Judy Kay-Wolff

‘ Sami ’ Has Not Lost His Sense of Humor

One of my favorite bridge personalities (whom I met in the mid-Sixties while playing on teams with Norman and Edgar) is soft spoken, never confrontational and has a very pleasing manner.  I found him on the reserved side, but when he did speak, it was worth while listening – as he usually produced a ‘gem.’  He hasn’t played in NABC competition for eons but I understand he is enjoying his golden years in Toronto.  I really miss the good old days of Eric and Sami.  They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.  These Canadian Superstars were a credit to their country and well respected by their peers.  In this month’s ACBL Bulletin, in the Letters to the Editor Section, he contributes:

Not so good

“With respect to the appeals committee’s ruling that decided the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams quarterfinal match (June, page 27), I have heard many complaints that it was the worse ruling ever.  I disagree.  In my long career, I have come across at least one – perhaps two – that were just as bad.


Glad to see the old boy hasn’t fallen from grace!


CPNovember 5th, 2013 at 2:10 am

I’ve been in the bridge world for a long time too. It’s always nice to hear reminiscences about the heroes of the past.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 5th, 2013 at 2:26 am

Hello CP:

As Jimmy Durante used to say … “I’ve got a million of ’em!”

I could probably write a book about all my experiences over the years — but at the time of the happenings, I was probably too naive and unsophisticated to recognize their talents — both at and away from the table. It wasn’t until I got into the more complicated nuances of the game that I learned to appreciate them. However, both Sami’s and Eric’s senses of humor were unequaled. I remember when the Foot Soldiers’ performance was exposed, Eric telegraphed the vugraph commentators in Bermuda in 1975 — applying for a job as one of their replacements and divulging his shoe size. Those were the days — second to none.

paul croninNovember 5th, 2013 at 2:41 am

Hi Judy,

Nice comments on Eric and Sami! For anyone wanting to know more about them, I highly recommend “Canada’s Bridge Warriors” by Roy Hughes. Warriors they were indeed, and class acts all the way. Video of the two of them at the table would be a wonderful way to show what great, and truly graceful, behaviour really is!

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 5th, 2013 at 4:34 am

Hello Paul:

Not only were they “nice” comments — but sincere and well deserved. Yes, they were model citizens as far as their decorum and truly graceful behavior at the table. We are witnessing a new generation and sadly, in my eyes, the majesty of the game is slipping — for many reasons. Not much we can do about it, but cherish those who will go down in the annals of bridge as true legends.

AlexisNovember 6th, 2013 at 5:25 am

After reading your recent blog about the Omar Sharif bridge circus it got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see an exhibition match with the old time legends vs.some of these great young bridge players? No doubt most people would bet on the youth but there really is something to be said for wisdom and experience. I remember reading years ago about an exhibition match of bridge naturalists vs bridge scientists but i can’t seem to find any articles. Do you and/or your husband know anything about that famed match? Who participated and what was the final outcome?

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 6th, 2013 at 5:32 am


You’ve got a great memory. It was a long, long time ago — not sure exactly when. However, I am sure Bobby will be able to fill you in one some of the names and the outcomes. I’ll pass this along to him.

Gary MugfordNovember 6th, 2013 at 4:33 pm


Sami and his cheroot. Oh, and he played a decent hand of Bridge too.

And that’s from PLAYING against him, not just watching from afar.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 7th, 2013 at 12:49 am


That was an eternity ago — but I can picture the cigar (or cheroot) protruding from the corner of his mouth. I, unlike you, never had occasion to play against him. Just as well. I’d rather be his admirer than opponent.