Judy Kay-Wolff




Believe it or not, this was from a world championship in 1982 in Biarritz, France and the photograph was taken by an enthralled kibitzer – moi!  Most of you will recognize the participants – top row was Norman Kay, B. J. Becker (who had just reached the tender age of 78 and passed away five years later) and Ronnie Rubin.  Seated below are Michael Becker and Edgar Kaplan.  Absent from the picture is their sixth — Michael Rosenberg.  There is no accounting for the things one remembers.  It was my first visit to France – and besides the daily excitement of the bridge competition, I indulged myself at a nearby blackjack table and together with the late Joan Gerard, visited and patronized a fantastic handbag boutique on a daily basis.  You can’t take it with you!


Bill CubleyJune 2nd, 2013 at 7:38 pm

There was a SF NABC in that early 1980s.. B J was asked by a young lady who was quite enthralled if she could call him B J instead of Mr. Becker.

He replied that she must call him B J because she did not know him well enough to call him Mr. Becker.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 2nd, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Cute! Never heard that one before.

ChuckJune 3rd, 2013 at 4:41 am

I remember meeting Mr. Becker at Norman’s surprise 60th birthday party (back in around ’86 or ’87). He roasted Norman and was very entertaining. You had lots of bridgers there that afternoon. Can’t recall all of them, but I have a vague recollection of Al Roth showing up too.

I look forward to the next batch of pictures. I am an oldtimer and will probably know some of them but it will be a treat for the newbies — especially with your interesting personal associations.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 3rd, 2013 at 4:57 am

Thanks for your kind words, Chuck!

I laid my hands on a bunch of marvelous photographs that I had forgotten all about (some of which I never even knew I had). Have to get them transferred to the computer and then I will be good to go. Many of them were taken fifty years ago and are in amazingly great shape. Bobby merged his with Norman’s collection and has supplied me with lots of detailed information which I will share with you. I really got an education at dinner tonight — as he told one story after another about the early days of his bridge career (both before and after the Aces) and the people with whom he came into contact.

Later ….

Jane AJune 3rd, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Hi Judy,

See how easy a second book could be? A recording device with a volunteer willing to transcribe the notes, the collection of both of your photos, and the addition of all your combined memories of bridge past. I am thinking of a title already. A few dinners like you shared last night and we would be good to go! (Just kidding, I know this is quite the over simplification)

Thanks for taking the time to share the past with all of us.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 3rd, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hi Jane A …

As we said when we were kids … ‘Perish the Thought.’ Too laborious — at least at this stage in my life.

Yet, there are so many tales left untold that I heard from Norman (but never dared to discuss) and those of Bobby’s which he will take to his grave. Many rely on hearsay while I am familiar with some of the actual incidents that were personally witnessed, but that naive persons would prefer to question.

The only issue that matters is that these blights on bridge society be stopped. Many of the incidents in The Lone Wolff were put to rest, but new ones keep popping up. People think of new ways to gain advantage (or at least attempt to) — but in an effort to keep them under raps, they silently fall by the wayside as lawsuits are still a great threat to the powers that be.

No more books for The Wolves — just photos and personal associations that go back half a century — and more. I consider myself very lucky to have been privileged to have met and gotten to know some of these characters (and I do mean characters). Many were equally as fascinating as the game itself.

So Jane, thanks — but no thanks!



CarolJune 3rd, 2013 at 8:30 pm

The photo above was like a trip down memory lane. I wasn’t in Biarritz, but I certainly knew all of the individuals.

Old pictures are like heirlooms and to me and will
bring back lots of memories from tournaments of the past. Look forward to the rest (as long as you identify all the people)!

LisaJune 3rd, 2013 at 9:31 pm

How far back do the photos go?

Judy Kay-WolffJune 3rd, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I don’t have them all in my possession. I farmed them out to be copied and attached to my files. Many are from the fifties and sixties but several more recent. They hold poignant memories for me. The ones from Bobby’s collection are from the seventies and then, of course, I have some from the Sharif Circus about the same time.