Judy Kay-Wolff


Menial work, as opposed to using one’s brain (or at least what is left of it) has never been my favorite pastime.   I’ve always preferred playing word games, puzzles, creative writing  (poems, original shows for birthdays and anniversaries, commemorating bridge events and more), and now, of course, blogging. 

However, I can site one genuine exception which started in the early sixties when I met Norman. 

Before we were married, his mother lassoed and shanghaied me up to the attic to show me a bunch of dusty relics … Norman’s Sectional, Regional and National trophies .. and though I didn’t realize it at the time — nary a semblance of a World Championship win.  He came with a ‘dowry.”  But, this was all new to me — and one tarnished bowl or cup looked no different than any other.    What did I (a fledgling) know?   When we married and rented an apartment in Center City, I designed a tall modern looking display case to show off his many silver and gold reminders of achievements over the years.   Norman had under his belt seven Vanderbilts, two Spingolds and seven Reisingers (plus one four way tie) in addition to dozens of other prominent titles and recognition awards for his contributions away from the table.

Every few months I was subjected to the mixed feeling of pride (the labor of love captioned above) and the drudgery of polishing them (although I did splurge at one point and have Norman’s National trophies ‘invicted’ so as not to necessitate the recurring chore and ruination of my manicured fingernails).    I checked that word in the dictionary and found no listing but that was the process for which I contracted and believe it or not, fifty years later, they retained their brilliance.  Despite my pride in Norman’s countless successes, I became saddened when I eventually came to the realization why he had never won a world championship (despite having a great partner and incredible teammates).    By the way, at one point almost all of the experts turned to professionalism and it was harder to get teammates who wanted to play just for the love and glory of the game (with no remuneration).    No need to go into the other age old saga about why the buck stopped there.   It is a devastating part of universal bridge history.

Come 2003, when I married Bobby.  I was mesmerized by the array of his accomplishments and arranged for them to be displayed in our Dallas living room.  The showcase was made up of three floor-to-ceiling blue marble posts with two sets of four tier shelves — Bobby’s occupying the one on the left and Norman’s on the right.  It was exciting  to behold and soon after moving to Vegas in 2005, the localites interviewed Bobby and photographed our distinguished Trophy Room for publication.   Prior to their arrival, it was the inevitable ‘shine-up time" and out came the polish, polish and more polish!!

Suddenly, I spotted seven extremely small innocuous looking silver cups to which I had never really paid any mind before as his collection was such a mixed conglomeration – comprised of all sizes and shapes.   Much to my shock I learned they those seven were recognized as “the” most prestigious achievements in all of bridge — the exalted Bermuda Bowls (which I had never set eyes upon before).  Aside from those seven, Bobby’s other WBF victories included one World Team Olympiad, one World Open Pair, one Olympiad Mixed Team and one Senior World Cup — distinguishing himself as the only individual to win world championships in five different categories.

Bring on the polish.   It’s that time again.


SamSeptember 18th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Wow! That is a mind boggling assortment of achievements you have been assigned to care for. I have never seen a Bermuda Bowl Trophy (nor have most) and Bobby’s record is very impressive. I can understand why you call your job a True Labor of Love.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 18th, 2013 at 2:52 pm


It is appropriate that as we speak, the Bermuda Bowl is in progress in Bali. However, in the time zone where we live, it is inconvenient to watch as it begins at about 8 o’clock in the evening (Pacific Coast Time) and goes on into the wee hours of the morning. I actually fell asleep with my Ipad in hand and didn’t learn the results until this morning. At one time I loved traveling (with both Norman and Bobby) to far off lands for these championship contests, but from what I have heard, the lengths of the flights to Bali were never ending. I hope it proves to be worth our teams’ efforts, but the Open hasn’t started off too great for the U.S. Perhaps today’s sessions will be better. Let us hope.