Ray Lee

The Lone Wolff

I’ve spent much of the last three weeks
editing a remarkable book — Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, which is
appropriately entitled The Lone Wolff.  I get to read a lot of
bridge books, as you can imagine, so it takes a lot to keep me glued to my
seat.  However, when this manuscript arrived, a few weeks ago, I found I
just couldn’t put it down.  Even more surprisingly, since in many areas
she is apt to lose interest very quickly, Linda had the same reaction.

There’s very little that Wolff hasn’t seen
or done in fifty years of top level bridge.  Multiple world champion,
President of the WBF, Appeals guru, ACBL Board member, etc. etc. He was part of
two of the great teams of the last 40 years: the Aces and the Nickell
team.  And he’s still going strong at age 75 — he’ll be heading for
Shanghai next week to represent the USA in the
Senior Bowl.

So no one is better placed to talk about
bridge over the last half century — the triumphs, the scandals, the politics
behind the scenes, the heroes and the crooks.  It will surprise no one who
knows him to learn that Mr. Wolff pulls no punches in The Lone Wolff.  He
calls them as he sees them, and he cares not whose ox is gored. 

I’m going to give you just a glimpse of the
book itself here — the part where he talks about why he wrote it.  For
most of the rest, you’re going to have to wait until February.

"I started writing this book in
1994, and on and off it has occupied much of my spare time during the years
that followed. As we are winding down, though, many of you must be wondering
— why did I write this book and what was I trying to do? 

Here were my options:

1)  Devote these thirteen years of my life to a more deserving and less
stressful project and let the chips fall where they may;

2).  Move forward with the book, but omit many unseemly things, naming no
names and masking the truth — basically turning the story of bridge into a
meaningless fairy tale with all sweetness and light;

3. Chronicle with accuracy what actually did happen — including names and
details when appropriate — and let the reader decide the possible motives and
reasons for what did transpire.

You probably know me well enough by now to know that I would have been inclined
to the last option in any event. However, what convinced me to choose it was a
phone call I received from a concerned Alan Truscott some years ago, when he
informed me that many of the players and Ray Leeistrators who were our
contemporaries were either dead or simply not interested in chronicling what
had transpired. He felt strongly that before he and I checked out, we had a
responsibility to all bridge devotees to share our up-close and personal
knowledge of the history of the game. Sadly, Alan is now gone and since there
is probably no one else left who has had the good (or bad) fortune to witness
as many key events as I have, I considered myself elected to that task, keeping
the vow I made to him.

too, that I was born and bred in
San Antonio, Texas, where in 1836 the Battle 
of the
Alamo was fought (a battle in which
every real or adopted Texan present was killed).  I have always found it
sad that the most important single historical event ever to be associated with
that city has no accurate contemporary documentation whatsoever. From that war,
Texas was still under the Mexican flag,
came the following familiar quote:  ‘Thermopylae had its messenger of
defeat, the
Alamo had none’.

I was
inspired by that sad realization to try to assure that, at least for bridge,
history did not repeat itself."

Stay tuned to
this site for more excerpts as publication date gets closer — and a chance to
exchange ideas with Bobby Wolff himself as his own weblog gets under way.



nick krnjevicOctober 6th, 2007 at 10:36 am


Given Bobby Wolff’s inclination to “tell-it-as-it-is”, I look forward to reading what will undoubtedly be a fascinating book.

Speaking of fascinating books, I understand that Michael Courtney has written unpublished(?) material about the late-great Tim Seres. Any chance that Masterpoint Press can cajole Michael into bringing his material to a wider audience?



Nick FahrerOctober 12th, 2007 at 5:42 am

Michael has written a book on Tim called Play Cards with Tim Seres. He also has many other unpublished manuscripts.

If you want a copy of MC’s book, send me an email and I’ll put you in touch with him – otherwise I think you can buy it at http://www.postfree.cc Post Free Bridge Books in Sydney.


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