The Lone Wolff review

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 12/08/2007
Level: Intermediate

Bobby Wolff

Hall-of-famer, Bobby Wolff has seen it all. He has very strong views, that could ruffle some feathers.

In 2008, his provocative "tell-all" bridge book will hit the market. Here are some comments posted by the publisher, Masterpoint Press.


September 20, 2007 -- posted by 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 administrators 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.

Remember, too, that I was born and bred in San Antonio, Texas, where in 1836 the Battle of 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, when 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.