Judy Kay-Wolff


                                                    CIRICUS PROGRAMREDO - Copy

One of my fondest bridge memories dates back to 1970. While continuing to condense old files, I happened upon a pile of correspondence detailing the arrival and performance of the Omar Sharif Circus Road Tour for their exhibition at Philadelphia’s Drake Hotel. The excitement was at fever pitch and we even arranged for enthusiastic locals to graciously pick up the visitors at the airport and escort them to center city in a motor parade.

I was at the helm of local preparations and recruited eager volunteers to host both our celebrated guests (Omar and the four primary world renowned Circus experts as well as the up and upcoming Dallas Aces)  who took on the ‘city’s finest.’   The so-called local attractions were Bobby Jordan, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay and Arthur Robinson.  Bob, Norman and Arthur were celebrated Philadelphian experts, but opted to add an interloper from New York (Edgar — who was Norman’s regular partner). This traveling entourage was graciously sponsored by Stancraft Products Company (playing cards) and Cosco Household Products (primarily card tables) with great PR firms overseeing the tour.  It was later revealed the Circus was not a great financial success but a tremendous bridge happening and the publicity for our game was unequalled.  The routine for their appearance in Philadelphia began with a press conference Monday evening.   Prior to the PC (at least in Philly) the audience was instructed not to touch upon any controversial issues — especially addressing Omar about the ongoing Israeli/Arab crises.  First question out of the box was cast at Omar by a feisty reporter, asking his views on the ‘taboo’ subject.  So much for following orders.

The mornings were devoted to interacting with the public .. interviews by local TV stations and guest appearances at Wanamaker’s, a center city department store, where crowds of autograph seekers besieged Omar.    Afternoons zeroed in on bridge playing which included matches early in the week between the Circus Teams and later on became a three way match, including the local stars which the audience enjoyed on closed circuit TV (basically vugraph).  

The big attractions were the afternoon duplicates in which the visitors intermingled with the stars. Arrangements were made so that the attendees did not have to leave the hotel with both lunch and dinner between sessions available at comfortable prices.  In addition to section tops and masterpoints, handsome gifts were awarded to those who accepted the challenge of playing against the experts and beating their scores.   Also, the duplicates accommodated experienced players as well as novices.  The planners didn’t miss a beat.  Bobby recalls his lovely late wife Debby confessing to him, that when the Circus came to Chicago, she waited in an hour long line to assure her ability to secure an East/West so she could play against Omar.  I remember lots of ladies calling me offering to pay anything for advance tickets to the Circus (and they didn’t even play bridge) — just wanting to get a glimpse of Omar and kibitz him!   In some cities they even had an area cordoned off for his admirers.

For those of you who go back that far, you will recall the primary drawing card of the OSBC was simply Omar though his bridge talents were dwarfed by world renowned Italian bridge idols … Benito Garozzo, Pietro Forquet and Georgio Belladonna, plus French superstar Claude Delmouly.   The Headmaster of The Circus was Egyptian organizer (and sometime player) Leon Yallouze, accompanied by charming Host/MC/Super Magician Bud Dietrich and a brilliant relatively young overseer by the name of Mike Ledeen who later became a world recognized authority on terrorism! 

Last, but not least, the newly formed Dallas Aces rounded out the trio .. (Billy Eisenberg, Bobby Goldman, Jim Jacoby, Bob Hamman, Mike Lawrence and a fella by the name of Bobby Wolff).  Bobby’s help was enlisted by owner/sponsor Ira Corn who recently had put the Aces on the map.  Subsequently, Bobby hired Joe Musumeci, a retired Colonel with the Strategic Air Command, as their popular and dedicated coach.  

There you have the contestants and vital administrators who appeared at the Drake for the conclusion of a seven city tour over forty-three years ago. Photographs are not my bailiwick, but I was able to post a copy of the Philadelphia Edition of the Circus program above.  I have also researched the whereabouts of those stars today.  Of the fifteen Circus players in Philly back in 1970, nine survived and sadly six have passed away. 

Surviving LOCALITES — ARTHUR ROBINSON (age 77). 
  Deceased: ; Bob Jordan (2004), Edgar Kaplan (1997); Norman Kay (2002)
Surviving CIRCUS MEMBERS — CLAUDE DELMOULY (his age eludes me);  PIETRO FORQUET (age 88); BENITO GAROZZO (age 86); and OMAR SHARIF (age 81). 
  Deceased: Georgio Belladonna (1995).
Surviving DALLAS ACES:  BILLY EISENBERG (age 76);  BOB HAMMAN (age 75); MIKE LAWRENCE (age 73);  BOBBY WOLFF (age 81).
  Deceased:  Bobby Goldman (1999); Jim Jacoby (1991).

I might also add that over the years I crossed paths with Omar on a few occasions and was nonplused by his continued graciousness and modest, humble demeanor despite overwhelming universal recognition and popularity.  He just wanted to be ‘one of the guys.’  However, by his own admission, his uncontested ‘first love’ was bridge.  Acting was just a ‘job.’  It takes all kinds!

Egos, Incorporated

A curious title, for sure.   However, an ego is such a strong component in every day life and is prevalent in our all-encompassing world of bridge.  I have come to accept the fact that ego can be a positive factor and frequently serves a good purpose  — an incentive for betterment.   In fact, I think it is a major influence on one’s improvement not only in our every day existence but a driving force in achievement at the table.  From my experience, there are two types of egos — one that is modestly self contained and one that is flaunted.  I have witnessed both sides of the coin.  At the top of the ladder are those who have great track records and are content with their inner success, not having to prove anything to the world.  Others crave attention and the desperate need to be recognized and admired.  We have all met both sorts.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum last night.  Bobby and I stopped off at the blackjack table (as we frequently do) to play a few hands before dinner.  We seated ourselves beside two individuals.  The featured player was a gentleman (?) on the far left with stacks and stacks of red chips (fives)  neatly arrayed before him in clear sight of all playing or passing by.  The other player was an older lady who had absolutely no clue.  The man offered advice (which for the most part was erroneous and unsolicited — but that stopped him not).   Bobby always says it is better to remain silent and thought a fool — than speak out and remove all doubt.  Eventually the lady (with little to show for her efforts) picked up her remaining few chips, leaving Bobby, me and the lesson giver.

It was not so much the fallacious, unsolicited advice which was so annoying, but his obvious pattern of self-admiration and his devastating need for attention    I believe he had a number of drinks and was just frothing at the mouth and deliberately talking to himself (muttering his choices).   It manifested itself in a manner I have never before seen — almost a ritual.   He would take his red chips and stack them in piles of ten (representing $50).  After each hand (win or lose), he arranged them methodically –  at one point having about twelve columns in plain view.  Now understand, we arrived before the show began and for all we know, he could have put up a thousand bucks and had not recouped his losses or could have started with the same amount and just be breaking even.   And, by the way, at this five dollar table he was betting randomly from fifteen to fifty dollars — and obviously not ‘counting’ — just showing off indiscriminately.   When the guy finally took a restroom break, the dealer told us that the pit boss kept suggesting he convert his ‘reds’ into greens ($25) or blacks ($100)  (as he had drained the dealer of small change)  –  but it was an obvious fetish to spread them in plain sight and leave them as they were.  His flashing effect was so exasperating to me (with Bobby paying him no mind) that I left the table, heading for the cashier, and Bobby followed.   However, by that time he was getting his comeuppance as his twelve stacks dwindled to two.   Justice had triumphed.  Universally, the world hates braggarts — and little wonder they do!

Living in Sheltered Darkness (continued)

With my major pet peeve (The "C" word) behind us, let us move on to more thorns in my side which taint our game — though none remotely as destructive and despicable as my earlier references.  Let us look at other stumbling blocks — some of which are nearly impossible to reverse because of circumstances and the unequalled realistic necessity of survival.  However, that does not condone some of the flaws in the system.

Let’s start with professionalism.  When I was younger, most people held 9-5 jobs.  In Norman’s case, it was 9:30 to 3:30 (or was it 4:00 when the market closed?).  Too long ago to be certain.   He enjoyed a ‘normal’ (standard) means of supporting himself and his family.  Bridge was merely a hobby (a sideline) for which he was blessed with natural talent but always kept it in proper perspective.   In recent years, a new method of earning a living was born.   Less hours and more lucrative!   It was endearingly referred to as "Professional Bridge" which is nothing to scoff at as it certainly has its place in our world.  Paying and playing with a pro (though not necessarily a tried and true expert) is a means to improve one’s game — if the mentee can afford it.   Of course, there are all levels of professionals (some barely better than their students and others at the top of the ladder).   I should know as I served the earlier purpose back in the suburban country clubs in Philly from 1976-1983 and I joshingly admit I was just one page ahead of my students.  The type of teacher/partner one selects (and can afford) must fit into his or her scheme of things.  I sincerely salute this type of learning process which provides a means of both education and enjoyment.   However, I have strong feelings that sponsorship should stop at the juncture where it determines international representation.   That honor should be earned — not bought. The only exception, as I see it, is when a borderline expert has the wherewithal to hire a top team or partner to achieve a better means to success.  Incidentally, I kibitzed the Bali Affair on BBO and cringed as I watched a cold baby hand go down in flames.  Embarrassing!  Professionalism/sponsorship is perfectly legal although there is not a doubt it undermines the effort of a country to win by not sending its very best. 

Another phase of this very problem relates to the pressure put upon others (though well intended) when serving on Committees — especially when the group consists of up and coming pros.   I have seen very few ACs recently where a celebrated expert (with an exception here and there) is on board though most are respected, honorable, experienced players.   Few world class bridge individuals have the time, interest or desire to serve in such capacities.  That’s life in the real world and there is little that can be done about it. 

Though I commend those who volunteer to serve with little remuneration (other than such nominal perks as card fees), many feel pressure if a professional pair is involved in the appeal.  Check the records and you will see to what I am alluding.  I actually witnessed two recent committee aberrations where, in the opinion of most, they were open and shut decisions — but no one had the guts to stand up to see justice served as top players were being challenged.   It’s hard to convince me that if you are on such a committee, you will not favor the expert appellants or defendants because (1) if you happen to be a pro yourself, a possible referral may be on the horizon if they cannot accept a job because of another earlier professional commitment; and (2)  taking the opposite side may appear to reflect upon your lack of ‘expertise’ — not an enviable position.  It all points to survival of the fittest.

Understand, these committee members graciously volunteer their time and some are very good (and often better than very good) and ‘nice guys’ as well.    That is not necessarily what is best for the game.  Furthermore, they must treat their responsibility with dignity and honor.  Those serving are not always the best judges as often they don’t want to trample upon the toes of others or make noises — merely pussyfooting — and all too often just ‘go with the flow.’   The individuals at the helm must have the backbone and gumption of doing (first, last and foremost) what is best for the game — regardless of the individuals involved.   I have witnessed the operation of two top pros in particular who in their individual devious ways, convince unsophisticated ACs their hands are clean.   That should cause those serving  to be willing to assume a stronger position if they feel equity would not be maintained by passive actions.  That is difficult to effectuate as no one wants to be thought of as a troublemaker and ‘cross’ the wrong people.  In some (not all) instances, ACs are flawed, but I can offer no easy solution.

I am not casting aspersions on all committee members.  Heavens, no!  Many do what they think is ‘right’ but in a case involving professionals, it gets more sticky.   There are other alternatives to consider.  One is the possibility of recusal if a potential committee member is in any way biased or prejudiced.  However, ‘recusal’ seems to be a dirty word and is rarely honored or brought into focus.  I cannot recall in recent times hearing of any potential committee member offering to step down for that reason.  Another failing in the appeal methods is the far inferior procedure of airborne telephone hearings rather than the better, more thorough venue of live, face to face discussions.   No one will ever convince me that Alexander Graham Bell had airwaves in mind for the resolution of appeals issues.   These events and decisions are serious and important enough to warrant paid on-site committee members to handle the possible deviations and violations that are alleged by the appellants and also hear face to face defenses.   Another factor to be kept in mind for improvement of committee decisions is the addition of ‘precedents’ and accountability.  What could be more important than Appeals Decisions which should have a far reaching affect and be the backbone of our game?  

A resolution of these hitches (though controversial) is hardly duck soup — but necessary to put before the public.

And more ….

Living in Sheltered Darkness

For the most part, I truly believe that the general bridge public is not aware of the difference between authentic, qualified opinion and what is not.  I have been on the scene for about fifty-six years (coincidentally a salute to Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive hit breaking record — a true master in his field).   One of these fallacies concerns ‘masters’ and ‘experts’ — terms that are used too frequently by individuals not in the know.  To borrow a trite phrase — "it takes one to know one."  Mind you, I don’t mean to allude to my being in that category — but educated enough through marital ties to have learned the distinctions from those who have been there, done that and others with possibilities to reach that plateau in the future — though far from the summit at this time.  However, I will leave that for later.

Few bridge participants (except for the serious hoi polloi who have been on the scene for decades) know that some of our earlier celebrated players had been asked to stop playing as their partnerships had fallen from grace (a kind way of acknowledging the dastardly problem).   It was reflected in knowing when to bid or pass and what to lead.  The choices made by those individuals were to disappear from the scene and those at the helm chose to let their actions be buried with their winning records and avoid public attention.  Shockingly, some of the colloquial ‘bad guys’ are in our exalted Hall of Fame and another is still a panelist — going about business with nonchalance.  This ‘hush/hush’ position taken by the League was to prevent a brouhaha or possible lawsuit and took the low road — by not exposing some of their unjustified victories.  I remember an incident long ago in a famed overseas money tournament where the first three finishers had their hands in the till — and several in-the-know contestants (with tongues in cheek — and grins on their faces) joshed by congratulating the fourth place pair.  Sad but true!  I remember another twosome who in earlier days probably ‘helped’ each other ‘casually’ (if there is such a thing) and were riled by the suspicions of a teammate, which caused personal havoc.  Yet the grizzly situation ebbed.   In bridge history, "virtue is its own reward."  Conversely, often a cover up become its own monster. 

Another situation (which exists as we speak) is where honest expert twosomes succumb to teaming up with a pair (or pairs) who are acknowledged by qualified, experienced judges as ‘Cs.’  Perhaps their rationalization is "if we can’t beat ’em — join ’em."  It is difficult for me to accept that the brilliant ‘good guys’ are not aware of what is going on.  They are too astute and adept in their own right with the pasteboards — so I must assume they are conveniently wearing blinders.  This charade may serve a useful purpose in their scheme of things (victory-wise and financially), but surely not an asset to the perpetuation of the game or its image.

The above zeroes in on major, deliberate crimes.  Stay tuned as I go into other lesser indiscretions which in most cases are unintentional but nevertheless cause standards to be lowered — for practical reasons.

Do Yourself A Big Favor and …

check out the latest of Howard Bigot-Johnson’s articles by seeking out his site below under “Other Bridge-Related Articles.”  His column is realistically entitled The Bizarre World of Bridge.  HBJ’s latest is tagged “Committee Matters:  Openness v. Secrecy” 

In my eyes, his sardonic and unparalleled clever sense of humor suggests the proverbial “kidding on the level.”  He is one of the most brilliant, creative writers in the bridge world (both then and now) and though this topical blog is the first serious one that I am aware of, it is well worth reading.   He is a gentleman who really cares about the game and its future.  His theme is not about ‘me, me, me.’  It embarks upon the personal, selfish considerations of the individuals at the helm as opposed to the long range effects and influences on the future of bridge.  HBJ’s earlier articles which contain unfathomably creative plays on words and names are hilarious and extremely entertaining.  What a talent!


is perhaps the greatest contribution toward bringing the universal world of bridge together.  The person responsible for this incredible facility is Fred Gitelman (a former Canadian, now residing in Vegas with his lovely wife, Sheri Winestock).  To look at him, you’d never suspect he is the fantastic computer programmer who put it all together.  He is quiet, modest, shy and despite his beneficence (while maintaining a low profile) — Fred stands apart from most of the bridge hoi polloi. 

It all began with Bridge Base, Inc. in 1990 and in 2001 BBO appeared.  It is definitely the most dominant and prominent bridge site which offers players the opportunity to play simple, social or serious bridge (with MPs available as sanctioned), practice on line or view NABCs, WBF championships and a multitude of alluring international happenings.    The greatest attraction is that they are available in the comfort of one’s own home.  However, I should not neglect to mention — the price is right — unlike much of the cannibalism that has surfaced in the bridge world today. 

Because of his originality and unequaled input, Fred was chosen as the No. 6 Honoree in the Top 52 Most Influential People in ACBL history.  Besides his computer genius from which we have all gleaned much pleasure,  he has captured several gold, silver and bronze medals in world events and owns seven North American titles.

We all thank you Fred –  for your unparalleled insight and continuing development of the world’s most mind boggling bridge venue!

Enjoying Bally

.. not to be confused with the other Bali (of Ezio Pinza fame) where the WBF is now holding their world championships!  We are not much on traveling at this stage in life and have only attended one NABC in the last five years.   Local  tournaments are pleasant and convenient and, as we usually do (though only a twenty minute car ride from our home), checked in for four days to avoid the shuttling back and forth daily (with the morning KOs starting at 9:00 A.M.).  Old age invites luxury.

I am happy to report that Bally’s is a most welcome upscale change for our Unit.  It is a far cry from the Riviera (at one time a great attraction – but alas no more).  Running the LV tournaments are an uphill battle as those who took over from the earlier regime were left to pick up the pieces and try to improve upon so called locked in arrangements   Jane and Bruce Rubin, Co-Chairs have given 150% of themselves and have achieved lowering of room rates (which have skyrocketed) for both the Sectional and Regional and are always on the move trying to better the conditions as well.  They have a terrific backup staff who never seem to stop.

For a tournament site, Bally’s is superb.  They offer everything you could possibly want.   However, nothing is perfect and you take the bad along with the good.   Yesterday we played in a three session KO, winning the first match of a three-way competition.  The following match we were beaten by three imps, but who, pray tell, could have picked up that much???   We were playing head on against a terrific team with one world class competitor (which I was not aware of at the time although I don’t get intimidated easily).   After all I have Bobby going for me and it doesn’t get much better than that!.  The evening session was a disappointment, but the residual reward was we did not have to get up in the wee hours of the morning, have breakfast, shower, dress (and for me put on lots of makeup to cover all the wrinkles) and be ready to play at 9 a.m.   We await the next scuffle at 1:15 this afternoon.

The rooms are exceptionally nice – huge, with lots of storage space, a large closet (though we live out of our two suitcases that are perched upon small benches at the foot of each bed – which makes life more convenient).   There is also a safe (but unnecessary with the gambling venue here as you need every bit of cash on hand at all times)  And, by the way, the card fees are reasonable ($20 a pair for each session).   The playing facilities are unbeatable – a huge playing room, nearby elevator access (with little waiting) as well as close by restrooms.  All in all, it is a terrific place to hold a tournament. 

The service people are impressive.  In fact, I had an incident when we were about to check in.   It was a long line and Bobby had not eaten breakfast.  I sent him on to the coffee shop, intending to meet him shortly – or so I thought.  I waited in line for almost fifteen or twenty minutes and I was so tired and hot, that I became faint from standing so long.  I asked an attendant at the desk for a chair to await my turn and she immediately offered to check me in at her cage – while calling security and medics to make certain I was alright.  I was signed in within five minutes, but security arrived in seconds — offering a wheelchair.  I declined, but a quite understanding officer insisted on accompanying me  to the Sidewalk Cafe where Bobby was eating. After sitting down and a quick bite I was the Judy of old!   I was impressed with their care and understanding.  It is not like that everywhere.

Because of the dastardly economy, the hotels were hard hit and it is evident by the prices (not only here – but everywhere).  We enjoyed some after session Blackjack Switch (to us the most intriguing of all blackjack venues).  They were crowded and only one spot was available so I offered to kibitz Bobby (a long time habit of mine with both Norman and Bobby from my early years of the game).  After a ‘plus’ session, we now found our way to a super restaurant, which we had visited before,  which was just about to close at about 11:30.   The food was fantastic – but did you ever hear of a Thai restaurant charging $2.00 additional for a tiny cup of white rice to go with a curry dish?   Things must be worse than we suspected.

However, that was nothing compared to our leisurely room service breakfast.  Two Eggs Benedict and a Pot of Decaf.   Sounds simple??  Before I signed for it, I took a glance.  Take a guess!!  It  looked to be on the high side (without a service charge) but I soon discovered why.   Hold on to your hats!  It was sixty bucks without tip.   The pot of coffee (and not very large to boot) was a shocker.    There is only one size offered and we now know why.  $14.00?   (I was just corrected by Bobby.   The menu said $15.00 – so how can I complain?  What a bargain).  A can of coffee at the market with heaps of servings is nothing like that   That is pure unadulterated rape.   By  the way, we can now well understand why they have no coffee station in the room!!

I think we are cured of room service for the rest of the week.

Reporting out from Bally’s!


So much has been written about the Do’s and Don’ts of bridge and the variations between levels of players as well as the venue in which they participate.  Some feel it really doesn’t matter as it is ‘just a game!’  HARDLY!!!  To some addicts, it’s more important than life itself.  Bridge is far more than a game … perhaps the greatest mental challenge which involves reasoning, logical alternatives, numeracy, discipline, imagination, and so much more — all attributes that will assist one in later life when important crises arise.  Sadly (though operative in many of the foreign nations), bridge has not been programmed in the schools here.   There are 200 million children being educated and playing in China .. and nary an official school curriculum offered in our educational system in the U. S.   So, yes, it is not just any game and an all-out effort should be exerted toward improving its methods, standards and above all — ethical behavior so that all contestants are on a level playing field.   Another key factor is that the director is knowledgeable enough to know the basic rules.  Equity and justice should always rule supreme!

There are many schools of thoughts about the standards and requirements of duplicate clubs.  Some people play to pass the time of day, just to socialize, others out of boredom and less physical energy — but some actually participate because they really adore the game and strive to do as well as they can.  To many– master points are their goal; to others, they could care less. 

Let us examine both the criteria and responsibilities of club ownership.  Since these are ACBL sponsored games (with card fees paid and master points awarded) — the owners and players both have responsibilities to follow the rules.  The primary flaw in the directing issue is that most have not been well indoctrinated and not all are knowledgeable enough to make involved decisions.   It is my earnest belief that directors really do their best (with limited training and experience).   In addition, the owners do not want to antagonize any of the players (especially their "regulars") and lose their business to another club.  It is called “human nature.”  That goes with the territory.  Some owners take the high road and try to educate their patrons as to the do’s and don’ts in a non-offensive, educational manner.   They can’t do more than that.

But here lies the rub, as I see it:  Though most players I know are honest by nature and do not deliberately violate the ethical standards — these misdemeanors occur because they are not familiar with their responsibilities (especially in the area of alerts) possibly due to the fact the powers on high keep changing them all the time.  Many are experienced but it becomes difficult to remember what is — and what is not — alertable.  To make certain the opponents are not in the dark, sometimes I even alert when it is not mandatory to protect the opponents.   I know my system — they may not.

Here is a typical example of the damage of non alerts:

The auction goes 1D  X  1S   2C followed by a double (with no alert from his partner — the 1S bidder).   What is that double?  Consider the possibilities:  Takeout?  Penalty?  A Support  Double?   Card Showing?  Take your choice.  Any could apply.  It’s like trick or treat.

Without an alert I would assume it is penalty.  The auction resumes and the responder pulls the double and buys the contract at 2D.   My contention is that if there is no alert by the 1S bidder at the time the red card is pulled from the box and certainly none after the auction, the declaring side (in this case the doubler) MUST announce a Failure To Alert (FTA) before the opening lead.     It is the responsibility of the doubler (regardless of a partnership mixup) to educate the opponents of misinformation that was communicated by FTA — and the director should have been called immediately — before North led.  In the above situation, it was not possible because of the lack of education (or experience) by West.

Obviously, no FTA was mentioned and it was indeed intended as a Support Double (not for penalty) and now the defenders would have known that Opener had exactly three spades.     To my understanding in the case of FTA:    (1)  Before the opening lead, the doubler should announce the failure to alert;  (2)  The director should be called immediately; (3) After learning what transpired, the Director should call aside the defenders (individually) and ask if they individually (if alerted) would have done something different.  In this case, the answer would have been ‘No’ by both North and South;  (4)  When all are back in their seats, they are instructed to continue play and if anyone feels they were injured to recall the Director;  (5)  If and when the Director is summoned at the end of the play, it is his (or her) responsibility to know the correct procedure and espouse the proper disposition of the problem.   In the case at hand, there were definite ramifications due to the FTA.

The opening lead and the next three plays would have been totally different if opening leader knew the doubler had exactly three spades. He would have cashed the AKQ of spades and played the fourth one so partner could ruff and not provide a pitch for a loser in declarer’s hand.   The non-alert was overlooked (not intentionally) and the play proceeded.  The opponents misdefended based on the fact everyone thought it was penalty and failed to get out neutrally (rather than breaking a suit)  leaving it to declarer to figure it out himself.  Making 4D was scored up — though with proper information it would be held to eight tricks.  When the play concluded, one of the defenders called the Director, asserting wrong (or rather lack of) information was given causing them to misdefend believing that the double of 2C was penalty.  The Director was polite but unsure of the ruling and hedged, returning to the table after the next board was played and said the questioned score stood.   REALLY???  The opposite ruling should have been a slam dunk.  The defender protested and at the conclusion of the game, when one of the owners asked another director (who happened to be playing that day), she responded that it WAS alertable. Eventually, after the game the score was rolled  back to -90 (from the original -130) for the good guys, but I learned today that the culprits were allowed to score up 3 for +110 rather than the score they would have earned (+90) had correct and timely information been released.

If such a basic problem as the above is not immediately grasped by the Director — things are broken and need fixing as this should not be happening.  It is understandable if complicated issues arise — but this failure to alert is part of standard operating procedure which every director should have down pat!  Happy endings are simply not enough for me.  I find many correct rulings are sporadic — not routine.  

I simply want to see justice served at ALL times and there is no time like the present to change course.


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.

TESTING — 1, 2, 3

Let me preface my presentation by stating that this is NOT a trick question.  After I receive your responses, I will fill you in on the details and then ask for your personal assessment.

Dealer:  South
Vulnerability:  Both 

In fourth seat, East opens 1D holding:  106   J5   KJ954   AKQ2

The auction proceeds 1S overcall by South followed by two passes.  Your call?   Just do what you would normally do.  I know most people hate riddles, so please bear with me.