1+1) x 1.5 into 3, where as two brilliant players who don’t gel ( for whatever reasons ) are like (1.5+1.5 ) x 0.8 making 2.4.

Having said that really top players are often those who can adapt their style to play with anybody, and therefore partnering one of their own should be like a walk in the park.

How much say the players in contention for team selection should have…… is yet another question worthy of debate. Often they know best as to who they would prefer to partner if required to compete against the world’s best.

Yours not having the answers……. HBJ.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 24th, 2011 at 8:38 am


I understand it is an extremely controversial question as to who deserves to represent the country. To me, it is analagous in every way to an Olympic event –to present THE BEST AND ONLY THE BEST.

By having pre-destined teams supported by salaries of sponsors (certainly far from experts) destroys the concept that world championships put their best foot forward. Further, it is complete mockery of the elegance of our game to suggest some sponsors on ballots for the Hall of Fame. What a joke this game has become run by political zookeepers.

Granted — that no one likes a nine to five job (or is it now four?) so professionalism relieves them of the burden. World championships should be the very best — not five experts and a client who does not have to play his or her full half who is drawn in by dogsled to the finish line. It is obvious that every voter has a personal, selfish, vested interest in what is best for himself — NOT THE GAME which was once majestic and pure. If three pairs win the slots outright, it seems like our best shot to present our strongest and finest – and unquestionably the duty and responsibility of every Conditions of Contest Committee to see to that end.

There is no denying gospel!

roger pewickSeptember 24th, 2011 at 8:54 am

Recently the history channel did a piece on pot and the war on drugs. One of the things that the US did in 1937 was to legislate that possession of pot was illegal unless you FIRST had a tax stamp. The point being that by law to get a tax stamp for the pot you possessed you first had to show them you had it and off to the poley you went..

By any chance does that sound familiar? The reality is that bridge at the BB is amongst members of an exclusive club (which fosters jealousies and divisiveness that comes from there not being enough room at the inn); and to become a club member you need enough experience; and the only way to get enough experience is to be a member of the club.

I am suggesting that the world has got the priorities backward where nationalistic teams and their selection are concerned. For the most part world championships ought to be Open while nationalistic teams ought to be rare if at somewhat rare if at all.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 24th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Hi Roger:

I am not sure exactly where you are coming from. Each country certainly has the right to flaunt the best three pairs they have in an effort to triumph over the other participating countries.

Competition (especially if it is ethical and moral) is very exciting and is enjoyed by the bridge world at large (especially because of BBO)!

I just feel that professionalism in the proportion it has reached today has detracted from the glory of the original beauty of the game. Just one gal’s opinion — and I have been on the scene for fifty-five years and seen it all.


dannySeptember 25th, 2011 at 9:36 am

Having disagreed with you vehemently in the past, I can wholeheartedly endorse the sentiments here.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 25th, 2011 at 10:04 am


It is nice to finally find a happy meeting place. My best to Jo Ann.



mike whitmanSeptember 27th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Ira Corn wasn’t nuts. I thought this argument was settled 30+ years ago. Three pairs is not a team; a team is a team. Don’t we all remember a great pair whom no one wanted on their team because of the disharmony they caused? Anyone remember how the “three pairs” format led to a competitive relationship between the pairs to the detriment of team spirit? Remember the times when raw politics, not performance, decided which pair was chosen? The supposedly great amateur pairs who think they’d be chosen to replace a sponsor and his partner in this day and age are dreaming. As in tennis, some of us remember and miss the good old days; but championship bridge is no longer an amateur sport. Professionalism, i.e. money, is here to stay.

Bobby WolffSeptember 28th, 2011 at 7:36 am

Hi Mike,

Your philosophical remembrance is all inherently correct, even though there are precious few of us still on this planet, who, in addition to being there or at least close to it, had such a vested interest to have felt the effect which could be enabling, by understanding history, to realize both the real and hidden reasons for our mixed results.

In the interest of giving another man’s perspective of some facts, up close and personal, let me give my opinion of what specifically occurred. First, politics, not refusing to play with, in this case Rubin and Feldesman (RF), caused the brouhaha which led to Kaplan and Kay replacing RF and joining Jordan-Robinson and Roth-Root to play for the USA in the Deauville Olympiad in 1968. Even though RF were troublemakers (especially R) when it came time to sit down and play bridge, any of the players of that era would never have allowed any extracurricular reason for interfering with their performance. However, the cheating of their opponents created the same result, losing, which new players now erroneously attribute to lack of harmony.

Yes, you are correct when you state that “Ira Corn wasn’t nuts”, but in spite of Ira’s significant investment in our (and USA bridge) future I would be reluctant to say that the Aces team which first resulted (Goldman-Eisenberg, Hamman-Lawrence, Jacoby-Wolff) wasn’t really any better, and actually perhaps not as talented as were our predecessors.

However, as is life’s history, fraught with timing, luck and sometimes skewed understanding as to exactly what then existed, caused the relating to not completely represent truth.

However, to get to your main point, yes professionalism is definitely here to stay, because:

1. It is necessary, since bridge is like a very jealous mistress, requiring more time than most can give, and demanding money to be provided in order for even very naturally talented bridge players to reach, and stay, at the level necessary to be world class.

2. Furthermore, in order to provide that necessity, bridge professionalism should be available at almost all levels, teaching, playing lessons at clubs, sectionals, regionals and even nationals, but when it comes to representing the country in contests which require our very best, that is where the buck should stop and our administrators (or perhaps ourselves) should not allow mediocre playing sponsors to play alongside our top level players.

For us to ignore this obvious truth is again an example of the politics of what happens when the animals (professional players) take over running the zoo. Naturally among our best and brightest there will only be a special few who outshine the others, and even that fact will change from time to time, but they must echo the above, realize not only what butters their bread, but without which, will eventually, if not sooner, cause the total demise of what all of us insiders know that bridge is far and away the greatest competitive card game ever invented and for us to throw it out with the morning trash is nothing less than unforgivable.

World class competitive bridge since the days of Vanderbilt and Culbertson, contract bridge has gone through a significant growing process, but unless someone or something rescues us from our sure demise, top-level bridge as we know it, cannot and will not survive, unless we wake up. TIME IS FLEETING!

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 28th, 2011 at 8:49 am

Hi Mike:

As you are well aware, Bobby was in a much better position to respond, being on the scene for the last sixty plus years and missing very little.

As for me, in comparison to the elegance of the players and the dress code of the sixties and thereabouts and the modesty and self-contained players of those days, I could puke when I read the blogs of today and the ME, ME, ME attitude with money being the unquestionable bottom line.

I have lost my zest for the game although of course I will be accompanying Bobby to Holland — which at nearly 79 is quite an accomplishment to have won a place on the (as he calls it) Old Geezer’s Team. It is amazing he hasn’t lost a step or a beat and I don’t think anyone can challenge that he has done more for bridge PRO BONO that anyone in its history in so many aspects of the game.

What makes me even prouder, is that he is not shy about speaking out when he is in the wee majority because he still has so much respect and love for what once was the most marvelous game in the world.



Peggy SutherlinSeptember 29th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I was USA I, via a pair selection process in 1989 . SInce then I have played in several Womens World Championships via my results in Women Team Trials, including one in which my team won the Womens Olympiad.. I very much support Team Trials, and agree with Rodwell

Bobby WolffSeptember 30th, 2011 at 6:55 am

Hi Peggy,

Perhaps, unbeknownst to you, your winning the rights via a pair selection process in 1989 allowed you, along with the experiences which followed, including your glorious win of the World Women’s Olympiad in Maastricht, 2000, gave you a chance to be recognized as to who you are, a championship player.

Now, after your achievement, you want to do away with the vehicle which may have allowed you to come into the sights of others.

It appears to me, that the human condition which you have fallen victim to, is an obstacle which should be overcome, my very reason for wanting to establish a venue for recognition.

To say the least, Eric Rodwell has already arrived, but should his preference, in effect, for keeping others out of the mix, be blindly honored?

Danny KleinmanSeptember 30th, 2011 at 10:20 am

Right on, Judy and Bobby. We may need partnership harmony to play well as a pair, but we do not need team harmony except to choose which two of three pairs will play each session, and that’s the captain’s job in any case.