Judy Kay-Wolff


The transition to the bridge scene is centered around pure supposition, or in realistic imaginative terms — What Might Have Happened.  In the early 1990’s and in the years following (when the ACBL began focusing on Junior bridge, primarily in the USA but also in Canada), my husband Bobby Wolff, (personally and as many long time bridge enthusiasts knew), singled out and led the charge to bring the USA up to being competitive in world play.  At that time the USA had never finished higher than fifth in World competition and, although Canada had more success, their results still could have stood improvement — especially since they seemed to possess players with the talent to make it happen. From this point on I will not discuss Canada, although they apparently experienced some of the same problems which surrounded Penn State, but the details are not known to either Bobby nor me and without being 100% sure of the important facts, are better left to those who volunteer to step forward and update or decide to let it alone and let it remain under the rug.

According to what Bobby confided to me is that he was approached by two well known and world class bridge players, both with positive, likeable personalities who enthusiastically volunteered to help (pro-bono) do whatever was necessary to provide learning experience in bridge to make our American Junior Bridge achieve the result we all sought.  However, to cut to the chase, both of those enthusiasts were also widely known as practicing homosexuals, which may or may not have changed  the outcome of the lives of some of the attendees.  Bobby, after much consternation, decided against accepting their kind offers for fear of what may lurk and, at least (according to him) make a safety play against anything untoward happening.  Instead eventually he asked Chip Martel to captain one of our two teams who then triumphantly led USA2 to a 1st place finish in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1991 with Canada 2nd and USA 1 (the team Bobby captained) finishing 4th.

Since then the ACBL has also had a problem with keeping groups free of relatively young (but not junior age) womanizers and sometimes druggies (usually soft stuff and alcohol) from being integrally involved with mixed bridge camps.  This includes possible wild happenings which was definitely not the intent or objective of those attending in the hope of becoming a positive combination of social and learning experience among young aspiring bridge youngsters.

The reason for this blog is topical (with the Penn State Report in Part I) and necessary for future planning — with the accent on the focus on top-notch general leadership.  The result of Bobby’s decision was not unexpected — an obvious loss of friendship with some important volunteers who got the message loud and clear.  He has no regrets.   It should not have resulted in loss of respect among mostly liberal thinking people but rather for them to realize something bad could possibly have happened if not stopped.   In fact, his decision was far from paranoid — but quite realistic, sensible and morally mandatory.

The readers of these two blogs (with only the earlier Penn State episode as a goad) should give serious thought to what the responsibility of the person overseeing the operation is to do,   The answer is — whatever is best (in his or her opinion) for the good of the project (and the human beings involved) without regard to whom he may upset along the way.

Leadership has its price!


Steven GaynorJuly 13th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

The lesson of Penn State must be heard loud and clear: Sweep things like this under the rug now and they will come back later a thousand-fold worse. ZERO tolerance!

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 13th, 2012 at 4:16 pm


What a perfect play on words! Fortunately, Bobby knew he had no choice for fear of the potential results but few would have had the guts to take a stand.

As soon as I get a chance I will go into other situatons (bridge cheating) which Bobby stopped in mid stream. It was in “The Lone Wolff,” known as “Double Imps.” It did not involve sex, but if you don’t know about it, it will knock you for a loop. Stay tuned.


Alan ShillitoeJuly 13th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Hi Judy.

I concur with a great many sentiments in this blog entry. I am an U20 Junior coach with England and have been involved at every level from beginner right the way through to two World Championship medals. I completely agree with the need for a duty of care. We have formal written documents published on the EBU website and I have to undergo regular criminal background checks to continue in my position. It isn’t enough to be clean – one must seen to be completely clean too – no shades of grey. Having read this article, I had a quick look on the ACBL website, but didn’t find anything equivalent, although I assume that in an even more lawsuit happy country than mine, they will have formal procedures for all their youth workers.

One point I did disagree on, and quite vehemently. Those who will cause ill to children cross all descriptive boundaries. White, black or brown, male or female, straight (of both genders) or homosexual (of both genders). And homosexuality is NOT an indicator that the person is more likely to indulge in these monstrous acts. For all your husband’s immense contributions to the game (far more than mine will ever be), that feels like a misjudgement to me. Although I understand that in the US there may be stronger cultural and societal pressures, that does not make the discrimination any less wrong. A good person is a good person irrespective of any such characteristics.

That aside, it would be interesting to know the end effects of all his work. Are there formally published policies and procedures that all volunteers have to legally comply with?



bobby wolffJuly 13th, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Hi Alan,

Judy has asked me to answer your straight-forward and highly intelligent questions.

First, in response to the mundane matters, No, the ACBL specifically and my guess, the USA in general, does not have formal procedures for anyone connected to teaching, consorting, or otherwise being in social or official contact with young people and regular background checks are, at least to me, unknown to be regularly done. After reading your response I tend to certainly agree, particularly after the Penn St. fiasco, to your country’s overall procedures and their checks and balances.

I also agree to your wise summation of the possible profiles of so-called predators who appear in all sorts of shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and cover. However, like bridge is, among other things, a percentage game, when I served in the USA’s armed forces (lucky for me, during peacetime, or almost) I was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) which, by chance (55 years ago) was concerned with weeding homosexuals out of high security positions for fear of them being subject to blackmail (at that time for whatever reason many fewer of them came out of the closet) for fear of being severely ridiculed to the point of violence, which though barbaric, nevertheless was the sign of those awful biased years.

That particular culture, because of what they rightly perceived as being badly mistreated, reacted in what could be considered a normal but somewhat stealthy manner of finding friendship and love where they could find it.

The result resounded in homosexuality being often present in jobs such as Boy Scout leader and other jobs associated with teaching youngsters. To verify your thoughts, all one has to do is read and understand what has happened world wide with international religion and their representatives and add to that some of our highest political positions have often gone off the straight and narrow in being far too aggressive in satisfying their perceived individual needs

In my stated experience in Judy’s blog, the only two offers I received for pro bono significant help was probably coincidental (but who is to say or prove, that it definitely was).

In any rate, I, knowing these two applicants, reacted in a very conservative manner, at least my description for what happened.

In no way am I doubting your opinion and why you gave it. While I agree with you now in 2012, 20+ years ago the subject of this discussion often led to a different conclusion than you so eloquently discuss now.

I sincerely hope that you understand what I am trying to say. What was just said a short time ago, Zero Tolerance, in the form of conscientiously keeping one’s eyes and ears open, has become a necessary task in today’s sometimes dangerous world.

Alan ShillitoeJuly 13th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for your replies. I do understand your reasons and as you say, society is changing for the better, however slowly it may be. I have read about the Penn State case as it did make the newspapers over here. It also serves as a warning to the ivory towers erected by many institutions of all kinds that seemingly make so many different crimes go unreported or untouched until it is far too late.

I am very surprised that the ACBL doesn’t have a formal child care policy. I would certainly suggest it do something, not primarily for the legal reasons, but because it is the right thing to do for those who come under its umbrella. Anyone who is involved at those levels should surely concur. Might not the WBF enshrine it as part of its requirements of all member associations too?



PatrickJuly 13th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Shame on you.

“Homosexual” and “child molester” are two very different things. To equate them implicitly is ignorant at best, bigoted at worst. Homosexual men coaching male juniors is equivalent to heterosexual men coaching female juniors. And yet I suspect you would not have objected as strenuously to the latter…

Not to mention Sandusky was a married man, or, as you might say, a “practicing heterosexual.” Maybe your husband should have hired him..

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 13th, 2012 at 11:58 pm



Judy Kay-Wolff

Richard WilleyJuly 14th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

FWIW, wikipedia has the following to say about the following phrase “”The lady doth protest too much, methinks”:

The phrase’s actual meaning implies the increasing likelihood of suppressed feelings for the contrary of that which is being argued. I.e., the more passionate and fervent the argument, the greater likelihood the cause is a suppression of belief for the contrary argument, and the subsequent confirmation that it is the (actual) truer statement.

I am curious why you’re using this phrase:

Are you accusing Patrick of being a pedophile? Alternatively, is he “just” guilty of being gay?

Tim GoodwinJuly 14th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Patrick is spot on with “‘Homosexual’ and ‘child molester’ are two very different things. To equate them implicitly is ignorant at best, bigoted at worst.”

To call him out with the misquote “me think thou doth protest too much” is the equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I” on the playground; childish at best.

bobby wolffJuly 14th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hi Richard,

Because of time lags in certain parts of our great country, Judy is still sleeping, but, assuming I am more aware of her thinking process than most, I am taking the liberty of answering for her.

First, I remember (or think I do) a very similar quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar except for it being made about Cassius, a questionable and devious character, with likely sinister motives, about wanting to achieve more power.

It read something like, “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much, such men are dangerous”.

Judy would have no idea about what or who Patrick is or why he said what he did. The question is not whether Patrick is or is not a pedophile (the odds are very much against that), nor is anyone, Patrick or any others “guilty” of being gay. At least in our country, contrary to some religions in other countries, being “gay” is not being guilty of any crime, nor, should it be. However, when one speaks out the way Patrick did, with his nothing less than ugly and inappropriate accusations accompanied by a total unknowing history of various facts surrounding alleged incidents
pertaining directly to it, he should take heed of another famous quote …. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”.

For anyone’s comment to either intentionally distort or unknowingly omit important facts, except for personal reasons pertaining to keeping identities secret and otherwise solid human beings out of harm’s way is, to me a justifiable reason. Then, add the above to just talking generally about interpretations of Joe Paterno’s (in my opinion a great wondrous man, with a lifetime of doing good for himself and everyone connected with him and his University), who, being human, utterly failed handling an off the charts disgusting life occurrence, but even then, answered off the cuff and honestly by simply saying, “I wish I had done more”.

In trying to correctly analyze what happened, most of the facts are in and questions have been answered. There are obviously no men (or women) for all seasons, who living long lives, do not make mistakes and JoePa was only just one of them. But for him to lose his life’s legacy of being a supreme role model to all he enriched, does he really deserve to be vilified by so many, is sometimes hard for other old people, like myself, who appreciate positive accomplishment, to stomach.

Before others add their opinions, perhaps a condition precedent should be, “one must be in a super hot cauldron, at least once in life, before he (or her) assumes the position of an ultra critical judge.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 14th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

To Patrick, Richard and Tim:

My time is too valuable and precious to waste answering you each individually, because you are so extraordinarily out of line.

Mine and Bobby’s thinking regarding the incident was it was the responsibility of the ACBL which was in charge of the Junior Camps to begin and also the training of our best and brightest youngsters who qualified to play internationally and owed it to both the juniors and THEIR PARENTS to assure their wards’ safety (mentally, emotionally and physically). The information Bobby had was public knowledge and widely known and confirmed and he felt it was his obligation to assure no bad influences were present while he and his Juniors were in the process of becoming as good a team as possible in order to properly represent the USA. It was merely a precaution — and a damn good one. Better to be safe than sorry.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own life styles (acceptable to the majority or not) but not encroach upon those of young children too young to think clearly for themselves and be influenced by the success of these potential mentors for the advancement of their young bridge careers.

Ever hear of Jerry Sandusky??

Judy Kay-Wolff

Richard WilleyJuly 14th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

My original comment was not directed at the original story about screen coaches for the junior camp. I don’t think that it is reasonable to reject coaches solely on the basis of sexual orientation. However, I don’t know anything about the individuals involved which could have direct bearing on the case. Moreover, this appears to have all happened a couple decades in the past and social standards have changed since then.

With this said and done, I do believe that your reply to Patrick appears completely beyond the pale. I don’t know if this was your intention, but to me your Shakespeare quote comes across as:

“I only reason that you could have an objection to this policy is if you are either gay or a pedophile”

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 14th, 2012 at 5:36 pm


Interpret it however you choose.
That’s your prerogative.

My reaction was that Patrick flipped his lid and was far too protective because I struck a nerve. What could possibly make him go off his rocker? I don’t know him from Adam (this Patrickkorn@g.mail) nor do I have any desire to deal with people who take off such as he did.

All I was doing was comparing Bobby’s proper protective precautions in the early 90’s with the laissez faire attitude of the Penn State personnel who closed their eyes and buried their heads in the sand (hoping it would go away or never go public) — failing to live up to their responsibilities and damaging the lives of so many adolescents.

One must live by his own standards.


bobby wolffJuly 14th, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hi Richard,

While I agree with most all of what your last comment suggested I would like to put the following on the table for thought.

When you say that the incident I write about was more than 2 decades ago and since then social standards have changed, I agree totally.

However, somewhat like bridge conventions which help partnerships learn more about his partner’s hand leading to more accurate final contracts, what about the opponent’s now sometimes perfect defense because of that same knowledge. In other words, sometimes one might have to give to get.

My point is that with these changing social and moral standards, along with it comes a certain lionizing of egos which in many avenues and with the wrong mind set, may lead to abuse of situations which formerly were pretty much controlled by public policy which in the past came down hard against crossing the line between what is just and when not controlled causes new serious problems which heretofore did not usually occur.

Could it be argued by intelligent people that the above fact might have been instrumental in the Penn St. fiasco? It is obvious that left to his own devices the culprit felt absolutely no morality, or worse, no human obstacles from practicing his horribly evil art, to even consider stop doing what he became so used to doing.

Listening to him talk (on TV) at least made me realize that we are dealing with a lunatic who may have no idea of distinguishing what was right from wrong.

On such a full sea are we now afloat, so we must take the current when it serves, or, because of our new attitude and morality, possibly be worse off now than before, unless someone much smarter than I makes it clear, with appropriate safeguards, what needs to be expected.

Howard Bigot-JohnsonJuly 14th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

HBJ : In any walk of life exploitation of others ( usually the weak and vulnerable ) for personal pleasure or gain is abhorrent and evil. And to misuse one’s power, privilege and position to facilitate such exploitation ( as well as keeping the lid on it ) makes it even more heinious , especialy when children and teenagers are involved.
No matter how hardwired sex perpetrators are proved to be , driven on by uncontrollable carnal desires, there is in my mind no excuse or grounds for sympathy whatsoever. Victims lives can be destroyed for ever.
So if the risk is perceived even in the supposedly safe world of bridge then it must be investigated, exposed and ultimately removed.

PatrickJuly 14th, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Let me put this plainly.

What you wrote in your original post was disgusting. To suggest that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to be child molesters, and to trumpet a decision based on this incorrect premise as “morally mandatory” and taking “guts,” was reprehensible.

(No doubt the decision was based on other factors as well, and I am not saying it was the wrong one; but the point is that your description of it did not see fit to include any of these other factors, because, obviously, to you, the sexual orientation of the men in question was sufficient to disqualify them from working with children.)

What you wrote in response to my original comment was childish and repugnant. Please don’t try to pretend that it meant anything other than what Richard identified it as. We are not stupid.

When you post ignorant bigotry you have to be ready for people to criticize you. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings and I didn’t mean to take any time away from your next very important post about the poor service at your hotel.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 15th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Dear HBJ:

We are of one mind — honorable and realistic –not naive with the devil may care attitude. Perhaps it is how one is raised or the envirornment or surroundings in which we live.

Believe me, over sixty years in the bridge world has armed Bobby with the vibes of what must be done to avoid accidents, disasters, cheating and the subject incident was perhaps his most brilliant safety play. Some can call it bigotry, disgust, repugnance or whatever words satisfy one’s reasoning of guilt, but one thing is for sure — Bobby took the right protective measures in this subject case and dozens of others in which he was proven correct. He has lists and files to prove it.


bobby wolffJuly 15th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Hi Patrick,

In spite of your sarcastic last paragraph and general ugly disdain for others who may not totally espouse the same views as you, I feel, primarily for attempting to explain some differences in the natural transition of changing social mores, with the fervent hope of the acceptance of a different life style, heretofore frowned on by a wide section of people who, as children were influenced to think of, as an inferior way of living.

Not unlike today of the non-acceptance by many, of immigrants, some legal some not, who in some cases and according to their competitors, particularly during this prolonged recession (with little chance of abating soon) of taking away perks from citizens by overextending the benefits without enough money (health and related matters) to pay for these significant advantages and at the same time making doctors need to be aware of making lesser money and having to look and plan other ways to make up the deficit (taking time away from their devotion to their profession) therefore causing in some cases less attention, and even more important, less conscientiousness to their former and current patients.

Returning to the ranch and discussing what you, Richard and Tim have clearly said, that homosexuality does not lend itself to become a larger risk to sexual molestation and I, for one, agree totally with you. As that form of living has blended into an acceptable life style what you three have emphasized is undoubtedly true and not to be argued, but in bygone years, perhaps 20 or so, it wasn’t always so, with, like any other minority group, a small percentage, in order to satisfy their needs and desires sometimes foraged for companionship where they could find it, keeping in mind their vulnerability to being in the wrong place at the wrong time (obviously true in the horrific life of Jerry Sandusky, who possibly never realized the incredible damage he was doing to innocent children in particular and society in general).

At least to me, those were the conditions during my reign of authority with the Junior bridge players many years ago, which thankfully has phased out thanks to the willing acceptance of most clear thinking people who represent what our wonderful country has always stood for, freedom of choice.

Good luck and love to you and yours rather than the childish notion of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, where continued ugly confrontation is always sure to include.

MikeJuly 15th, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Does ACBL not have some kind of anti-discrimination policy with respect to sexual orientation now? Does this site not have a responsibility to ensure that the regular contributors not post bigotry?

I have not read The LOne Wolff and this is the first time I have heard about people being rejected as mentors for juniors purely based on the fact that they were “practising homosexuals”. It totally disgusts me that such a dark moment in ACBL history is being presented as an act of courage. And to use Sandusky, a married man as proof of vindication of the bigotry is not only repulsive but outright stupid.

What happened at Penn State ranged from morally (and criminally) disgusting to major moral failings. Equating homosexuality to propensity to child molesting added another moral repugnance to it. And if we want to talk about silence, what about the silence from the admirers/friends/supporters of JKW about her bigoted comments?

I have enjoyed this site and especially Mr. Wolff’s bridge articles. But since it seems like some individuals, because of their or their husband’s standing in the bridge community can use it as a platform for venom and bigotry, I will not be returning. I am a nobody in bridge, and I know no one will care, but it is important to me.

bobby wolffJuly 15th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Hi Mike,

Just in case you are still taking a peek at the site, you need to know that nothing resembling what you fear, happened, nor was ever considered to happen.

Most of the rhetoric, and not by either Judy nor me, veered off from various discussions about possible problems within mentoring programs, possible ways to police those ventures, responsibilities and such.

Some of the comments by others assumed incorrectly what the intent and other inferences might have meant, went on a toot about what should be general morality, agitated themselves and in one or two cases responded angrily, although incorrectly jumping to their own assumptions.

Call it a gross misunderstanding or from another perspective and from our side, not being as clear as we might have been, but in any case since at one point even Shakespeare entered the discussion symbolizing “Much Ado About Nothing”.

To be clear and just so you understand, there is no argument about homosexuality and criminal sex abuse being two totally different matters. Never was and never will be.

Tim GoodwinJuly 16th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Just to be clear about what apparently happened, Judy wrote in her blog:

“However, to cut to the chase, both of those enthusiasts were also widely known as practicing homosexuals, which may or may not have changed the outcome of the lives of some of the attendees. Bobby, after much consternation, decided against accepting their kind offers for fear of what may lurk and, at least (according to him) make a safety play against anything untoward happening.”

Does this not mean that their offers were rejected because of their open sexual orientation? What “untoward” activity were you concerned would take place if these homosexuals coached teams that you were not concerned would take place if heterosexuals coached the teams?

As I recall from personal experience in the junior program, there were a number of highly regarded female players in the junior ranks at the time, Martha Benson, Debbie Zuckerberg, Adair Gellman, and Donna Compton immediately come to mind.

bobby wolffJuly 17th, 2012 at 12:41 am

Hi Tim,

First, both Martha and Debbie formed a terrific partnership on USA 2 and were a driving force behind the many-splendored victory in Ann Arbor in 1991.

The offers WERE NOT REJECTED because of their sexual orientation, at least by me, who as far as I know was the only one responsible for making those decisions. To get further into this as to details is not my choice and would only serve to severely violate my responsibilities as would the random disclosure of names. If you read my book which delved into a number of nefarious situations certain specific names were left out, (I did not discuss this particular issue at all and only discussed a small percentage of untoward events to which I became privy).

Of one thing I am certain is that every event discussed was 100% true with no embellishment, but while doing so I alone determined what could be harmful to others and went to pains (by spending many hours thinking about various repercussions possible and rounding disclosure off in favor of who I thought had not deserved to be maimed) to not go beyond what could be helpful to the bridge game itself.

I am not going to fall victim to violate what I’ve always tried to do and that is continue to be constructive to bridge but not at the cost of human beings who, like I consider Joe Paterno (who I had personally known for 40 years), and now realize how one misdeed, though turning out to be off-the-charts horrible, should not ruin a wonderful life of 85 years.

I’m not sure of your motives or exactly what you want me to say, but what I have said is all there for everyone who is interested, to read.

Life is not always peaches and cream and the real history of tournament bridge and at the world level needs to be chronicled. I’ve done my part and will encourage both the ACBL and the WBF to come forward and in the future kick cheats out, disclose their names, not worry about law suits and treat the game more special than has been done up to now.

Lawyers may disagree with that, but what about the game itself when the above is compromised because of fear.

I just hope that the truth and effective leadership become the wave of the future.

Steven GaynorJuly 17th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

The bottom line, of which I would hope all parties agree is that sexual orientation should never be a criteria used to decide whether or not to hire or utilize someone’s services. It is the same as race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, etc. in that regard.

bobby wolffJuly 17th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Hi Steve,

There has never been a doubt about what you are saying and, at least from my point of view, was never a factor in the subject matter of this discussion.

It is likely that something was said which was misunderstood by some which has caused this consternation.

Since I was directly involved in the 1991 Junior program I made all the decisions regarding what to do. We had a tight budget to work on and especially almost none for even the expenses of the administrator(s) so I was not in a position of considering a coach. I did get two calls from top level bridge experts (who happened coincidentally to be homosexuals), volunteering to be part of the program, but after due consideration, having everything to do with, at the very least, increased expenses, refused their kind offers, although remuneration for their services never came up.

Since there are certain aspects of bridge mentoring similar to the fiasco which happened at Penn St. (a position of influence), it reminded me of those Junior team days and possible poisoned flower type pitfalls.

During these internet discussions it may have become confused by some as to what might have been the reason for not hiring (or whatever accepting those offers might have been called) and all of a sudden the sensitivity of what was involved created a major stir.

In any event during that time period, everything went as smoothly as possible with the ACBL finishing 1st, 2nd and 4th, wherein before they had never finished above 5th. Although there were some discipline problems, nothing of any serious nature occurred, overall resulting in a totally successful project.

With the ACBL Junior Camps (of which I was never involved) they did have some problems with alcohol and minor drugs being provided by older bridge players who probably shouldn’t have even been allowed to visit the camps. The only important result of that is to always keep in mind the responsibility of the ACBL administrators to ever be on the lookout for protecting the young players whose parents have entrusted our organization with their care.

Canada has had some problems concerning some of the above, but I, for one, am not qualified nor knowledgeable enough to make any comments.

From my point of view, I hope some of the above commentators who became worried about discrimination against possible homosexuals having important jobs within these types of activities will understand that, at least up to now, has not, in any way, happened nor would ever occur during my watch.

It should be noted, however, for informational purposes, that 20+ years ago. before mores changed for the better, that the possibility of horrific happenings such as the Jerry Sandusky reign of terror at Penn State was probably more likely to happen because of the frustrations and general overview of public perception, but that is only my view and possibly felt even more strongly by Judy.

Internet discussions can be fine and very productive, however when different heretofore strangers get involved in back and forth talk, especially world wide and with different cultures participating, much can be misunderstood and tempers flare, because of different meanings, attributed to different forms of expression.

The above may and should be a very helpful learning experience.

Tim GoodwinJuly 17th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Mr. Wolff,

I will endeavor to make this my last post on the matter. Your wife’s description of the decision:

“According to what Bobby confided to me is that he was approached by two well known and world class bridge players, both with positive, likeable personalities who enthusiastically volunteered to help (pro-bono) do whatever was necessary to provide learning experience in bridge to make our American Junior Bridge achieve the result we all sought. However, to cut to the chase, both of those enthusiasts were also widely known as practicing homosexuals, which may or may not have changed the outcome of the lives of some of the attendees. Bobby, after much consternation, decided against accepting their kind offers for fear of what may lurk and, at least (according to him) make a safety play against anything untoward happening.”

makes it sound very much like these were perfect candidates for the coaching positions except for their sexual orientation. If their sexual orientation was not a factor in your decision making process, it would be beneficial to explain this to your wife so she can correct the misinformation she provided in her blog. Then perhaps this “misunderstanding” will be resolved.


bobby wolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 12:13 am

Hi Tim,

I agree with both what you say and your attitude while saying it.

It appears that Judy, who was not on the scene at that time, at least not married to me (both of us have had our previous loving spouse die), described what she thought might have happened using her mindset to describe what her version was of our conversation. In Judy’s defense and during both our younger years, the subject of gays and lesbians was usually a hush hush subject which was not openly talked about, causing many problems, especially for some who for various types of fear, both from their families and friends, as well as bigots (remember both Judy and I were in the middle of the huge civil rights battle involving integration mostly in the 1950’s and 1960’s and job security as well as the almost daily problems which arose before someone intelligent suggested and succeeded in having everyone possible come out of the closet with a positive result of much more freedom and much less fear.

I would appreciate your imagination understanding that some less than expert judgment on the subject might think that Jerry Sandusky in addition to being obviously a serial sex abuser also, because the victims apparently were all male, might lead many to think that he had homosexual preferences for male youngsters while using his acquired influence to pay his victims with special perks because of his status with the Penn St. athletic department.

The above is what I was referring to when I suggested that when strangers talk, particularly about sensitive subjects, it can be very dangerous to not exercise the patience necessary to understand what the other person’s words are trying to say. Add to that the different attitudes which are likely to be felt by men and women toward such heinous acts and one should get to understand how difficult it is to find a mutual discussable common denominator.

Even though probably both of us could go on and on, at this point I do not have any more to say about this time bomb subject except as far as I am concerned the past is the past and I, like many others, have a positive attitude toward the various cultural groupings understanding what can happen to any group if controls are not in place. Earlier in the beginning discussion a bridge player from the UK, Alan Shillitoe, has stated that while he is in charge of junior bridge in England there are annual formal checks by the government to make sure nothing remotely resembling what happened at Penn State could happen there.

I hope that this misunderstanding will be forever resolved and, at least from my part, I wish only good for all bridge players of all cultures.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 12:51 am


Regarding your last mistaken harangue above, it was not by any stretch of the imagination that there was any kind of misunderstanding. I MEANT EVERY WORD I SAID.

Back in the nineties when such subjects were still taboo, were I a parent of a young male bridge player, there would be no way in hell I would send my child to summer bridge camp (at that time only for males) if I knew that one or more of the mentors was a homosexual and I would feel the same way if I had a young daughter attending a girl scout camp where the leader was a confirmed and admitted lesbian.

It is a free world to adopt whatever sexual preference satisfies YOUR OWN personal desires. However, the governing body (in this case — the ACBL — under whose auspices these camps were run and financed) MUST be aware of possible predators –where defenseless youngsters are involved. I admire Bobby for taking the stance he did and he really has no explaining to do and has nothing to apologize for — to you, your cronies or anyone else. Had he felt differently and not taken the precaution, much could have been lost and nothing gained. We’ll never know, will we??? In the Sandusky case, the jigs up and Penn State is paying the price (as well as all the innocent, unsuspecting victims).

Sad, sad!

Judy Kay-Wolff

Alan ShillitoeJuly 18th, 2012 at 6:49 am

Just to clarify, the procedures we use aren’t quite as strong as Bobby has just said. While my job is voluntary, we have to undergo criminal background checks before we are allowed to work with people under the age of 18. This has to be sponsored by the organisation (in this case the English Bridge Union) we will be working for. If I were to perform a youth role with another organisation (such as teaching), this would require a separate background check. This check has an expiry date, after which we have to renew it. There is no formal governmental monitoring of any of our programs, but I believe we do have to legally have procedures for care of duty of children in place and guidelines of what we can and cannot do. And what we should and should not do in order to protect ourselves. This is the same for any school up and down the country too (my girlfirend is about to become a trainee teacher and has received all the formal documentation from her mentoring institution.

My overriding comment was that I believe the ACBL should have such procedures in place. Not just to protect the children, who are the primary concern. But also all the well-meaning volunteers. Guidelines on best practice are invaluable to make sure that nothing untoward happens to either side. It is easy to get into a situation where one might think they are providing care (and genuinely be doing so), but have this horribly misinterpreted in these times. This would cover things like inappropriate times and methods of contact, personal conduct and so on.

My further consideration is that the WBF might consider enshrining such codes of practice as mandatory for all member associations (within the frame work of national legislation). If they are keen on increasing youth participation, as they say they are, then the welfare of the youth is paramount before the development of the game.

I don’t think there is too much controversial in wanting the best possible care for our Juniors, something that everyone on this thread clearly agrees on.


Richard WilleyJuly 18th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Judy, is it your contention that it is/was appropriate to block coaches from working with juniors solely based on their sexual orientation?

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 1:46 pm


Let’s get the record straight. In the early 90s I only knew Bobby Wolff by his trail of victories, accomplishments and superb reputation.

However to answer your question — to be forewarned is to be forearmed – especially in a situation involving young, unsuspecting children entrusted by their parents to unknown characters. It is my personal nature to dot the ‘i’s” and cross the “t’s” before making all decisions. That was engrained in me by my parents.

Judy Kay-Wolff

Steven GaynorJuly 18th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Times and attitudes change, sometimes drastically . Such is the case regarding sexual orientation. What was feared just a few years ago is becoming more commonplace, especially with a lot of known persons declaring their same-sex preferences. We can just hope that it will not be long before society as a whole will celebrate our diversities rather than fear them.

In the meanwhile, as more of us are educated and our attitudes evolve, we should not beat anyone up for what they may have done years ago.

Richard WilleyJuly 18th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

> to be forewarned is to be forearmed

Which begs the question: Is homosexuality something that something that you need to defend against?

Eugene HungJuly 18th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Judy, you just wrote:
“Back in the nineties when such subjects were still taboo, were I a parent of a young male bridge player, there would be no way in hell I would send my child to summer bridge camp (at that time only for males) if I knew that one or more of the mentors was a homosexual and I would feel the same way if I had a young daughter attending a girl scout camp where the leader was a confirmed and admitted lesbian.”

Would you feel the same way about sending your daughter to a summer bridge camp with the male mentors all practicing HETERO-sexuals?

If your answer is “No, I _would_ send my daughter to a summer bridge camp with male “straight” mentors”(practically 100% of bridge camps)”, then you are discriminating against people for their sexual orientation.

Most people are good people. White, black, male, female, Christian, Jewish, American, European, rich, poor, heterosexual, homosexual, it doesn’t matter, most people are fundamentally decent (maybe selfish, but not outright evil). A minority of people are evil, sick, and twisted. But they belong to all walks of life, not just one specific group. It is a mistake to attribute evil to one specific group of person.

If you would send your daughter to a camp with heterosexual male mentors but not to one with a homosexual female mentor, then you are guilty of discrimination. It is no different than saying you would send your daughter to a camp with white mentors but not to a camp with only black mentors.

Perhaps Bobby disqualified certain individuals from mentoring because he had personal, specific doubts about their character. But disqualifying them based solely on their sexual orientation is bad policy. And everything you have written so far leads the reader to believe that to be the case. You do your husband no favors with your writing : “Bobby, after much consternation, decided against accepting their kind offers for fear of what may lurk and, at least (according to him) make a safety play against anything untoward happening. “

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Well written, Steven. However, I don’t quite understand your reference to “beating anyone up for what they may have done years ago.” What makes you think they may have changed their views that may have been wrong then but acceptable now.

Everyone has the ability and privilege to think for himself or herself and that should never change.


bobby wolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Eugene,

First, thanks for your support, even though it might be qualified.

Your reply is both on target and eloquent, as well, of course, as timely.

However one issue, at least to me, is not, if you will excuse the pun, as clear as black and white. Life is not as simple nor as understandable to all people, particularly when different cultures and religions collide with each other. Jerry Sandusky, for example did very few people any favor, except perhaps momentarily for himself, with totally sick perverted sex habits. His escapades undoubtedly, at least to me, sent off sirens which rattled in the mountainsides, and rumbled in the dell against the dangers of sick minds having significant influence and thus control of young people. Consider what happened a long time ago in South America with Jones and Waco with Koresh. For the information to resonate with newer bridge players who have appeared (perhaps the last 20 years) the South American episode cost the suicide of the daughter of a former ACBL President who, as could be probably predicted, mourned her till the day he died.

Getting along and understanding the wide cultural differences now present in our beloved country seems to depend primarily on trust, which, in turn, is determined by events, sometimes distorted by the media causing consternation. Consider the Ft. Hood incident with the Muslim military psychiatrist and what it probably did to the mindset of all Americans, particularly the huge percentage of worthwhile and productive peaceful Muslims now living here.

Meanwhile, in spite of a clear and intelligent definition of the pronounced difference between homosexuality and a serial general sexual predator many less educated and earthy people (probably a majority number of our population) would tend to think that Sandusky possibly represented a dangerous and active homosexual element instead of just being a sexual predator who was also off his rocker.

While I agree with both you and Steven Gaynor in your philosophy and explanations, it is also very important to the point of totally necessary for our government to devote time, effort (and therefore money) to educating our great unwashed (figure of speech) population to reality and how to put hate, bias and prejudice on hold until it is completely understood as to what happened.

BTW, since this may be a good time for a commercial, I would like to add that the same mindset in our bridge community should demand a lifetime ban regarding overt and stealthy bridge cheating (with very few exceptions, based on monitored bridge community service) and damned be the lawyers who advise against what to me is a necessity to keep it from happening, and by not severely treating it, will forever keep our game from achieving the heights it deserves.

John Howard GibsonJuly 18th, 2012 at 8:18 pm

HBJ : There seems to me far too many commentators that just don’t get it. Over here in Britain strenuous efforts are made to vet and carry out criminal record checks on any adult working with children….AND QUITE RIGHT SO. Paedophiles and child molesters are devious bastards who appear to all those looking on to be such respectable pillars of society. Children are incredibly vulnerable to their powers of coercion and persuasion. Sifting out potential wrongdoers is vital for the image and reputation of the game as a whole.
Therefore if bridge teachers step forward to volunteer their services to coach children they need to be thoroughly checked out ….and if there is a whiff of doubt or suspicion as to their possible sexual orientation towards children….then COMMON SENSE DICTATES THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO COME INTO CONTACT WITH THEM.
It is far better to say” no ” to teachers who might well pose no threat at all , than say ” yes ” to child molesting coaches , who will then go on to destroy lives with their sickening and depraved practices.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Since I don’t have the time or desire to respond to some of the tenacious, illogical arguments above, I thought this may be of interest to some of the readers — concerning The Boy Scouts of America which was emailed to me:

(CNN) — The Boy Scouts of America announced Tuesday it has affirmed its policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals.”

The organization’s leaders reached that decision after a nearly two-year evaluation and will take no further action on a resolution that has sought a change in policy, it said in a news release. It had said last month that it would consider a resolution asking that local units be allowed to determine their own standards.

BSA’s chief scout executive and national president had convoked a committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate the policy.

“The committee’s work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth,” the statement said.

“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” said Bob Mazzuca, BSA’s chief scout executive.

“While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”

In a prepared statement, the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board said, “While not all board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA.”

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 9:30 pm


I am not as trusting as you and you can bet your bottom dollar I would do a lot of investigating before I entrusted young children to personnel I knew nothing about. I don’t buy all that B.S.

No doubt Penn State and its countless victims would have been better off had affirmative action been taken immediately after Sandusky’s exploits were first exposed (pardon the pun)!

Judy Kay-Wolff

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

To Richard Willey:

You quoted”to be forewarned is to be forearmed.” and you continue ..

Which begs the question: Is homosexuality something that something that you need to defend against?

My answer: I guess it all depends what floats your boat!

Judy Kay-Wolff

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Dear HBJ:

Though humor is what attracts most people to your blogs, I have to admit your comments are so uplifting and honest. Never change!



Eugene HungJuly 18th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

John —

Nobody is arguing for known child molesters to be put in charge of children. And nobody is arguing for skipping background checks. But such checks should be applied to ALL applicants, not just homosexual ones. A female heterosexual can be just as threatening to a male child as a male homosexual — have you not seen the many female heterosexual teachers abusing male students? If not, I suggest you google “Mary Kay LeTourneau”, “Debra Lafave”, and “Pamela Rogers Turner” to name but a few.

Jerry Sandusky, to all intents and purposes, was a white, affluent, Christian, American man helping young boys. He may have been a closet bisexual, but he is a monster not because he was white, Christian, American, or bisexual, but because he was evil. If anything, he would have passed the Boy Scouts “test” of “not granting membership to open homosexuals”.

The point is: it is unenlightened and discriminatory to subject your decision on an irrelevant attribute. And if you choose to not hire a volunteer or employee on the basis of sexual orientation alone, as with race, sex, or religion, you are opening yourself to a lawsuit.

Judy, citing the misguided rules of one organization does not help your point. It would be like citing the rules of Augusta National golf club in their barring of women members. It’s the right of every organization to do as they see fit, but it doesn’t make their policies correct. You won’t find me applying to golf at Augusta anytime soon, nor would you find me putting my kids in the Boy Scouts. Organizations, and people, that promote policies of discrimination deserve to be shunned.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 10:04 pm


I don’t hire and I don’t fire but I am entitled to my own opinions even if your outspoken tones don’t agree with me — so shun me if you must. No great loss.

bobby wolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Hi Eugene,

While I agree with your overall judgment against hating discrimination, there are sometimes situations which offer little choice.

Life as we know it, is far from perfect and very unpredictable. The way to correct this malady is to eliminate deceit, untruth, subterfuge, politics, cronyism, favoritism, blackmail, masquerades, bias, inconsistency, deviousness, cheating, extortion, revenge, jealousy, hate and probably 100 more words which fit.

Since we basically have no chance to eliminate the human condition (or at least the bad parts) from life we need to adjust to accept what we cannot control and control that which we can, to the overall benefit of both the most people involved, and the world itself.

Discrimination, especially in the hands of evil dictators or even lesser tyrants, like terrible bosses, is very bad, but is there anything worse than a mentally sick person preying on youngsters? Human beings differ from the animal kingdom in one most important respect, the ability to reason.

We need to respect that blessing and use it to as many people’s benefit as is possible. Sure, doing the right thing does not always appear in neon lights nor is it always obvious to even a smallish committee.

But, to those who are capable of leading, it could be the right thing for that person to at least trust his own instincts even by doing so he (or she) violates an important principle.

There is nothing magical or supernatural about it, since it is only what some might call common sense. At least to me that attribute is worth more than the ace of trumps.

I wish you love.

Derek WardJuly 18th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Judy: I have a suggestion – re-read your original blog and when you get to “practicing homosexuals” replace it with “practicing Jews”. Perhaps then you will realize what a silly and hurtful statement it is.

bobby wolffJuly 19th, 2012 at 4:17 am


In response to your comments to Judy:

At least to me, “practicing homosexuals” should be construed as a couple who openly live together without fear of being known (in the past not always that way), and “practicing Jews” as well as, of course, “practicing Christians” would only note that both groups attend religious services according to their denominations”.

To suggest these terms are silly and hurtful only indicates to me, that in this great big wide world, too many people wear their feelings on their sleeves when there is, in reality, much ado about nothing.

Of course, if the intent of the writer is evil and contentious and that comes across by the way it is presented, it then might ruffle some feathers.

Richard WilleyJuly 19th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

> To suggest these terms are silly and hurtful only indicates to
> me, that in this great big wide world, too many people wear
> their feelings on their sleeves when there is, in reality, much
> ado about nothing.

I don’t think that anyone is complaining about the use of the expression “practicing homosexuals”, rather, whether being a practicing homosexual should be sufficient grounds for discrimination.

bobby wolffJuly 19th, 2012 at 4:48 pm


If you would read the comment by Derek Ward, it said specifically that if Judy would read her comment (in effect) she would regard her use of the words “practicing homosexuals” as “silly and hurtful”.

Until you and some others even begin to understand what you are claiming and recognize what happened, all your contentions are doing, is confirming how wrong you are and have continued to be.

How many times do I have to repeat that the main reason I declined the subject offers were because I was granted no budget to even pay expenses for them? Possibly, and as an aftermath of the Penn St. fiasco added to Judy’s timely uncovering of the article on the Boy Scouts of America, (during my young days probably the most respected youth organization in the country), whose Eagle Scout recognition was as high an honor as could be achieved for a young person in any organization (please do me a favor and research what I just said). When one adds this to what happened in Pennsylvania and the horrific blame which is attributed to Joe Paterno’s not “doing more” it adds up to what is called a “slam dunk”, a basketball term which implies a “given” that the end result, although somewhat lucky for me (I do not deserve much credit,) but to criticize my decision belongs on a 1940’s comedic radio show, “It Pays to be Ignorant”.

I am not intending to be ugly and rude to you, but your badgering Judy and now me, also may classify inclusion on the same program.

Derek WardJuly 20th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Richard was right – I meant that if you replace practicing homosexuals
with practicing jews, the whole blog is silly and hurtful. Being gay has nothing to do with being a pedophile, just as being Jewish (or Christian or whatever). All of Judy’s comments in this blog showed ignorance and an incredible lack of understanding.

Tim GoodwinJuly 20th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Judy wrote: “Back in the nineties when such subjects were still taboo, were I a parent of a young male bridge player, there would be no way in hell I would send my child to summer bridge camp (at that time only for males) if I knew that one or more of the mentors was a homosexual and I would feel the same way if I had a young daughter attending a girl scout camp where the leader was a confirmed and admitted lesbian.”

I attended bridge camp in Boston in 1990 (or 1991?). There were both males and females in attendance — Bridge Camp was not for males only in the 90s. I believe the person in charge of camp was a female, but there were certainly males involved in running the camp as well. It was definitely not heterosexual males in charge of the boys and heterosexual females in charge of the females; boys and girls ate in the same restaurants, rode the same ferries, played bridge at the same tables, attended a Red Sox game together.


Judy Kay-WolffJuly 20th, 2012 at 4:20 pm


What happened is more than 20 years ago when mores, attitudes and behavior were less known, therefore making the environment much more dangerous.

No one who espouses your comments has said, indicated, or otherwise assumed that the above has not improved making your description, at the least, closer to the truth. However you are, or appear to be, incapable of understanding the major differences in perception then and now, and probably because of it, you keep hammering away with your own bag full of propaganda.
If you have any doubt about the above being true, all one has to do is to read what the Boy Scouts of America opted to do and just perhaps then you may understand the fear which was generated whenever that rule was put into place. Just look up and/or ask about the superb reputation that the BSA had and there will be no doubt about why they did it, and therein realize what was then going on.

In order to even discuss such a subject much less argue it, one has to be capable of understanding what the differences now are and accept that important learning experience instead of turning a deaf ear to what is being said.

And to make matters even worse, none of the above even applied many years ago during the actual case being discussed, because of different facts, no expense money, which obviously ruled that day and basically made further discussion moot.

Richard WilleyJuly 23rd, 2012 at 12:01 am

> If you have any doubt about the above being true, all one has to
> do is to read what the Boy Scouts of America opted to do and
> just perhaps then you may understand the fear which was
> generated whenever that rule was put into place.

At Bobby’s recommendation, I spent a fair amount of time of the weekend reading up on the Boy Scouts and their membership controversies.

In Boy Scouts versus Dale, the Boy Scots asserts that it “teach[es] that homosexual conduct is not morally straight,” and that it does “not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior”. The Boy Scouts assert a right to discriminate against homosexuals and cite this as a virtue. (In much the same way, the Boy Scout assert a right to exclude agnostics and atheists)

I have no interest in debating the merits of Boy Scouts versus Dale. I don’t have much of a problem with private membership organizations maintaining exclusionary policies.

I will suggest that this seems a strange precedence to cite if you are trying to defend yourself against a charge that you are involved in discriminatory behavior.

bobby wolffJuly 24th, 2012 at 12:32 am


There has never been, nor will there ever be any evidence that in my life I have ever discriminated, nor ever will, against anyone nor anything with the purpose of achieving what I want to achieve or for any other reason anyone could think.

My particular interest in bridge as it now stands, is to encourage our best partnerships to get better, be selected to represent the USA honorably in their divisions, become qualified in the most appropriate manner, and return from the competition with victories.

The above has always been my goal, back when I was playing, later when I was administering (and still playing), and now when I am doing not much more than writing.

Defending myself and Judy, for that matter, against discriminatory behavior is so ridiculous it needs no further comment.

Ellis FeigenbaumJuly 27th, 2012 at 12:32 am

10 years ago there was an accusation of molestation in an unnamed english speaking bridge federation.
The unnamed bridge federation together with a wealthy sponsor made the allegation go away.
The repercussions of this act are still being felt today and will go on being felt until justice is done.
There need to be checks and balances,and if that includes a background check for criminal behaviour so be it. It is not illegal to be homosexual,but it is illegal to use a position of authority for sexual favours and it is certainly illegal to sweep potential knowledge of such under the rug.
As a league and as adults we have a responsibility to those put in our care, we may sometimes overstep the mark, but actions taken in good faith and out of care are far more preferable than the opposite

Tim GoodwinAugust 9th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Some are not so proud of the Boy Scouts: