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History of U.S.

Table Tennis
Vol. XIII: 1984

Young or old, novice or expert, the USTTA/OTC camps can help you
improve your game, physical fitness, and mental attitude.

BY TIM BOGGAN
USATT HISTORIAN

TIM BOGGAN
Tim Boggan is a former
International Table Tennis Federation
Vice-President, a former three-term
President of the United States Table
Tennis Association (now USA Table
Tennis), and a former Secretary of the
Association.
For 13 years he served as Editor
of the USTTAs National Publication,
then followed by editing his own
magazine. He is the author of Winning
Table Tennis (1976), and thereafter
Volumes I through XIII of his continuing
multi-volume History of U.S. Table
Tennis.
He taught English at Long Island University in Brooklyn for 33 years, and
since 1965 has been a prodigious writer for the Sport. Having retired from teaching,
he is currently the Associations Historian.
He has received the ITTF Order of Merit Award and the USTTA Barna
Award. In 1985 he was inducted into the USTTA Hall of Fame, and in 2006 received
the Mark Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was a member of the 1971 U.S. Ping-Pong Diplomacy Team that
opened the door to China, and since then has attended, as official or journalist, more
than 25 World and International Championships. In 1975 he Captained the U.S. Team
to the Calcutta Worlds.
As a player through six decades, he has on occasion, in addition to some
modest early tournament success, and, later, some success in World Veterans
Championships, been the U.S. Over 40, 50, 60, and 70 Singles and Doubles
Champion.
Tim and his wife Sally have been married for over 50 years. Both of their
sons, Scott and Eric, were U.S. Junior then U.S. Mens Singles and Doubles
Champions. Both are in the U.S. Hall of Fame.
Price: $40.00

Front cover photos


Top left: Jimmy McClure urged that all 35 USOC sports share in the Olympic windfall
money.
Resident Training Program photos, clockwise from top left:
F. Don Miller, USOC Executive Director;
Bob Tretheway, salaried USTTA National Program Director, looks to Colorado Springs;
Tom Wintrich, USTTA salaried SPIN Magazine editor; photo by William H. Beetle Bailey
Li Henan Ai, salaried USTTA National Coach.

History of U.S. Table Tennis


VOL. XIII: 1984

Young or old, novice or expert, the USTTA/OTC camps can help you
improve your game, physical fitness, and mental attitude.

by Tim Boggan, USATT Historian

Copyright 2013

This book is for Dean Johnson.


Photo from Deans The Impact of Table Tennis
on My Life and Career.
Dean was always a busy man.

Again, I want to acknowledge how much I appreciate Larry


Hodgess great contribution. Without his experience and efficiency (particularly in helping me to
shape photos and lay out pages), I might not be able to continue writing these books.
Again, Mal Anderson gets more than a special nod for (1) sharing with me his enormous, halfcentury collection of photos of players and officials, (and (2) for scanning most of the photos that
appear in this book.
Again, I pay special thanks to Dave Sakai for his many years of giving me the help and encouragement I need to produce these books my way.
Again, I take this opportunity to applaud Professor Scott Gordon, the USTTA Film Archivist, for his
determined efforts to locate and preserve the all too few films from our historic past.

PRINTED BY: The Outer Office, Lime Kiln Road, Fulton, MD

COPYRIGHT 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a
retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
2

Acknowledgements
From Oct., 1933 through Nov.-Dec., 1993, the name United States Table Tennis
Association (USTTA) prevailed; thereafter the Association is referred to as USA Table Tennis
(USATT). During the year 1984 that this volume deals with Im indebted to the USTTA publications
Table Tennis Topics and SPIN, and to my own tabloid Timmys.
Those to whom I particularly want to show my gratitude: Liguo and Li Henan Ai, John
Allen, Mal Anderson, B.K. Arunkumar, D. Austin Babcock, Sally, Scott, and Eric Boggan, Mike
Bortner, Alain Bourbonnais, Houshang Bozorgzadeh, Bard Brenner, Quang Bui, Dick, Sue, Scott,
and Jimmy Butler, Butterfly T.T. Report, Gary Calkins, Terry Canup, Jack Carr, Lim Ming Chui,
Robert Compton, Bob Cruikshank, Jay Crystal, Fred and Carl Danner, Dennis Davis, Bohdan and
Kasia Dawidowicz, Rich DeWitt, Deutscher Tischtennis Sport, Wendell Dillon, Rey Domingo,
Mariann Domonkos, Jim Doney, Brian and Mel Eisner, Dave Elwood, English T.T. News, Dick
Evans, Christopher Faye, Jens Fellke, Shazzi Felstein, Neal Fox, Frances Tennis de Table, Harry
Frazer, Diana, Lisa, and Yim Gee, Andrew Giblon, Warren Goesle, Michel Goyette, George
Grannum, Howie Grossman, Don Gunn, Bill Haid, Rick Hardy, Rufford Harrison, Pat Hernan,
Randy Hess, Bob Hibschweiler, Larry Hodges, Patti Hodgins, Bill and Liz Hornyak, Engelbert
Huging, Steve Isaacson, Indian Table Tennis, Simon Jacobson, Dean Johnson, Dennis Kaminsky,
Eliot Katz, Gus Kennedy, Igor Klaf, Harold Kopper, Zoran Zoki Kosanovic,Yvonne Kronlage,
D-J Lee, Fu-lap Lee, Y.C. Lee, Caron and Marv Leff, C.F. Liu, Jimmy McClure, Barry Margolius,
Subhash Mashruwala, Jeff and Mona Mason, Dennis, Brian and John Masters, Jim McQueen, Jack
Buddy Melamed, Norm Merrin, Brian Miezejewski, Dick Miles, Col. F. Don Miller, Tom Miller,
Stan Morest, Marcy Monasterial, Manny Moskowitz, Bela Nagy, Joe Newgarden, Khoa Nguyen,
Ben Nisbet, Paul Normandin, Sheila ODougherty, Donn Olsen, Brandon Olson, Pat, Kathy, and
Sean ONeill, Ontario TTA Update, John Oros, Glenn Ost, Kenny Owens, Tyra Parkins, Bob
Partridge, Nancy Persaud, Horatio Pintea, Power Poon, Carl and John Prean, Marty Reisman,
Danny Robbins, Sylvia Rosenthal, Mitch Rothfleisch, Dave and Donna Sakai, Nisse Sandberg, Sue
Sargent, Sol Schiff, Ebby Schoeler, Pete Schuld, Ron Schull, Perry Schwartzberg, Dr. Michael
Scott II, Dan, Rick, and Randy Seemiller, Adham Sharara, Ron Shirley, Joe Shumaker, Dan and
Patti Simon, Angelita Rosal Sistrunk, Neil Smyth, John and Sheri Soderberg, Sam Steiner, Bill
Steinle, Duke Stogner, Dave Strang, Bill Su, Dell and Connie Sweeris, Fred Tepper, Lyle Thiem,
Larry Thoman, Alain Thomas, Peter Thulke, Takako Trenholme, Bob Tretheway, Zdenko Uzorinac,
Budimir Vojinovic, Lan Vuong, Bill Walk, Tom Walsh, Si Wasserman, Michael Wetzel, Gene
Wilson, Tom Wintrich, Stan Wolf, Lloyd Woods, and Dick Yamaoka.
I again want to thank Leah Neubergers sister, Thelma Tybie Sommer, for agreeing after
Leahs death, that I might, in succeeding her as the Associations Historian, have access to her
conscientiously-kept records, letters, photos, newspaper clippings, magazines, and tournament
programs from around the world. I want also to thank again Leah and Tybies late, longtime friend
Bob Green for taking the considerable time and trouble to box up and send to me all this
indispensable information.

Chapter One
1984: USTTA State of
Affairs.
I began my last volume
by saying that 1983 was a time
of upheaval in our Association
unparalleled since the 1930s.
Radical change was the order of
the day, week, month, year. As a
way of bringing new (and old)
readers up to date on the
specific disturbing incidentsthe
repercussions of which continue
through 1984 as wellIm going
to start with pertinent excerpts
from Bill Hodges long article
What Every USTTA Member
Should Know (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 2; 4). As an E.C. member at both public and private
meetings, Bill was privy to, and has detailed for us, information that no one else has publicly put
forward, or rebutted. This doesnt mean that you have to take as gospel everything he subjectively
says, but you have to believe that I think he wants to tell the truth, and that I think on the whole hes
done a good job of it.
As Ive done in past volumes, when I feel as Historian Ive a point of view that I upfront
want to interpolate into a contextHodges or anyone elsesIve no qualms about doing that;
indeed, as the Controlling Intelligence behind these volumes, I feel its my job to do it.
Heres much of what Bill wrote to the USTTA members:
B.K. Arunkumar
Photo by
I arrived at the Las Vegas Tropicana Hotel the evening of Dec. 11, 1983, and heard that
Mal Anderson

the USTTA E.C. was having a meeting in President Sol Schiffs room. I called Sol and he said the
meeting was almost over and he would see me soon regarding my being named V.P. since I had
gotten the most votes of the losing candidates for V.P. in last years election.
I later found out that the topic of discussion had been
Executive Director Bill Haids contract and job. Evidently Sol Schiff
was unhappy with Haids performance the past three years, and they
were now discussing whether to fire him, and who his replacement
might be. It should be pointed out that Haids contract has NEVER
been signed! He has a contract, but Sol never signed ittherefore
Haid never had any protection, and could be let go at a moments
notice. It was decided at this meeting that within two days Sol would
tell Haid that the E.C. was dissatisfied with his performance, and was
looking at Bob Tretheway, the National Coaching Chairman, as a
possible replacement. It should be further pointed out that Haid was
never officially notified during the next week [the Tropicana U.S.
Bill Haid,
Closed ran from Dec. 16-19] of the above actions. Finally, Monday
USTTA Executive Director
4

morning, Dec. 20, 1983, Sol told Haid he must raise $30,000 by June 1,
1984 or he would have no 1984/1985 contract. Schiff stated the USTTA
was approximately $30,000 in debt, so Haid must raise the money or be
fired.
That Monday morning, the Winter E.C. Meeting begins. Item 4 of
the Agenda is Filling of Vacancies. Schiff names Jimmy McClure to
replace Pat ONeill who had resigned. This was voted on and approved,
so McClure was a new V.P. (The U.S. Closed Program had already listed
him as V.P.) Next Sol nominates me to replace Stan Robens who had
resigned. The E.C. requested that I leave the room while they had a
discussion. It turned out they were discussing their fear that I would only
serve out Robenss term to May 31, 1984 and then not run again. [This
E.C. really, really wanted Bill on their Board and hoped in the coming
Jimmy McClure
election hed be elected? Schiff in his Campaign Statement will say, For
Vice-President I would recommend either D.J. Lee or Bill Hodge, and
then hope for the bestnot exactly a ringing endorsement.] I assured them that I intended on
running, so I was voted in as a V.P. and I immediately went to work.
[Hodge decides that in his presentation here its best to go back to the June, 1981 E.C.
meeting and with pertinent comments on E.C. meetings thereafter work up to the Dec., 1983
meeting he attended.]
June, 1981: Disciplinary Report criticized by E.C. Schiff promised to seek more details,
but according to the next Minutes he did not. [What was the nature of this Disciplinary Report?
Why did the E.C. criticize it? As weve subsequently seen, Schiff and Disciplinary Reports may not
be in sync. Note particularly the Schiff/Rufford Harrison vs. Scott Boggan/Tim Boggan firestorm
(Vol. XII, 414-422].
ITTF passed a rule that ITTF Officers may not be in the Equipment
Business. [That goes for USTTA officers too?] Since that time several E.C.
members have been in the Equipment business. Most notable are D.J. Lee and
Sol Schiff. Sol states that he has given up his business, yet he has been, and is
currently, listed in SPIN in the Equipment section under Mr. Table Tennis with
his address and phone number.
TV: No report. No appointment. I would think that TV would be our best
potential for making big money, and making the public aware of our sport.
Haid proposed that 8.8.16.12 be deleted. This read: All contracts approved by the E.C.
will be printed in the National Publication. Why delete it? [Because its not practical to use space in
the magazine for contract after contract which reader after reader wont read?]This delete
proposal was passed.
C.F. Liu proposed that all contracts be sent to the E.C. prior to signing. This was an
approved Bylaw change and is now (Dec., 1983) supposed to be in effect, but is not being done,
and Sol Schiff is controlling the contracts, and all of the E.C. members are not seeing them. In some
cases, none of them are.Cases in point are Bill Haids contract, along with
the Dorset Gant/Bill Addison Video East fiasco; the Perry County Cheese
[Pizza] contract; the U.S. Open and Closed contracts with the Tropicana
Hotel; Tom Wintrichs SPIN contract; the Melia Travel contract; Sportcase
Productions contract; USOC contract; Robbins Uniforms contract; Tamasu/
Henan Li Ai contract; and the Manufacturers contract are a few [sic: huh?
5

there are many more?]. Personally I would LOVE to see all of the abovebut all I have seen is
Haids unsigned one.
Executive Directors contract amended by 10% raise, plus insurance is paid for, and theres
a bonus.
Dec., 1981:
Lyle Thiem appointed Treasurer.
Disciplinary Report. Schiff reported he had not sought details missing from Committee
Report. [Whats the nature of this Report? Why is Schiff not following up? The devils in the
details?]
Schiff reported that the Executive Director contract had been signed. [By who?]
Executive Action: TV contract signed with Sportcast Productions by Schiff and Gus
Kennedy after Harrison refused to sign. [Why didnt Harrison want to sign?] Contract subsequently
cancelled by Sportcast. [Why?] Thus no TV of 1981 U.S. Closed.
Harrison questioned how allocation of Olympic funds had been decided. Schiff stated that
since USTTA allocation increased after meeting at Baden-Baden, there wasnt adequate time to
submit the matter to the E.C. and he had it handled by a USTTA Delegate. [Who handled this
matter and how?] Schiff noted that too much reliance is placed on USOTC funding.
Schiff believes that Equipment Approval fees are inadequate ($20,000 a year).
July, 1982: Auditor drew attention to balance of $1,900 compared with $41,700 in
1980.
The Executive Directors contract was revised and accepted, and was to be put in final
form by Bowie Martin and Haid.
Dec., 1982: Schiff says long-time
Disciplinary Chair Dr. Michael Scott is
out and Wendell Dillon is in. [This
abrupt change after many years is the
result of a stand-off, not-gonnadiscipline-either-one decision Dr. Scott
made when Rufford Harrison took
Scott Boggan for embarrassingly poor
judgment as a U.S. Team member to
the Disciplinary Committee, and Tim
Boggan, armed with 18 single-spaced
pages of rebuttal and accusations, took
Schiff-surrogate Harrison for ethical
violations of his office to the
Whadda you want from me? I made a balanced decision.
Disciplinary Committee (Vol. XII, 414Photo by Steve Holland
422).]
Regarding a revision of the Executive Directors contract: Martin signed and now Schiff has.
[Whoa. Hodge said in the second paragraph of his opening above that as of mid-Dec., 1983 Schiff
NEVER signed this Haid contract. Does he say here that Schiff merely has a copy of the contract
has [it?the it left out]. Or does he say that Schiff too has said hes signed the contract but really
hasnt?]
Robens, Haid, and Kennedy engage in fund-raising problems. Robens quits, then
returns.
Disciplinary Committee matters involving Scott Boggan and also Martin Doss deferred.
6

Large files accumulated regarding Coaching


Committee and Wang Fuzheng, the $15,000 Chinese
Coach [who visited various USTTA clubs and with help
(since he himself did not speak English) conducted
coaching clinics] .
Schiff proposes Bylaw
change to delete 8.7.5.1 which
calls for Executive V.P. [Gus
Kennedy was currently in
office] to succeed to Presidency
in case of vacancy. Instead,
Schiff wants the E.C. by
majority vote to appoint one of
its members [Sol has someone
Coach Wang Fuzheng:
in mind?]. Defeated.
Whadda you want from me?
Photo by Mal Anderson
Replace Carr as
Nominating Chairman? Schiff
USTTA Executive Vice
deferred.
President Gus Kennedy
Regarding the June 1, 1982 Budget: USTTA lost $4,000. Income
$151,000. Outgo $155,000. USTTA has $69,000 in Bank.
For the 1982 U.S. Closed, Schiff approved Rey Domingo eligible to play, although Rey
didnt fulfill the Green Card requirements. Schiff stated it was an Emergency Decision. Now, after
discussion, Schiff tells Andy Gad to call Domingo and tell him he cant play in the tournament.
This brought up B.K. Arunkumars eligibility, so he cant play either, so Haid must call him.
Haid returns and says Arunkumar stated that Schiff told him he could play. Sol denied this. Said he
would take the recommendation of the committeewhich said Arunkumar was ineligible.
This brought up the eligibility of Mr. Kims Korean team from L.A. Sol told Haid to call
Kim regarding his players eligibility. Mr. Kim tells Haid that Sol Schiff said his players could play.
Schiff denies it. Mr. Kim is very, very upset with Schiff and the USTTA. [These denials remind me
of how Mike Bush said he was told by Schiff that he and Scott Boggan would be able to play in the
May, 1981 Swiss Open and when they got all the way there, the Swiss said they had no idea they
were coming and, no, they werent welcome (Vol. XI, 13-14).]
Pat ONeill says E. C. members should appoint and fire the Committee Chairmen who
report to them, instead of it all being done by Schiff.
Bill Addison on TV coverage at the 1982 U.S. Closed: hell tape a show and ESPN will
broadcast it in Feb.,
1983. Therell be six ad
spots per 30 minutes of
TV.The USTTA is to
spend approximately
$25,000 and get
$30,000 in return.
Instead, USTTA loses its
money, then is sued by
Addison for $9,000of
which $3,000 has been
7

paid. [Triple T Enterprises, with whom the USTTA was


doing business, consisted of independent contractor/
promoter Dorsett Gant and TV producer Bill Addison.]

Olympic Sports Center

Bowie Martin is resigning. Stan


Robens is resigning. And Dr. Liu may
not run for re-election. Schiff
wants Danny Robbins to replace
Larry Thoman as Coaching Chair,
but Pat ONeill says Robbins cant
do the job. Liu is down on Schiff
says Thoman has been mistreated.
Olympic Headquarters
[As weve seen (Vol. XII, 232-238),
Larry himself is very unhappy with
Haid whod had him removed from his Coaching Chair (so that Bob
USTTA Coaching
Tretheway could come to Colorado Springs to replace him). Larrys also so
Chair Bob Tretheway distraught with Schiff over the lies Sol has publicly told about him that hes
quitting the Sport and wont come back unless Schiff loses the upcoming
Presidential election to Boggan.]
June, 1983: ONeill [who was chairing a committee to re-organize the USTTA E.C.] had
no proposals for restructuring since no E.C. member had replied to the questions in his Planning
Guide. [Hell be resigning.]
Haid reports he had not circulated copies of his Contract to the E.C. since he had never
received a signed copy [so I presume Schiff had NOT signed such a contractthough why not?].
Haid reported that he had changed officials at the National Sports Festival as follows:
CommunicationsTom Wintrich
(instead of Boggan whod not been
officially informed of the change) and
Dennis Masters (instead of Danny
Robbins whod not been officially
informed of the change). [Boggan had
come to this Summer E.C. meeting
uninvited and very angry at the way
hed been fired without so much as a
word or scrap of paper after 13 years
of service as Editor of Topics Never
in my life have I been treated so
badly! he said. How you must hate
Old USTTA Editor
New USTTA Editor
or fear me! [XII, 208-225]. Tim was
Tim Boggan
Tom Wintrich
so disgusted, so mad that he was to
Photo by Mal Anderson
8

start his own tabloid, Timmys, in opposition to SPIN, the new name of the
Tom Wintrich-edited USTTA newspaper. Then, when Schiff began lying in
print that Boggan had fired himself because hed gotten angry, he wrote a
public rebuttal and resolved to try to wrest the Presidency, now so corrupt,
away from Schiff.]
Schiff [in a fait accompli] had authorized the move of Wintrich from
Albuquerque to Colorado Springs at a cost of $1,400 out of the Headquarters
account, and Schiff also approved payment of $1,000 per month to Wintrich.
Tom stated he would spend about 60% of his time on SPIN and 40% on
duties at Headquarters. Six months later, he would amend the figures to 90%/10%. Schiffs
Executive action regarding Wintrich had not been reported either to the Treasurer or to a number of
other E.C. members.
[At the June, 1983 E.C. meeting when Boggan, upset, first arrived, there was no dissent
from the fait accompli Schiff, given the support and encouragement of Bill Haid and Pat ONeill,
had engineered. But the next day] Results of Secret Ballot proposed by Mel Eisner was Wintrich
4 and Boggan 3. Boggan out, Wintrich in.
Kennedy instructed to inform old Coaching Chair Larry Thoman and new Coaching
Chair Bob Tretheway of the change. [Kennedys letter went unforwarded to an old Thoman
address and, though it was said Tretheway had informed Thoman, the delay in receiving official
word that hed been replaced further disturbed Larry.]
Jack Carr offered to resign his pro-tem Nominating Chair as of Jan. 1, 1984. As a
replacement for Carr, Schiff names Mal Anderson[though even into the March, 1984 issue of
SPIN, the USTTA Register continues to list Carr as the Nominating Chair].
It was agreed that Alice Green be excused from attendance at the Pan Am Camp because
of a work commitment. This was the beginning of the USTTAs problems with the USOC regarding
RULES, GRIEVANCE, and SELECTION METHOD. It precipitated a Kasia Dawidowicz Gaca
Grievance, and a Green threat of suit against the USTTA if she is removed from the U.S.Team.
Dec., 1983: [This brings Hodges summary back to where
he startedthe Dec., 1983 E.C. Meeting in Las Vegas.]I
repeatedly asked Schiff what the Gaca Grievance was, and
three times was put off. This item was deferred.[Schiff, in
matters large and small, is repeatedly showing a pattern of
evasion and inaction.]
[Hodge later explains:] The Gaca complaint involves her
right to compete on the 1983 U.S. Pan Am Team and an
alleged denial by USTTA of her right to participate on that
Team. There are two things that are readily apparent. 1. The
USTTA had filed with the USOC a Team Selection method
which was approved. It stated training sessions would be
mandatory and all members were required to participate in
Bill Hodge at work
both camps. Two athletes, Alice Green and Sheila
Photo by Mal Anderson
ODougherty (who was named to the USOC Athlete
Advisory Board by the EC), did not abide by the rules established for participation in the training
camps. Alice Green was excused from one camp and Sheila missed parts of both camps. Kasia
Gaca attended both camps as the #1 Alternate. In spite of the established rules, Alice and Sheila
remain Pan Am members and Gaca has been denied the right to participate on the Team.
9

2. When Mrs. Gaca attempted


to file a grievance, it was determined
that the USTTA has no rules or
procedures available to an athlete to
file a complaint. There also is no rule
providing the prompt and equitable
resolution of grievances by the
Kasia Dawidowicz Gaca
Photo by Neal Fox
USTTA. Additionally, I have a
question as to whether athletes are
appropriately represented in all phases
of USTTA activities as is required by
the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 and
USOC Constitution and Bylaws. [Hodge will end this summary with USOC Executive Director F.
Don Millers angry letters to Schiff whod been ignoring his requests that an Internal Grievance
Procedure be put into our Bylaws. Bill will soon elaborate on those Miller letters and Schiffs
reluctance to respond to them . At the moment he warns:] WE ARE IN SERIOUS JEOPARDY
OF LOSING USOC FUNDING, FACILITIES, AND NAME ASSOCIATION.
[Hodge continues with other items of interest at that Dec., 1983 Meeting:]
The 1984 U.S. Open and U.S. Closed contracts (including proposed sites and dates) that
were expected to be signed at this meeting by Schiff were not
signed.
Haid reports that the USTTA has 6,291 members
including Universities, Businesses SPIN only, etc. There are 3,
944 paid members. The Budget for Headquarters is $68,000.
Pat ONeill and USTTA Legal Advisor Rex Burlisson
commented on Addisons suit against the USTTA for $9,000
$3,000 of which had been paid. There would be no action against
Addison, as it would be hard to collect since he was broke. [If we
think we ought to get money from TV man Addison, why did we
pay him $3,000, and do we intend to pay him $6,000 more?]
Burlisson said [with regard to the TV debacle] we were not
covered by insurance. He also said he would attempt to get our
32 Video tapes back from Gant, who is selling them on the open
market. [Later, a Minutes entry says, Settlement achieved with
Dorsett Gant. What specifically was that?]
I was responsible for, and deserve credit for, getting the
Dorsett Gant
$48,900 into the Budget for the ATHLETES, and not for
Photo by Mal Anderson
HEADQUARTERS, or other USTTA expenses. [To do this Bill
had somehow to have the Budget balanced:] Everyone said it was absolutely impossible to
balance the Budget. It was six months past due, and now the USOC money was mostly being used
for USTTA items such as Headquarters, U.S. Open and Closed, National Publication, etc.I
attempted to explain to the E.C. members how we could do it. They said it was impossible. I
insisted it could be done, so they told me to leave the room, work on it by myself in silence and see
what I could do. I went to Dick Evanss room, worked on it for 90 minutes, and returned to the
E.C. meeting with a balanced budget and now with the $48,900 all for the athletes.In the
February, 1984 issue of SPIN, Rufford Harrison states, We really do have a budgetand it was
10

only through the efforts of the newest member of the E.C. that we were able to balance it, six
months into the fiscal year. It was Bill Hodge who did it. He deserves your vote in this election.
Regarding the new Tournament Operations Committeewholl be the Chair? Evans
declined.I repeatedly stated I wanted the Chair, but Schiff kept putting me off saying that Dan
Simon and Dennis Masters were Co-Chairing the U.S. Closed and he was considering them for the
Committee. [They would later be appointed.] Sol finally promised we would vote on the Chair
Sunday night. After the tournament Sunday night I asked him about the vote, and he wouldnt
discuss it.
Regarding signature(s) on USTTA checks: I believe the Treasurer signs with one other
person. Who?...
A new Bylaw has to do with a Code of Conduct. I never saw a copy of it, or heard of a
vote.
The USTTA will deduct 15% of money awards to Amateurs, but will give back 5-10% in
travel allowance.
A contract was signed with Tamasu. He had a chance to equal any other show of interest
and offered 20% more than he did last year. Wasnt there a contract with Robbins regarding U.S.
Team uniforms?...
It was agreed, at a meeting in Sols room on Dec. 15, that Dick and Sue Butlers Junior
Development Group will be a Committee of USTTA, not a separate organization.During this
meeting Schiff said publicly he had decided not to run for President.
Added to Minutes by HarrisonLength of term of office of EC members. When this was
brought up, Schiff said, I think we should run for 10 terms. [Were he to win the upcoming
election, and serve out another term, that would make him the USTTA President for 10 straight
years.] Everyone laughed and he said, Im serious, go ahead and put it in the Minutes. We then
went on to other topics.
.The Most Important Topic of this Article follows:
On Aug. 2, 1983, the Executive Director of the USOC, Col. F. Don Miller, wrote Sol
Schiff a very important letter with a request that it be answered promptly, but no later than Sept. 1,
1983.Since this letter went unanswered, on Nov. 1, 1983 Col. Miller wrote Schiff another letter
that said:
Dear Sol:
I have noted with some concern that you have not responded to my 8/2/83letter in which I
listed four areas of concern. Those are as follows:
1.
The Application by USTTA of Pan Am or Olympic team selection procedures to the
actual selection of the team members.
2.
The right of fair notice and hearing procedures being provided an athlete by USTTA
before ruling on the athletes eligibility to compete in Pan Am or Olympic competition.
3.
The provisions of the USTTA Constitution for procedures for prompt and equitable
resolution of grievances filed by an athlete.
4.
The degree of athlete representation in the USTTA in accordance with the Amateur
Sports Act of 1978, and US Olympic Comm. Constitution.
I am gravely distressed that the USTTA has not responded to the inquiries which I have
made. This is one of the most serious issues that the USOC may raise with one of its Members.
Your lack of response with regard to my previous inquiry appears to show a disregard for the
11

importance of the issues raised. If I do not receive a prompt response to this letter and that of 8/2/
83, I shall be forced to pursue other avenues with regard to these most important issues. With all
best wishes, I remain,
Sincerely,
F. Don Miller
On Nov. 4, 1983, Bill Haid sent to the USOTC an informal Grievance Procedure for
inclusion into the USTTA Bylaws as requested by Col. Miller.
On Nov. 27, 1983 [or Nov. 17, 1983?], Haid sent a letter to Schiff reminding him he had
not responded to Col. Millers letters, and that Millers [last] letter is probably more serious than
you may realize. Failure to acknowledge Col. Millers request on time may be taken as an
admission of the USTTA not wishing to comply with the rules. This could seriously jeopardize the
license of the USTTA with the USOC. Also in jeopardy could be the $48,900 allocation of money.
To be considered in replying to Col. Miller is the fact that we are making a concentrated effort to
put the Grievance Bylaws into our Constitution, to have an athlete on our Board of Directors, and to
clarify the Pan Am selection procedure.
Jan.-Feb., 1984: after the Dec., 1983 Meeting, on Jan. 10, 1984, Haid sent a letter to the
E.C. stating, The extreme delay in answering Col. Millers request has put the USTTA into a
perilous position. This letter went on to outline again what must be done, and also the
consequences the USOC might put on our Sport.
The importance of the four points Col. Miller raises is obvious. But more important is how
Sol Schiff has ignored a man of Col. Millers importance. The USOC is VITALis CRITICAL to
our Budget, our growth, and to our credibility. This situation must be dealt with before it is too
lateor is it already too late?
Paul Therrio, who used to be the USTTA Treasurer and
lived in Colorado Springs while he was the Olympic delegate, has
confirmed with his friends in high places at the USOC that the USTTA
is in deep trouble with the USOC.
Id also heard that Sol Schiff told Col. Miller off [in a mailed
note? over the phone? not to Col. Miller himself, but to another
personHaid? in a harangue just to self?) after the Nov. 17, 1983 [or
Nov. 27, 1983?] letter Bill had written. Schiff has been quoted as
saying we dont need Olympic money.
In Jan., 1984, Schiff told Harrison to write to Col. Miller.
In Feb., 1984, a letter was finally sent to Col. Miller with
Schiffs signature saying the USTTA would have a mail vote regarding
the four important subjects in Col. Millers letter.
Here is Recording Secretary Rufford Harrisons summary of
the Dec., 1983 E.C. Minutes (SPIN, March, 1984, 11):

Former USTTA Olympic


Delegate Paul Therrio

After two recent resignations, the E.C. was brought back up to strength at this meeting.
Jimmy McClure replaced Pat ONeill and Bill Hodge replaced Stan Robens.
A great deal of time was spent at this meeting on financial matters, notably the great expense
associated with Headquarters operations, and the legal matters arising from the 1982 U.S. Closed
12

Championships. Headquarters operations were to be discussed further after the meeting proper, and
therefore do not appear in detail in the Minutes. Legal matters were also to be pursued further, in
the hope of recouping some of the funds already paid out on debts incurred by our television
chairman. The budget was finally balanced, however.
[Readers, continue learning things about your Association.]
Several tournament matters were discussed, including a simplification of the playing permit
procedure. Permits will now cost $5.00 each, an increase, but there is no limit to the number that
may be purchased before a player must join the USTTA. This reduces the need for record keeping.
It will be noted that juniors should never purchase a permit, since a junior membership without the
national publication is only $3.00.
In the absence of other suitable sites it was agreed to hold the 1984 U.S. Open and U.S.
Closed at the Vegas Tropicana. [Don Gunn voices reservations about the Tropicanas 50 tables that
entries have played on and will play on again this year. He says: Frankly, fellas, they need work.
Somewhere during use, storage, or moving, many have lost their rubber feet, and some have surface
gouges. With sufficient inducement, almost anyone could put all the feet on with some semblance of
permanence, if replacements can be obtained by Tamasu. As for the gouges?] Hospitality for
foreign teams cannot be provided, other than rooms for the Canadian and U.S. teams.
The dates of the U.S. Open are in conflict with those of the table tennis competition of the
Wheel Chair Olympics in Champaign, IL. Officials for the latter event might
be more difficult to find than those for our Open. Anyone interested should
contact Mike LoRusso. (See USTTA Register, page 3.)
Cancellation of tournaments at the last minute have proved a great
burden on the Tournament Committee and the Ratings Chairman. It was
agreed to levy a moderate assessment for such occurrences.
Another source of problems has been the continuing
differences between the Canadian and U.S. rating systems,
which has caused inequities in the classification of players in
tournaments. The American and Canadian ratings chairmen will
meet to resolve this problem.
Disabled Committee Chair
The possibilities of clinics for tournament officials at the
Mike LoRusso
U.S. Olympic Training Center was discussed and it was agreed
to arrange at least one.
It was also agreed to form within the USTTA a Players Committee similar to the USOCs
Athletes Advisory Committee. [Ive no record of such a Players Committee ever having been
formed.]
Anyone who needs to see the complete Minutes may do so at their local affiliated club [on
this or that wall, or in a control-desk drawer or wastebasketlocations vary, act quickly], or if a
personal copy is desired, mail a stamped self-addressed envelope to Headquarters.
Actually, Rufford is saving some Minutes substance for his own rhetorical purposesto
support his candidacy for Recording Secretary in the upcoming election. His aim in his Campaign
Statement (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 19) is to distance himself from the E.C. body, and champion himself
as the financial watchdog of the Association:
Yes, Im running for office again, but unfortunately not for the right reasons. Id like to be
able to say that I was so enraptured by this lively, innovative, forward-moving, well-managed
13

organization that I wanted to be a continuing part of it. The problem is that we are not lively or
innovative; we havent moved far forward since that last major step of getting into the USOC; and
we are certainly not well-managed. [So whos to blame for that? The President? You? Certain
others? The buck stops where? Whos held accountable?] It is on that last point that I feel most
strongly. The E.C. is completely irresponsible fiscally. [And whys that?] I want to stay on it to make
sure that there is at least one voice interested in protecting the memberships investment. [You mean
in addition to Bill Hodges?] Let me illustrate:
For the U.S. Closed in 1982 we worked with a TV promoter and struck a deal with quite
low chances of success; it cost us money. [Whos we? Whos to blame for this poor judgment?]
Until the 1983 summer meeting, all that the E.C. heard was vague, yet by that time we were already
paying out more than a thousand dollars a month to settle the debts that our unethical promoter had
incurred on our behalf. No one thought it important enough to tell the EC about this.[Who should
have told the EC about this? Meanwhile, the President, the Treasurer, You, the other E.C. members
were just blind to these accumulated debts, this monthly outlay?] We have recently negotiated a
$9,000 settlement.
Another example: With all respects to Tom Wintrich, who undoubtedly did not know the
entire situation [Undoubtedly? WHAT did Tom, moving to Colorado Springs, not know?]. He was
moved from Pittsburgh [Albuquerque?] to Colorado Springs and was paid $1,000 per monthfor
what? The EC couldnt possibly know, since not even the Treasurer had been told. [Well, who the
hell knew? Schiff? ONeill? Haid? Who thought up this move? Who authorized this expenditure?
Are you defending it? Are you attacking it? The buck of responsibility stops where?] We allwell,
not quite all, since one of us had obviously consummated the deal [and who do you think that
was?]found out about it during the summer meeting, after Tom had been at Headquarters for a
month.
Then we conducted the entire summer meeting without the benefit of a budget. [Is line after
line of this Campaign Statement a confession?] Cant have a budget, says the Treasurer, if we dont
yet know how much each committee wants for the coming year. Yet we
spent two days blithely passing legislation involving thousands of dollars,
some of which we undoubtedly did not have. I submit that, if a committee
chair does not submit his own proposed budget, we should either replace
him or else tell him what he may spend. [Most people would say that,
yes.] Some time after the meeting we did receive an approved budget,
but it showed a deficit that, after two years in the red, is a luxury that we
cannot afford. [Most people would say that, yes.]
It would be helpful to compare that budget with the Treasurers
report, but that was virtually impossible since the line items of each did
not match. You should already know about that, of course, since both
documents should have been printed in the national magazine. Alas,
contrary to the Bylaws, they were not. [Alas, why in the world are you
writing all this, Rufford? This admission of ineffectualness is calculated to
get you ELECTED?] After all that, perhaps you will not be surprised to
read that, until recently, the EC was not receiving succinct, periodic
statements of our financial status, comparing it with the budget. I had to
request this several times over a year and a half. [But nobody paid any
USTTA
attention to you. Why was that? Who should have replied to your
Recording Secretary
requests?] Raising money is difficult, but finding out about money is
Rufford Harrison
14

almost impossible in this Association. [So what you need is: not Schiff but a new President? A new
Treasurer? Need to replace E.C. members, including you?]
We finally do have a budget, by the way, and it was only through the efforts of the newest
member of the EC that we were able to balance it, six months into the fiscal year. It was Bill Hodge
who did it. He deserves your vote in this election.
I suppose I should talk, if briefly, about the office Im running for, Secretary. Most of you
cant tell how I perform [well, youve certainly been doing your best to tell us], since you dont see
the Minutes I produce [we saw the ones above], or the agenda, or all the follow-up papers. Some
of you do, and you know that the Minutes are complete and timely, and that the follow-up is
prompt. [You mean from seeing those few paragraphs above about the Dec. meeting that appeared
in the Mar. issue of SPIN?] It isnt quite as easy as it used to be for EC members to default on
promised action.
But that isnt why you should vote for me. You need someone on the E.C. who has realized
how precarious our position is, and who will serve as a watchdog to ensure that we dont approach
any closer to bankruptcy. [Suddenly an epiphany, in the darkness an alert bark!]
One final point: There are those who think that our state of near-anarchy is due to Sol
Schiff. [Who could think that?] It isnt. Sol is as concerned about these problems as I am. [Youre
certainly political bedfellowstheres no doubt about that.] If you are looking for perfection [no,
just a caring competence], I suggest you try another sport. You wont find perfection in any of us,
and certainly not in Sols opponent. Unless you want your Association to be even less less-governed
than it is now, I strongly urge you to vote for Sol Schiff.
Jack Carr (Timmys, Jan., 1984, 14) says that,
like Boggan and Thoman, hes angry too, and wants you
to vote for Tim Boggan in the upcoming election, not Sol
Schiff. He writes:
Even though I resigned many months ago, until
recently I was the Nominating Committee Chairman.
[Resigned? If you functioned as the Nominating Chair,
werent you the Chair?] I continued to serve until a relief
[Mal Anderson] was finally found. Because of that
[because Carr was himself on the Nominating
Committee and didnt resign soon enough] the E.C.
Jack Carr
Sol Schiff and Rufford Harrison particularlywould not
Photo by Mal Anderson
accept the Nominating Committees proposal of me as
Executive Vice-President. [Jack says the lie that he as Nominating Chair had voted for himself
influenced other E.C. members to vote against him.]
I can understand Sol Schiff and Rufford Harrisons animosity and desire to strike back at
me when the Nominating Committee did not approve either of them as candidates for the upcoming
election.According to the E.C. it was alright for the previous Nominating Committee Chair Barry
Margolius to serve on the E.C. during the time he was Nominating Committee Chair. Now all of a
sudden the E.C. says Im not qualified. [To have what appear to be rival committees decide, on the
one hand, that Schiff and Harrison cant run, and on the other, that Carr cant, when all three have
served the USTTA for decades, seems to me unjust. Were not talking about voting for them, were
talking about letting them run for office then objecting to or supporting them. Is the Nominating
15

Committeeare its members the same as last years: Dave Cox,


Dick Feuerstein, Bill Haid, and Dr. Michael Scott?too severely
limited in its choices?]
I am informed that at the [Dec., 1983] E.C. meeting Sol
Schiff was added as a candidate for President to run unopposed.
Gus Kennedy was approved for Executive Vice-President to run
unopposed, after I was refused Also, the E.C. replaced Bob
Partridge with Rufford Harrison. [Of course, several others vying for
office were accepted, so at voting time no one was running
unopposed.]
In my
Former Long Island TTA
opinion and that of
President Dave Cox
some other recent E.C.
members and committee chairmen, at this time Sol
Schiff has outserved his usefulness. This is unfortunate
when I recall the fine job Sol did during his first term in
office. Four to six years ago Sol was an excellent
President. He didnt make emergency decisions
when there was no emergency, didnt violate the
Bylaws, and didnt overrule E.C. decisions. At that
time I would have supported him against almost
anyone. Now I would support almost anyone against
him. Sol used to be a team member instead of King
Solomon. He was cooperative, helpful, sincere,
honest, unselfish, cordial, considerate, dedicated, and
self-sacrificing. A former E.C. Vice President wrote to
me that we were extremely fortunate to have Sol Schiff
as President. I agreed with him fully at the time, but
regrettably we no longer feel that way. Its too bad that
Sol has changed, possibly caused by the pressure of
the office; maybe the number of consecutive terms as
President should be limited.
As we
just read in a Carr paragraph above, the E.C. did not
accept the Nominating Committees choice of Bob
Partridge to run for Recording Secretaryreplaced
him with Rufford Harrison.
I think this would have surprised Manny
Moskowitz for one, since he had this to say about Bob
in his Jan., 1984 Umpires Chair article (Timmys, 21):
Bob Partridge of Lafayette, CA is to be
commended on his job as Chief Umpire at the U.S.
Closed just concluded in Las Vegas. Bob capably
assigned umpires for the six feature tables, which were
16

U.S. Closed
Chief Umpire
Bob Partridge

constantly rotating matches in Mens and Womens Singles due to the round- robin format being
used to determine qualifiers for U.S. Team representation in the year ahead. Many of the umpires
were called upon frequently, and without their cooperation I am sure there would have been delays
and problems. In addition, Bob managed to meet the demands for umpires when requested by other
players on the remaining 42 tables.
Carl Danner, who himself is running for office in this springs E.C. election, writes the
following Letter to the Editor (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 3):
One of my Campaign issues is Openness and Accountability in our USTTA government.
In that vein, I would like a public explanation of how Bob Partridge was replaced by
Rufford Harrison on the Recording Secretary ballot.
Partridge is a talented worker and promoter who was one of three candidates nominated by
the Nominating Committee. Harrison, the incumbent (and a current E.C. member) was substituted
for Partridge by the E.C. during the Winter Meeting in Las Vegas. However, the Minutes of that
Meeting (which are Harrisons responsibility to compile) have yet to appear in SPIN. [They will
appear (as we saw above) in very abbreviated form in the March issue.]
Why was Partridge (in my view the best qualified of the three who were nominated) the one
replaced? I would like to know who it was that exercised that judgement; it was poor.
Poor Ruffordcant something positive come his way? Yes! Heres SPINS Harrison
Dines at the White House article (March, 1984, 11):
USTTA Secretary Rufford Harrison was invited to the White House for a state dinner
honoring Chinas Premier Zhao Ziyang.
Harrison was extended the invitation as a result of his involvement in Ping Pong Diplomacy
nearly 13 years ago. Harrison, while attending the World Championships in Japan, was contacted
by the Chinese officials and told that the U.S. Team was invited to mainland China for friendly
competition. Harrison still maintains that it was the most important event in my life and sometimes
finds it difficult to believe he was part of such a momentous event.
Harrisons wife Marty joined him for the dinner and amidst the hubbub of the elegant
evening she managed to show President Reagan a photo of her horse.
Nancy Persaud also calls attention to Harrisons invitation to the White House (Timmys,
Feb.-Mar., 1984, 3). First, she gives us a quote by Hugh Sidey from the Jan. 23, 1984 issue of
Time Magazine, then a Letter to the Editor. Heres Sidey:
A White House dinner is the American family assembled, from labor leaders to billionaires,
actors, architects, academicians, and athletes. They gathered last Tuesday in honor of Chinas
Premier Zhao Ziyang, who governs more people than anyone in the world.
There was a fellow named Harrison who led the U.S. Ping Pong Team to China back in
1971 [no, that was Graham Steenhovenwas he asked to attend?], and Connie Chung, the NBC
anchor whose parents and four sisters were born in China and who bravely tried her Chinese on
Zhao, who bravely professed understanding.
Now comes Persauds Why Not Danny to the White House? Letter:
17

Ive just read the above account in a January issue of Time


Magazine.
Why wasnt a PLAYER sent to the White House? If Rufford was
invited, he could have sent someone a little more memorable instead.
What a wonderful opportunity it would have been for Danny Seemiller to
get something back for all hes given. [But, Nancy, this was a state dinner
for the Chinese Premiersurely Danny (worthy as he is to be honored)
was not the appropriate choice for THIS occasion. Ping Pong Diplomacy
is an important part of history in U.S.-China relations (still celebrated as I
write in 2012), and after all it was Rufford who was first approached by
the Chinese in 1971 Nagoya, Japan.] Danny has star quality and a
physique that would stop a crowd. The reporter wouldnt have said,
somebody named Seemiller if HE had gone! And T.T. might have gotten
some great publicity. So Danny didnt make the 1971 China trip. He
could have gone to the White house representing T.T., or somebody who
DID play and still plays (Olga [Soltesz], Judy [Bochenski]?) could have
gone. One more missed opportunity for T.T. that wouldnt have cost a
thing. One more time when an official was highlighted when a player
would have been better.

Danny Seemiller
to the White House?

Photo by Dave Strang


Well, for better or worse, heres another time when an official is
highlighted: Sol Schiff makes a Statement [though not his SPIN Election
Campaign Statement] in Boggans own magazine (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 3):

I first want to thank Tim Boggan for his invitation to all E.C. candidates to write their
campaign statements in his magazine. If I am invited to be a guest in someones home, I always treat
my host with respectI now feel I am a guest in his home (Boggans magazine) and as Tim Boggan
is evidently now my host, I have no intention of stating anything that will be harmful or distasteful to
him.
My statements now will be clear, short, and to the point. I have had my personal character
questioned and been called a liar by several people who are not now holding any office in the
USTTA. The words we knew as kids (Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never
harm me) is not quite true. A mans name and honor is the most precious asset that a man can have.
I was playing and winning table tennis tournaments before the existence of the USTTA and I
became a member the year the USTTA was formed in 1933. Most of my life has been in our sport
and I know that I have contributed to it as much as I received from it. For whatever my word
means to you (it means a great deal to me), I have never lied or manipulated against my accusers
and, most importantly, I have never knowingly lied to you, the membership of the USTTA.
I have worked hard during the eight years of my Presidency and during those eight years we
have accomplished more than in all the past years of the existence of the USTTA. We have had a
few setbacks but setbacks occur in every successful sport and business. What we need most of all
are capable people who are willing to devote time and effort to serve on the E.C. and USTTA
committees. There are too many people who accept these positions and then either quit or else do
not do anything after they are appointed. I know there are many capable, conscientious, and
concerned individuals in our association that I hope will offer their services to the USTTA.
I have one request to make of you, and that is to please cast your vote for Rufford Harrison
18

for Secretary of the USTTA. Harrison and Jimmy McClure are the two most capable men we have
on the E.C. Harrison has always fulfilled every one of his assigned tasks and he is, by far, the most
respected man we have on the international scene. Just last month, Rufford Harrison was invited and
accepted an invitation offered by President Ronald Reagan to come to the White House for a
reception that was given in honor for the Premier of the Peoples Republic of China. It is to your
advantage and to the benefit of the USTTA to re-elect Rufford Harrison to office.
I also want you to note that this article is being sent to Tim Boggan and I have no doubt that
he will read this article and use its contents to help him in preparing his own statement. Please
remember that he has the advantage of seeing my statement while I cannot see his own statement
until after it is published.
In conclusion, I would greatly appreciate a vote of confidence from you and I hope you will
give me a great plurality over Tim Boggan. I am not nor do I want to be a dictator, but I need and
want this large vote from you in order to impress the other elected people on the E.C. Do not vote
to return to the years of 1972 to 1975 when Tim Boggan was President and then quit. As I stated
previously, we have done a great deal the past eight years and I urge you to please let us continue
even though we have a great deal farther to go. I look forward to the day when we can have a
bright, intelligent, and energetic young man as USTTA President with an E.C. composed of capable
and dedicated officials who will lead our sport to new and respected heights.
Thank you,
Sol Schiff
And here, while I allow the Election Campaign (and Schiff and Boggans Campaign Statements
among others) to wait in abeyance before spinning all to its conclusion, is another Letter to the Editor
this a chapter-ending one from Matthew Zaputo of Las Vegas (SPIN, Mar. 5, 1984, 5):
The candidates [for the upcoming election] should be commended on their eagerness to
speak out and take their respective stands. However, I am disgruntled about the ongoing feud
between Tim Boggan and the USTTA. [A better way of putting it might be: the serious
disagreements between Boggan and not the organization he will serve for half a century or more but
some of those people in it whore currently exercising power.] The conflict is reaching the point of
absurdity and I feel it is time someone spoke about it.
Although I am not rated high (1149), nor have I been a member long (2 and years), I feel
my views are held by a large number of members.
To begin, I would like to acknowledge the fact that, as he has made all too clear, Tim
Boggans views have always been rather controversial. However, the constant criticizing and public
display of disapproval of the USTTA and its agencies cannot be warranted, and are detrimental to
both Boggan and the USTTA.
But then the USTTA retaliates with some of the same tactics by repeatedly expressing its
disapproval of many of Boggans actions and attitudes. If both parties would try to compromise and
work together I feel a great deal could be accomplished, as both have a great deal to offer the
Game which we, the membership, love. However, I grow tired of reading every month how one
bitterly opposes the other. As a result, I hope the conflict is taken out of the two publications and
into a mediators room so that the subscribers arent subjected to this asininity any longer.
[Mr. Zaputo, what you call asininity cannot be stopped short of the election by any
mediatorand not perhaps even after the election.]
19

Chapter Two
1984: Jan. Tournaments.

I continue with a change of


pacea review of first-of-the-year
U.S. tournamentsbut again with a
beginning emphasis on whats happened
in the past. Cindy Miller (SPIN, Feb.,
1984, 4), preparatory to the two Table
Tennis World write-ups that follow,
Mark Adelman
Jack Howard
gives us a short history of the
Sacramento TTC. Cindy speaks of the $800 Columbus Day Open the Club ran in Oct., 1968
one of the biggest prize money tournaments at the time that attracted Dal-Joon Lee, Jack Howard,
Erwin Klein, Mark Adelman, Wayne Obertone, Dave Froelick [sic: for Froehlich], Glen [sic: for
Glenn] Cowan, Del [sic: for Dell] Sweeris, Edmund Fong, Patty Martinez, and Angie Rosal.
Jeff Mason, from the Sacramento Club,
Jeff Mason
was
on
his
way to becoming a top player in the
Photo by
country at about this time. In 1969, Jeff won the A
Don Gunn
Singles [over Phil Woo] and Jr. Mixed Doubles [with
Angie Rosal] at the U.S. Open and was also a finalist
there in the U-17 Junior Boys [to Glenn Cowan].
During the next few years, however, Jeff began to
change his
focus from
tournament
play to
coaching. He
Tony Sutivej
Photo by
learned
Mal Anderson
coaching techniques from his own coaches, including Japans
World Champion Ichiro Ogimura and Thai coach Thonchia
Tony Sutivej. He first became a USTTA certified Regional
Coach and is currently a USTTA National Coach.
In Jan. of 1981, Jeff, his wife Mona Miller, and I
opened Sacramentos first permanent table tennis facility with
nine tables. It was a struggle the first few months of operation
to meet the $1,500 monthly rent plus the other bills. Jeff
began teaching classes, clinics, and camps in addition to his
20

private lessons. Leagues were also started which attracted a lot of new members. The STTC began
hosting USTTA tournaments which drew additional players from throughout California.
On June 9, 1982, with a loan from the bank, the STTC expanded. The adjacent part of the
building was taken over and a connecting doorway was cut out of the intervening cement wall. The
new section was even larger than the original 70 x 150 and the rent more than doubled.
The old side became the practice area and the new section was used for tournament play,
leagues, and classes. Since so many people told us that Club sounded like we were closed to the
public, the name changed to Table Tennis World of Sacramento.
Results of the 74-entry $600 Table Tennis World Winter
Open, held in Sacramento Jan. 13-14: Under-2200: Mas
Hashimoto ($100) over Erwin Hom, -17, 21, 6, 19. U-2000:
James Therriault over Masaaki Tajima, -20, 12, 16, 15 (Mona
Miller said, Therriault was lobbing spectacularly 25 feet from the
end line to easily return two-winged looper Tajimas hard-hit
smashes). Open Doubles: Hashimoto/Mike Baltaxe over David
Chun/Therriault. U-1850: Tom Miller over Horace Cheng, -14, 13,
19, then over Cliff Contreras, -12, 13, 12, 24. U-1700: John
Schulz over Tim Aquino, -13, 15, 9, 17. U-3250 Doubles: Miller/
Jere Brumby over Aquino/Steve Noffsinger, -17, 17, -16, 18, 16.
U-1550: Jim Garcia over Brumby, 17, -11, 16, 12. U-1400:
Anthony Schulz over Doohyun Won, -17, 15, 19, 17. Semis:
Schulz over Wayne Mosley, 11, -18, 19; Won over Gary Ladd, 13,
-20, 19. U-1250: James Johnson over Leroy Yoder, 14, -18, 15,
17. U-2250 Doubles: Andy Heroux/James Stewart over Michael
Hara/Kevin ONeill. U-1100: David Zamora over ONeill, -18, 16,
13. U-950: Rene Ramirez over ONeill, -15, 27, 23, then over
William Johnson, 18, -18, 16, -19, 15. U-800 R.R. 1. Morgan
Lehman. 2. Wanda Constantinides. Unrated [sic: Unrated?]: 1. Tom Erwin Hom and Mas Hashimoto
Miller. 2. Allen McDermott. Seniors: 1. Miller. 2. Zak Haleem.
Juniors: 1. Jim Garcia. 2. Thanh Nguyen.

Mona Miller (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 23) reports on Table Tennis Worlds 72-entry Jan.
15th Pro-Am Circuit #1:
The Table Tennis Worlds 1984 $3,000-5,000 Pro-Am Circuit consists of three round
robin tournaments. At each tournament players accumulate Circuit Points as they progress in their
play. The player with the highest number of Circuit Points from all three tournaments will be the
Grand Prize winner receiving a minimum of $1,000. An additional amount of at least $2,000 will be
divided up among the other top 15 players. More prize money will be given away if the Boy Scouts
of America come through with their promise to sell 1,500 spectator tickets by the end of the three
tournaments. This would boost the total prize money to $5,000.
21

Circuit #1 began with all participants receiving a free Circuit T-shirt and a Program that
included information on all the players. First-round play consisted of 16 Preliminary round-robin
groupswith four to five players in each group. Only one player would come out of each group to
advance to the second round. These 16 players would then be divided into four round-robin groups
of four (#1, #2, #3, #4). The four winners from this second-round play would advance to form a
final round robin, out of which would come the days highest Circuit #1 point winner.
In the first round robin, there were two
Zak Haleem
upsets. Enrico Li, a strong looping and hitting
Photo by
penholder, blasted through Zak Haleem. Zak
Mal Anderson
was a top player in Egypt many years ago, and
has only recently started playing again. ExAustrian player Toni Kiesenhofer was defeated
by Joerg Fetzer, whod moved to Sacramento
from Switzerland. Fetzers strong placementblocks prevented Kiesenhofer from using his
powerful loops, while Kiesenhofers out-ofposition returns were crushed by Fetzer forehands.
Spectators really began arriving around
noon. Many of them came to watch the highly
publicized Media Tournament that was held concurrently with Circuit play from noon to 4:00 p.m.
This scheduling was planned to bring in more spectators and expose them to top-level table tennis,
and also to get media coverage for the Circuit. Many local TV celebrities, radio disc-jockeys, and
newspaper reporters entered the Media Tournament.
The Circuit was stopped for 15
minutes while 300 spectators
watched a special doubles match.
Circuit player Toni Kiesenhofer was
teamed with Sacramento Union
reporter Rob Gold. Their
opponents were Circuit top-seed
Khoa Nguyen and the Radio K108
Beaver (complete in beaver outfit).
The players really hammed it up
much to the delight of the
spectators, with Toni and Rob
defeating Khoa and the Beaver.
After this, attention was shifted to
the
finishing preliminary Circuit
The Beaver and Friend:
matches. One such match was
Sacramento K-108 DJs
between James Therriault and
Cindy Miller. As is often the case between these two, the match score came down to 1-1, with
James chopping Cindys serves back, Cindy looping, and James lobbing in return. Cindy then would
smash three or four times in a row against Jamess sidespin lobs. This exciting exhibition-type match
was finally won by James after many long rallies.
The preliminary matches ended on schedule at 4:30, with the top 16 players ready to play in
the second round. These players were divided into four round robins with four players in each
22

group. There was only one upset: Duc Luu was defeated, 2-0, by an impressive player from Israel,
Avishy Schmidt.
In Group #1, Khoa Nguyen defeated David Chun, Enrico Li, and Carl Danner, the only
player to take a game from Nguyen in the entire tournament.
In Group #2, second-seed Dean Doyle blocked, placed, and smashed his way past Charles
Childers, Azmy Ibrahim, and Joerg Fetzer all in straight games.
In Group #3, there was a three-way tie between. Luu, Schmidt, and Therriault. Therriault
defeated Mike Baltaxe, 22-20 in the 3rd with Mike smashing and James chopping and lobbing.
Therriault also had an impressive win over Schmidt. In addition to upsetting Duc Luu, Schmidt, who
advanced out of this group, also defeated Baltaxe, 2-0, whom hed lost to just the day before in the
Sacramento Winter Open.
In Group #4, Erwin Hom played an incredible three-game match
with Masaaki Tajima, both players trying to take the attack first. The most
exciting match in this group, though, was between Hom and Masaru
Hashimoto. Hashimoto looked like he would win with his calm, controlled
style that allowed him to take the second game at 11. Hom came back in the
third game, however, winning at 19. Hom also defeated Behzad Zandipour.
In the final round robin group, Hom, playing extremely well, defeated Doyle
in three games, 2-0, with the second game going to 26-24. Nguyen played a
close, exciting game
Khoa Nguyen wins
with Schmidt. Avishy
TT
Worlds Pro-Am
Masaaki Tajima
rolled Khoas serves
Circuit #1
and initiated the
Photo by
attack, but it was Nguyen who wonand
Robert Compton
took first place in the tournament.
Sam Lima,
longtime president of
the Cupertino Club,
writes: I am retired
now from my job
with the San Jose
Fire Dept. and am
devoting my time to
table tennis. I sold
my five-table Center, sold the land so I could come out good for my
Sam Lima
retirement, but Im continuing my table tennis by coaching and selling
equipment. Ive erected a building with one table, so, in addition to coaching
there, I can rent it out. My phones listed, and Im doing everything I can to pass on table tennis
information and support the USTTA.
Here are the Minutes from the Southern
California TTA Meeting held [at the Mar Vista
Recreational Center at 3:00 p.m.?] Jan. 14, 1984 (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 23):
A Motion was passed authorizing Peter Antkowiak to draw up a seal for the SCTTA. The
seal will be based on the USTTA logo with a bear and different colors.
23

A Motion was passed to strongly suggest to all tournament sponsors to charge a $5.00 late
fee, and not to accept late singles entries the day of the tournament.
A motion was passed suspending the two-color racquet rule for Unrated Singles and all
1200 and Under events until June 1st, 1984. The players playing with one color must have the same
type of rubber on both sides of the racquet.
Ching Shyue Wu, after giving a Coaching Report, resigned as Coaching Chair because he is
returning to Taiwan. Dr. Eugene Taw was elected to replace him, and Joe Yoon was accepted as
Assistant Coaching Chair.
A Motion was passed to send a letter of appreciation to Jim
Williamson, Treasurer of the now disbanded California TTA, for holding
$372.37 in funds and giving it to this organizationwhich now has
$1,187.37 in its treasury. The Motion also included the purchase of a
$25 plaque for Mr. Williamson in appreciation of his services.
Jim West, who brought the check from Mr. Williamson,
provided a copy of the Constitution and Bylaws of the old CTTA.
A Motion was passed to allow a person (if he/she wishes) to
keep 25% of all donations he/she brings to our non-profit SCTTA.
The next meeting will be held on Mar. 17, 1984 at 3:00 p.m. at
Rich Livingstons home in Burbank.
Rich Livingston

Tom Wintrich [SPIN, Mar., 1984, 22) reports on the Rocky


Mountain Closed, held Jan. 28th in Fort Collins, CO. For this one-day tournament, Director Paul
Williams wisely limited the tourney to just seven events. This was a good idea because, instead of
the 40-50 players expected, 67 entrants showed, and, with but six tables to play on, the day was
non-stop action until 11:00 p.m.With the diligent help of Debbie Dixon and Steve Walker, the
tournament ran smoothly [despite being expanded to 10 events] and not late enough that the
participants couldnt enjoy a gathering at the local pizza parlor afterwards.The players thank Paul
and crew for their well-run competition. And I personally thank him for the gracious hospitality he
provided to Bob Tretheway, Mark Zochowski, and me.
The outstanding player of the tournament was Dana Jeffries, who has shed
15 pounds and regained the use of his right arm following an injury. Jeffries
reached the semis of the Open before losing to the eventual winner Bohdan
Dawidowicz. Also, in the final of the Seniors, by winning the first two games,
Dana extended Bohdan into the fifth. It was quite a physical and mental struggle
for Dana to hit so well against Dawidowiczs excellent defense.
Results: Open Singles. Dawidowicz,
12, -16, 8, 20, over Howard Grossman
whod -19, 12, 15, 15 stopped Johan
Englund in the other semi. Open Doubles:
Bohdan/Kasia Dawidowicz over Wintrich/
Williams, 15, -19, 7. Womens: [Kasia
didnt play] Carol Plato over Sheila
Dana Jeffries
Weissberg, -22, 18, 16, -16, 20. As: Final:
Tom Wintrich
Williams over Wintrich, 19 in the 5th.
Semis: Williams over Thomas Schlangen, 17, 20; Wintrich, after -15, 19, 10 escaping Bob
Leatherwood, over Bob Zarren, 17, -19, 17. Bs: Dick Haines, 10, -18, 22, 13, over Frank Heller
24

whod advanced, 15, 20, over Bob Tretheway whod


earlier just gotten by Stan Stephens, -20, 18, 20. U-3400
Bob Tretheway
Doubles: Englund/Dean Herman over Manuel Salazar/K.
Dawidowicz, 19 in the 3rd. C Singles. Shawn Schmidlen
over Alan Streater, -18, 19, 11, 10. D Singles: Curt
Marceau over Cynthia Smith, 17, 17, 20. Jr. Singles: 1.
Phong Ly, 2-1 (d. Herman, -16, 20, 15). 2. Keri Herman,
2-1 (d. Ide, 14, -14, 15). 3. Steve Ide, 2-1 (d. Phong, 16,
-10, 17). 4. David Dixon, 0-3.
Winners at
the Jan. 21st
Detroit Winter
Open: Mens: 1. Mike Veillette, 3-0 (d. Doney; d. Powell,
-16, -15, 13, 18, 18). 2. Jim Doney, 2-1 (d. Powell, -20,
13, 13, -16, 10). 3.-4. Bobby Powell, 0-2. 3.-4. Jim
Dixon, 0-2. Womens: Michelle Mantel over Janine
Schroeder. Open Doubles: Veillette/Powell over Dave Alt/
Dave Cafone. As: Jim Dixon over Larry Wood-19, 18, 20,
-18, 18. Bs: Final: Aaron Smith over Mark Legters.
Semis: Smith over Doug Burns, 19 in the 4th; Legters over
Dave Cafone, 17, -14, 20, 15. Cs: Bob Allshouse over
Detroit Winter Open Winner
Mark Hrivnak who advanced over Ross Sanders in five.
Mike Veillette
Ds: Jim Tumidanski over Rang Chanyawatanskul, 19, -20,
Photo by Gary Porter (from Detroit News)
20, 17, then over Guenther Schroeder whod survived
Hosea Dunnigan, 17 in the 5th. D Doubles: Robert Atkinson/H. Biggs over Allshouse/Peter
Monaghan. Es: Final: Jamie Dixon over Jeff Stec, def. Semis: Dixon over Atkinson, 17, -20, 20,
12; Stec over David Kiurski, 25, 23, -15, -19, 17.
Novice: Mantel over Todd Sweeris whod escaped Bill Kidder, 19, -17, 19, 21. Beginner:
Pat Bryant over Barry Fogel, -11, 15, -20, 19, 19, then over Richard Takas. Consolation: Paul
Bochus over Takas. Hard Bat: Veillette over D. Burns in five. Seniors: Dan Hayes over Chuck
Burns, 19, -19, 17, 19, 19, then over Ed Brennan. U-17: Jamie Dixon over Kiurski, 19 in the 5th,
then over Stec who finally won out over Mantel, 12, -15, 20, -19, 25. U-15 Boys: Dixon over Eric
Schwartzberg, 20, 21, 25, then over Kiurski, 18 in the 5th. U-15 Girls:
Mantel over Schroeder.
SPIN (Apr., 1984, 19) reports that Stefan Florescu of the
Rolling Romanians Sports Club has done it again. Not only has the
Lincoln Park quadriplegic been inducted into the National Wheelchair
Sports Hall of Fame and named the winner of many national and
international gold and silver medals for swimming, table tennis, and
wheelchair track, but now he has added singing to his list of conquests.
On Jan. 25th, 1984, in Milwaukees World Veterans Administration
Medical Center, Florescu was proclaimed the winner of two gold medals in
area competition of the 1984 National Music Festival for Veterans.
Florescu, an outpatient at the Medical Center for spinal injuries,
said tapes of all winning performers were sent to Chicago for regional
judging, and based on the tapes national winners will be chosen.
Stef Forescu
25

The Lincoln Park man took one medal in the folk music category and the other for original
composition.
Florescu said the first time he sang publicly was during a Boy Scout camp when he was 12
years old.
Stef, founder of the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (1961) and the Annual
Michigan Wheelchair Games (1965), would like to organize a similar Michigan music festival for all
Michigan handicappers. All interested amateur singers and instrumentalists with physical handicaps
should write to Michigan PVA, 30406 Ford Rd., Garden City, MI 48135.
Canadian TTA Technical Director Adham Sharara [years later to be President of the ITTF]
tells us (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 15) that the Air Canada Sports Awards was made at the
CJOH-TV (CTV) studios in Ottawa on Jan. 20th, 1984 and televised nationally on the 21st on
CTVs Wide World of Sports.
Among
the three finalists
for the Executive
of the Year
award was Marg
Walden. In finishing runner-up to
Geraldine York, President of the Canadian Blind Sports
Federation, Marg received a beautiful personalize plaque and two Air
Canada passes to anywhere Air Canada travels.
Adham stresses that to all of us, Marg and Table Tennis were the
real winners. We received several minutes of National Table Tennis
Marg Walden
coverage
(worth millions) and Marg was recognized as being an exceptional
Photo by Mal Anderson
volunteer working on behalf of her sport for forty-seven (47) years.
And that is not all: due to Margs win the CTTA will receive Air Canada passes for 1984.
THANK YOU, MARG.

Another CTTA official, current


Program Co-ordinator, Michel Goyette,
having a few weeks earlier conducted a
Training Camp in Charlottetown, Prince
Edward Island, now gives us the results of
the Jan. 28-29 Montreal Open. This was
the first National Circuit Tournament of the
New Year and once again Alain
Bourbonnais, who has not lost a single
tournament hes entered (including the
National Top 12 #1) since Sept., 1983,
grabbed the title, defeating Errol Caetano
(from down 2-0) in the final. The
tournament was held at the Mirabel Indoor
Tennis and Racquetball Club (getting that

Alain Bourbonnais
Photo by Brian Thususka

26

venues a good habit) and the Quebec TTF provided all the
participants with very good playing facilities and
accommodations.
Results: Open Singles: Final: Bourbonnais over Mitch
Rothfleisch, 12, -11, 17, 16, then over Caetano, -18, -13, 7,
17, 13. Womens Singles: Final: Mariann Domonkos over Gloria
Hsu, 16, 16, -15, 23. Mens Doubles: Bourbonnais/Rothfleisch
over Yvan Dolan/Stephane Charbonneau. Womens Doubles:
Hsu/Thanh Mach over Julia Johnson/Becky McKnight. Mixed
Doubles: Bao Nguyen/Domonkos over Rothfleisch/Johnson.
Seniors: Derek Wall over Paul Rozier.
Perhaps, given the Racquet
Clubs advantages over most sites, Coordinator Goyette didnt think it proper
Derek Wall
to be critical of this tournament. But
Canadian Coach Alain Thomas didnt feel like holding back. He had this to
say:
Since spectators didnt rush to this tournament any more than they
do in Toronto, it didnt matter that there wasnt enough seating for hopedfor attendance. However, it did matter that there was a three-hour initial
delay in the tournament schedule (due to the double-booking of the
facilities). Such a shortcoming will no doubt be resolved in the future, and
Alain Thomas
then, if we can count on a more efficient handling of the tournament itself by
From OTTA Update,
Feb-Mar, 84
Quebec officials, we will all be happy to return.
Because there were long periods during which only a few of the 18
tables available were actually used for match playI even saw a few minutes without a single match
oneverything was delayed and the tournament ended at 1:30 a.m. (Errol Caetano, for example,
played his first Open Singles match, scheduled for 12:30 p.m., at 9:00 p.m.) These delays affected
our players performance and wallets (supplemental hotel and meal expenses), not to mention their
frustration which somewhat dampened the pleasant atmosphere created by our welcoming friends.
Winners at the Jan. 14th Eastern Canada Open:
Mens: Steve Lyons over David Mahabir , 23, 21.
Womens: Julia Johnson over Daiva Koperski, 9, 21, after
Daiva had downed Michelle Qurrey, 16, 24. Mens
Doubles: Lyons/Mitch Rothfleisch over Richard Chin/Fred
Taylor. Mixed Doubles: Chin/Qurrey over Rothfleisch/
Johnson. U-2000: Vaibhav Kamble over Roger Moore. U1850: Yih Sheh Leo over Stephane Leveille. 20, -20, 19.
U-1700: Taylor over Michel Goyette. U-1550: Eng Hust
Doi over C.J. Lee. U-1400: Rajiv Issar over Robert da
Silva. U-1200: Barry Lam over Rajiv Singh. Seniors: Ned
Stephane Leveille
Photo from OTTA Update, Oct-Nov, 84
McLennan over K.T. Lee, 19 in the 3rd. Boys U-17:
Kamble over Patrick Leveille. Boys U-15: P. Leveille over
Martin Ladouceur. Boys U-13: Trung Le over Johnny Ng. Boys U-11: Kirk Vassel over Denny
Oliveira. Jr. Miss U-17: Qurrey over Alina Tse, 19 in the 3rd. Jr. Miss U-15: Jose Malette over
Monika Thimian. Jr. Miss U-11: Thimian over Dina da Silva, 23-21 in the 3rd.
27

Rick Hardy, struggling at times to retain consciousness as Tournament Referee at the Jan.
21st Grand Opening Open of the Cleveland, Ohio Club, is, I think, alert enough here to cover that
tournament for us (Timmys Feb.-Mar., 1984, 24):
Once upon a time, there was a new table tennis Club in Cleveland. And, like all table tennis
clubs, they needed money. So they decided to have a tournament. Not a large one, you understand,
just a normal 50-entry Ohio two-star.
Well, they sent out their entry blanks and waited for the entries to come in the mail. And
how they came! Until, on Friday night, they had 85 people to play on six tables in one day.
But the gallant Tournament Director, Lori Berenson, carried on.
Through the quagmire of matches they slogged, as the tournament fell
several hours behind. At last Rick, his brain shot, retired to sit staring
blankly into space (only to arise well after midnight to win the U-3400
Doubles). But Lori, with the indispensible help of visitors Rod Mount and
Chris Wibbelman, continued on until finally the tournament finished.
It ended at 4:45 a.m. Sunday with a prize-money split between
Mount and Dave Alt in the B final. Alt had just beaten Doug Hardy 26-24
in the 3rd in a match that was incredibly well-played considering the hour.
[It was a match listed in the Results as one of the semis in the As [sic];
the other showing Mount over Dave Cafone. Perhaps Rick (still a bit
brain-dead?) had nodded off while sending Timmys these scores, for the
Lori Berenson
result of the A final reads: Bob Cordell over Jim Repasy, 6, 10, 11.]
In between, Brian Masters easily took the Open Singles, beating runner-up Randy
Seemiller, #3 finisher Simon Shtofmakher, and Bobby Powell, losing in all just one game to
Shtofmakher. Randy beat Simon and Bobby both in four, after which Bobby defaulted to Simon.
All players showed great patience and appreciated our efforts. Our next tournament is
planned for TWO days.
Other results: Womens: Lydia Balciunas over Ellen Gibson. U-3700 Doubles: Bob
Allshouse/Robert Cloutier over D. Hardy/D. Berenson, deuce in the 3rd. Cs: Ross Sanders over
Tony Marcum. U-3400 Doubles: Hardy/Hardy over Sanders/David Kiurski, 19 in the 3rd. Ds:
Mike Mohan over Brad Hudson,-19, 19, 16. Es: Stan
Talifero over Jeff Stec. U-2700 Doubles: D. Hardy/
Stan
Talifero
Balciunas over Bernie Tandler/Marsik. Novice: Christian
Muller over Jason Tasch. Beginners: Tasch over
Balciunas. Hard Bat: Cafone over Bob Slapnik. Esquires:
Neil Myers over Bob Allen. Seniors: Ken Huebner over
Greg Brendon, 23, -17, 20, then over Myers. U-21:
Masters over Alt whod eked out a win over Chip
Coulter, -16, 20, 16. U-17: Stec over Kiurski, 19, 21.
U-15: Kiurski over Janine Schroeder. U-13: Schroeder
over Ben Culler. U-11: Culler over Andrew Myers.
Winners at the Jan. 14 Columbus, Ohio Winter
Open: Open Singles: 1. Brian Masters, 3-0. 2. Randy
Seemiller, 2-1defaulted to Brian; d. Powell, -19, -17, 17, 20, 17; d. Repasy, 14, 18, 20. 3.
Bobby Powell, 1-2. 4. Jim Repasy, 0-3. Best quarters: Powell d. Bob Cordell, -20, -14, 19, 19,
19. Womens: Li-Yuin Lee over Lori Berenson. Mixed Doubles: Powell/Jodee Williams over Rod
28

Mount/ Berenson. As: Dave Strang over Mount, -22, -22, 18, 16, 19. Bs:
Mark Allen over Tony Marcum, 23-21 in the 3rd, then over Doug Hardy.
Cs: Marcum, -13, -19, 17, 18, 18, over Jim Fulks whod just gotten by
John Pletikapich, 17, -12, 20. U-3400 Doubles: Brad Hudson/Ken
Stanfield over D. Hardy/Rick Hardy. Ds: Fulks over Hudson in five. Es:
Mike Webster over Aaron Edwards. U-2700 Doubles: Stanfield/Chester
Riddle over Dan James/Webster, 18 in the 4th. Unrated: Todd Jackson over
Williams. Beginners/Novice: Greg Galbreath over Steve Sarokin. Esquires:
Fulks over Ron DeMent, 19 in the 4th. Seniors: Greg Brendon over
DeMent, def. Hard Rubber: 1. Allen. 2. Hudson.
Results of the Jan. 28th Dayton Round Robin: U-1850: Ken
Stanfield over John Dichiaro, 18 in the 3rd. U-1700: John Pletikapich over
Brad Hudson. U-1600: Kevin Cassidy over Steve Hudgens. U-1500: Keith
Lander over Hudgens whod eked out an advance over Neil Weintraub, 2321 in the 3rd. U-1400: Kirk Henthorn over Dick Kipfer.
Jim Fulks

I began this Chapter with talk of a change of pace, of an emphasis


on whats happened in the past. It seems appropriate then that I bring in (Timmys, June, 1984, 18)
Steve Isaacsons belated coverage of the St. Joe Valley Open, played in South Bend, IN, Jan.,
1954:
The St. Joe Valley is
actually the highlight of the
winter season. Next to the
Nationals and the Intercities,
this is the title that everyone wants. Conditions at the South Bend YMCA
are perfect and John Varga (with the assistance of Joe Bernat) sees that
every event is run on scheduleor else!! This year that task seemed
monumental because there were actually nine events to run!! Someone
here suggested that there should be more eventsAs, Bs, Cs, Ds, E
Novice Doubles Consolation, etc. Ridiculous!! Nine events are already
too many!!
Most of the players arrived Friday night and are staying at the
luxurious Oliver Hotel. Others unable to afford $8.00 a night were able to
get a room right here at the Y for $3.00.
Joe Bernat
This years Championship event was struck a disastrous blow by
the untimely withdrawal of the snowbound St. Louis contingent, including
Bill Price, George Hendry, Jim Tancill, Wally Gundlach, Don Lasater, and National Boys Champion
Alphonse Holtman. Fortunately the draw was redone in time. Since highly-ranked Miles, Pagliaro,
Somael, Schiff, Hazi, Hirschkowitz, and Gusikoff were guests of Joe Dimaggio and the World
Champion New York Yankees for the weekend, most of the top seeds this year were Chicagoans.
Mens SinglesQuarters (top half):
Top-seeded Bernie Bukiet, a recent immigrant from Germany, had no trouble with Chuck
Burns, even though Burns came wrapped in enough bandages to supply the Detroit Lions for three
seasons!! Bukiet, either not noticing or not caring, gave Chuck absolutely no sympathy, and not
many points either!! Oh, well, Chuckyoull be in the Seniors soon.
29

Tim Boggan, of the University of Dayton, a


five-game upset winner over Ralph Bast in the
Collegian
eighths, ran out of gas against unseeded, unknown,
Boggan
unheralded, untalented Richard Puls, who earlier had
destroyed 8th-seed Keith Porter. Puls, playing with
some kind of New Paddle called Sponge Rubber
that apparently imparts strange, silent spins, left
Porter destroying his entire arsenal of 35 paddles,
and caused Boggan to vow that he would never
shave again until Sponge is banned. Ha! Can you
imagine collegian Boggan with a beard? The Dodgers
will move out of Brooklyn first!
Quarters (bottom half):
No surprises hereformer U.S. Champ Bill
Holzrichter finished off chopper Marty Prager three
straight. Both had reached the quarters with fourgame victories: Holzrichter over apoplectic V. Lee
Webb, and Prager over USTTA President Jim
Shrout.
Local defensive ace Dave Krizman, seeded sixth, and U.S. #6 Allen Levy had a sensational
quarter-final match. Levy won the first two easily, 21-14, 21-12, and apparently had the match well
in hand. But each point got longer and longer with Krizman retrieving ball after ball seemingly from
the second balcony! At one point, Umpire John Read actually called the score after what he thought
was an ungettable putaway by Levyonly to see the ball returned from three tables overa clear
Krizman winner!!! Third game to Krizman, 22-20. Fourth to Krizman, 21-18. Fifth to Krizman, 215and back to the Net and Paddle Club for an arm-weary Levy.
Semis:
Pulss sponge was wiped clean by Bukiets unforgiving forehand. Said Bernie, Sponge?
Me no see Sponge. What it is anyway? Junk rubber?

30

The Holzrichter-Krizman encounter was a sensational example of the old and the new, and
an almost exact copy of the Krizman-Levy quarter-final. Down 2-0, Krizman merely shifted into
second gear and it was all over. Final score: -15, -14, 18, 19, 10.
Final:
Could Krizman chop down Bukiet? (Hmphcould Bergmann chop down Eric Boggan as
yet not even a twinkle in Timmys eye? Nope!) Nobody can chop down Bukiet!! Nobody!! Final
score: 21-10, 21-11, 21-12.
I am going to predict here and now that Bernie Bukiet will win at least three U.S. Mens
Singles titles, and will be a figure to contend with on the table tennis scene for the next 30-40
years!!
Womens:
In the Womens final,
Millie Shahian was an easy winner
over second-seed Peggy Ichkoff.
Peggy had survived a five-game
struggle with five-time U.S.
Champ Sally Green Prouty in the
semis, while Millie had had little
trouble with 12-year-old U.S.
Junior Miss Champion Sharlene
Krizman.
Juniors:
The Junior players were
astonished to have two-time
Olympic Decathlon Champion
Bob Mathias present the awards.
Peggy Ichkoff
Sally Green Prouty
Mathias, who captured his
second Gold Medal last year in
Helsinki, vowed that one day he would head the U.S. Olympic Movement and make Table Tennis
an Olympic Sport!! Ridiculous, you say? No more than cowboys in the White House!!
And what a Junior field! Topseeded Dave Krizman, the Mens
runner-up, couldnt survive the semis,
falling three straight to Chicagos Steve
Isaacson. (Listen, if I can make this stuff
up, I can sure as hell be in there to win
the damned tournament!) Cincinnatis
Harley Bradford topped U.S. Junior
Champion Carl Dentice of Milwaukee in
the other half. After his match with
Harley, Dentice complained of chest
pains. Dr. Bill Meszaros looked quite
concernedso Ill keep you informed
of developments. In the final, budding
cartoonist Isaacson massacred
Dave Krizman
Steve Isaacson
Photo by Igor Lissevy
Bradford, 21-5, 21-6, 21-10.
31

Well, gotta go now. President Eisenhowers going to be on the tubesomething about


Vietnam, whatever that is. Then Rocky Marciano is defending his title against another stiff! See you
next month!!
An unsigned article [Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 24) provides coverage for the 1983 [sic:
for 1984] $1,000 Louisiana Open. It was sponsored by the Baton Rouge Club over a severely
cold weekend, Jan. 14-15, and drew over 70 players from six states.
In the Open Singles, the #1 and #2 finishers, Lehan
[sic: for Lekan] Fenuyi and Perry Schwartzberg, have
become everyday practice partners since Perry moved back
to Houston a few months ago. As a result, both have
improved immensely and have climbed to the Top Ten in the
U.S. A close and exciting match was expected, but it turned
out to be a lop-sided oneFenuyi won 3-0. For some
reason Perry has not done well in Louisiana tournaments. It
may be a jinx, or perhaps its the tables, as he has claimed
every time he has come here. Or perhaps it could be that
Lehan [Lekan] is playing better than Perry.
In Help! Help! Help! (SPIN, Jan., 1984, 18),
Perry writes, Im looking for an old style Stiga Alser blade.
This is the one that originally came with a picture of Alser on
the handle. If the picture is long gone, you will know it is the
old style because it will not have the circular insert in the
handle. Anyone having this racket can make a quick sale to
me. Please call or write: Perry Schwartzberg (713-729Louisiana Open Winner Lekan Fenuyi 8830), 9723 Atwell, Houston, TX 77096.
Louisiana Open Results: Open R.R. 1.Fenuyi, 3-0.
2. Schwartzberg, 2-1. 3.-4. Roberto Byles. 3.4. Tunde Jacobs. (All four players are from
Houston.) Open Doubles: Schwartzberg/Fenuyi over Byles/Edward Poon. Womens R.R.: 1. San
Antonios Marjory Willcox, 1-1/3-2 (d. Gonzales, 17, 13). 2. Sarka Dura, 1-1/3-3 (d. Willcox, 13, 15, 16). 3. Gloria Gonzales, 1-1/2-3 (d. Dura, 13, -16, 10). [Forty years earlier, in 1944,
Willcox was a Womens Singles eighthfinalist in the U.S. Open.] Mixed Doubles: Schwartzberg/
Peggy Kulcharnpises over Byles/Dura, 19, 20. Louisiana State Mens Championship: Final: E.
Poon over Abdul Moghrabi. Semis: Poon over David Collins; Moghrabi over Malcolm Latour.
As: Saubano Adio, a member of the Nigerian Team that won the 1983 U. S. Open Team
Championship, over Keith LaFrance, 23, 13, -16, 16. Adio, also from Houston, had gone five
with Jacobs in the Open. A Doubles: Adio/George Shofoluwe over James Rautis/Roland Schilhab
whod survived Byles/Kenny Owens, -15, 20, 18. Bs: Schilhab over Rautis, 16, 17, -17, 17. B
Doubles: LaFrance/James Shiro over Byles/Frank Gonzales, 20, 18. Cs: Final: LaFrance, 19 in the
4th, over Rautis whod advanced by Power Poon, 19 in the 3rd. Ds: Mel Evans, 18 in the 4th, over
Shofoluwe whod gotten by Mike Bortner, -14, 20, 19. Es: Bill Plue over Charles Mosley, -24, 8,
19. Novice: Glenn Singletary over G. Gonzales, 22, -15, 18, then over F. Gonzales. Handicap: F.
Gonzales over G. Gonzales, def. Seniors: P. Poon over Richard Puls, then over Tom Baudry. U17s: Schiro over 9-year-old Eric Owens. U-13s: 1. Owens, 1-1/3-2 (d. Cleveland, 17, 12). 2.
Jeff Cleveland, 1-1/2-2 (d. Schulz, 24, 11). 3. Karl Schulz, 1-1/2-3 (d. Owens, 19, -12, 19).
32

In this 1952 photograph taken in the Placio De Portez (Sports Palace) in Cuba, Ted Bourne, left, and his
partner Geroge Ferris, kept four balls going at the same time during the half-time Harlem Globetrotters show.

Moving on, Timmys extends its sympathy to the family and friends of
Ted Bourne, who died Jan. 14, 1984 while playing table tennis in the Florida
Closed at Orlando. Bard Brenners coverage of that Closed will follow in a
momentbut, first, a few words about Ted.
Heres Randy Hess [SPIN, Feb., 1984, 13): Ted Bourne fell and
died of a stroke or rupture of a main artery, Jan. 14th while playing table
tennis at the Florida State Closed.
I knew Ted for over 20 years. During the early 60s, we played
every week together at the Spaceport Table Tennis Club in Cocoa, FL.
Sometimes, several of us played till two or three in the morning concluding 12
Randy Hess
hours of continuous play.
One of Teds favorite tricks while performing with his partner at
half-time during the Harlem Globetrotter games was to keep four balls going at once. The
entertainment business was what he enjoyed, and he helped Dick Miles to start appearing in shows.
On one of his travels he played before the Shah and Queen of Iran. The Shah gave him a solid silver
cigar box.
A lot of Teds stories seemed unbelievable and I had my doubts until I saw his huge photo
album which documented his stories.
Lori, Teds wife, remembered that Ted often said that when his time came, he wanted to go
while playing table tennis.
In an adjacent article in SPIN, 1938 USTTA President Stan Morest said that when he lived
in Stuart, FL from 1975-1980 Ted coached him. He tells us one of the many stories he heard from
Ted:
During World War II while in Baghdad, Ted heard, as he said, the click of the little
celluloid ball, as he passed the Red Cross Center. Going inside, Ted saw Polish soldiers playing
table tennis. After hed watched a while, a player approached and handed him a racket. An
invitation to play followed. Ted easily beat the soldier. Then another player came up and said, Me
see you very fine Merican player. You play me too? Ted agreed.
As he walked on to the court he noticed that the pool players stopped playing and others
came over to watch. Ted surmised at that point there must be a reason for the interest. He played
the first game defensively, losing 21-7. The second game he played offensively but also lost 21-7.
33

As he shook hands with his victorious opponent, he said, Im Ted Bourne from New York. The
winner replied, Me Melik Schieff. Ted told me he could have sunk through the floor as he instantly
recalled that this Schieff was the only player Sol Schiff didnt beat in the Swaythling Cup
competition at the 1937 World Championships. Ted had just played the Polish Champion!
The following Profile of Bourne (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 25) was written by Daniel
Ross for the Feb. 28, 81 Vero Beach Press Journal that appeared in the Apr., 1982 issue of
Table Tennis Topics:
Ted Bourne, 69, a long-time Vero Beach, Florida resident, who still speaks with an English
accent though he came to the States when he was 12, has had vast experience in how table tennis
can put smiles on peoples faces. From 1948 to 1958 Bourne, a bachelor until age 62, performed
table tennis games and tricks during half-time shows of the Harlem Globetrotters.
From November through April for 10 years, Bourne and his partner, Bob Anderson,
performed in a different place every night.
In his Vero Beach home Bourne explained a trick
that mystified the Globetrotters fans. He would kneel with
his back to the playing table and suspend the ball in mid-air
by blowing on it. Then he would hit the ball with his paddle
over his shoulder to his partner at the far end of the table.
Bourne would then catch his partners return shot in his
mouth. Again turning his back to the table, he would spit the
ball against his stationary paddle hard enough to bounce
back over his head to his partner. His partners return shot
would then rocket into Bournes chest and, as if the wind
were knocked from him, he would cough up two more Ping
Pong balls.
Laszlo Bellak demonstrates
Nothing with less of a cavernous mouth than a
blow technique
Photo by Mal Anderson
hippopotamus can hold three balls, so the crowd was
baffled.
After Bourne spat the ball against his paddle and it bounced to his partner, he would pull a
slight of mouth and gobble the two extra balls without the crowds ever seeing. Magic tricks.
Bournes travels with Abe Sapersteins Globetrotters validated the word globetrotting. He
played in Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, and Cuba among many other places.
In 1952 he flew all over Alaska in a DC 3 with the Olympic great and former worlds
fastest human, Jesse Owens, playing for Alaskan Indians who knew about table tennis though they
had no cars. Also during 1952 in Cuba when Bournes regular partner was absent, the
Globetrotters owner, Saperstein, produced a Cuban opponent and told Bourne, If that guy beats
you, youre fired!
The Cuban player, holding his racket like a pen, gave Bourne a memorable test of his
competitive skills, but Bourne won. After the contest, Saperstein told him that his opponent was the
Cuban National Champion.
Eight years ago a man approached Bourne in Miami, Florida, and said, Youre the man
that beat me in Cuba. Small world.
Sadly, Bournes long-time partner, Anderson, died on the last day of touring with the
Globetrotters.
34

Between April and November of his table tennis days with the Globetrotters, Bourne
followed in the footsteps of his father and earned his keep as a Professional Golf Association club
pro. Today he still retains his PGA membership card which he earned at 18.
Though he would have the right to be arrogant after beating the Cuban Champion, Bourne
downplays his competitive abilities and stresses that he was always considered a very good
teacher.
Dr. Stan Morest, one of the best Veteran players in the U.S., is a former Bourne pupil who
can attest to his teaching ability.
Bourne and his wife of eight years, Lurie, run the Physical and Cultural Arts Center in
Pocahontas Park, downtown Vero Beach, every Wednesday night. While Bourne teaches table
tennis, his wife handles registration and signs out games such as chess.
Working at the Physical and Cultural Arts Center, along with picking up fallen oranges from
his backyard trees, helps the 69-year-old Bourne keep active. Soon as you slow down youre
ready for the library.
Bourne will not be ready for the Library for a long time.
Now back to Brenner and the Florida Closed, played in Orlando, Jan. 14-15 (Timmys,
Feb.-Mar., 1984, 25). Of course, before giving us the Results of the tournament, Bard must
mention Bourne: I was told that Ted Bourne of Vero Beach had suffered a heart attack while hitting
a forehand and died. Hed succumbed despite the valiant efforts of Tournament Referee Toby Hart,
whod tried to revive him with
CPR techniques.
Results: Championship
Singles: Final: Ron Rigo
successfully defended his State
Championshipagain, as last
year, over Greg Gingold, 16, 9, 10, 19. Best early-round
matches: Jacksonvilles Dan
Kutzers deuce in the 3rd, 4th,
AND 5th comeback victory
over Tournament Committee
member Bill Godshalk; Rene
Tywangs exciting play in
forcing Olga Soltesz into the
5th; Randy Hesss shocking
Florida Closed Runner-up
Florida Closed Champ Ron Rigo
five-game upset of Tampa
Greg Gingold
junior star Kit Jeerapaet; and Gingolds five-game struggle with
Cameron Phipps. Womens Championship: 1. Soltesz, 3-0. 2. Naciye Hacikadiroglu, 2-1.
Naciyes a Turkish National attending the University of Miami (as were a number of players in this
tournament). 3. Hanna Schult. Championship Doubles: Final: John Elliott/Scott Beauregard over
Larry Gold/Paul Winebarger, 17 in the 5th. Semis: Elliott/Beauregard over Ron/Steve Rigo, 17 in
the 5th; Gold/Winebarger over Soltesz/Lenny Chew, deuce in the 5th.
As: Elliott over S. Rigo in five. Bs: Brian Miezejewski over Hacikadiroglu, 19, 21, then
over Steve McLaren. B Doubles: Steve Federico/Tywang over Jean Audrian/Sohran Zarrabian.
Cs: McLaren over Tywang in five. Rene, before going into the 5th, hurried over to get a good-luck
35

kiss from his bride-to-beAlice, daughter of Newgys TTC proprietor Joe Newgarden. Ds:
Robert Stone over Zarrabian. Es: Joe Long over Sean Hanley, 17, -22, -14, 18, 20. Seniors:
Brenner over S. Rigo. Juniors: Hanley over Long.
Two weeks
later, Bard reports
on the Florida
Winter Open, held
Jan. 28-29 at
Newgys, his home
club in Miami. He begins with Newgy pro-manager Marty Prager
celebrating the new year by starting a new programa college-credit
course, held on Saturdays at Newgys for the Miami-Dade Community College
System. In fact, one of the requirements of the course for two of Martys 1988
Olympic hopefuls was to enter this January tournament. Whoopssurprise!the clubs lights
went out during Saturdays matches. But for Sundays Championship play all was back to normal.
Results: Championship Singles (since Jerry Thrasher was a
few hundred rating points above the other entrants, we deliberately
skewed the draw so as not to sacrifice anyone): 1. Super-looper
Thrasher, 3-0 (didnt lose a game). 2. Unorthodox, honeycombed-bat
player Dickie Fleisher, 2-1 (lost
games, one at deuce, only to
Thrasher). 3.-4. Roberto Garcia,
ex-Cuban Champ, 0-2. 3.-4. Joe
Sokoloff, 0-2. Best matches: Olga
Soltesz in five over Cuban Carlos
Garcia; Wayne Daunt over Lenny
Chew; Lance Rosemore, deuce in
the 4th, over clubmate Rene
Tywang; Ly, 19-in-the-4th, over
Jerry Thrasher
Daunt; Garcia, 18-in-the-4th, over
Photo by Brian Miezejewski
Cameron Phipps; Sokoloff over
George Bluhm in four;
Dickie Fleisher
Puerto Ricos
Brenners five-gamer over
Juan Ly
Rosemore; Steve Federicos win from down 2-0 and three
match-points to Marv Leff; and Sokoloffs comeback over
Brenner, 21-19 in both the 4th and 5th. Womens: 1. Soltesz,
2-0 (d. Belnavis, 18 in the 4th; d. Hacikadiroglu in four). 2.
Carla Belnavis, 1-1 (d. Hacikadiroglu in five). Naciye
Hacikadiroglu, 0-2. Championship Doubles: former Puerto
Rico National Champion Juan Ly and recently returned home
from abroad Fleisher over Brenner/Sokoloff in four, then over
Thrasher/Daunt.
As: Federico over Bluhm, -17, 15, 18. Semis:
Federico over David Tomlinson, 19 in the 3rd; Bluhm over
Chew, -18, 19, 18. A Doubles: Chew/Joe Long over Brenner/
Kadin, 25, 17. Semis: Chew/Long over Bluhm/Steve McLaren, 20, -19, 21; Brenner/Kadin over
36

Roman Teller/Frank Hanley, 16, -16, 19. Bs: Teller over Hanley. Cs: Randy Hess over Earl Haley.
Ds: Emmanuel Okpala over Michael Hugh-Sam. Novice: Men: Medina Espinosa over Gary Egri.
Novice Women: Terese Terranova over Ursula Dow. College Men: Brian Miezejewski over Mike
Hayek, 20, 20. College Women: Hacikadiroglu over Terranova. Consolation: Championship and
Bs: Bluhm; Cs: Hanley; Ds: Egri. Seniors: Brenner over Hanley.
Note that Dr. Monroe Berg, 73, formerly from Long Island, now of Tamarac, FL, has just
been chosen Broward Countys Outstanding Senior School Volunteer for the tutorial and table
tennis work hes done with students in the area. Now hes up for the Outstanding Florida School
Volunteer Award presented by Governor Bob Graham.
Lloyd Woods (Timmys, Jan-Feb,
1984, 8) reports on the Venezuelan National
Junior Championships held in the new table
tennis gymnasium in Maturin, one of the best in
the country. Beatrice Lopez, the sister of
Venezuelan National Mens Champion
Francisco Lopez, was the
outstanding player in the
Championships, winning the
maximum four gold medals.
She spearheaded her Distrito Federal (D.F.) Womens Team to victory; won the
Womens Singles from arch-rival Irania Lopez of Monagas; and took both the
Womens Doubles (with Ana Fernandez) and the Mixed (with Alexis Briceno).
The Mens Team was won by D.F. over Managas. The Mens Singles by
D.Fs Alexander Tovar over teammate Briceno. The outstanding personality,
however, was Carlos Bou Bou who appeared in Monagas state colours for the
first time since leaving the state of Sucre. The people of Maturin have welcomed
Bou Bou with open arms. And his personal magnetism was mainly responsible for
the large crowd that attended the Team finalsthe largest ever, in fact, seen at a
table tennis championship in Venezuela.
Napolean Noriega, Vice President of the
Francisco Lopez
Managas TTA, was actually controlling the applause
of the large crowd with his Band Master-like hand signals. The visiting
teams were annoyed with this, but it brought more drama to the
matches. I personally felt that Mr. Noriegas act was a nice
contribution to the Games, and certainly the crowd was enjoying it to
the fullest. Mr. Noriega kept the situation well in hand and the crowd
never verbally attacked or abused the visiting teams, and I sincerely
hope that the visiting officials take a page from Mr. Noriegas Book.
The only bad part of these Championships was the umpiring,
which was not the fault of the Managas TTA but of the Venezuelan
T.T. Federation that supplied the umpires. All the incidents at the
Games were caused by the lack of knowledge of the umpires, and I
hope the Federation will do something to remedy the situation soon,
because such incompetence is spoiling the game.
Winners at the Jan. 28-29 McLean, VA Winter Open: Open
Sean ONeill
Singles:
1. Sean ONeill, 3-0. 2. Brian Masters, 2-1 (d. Sakai,-15,
Photo by Mal Anderson
37

15, 19; d. Lilly, -19, 16, 17). 3.-4. Ron Lilly. 3.-4. Dave Sakai. U-2300: Sakai and Lilly didnt
play, split the prize money (Ron had been -9, 15, 13, -22, 17 tested in the semis by John
Soderberg). U-2100: Joe Griffis over Larry Hodges. U-2000: Griffis over Jim Flannagan, then over
Barney Reed. U-1850: Keith Minnich, 20, 21 over JohnWeinstein whod advanced by Tom Steen,
-19, 19, 14. U-3600 Doubles: Minnich/Steen over Anderson/Hall. U-1750: Minnich over Norm
Labrador, -17, 23, 9, then over Bernie Lisberger. U-1600: Mike Gallimore over John Tebbe, 15, 15, 20, -14, 26. U-3200 Doubles: Sakai/Bob Powley over Hodges/Martin Staehlin. U-1450:
Gallimore over Tom Soderberg, 19, -19, 14. U-1250: David C. Silvera over Anderson, 22, 20. U1000: Anderson over Mark Mallen. Handicap: T. Soderberg over Jeff Soderberg. Handicap
Doubles: Pat Donahue/Gary Peterson over Nate and Bob Sussman, 49. Seniors: N. Sussman. 2.
Tebbe. 3. Bill Steinle. Seniors U-1700: Tebbe over Staehlin.
The Howard County Open #4, held Jan. 15 at the usual Columbia, MD Circuit, introduced
a new event (for which no Circuit points are offered) that will continue throughout the seasonthe
Butterfly Invitational Handicap. Anyone can play, providing they also enter a rating event and play
with a Butterfly blade and rubber (Butterfly equipment is sold at the tournament). Play follows the
usual one-game, 51-point format, and theres one prize$100 to the winner. Opponent gets one
point for every 20-point USTTA rating difference. Maximum spot: 36 points.
Results: Open Singles: Sean ONeill [the previous Circuits $1,000
first-place winner] over Mike Walk, -20, 9, 16, then over Don Garlinger.
3rd-Place: Walk over Bill Sharpe. U-2100: 1. Garlinger. 2. Walk. 3. Don
Yabiku. 4. Mort Greenberg. 5. Steve Johnson. 6. Chauncey Ford. U-1900:
Steve Delp over Bill Walk, 18, -11, 17. U-3800 Doubles: Marty Ness/Tom
Steen over Greenberg/Kronlage. U-1700: Pier Galie over Selwyn Persad.
U-1500: Chip Barnett over Erich Haring whod advanced over Jerry
Rozen, 20, 20. U-1300: Kevin Walton over Robert Fulton. U-1100:
Prakash Chougule [who was leading Haring in Circuit points prior to this
tournament] over Steven Banks. Handicap: Haring over Robert Fallon, def.
Butterfly Handicap: Fallon ($100) over Phil Van Dusen whod outlasted
Chougule, 51-49. Juniors: Jeff Harris over Chris Cwailina. Circuit leaders
after this #4 tournament are: 1. Eric Haring (56). 2. Prakash Chougule (55).
3. Ha Chi Dao (40). 4. Pat Lui (38). 4. Sean ONeill (38).
Readers may recall1 that at last
Erich Haring
years $1,875 Lehigh Valley Open (for
seven years the most prestigious perennial tournament in the
East), some USTTA members, as in the previous year at the
Holiday Inn, caused problemsthis time at the Luxury Budget
Inn. Faced with this, Tournament Director Dan Simon had said,
Because of just a few acting rashly in the past, we all might have
to suffer in the future. Now, I sadly report, perhaps because
there might not be any room in any inn in Bethlehem even for the
most innocent, the Lehigh Valley Open has been permanently
canceled.
Winners at the Jan. 21-22 Westfield Open: Open Singles:
B.K. Arunkumar over Rey Domingo, 16 in the 5th. Earlier, Arun was challenged, 18 in the 5th, by
Eyal Adini; and George Brathwaite, before falling to Domingo, had to go five with Fu-lap Lee.
Womens: 1. Alice Green. 2. Vicky Wong. Open Doubles: Arunkunar/Adini over Domingo/
38

Brathwaite. Esquires: Mort Greenberg over John Kilpatrick. Seniors: Brathwaite over Igor Klaf, 16, 14, 17. U-17: Chi-sun Chui over Chi-ming Chui, -17, 19, 18, 21. U-13: Final between Chi-sun
and Chi-ming Chui not scored.
As: John Allen over Igor Klaf, 21, 10, 18. Bs: A. Green over John Andrade. B Doubles:
Dave Llewellyn/Mitchell over David Valoy/Andy Diaz. Cs: Marv Plevinsky, 19, -18, 24, over
Llewellyn whod escaped Michael Henry, -6, 21, 14. Ds: Thomas Nazerbechian over Chi-sun
Chui. D Doubles: Thomas and Ovidiu Nazarbechian over Lawrence/Ray Gabb. Es: Rich Sosis
over Chi-ming Chui. Fs: O. Nazarbechian over Soon-Guan Ow. F Doubles: Tony Gegelys/O.
Nazarbechian over Mike Coke/Johnson whod
advanced over Nova Zakaev/Ahmed Guketlov,
19, 20. Gs: David Lotharp over Carl Skeete. Is:
Mark Schmookler over Larry Stein, -14, 20, 18,
then over Luz Brown. Js: Doug Holtzman over
Leona Joyner. Unrated: N. Moc over A.
Witonsley.
John Allen (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984,
28) covers the Jan. 28-29 MIT Open. It had a
Most Improved Turnout compared to last years
hazard-depleted draw. A prompt field of 138
entered 10 events, played on 14 tables (1 Joola)
amid the more than satisfying conditions of the
Dupont Gym, and competed for $1,050 and fancy
trophies. Special thanks for the standout efforts of
Tournament Director David Marcus, the
Kalaghers, Warren Rasmussen, MIT, and the
Club members for the well-run tournament.
Carl Skeete
Photo by Newsdays George Argeroplos
Despite the unfinished matches [the Gym had to
be vacated at midnight?], the midnight finish, a
long drive back to New York for some, or a cleaning of the Gym for others, it was, along with all
the T.T. playing, a great gathering. With an earlier start and daylight savings time, the tourney would
have been perfect.
Results: Open Singles: B.K. Arunkumar and Rey Domingo didnt get to play their final and
split the prize money. Semis: as at the Westfield tournament the week before, Eyal Adini again
forced Kumar into the 5th; Domingo had to go 19 in the 4th with Lim Ming Chui. Best quarters
matches: Chui over Igor Klaf, 16 in the 5th; and Adini over George Brathwaite, -6, 20, 23, 19.
Open Doubles: Brathwaite/Domingo didnt get to play their final against Chui/Barry Dattel, whod
eked out a semis win over Arunkumar/Adini, and split the prize money. U-2200: Adini over Allen,
17 in the 3rd, then over George Cameron. U-2000: John Andrade, 19 in the 5th, over John
Shareshian whod outlasted Ralph Robinson, 19 in the 3rd. U-1850: Chi-sun Chui over Melvyn
Maxwell. U-3400 Doubles: Keith Quenneville/David Hager over Larry Giles/Chi-sun Chui. U1675: Kevin McNeil over Jeff Brastow. U-1500: James Davidson over Alex Landsman, 18 in the
4th. U-1325: Wayne Chan over Steve Yee whod survived Manuel Latigua, -17, 19, 19. U-1150:
Michael Bluestein over Francisco Ruiz.
Youll note, in the last two tournaments above that Ive given you the results for, the name
Igor Klaf. New to the States, Igor brings with him the following impressive resume (from Timmys,
Feb.-Mar., 1984, 10):
39

40

Chapter Three
1984: Americans AbroadPart I: Early-Year
European Tournaments.
Not only are U.S. and Canadian players moving out
more and more into the world of international table tennis, but theyre more and more
communicating with others as to what happens when the Sports stars play. Ill begin with the results
of three tournaments that one of Canadas entrants, Horatio Pintea, indispensibly helped me write
up (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 14).

Japans Seiji Ono, Cleveland Open Mens Champion

Canadas Joe Ng
Photo by Mal Anderson

Japans Yosh Schimanchi,


Cleveland Open Womens Champion

Englands Carole Knight Moore


From English TT News, Mar., 83
Photo by Tony Edendan

First here are the winners of the Jan. 21-22 Cleveland, England Open: Mens Team:
England (3)Japan (1). Semis: England (3)Netherlands/Joe Ng, Canada (2); Japan (3)
Ellenborough (0). Womens Team: Japan I (3)England (1). Semis: Japan I (3)Denmark (0);
England (3)Tarmac Wolverhampton (0). Mens Singles: 1979 World Champion Seiji Ono d. Juzo
Nukazuka, 20, 13. Semis: Ono d. Graham Sandley, 21, 14; Nukazuka d. Carl Prean, -19, 16, 17.
Ng won two earlier matches, then forced Ono into the third. Womens Singles: Yosh Schimauchi d.
Carole (Knight) Moore, -19, 16, 17. Semis: Schimauchi d. C. Pulk, 13, 16; Moore d. J. Kruse,
14, 15. Mens Doubles: Ono/Nukazuka d. Mason/Cooke, -19, 13, 10. Ng, playing with the
Netherlands van Spanje, won two matches before losing to Skylet Andrew/Philip Bradbury.
Womens Doubles: Shimauchi/Yamamoto d. Parker/Grundy, 16, 15.
41

Czechoslavkias English Open Mens Runner-up


Vladislav Broda

English Open Mens Winner Desmond Douglas


Photo by Mal Anderson

Desmond Douglas, back now replacing Carl Prean as #1 in the


English Rankings, rallied from 2-0 down to defeat lefty Vladislav Broda in
the final of the Norwich Union English Open, played Jan. 26-28 at
Brighton.
The Czech who got to the quarters of the
Swiss, Hungarian, and Swedish Opens, but who isnt
listed among the leaders in the most recent European
Rankings (its his brother Miroslav whos currently
Europe #25), is a very strong playerindeed, he may
well have replaced Orlowski as the Czech #1. When he covers the ball, he, like, surrounds it, really
gets a lot of pure spin on it, then re-loops off the top of the bounce.
Broda, up 2-0 and 11-7 in the 3rd, looked a sure winner against Douglas when all of a
sudden the ump faulted him on a serve (many players thought the umps intervention unjust), and the
young Czech lost his concentration and ultimately the match.
Broda did down Grubba in five in the semis, though, while Douglas, conqueror
of Carlsson, was finishing off German Champ Bohm, who earlier had given the
boot to former Japanese World Champion Ono.
Frances Secretin, recent winner of the Hungarian Open,
has this miraculous touch for putting ball after ball to the corners
but he was upset in the first round by the English #10 Philip
Bradbury. Swedens Jorgen Persson, down 2-1 and 20-18 in the
4th, rallied to do in Polands #2 Kucharski while the spectators in the
immediate vicinity kept a wary eye out for any well known bat-slinging on
the part of the impetuous loser. And another Swede, Jonas Berner, scored a
fine upset over Frances Birocheau.
In a match of not so much interest, Broda beat me, Horatio, (but not because
I, like many another player, could not adjust to the much criticized plastic ball being
used in the tournamentit would just stop on you). And in another match, Canadas Horatio Pintea
42

Kucharski knocked out Joe Ngthough in the Teams Joe did have a very nice win over Wosik,
the German #3.
The Mens Doubles was won by Akesson/Persson over Secretin/Parietti, 9, -21, 19, then
over Cooke/Sandley, 20, 15. Ng/Pintea split early matchesbeat Souter/Wilson; lost to Broda/
Javurek in three.
USSR won the Womens Teams over Japan, 3-0
(Popova d. Shimauchi, deuce in the 3rd; Zakharian d.
Uezono, 14, 13; and Popova/Zakharian d. Shimauchi/
Yamamoto, 15, -16, 11. Womens Singles went to
Zakharian over Khasanova in five, then over Thiriet, -16,
22, 18, 16, after the Frenchwoman had outlasted
Popova in five. Other good matches: Khasanova over
Jansma, 23-21 in the
fourth; and Thiriet over
Wiktorsson, -20, 16, 21, 11, 19. Womens
Doubles: Germain/
Thiret d. Nohira/
Shimauchi, 18, 19.
Mixed Doubles: Ono/
Shimauchi over
English Open Womens Champion
Kucharski/Szatko, Anita Zakharian
13, 20, 19.
Photo by John Oros
At the German
Open, played in Duisberg, Feb. 9-12,
Sweden won the Mens Team
Championship, 3-2, over Poland with both
Waldner and Appelgren beating Grubba.
English Open Womens Runner-up
However, it was Grubba who
Brigette Thiriet
was the surprise winner of the
From Frances Tennis de Table,
Singlesdefeating Waldner in the
July-Aug., 81
final, 19 in the 5th.
In the one semis,
Grubba, whos a very safe
player, a good lobber, and
who has an excellent power
backhand when back from
the table, downed Douglas in
straight gamesthough the
English Champion had won
the Norwich Union English
Open only a month before.
In the other semis,
Germanys Wilfried Lieck
Swedish Open Champ
Photo by Neal Fox
Waldner, a spontaneous
Polands Andrej Grubba,
rather than a deliberate, mechanical player, hadnt the least bit of
German Open Champion
43

trouble with Germanys aging, world-class blocker Lieck. The German #6s long-rally victories
over the Englishman Prean, who cant seem to win now since the new (two-color and serve) Rules
went into effect; the long-time #1 Dane Pedersen; the Yugoslav Mesaros (who said Lieck couldnt
play against chop?); and the Swede Ulf Bengtsson, 19 in the 5th in the quartersmade him
something of a TV hero in his home country.
Waldner recently won the European Top 12 Tournament in Bratislava, and he has the best
hands in the world, but he needed five games to do away with French looper Birocheau in the
quarters. Grubba, returning the ball deep, had little difficulty with the sometimes super-fast
Carlsson, who, the round before, down 2-1 to Eric Boggan, had survived match point before
turning things around in the 29-27th fourth.
In the 16ths, though, Grubba, who often doesnt play
well against unconventional styles, was down 2-1 to Yugo
penholder Karakasevic before pulling it out. And in the 8ths,
with both Grubba and Appelgren exchanging well and saving
incredible balls (You can hardly make a point with a kill
nowadays), the Pole had to go five to get by the recent World
Cup winner who himself had just gone 19 in the fifth with
Mazunov, the young Russian whod eliminated World #5 Satoh
in the first round of the Swedish Open.
Since Douglas doesnt back up and is very quick over the
table, its understandable that he could knock off Kriston, 19 in the
4th, in the quarters. The Hungarian has a tremendous forehand (he
flips the ball off a heavy push, then loops off the bounce). Plus, he
twirls his anti almost faster than the eye can followI know, for he
beat me, Horatio, easily in the first round. Kriston, 19 in the fifth,
eked one out (from 19-13 down) against European Top 12 runnerup Pansky. And in the 8ths, Szolt the Bolt downed Kalinic after the
Russias Andrei Mazunov
Yugoslav Champ had beaten Japans Abe in five.
In other Mens matches of note, Dvoracek,
who only a year ago looked like he was all played out,
beat Erik Lindh, 24-22 in the fourth, then lost to
Mesarus in five after the Yugo chopper had rallied
from 2-0 down to take out German Champ Bohm.
Gergely, down 2-1 and 20-18 in both the fourth and
fifth to Swedens Jorgen Persson, a really fluid player
with a smooth long stroke and a sure-of-himself
manner, somehow stayed alive and went on to defeat
the immortal Surbek, 18 in the fifth, before losing to
Birocheau, conqueror of Japans Maehara in five. And
Waldner, who seems to delight in playing five-game
matches without ever looking pressed, had an early
Yugoslavias Bela Mesarus
scare with Germans Nieswand, who the round before
From 85 Deutscher Tischtennis Sport
had beaten Scott Boggan in five.
Americans Bush and Butler, and my teammate Ng, had uneventful Singles matches. And as
for our Canadian women playersthey never got off the groundthat is, they remained in Canada
because travel arrangements with the Department of Defense didnt come through in time.
44

Appelgren/Carlsson took the Mens Doubles from Ulf Bengtsson/Peter Stellwag,12, 19. Of
interest to North American readers: Quarters: Appelgren/Carlsson d. Eric Boggan and his Japanese
partner Shimizu, 18, 15. Eighths: Boggan/Shimizu had a very good win over Douglas/Wosik, -8,
19, 21. Sixteenths: Boggan/Shimizu over Jonyer/Gergely, def. Thirty-Seconds: Boggan/Shimizu
over Jokinen/Ikonen, -19, 8, 14. Also in the Thirty-Seconds: Engel/Borsos over Butler/Renold; and
Pansky/Javurek over Ng/Pintea.
The Womens Team was won
by Yugoslavia over Czechoslovakia, 32: Batinic (Y) d. Pelikanova (C), 9, 17, 7; Hrachova (C) d. Perkucin (Y),
18, 16; Batinic/Perkucin d. Hrachova/
Pelikanova, 18, 18; Hrachova d.
Batinic, 13, -15, 19; Perkucin d.
Pelikanova, 19, 13. Womens Singles
went to Olah over Batinic, 18 in the
4th, then over Hrachova, 17 in the 5th,
then over Bulatova, 18 in the 5th, then
over Antonjan, 16, 11, 4. Best earlyround matches: Kloppenberg over
Zakharian, 19 in the 5th; Monteux over
Lippens in five; Gordon over Batorfi,
19 in the 5th; Sonia Grefberg over
Olschewski in five; Kloppenberg over
Hungarys German Open Champion Zsuszusa Olah
Nakajima in five; and Wenzel over
Eliasson (from down 2-0). Womens
Doubles was won by Zakharian/Bulatova over Olah/Bolvart. Mixed Doubles went to Molnar/Olah
over Persson/Nakajima. In Thirty-Seconds, Molnar/Olah d. Butler/Leonard. In Sixty-Fourth/s,
Palmi/Wiltsche d. Boggan/Furukawa, 24-22 in the 3rd.
Bunched with these Pinteareported tournaments were two
others, both covered by Americans.
The first of these, reported on by D.
Austin Babcock, was the Europe
Top 12, held Feb. 3-5 in Bratislava,
Czechoslovakia:
Fellow American Pongers,
throughout its history, the Europe
Top 12 has seen quite a few
changes in its format. In its
beginning, only Yugoslavia was
willing to hold the eventwhich
D. Austin Babcock
showed of course a distinct lack of
interest on the part of the other participating countries. Since then changes have been madefor
instance, in the number of players and the method of tie-breaking. The first two years the women
had only six participants. One year, according to official tournament rules, Stellan Bengtsson had
45

won top honors. Hed tied with an 8-2 result with one other player, Yugoslavias Anton Stipancic.
But when the awards were given out, Stipancic was awarded the first-place trophy. Why? Because
although Bengtsson had won his encounter with Stipancic, the Yugoslav had a better game result.
Andsurprisethe change in the tie-breaking rule had not been announced until play had been
completed.
As some years passed, however, this 2/3-game event became more popular. Its increasingly
grueling play-schedule (now 11 best-of-five matches in three days for the Men) has made it a real
test, and apparently many players feel the need for this endurance contest.Secretin has played
every single year, and never won. Both Jonyer and (last year) Appelgren won with their debut
appearance. Englands Jill Hammersley has won the fairer halfs contest three times and Hungarys
retired Beatrix Kishazi four times.
Sweden has four men but only one womanMarie Lindblad, #8in the current European
Top Twelve ranking list. However, press releases in Sweden are not always accurate. Two different
papers had a match between Pansky and Jonyer go four gameswith Pansky winning all four.
Notably absent from this years play was Desmond Douglas whos finished 2nd, 4th, 6th, 3rd,
nd
and 2 in the last five years. Also, the two top Hungarians didnt participate. Word is that Klampar
and Kriston played an exhibition match in ignorance of orders to compete in some district
championship tournament. They pocketed a pretty penny. Kriston received only a small fine plus
one months tournament ineligibility. Klampar has been banned from all competition for a period of 2
and years [expect that to hold, do you?].
In the Mens, the main country
was Sverige. Only Pansky posed a nonNordic threat to win top honors. Rules
demand that players from like countries
meet each other relatively early. When
Appelgren met Lindh, it was quite an
exciting matchwith great publicity. It
was interesting, particularly if one is
interested in brushing up on ones
Swedish vulgarisms, that Appelgren had
been leading the tournament throughout,
had won his first eight matches in a row,
including that last one against Lindh, and
although he still had to meet Orlowski,
Pansky, and Grubba, it appeared that no
one would be able to stop him, for
Waldner had already dropped two
matches. But The Apple then
proceeded to lose his last three matches,
while Waldner won his last three to take
the tournament.
Comments from the winner? He
Swedens Europe Top 12 Mens Winner Jan-Ove Waldner
stated that he has only two goals for the
From Danish Boardtennisbladet
present. To take 1st-Place in Mens
Singles in both the upcoming European Championships and next years Worlds to be held in the
beautiful city of Gothenburg, Sweden. When asked about his professional plans, he said that his
46

training in Sweden is better than any situation he could obtain


in Germany. More intensive. I prefer my homeland for the
time being. I have time
On the Womens side, where the matches are only
best of three, the Czech Marie Hrachova managed to maintain
a one-match lead from the early rounds throughout the event
and edged out the Netherlands Vriesekoop, Russias Popova,
and Hungarys Olah.
Mens Results; 1. Waldner. 2. Pansky. 3. Appelgren.
4. Grubba. 5. Lindh. 6. Orlowski. 7. Kalinic. 8. Secretin. 9.
Surbek. 10. Carlsson. 11. Jonyer. 12. Prean. Womens
Results: 1. Hrachova. 2. Vriesekoop. 3. Popova. 4. Olah. 5.
Bulatova. 6. Urban. 7. Batinic. 8. Lindblad. 9. Szabo. 10.
Kruger. 11. Kovalinko. 12. Witt.
The second tournament, reported on by C.S.
Boggan,* was the Belgium Top 10, the countrys second
most important tournament, held Feb. 6 in Brussels:

Czechoslavokias Top 12
Womens Winner Marie Hrachova
From International Sports Press Assoc.
Bulletin, Mar., 82

Mens Play
In this Belgium Top 10, only four men had any chance at all of winning. Leading the
contenders was Belgiums #1 Thierry Cabrera, who last season had the best record (19-3) in the
Bundesligas Second Division North. Next in line was Remo DeProphetis, Belgian World Team
member and a player in the French Leagues who had a recent win over one of the Czech Broda
brothers, and who in the past has beaten a number of world-class playerssuch as Mesaros of
Yugoslavia and Kosanovic of Canada. The third man most likely to take the title was many-time
Belgian Champion Daniel Nassaux, who won this tournament last year for the fifth time. And, finally,
the fourth contender, the up and coming underdog, 14-year-old Jean-Michel Saive, Belgian
National Junior Champion and one of the best cadets in Europe, who plays in the Bundesligas
Second Division West.
It was clear coming into the last two rounds that Cabrera, DeProphetis, and Saive were the
only ones who could win. Nassaux, a lefty with a fine touch and a crisp forehand loop, had
eliminated himself by losing to both DeProphetis and Saive, players who show the hand-at-the-table
speed so prevalent in todays game.
Surprisingly, Cabrera had dropped his fourth-round match to Serge Goffart, a left-hander
who blocked and blocked and blocked until Cabrera gave him a weak ball and he could loop it in
with his up-at-the-table book loop.
Going into the later rounds, Saive, who plays a serve-and-loop game, combined with a fast
backhand counter, had won several close matches and was undefeated. Now, however, he was up
against the experienced Cabrera whose hard, cross-court backhand and strong forehand loop,
especially loop to loop, clearly made him the favorite.
Thierry won the first game at 18 with some good backhand kills and by stopping JeanMichels forehand-loop attack. But in the second, Cabreras backhand wasnt so hard, and Saive
was looping better and faster. Jean-Michel often tried to play his first two loops into Thierrys
middle and then go wide to his backhanda technique that turned out to be excellent (especially
since Cabrera was unbeatable forehand loop to forehand loop). In the third, however, Thierrys
47

return of serve was much better and he started to be the aggressor, even when Jean-Michel had the
first opportunity to open up. It was an excellent fight by the young Junior Champion, but Cabrera
was just too strong.
The Wild Man DeProphetis, whod saved his money to buy a sports car (though
supposedly hed neglected to get a drivers license) and who of course had cracked it up, was yet
smart enough to notice that Saive had played all his rounds on the same table and so had requested
a changewhich was granted.
Coming right off his loss to Cabrera, Saive was loose against undefeated DeProphetis, who
has a weak backhand but a superb forehand topspin, and with his youthful What have I got to lose
attitude? played the best match of his life and the most exciting of the tournament.
The few-hundred spectators were very enthusiastic over the many loop-to-loop and
multiple-lob points, but the local TV people were notthey shamelessly creeped ridiculously close
to the table, were in fact right next to the umpire rather than the flash-taking photographers who, just
behind, also seemed blinded to the seriousness of the play.
DeProphetis won the first merely by
serving and looping the first ball in. But Saive
turned the tables on him in the second, got his own
first ball in. Moreover, he improved his serve
return, so Remo couldnt just serve and attack.
Having built up a big second-game lead, young
Jean-Michel began vainly playing further and
further back from the table, favoring great arcing
lobs much to the spectators delight. But his
coaches wisely yelled, Stay at the table!which
finally he did and won the second close.
At the break before the third game, Saive
was again told in no uncertain terms to Stay at the
table!Also, when DeProphetis looped, he was to
go for a hard backhand down the line. This
Belgiums Jean-Michel Saive
strategy worked perfectly and Remo couldnt win,
From
Deutscher
Tischtennis Sport, Dec., 85;
either loop-to-loop or by looping the first ball to
Photo by Krol
Jean-Michels backhand.
When Saive won his last match easily, all that was left was DeProphetis vs. Cabrera. If
Remo won, then Jean-Michel would be the Champion, for Thierry would then have two losses, and
Jean-Michel, tied with Remo (each with one loss), would win on the head-to-head tie-breaker. But
Crazy Man DeProphetis was never really into itit just seemed he couldnt play hard for second.
And so Cabrara won this Mens Top 10and deservingly so, for hes Belgiums best. [Or at least
for a moment was. Later, at the Belgian Closed, DeProphetis would beat Cabrara for the
Championship.]
Womens Play
Barbara Lippens, World #44, whom Insook Bhushan beat 25-23 in the 3rd in a Team match
at the 83 Tokyo Worlds, was clearly the favorite in the Womens competitionthough just as the
Americans know how to play Eric Boggan, so les filles know how to play Lippens, and so the big
difference in the Womens international results did not wholly apply. Yettalk about seedings
unbelievably the finish to this Top 10 was as follows: #1 seed (9-0); #2 (8-1); #3 (7-2); #4 (6-3);
48

#5 (5-4); #6 (4-5); #7 (3-6); #8 (2-7); #9 (1-8); #10 (0-9). Still, watching the matches it was
difficult for me to be convinced that it all ended up as the ratings would have it.
Lippens, after posting game scores of 2 and 1, had only mild trouble with National Team
member Nathalie Higuet. [Later, at the Belgian Closed, Higuet would be runner-up to Lippens.] The
Championship came down to the last match between Lippens and Karien Bogaerts, a very talented,
hard-looping girl with (How did she get them?) Chinese strokes.
This final match seemed to be something of an internecine war because Bogaerts
apparently was Flemish-Belgian and Lippens French-speaking Belgian. Anyway, with the Frenchspeaking fans on one side of the hall, and the louder, more enthusiastic supporters of Bogaerts on
the other, it made for an interesting, spectator-involved final.
I just couldnt believe how fast this girl Bogaerts looped and killed. She refused to push a
ballnot one. Shed open with a backhand then send in the (if I may use the word) blitzkrieg.
After Ms. B had won the first, there seemed to be a lack of agreement between Father/
Coach Lippens and his daughter. But to me whatever they talked about just seemed useless if this
girl Bogaerts was on. Certainly her enthusiastic fans always had something to yell about because,
since Lippens never hit that first ball, their player was just stealing the show.
After his daughter had lost the first game, Father Lippens turned to me and said, This is not
Table Tennis, this is Ping Pongthats what Barbaras playing.
At 13-all in the second, you could see the always sweet, innocent, ready-to-cry face of
Lippens trying to bring back the bullet loops ofwell, put it this way: as a spectator told me, Boo
is not a girl, shes a boy.
But as Bogaerts just wouldnt drop a ball or push one, and as Lippens, like all winners, as
usual just hung in there and made fewer mistakes than her risky, shot-making opponent, guess who
won? Lippens of course.
At the completion of the match, this white-haired, eccentric father of hers stood up and
shouted, Bravo, Barbara! Bravo, Barbara! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!all the while clapping
furiously.
Loser Bogaerts understandably didnt appreciate this much and pointed to her head and
made a motion suggesting that the man was crazyan assessment her fans across the hall who were
booing him agreed with. But this eccentric man pursuing a just end in his own eyes was not
surprising to me and I knew hed never yield the fight. He threw those booing him the usual arm and
finger motion most universally known today.
Daughter Barbara tried to calm her father down a bit, half by quieting him, and half by
playing the father role herself, warning him to behave himself.
Said Ms. Lippens apologetically to me, My fatherhes crazy.
Hey, look, I said, I dont wanna hear your problem [as if perhaps he had enough of one
himself?].
Bundesliga Play
Engelbert Huging, who finished 5th in the annual German
Ranking Tournament (behind Bohm, Stellwag, Wosik, and Engel),
reports on the second-half season (1984) of 10-team Bundesliga
play (Timmys: Jan., 10; Feb.-Mar., 16; Apr., 8):
Again this year, as last, Eric Boggan came fighting back after his loss to Danny Seemiller in
the U.S. Closed. On returning to professional Bundesliga action, Eric led the League, had won all
49

six of his matchesdefeating such well-known players as George Bohm, the German National
Champion (World #37), Stellan Bengtsson (1971 World Champion and now World #26), HansJoachim Nolten (former German National Team member who beat Eric in their earlier Bundesliga
match this fall), Erik Lindh (World #13), and Milivoj Karakasevic (who, although he couldnt play
at the Tokyo Worlds, was, before then, World #42).
Early in this second half-season, Erics club, Bad Hamm, was assured of staying in the First
Division, for, though losing 9-3 to last half-seasons top team, Saarbrucken, they defeated Bremen
9-7 [see Ben Nisbets description of that tie that follows] and Herbornseelbach, 9-7. As play
proceeded through the next six rounds, Hamm defeated Reutlingen, 9-3, and tied with
Heusenstamm and Julich, 8-8.
History was made in this years Bundesliga
season. For the first time ever, two teams
Saarbrucken and
VS.
Dusseldorffinished tied.
Going into the
10th and last tie,
Saarbrucken was two
points ahead of Dusseldorf. But such a surprise was coming that the
4,000 spectators in the hall, along with those watching on Program 3
TV, couldnt believe it when Dusseldorf won the first five matches.
Dusseldorfs #1 Desmond Douglas played brilliantly to beat Stellan
Bengtsson and George Bohm.
Poor Bengtsson. While he was sitting in the changing room
preparing for this important tie, Saarbrucken owner Rebmann was
introducing Jan-Ove Waldner as his next years new #1. [Not exactly
Swedens 1971 World Cham- calculated to bring out the best in Bengtsson, huh?] The 4,000 spectators
pion Stellan Bengtsson
clapped, but nobody whistled [in agreement?/in disagreement?]. Maybe if
Bengtsson cant play for Saarbrucken, hell be their trainer?
It pleases me, since Ive always
wanted to bring illuminationthe real
world of Table Tennisto U.S.
readers, that now, with more diverse
help, Im able to present more and
more articles on professional players
for whom the Sport is a way of life.
Heres Ben Nisbets Spectator at a
Bundesliga Tie article (Timmys, Feb.Mar., 1984, 16):

Ben Nisbet

Two weeks ago I was sitting in the airport terminal in Icelandon my way to Hamm,
Germany to visit Bundesliger Eric Boggan for a weekafter which I would be on my way to
Vienna, where Id be going to school for a semester. [Ben, an American citizen born in England,
does get around.] It was 10 a.m., and about 10 degrees outside in the pitch-black darkness of a
howling snowstorm. I took a second look at my plane ticket to make sure I read New York-Koln
and not New York-Iceland.
50

I got to Germany o.k., though, and for the next few days Id be doing what most Germans
dowhich is to drink this fantastic beer and eat weinerschnitzel at the local gasthaus.
I also got the opportunity to play at one of the tischtennis halls in Hamm, where they had 10
beautiful Joola tables. I noticed immediately that the Game is quite different here from that in the
States because of the outstanding playing conditions. For example, defensive shots, like a quick
chisel to the forehand or a random block to the corner, arent anywhere nearly as effective as they
would be in the U.S. Any defensive winner here has to be scored decisively, whereas in America
one sometimes falls into the sloppy habit merely of keeping the ball in play, hoping by playing
conservatively to get the occasional advantage of a skidder or bad bounce ball. Here there was
much better ball control than what I was used to, even among the weaker players. There were far
fewer bad pointsballs whiffed or hit on the edge of the racket. In Germany, much more so than in
the U.S., its deemed important for the player to gain control of the ball and make decisive shots.
On the way to Bremen (this particular week when I was visiting Eric, his Hamm team had
an away from home tie), I got my first look at, my first feel of, the Autobahn, where speed- limit
signs dont exist. To say we made good time is an understatement.
The Hamm-Bremen tie was held at a university that looked much like a modern U.S.
school. In the gym stood two brand new Butterfly tables with Stiga nets. Surrounding these tables
were barriers with advertisements on them. On one side of the gym lay the bleachers, which could
hold 700 or more people. When Eric and I arrived there wasnt a soul in the stands.But at 7:00
p.m. the first spectators began to arrive, and by 7:30 there were at least 400 people there.
The tie began with two simultaneously played doubles matches. Even though I didnt think
these matches were particularly interesting, the home-crowd sure appreciated them, clapping each
time Bremen scored a point.
It was an hour into the tie before the first two interesting matches were played. Table #1
featured Hamm #2 Bernd Sonntag (#21 in Germany) vs. Bremen #1 Erik Lindh, a tall, quite thin but
handsome Swedish kid (who was World #13). This, as it turned out, was a classic match between
two spinners. Lindh, whose return of serve is the best Ive ever seen, was too overpowering for
Sonntag. Erik played right up at the table and looped balls right past Bernd with amazing
consistency and smoothness. Lindh didnt really seem to have strokeshe was able to do so much
just with his wrists. Sonntag, despite being very quick, and always on top of the ball, was never in
the match.
Table #2 featured Eric Boggan (World #18) vs. Bremen #2 Hans Joachim Hajo Nolten (a
former German National Team member) now not as good as he was, who likes to play against antispin. In their earlier meeting, Hajo had beaten Eric.
This was an important match for Eric, for he was looking to square things with Nolten and
to establish himself as an outstanding #1 man. In the first game both players were tight. Eric was
tentative on his forehand and rushing his backhand jab-kill that is so effective when hes hot. Nolten,
who when hes consistent can be something of a near-great player, enjoyed a 12-8 lead, but then he
became erratic and Eric took the first game.
In the second, Hajo got his game together and with power loops and forehand smashes
started to overpower Eric. But Eric was often playing well too and there were some great points.
The crowd loved the competition and was very excited. Each time Eric lost a point they would clap
and stomp their feet, so as to practically shake the gym. Eric began to get tentative and step back
from the tableonly to see Hajos lead widen. Down by five, Eric realized that he couldnt go
back, that he had to stay at the table and challenge Noltens power. He gained some ground. From
19-16 Nolten, five long world-class points were playedand when they were over Eric had rallied
51

from 20-17 down to deuce it up. Then from 21-all Eric was just tougher, was able to stonewall
down Hajos power loops. When Eric realized the match was over, he yelled out an American
Yeah! and ran around the court to shake Noltens hand. The crowd was silentexcept for the
seven fans rooting for Hamm, who cheered enthusiastically.

Bremens Erik Lindh


(Stiga Ad)

Bad Hamms Eric Boggan


Photo by Robert Compton

The best match of the tie was Eric vs. Erik. The American seemed to surprise the Swede,
seemed more mentally prepared. Eric jumped off to an 11-3 lead and was taking his time between
each point, which seemed to frustrate Lindh, whose natural rhythm is to play quickly. There were
some exceptional pointsand Erik was absolutely cat-like in getting to every one of Erics
backhand kills. When Eric was up 1-0 and 13-7 in the second, I thought he was gonna run away
with the match. But just then I heard someone say that Lindh was one of the worlds better players
(hes currently #3 in Europe) and that this match by no means could be considered over.
Sure enough, Erik got control of himself and the ball and soon his deceptively directed loops
were finding the open table with deadly accuracy. Erics quick hands got him some points, but each
time he scored he was lucky. Down 19-16, Lindh played three marvelous points. No wonder the
crowd was going crazythose points were the best Ive seen in a long time. At 19-all, Eric, whod
not opened up once the whole match with a forehand loop, gave Erik a wicked hook serve and
followed with a bullet loop-kill that went right past Lindhs forehand. The crowd was silentthey
were anxious of course for their Erik to deuce it. Eric took his time walking up to the table, then he
served and Lindh returned it short to Erics backhand. But Eric had anticipated the return and was
waiting for ithe smashed a backhand follow that lasered under Lindhs forehand for the match.
What a classic way to finishwith two decisive 3rd-ball winners.
The crowd turned their heads and began to watch the final points of the Sonntag-Nolten match.
These were two rather even 2500 attackers, but today Bernds great serves and superior short game,
followed by quick loops to the corners, took away Noltens power game, and Sonntag won two straight.
Hamm now had 8 points and needed only 1 more to clinch the upset victory. But it took
them four matches to do it. Indeed, they had some anxious moments in the fourth doubles match
before the Hamm team of Mattias Horing and Andreas Preuss prevailed in the third to secure the
victory. This was a big win for Erics team, for it insured their next years place in the Championship
Division of the Bundesliga.
52

After the showers, it was time for us to jump onto the Autobahn home. The ride was made
much shorter with a happy Eric at the wheel, controlling both his tape deck and his consistent 100
mph speed. Soon it was time to go to the local gasthaus to celebrate the victory by eating goulash
soup and drinking that unbelievable German beer.
European League: Czechs win; French Demoted
In the European League, each tie consists of seven matches: five
singles (including one womens match), one mens doubles, and one
mixed doubles). Each of the eight teams plays every other team both at home and away in yearly
alternating locations. In this years Super Division, there were big swings in the last round played in
Poland. The Czechs secured victory with a 4-3 finish, while Yugoslavia, whod been leading, lost to
Hungary 4-3 and so came second.
The French team played the whole season without
Secretinso perhaps not surprisingly they fell (in the format of
relegation and advancement) to the First Division. (Is it vanity or,
just the reverse, an inferiority complex, that makes the Europeans
call this second level of play the First Division?)
Its strange that
Swedenwith Waldner, Appelgren, and Lindhdidnt win
the Championship. But in the last year Czechoslovakia,
without any ponger having to depend on Orlowski and
Dvoracek, has become a very good team. Pansky came
second in the last European Top 12, and the Broda
brothers, especially Vladimir, are also ever threatening. The
Czechs are thus a good mixture of young and old players, and
it could be that they have a chance to win the European
Championship in Moscow thisApril.
Results: 1. Czechoslovakia. 2. Yugoslavia. 3.
Sweden. 4. Poland. 5. England. 6. Hungary. 7. W.
Germany. 8. France (demoted after last years
advancement from the First Division).
Czech stalwart Jindrich Pansky

An American in Paris
The fall of the French allows me
to stretch a segue all the way to Paris
by way of New York aficionado Shazzi
Felstein (Timmys, Feb.-Mar. , 1984,
7). Ill let her tell you about her visit
there:

Three weeks in Paris, the City of Lights, my favorite city,


and of course all you readers know what I pack firstmy table
tennis gear. I had spent a lot of time in Paris years before, could still
speak some French, had played at the USEG table tennis club,
where one of the officials, a Monsieur Joseph Felstein, had
speculated he was a distant cousin and made me welcome. On this
53

New Yorks Shazzi Felstein

visit, I didnt see Mr. Felstein, but I was once again invited to play there. USEG is part of the
Electric and Gas Unions sports network, and is a determinedly non-elitist club for workers. There
are 6 or 7 tables, and decent conditions. Id say that all of the players there are under 2000, the
women under 1700. As in all of the French clubs I know of, their best players compete in league
matches which are considered quite important. Just like on my former visits here, I was cordially
invited to play on the womens team if I were going to be staying in Paris.
Another club I played at on this visit
was Kremlin-Bicetre (no relation to Russia
its named after the neighborhood). This club
is quite a contrast to USEG, as it is very
elitist. Top players (including #1 Jacques
Secretin) play here. I believe it is one of the
strongest clubs in France. It seemed to be run
by Vincent Purkart, Secretins partner in
those famous table tennis exhibitions. The club has regular
training sessions for different groups of players. For instance,
Wednesday evenings are for women only, with one of the top
10 women players in France, Chantal Lavacherie, coaching.
Vincent Purkart
The conditions here are terrific, with glowing wooden floors that
would look great in my living room. Although philosophically I approved of the spirit of the USEG
workers club, I must admit that Kremlin-Bicetre was better for my game.
Another table tennis place I visited in Paris was Mr.
Machomets table tennis emporium on the Rue du Faubourg
Poissoniere, near Sare Coeur. He is a former top table tennis
player, multilingual and friendly. He seemed to know everyone in
table tennis including New Yorks Doug Cartland and other
mutual acquaintances. He has a very large store full of table
tennis equipment. I was there on a Saturday. When he saw me
reading a notice for a table tennis tournament that same
weekend in Ponthierry, a town about 25 miles from Paris, he
asked if I would like to play in it. But wasnt it too late? I said.
No, not at all. The Juniors played on Saturday, all adult events
took place on Sunday. He swept away my doubts, assured me
that if I wanted to play he would get me in. Several phone calls
later, he gave me the name and phone number of the man who
Doug Cartland
would pick me up at the train station in Ponthierry and drive me
to the tournament.
The next day, after wrestling with the suburban train system, I arrived in Pointhierry. I was
met at the station, welcomed and introduced to the best women players there, who were all very
nice to me. This tournament fascinated me, as I had never seen anything like it. There were almost
500 entrants in a regional tournament played on over 40 tables, without any top players present
(except one woman), and no money but lots of trophies for first and second place finishers only.
When I asked the women what first prize for Womens Singles was, they told me it was a vacuum
cleaner. I laughed so hard I was afraid they might take offense, but they just looked puzzled.
Conditions were not so hot, and the noise level was very high, but the participants all seemed to
really be enjoying themselves.
54

All of the events were played in round robin brackets, best 2 out of 3 games. I played in a
rating-type event in addition to the Womens Singles. I beat the other three players in my rating
group (one of them deuce in the 3rd) and advanced to single elimination play, where I soon lost. The
format of the Womens Singles was a little different. There were 32 women, in 8 groups of four. We
were driven over to play the Womens round robins at the regular Pointhierry table tennis club, a
facility with eight good tables, good lighting, good wood floors, and enough room to play. And
Pointhierry is a small town! Two women would advance from each group to single elimination play
where the first round would match the 8 group winners against the 8 second-place finishers.
I was seeded first in my group and had no difficulty beating the other three players (one was
almost a beginner; the other two not bad). I kept trying to watch a Chinese girl living and studying in
France. La Chinoise, as she was known by one and all, was far and away the best woman player
there, and was expected to win easily. After the round robins we returned to the main hall. My next
match was against the #2 finisher from another group, so I was once again the better player and I
advanced to the quarters.
I was afraid this might be the end of the line for me, as my quarter-final opponent was
supposed to be pretty good and I wasnt playing too well. However, she seemed totally cold and
unable to get going, and I advanced to the semis with no trouble (11, 11). This gave me great
satisfaction as Mr. Machomet had told me that the officials thought there were at least 5 or 6
women there clearly better than me [including the one you soon lost to in the rating event?]
Unfortunately, my next opponent was La Chinoise.
The tournament director was delighted with this turn of events. An international match! Quel
bon spectacle for the hundreds of people there. I tried to explain to him that it was going to be a
lousy spectacle because I was going to get killed, but he just laughed off my objections and set us
up as the central attraction. The best thing about this match was how fast it ended. Every time she
gave me her funny pips-out backhand I popped it up and she killed it. I felt so bad about not
providing a better show for the spectators that I was reduced to making jokes to the onlookers
throughout the match, trying to provide some entertainment. These seemed to go over pretty well,
but for all I know they might have been laughing at my French instead of my jokes.
Relieved that the match was over, I sat down to watch La Chinoise play the final against the
#2 woman there, a French player named Schultz who I believe is just below the Top 10. La
Chinoise killed her the first game as badly as she had beaten me. So, yes, I agreed with the nice
ladys assessment sitting next to methat did indeed me console. La Chinoise speedily won, and
presumably collected her vacuum cleaner before departing.
As for me, I was told that I had come in third, and offered my choice of a large baseboard
radiator or an equally large heater and fan thing. When I asked if there was anything smaller I might
take, they offered me my choice of 5th-to 8th-place prizes, all electronic appliances like hair dryers.
When I said I would really like something small, light and non-electronic to carry back to New York
on the plane, they finally came up with a much smaller prize, a small calculator and pen set that I
was very pleased with. They offered it to me really reluctantly, with a thousand apologies, because it
wasnt a proper prize for me. They said if they had known that there would be an American there in
contention for a prize, they would have made sure to have something more suitable. (A framed
picture of President Reagan ? my cousin suggested.) They really were very, very nice. They hoped
that I had enjoyed myself, and I assured them that I had.
There was another table tennis event that I attended while I was in Paris, one impossible to
imagine taking place in the United States. This was a table tennis Pro-Am. It was the 7th Annual
Tournament of Gentlemen, talking place at Pierre de Coubertin Stadium, to benefit cancer research.
55

Reading the Program before things got underway, I learned


that the table tennis participants consisted of 12 top French
players, including such stars as Secretin, Claude Bergeret,
and Brigitta Thiriet, four top Chinese players who had come
for a large European tournament that weekLi Huifen, Jiao
Zhimin, Cheng Yinghua, and Chen Longcanand a whole
slew of French celebrities.
There were two main
events, both single elimination. One
was a singles for the Amateurs
called the Guestswho played
one 21-point game. The other
event was a doubles, each team
consisting of one champion and
one guest. A single 31-point game
would be played as follows:
Claude Bergeret, 1977 World Mixed
doubles to 10 points, champion vs.
Doubles Champion (with Secretin)
champion to 20, guest vs. guest to
From Tennis de Table, Apr., 83
31. I was sitting next to one of the
French women from the Pointhierry tournament, and we were speculating
Yannick Noah
From 83 Tennis de Table
as to whether the Chinese would play doubles. We both found it hard to
imagine. We were interrupted by a tremendous, prolonged burst of
applause and cheering. What or who had brought that on? Yannick Noah, French tennis star and
one of the guests, had arrived. Since becoming the first Frenchman in many years to win the
French Open last spring, he had become a real super-hero here in France.
Play finally got underway with the first round of the Guest singles. Watching Noah, I was
impressed with his big forehand topspin shot (excellent formhe looked like a table tennis player),
and I picked him to win. When the doubles started, sure enough, the Chinese were playing.
Everyone watched the match on the central table, which was Noah and a Chinese woman against a
French comedian, Michel Lebb, and a Chinese man. The organizers had obviously arranged things
in advance with Lebb to make this a sort of exhibition match. Lebb was truly, truly funny. From the
first point on, he was doing funny things to his partner and performing in a way that had everyone
laughing hysterically. I was staring at the faces of the Chinese players and coach, trying to figure out
if they had been expecting this and what they thought of it, but I couldnt tell.
Then, every time Lebb missed a point, he started jabbering in imitation pidgin-Chinese.
Although I wasnt sure it was in good taste, he was so funny that I couldnt help laughing with
everyone else. Now I was really looking at the Chinese players faces trying to guess their reactions,
but I simply couldnt tell. I did see the male Chinese player smile once, but otherwise the two
Chinese played this match absolutely seriously, while Lebb carried on and the audience roared. This
match will remain forever in my memory as one of the all-time great oddities of table tennis.
As the singles were played, Noah kept winning, to great applause. There were about a halfdozen guests who could play fairly decently. Some of them play in this tournament every year,
although it was Noahs first appearance. Noah did have some trouble with some of his opponents,
including the chopper he played in the quarters. The chopper was a very distinguished-looking
older gentleman who wore long white trousers. A long-sleeved dressy white shirt, and a white tennis
sweater (in a hot hall!). He made a great contrast to the other guests who wore matching bright
56

yellow shirts with either playing shorts, warm-up pants, or dungarees. The chopper must have taken
the title Tournament of Gentlemen seriously.
I dont recall who won the doubles, but you couldnt miss the Guest singles final. Noah
finally prevailed in a deuce game that had more audience involvement than the finals of most major
tournaments Ive seen. There were thousands of spectators, and they all seemed to be screaming
for Noah. Didnt his opponent have any relatives there? Noah has referred to the immense pressure
hes been under in tennis since winning the French Opendue of course to the adulation and the
great expectations of the French people. If this totally non-serious table tennis event was a sample, it
must be really rough for him to play tennis. The crowd really wanted him to win, and seemed to
expect him to win, even though he had some close competition.
Noah was interviewed after his win. If my French held up, I believe he said that he had a
table tennis table at home and had practiced every night. I would guess that his USTTA rating would
be very low right now, but give him some serious training and I have no doubt he could get very,
very good. Of course hed have to be crazy to give up the material rewards of tennis for table
tennis. Still, he lives in Soho now, which makes him a neighbor of the New York City Club in
Chinatown. Maybe hed like to drop in some time?
Since the program
was running late, I had to skip
the Secretin-Purkart
exhibition that was to end the
evening. This act is famous
around the table tennis world.
I once saw a shortened
version of it at a U.S. Open
on Long Island, and I would
have loved to see it again, but
the buses and subways in
Paris stop running at 1:00
a.m., and I just had time to
sprint to the nearest Metro
Purkart/Secretin Exhibition
stop and catch the last train.
Some of the players at USEG told me about a tournament coming up that weekend that
they assured me I would enjoy playing in. I was supposed to return to New York that Saturday
night, but instead I could exchange my return ticket for one a week later at no extra charge. I was
seriously tempted to stay, for I was having a lovely time and I was dying to play in another French
tournament, but I finally decided that I really had to leave. So I said goodbye to Paris and the
French table tennis scene and came home to New York, knowing that one day I would return again.
SELECTED NOTES.
*D.M. Gunn, after having read table tennis articles by Tim, Scott, and Eric Boggan, now on
seeing the writers name C.S. Boggan (Timmys, May, 1984, 15), was prompted to respond, I
am dismayed to note that there is yet another Boggan in the writing game. Who he?
Editor Tim responded, C.S. Boggan is Christopher Scott Boggan, which, I guess for the hell
of it, is the way he signed the article. Comes from Christ-bearer and F. Scott Fitzgeraldmy idea
of course. In years to come, Scott will be known to many as Chris.
Now, uh, Don, what the M for? Never mindIm not dismayed.
57

Chapter Four
1984: Americans AbroadPart II: Danny Seemiller Wins Third Western Japan Open.
1984: Gary Calkins Experiences in Japan. 1984: Eric Boggan, Engelbert Huging, and
Japans Norio Takashima among those playing in an Invitational in Rio de JaneiroHuging
Interviews Takashima.
Heres Butterflys Dick Yamaoka (SPIN, Apr., 1984, cover+) to
tell us about the 1984 Western Japan Open:
The tournament was held at the City Gymnasium of Yanai, Japan,
Feb. 18-19. Over 1,600 entries participated during the two-day play.
Yanai, a small city of 30,000, is
obviously a table tennis town. The citys
Mayor, Mr. Shiraji, was the Honorary
Tournament Director and he was in the hall
Dick Yamaoka
throughout the competition. However, the
real reason table tennis is so popular in
Yanai is because it is the birthplace of Mr. Hikosuke Tamasu,
President of the Tamasu Company of Tokyo (Butterfly).
It was the 47th Western Japan Open and Mr. Tamasu has
participated in all of them as either a player or as an official. It was
Mr. Tamasus decision to invite Danny Seemiller to the tournament
five years ago to give a boost to the competition. Since then the
Butterflys Hikosuke Tamasu
tournament has grown steadily and considerably. This year there
were entries from four foreign countries. Besides the USA, players came from Brazil, South Korea,
and Chinese Taipei, a new member of the ITTF.
This year the Western Open received a considerable amount of attention. It was the very
first tournament held in Japan in which the new two-color racket rule and new service rules were
enforced. It was also the first tournament in Japan that the
Chinese Taipei team participated in since becoming an ITTF
member. Newspapers gave good coverage producing excellent
publicity for the event.
A press conference for the foreign players was held the
day prior to the competition, but we arrived two days before.
A small town nearby wanted Danny Seemiller to visit, so we
went thereand were greeted by 40 children 7-12 years old.
Danny obliged them with a coaching clinic, then when he
played with each of them he quickly became their hero. They
all got his autograph and I could feel the excitement among
them. They said they wanted him to win the tournament, and
Danny commented to me: You know, I just cant let them
down. I have to win. I think their support definitely helped him.
In order for so many matches to be played, all of them
had to be the best of three. All doubles were played the first
Japans 1967 World Champion
day. Dannys partner was former World Champion Hasegawa
Nobuhiko Hasegawa
58

and they breezed through to the final. There they met Miyazaki and Murakami, both penholder
flippers. Miyazaki is one of the best players in Japan, having reached the quarterfinals in Japans
National Championships just two months before this Western Open. He and his partner flip their
paddles very well. Danny, of course, is very familiar with flipping, but it was a little different for
Hasegawa because paddle-flipping became popular after he had retired.
Still, he is a great player who can read the plays and change strategy at will. Though he
knows in his mind how to cope with flippers, his body reactions do not quite follow his intention.
Before the match Danny told Hasegawa to serve long when he saw a receiver using the anti side.
This worked fine in the beginning, but the Japanese twosome became aware of the strategy and
began flipping the racket at the last moment to return the serves. The Miyazaki/Murakami team
played magnificently and won the match.
The level of play was the highest it had ever been. In Mens Singles, there were two whod
been quarterfinalists in the Japan Nationals, four players from Chinese Taipei, and two juniors from
Korea. The latter two played like experienced National players rather than developing juniors.
Ordinarily it would be only in the last few matches that Danny would be challenged. Not this
year. In the fourth round he played Hamanaka, a chopper. Since Danny plays well against chop, you
would think it would be an easy match for him. Wrong. In addition to steady defense, Hamanaka
attacks well. When Danny lifted a ball softly, Hamanaka was there to kill it. He has a fast high-toss
serve in which he can change spin and placement, and when the ball came back a little high he killed
it with amazing consistency. You know that Seemiller does not like high-toss serves and Hamanakas
style appeared to be perfect against him. Danny tried to overpower Hamanaka in the first game but
lost at deuce.
At the start of the second game, Hamanaka was playing flawlessly and established an 8-1
lead. It appeared as though Seemiller would be knocked out of the tournament. But then Danny
changed his strategy. He started to handle each shot with care, rolled low and short to the sharp
angles, and when the shot was difficult he made sure he got the ball on the table instead of hitting it
harder. Most of the time Danny kept Hamanaka constantly moving, thus keeping him from making
effective shots. When Hamanaka hit, Danny managed to return the ball calmly and surely.
Hamanaka won but four points the rest of the game. Danny continued with the same strategy and
won the third easily. This was the first crisis he overcame in the tournament.
Dannys next match was no easier. Taipeis Chu Chung Young has a good backhand block
and a powerful forehand attack. He always stayed close to the table and when he had the
opportunity to hit, he hit hard. He appeared to hit the ball with all his strength and Danny could not
block effectively. From the start, he had to fight hard to win in two close games.
In the quarterfinals, Seemiller had to play Yamamoto, a penholder. He is a tall, lean player
who has excellent footwork. Dannys favorite strategy against an offensive player is to serve a ball
medium-short, just long enough to tempt him to hit, but short enough so as to not be hit really hard.
When the ball is hit, Danny blocks it back quickly to develop a rally in his favor. Danny uses this
strategy for the return of service also. It didnt work so well against this opponent.
Seemillers medium-short serves were not short enough and they were attacked. When
Yamamoto served, he often killed Dannys supposed-to-be-medium-short pushes. He attacked
Dannys forehand with heavy topspin. His game plan was crystal clear. He wanted to attack first
and he wanted to exchange topspin rallies. To stay in the point, Danny withdrew from the table a
little which reduced the effectiveness of his blocking. Dannys blocks were reaching his opponent a
fraction of a second too late and Yamamoto was able to attack them. By playing his opponents
game, Danny lost the first at 19.
59

You know Danny is a thinking player. His game plan is based on how not to let his
opponents play their own style. He changes spin and places the ball all over the table short and long.
This is his strong point but at the same time it can be his weakness. His carefulness sometimes
makes his play passive and this was exactly what happened in the first game.
In the second game, he concentrated on taking the offense first. He made adjustments and
his medium-short shots really became medium-short. He never left the table, blocked quicker with
sharper angles, and kept his opponent off balance. He won the second game 21-8 and the third just
as easily.
Playing ones own game, and not letting your opponent play his game, sounds the same, but
it is certainly not. Danny confirmed the difference in this match and it was the one he had to win to
win the tournament. Sure, he might have won this match playing the same way as his competitor, but
he could not win the remaining matches that way. It was a classic example of winning against
yourself in order to win the match.
In the semifinal, Seemiller played Miyazaki, a
powerful player. But Danny played a near perfect match
against him. Danny always stayed close to the table,
blocked with sharp angles, forced Miyazaki to move a
lot, and attacked his backhand whenever possible.
Miyazaki tried to exchange topspin rallies, but Danny
broke the play by dropping short with his anti. Miyazaki
was forced to come into the table a great distance just
to reach the short shots. To keep up with the pace
change Miyazaki had to stay closer to the table but he
couldnt cope with a fast exchange game as
well. Danny won the match in two games,
although the contest was closer than the (12,
18) scores would indicate.
Japans Miyazaki
In
From Butterfly TT Report
the
other semifinal, Yoo Nam Kyu of Korea defeated Nagase
who had beaten Hasegawa in the quarters. Nagase was a
quarterfinalist in the Japan Nationals and is a penhold flipper.
That set up the final between Danny and 15-yearold Yoo, a lefty penholder. Dont let his age fool you. He
is the strongest 15-year-old I have ever seen. [Yoo Nam
Kyu will go on in 1988 to be the first Olympic Mens
Singles Table Tennis Champion and, as I write, he was the
Coach of the South Korea Mens Team at the 2012
World Championships.] They say he practices seven
hours a day and his play proved that statement.
Yoo is shorter than Danny. He serves and returns
serve batter than Danny. He hits more, moves faster, and
Japans Nagase
his backhand attack is also better. However, Danny has a
From Butterfly TT Report
better block, a combination racket, and much more
experience. In order to win, Danny had to use his block effectively.
60

When Yoo
hit a short ball it
was nearly
impossible to
block because of
the sharp angle
and short reaction time. Dannys game plan was
to return service by pushing long to both corners
and be right at the table prepared for the return
shot. Yoo would move and hit hard. Danny was
to block it back quickly to the opposite corner
and take the offense on the next ball. When
attacking, Danny was to go to the forehand
Danny Seemiller wins
corner first, making Yoo move as far to his
Western Japan
Championships
forehand as possible. Then Dan would return it
From Butterfly
to Yoos backhand and continue the attack there.
TT Report
Seemiller has serve in the first game and he
opens with a short one. Yoo returns it to Dannys
backhand and Danny pushes deep to Yoos
backhand corner. Yoo moved fast and hit it hard
down the line (since Yoos a lefty too, thats the
forehand line). It just missed the table. That shot
made Danny a cautious player again and he failed
to go with his original strategy. He was placing the ball
so it would not be hit hard. Dans returns were all short,
which was a relatively safe tactic because Yoo himself is
short. With the score 18-17 in favor of Danny, Yoo had
service, and he opted for high-tosses.
Unless attacking, you should know that a high-toss
must be pushed back
softly (with touch), at
least if its long. But
Yoos serves were
short and often dead.
When Danny
returned this
particular serve short,
Yoo killed it18-all.
Then came another
high-toss and
successful kill. Yoo
won four straight
points and the first
game with this
strategy.

Yoo Nam Kyu on the attack


Photo by Mal Anderson

61

Time for Danny to go with the basic plan. He pushed Yoos serves long and was ready for
the return shot. Danny quickly jumped off to an 8-0 lead and won the game at 12. In this game he
didnt use a short push at all. In the deciding game, he used short and long balls effectively and won
the match and title handily.
Danny won the tournament by winning eight matches, but his victory did not come easily. I
have never seen him challenged so hard and so often as he was in this tournament. He was in
serious trouble many times and each time he came out of it, helped by enthusiastic support from the
spectators. His help came from a group of youngsters who cheered for him throughout the
tournament. When he won a match, he jumped in the air a couple of times. Then he would wave his
hand to the crowd as if he were thanking them for their support. He had to win the tournament for
them also.
After the match, a crowd gathered around him, most of them asking for his autograph. I
used the word most because there was a group who came not for his autograph but to express
their appreciation. Some of them asked me how to say omedetoh in English. Congratulations, I
said. They went to Danny with outstretched hands and said, Kon-gra-ur-rashon. Danny
recognized them instantly. They were the youngsters whom he met three days ago and who pulled
for him feverishly during the tournament.
Thank you, Danny said as he smilingly shook hands with each of them. That was the
happiest, most satisfied Danny I have ever seen.
If you ask any of the spectators to name a player who symbolically represents the Western
Japan Open, the immediate answer would be Danny Seemiller. Since he first came to Yanai in 1979,
Danny has become very popular with the residents. There is good reason for this too. He has
played 12 events (singles and doubles) in six tournaments and he reached the finals every time. He
won the singles three times and the doubles four times. Like the Canadian National Exhibition, the
Western Japan Open has become Dannys tournament. His performance this year makes it certain
that he will return to Yanai to defend his title in 1985.
Outstanding Womens Results: Singles:
Japans Wada
Final:
Choi Yoon Hee (Republic of Korea) d.
Photo by Mal
Anderson
Lin Li Zu (Chinese Taipei), 20, 13. Best Semis:
Choi d. Yamashita (Japan), 20, -17, 21. Best
Quarters: Lin d. Nohira (Japan). Womens
Doubles: Choi/Lee (ROK) d. Imanishi/Wada
(Japan), 24-22 in the 3rd, then d. Lin/Chang
(Chinese/Taipei).
SPIN (Apr., 1984, 9) Interviews Danny
Seemiller
SPIN: How do tournaments in Japan
differ from the U.S.?
DANNY: The Japanese limit their events.
The Western Japan Open had only seven eventsthe big five, plus Seniors (Over 35) and Juniors.
SPIN: With over 1600 entries at this Open they dont have much choice but to limit the
events, right?
DANNY: True, but thats why they can accommodate so many players. Of course with the
big draw theyre forced to play two out of three and run the matches non-stop. Using 56 tables
makes it work.
62

SPIN: Does two out of three and constant play bother you?
DANNY: Not really, because Ive gotten used to it. You just have to be ready to play tough
from the beginning and its very important to conserve your energy because theyre so many rounds
to play. And theres no conning the control desk out of 10 or 15 minutes rest. You have to play
when called.
SPIN: Was the tournament time-scheduled?
DANNY: Yes, and their system is unique. Every match has a number. At the control desk
theres a huge board where the numbers are posted. By looking at the board its possible to tell
exactly when your match is coming up. This is my sixth time playing in these Championships, and I
have never seen a more efficient system.
SPIN: Dick Yamaokas cover story relates the difficulties you had winning this time,
especially against Hamanaka the chopper. Why was he so tough?
DANNY: Well, hes a real defensive player.
SPIN: Meaning what?
DANNY: Meaning defense is only part of his game. He can play strong offense and hes got
great serves. Many choppers, especially in America, concentrate only on retrieving the ball. If they
would also incorporate a loop or hit in their game, plus a third-ball attack, they would be much
more formidable opponents. After all, a 1900 looper can challenge a 2100 chopper if the chopper
always lets the looper open.
SPIN: Back to Hamanaka. What did he do in the first game to succeed?
DANNY: I mainly lost because I couldnt receive his wicked backhand high toss. Then I
started the second game nervously and was quickly down 8-1. At that point I went for my towel
and tried to get my head together. I told myself two things: one, stop the nervous play, theres no
need for it; and, two, its still a long way to 21 so hell have to earn the victory. I battled back to 105 and then ran 10 straight on him. I knew he was finished.
SPIN: Hamanka was just the beginning of your troubles, right?
DANNY: Yes, but theres nothing unusual about that. This was a strong draw and the
players were gunning for me. Im in that position often, so I think it makes me tougher.
SPIN: You got a lot of vocal support. Did that really make a difference?
DANNY: Definitely. But some of my opponents also got support. In my quarterfinal match
against Yamamoto, who is sponsored by the Wakayama Sogin Bank, there were about 100 bank
employees cheering him on every point he won. But my group of kids did the same thing and it
made me feel good.
SPIN: Still, you seem to get caught in precarious situations. And yet you continually get out
of trouble. How do you do that so often?
DANNY: Im not always sure exactly how I do it. Its really a combination of several
factors. Ive got a lot of experience; I normally dont get nervous, and Im too busy thinking about
strategy instead of the score. (Thats one reason, by the way, that good players appreciate umpires.)
SPIN: Why do you say you normally dont get nervous?
DANNY: Well, everyone gets nervous from time to time. You have to recognize that, but
you cant let it bother you. You must stay in control even when youre nervous. Perhaps thats why
Im so successful at the end of the matches.
SPIN: Yamaoka talks about strategy a lot in his article. Can you give SPINs readers some
specific examples from your point of view? Like against Miyazaki?
DANNY: Miyazaki (Japan #7) recently beat Takashima in the Japanese Nationals. He has
excellent power, but is a little slow with his footwork. My main strategy against him was to start him
63

wide to the forehand and then block short with the anti to his backhand. This strategy worked
perfectly and I won easily.
SPIN: What about in the final against the young left-handed Korean, Yoo Nam Kyu?
DANNY: Im usually a bit nervous against other lefties because they can attack my wide
forehand easier than righties. But my rooting section dispelled some of that nervousness when they
encouraged me with a Danny cheer at the onset of the first game. I used short-ball tactics and tried
to force my loop every time. I always led by two until 18-17. At this stage I was receiving serve and
played four consecutive weak returns, which he scored off of to take the first game.
SPIN: Did you decide to change your tactics as you switched ends?
DANNY: Completely. No more short balls, only long ones, and I would block quickly to
his wide forehand. It worked perfectly for me as I had him continually off balance. From an 8-0
start, I went to 10-1.
SPIN: Same tactics for the third?
DANNY: Basically, I wanted to play defensive blocking when receiving and force my loop when
serving. Third game score was 7-all, then 19-7 for me. I was really happy at this point because I KNEW
it was over. The crowd was cheering so I gave them a victory dance. Everybody laughed. Meanwhile,
the Korean had been toweling off and he seemed a bit bewildered by my show of emotion.
SPIN: We Americans are very familiar with such an enthusiastic outburst from you. Do you
think its justified?
DANNY: Why not? As I told my coach, Dick Yamaoka, you never know when or if you
will win a major tournament again, so I show emotion when I feel good about my play. The
Japanese spectators certainly seemed to appreciate it.
SPIN: Its probably safe to say that Americans do too. Congratulations on your fine
performance and thanks for discussing your strategy and experience in Japan.
Hungarys Berczik to the Butterfly Dohjo
Croatias Zdenko Uzorinac tells us that the famous Hungarian
Coach and former European Mens Singles Champion Zoltan Berczik
has gone to Tokyo (accompanied by his family) to be a Visiting
Lecturer at the new Butterfly Dohjo Training Center. Perhaps later he
will be a leading representative of Butterfly in Europe.
As everyone knows, Zoli was a successful coach for many years,
and under his tutelage the celebrated trio of Jonyer, Klampar, and
Gergely won the Mens Team title at the 79 Pyongyang, North Korea
World Championships. Earlier, under Bercziks coaching, Jonyer had
captured the 75 Worlds Mens Singles title at Calcutta.
Hungarian National Coach
Zoltan Berczik

Danny Seemiller at the Dohjo


Heres a Seemiller quote apropos here (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 6):

From Butterfly TT Report

One reason I think I played well at the Western Japan Open is


because Id just spent two weeks in rather Spartan isolation at the new Butterfly Training Hall or Dohjo in
Tokyo, Various university teams would come there and Id get to play practice games with them. Since I
was living at the dorm there, I didnt really stray away from the place and had a lot of free time to check
out tapes of myself playing. Since of course the ingeniously placed cameras are a fixture of any practice
session at the Dohjo, I could easily study, say, my footwork and work to improve it.
64

Butterfly Dohjo
From Butterfly TT Report

Also, they have a marvelous film library


there and you can screen tapes of the worlds best
players and carefully check out their weaknesses. Jiang Jialiang, Saito, Appelgrenthey arent
perfect, and obviously if you see when theyre at a disadvantage, it might help you one day to defeat
them.
Gary Calkins Experiences in Japan
Gary Calkins recaptures for Timmys (May, 1984, 9) some of the weekly experiences he
had from May, 1978-July, 1982 while on a tour of duty as a computer technician at the naval base
in Misawa City, Japan (400 miles north of Tokyo):
Mr. Koyama of the Japanese Air Force acquainted me with both the Misawa City
Table Tennis Club and the Towada City Table Tennis League. Play in the Towada City League
consisted of two 24-player round robin groupsGroup A for players rated over 1800, and Group
B for players rated under 1800. After eight weeks, the round robin matches would be completed
and the first four finishers in each group would receive trophies. In my four years of playing in the
under 1800 group, I finished 10th, 8th, 2nd, and 2nd.
The man in charge of the Towada City
League was Mr. Isao Kohno, father of 1977
World Champion Mitsuru Kohno. From day
one he took me under his wing, always treated
me as if I were one of his sons. I visited his
home several times, and more than two dozen
times I was asked to visit the combination
Kohnos Sporting Goods Store/Table Tennis
Practice Center in Towada City, which was
operated by Mitsuru Kohnos brother, Masaru.
Gary Calkins with Isao Kohno (Mitsuros father)
There were two tables on the second
floor and one table on the third floor, together with a Stiga robot, a video camera with monitor, and
a training room with miscellaneous exercise equipment. On any given evening I could visit Mr.
Kohnos store to play/practice with at least four players whose rating would be 1800-2200.
65

One of my visits to Mr. Isao Kohnos house turned out to be quite


significant for me, for thats when I first met World Champion Mitsuru
Kohno. After eating supper he invited me to visit the Aomori City
Commercial High School where he taught Business classes and coached
both the boys and girls table tennis teams. I did visit the school with him.
In fact, I went there a lot.
During
my 10 visits to Mr.
Kohnos high school
(on Saturdays only) I
Japans 1977 World
Champion Mitsuro Kohno
would usually arrive
From Butterfly TT Report
around 8:00 a.m., at
which time I would
be met by Mr. Kiyoshi Miyakawa, an English
teacher there. I would attend each of his
English classes, would be seated in the frontcenter of the classroom. Each student would
then have to ask me one question in English
Gary Calkins participating in Kiyoshi Miyakawas
which I would answer in English. Occasionally
English class, 1982
I would surprise them with questions in English
and/or Japanese. At 11:30 a.m. most classes would adjourn for the day, and those students involved
in sports would begin their activities at 12:00 noon.
I probably benefited as much from watching Mr. Kohnos coaching techniques as from my
practice sessions. The value of his coaching is evidenced by the fact that both his boys and girls
teams took first place in the 1982 All-Japan High School Team Championships, and by rumors Ive
heard that he may be the Japanese Mens Coach at the 1983 Worlds.
For the past several years Mr. Kohno has served as the principal table tennis television
commentator for the major Japanese Championships, during which time he was granted a type of
paid sabbatical vacation. Like all the Japanese Ive met, Mr. Kohno proved to be quite courteous,
considerate, and a true sportsman.
Now I would always visit the high school table tennis building, which at that time had a 20foot-high ceiling, an all-surface-dark-green interior, fluorescent lighting, Stiga robots, video
equipment, and 12 Butterfly tables. Whenever I entered this facility, all table tennis play would stop,
the players would gather round me, and they would carry my equipment bag, street shoes, jacket,
racket, whatever to the playing area. A table near the center of the facility would be cleared for my
personal use and I could practice or play games against any player I
chose. I actually found it easy to beat Mr. World Champion Kohno
(as long as gave me my usual 15-point spot).
In addition to being with the Kohnos, Ive had a number of other
enjoyable table tennis experiences during the four years I was
stationed in northern Japan. Twice I was able to visit the Tamasu
(Butterfly) Table Tennis Company, located in the northwestern
section of Tokyo. I was given the grand tour of the facilities by the
charming Miss Etsuko Iwamoto (remember her from the Long
Japans 1969 World Champion Island U.S. Open?), and I especially enjoyed meeting former World
Champions Itoh and Hasegawa. On the fourth floor of the Butterfly
Shigeo Itoh
From Butterfly TT Report

66

building was a laboratory facility which contained a collection of approximately 100 video tapes of
table tennis matches played throughout the world in the past 10 years. During both of my visits there
I was allowed to view dozens of matches for hours on end.
I was able to get 10 additional days of vacation each year via my participation in the
Western Pacific Regional Navy Table Tennis Championships, held each year in Sasebo, Japan,
which was a four-hour Shinkansen (Bullet Train) ride south of Tokyo. Taking first place in Mens
Singles each year assured my participation the following year, and each year a new group of three
men and two women from my navy base would accompany me to Sasebo.
The most enjoyable part of my
tournament trip was the few days we
were allowed to spend in Tokyo after
each tournament. I was always the
unofficial guide of each group since I
had visited Tokyo over a dozen times
(and I would visit there at least a dozen
times more if I get the opportunity).
Tokyo is very clean, safe, and friendly.
(I never failed to meet at least two
single, attractive Japanese women
during each of my visits there.) The
same could be said for my visits to
Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, and Taipei.
All in all, in
every country I
visited in the Far
Gary with Noriko and Klyomi at a Tokyo Mongolian Barbecue
East, the fact that I
played table tennis enabled me to make several additional friends, even if I
couldnt speak the native language. And Im certain that through table tennis Ill
be able to acquire several more friends during my future visits to such places as
Macao, Thailand, Red China, Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia. Theyre not
kidding when they say, Join the Navy and see the world.
Huging
Interviews
Takashima
Concerning
the 1984
Spring Invitational in Rio de Janeiro, I
cant provide you with a write-up, but
here are the results: Final: He Zhiwen d.
Jacques Secretin
Hui Jun, 2-1. Semis: He Zhiwen d.
Takashima, 2-0; Hui Jun d. Ono, 2-0.
Places 5-8: E. Boggan d. Stellwag, 2-0; Secretin d. Aristides. 2-0. 5th-6th Place: Boggan d.
Secretin, 2-0. 7th-8th Place: Stellwag d. Aristides, 2-0. Qualifying R.R I.: 1. Hui Jun, 3-0. 2. He
Zhiwen, 2-1. 3. Secretin, 1-2. Stellwag, 0-3. Qualifying R.R. II: Takashima, 3-0. 2. Ono, 2-1. 3.
67

Boggan, 1-2. Aristides, 0-3. Preliminary Matches: Group A: 1. Hui Jun, 4-0. 2. Boggan, 3-1 (d.
Huging 2-2). Group B: 1. Secretin, 3-0. 2. Aristides, 2-1. Group C: 1. He Zhiwen, 4-0. 2.
Takashima, 3-1. Group D: 1. Ono, 3-0. 2. Stellwag, 2-1.
During the course of this tournament Engelbert Huging (Timmys, June, 1984, 9) conducted
the following interview with two-time 1978/1979 U.S. Open Champion Norio Takashima (in both
of these U.S. Opens he beat Danny Seemiller in the final):
Its 8:00, Huging, I said to myself. At 8:30, you have an interview. You can learn a lot.
In this way I motivated myself to get up.
A little later, I was sitting at the breakfast table waiting for Norio Takashima. Takashima, I
began to think, was for almost 10 years a world-class defensive star, and though now in his thirties
is still an excellent playermentally tough, and as fast and smooth as a cat. Watching him, it all
looked so easy.
When the famous Japanese came to my table we were self-consciously over-friendly to
each other. Perhaps, I said, we could start the interview first, then take breakfast at some
convenient point? He smiled and nodded in agreement.
I was nervous, so I began our question-answer game with a typical start-off line, How old
are you, Takashima?
32.
How often did you play for Japan?
Many times.
What did you win?
A lot of tournaments.
What are you doing here in an international tournament in Rio?
Im playing for King University of Osakatheyd gotten an invitation.
Whats your profession?
My jobs in Physical Education at King University.
Hoping to get more out of himhe was nervous too? Unsure of his broken English (that
was being rendered into idiom here), I ventured a two-part question that was of great interest to me.
First, I said, whats the future for the defensive player? And, second, whats the future for the
attacking player?
Two points are important for the defensive player, said Takashima. First, he must play
nearer to the table. Because, since the distance to the other side of the table would now be shorter
as the defender moved in, the variation in chop, the change of spin, would be more effective. And,
second, he must learn to attack much more. The defensive player must now try to play with two
different backsideslong pimples are not good for both changing the chop AND attacking. A
defensive player must develop himself into an all-around player. For me, an all-around player is
someone who has more than one answer to any one ball. With pure, unvarying defensive play you
can beat only a few attacking players.
Yes, I agree with you, I said. And the future for the attacking player?
His future, said Takashima, is in playing serve and smash, or serve and fast topspin, like
the Chinese.
Table tennis for the attacker, is really so simple, but so difficult, I thought.
Then we talked about training in Japan.
Why do the Japanese play so much forehand? I asked him. Everythings forehand,
forehandpredictably forehand.
68

In the past, said


Takashima, our coaches taught
their pupils only to play forehand.
Unlike the Chinese and the
Europeans, they all have a bad
backhandthey have to play
every ball with the forehand.
Thats bad. In the last year,
though, the coaches have changed
their opinion. Young players now
learn from the beginning to play
forehand and backhand.
How much did you train
and practice in your time? This
1978 U.S. Open Champion Japans Norio Takashima
Photo by Neal Fox
was a standard question, but an
interesting one.
When I was at my bestonce a week I ran 30 kilometers and did 500 push-ups in a row;
also, I played 8 hours table tennis a day, though later I came to think that 8 hours was too much.
Id hoped he would say, You get narrow-minded, dont think creatively but in mechanical,
rote fashion by playing so much. But he didnt. I felt after playing a certain number of hours a
player would get tired then wouldnt be able to practice so well. I felt that if a player wanted to
become good (for Takashima good meant being among the top four players in the world) he
should practice six hours a daywith a 10-minute break after each hour.
And how did you fill all those hours? I asked Takashima.
A defensive player must have strong, fast-moving legs, he said. Thats the reason I practiced a
lot against smashes. I measured off a 20-meters-long box and tried to get back smash after smash out
of the corner. Also, many times I played one hour of attack only, one hour of defense only.
I wanted to know what in his opinion young players should learn first.
Concentration and mental strength are the most important things. The play itself is secondary.
How do you learn concentration and mental strength?
Before playing table tennis the player should always run or jogbut only 10 kilometers.
Also, he must learn to practice at a regular time.
Is it good to run so much?
Defensive players need to strengthen their legs. For offensive players runnings not that
important. But everybody needs mental strength, concentration, endurance.
Do the Chinese practice the way youve just described? I asked Takashima.
No, he said. They play more table tennis.
I asked one of the Chinese here in Rio whether he practiced 4-5 hours a day. He was
astonished and answered that he played 8-10 hours a day. The Chinese, however, who often start
their players at age 5, learn and teach mental strength in other ways. Once I saw a Chinese player
start the beginnings of 2,000 serves with one ball. That means he had to serve 2,000 times, had to
walk to the ball 2,000 times, had to bend over 2,000 times.
At the end of our interview Takashima talked freely of Japanese and Chinese defense
techniques. But as I was thinking there are so few defensive players left, I also realized the more
how good Takashima must have been. He drew sketches on my note paperJust a private little
lesson for you, he saidand explained the difference in the drawings until I understood.
Then he got up and said Goodbye. Of course he hadnt had any breakfast.
69

Chapter Five
1984: February TournamentsDanny Seemiler/Alice Green
Win at $1,830 New York Chinatown Open.
Jay Crystal (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 11) reports on the Feb. 4th
Victoria, British Columbia Openwell, reports on his experiences.
Listen up:
Im the last car on. The captains eyes are bloodshot and he
needs a shave. The 8:40 a.m. ferry stops at Lopez, Shaw, Orcas, and San Juan Islands before
shooting across Hare straight to Sydney. From there its a 17-mile drive to Victoria. All in all about a
three-hour trip from home.
It could have been rainy, cold, nasty this time of year in the Northwest. Instead its clear and
brisk. Air has a tinge of salt to it, but its still wintry, too early yet for the fragrant, alive smell of
spring. The sun is warm on the lee side of the ferry. The scenerys unbelievablethe islands are
covered with Douglas firs, and I see seagulls, fishermen, sailboats. And to think my friend Dewey
wanted me to go skiing.
As soon as I leave the ferry, the pace picks up considerably. I follow my makeshift way into
Victoria, and after two stops for directions I arrive at the tournament site.
Even though I get a chance to warm up, I immediately lose my first game in the round robin
Prelims. But I pull out the match, and the other two too, and advance to the knockout.
Along the way I pick up a doubles partner and have to pay an extra $7 to enter. Which
leaves me with $16 Canadian. How much does the ferry trip back cost? I ask the Tournament
Director.
Eighteen dollars, lad.
Gulp! That means I have to make the finals in order to get home.
In the semis, Im up against Eric Calveley, whom Ive always played closethe last time a
19-in-the-5th death struggle. Erics a nice guy though, and I figure if I lose hell give me the extra $2
to get home on.
I neednt have worried thoughI blitz Eric 6 and 8 to make the finals.
Eddie Lo is my last opponent and in the first game he does to me what I did to Eric. In the
second, I start
counter-looping
and lobbing
instead of trying
to block his
bullet loops, and
win it at 12. In
the third, I tie it
up at 13-all. At
which point I
attack Eddies
serve four
straight times
and miss all four.
Jay Crystal
Eddie Lo
70

Thats the turning point. Lobbing from the barrier I go down in flames, 21-18.
Suddenly time is a factor. Its 9:00 p.m. The last ferry leaves at 9:30 and we still have the
semis and finals of doubles to play. I hustle after balls and play as fast as I can. Of course the
margin of victory is 19-in-the-third. Its 9:10 (I told you I hustled), and were 20 minutes from the
ferry, the LAST ferry. Three of the four finalists want to catch that ferry. So we play a one-game
final and shake hands. Eddie and I grab our prize money, burst out the door, and somehow make
our connection.
As I finally catch my breath I reflect on how the Canadians are always a pleasure to compete with. They are courteous, sportsmanlike, and organized.
I stop in Blaine for refreshments, plug in my headphones to Bowie, and am back in my Lake
Sammamish home by 2:00 a.m. A quick but beautiful and exciting trip to the Great White North.
Jeff Mason (SPIN, March, 1984, 4)
covers the Sacramento Clubs Banda Open,
held Feb. 3-4 just before the second Pro-Am
tournament on the 5th. Because of the
Chinese New Year Holiday, the tournament
was much smaller than last months Winter
Open. However, we did offer 14 events.
Results: U-2200s: Erwin Hom
($100) over James Therriault ($60), 7, 16, 16, -17, 9. U-2000s: Therriault over
Masaaki Tajima, 16, -21, -20, 14, 10. In the
best quarters: Tom Miller over Cindy Miller,
-13, 22, 15. Open Doubles: 1. Toni
Kiesenhofer/Avishy Schmidt. 2. Hom/Dean
Doyle. 3. Therriault/Tajima. 4. Charles
Childers/David Chun. Seniors: Zak Haleem
over Allen McDermott.
U-1850s: penholder Horace
Chengs loop-and-kill play prevailed over McDermott, -19, 7, 20, 15. Best quarters: McDermott,
showing controlled spin and placement, over T. Miller, -17, 14, 26; David Chu over Chris Holton, 19, 14, 19. U-1700s: McDermott over Doohyun Won, 12, -14, 20, 16, after looper/lobber
Doohyun won -18, 22, 17 over 300-point favorite Nadine Prather whod stopped Steve Oldham,
18 in the 3rd. U-3250 Doubles: Steve Noffsinger/Bob Schanilec over Therriault/Tom Harris in five.
U-1550s: Won over Schanilec. U-1400s: Noffsinger over Fresno Boys Club junior Emilio Vargas.
U-1250s: Michael Hara over Warren Baxter. Best quarters: Paul Barrozo over Kevin ONeill,
deuce in the 3rd. U-2250 Doubles: ONeill/Hara over James Stewart/Andy Heroux. U-1100s:
Stewart over George Akahori whod advanced by Harris, 18 in the 3rd. U-950s: 1. Heroux. 2.
Morgan Lehman. Hard Bat: Miller over Jack Mason.
Jeff also covered (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 23)
the Feb. 5th Pro-Am Circuit #2 tournament. He begins by
calling our attention to earlier well-played matches: looper/
lobber George Sanguinetti upset counter-driver Cindy
MillerMike Greene spun his way through Enrico
LiSpinmaster Grant Connell took James Therriault into
the 3rdZak Haleem won a game from Avishy SchmidtEd Hu was 1-1 with Danner until the last
71

game when Carl started hitting stronger forehandsAl Covey played a fantastic though losing
three-game match against Charles Childers 400 rating points above himand, in another match that
could have gone either way, Tito LeFranc barely defeated Khoi Nguyen, 21, -19, 22.
Jeff then concentrates on the final matches:
The players and spectators seemed fairly confident that the four semifinalistsKhoa
Nguyen, Dean Doyle, Erwin Hom, and Carl Dannerwould finish according to their rating. But if
Nguyen took 1st-Place in this #2 Circuit Tournament, whatever happened in the #3 Tournament, he
would almost be assured of the final 1st-Place $1,000 prize money.
Nguyen
looked
unbeatable as
he easily
defeated
Danner and
Hom, players
whod given
him considerable difficulty
in past tournaments. Hom
just got by
Dean Doyle
Khoa Nguyen
Danner, deuce
Photo by Robert Compton
Photo by Mal Anderson
in the 3rd. And
Doyle downed Hom, but then lost to hard-hitting Danner, 23-21 in the 3rd.
At this point, Dean looked too tentative, too weak with his forehand, to be able to put much
heat on Nguyen. But as the final match began, Deans game underwent a dramatic metamorphosis.
His usual angle-block, tricky-spin game changed and he went to an almost totally offensive forehand-attacking strategy. Khoa was caught completely off guard. Doyles dramatic transformation
made it impossible for Nguyen to initiate his attacksomething which hed never had a problem
with in the past. This time the tables were turned, and, decisively winning the first game, Doyle
looked like a player possessed. Then with an exciting deuce-game finish, he also won the second,
and the match (via a head-to head 2-1 tie-breaker over Khoa). This victory gave Dean the 1stPlace award for the #2 Circuit Tournament and a chance for the $1,000 top prize thatll be
awarded at the conclusion of the #3 Tournament on March 11th.
Here are the Circuit-Point leaders after Tournament #2: 1. Khoa Nguyen (36). 2. Dean
Doyle (34). 3. Erwin Hom (30). 4. Avishy Schmidt (22). 5. Charles Childers (20). 6. Carl Danner
(20).
Winners at the Feb. 25-26
Northrop/Hawthorne Open:
Open Singles: 14-yearold
Vietnamese immigrant Lan
Vuong over a rallying Mike Baltaxe, 14, 17, -12, -15, 17. U-2200: Ricky Guillen in a convincing
comeback over Loc Ngo, -19, -18, 7, 17, 10. Bob Cruikshank (Timmys Apr., 1984, 14) tells us:
Ricky Guillen came to the tournament with black rubber on both sides of his racket. He came to
72

Lan Vuong

Mike Baltaxe

Photo by Robert Compton

Photo by Bob Cruikshank

me and asked if I
had a sheet of used
rubber, red and
spinny. I gave him a
sheet of Nittaku
Milford, red 2.0.
Though I recommended he NOT do
it, he put it on his
backhand to replace
his Tackiness Drive
1.5 mm. He played
poorly with it, and
lost in the Open
Singles [in five to
Open runner-up
Baltaxe]. He then put
the Tackiness back
on his backhand and
Ricky Guillen
Loc Ngo
moved the Milford to
Photo by Chuck Gill
his forehand. And
with that combo he played very well, hitting forehand loop drives to perfection [though losing his
first two games to Loc].
U-2000s: Shmuel Goshen over Dan Banach whod survived Frank Suran, -19, 18, 24. U1900s: Stevan Rodriguez over Gabor Berezvai, -13, 16, 21, -16, 18. U-1800s: Mike Perez over
Harold Kopper, 19 in the 5th. U-1700s: Perez over Chris Fullbright in five. U-1600s: Karl Dreger
over Doohyun Won, 19 in the 3rd, then over G. Kinyon, 21, -15, 21, 21. U-1500s: Brian Thacker
over Allen Blyth. U-1400s: Vanlop Sangvanboon over George Schwarz. U-1300s: M. Armstrong
over T. Nguyen whod outlasted Harold Alexander, -18, 19, 18. Unrated: Kinyon over D.
73

Sheppard. Draw Doubles: Won/Rodriguez over Fullbright/Tom


Chi Ngo
Photo by
Ballard. Hard Rubber: Dreger over Kopper. Esquires: Banach over
Bob
Leon Ruderman. Seniors: Banach over Amin Jaffer whod escaped
Cruikshank
Suran, -20, 13, 21.
Bill Baker tells us
(Timmys, Feb.-Mar.,
1984, 24) that history was
made at the 32nd Arizona
Open, held in Phoenix, Feb. 18-19 at Arizona State University. Los
Angeless Lan Vuong became the first female and, at age 14, the youngest player ever to win the Championship Singles by beating fellow L.A. resident, 13-year-old Chi Ngo in
the final. The tournament continued to be popularover 100 players competed in 20 eventsbut this
was the first time two teenagers ever played for the Championship, and perhaps the first time any two
finalists took home so many trophies. Credit for raising more than $300 in
prize money should go to Stan Robens, while G. Darrell Olson, Ron Shirley,
and the Gentry Shop in Phoenix donated prizesa Swiss watch, Yasaka shirt
and warm-up suit, and a jacket.
Results: Teams: 1. Lan, Chi, and Harold Kopper. Championship
Singles: Final: Lan over Chi, 13, 15, 15. Semis: Lan over Bill Kenig; Chi
over Defending Champion John Merkel. Open Doubles: Lan/Stevan
Rodriguez over Loc Ngo/Merkel, 18 in the 4th. Womens: Lan over Patti
Hodgins, 17, 14, 16. Mixed Doubles: Lan/Rodriguez over John
Harrington/Hodgins, 18, 19. Senior Esquires: Sy Kenig over Ken
Hoover, 16, 19, 21. Esquires: Mac Horn over Dick Badger. Esquire
Doubles: Hoover/Baker over Ed Tracy/Horn. Seniors: Harrington over
Badger. Senior Doubles: Baker/Rich Livingston over Kopper/Badger.
Juniors: Chi over Tony Lam.
As: Rodriguez over Chi. A Doubles: Azamy Talifiq/Zahid Tufail over
John Harrington
Peter Antkowiak/Chi. Bs: Chi over Jim Etherton. B Doubles: Efram
Photo by Mal Anderson
Turchick/John Walker over Ed Warwick/David Gemuendin, 18, -18, -21,
20, 17. Cs: Jerry Abbott over Hoover. Ds: Paul Campbell over Walker. Es: Harry Lu over Gene
Lew, 19, -20, 16, 18. Fs: Steve Ryberg over Orrin Joseph, deuce in the 5th. Gs: Harry Wise over
Robert Holmes, Hard Rubber: Kopper over Harrington.
Sangita Kamble (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 10) says the 20 Ontario players left the Feb. 18th
Detroit Two-Man Team Tournament feeling great. Zoran Kosanovic/Errol Caetano won Class A;
Vaibhav Kamble/Adam Arent won Class B; Kam/Deepak Bhatia tied for first in Class C; Trung Le/
Sangita Kamble finished second in Class D; and Steve Lustig/Kalvin King placed first in Class E.
Obviously due to our results it was very worthwhile coming.
More important, though, we were highly impressed by the tournament itself. It has always
been a pleasure to participate in any U.S. tournament, but this one was exceptionally pleasurable.
Basically it was run single-handedly by Chris Wibbelmanand never in my life have I seen a
tournament run so well by one person.
Chris received much criticism [Why?], but I felt he deserved only praise. Though players
approached him left, right, and center with millions of questions, he always calmly took the time to
answer each individual.The time he gave to all the players with his courteous patience did not go
unrecognized. Thanks, Chris, for such a superb job of running the tournament.
74

Michel Goyette, CTTA


Program Co-ordinator, gives
us the results (Timmys,
Feb.-Mar., 1984, 15) of
back-to-back Toronto
tournaments. First, the Feb. 4-5 Toronto Open:
Mens: Alain Bourbonnais kept up his North
American winning streakhere over Bao
Nguyen, 13, -13, 20, 18. Womens: Gloria Hsu
over Becky McKnight (now at the National
Training Centre in Ottawa) whod upset
Mariann Domonkos in the semis (from down
2-1 andhow is it possible?9-19 in the 4th).
Becky McKnight
Mens Doubles: Bourbonnais/Mitch Rothfleisch
over Chris Chu/Nguyen. Womens Doubles: Hsu/Thanh Mach over
McKnight/Julia Johnson. Mixed Doubles: Steve Lyons/Johnson over
Toronto Open Winner
Nguyen/Domonkos, deuce in the 3rd.
Alain Bourbonnais
Mens U-2000s: Rene Lewandowski
Fron Table Tennis Technical
over George Bonigut. Mens U-1850: Bogdan
Kalinowski over Stephane Lucchesi. U-1800 Doubles: Louise Laroche/
Patrick Leveille over Lucchesi/Stephane Leveille. Mens U-1700: Peter Ng
over Lucchesi. Mens U-1550: Sylvie Leveille over Joel Stevens. Mens U1400: M. Ladouceur over R. Silva. Mens U-1200: P. Antunes over S.
Leveille, -21, 19, 16. Seniors: Ron Bickerstaffe over George Bonigut. Boys
U-17: T.H. Lam over S. Ubiali. Boys U-15: Ubiali over Peter Ng, -16, 20,
12. Girls U-17: Helene Bedard over Michelle Qurrey. Girls U-15: Crystal
Daniel over Nathalle Patel. Girls Under 13: C. Pacquet over Monica Thimian.
The second tournament played in Toronto was the Feb. 25 Ontario
Open, sponsored by the Alan R. Clark Trophy Co. Results: Mens Open:
Richard Chin over Fred Taylor. Womens Open: Rupa Banerjee over
Peter Ng
Julia Johnson. Mens Doubles: Chin/Taylor over Jose Oliveira/George
Bonigut. Mixed Doubles: Chin/Banerjee over Steve Lyons/Johnson.
Mens U-2000: Pierre Parulekar over Maurice Moore. Mens U-1850: Roger Moore over Richard
Abbel, 24-22 in the 3rd. Mens U-1700: Peter Ng over Ron Turini. Mens U-1550: Tom da Silva
over Dominic Lau. Mens U-1400: Gary Downs over Sam Hazin. U-1200: Barry Lam over Kelvin
King. Seniors: Bonigut over Ron Bickerstaffe.
Boys U-17: Robert da Silva over Parulekar.
Boys U-15 and U-13: older brother Peter Ng
(13) over Johnny Ng (12). Boys U-11: Kirk
Vassel over Paul Evans. Girls U-17: Alina Tse
over Crystal Daniel. Girls U-15: Daniel over
Monica Thimian. Girls U-13: Thimian over
Adriana Altic.
Winners at the Ohio Open played Feb.
th
4 at Columbus: Open R.R.: 1. Randy Seemiller,
3-0. 2. Bob Cordell, 2-1. 3. Bob Powell, 1-2.
Ohio Open Winner Randy Seemiller
75

4. Jim Repasy, 0-3. Womens: Jodee Williams over Karen Deveraux. Open Doubles: Cordell/
Powell over Seemiller/Dan Walk. Mixed Doubles: Powell/Lydia Balciunas over Seemiller/Williams,
17 in the 5th. Esquires: Ron DeMent over Neil Myers. Seniors: Bill Walk over Greg Brendon, -16,
15, 23, 15. Young Adults: 1. Steve Liu over Dan Walk. U-17: Scott Snelling over Greg Gayer. U15 and U-13: Snelling over Andrew Myers.
As: Repasy over Mark Allen, 17 in the 5th (from down 2-0). Bs: Ray Stewart over B.
Walk, 24-22 in the 3rd, then over Liu. U-3800 Doubles: Rod Mount/Bob Miller over Dwight
Mitchell/Charlie Buckley. Cs: Brad Hudson over Bob Allen, 18 in the 5th. U-3400 Doubles: Miller/
Ron Schull over Jay Nelson/Hudson whod advanced over Buckley/Bill Johnson, -14, 19, 19. Ds:
Steve Zimmerman over Mike Ramey. U-2700 Doubles: Doug Hardy/Balciunas over Eric Maskey/
Rick Hardy. Unrated/ Novice: Chuck Haren over John Dewitt. Beginners/Novice: Haren over
Doug Snelling. Hard Rubber: Cordell over M. Allen.
Results of the Feb. 11th Dayton R.R.: U-1900: Jay Nelson over Randy Cuzzort. U-1650:
Kevin Cassidy over John Elwood. U-1400: Alan Johnson over David Born, 25-23 in the 3rd, then
over Bill Trivet who got by Dick Kipfer, 18, -21, 18. U-1150: Final: Chester Riddle over Shane
Ray. Semis: Riddle over Keith Gad, 20, 20; Ray over Bill Carroll, -20, 21, 22. Juniors U-1000: 1.
Ray. 2. Jimmy Ballard. 3. Cindy Shumaker. 4. Angie Shumaker.
Warren Goesle (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 18)
reports on the Central Indiana Closed, held
Feb. 25-26 at the Indianapolis T.T. Center.
It drew a record 95 entrantsplus its
usual controversies, lost tempers, scheduling mix-upsand good matches. Goesles emphasis is on
the Open Singlesand he begins with opening-round upsets. Dominant Womens Singles winner
Kim Farrow surprised Dwight Mitchell, 19 in the 5th; and 13-year-old John Elwoods 18, 18, 19
win over Jerry Marcum heralded the rise of Indianas best Junior.
In the second round, Elwood had 5th seed
Charlie Buckley down 2 games to 1 before Charlie
got more aggressive off of Johns slow topspin.
Match to Charlie, 19 in the 5th, on an irretrievable
Dick
net. In another struggle, Dick Hicks, Sr., up 1-0 but
Hicks
down 18-11 in the second to Bill Connelly, bent
over to pick up the ball and did something dreadful
to his back. After five minutes of ice he returned to
the table, stiff as a board, and lost that second game
at deuce before winning the match in four. [Huh?
What kind of stiff is he? The more he hurt the
better he played?]
In the quarters, Buckley, after having
played against spinny rubber all day, couldnt quite handle Harry Deschamps hard bat, so deuce in
the 4th to Harry. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Klaus Geske (an exchange student from West Germany)
had little trouble with John Frenchs hard bat. And Dave Russell, despite bouncing off floor, walls,
and barriers (knocked three down at oncenot bad, Dave, but still two short of the club record),
still wasnt good enough to take a game from Hicks, Sr., stiff back or not.
In the best contested quarters, Ricky Hicks, Jr., came from 2-1 down to beat Mike Boyle,
17 in the 5th. Mike was out-countering Ricky, but Ricky out-pushed and out-picked Mike at the
end.
76

The Ricky Hicks-Klaus Geske semi had several interesting points and momentum changes.
Ricky out-looped and blocked Klaus effectively to win the first game, but in the second Klauss
loops landed more often with authoritythat is, up to a point. Klaus is up 20-1617, 18, 19but
Rickys rally falls short. 1-1. In game three, Klauss loops are off, Rickys onup to a point. Ricky
is up 20-1516, 17, 18, 19, deuce. Ricky gets the ad, and serves into the net. Deuce. Klaus loops
long, Ricky pushes off. Deuce. Ricky blocks one through Klaus, then blocks long. Deuce. Klaus
whiffs a loop, Ricky loops through to win a big swing game,
25-23. Klaus is rattled as game four starts and is down early.
Suddenly, though, its 11-all and Ricky is rattled. Down 1918, Klaus loops two in to go up 20-19. But now a net for
Ricky to deuce it. Then Klaus blocks off and loops long to
22-20 give the match to Ricky.
Hicks, Sr., and his injured back? Three straight over
Deschamps in the other semi. Then Dick defaults to son Ricky
in the final to rest his back.
Other results: Womens: 1. Kim Farrow. 2. Marcia
Johnson. 3. Cindy Marcum. Open Doubles: Hicks/Hicks over
Geske/Connelly. Mixed Doubles: Hicks, Jr./Farrow over
Jerry/Cindy Marcum, 26-24 in the 4th. Over 60: Max
Salisbury over Gene Bricker. Over 50: Bob Miller over
Salisbury. Over 40: Vince McMenamy over Miller. U-17:
Harry Deschamps
Geske over Elwood. U-13: Elwood over David Arterberry.
U-1850: Mark Weber over Gary Blakely, 15, 22Mark with his double-sided Phantom
hit through Garys hard bat. U-1750: Mitchell over Loung Nguyen, -16, 19, 15. U-1650: Brad
Hudson over Richard Badessa, 14, 21. U-3300 Doubles: Joe Shumaker/Elwood over Mike Boyle/
Chao Bao Nguyen. U-1550: Elwood over Scott Robinson, 20, 19, then over Gary Patmore
(Elwood both dropped and drilled Garys lobs). U-3000 Doubles: Merko Dotlich/Buckley over
Miller/Hong Nguyen. U-1400: John Riley over Richard Riley. U-2700 Doubles (24 teams): Scott
Robinson/H. Nguyen over Mike Hamm/Mike Potts. U-1250: Vernon Oliver, Jr. over Chuck
Keaton, 19, -20, 16. U-1100: Potts over Bill Shepler. U-900: Joey Howard over Susan Young.
Winners
at the Vienna
Valley Open,
held Feb. 1819 at McLean:
Open Singles:
1. Sean
ONeill, 5-0.
2. Ron Lilly, 32. 3. Richard
Chau, 3-2 (lost
Under 2300 Winner Dave Sakai
Open Singles Winner Sean ONeill
to Lilly). 4.
Photo by Marty Petterchak
Barry Dattel,
2-3. 5. Dave Sakai, 2-3 (lost to Dattel). 6. Morris Jackson, 0-5. U-2300: 1. Sakai, 8-0. 2. Lilly, 62/14-6. 3. Dattel, 6-2/13-6. 4. Chau, 6-2/12-6. U-1900: 1. Don Yabiku, 7-1. 2. Flip Carico, 7-1
(lost to Yabiku). U-1400: 1. Tom Anderson, 3-0. 2. Dave Silvera, 2-1.
77

Larry Hodges (Timmys, Feb.,


1984, 26) covers the Feb. 5th Howard
County Circuit #5 Tournament, and has
this to say about the Open Singles final
between Brian Masters and Sean ONeill:
An all-out spinning game
Sean
by Brian Masters enabled him
ONeill
to defeat Sean ONeill to win
this months Howard County
Open. It was a surprise to
many that he should win,
considering he has lost some of
his racket-flipping advantage
due to his different-colored
surfaces. But after watching
these two play the last few
years, you come to realize that
neither can hold the advantage
over the other for long.
Brian Masters
In their previous match this year, Brian had gone out to the
table with the idea of looping every ball as hard as he could, and
had bullet-looped his way to a 9-2 lead. But Sean had closed the gap rapidly, picking his shots
carefully to win easily two straight. Trying to loop every ball for a winner just doesnt work against
someone with Seans touch and ball control.
So this time Brian slowed down, got the first loop on, and kept looping until the right one
came to be put away. Sean made some incredible smashes and counter-loops right off the bounce,
but too often was forced just to block. After losing the first at19, he couldnt get anything started,
and Brian won the second easily at 12.
Results: Open Singles: 1. Brian Masters, 3-0. 2. Sean ONeill, 2-1. 3. Don Garlinger, 12d. Feldstein, -20, 16, 18, 4. Steve Feldstein, 0-3. Everybody loves to watch a chopper, but
nobody wants to play that wayTim Boggan once
wrote that of Japans Norio Takashima. But a
Carl Kronlage
number of players may have different ideas about
Photo by
that after theyd lost to defensive-minded Steve in
Mal Anderson
the preliminary round robin; indeed, Masters himself
was forced into the third with him. Doubles:
ONeill/Pat Donahue over Keith Minnich/Barney
Reed, -15, 15, 19, then over Pier Galie/Garlinger
whod squeaked by Hodges/Pat Lui, -20, 19, 14.
Juniors: 1. ONeill. 2. Curtis Wong.
U-2000: 1. John Wetzler, 5-0. 2. Lui, 41d. Hodges, 19, 20; d. Nazarbechian, 21, -17,
21. 3. Thomas Nazarbechian, 3-2. U-1800: 1.
Keith Minnich, 5-0. 2. Carl Kronlage, 3-1. U78

1600: 1. Warren Wetzler, 3-0. 2. Steve Kong, 2-1d. Erich Haring, 19, 20, 20. U-1400: 1.
Robert Fallon, 2-0. 2. Kevin Walton, 1-1d. Pat Donahue, -23, 15, 18. U-1200: Jae Ho Song,
5-1. 2. Martin Flynn, 5-1lost to Song. U-1000: Hui K. Pak, 2-0. 2. Mark Jenkins, 1-1. Handicap: Fallon over Nazarbechian. Butterfly Handicap: Kronlage over Chun Brown, 48.
Hodges says the Circuit has proven to be very successful. Currently, 77 players are trying
to get enough points to qualify for one of the top prizes. Leaders after Tournament #5: 1. Erich
Haring (63). 2. Sean ONeill (57). 3. Prakash Chougule (56). 4. Ha Chi Dao (40). 5. Robert
Fallon (40). 6. Pat Lui (39). 7. John Wetzler (35). 8-9. Kevin Walton (30). 8-9. Irving Goldstein
(30). 10. Mort Greenberg (29).
Results of
the Feb. 25-26
Westfield Open:
Open Singles:
Gustavo Ulloa over
Rey Domingo. Best
early matches:
George Brathwaite
over Fu-lap Lee, 17, 17, 21, -17,
15; George
Cameron over
Roger Sverdlik, 18, 9, -16, 18, 16;
George Cameron
and Eyal Adini over
Roger Sverdlik

Photo by Mal Anderson

George Brathwaite

Canadian Bao Nguyen, -19, -17, 21, 19, 19. Best quarters
match: Canadas Alain Bourbonnais over Brathwaite, 19 in
Alain Bourbonnais;
the 5th. Canadian Coach Paul Normandin (Timmys, May,
Inset: Coach Paul Normandin
1984, 11) cites this match as an example of how unselfishly
Paul and Alain Bourbonnais, of different times and ideas, have been working together, combining
their skills, to achieve desired results. After Brathwaite had won the first game 21-11, Paul urged
79

Alain, and he agreed, that tight rallies with attempts at quick one-two winners wasnt gonna get
the job done. So Alain switched to longer rallies in which he patiently maximized the efficiency of
his rapid attacks and squeaked out a winner. This collaborative effort pleased Paul very much, and
hes encouraged that Bourbonnais has left Ottawa and returned to Montreal where Coach
Normandin is based.
Open Doubles: Ulloa/Brathwaite over Adini/Sverdlik, -17, 22, 15. Womens: Alice Green
over Vicky Wong whod outlasted Ai-ju Wu, 19 in the 3rd. U-2200s: Horace Roberts over Paul
Bishop, 24-22 in the 5th. U-2075: Green over Sugaru Araki, 19 in the 4th. U-1975: O. Cortazar
over Alan Feldman. U-1875: Michael Henry over Thomas Nazarbechian. B Doubles: Tim Boggan/
Bill Sharpe over Cortazar/Elvis Gomez. U-1775: Keith Minnich over Mike Egner. U-1625: O.
Nazarbechian over Hazel Santon, 19, 20. U-1475: T. Darigo over R. Santon. D Doubles: Hall/
Henry over Allen/David Marcus. U-1325: H. Gee over Norman Haase. U-1150: Larry Stein over
A. Brissett. U-1025: N. Nicolaidas over Howard Teitelbaum. F Doubles: Smith/Mike Coke over
Steve Kong/Al Matlosz. Unrated: F. Lebron over R.Gagnon. Esquires: Benny Hull over Bob
Barns. Seniors: Peter Holder over Brathwaite, 19, -12, 15. U-17s: Ovidiu Nazarbechian over
Hyman Gee whod advanced over Rajiv Dosi, -13, 19, 17. U-13s: 1. James Yoo. 2. Dwayne
Thomas.
Winners at the Feb. 26 Worcester Closed: Championship Singles: Chris Kalagher over
Jonas Nortey whod escaped Marta Zurowski, -19, 24, 19, 11. Womens: M. Zurowski over
Katherine Zurowski. Championship Doubles: M. Zurowski/Kalagher over Nortey/Roach. U-1500:
Ben Melendez over Dennis Scavone, 20, -15, 17, 19. U-1300: Ray Maesto over Russ Person, 17
in the 5th. U-2600 Doubles: Richard Hancock U-1100: Hancock over David Goss. U-900: 1. Russ
Person. 2. Ed Wheeler. Novice: Richard Jessop over Nina Anton. Over 45: Hancock over Robert
Leblanc, 21, 16, -19, -19, 18. U-18: M. Zurowski over Melendez. U-13: K. Zurowski over
Anton.
The $1,830 Second Annual
Chinatown Open was played Feb. 4-5 at
the Chinatown Rec Center (once a firehouse) on Lafayette Street in New York
City. Prior to speaking about the play, Ill
start off with a few words of
acknowledgement and appreciation to
those responsible for the tournament.
Thanks to Ken Chung, Chairman of the Board of the NYC Chinatown
Rec Center, and to experienced Tournament Directors Doon Wong and Hing
Wong (abetted by Ray Ching, Hong Lee, and Jimmy Tam among others), this
Second Annual $1,830 Chinatown Open was a smashing 103-entry success.
The tournament was not only graced with the areas premier players but prominent City
officials as well. Joining us in watching some of the table tennis action, and listening to an ensemble
group from the Center play a short, sensitive program of Cantonese music, then delivering a brief
address of welcome emphasizing the community importance of the Center, was the Honorable
Harrison Golden, Controller of the City of New York.
His prestigious support of the tournament found company in other well known New York
politicians. Thus it was another plus that Marian Fiedlander, representing City Council President
Carol Bellamy, was on hand to give out trophies and checks to all the smiling, camera-caught prize80

winners. The City officials concern for the retention of the Center proved that it was indeed an
important cultural asset not just to Chinatown but to New York City. And surely the point was
strengthened by the intermingling of the ethnically diverse players and spectators in this excitingly
alive and well-run tournament.
Clearly a spirit of cooperation prevailed on these courts. One couldnt have gotten a sense
of any fairer play in the conscientiousness with which the draws were made or in the honesty and
mutual respect which U.S. Champion Danny Seemiller shared with the tournament organizers.
Dannys professional request for a replacement of the feature table was quickly, unquestioningly
agreed to.
Its so nice on a Sunday afternoon to go to a tournament where after some spirited preliminary play the sole remaining matches are played on only two tables, then on only one, as nonplaying spectators begin to appear from all parts of the City and its environs. All were coming to this
81

New York Center as to a small-scale United Nations to enjoy others expertise, and, in seeing
friends from many places, to just have FUN. The Chinese really know how to bring together interest
in table tennisso that a days shared activity at the Center gives many people a lot of goodwill for
the Chinese community at large.
Early Rounds of the Open
At the top of the Open Singles draw, #1 seed Danny Seemiller advanced to the semis with
wins over David Valoy and Barry Dattel. Dominican dynamo Valoy, who still has as much enthusiasm for the Game as any of those juniors he used to train in Santo Domingo, scored a 19-in-the-3rd
upset of Israeli Eyal Adini in the As before he went out not with a whimper but a bang to George
Cameron in the quarters. David also played well in the Bs before losing in the semis to Julian
Millan, winner over Man-ling Shum.
As for Dattel, after being down 1-0
and at 23-all in the second to Fu-lap Lee,
damned if he didnt pull out a winner that got
him to the quarters of the Open. Ive been
working with Igor Klaf at Westfield recently,
Barry Dattel
said Barry, and hes been teaching me to
Photo by
backhand topspin my opponents initial loops.
Robert Compton
Here I did that against Fu-lap, and since he
didnt have as much time as he wanted to loop
and re-loop, that made the difference in our
match.
In the companion top half of the draw,
Rey Domingo advanced with straight-game
victories over Klaf, Senior runner-up to
George Brathwaite, and A semifinalist John Allen.
For years Klaf played and coached in Russia (his most famous pupil was European
Womens Champion Valentina Popova). Then he was in Australia for six years (producing champions there too). Now hes come to the U.S. to join his wife and children and begin a new table tennis
teaching career.
Not long ago, Allen came back from a nine-month training session in Japan
Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water
A deep resonance
In that short time hes not yet becomewell, world-class, but he did (haiku-splash!) knock off
Senior Champ Brathwaite with surprising easea win that got him to the quarters of the Open
Singles. Said Allens strongest New England practice partner Lim Ming Chui, Often John plays
only at a 2150 level, but when I press him, he plays 2350. But of course Ming always does bring
out the best in people.
In the As, both Klaf, who earlier had beaten Class B runner-up Man Ling Shum and Allen,
lost in three to Fu-lap Lee, who did NOT play the final against Chuang Yang (alias Steven) Mo.
Why didnt they play the final? Hey, mind your own business.
82

Fu-lap said he was in better shape when he was younger


and playing Chinese poker into all hours of the night. Now, he
said, hed soon better hurry off to see local master Fai Chan and
study a little kung-funot to be able to kill anybody of course,
just for his own body-conditioning.
At the top of the bottom of the draw, separated from
brother Danny, was Ricky Seemiller. He moved into the semis of
the Open Singles with wins over Richard Ling and Chui.
You expected Ming to be intimidated by Rickys serves?
Hed been explaining to me how the Chinesein Peking, not at
the Rec Centerwere already threatening to circumvent the new
Fu-lap Lee
two-color rule. Trick was to hold your racket at the moment of
Photo by Harry Frazer
serve so that the EDGE of the blade was facing the opponent, and
then, just before making contact with the ball, twirl, whirl the racket 90180270360 degreeswhatever was humanly possibleso that the poor fellow opposite couldnt be at all sure
what color he was seeing and when. In matters of warfare, said one Chinese general long dead,
there is no such thing as too much deception.
Meanwhile,
as innocents the
world over talk of
having to serve the
ball from the
BACK of the
hand, or having to
throw it up at least
head-high, Chui,
down 2-1 and 1716 in the 4th,
watched as Ricky
squatted, and
servedMing
Lim Ming Chui
Photo by Mal Anderson
intimidated? Of
Ricky Seemiller
course not. He
Photo by Neal Fox
killed it in: 17-all. Now another good return of service by Ming,
followed by a beautiful angled-away forehand placement and it
was 19-17 Chui. But then Ricky got an edge. And now Ming servedsomething VERY unlike the
newest Chinese innovationand third-ball blocked Rickys return into the net. Then he served
againand againand both times Ricky quickly took the offense and so ran out the game and
match. Thats fighting, man! he said to self as he shook Chuis hand.
In the companion bottom half of the draw, Arunkumar struggled through to the semis after
scoring an easy win over Alice Green that did not prepare him for the five-gamer he was to have
with Steven Mo.
As the Kumar-Mo Open quarters match was the most interesting of the tournament, Ill
delay describing it and pick it up with my ending semis and final.
Before meeting Kumar, Mo had dropped a game to Paul Bishop, a relatively new player on
the U.S. scene who used to be ranked in the 10 top juniors in England. Yes, said Paul, I was
83

once a hard-linerplayed five nights a week. And what did it get him? A 1984 win over Eyal Adini
in the first round here, thats what.
As for Alice, she had nobody to play in the first round of the Open? Her intended, Horace
Roberts, had withdrawnperhaps because the day before hed been dumped into the depths of
despair on losing 19 and 19 to a fired-up Guy Tommy Castronovo. Listen, Robbie, take consolation in this: you werent by any stretch of the imagination Fireman Tommys hottest win. Some years
ago he flared up and burned The ChiefBrathwaite of coursein a league matchand, to add
insult to injury, at Georges workplace, the U.N.
Did I say Alice had nobody to play? Well, at the last minute I was substituted in. But, never
mind, I was right the first time.
Alice kept insisting to me that shes in her best physical condition ever, and I, huffing and
puffing against her out there, can certainly believe it. In a recent issue of Equal Opportunities
International magazine, Dr. Elizabeth Ferris, a former Olympic springboard-diving medalist, makes
the point that its social conditioning not genetic and hormonal factors that traditionally urges one to
think of women as the weaker sex. Lately, says Dr. Ferris, the gap between highly-trained male and
female athletes is closingin marathon running, in cycling, and in free-style swimming. Why not in
table tennis?
Alices endurance capacity was tested not so much in the Womens but in her early threegame A matches with, first, Dattel (she won), then with Allen (she lost).
Playing in sweat togs against Dattel, Alice had built up a 10, 19-11 leadonly to see not father/coach Hal begin shaking his
head at 19-13 (as if to say, Thats careless, Alice, careless) but
Barry who, as if mesmerizing her, had climbed steadily to 19-all.
Then (YES! shouted Alice) 20-19. This drew a (sotto voce) Take
it easy from Hal Then (YES! YES! Whoooh! FIGHT! a staccato
of screams from Dattel: 20-all. But then Barry faltered on a routine
loop, and Alice 22-20 finished him with a lucky net-edge. Thats
using your brains! yelled Hal. A remark that drew a counter-remark
or two from Barry, and then from Alice (JUST KEEP OUT OF
THIS, DADDY!), and then from Hal again, Alice got desperate at
19-11. Really, these fathers.
Against Allen, Alice, down 1-0, held strong to eke out a 19
second game, but couldnt win the third.
Womens
Green won the Womens over Flora Ng and runner-up Vicky Wong
Photo by Mal Anderson
in straight gamesVickys abortive rally from 20-15 down in the
third going for naught (at 20-19 she passed up a ball to hit, eventually pushed one into the net). The
other most harrowing moments saw Middlesexs recently arrived 20-year-old Hazel Santon get by
Ai-ju Wu to make the semis. I won alright, said the English girl with a laughthrashed her deuce
and deuce.
Alice Green

Juniors
But though 14-year-old Vicky on beating Santon didnt win the Womens, she did win the
Juniorsand in quite a gutsy fashion. Down 1-0 and 20-15 quadruple match point to U.S. Closed
U-15 finalist Billy Lipton, Vicky, with Coach Rey Domingos help, persevered to bring about a
84

Rey Domingo gives coaching encouragement to junior champ Vicky Wong.


Wong photo by Robert Compton

startling comeback.
Serve short, said
Rey, and look to hit
more. When Billy
serves and loops,
block soft. Down 1713 in the 3rd, Lipton
staged a rally of his
own, drew to 17-all.
But young Ms. Wong
remained calm (When
have we seen her
otherwise?) and so
was triumphant. Said
Vicky (who last I
heard didnt much
want Coach Domingo

to watch her matches), I would have lost if Rey hadnt been there.
In the one Under 17 semis, Wong beat Rocky Cheng, Class C winner over K.C. Sang.
Rocky had taken out Chi-sun Chui in the quarters in straight games (after being down 14-6 in the
first). In the other U-17 semis, Lipton downed Dien Banh, whod gotten past Chi-ming Chui in
three. But neither Chui brother seemed upset about his loss. Chi-sun wanted to play bridge (He
has 2 Master Points from tournament play, Ming said proudly). And Chi-ming, with his Dads
permission of course, probably just wanted to go have a beeror, well, a sip of one.
In the Ds, there were a number of interchangeable matches. Despite surviving both Keith
Ng, deuce in the 3rd, and Lyle Seale, 19 in the 3rd, after Lyle had stopped Darren Liu deuce in the
3rd, Dien fell to the winner. That was Ovidiu Nazarbechian over Mike Rose (also runner-up in the
Es to Liu). No wonder after 7 hours of play, Dien, who somehow got to be good playing on a
single USTTA-obscure table in the Bowery, and who says his schoolings a lot more important than
table tennis, was a little tired when he 21, -18, -16 lost to Lipton Saturday evening. Although Dien
plays many different sports and trains with weights, he said on Sunday that his body hurt from all
the t.t. matches.
Ending Open Singles Matches
O.K., back now to watch Kumar and Mo in their five-game quarters endurance battle.
After winning the first, Kumie went coldat his worst was down 19-9. Steven, coached
and cheered on by Chui, was learning from Ming that since the former Indian International had
extremely good footwork, and his corner to corner defense was extraordinary (how well he
chopped angled-off balls), he, Steven, should loop precisely to Kumars right shoulder, underneath
his armpit. Moreover, since Steven had very flexible wrist action and, in picking up the ball early,
was getting a good high hop on his ball, he was to refrain as much as he could from taking big
swings at sitters. Mas the only guy in America, said Chui, whose loop looks like Guo
Yuehuas. Only thing is, he isnt as steady as Guo.
But from 7-6 up in the 3rd, Steven ran it to 14-6and Kumar, looking as if existence was
suffering and suffering ceased when desire did, barely went through the motions before 20-9
backhand-abandoning the game (and perhaps the match and world in which it was played).
85

Ah, but whats this? The noble truth is that Kumie,


though separated from his usual form (I cant play),
suddenly reestablished himself in the 4th and 5th games.
And, as in a recent tournament when hed been down
11-4 in the 5th to Adini, so now he outlasted Mo to
reach Ricky Seemiller in the semis.
And, as we all know, and brother Danny goodhumoredly says, Ricky doesnt have any problem
reading Kumars spin. He just cant do anything with it.
How true. Said Ricky, Loop to Kumars red sponge
and the return hasnt any spin. But when he pushes with
that red side, then the balls got spin. But despite more
analytic talk like this, Ricky again couldnt come
B.K. Arunkumar
Photo by Mal Anderson
through a winner (hes never yet beaten Kumar).
In the first, he was repeatedly smashing Aruns high
return into the net, and, though he still had a very good chance, at 19-all he whiffed one, and then,
down 20-19, he whiffed another. In the second, Ricky started by flying a serve over Kumars head.
Then, when down 6-5, Arun scored on a fantastic counter, Ricky was shaken and got behind 12-7
before regrouping. However, having closed to 16-14, Ricky again whiffed (The ball STOPS! he
complained)and so couldnt connect. In the third, again closing,
from 14-9 down to 14-12, Ricky failed to return two serves,
outright whiffed a third, then hit a ball on the edge of his racket,
and was 19-12 helplessly gone. Perhaps, mused Ricky, he was
having trouble meeting the ball because of the table slant, the
slope of the floor? Perhaps.
In both the semis and the final, Danny was just too
much in control, too strong, for both Domingo and Kumar.
Not that on his recent trip West hed been practicing. The
first time I went to California, he said, I worked 20 out
of 21 days. Not this time. I gave some private lessons,
ran six miles a day in the water along the beach, and
played some basketball for fun and to test my balance
and coordination in different ways from table tennis.
Only in the second game did Rey, once charging
painfully into the table, challenge. But after a beautiful lift
Chinatown Open Champ Danny Seemiller
and perfect placement had tied him at 19-all, Domingo
pushed one into the net, and then after Danny had missed a game-winning loop, Rey erred again, whiffed
a ball, then could not help himself as Dannys ball ticked the net and threw off his timing.
Against Kumar in the final, Danny got off to a 4-010-4 lead in the first, just did easily
what Ricky couldnt doearned his points the now old-fashioned way: just looped hard through
him. Only once, in the third, when Kumar was 17-15 close, did he appear to have a chance. But
two very hard winners from Danny slammed first the outer then the inner door on Arunand his
salvation, at least momentarily, would have to be found elsewhere. Perhaps something in the fish,
flesh, or fowl feast so generously provided by Ken Chung for the players afterwards would give him
worldly strength? I myself particularly savored the pigeonwhich was said to give the robust-eater
stamina of a very special kind.
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Chapter Six
1984: USTTA E.C. Election Candidates Campaign Statements.1984: Election
Advice. 1984: Election Procedures.
Since the Campaign Statements of those running for 1984 USTTA Executive Committee
office appear in the Feb. issue of SPIN (24+), and Im in general proceeding through the year in
chronological fashion, Id best get to those Statements now.
Running for Association President are incumbent Sol Schiff and former Association
President Tim Boggan.
Heres Sols Statement:
This is the first time in the 51 years of the existence of the USTTA
that you, the voters, must decide the future fate of the Association. You
must decide if it is to become the Boggan TTA or continue being the
USTTA. As President of the USTTA and as Editor of his own magazine
(and possibly ours), Boggan will control the E.C. and greatly influence the
thinking of the membership. This is a situation that should not be permitted
to occur as we will become a dictatorship controlled by Boggan.
Boggan was a former President of the USTTA, a position he quit
and resigned in 1975. His Executive V.P., Charles Disney, was named as
his replacement. Boggans reason for quitting was that the position was too
time-consuming and he had to spend more time with his family. Yet at
approximately the same time he was not too busy to sign a USTTA
Sol Schiff
contract made up by Disney to continue as Editor of Topics at a salary of
$500 per issue. This contract could only be broken with the unanimous vote of the E.C. Oddly enough
during this same year, Boggan ran for VP which did not have the same pressures as the Presidency.
I do not think that Boggan wanted to be President of the USTTA until he was replaced as
Editor of Topics. I think he wishes to cater especially to professional players at the expense of the
amateur competitors, which is a policy that may not be liked by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Boggan quit as President in 1975 when the USTTA budget was about $60,000 per year
and there were no special groups with which he had to work. This year, I have a budget of
$283,000 and must work closely with the Olympic Committee, USTTA Headquarters, USTTAsponsored tournaments, Melia Travel Agency, manufacturers, and other projects. If Boggan could
not handle his simple operation, how can he be expected to handle the complicated work that I
have done and which is now required of the President?
Let us see what Boggan accomplished in the three years (1972-75) that he was President.
Between those years table tennis publicity was at an all-time high due to the China-U.S.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy. Table tennis was featured on front pages of leading newspapers and with
feature articles in many of the nations leading magazines. The E.C. did nothing at all to take
advantage of this great opportunity of promoting our sport.
In 1973 the USTTA was awarded the rights by the ITTF to conduct the 1979 World
Championships. Boggan, instead of giving it to a responsible qualified promoter, awarded an
exclusive contract to his best friend Dick Miles, to find a sponsor and site to conduct the
tournament. Miles was unsuccessful, so in 1976 the ITTF took back our option and awarded the
tournament to North Korea.
87

In 1976 (before I became USTTA President), Boggan, along with Fernando [sic: for
Fuarnado] Roberts, was a leader in organizing a short-lived professional group which organized a
strike and boycotted the U.S. National Championships in Philadelphia. This was the most shameful
occurrence in our history. Herb Vichnin, who ran the Nationals and who was Philadelphias leading
organizer, became disenchanted and shortly dropped out of table tennis. Since then, table tennis in
Philadelphia has practically become non-existent.
This past year or so, Boggan has been trying to promote a North American Federation
composed of Canada and the U.S. If this move is successful, it would put the U.S. in a position
where we would not be in full control of our own Association. We have always been close with
Canada and they will always have our full support and cooperation. A Federation is good on other
continents that have many countries but it is not necessary where only two friendly countries are
involved.
Now for some of the things I have done during my terms in office.
I alone established good relations with the striking players and their professional
association was dissolved. I established a method of selection in 1976 in which young players
had a better chance of making our world teams. I (with Bowie Martin) initiated a U.S.
Headquarters with the first two years of the Executive Directors salary and office costs paid
by the manufacturers. I worked out a contract with the Tamasu Co. to supply all our
international teams with complete uniforms and worked out arrangements with the Nittaku Co.
to be a large sponsor of our National Championships and other tournaments. I also worked on
approval fees for manufacturers that bring in more money than in the past. I (with Pat ONeill)
made an excellent financial contract with the Melia Travel Agency. I moved the Nationals and
Open to the Tropicana Hotel and had the USTTA sponsor both of the tournaments. The
Tropicana purchased 50 Butterfly tables at $350 each, gave us $12,000 for each tournament,
provided most of our workers free rooms, and permitted us to keep all of the entry fees. No
other sponsor ever gave us as good a deal.
Internationally, I helped South Korea to be accepted into the Asiatic Union and I was most
instrumental in getting Taiwan admitted to the ITTF. Both South Korea and Taiwan have helped us
financially when our teams visited their countries. They have also supported us by competing in our
Opens.
At present the USTTAs financial condition is fairly tight. We had to absorb a loss on an
unauthorized contract signed by Bill Addison which removed any profit we made on the Dorsett
Gant ESPN television contract.
Another big expense is the necessary cost of running our Headquarters and this will be
corrected soon. The EC at our last meeting took steps to cut a good part of this expense which will
take effect next June. I have every reason to believe that by the end of this year we will be in very
good financial shape.
I have run unopposed for three terms, which makes me believe either that I have been very
good or that no one else would take on a job in which so much work and aggravation is involved.
Most of the nicest people I have ever met have been through table tennis. The most disappointing
ones are the people who run and win election to the EC and then do not do any work or else quit.
One of these months (if permitted by the Editor), when I have some spare time, I will write about
this and also about some of my experiences in my 58 years of table tennis.
Here are my recommendations for EC offices. For Executive Vice-President, vote as if you
were voting for the President. This person will become President if for some reason the President
cannot complete his term. For Vice-President, I would recommend either D.J. Lee or Bill Hodge
88

and then hope for the best. For Secretary, Rufford Harrison is the only man whose excellent
credentials you can consider. His dependable experience, ability, and international respect make it
mandatory that he be reelected. I need him, but, more importantly, the USTTA needs him.
In conclusion, I ask and beg you to vote. This is the only statement I can write while Boggan
has the advantage of writing in this issue of SPIN as well as in his own magazine. I feel a large vote
would help me, but a small vote would be of great advantage to Boggan. You must decide whether
you wish to have a stable USTTA presided over by me, or a chaotic and disruptive USTTA run by
Boggan
Please vote and thank you.
Heres Tims Statement:
Why Im Running
I dont know whats going to happen in the future. I dont
know any more than you do what I can accomplish as President.
But I do know there isnt anyone else strong enough or willing
enough to even attempt to get the membership out of this slough of
despair that Sol Schiff has gotten us into. Ive got a good heada
much, much better head than I had 10-12 years agoand, since
Im not afraid to take responsibility, not afraid to try for change, I
dont intend to just sit passively by and allow us all to suffer. Im
running for office not only for myself but for all of you out there who
are as dissatisfied as I am.
Tim Boggan
Im sick of political maneuvering, of false promises, of lies
and evasions of responsibility. With your help, Ill succeed as President, as Ive always
succeededwith honesty, hard work, open-mindedness, and, ultimately, regardless of what anyone
says, with my own right feelings.
It must be obvious to everyone that I intend to open up the Game to the membership: that
Im going to be just the opposite from Schiff and his enforcer figure Rufford Harrison; that I want
to communicate not dictate. My job is to energize the Association. So of course I want as much give
and take, as much dialogue, between the members and me as possible. I want to talk with them in
person and on the phone, want to exchange correspondence with them, and hold open meetings
with them at big tournaments. I do not want secrecy. I want all voices to be heardas Ive always
allowed them to be heard in Topics or Timmys.
The Timmys/SPIN two-paper situation, in the interests of harmony, for whatevers the
greater good of the membership, Im at least willing to talk about. But of course, as of now, I
certainly intend to keep editing the paper, going after subscribers, for I enjoy doing it and think its
breadth and free-press reality valuable to the Sport.
USTTA/USOC Relationship/Executive Directors Role
Under Schiffs administration, much has been made of our connection with the United
States Olympic Committee and the historic benefits to be derived therefrom. But, despite Executive
Director Bill Haids often glowing rhetoric, the truth is that the membership has really been kept in
the dark and all is NOT going well at all.
As anyone who attended the recent EC meeting in Las Vegas knows, the increasingly
uncommunicative, uncooperative Schiff has actually been jeopardizing our relationship with the
USOC. Unbelievable. The membership simply cannot allow this to continue.
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As for Haid, whos been something of an EC scapegoat for do-nothing Sol and so at
anothers mercy, hes often caught trying to save face, trying to pretend theres a harmony when
there isnt any. I have to saythough he does have some defendersthat he just hasnt been doing
the kind of Executive Director job that for six years now most of us hoped he would. His position,
his plight, raises the question; what dividends has the membership a right to expect from a $27,500a-year ED with a secretary? Is he not to be something more than a USTTA/USOC liaison?
Despite the thousands of dollars received from the USOC, and the thousands upon
thousands more hopefully we will receive, the Sport in this country continues to deteriorate. What is
all this Olympic Committee money being spent on? Does the membership know? Do they have any
input at all in the matter? In the next four years, two U.S. players (three at the most) will qualify for
the Olympics. Good for them. But theres got to be a lot more to table tennis in the U.S. than that.
At the Closed in Vegas, Carl Danner gave me his Campaign Statement to read and I agree with
what he says about the USTTAs need for rebuilding and openness. I think Carls very capable,
independent-minded, fair, and I think hed be a big help to me on the E.C. Id like you to vote for him.
But as important as Carl knows the USTTA/USOC relationship to be, he also understands
that we just cant go to sleep on the soft-couch cushion that at the moment were being welcomed
with on high at Olympic House. The gods help those who help themselves. We need, with or
without help from Colorado Springs, to at least try to initiate some Programs.
What I Want to Do
A recent Harris poll says that since the 1960s theres been a150% increase in physical
activity among men and women. Whats keeping a lot of these people from playing table tennis? The
answers obvious: there are no decent places to play. And so it will always be unless the USTTA,
with or without the help of the USOC, tries to do something about it.
Id like the USTTA (hopefully through its Executive Director or a paid professional fund
raiser) to find 75% of the seed money needed to establish a prototype club, a model club,
somewhere in this countryto be run as a private business so that its owner might make a
respectable living. My idea is that just as the USTTA has come to have Approved Equipment, so
in time will they come to have Approved Clubswith all the good conditions and services to the
players that would come with the right kind of USTTA sanction.
Naturally, just exactly where the first of these professionally-staffed USTTA clubs would be
would be up to the membership, and I would immediately set up a committee to decide as fairly as
possible which of the prototype club proposals seemed best, so that through open bidding an order
of give-it-a-try priority could be established.
This club would have to be large enough for leagues and major tournaments, perhaps even
national tournaments. And it would have to be in a decent area and continually well kept up so that
women and juniors would be encouraged to play there.
The USTTA, with or without the help of Colorado Springs, would then fund a school
program in the locale of this clubwhich means, probably (I say probably because Id really have
to seek professional help to firm this up), having an exhibition team of 2-3 people, the well-paid
leader of which must be quite verbal and sophisticated enough to be very understanding of the
different kinds of school officials, teachers, and pupils hed be talking to. This team would also have
an action film to show, for, as Bill Steinle, among others, well knows, films can be of enormous value
to the USTTA, and much more money ought to be allocated to this committee.
But whatever student-play this exhibition team would start regularly, in whatever schools,
theyd still have to make every effort to get these students to play (preferably free) in the prototype
90

club. Why should kids play this sport seriously? is a question that has to be convincingly answered
or well never have any more junior players than pathetically we do now.
Surely the membership must know that Ill want a referendum for them to ACT. We all
know how things drift on now. So many players from all over the country go socially to night
school once a week. But they really dont get as much play for their time, dont really learn to
improve their game there as many of them would like to. Indeed, many of these players never come
to have any understanding of, or appreciation for, table tennis excellence. I want to change their selfinhibiting attitude. If such enthusiasts had a real club to go to, not just one night but any night, if they
could and their children could take lessons from a professional and view films of the worlds best, if
they could actually watch very good players live and perhaps even talk to them, it would surely
make a difference in their attitude. Theyd begin to be proud of THEIR CLUB, THEIR SPORT,
and they would care far more than they do now about helping our Association grow.
If just one decent club were to provide a good living for its owner, and then another,
another, and another, in just one pocket of this country, and then another, and another, healthy
rivalries could be fostered between local area clubs. State associations could then be formed and
strengthened; a cooperative network among regions encouraged; and limiting-local-loyalties
extended to national ones. Really, it could all be doneits happening now in 1984 in a way in
California, and it could happen, say, in Indiana.
Of course while this new prototype club development was going on, the USTTA would be
trying to stimulate inter-club play (especially initially) in those states that showed the most activity.
Certainly the Association could be offering members more help than theyre offering them now. As
Russell Trenholme suggested to me, they could pay an experienced man a salary and expenses to
contact tennis clubs around the country, so that, serving as an experienced liaison figure between
tennis and prospective table tennis managers, this man could get USTTA clubs established in
respectable surroundings.
I think if one personmereally got behind this project, more experienced heads would
rally to help me, and you would begin to see clubs formed. [Sounds very good, Tim, but would you
really get behind this project? Youd soon see youd need a lot of help.]
And if and when you started to get NON-PLAYING spectators at these clubs, youd
know, the TV people would know, that table tennis was in shape (as it definitely wasnt for crosscountry Addison and crew) to show on the home screen.
Another idea the USTTA might try is to look for alternate ways of making the Sport
attractive to spectators. All over the world their absence is a soul-destroying problem. The finals of
the Tokyo World Championships three decades ago drew 10,000 spectators. In 1983 they drew
less than 1,000. Even initiates want to see something more than a staccato serve-and-follow game,
something more than this herky-jerky nervous winning through an excessive number of unforced
errors. They want to see power combined with gracewant, need, to appreciate style.
So lets show some independence, lets be revolutionaries again (as we once were with the
Expedite Rule). Lets forget, for a moment anyway, the two-color rule and have a tournamentno,
a Championshipwhere we experiment, use only standardized rackets. Would the spectators, the
players, like these matches? We wont know until weve tried. [But would the manufacturers,
distributors, and individual sellers of equipment like these matches? We already know, dont we?]
We want to search for ways to make the Sport more fun to play and better to watch, right?
Are players with unpredictable magical combination-rackets tricksters? (But then what player
doesnt have tricks?) Are those with different-side rackets more fun to watch than players with
standardized equipment? Quite possibly not. Why shouldnt 90% of the matches between good
91

players be predictably interesting? Why shouldnt the spectators be constantly entertained? In the
interest of experimentation, for the good of the Sport, wouldnt the ITTF, the USTTA, be willing to
waive an occasional rule? What the hell did anyone ever accomplish without taking a risk or two?
Why, by the wayjust because the contact had already been made, just because its
easy?must both of our biggest tournaments, the Open AND the Closed, repeatedly be held in
Las Vegas? Is this geographically fair to the membership?
I speak of risks, and of course any worthwhile project you talk about is sure to cost money and
demand hard work. Where, oh where, is the money to come from? Well, we can always start by talking
up front with the USOC people. Theyre not stupid. They can understand its not just Colorado Springs
we want to pour all those thousands of developmental dollars into. If we show them we have other very
good uses for the money, and they really want to help us build up table tennis, theyll be cooperative.
And, mgod, surely our members have some backbone: surely they can help us fund some
worthwhile programs. And we can always be looking for an entrepreneur wholl subsidize maybe eight
players on a multi-city tour. Our grab-bag, 55-event National tournaments are so awful-looking, so
unprofessionally staged, that no one could seriously think they give the Sport any visibility at all.
What we desperately need in this Sport are proper venues and promoters willing to take a
calculated risk to sell tickets to spectators who, liking what they see, will want to root for their
favorites and will want to come back and root for them again and again.
In the meantime, if you like what I say, youll continue to root for me too, eh?
Other Campaign Statements
There now follow the Campaign Statements of others running for EC office. First, well take
(SPIN, Feb., 1984, 18) the two candidates running for Executive Vice-PresidentGus Kennedy
and Yvonne Kronlage, one of whom will be elected. Then (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 19) the three
candidates for Recording SecretaryRufford Harrison, Dennis Gresham, and Judy Todd, one of
whom will be elected. Then (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 20+) the five candidates for Vice President, two of
whom will be elected. In summarizing what they say, Im going to go easy on the listed
accomplishments of those familiar to you, and Im not going to include statements that arent
relatively fresh or specificsuch as I would be honored to serve the Sport or I have always
thought table tennis to be a dynamic sport, one of mesmerizing entertainment, and promotable when
performed by our top athletes. Its understood that Ive limited space here for this coverage, that
all candidates want to serve, and that they all think highly of the Sport and its possibilities.
For Executive Vice-President:
Gus Kennedy says hes a professional electrical engineera
details man. Gus emphasizes that the USTTA E.C. needs to be
conscious of the money they spend. He tries to set a good example.
At the Dec., 1983 E.C. meeting, he voted not to raise the
membership dues. Meanwhile, he saved 60% of his budget as
International Chair, and, as a fund-raiser for literally a decade, this
last April he brought in $3,500 to help fund the U.S. Team to the
Worlds. Gus enjoys going to tournaments here and abroad, and
writing his International column. This participation gives me direct
knowledge of players needs and concerns, he says, as well as
problems tournament directors and sponsors have. Yes, hes
interestedinterested enough to write over 700 letters a year.
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Gus Kennedy

Gus is concerned that the EC hasnt really identified the way the Development funds weve
received from the USOC are spent. He says, Ive worked with USTTA Olympic Chair Jimmy
McClure on a spending plan that will shift funds from Headquarters operating expenses to athleteoriented projects.Headquarters needs to be restructured. We spent over $50,000 for
administration expenses. Our National Teams, both junior and adult, should be funded at least a
third of this amount.
We also need to structure the USTTA with more state associationsbecause the local
clubs are our backbone.
Yvonne Kronlage says, I have served on the E.C. as
Treasurer and I have run a club in Maryland for 20 years. I have been
involved in four Eastern Championships and one Nationals. Every
year I hold a USTTA Training Camp in Maryland. I run 10
tournaments a yeara circuit for all players.
Yvonne wants: a National Championship for the top 32
players with TV and good sponsorshipalso, a traveling coach to
cover all clubs to give clinics and to coach ALL players.
There are a number of hard questions Yvonne wants
answered. How come were in hot water with the Olympic
Committee after being with them only a short time?...Why was the
name Topics changed after 50 years? Who was the authority for that
Yvonne Kronlage
name change? Why was the new editor given a substantial salary
increase from the old one? Why did our Junior membership drop in half from Nov., 1981 to Jan.,
1983? Why arent there more programs for the Juniors? Why is money being reduced for the Junior
camps when they should be increased? Why dont we have a Junior Championship instead of
mixing Junior play with the Nationals and Open? Will we have any good players who can make the
1988 Olympics? Why dont we have more women players? Are the prizes the cause? Is it that they
get put on the back tables? Is there not enough coverage and glamour to entice them to play?
Is there not enough international competition to keep them interested? Why did two vicepresidents resign? Why is the USTTA always broke? How come theres no table tennis on
TV?
Lets get our act together and know our priorities. The majority of you out therethe
Under 2000 playersyou are the ones that keep this Association going. Sound a voice as to what
you feel is needed.
Help me to help you.
For Recording Secretary:
Dennis Gresham. I have been an active player for more than 30
years. I organized the table tennis club in Austin, Texas and was president
of the club for many years. When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico,
I organized the table tennis club and served as its first president. I have
since been serving the club as treasurer.
For the past nine years I have taught a credit P.E. class in table
tennis at the University of New Mexico. My wife, Liz, daughter Toni, and
I feel it safe to say that playing in tournaments at the local, regional, and
national level are the high points in our year.
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Dennis Gresham

As far as a profession goes, I am a computer analyst programmer, and it may be that the
methodology of analysis might be useful to a member of the EC.
Dennis would particularly like to see: the USTTA solve its money management
problemshave more clubs and more Association membersa nationwide grass roots program to
attract more participation and instill more respect for the sportand more training camps for
players of all levels.
Rufford Harrisonhas for a quarter of a century been in the
service of the USTTA. As weve importantly seen, most recently in my
last volume and already in this one, Rufford is in lock-step with Sol
theyre one entity.
Judy Todd. I am involved
on a local (Columbia, MO) and
regional (Great Plains: Wisner, NE and
Iowa City, IA) levelI would like to
help bring the USTTA back toward a
grass roots orientation: to help make
the EC more aware of the needs of its
members and affiliated clubs.Voting
for me would be like voting for
yourself. I am from among the masses
Past USTTA President
J. Rufford Harrison
of the USTTA membership.
From 1959 U.S. Open
I am a secretary by
Program
profession. I have the knowledge and
experience to provide minutes to EC meetings that will be both
readable and understandable.
Judy Todd

For Vice-President:
Photo by Mal Anderson
Carl Danner. The upcoming Olympic Games signify the
start of a growth opportunity for table tennis and the USTTA
unparalleled since the U-S-China exchange of the early 70s. I
want to ensure that this opportunity, unlike the last one, is not
wasted. Table tennis needs talented and qualified management and
leadership NOW. I can help to provide it.
Of particular interest to voters is Carls background in
management and leadership: I have organized and run local clubs and
tournamentsrun a small equipment businessassisted at major
national events, and in particular assisted my father with the strategic
planning that resulted in our membership in the Olympic Committee
and the establishment of the National Table Tennis Foundation.
I hold a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard
University (and I expect to complete my Ph.D. during my term).
Carl Danner
The Public Policy program rigorously trains professionals for public
service in government and in organizations like the USTTA. Skills in
finance and management are sorely needed on the Executive Committee: I have them.
94

When the Chinese Team visited us in 1972 major stadiums were filled with people
watching table tennis matches. But where did all that momentary publicity get us? Not very farwe
missed out. Without a professional-quality EC, we could miss out on this Olympic opportunity.
Carl sees the following tasks as central to USTTA progress: rebuild a strong committee
system to perform necessary tasksuse Olympic benefits wellbring our bickering factions
together constructivelyuse our central office to promote professional sponsors and encourage our
non-Olympic resources to do the sameurge our leaders to be more open, show more candor;
and urge our members to scrutinize EC actions to help prevent some of the conflict-of-interest
excesses weve seen in the past.
Carl believes that, as were poised on the brink of new opportunities, he can bring fresh
leadership and professional management to the USTTA.
Bill Hodge
Readers are surely familiar with Bills background thats been
covered extensively in my volumes. He doesnt emphasize anything
specifically new in this years Campaign Statement, except perhaps
to pique ones interest when he says, It is important that everyone
becomes involved, gets scared [sic], and votes.

Patti Hodgins

Patti Hodgins
For the past several
years I have been a T.T.
instructor for Saddleback
College, and have also been
coaching young players.Just
Bill Hodge
recently I raised over $3,000
Photo by Mal Anderson
from donations, tournaments,
and exhibitions to send Jim Lane and help Mark Kennedy to
China for training.This year, with the help of wonderful club
members, I organized three tournaments and got publicity for
them.
Patti believes that we need more communication
between the EC and membersfor example, the
membership should have been consulted about the name

change of Topics.
Fortunately, says Patti, because I work in real estate, I
am able to travel to meetings.And I have the time, the experience,
the will, and the energy to work for you.
D-J Lee
Of course over the years our 6-time National Champion DJ Lee has continually caught our attention. He says: As U.S.
Champion, I toured throughout the States, visiting clubs and
colleges, giving coaching clinics and exhibitions.I opened and
managed my own table tennis club. We held coaching clinics six
times a year, established a program to bring in and develop players,
95

D-J Lee

ran leagues for the lower-ranked players to give them tournament


experience, and held USTTA-sanctioned tournaments regularly.
I was the first American player to play in the European
Leagues. As a member of the prestigious Bundesliga, I
established the contacts needed to open the door for other
American players to go to Europe to train and play.
Up to now, table tennis in this country has been
controlled for the most part by people who have not been
motivated to promote, or had the ability to promote, the sport in
such a way as to give it a chance to rise and develop as it has elsewhere in the world.
Most of the people who have controlled U.S. table tennis in recent years have either
promoted their own selfish interests, or havent had the ability or desire to affect the necessary
changes. These people have served only as stumbling blocks to those few good people who
occasionally find their way on to the E.C. and are quickly frustrated.I have the ability and courage
to implement the necessary changes.
What D-J would do if elected: reorganize the major tournaments so that theyre more
appealing to spectators, prospective sponsors, and the mediaplace our most promising players in
training programs abroadset up a U.S. coaching system for all levels of players while also
working to get USTTA coaches into U.S. high schoolsand improve our relationship with the
USOC by following their directives regarding player representation.
Fred Tepper
Fred, for close to eight years the Program Director of the
Liberty Road TT Club in Randallstown, MD, says our Association
has to develop credibility. He looks for a four-point improvement. 1.
Work on attracting spectators. 2. Encourage fan identification that
would link the sports spectators with the players. 3. Command the
attention of the media. 4. Follow by acquiring sponsors. All four of
these parts are locked together.
Fred complains that table tennis is looked upon as a
Mickey Mouse game-room activity by the sports fan, the media,
and sponsorsand that this is a mirrored reflection of the lack of
leadership on our EC over the years. We need, he says, a
dynamic, entertaining presentation of our Sport to attract fans,
Fred Tepper
sponsors, and the media.Our first priority ought to be a vibrant,
dynamic, imaginative and ongoing public relations and advertising
campaign.
Fred is also interested in developing junior players and coaching and training sites for
themand in getting schools to help us in developmental programs.
Fred wants to serve, but, he says, I have no intention, no desire, to be part of an EC that is
not, in its entirety, moving in a positive and expeditious manner toward credibility and acceptance of
table tennis as a major athletic sport in America.
Eventually of course well see who wins office. But in addition to articles Ive already
shown that speak to the election there are several more. Heres a pertinent excerpt from an undated
letter Bob Tretheway sent me:
96

...It was encouraging to hear that you intend to run for USTTA president. While I cannot
obligate myself to support your candidacy I feel that the situation of the past, no opposition to Sol,
has been an unhealthy one for the Association.
It is hoped by myself and many others that your campaign will (1) stress a restructuring of
the USTTAs management team [meaning what?...fire Executive Director Bill Haid...and replace him
with who?] and (2) focus on fiscal responsibility. I have been in Colorado Springs for the past six
months and have had an opportunity to observe a great deal with respect to the operation of the
USTTA. I am convinced that the burden of responsibility for what has happened, or hasnt
happened, with the sport has had very little to do with the E.C. Some would argue that the E.C. has
been afraid to make decisions; I would argue that they havent been properly informed so as to
make intelligent decisions and set the policy for the organization. There seems to be a serious
inability on the part of Bill Haid to communicate with the E.C., and after having been here for these
past months it is easy to understand why.... [So much for Bill Haid.]
In articles that appeared either in SPIN or Timmys, Tretheway and Mel
Eisner urge the membership to vote, but both (not wishing to offend a future
President?) obscurely only hint at who they favor. Heres Bob (SPIN, Feb., 1984,
5):
The apathy of the USTTA membership at election time has
become legend, as has our ability to belittle and complain. This year it
is, I think, more important than ever before that YOU vote. Cast your
eyes upon the futurecast your ballot.
And heres Mel (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 5):
The campaign reaches white hot fury as charges and counter-charges, promises and nonpromises, meaningful and meaningless statements are made.
I urge every USTTA member who has not yet voted to send in his or her ballot before the
deadline.
In deciding who to vote for, please do read the campaign statements carefully, for they
reveal who has purpose and dedication and who will provide the driving power that is needed.
Vote. It is YOUR organization and YOUR time to have a say in how it is run.
Stan Robens had earlier taken a swipe at Topics Editor Boggan when, on receiving the first
issue of Tom Wintrichs SPIN, hed written in a Letter to the Editor, Its about time we had a
professional table tennis magazinethe new USTTA magazine will elevate the image of table
tennis. Now Stan writes another Letter (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 5):
The forthcoming USTTA Executive Committee election is perhaps the most important
election in the history of our Association and its time for a change. Change is the key to this
election. Whats needed is new thinking by dedicated and competent people who have the welfare
of our membership in mind plus a new era of growth for table tennis.
The past few years have been a disaster! No growth; no communication; no leadership; and
financially.who knowsits been kept a secret. The present people serving on the EC have
allowed our Association to become stagnant.
97

Only the voting membership can initiate a change for the better. And the people I believe
who can make this change a reality are; Tim Boggan for President, Yvonne Kronlage for Executive
Vice-President, Dennis Gresham for Secretary, and Carl Danner for Vice-President.
The last of the articles in SPIN or Timmys at this time bearing on the Election is written by
Fred Danner (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 19-20). He says:
This USTTA election provides a unique opportunity to get some new, very well qualified
people placed on the Executive Committee. I would like to first describe the kind of qualifications
our executives need to bring U.S. Table Tennis out of the dark ages, and then to show why some of
the candidates have the unique talent to accomplish this.
What are we missing on our present E.C? I think the biggest problem we have been
experiencing throughout my 25 years in table tennis are financial. Back in the 1960 to 1975 time
period the available funds were so low that either the USTTA E.C. saved up money and did
nothing, or they tried to develop unsupported programs leading to no profitability for the
organization and went broke.
From 1976 to 1982,
as Vice President during Sol
Schiffs term as President, I
succeeded in establishing
through the U.S. Olympic
Committee affiliation over
$100,000 per year of
benefits to table tennis
some $49,000 per year in
development funds which
USTTA could use and
control, and the rest in
USTTA E.C., 1980: by 1984 old standbyes (L-R): sitting: Lyle Thiem,
player, office, officials, and
Rufford
Harrison, Yvonne Kronlage, Sol Schiff, Gus Kennedy, Mal Anderson;
training center subsidies.
standing: Bowie Martin, Fred Danner, Executive Director Bill Haid
When I had to resign in 1982
because of family illness, we had not done much to bring our national program under any
satisfactory financial control. We had a lot more money (also from sources other than the USOC)
but still werent doing the right thing with it.
Its great to have a quarter-million operating budget for USTTA and Sol Schiff had a major
role in promoting much of these newly available funds, but he must also take the major share of
responsibility for not properly enforcing an efficient spending policy. As an E.C. member, it was
difficult to do any good financial planning when the president would come in to a meeting and drop
19 emergency actions in your lapseveral of which involved spending hundreds of dollars. The
instability which results from a lack of budget control tends to prevent good longer-term table tennis
development programs from ever being started.
What can we do to solve this type problem? First, we need E.C. members who can do
detailed financial analysis and relate how each new program being considered affects the overall
association financing. Carl Danner, a candidate for USTTA Vice-President, has his
undergraduate degree in Economics from Stanford and is currently working with the California
Public Service Commission to financially analyze major west coast utilities to protect the public from
98

excess rate charges. He is an expert in macro and micro economic analysis. He can tear a corporate
balance sheet apart and tell whats wrong with it. We really need his special talents on the E.C.
Vote for Carl and maybe we will be able to stop USTTA E.C. members from spending money like
drunken sailors on non-productive projects.
A second quality will be essential during the next few years to bring efficient and effective
management to USTTA. That is the ability to deal with the data-processing revolution. Our E.C.
members need to understand how to use computers well and to make trade-offs on what projects
should be done to support local and regional table tennis programs. Do we pay to rent a computer
terminal in the USTTA office? Share someone elses? What should it cost to process Membership?
Ratings? And so forth.
Look at your list of candidates. Who has the technical background to help resolve the many
data-processing decisions? A review of the campaign statement and past personal knowledge
shows that Gus Kennedy has some of this capability. He has used it to generate fund-raising letters
and summaries over the past several years. Carl Danner teaches graduate engineers courses in
computer cost analysis of utility projects. Finally, Dennis GreshamCandidate for Executive
Secretaryis a professional computer analyst/programmer. It is almost mandatory for anyone
doing USTTA Secretary work to have access to data-processing equipment and networks. Rufford
Harrison has a technical background but to the best of my knowledge he hasnt used dataprocessing techniques in any of his past E.C. work. Many new avenues of communication between
the E.C. committee chairmen, and members are possible when computers are properly used. Within
five years good sports management organizations will depend on computer systems.
A third quality badly needed on the present USTTA E.C. is leadership which directs a team
effort through the entire E.C. and demands that each member carry out independent development
work as part of an integrated group. I dont see how this quality can develop under Schiffs
leadership. He, in my opinion, exercises far too much individual power as President which can
frustrate E.C. members who take their job seriously. I was fortunate because Sol was very much in
favor of the Olympic work I was doing; but if he didnt want something else to happen, he would
delay it or obstruct the item until it disappeared. One such item was the attempt to limit his
discretionary authority to commit funds between E.C. meetings without advising the rest of the E.C.
prior to the decision.
While Tim Boggan is not the best possible candidate for
USTTA President, I think we should make a change and elect him. Sol
has in many ways done a fine job as President, but he has the same
problem as Tim did as Editor of Topics. Both of them thought they were
either indispensable or that they owned the job. When Tim first became
Topics Editor he put out some truly great issues (look back to 1971-73
and see). Later, in my opinion, the quality of some issues were relatively
poor. Its hard to work at a job which you took as a challenge, and, after
many years, now think of as an obligation.
Tim did run a very fine E.C. as past USTTA President in the 1972-73
season. It was downhill after that as his actions as President were affected by
sheer overwork and related family and financial problems. If we elect Tim as
USTTA President I am confident that he will be able to do an excellent job.
He doesnt have any major outside headaches at present.
Fred Danner with an eye to
If Tim Boggan is elected, I would recommend that resolutions be
the E.C. candidates
passed
to limit the maximum term of any USTTA President to six years.
Photo by Mal Anderson
99

If this were done, any newly elected President would have enough time to put together a long-range
USTTA development plan and see the results of the effort. We shouldnt make a life sentence out of
the job. Some similar rule ought to apply to the SPIN Editor.
Please take an active interest in this most important election. Vote for the candidates
you think will be best able to promote and expand the Sport of Table Tennis in the best way
possible.
Appropriately enough, Ill give the last word on this Election to Mal
Anderson, Nominating Chairman, who will tell us about the Election
Procedures (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 12):
The following election procedures have been put into operation for
the casting of ballots and counting.
After all eligible nominees for offices on the Executive Committee
had been submitted and approved, they were notified they could submit a
campaign statement to the editor of SPIN for publication in the February
issue.
I have worked with Bill Haid to produce election ballots, mailing
envelopes and the needed voting procedure. Copy was written, approved,
set in type, and printed.
USTTA Nominating
Only those USTTA adult members whose membership was current Chairman Mal Anderson
as of January 1, 1984 received a ballot.
Bill Haid was able to acquire the services of four volunteer workers from the USOC and
they affixed the labels, matching up the names for the mailing envelope and return envelope. The
mailing, as scheduled, was mailed bulk non-profit five days after the February SPIN mailing.
Inside the envelope, ballot directions state, Mail this ballot to USTTA Headquarters in the
small envelope enclosed. That means one ballot to be returned in that envelope.
Each ballot as received will be date-stamped on the envelope and will remain sealed. The
persons name on the return address is checked off on a master computer print-out of only those
people eligible to vote. Ballots are put into a sealed carton, with a slot opening at the top.
On Monday, April 16, four volunteers from the USOC, who will be selected on that date,
will assemble in a conference room to open the envelopes and count the ballots.
Ballots will not be counted until all envelopes have been opened and ballots removed. If any
envelope contains more than one ballot, then all ballots from that envelope will not be counted.
After counting and tabulations have been double-checked, all ballots, envelopes, and the
computer print-out will be sealed and put in storage until the E.C. request they be destroyed. I feel
this is a very sound system of maintaining a secret ballot.
No individual will be given any information on this election until the ballots have been
counted and results tabulated.
O.K., while we wait for the results, lets find some fun action.
SELECTED NOTES
*Since it was I who became President in 1972, Im sensitive to Carls statementmuch too
glibly, definitively putthat in 1972, given the table tennis publicity the Chinese brought to the U.S.
with their reciprocal visit, we missed out, failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
100

How much of an opportunity, I think, is quite debatable. The Chinese hop-scotched around
the country, and of course wherever they went they drew crowds. How much of this had to do with
watching table tennis, wanting to play table tennis, is questionable. These players were from
Mainland China, Red China, and were an unknown. People came out to see them and to take
part in a moment of history. To think that many of them couldnt wait to get home and start playing
ping-pong is more of a stretch than for any one of them to try to counter a ball to his forehand.
I note a parallel in golf. Columnist Mark Hermann, writing in the long Island paper Newsday
(June 17, 2012), says that, Even before Tiger Woods fell from the highest of his heights, the games
grass roots never experienced the groundswell that was expected. Of course the golf parallel has a
variable. While Tiger Woods has been great for the professional game, says Hermann, his
success didnt trickle down. Table Tennis in the U.S. in 1972 had no Tiger Woods, and no
professional game, to interest peoplefar from it. Our opportunity for success, the opportunity we
wasted, was to do what? How? Hermann concludes: The boom in everyday American golf that
was expected after Woods grew popular in 1997 never did materialize. Many courses that opened
back then are struggling to stay afloat now, if in fact they have stayed afloat. A survey by the
National Golf Foundation indicated that more American courses are shuttering than opening, and its
not even close. There were 19 startup courses last year as opposed to 157 that went out of
business.

101

Chapter Seven
1984: Americans AbroadII: European Cup Championship; 1984: Polish Open;
1984: English, French, and German Closed Champions; 1984: Israeli Open.
Nope, no sex, drugs, and rock and rollthis is STRICTLY table tennis, says
Christopher Boggan [better known as Scott Boggan] as he begins another European article for us
(Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 11). Heres his Horsesand I only
wish we had more players in the U. S. who wrote with such
involvement, such heart about the Sport. But its all about caringand
how many care, have even the chance to care in the U.S., about
experiencing the passion of those in professional table tennis.
Not only do the 10 German Clubs participate in season-long
round robin matches in the well-known Bundesliga (one foreigner
permitted on each six-man team), they also, once a year, play singleelimination team ties among themselves (three-man teams, best 5 out
of 9 singles matches). The winning Club is called the German Cup
Champion and goes on to play more single-elimination ties against the
Club Champions of other countriesuntil finally a winner is crowned
the European Cup Champion. It is all quite a big deal.
The German Simex Joola teamwith its three top players, the Swede
Carlsson, a former Scandinavian Open Champion, and German Nationals Huging and
Plum (pronounced Ploom)what with upsets here and there, a good
draw, and some strong play, had won the German Cup Championship last
year and so were automatically eligible to join this years new German
Cup winner in final-stage ties against teams from other countries. This
was no small consolation considering their relatively poor standing now
(and then) when partnered with their other three teammates in regularseason Bundesliga play.
But by the semifinal stage of competition for the European Cup, Julich had suddenly found
themselves a winning team againthat is, up to a point. Theyd had smooth sailing to the semis
over English and Danish Clubs, but now theyd come to a barring of the way they apparently
couldnt break throughthe spectacular Spartacus team of Hungarian National Team members
Klampar, Kristan, and Molnar.*
In talk at the local pubs, my Spartacus 5Julich 2 prediction was nothing out of the
ordinary. Said one fellow, I think Hugings got the wrong attitude towards this match on
Saturdayhe doesnt believe he can win. But his friend disagreed, If he didnt believe he could
win, he wouldnt play.
As for Carlsson, Julichs white hope, he wasnt always getting the best of it either. The Julich
Club manager had lied when hed told reporters that Carlsson had gone back to Sweden because
Huging and Plums defensive styles werent what he needed to play against to prepare properly for
the Hungarians monster loops. Truth was, as the insiders knew, Carlsson and the other Swedes
hated Germany and tried to stay out of the country as much as possible. And while players privy to
what was expected to happen laughed at Plums joke, Better give Klampar the key to the
sponsors Mercedes (knowing of course Klampars admiration for that automobile and his
102

unpredictable off-table antics), the innocent Julicher reading about the big Match of the Century in
his morning paper thought what he wanted to think, dreamed what he wanted to dream.
Still, you could find the importance and the intensity surrounding the match when these alien
Hungarian spinners showed up at the Club the night before. And this despite the fact that during
practice, or later, even in their pre-Match warm-ups, the Hungarians looked lazy and bored, often
dropping back from the table to indulge in long, unsuccessful sweeping motions that seemed to
prove they never tried hard for a ball. Except of course for Klamparhe never strayed from the
table and constantly bitched about every shot he missedor made.
Ulf Bengtsson of the Swedish National Team, meanwhile, had come to Julich to practice
with Ulf Carlsson (called Tickan by his friends) and then to play against him in a few days in a
regular Bundesliga match. How informally did these Swedes take their League play?
Or this European Cup semi? Carlsson had told
not a reporter, not an innocent dreamer, but me privately
the night before the Match that he didnt think either of his
chopping teammates could get 15 points a game. And my
roommate Huging, if the truth be known to the pubs,
wasnt too much looking forward to the Match either.
And yet before it all started I asked him how he felt, and
then I learned the German phrase, Ive seen horses
throwing upmeaning Anything is possible.
Realistically, I figured the only way Julich could
win the Match was (a) a MUST three points from
Carlsson (b) a point from Huging, over Molnar most
likely, and then (c) a miracle-point maybe from Plum in
the 8th match with the home crowd behind him, or
Julichs Huging: better chance of
possibly another point from Huging if somehow he could
winning at a dart game?
reach out of his glorious past (twice hed reached the
quarters of the Europeans) and manage two wins against top-notch playerssomething he hadnt
done in years.
Julichs strategy was to try to get off to a leadwhich meant playing Huging first against one
of the weaker HungariansMolnar or Kristonfor at the moment Engelbert was in better form
than Plum whose game in the last year had deteriorated. Plum then would have to bat in the third
slot against Klampar since it was obvious that aces Klampar and Carlsson would be playing the
important 7th match.
The crowd of 1200unhappily, the sponsor was unable to fill the hall to its 1500
capacitygot an early laugh as Carlsson, loosening up, jumped on the table to kill a lob.
But when someone wanted to talk to Engelbert minutes before his match, he replied, Dont
bother me, Im concentrating. One of the occupational hazards of being a good player is that
ordinarily you politely have to rap with everyone about everything in the t.t. world.
Now Kriston and Huging got on the table and warmed up with a long forehand rally. When
Kriston finally hit it off, I said, Way to go, Engelbert. Engelbert smiled, but Carlsson, who was
sitting on the bench, snapped, If youre going to act like that, you can leave. I just looked at him.
What a jerk thing to say. He wasnt so casual now. I was tempted to leave right away, but I really
thought I could help Huging and my ex-roommate Plum by giving them some sort of pep talk or
vocal encouragement. What was going on in Carlssons mind I didnt know. Maybe he thought I
was just going to horse around. All I wanted to do though was loosen Bert up and give him confidence.
103

Match #1Huging-Kriston
With Kristons windmill loop-kill it looked as though it would be a very tough day for the
defenders. Such sonic-boom loop-kills that landed surely could never be brought back. Id never
seen a faster loop in my life, and with Kriston up 5-2 Huging looked helpless.
But then Kriston missed a few and Huging wasnt quite laying the ball out there like he had
beenhe was pushing more aggressively, especially to the backhand corner where Kriston wasnt
able to smoothly forehand-sweep the ball any longer but was instead starting to roll a high
backhand. Kriston now seemed unsure of what to do, often looping high, cross-court balloons off
the table or allowing Huging to come around for an occasional kill.
From 9-11, Huging, continuing to get a lot of support from the crowd, took command,
played smartchanged spin, speed, and ball position. Kriston seemed dazed, stopped launching
those missiles, and started looping slower. Huging didnt make a mistake and won the game at 14.
In the second, after Huging won the first point, the Hungarian coach signaled for Kriston to calm
down. But then he missed an easy shot: 2-0. And Huging killed one in: 3-0. And killed in another: 4-0.
And another: only to have Kriston unexpectedly bring it back for a winner: 4-1. With Huging now
chopping every ball with his Feint, Kriston fought back to 7-6. NowsurpriseHuging flipped a serve
in for a winner. He was doing all the little things rightwas not making mistakes, was mixing it up, playing
short balls then quick long ones with an unexpected loop thrown in here and there.
If the Hungarian keeps cool, hell still win, I thought. Huging
missed a kill and then just seemed to fade away. The Hungarians
loops were on now, forehand as well as, surprisingly, backhand.
Down 14-11, Huging served and looped a zinger cross-courtonly
to have Kriston cover with a beautiful backhand counter-loop down
the line. Huging, now stunned, at 16-12 served into the net. The
Hungarian was starting to look good and I began to watch his
graceful feet after hed hummed in a loop. They didnt show the
textbook parallel footwork of the Japanese, were more like a
gymnasts feet after a few complicated flips and twirls, or the
graceful movements of a ballet dancer.
With games tied at 1-1, Huging once again started off well.
Down 3-0, Kriston once again seemed tight and his opening backhand
moon balls were again floating ceiling-ward. Soon though it was as if I
were in a rocking chairthe points were evenly going back and forth.
Zsolt Kriston: Yeah, hes
Now Kriston began to
got a backhand
grunt, perhaps give
himself the additional
physical and psychological power he needed to loop that
slice of super-heavy Feint coming again and again at him.
From 11-all, Kristons loops began missing the
table. Up 16-13, Huging, playing longer rallies now,
began bringing everything back, was totally psyched-up
and emotional after very point. Hed raise his hands,
anticipating victory, while the Julich fans would clap
louder and louder. Up 17-13, Huging missed a kill
andAwwhhthe fans were disappointed. Then
YEAHHH!again Hugings hands reached up.
Engelbert Huging, bringing everything back
104

I couldnt believe Kristons casualness, his unemotional behavior pattern. At 19-17, Huging
looped cross-court, Kriston counter-looped, and Huging, in trouble, went for an incredible loop,
andunbelievable returnit went in for a winner. The long-haired Hugings 20-17 jump into the air
was like the rearing of a great stallionand in a moment the hooves came down on Kriston.
I looked over at the Hungarians and saw that Rebmann, the owner of the Saarbrucken
Club, had somehow found his way to the Match and was now sitting with the Hungarians in their
special court-side box. Klampar saw him too and shook his hand. Klampars no dummynot
always anywayhe shakes millionaires hands.
Match #2Carlsson-Molnar
In the next match, with Carlsson up 6-4, their ball suddenly crackedwas obviously
broken, so Molnar crushed it. The umpire then took one ball out of his plastic bag and offered it to
Molnar, who then, much to the fans amusement, grabbed the whole bag. The players hit a few balls
and then Carlsson put the ball in his mouth. This of course was a common enough act among
players because of the strong white coatingbut the spectators laughed again and Carlsson said,
Why do they always laugh when I do that? Molnargood players know their audiences needs
then signaled that he wanted the ball backto dry it off. This really cracked up the spectators.
From 11-9 up, Tickan was just too fast for
the big looperran away with the game. Especially
after serving, Carlsson would play hard to Molnars
anti and right away Molnar would be in trouble on
his defensive side. Rarely could he hit the first ball
hard with his anti to put pressure on Tickan or beg
time to whip in one of his long-stroked loops.
I tried to do my tongue-in-cheek little bit to
help. Every time the Hungarian played facing me Id
take my jacket off to show my bright white shirt
and when the Julich player was facing me Id put
my jacket back on. Sometimes, though, Id forget
to do this and Jean-Michel Saive, my Belgian
friend, had to remind me, encourage me, to pursue
Ulf Tickan Carlsson: very successful after serving such nonsense. Anyway, Molnar couldnt win this
match no matter what. Julich 2-Sparticus 0.
From Tischtennis Report, 4-81
Match #3Plum-Klampar
Klampars loop is ideal against topspin, but he cant quite zing it in against underspin.
However, in compensation against chop, he never misses. His stroke is more wristy, and he doesnt
come from down low to an upwards extension on his follow through. Against Plum he just placed
the ball beautifully until the German returned one too high and the Hungarian put it away. Klampar is
supposed to be a loony, but Ive never seen a smarter player against chop. Hed play a short
topspin into the forehand and then hed quick go wide to the backhand. Often hed loop directly
into Plums stomach. No problem in the first for Klampar: 21-14.
It was now break-time for me, so I went to get a soda. Of course I wasnt the only one
with this idea, so I had a little wait. As chance would have it, the millionaire was next to me
wanting to purchase a coke for the tidy little sum of $.35. So the Bogs gave a round outa good
investment, huh?
105

Back now to the second game, and, looking at Klampar loop one
by, I remembered Id heard once how, while serving his required
military time, hed supposedly gone whacko and driven a tank
through Budapest. Could he go whacko now? As the game wore on,
Plum was putting up more resistance than expected and The Klamp
didnt seem his usual self. When, down 18-16, Plum scored a
winnersliced back a Klampar loop that had angled around the
netand the spectators started cheering him on, I could tell old
memories were coming back into his head.
Then, with Klampar leading 19-18, Plum killed the Hungarians
loop and it was 19-all. Armed with some more hidden confidence,
Plum served and unexpectedly looped in a winner. But no, from
game-point up, he couldnt quite do it. Awwhh, said the crowd as,
down 21-20, Plum risked a kill and missed. Julich 2-Sparticus 1.
While I was strolling around waiting for the next match to start,
some kid said to me, I hear next year youre playing on the first
team. I just looked at him. What a dumb comment. With only one
foreigner allowed on a team, and of course for the #1-2 slot, there
was obviously no way I could play. People just talk; so often they
Tibor Klampars not so loony
have no idea of things.
at least not always
Match #4Carlsson-Kriston
In the beginning, the points between Carlsson and Kriston were just flying byrollercoaster loop-the-loops. Each tried to fool the other with loops into the stomach and quick off-thebounce spins down the line that were virtually untouchable. Down 18-16, Kriston served into the
net, and in a moment the first game was Carlssons. Before the start of the next game they
announced the Major League soccer half-time scoreswith the crowd reacting as befitted their
favorites.
In the second game, Kristons forehand was beautiful to seesuch graceful strokes. If
Kriston thought that Tickan would play cross-court with his backhand, hed step around the corner,
aiming his long sweep of a forehand at the corner opposite. Correctly anticipating Kristons strategy,
Carlsson would often play fast down the line, but even though Kriston was caught out of position
and got to the ball late, he was still able to hook it back into play. The tide turned and Carlsson was
no longer the aggressive warrior hed been in the first. Kriston didnt think muchhe just went for
as many big shots as possible, particularly his loop that faded away cross-court, and tied up the match.
In the third, from 7-all, Carlsson resurrected the idea hed had in the first gameto try to
win the points as quickly as possibleand he served and followed for two winners. At which point
Kriston became afraid and didnt know what to do against Tickans short serve and follow. Down
14-10, Kriston backhand loop-killed a beauty. Oh no, I thought. Dont let the man get hot now.
But, no need to worry, suddenly his personality became one with his game: he froze, his game
turned to ice. He just started missing shot after shot, and Tickan won easily. Julich 3-Sparticus 1.
Match #5Huging-Klampar
Huging won the first point against Klampar, and, psyched out of his mind, began stamping
on every push. But The Klamp was much too smooth, never made a mistake, and again and again
coolly faked Bert out: 11-314-5.How could he lose?
106

In the second game, with Klampar up 4-1, Engelbert shouted to self, Man, youre an
ass!which made the crowd laugh. Then 6-1forget it. I wanted to leave the bench to take
another break, but I thought it a lack of respect for Huging. I mean he WAS fighting out thereit
was just obvious he had no way to win: Klampar 21-10. Huging came back to the bench, said, No
chance. Fit. Julich 3Sparticus 2.
Match #6Plum-Molnar
There couldnt be a better time for Plum to come out of the shadow of his teammates than
in this match with Molnar. This was almost a MUST win for Julich. But the Hungarian started off by
looping in winnersnot a good sign. Poor Plum. Down 11-7, my ex-roomie began to realize that to
win this match hed have to take some chances and be aggressive. And with his sudden
determination to attack and the crowd behind him, he started to get inspired. Now was the time for
The Great Plum to do whatas in the final of the German Cup last year in Julich, in front of his
peoplehe occasionally could do. Retrieving everythingpicking up balls off the floor, reaching
out into the standsPlum suddenly caught fire. He was yelling encouragement to self and giving the
fist after every
whinnying point.
Something in
that brain of his
sensed he could
do it. And yet,
even with all this
show of
thoroughbred
spirit, Plum
could only
manage to stay
14-all even with
Molnar.
Fight,
Germanys Michael Plum
Hungarys Janos Molnar
Plumie! we
From Tischtennis Report, 6-80
yelled. Yeah! he grunted in acknowledgement.
Repeatedly the Hungarian waited unemotionally between points for the German who was
taking his time. At 17-all, Plum failed to return serve, quickly lost another point. But down 19-17 he
came back, killed in a winner. Plumie! Plumie! the fans shouted. I started screaming. Jean-Michel
was yelling something in French. None of the rest of us understood Frenchonly the exhilarating
idea of it all. The Great Plum, trying to do it, was now a sight to behold. Revivifying the old days of
a year ago, at 19-all he was returning everythingand yet it seemed that no matter how hard he
fought, how many balls he brought back, the evolution of the game had conquered him, physically
and mentally. Against Darwinian odds he was defending his very species. Down 20-19 he slipped,
but got back into the pointonly frustratingly to lose it, 21-19.
A bad breaka big game, very big. Plum, sensing his opportunity was lost, went over and
smacked his racket against a barrier. He wanted so much to do it, gave it such a great try: the last 15
points were the best of the day. But now he was a defeated man. The Julich crowd screamed for a
changewin the next one, Plumie! But you couldnt reverse the reality of a chopper. Natural Selection in
this Age of Technology was inevitable. Defender Plum had a great but short career. Julich 3-Sparticus 3.
107

7th MatchCarlsson vs. Klampar


And now, with the tie at 3-3, here was the Big one: Mr. Carlsson vs. Mr. Klampar. This is
the one Julich HAS to win. But first the final results of the Bundesliga Soccer Matches are
announced and enthusiastically commented on.
Carlsson, serving and looping, got off to a 3-0 lead, but then, trying to keep Klampar from
looping, he made some mistakes. After losing four in a row, Carlsson stopped play, asked for quiet.
The Klamp, however, was impervious to Tickans short break and, after running seven in a row,
was up 7-3. But now it was Carlssons serve again and he promptly followed one in. Klamp, afraid
of a similar streak by his opponent, tensed up and failed to return serve. Then Carlsson got the
Hungarian on a backhand-to-backhand exchange to pull to 7-6. But then, oh, oh, he served off.
And Klampar, as if executing the textbook shot, right up-at-the-table loop-the-loop killed. That was
what modern table tennis was all about. And suddenly now Carlsson was broken. After going ahead
3-0, hed lost15 of the last 18 points and seemed very down and quite unsure of himself. The
Hungarian, on the other hand, was gaining more and more confidence. Game to Klampar, 21-10.
During the break it occurred to me that Klampar was the best middle player in Europe
though actually his middle, like that of all righty attackers, favored his backhand side. Often instead
of moving he merely leaned to the side, tucked in his stomach, and zipped the ball in.
Ulf Bengtsson, I could see, was giving his Viking comrade some quick adviceperhaps, as
the first few points of the second game would bear out, Tickan had to be far more aggressive. At 33, Klampar began having trouble with service return. Also he was just relentlessly playing Carlssons
backhand and too predictably didnt loop a ball to his forehand. Still he caught Tickan by surprise
with a regular exchangelike fooling someone with an off-speed pitch.
Klampar, however, was making some uncharacteristic errors and the Swede ran up a 10-5
lead. But then The Klamp, sending in some bullet loops, came climbing back, was 13-12 ever at the
tables edge. Hes nervous now, someone was saying of Carlsson. His confidence is gone. But
when Tickan served and loop-killed in, the Julich spectators again started getting into it. Now, as the
Swede streaked, the fans shrieked. Carlsson:
21-15. One
game each.
In the
third, the
1200
spectators
couldnt be
more
enthusiastic.
What a great
Cup this had
turned out to
be. Down
12-11,
Hungarys Tibor Klampar
Swedens Ulf Tickan Carlsson
Klampar,
Photo by Mal Anderson
pressed by Carlssons attack, was once again
uncomfortably forced back from the table andwhat! The Hungarian sent in a backhand winner
that came from out of nowhere, prompting a voice from behind me to say, Howd he do that?And
indeed it was almost unbelievable. Hed killed it from practically off the floor. But then after such a
108

great shot he failed to return serve. At 13-all Klampar blocked a loop off, and then, a little afraid, he
high-spinned off. But now craftily he won a rare push-to-push point, and then caught Tickan by
surprise with a fast spin.
Coming into the end game, the Swede was trying to be the aggressor as if his life depended
on it. It seemed, though, when he looped so fast he was at best only getting 50% in. If he can only
make them at the end, I thought, hell win it. And then the match suddenly broke. At 16-all,
Klampar couldnt handle the spin, blocked off. Down 17-16, Klampar served off. Down 18-16, he
missed a flip. Down 19-17, he blooped your basic loop. A bad time for him to have gone cold. Up
20-17, Carlsson killed in a winner, then went limb-crazy: reared up and down, pawed the air, while
pandemonium circled round him. Julich 4-Sparticus 3.
8th MatchPlum-Kriston
Plumie! Plumie! the crowd was screaming. Kristons first two loops were long, and then
Plum killed one ina very good start. Plumie seemed a little mellower this match, despite his
thundering hoofs 5-1 start. But then Kriston started connecting on that first loop of his and Plum
could not set himself to bring it back. Quickly it was 5-all. Now Plum tried to change the pace with
kill, kill, on, off attempts. Soon, however, the shots were just rolling in for the Hungarian, and Plum,
more and more talking to himself, was helplessly losing point after point. A 5-1 start, a 21-9 finish
with Kriston playfully backhand looping down the line.
Plum, a member of the German Team at the 1983 Tokyo Worldshaving just been 20-4
looped into near extinctionwas understandably totally upset with himself. Though his teammates
tried to calm him down, he again smacked his racket against a barrier. Andwould you believe it?at
this moment some idiot bent over the players bench to see what type of sponge Plum was using.
The German took more time after that first game than he was allowed. (But did the
Hungarians care? They looked like they didnt care about anything.) On coming back to the table,
Plum was immediately bombarded with loops like Ive never seen: Kriston 5-0. Plum just had no
chance. He threw his arms up, snorting at self or his benchwhich, lets face it, had no advice to
give him.
But then, strange, Plum reached out for somethinghed had enough. Stop! He went for
his towel. When he came back to fight, wonder of wonders, Kriston missed a hanger. And now it
seemed the Hungarian was a little too cool, for he let Plum sneak in a kinder topspin, a real soft
winner. Then Kriston lost another point, his third in a row. And when Plum pushed aggressively,
Kriston blundered again. What was happening? But then the heavy loop machine rolled on. Down
12-7 would Plum give up? Nay. And Kriston, missing a high nothing ball, cooled to 13-11. NOW
could Plum somehow rise to the occasion. He made a good try at a kill but missed. Thenoh!he
blew a hanger. It was all over for him.
Or was it? For now came one of the greatest moments in sports Ive ever seen Both Plum
and the highly partisan spectators were incredibly dejected after those last two potential winners had
turned into losers.a four-point swing. But then, as when down 7-0 hed done earlier this game,
Plumie went for his towel. And suddenly there occurred a most astonishing thing: slowly, picking up
speed, the spectators began clapping, giving Mr. Plum all that was left of their encouragement. The
clapping continued, was joined by more and more clappingcoming from where? From no hall of
reason. Youre losing, their uplifted hands chorused, and probably will lose, but were still behind
you, Plumie. No matter how bad you are or what little chance you have, were with you all the way.
I got goose pimples all over. Never have I seen such dedication, such love, from the fans. Within
seconds, Plum was a changed man.
109

He seemed filled with


spiritwith the mystical soul
of the fabled unicorn. He
began chopping, and chopping
so well that again and again
Kriston had to push! And
when he did Plumie came
charging in with a winner.
YEAAAHHHH! Then,
believe it or not, he turned the
corner and looped a winner
down the line. 15-all!
Loop-kill/choploop-kill/
chopbeautiful returns.
Plums sidespin chop often
had to be dropped by
Kristonbut this one the
Hungarian had dropped too
high and Plum, thundering in,
went for the kill. But, ohh, he
missed, and fell to his knees.
Now, however, Kriston
looped one off.
YEAAHHH! 19-all. When a kid yelled out, PLUMIE! everyone took up the chant. Kriston,
though, just kept on sending them inone too many for Plumwhich brought an Awwhh from the
crowd. But then once again they started their clapping. They just wouldnt give up on their Plumie.
Only then, off a push. Kriston just casually, almost disdainfully, loop-killed a perfect winner down
the line. End of Plumies hopesdreams. Julich 4-Sparticus 4.
9th MatchHuging-Molnar
I shouldnt write so many notesshould every second root the man on. Will the readers
care about what I write? Will they learn anything about the way the Sport should be played, how it
IS played among aficionados? They MUST care, MUST get excitedelse theyll be forever
doomed to basement ping-pong. (There are so many metaphoric basements.)
Molnar opened the match by looping, looping: Engelbert in response was chopping,
choppingstretching beyond to bring back the necessary return. Yes, yes, get this first one back, as
if it might be the lastand YEAAHHH! it caught the edge. Up went Engelberts fist and the shake
of his mane. The fight, red in tooth and claw, had begun.
In the beginning, Molnar was dogging it, irritated by Hugings aggressive on-court behavior
and the mirrored support of the crowd. The Hungarian looped off; dropped one in for a winner;
missed a high no-spin ball10 all. Molnars bullet-loop was on and offbut he made a damn
good double-bounce drop. And then suddenly his loop was on too18-15, Molnar. Now,
however, the Hungarian missed two quick backhands. Then Huging killed in a winner, and, as if with
wings, rode into the air. Molnar, out of it, missed another loop, but Hugings chop went wide. At
19-all, again Molnar looped offthe pressure was getting to him. Down 20-19, he tried to highspin one in, but it wasnt even close. Huging, 21-19.
110

Two easy mistakes to start the second game and Huging went loony. But then, talk about
control, Chance didnt say a word: for though, during the 2-1 point, our bench saw Molnars ball
hit, the players and the umpire didnt. As Molnar tightened up again, the crowd yelled, Hueg!
Hueg! and Huging, responding, killed one in. With his black Feint and long-legged strides, I could
imagine him more of a healthy German breed than one of those horses hed talked about earlier.
Bringing everything back, and screaming his hoped-for way to victory, he was up 7-4. A
loop by Molnar made it 7-5. But then Huging killed a ball, pushed Molnars block back, drew a
high push in return, and killed it inunbelievable. A loop-kill by Molnar followed. Then another kill
by Hugingand up went the winged stallion of the spirit. Just as my imagination told me Huging was
not about to chop a ball anymore, Molnar looped to Berts forehand, and you could tell Bert was
gonna kill it, but then at the last minute he decided to just chop it back. Strange.
Up 11-9, Huging hard-exchanged a forehand down the line for a winner, then missed a
chop. Then, fearing a weak return that would be rocketed away, he failed to return serve. Cmon,
Engelbert! At 13-12 Huging, Berts chop return around the net caught Molnar unaware. Up 14-12,
Engelbert missed two chops, then another trying to feint with the Feint. At 15-all, Molnar looped
into the net. But then, bringing balls back ala Takashima, Huging was stopped by a drop17-all.
Loops by Molnar were met with blocks and chops until the Hungarian pushed one into the
net. Down 18-17, Molnar missed a high loop. At 19-17, it went loop/chop, loop/chop, a high drop
shotand Huging killed it in. Way to go, Engelbert! Only one more. But at 20-17 triple-matchpoint, Huging missed a loop. Now some needed support-clapping for Bert.Thendead silence.
Why? Huging had failed to return two serves! 20-all.
Now, though, with a flip and kill, Huging scored his fourth ad. But a Molnar loop, drop, and
a gutsy winner down the line, followed by a laugh from Klampar, drew them all even again. This
time Huging was forced to lob and lost the point. Ad to Molnar, who then looped in an edge, which,
as Chance would have it, everyone saw.
Not just Bert and me but the whole team felt like throwing up.
At 1-1 in the 3rd, our side noticed the ball was cracked. Never mind, I said, its better for
defense. At 3-2 Huging, the players brought in a new ball. Down 7-3, Molnar was like a stiff tree
out there. He wanted to loop but just couldnt send it in any more. Up 10-4 at the turn, Huging
could hear the crowd urging him home: Engelbert! Engelbert! But Molnar block-killed with his
anti, Huging chopped first too high, then into the net. Cho! grunted Huging, trying to psych himself
up before the point. But a bullet by the Hungarian closed the score to 11-9. And suddenly the
Hungarian was loose.
Huging skidded one in to make it 12-10. Molnar matched this though with a good drop and
an angled-in winner. Down 13-11, Molnar pushed a nasty Feint-ball into the neta big point.
Down 14-11, Molnar served and loop-killed, cross-court as always. COME ON! grunted
Huging. But again Molnar killed cross-court. Up 14-13, Huging looped in a long serve. Then
Molnar looped off the edge of his racket. Now Huging pushed one off. Then, despite encouraging
clapping, Huging popped up a Molnar drop, and it was 16-1516-all. An amazing match, an
amazing tie. Maybe not the Best of the Centurybut good enough for even the experienced
innocent.
A quck topspin by Huging, and Molnar, surprised, antid it into the net. But then he
balanced by looping one in. At 17-all, Molnar missed a serve, then looped off, then fanned one
completely. Same 20-17 finish coming up again? I hoped not. ThenNo!Huging failed to return
serve! Failed to return serve again! I started to feel sick Was it possible Deathly silence at 20-19.
Molnar served deep, Huging backhand chopped, and Molnar looped off.
111

Chaos!
Everybodyand I
mean everybody
emptied into the
court to greet the
victorious arm-raised
Huging. He didnt
even get a chance to
shake Molnars
hand. Finally Bert
was able to sit down
next to me among the
madness and
confusion. Go shake
the mans hand, I
told him. Bert
Huging and Julich triumpant
walked back into the
Photo by Ladislav Perenyi
court with his
teammates, and I saw them go shake Molnars hand as he came walking toward our bench. He
smiled, shook the substitutes and trainers hands, then looked at me, smiled, and shook my hand.
How could he smile and keep smiling? But I remembered reading how, when the U.S. Hockey
Team won the Olympics, an American player said one of the Russians he shook hands with had a
smile on his face.
When Huging came back I asked him if I could borrow 20 DM. Yes, he said. Then I
accompanied him to the locker room where everyone of course was flying high. I asked Bert if I
could borrow his car. Yes, he said. I know when to ask, huh?
I then drove to a friends house to watch The Sport Show, to see Huging on TVfor the
tapes were being driven, as if on the wings of poetry, of Pegasus, by some high-speed car to Koln
where the show was to be aired.
My friend, who also saw the match, greeted me at the door and said, Amazing. Just
amazing.
Aw, I said, Ive seen horses throwing up.
[Although therell be no write-up, only a note (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 8), I can tell you
Carlsson, Huging, and Plum will go on to win the European Cup final. Theyll beat the Czech team
of Broda, Broda, and Javurek 5-3 before 700 spectators in Czechoslovakia. Julich supporters
drove 26 hours each way to cheer their team to a down 3-1, come-from-behind victory. It was a
solid team effortwith Carlsson and Huging winning two matches and Plum one.]
Given Kasia Dawidowiczs indispensible input, especially as to her experiences in Poland, I
was able (Timmys, May, 1984, 8) to write up the Polish Open,
played Mar. 9-11 at Poznan:
Earlier this season, Kasia Dawidowicz had gone to
Sweden to play some key League matches for Nisse Sandbergs
Angby Club. Her stay had not been long, for since many young
112

women in the Swedish League have small children and


cant always conveniently get away from home, round
robin matches are not held weekly, as they are for men,
but on certain designated weekends. Each team might
then play on the one weekend as many as three ties.
Unfortunately, Kasias win some, lose some record was
not good enough to save the Angby women from slipping
into the Second Division.
But she enjoyed the practice (Canadas Horatio
Pintea was one of her sparring partners), and was very
comfortable staying with the kind, companionable Waller
familydaughters Lena and Marie (accompanied by
mother Maud) have played in U.S. Opens. Indeed, with
the Polish Open coming up, Kasia couldnt resist
returning to Stockholm for more practice, more fun
companyand this time with her 2 and -year-old son
Michael in hand. I like living in Sweden, says Kasia. It
seems like there are nice green parks everywhere. If I
want to play soccer with Michael in Denver I have to get
in the car and drive for a quarter of an hour.
Kasia Dawidowicz
And when had Kasia been in her native Poland
last? In 1979. Shed gone there to get some practice
before the Worlds. In fact, shed hoped to accompany the Polish Team to Pyongyang, but was
subject to so much red-tape interrogation she had to give it up.
And was there anyone else from the
U.S. prepared to draw aside the Curtain
enter this Polish Open? Bohdan, Kasias father,
of course. And Germany-based Scott Boggan
Wrongheadedness
From Tennis de Table,
and Mike Bush. That is, untilsurprise
Jan., 85
Israels earlier casual all-expenses-paid
invitation to Scott unexpectedly became official
and Scott couldnt pass that up. Which left
Bush to partner the Dawidowiczes. Until (1)
Eric Boggan was also invited to Israel and (2)
the day before Scott was to leave for Tel Aviv,
his 35-3 League record came abruptly to an
end, for while playing soccer with some other players, he half-crashed, half-slid into a sharp-edged
obstruction, sliced his leg open just above the knee-cap, and, stitching himself into a half-hearted, happygo-lucky grin, came limping home to the U.S. three weeks before seasons end.
Which meant that Scotts all-paid-for ticket to Israel would now be picked up by Mike
who, instead of having to pay his way to partner Bohdan in Posnan, would at little or no expense
team up with Eric in Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, no Team play then in Posnan for Bohdan, and no hopedfor post-tournament U.S. vs. Poland international play for both Kasia and Bohdan.
As it happened, the Chinese Team, too, was forced to change their plans. Why? Because of
the sudden transportation strike in France. The visiting Chinese were caught and couldnt get to
Posnan in time for the Team events.
113

The Russians were dominantbeat the North Koreans in the finals of both the Mens and
Womens Teams. Teenager Mazunov had two big wins. The first in the semis over Vladislav Broda
(the Czech #1 who, along with Waldner, came into this tournamentthe last of the Norwich Grand
Prix eventsleading the Circuit with 1800 points). Mazunovs second win was over Chu Jong Chol
(the #1 North Korean)but he got a big assist in this tie from Podnosov who beat Li Gun Sang, 19
in the 3rd, and also Chu.
The Russians (Bulatova and Antonian) won the Womens Team event over Romania, 3-0.
But if Bulatova/Antonian had not won the doubles against North Koreas Li Bun Hi/Kim Yong Hi,
23-21 in the 3rd, they would have lost in the semis, 3-2.
Eager though defensive-minded Bohdan must have been to play in the Mens Singles after
just sitting around watching the Team play, he, alas, opened against (or, no, that cant be right),
drew, in the first round the aforementioned Chu Jong Chol (whose win over German Champ
Grubba in the semis of the Teams helped North Korea reach the final) and promptly got 21 points.
As for Kasia, she did well, won her first Singles match before losing in four to the Pole
Djaczynska. And not a moment too soon either. For while she was out there playing, young Michael
had taken her wallet from her bag and, opening it up, had begun giving money out to all the little kids
he was playing with.
Father and daughter lost the Mixed Doubles to that same
Djaczynska and partner, but in the Womens Doubles Kasia
teamed with the Hungarian Pircsak to get to the 8ths before
falling to an East German pair. In the Mens Doubles, Bohdan
and his Polish partner Florezak showed a Chinese North Korean
pair how to win the first at deucethen lost the second and third
games at 3 and 8. Bewildering, huh?
Naturally the Chinese men and women were Singles
winnersthough the Europeans did come through once, when
home favorites Grubba and Kucharski took the Mens Doubles
from Mens Singles runner-up Wang Huiyuan/Xu Zeng Hai.
Actually, the Polish men were at the center of the most exciting
spectator matches. Little known Konopczynski lost to North
Korean Hong Son Il in
five; the Polish #3 Dryszel
Bohdan Dawidowicz
Photo by Fred Grobee
got by Hungarys Simon,
23-21 in the 5th; Polands
#2 Kucharski downed Romanias Fajer in the fifth; and in
the 8ths Russias #1 Mazunov continued his spirited play
with a 23-21 five-game sneaker over Grubbathis after the
#1 Pole had been down 16-5 in the fifth.
The eventual Mens winner, Jiang Jialiang, World
#3, had a couple of interesting, not to say precarious,
matches. First, with the Czech #1 Vladislav Broda (-13, 19, 22, 16, 12) back in the 16ths; and later in the quarters
with Cho Jong Chol (25-23 in the 4th). The Womens
winner of course was World Champion Cai Yanhua over
Leszak
North Koreas Kim Yong Hi in five and then over her
Kucharski
winning Womens Doubles partner Ni Xia Liang, 23-21 in
114

the 4th. Cai, paired with Wang Huiyuan, also took the
Mixedfrom Chinas Jiang/Ni.
After the tournament, Kasia was sick in bed for a
week with the fluwhich of course Michael had too. I
was worried, said Kasia, because I was sure Poland was
short on medicine. Also, it bothered me that I couldnt
make a phone call out of Poland and that two out of every
three telegrams I sent or that were sent to me were never
received.
Was it a handicap taking Michael on such a trip?
No, said Kasia, because I so enjoyed his company. But
the hotel room I was originally assigned had just two beds
and a sink in it. And I had to tell an official or two that
Michael and I just couldnt stay there. My little one has to
take a bath every day, and I certainly wasnt gonna have
him share a communal tubhe might have picked up
Chinas Jiang Jialiang
something a lot worse than the flu. So they were nice and I
got a room with a bath in another hotel.
All in all, was Kasia glad shed gone to Poland? Yes, she wasshe hadnt been back for
five years and wanted to know just how bad things were there. I was an innocent, she said. I
thought people would have more powermore protesting power.
She spoke of how the average person was allowed 30 liters of gas for a monthand how
gas prices were going up. Also there was a water shortageno water after midnight was the rule.
You might as well party until 5:00 a.m.when you can take your shower, she saidI think
jokingly. Booze was very expensive. The average Pole earns $8,000-$10,000 a month Polish
moneya liter of vodka costs $1,700.
Theres a real food problem in Poland. I dont mean just little things either (once Kasia got
Michael a hot dog and he wanted mustardbut when Kasia asked for it, she heard, MUSTARD!
Lady, where have you been? We havent had mustard here for a year. Complained Kasia, If you,
a visitor, buy something with your American dollars thats rationed it makes you feel youre being
rude to the average personit makes you feel bad.
And yet the restaurants in Poland are doing a very good business, Maybe the reason for
this, said Kasia, is that its just easier to go out to eat than wait in line six hours for meat, wait in
another line for vegetables, and so on, all the while listening to people whore getting more than a
little edgy.
Did the people still keep the faith? I asked Kasia. This is a 90% Catholic country, she
saidbut its my impression that a neighbor will sell a neighbor here for a dime. Its the law of the
jungle hereself-survival. This is not to say of course that my Polish friends and I didnt laugh and
joke. But the question everyone asks me is, How can I get to the U.S.?
English Closed Champions: Mens: Final: Douglas d. Sandley, 17, 7, -20, 16 (after
escaping Cooke, 10, -17, 12, -19, 11 in the semis). Best Quarters: Cooke d. Day
(from down 2-0 and deuce in the third). Womens: Gordon d. L. Bellinger, 11, -21,
15, 16. Mens Doubles: Douglas/Day d. Prean/Parker, 23, 8. Womens Doubles:
Gordon/Sainsbury d. Grundy/Parker, 19, -19, 14. Mixed Doubles: Andrew/Moore d.
Eckersley/Grundy, 14, 17. Veterans (Over 40): Schofield d. Moran, 11, 13.
115

French Closed Champions: Mens:


Renverse d. Secretin, 13, -22, 12, 7.
Quarters to note: Campagnolle d.
Birocheau (from down 2-0), 23-21 in the
5th. Womens: Abgrall (after outlasting
Monteux, 26-24 in the 5th) d. Germian,
14, 12. Mens Doubles: Secretin/Gernot d. Renverse/Parietti,
8, 10. Womens Doubles: Daviaud/Monteux d. Aubry/
Delepine, 13, 12. Mixed Doubles: Parietti/Daviaud d.
Renverse/Abgrall, 19, -13, 7.
Engelbert Huging
(Timmys, Apr., 1984, 8)
covers the German Closed:
Peter Engel, just turned
Patrick Renverse
30, won three tough matches
From Tennis de Table, Nov., 83
at the German Closed to become their National Mens Champion.
Against me in the quarters he was
Peter Engel
18-17 down in the 5th. I had hoped that
From Tischtennis
Peter, who likes to have a beer now and
Report, 4-81
then, would show a lack of endurancebut
it never happened. Instead, it was I who
had a 20-second blackout (much as if Id
had one too many vodka-tonics with my
roommate Scott Boggan). I just forgot to
concentratemade two costly mistakes,
twice pushing the ball over what was
suddenly much too low a net.
In the semis, Engel beat former
Champion George Boehm, deuce in the 5th.
Leading 20-17, triple-match-point, Peter
fell victim to a no-nobegan thinking about
winning and started wishing himself home.
But at 20-all he got himself together to take the last two points.
In the final against Ralf Wosik, Germanys perennial #2, Peter was 1-1 in games and down
11-5 in the 3rd, but from there came back to win, 18 in the 4th.
Now, as the German Champion, will Engel be going to the Europeans in Moscow? Said
Peter, Last year, although I was the German #5, the Association didnt pick me for the Team to
Tokyo. After that, I wrote them stating that I didnt want to play for Germany any more. Now I
cant say, Yes, Ill go to Moscow because of course Id lose face. However, after his win over
Boehm in the semis, Association representatives asked him again if he wouldnt play on the German
Team to the Europeans, and for a moment he relented. But then when he won the Championship,
he again reversed himself and decided to hold fast to his original decision.
Lucky for mebecause the Association then picked the following players to go to
Moscow: Wosik, Stellwag, Boehm, Lieck (back on the Team at 38!), and me.
116

The German Womens Champion, whod also won the


German Top 10 (without losing a game) is Susanne Wenzel, 20.
She defeated Kirsten Kruger, #10 in Europe, in the final, 3-0.
Mike Bush (Timmys, June,
1984, 8) covers the Israeli Open,
held Mar. 11-12 in the Hfar
Maccabiah Sports Complex in Tel Aviv:
This was a Championship like no other Ive played in.
It was a six-day all-expenses-paid trip where friendship was
put in front of competitionat least by the organizing
committee, or, well, at least on the days we werent competing
in the Hall where competition found its home again. So we had
Susanne Wenzel
much time to enjoy the fine hospitality afforded us. Eric Boggan
From Tischtennis Report, 4-81
and I, like most other players, arrived on the Thursday before
the Open, which was to be held on the following Sunday and Monday. The weather wasnt so nice,
very cloudy, but there was warmth and it was a refreshing change from the coldness of
Bundeesrepublik Deutschland.
On the first evening Eric and I were taken to a local pub by two Israeli men, Dror Polak
and Yacob Bogen (pronounced Boggan). There we tasted spicy delicacies, drank beer and pina
coladas, and gazed at the dark-complexioned people around us. I felt the intensity of pride of a
people who have survived against all odds and hate that have followed them through history, a
people who built up their country out of the sand and rocks of neglect, and fought hard for their
independence, which was taken away from their ancestors 2000 years ago, while the world
watched with closed eyes.
On Saturday all the players went on a tour of the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
On the Mount of Olives, we saw trees over 1,000 years old and people kissing the stone where the
crucified Jew, Joshua (Jesus Christ), supposedly sweated blood. In an Arab souvenir shop I pointed
to a key-rack with Jerusalem painted on it and jokingly told the Dane Claus Pedersen that if he
wanted to get into Jerusalem hed better buy a key to the city. The Arab proprietor told me without
humor that I was a too-smart Jew. I exclaimed to Claus that here was a prime example of the antisemitism and friendly Arab one hears about.
My comment to Claus triggered something in this Arabs brain that showed me he was a
desecrator of all religions, somebody who made it his business to exploit tourists in the Holy Land.
He spewed his hate out at me. I made a few calm retorts, and then Claus and I made our way back
to the bus shaking our heads. In Jerusalem we visited many sights, including the Western Wall and
the remains of the destroyed Temple of the Israelites.
Back at our hotel we took it easy. That evening we watched the movie The Sting, then
went to bed.
The next morning the Team event started promptly at 9:00 a.m. The format guaranteed us a
full days play. There were two round robin groups, four teams in each. Play was Davis-Cup style
(two singles, followed by a doubles, followed, if necessary to secure the needed three wins, by two
more singles). The two best teams in each group would advance to a criss-cross semis, and the
winners would play the final. Group A consisted of Sweden, Denmark, Luxemburg, and Israel B.
Group B teams were USA, Israel A, Finland, and Israel Youth.
117

Mike Bush vs.


Finlands Jarno Jokinen
Photo by Holzwarth

Eric Boggan vs. Finlands Jukka Ikonen

In our first tie against Finland I started against Jokinen, a quick, Swedish-style-on-the-table
topspinner and change-of-pace blocker. He used his hand more than his body to control the table while I
was back fishing balls out of the angles in a lethargic fog of morning that wouldnt let my mind out of its
grasp. I felt like I was in slow motion, reactionless. It was a quick and painless death1-0 to Finland.
Against the tricky serves and attack, but relatively weak defense, of chopper Ikonen, Eric
was too good. Eric rarely used his block that Ikonens attack couldnt penetrate, instead
overpowered him with aggressive topspins and kills that poked holes in the tall, gangly mans long
pips and inverted-rubber defense. Tie: 1-1.
[Apparently, Eric and Mike lost the doubles in this tieperhaps so badly Mike didnt want
to write about it. Onward.]
In the fourth match, Jokinen had no clue as to how to play against Erics unusual style. His
face had a contorted expression of bewilderment from the first point to the handshake at the end.
In the fifth match, I concentrated on controlling Ikonens attack and forcing him to play
defense. The strategy worked well and he was never in the match. It was like shooting ducks at an
amusement park as I aimed bullet loops and smashes at his playing arms elbow.
In our second tie, we were pitted against the inspired Youth team from Israel. We won 3-1.
We lost the doubles in which Eric and I struggled [again?] to find motivation. The young Israelis,
however, were fired up, along with the audience that drove them on to victory. However, the
singlestwo for me, one for Ericwe won easily.
Meanwhile, Israel A was playing an important tie for us against Finland. We hoped that
Israel would win so that in case we lost to Israel wed still be guaranteed a spot in the semis. Up 21, Israel was looking good. Yacob Bogen, the 21-year-old Israeli Champion with a McEnroe-type
lefty forehand, was leading Jokinen, the spinner, 20-16 in the third. But the one point he needed to
give his team the win didnt come. And luck was against him. At deuce, he went ad down to an
unreturnable net, then lost the last point to an edge ball.
In the fifth match, Ikonens defense was once again penetrated unmercifullythis time by
Dror Polak, the 27-year-old ex-Israeli Champion who hadnt been able to defend his title this year
118

due to his military commitments. This victory set up a dramatic USA-Israel A B Group final that
the spectators were drooling for.
In the A Group final, Sweden went for the quick victory against Denmark. They played their
#1 player, world-class Jonny Akesson, in the #2 position. The strategy couldnt have been better.
Greczula, opening for Sweden, dominated Denmarks Harkamp, Akesson demoralized Pedersen,
and the Swedes won the doublesa 3-0 advance for Sweden.
The USA-Israeli A tie was as dramatic as the spectators could ask for. It went the limit
and practically all matches were close. I began against Polak in what was to be a key match. Dror is
a big guy and his style resembles that of Kjell Johansson. He counters hard, blocks well, has a
quick, clean topspin, and an awesome flat kill. His power expressed to me clearly that I had to
force my attack at all costs. My serves and spin game gave him a lot of trouble. We exchanged
points throughout the first game. He was up 20-19 when I went for an all-out topspin with my
forehand off his opening backhand topspin. It just caught the corner, so I took the game at deuce,
Eric gave me some words of encouragement, and I started out the second game well. All my shots
were connecting. I was controlling the pace, and it seemed I couldnt lose. But when I was up 1610, the tables turned. Dror fought his way back and made some great shots to take the game at
deuce.
In the third, like the second, I controlled the first two-thirds of the game and again it seemed
like I couldnt lose. But once again Dror didnt give up, and, down 18-11, he ran a streak of points.
Up 18-17, I had serve and was as aggressive as I could be. I tried to put everything I had into my
serves, and, up 19-17 and 20-19, I served off. At deuce he got a net/edge that I sacrificed the skin
on my knee to return, only to see him crack in a backhand to an empty table. Up match point, he
missed a relatively easy set-up after a long point. I forced my attack for the ad, and up match point I
was at the barriers lobbing. Somehow I scrounged out the point with a slimy sidespin chop, off a
weak drop-shot, that he whiffed. USA 1-Israel A 0.
In the second match, Boggan came up against Bogen who had beaten Eric quite easily in a
training session only two days earlier. But the Boggan of practice has no resemblance to the
tournament Boggan, in fight, concentration, or level of play. Even though Bogen played Boggan very
well, it was Boggan who was always in command. Eric kept the ball low and well-placed and
stayed on top of Yacob. Putting constant pressure on him, he was quick to take advantage of weak
balls. Two straight for Eric, and two straight matches for our team.
In the doubles, Eric and I were still lacking that magic ingredient that could make us click as
we had in the Hungarian and German Opens. Whether it was concentration, motivation, or, maybe,
the inability to accept the fact that doubles was just as important as singles in this situation, we did
not win a singles doubles match in the Team event. USA 2-Israel A 1.
In the fourth match I played a fired-up Bogen. Somehow the fire of spirit and the quickness
I had felt during my match with Polak had been dampered sometime during the doubles match. I
didnt feel like I was playing too well, but on another day when I saw a video-taping of the match I
realized that hadnt been the case. Instead, my mistake had been that I seemed to have
concentrated more on complaining than on fighting to win the match. Anyway, sitting in the comfort
of the filmers room, I didnt need to see an instant replay of me leaving the table frustrated and
mumbling to remind me that I had lost both games at deuce. Tie 2-2.
This time it was Eric who had the anchor-man spot and I tried to relax as I watched what I
thought would be a clear-cut victory. But Dror had other intentions. Like his ancient ancestor David
who went out to fight the giant Goliath, Dror must also have felt that this was a do or die situation,
and he showed no respect for Erics 18th-in- the- world ranking as he exchanged blow for blow
119

with him. Dror was playing power t.t.spinning and smashing from both sides, patiently waiting for
the slower-paced anti-floater that Eric couldnt keep down against the flat, raw drives that Polak
was scoring with.
However,
Eric quickly came
to the realization
that his blocking
game wasnt going
to win the match
for him. So he
started forcing his
own attack and
Eric Boggan
Dror Polak when he was the
cracked in more
1975 U.S. Open Junior Champion
than a few
forehands himself. It seemed that, no matter what either of
them did, neither could take control of the match. They traded the first two games and throughout
the third neither could produce a two-point lead. Down 14-13, Eric turned to me and said, This
guy is playing world-class! Somehow, hearing this old clich coming from Eric made me smile to
myself and I thought thankfully that Eric is world-class and if he fights it out we shouldnt have
anything to worry about.
Finally, at 15-all, with the luck of two nets in a row, Eric opened up a lead that he wasnt
about to give up. Dror, unlike his Biblical ancestor, was forced to accept that the miracles of
yesteryear have no place in the technological world of the present, and, anyway, whoever heard of a
battlefield with a net on it. Up 20-18, Eric drove in a mighty forehand that penetrated Drors heart.
He staggered a moment, then dropped to his knees in defeat.
The momentum of Erics forehand propelled us full force into a semifinal tie against the
Danes, which we smashed into head on. We played the same strategy as the Swedes, went for the
quick lead and victory by playing our #1 in the second position, but it backfired on us, and we lost
3-0.
I dropped the opener to Harkamp in
three after winning the first easily. Eric then
came against the old Viking, Claus Pedersen, a
topspinner from both wings whose shots have
tremendous spin and velocity. Eric had felt that
the match was his, like money in the bank, but
Claus, at 34, with more than a dozen National
Singles Championships, showed us that he is still
a world-class player not to be taken lightly.
Match to Pedersen. As for the doublesforget
it!
In the other semifinal, a big upset was
underway. The Swedes had led 2-1 in matches
against Israel before losing in five. In the opening
match Bogen played out of his mind to beat
Denmarks Claus Pedersen
Akesson. The Swedish coach told reporters at a
Photo by Mal Anderson
press conference that Greczula, the 20-year-old
120

topspinner, had this tournament as a chance to prove he was worthy of a spot on the Swedish
National Squad. In the second match, he came back from match-point down to defeat Polak and
even up the tie at 1-all. In the doubles the Swedes were clearly better. Then came the second
shock. Polak pounded relentlessly through Akessons awesome topspin attack and defense.
The match was tied at 2-2 when Greczula and Bogen met at the table. Topspin rallies were
the usual exchange. There were fought-for leads, and great comebacks. By the time Bogen had
scored his 19-in-the-3rd victory, the partisan spectators had chewed their fingernails to the bone and
screamed their throats raw.
The Team final was an anticlimactic 3-0 victory for Denmark. A fatigued Bogen lost easily
to Harcamp, Pedersen beat Polak deuce in the 3rd, and the Danes ran away with the doubles.
In the first round of the Singles, Eric beat Israels Shnio, 3-0. In his second match he had
just a little trouble with the psyched-up Israeli Azulai who, to the delight of the audience, amusingly
exchanged screams with Eric who didnt see anything funny in their four-game struggle. In the
quarters, Eric was a lock against the standard European style of Denmarks Harkamp and won 3-0.
However, Eric was stopped surprisingly in the semis by Greczula. The Swede played
marvelously. He spun strong from both sides and gave Eric little chance to attack. Eric had found it
impossible to concentrate as he would have liked to and it probably cost him the match. He had led 2019 match-point in the 4th and 19-16 in the 5th before losing. The points were long, the Swede controlling
the pace with his backhand and forehand topspins, and showing good touch and reaction against Erics
anti. The fifth game was a heartbreaker for Eric. He was leading match-point more than once, and fighting
back from match-point down a few times. Greczula was the winner: -16, 19, -15, 20, 25.
On the other side of the draw I made it as far as the quarters. In the first round I played
Levi, this years finalist in the Israeli National Championships. Hes a chopper with inverted and long
pips, and it was a routine 3-0 victory for me. In the second round I played the Finnish chopper
Ikonen once again. It was an easy win for me, even though I did manage to lose the third game.
In the quarters, I faced the lefty
spinner and touch player Akesson, the 19Swedens Jonny Akesson
year-old Swede. I played him very well,
though I couldnt pull off a victory.
Akessons style gives one the impression
that hes almost lazy, but thats an illusion.
He uses his very talented hand to control
play and is most comfortable 4-6 feet back
from the table (the European terminology
for this position is half-distance, and some
players who favor it are Dvoracek,
Secretin, and Appelgren).
Akesson almost teasingly catches
his opponents topspins and sends then back hooking in the most unusual and marvelous ways, not
unlike Appelgren. His serve-and-follow game is very effective, due not to the power of his attack,
rather because of his deceptive high-toss serve and the change of spin, pace and placement of his
following topspin. On my serve I was doing o.k., but when he served I was in trouble. If I could
block his opening topspin and then the topspin that followed, I was able to force him to drop back
(or was it voluntary on his part?) and play topspin defense. At this attained point I became a favorite
in the continuing play, though I sometimes had to smash as many as 15 times to win the point. Down
2-1 in games, Id led 20-19 before losing (-19, -17, 17, -21).
121

In the Doubles, Eric and I barely made it by two 14-year-olds in three games. We
eventually lost in the quarters to Polak/Bogen, 19 in the 3rd.
We were both eliminated from the tournament and retired to the spectator stands. We had
another two days left in Israel and spent them enjoying ourselvesseeing sights and spending time
with friendly t.t. players.
Both Eric and I would like to thank our gracious host Yosef Yeshua and the Israeli Table
Tennis Federation for making this trip so personally memorable.
SELECTED NOTES.
*In a Butterfly Table Tennis Report about
this time, Hungarian Coach Zoltan Berczik remarks
how the play of 1979 World Team Champions
Jonyer, Gergely, and Klampar was gradually
declining. He says:

Jonyers sports shop in Budapest

Jonyer opened a small sport shop, a retail


store, and his business was taking a lot of his time.
Because of this, his training was reduced significantly.
Also, his play became slow and unsure due to his
ever-increasing weight.
Gergely had to spend a lot of time at home
because his wife opened a hair-dresser shop, and he
had to look after their three children. Every year now
his preparations been insufficient, and his
performance disappointing.
Klampar wants to keep up his game, but his
constant suspensions make him less and less available
for tournaments.

[However, Kriston and


Molnar have done heavy duty
for the Hungarian National
Team, and, being formidable
players, have often acquitted
themselves well.]

Gabor Gergely
From Tischtennis
Report, 3-80

122

Chapter Eight
1984: March Tournaments.
Jay Crystal
(Timmys, Apr., 1984,
10) tells us that the Mar.
2-4 $800 Seattle Open, in being spearheaded by USTTA Regional
Director Earl Adams and Tournament Director Rogers Brown, and
supported by both the Boeing and Seattle Eagles Clubs, was the areas
first major tournament in years. As an unexpected bonus, the
tournament featured five-time U.S. Champ Danny Seemiller who was
returning to the U.S. after his great win (his third) at the Western Japan
Open. Danny said that, although his life goes on in much the usual way,
with clinics, lessons, and exhibitions, he also tries hard to play in
tournaments when and where he can.
Jay Crystal
Heres what he had to say about this
Seattle Open (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 6): I was
really treated first-rate by Earl Adams and the folks at the Boeing
Company up here who put on a banquet in my honor. Originally Id
planned to stay only a couple of weeks in Washington, but, being treated
so well, feted even, enjoying Jay Crystals hospitality at Lake Itchiosmosis,
Im getting so I really like it up here in the Northwest.
The tournament site, said Jay getting into his write-up, was a
grade schoolwith the main tables placed in the stage/cafeteria area. The
conditions were tough: dim lighting, crowded-together tables, stuffy
atmosphere, and some mysterious-moving slick spots on the tile floor.
These handicaps were offset, however, by the even acceptance of the players,
the caliber of play, and, most importantly, the enthusiastic crowd support.
Earl Adams
Earl and Rogers started the lower-rated events early Friday
From 1980 Pacific
eveningthey figured they could get them over with early. Uh-huh. Little
Northwest Program
did they know that the U-1700 final would be played at 3:00 a.m. Hai Tran
defeated John Fredrickson to win that night-owl match.
The U-2100s had a strong field. Even Tom Ruttinger showed upafter calling the night
before to get his racket approved (he had red rubber on both sides). After not playing a
tournament in four years, Tom promptly went up 8-1 against Hai Tran, who stopped the match to
complain about Ruttingers racket. After a 10-minute delay, Toms lead and the match
deterioratedand Tran advanced in three games. Then, after continuing his advance by defeating
Gerry Hamerby the way, who let Tran into the U-1700s?Hai lost to Bob Mandel in the
quarters. Bob played well in spite of twice finding the slipperiest spot on the floor. Both times he
came in on Hais drop shots, planted his feet, then, s-s-s-lipping, crashed his ribs into the table.
Ron Carver, who drives into Portland from Astoria for practice among the Oregonians once
a week, was seeded #1 and sailed along very smoothly before having to pull out a 19-in-the-3rd
semis match over B.C.s Alan Bajkov.
Joe Chin, the #2 seed, beat U-1900 winner Cindy Choi, then blocked down Al Michael in
the quarters before being stopped by Mandel in the semis. Bob played steady to get by Chin, then
123

in the final he looped, chopped, and in general out-steadied Carver. Bobs ribs didnt hurt for two
days after that $100 win.
The Open Singles drew 30 entries, but only five matches were of any interestfour of
which involved Seemiller who impressed the crowd with a level of play unseen in the Great
Northwest.
The KOMO TV camera folks showed up for Dannys firstround match. A crowd quickly formed, swarming into another court,
pulling up chairs, murmuring in anticipation, ready for fireworks.
Portlands Bruce Carlson had the distinction of going down first to the
Champ for the six oclock news.
Only 7 rating points separated the 3rd, 4th, and 5th-rated
playersand of course yours truly, the #5th-rated player, drew Seemiller
in the quarters. I questioned the draw, but the Tournament Committee
members, who had virtually no sleep the night before, werent ready to
listen. Rules is rules. But I still felt I should have played #4 Eddie Lo or
#3 Hong Pham in the quarters. All Seemiller and Quang Bui could say
to me was, You got burned.
Enough complaints. I went out there in the quartersa spirited,
crowd-pleasing lamb to the Seemiller wolf. The man has so many ways
to tear you apart. Just his uncanny anticipation and superior quickness
can do it. I scored a consistent 12, 11, 11, and while I saw a single bead
of sweat appear on the Champs brow, my shirt had a soggy spot the
size of a grapefruit.
In another quarters match, Bui went through Carver, 13, 17,
16. In another, Hong, after dropping the first at deuce to Canadian
Senior Champ Eric Calveley, picked up momentum. His shouts of
Ninja! amused his Mercer Island practice partners but seemed to
Danny Seemiller
disgruntle the usually even-tempered Canuck, who lost the remaining
three games. And in the final quarters, Eddie Lo, whod been undefeated in four tournaments up
here since going back to his penholder grip, on losing the fourth 27-25 to the angle-blocking, pacechanging Joe Chin, had to go five before gaining enough control to win the match.
Lo, then, faced with the Bui whod beaten Carver three straight, did not look like the prematch favorite in the first semis. The two exchanged bullet loops and brilliant angle-blocks. The
only semblance of underspin was on serves and on an occasional return, thenwhooshthe ball
would heat up, the players would back up, and they would swing till they missed. Quang seemed
content to back up, refused to control the tempo, and watched dreamily as more and more of
Eddies shots went by him. As the match slipped out of reach, Quang could only look at his racket
and shake his head. Match to Lo in four.
In the other semis, another lamb went to the sacrifice. Pham managed 20 points against
Seemiller5, 8, and 7.
The final was much the same. Lo seemed awed and baffled by Seemillers speed, change of
pace, and super anti. At one point in the second game Eddie whiffed two serves in a row. In the
third, he began to score and found himself with a 17-13, 19-16 leadthen found out how tough it
is to take a game from the Champ22-20game and match to Danny.
Seemillers domination ended in the Doubles final. Up 10-3 in the third, he and partner,
perma-grin Buddha Bob Mandel seemed in control against Bui and Pham. But the fire that Bui had
124

been lacking somehow rekindled and he fused a brilliant array of firecracker shots that, combined
with beamin Bobs icy forehand and backhand, thrust the Quang/Hong pair past the at last humbled
Seemiller to a win at 14. Said Bob, Now I know how Ricky feels. [But when Ricky plays with
Danny, he generally feels like a winner, IS a winner, isnt he?]
By months
end, Danny will be
playing in another
Northwest tournamentthis time in Burnaby, British
Columbias Chinatown Open. Here are the results: Mens:
Danny Seemiller over Horatio Pintea, -24, 9, 18, 11. Womens:
Cindy Choi over Helen Simerl, 12, 19, 16. Best late-round match:
Debbie Poh over Georgina Keckie, deuce in the 4th. Mens Doubles:
Seemiller/Jay Crystal over Eddie Lo/Pintea, 18, -19, 18. Womens
Doubles: Poh/Simerl over Cindy Choi/Erika Ziduliak. Mixed
Alan Bajkov
Doubles: Lo/Choy over Seemiller/Fong Seow. U-2000: Alan Bajkov
Photo by K. Roberson
over C. Woo. U-1800: B. Andrews over A. Beckenbach. U-1500:
V. Asavareungchai over Ziduliak. U-1200: G. Kecki over E. Kecki. Seniors: Eric Calveley over H.
Vuong. Boys U-17: Tommy Vuong over D. Poh. Boys U-15: Poh over S. Chew. Boys U-13: B.
Chang over T. Hung. Girls U-17: Ziduliak over G. Kecki. Girls U-15: C. Traeger over A.
Maratuhulam, E. Kecki, and S. Li. Girls U-13: E. Kecki over Maratuhulam and Li.
The March 9-11 weekend was very big in
Sacramento with both Jeff Mason (SPIN, Apr.,
1984, cover+) and Carl Danner (Timmys, Apr.,
1984, 15) reporting on the play. Jeff begins by
giving us the Results of the $600 Sacramento Open
(played Fri.-Sat.) that preceded the final day (Sunday)
of the third and final Pro-Am Circuit tournament that
would decide the distribution of the $3,000 prize money.
Sacramento Open winners: U-2200s: Erwin Hom ($100)
over Avishy Schmidt, -9, 21, 12, 15. Homs third-ball attack and
consistent looping proved to be too strong for Schmidt. Semis: Hom over
David Chun, 16, -19, 18; Schmidt over Toni Kiesenhofer, deuce in the 3rd. Best
quarters: Chun over James Therriault, deuce in the 3rd. U-2000s: Masaaki Tajima looped
away Enrico Li. Best quarters: Tajima over Ed Hu, -9, 24, 18. Open Doubles: Dean Doyle/
Schmidt over Therriault/Chun. Seniors: 1. Tom Miller. 2. James Ritz. Juniors: 1. Joe Lomas. 2. Jim
Goodwin.
U-1850s: Tom Miller chopped, lobbed, blocked, and hit his way to victory in five over
looper/hitter Horace Cheng. U-1700s: Jere Brumby over Nadine Prather, 13, -21, 20, 20. U1550s: Ritz over Emilio Duke Vargas, 18 in the 3rd, then over Ron Thomas. U-1400s: Steve
Nofsinger over Michael Hara, 19 in the 3rd, then over Charles Hill, deuce in the 5th (after being
down 2-0). U-1250s: Jason Chan over Warren Baxter whod advanced over Harold Parkerson,
23, 19. U-1100s: Rene Ramierez, 15, looped, served, and scored over Jim Stewart, 19, -19,
20, then over David Zamora whod escaped Morgan Lehman, 11, -20, 19. U-950s: Ramierez
over Andy Heroux, -18, 19, 19, 14. Best quarters: Lehman over Artie Gayton, 23-21 in the 3rd.
U-800s: Dan Goodwin over Margaret Banks.
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Carl Danner says that Sacramentos Table Tennis Worldthanks particularly to its
Tournament Director Jeff Mason, his wife Mona, and Cindy Milleris now probably the best fulltime professional club in the country, and as such deserves more support from traveling players,
sponsors and the USTTA. Hes ready to tell us now how, in this third and last tournament in their
Worlds Circuit series, the $3,000 prize money, based on each players earned number of points,
will be divided among the best 16 finishers over the three events.
As the tournament gets underway, each of the top 16 seeds gets his/her own round robin
to win. There were no major upsets, just a few minor onesCindy Miller over Tito Le Franc,
deuce in the 3rd; chopper Rolf Goos over George Sanguinetti; and Graham Connell over Trong
Nguyen (one of Khoas brothers). Also, Jeff adds, Master Blaster Mike Grooms barely
smashed his way through the all-around style of Mike Greene, deuce in the 3rd.
It was expected, says Carl, that, from the second round robins, top seeds Khoa Nguyen,
Dean Doyle, Erwin Hom, and Carl Danner would emerge to form a Final Four round robin.
Things were easy enough for Khoa. His smooth, quick style and doomsday loop carried
him unscathed through his group, except for a second-game loss to defender James Therriault
(beneficiary of two crucial lob edges towards the end of that game). Therriault, unlucky to have
drawn the top seed for the second tournament in a row, can lay claim to being the only serve-andlob player Ive ever seen. However, its a recent surge in his attacking game thats raised his level.
Although spectators cheer him lustily whenever his twisting, soaring retrieves snare an unwary or
impatient attacker, he makes it much too easy for a good player to open the point against him. Thus
Nguyens strong shots left James nowhere in the third.
Harrahs Dean Doyle, in winning his group, had another tough but
winning battle with hometown Junior star David Chun whod advanced over
Chris Holton in two deuce games. Lefty Chun (who plays like John Allen or
Gary Wittnerremember him?) has quick hands and big shots which he is
willing to swing for regularly. Where Dean beat David once again (for the
nail-bitingly-close, third-time running) was on experience. Doyles steady
countering and retrieving paid off in a 28-26 second game, from which he
escaped match in hand. As he does with most attackers, Dean wore David
down by continuously varying the gamea heavy push here, a chop-block
there, maybe a high backhand loop or two, thensurprisea serve and
kill. It takes considerable self-control to weather that barrage of confusion
and still land enough big shots to pull out the match, and Chun, despite a
David Chun
game try, couldnt do it.
Erwin Hom had done well in the first two circuit tournaments,
finishing second and third. A win in this final event could bring him the top prize. He looked to be
ready, having won the $100 U-2200 the day before. But Charley Childers beat him right off.
Childers plays likewell, who does he play like? He rolls the first thing that you hit to him and then
inexorably punches blocks at you until he can reach out with his awkward but effective forehand or
until he finds a hole through which to put a backhand. Charley rarely misses outrightand so you
must work hard to avoid his increasingly forcing backhands or angled forehands.
Erwin just wasnt up to the task. Japanese-trained psyche and all, Erwins typically weak loops
would not go through, and Charleys countering often found its way to Homs weaker, penholder
backhand. This straight-game loss did not bode well for he who hoped to be the $1,000 upset champion.
Furthermore, Austrian turned UC-at-Davis-grad-student Toni Kiesenhofer had been hot in
disposing of Childers two straight. This left Hom with the necessity of beating Toni two straight in
126

order to have a chance at a tie-breaking advance to the Final Four.


However, two-winged looper Kiesenhofer settled the matter by ending
Erwins thoughts of a first-place finish, deuce in the 3rd.
As for me, Carl Danner, howd I do? Well, not making the final
round robin wouldnt have been so bad if, after winning the first from
casino change-maker Avishy Schmidt, I hadnt lost the second at
deuce, and then the third from 20-17 triple-match-point up. However,
three tournaments worth of points adds up to a placing worth some
bucks, and it turns out Im now tied with Childers for fifthso a playoff is called for. Just as I realize this, Mr. Nguyen, Khoas father, comes
Carl Danner
over to express his disappointment at my play against Avishy, as if it
had been a command performance and Id been something less than commanding. Im not sure that
I took that bit of criticism as well as I should have. But in that play-off with Charley, I this time
survived a 20-17 lead in the 3rd, and sat down to watch the final matches.
Final matches? Well, not quite yet. In fact, it seems like quite a few people are tied for
various positions (five of them for 15th and 16thpays $25) and they are all (including a last-place
round robin) playing off. But not Masaaki Tajima whod done well in the first two tournaments.
Poor Masaaki. Hed injured his back in the Saturday warm-up tournament. Barely able to walk, he
was unable to win even a few easy matches for valuable tournament points in the first round robin.
Result: no cash.
Time now for the Final Four matcheswith Nguyen and Doyle both having a chance, as a
result of their first two tournament results, for the $1,000 first prize.
Khoa opened by 14, 16 pushing Schmidt
around. You could tell by listening that Avi was not
pleased with his showing. He has some sort of
Yiddish self-disgust dialect into which he leaps
whenever things go badly. However, he always leaves
his displeasure at the table: table tennis is not
important enough to break up his invariably cheery
and friendly mood. Wouldnt it be nice if some of our
other players could learn this lesson too?
Kiesenhofer, up next, put an immediate
damper on Doyles parade by taking the first at 19.
But perhaps too pleased with that first game, Toni
managed only 7 in the second as Dean methodically
did him in with change-ups and forcing backhands.
The third game, though, found Toni revitalized,
looping strong and determinedly from both sides,
forcing Doyle to retrieve and scramble. Still (as he does so often), Dean hung in there with steady
play until he (YesYes!) won it at the end on his last service series. Score among the two
challengers: Khoa 1, Dean 1.
Or should I say Dean 2, Khoa 1. For Schmidt cant get anywhere with Doyle. Dean even
enjoys the luxury of playing too cute with little blocks and goofy backhands before coming on strong
to counter his way out two straight.
Against Khoa, whod beaten him badly last time out, Toni seems a different playermore
confident and aggressive. A tight, close start finds both players looping hard. Back and forth they go
127

into the end game, point for point. But unfortunately for Kiesenhofer his 19-20 opening loop does
not reach the net. And in the second game, from 15-all, Toni loses 3 of 4 on his serve, and can finish
no better than third in the final round robin. Worse for him, his come-from-behind win over Avishy
isnt worth any more money ($50 is what hell take home). Khoa 2, Dean 2.
Doyle had won the #2 Circuit tournament by all-out attacking Nguyen. Now, in their match
for the $1,000, Dean starts out aggressively, bouncing, showing no sign of his Circuit #1 masochistic
habit of retreating from Khoa at the first opportunity. At 2-all he even tries one of his patented
slides, but to no avail. (I personally would have saved that weapon for later in the game.) Deans
attack gets him nowhere at first, but it gradually gets better and better. Rolling or looping first, Doyle
takes away Nguyens big loop and turns him into an ordinary counter-driver. As Dean is an
extraordinary counter-driver, he runs from 5-8 to 18-12. Something happens, though; its not that
easy. Things get close before Doyle wins the game at 18 with a big counter loop and a crushing
smash.
Having ended the first on such a good note, the intense Doyle decides to become Joe
Klampar in the second. Not a good idea, for Nguyen can push, block, and loop noticeably quicker
and better than Dean can. Khoas bigger loops and surer blocks work fast. Even a last ditch 7-17
dive does Dean no good. It comes down to one game for $400 (since 2nd prize is $600).
The decider starts well for both players as they struggle evenly. At 5-6 Khoa serves a
rocketing near ace deep to Deans forehand, and Doyle gives Khoas raucous family group of
supporters a dirty look for their collective gasp of delight as he sought to reach it. At 8-all they are
again playing Deans game, countering and mixing it up, so there is nothing for Nguyen to swing at.
At 9-all, Doyle takes the lead at the turn with a net loop winner.
Slipping a little, Doyle gets too cute
with some wayward pushes and blocks
and then just as quickly hits some stunning
winners to get to 12-13.
Then, however, theres an
unexpected breakthrough
on Khoas parthe wins
1-2-3-4-5 in a row on
Deans own usually
dependable service (the
third of these with a
spectacular passing, onthe-run loop). And now for
Dean the match is lost, for
though he wins four out of
five on Khoas serve, the
$1000 Pro-Am Circuit Winner
Khoa Nguyen
exchange has left him three
Photo by Tony Kiesenhofer
points down at 16-19, and that is too many. Match and
$1,000 to Khoa Nguyen.
Bob Cruikshank, in giving us, first, the winners of the Mar. 3-4 Montclair Open (Timmys,
Apr., 1984, 14), then those at the Mar. 23-25 Alhambra Open (Timmys, May, 1984, 15), will
emphasize how angry and upset a couple of high-ranking players had gotten at these tournaments.
At the Montclair: Lan Vuong defaulted all of her matches after umpire Patti Hodgins
128

warned her for


Lan Vuong
illegal serves.
Photo by
Against Mas
Mal Anderson
Hashimoto in
the Open
semis, shed
started serving
with her racket
under the table.
This prompted
a shouting
matchwhich
upset players
Mas Hashimoto
on all tables. Harold Kopper volunteered to finish the match as
Photo by Don Gunn
umpire, but Lan was too upset to continue. She apologized to
Mas, said it wasnt his fault, then packed her bag and left.
However, discussions (on Lans services and the warnings) continued. Many felt Lan was
unfairly singled out. Most players do something illegal in servingcupping the hand and spreading
the fingers are the most common offenses; some hit the ball on the way up, others hide the ball on
the way up, others hide the racket behind the trunk of their body.
In my opinion, though, the umpire was correct in calling a let and warning Lan. That call
resulted in many more warnings throughout the remaining matches. Better to have the courage to call
a violation than merely to ignore it.
Results: Open Singles: Mas Hashimoto over Mike Baltaxe whod survived Joe Poon in five,
after Joe had overcome Charles Childers, 25-23 in the 5th. Before defaulting to Hashimoto, Lan had
outlasted Mark Wedret in five. Womens: 1. Kerry Vandaveer, 3-0. 2.
Hanna Butler, 2-1. Open Doubles: Baltaxe/Hashimoto over Childers/
Vandaveer. U-2200: Childers over Poon. U-2000: Poon over Shmuel
Goshen. U-1900: Stan Tang over H. Butler. U-1800: H. Butler over
Lynwood Smith, 8, -20, -18, 2, 19. U-1700: Larry Blankenship over
Stephen Co (from down 2-0), -15, -16, 15, 21, 17. U-1600: Co over
Karl Dreger, 26-24 in the 3rd, then over Bill Steinle. U-1500: Brian
Thacker over Wiley Butler whod escaped Tait Anderson, deuce in the
3rd. U-1400: S. Phan over Bill Freeman, Jr., after Bill had advanced over
Julius Margolis, 19, -19, 22. U-1300: Freeman over Jeff Towns. U-1200:
Hanna Butler
Margolis over Karim Ismail. Unrated: Phan over Howard Reisman. Hard
Rubber: Kopper over H. Dreger. Draw Doubles: Butler/Reisman over Kopper/J. Scott whod
escaped Davis/Towns, 23-21 in the 3rd.
Cruikshank says, The Sports Complex in
Alhambra Park is large, so there was generous space
between the Joola tables that were in near new condition.
The lighting was good, and the weather was perfect. The
only problem was the recently waxed wood floor which produced a glare.
This was the first tournament the Alhambra Club ranits new and the Alhambra Park in
which it sits is beautiful, just perfect for a wife or girl friend who gets a mite bored with the t.t. play
and would like to walk around and feed the ducks, as my wife did. New the tournament was, but
129

there was no lack of experience in the Clubs tournament committee.


Their roster reads like a Whos Who in Southern California Table Tennis
(SCTT)Ichiro Hashimoto, Masaru Hashimoto, Harold Kopper,
Eugene Taw, Jiing Wang, Joe Poon, and Alan Lee. However, there were
over 100 players in the tournament and regardless who was at the
control desk or officiating this caused a serious problem Friday evening
when the lower events were held. I left after midnight, and the final event
didnt finish until two hours later. But at least the remainder of the
tournament was problem-free until the Open Singles final.
Ironically, at the Montclair, Cruikshank had made a point of
noticing that Jimmy Lane hadnt been to the last two California
tournamentsbut he sure was at this Alhambra one. Ill let Bob explain:

Ichiro Hashimoto

Jimmy Lane reached the Open Singles final with a convincing win over Miss Kyung-ja
Kim. Lane exchanged numerous pushes with Miss Kim, patiently waiting for a ball he could put
away. Miss Kims effectiveness, her deceptiveness with her combination racket, was greatly
diminished with the new two-color rule. Lane had more time to prepare for his shots when he knew
what was coming even before she hit the ball. Some observers commented that the new two-color
rule could lower Miss Kims rating by 200 points unless she develops new strategies.
Jae Ho Songs path to the final was more difficult. His semis match with underrated Mas
Hashimoto, after
each man, being
more aggressive,
had won games
Jae Ho Song
facing the
viewing stands.
Mas started the
fifth on the
good side, but
he fell behind
early and, after
missing several
down-the-line
Jimmy Lane might still salute authority
shots, lost
Photo by Bob Cruikshank
confidence in his
big spin-kill forehand. Song had returned several of
Hashimotos best spin-kills to his forehand, which had
forced Mas to try to hit the shorter-table down-theline shot. At the changeover, Song was ahead 10-5, and he dominated the remainder of the game.
During the first game of the final, Lane left the table several times to walk around between
points. After Lane won the first game, umpire Joe Poon warned Lane for stalling. Lane got upset
and asked for a new umpire. Lane yelled, You do this to me every time! Poon replied, This is the
first time Ive ever umpired one of your matches. Lane: Yeah, but I knew you were going to do it
the first time you got the chance. Lane also said he thought Poon was prejudiced.
Harold Kopper replaced Poon as umpire. Lane lost the second game after falling behind 06. He yelled at Poon (who was sitting at the control desk), You cost me six points!
130

Jim Yee was officiating opposite the umpire and had been instructed by Poon to watch for
let serves and edges. When Kopper took over as umpire he asked Yee to call illegal serves. Yees
arm went up on Songs second serve of the third game to signify an illegal serve. Song was warned
and play continued. Up 8-5 Song served a let, which Kopper called. At the same time, Yees arm
went up and he said, Fault. Kopper in turn called, Fault, 8-6.
Several of Songs friends came down to the playing area. All were very upset about the
Fault, not realizing that a warning had been given. Once the discussion subsided, Song returned to
the table. Lane said, The whole things bullshit, seemingly in support of Song.
Song requested that Kopper be replaced as umpire. Lane suggested that the match should
be finished without an umpire. Song seemed to agree. Kopper did not. He said they had to have an
umpire (USTTA rule). They looked to the control desk for a volunteer. No one volunteered, so
someone suggested Mas Hashimoto, whom everyone respects for his honesty and his knowledge of
the rules. He sat in the umpires chair and Song stood quietly by the end of the table.
By this time, Lane was extremely upset and didnt want to continue. He asked for the match
to be declared a draw, saying, There isnt any money in this game anyways. Kopper said, Yes,
there is prize money (referring to the match being played).
Lane continued his tirade, calling everything bullshit, and demanding the match be called a
draw because he was too upset to continue playing. He walked around in circles yelling at everyone
but not directly to anyone.
Meanwhile, Song waited calmly at the table as Hashimoto calmly called a warning for
stalling, and then a penalty point against Lane, though I doubt that anyone other than Jimmy heard
him.
Lane escalated his abusive language by raising his arm and extending his middle finger high
into the air and yelled, Fk table tennis, fk this sport. Kopper immediately walked into the
playing area and yelled, Thats itDEFAULT! Lane continued to wave his digital gesture to the
audience and repeated his vulgarities for several minutes.
The tournament committee huddled together to decide whether to award Lane second place
and the prize money. They decided in Lanes favor by a 4-3 vote. The majority decision was based
on the fact that he had played and won his preceding matches.
There are rumors that a letter has been or will be sent to the USTTA Disciplinary
Committee requesting sanctions against Lane. There were also suggestions that the SCTTA should
take action. So far, Ive not been able to confirm any action at all against Lane.
I was very disappointed by Jimmy Lanes actions. I dont know Jimmy very well, but he
seemed to be very likeable and personable. I urge him to abstain from tournament play for at least
six months, and write an apology for his behavior to be published in both SPIN and Timmys. This
may give everyone time to forgive, but it will be harder to forget.
Results: Open Singles: Jae Ho Song over Jim Lane, -15, 18, disqualified. Semis: Song over
Mas Hashimoto in five; Lane over Kyung-ja Kim. Best quarters: Lane over Shmuel Goshen who
(20, -19, 18, -20, 18) might have won in three but lost in five; Kim over S.K. Oh, 20, -16, -19, 18,
10. Womens: K. M. Choi over Hanna Butler. Open Doubles: Song/Kim over Mike Baltaxe/
Hashimoto. Seniors: Harold Kopper over Leon Ruderman, -17, 21, -16, 21, 21. Juniors: Chris
Fullbright over Alexander Heske.
U-2200: Hashimoto over Baltaxe. U-2000: Gabor Berezvai over Tibor Racz (from down
2-0), -18, -19, 21, 4, 23. U-1900: Berezvai over Mike Blaustein. U-3800 Doubles: Don
Chamberlain/Rich Livingston over Chi Ngo/Nguyen. U-1800: Chart Kocanoth over Blaustein. U1700 Doubles: Kocanoth over Fullbright. U-1600: C.E. Chi over Stephen Co. U-1500: H. Mofidi
131

over John Freygang. U-1400: S. Damji over Somboon Metriyakool. U-1300: William Freeman
over Ken Wong. U-1200: Karim Ismail over Bill Peete, 22, 19, then over Bill Meiklejohn. Unrated:
L.H. Phung over V. Luong.
Winners at
the Mar. 30-Apr. 1
No FoolinAround
Open: Open Singles:
Danny Seemiller
over Attila Malek,
24-22 in the 5th! U2200 Open: Chi
Ngo over Mark
Wedret, 18 in the
4th. Semis: Ngo
over Scott Preiss,
21, -15, 21; Wedret
over Gabor
Berezvai, -18, 21,
26. U-2000: Wedret
Attila Malek
Danny Seemiller
over Stevan
Photo by Bob Cruikshank
Photo by Don Gunn
Rodriguez, 23-21 in
the 3rd. U-1900: Berezvai over Mohammad
Tagavi. U-1800: Tagavi over Richard McMillan.
U-1700: Glen Davis over Brian Thacker. U-1600:
C. Chi over Thacker. U-1500: A. Djajputra over
Bill Freeman, -17, 19, 22. U-1400: George
Moses over Ken Wong in five, after Ken had
taken down Tony Tapia, 18 in the 3rd. U-1300:
Wong over O. Joseph. U-1200: Karim Ismail over
Richard Art. Hard Rubber: Davis over Harold
Kopper. Seniors: Gayle Wickherd over Kopper.
Draw Doubles: McMillan/Djajaputra over
Kopper/John Kane.
Terry Canup (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 14;17)
covers the Texas Open, held Mar. 17-18 at the
Fonde Recreation Center, the off-season home of
both Moses Malone (Moses, Bill Russell said,
needs to work more on his table tennis to improve
his quickness) and Akeem the Dream Olajuwon.
Thanks to the good graces of Dick Gage from the University of Houston, this Texas Open,
resumed now after a two-year delay, continues to be the only major tournament in the U.S. that
offers play on Stiga Expert tables. This combined with the double wooden-floor gyms, additional
Butterfly tables, and the tremendous cooperation of the City Parks and Recreation personnel,
makes the tournament one of the premier player-events on the continent.
This was the first state-level tournament run by Perry Schwartzberg and, all things
considered, he did a marvelous job. He went through the effort of time-scheduling every match
132

(Next time Ill use a computer, he said.) But, since the players were not given individual time
schedules, they had to consult a Board. And this worked quite wellonce it was drubbed into the
players heads that there was a tournament clock on Schwartzberg-saving timewith the Mens
final ending at 2:30 on Sunday.
There were entries of only around 100 as opposed to the 170 that the last tourney fielded,
and Eric Boggan was not here to defend his Championship. But there was plenty of competition.
One of the premier matches was Bud Caughman (1815) of Arkansas
vs. Brian Thomas (1998) of Oklahoma. Just a few weeks earlier, Bud had
upset Brian at the Tickeys Club tournament in Little Rock. His game has been
improving over the last year and it was a milestone for him. Today at the Fonde
Center Bud and Brian played twice. The first match produced a comeback win
by Thomas, deuce in the third. Hes won 22 straight deuce games! Bud
lamented to me. But I get to play him again! Caughman seemed intent and in
their next match, after Bud
had won the third 22-20 to
take a 2-1 lead, I turned
my attention to other play.
This, as it happened, was a
mistake, for when IS a
chopper beaten? Five
minutes later I looked
Bud Caughman
back to see what the
commotion was about and, you guessed it,
Brian had brought it to deuce in the fifth. At
least seven times the lead switched back and
forth, until finally Brian, all but collapsing, out of
wind and beat (but not beaten), put the last ball
Brian Thomas
where Bud couldnt loop it, couldnt win the
Photo by Mal Anderson
point. So make that 23 in a row!
In the Womens event, Pigool (Peggy) Kulcharnpises, who was holding the title going in,
had taken it from Shirley Woo when she was helping run the last event. We in the Houston area
have seen little of Shirley on the table since that time, while
Peggy has been steadily improving. Indeed, Peggy looked
fantastic going five games here with Mens semifinalist Tunde
Jacobs who himself had extended Perry to 19 in the 5th. It was
no surprise then that in their final Peggy took the first game
from Shirley. However, Shirley must have been in practice
because she soon found out that Peggy, though passing her time
and again with her forehand, was not attacking with her
backhand. A serious deficiency in her game, one to be
exploited. Shirleys failure to panic and her patience prevailed.
Welcome back, Shirley. Im sure Peggy will become more
aggressive from both wings.
In the Mens, Lekan Fenuyis way was cleared when
Roberto Byles in a magnificent effort eliminated recentlyarrived 2256-rated Saubano Adio from Nigeria. In the fifth
Roberto Byles
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game, up by two points, Roberto went for a loop and reinjured the shoulder hed had to spend 10
days in a hospital last year mending. After collapsing to the floor and being attended to by physical
therapist D.G. Van Vooren and Dr. Grady Gordon, Roberto resumed play and incredibly won the
match at 19. The victory, however, was pyrrhic as he could not compete in the semis against Lekan.
With the Jack Buddy Melamed Show going on in
the Seniors and Esquires, the suspense turned to
whether the Tournament Director could run the show and
play too. First it was Tunde Jacobs who tried to stop
Perry from repeating his 1981 Texas Open win over
Fenuyi. In a marathon semis match, Tunde, having
narrowly defeated Pigool at 17 in the 5th, played an
inspired attacking style that had Schwartzberg on the
ropes all the way until Perry 21-19 came through at the
end.
This set up the final between Houstons two 2400+
practice partners. Perry has always had to struggle to
take Lekan out. This is not surprisingjust ask Japans
Juzo Nukuzuka or B.K. Arunkumar and theyll explain.
Lekan was determined to regain the title he last held in
Jack Buddy Melamed
1979. He broke off training with Perry and went back to
Nigeria until just before this tournament. Then he came back with something newa bad habit,
pushing his opponents serve. So bad it enabled Perry to win his first gamegame #2and stay in
the match.

Perry Schwartzberg
Photo by Robert Compton

Texas Open Champion Lekan Fenuyi


Photo by Mal Anderson

With Lekan up 2-1 and 18-12 with the serve, it looked as if


Perry was done for. But somewhere out of his Tournament
Directors stupor came Mr. Schwartzberg rallying for point after point (Thats itattack, attack! he
muttered under his breath)rallying, rallying, eventually to win this game at 19. It was an incredible
display of effort as shot after shot went on. Unfortunately for Perry it took everything he had. Thus Lekan,
getting off to an 11-2 start, captured the fifth game as if he were in serve-and-point practice.
I am finally Texas State Champion again and it feels great, Lekan said as he cased his
racket. Im just glad this is all over, said Perry, referring to his ordeal of tournament draw sheets as
well as the table play.
134

Results of the Michigan Closed, played Mar. 24-25 in


Detroit: Mens: 1. Jim Doney, 3-0 (d. Dixon, 4, -18, -16, 19,
20; d. Sweeris, -12, 18, 13, 14; d. Veillette, 13, 10, 15). 2.
Jim Dixon, 2-1 (d. Sweeris, 19, 21, 19). 3. Dell Sweeris, 1-2.
4. Mike Veillette, 0-3). Womens: 1. Connie Sweeris, 3-0. 2.
Janine
Schroeder,
2-1 (d.
Mantel, -17,
10, 19). 3.
Michelle
Mantel, 1-2.
4. Debbie
Brown, 0-3.
Open
Doubles:
Jim Doney
Veillette/
Photo by Mal Anderson
Frank
Dell Sweeris
Sexton over Sweeris/Doney. Mixed Doubles:
Sweeris/Sweeris over Dixon/Mantel, 2-1.
Seniors: Chuck Burns over Ward Wood. U-17 Boys: Mark Legters over Dave Alt, 19 in the 5th,
after Dave had survived Jamie Dixon in five. U-17 Girls: Mantel over Schroeder, 18, 22. U-17
Doubles: Alt/Jeff Stec over Legters/Claflin. U-15 Boys: Dixon over Claflin whod outlasted Dave
Kiurski, -28, 10, 16, -19, 15. U-15 Girls: Mantel over Schroeder. U-13 Boys: Dixon over Jeff
Darwish.
Class A: Larry Wood over Sexton, 16, 20, 19. Class B: Legters over C. Sweeris, deuce in
th
the 4 , after Connie had advanced over Aaron Smith, 20, -18, 19, 19. B Doubles: Chris
Wibbleman/Ross Sanders over Smith/Dave Skrzypek. Class C: Final not played. Semis: Bob
Allshouse over Wood; Zafar Momin over Hosea Dunnigan, deuce in the 4th. Class D: Herbert Biggs
over Hsien Pao. D Doubles: Bob Atkinson, Sr./Biggs over Darwish/Colin Johnson. Es: Darwish
over Atkinson, Sr. in five. Novice: Mantel over Richard Glanda. Novice Doubles: Atkinson, Jr./Erin
Naugle over Mantel/Peter Monaghan. Beginners: Tarek El-Alayli over Johnson.
Winners at the $1,100 Capital Open, played Mar. 10-11 at
Ottawa: Mens: 1. Visiting Chinese Coach Xi Di, 4-0 (didnt lose a
game). 2. Horatio Pintea, 2-2d. Bourbonnais, 27-25 in the 3rd;
d. Bao Nguyen, 18 in the 3rd. 3. Alain Bourbonnais, 2-2. 4. Bao
Nguyen, 1-3. 5. Chris Chu, 1-3d. Pintea, 19, -17, 17. Mens
Doubles: Pintea/Nguyen over Bourbonnais/Mitch Rothfleisch.
Womens: Gloria Hsu over Mariann Domonkos, 18, 19, 18.
Womens Doubles: Thanh Mach/Hsu over Domonkos/Becky McKnight. Mixed Doubles: Nguyen/
Mach over Chu/Hsu.
U-2000: Yvan Dolan over Derek Marsham, 2-1. U-1850: S. Ubiali over Stephane.
Lucchesi. U-1700: Don Davidson over Lucchesi. U-1550: E. Lam over Francine Larente. U-1300:
Nathalle Patel over Thierry Karsenti. Seniors: Ken Kerr over Marsham. U-17 Boys: Jean Bourget
over L. Tam. U-15 Boys: Ubiali over Tam. U-13 Boys: A. Gagnon over D. Jacques. U-17 Girls:
Gloria Hsu

135

Helene Bedard over Crystal Daniel. U-15 Girls: Daniel over Patel. U-13 Girls: Caroline Sylvestre
over S. Brais.
Visiting Chinese Coach Xi Di, who attends the National Training Center under the
supervision of National Coach Su Guoxi, was one hell of a sparring partner for the Top 12 men
players at the March 17-18 round robin matches in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. He played all 12
qualifiers and (like the week before in the Ottawa tournament) didnt drop a game. In other key
Mens matches, Bourbonnais (lost to Pintea, -21, -19), Pintea (lost to Ng, -20, -18), and Ng (lost
to Bourbonnais, -18, -18) all had near identical records of 10-1.
Mariann Domonkos was finally back in form, winning 22
straight games against all the opposition. Cindy Choi, 10-1, was
second. Gloria Hsu, 9-2, third.
Ron Schull, in reporting on the Ohio Team Championships
(OTCs), played Mar. 24-25 at Columbus, speaks of the
S.W.O.A.T.T.A.or the Southwest Ohio Area Table Tennis
Association. He explains:
This S.W.O.A.T.T.A. was, is, a Dayton, Ohio
Association, now involved in a territorial argument with the Ohio
TTA. It all centers around a border dispute. The OTTA was
formed about the same time as, or possibly even earlier than, the
Canadas Top 12 Womens Winner USTTA. The only club, to the best of my knowledge, in this
Associationthe Sweathogs someone called themis
Mariann Domonkos
Dayton. The area in their title apparently allows the annexation
of points west and south of Dayton proper, though just how far the extension goes is not clear to
me. Likely there will be some discussion about this at the annual Executive Committee Meeting of
the OTTA on July 15th in Columbus. [The existence of the S.W.O.A.T.T. A. is certainly news to me,
Tim. Id never heard of it, and for half a dozen years in the 1950s I was very involved in Dayton
and Ohio Table Tennis.]
S.W.O.A.T.T.A. sent three teams to the OTCs, which saved the Columbus T.T.C. from a
financial disaster, for there were only 11 teams in all. The A Group winner received $200, the
runner-up $100, and the 3rd-place finisher walnut plaques. The B Group had walnut plaques for
the top three teams.
The Dayton S.W.O.A.T.T.A. #1 team had one lossan early one to the Akron-Panda
teamwhile popular T.T. Supplier Bob Hudsons Columbus I team was undefeated. Since AkronPanda lost more than one tieColumbus I beat them badly, 5-1 (but as youll see in a moment at a
price)the final between Dayton and Columbus would decide the Championship, for if each team
finished with one loss, Dayton, who had many more individual-match losses than Columbus, would
be the head-to-head winner. I myself dont like this rule because it doesnt always give first-place to
the player or team who has the best record in round robin competition. It makes round robin
competition so much like a single elimination draw that it amounts to little more than additional matches.
Before I get to that Columbus-Dayton final, though, a few words about the AkronColumbus tie. The only match that Akron won was Dave Strang over the Columbus #2 Jim Repasy.
Jim was zapping forehand loop-kills through Dave like magic, when Repasy suddenly collapsed to
the floor after a forehand return. Jim had suffered torn-rib cartilage, and finished the match clutching
his side with his free hand. Since he couldnt play anymore, the final promised to be more
contestedin fact, a brawl.
136

I might mention that Columbuss new arrival Po-Ning Lee put the finishing touches on Pandas
Mark Allen to end the tie. Po hit through Marks formidable chopping game, using his pips-out penhold
attack with devastating results. After the match, Mark said, He plays me like he has a robot at home that
plays just like me! Po is an engineering student at Ohio State. He came from mainland China to Hong
Kong, then to Toronto, and finally is a welcome addition to the Columbus Club.
With the
Columbus-Dayton
final tied up at 3-3.
Daytons Tim
OGrosky squared
off with Bob
Cordell playing for
Columbus.
Oldtimers will
remember
OGrosky from
the 1960s when
he played with a
Bob Cordell
Tim OGrosky
pen-hold grip and
Photo by Christian Muller
Photo by Mal Anderson
pips. Hes said to
be the best nativeborn penholder to play the game in this countrythough he now plays shakehands with a controlled
looping game, and an occasional backhand chop. The much more aggressive Cordell stayed close
to the table most of the time and hit winner after winner to take the first game at 12.
The smart-like-a-fox OGrosky didnt alter his game too drastically but did place the ball
better and stepped over to take forehand loop-kills more often. So, second game to Tim at 18. In
the third, though, with almost reckless abandon, Cordell took OGroskys safe shots away and
forced his way to a 21-16 win.
Having won his last match against Tim, Bob remained undefeated for the tournament (as he
had been for last years OTCs too)but the Team Captains (by one vote) gave the $25
Outstanding Player Award to Mike Joelson of Cleveland I.
With the tie now Columbus 4-Dayton 3, a much improved Ken Stanfield won the only
match he had to over Columbus substitute Ray Stewart, 11, 18. Kens hard topspin shots didnt
allow Ray to use his looping game. Columbus 4-Dayton 4.
The deciding ninth match was between the fiery pips-out smasher Po-Ning Lee and
phantom/inverted chopper Larry Hensley. A casual look at Hensley and he appears to be a tad
better than a basement player. Wrong. His unemotional get-the-ball-back style looks easy until
youre on the other side of the table and then you find yourself feeling like youre in a barrel of
piranha! A very confident Lee played a 60% smash game and was oblivious to the spins that
Hensley was putting on the ball. Tense first game to Lee, 21-18. In the middle of the evenly-played
second game, someone called out to Hensley, Flip! Flip! It was illegal, but it did the trick. Hensley
began using that tactic to pull out the death-struggle of a second game at 19. Then Larry was never
behind in the third. Thus S.W.O.A.T.T.A. won the tie and the tournament, ending a two-year reign
for the Columbus Club.
Winners at the March 17 Dayton Winter Classic: U-2000: Rod Mount over Larry Hensley.
Women: Kim Farrow over Marcia Johnson. U-1800: John Dichiaro over Andy Gad, 19 in the 3rd.
137

U-1650: Kevin Cassidy over Voldis Daskevics. U-1500: Keith Lander over Tom Taylor whod
escaped Charles Weaver, -10, 20, 11. U-1350: Final: Johnson over Curt Sutter. Semis: Johnson
over Bill Wolfe, 19, -16, 19; Sutter over Bill Trivett, 16, -18, 19. Seniors: Lyle Thiem over
Dichiaro. Boys U-17: John Elwood over Pat Bryant. Boys U-15: Elwood over Bryant.
Bard Brenner (Timmys,
May, 1984, 18) continues to keep
us abreast of the Florida scene by
covering the State Open, aka Fred
Fuhrman Memorial Open, held
Mar. 31-Apr. 1 at
Newgys T.T.
Center in Miami.
The tournament
was graced by a
contingent of top
Jamaican players,
led by Ken
McLachlan,
Secretary of the
Jamaican TTA, and
was visited by
USTTA President
Sol Schiff and
members of the
U.S. Team that
were going to
compete in Cuba in early April.
The Doubles event played before the Singles saw the return to
competition of Miamis Peter Pradit, former Thailand National
Champion and two-time U.S. World Team member, while the Singles
drew Florida Closed Champion Ron Rigo.
However, the long-awaited match-up between Rigo and
Florida Open Champ Jerry Thrasher never materialized, for Ron lost
an exciting five-game quarters match to Jamaicas Dennis Brown. Jerry, meanwhile, upended
College Mens and Class B winner Robert McKesey, then finished off Doubles Champion Evan
Williams in another very closely contested quarters match. Also advancing to the semis was
Current Jamaican Champion Colin McNeish, whod partnered Williams to their Doubles winhe
defeated former Cuban National Champion Roberto Garcia three straight. Joining the others in
semis play was Defending Fred Fuhrman Memorial Champion Stephen Hylton of Jamaica after
hed been extended into the fifth by Puerto Rican National Champion Juan Ly.
In the first semis match, Jerry played brilliantly to upset McNeish in five. In the other,
Hylton downed his Doubles partner Brown in straight games. Thus in the one cross-over it was
McNeish and Hyltonwhich featured some fine play but which unfortunately may have been
decided by leg cramps. Twice McNeish had to stop during the matchuntil finally Hilton won it in
five. After Thrasher got the better of Brown three-zip , Dennis agreed to forego the 3rd-Place playoff match and split the prize money with McNeish who wouldnt have been able to continue.
138

Before the final between the 1982 Champ Thrasher and the 1983 Champ Hylton, the
Fuhrman family arrived and presented the Womens Singles trophiesson Tom to runner-up
Naciye Hacikadiroglu, and widow Olga to her namesake winner Olga Soltesz.
In the Mens final, Jerry was at his bestin fact, he might be said to have April-fooled the
entire Jamaican Team, for last year they had only seen him chopping and now they were astounded
by his regular super-looping style. Newgy Tournament Director/Pro Manager Marty Prager must
have inwardly allowed himself a smile or two of satisfaction as he watched his best pupil often in top
form. And yet Jerry did not win. Although he came out swinging to take the first at 16, he lost two
disheartening deuce games in a row, and bowed to Stephen in four. Hylton then was victorious
and still the Champion.
Other Florida State Open winners: Championship Doubles:
Carlos
McNeish/Williams -18, 14, 23, 13 over Hylton/Brown whod advanced
Estrada
over Lenny Chew/ Soltesz, 19 in the 4th. As: Ly over Brenner. Bs:
Robert McKesey over Cameron Phipps. Cs: Rene Tywang over Carlos
Estrada. Ds: Jean Andrian over Morris Wong. Es: Rick Kadin over Joe
Long. Novice Men: Antonio Calafell over James Nolan. Novice Women:
Leona Minto over Paula Gennaro. Consolation: David Tomlinson over
Brian Miezejewski. Seniors: Brenner over Frank Hanley whod escaped
Norm Brown, 19 in the 3rd. College Men: McKesey over Steve
McLaren. College Women: Hacikadiroglu over Carla Belnavis
Results of the
Mar. 24-25 Federal Open played at McLean, VA:
Open Singles: 1. Randy Seemiller. 2. Sean
ONeill. 3. Richard Chau. 4. Dave Sakai. U2300: 1. Chau. 2. Ron Lilly. 3. Seemiller. 4. Sakai.
U-2000: Top finishers: Final: Barney Reed over
Morris Jackson. Bottom finishers: Final: Bobby
Hines over Lewis Bragg, then over Jim McQueen.
U-1600: Top finishers: Hazel over John Tebbe.
Bottom finishers: Wong over Chen.
Winners at the Howard County #6
Tournament (Columbia, MD, Mar. 11): Open
Singles: 1. Brian Masters, 5-0. 2. Sean ONeill,
Randy Seemiller
Photo by Barry Margolius
4-1. 3. Hank McCoullum (he was the only one to
take a game from Masters), 3-2. 4. Tim Boggan,
1-4. Doubles: McCoullum/Tom Steen over
Keith Minnich/Barney Reed, 18, -19, 18, then
over Warren/John Wetzler. U-2100: 1. Larry
Brian Masters
Hodges. 2. McCoullum. 3. Reed. 4. Minnich.
U-1900: 1. Hodges. 2. Reed. 3. Steen. 4. Don
Yabiku. U-1700: 1. Michael Rose. 2. Steve
Johnson. 3. W. Wetzler. U-1500: Rose. 2.
Robert Fallon. U-1300: 1. Rose [RINGER!]. 2.
Humilde Prudencio. U-1100: 1. Prakash
Chugule. 2. S. Banks. Handicap: Jeff Harris
over Craig Bailey. Juniors: 1. H. Pak. 2. Harris.
139

[I didnt see Mark Daviss name among


these leading finishersbut he won the
Raffle ($22.50) that benefitted the areas
Junior Olympic qualifiers.]
The following players prevailed
at the Mar. 31-Apr. 1 Florence, MA
April Fools Open: Open Singles: 1.
John Allen, 3-0 (d. Araki, 19 in the 4th).
2.-3. Suguru Araki and Ralph
Bockoven, 1-1, didnt play each other.
4. Jay Rogers, 0-3 (lost to Bockoven in
five). Womens: Marta Zurowski over
Marta Zurowski
Ralph Bockoven
Sym Gallucci. Open Doubles: J. Allen/
Photo by Mal Anderson
Bockoven over Araki/Terry Dharakul. Seniors: Michael Heterski
over Kaz Zurowski. U-17: M. Zurowski over Rebecca Martin. U-15: M. Zurowski over Martin.
U-13: Martin over Katherine Zurowski.
U-2000: Bockoven over Warren Rasmussen. U-1900: Dave
Dennis Kaminsky
Hager over Dharakul, after Terry had escaped Rogers, 22, 19. U-1800:
Jonathan Wong over Dennis Kaminsky. U-1700: Kaminsky over Wong
whod advanced over John Beauvais, 23-21 in the 3rd. U-1600: M.
Zurowski over Steve Yee. U-3200 Doubles: Chris Kalagher/Peter Johnson
over Eng/M. Zurowski. U-1500: Mike Miller over Yee. U-1400: Ed
Caisse over Frank Hrobak, deuce in the 5th. U-1300: Henry Roy over
Gary Ehrhardt. U-2600 Doubles: Covitz/Bluestein over Ahlers/John
Munzer. U-1200: Ehrhardt over Ray Gallucci. U-1000: David Austin over
Robert Wade in five (from down 2-0). U-900: Mike Mahoney over Joe
Semanchik, deuce in the 4th. U-800: John Wade over Leonard Zurowski.
Unrated: Paul Bonacelli over Glenn Baron.
Winners at Westfield Mar. 17-18: Open Singles: Mario Alvarez over Rey Domingo, 17, 16, 21, 10, then over B.K. Arunkumar whod gotten by Raymundo Fermin, 17 in the 4th. Best
quarters: Fermin over Robert Earle (from down 2-0); Arunkumar over Steven Mo, 24-22 in the
4th. Best Eighths: Alvarez over Brian Eisner. 16 in the 5th; Earle over George Cameron, deuce in the
4th. Womens: 1. Vicky Wong, 3-0d. Zurowski, deuce in the 3rd. 2. Marta Zurowski, 2-1. 3.
Hazel Stanton, 1-2. 4. Joan Fu, 0-3. Open Doubles: Domingo/George Brathwaite over Alvarez/
Fermin. Esquires: Eric Rothfleisch over Alan Haase, 23-21 in the 3rd, then over Ray Sprague
whod slipped by Bob Barns, -19, 22, 6. Seniors: Brathwaite over Igor Klaf. U-17: Ovidiu
Nazarbechian over Zurowski. U-13: S. Fink over Dwayne Thomas, after Dwayne had outlasted B.
Ertel, 19 in the 3rd.
Class A: Eisner over Barry Dattel, 19 in the 3rd, then over Klaf, -13, 22, 17, 17. Bs: Bob
Holland over Maximo Vasquez. Class C: R. Ballantyne over Rich Sosis. Class D: Ron Luth over
Sam Huang. D Doubles: Chris Kalagher/John Beauvais over O. Nazarbechian/Huang. Class E:
Rothfleisch over Brian McKnight. Class F: Sprague over Steve Lerner, 20, -19, 18, whod
outlasted Davis Kam, -20, 17, 19. F Doubles: Tony Gegelys/Alix Moreau over Al Matlosz/Dan
Dickel. Class G: Matlosz over Kam. Class H: J. Fang over Aston Brissett. Class I: Fang over Raul
Mejia, -20, 19. 12. Class J: Howard Teitelbaum over Tamami Tabb. Unrated: M. Lozado over A.
Dickinson.
140

George Grannum (Timmys, May, 1984,


20) tells us that on Friday evening, Mar. 23 at the
Rutgers Community Gym the two top-rated teams
in the Premier Division of the Greater New York
Table Tennis League met in a Shootout with imported gunslingers brought in for the occasion.
The AMERICAS Team, Captained by League Secretary Andy Diaz, selected three
Caribbean Champions to represent their team: Robert Earle, the Barbados #1, and two recentlyarrived International players from the Dominican Republic, Mario Alvarez and Raymundo Fermin.
The DATUM Team, led by Bill Salvesen, with regular members B.K. Arunkumar, Rey
Domingo, and George The Chief Brathwaite, elected to fly in Ricky Seemiller as added insurance.
Thanks to the excellent cooperation from Center Director Mickey Hernandez, and his assistant
Frank Lebron, for which were all grateful, the playing conditions were great. Placing the focus on a single
Harvard table, barriers were erected around the basketball court to give a maximum playing area, with
spectator chairs, a scorers table, high ceiling, and adequate lighting. Considering the explosive enthusiasm
of some of the spectators, Harry Stern handled the umpires chair with diplomatic control.
The GNYTTL team vs. team format consists of nine singles and two doubles matches (6
wins decide), with a three-match limit per player, a 10-member team limit, and a requirement that at
least one member of a doubles team must be replaced for the second match. The home-court
advantage is offset by allowing the visiting team (in this case the AMERICAS) to name their player
for the upcoming match after the home team has publicly named theirs.
Here, then, is the gunfight:
First up, Alvarez, the 1983 Dominican National Champion
and Latin American representative to the1983 World Cup, vs.
Domingo, former Philippine Singles and Doubles Champion. Having
defeated Rey at Westfield a week ago, Mario, a switch-hitter,
playing confidently, squandered an early lead but won the first game
at deuce, then lost the second, then, by capitalizing on an excellent
return of serve, easily took the third. AMERICAS up 1-0.
Now its Raymundo Fermin, four-time Dominican National
Champion and Latin American representative to the (first) 1980
World Cup, against Ricky Seemiller, one of the longtime mainstays
of the U.S. World Team and, with brother Danny, the perennial U.S.
Mens Doubles Champion. Ray lost the first game, largely because
Rey Domingo
he had trouble returning Rickys serves. In winning the second,
Photo by Mal Anderson
however, he seemed to have overcome his aversion to Rickys anti.
But then, though contesting, he lost the third, 21-18. So DATUM tied it up, 1-1.
In the third match, Earle was up against former Indian National Team member Arunkumar.
And for the second time this season Robert seemed to have patented the best tactical formula for
overcoming Kumars strong chop-defense. His strategic placements set up his attack, and the
varying speed and spin of his loops allowed him to win two straight.
Following his teammate Kumars loss, Domingo defeated Fermin, 21-19, 21-18, with
steady blocks, good first loops, and strong serves. AMERICAS 2-DATUM 2.
Against Mario, Ricky won the first with good serves and deceptive loops from his anti. But
in the second, Alvarez successfully attacked Seemillers anti play and 21-19 made it a game apiece.
In the third, though, as Mario chased a ball, he accidentally fell, and that may have been a turning
point in this 21-10 game won by Ricky.
141

At the beginning of the sixth match, Domingo played flawlessly against Earle. But in the
second game, Robert began mixing a chop defense with his variable loops. Still behind, 18-15, the
tide suddenly turned for him, and taking six straight points he ran out the game. Robert continued to
dominate in the third game with good touch placements and steady backhand loops and counters.
AMERICAS 3-DATUM 3. The spectators were getting more and more involved.

Mario Alvarez

George The Chief Brathwaite

Photo by Brian Miezejewski

Now Alvarez was back and playing confidently against former Caribbean Champ
Brathwaite who in winning that title had represented Guyana. Though down 1-0 and 19-14 in the
second, The Chief of course continued to fight, and, with a little
help from his friendscall them Net and Edgehe pulled even at
deuceonly to lose 23-21.
Against Arunkumar, Fermin, up 19-16 in the first, seemed
to lose composure at the awesome consistency of Kumars
defense and succumbed to the Indians 23-21 rally. But if
Raymundo did lose his concentration, he gained it back by
grinding out the next two games for a win AMERICAS 5DATUM 3. AMERICAS needed only one more.
Can Seemiller down Earle and keep his teams hopes
alive? Knowing this was a must-win situation, Ricky attacked
from the beginning. Robert adopted a wait-and-watch defensive
posture and lost the first game. Then he moved to the attack, and
was rewarded with the second game. Again, though, he was in
trouble20-15-down-in-the-third mortal trouble. Stubbornly he
resisted, but fell 21-18. AMERICAS 5-DATUM 4. AMERICAS
still needed one more.
Ricky Seemiller
142

And now, for the 10th and possibly winning


match, play shifted to doubles: Earle/Alvarez vs.
Domingo/Seemiller. It was soon obvious that Robert
and Mario had never played together before. But
then it wasnt absolutely necessary that they win,
right? For the experienced doubles team of Alvarez/
Fermin was waiting in the wings should their talents
be needed in an 11th match. Robert and Mario
managed to get only 7 points in the first game. But in
the second, they began to coordinate their attack,
and by the third game theyd taken complete control
of the match with loop kills and excellent return of
service. AMERICAS 6-DATUM 4.
With that victory, pandemonium broke loose,
Robert Earle
team members and fans joined in a victory dance
accompanied by drums, whistles, hoots, and
screams. It had been a long time since the Big Apple had seen anything like this.
Timmys (June, 1984, 23) tells us that One of the finest, well-dressed Table Tennis
events in the U.S. took place on May 24th at the Claridge Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Thanks
must go to Paul Lee, of Lee Global Enterprises, Inc., who was Coordinator of the event, to
Director Mel Eisner, and to Referee Andy Diaz. The stage was set for a classy showwith one
table, beautiful Claridge barriers, wooden floor, attractive uniforms, an elevated Referees Chair,
and an overhead screen projector to display the results. A crowd of about 400 enjoyed both the
Team and Singles events.
The Team Championship was won by Claridge East (Blue) over Claridge West (Red), 3-2.
Visiting Dominican Republic stars, Mario Alvarez and Raymundo Fermin, ordinarily teammates, but
not for this event, were off firstwith Fermin (Red) taking their close 19, 20 match. Brian Eisner
(Blue) tied it up with an 18, -12, 16 win over Fu-lap Lee. And then, paired with Alvarez in the
doubles, he put the Blues ahead 2-1. But Fermin easily defeated Eisner and the event was again all
even. Finally, the win went to the Reds with Alavarezs straight-game victory over Lee.
The highlight of the tournament was the Challenge Match. This would be described as
following a ladder-style single-elimination formatone 21-point do-or-die game that would
elevate the winner to a higher rung on the ladder and tougher competition.
The first match pitted Brian Eisner (rated 2149) against Fu-lap Lee (rated 2226). Eisner
had the initial choice to serve, or not serve, and, knowing their match was only one game and that
he had to start quickly to secure an upset, he chose to serve. One advantage of this format, created
and implemented by Lee Global Enterprises, was that it provided more suspense for the audience,
since it gave the lower-rated player a chance to play superbly, above his normal level, for one game
and so advance to the next round. And, sure enough, Brian quickly got the lead and maintained it to
defeat Lee, 21-13.
This win sent him up to play Raymundo Fermin who hadnt had Brians opportunity for a
warm-up. Thus Fermins almost 300-point rating advantage almost didnt hold, and, more suspense
for the audience, he barely won at deuce. That brought him to the highest rung of the ladder where
he met 2450-rated Mario Alvarez. Fermin proved too 21-16 steady for Alvarez, and so won the
valued Claridge Cup.
143

144

Chapter Nine
1984: USTTA Potpourri.
Tournaments continue on in much their usual way, but by 1984 more USTTA members have
become outspokenly critical of the Associationperhaps because I, as Topics and then Timmys
Editor, have given them voice to. Ill begin this Chapter with Nancy Persauds When Will T.T. Be
Taken Seriously in the U.S.? (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 12), then follow with Terry Canups The Real
Reason Why T.T. Isnt on TV (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 2).

Heres Nancy:
Many of you have probably seen the panels from the above comic strip already. They
show what the average American thinks of table tennis. I believe that T.T. will never be taken
seriously in the U.S. until the perception of the Sport by the average American is changed. Will this
happen? Maybe
When the USTTA stops paying editors $1,000 a month while refusing to pay Danny
Seemiller what hes worth as a coach. [This is the first of several allusions in Nancys article that she
hopes Association readers will be familiar with, and that Ive covered in detail in a previous volume.]
When E.C. members, editors, staff, officials quit having their way paid to meetings,
tournaments, and events while players have to sell equipment in the hallway to finance THEIR way
to tournaments.
When every time a great player comes to town he stops being expected to hit (free) with
everyone in town who knows which end of the paddle to hold. This happens because neither top
players or grass-roots players (separate but equal) have constant, meaningful competition of their
own provided.
When the USTTA and paid staff stop resting on their laurels just because they got T.T. into
the Olympics and REALLY do something to improve the image of T.T. at the grass-roots level.
Does anybody really believe that one more person has taken up T.T. or become a knowledgeable
avid spectator just because of all those coaching clinics and other activities in Colorado Springs? Or
that participation in the Olympics will change any average Americans opinion of T.T.? Luge is an
Olympic sport, but is the U.S. wild about it? Of course, not everyone has played luge in
somebodys basement at one time or another. But that may be to luges advantage in that
preconceived notions have not been formed about it being as exciting as hemorrhoids (see comic
strip above).
When Scott and Eric Boggan, Mike Bush and Charles Butler stop having to go to Germany
for action, financial satisfaction, and crowd reaction.
When people stop WONDERING why all the good Korean U.S. players didnt come to
the Closed and make it a point to go find out why they, or any other top players, dont make it to
145

important tournaments. Officials and E.C. people always seem to me to be more concerned with
their own little power struggles than with the MOST BASIC THINGS, like attracting top players to
tournaments. This sport should be about the PLAYERS, not the editors (sorry, Tim), the
committees, the umpires, or whoever else. Sure, theyre important, all the others, in so far as they
support the players first (Yes, Tim, I believe you do).
Previous efforts, like the players strike for higher prize money several years ago in
Philadelphia, have just focused on part of the picture. Good players AND grass-roots-level
players AND spectators (not E.C. members, visiting equipment company representatives, lowlevel journalists, half-dead and drunk ex-tennis celebrities, and USTTA officials) MUST be
wooed, pampered, made to feel important and TREATED RIGHT for T.T. to ever be truly
popular here. If thats REALLY the goal, making t.t. popular. All other elements figure in, but
whats best for the players is paramount. And that too often doesnt happen. I speak from
experience (as do so many others) with a number of examples. Heres one: in 1978 Korea
invited 8 women and 2 officials to Koreacheck it out on the TV coverage of the U.S.
Open that year8 and 2. The USTTA took 6 women and 4 officials. I caredI was the 8th
woman on the list.
So do I have any ideas instead of just complaints?
Sure, take the editors salary and moving and travel
expenses, and the Executive Directors salary, and pay
Danny and Eric to travel all over the U.S. showing the
average American just how exciting T.T. really is. Danny
and Eric would probably hate the idea, so pay Perry
Schwartzberg instead of spending so much time worrying
over his compliance with the no warm-up-pants rule. Or, if
not Perry, SOMEONE qualified.
Now, do I have any realistic ideas that could ever
happen? Not really. Im not a community organizer, just an
ex-player who quit after going from a 1200 to a 1900
player in four years and who was asked to get out of the
USTTA by Mike Bush, Paul Therrio, and the everloveable Pat Collins who all said Id hurt table tennis
terribly. Thats been five years ago. Table Tennis is good in
the same ways it was then too, maybe has even improved
in some areas, but its not at all improved in the minds of
the average American who WILL make or break the
Sport.
Now for Terry Canup and his thoughts on T.T. and TV:
First of all, let me introduce myself to those of you who do not know me. My name is
Terry Canup. I have been in the entertainment business for the last 12 years. I have produced
commercials, news pieces, promotional tapes, and television shows for both cable and network on
the local, regional, national, and international levels. I am quite successful. I have also played
table tennis for 21 years, carry an average tournament rating, and am a Regional Umpire under
Manny Moskowitzs good graces. But what makes me qualified to write this article is my first-hand
experience in TT television.
146

Certain questions must first be


asked and answered before we consider the
main pointwhy there is no table tennis on
TV. Here are the questions. For one, is table
tennis a television sport? Is there drama? Is
it exciting? Does it contain the level of
competition required to sustain a viewing
audience? Is it marketable as a television
package (that is, can you pack it with enough
commercials to make a profit)?
Here are the answers to those
questions. Yes, TT is an excellent television
sportit carries all the earmarks of winning
TV. What then is wrong? Why are we 20
years ahead of tennis in technology and
technique and 20 years behind in exposure?
You already know all the stock answers. Youve heard Sol Schiff and company mouth them
over and over. (1) You have to know somebody. Golly, if anybody knows somebody with a magic
wand, would you just ask him/her to contact the EC?...(2) There are just no AMERICAN
manufacturers. Look at all the Panasonic, Suny, and Toyota commercials on Baseball, Football, and
Basketball. WE NEED GOOD AMERICAN COMPANIES LIKE THEM FOR TABLE
TENNIS TV TO WORK. And look at all the tennis equipment that NEC and Lacoste
manufacture (3) The networks arent interested, and without them you
The simple truth is it takes hard work, money, and no short cuts to establish yourself in the
minds of the viewing audience. Remember when we had TV on ESPN? Have you ever heard a
satisfactory answer from Sols EC as to what happened? I thought not. Schiff would much prefer
that matter be conveniently forgotten. When you get taken for a ride it hurts, and poor Sol saw it
happening. The USTTA was bamboozled into ludicrous contracts and tied ESPN to them on good
faith. When the production company naturally failed to meet its commitments, it left everybody
holding the bag.
But the real problem is not that the USTTA was taken, its the way we were able to be
taken that has continued to hurt us. When you have an organization conduct its business in secret it
naturally leads to corruption. The USTTA is the El Salvador of American sports. We know more
about the Russian KGB than we do about how Sol gets away with conducting his business through
the EC.
The prime example that comes to mind is the televising of
the 1982 U.S. Closed. Beautiful on the outsidebut foul! Sol, that
was a finger-spin serve, and we got the finger! Sure, to the layman
those TV people looked like they knew what they were doing, but
when you looked under all that gloss, and there was a bunch of it,
you found seedy little men who didnt want to answer questions.
Where did the money come from to produce that spectacle? You
guessed itfrom the good old USTTA treasury! (Why do you think
all those E.C. members keep resigning?) Did I miss an EC vote
somewhere? No. There was none. Who do you think has enough
guff to pull something like that off?
Foul! says the All-Seeing Eye
147

Let me speak frankly here. When I


approached the television broadcasters with the idea
of producing the Chinese 1981 matches at the U.S.
Open, doors slammed in my face. I was stunned
until finally one network executive told me that it was
because they had been warned not to deal with Sol
Schiffs USTTA! It was only after I specifically
stated that I was acting independently that I received
any favorable response. I produced that show on a
shoestring and it still cost me $28,000. We are not
talking peanuts here. When the 82 Closed was
shot, was I consulted because of my recent
experience doing the 81 show? No. Why? Could it
Terry Canup
be there was a conscious effort to prevent anyone
Photo by Fred Grobee
from finding out what was going on?
When it turned out our old friends at Triple T were
involved [Dorsett Gant, Bill Addison], wasnt there
somebody somewhere who turned over in his grave! I called
ESPN. The production company had never showed them
ANYTHING was what I was told by an irate programmer
who had previously answered that question more than once.
The USTTA never made any formal presentation to us
before they shot it. How the hell does Colorado Springs
come off announcing that
[Show not being
they had an agreement with
ESPN to air that show!
watched...leads to
What happened to the
playing ping-pong]
show? Sure it was a hack
job, but it was still video
tape of one of the best
Want to see Eric playing on ESPN?
U.S. Closed finals in recent
history. Where is it? If the
guys out in CO dont want it, give it to me. Ill take it, make
money on it, and, God forbid, produce more Table Tennis Shows.
It is all very simple. If you want to be successful you cant
have people who are concerned only with their own image
investing your money. Television is expensive. That Danny
Seemiller Training tape I sell cost me $10,000 to produce, but to
me its worth it. People are used to seeing $1,000,000 each and
every time they turn on that knob. We cant in our wildest
imaginations expect $15 per year X 4,000 members to even begin
to pay for that. I have also explained that people are leery of
dropping money into the current USTTA. And I made reference to
the USTTA as the El Salvador of U.S. Sports. This analogy goes
further; these banana republics have shown us that overthrowing
one inept leader for another just perpetuates the ineptitude.
148

I for one am not willing to invest another dime in televising the USTTA until it shows me its
worthy of its Olympic cloak. Congratulations to Paul Therrio and his 7-11-built velodrome. That
was a fine piece of work, and efforts such as yours on behalf of table tennis are sorely needed.
Also sorely needed, too, are Tournament Directorsas witness Patrick Hernans Perils in
Paddledom [SPIN., Feb., 1984, 13]:
Just for this articles sake, lets define Paddledom as that state in which the inevitable trials
and tribulations that virtually every tournament director has experienced exist at one time or another.
For those of you who have never experienced a directors frustrations, Ill give you a few examples.
Its eight p.m., the night before your tournament and the phone rings. The operator
announces a collect call from Larry Looper. Will you accept charges? she asks.
Operator, I say, I dont know a Larry Loowhereupon this Mr. Looper yells, Its
about the tournament! You accept the charges.
Oh, says Larry, I just called to tell you Im not coming. Will you please send me a refund?
Being the fair-minded person that everyone knows and loves, you respond, Sure, Larry, no
problem. What event were you in?
Larry says, I was in all 15 events, but Ill be a sport about it: you can deduct 20 cents for
the postage when you mail my refund.
Thanks, sport, is all you can say as you hang up. Time to rework the draws that took you
a week of blood, sweat, and tears to finish. Hours later youre done but you get little satisfaction.
You know youll be changing these same draws again in the morning when the players will inform
you why they cant play this guy or that guy. You go to bed.
Its two a.m. when the phone rings again. You muster all your courage to answer it. On the
way you stub your toe on the nightstand and trip over two of the 19 players sprawled out on your
floor. In unison, all 19 voice their displeasure at having their sleep interrupted. Blessed am I, for
theyre all only staying the one night.
This is Mr. U.N. Rated from L.A., says the caller. I hope I didnt wake you, I know 11
oclock is a little late.
You swear youve heard this same conversation before, but youre so tired you just cant
place it. What is it you want, Mr. U.N. Rated? you ask wearily.
Oh, I was just checking what time my first match is tomorrow.
Its at nine a.m., and youd better hurry if youre going to make it in from L.A. you
respond, thinking the jerk has no chance of getting to the tournament in time.
Dont worry, he says. Im not really in L.A., Im just from there. Im in the lobby of the
tournament hotel right now.
You get the distinct feeling as you slam down the receiver that you havent heard the last
from Mr. U.N. Rated.
Your worst fears are realized by noon the next day when Mr. U.N. Rated zaps everyone in
the Class events and is looking like a sure semifinalist in the Mens. But you dont worry, there are
more pressing problems that demand your attention.
The beer man is bothering you to pay for the post-tourney keg to be used at the posttourney party at your house. The nets are too high. The floor is too slippery. The lighting on Table 5
is bad. There are complaints about the balls, the barriers, the tables, the PA system, and the airconditioning thats blowing the ball around. You hear things like, Those Pittsburgh players have no
strokes; they rely on anti to win.
149

Theres a rumor circulating that the 1500 players are forming a union and striking your next
tournament because they want more money in their event than semifinalists would make in the
Mens.
Enough! You really look forward to relaxing at the post-tourney party.
Finally the competition ends and you head home to the party, hoping that just maybe
someone will offer a kind word. No one offers a kind word, no one offers a nasty word. No one
comes to the party.
Fact or fiction? You figure it out.
A mite pessimistic you found these voices? Well, how about a change of pace? Time now to
be lookin up. Heres Larry Hodgeson Lobbing and Smashing Lobs (Timmys, Apr., 1984,
18 and May, 1984, 14):
In 1967, Nobuhiko Hasegawa shocked the table tennis
world by not only winning the World Championship, but by using the
lob as a primary weapon in doing so. Since then, the lob has become
the most spectacular shot in table tennis for both players and fans. It
has also become one of the least understood shots in the game.
Many players lob far too often. A lob is a defensive shot,
but it is unlike all other defensive shots in that it invites the opponent
to smash. Only against a much poorer player or a very poor lobsmasher will you score a majority of points while lobbing.
Therefore, it is advisable to lob only when absolutely necessary,
unless your opponent is very poor against the lob. The advantage
of a lob is not that you will win most of the points with it, but that
you may score a few points that you otherwise wouldntand
those points are often all it takes to win.
The theory of lobbing is potentially this: If you lob the ball
high and deep, the ball will bounce very deep, and your opponent
will have to smash the ball a good distance from the table. This not
only forces errors on his part, but gives you time to react to his
smashes which, due to air resistance, slow down quickly.
Japans 1967 World Champion
Nobuhiko Hasegawa
A lob is basically a very high loop. A good looper can often
Foto: Dagens Nyheter
learn to lob very well very quickly because the strokes are very
similar. When lobbing, first get to where the ball is going as fast as you can. With experience, you
can learn to anticipate the direction of the smash. Try to arrive in a sideways stance, even on the
backhand. Taking a low backswing, drive the ball mostly upward, dissipating the balls speed by
sending it upwards. Try grazing the ball, as in a loop, to put topspin and sidespin on the ball. A good
lob can require a lot of power, so try to use your legs and upper body in a sweeping motion, as in a loop.
When a smash comes straight at you, try to turn sideways, taking the ball with either
forehand or backhand, rather than standing square to the table and lobbing with the backhand, using
only the arm. You may have to do this sometimes, but then the lob will have little spin.
The three important aspects of a lob are its height (for control), depth, and spin. Depth is
most important of all, since without it your opponent can smash at very wide angles, giving you no
chance at all of returning the ball. A good lob should land within a foot of the end-line. Good
height and depth make the ball bounce deep.
150

Putting spin on your lob can be very difficult, since you have very little time. It takes lots of
practice, so the only way to develop it is to practice. Learn to mix topspin and sidespin, making the
ball break violently when it hits the table. The idea is to force your opponent into a mistake.
When lobbing, you should always be looking for a way to counter-attack, or to get back
into the point. If you find a chance, a sudden counter-drive, chop, or loop return will usually change
the rally in your favor. Counter-smash if you see a chance. Off a weak smash, counter-attack. If
your opponent doesnt force you to lob, dont.
Placement of lobs can also be very important. Some players are slow on their feet, and will
make mistakes if forced to move too much, even off a lob. If you lob best from one side, a deep,
spinny lob to the side diagonally opposite will make it difficult for your opponent to smash to your
weak side, down the line.
One final advantage of lobbing is that it tires your opponent. This can be a critical factor
against anyone not in very good shape. When way behind, some top
players actually lob intentionally to tire their opponents out for the next
game. Also, after smashing a series of lobs to win a point, many
players get careless on the next point, as well as a little out of breath.
Lobbing of course can be fun. But so can smashing lobs
and Larry, bless him, tells us how to do that too:
Smashing a lob is much more difficult than it looks. There are
several reasons for this. The height of a lob makes the ball bounce
mostly upwards, something you arent used to hitting. If it bounces
higher than your head, hitting it can be awkward. When the ball hits
Larry Hodges
the table, it jumps up quickly, making it difficult to attack unless you
wait on it. But if you wait on it, it will bounce away from the table, so
that you may have to hit it as far as 10 feet from the table, and about 15 feet from your target. And if
it has spin, it will force you into additional errors. So what should you do?
When you see a lob coming, the first thing to do is read the spin. If it has topspin it will jump
at you from the table, so dont get too close. If it has sidespin, it will jump sideways, so move to that
side. You should also read the depth, and back up some for a deep one.
You should hit a lob just above eye level, either as it goes up or as it comes down. If you
are tall, this gives you an advantage. You should practice taking lob shots as they dropat least until
you are consistent. If a lob lands short, you should take it while it is rising, unless it is so short it will
not bounce back far. This way, you can get such a good angle on the ball that it will be impossible
for your opponent to anticipate just where it will go. So off a short lob, always try for a winner.
Many players make the mistake of going for an outright winner even off the best lobs. It is
low percentage to try to smash a good lob for a winner against a good lobber. Instead, keep
smashing hard, but place the ball, usually to the backhand. This way, your opponent has no choice
but to lob again. What you want to do is to force a weak lob, preferably a short one, but also one
with less spin, and put that one away. Often a smash to the middle will force a weak lob, but, be
careful, you dont want to let your opponent counter-hit, so usually avoid his forehand side until you
go for a winner.
There are many advanced techniques for hitting a lob. It is a good idea against all lobs (for
righties) to raise the right shoulder. This gives you a better angle on the ball. A good way to do this is
to start with your weight on your right foot, then, as you transfer your weight forward, lift your right
151

leg off the ground, raising


your right shoulder in the
process. Make sure you
put all your weight into all
smashes.
Smashing a lob is much
more difficult than it looks.
Another way of
From AIPS Bulletin, Mar., 83
smashing a lob is to jump
in the air, so as to contact
the ball high in the air.
Although this can make
you look foolish if you
make a mistake, and is
considered a poor method
by many, it has been
perfected by many top
players in the world,
including the Seemiller
brothers. To do it, you
back up from the table,
take a short running start,
and jump in the air, sideways to the table, with your right leg leaving the ground first. As you smash
the ball, you do a scissors kickthat is, your right leg goes backward, your left leg goes forward.
This helps you thrust full power into the shot. By jumping into the air, you get a better angle on the
ball, and contact the ball closer to the table, but it may hurt your timing.
Many advanced players like to smash lobs right off the bounce. This takes great timing, but,
once perfected, your smash becomes almost unreturnable. Only an advanced player should try this.
A bad habit many players have is killing with chop or sidespin. Off a short ball, such shots
can be effective, but they are pointless, since a short ball is just as easily put away with a flat hit. Off
a deep ball, such shots, especially a chop kill, will hurt your consistency. There is some cause for
some sidespin kills, since the sidespin may make the ball break so much that your opponent may not
be able to reach it.
You should avoid a drop shot off a lob unless you think it will be an outright winner. If your
opponent gets to it, youve let him back into the point. Since it is hard to drop-shot a deep lob
effectively, and a short ball is easy to put away, a drop shot is usually a low-percentage shot.
Might as well try to stay high-minded (what I and others of this USTTA time in History cant
always be). Heres Larry againon The High Toss Serve (Timmys, Jan., 1984, 17):
One of the most effective serves in table tennis is the high-toss serve. First used effectively
by the Chinese, it is now used, at least sometimes, by almost all top players. Since the ball drops
further on the high toss than on the short toss, and so at contact point is traveling much faster than it
would be otherwise, the high-toss receiver can often deceptively throw an opponents timing off by
unpredictably choosing to put more or less spin on the ball than he would ordinarily.
The most common high-toss serve is the forehand one with the racket tip down. Before
attempting this serve though, you should first perfect it by using a short toss. To start this shorter
toss, whether youre a shakehander or penholder you will have to change your grip. You need to put
152

your index finger further down on the racket (some put it almost straight down the center), pointing
towards the tip. The thumb should be on the side opposite the index finger and should be pressing
down on the base of the handle (where it meets the blade) against the other fingers.
This grip should unlock the wrist, allowing minimum wrist action. [Sic: should of course be
maximum wrist actionEditor Tims mistake which Larry later called his attention to]. Now stand
over towards your backhand corner and serve by just grazing the ball from right to left. For
maximum sidespin, contact should be midway between the back and the left-hand side of the ball.
For chop, go under the ball. For topspin, go more over the ballthough this may be awkward at
first. The racket, for maximum deception, should travel in a semi-circle, going down and then up.
This way, you can use the same motion and get either chop or top merely by changing the contact
point.
Practice the serve until you can control the ball at full speed and can also keep it low and
short. Contact the ball near the racket tip for maximum spin. The wrist, arm, and shoulders should
be loose throughout the serve for maximum whip action.
Now youre ready to try the high toss. First you must
practice the tossits not as simple as it looks. To be effective,
you must be able to toss the ball up about 8-15 feet high and
have it drop right where you want itotherwise youll have to
reach for the ball, hurting your service motion. When you can
Stellan Bengtssons high toss
control the toss, start serving just like you did for the short
From Pingis 2, 80
toss. Because of the balls increased speed it will be harder to
graze it and contact it. To keep the ball lower and shorter, try
to contact the ball as low as possiblejust above table height.
Practice serving both long and short, to the right and left. And
dont be afraid to experiment. For example, by contacting the
ball on different parts of your racket you can create different
spins. And by varying your delivery you can add deceptiona
sudden herky-jerky motion right after contact is especially
effective.
It should be clear that you can create spin with a high
toss that you cant with a short toss. To do this, try contacting
the bottom of the ball from right to left. This will create a
sidespin, the axle of which points away from you rather than up
and down as in normal sidespin. This is called screwspin (also
called the Chinese Unknown Spin). Screwspin will make the
ball jump sharply to the right when it hits the table and will
create difficulties for your opponent. For example, a normal
high-toss serve will break to your left off your opponents
racket. But screwspin, which looks so similar, will break right if
pushed back, and left if attacked. Imagine the spin on the ball and why its therea push contacts
the bottom of the ball, while an attack controls the top. However, since a player rarely contacts the
very bottom or very top of the ball, he will rarely meet the full force of the screwspin, so the ball
wont break off the racket as fast as off a normal sidespinbut it will be very difficult to read the
break or the jump when it hits the table.
To get more spin on your high toss, you must toss the balls speed [sic: Editor Tim dozed off
againLarry wrote you must use the balls speed] as it contacts your racket to create spin. You
153

must learn to put full power in the serve. Use your shoulder to rotate into the ball, and, most
important, you must use your wrist. Without a good wrist snap, you cant get good spin.
Watch top players to see how they do the serveand copy them. Also, the high toss is
most effective when used with other serves as a contrast, so develop your other serves too. If you
wish, you can also try other types of high-toss serves, such as the forehand high-toss with racket tip
up (where you go up and then down, instead of down and then up), or the backhand high toss.
As youve probably noticed, Im pretty insistent on showing both the good and the bad in
these unique pages of Historyam always trying to keep my Sept. 25th Libra balance, you know.
As for SPIN Editor Tom Wintrich, he hasnt the independence I do, so how could I or anyone else
find fault with his safe-and-sane editorial policy? He writes (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 5):
SPIN will not publish any article that can be considered personally
derogatory in nature against another individual. Nor will there be room for petty
bickering, bad language, and questionable accusations. This is not meant to
imply that criticism and controversy will be disallowed, provided either is
expressed intelligently, constructively, and accurately. Our national publication
represents our Associations image in print and, as the newest Olympic sport,
we need to project the many positive aspects of our organizations and its
game.

Represents our
associations image in
print

Christopher Faye (Timmys, June, 1984, 2), in


a mite too wordy six-paragraph article with a VERY lengthy 18-word
title, in aspiring to meaningful irony makes a point. He says, I have
been a member of the USTTA since the 40s. In that time I believe I have
learned what it is all about. It has nothing to do with celluloid in a rotund
state, and the various maneuvers designed to cause it to engage in
unnatural acts. Rather it is an Association that has been designed to
engender, foster, and maintain interminable acrimonious controversies
concerning any subject within or beyond the scope of human or animal
comprehension.
Ah, yes, Christ-bearer Faye, sometimes it would seem so.
Christopher Faye
Photo by Mal Anderson

But not to USTTA Coaching Committee Chair Bob Tretheway.


Hes upbeat about his t.t. work, feels hes getting along just fine with everybody. In a Coaching
Update (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 11), he thanks Paul Williams and Thavaj Ananthothai of Colorado,
Walt Gomes of Wyoming, and Lawrence Su of California for their considerable financial
contributions to the Coaching Program. He also congratulates the USTTA E.C. for their support of
the Coaching Committee. After patiently listening to my report and proposals at the December EC
meeting, President Schiff appointed Jimmy McClure and Gus Kennedy to review the use of funds
the USTTA is expected to receive from the USOC with the directive to maximize their use for
coaching. That review produced an additional $6,000 for coaching activities. To Kennedys
credit, some of the added money came out of his International Committee allotment.
Bob says that Jimmy McClure, along with seven others, has been appointed by USOC
President William F. Simon to work on a newly established committee for the development of a
national program for the certification of coaches in all sports.
154

In a further Coaching Update (SPIN, Mar., 1984, 25) Bob


speaks of the administrative systems hes been working on. I
have established an information retrieval system that will allow
me to give the name and address of active coaches to anyone
who makes such a request by state and city.With respect to
players and coaches camps, I have developed a registration
packet that will help both program administrator and athlete.I
have put together a set of forms that will make keeping track of
camp programs more efficient.I have formulated a Beginners
Clinic outline and mailed copies to 30 coaches for evaluation.
Also, says Bob, work continues on the Certification
Program for Coaches, as well as the Youth Awards
Programs.Umpire Committee Chair Manny Moskowitz has
Bob Tretheway
developed an outline for conducting umpires clinics.I attended
a seminar conducted by the American Coaching Effectiveness
Program and after passing a written exam Im now qualified to certify coaches at ACEP Level
1.The ACEP helps coaches gain a basic understanding of sports medicine and science and shows
them how to teach more effectively the technique and strategy of their sport. Level 1 instruction
includes: Coaching Philosophy; Sport Pedagogy; Sport Psychology; and Sports Medicine.
Bob presents a National Training Camp Schedule of both Official camps (at the Colorado
Springs Olympic Training Center) and Independent camps. Example of camps at Colorado Springs:
Mar. 17-25: Elite Camp (for those over 2000)12 men, 8 women, 3 staff; and Apr. 21-29:
Coaches Camp16 men, 9 women, and 6 staff.
Larrys correction of my mistakes in his High Toss Serve article above appeared in one
of four Letters to the Editor that I printed in Timmys (Feb.-Mar., 1984, 3). In showing you all four,
Ill start with Larrys diplomatically-worded Lets Be Careful:
To the Editor:
Keep up the good workTimmys is far better than SPIN [Larry now points out the
mistakes I corrected in his article above. He says hes not so much concerned with the second of
these, the obvious typo thats lost the sentence sense. But the first (that speaks of unlocking the
wrist for minimum wrist action instead of maximum wrist action) might very wrongly be
interpretedI can just see a new generation of stiff-wristed high-tossers! I know my handwriting
isnt always so great, so lets both be careful. Ill write you something else soonif I think of
something.
Next up: Colorado Springs Stan Wolfs What Is Wrong With You?

Stan Wolf

To the Editor:
Your Jan. issue of T.N.A. [Timmys North American World of Table
Tennis] is insulting, poor, weak, and unacceptable.
It reads and looks like a low budget mud-raking mag, without an
editor. What is wrong with you? We are all fighting for the same thing, but
T.N.A. is an insult to all players of our sport. I was ashamed to have the
mail-man deliver your mag.
155

Tim, slow down. I know you, you are trying to help, but not
helping. Look at your cover (drawing?). Youre not publishing High
Timesthis is a mag received by 10 to 90-year-old people. Turn to
The Arm
page 13. What happened to Joe Ngs arm? Is it an arm or a growth?
Also, whoever cut out those photos has no chance of becoming a
surgeon. [Yeah, I didnt do such a good job with Joes arm, only made
it worse. I was trying to help but not helping.] I am interested in
Canadian Table Tennis, but I dont read French. [Of course, Stan,
youve noticed the North American in the title of my magazine? And
youve
noticed
Timmys
Canada
Section...An
Official
CTTA Publication? [I do what I can
to survive.] Today is Feb. 18. I
received the Jan. issue today, with
articles that took place Oct., 82. [Id
like you to enumerate those October
articles (plural) you thought you saw in
the 24-page magazine, but Ill just say,
What Is Wrong With You?]
While Im at it, I might as well
include a fifth Letter to the Editor that appeared in SPIN (May-June, 1984, 3) by Dubuque, IAs
Brad Klug. He says: The new SPIN Magazine seems to be much more professional and more
organized [thanTopics?...Timmys?], but it doesnt take long to read. Will it be expanded?
The third Letter in Timmys, After Devils Island, is written by Reston, Virginias Dave
Krasnow:
To the Editor:
How did I miss out on hearing about your new mag? Maybe I havent been down to the
Club often enough lately. Well, after those issues of SPIN I expect anyone would be too comatose
to make it to the Club. Anyway, Ill kill Larry Hodges and the others for not telling me.
I was down in Miami and of course went to Newgys to get Marty Prager to try to put my
game back to what it was, and he laid issue #2 of TNAWTT on me. I nearly O.D.d it was so fine.
Thank you for putting together a newspaper that takes more than 10 minutes to read cover to cover.
Thanks for real articles and that good old flavor of a live sport. I read that sucker from front to back
cover all night till I went to sleep and finished it the next morning, feeling as though Id just had a
good steak after months of Devils Island bread and water. Please send me a years worth starting
with issue #1. Enclosed is a $15 check.
The last Letter, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, is from Minnesotas Tom Odette.

156

To the Editor:
I was in Duluth-Superior on business when I remembered somebody telling me that there
were five players (two USTTA members) in the area. I called one of them, Bob Brown, and he
picked me up and we went off to play.
For the past 20 years, Orpheus Nelson, owner of Nelsons bar, Superior, Wisconsin, has
had a special room for table tennis players. It wasnt a large place, like Cobo Hall, nor did it have a
brand new Joola table like those being played on at the Sports & Health Club in Minneapolis, but
the room (and lighting) was more than just adequate. The owner is an active player, and at age 73
he only keeps the room open so that table tennis has a place in the area. Those who play there are
roughly between 1500-1700 (rated by me after playing them), and they use up-to-date blades and
rubber.
Anyway, one of these players missed your articles from Topics in SPINat which time I
told him about Timmys. He promptly gave me $15 to subscribe, and so here it is enclosed.
Glad to oblige.
O..K., back now out of the heights to the mundane level of Rules, Umpires, and
Controversies.
As of course weve seen for some time now, a racket
having a property that differs on one side from the other has
been the subject of much controversy, especially when both
sides were of the same color. Changes had to come.
Germanys Eberhard Schoeler, 1969 World Mens Singles
finalist, in winning the 450-entry 1982 West German Over 40
Championship, protested that 60 of the last 64 players in the
draw were bat-flippers. He said that since he was largely a
defensive player, steadying-out long points, he was so tired,
match after match, of having to look so closely, so carefully, at
the constant changing spin on the ball, of having to concentrate
so unrelentingly, that the actual playing was for him much less
fun and much more of a headache than at any time in his career.
Eberhard Ebby Schoeler
If defender Schoeler werent so
super-aware, his return of serve would
probably be smashed down his throat. Certainly these days the bat-flipping
serve-and-smash-for-the-point attacker has the advantage. Who knows,
quipped the world-famous Hungarian Coach Zoltan Berczik, as if
shrugging up his hands on being held hostage at Technologys gun-point,
maybe in retaliation theyll make a defensive rubber capable of so much
spin itll bounce the ball right back onto the defenders side of the
table.
So changes were made, particularly the two-color rule that
Technologys
insisted
the bat be of two colors even if the rubber on both sides
Trigger
were the same. Thus prompting the neophyte T.T. TV viewer, if
Drawing by
Sam Chinnici
T.T. were on TV, to say, You mean this players red side is the
same as his black side, but his opponents red side is different from
his black side?Absurd.
157

But not only T.T. novices were sometimes confused by the new rules.
However, before I go into the reported woes of the World Champion Chinese, best I let
Larry Hodges in his Combination Rackets: The Competitive Challenge (SPIN, Mar., 1984, 26)
give you a few tips on the combination rackets two most deceptive surfacesanti-spin and long
pips:
Anti and long pip players who often have inverted on the other (different-colored) side of
their combination racket use four basic shotspush, chop, block, and drive.
The anti-push has very little spin on it. To push it back, contact the BACK of the ball; to
loop it, graze the TOP of the ball. Since the anti-ball will not land as deep on your side of the table
as the non-anti ball, you should be positioned closer to the table where you should be able to score
consistent winners.
The anti-chop will usually have less spin than an inverted chop but more spin than an antipush. Move the ball around, change speeds, and soon you should get a ball to hit.
An anti-block is almost always dead. Your hard hit or spin shot doesnt come back strong
or long so you must move into position and adjust to the different pace.
An anti-drive produces a very flat ball that tends to go very deep. Dont be afraid to back
up half a step to return it, and stroke up on the ball, trying to use topspin to control your return.
As for playing against long pips, dont be fearful, for its very much like playing against anti.
The basic difference is that anti deadens the existing spin, whereas long pips reverses it. If the return
is short, reach over the table and attack the ball, remembering it has light topspin if your push was
heavy, or a dead ball if your push was light.
A long pips chop off a loop will give you back all your spin. Therefore dont try to loop
hard repeatedly, its too difficult. Try to attack also your opponents inverted side, but there of
course theres no need to attack softly.
A long pips block is very much like a close-to-the table chop. It returns your spin like a
chop but not as heavy.
A long pips drive can be effective against chop, but is not advisable without the thicker
sponge base against topspin or against a dead ball that will float long.
Of course, whether youre defending against anti or long pips, be sure youre very alert to
which color is on. Combination-bat players will use the anti mostly to return serves and to drop
you close to the table. A fast flat-serve is hard to return effectively with anti.
As a final guideline tip, repeatedly attack the anti or pips until your opponent flips and gives
you a quick inverted block return. Then simply block right back to the opposite side. He will be
especially vulnerable if when you do this the anti or pips is on the forehand side.
Returning now to the poor put-upon Chinese.
He Zhou, Sportswriter for China Features, (SPIN, Jan., 1984, 21), says that the Chinese,
opting, like Cai Zhenhua and Jiang Jialiang, to experiment with the new rules the ITTF passed
before they become mandatory Jan. 1, 1984, are having a rough time adjusting. Here, specifically,
are the rules in question: the rackets to be covered with distinctly different colors on both sides;
the serving hands to be above the table so it can be seen by the opponent; the player cant footstamp during service; and the penholder cant use the wood side of the racket as a striking surface.
Now, unable to baffle their opponents, the Chinese combination-bat users felt theyd lost their
original psychological and technical edge. Some of them gave up, some were withdrawn by their
coaches, and some fought doggedly, but to no avail. [A shocking development, no?]
158

The strength of the Chinese team was in part due to the diversity of
their styles, using technological advances as secret weapons to beat
particular opponents. Its a pity to see my teammate Cai Zhenhua play
awkwardly with the new racket lamented Guo Yuehua. [The one October
article Stan Wolf was referring to in his Letter to the Editor above was a
report on the $34,000 Asian Cupwhich was won by Cai Zhenhua. Oh.
How in the world did he do that? Used his old same-colored racket with
inverted on one side and anti on the other.]
The Chinese are not inventors of combination rackets, said Coach
Zhuang Jiafu, but the new rules seem to aim at us and there is good
reason.Only after we Chinese [because of our successes] became the
common target did the new rules come out.
But never mind. The Chinese are creative, said ITTF VicePresident Atsushi Goto. You limit them in one respect and they will bring
forth new things in another.
Regarding the rule that the rackets to be covered
with distinctly different colors on both sides, USTTA
Chinas Cai Zhenhua Rules Chairman Mal Anderson says (Timmys Feb.Mar., 1984, 17) that queries have been made
about a Chinese rubber that comes in dark maroon and black, and so
Mal must make a ruling on its legality. Heres what he says:
I asked the opinion of the ITTF Rules Chairman and the ITTF Equipment Chairman before
deciding on this matter. The ITTF Equipment Chairman, Rufford Harrison, replied that he checked
the two rubbers with a light meter, and At a distance of 10 meters, under a light intensity of
approximately 400 lux (36 foot candles), I concluded
that the two colors were distinguishablejust.
The ITTF Rules Chairman, Colin Clemett,
replied that As there appears to be some doubt
about the matter, my view would be that they (the
colors) are not sufficiently different. It is, in my view,
the responsibility of the players to use colours that
are so clearly different that there is no possible
doubt.
After reading these replies and viewing the
racket in question, Im ruling that any racket with
these two colors on opposite sides is not legal for
tournament play. [Clearly different colors will be a
must for the ITTF too.]
All tournament referees please note: when
examining a racket, just turning it and looking at both
sides alternately is not a good test. This rule means
that a player who sees one side of his opponents
racket under match conditions must know which
side was used. A proper test of this is to have a
Cartoon by Sam Chinnici
159

helper stand 30 feet away from you under the tournament lighting conditions and show you the
racketone side onlyfor a fraction of a second, and do this several times, sometimes turning the
racket over, sometimes not. If you arent sure which side you saw each time, the racket is not
allowed in tournament play.
Of course as with many rules (table tennis ones in particular?)
people dont care to follow them. Heres University of Chicago student
Andrew Giblon in a Letter to the Editor (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 17):
To the Editor:
Can you tell me: why isnt the ACU-I intercollegiate tournament either run
or sanctioned by the USTTA? Im upset on more than one count: last year,
my second time entering this tournament, I won the Regional event, only to
find that for the first time in several years there was to be no National final.
This year, though I might win my Region, there is again no National final,
though Im told that there are plans for one next year, after Ive finished my
Canadas
graduate studies here. They are also only enforcing 1981 rules in my
Andrew Giblon
Region! Coincidentally, the players who almost beat me last year were a
penholder who used his wood side a lot, and a red pips/red inverted player who flipped and held his
racket under the table before serving, all of which will still be possible this year. Why cant the
USTTA get involved here?
Rules Chair Anderson has this to say about the new serve rule (SPIN, Apr., 1984, 23):
There seems to be some question on the new version of USTTA Rule 7.2 (ITTF
Rule3.6.2), which states that, when serving, the free hand AND THE RACKET shall be above the
level of the playing surface from that last moment at which the ball is stationary on the palm of the
free hand until the ball is struck in service.
The difference in the new version is that it requires the racket to be above the level of the
playing surface. This should not be a problem for most players, who usually serve this way anyhow.
The most common reason for having the racket lower that the playing surface during service is to
keep the opponent from seeing which side of the racket is used. These players who use combination
rackets will have to accept the fact that the ITTF and USTTA have decided to limit the effectiveness
of combination rackets.
For umpires, this is one more thing to watch out for. If you see the racket
drop too low after the start of the service motion yet before the racket contacts
the ball, call Fault! and award the point to the receiver. Once the players
realize this new standard is being enforced, the problems will cease.
[Apparently notfor how about any motion before the ball is stationary: is
such movement allowed? (See Ken Wongs argument in the Vancura article
below.]

Manny Moskowitz

Manny Moskowitz, Chair of the USTTA Umpires Committee, says (SPIN,


Feb., 1984, 22) that match officials have to be fair. He points out that a
problem arises when a rule, which has been allowed without question by one
umpire, is ruled illegal by another. Both referees and umpires can avoid
unnecessary disruption and argument during play by intelligent anticipation of
160

possible causes of contention. The referee should make clear to umpires the way in which he
expects laws and regulations to be applied, particularly those which are most susceptible to
inconsistent application such as the service rule.
Manny reminds umpire candidates not to wait until the upcoming U.S. Open or next
Decembers Closed to consider taking their umpires exam. (Moves afoot to offer umpires nice
new Levi Strauss uniformsat cost too.) Generally tournament directors (at all levels) seem to lose
cognizance of the fact that it is to their own advantage to encourage individuals to pursue umpiring
activity in order to help provide essential assistance in running their tournaments.
So does anybody want to encourage the serious umpire candidate? Thats what Paul
Vancura asks (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 12) in his International Umpire in 2084 article that follows:
Since everybody is mad and tears are flowing all over, I will add a few of my own. I am
unhappy with my experiences at different tournaments since I started to take umpiring seriously. To
qualify to be a Regional Umpire, it is necessary to officiate at a certain number of matches.
So with rule books and Regional card in hand I ask the
sponsors of every tournament I attend if I may umpire. They often
look at me as if Im an enemy spy. Once I was told I would have to
be paid. I have never taken money for this service even when
offered pay at the U.S. Closed. I told the sponsors this, but not one
match did I umpire. If it werent for friends like Tom Baudry of
Baton Rouge and others I would still be a Club Umpire.
Now comes the real problem. I want to become a National
and International Umpire. So I started to work on my National card
with all its requirements. At one tournament, the best I have ever
Tom Baudry
participated in, I was allowed to umpire one match, the only one that
was umpired. The two players were 2000-rated and with their experience were the ones that did
not need an umpire. Can you imagine more than 80 players with only one match umpired? But we
see that at every tournament. The question now is: to be or not to be an ump? Do we really need them?
Since I am 65 and want to help the sport (my game is slowing down and so is my rating), I
am disappointed because I will be more than 100 years old and broke before I can finish the
requirements. Each tournament away from home costs a minimum of $200.
I believe I know the rules, and I am unhappy when I read in Timmys North American and
SPIN, January editions, comments
about the new addition to the service
rule. Mr. Kenneth Wong writes about
confusion and Manny Moskowitz in
The Umpires Chair is seeking
clarification. Et tu, Manny? [Wong
(SPIN, Jan., 84, 13) argues that the
intent of the ITTF was to eliminate
certain advantages enjoyed by the
server, specifically increased racket
speed and the various deceptions that
are possible with a service motion that
starts with a hidden racket. Thus,
The old hidden racket trick doesnt bother umpire Paul Vancura
despite its own words, the ITTF
From AIPS Bulletin, 1985
161

apparently meant to require that the server keep the racket above the table height throughout the
preparatory pause period.]
Now read on and let this old Bohunk clarify a few points. The rule on a good service:
Service shall begin with the ball resting on the palm of the free hand which shall be stationary, etc.
3.6.-2 is the addition quoted correctly in SPIN: After reading the complete rule, we know
that the service starts when the racket strikes the ball. During this period the racket will be above
the level of the playing service. Simple. So, as an umpire, I will watch the server and both his hands.
While getting ready to serve he can hide his racket under the table, behind his head, under his shirt,
or hold it between his knees. When ready his free hand is above the table and steady. That means
not moving. Just before he moves his free hand (to project the ball upwards) I will make sure that
the racket is totally above the horizontal level of the playing surface and that it will remain there until
the ball is struck. Very simple. Try it!
Last year I was playing and umpiring in Prague, Czechoslovakia and in Antwerp, Belgium,
and it seems that all through Europe they insist that even the club matches be umpired. In
Gothenburg, Sweden, during the 1982 Senior World Tournament every game was umpired. Some
umpires were young, but we were very pleased by them, even though they were not too
experienced. All the young American players who are in Europe should write and suggest how and if
the U.S. Table Tennis clubs could gain by paying more attention to umpiring.
So I am crying but not quitting, Larry Thoman. And I am dreaming of being an International
Umpire in the year 2084.
Which is my cue to segue into chapters on play abroad.

162

Chapter Ten
1984: Future World Champions in Swedish Closed.
Because Scott Boggan gives us on-the-scene coverage of the 1984
Swedish Closed (Timmys. Apr., 1984, 4-6), interested readers will come to understand
more about the rise of Swedens players, in both Singles and Doubles, to World
Championship Greatness (1985-91):

To Trelleborg this wonderous player comes...as if from another world


From 1984 Swedish Closed Program

On March 2nd, In the Trelleborg Soderslattshallen, the Swedish National Bordtennis


Championships commencedthe most important Championships of the year. As you might
expect from the strength of the Swedish youth, there were very few players here over 30, yet
surprisingly no 12, 13, or 14-year-olds either. Early 20sthat was the average age of the
participants.
In Sweden, the National Championships begin with Doubles playMixed, then Mens
and Womensperhaps as a means of warming up the players, as well as unblocking them so
that the later Singles rounds might run their time-scheduled course the more smoothly. (Maybe
we in the States should do this too?) Although Singles play began to be mixed in with
(particularly the later stages of) the Doubles, Im going to comment on the Doubles in toto
before discussing the Singles.
163

Mixed Doubles
The top four seeds made it to the semis of the Mixed Doubles.
On one side of the draw, Jan-Ove Waldner, currently the best player in
Europe, and Anneli Hernvall (82 and 83 Swedish Womens Doubles
Champion) teamed up to defend their title against Ulf Bengtsson (Europe
#16) and Menni Weizades (Europe #27).
Waldners masterful touch wasnt working its usual magic and
opponent Bengtsson was crackin in his share, yet the Waldner/Hernvall
team managed to come back from an 8-point deficit to get to 19-20
only to have Waldner loop one off. In the second game, Waldners
deceptive loops and flips, especially into the backhand corner, confused
Anneli Hernvall
Weizades, who kept looking like, Wheres the ball going now? Hervall,
From 1984 Swedish
quite intelligently, just kept the ball in play while Waldner did his thing
Closed Program
which included throwing in a troublesome sidespin push balland the
Defenders prevailed in three.
On the other side of the draw, service
specialist Jonny Akesson and pop-shot looper Pia
Eliasson were matched up against Erik Lindh
(Europe #3) and Maria Lindblad (Europe #10).
Eliassons bullet-loops and Akessons up-at-thetable forehand loop-kills made for a powerful
combination against the experienced and certainly
perfectly-named partnership of Lindh/Lindblad.
Yet Akesson/Eliasson soon lost all their firepower as Lindhs backhand went devastatingly to
work, especially in the second against Eliasson.
In the final, Waldners variety of chops
Pia Eliasson
and cross-court kills off the loop carried his team
From 1985 Worlds Program
to an opening-game victory. But then Lindh
decided to steal what little show there was,
and, making some great up-at-the-table
counter-loops, tied up the match. In the last
game, thanks to some marvelous topspin
rallies by all four players, the points just went
see-sawing. In the end, though, Lindhs loopto-loop winners at the table proved deciding,
so he and Lindblad were the new Mixed
Doubles Champions.
Not that this seemed important. Rather
just the opposite. There was so little emotion
shown by the players, and so few spectators
watching, it reminded me of an American
tournament. Though there was an Awards
Ceremony, the only people it seemed
important to were the photographers who
were hopping around like chipmunks.
Maria Lindblad
164

Unfortunately, unless things change, Europeans are


going to have to admit that table tennis has become an
excellent read-about-it-in-the-papers sport.
Womens Doubles
The only interesting Womens Doubles
quarters match was between favored National Team
members Weizades/Eliasson and unheralded Anneli
Johansson/Gunnell Bergstrom. Right from the start
you could see it would be a battle. The unfavored
blondes were loose, were bouncing around, looping
in shot after shot, giving each other constant
encouragement, and when they won the first at 12, it
looked as if they might pull off an upset. But then the
Swedish Nationals changed their strategy a bit. They
Gunnell Bergstrom
From 1985 World Program
blocked more aggressively and, moving their
opponents around, stopped the energetic Bergstrom
from loop-killing. The last game turned out to be a dandywith great rallies and long exchanges,
punctuated with loops and kills. A tough 19-in-the-3rd loss for the upcoming Johansson/Bergstrom team.
In the one semis,
Lindblad/Hernvalls strong
loops wiped out the much
too passive Ann-Christin
Hellman/Kamilla Bjork
combo. In the other, Marie
Svenson/Annika Lath
provided too much heat,
burned National Team
members Weizades/
Eliasson.
Marie Svensson (L) and Annika Lath
Svensson/Lath
Svensson photo from 1985 Worlds Program; Lath photo by Mal Anderson
went on to lose, 19, 19, in
the final to the #1 seeds
Lindblad/Hernvall. But Lath, who has this very feminine take-your-time approach, and who, on her
backhand serve flips, like most Swedish pips-out players, to inverted, again and again had all the
topspinners moving every which way. Her success, I thought, was amazing, considering her lack of strong
topspin and other modern-style techniques used by the Swedish women in todays masculine-poweroriented sports world. The dark beauty of this Muriel Hemingway-type woman, in paired complement
with Svensson, the lightest of all Swedes, who often followed Laths positional blocking with strong,
point-winning loops, suggested to me that, in the delicate touch so needed in our sport, there would
always be resistance against anything so simplistic as unisexual brute power.
Mens Doubles
In the second round of the Mens Doubles, technical expert Jan Eckstrom and former
Swedish National Per Sandstrom sent Ulf Carlsson (Europe #12) and former World Champion
Stellan Bengtsson to an early afternoon shower.
165

Later, in quarters action among the favored doubles teams, service perfectionists Waldner
and Akesson were too much for past U.S. Open participants Mats Andersson and Peter Gripler.
The Angby pair, Lars Mattsson and Anders Thulin, served and looped well, but couldnt get by the
pumped-up Lars Franklin (I came because of the doubles) and his red-headed, flat-cracker Ulf
Bengtsson. Lindhs up-at-the-table backhand, coupled with Jorgen Perssons right-off-the-bounce,
Klampar-type loop, easily finished off Peter Greczula/Niklas Schioler. And Mikael Franks short
service and Mikael Appelgrens beautiful follows made for a winning combination over mad loopers
Ekstrom/Sandstromthough occasionally in the topspin rallies Frank with his backhand pips was
caught immobilized in a dead-zone back near the barriers before he eventually got the idea of
zinging in some forehands.
In the top-half semis, with spindly Lindhs speed and gangly Perssons hook-loop and
backhand-kill, this team was just a whole level above Bengtsson/Franklin. Though the Defending
Champs scored with some flips and steady short-game play, poor Bengtsson could never get an
opportunity to kill a ball, and Franklin was so preoccupied just trying to block back the zipped-in
loops of his opponents, that it was clear the old would have to step aside now for the more
aggressive style of the young.
In the bottom-half semis, Waldner and Akesson were relentlessly
looping every ball against the wall of Appelgrens rebounding racket-shield
and Franks pips. The points were long, often with fantastic loops and reloops, for though Appelgren and Frank were blocking quite a lot they were
never afraid to counter-loop. Appelgren was flawless in the first, and
Waldner wasnt at his bestso opening game to Appelgren/Frank, 25-23.
The long rallies continued in the second game, but Frank was more
effective, wasnt the same predictable blocker hed been in the first. He
started looping more, and, since he was closer to the table than the others,
his loop, because of his pips, was faster. Playing back from the table as
they were, Waldner and Akesson couldnt win against Franks carefully
positioned blocks and Appelgrens stingy loops.
In the final, the lefty-righty forehand-loop aggressiveness of Lindh/
Mikael Frank
Persson reminded me of the advantages of a power-hitting switch-hitter.
Persson, whose straight-arm loop-kill is among the fastest anywhere,
occasionally threw at both Appelgren and Frank an off-speed loop that unexpectedly was as
effective as Gossages off-speed ball. Appelgren powered in some winners, and Franks on-again,
off-again backhand jab won some points, but after the attacking loopers won the first at 19, they
settled into an easy second-game victory that proved beyond doubt Lindh/Persson was the better team.
Now it was time for another Doubles ceremony. Like after the Mixed Doubles final the day
before, they took away the barriers in one corner and set up victory blocks. Then came some weak
trumpet playing, and prize-winners from the quarters on took turns getting their little trophies,
ashtrays, flowers, or what not.
Again the place was practically deserted, and all this fanfare seemed rather pointless to me.
Yet you couldnt fault the Swedish organization, for to a man everybody was trying to make
everything nice. The local mayor, or table tennis official, or both made at least one little speech,
which fortunately I couldnt understand. Then, after all the awards were given out, everyone there
yelled out something like Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!And then there was more trumpet playing,
which, as it turned out, was coming from a 13-year-old girl. At moments like these I wished I had
my walkman.
166

About this time I struck up a conversation with Bo Persson,


who back in 73, with a glorious victory over Japans Tasaka, had
helped Sweden win the World Team Championship, and who now
was a coach at the famous Swedish Table Tennis High School in
Falkenberg. Were things much different a decade ago? I asked him.
Ten years ago, said Persson, the points were more
interestingthey were longer, better for the spectators to watch.
Todays game is just so much serve and loop. Moreover, now the
materials give you the spinyou dont have to do it yourself.
Table tennis seemed more important, more significant then.
However, skiing wasnt as big as it is today. And tennisand
Bjorn Borg. In the early 70s, Bengtsson and Johansson were
Swedens most popular athletes.
Privately, my thoughts went to what Bengtsson had told me
earlier: Ive never been to a Swedish Championships like this
before, he said. Theres no atmosphere.
Bo Persson
From 1985 Worlds Program
I bothered Persson, who was about to leave, with one more
questiona standard one about Waldner. Yes, he said, Waldner
is naturally talentedthat is, he knows what to do without looking at any textbook.
The hall had really emptied out now. Soon I was alone, except for a custodian tidying up
across the way. What did these Swedish players think of me? I began to wonder. Some of them
had seen me in the past. If they thought of me at all, they probably couldnt figure out what I was
doing here at THEIR tournament. But I didnt worry about that for longI wasnt that selfconscious. Besides, I knew what I was doing in Trelleborg. I made sure I had my pen and that I
hadnt dropped any of my scraps of scribbled notesthen I scuttled off in my determined way.
Womens Singles
In the 8ths of the 56-entry Womens Singles, seeded players Weizades, Eliasson, Stromvall,
and Lindblad, along with non-seeded players Susanne Dahl and Kamilla Bjork, all came through
with easy threestraight victories.
But ex-World
Team member and
Doubles specialist
Hernvall, by winning
the pivotal third game
at deuce, just managed
to squeeze out a fivegame victory over
Helen Lindvall.
That left the
advancing Defending
Champion AnnChristin Hellman and
17-year-old Anneli
Johansson to fight it
Ann-Christin Hellman
Anneli Johansson
167

out in the quarters. Hellman was Swedens best a decade ago, but shes retired from
international competition now and is not close to being the full-time pro she was in her prime.
But with or without the proper preparation shed done or not done for eight of the last nine
years, she still came to win.
Table tennis knowledge the experienced Hellman certainly had, but the inexperienced
Johansson had the speed and, after being down 11-4 in the first, began moving the out-of-practice
Hellman all over the place. Up 19-18, Johansson twice served long and so allowed Hellman to
twice get point-winning loops in. But then as if she were learning as she went alongand learning
wellshe served a short one and followed with a crisp kill. Staying aggressive, she played the
deuce and two ad points in very fast fashiontoo fast for todays Hellman. First game to
Youth.
Just as I was thinking how important itd been for Johansson to win that first close
game to gain confidence, she suddenly fell apart in the second, lost concentrationbegan
missing high balls, serving off, and slapping her stomach (to demonstrate how slow shed
become). Match all even.
In the middle of the third game, Hellmans backhand counter got better and it was harder
for Johansson to jab her backhand pips down the line to catch her opponent out of position. But
Johansson had found her speed again and it drove Hellman back to where she was eventually
forced to chopsurely not a winning approach. At 18-all, Johansson came out with a quick long
serve to Ann-Christins backhand and they engaged in a long exchange until Anneli went down the
forehand line and then into the backhand corner, where Hellman, struggling, chopped one off.
Another such exchangeand again Hellman became a chopper. Wrong move, ladyyou cant win
that way. Johansson, 2-1.
At the start of the fourth, it was already an old, old story. Youth just kept pounding away
with that backhand (and occasionally the forehand) and Hellman was soon out of position. She was
in truth near hopeless with her backhand and so her coach signaled her to forehand loop. But
Hellman didnt know whether to play slow or fast, and the confusion often led her to loop the first
ball off. Fair to say, I think, that, along with her lack of speed, this Defending Champion lacked
tournament toughness.
In other quarters, the two favorites won easilyWeizades over Susanne Dahl, and 1979
Champion Lindblad over Kamilla Bjork.
Little spinner Pia Eliasson was having her troubles with ex-National Team member Eva
Stromvall. They split the first two games. But then down 19-13, Pia grooved her loop against Evas
steady but ineffective blocking and burst through for a sudden 22-20 third game victory. Stromvall
was more than a little upset by this and from then on seemed out of it.
The semis produced lop-sided matches. The surprising Johansson just couldnt buy a
forehand kill and wasnt psychically sound against the fast-playing Weizades. A 10-point game. Nor
could Eliasson do any better against Lindblad. Another 10-pointer.
In the final, in the first 12 points of their opener, Weizades must have gotten five nets and
edges and was off to a 10-2 start. Lindblad came back to 14-17, then lost four in a row.
Since both players were from the same club, neither had a coach to go to at the break
(since how was one to take sides?). Lindblad could have used some steadying help, for naturally
she was irritated by her bad luckwhich continued on into the second game. At one point she
showed her anger by hitting her racket against the table. Up 13-10, Weizades got another net and
then she served an edge. In addition to getting all the breaks, Weizades was just playing so well that
Lindblad couldnt go through her. Down 16-12, Lindblad waited for a kid to stop yelling, then
168

served into the net. No, it did not seem to be her day. Down 20-13,
frustrated, she swatted the ball off the table.
Up 2-0, Weizades prepared for the third (and she hoped final) game
by going off into a corner, like a boxer, and psyching herself up. The third
couldnt have started any more predictably. Weizades and Lindblad
ALWAYS played backhand to backhand, and at 2-2 Weizades got an edge.
Sad but true. Although few American men could beat these women, it was
just boring to watch their slow-spin exchanging. I mean, compare this pace
to a Persson loop-kill, and youd want to go for a hot dog too.
I give Lindblad creditshe mastered her emotions to win the third. But
in the fourth. Weizades was again dominant. A slight surprise perhaps that she
was the winner. But who else more deserved it? After all, shed done what no
Swedish Champion
American woman Ive known hadshe gave up school and work for a year to
Menni Weizades
get better. And it paid off with a National Championship. Luck, Fate, Destiny,
Chance, Divine Providence may work an effect on ones life. But theres seldom a Champion anywhere
who hasnt worked long and hard, who hasnt taken some risks, to get into the History books.
Mens Singles
In the Mens Singles, the top 16 seeded players got byes. In view of that, what American
recorder would be interested in hearing about obscure Swedish players in the round of 128. Dan
Ottoson over Peter Waltersson, 28-25 in the fifth; Peter Wallin over Per-Anders Kallberg, 22-20 in
the fifth; Claes Sturesson over Glen Davidsson, 21-19 in the fifth; Ulf Karlsson over Jan Ekstrom,
27-25 in the fifth; Goran Wrana over Jonny Stockhaus, 21-19 in the fifth. So what, huh? Who
cares? Or that Mats Andersson, Torbjorn Olsson, Tommy Jacobson, and Johan Ronnby all rallied
to win from two games down? Still, I have to start somewhere.
Jens Fellke from Nisse Sandbergs Angby Clubhell give me some beginning depth. A
number of readers will remember him as having played in
several U.S. Opens. His progress was of interest to me, for he
was coming back to the tournament scene after a years
absence.
As I looked at this man Id never beaten, it seemed he just
wasnt the tiger hed been in his junior past. Down 9-2 and
quickly losing the first, he seemed soft and weak. In the second,
although he started playing stronger, he still hadnt gotten himself
togetherwas often taking a wrong shot. He was apparently
having some fun out there, thoughwould occasionally even
mimic himself, would pantomime, parody, his own poor play,
especially during this second game, which he lost 23-21.
But thenyou could see it comingit just wasnt fun
anymore. He started to get into a competitive grooveblocking
Niklas Swallings high loops with high blocks until Swalling
would kill and he, Fellke, would counter-smash back for a
winner. Eventually Jens got his down-the-line forehand loop
humming and pulled out the match. Fellke, then, slowly starting
his comeback, could be a ringer in this tournament? No. Oh,
Jens took a years absence
no. There are no ringers in Swedish table tennis.
from table tennis
169

O.K., now it was a must for every American here in the hall
to follow Jenss second-round match. Quick, quick, where was my
Fellke flag? I couldnt be too partial, though, for ironically Jenss
opponent, Ake Gronlund, was an ex-roomie of mine.
Fellke was playing solid from the startlooping wellthat is,
compared to Ake who was whiffing almost every loop attempt off
the push. Gronlunds backhand exchange was hard and fast, but he
simply couldnt loop a ball or score a forehand kill. Fellke, up 2-0,
looked to be a ringer after all?
But Ake wasnt ready to throw in the towel. He dug down
inside himself, and, though playing bad, fought it out. He turned the
Ake Gronlund
match around in the third, then came through in the fourth when
Fellke, down 21-20trying to do it all, fansrealizing he had to be
aggressive, looped Akis serve off. In the fifth, well, it was Gronlund all the way as he opened up an
8-0 lead. Hejdo, Jens. You tried.
Five-game matches there werein the first round when you werent too interested. A dozen of
themthough only three of the winners would win again. But in the second round there was just this one,
and none other: Mikael Frank over Peter Nilsson (thats the Peter Nilsson from Lyckeby).
Sixteenths
The Waldner-Bo Persson match, beginning the round of 32, just looked ridiculous. Picture a
year in the 40s or 50s where Dick Miles (in long, baggy shorts) with his hard-rubber chops is
winning match after match when suddenly a 1980s Guo Yuehua arrives with his never-seen-before
sponge and bullet loops. If you can conceive of that youll have some idea of this current match-up.
Waldner is a Boy Wonder. Its like in the movie Superman when the boy lifts up the car
and gets a look from his father-to-be. Its clear Waldner just
comes from another world. You get the impression he saw table
tennis played one day, and as easy as it is for young Superman to
lift that car, so is it for Waldner when he comes onto court armed
with space-age serves and counter-loops. The boys mystical fire
kindles the normal unenthusiastic Swedes and he becomes a
hero. And yet perhaps he does not always light up his own inner
life, for when not playing points or twirling his racket like a baton,
he often, it seems to me, just looks bewildered into the ceiling,
the clouds, as if searching for the planet from which he came.
Comfortably up 20-10 in the first, Waldner tried a rocket
chop-kill from the barriers, which just missed. Everyone laughed,
including Persson. One exception to Bos display of aging, not to
say obsolete, shots was his overhead tennis-style forehand slicekill against the always happy-to-be-lobbing Waldner. Jan-Ove
couldnt win a point from Persson lobbing. Boo, Boits not
nice to take a toy away from Superboy.
Swedens Boy Wonder,
The new rules havent hurt Jonas Berner, whose service
Jan-Ove Waldner
From Tennis de Table, Sept., 79
specialty has always been a weird quick-jerk-and-hitch of a high
toss. This routine, coupled of course with the killer-follow, was
enough to tie Magnus Karlsson into knots.
170

Youre an animal, Frank, I said as Mikael left the court a winner. Thanks, he said. To
which I quipped back, I knew youd take it as a complement. Frank, huffing and puffing, had just
won a beastly battle from Leif-Ake Pettersson, 17 in the 4th.
Joining Waldner, Berner, and Frank in the top half of the top draw was Stellan Bengtsson.
Ake Grunlands back-from-the-table play had impressed the spectators, but it wasnt a winning
game against Bengtssons backhand pips. Stellan could change the tempo as well as the ball
distance, and his backhand-to-backhand was too severe for Grunland. Ake made a few good
counter loops, reached deuce in the third, but couldnt win that game either.
***
Ulf Bengtsson, since becoming a member of the National Team a few years ago, and on
playing in the Bundesliga this past year for Grenzau, has a 100% professional approach toward the
sport. But as with all professionals there are times when the legs feel wobbly and the bat heavy. This
looked like one of those times for Ulfhe was struggling, was slow, and a little out of it the first
game against Ola Werner. Yet he kept trying to push himself. Down 17-14, he got two nets in a row.
Down 19-17, he stunned the aggressive Werner by unexpectedly giving him not one long serve but
two. Then at 19-all he served and looped in a winner, then scored again. After that he didnt have to
struggle.
Erratic Peter Nilsson (thats the Malmo Nilsson) could average only 14 points a game
against smooth, nationally-ranked Per Sandstrom.
Roger Lagerfeldt, who was formerly on the Swedish National Team, and who the last
couple of years has played for Pepsi Heusenstamm in the German Bundesliga, looped through the
feisty head-down blocks, the spiked-hair shield of Johan Fallby.
Joining Ulf Bengtsson, Sandstrom, and Lagerfeldt in the bottom half of the top draw
was Erik Lindh. Niklas Schioler, alias Persson, whod once won the European Juniors when
he and Lindh were schoolboy rivals. Much has happened since then for Lindh to beat him here
10, 7, 6.
***
Ulf Carlsson, former Scandinavian Open Champion, and maybe the player with the #1
record in this seasons Bundesliga, zipped by 14-year-old Thomas von Scheele, whod gotten
through a five-gamer in the first round.
Bjorn Stark was too Stark, or not severe enough, in losing to seeded Hakan Jeppsson.
Christer Andersson challenged Lars Franklinbut only in the 25-23
third.
Joining Ulf Carlsson, Jeppsson, and Franklin in the top half of the
bottom draw was Jonny Akesson. Yes, all was going as expectedthe last
16 to a man would be the 16 originally seeded or placed players. Angby
Viking, recent Junior Top 12 winner Lars Mattsson could be a football
lineman, yet hes only 15. Against an unusually passive Akesson he was
initially hot, looping in ball after ball. Indeed, Lars kept up such constant
pressure on Jonny that he forced him further and further from the table until
eventually Akesson had no choice but to begin lobbingwhich was certainly
not the winning style.
How Akesson kept himself so tan during the Swedish winter was
just as much a mystery to me as the guys service ritual. He has the most
unusual pre-steps to service Ive ever seen. After going off to retrieve a ball
hell always come back to the table via a special anglethat is, hell walk in
Lars Mattsson
171

an outside-to-inside arc to his backhand corner. He does it to concentrate, someone told me. Anyway,
even with his forehand loop off, Akesson was still Mr. Cooldown 2-1 he looked as though he didnt
have a worry in the world. Perhaps he got some good advice from a coach, for with a little help from the
net he started out playing an aggressive fourth and totally began dominating the match.
In the fifth, up 10-3 at the turn, Akesson stopped going for his shots, lost six in a row, then
jumped ahead again, 14-9. At 20-14 match-point, Jonny served under his leg. This was allowed?
Yes. The Swedish Association sees the under-the-leg serve as a cultural heritage andnew service
rules or noallows the tradition to continue.
Mellow-cat Jorgen Persson yawned by Cay Tegner, 7, 8, 14.
High-spirited glue-master Peter Greczula looped away Hakan Soderholm in straight games.
Hustling Pete Rose-type Misa Valcic jabbed his pips-out backhand into Goran Wrana,
former U.S. Open Under 17 runner-up to Sean ONeill, for a 3-1 victory.
Joining Jorgen Persson, Greczula, and Valcic in the bottom half of the bottom draw was
World Cup winner Mikael Appelgren who joked with under-the-leg server Hans Persson.
Eighths
Waldners so good that some players cant even fight
against him. The usually psyched-up Frank just didnt believe he
could win the matchdidnt believe he had even that 1%
chance.
Last year when Stellan Bengtsson and Jonas Berner
played in this Mens Championship, Berner was up 2-0 and 2012yet didnt win the match. This time things didnt start off his
wayand perhaps hed be the better for it? Up 17-12 in the
first, Bengtsson on getting his own serve could do absolutely
nothing with it, and, after Berner started scoring with some
loops, served off at the crucial 17-all stage. Whereupon Berner
aced Stellan and ran out the game. Some reversal, huh? Nine in
a row for Berner.
In the second, Jonas was flipping well and looping
Jonas Berner
From Pingis, 8, 85
loose. Up 9-3 he was unstoppable with serve and follow.
Bengtsson, afraid of this one/two punch, failed to return two
serves in a row and popped up a third. Now he was down 12-3 and his short game was obviously
just horrible. There must be something wrong with him to lose 21 out of 24 points.
After winning the second 21-7, Berner had an Ivan Lendl look to him that must have
dispirited Bengtsson even more. Looping in some incredible balls, Berner was up 15-9. Yet,
strangely, Bengtsson steadied, and with some excellent pips-out blocks drew to 16-all. But his
inconsistency came back to haunt him, and at the end he missed two more of Berners serves and
lost the game and match on an edge at 18.
So the World Champion of 13 years ago did not this year make the quarters of his
countrys Closed. I remembered a Houseman poem, To An Athlete Dying Young, called my
fathers attention to it, and he found the lines I was thinking of:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out.
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
172

Still, it was a hell of a lot better


to be a live athlete like Bengtsson than a
dead one like Alser.
Ulf Bengtsson still couldnt get
out of his slumponce again he looked
slow and erratic. But again he managed
to fight and win the first from Sandstrom
at 19. Although he would occasionally
make a great shothis sudden counterkill after lobbing is the best there ishe
never really had an effective game-plan
this whole tournament. In the second
game he was just helplesswas soft,
Better to be a live athlete and have a productive, fun life
slow, and weak.
with Angie Rosal Bengtsson
Definitely he wasnt the serveand-crack threat hed been in the past
and often resorted to lobbing.Whats this? At 15-all in the third, Sandstrom was suddenly staring
Bengtsson right in the eye. No, Per wasnt angrygood players dont take the competition
personally. There was a problem with Bengtssons contacts. But Ulf did better with those than hed
been doing with his backhand-to-backhand play. Down 18-16, he served and loop-killed.
Sandstrom, however, realizing Bengtssons potential, initiated his own attack. Down 20-19 matchpoint, Ulf missed a forehand loop-kill, followed by flinging his racket through the barrier-curtain into
a wall. Which act brought some concerned officials into the court.
It wasnt enough simply to be steamedBengtssons game couldnt catch fire and he lost
the fourth at 16. Exit Europe #16.
In the first game, Lindhs backhand chop, short chop-block touch, and his follow-up up-atthe-table loop was too fast for the back-from-the-table loops of Lagerfeldt. Also, Lindhs short
backhand block often set up his famous counter-loop (though if Lagerfeldt himself could loop the
first forehand hard, Lindh would be in trouble).
After winning the first, Lindh wasnt his concentrated-self in the second. He often rushed
shots, especially those high balls which he really didnt need to catch right off the bounce, and which
in fact seemed awkwardly too high for him. Second game to Lagerfeldt.
In the third, Lindh often caught Lagerfeldt wide to the forehand, but his backhand couldnt
handle Rogers spinny loop. Still, Lindh is the only player Ive seen who can consistently backhandloop a loop at the table.
Down 2-1, Lagerfeldt changed his tactics. He started looping slower, so as not to let Lindh
use his opponents own spin against him, then went for the one-ball winner. Up 12-8, Roger was
playing right off Eriks left hip, where, as it happened, Lindh couldnt do a thing with the ball. Soon,
though, Erik began making points on his serve and follow. Down 17-13, he caught Lagerfeldt at 18all. Then at 19-all, Lindh blocked one off. And then, ahead 20-19, Lagerfeldt unexpectedly stayed
up at the table and surprised Lindh with a down-the-line backhand block. Two games each.
Before the fifth game started, Lindh got some coaching from his brother. Someone told me
how important it was for Lindh to have a coachand it may be surprising to some that his older
brother has been coaching him since he was 10. Its said that Lindh doesnt play well in the Swedish
Top 12 because in that tournament its understood among the in-group National elite that no
individual coaches are used.
173

Erik Lindh

Roger Lagerfeldt

From AIPS Bulletin, Mar., 83

Lagerfeldts a big guylooks like a body-builderbut he has a surprisingly good short


game against Lindh or anybody else. Down 10-6 at the turn, Erik just seems to have been
neutralized and was now making easy mistakes. Roger, beginning to sense victory, backhandlooped one in from the barriers that went flying by the frozen Lindh. Eriks forehand was cold and
for the moment he just couldnt score against the Dvoracek-style of Lagerfeldt.
But bad moments pass, and down 15-7 Lindh started a comebackbegan yelling after
every point. Only, having closed to 15-12, he then looped two off and missed a fade-away attempt.
From 18-12 down, Lindh tried again: he repeatedly drove Lagerfeldt back from the table and again
his strong loops brought the score to 19-17. But 17 in the deciding game was all Lindh could get
and out went Europe #3 without even getting to the quarters.
Ulf Tickan Carlssons high-speed play often puts him in a class of his ownand Jeppsson
just wasnt world-class enough to match him.
Akessons game scores, stop-watched at any particular time,
always related to whether he had the serve or not. If it was close late in
the game, as it was here against Lars Franklin in the first, and Akesson
was serving, he was a heavy favoriteso, no surprise, 21-18 Jonny.
Franklin was a great fighter, but it didnt look now that he could do
much against Akessons spin. Just blocking with his backhand sure wasnt
gonna win him the second.
But the ex-National has a great forehand kill when given the
opportunity. And, after losing the first two games, he changed his style,
started yelling encouragement to himself, risked the kills, and was up 1916 in the third. Now, though, it was Akessons turn to serveand
Lars Franklin
Franklin missed the first of them. Lars knew he had to stop the tempo
From 1984 Swedish Closed
these modern-day loopers like to keep, so he flipped his next serve
Program
return, catching Akesson by surprise. Jonny hesitatedhis timing had
been taken awayand looped one off. A moment later, Lars was 2-1 still in the match.
In the fourth, Akesson got a little soft, and with Franklin returning serve better it was gonna
be a fight after all. From 19-all, Franklin sent it into the fifth.
As they came into their end-game finish, the score was tied at 15-all. Akessons loop caught
the edgeand Franklin spit out his disgust. Akesson then got a netand Franklin kicked the table.
174

Jonny backhand-looped one in, then Lars mis-killed a lob into the net. From 20-16 down Franklin
couldnt recover. Damn good try though.
Persson with his up-at-the-table loops kept driving Greczula back, back, back. As earlier
Peter had outclassed former Swedish National Ingemar Wikstrom (Remember him? He was on that
73 World-winning Swedish Team too), so now, though he made a few running-in backhand loopkills off the loop, was Peter out of itcouldnt get a loop by Perssons formidable backhand.
Appelgren just ho-hummed looped and lobbed into, by, and beyond Valcics backhand pips.
Quarters
Berner, looping Waldners long serves, taking Jan-Oves vaunted Superboy offense away,
meant businessdevilish businessright from the start. Down 20-19, Waldner loop-killedonly
to have Berner block-kill back a winner to end the game. Up went a fight-signal from the hungry
Bernerobviously a competitor not to be taken lightly.
But in the second and third games Waldner was back in his best form. His serve and loop
were unstoppable. Off Berners serve, when the ball got into play, he almost never missed a loop,
and once, when he had toor wanted tohe made an unbelievable backhand slice-chop.
Berner began the fourth strong, and Waldner tried to stop him just by using his touch
which wasnt enough. But in the fifth, Jan-Ove became aggressive again and looped to win.
Waldner always wins when he has toor so it seems.
Sandstrom was never in it with Lagerfeldt. Rogers looping successfully controlled the
whole tempo of the match.
Sometimes Akesson plays soft and sometimes hard, yet coming out against the favored
Carlsson in the all-important opening game, his serve and loop was strong. Down 17-16, Akesson,
whod been looping all this time, just watched as suddenly Tickan loop-killed one inas if to say,
Hey, I can do this too! At 19-all, Carlsson looped another one in. Down 20-19, Akesson,
anything but intimidated, flip-killed in a winner. Deuce. Now there was a long rally and from a
lobbing position Akessons loop-kill caught the net and went over, but Carlsson got it back and
killed the next one in for the ad. Akesson then served and missed his follow.
Second game to Carlsson as well. Which of course made him even looser. In the third, he
was up19-16but not a lock because Akesson was serving. And, sure enough, Jonny was thirdballing his way back when one serve went a little too long and Carlsson looped it in. Up 20-19,
Carlsson made a perfect short return of serve which Akesson couldnt follow and could just get
backa craftily created set-up for Ulf and he looped it in for the match.
Perssons strong backhand and zip-forehand posed trouble from the start for the backfrom-the-table Apple. On turning around to loop-kill from his backhand corner, Persson showed
something of a golf strokeas if his position were fixed out there, his head set, and he didnt need
to move that extra step you might have expected him to. His loop was always very good off the
bounce when his opponent played a medium-speed off-the-table game, and he could hook the ball
with an incredible amount of sidespin. Perssons Klampar-like play totally controlled Appelgren,
who was repeatedly caught on his backhand side back from the table.
Still, Appelgren stayed in the match because of a second-game win at 19.
Up 2-1, Persson started the fourth cold and now Apple was turning the corner more and
playing with his forehand, which does wonderful things. Up 14-8 Mikael seemed a changed man.
And yet Persson came slowly backonly to lose again at 19.
Looking at 17-year-old Perssons shots you can see how he might well be the next
European Champion. His strong backhand and stay-at-the-table forehand loop show the table
175

tennis of the future. He also has an avant-garde


technique of killing the lob. Its an overhead motion,
with a reared-back start way down lowjust like a
jai-alai stroke.
In the fifth, Appelgren was playing more
forehand and looking pretty sharp himself. Persson
was still putting the pressure on, though, by catching
Apple wide to the forehand now that he was turning
the corner. No one has a backhand kill like Persson.
How can one describe such a long wind-up motion
that kills the ball with amazing speed.
Actually those American enthusiasts who
Mikael Appelgren
liked to watch Danny and Eric and some other good
(Donic photo)
U.S. players, if they could see the Swedes play their
great topspin-rally points, they would just freak out. Even I was amazed. The table tennis they play
in Sweden is not the table tennis they play in America.
Still the Game nowadays WAS so much serve and serve return. Down 10-5 at the turn,
Persson with the serve managed to loop in 4 out of 5. Ahead or behind, first game or fifth, the
Swedes strategy doesnt change: the best Swedish players, with the single exception of Appelgren,
serve and loop-kill. In other words, the Sport becomes just like tennis when it comes to the service
dominanceonly with the current table tennis scoring system its not so obvious.
Down 12-9 after flipping one off, Persson made a beautiful drop. But then, despite his
whole arsenal of shots, he couldnt burst-of-fire get throughuntil at 14-10 he finally looped one in.
Down 14-11, he came with the dreaded serve and follow. At 14-12, Appelgren flipped one off,
afraid of the loop to come. At 14-13, Mikael looped into the net. At 14-all came one of those
sweeping backhand smashes which so pleased the crowd and of course Persson.
At 18-all, Persson drove Apple back and when he was just about to send in a bullet loop he
artfully caught Appelgren with a drop. Down 19-18, Appelgren wanted to behad to bethe
aggressorand looped into the net. Down 20-18, Appelgren looped, Persson blocked, and Mikael
mis-hit off his racket edge. Out went World #7 to a Swedish 17-year-old.
Semis
Against the intense backhand and forehand looping of Lagerfeldt, Waldner had a variety of
answerable shots. Sometimes against topspin Jan-Ove blocked with his backhand then tried to
forehand-loop against the loop by turning around or blocking fast so that his opponent had to play
some balls to his forehand. Waldners loop-to-loop is the best, and, like almost all Swedes, when
he has the serve he attacks. On the backhand-to-backhand exchange he sometimes used a modified
Dean Doyle strokethat is, not a flat but a sideways backhand. This wasnt like Doyles
windshield-wiper stroke, though, for with Waldner it was all just a wrist-touch and he moved his
racket sideways only a few inches.
Another technique the Swedes have mastered is this: when returning an opponents loop
thats been placed into their forehand corner, they dont block it or smash it back, they kind of
semi-smack it cross-court, using a much shorter stroke than the smash. Because of its quickness this
return, while offering a much higher degree of accuracy than the all-out smash, has almost the same
get-back-into-the-point positional effect. Todays fast sponge, and the increasingly sophisticated
glue applied to it, encourages this stroke.
176

Only when both players looped old-style back from the table forehand-to-forehand was
Waldner helpless. So naturally he stayed at the table as much as possible exercising his options
which seemed to me a much better way of playing.
Up 20-18 in the first, Waldner looped, his ball caught the net and popped up, butfirst
game to WaldnerLagerfeldts backhand kill was off. Angrily he threw his racket at the offending
net. Then went for a drink.
Holding up this huge two-gallon container, alone in his cornerunlike most of the top
Swedish players he had no coachhe looked like some Hercules, perhaps with one labor too
many.
Sometimes Waldner purposefully served long to set up his counter-loop. Hed serve into the
backhand, his opponent would turn around and loop cross-court, and Waldner would turn around
and loop it back down the line for a winner.
At 19-all in the second, Waldner got an edge, then won the final game-point after a long
rally. Lagerfeldt, angry again, threw his racket at a barrier but it popped up and hit the official who,
because of Rogers earlier outburst, had seated himself nearby. After the racket had caromed off his
shoulder, this official, whose back was to half the audience, suddenly stood up and, only an intimate
few feet from Lagerfeldt, reached with his left hand to pull the blue card out of his pocket to warn
the temperamental Swede. But Roger, in a perfectly coordinated follow-through was too quick for
him. In an oops, excuse me acknowledgement of a mistake (or was it an apology?), he flashed a
handshake, much as referee and player might do in a fired-up soccer match, and the official,
nonplussed, hid the half-slipped-out card back in his pocket. The fans on the one side of the hall
who saw this bit of by-play laughed, but those on the other side didnt see what was funny about it
all.
In the third game, Waldner was lobbing too much, so, down 10-6, he suddenly took
command of the rallies by topspinning. Score: 12-all. Butmaybe winning that way was too easy
he then served off and lost the game at 16.
In the fourth, Waldner was more aggressive, but, much to the fans enjoyment Lagerfeldt
continued to hold his own. At 15-all, Waldner high-tossed/loop-killed. Then served off. Down 1817, Lagerfeldt served and followed for a winner. At 18-all Rogers long serve was looped and he
blocked off. Up 19-18, Waldner was back lobbing and of course lost the point. At 19-all, they
played short pushes until one of Lagerfeldts was too long and Waldner looped it in. Down 20-19
match-point, Roger served and scored with his follow. Tough hombre. At 20-all, Lagerfeldt looped
in Waldners long serve. But then Jan-Ove deuced it with a classic counter-loop. At 21-all, Waldner
served andwhat else?rolled one in. Now a flip of Lagerfeldts serve and Roger missed his
backhand follow. Hercules at rest.
From the beginning, Persson looked to be the eventual winner over Carlsson. Tickan has
always had trouble with the big spinnersthey take away his fast, flat offense. But hes one of the
greatest fighters in the Game with a good serve and follow-up attack. He hustles, he struggles, for
every ball, whether hes hot or not. When hes hot, hes untouchable, but its very hard to get hot
against such a player as Persson.
In the first, down 19-18, Persson was looping to Carlssons backhand as always, but
surpriseCarlsson chop-blocked a short one that Persson wisely pushed, then backhand-looped
the return to tie it up at 19-all. But though young Person showed poise, it was the scrappy Carlsson
who eventually won the first, 23-21.
In the second, Persson, far from being discouraged, began making some solid backhand
kills with those gangly arms and won rather easily at 16.
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In the third, the 17-year-old took such control as to dominate Carlsson, World #27, 21-7.
In the fourth, Carlsson tried to be more aggressive, but he was just helpless against this
tentacled young monsters sweeping motions. Ive never seen such an unstoppable backhand.
Down 16-9, Carlsson kicked the table and got a warning from the umpire. Another backhand kill
by Perssonand Carlsson was finished.
One shot this space-age Persson has mastered that Ive not mentioned: when hes back
from the table looping and someone makes a great short block, he can catch the ball from way
down under the table and bring it back into play. Not only can he do this, but with his amazing touch
the ball doesnt even go high over the net, just slow. The only way you can catch him back from the
table is by double-bouncing your block, which is hard to do against the topspin he generates.
Final
Historically, the best players always win the Swedish Championship. In 1960, Hans Alser
won it for the first time. Then, from 1963-1980, just three playersAlser (5 more years),
Johansson (6 years), and Bengtsson (7 years) totally dominated this tournamentfor 18 years (!)
no one else won it. Then Appelgren won twice. And last year Waldner won. So statistically it would
be hard for the still very young Persson to pull an upset. And yet Sverige never saw a backhand kill
or loop like his before.
The first game had barely gotten underway when it was stopped. Persson had pulled a
muscle. Butperhaps after a very quick massagehe came back into the hall again to loud
applause. This, after all, was a Star Wars final everyone wanted to see.

1984 Swedish Mens Champion Jan-Ove Waldner


From 89 Worlds Program

Persson, looking strong, looping ball after ball,


1984 Swedish Mens Runner-up
his backhand a killer, was up 12-8. At 14-10, in the
Jorgen Persson
middle of the point, Waldner suddenly caught the ball
From World Table Tennis, Sept., 88
and crushed it. No problem. And it needed only one of
these honest Swedish players to know it.
Persson now threw in some unbelievable chops, spiced them with a point-winning follow.
Waldners face showed concernsuch a look from him one rarely catches. Down 20-14, Waldner
began spinning in, reached 18, then looped one off.
In the second, Persson started off playing fastonly to miss a hanger. Then they went
backhand-to-backhand harder and harder until Persson just crushed one onto Waldners chest. Up
178

4-1, Jorgen missed two serves and Waldner faded one by him. At 5-all Persson took control with
his servicewent up 8-5. But more and more, Waldners short block began setting up his loop,
and from 8-all Waldner won the second game comfortably.
Many of the spectators were amazed at the shots these players even tried. At the beginning
of the third, Waldner looped a cross-court beauty in, but it came back and, practically diving for the
return, he smashed that in too. Thentalk about creating a shotJan-Ove went up 7-5 by killing a
ball out of his stomach. Still Waldner couldnt come away a winner just by using his forehand loop
and magnificent touch. Against Persson, as opposed to the others, he had to generate power. At 18all, he served and looped two off. Then, down 20-18, knowing what he had to do and not afraid to
do it, he looped in a down-the-line winner. Down 20-19, Waldner, totally loose, interrupted a long
exchange, turned around, and loop-killed in another winner. At 20-all, he looped in Perssons serve.
Then, having gotten the ad, he killed again. Four straight unbelievable shotsand precisely when he
most needed them.
The finalists didnt take a long 2-1 break. Swedish players in general like to play fast.
Waldners short game was very strong now. Also, his versatility was never more apparent. He
chopped a great one, then, as he went flying for a backhand kill, all he needed was a Superman
cape. Down 15-10, 17-12, and finally 21-13, Persson ended by playing soft, soft, soft.
Waldner, the boy of steel, showed no emotion. He accepted his award without the slightest
enthusiasm and waited patiently as the photographers took every exterior picture of him possible.
Then he flew away.

The Boy of Steel

179

Chapter Eleven
1984: USA Men/Women Bring Home Gold
From Cuba. 1984: European
Championships.
The Fifth Annual Cuban Invitational, held in Santa
Clara, Apr. 2-8, was attended by USA Mens and Womens
Teams. Coverage will be in two parts (Timmys, May, 1984,
5-6)first, a background article by Sylvia Rosenthal,
followed by one on the actual play by Sylvia and Perry
Schwartzberg. Here to begin is their de rigueur intro opening:
Again were the Stars and Stripes raised to the seldomheard strains of the Star-Spangled Banner when the U.S. Mens
and Womens Teams stood to receive their Gold Medals.
Accompanying the Mens Team of Quang Bui, Brian Masters,
and Perry Schwartzberg, and the Womens Team of Lisa Gee
and Lan Vuong were USTTA President Sol Schiff, USTTA
Executive Vice-President Gus Kennedy, Photographer Cameron
Clark, and Interpreter/Reporter Sylvia Rosenthal.
Winning U.S. Mens Team (L-R): Perry
Heres Rosenthals It Was the Worst of Times; It
Was the Best of Times:

Schwartzberg, Quang Bui,


and Brian Masters
Photo by Cam Clark

The Worst of Times


When one enters Miami, one enters a different time zone! Neither good nor bad, just
different! Being the gateway to Latin America, Miami initiated our USA Team members and
officials to this time war with an interminable seven-hour wait at the Miami airport. Big problem
was that, up until minutes before take-off, our Lan Vuong had not yet received a visa, or even
confirmation that she would actually be permitted to enter Cuba! (Red tape distinguishes neither
political right nor left!)
A telex from Havana, arriving minutes before we boarded the plane, authorized Lans
entrance into Cuba, but our immigration complications were not over yet. Lan still had no visa!
Though all her papers were in perfect order, the Cuban Interest section in Washington refused to
issue her a visa, and 11th-hour efforts on the part of the USTTA were to no avail.
Thus we landed at Havana airport only to face another group of bumbling bureaucrats, each
kowtowing to the one above, up the chain of command, until after another interminable several-hour
wait, someone finally made the decision to let Lan in!
Seldom has there been seen such an all-out effort made by people to get into Cuba.
Since it was too late now to leave for the tournament sitewhich by the way was not to be
in Santiago by a lovely beach-side hotel in Havana. The following afternoon, along with the
Nicaraguan team, we bussed four hours to Santa Clara and were back to those thatch-roofed
Tahitian huts of two years earlier.
As Quang Bui put it after the first night in our tropical huts, I found a lot of new friends
therethe mosquitoesthey soon became my closest friends.
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And if the mosquitoes struck us the first night, disaster struck us the second! While we were
all at dinner, our room was broken into and both Lisa Gee and Lans tournament bags were stolen
and a few of my personal belongings. Not only stolen from Lan and Lisa were money, a watch, a
camera, playing clothes, and warm-up suits, but, worst of all at the time, Lisas one racket and
Lans two rackets.
With all due deference to the Cubans, it should be mentioned that this theft was a very
unusual occurrence, not at all common to that country. So unusual, in fact, that the policeman who
first came was able to recall only one similar theftwhich had taken place three years earlier! I
would challenge any American policeman to recall the details of a three-year-old theft!
So, as the night of the first round of Team ties got underway, Lisa was playing with a
borrowed type of racket she had not played with in a number of years, and Lan was playing with a
racket graciously given her by the Cuban Coach. As I later learnedsince I spoke Spanish I
remained behind at our hut with the policeLisa and Lan (as well as the Mens Team) scored
first-round success. We who remained behind to explain the loss were not so successful!
If the thefts were not so tragic, the investigation would have made for a good comedy short
feature or another vignette for Police Academy! As the evening wore on, the number of police
increased in direct proportion to the number of times I repeated the details of what had happened.
First came the contingent of the grounds security guards, who discussed the details with great
dismay. Next on the scene was a detachment of local gendarmes, and the detailed discussion of the
crime was repeated, evoking new glimpses of dismay! Finally, Sherlock himself arrived with his
regiment to survey the scene of such a dastardly act!
Sometime in the night a shepherd appeared, sniffed the scene, and disappeared around a
bendneither dog nor master ever to be seen again! Other investigators climbed into the rafters,
and even dusted part of the ceiling for fingerpints. Of course there were reports and forms to fill out,
and then more forms and reports when Lan and Lisa returned. All this long into the night.
And, if bad things come in threes, then the third turn was for Brian Masters. He started
running a fever almost from the outset, and it lasted on and off for days, until it finally peaked at 102.
Half the time, being the fighter that he is, he was playing matches with a 101-degree feverand
winning! Which segues us from the worst of times into
The Best of Times
As Sol Schiff so accurately noted, The hospitality was much
better than I expected. Everyone treated us exceptionally well.
Indeed, we all agreed that everyone went out of their way to make us
feel welcome. The Cuban players seemed warmer and friendlier than
the last time we were there, Gus Kennedy commented. Im not sure
why, but they were more talkative and mingled with us more than in
the past.
And as Lisa mentioned, The teams were really nice, the
hospitality was great, and I made a lot of new friends. Next year, if I
have the chance, I want to go again.
I, Sylvia, live in Miami, a city predominately Cuban, and one
cannot live here long without being affected by the good qualities of that
cultureCubans are warm, friendly, and hospitable people. On the final
evening, at the end of tournament play, a huge banquet was held, and for
dessertto celebrate Lans 15th birthdaythey brought out this huge
181

Sol Schiff
Photo by Mal Anderson

birthday cake. It was half the size of me, said Lan. I really didnt know what to say. That was the
day I was so sick and really down, but everybody made me so happy with the surprise. Everyone
was so nice and really cared.
And Cam Clark took pictureslots of pictures, and as he noted, The people overall are
very friendly and courteous, and they really loved the polaroid pictures I took of them because
theyd never seen such a thing before.
Having gone to Yugoslavia for the Worlds in 81, said Cameron, I knew that a socialist
life-style was spartan compared to the U.S., but the resort we stayed in was a very nice Tahitiantheme park.
Yes, I agreeit was very nice, with a swimming pool, discotheque/night-club, and
recreation room with video games. During one free day, between the team and individual
competition, we spent a day and a night at a town near the beach, and from our hotel rooms we had
a panoramic vista of the bay and seaport.
Indeed, the Cubans did everything they could to make us feel comfortable and welcome,
both at the tournament site and away from it. As Gus said, They went out of their way to help us in
all casesgave us equal to, if not more than, the help they gave the other countries.
In Appreciation
As Sol said, Our Team was terrific. We couldnt have picked a nicer group of people to
represent us.And as Lisa echoed, The Cubans had great sportsmanship and team spirit, and our
team too had great team spirit. We didnt have a coach with us, but Quang, Brian, Perry, and Lan
were right there after every game to coach and give me pointers and encouragement. And Sylvia
was there sitting behind me on whatever side I was playing, cheering for me and encouraging me,
and it helped a lot because I could hear her even above the noise the Cubans were making.And
Lan, too, expressed similar sentiments. I thank everybody on the team for coaching me through
these matches, especially Sol Schiff and Perry, and I want to thank the USTTA for sending us to this
international tournament. We learned a lot and gained a lot of experience.
And Lisa, too, commented, Representing the United States has been a great experience for
me, and I want to thank Sol Schiff and Gus Kennedy for making this trip possible, and thanks also
to Mr. Dennis Masters for getting us our visas, because if it
hadnt been for him, we wouldnt have been able to go at all.
And Gus Kennedy seemed to sum up all of our
sentiments about the tournament organization when he
commented, Renato and his staff of workers and umpires had
the knowledge World Championship organizers have, and this is
greatly to be commended for a country much smaller than any
that has held such Championships. I was very impressed with
their standard of officiating.
Yes, all things considerednow, after the factit
was the best of times. We brought home Silver in Womens
Singles, Silver in Mens Singles and Doubles, and Gold in Mens
and Womens Teams and in the Mixed. I, too, promoted
courtesy of Mr. Schiff to Womens Team Captain, was given a
Gold medal, for which I humbly thank him. We made many new
friends, and those of us who had been to Cuba before renewed
Gus Kennedy
old friendships. I, for one, look forward to returning next year.
Photo by Mal Anderson
182

Whew! Alright, now to the write-up of the play by Sylvia and Perry (Sylvia continuing to do
the heavy-duty work of writing, and Perry adding details?):
Womens Teams
Not since the Tokyo 83 Worlds, when I saw Yang Young-ja of South Korea, down 20-16
in the Womens semifinal, save four match points, and move to the final, have I seen a more
spectacular womens match than that which I witnessed in the U.S. vs. Cuba C Womens Teams.
In the one semis, the U.S. had handily defeated the Cuba A team [their best team met our U.S.
team in the semis?the organizers wanted an all-Cuban final?], and in the other, in an
unprecedented upset, Cuba C had downed Cuba B. So in the final, we were up against Marisol
Mamita Oliva and Yolanda Rodriguez.
Playing to a Corbillon Cup format, Lisa took the first match against Oliva, -18, 15, 6. And,
following that, Lan destroyed Rodriguez, 17, 12. It looked like it would be an easy 3-0 win for the
U.S. But that was not to be: Cuba took the doubles in a close 2-1 battle. In the fourth match with
Mamita, Lan dropped the first game 21-18, but with her usual fighting spirit came back to eke out
the second, 21-19. The third game saw Lan down 17-13, but, with incredible serves and powerful
loops, she rallied, took an 18-17 lead. Then spectacular loop followed counter-loop, smash
followed smash, and the score remained even, point by pointwith the stadium resounding
Mamita! Mamita! after each point the Cuban won, and before each serve was madeuntil the score
reached 21-all. Two final lucky shots by Oliva, and with Lans 23-21 loss we were forced into the fifth.
Lan was later to comment, When I played Yolanda, I had no problem with her, but when I
saw how she started to play Lisa I thought our gold medal was gone. The Cuban attacked
everythinglow, high, medium, whatevershe killed everything. Lisa seemed to confirm Lans
apprehension when she lost the first game to Rodriguez, 21-14. In fact, we were all pretty sure it
was all over for us. Lisa was obviously feeling the pressureearlier, shed said, When Lan was
playing her match against Oliva, I was really hoping for her to win, but when she lost and I knew I
had to play the final gold-medal match, I was really nervous. I knew it was all up to me now.
Since Gee was unable to use her own racket [as Sylviad explained in her companion
article, itd been stolen], and was now playing with horribly blistered hands, we all seriously
doubted that she could regain her control and confidence and pull out the second game. Our feelings
seemed confirmed when, in the second game, she was down 20-16. But the spirit and strength of
the champion in Lisa came through. A heavy chop serve by the American, which Rodriguez pushed
into the net, brought the score to 20-17. Another such serve, which again Rodriguez put into the
netand now we were all screaming with excitement. Hope had come back into the game. Could
Lisa get to deuce? On the next two points Gee sent powerful well-placed loopsand the score
was 20-20!
Again, with a dynamite loop, Lisa was up 21-20, but then the Cuban came back with one
of her amazing forehand smashes. Deuce. Then two points with her strong forehand loop and Lisa
took the game. Unbelievable! Incredible! We were back in the match, and Lisa had regained all her
confidence and was ready.
The third and final game began close and remained close, point by point, to 14-all. Then
Lisa went out in front 16-14. But Rodriguez responded by twice serving and following with kills and
it was 16-all. Lisa came right backwinning points on a loop and a counter. Lisa back in front, 1816. But the Cuban scored with a heavy Phantom chop. Up 18-17, Lisa served, Rodriguez returned
well, Lisa pushed up the middle, and the Cuban all-out smashed it in for what looked like a sure
winner. But, wait, Lisa was not to be denied! Her racket came out of nowhere and, with her back
183

to the table, she somehow counter-returned the kill! Not even immediately realizing that the ball had
hit, and that when it did it totally shook up Rodriguez, Lisa won the point. The Cuban crowd was
amazed! The Americans were in a frenzy! Lisa led 19-17.
After that miraculous return that completely unnerved the Cuban, Lisa took the 20-17 point
easily. Then Gee went for a loop that, as Perry would say, was The right shot at the right time. But
it didnt go in20-18. The stadium was in an uproar, and Rodriguez fed off the crowd. Showing
great intensity and concentration, she smashed in a winner to bring her within one of tying the game.
But Lisa showed her poise and experience, and to a you-could-hear-a-pin-drop, dead-silent
stadium, Rodriguez misplayed the gold-medal point!
During the last couple of points in that final match, Lan would later say, I thought I was

Lan Vuong rooting for Lisa, then almost despairing when Lisas down quadruple match point...before rallying to win
Lisa photo by Robert Compton

going to have a heart attack I was so excited. I really wanted to bring home a gold medal to prove
that the U.S. juniors are equal to international players.
Well, indeed [this is surely Sylvia talking] there can be no doubt in anyones mind now that
you are! Because with Lisas brilliant play and fighting heart, and Lans indomitable spirit and
incredible loops and serves, with both playing with rackets not their own after theirs had been
stolen, with both playing with horribly-blistered hands at the racket-contact point, Lisa had just
pulled out a gold-medal save, and Lan had just defeated the four top Cuban women, including in the
Team semis Baez (19, 20) and Armas (11, 12), each of whom is a 2000+ player.
Womens Singles
In the Womens Singles, Lisa moved through the first two rounds easily and went into the
quarters against Clara Sabina, Cuba Bs left-handed looper. With excruciating pain showing on her
face each time she pressed her blistered hand against the racket for an all-out dazzling, well-placed
forehand loop, yet refusing to ease up, Lisa battled relentlessly. But down she went to a deuce-inthe-first, 18-in-the-second defeat. There was no doubt in anyones mind (least of all the Cuban
doctor who earlier had seen the condition of her hand), that had she been playing with her own
racket she would have undoubtedly won the match. Under the circumstances, the scores could only
be considered a reflection of her championship ability and spirit.
Lan, too, breezed through the first two rounds, then met Carmen Miranda, the other half of
the Cuban B team in the quarters. An easy 11, 9 win brought Lan into the semis against Cubas
#2 woman, Marta Rosa Baez, and again Lan distinguished herself with an easy 13, 9 win. Thus
Vuong reached the final without having lost a game.
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In the final, Lan again faced Cubas #1, Madeline Armas, whom Lan had defeated in the
Team matches, 13, 11. The first game was an easy win for Armas (who, incidentally, had just
returned from several months training in Bulgaria with the Bulgarian National Team). Lan had been
sick that morning, though shed braved through to win the Mixed. But like the fighter she is, Lan
came back, and with unbeatable serves and perfect placements moved Armas from corner to
corner to take the second game. But by this time with blistered hand and in severely weakened
conditionand, having already played several hard-fought matches that day, including the goldmedal Mixed final, Lans strength finally gave out and she lost the next two games to Armas and had
to settle for the Silver medal.
Though Im sure Lan thought she was the better player, she had gracious words for her final
opponent: Even though I beat Armas in the Teams, I think she plays very smart. Shes a really
tough left-handed looper who has a really good coach.
Lan also said, No one on the Cuban teams or even the Cuban officials could believe Lisa
and I were only 15 and 14 years old because of the strong way we played. They were really
shocked when we told them.
Womens Doubles
The first rounds were easy wins, but in the quarters Lan and Lisa, whod never played
doubles together before this tournament, went up against the established Cuban B partnership of
Clara Sabina and Carmen Miranda, and lost 23-21 in the third. Sabina/Miranda, in turn, were
beaten conclusively in the final by the favorites, Armas/Baez.
Mens Teams
Due to the late arrival of the Dominicans and a no-show by Canada, the Mens Team event
was dominated by Cuba and the U.S. with only Nicaragua and Mexico the other participants.
Though the Cubans showed great depth and strong players, their decision not to field any
one team composed of their strongest men (they fielded A, B, and C teams), and the fact that
they had to play without their #1 player Raul Betancourt, who was injured, made each Cuban team
about equal in ability, but significantly weaker than the U.S. We had no competition in beating teams 5-1,
5-0, 5-0, 5-0, and 5-1 in the final. Quang lost one match to a Nicaraguan, and Perry one to a Cuban.
Mens Singles
In the Mens Singles, Brian, though losing the first game, won his opening
match against a Dominican, while both Perry and Quang easily advanced to the second round.
There, though, Gabriel
Gomez, the top Cuban
chopper, who two
weeks earlier
had returned from several
months training with the North
Korean National Team, defeated
Perry in a close 2-1 match. And
Juan Vila of the Dominican
Republic defeated Quang two
straight by repeatedly blocking
Mens Final: Brian Masters serving to winner Mario Alvarez
Buis bullets. [Coach Li Ai,
Photo by Cam Clark
185

impressed with Quangs fast footwork and attacking forehand loop, urges him to improve by
developing a backhand loop.]
Brian, however, continued on easily, defeating all foes, until the semis where he encountered
Quangs nemesis, Juan Vila. That match killed me, Brian said of the 19-in-the-third struggle that
brought him to the final against Dominicas Mario Alvarez. Regarding that final, Brian commented,
No excuses, but having just gotten over a 102 fever, and the heat being intense, and Marios lobs
wearing me down, I just couldnt keep going. Down 1-0, but up 20-16 in the second, Brian and
everyone else had to admit that Alvarez played six great points to win the game and with it the
match.
Mens Doubles
Brian and Quang, though both being lefties, have played many a tournament together and
feel that Brians ability to get loose balls from the opponent, and Quangs ability to annihilate the
loose balls is a perfect doubles combination.
Perry played with one of the Mexican players, defender Sergio Sanchez, and they won their
first round over the #1 Nicaraguan team before losing to Alvarez/Vila. Brian/Quang, meanwhile,
continued to advance without difficulty until they fell in the final, 2-1, to Alvarez/Vila. Aside from the
Womens Team final, this match brought the most response from the crowd. Tremendous loops,
blocks, and smashes, along with strong technical play from all four players, made this a match to
behold.
Up 18-14 in the third after splitting the first two games at deuce, the Dominicans seemed on
their way to victory. But as most Americans know, when Quang gets hot, hes scorching! And did
he get hot! Soon the Americans found themselves up 20-18 when shot after blistering shot off both
Quang and Brians racket found the table. But then a rare lapse of concentration by Brian, a flip of a
serve return into the net, followed by a sad-but-true anti-loop longRight shot, right shot!
forced the final game into still another deuce. Though the Americans staved off three match-points,
the Dominicans triumphed. To great applause, the players left the courteach a winner.
Mixed Doubles
With Brian playing with Lisa, Perry with Lan, and Quang with a cute 15-year-old Cuban girl
(Every girl I met either at the tournament or outside was only 15, said Quang), we had good
chances for a medal. Though Quangs partner was weak, she was so good-looking, he said, it
made me play better.After winning their first-round match, they put up a valiant effort against
Roque/Armas, the Cuban Silver medalists, but went down 2-1. Since the team of Masters/Gee lost
in the quarters to another Cuban pair, all U.S. hopes for a Gold were with Perry and Lan.
Smart play, confidence, and our ability to fight hard every point, said Lan, pulled us
through many a tough match. Said Perry, Up until the final, I just stood there and watched. Lans
serve-return abilities allowed her to dominate both the men and the women we played. Just standing
there and looking like a player was all I needed to do.
Proceeding to the final without dropping a game, Perry and Lan seemed destined for Gold.
But on the day of the final, Lans strength began to waver since she couldnt keep any food down.
I sensed physical weakness, said Perry, and realized that the time had come for me to dominate.
Luckily, I played well and Lan pulled through like the fighter she is.
Losing the first in a tough deuce game to Cuban A players Carlos Baro and Marta Baez,
Perry and Lan rebounded to take the second. In the third, it was nip and tuck until the midway point
when Perry was serving to Marta and Lan to Carlos. Plain and simple, said Perry, we served
186

Mixed Doubles Winners Perry Schwartzberg and Lan Vuong


Schwartzberg photo by Mal Anderson; Vuong photo by Gary Calkins

them down the last half of the third game. [Coach Li had praised Perrys servicesaid it was
excellent not just because he has a high toss but because he can vary the speed, spin, and
placement of his serves.] A turning point came at 13-all. Perry said, I felt that my only kill shot of
the matchagainst Baros soft loopforced him at 15-all to attempt to drive Lans serves harder
than he had been doing, thus causing error after error. Lans serves were just too tough for himan
incredible five straight aces! The best came at 19-15. Lan looked at Perry and said, What serve
should I give him?The feinter, Perry replied.The feinter? asked LanOr whatever, said
Perry. The feint it wasfor an all-out ace! Carlos swung hard and came up empty!
Perry and Lan looked at each other and smacked hands approvingly. The U.S. knew they
had their third Gold.
We go now to a different part of the world. Germanys Engelbert Huging and
Swedens Jens Fellke (Timmys, June, 1984, 3-4) cover the 1984 European
Championships for us, held Apr. 22-24 at the Luschnikistadium in
Moscow. Engelbert will start us off with the Mens Team Championships,
then Jens will follow with his report, mostly on the Individual play.
Heres Huging:
Moscow in the early spring, site of this years European Championships, is grey,
colorless, and dirty. The State buildings at its center look huge, vain, and snobbish.
The people seem apathetic and indifferentas if they knew there was no displacing any
stone in any building.
Do the Russian people really believe in their System?
There was a very stiff-looking policeman at the entrance of the Playing Hall. For 10
seconds, then another ten, then still another ten, I looked into his eyes. Nothing. Then, incredibly, he
winkedgave me hope. [Lucky to have Engelbert giving us coverage, huh? Those who like to write
I want to encourage.]
187

The top 12 teams were divided into two groups. In Group A were: Hungary, Sweden,
England, France, Bulgaria, and Norway. In Group B: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, West Germany,
Poland, Russia, and Italy.
Swedens team of Waldner, Lindh, Carlsson, and Akesson finished first in Group A.
(Appelgren, having hurt his arm [strained his elbow, Swedens Fellke said] at a pre-tournament
Training Camp in his off-hours bowling, continued his painful practice at the request of Swedish
officials, but then had to give it up, so he didnt come to Moscow.) France (Secretin, Birocheau,
and Renverse) was up 4-3 on Sweden, with Secretin leading Waldner, but lost 5-4and came
second. Both teams beat the Hungarians (Klampar, Jonyer, and Kriston) who were third in the
Group.
A big surprise was Norways 5-1 victory over England.
Czechoslovakia (the Broda brothers, Pansky, and Dvoracek) got off to a bad start, losing
5-3 to Russia (Mazunov, Sevchenko, Dvorak, and Solopov). But then they righted themselves. In
their last tie they were down 4-0 to Poland, whose three-man team (Grubba, Kucharski, and
Dryszel) was fast being overworked, but pulled it out 5-4, and so came first in their Group. Poland
finished second. Russia, losing only to Poland and Yugoslavia, was third.
How have the Russians, since their relegation at the
83 Worlds, improved so much? Well, their players went
into hiding two months before these Championships and
practiced 5-6 hours every day. Igor Solopov told me his
coaches wouldnt let him see his daughter whod been born
in his absence. Incidentally, Defense isnt dead yet.
Solopov had a 9-2 record in the Teamsbeating, among
others, Surbek, Kriston, Miroslav Broda, and Pansky
(Surbek, however, did win the Mens Doubles here with his
World Champion Doubles partner Kalinic, 2-0, over
Waldner/Lindh). Its as backhand topspinners, though, that
the Russians are now making their mark. Mazunov,
Sevchenko, and Dvorak all practice with a wheel. As the
wheel turns, their backhand practice-movement continually
Russias Igor Solopov
follows it up and out.
In the semifinal cross-over matches, France finished off Czechoslovakia 5-2 when the
Czechs were just burnt out after their 5-4 back-from-the-dead win over Poland in the morning. As
for the Poles, whod fought so hard to try to keep from playing the Swedes in the cross-over, they
unexpectedly beat Sweden 5-3 when the 18-year-old Waldner lost to
both Grubba and Kucharski.
The Swedes famed serve-and-follow play didnt present a problem
to the Poles, particularly Grubba. Perhaps this is because the service
rules been changed, or perhaps its because the players have started
to adapt better. [Swedish Captain Tomas Berner said, I think we lost
every match against Poland in European League play.] Grubba, who
won all three matches from the Swedes, has become the most
consistent European top player with both forehand and backhand. He
has extremely good lateral footwork, excellent anticipation, and such a
loose wrist that you often cant see early enough where hes playing the
ball. Likely his two-winged topspin style reflects the future of table tennis.
Tomas Berner
188

In the final, France, who, playing without Secretin, had just been relegated in the European
League, downed Poland 5-3 for their first European Team Championship ever. I dont know who
thought up the Poles strategybut it was bad. Grubba played in the worst (9th) position both
because Poland wanted to lead 2-0 (so the French would feel the pressure) and because Dryszel
wouldnt have to play French Champion Renverse if the tie went 4-4.
Poland did lead 2-0but could you really expect to surprise an experienced team by such
a positional change? France came back with double the strength they were earlier vanquished by.
Unfortunately, there was more nervous than brilliant play in this final. In the decisive matches,
Kucharski was beaten by Birocheau, and Dryszel by Renverse. In this 5-3 loss, Grubba of course
played only two matches. Nope. Not smart.
In the Germany vs. England Demotion Match, which I was very much a part of, it was quite
a shock for #4 seed England to lose to Stellwag, Huging, and 38-year-old Lieck, and so be
relegated in 1986 to the non-Championship category. Douglas, 7-time English Champ, won his
anticipated threebut both Prean and Sandley looked paralyzed out thereas if they never did
realize what was going on.
Arthur Ashe, the famous tennis player and Davis Cup Captain,
in a recent article in Der Spiegel, said that the Germans are so bad in
tennis because the players make good money from their Bundesliga
clubs and arent motivated to go to their limits. Where the moneyoriented players are concerned, the same situation is generally thought
to apply in table tennisthe Germans dont want to fight.
But perhaps in this Europeans, Germany had an advantage
over England, for, having been relegated out of the Championship
Division at the last Worlds, they did have some face-saving to do
here. Dont even consider losing to Italy so that you might not have to
play England in the cross-over, said the new German Coach Charles
Roeschits not sporting.
Bundesliga Trainer
Charles Roesch

Photo by Boczek
Now heres Fellke to elaborate on the Singles Championships:
Six thousand spectators, enrapt in the Mens Singles final at
the European Championships in Moscows Luschnikistadium, are totally silent. Its 20-19 in the
fourth and perhaps final game, favor of Swedens BengtssonUlf Bengtssonagainst the favorite,
Andrzej Grubba of Poland.
Benke (normally Swedens #5) serves, exchanges a couple of short balls, then backhands
one cross-court deep, out to the Poles forehand, then follows with a nifty forehand into the other
corner.Bengtssons frown of deep concentration quickly turns into a big, big smile. He stretches
his arms in the air, jumps four times toward the ceiling, then is hoisted into the air amid the tumult.
To the accompaniment of the Swedish national anthem, the Swedes in the stands shake their
heads in happiness and tears appear in the corners of most eyes. Ulf Bengtsson, European
Champion, after a final which belongs with the best. Where are words to describe that?
This result will take a long time for everyone to understand. Bengtsson, a lefty, was ranked
#14 in Europe before the tournament. Now hes European Championthats almost too hard to
believe.
Says the new master, Bengtsson, calmly at the international press conference when the buzz
had finally subsided, I came into the final match feeling perfect. After five-ten balls I knew I had a
good chance to win. The only pity at this moment is that my father and mother are back home in
189

Hoganas (in the


southernmost part
of Sweden) and
not here in
Moscow. Cause
they have done
most for me in my
t.t. career and
without their
support I would
not be here with
the gold medal
round my neck.
It all
started for Ulf in
TTC Force when
he was only six
years old. Dad
Lennart was the
Chairman of the
Club and the
family Bengtsson
lived only 300
meters from the
practice hall.
When Benke
turned 14 he
packed his bags
and moved to
Trollhattan and the
table tennis high
school there.
European Mens Singles Champion: Swedens Ulf Bengtsson
Photo by Jens Fellke
In 1977,
Lars Franklin and
todays Swedish Junior Captain Glenn Osth brought the 17-year-old to their hometown
Soderhamnto an atmosphere Bengtsson loves so much nowadays that he feels ill if hes not
there.
Of course, as Croatian T.T. Historian Zdenko Uzorinac tells us (Timmys, June, 1984, 4),
Ulf had some early triumphs: In 1977, Bengtsson was Swedish Junior Champion, and in 1978 the
European Youth Doubles Champion with Franklin. In 78 and 82, Ulf was a member of the winning
Mens team at the Swedish Team Championships. Also in 82 he was the Swedish Doubles
Champion. In 83, he won the Czechoslovakian Open. At the 83 Yugoslav Open, he beat Gergely,
Surbek, and Cheng Yinghua before losing to the Chinese winner Wang Huiyuan. His coaches were,
first, Goran Steen, then Glenn Osth.
Fellke says, Aside from the fact that he won the European titlebut what a title!this
season has been almost a drag for Ulf. He started well with some good play and almost a couple of
190

set-ups against some of the best Chinese in the autumns first international
championships. But his first season in the German Bundesliga was not totally
successful, and during the camps with the Swedish National Team before the
Europeans nothing in his game had worked decently at all.
I dont believe Ive ever felt so bad before a competition as before
this tournament, he said. But some days rest before our departure to
Moscow was exactly what I neededbecause when the Team event started I
was in good shape again.
With Defending Champion Appelgren not even in the hall, Swedens
Jan-Ove Waldner (runner-up as a 16-year-old two years ago at the Budapest
Europeans) was given the shortest odds by the overseas bookmakers in
London. A bet on Grubba would pay 14 times every staked pound. Ulf
Bengtsson, 25 times every pound, but 1979 SOC winner Ulf Carlsson had no
Jens Fellke
odds at all and was
not even playable.
Waldner
somehow was a bit
sick. He took
penicillin from the
Team semis on, but
that was not the
main reason why he
totally flopped, lost
to the Czech
Dvoracek in the
Jan-Ove Waldner
third round. In that
From Tennis de Table, Mar., 84
match Waldner
played the first two games as he had been doing most of the
Josef Josh Dvoracek
season. He attacked well, served well, and seemed able do
whatever he wanted to do with that light ball.
In the third, everything looked all right too. Waldner led 10-5. But then Dvoraceks game
became safer and he started to swing his loops harder and harder until hed tied it up at 17-all.
Waldner then fell like a card-house, and it was only when he was down 19-14 in the fifth that he
could collect himself. But, after tying it up at19-all, Waldner was forced into playing two magnificent
points, both of which he lostand, astonishingly, he was out of the tournament.
This upset had its explanations. More important than the bad cold (which obviously
prevented Jan-Ove from being at full strength) was that this was the first time Waldner played like
the hunted #1. After winning the SOC in December, the European Top 12 in February, and the
Swedish Closed in March (which is even harder than winning the Europeansask Ulf Bengttson:
this year he lost to old-timer Per Sandstrom in the eighths), Waldner had been regarded as divine.
Of course for sure he is, someone on his way to a World Championship, perhaps just a year from
now.
I think Jan-Oves showing here didnt change the prevailing opinion that he is still the best
player in Europe, and I myself still think he is going to be outside of China the best bet to win the
Worlds. But in Moscow, because of the pressure from everywhere, he choked, became passive at
the table when the wind started to blow harder. So I think this was an important (and maybe
191

necessary) experience for the young Swede to have gone through when he stands there in
Gothenburg in less than a year.
After Dvoraceks upset, everything was turned upside down. Suddenly a lot of players
started to regard themselves as potential winners. In the first quarter, Gergely beat Douglas, then
lost to The Phantom Surbek, now 38 and a semifinalist in this Mens event.
Secretin, as if too satisfied with the Gold in both the Teams and the Mixed, lost 19 in the
fifth to Mesaros, a decent Yugoslavian chopper. Klampar, Hungarys big problem child, has now
aged into his immature 30s, and, after Februarys Top 12, was not officially going to be allowed to
play any more EVER on the National Team. Of course he was given a reprieve just before coming
to these Europeans where he had Grubba 13-7 in the fifth, but wasnt strong enough and lost 21-17.
The most intense quarter of the draw was the third one with Lindh, Birocheau, Bengtsson,
and Pansky fighting it out. Lindh had some trouble with Birocheau, but finally crushed him in the
fifth. Bengtsson, whod never lost to Pansky before, didnt this time either. Then the BengtssonLindh struggle began and was up to this point the best match of the tournament. At 20-20 in the
fifth, Bengtsson saved a couple of balls from half-distance and Lindh (as he often does) got too
excited two times in a row.
The fourth section of the draw was won by Russias 17-year-old Mazunov who showed
good concentration at the table with a five-gamer over Huging, then a shaky (but gutsy) -18, 19, -9,
20, 23 win over Swedens Akesson (a substitute for Appelgren), and then a much easier advance
over Yugoslavias Kalinic.
Totally unknown Mazunov is not. He was at 19-all in the fifth against Appelgren at the
German Open, and last summer he beat both Waldner and Jorgen Persson when the Soviets won
the Team title at the European Youth Championships in Malmo.
In the semis, Grubba had no problems at all with Surbek, but Bengtsson was pressed to 19
in the fourth with Mazunov.
A big part of Bengtssons remarkable victory may be attributed to precisely how diligently
he worked through the tough Swedish preparations for this Europeans. The last two-day camp is
the only one during his four years on the National Team where this new Champion played all ten
sessions. Before, he had not managed psychologically. That he was better prepared mentally and
physically was obvious on the hard road hed had to travel in winning the title.
In the first round, the Bulgarian Stojanov did not give up until the (21-14) fifth. Against
Italys Pero, Ulf won three straight. But after that he played 3-2 matches with both Pansky and
Lindh. In these two matches Benke-the-Winner started to find his master-game. He anticipated
much better than ever before, he thought positively after all ball duels (even after the ones he lost),
and he fought hard through the heavy parts of the matches knowing he was going to be the first to
reach 21. This gave Bengtssons play steadiness. The big difference between flashes of world-class
greatness, mixed in with unbelievable misses, was leveling out. Now Bengtssons forehand kill
(which is a real kill, if not an atom bomb) started to work. He was ready for his final with Grubba
a test of patience, for no player in Europe is safer than this esteemed Pole. In the big Team matches,
Grubba was fantastically steadydid not give Waldner, Lindh, Bengtsson, Secretin, or Birocheau
more than 17 points in any one game.
Uzorinac has this to say about Andrzej (Timmys, June, 1984, 4): Multi-time Polish
Champion. World Student Champion in 1980. 81 Italian Open winner. 81 Scandinavian Open
Mixed Doubles Champ (with Vriesekoop). In the Norwich Union Masters tournament in Hong
Kong in 1981, he beat 81 and 83 World Champion Guo Yuehua and 82 European Champion
Appekgren to finish 4th. In 84 he won the German Open.
192

Grubba, a member of the AZS Club in


Gdansk, is a Physical Culture student in his last
year. His trainer is Dr. Adam Giersz, who has
Andrzej working 4-5 hours a day. Grubba has an
excellent feeling for the ball, attacks near the table
from both sides, has clean, crisp drives, is very
quick on his feet, and can explode with a splendid
backhand. Having just turned 26, he should have a
great future ahead of him.
Fellke, continuing, says, In the final against
Grubba, Bengtsson dared to press his backhand and
so got the time to load his forehand. I tried to keep
the ball to Ulfs backhand side, but everything came European Mens Singles Runner-up Andrzej Grubba
backand with a hell of a lot of speed too,
From 1985 Worlds Program
explained Grubba after the prize ceremony.
Even though Grubba was out of the match almost the whole time, he was yet not that far from
winning. When Bengtsson was up 2-1 and 16-12 in the fourth and seemed to have everything under
control, Grubba slowly came back and tied the score at 17-all. But I never became nervous, Bengtsson
said. At 19-all, the only thing you think is to take it easy without being passive and let your opponent at
least get an opportunity to missand if he doesnt youd better break through him yourself.
Next season, Bengtsson will go back home to Soderhamn again. Earlier, everything had
seemed o.k. for one more season in the Bundesliga, but when Benke came down to Grenzau for
the last League match, he found out that his club
boss Gestettner had fired him and had signed
the Czech Anton Stefko instead. And all this
without telling anybody on the team.
Now, Bengtsson declared in a TV
interview, his former boss ought to be sitting
there with a long, long noseand thats a sweet
revenge for me.
Even if Gestettner would change his mind
and offer Bengtsson maybe double what hed
earned before, that wouldnt matter. Benke
would refuse and tell him to put his money in
some dirty place and would play for Soderhamn
in the Swedish First Division anyhow. Cause
European Champion: Swedens Ulf Bengtsson
thats the way he is, this sensation in Moscow.
(Stiga ad)
Loyalreflecting true solidarityBengtsson is
a player who is very popular all over the table tennis world, a person whom everyoneexcept
Gestettnerdid not begrudge the big victory in Moscow.
This Championship was also a little triumph for the old boys. Surbeks successful
achievement has already been told, but it is really amazing how he still can be in there16 years
ago (at that time Waldner was two and could hardly walk) he won the Mens Singles in Lyons.
Dvoracek is another potential father to the young man he beat, Waldner. And Secretin, who is not
far from 40, did not lose more than two matches in the Team competition (which the French
sensationally won) then went on to take the Mixed.
193

When Appelgren and Waldner played their final two years ago in Budapest (they were 20
and 16 then), most t.t. experts thought that the old boys time was gone. But obviously that is not
true. Since the old guys seem to be holding their own, maybe thats a sign that the Europeans have
NOT come closer to the Chinese after all.
Womens Play
Huging has covered the Mens Team matches for usbut nothing as
yet has been said about the Womens playso heres Fellke again, first on
the Womens Team matches, then on the Womens Singles.
In the Womens Team final, Russia was just so 3-0 strong that
runner-up Yugoslavia had nothing to put up against the Russian war-chariot.
The Soviets have at least eight women players who are European top class.
The soon-to-be Womens Singles runner-up Bulatova was not even
participating in the Team final; instead Antonian played and won both her
singles and doubles with Popova. These two Russians also won the Womens
Doubles, first squeaking by Hrachova/Vriesekoop, deuce in the 3rd, then finishing off Batinic/Perkucin in
straight games. Popova/Secretin won the Mixed2-0, over the Czechs Pansky/Hrachova.
The Womens Team semifinalists were Hungary (who lost to Yugoslavia 3-1) and the
Netherlands (who were 0-3 helpless against Russia).

194

Regarding the
Womens Singles, after
the Teams (and maybe
even before), 23-yearold Valentina Popova,
from Baku by the
Caspian Sea, became the
favorite. European Top
12 winner Marie
Hrachova from
Bulgarias
Czechoslovakia almost
Daniela Guergeltcheva
lost in the second round
From 1985 Worlds Program
to an unknown Bulgarian
Russias Fliura Bulatova
girl, Daniela Guergeltcheva (who several years later will
be Europe #3); then in her five-game semis she wasnt able to loop through the USSR material chopper
Bulatova. Actually, except for the men and women Singles finalists, quite a number of playersboth men
and womendidnt play as well here as they did in the Top 12 Tournament in February.
Popova was forced into the fifth in the quarters with Yugoslavias Perkucin, but the Russian
girl is a very slow starter and as soon as she finds the angle on her blocks and exchanges, she hardly
ever misses.
Hungarys Szabo upset Defending Champion Vriesekoop in the quarters, and started with
a 16-4 lead against Popova in the semis, but then quickly succumbed in four.

Hungarys Gabriella Szabo, European Womens


Singles Runner-up

The final was not too exciting. A lot of


chops, one or two Popova loops, and then
back to chopping again. But as always when
two countrymen (or in this case two
countrywomen) meet, and one of them is an
all-defense chopper, the offensive player
wins. This time, Popova triumphed, -15, 15,
17, 16.
Russias Valentina Popova: Would you believe she just
won the European Championship?
195

Chapter Twelve
1984: Americans Find Table Tennis Rewarding in Sweden. 1984: $8,000 Louisiana
OpenInsook Bhushan Takes Women Singles; Eric Boggan Wins Four Events.
Readers of this continuing History know of the Swedish-U.S. Exchange Program
that, since 1978, thanks to Sue Butler and Angby Club-mentor Nisse Sandberg,
Angby Club logo
have encouraged more and more young players on both sides of the Atlantic to
expand their knowledge of the Game, the Worldof Life. In addition to those young Americans
weve read about in the past, among them such familiar names as Eric Boggan, Scott and Jim Butler,
Brandon Olson, Sean ONeill, Jim Doney, and John Stillions, others sometimes that we dont right
away hear about also make the trip abroad. And of course as we know from our U.S. Opens many
young Swedes have come to the U.S.
Why would U.S. youngsters want to go to Sweden? Sue Butler is sometimes asked.
She replies: It doesnt cost any more to go to Sweden for five or six weeks than it would
to participate in five or six big tournaments in this country. In fact, it would probably cost less. With
large American tournaments spread so far apart geographically, both time-wise and for the compact
competition in Sweden (a large, generally accessible tournament there every weekend), the trip
abroad makes sense.
Why, then, would the Swedish youths want to come to Americamaybe just for the one
U.S. Open tournament?
Sue has a reply for that too: They come here for fun, for fast food, and American TV more
than anything else. The summer is a non-playing season for table tennis in Sweden, so many of the
better Swedish players are rewarded by their parents or their clubs with a trip to America.
Rich DeWitt is one young American player who wrote about recently going to Sweden
(Timmys, Apr., 1984, 8):
With my friend Rick Bowling from the States, I recently trained for five months in Sweden
(about four hours a day) and improved a lot. Im not playing in tournaments here in the U.S. Im just
working and saving my money so I can go back to Sweden, hopefully in August, and play there.
The conditions are so horrible in the U.S. and are so beautifully organized there. Printed draws and
programs are sent out weeks in advance. Every match has a club umpire, and the tourneys are
always in big halls with wooden floors and high-quality Stiga tables.
Just about every town has a nice club where kids can go to play under supervised training.
The cost to the kids or their parents is negligible, for the local government pays. Moreover, if the
kids are good, their clubs will pay their tournament expenses. Big tournaments are well publicized
before and after the event. Indeed, in the recent Swedish Top 12 tourney, when Appelgren and
Lindh exchanged some really heated remarks, it was plastered all over the nations biggest papers.
Chinas 1973 World Champion Hsi En-ting, now a world-famous Coach, gave me some
pointers while I was in Sweden, and Ill pass them on to you. (He also showed me, just in passing,
some illegal serves: the stop and curve balls that came out of his hand were just incredible.)
Hsi told me to work constantly on serve and attack, and to develop strength on both the
forehand and backhand sides of the table. He told me to train 4-5 hours a day in two roughly twohour sessions, with perhaps an additional hour of physical training: some days I should run; other
days I should do push-ups and sit-ups. I should always do at least 10 minutes of shadow footwork,
and at least 15 minutes of serve practice.
196

Hsi said I should strive to train


every day faithfully and not fanatically
because if you try to train like a madman,
say 8 hours every day, chances are you
wont have the mental capacity to handle
that regimen and will quit completely. As long as you train
to the best of your abilities you should be happy and
confident and shouldnt worry about winning. [But how do
you know what the best of your abilities are unless you
push yourself, and winning is what to a professional its
all about, isnt it?]

Rich DeWitt some years later.


Inset: Coach Hsi En-ting

In Sweden, Rich had attended the Hallsta Masters


Cup Tournament and (Timmys, May, 1984, 14) he has
some commentary on that for us:

In a quarters match, Swedish speedster Erik


Lindh beat a sluggish Tibor Klampar two straight. The
Hungarian seemed really fatigued, but of course, with his up-to-the-table big bullet loops, was
always dangerous. Klampar, the Swedes say, shows how good one can be without any footwork.
Lindh went on to
play what Hsi En-ting called
a historic match, for it
brought a new level of
speed to table tennis.
Lindhs opponent in this
flash-match was the new
Chinese super-star Chen
Longcan, a 19-year-old
pips-out penholder who
took everything right off the
bounce and who hit very
Swedens Erik Lindh
well from both wings. Chen
From Deutscher Tischtennis Sport
had such an unflappable
Chinas Chen Longcan
exterior that never once did
I see him frown or smile. Two of his other eccentricities, if youre
interested: he never eats butter or drinks soda.
The level of speed Coach Hsi said he was talking about had to do with the players speed
of recovery getting back into position, the speed with which he started to move his feet in relation to
when the ball came off his opponents racket. Hsi told me that moving properly was more important
than moving fast, and that keeping a well-balanced ready position at all times was vital.
After winning the first easily from Lindh, then going 14-8 up in the second, Chen looked like a
shoo-in. But Erik played brilliantly, scoring 13 out of 15 points to turn the match around. Hitting twowinged winners in with incredible speed, Lindh was totally pumped, and the crowd of 2,000 helped him
to stay that way. In the third, again down 14-8, Erik again ralliedto 14-allbut then Chen got tough.
He shut down the Swede by ending every point within 2-3 balls to win the game and match at 15.
DeWitt photo by Mal Anderson

197

In the final, Chen beat Europes #1 player, service-master Jan-Ove Waldner, two straight.
Waldner had taken out Ulf Carlsson in the semis, after Tickan had shown too much spirit for a
suspiciously casual-looking Xie Saike. Carlsson beat Lindh for 3rd Place in an exciting exhibition
matchwith the players driving the fans wild at one point by jumping onto the table and playing
with their feet!
Waldner does get his share of wins though. His
Sparvagens Club won the Top Mens Division of the
Swedish Leaguebeating runner-up Soderhamns in 63, 5-5 ties at home and away. In Womens play, Varbelg
got the better of Sparvagens 8-5, 8-4 to top the League
for a record 11th time.
Its said that in next
second-half season play, U.S.
Junior Champion Sean
ONeill will represent Nisse
Sandbergs Angby Club.
Angbys team of Lars
Mattsson, Anders Thulin, and
Daniel Frejhammer won the
April 56-team Flensberg
Junior Open by beating a
Anders Thulin
strong German team in the
final, 5-4. This summer, Nisse
will bring his usual complement of Angby players, including
Waldners Sparvagens Club a winner
former U.S. Open U-15 Champ Thulin, to our U.S. Open.

Boys Under 17 Doubles Champions


Thomas von Scheele and Mats Andersson

Girls Under 17 Champion Gunnel Bergstrom


and Runner-up Barbro Wiktorsson
Bergstrom photo by Mal Anderson;
Wiktorsson photo from 85 Worlds Program

From 85 Worlds Program

Results of the Swedish Junior Championships: U-17 Boys: Jorgen Persson over Peter
Greczula, -22, 17, 9, 3. U-17 Girls: Gunnel Bergstrom over Barbro Wiktorsson, 10, -18, 18. U-17
Boys Doubles: Thomas von Scheele/Mats Andersson over Greczula/Kallas, -12, 15, 16, 3. U-17
Girls Doubles: Marie Svensson/Annika Lath over Hansson/Bergstrom, 19, -19, 12. U-15 Boys:
Andersson over von Scheele, 20, 14, 21. U-15 Girls: Lena Enochsson over Camilla Kalimen, 13,
198

22. U-13 Boys: Patrik Torsell over Magnus Pettersson, -16,


14, 19. U-13 Girls: Ann Svensson over Cecilia Nisson, 12,
17.
Sue Butler emphasizes her interest in the Swedish scene
with a Profile of Stig Eklof, founder and President of the
Hallstahammar Club (SPIN, Oct., 1985):

Sue Butler

Stig, says Sue, has the secret for running a successful


club: promotion, publicity, and a lot of hard work.
A high school principal, math teacher, and author of several
math textbooks, Stig is a bundle of energy. His love of table
tennis and long-time friendship with former Swedish star and
National Coach, the late Hans Alser, prompted exhibitions in
Hallstahammar with Hans in 1969. This led to the founding of

the Club that same year.


Although Stig insists that his club is just a small one by Swedish standards (55 juniors, 85
men, 25 women) in this town of 8,000, it would be considered successful anywhere in the U.S.
Goran Alvin, a former junior star with two impressive wins over Kjell Johansson while they
were both juniors, is the salaried head coach of the club. Goran is an elementary school physical
education teacher and some of the other part-time club personnel have school positions.
Club dues are $4.00 per year for individuals and $10 for families In addition, a Swedish
Table Tennis membership is $5.00 per year, which includes PINGIS, the Associations magazine.
The club lists several sources of income: 1. Large tournaments, the main source of Income.
2. Corporate sponsorship. 3. Training camps. 4. City government pays the club based on the
number of junior members. 5. Corporate-team league-play fees (about 20 teams).
The building was given to the club by the government. It is an old theater, has a wood floor,
good lighting, and room for five tables. There are locker rooms, plus an upstairs apartment the club
can use or rent as it wishes.
Although parents or interested people are paid $.50 per mile for helping transport members
to other events, most people donate personal time in supporting club activities and special projects.
Stigs ingenious/original ideas seem endless. For example:
Sponsor an annual school
tournament. He has the local paper as the
main sponsor. The paper provides the prizes
and also two pages of free publicity complete
with pictures of the young players. Each year
he has over 300 participants. All these players
are non-club members, beginning players.
Stig and his coaches look for players with
potential and then follow-up with talks with
their parents.
Keep local government informed of
achievement. Stigs been so successful at this
that the cover of the citys promotional
brochure for trade and tourism features a
young table tennis player.
Stig Eklof has found a player with potential in Jimmy Butler
199

Run the largest money tournament in Sweden ($10,000). Stig invites eight famous players
and eight area playersmatches the weaker players against the stars for local interest.
Give an Award to the Most Helpful Club Member.
Have tournaments where points are given for placing in the quarters or higher in any age
divisionwinner (last year it was a nine-year-old) gets the Golden Racket Award.
Deem someone Leader of the Yearmembers vote on whos contributed most to the club.
Award Club Championships to winners of diverse events: Parent/Child Doubles (ranked
player not eligible); Wrong Hand matches; Secret Racket competition (Director makes up all
rackets out of any materials; you dont know what youre gettingmaybe plywood with a dishcloth on the hitting surface).
A fun cluba 16-year success story.
Not to be outdone by mother Sue, son Jimmy tells us (Timmys, May, 1984, 7) he too can
talk about Sweden. Here he is describing his Lucky Thirteenth Birthday Present: My Third Trip to
Sweden:
It was great to return to Sweden and see many friends again and stay with Eva Persson
and her son Fredrik. The country is beautiful and the Swedish people always make me feel right at
home. But, of course, Sweden is much more to me than being comfortable.
I love the tough table tennis competition, especially in my age group. Every weekend I
battled player after player until sometimes my legs felt like they would fall off. But an Angby player
would give me some sugar pills for quick energy, which really seemed to help.
The training was also great and the Angby Club is a super place to practice. I trained with
the Intermediate Group, but was promised that when I return next year Ill train with the Advanced
and Elite players. Not only was the daily practice good, but the comradeship before, during, and
after practice with kids my own age was something I wish I had at home. My Iowa friends dont
play, and have little interest in, table tennis.
I went to school during the mornings in Sweden, but I didnt enjoy it very much this time.
Fredrik is in sixth grade and Im in seventh, so Im used to changing rooms
and classes during the day. Swedish law prohibits teachers from striking
students, so the teachers yell a lot. Also, teachers dont feel comfortable
using English. It seemed to me like they were afraid they were going to
make too many mistakes.
I found the school to be different from U.S. schools in several
ways:
More breaks during the day, and 1 and hours for lunch.
School lunches are free, but not good. The kids seem to leave
most of it.
Most of the teachers are women and the discipline is about the
same as in the U.S.
Monday and Friday school is out at 1:40 p.m.
My daily routine was:
7:15Jimmy, its time for school.
7:30Cheese sandwich and one egg for breakfast.
8:10Arrive late to school almost every day [Why?]Fredrik
and I got yelled at by the teacher
Fredrik Persson
200

11:45Lunch
4:00Go to Angby to practice [What did you do during the four hours after lunch?]
8:00Return from Angby
10:00Bed
The tournaments were wonderful. I looked forward to them so much. Several tournaments
are held each weekend in different locations and most of them are like our largest national
tournaments with several hundred players. They are always very well organized. Usually there are
two halls, one for early-round play, and another with spectator stands for featured matches.
When your name is called, you go to the sluss area where you sit until your match is up.
There is always an umpire at every match. I really felt I got a lot of bad calls, especially lets after the
point was over. It was useless to argue.
Tournaments are two days, one day for juniors and the other for adults. A person is only
allowed to play two singles and one doubles event per day.
You have to register weeks, sometimes months, before a tournament. There are different
Class events, and your eligibility for any one of them is dependent on how you play. As you acquire
more points you move up a Class. You get points by placing first to eighth in the Class youre
playing in.
When I first arrived I wasnt seeded. But after two weeks I was always seeded #1. [And
with good reason. Jimmy gives us his March playing record that shows us again and again, wherever
he playedNorrtalje, Stockholm, Gaule, Umeahe was the best 13-year-old. He also describes
how he rallied to beat the 4th-ranked U-15 player in Sweden.] It didnt really matter that everyone
always rooted for my opponent. I just played harder. I was disappointed, though, that I never did
get to play the Swedish #1 U-13 Patrik Torsell.
I cant wait to
return to Sweden and stay
longer. Ill also take a
folding suitcase for my
prizes. I brought back
seven pieces of luggage,
but wasnt charged extra.
There are advantages to
being an unaccompanied
minor.

Why Jimmy brought back seven pieces of luggage from Sweden

Sue now describes


(Wiggys T.T. News, Nov.
6, 1985) the Angby Club,
our young U.S. players
home-away-from home:

Angby SK (Sports club) was founded in 1956 by a small group of people headed by NilsErik (Nisse) Sandberg. Free use of space in the government-owned and maintained Vallingbyhallen
was theirs for the asking.
Angbys scheduled use of the hall is based on need, as are the other sports clubs that share
the facilities. The Vallingbyhallen is a large two-story sports facility. The second floor has two large
basketball courts while the ground level features an Olympic-size swimming pool, weight room,
201

snack areas, offices, and locker


rooms. There is also a large
downstairs room with 10 table
tennis tables.
Angby is primarily a
table tennis club, although they
do have badminton and soccer.
(Membership breakdown:
Soccer 25; Badminton 25;
Table Tennis 435.) From a
study of the age of the Table
Tennis members (U-13: 20; 13- Nisse Sandberg in one of his
many guises
17: 200; 18-75: 215) its easy
to understand why Sweden has such a strong Junior
Program220 U-18s in just this one club.
Beginners pay about $16 a year club dues.
Competing Juniors pay $38.50 a year if they want Angby to
pay for tournament-entry fees.
On tournament weekends (thats almost every
weekend) when traveling outside of Stockholm, but within the
country, ranked players pay $6,00 for transportation, room, and
breakfast, while unranked players pay about $10.00.
Clubs are allowed to make as much money as they
can, but are taxed. To lower the tax bite, many of the wealthier
Nisses Angby Club site
clubs send their best players to international competitions before
the end of the fiscal year so they will not have a lot of unused funds.
Angbys main source of revenue is Bingo, and they also have a variety of investments including
the U.S. stock market.
The government subsidizes all clubs based on size. Each club is given a certain amount of
money for each table in use for at least one hour per day. This money is paid twice a year.
Nisse Sandberg is president of Angby (a non-salaried position) and through his astute
business management, Angby has grown to be the largest and one of the best-funded table tennis
clubs in Sweden.
Maud Waller, a full-time employee for 10 years, admits that Nisses job is to make money,
and mine is to spend it. Only five clubs, perhaps, in all of Sweden have a full-time employee. We are
very proud of our accomplishments. To obtain new Junior members, we advertise and go into
schools after them. Each year in the fall, about 100 new Juniors start and right now 28 of them are
girls. The attrition rate is about 50%.
Maud said that while the men and boys situation in Sweden is very good in table tennis, the
women and girls is poor.
The girls must have fun, she said, and they like to play with several girls on a team. They
dont particularly like individual competition. If the pressure gets too great, the girls will quit, says
Maud, who has been through it all with former U.S. Open and Swedish Junior Champion, daughter
Lena (now 23) and daughter Marie, 16.
Maud feels the answer to more success with girls is to have team events. Although popular
in the U.S., the team event concept is very new to the Swedes.
202

Angby beginners train four times a week for two hours. At this point a very important social
concept is introduced. The advanced player spends one session per week helping players below his
level, one session working with players of the same level, and one session with higher level players.
This policy explains the Angby staff of approximately 25 coaches. All coaches are paid at least a
token amount per hour and Mikael Frank oversees the program and sets the schedule. He is paid a
salary.
Due to the size of the Angby Club, it has been necessary to form several divisions: Angby,
Rackstra, Blackeberg, Bromma, etc. This way, many teams and individuals can compete and
contribute and the interest level is kept very high.
Before the wrong impression is made from the numbers and success of Angby, it should be
noted that only two club teams were sent to the Swedish Open Junior Championships (SOJC) from
the 100+ in Stockholm. Most clubs just do not have the money for this venture. Note: The Swedish
Table Tennis Association funded a Girls and Boys National Team, while a few clubs in other parts
of Sweden also sent teams.
Competition in club-league play is very fierce. Players are bought, sold, and even traded. A
top Swedish male can earn as much as $25,000 per year, and a woman $10,000.
Angby does not believe in bringing in non-Stockholm residents to play for them. They feel it
hurts club spirit, is bad for their overall standing and discourages the Juniors from working hard to
reach the top levels. This policy has made it difficult for Angby to remain in the First Division league
play.
Any observer of the Angby scene, whether during competition, practice, or the interpersonal
relationships among the various club members and families, would admit that this organization is a
hard act to beat. They are efficient, friendly, organized, and provide many community services. They
constantly bring recognition to their city and country. Congratulations, Angby, for a continuing job
well done.
Both Timmys (May, 1984, 3;16) and Tom Wintrichs SPIN (May-June, 1984, Cover+)
give considerable coverage to Power Poons Apr. 14-15 Louisiana Open. Heres Timmys opening,
which offers a bit more orientation than SPINs:
As expected, Power
Poons $8,000 Louisiana Open
(it started in 1976 as a $2,000
Open) drew among its roughly
160 entries the best players in
North America. Its quite clear that in the U.S. the most prestigious tournaments are those that
offer the most prize money. Of course in Europe or Asia it amounts to the same thingamateur or
professional, if you want to make a decent living, stay on the National Team or keep your Club job,
youd better aspire to excellencewhich means full-time table tennis.
More than one person at this Open, though, suggested to me that those players who work
hardest to perfect their game might in the long run be more rewarded if less of the $8,000 offered
here had been put into prize money, and moremuch morehad been put into publicizing and
staging this tournament. As it was, the Baton Rouge media people, though interested beforehand,
didnt show at all for the live actionso of course very few if any outside spectators came to the
nearby town of Baker where, thanks to the local mayor, the use of the Municipal Auditorium as a
playing site has repeatedly been given to the BRTTC free of charge.
203

Director Poon and his experienced staffCharles Hoyt, Mel Douglas, Tom and Melinda
Baudry [Tom started the prize money that after nine years has amounted to $35,400 total], Ben
Chiu, John Wen, Jim Kemp, Glen Singletary, ex-Quebecker Ralph Spratt, Ron Hoff, and Poons
sons Edward and Alex and daughter Annanot only did a fine job of getting all the 19-event
matches played, but in some cases even hosted a number of the prize-winning participants in their
homes.
Still, the argument goes, what did such a tournament with its cramped courts, punishing
concrete floor, and late Sunday final, among more Burger King remains than spectators, really do
for the Sport? Suppose such a thing were shown on TV, who, playing in what kind of court this
particular night, would think himself a star?
Surely the answer to such a question must in part be speculative: that at this moment in U.S.
table tennis we know pretty much only the short runknow that since 1970 theres been a push for
and a considerable improvement in terms of prize money and international competition for our better
players. [Tom Wintrich tells us that 22 players here were over 2200, 30 over 2000.] How others
working in the Sport in the U.S. can, in the long run, bring spectators to professionally-staged
matches is a question the much-desired answer to has not yet (may never be?) found. Meanwhile,
ones one-and-only life goes on, and because a player like Eric Boggan or Danny Seemiller is able
to make a decent living, the USTTA is not unheard of in the anonymous ping-pong basements of the
U.S. (if there are ping-pong basements any more) or even in at least some classy arenas of the
world.
The players who dominated the Louisiana OpenEric Boggan, Zoran Zoki Kosanovic,
and Danny Seemillerhave earned their keep over the yearsnot through the wait-and-see
compromise of some talent-destroying non-table tennis job, but with the benefit of such tournaments
as Power encourages that help them to survive. They and those who support excellence have shown
the most conviction, made the most progress, in the last 15 years of U.S. table tennis.
Also subject to debate is the Louisiana Opens unique prize money structure. In no single
event can a player win more than $600. Why? Because thats the rough equivalent of what the ITTF
whimsically permits an amateur to receive in the way of Open prize money. There are those who
dont think such a restriction can be good for the image of the Sport, especially in the U.S. where
money talks. They argue for a no longer Louisiana Open but an All-Americas Closed or a
Western Hemisphere Invitational (since in a Closed or an Invitational theres no ceiling on the
prize money) or just a plain break away from the ITTF in this matter. I mean, in this day and age of
glamour sports, a maximum $600 first prize to the best player in the country is not gonna bring
throngs of wide-eyed U.S. juniors encouraged by their parents into the Game or keep them there as
they mature.
Director Poon recognizes this restrictive problem and has tried to solve it somewhat by
creating a second Elite event, complementary to the Open, thats limited to the top 32-rated
players. This field plays 2/3-game matches as opposed to the Opens advanced-round 3/5-game
matches for a first prize of $400. Perhaps the best player will win both events and thus walk off with
the $1,000 Power wanted to give his Open winner in the first place. Surely theres something
absurd about an ITTF rule that needs such circumvention.
As it happens, the same four players competing straight through the single elimination
matches in the EliteEric, Zoki, Danny, and visiting Chinese star Di Xi (pronounced D She)were
also the same four players advancing to the final round-robin matches in the Open.
The Open, the Elite (the 32nd player here just getting into the draw was rated 1951), the
AAs (for players not seeded in the Top 8), the (Under 2300) As (Phooey, Lim Ming Chui, youre
204

2302), and the (Under 2100) Bs gave the 2090 player the unusual opportunity of playing in five
singles events. For a price of coursebut over 50 players paid $20 just to enter the Open event
alone.
Early Open Matches
Timmys continues with...nothings ever perfectleast of all for aficionados. Was it a good
thing to be seeded 8th in the Open? This meant, did it, with the help of your seeding, you were to
play only one tough eighths match and if you won that (as you were supposed to), you were
assured of $200? Perry Schwartzberg (2451), having just returned from Cuba, where he won some
Gold, went out to play, after a first-round bye, his 16ths round-of-32 match and came up against
15th seed Brandon Olson (2370), whod likewise received a first-round bye but no seeding or
placing. Perry lost -20, -20, -18didnt even get a humiliating $25 for reaching the Top 16.
Better you were 9th seed Ricky Seemiller? To play, in the AAs, first, Joe Ogilvie and then
Mitch Rothfleisch for $12.50 a match. Of course in the Elite event too how much difference to the
Computer did it make who you were? Perry (2451) and Ricky (2442) met in the round of 32! Poor
Berghe lost 13, 10. Not exactly a long weekend of play, huh? Talk about a fixed draw: #8 vs. #9
in the first round?
But so far so
good for
Ricky. I
always win,
he told me,
unless I have
to play a style
I dont like.
Later, in the
semis of the
AAs, when he
was up 1-0
Quang Bui
Ricky Seemiller
but down 1710 in the second to Quang Bui (Buis threatening against a good player, somebody saidbut
often just not steady or flexible enough), Ricky tried a service variation to get ready for the third
game. His inside-out one, he called it. That got him to 17-13. Now, he thought, If I could just get
five straight on Quangs serve.And, lo and beholdQuangs southpaw squat-serve didnt
bother himand it was soon 17-all. Well, Ill be damned, Ricky said to himself. I just got four
straightdont screw up now.And when it was Rickys turn to serve at the end, he continued this
dialogue with self. Lefties cant flip sidespin short servesthe spins going away from them.And
then he thought, Lefties hate squat serves too. So, style-wise, what was he worried about?
Nothing. So, 21-18 Ricky. You had only privately to talk things over with yourself.
In the round of 16 in the Open, though, four-time U.S. World Team member Ricky, on
seeing his opponent was Eric Boggan, had a few things to say out loud. Number One plays
Number Nineis that fair? Is it just that I get the worst player style-wise for me to play in the
whole tournament? And then he added, Im a pro. The Computer tells ME who to play?
(Ironically, Erics round-of-32 opponent had taken his long trip to Louisiana only on the condition
that Poon, who was friendly with the Computer, allow him to play Eric while his buddy taped their
match.)
205

So, yeah, stylishly or not, Ricky won only $25 not the $200 given automatically to those
who reached the last 8. And, yeah he lost his AA final to Canadian Horatio Hory Pinteabut he
did pick up $200 for being runner-up. And, yeah, he and a disturbed Danny were beaten in a
deuce-in-the- third tournaments-end Mens Doubles final by Eric Boggan and Rey Domingo, so he
got only $50 for that. All told: $275not at all what he, as a pro, envisioned.
There were a few other striking round-of-32 results in the Open.
Perhaps the most startling was Lekan
Fenuyis easy 6, 15 win over Insook Bhushan.
Lekan, whod just recently returned from a short
trip to his native Nigeria, where hed been seeing
relatives, selling a little table tennis equipment,
and practicing with Skypower USOTC Team
Champion members Titus Omotara and Francis
Sule, just looped at will through our (2412)
perennial U.S. Womens Champ.
U.S. Junior Champion Sean ONeill, a
Childe at the Castle Perilous, barely overcame
Canadian Ottowa-Training-Centre star Bao
Nguyen, -16, 20, 16. Sean had been blocking
the emotional Baos slow loops off the table
but when in a change of strategy he began
topspinning the ball off the bounce, Bao, who
has good technique but sometimes lacks
judgment, got a little shook. If you can keep
your serve return short against Bao hes in
trouble, Sean was telling me later. All he wants
to do is serve and follow. Maybe thats what
Canadian #17 Stephane Charbonneau thought
too as he went on to upset Bao, the Canadian
#7, in the AAs.
And U.S. Under 15 and 13 Champ Jimmy Butler prevailed, -20, 10, 17, over Pandit Dean,
A runner-up to Jerry Thrasher. Pandit, who had $150-worth of wins over Charbonneau and manytime Canadian Womens Champ Domonkos, had fellow Atlanta player/coaches Coleman and
Cooper in his corner, but was perhaps pressing too much against Jimmys 13-year-old consistency
and so not always coming over the ball well enough.
No disgrace losing to young Butler though, for in the Elite hed initially given (2425) Bui
plenty of (-20, 11, -6) heat. Jimmys just gotten back from playing in three tournaments in Sweden
where hed enjoyed staying with the Fred Persson family (though, oh, did he miss Iowa TV). I
have a stronger counter from both sides now, he was telling mecan flat hit better. I didnt get any
coaching over there this timebut I did get good competition in the Junior tournaments, and
tournaments help me to improve more than anything else (which is what Eric Boggans also always
said). And (2210) Jimmys Appelgren-like temperament? Did that All-American-improve along with
his strength, endurance, and quickness? Some time before Jimmy went out to play Pandit, Mrs. B.
made a pact with him: $10 shed give him if he didnt make a negative remark this tournament. But
perhaps you noticed Jimmy lost that first game to Dean, 22-20. Was Eric like Jimmy? Sue asked
me. When he was younger, did he get angry?
206

Womens
Insook, despite her failure with Fenuyi, did win the
Womens Singlesover recent Canadian Top 12
winner Domonkos in the final. Earlier, Mariann, whos
finally about to get her degree from Carleton
University in Ottowa in Kinanthropology (formerly,
as you may remember, Kinentropology), had to do
a little abrupt motion study against Pigool
Kulcharnpises (a.k.a. Peggy K) and then Elitist
Takako Trenholme whod (17, -22, -14) almost
upset Mariann in the semis. (Would that you
could have been privy to the
psychological/physiological thoughts
about controlled pattern vs.
unsystematic play going through
Louisiana Open Womens Singles
Marianns I study a lot head in that
Champion Insook Bhushan
second game, eh?)
Actually Domonkos had been preparing for the mid-May
Canadian National Championships by improving her game not
against block-block-block but chop-chop-chop. Di Xi,
Assistant to Canadian TTA Coach Su, had been working with
herwas it for weeks now? Anyway, his 8-month stay has
been extended to a year.
In her earlier 2/3-game matches, Insook was in danger of
being forced into the third only in her first (deuce) game with
Sheila ODougherty, Chair of the new USTTA Athletes
Advisory Committee. Perhaps it was the strain of picking
representative members of the Committee, or the pressure
shed felt in the 23-21-in-the-third match shed barely won
over Peggy K in the Bs, but the redoubtable ODougherty
was already pre-party hurtin.

Louisiana Open Womens Singles


Runner-up Mariann Domonkos

Who better to fix her up


though than Kenny Owens with his
Trigger-Point Therapy.
As a person injures a muscle,
Kenny told Sheila on beginning his
finger manipulations, other muscles
will tense up and stay tight.
Well, said Sheila, Ive had
shoulder problems like you wouldnt
believe.

Before working on Sheila, Kenny practices on Sean ONeill


207

I can believe it, said Kenny. If theres no pain, the muscles learn to stay tightso tight
that theyll cause pain in the joint and inflame the bursa.As he talks, and I, Tim, listen, he continues
to finger her muscles, releases them so theres no joint pain.
I can feel her muscles relaxing under my fingers like melting ice, Kenny said.
Nevertheless, Sheila and Ricky couldnt get by Domonkos and Pintea in the semis of the
Mixed, norsurprisecould U.S. Champs Insook and Danny. Up 20-19 in the third, Mariann
calmly looped in a down-the-line winner.
Insook, showing her usual marvelous footwork, but often chopping the ball very high and
uncharacteristically missing some backhand kills, played a strong but losing match against Canadian
International Pintea in the quarters of the AAs. Thanks to a season of 2/3-game Swedish League
play, Hory was experienced enough to come back after losing the first game to Insook and so went
on to take the $300 first prizebeating both Brandon Olson (Fenuyi exterminator), who had
trouble returning serves, and Ricky Seemiller, who couldnt keep Hory from looping through him.
Ill continue with the Open play momentarily, but first I want to give
you the winners of the events I dont cover elsewhere: Bs: Saubano Adio,
deuce in the 4th, over Tunde Jacobs, whod advanced over Tim Boggan, 18 in
the 4th. B Doubles: Roland Schilhab/Sarka Dura over Warren McNeil/Mike
Wetzel. Cs: Randy Levy over Grady Gordon. Ds: Power Poon over Joe
Ogilvie. Es: Chew Hwee over Francine Larente. Novice: Hwee over Danny
Buren. Seniors: T. Boggan over Don Weems. U-17s: Jimmy Butler over Bud
Caughman, -20, 12, 21, then over Rocky Cheng. U-13: Yui-man Kwan over
Duy Vo.
Open 8ths
In the 8ths of the Open, Pintea continued playing well [hed go home
with $525]downing Pan Am Champ Masters (20, 22, 17) when Brian, no
matter what contortions he threatened, couldnt intimidate Destiny into
awarding him at least one of those match-turning games.
Danny Seemiller,
Promoter/Player
whod had a bit of a 2/3-game
Power Poon
problem with Canadian #5 Alain
Bourbonnais at the USOTCs, again (15, -20, 19,
10) felt for a moment the force of the excitable
Quebecker. At 19-all in the swing-game third,
Bourbonnais, after a long exchange, made an error,
then, down 20-19, had a ball to loop but caught it on
Jerry Thrashers
the edge of his racket. In the AAs, Alain lost to Jerry
backhand loop
Thrasher whose big backhand loop and 19-in-the3rd edge made all the difference.
Fenuyi beat ONeill in straight games, but
Sean obviously learned a few things from this match,
for he was to make a strong up-1-0-and-at-deuce-in
the-second showing against Lekan in the Elite. I had
a good chance, said Sean. Down 20-17 in the
second, I whipped three balls through him, then at
deuce I missed a set-up.
208

And what had Sean seen this second time playing Lekan? Fenuyi has something of a
backward stance. Since he steps off the wrong foot, when he loops he doesnt get any spring out of
his legs (though his balls still got a lot of good sidespin on it). This forces forehand vulnerability
which I try to exploit. All Fenuyis loops from the forehand side are the same, and since his racket is
closed all the time (I see now why I was blocking so many balls off the table), he needs so much
energy just to get the ball over the net. But of course if youre working on somebodys weakness,
you cant just hit ball after ball thereyou gotta be a little two-there, one- here subtle.
ONeill, whos got this nice backhand-counter from the heart, also lost a close match to
Olson in the Under 21s. Down 20-19 in the first, Sean served long, figuring Brandon wouldnt
attack, and though he was right, he missed the follow. So, o.k., what if Seans rating has risen, has
fallen, has just recently climbed to 2500, has fallenperhaps now hell consciously or
unconsciously be less feverish about such points and play the better for it.
Under 21s
[Wintrich quoted Schwartzberg, still in
Brandon Olson
something of a funk over his disappointing draws,
as saying, The only thing you can count on this
tournament is Brandons backhand. And, sure
enough, ] Olson, opening with backhand loops (if
you block he continues backhands), downed Bui in
the Open in a close (19, 20, -15, 16) matchbut
Quang, as if inspired by those buxomy-breathd
15-going-on-25-year-olds hed been Cubanating
with from time to time in his minds eye, scored a
turnabout win over Brandon that got him to the final
of the Under 21s. [Good as Brandons backhand
is, Coach Li Ai thinks players get used to
anticipating his backhand block, so it would be to
Brandons advantage if, when a ball comes up his middle, he didnt always block it back but instead
stepped around and forehand attacked it.] Quangs opponent, Eric Boggan, had been down 10-7 in
the deciding third to Bao Nguyen, but then had rallied. Up 17-15, Eric, after having just failed to
return Baos sliced serve, now flipped a world-class return of that same serveand moved on. For
his 21-16 finishing point, he gave the Vietnamese-Canadian such an unexpectedly fast, flushed-out
serve that Bao could only lunge even to get his racket on the ball.
Earlier, in this 21entry event, the Computer had gone War-Games crazy again, and had
forced a first-round match in which Bui (2425) had defeated Pintea (2427) in three, thus avenging
his loss to him in a recent British Columbia tournament. The $100-for-first fight between Eric and
Quang was uninspiring until the third- game end when Quang, smacking in his usual go-for-it shots,
had match pointonly to see Eric just nick the edge with his return. Then he had match-point on
Boggan againonly to lose 24-22.
Open Quarters
In the only routine quarters match, Olson, leading Eric Boggan 14-11 in the first, dropped
10 in a row and thereafter understandably lost interest.
Chinese visitor to Canada, Di Xi, who at 22 is reputedly the fourth-or-fifth-best chopper in
China (yes, he plays shakehands), lost the first to Rey Domingo, the Handicap winner (spot was 16
209

to 21) over Alberto Prieto, destined a quarter-of-a-century


later to be Chair of the USATT Hardbat Committee. Then,
having trouble with Reys serves, Di was down 11-4 in the
second, at which point the Chinese suddenly began
attackingand didnt stop until hed beaten Rey in four. Said
one observer, This guys a chopper? Do you realize how
great a player you have to be just to get this guy to chop?
Earlier, Domingo [he won $500 total] had knocked
out Scott Butler (Class A Doubles winner with Bob
McKinney over the Poon brothers). Under the tutelage of
Coach Li Henanthe name (Huh-NAN) means Honey,
though Chinese couples, I hear, dont use terms of
endearmentScott was changing his stroke and hoping to
become an all-out looper. Did Scott explain all this to the pretournament TV interviewer? Did brother Jimmy? Too bad
there werent any weekend cameras to catch young Eric
Owens on the run or, mgod, Homer Browns three-year-old
Adam warming upthat is, bringing his racket up to lollipop
lip-level, then swatting back ball-after-ball to his vocally
Alberto Prieto (2012)
encouraging and VERY patient daddy.
Photo by Mal Anderson
Kosanovic, who along the way had knocked out
Saubano Adio, lost the first game to Pintea, who has this bad habit of mis-serving and who plays
forehands out of a backhand-position, then jerks his arm up in a way that needs to be smoothly, not
to say soothingly, corrected (especially if Hory isnt in the mood to listen to such criticism). But then
Zoki, after winning the second and third games easily and up 20-17 triple-match-point in the fourth,
appeared to have victory in hand. However, he served carelessly, erred again, and at 20-19 allowed
Pintea to get into position to loop a ballwhich as it happened Hory rushed and so failed to score.
Danny Seemillers (18, 19, -16, -13, 8) match with Fenuyi started off with Danny looping
and mixing in the anti, applying just enough pressure to keep control of things. But gradually Lekan,
as if realizing that the looper had an extra advantage, seeing as how the ball was skidding quite a bit
on the not-always-clean tables, began attacking more, began spinning back Dannys loops. I
scored points against Seemiller, he was to say later, by stopping him from scoring points against
me. I kept moving him so he couldnt get in that big loop. In the fifth, however, Danny got off to a
quick start and Lekan was left behind.
Final Matches
In the one Elite semis, Eric had no problem with an almost disinterested Kosanovic. Already
Zoki was setting his sights on the U.S. Open, had gotten up early to run five milessomething he
wouldnt ordinarily have done on a tournament morningand seemed in general satisfied just to have
gotten this far in the event. Of course he wasnt what you would call happysince his contract as
Ontario Provincial Coach had not been renewed and for the moment he was out of a job.
In the other Elite semis, Danny was up against Di Xi, the unknown chopper whose
different but dark-colored sides looked too much alike. But regardless of Mal Andersons recent
ruling, neither Danny nor later Eric or Zoki protested. The question they were more interested in
was everybodys question, Just how good IS this Chinese? Good enough to take a game from
Danny, but not good enough to beat him apparently. Liang Geliang he was not.
210

The rumors went round after Dis defeat that he was the Chinese Womens Teams hitting
partner, that he was not as good as World Womens Champ Can Yanhua, that he never hit a ball in
China, that a year or so ago in a tournament hed beaten Guo Yuehua, and that at 22 he was both
too old and not good enough, so that he was going to quit table tennis and go to college.
Was it true that in the Open he wouldnt be a factor? Nor would Kosanovic? Not only was
the Elite final between Eric and Danny, but the final of the Open would be too? And as if to confirm
this, Eric and Danny announced they would play only one matchwinner take all: $1,000 as
opposed to $650.
Against Kosanovic, whom hed beaten 14, 12 in the Elite, Boggan got off to a bad start,
was down 9-112-3smack, smackEric was hitting balls chaoticallyfinished 21-5 by
serving into the net.
Then beat Zoki at 6.
Then again got off to a slow start and was down 10-5and was again chaotically giving up
the game. Which angered me. I yelled out somethingit might even have been a cheer when he got
his 6th point. In acknowledgment, Eric grimly served off14-617-6finished 21-8 by again
serving off.
Nice match, eh? Nicer than the few words Eric spoke to me at the break (When he was
younger, did he get angry?)
In the 4th, Eric was up 14-6, and somebody was saying, See how well Erics doing? The
whole key to anti is to use it when your opponent least expects it. Someone retrieved the out-ofcourt ball and Eric playfully caught it in his mouth21-9 Boggan.
In the fifth, Kosanovic seemed to be moving one foot instead of two, and Eric was up 7-0.
Now some bearded spectator, Coors beer in hand (no, silly, not me), was getting so fun-rowdy that
Umpire Ralph Spratt stopped the match and said, Why dont you come to my party tonight? No, I
was just kidding, Ralph didnt say that. He said, SHUT UP OR GO OUT THE DOOR!
YEAH! said the bearded one after Eric won the next point and was now clearly going to
win the match.
Danny, meanwhile, had beaten the Chinese chopper in straight games.
Poor Di. It turns out that in the absence of coach Sus wife to cook for him, hes had
nothing he could eat all weekend. Creole dishes? Ugh. Steak? Italian? Indian? Chinese?...Some tea
and toast perhaps? No, the toast is butteredHow about half a candy barfor energy? O.k., hell try it.
So, after 1-2-3 encountersGuo, Cai, Jiangcould Eric have any problem with this weak
Chinese?
Yup. Boggans forehand was too soft. Eric uses too much of a backhand grip when he hits
his forehandthat was one view. Said someone else, Theres nothing wrong with Erics
forehandhe just has a motivational problem. Down 17-16, Boggan served off, didnt earn
another point this game.
On into the second, Eric continued unvaryingly his 60%-efficient topspin playwas not
doing anything to score winners. Di, meanwhile, showed glimpses of his expertise. When he picked
a ball to hit, he often passed Eric with it. Said one observer, Eric has to face the realization that if he
cant get through this Chinese he makes his own commentary on his progress in the game. Said
another, Eric has absolutely no strategy. Its as if it were humiliating to him to have any game plan at
all. Suddenly the Chinese, as if from out his navel, uncoiled the most creative shot of the
tournamenta sidespin Frisbee, as it were, that sailed around the net and floated onto the back
edge catching Eric and everyone else by surprise. Up went a roar from the crowdand soon
Boggan had lost this game at 11.
211

This was the Chinese Danny had beaten five games out of six?
Into the third, Eric played in the same unvarying wayuntil at 13-12 he decided to play his
first tactical point of the match; for the first time he dropped, he placed a ball. He had decided to try
to win. And though Di snapped a surprise backhand in to draw to 17-18, Eric ran the game out.
And to an ever-growing YEAH! from that calmed-down rowdy now in the stands, he went on to
take the fourth and fifth games at 15 and 11. At matchs end, Eric turned and raised a fist to the man
with the beer in his beard.
Seemiller, meantime, had had a disastrous match-turning second game with Kosanovic.
After losing the first at 16, Danny was up 19-13 in the second when Di, playing Eric on the adjacent
table, had excited the crowd with that sidespin-hook shot. This eruption, Danny said later, broke his
concentrationand, incredibly, hed lost 8 points in a row to Zoki. After thatand doubtless the
2200-mile drive from California before the tournament had taken some of his strength (earlier hed
been saying if he coached three hours he couldnt practice that day; or if he practiced he couldnt
coach that day)he just succumbed to weariness and self-disgust, and literally gave up the third
game and the match.
So how did
the players stand
going into the last
matches? Well,
it all became
clearer
after

China visitor: player/coach Di Xi

Kosanovic beat Di three straight. No, said Zoki, his Friendship


racket didnt bother me, and only once did his arm cover his
serve, but it didnt matter anyway since he always gave me the
same serve. If Eric beat Danny, he would of course be
undefeated and win the tournament. But if Danny beat Eric,
Seemiller, Boggan, and Kosanovic would all be tied with 1-1
Canadas Zoran Kosanovic
records and the won and lost games between them would decide
the order of finish. Zokis game-record was a perfect 5-3. Erics, if
he lost, at best would be 5-5, and Dannys, if he won, at best would be 3-3. Which means that Danny
was playing a final that, even if he won, wouldnt allow him to come first in the tournament. Either Boggan
or Kosanovic had to winand if Eric took even a game, Danny was locked into third.
However, Danny had other incentives to win this match against Eric. He wanted to maintain
his professional pride, keep strong psychically against Eric, and, what the hell, pocket the $200
difference in the Elite prize money.
Again Boggan was slow to startwas down 7-1. But then he pulled to 11-12 and traded
off points until Danny won it, 22-20.
212

Eric, somebody said, was a position playernot a shot-maker. Yeah, somebody else said,
but wasnt Erics backhand flick into Dannys backhand a very effective shot?
YEAH!
Second game to Boggan at 16.
At 4-all in the third, Danny yelled, You cant chop the ball on the table! But then21-13
Danny.
Erics playing Dannys backhand side instead of his forehand side, said the guy next to me.
In the fourth, Eric changed his tactics, came right at Dannywas up 5-2 (YEAH!)17-11
(YEAH!)20-15. Here Seemiller started what might have been another haunting rally. (In the
recent No FoolinAround tourney in California, against former National Champion Attila Malek,
Danny was up 2-0, down 20-14 in the fifthand won.) But down 20-18, he failed to return serve.
On into the fifth (YEAH!) and now Boggan steadily built up a lead9-514-821-14.
Danny looked more and more tired, Eric more and more fit.

Danny Seemiller:
Louisiana Open Mens Runner-up

Eric Boggan:
Louisiana Open Mens Champion

Photo by Mal Anderson

I thought of the unprinted article Id prepared for Timmys from excerpts of Erics 84
letters homehow week after week, two sessions a day hed trained, giving 100%, hoping for a
perfect Bundesliga session. With an aim like that, it was understandable that, though he was far from
perfect, he could yet come from behind to win all four titles available to him.
As Tom Wintrich wrote, Eric, in winning the 18 matches he did here, gained enough rating
points to become the first American to break the 2700-rating level.

213

Chapter Thirteen
1984: Eric Boggan in India. 1984: Profile of Indias Subhash Mashruwala.
Pursuant to Power Poons amateur-minded attempt at the April Louisiana Open to
circumvent ITTF regulations on players receiving prize money, I think it helpful for would-be U.S.
tournament sponsors to note the following quote from the Minutes of the May 29-31, 1984 ITTF
Council Meeting at Herzogenaurach, West Germany: With regard to ITTF recognition of
tournaments, it was agreed that any tournament in which the maximum prize was not more than
1,250 Swiss Francs [whatever at the moment that is in dollars] would be automatically recognized
by the ITTF without the necessity for an application to be made. It was also agreed that the
maximum total prize money offered at any competition would be 500,000 Swiss Francs and that the
fee for ITTF recognition would be 5% of the total advertised prize money.
Sounds hopeful, does it? At least prize money tournamentshey, the skys the limit, if not
yet outer spacecan have the imprimatur of the ITTF. Of course, as Roy Evans warns in his recent
ITTF Presidents Report (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 30), young players, juniors and cadets, whose
game will be coming to its peak at Olympics-time in 1988, must take care that they keep their
activities within the quite generous guidelines of our amateur eligibility. It is very likely that many of
these youngsters see 1988 as an impossible dream and will not take enough care at this moment to
study every financial inducement that may come their way. [Is it encouraging, or not, that financial
inducements come their way?]
USTTA Executive Director Bill Haid takes up the warning with his adjacent Official
Announcement: Players who accept prize money or participation fees, EXCEPT AT
COMPETITIONS SPECIFICALLY RECOGNIZED BY THE ITTF, will not be eligible for the
Olympic Games. If thats not clearand it isnt (How much can I win, Mom?)best for players
and parents to be en guard. Ditto, says Haid, regarding the use of an athletes name or picture on
any table tennis EQUIPMENT. This constitutes an automatic endorsement and the athlete becomes
ineligible to participate as an amateur athlete in USOC -sanctioned events (such as the National
Sports Festival, the Pan Ams, and the Olympics).
Ah well, its much too late for Eric Boggan to be an Olympian. His play-for-pay habits have
long been formed. Two weeks after winning that $1200 at the Louisiana Open, he was off (Apr.
25-May 1) to two Grand Prixs in India. Here, with father Tim as Editor, they cover, first, the
tournament at Delhi, then the follow-up one in Calcutta:
Indian Grand Prix I (in Delhi)
and II (in Calcutta) were held
immediately after the Europeans had
ended, so it was understandable that,
except for Eric Boggan, only Chinese,
Japanese, Korean, and Indian players were invited to attend.
The players were put up at the Tai Palace in Delhi, the Park Hotel in Calcutta. The
accommodations were fine, and the food couldnt have been better (westernized mostlybut still, if
you wanted them, there were some highly seasoned dishes, hot chicken/ginger curry, for example).
The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Organizing and Working Committees (Are you feeling
well here in India, Eric?...How do you like Delhi?Calcutta?...My, the weathers warm, isnt it?)
politely saw to it that the players were comfortable (Would you like drinks?...Ice cubes?).
214

We were treated first-class all the way, even to a police escort through the thronging
trafficall this in lavish contrast to the myriad numbers of squatters, who, it may be for generations,
have staked out their little muddy tent-piece of street-side property.
Eric, getting into Delhi at midnight from his halfway-round-the-world flight, was out there at
the table next afternoon ready to begin Grand Prix I.
Howd he do?
Well, in his preliminary six-man
round robin he beat the aging veteran
Manjit Dua in straight games. Dua,
though he was to go five games with
World #12 Kim Ki Taek, has a simple
left-handed spin game without much
variation. His anti style was defensive,
safewithout power. And he was very
vulnerable to any forceful blocking to his
backhand.
Eric also along the way beat
World #8 Fan Chang Maohis best win
over a Chinese.
Fan, who to Eric seems a little
nave for a 22-year-old, has outstanding
athletic ability. Hes in perfect shape, has
a great buildis strong all over. He has
marvelous footwork. Has a good head
Indias Mamjit Dua in 1974 receiving the Mens Singles
always fights. And though his eye on the
Trophy from King Birendra of Nepal
ball is like a cats on a bird, he seems like
hes always having fun when he plays.
Eric was amazed by Fan. The man just doesnt block or roll shots. Instead, with his short
little wind-up, he again and again goes for the all-out smash. If you can return Fans high-toss serve
youve got a chance. Eric said Fans toss was higher20 feet up sometimesthan any other
players hes seen. Also, youre not to try to drop a ball shortyoull never catch him unprepared.
He doesnt open by
blasting the ball, but with
good fakes gets you out of
position. Its best to try to
force play to the corners.
True, Fans got no middle,
hits on the wide forehand
or the wide backhandbut
if your shots are cornerquick and authoritative you
can exploit his usual
strengths.
Against penholder
Eric Boggan jabbing
Fan, Eric said he was very
Chinas Fan Chang Mao
relaxed. The Chinese always had to hit several balls to
From Frances Tennis de Table, Jan., 85
215

get through Ericand Eric himself didnt passively block but stroked his shots hard. My
backhands very effective against penholders, said Eric. I worked Fan around to his backhand
cornerbut kept him honest with jabs to his forehand. Also, I sort of stole the first game, caught
him at 18, then made a loop-killfinished with a half-reckless smash that went in. Had I lost the
first, I might have been beaten three straight. As it was, with the impetus I got, I won the first, third,
and fifth.
Fan, as it turned out, came second to teammate Xie Saike in the first of these Indian backto-back tournamentswhile Eric
Before getting a momentary lift from beating Fan,
Eric had lost to Kamlesh Mehta, the Indian #1, who at the
last Worlds in Tokyo had helped India score a 5-2 victory
over the Nigerians and so advance to the Championship
Category.
I dont want to talk much about this early match
with Mehta, said Eric. I wasnt whole-heartedly committed
to coming all that way to India to begin withbut since I
told them I was coming, I came. I was tired from jet lag, and
there was no doubt that Mehta was hungrier than I was. I
tried about 75%. When I didnt place the ball hard, he could
spin to both corners. Hes a normal topspin player, but he
has a good backhand counter, and I kept losing the long
countering points. I was up 20-16 in the first and lost it, up
20-18 in the fourth and lost it. I needed to win a few big
pointsand just didnt care to win enough. Enough.
Erics loss to Chandrashekhar (whom hed beaten
three straight in the quarters of our last U.S. Open) was
even worse. Here Eric was given some hostile spectator
Indias #1, Kamlesh Mehta
From Indian Table Tennis, Oct-Dec, 84
treatment, some ironic heckling (by anti-American
Sikhs?...Hindu Punjabis?) to the point where (Good shot,
BogganRight onWay to go) he said he just didnt feel like playing, like fighting hard at all. I
didnt think it was worth the effort to work. Thats how screwed-up I was.
And in still another bummer, Eric, up 2-0 on Kim Ki Taek, lost the last three.
As a result, he did not advance to the
quarters but (I was so humiliated) finished
ignominiously tied for 9ththat is, last. And, as a
telephone call home that out-of-it night indicated, he
was little consoled by the $500 show money hed
received. Now hed be sitting out a playing day.
Some downer after hed scored that win against a
strong Chinese!
Erics roommate at the Taj Palace in Delhi
was Hiroyuki Abe, the Japanese National Champion.
He wasnt always in the best mental state for winning
either. Every day hed put down his little Sony
Walkman with the Tokyo Boys speaker to phone
Japan to see how his expectant wife was doingin
Japans Hiroyuki Abe
216

three days the baby was due. (Towards his last day in India his concern for her really affected his
concentration.) Why, Eric wondered, hadnt they got another Japanese to come? Maybe it was
because Abe spoke some goodwill English, was quite likeable?
Eric was struck by how planning, how ordered he was. Hed brought a heater with him
and boiled water. Ate his own food. Shared his rice, his chocolate. Let Eric use his shaver.
Physically, Abe (at 59/130 pounds?) is razor-thin but has solid rock-like muscles and is
quick as a cat. He stands way to his backhand corneronly blocks with his backhandwhen he
has to. Invariably he tries to spin the first ball hard. He has a half-distance touch-spin that he hookrolls in, or he spin-loops in harddepending. Also, he can go off the table and backhand-sweep a
shot in.
Eric thought it strange that he never played Abe either in Delhi or Calcutta.
In Calcutta, Eric had a much better head, had, with his injured
pride, increased incentive to try his best.
Howd he do?
Well, he didnt beat Delhi winner
Xie Saike, who, in turn, lost to
Calcutta winner Fan Chang Mao.
Did World #5 Xie Saikewith his
thin-boned build, his muscles that didnt flex outtrain hard? That was
Manjit Duas question. About Saikes forehand Eric had no questionit
was, in his opinion, the most grooved in the Game. The way this lefty pipsout penholder rips into the ball its as if his eyes were beamed into it. Only
when hes tentative does he miss. Saike stays right up at the tablehas a
great third-ball service game. If you can get a shot deep into his forehand he
has to take a step back, then you can get to his backhand. But when he
cuts that backhand jab, the ball wobbles when it comes to you.
Xies pretty sociable, says Eric. Also casualhe lives in his sweatsuit. Boggan, he said to Eric, no good in Delhi$500. So he has a
sense of humor too.
Chinas Xie Saike
showing
a sense of humor
In Calcutta, Eric got the monkey off his back. (As apparently did
someone elseliterally. For, believe it or not, a monkey came right out of
the audience and jumped onto the playing table.) Eric was able
to even the score with the Indians Chandrashekar and Mehta
whod beaten him in Delhi. Chandrashekar, the Indian National
Champion in 79/80/81, loops the forehand and has pips on the
backhand with which of course he plays the ball down. He was
not as good in Calcutta, not as quick, as he had been in Delhi
and Eric beat him three straight. Both Mehta, the 1982 Indian
National Champion, who knew Eric was gunning for him, and
Eric himself were a little tight for their matchwith the result that
Eric beat him in four.
This meant that Eric would again meet the very streaky
penholder Kim Ki Taek. Kim has a very good forehand and,
though he wants to play all forehand, his backhands not bad
either. He can open and then give you a Kim Wan all-out
South Koreas Kim Ki Taek
217

backhand, said Eric, but thats a rare occasion. Once Kim gets forehand control, youre a goner.
So you force and hit down on the ball so that Kim with his flat stroke has trouble lifting the
underspin. Eric kept hitting his backhand down and hard, and controlled Kims serves by keeping
the ball low and placing it well, sometimes anti-pushing to Kims wide forehand. Kims first shot is
never a blaster, said Eric. But hes a 2-3-4 machine getting into top gear.
Eric thought Kim a very nice guy, who seemed personable, mellow, sincerea good listener.
One morning Eric joined Kim and his Korean companions for breakfast and helped them order. How
about a ham omlette?said Eric. Ah, said Kim gratefully, I English little, but Boggan good English.
This time Eric beat Kim three straight. His pattern of serve, anti-flick, and backhand crack
was particularly effective.
Erics last
opponent was the #1
North Korean Cho
Yong Ho, World #21.
In Delhi hed finished
third behind the
Chinese.
Cho has a good
high-toss serve. He
plays the whole table
with his forehandhas
no backhand. He spins
North Koreas #1 Cho Yong Ho
the first loose ball and
thereafter is like a spinning machine. Hes strong, squatty, wears a kneepad, and is very, very fast for his age.
Eric lost the first and then, after being up 19-16, lost the second. I
Eric Boggan
was feelin grim, said Eric. But I knew I just had to play more
aggressively. Forget technique, I thought. Just get the ball going to his backhand. No more push
returns. First and second shots have to be quick for me, then once I get the ball rolling and have
some control, I have a lot more options. Im quicker this year than last. After the serve I can come
in from anywhere and loop. I worry about returning back into position, but, down 2-1 in this match,
I just had to make the initial loop and take it from there. I play better when I play naturally, from
instinct, rather than from any kind of controlled pattern play.
This matchfor 3rd Place and $2,000Eric came back to win in five. And with it the favor of
the Indians who watched him fight. I never experienced anything like it, said Eric. I signed hundreds of
autographs. People came up to meand shook my hand. They just seemed to want to feel me.
My friend Subhash Mashruwala, now 45, began playing table tennis tournaments in India about
the time I, Tim, coming late at 19 to serious play, joined the USTTA. In 1955, at the age of 16,
not realizing he could have entered the Juniors, Subhash won his first Gujarat Mens
Singles title (though technically Gujarat was not to become an Indian state
until 1960).
The Mashruwala family was deeply involved in textilesand,
indeed, with the hum of World War II, the many mills in Subhashs
hometown Ahmedabad (nicknamed The Manchester of India)
had made it the richest city in the country.
218

But lest you jump to the conclusion that riches and table tennis
necessarily go together, allow me to point out that for the 1958-59
season Mashruwala was ranked #8 in India, and that, as he says, for the
next 25 years not a single player from Gujarat would get anywhere near
such resultsmy record still stands unequaled. The proud peacock is
the national bird of India.
Perhaps Subhashs modest or immodest success had something to
do with his practice partners? About this time he began playing with a
mechanical engineering student who was destined to become the worldrenowned Dr. Sudhir Kakar, author of the famous Shamans, Mystics,
and Fakirs. Maybe listening to Subhash for hours on end first stirred
Kakars psychiatric interest in this field?
In 1958, says Subhash, he was the first man in India to use inverted
sandwich rubber. Itd been presented to him by Jimmy Mehta, one of Indias
Davis Cup players, whod brought it back from Japan. Thick spongethat
was what Subhash began playing with. Even the National Champion wanted
to look at my bat, he saysasked me, Can you control it?
As if Subhash ever had any difficulty with control. Like even the most
Subhash Mashruwala as
Best Man in traditional educated of Indians (in a nation where as late as 1975 70% of the population
was illiterate, and some so self-consciously proud as to carry paperback
Coorg wedding dress,
Virajpet, Coorg, India in
books they couldnt begin to read), he worried only about self-respect.
May of 83
In 1960, Mashruwala played in the Asian Championships in
Bombayand though he was not on the Indian National Team, he was one of two Indians to
qualify for the 128-man Singles draw. Yeah? So whod he meet? None other than S.B. Joag, the
Indian #2. Youve never heard of him? Never knew that he used to beat the formidable Vietnamese
Mai Van Hoa, one of the worlds best players, under 5?
Well, Masruwala knew it. In their first game, Joag was up 14-0. I was feeling so bloody
stupid, says Subhashwith almost a kind of pride, as if that were another record of his that still
stands. I must concentrate, he said to himselfand, up 20-19 in the second, he took a leaf from
his friends as yet unwritten book and gave the #2 Indian his #1 sidespin servewhich, for shame,
Joag, psychic-struck, couldnt return. Then, up 2-1, and 20-19 match-point in the fourth, Subhash
fakired out another serve and Joags Asian Games chances went up in rope-smoke.
After that, India banned sponge, the war with China prohibited any National
Championships, and so in 1963 Subhash, having given up his racket, came to London to live.
Could he stay away from the sport? No, he could not. In the absence of servants, he even
stood in line to buy a new bat. Then he began recreational play in the Fourth Division of the socalled Business Houses League. (I tell you, he said to one disbelieving opponent, you bloody well
have to serve with an open palm!).
Yes, Subhash, who now laughingly says he knows English better than his native Gujarat,
always did appear to get along well with the British. Actually, he says, India never did win her
independence from the Raj. It was given to us.
In the next few years, Subhashs Business House team was perennially promoted until finally
he was playing in the First Division against an English Top Ten player like Vic Ireland.
In 1967, though, Mashruwala was back in India, in his home state of Gujaratwhere only
two tournaments a year were being played. Ridiculous, said Subhash. So that by 1969, when he
was the Hon. Secretary of Gujaratthat is, not as I thought (before Rufford Harrison corrected
219

me), the Honorable Secretary of, but the Honorary Secretary of, the Table Tennis Association of
Gujaratthere were now 10 tournaments a year.
Increasingly, Mashruwala became more and more interested in the administration side of the
sport. In 1972 he was Organizing Secretary of the All-India Nationals at Ahmadabadone of the
finest Nationals ever.
As Subhash took on more
and more administrative duties, you
might say he matured. Flying back
from a meeting in Bangalore in 1970,
he met Sita, an air hostess for Indian
Airlines from Coorg, a state famous
for pretty women and the quantity of
liquor their men can drink. Youve
heard the expression, Marriages are
made in Heaven? Well, says
Subhash, this was the nearest I could
get. (That 1500-pound English sheep
dog with Sita doesnt look that heavy.
Of course not, silly; 1500 pounds
thats what the dog cost.)
Yes, Fate had cast Gujarat
and Coorg together. And today, in
between her meditations, Sita has the
care of 12-year-old Monesh (shakehands); 9-year-old Nilesh (penholder), and 7-year-old Anish
(Eric Boggan grip).
In 1974, Subhash brought the Indian Team to the U.S. Open in Oklahoma City, where, as
President of the Association, I naturally came to meet him. Later, as the Indian Team played touring
matches in Grand Rapids and Washington, D.C. I got to know him. One dirty habit he hassure
you want to hear? He doesnt chew tobacco, he eats it.
First you take a betal leaf, then you apply a chalky substance (the kind you use for
whitewash), add water, sprinkle over it a smelly, spicy aromatica combination of cinnamon and
cardamom perhapsmix with the bark of a tree ground into a very-fine thin powder which will
work as a base to the acid white chalk, and, finally (oh, mgod, I hope Ive got all this right, since
otherwise my readers will have canker sores all over their mouth), add chopped betal nut and
chewing tobacco. Ah yes, after a meal, says Subhash, THAT is the real thing. He even goes so far
as to insist that this paan is eaten as a mouth refresher (especially if youve had onions for dinner?).
Subhashs mother and father have this paan habitthis addictionever since they were
teenagers. As youth today have taken to pot and hashish, says Subhash, so Gujarat youth have
taken to this. There are paan shops everywheresome within 50 feet of one anotherand some
net 3,000 rupees a month. Of course its not just bad on your teeth, chewing Indian tobacco can
lead to cancer. But, says Subhash, my parents can continue to refresh their memories by passing
on the habit to me, and, after all, the obnoxious aroma can break ones addiction to smoking. As
for Subhashs wife, Sita, does she eat tobacco, spit betal blood?...Beg pardon?...Oh, she cant
hearbut just in case Subhash might be indulging shes averted her face.
At the International Matches in Washington, D.C., the U.S. and Indian teams marched in, and
then there was the playing of anthems. Except, embarrassingly, one of the secretaries of the Indian
220

Embassy was heard to exclaim, THAT isnt the Indian anthem! Never mind. After hearing the record to
its absurd conclusion, Captain Mashruwalaas if he were playing a low-keyed version of Victor Laszlo
in Casablancarose to the occasion and directed a chorus of the real Song of India.
In 1975, Subhash was very much a part of the Calcutta World Championships. He was one
of those responsibleperhaps his D.C. experience had something to do with itfor the success of
the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. And he also committed himself to doing World Championship
commentary on All-India radio. I was the fund-raiser/captain of that U.S. Team and after the
Worlds my wife Sally and I were house guests for a week at Subhash and Sitas home in
Ahmedabad. There, we were witness to the occasional cultural differences wed never experienced
in our States-side lives. For instance, No, we hadnt tried, and werent going to, ShankhPrakshalanthe Yogi process of cleaning the intestines by swallowing 20 glasses of lukewarm
saline water. Subhash wasnt insistent about that. But he did try to teach us to eat with our fingers.
Its not just the tongue and the teeth that will tell you if the rice is cooked properly.
After wed returned home, the next time I saw Subhash was at the 77 Worlds in Birmingham,
England, where hed been sent by the Indian government to prepare 15-minute daily dispatches for the
Indian BBC. (You should also have heard him handle an India-West Indies cricket matchsay the last
test in Madras before a crowd of 80,000. Had to talk a good game there.)
In Birmingham I learned that Mashruwala had formed the Gujarat Roller Skating
Associationwith himself at President. Ordinarily, roller skating was played only in Northern India
during the summerat the hill stations, the hill resorts.
In the 76 National Roller Skating Championships in Calcutta, both a Gujarat girl and a
Gujarat boy finished second. This made such an impact that from then on everybody seemed to
think that Subhash knew as much about roller skating as he did about table tennis. No surprise then
that in 79 Subhash went with a troupe of 60 skaters to Jamma, Kashmirand won 7 out of 8
Championships. Or that in the 1980 Ahmedabad Nationals, Gujarat skaters again did wellwon
11 out of 16 possible medals.
The next World Roller Skating Championships were to be in Columbiaso who in all of
India would be more qualified to captain the Team than Subhash. He promptly raised $11,000
($100,000 buying power in India) and with 7 of his best Gujaratins took off for Bogota. Amazing,
huh? Just this one state representing the whole country.
So howd they finish?
(Shhh.)
But of course winning isnt everything. By 83 the Team that had gone to Bogota had found other
intereststhree of the girls were expectingso Subhash decided to concentrate only on the Juniors.
After all, when you finish last, theres room for improvement. So Subhash was off on a roll againthis
time with a boy 15 and a girl 14but without government assistance. Forget how the girl did, but the boy
finished 23rd out of 29beat a Japanese, said Subhash, as if he were thinking of Ogimura.
I hope you dont believe with his success at roller skating Subhash had abandoned table
tennis. He walked into a Gujarat tournament as a spectator, then, although the Senior draw was
already made, and he had no sneakers, he couldnt resist. Might he play? For you, Subhash, of
course. And of course Mashruwala, though clearly out of practice, won the event.
Also, last I heardSubhash is not the best correspondent in the world; rather, he or his
emissary likes to surprise you by appearing playfully on your doorstep in the dead of nighthe was
appointed Chairman of the Coaching Committee of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
Which reminds me. I still have half of this little packet of cloves Subhash left with me.
Would you like one? hed asked. Its an aphrodisiac, you know. Then, smiling, he added, Its
also good for a toothache.
221

Chapter Fourteen
1984: April Tournaments.
Cindy Miller in reporting (Timmys, May, 1984, 15) on the Apr. 7th Butterfly Open, held
Apr. 7 at Sacramentos Table Tennis World, stresses the $100 Butterfly Handicap event:
This point-adjusted event was perhaps the most exciting of all the events, bringing more
cheering from the spectators than any other. The final round robin consisted of nine-year-old Daniel
Goodwin, rated 775, his twelve-year-old brother Jimmy Goodwin, rated 845 (both are students of
Jeff Mason), and the Clubs defensive star James Therriault, rated 2022.
Playing best 2/3, James had to spot each of the kids 19 points in a game to 21. Therriault,
giving up only one point total, stopped young Daniel. But the quick-attacking style of the older
Goodwin rather quickly won him the first game 21-9. James, slowing down the pace, and cleverly
changing the spin, took Jimmy at deuce in the second. The last game featured some incredible
smashing, lobbing, dropping, chopping, and rolling exchangeswith the play sometimes going 15
hits before a point was won.
It looked like the match would be won by Therriault, for, down 20-17, he would just wait
for the less-experienced junior player to miss. But then the luckiest break of the tournament was
Jimmys. With Therriault back ready to return another smash, Jimmy hit an impossible-to-return net
ball, netting himself $70 for first place. Thanks go to Butterfly for sponsoring this Point-Adjusted
event. Both spectators and participants enjoyed it very much.
Other Results: Open Singles: Final R.R. 1. Dean Doyle, 3-0. 2. Avishy Schmidt, 2-1 (d.
Chun, 25-23 in the 3rd; d. Therriault, 17 in the 3rd). 3. James Therriault, 1-2. 4. David Chun, 0-3.
Womens: Diana Gee over Cindy Miller. U-2000s: 1. James Chan. 2. Masaaki Tajima. U-1850:
George Sanguinetti over Horace Cheng. U-1700: 1. Sung Lee. 2. James Ritz. U-3250 Doubles:
Robert Schanilec/John Schneider over Mike Hara/Smith. U-1550: 1. Ritz. 2. Doohyun Won. U1400: Tom Li over Hara. U-1250: Ed Kawai over Leroy Yoder. U-2250 Doubles: Morgan
Lehman/Carol Plato over Joe Rodriguez/Ron Jew. U-1100: Andy Heroux over James Stewart.
Under 950: Heroux over Bert Toler. Seniors: Bob Partridge over Ritz. Juniors: Joe Lomas over
Lehman.
Results of the Apr. 2829 Helping Others Open:
Open Singles: Jimmy Lane
over Rich McMillan (from
down 2-0), then over Ricky
Guillen. Open Doubles: Steve Schreiner/
Lane over Chi Ngo/Ngo. U-2200: Stan Tang
over Charles Childers, 17 in the 5th. U-2000:
Mark Wedret over Stevan Rodriguez, 19 in the 3rd, then
over Shmuel Goshen, 17 in the 5th. U-1900: T. Negishi over
Stephen Co, 24-22 in the 4th. U-1800: James Cheng over Chris
Fullbright. U-1700: Fullbright over C.E. Chi. U-1600: Brian Thacker
Jimmy Lane
over Karl Dreger, 19 in the 5th. U-1500: Wilfredo Escobar. U-1400:
Chusak Phungprasert over Boonyarit Anuntalbochai. U-1300: Karim Ismail over Orrin Joseph. U1200: T. Nguyen over Gina Butler, 19 in the 5th (from down 2-0), after Gina had advanced over
James Scott, 20, 21. U-1100: W. La-Guta over D. Kerner whod outlasted L. Cann, deuce in the
th

222

3rd. Unrated: Negishi over Anuntalbbochai. Hard Rubber: K.


Dreger over H. Dreger. Draw Doubles: Fullbright/M. Kane over
Harold Kopper/Howard Reisman. Esquires: Leon Ruderman over
Frank Suran. Seniors: Suran over Amin Jaffer, 18 in the 4th.
Juniors: Fullbright over Butler.
Winners at the Apr.
13-15 Mar Vista Open: Open
Singles: Mas Hashimoto over
Avishy Schmidt, 20, -14, -18,
19, 15, after Avi had survived
Lean Ruderman
Charles Childers, 17 in the
5th. Womens: 1. Carol
Davidson. 2. Kerry Vandaveer. 3. Esther Zachary. 4. Kim
Gilbert. Open Doubles: Gabor Berezvai/Tibor Racz over
Hashimoto/Mike Baltaxe. U-2200: Schmidt over Baltaxe. U2000: Berezvai over Wedret, 18 in the 5th. U-1900: Racz over
Chart Kocanoth (from down 2-0), -25, -16, 16, 19, 16. U3800 Doubles: Berezvai/Racz over Wedret/Richard Friedland
whod escaped Mas Hashimoto/Hui, 25-23 in the 3rd. UCarol Davidson
1800: Harold Kopper over Mike Blaustein. U-1700: Joe Tran
over Tony Jaimasco, after Tony had advanced over Chris
Fullbright, -18, 19, 17. U-1600: Brian Thacker over Jeffrey Ellis whod squeaked by Jaimasco,
deuce in the 3rd. U-1500: Somsak Bhombuth over Dezi Resznecky, 19 in the 3rd, after Dexi had
taken down Stan Frisbee, 19 in the 3rd. U-1400: Bhombuth over Ken Wong, 20, 19. U-1300:
Henry de los Santos over Jeff Towns. Unrated: Mark Hsiao over Guenter Pauly whod outlasted
Jose Pena, 19 in the 3rd. Draw Doubles: Harold Kopper/Chi Ngo over ? Juniors: Thinh Nguyen
over Fullbright.
Canadian Provinces other than B.C.,
Ontario, and Quebec are getting more
attention these days. Heres how the players (down
to the U-400s!) did in the Apr. 1st Western Canada
Open in Saskatoon: Two-Player Teams: Horatio Pintea/Johnson Tan over
Bert Flisberg/Emiko Kinoshita. (Berts the son of the famous Swedish
Champion of yesteryear, Tage Flisberg, runner-up to Ogimura at the 1954 Worlds.)
Mens: Pintea over Eddie Lo, deuce in the 4th. Womens: Cindy Choy over Sandy
Mah. Mens Doubles: Pintea/Charles Woo over Flisberg/Roy Rakovic. Womens
Doubles: Mah/Cathy Chu over Kinoshita/Amy Lee. Mixed Doubles: Lo/Choy over
Pintea/Sheena Muirhead.
Bert
U-1800: Tommy Vuong over Bob Lucky. U-1600: Carlton Douglas over
Flisberg
Brian Williams. U-1400: Owen Brazell over Jim Yee, 18 in the 3rd. U-1200: Elaine
Wong over Muirhead. U-1000: Jinh Hsieh over Les Culleton. U-800: Kim Heinz over George
Haraida, 21, -17, 18.U-600: Leanna Heinz over Keo Chanmany. U-400: Dean Griffiths over
Shelley Butler, 17 in the 3rd. Seniors: 1. Karol Ziduliak. 2. Elmer Hazzard. 3. Chandra Madosingh.
U-17 Boys: John Mah over Vuong, 21, 18. U-15 Boys: Mah over Danny Poh. U-13 Boys: Ian
Muirhead over Lee Rogers. U-17 Girls: Chu over Erika Ziduliak. U-15 Girls: Elizabeth Kecki over
Serena Mah.
223

The Alberta TTA, in an exchange with Heilongjang Province, has received two coaches
from China for a two-month period. The coaches did their thing at the Western Canada Open and
will follow up at both the Canadian National Junior Championships (results below) and the National
Championships in Calgary, Alberta in May.
Winners at the Apr. 7th Canadian Portugese Open: Mens: Joe Ng over Steve Lyons. Mens
Doubles: Lyons/Ron Johnson over David Mahabir/Maurice Moore, -20, 21, 17.
Mixed Doubles: Lyons/Julia Johnson over Mahabir/Rumar Kavin, -16, 10, 20. U2000: M. Moore over Bogdan Kalinowski, -20, 25, 13. U-1850: Roger Moore over
Johnny Ng. U-1700: Peter Ng over J. Ng. U-1550: Tom da Silva over Dave Evans.
U-1400: Rajiv Singh over Paula Antune. Seniors: George Bonigut over R. Johnson.
Boys U-17: P. Ng over Roberto da Silva. Boys U-15: J. Ng over Kirk Vassel. Boys
U-13: J. Ng over Trung Le. U-11: Vassel over Ben Lee. Girls U-17: Crystal Daniel
over Michelle Qurrey. Girls U-15: Daniel over Adriana Altic. Girls U-13: Monika
Thimian over Dina da Silva. Girls U-11: Julie Lawrence over Angela Campbell.
Results of the Canadian National Junior Championships, played Apr. 2023 at Rexdale, Ontario: Boys U-17: Monika Thimian
Ontarios Pierre
Parulekar over
Albertas John Mah,
17 in the 3rd. Boys
U-15: Mah over
Quebecs Tan Hoang Lam. Boys U13: Peter Ng over Johnny Ng. Boys U-11:
Ontarios
Trung Le over
Albertas Don
Yee. Girls UBrothers Peter (L) and Johny Ng
From OTTA Update, Apr-May, 84
17: Quebecs
Helene Bedard
over B.C.s Erika Ziduliak. Girls U-15: Albertas
Cathy Chu over Albertas Karen Mah. Girls U-13:
Chu over Mah. Girls U-11: Julie Lawrence over
Angela Campbell.
Boys U-17
Trung Le
Doubles: Quebecs L.H.
Tan/Jean Bourget over Ontarios Vaibhov
Kamble/Tim Kwan. Boys U-15 Doubles: Mah/
Erika Ziduliak
Boris Vaynsteyn over Tan/Patrick Leveille. Boys
U-13 Doubles: P. Ng/Le over Doug and Don Yee, 16 in the 3rd. Girls U17 Doubles: Ziduliak/Fong Seow over Bedard/Manon Fournier, 17 in the
3rd. Girls U-15 Doubles: Saskatoons Elizabeth Kecki/Chris Traeger
over Serena/K. Mah. Girls U-13 Doubles: Chu/S. Mah over Christine
Paquet/Caroline Sylvestre. Mixed U-17 Doubles: Kamble/Michelle
Qurrey over H.D. Vu/Bedard, 23, -10, 18. Mixed U-15 Doubles: J.
Mah/Chu over Tan/Lucie Drouin. Mixed U-13 Doubles: Don Yee/S.
Mah over Doug Yee/Chu, -20, 18, 14.
Vaibhov Kamble
224

Winners at the Apr. 28-29


Quebec Open in Montreal: Mens
Open: Joe Ng over Horatio Pintea,
23, 17, 22. Womens Open: Mariann
Domonkos over Thanh Mach whod
upset Gloria Hsu in five. Mens
Doubles: Ng/Steve Lyons over
Pintea/Bao Nguyen, 22, 18.
Quebec Open
Womens Doubles: Domonkos/Diane
Champion
Mariann
Bourdages over Hsu/Mach. Mixed
Domonkos
Doubles: Pintea/Domonkos over Ng/
Photo by
Mach, -19, 20, 22.
Mike Wetzler
Play
at the Apr. 7th
SUN TV Open produced these winners: Open R.R. 1. Ricky Seemiller (d.
Randy Seemiller, 8, -18, -22, 15, 16; d. Bob Cordell, 15, 13, 4). 2. Randy
Seemiller (d. Cordell, 15, 12, -17, 13). 3. Bob Cordell. As: Po Lee over Rod Mount, -19, 19, 20, 11, 14. Bs: Ken Stanfield over Bill Johnson, 19, -16, 17, 14. Cs: Johnson over Joyce Jenkins,
-13, 16, 11, 17. Ds: Jay Wright over Russ Shuttleworth, 13, 15, 9.
Results of the Apr. 14th Dayton, Ohio
Spring Classic: U-2000 R.R. 1. Ian Mailing, 50. 2. Rod Mount, 4-1. Womens R.R. 1. Cindy
Marcum. 2. Mari Weber. U-1800: Mark Weber
over John Dichiaro, 23-21 in the 3rd. U-3500
Doubles: Andy Gad/ John Pletikapich over
Dichiaro/Jerry Marcum, 18 in the 3rd. U-1650:
Pletikapich over Voldis Daskevics. U-1500
R.R.: 1. John Kizer. 2. Tom Taylor. 3. Curt
Sutter. U-1350: Willie Hamilton over Bill Wolfe,
19, 20, then over Keith Gad. U-1200: Don
Hamilton over K. Gad whod advanced over
Chester Riddle, 10, -16, 19. Seniors: J.
Marcum over Lyle Thiem.
Warren Goesle (Timmys, June, 1984, 20)
covers the Indiana State Closed, held Apr. 28-29 in
Indianapolis:

Dick Hicks
Photo by
Mal Anderson

State Time.
You can tell its State Time. The evidence is
all there: the hottest weekend of the spring, the
drinking fountains out of order, 97 people entered
and played 343 matches on six tables, the Open
Singles ran until 1:30 a.m., and Dick Hicks won.
Must be State Time.
225

Some day Dick Hicks will be tired of winning the Indiana State Singles title. Isnt this
something like 23 out of 24 years, Dick? Once again, he had no trouble. Oh, I suppose he was a
little cautious about picking up balls off the floor following a nasty back injury last tournament.
The only first-round win talked about was produced byguess who?John Elwood
two straight over Bob Miller. (Quotes from Bob that went round the tournament: I dont mind
losing to John. I just didnt like the fact that no one considered it an upset, and The least he could
have done was taken off his sweats before blowing me off the table.) Thirteen-year-old John is
obviously destined for bigger and better thingshopefully out of state.
There was a big upset when Jerry Marcum top-spinned through John Frenchs hard bat
in four. But Jerrys son Tony pulled off an even bigger upset by taking out Charlie Buckley.
No surprises regarding the Opens Final Four, thoughDick and Ricky Hicks, Kokomos
Harry Deschamps, and teenager Klaus Geske from Evansville (via West Germany) all advanced.
Geske 3-0 avenged his loss to Ricky two months ago. But Klauss loop to his surprise didnt work
against Deschamps, a (How old is this guy?) winner in four games, thanks to his hard bat-defense
and troublesome picks. Ricky, however, had enough patience to pick the right ball to loop or
hit against Harry, and when he won in four, 2nd-Place went to Klaus (1-2/4-3) on the tiebreaker.
Warrens comments continue into the Results that follow: Open Doubles: Dick/Ricky Hicks
over Geske/Festus Mead. Womens Singles: Defending Champ Kim Farrows attack was too
strong for Marcia Johnsons block defense, but Marcia earlier had scored an upset over Cindy
Marcum. Mixed Doubles: Ricky Hicks/Farrow over Jerry/Cindy Marcum, -19, 22, 12 (Marcums
had been up three match points in that second game). Senior Esquires: Bill Hornyak over Gene
Bricker. Esquires: Deschamps over Mead. Seniors: Al Grambo over Paul George whod just
slipped by Vince McMenamy, -19, 19, 20. U-17: Geske over Elwood. U-15: Elwood over David
Arterberry.
U-1900: Greg Waldbeiser over John French whod been too much for Dave Russell in the
semisthough Dave certainly was making his presence felt by repeatedly knocking down barriers
in an attempt to retrieve Johns hits. As for this U-1900 final, it was the best match I viewed all
weekend. French blocked, chopped, and backhand drove down Waldbeiser and his industrialstrength loop, 18 in the 3rd. Yet some 20 minutes later, John had a change of heart and defaulted to
Greg because he hadnt called a paddle-point on himself. Or something.
U-1750: Dwight Mitchell over Jerry Marcum whod advanced over Jerry Button, soon to
be an International Umpire. U-1650: Eric Cougill over Mike Robinson, -18, 17, 20. (Despite
serving off when up match point, Mike prevailed at deuce.) U-3300 Doubles: Potter/Ercel Kerner
over Paul George/Forest Milbourn. U-1500: Goesle, outpicking and outpushing Cougill for the
winafter which Warren thankfully turned over his writing chores to Jack Rudibaugh and Bill
Connelly and said he was going home to throw up. Cougill was grateful to reach that 1500 final, for
hed been extended in his semis by Mike Dalton, -17, 20, 20. U-3000 Doubles: Elwood/Mark
Artman over Russell/Jim Wilson. U-1400: patient Vernon Oliver, Jr. over Larry Clark. U-1250:
Dave Essex (looks like a bulldog someone said) over Hong Nguyen. U-1100: Artman over Dave
Heisler. U-900: Paul Burgdorf over Steven Barnes.
Winners at the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Round Robin Tournament, played Apr. 29th at the
local USM TTC: Championship Final: Ed Poon (9-0) over Homer Brown (9-0), 21, -14, 17. 3rdPlace: Abdul Moghrabi. 4th-Place: Richard Fung-a-Fat. Doubles: Keith LaFrance/James Schioo
over Poon/Poon, then over Sushil Prem/Fung-a-Fat, 18, -21, 17. First Flight (?): Moghrabi over
LaFrance whod knocked out Prem.
226

Michael Wetzel (Timmys, May, 1934, 17) reports that table tennis is on the rise in Alabama
and fills us in on the State Closed, the first sanctioned one in several years, held Apr. 7th in
Tuscaloosa. The tournament (State Closed t-shirts were sold promoting it) was under the
sponsorship of the Alabama T.T. Club and directed by Bobby Marcus and Joe Mitchell. Mike was
the Tournament Referee. And the Control Desk was run by Bobby and his hard-working wife
Virginia.
In Championship play (27 entries), Don
Gaither, Rafael Zambrano, Ralph Kissel, and
Jack Wise advanced to the Final Four. Heres
Mike to summarize the play:
In the deciding match, veteran Don
Gaither held off 20-year-old Rafael Zambrano
(1895) to win the Alabama Closed. Gaither of
Huntsville defeated Zambrano, a native of
Venezuela attending Jefferson State Junior
College in Birmingham, 17, -19, 19. Kissel
(1884) used his wicked backhand to down Wise
for 3rd-Place.
Gaither not only had a tough time with
Rafael Zambrano
Zambrano but also had to fight off the weariness
Photo by
of a sleepless night prior to the tournament. Don
Michael Wetzler
and his companions, Kissel and Helen Brooks,
Don Gaither
traveled from Huntsville to Tuscaloosa with plans
of spending evenings in a hotel. However, with over 900 collegiate swimmers in town for a regional
meet at the University of Alabama, the trio found themselves sleeping on the floor of the tournament
site, Foster Auditorium.
In the final match against the steady Gaither, Zambrano, a strong attacker, often found his
loops being blocked back. Indeed, in the third, the Venezuelian was down 19-16. Then, scoring
with aggressive forehands, he rallied to 19-all. But Gaitherlike the champion he isremained
patient and took the last two points for the Championship. The win was good for $20 and a trophy,
while Zambrino earned $15 and a trophy. [Is this kind of prize money good or bad for the Game? I
myself am of two minds about this.]
Other Results: Womens: 1. Suzette Koch. 2. Lillian Wise. 3. Helen Brooks. Championship
Doubles: Zambrano, who played on the Venezuelan National Team, paired with chopper Warren
McNeil (1740) to defeat Michael Adeyemo/Bill Mobley. Class A: Adeyemo, a native Nigerian
attending Alabama A&M on a soccer scholarship, over Mobley (1777), 20, 22. Class B: Jeff
Dykes over Tom Scanlon and David Wilder.
Rick Mundy (Timmys, June, 1984, 22) tells us that 30 players from four states participated
in the Apr. 14th Virginia Beach Open, a giant one-day round robin tournament in which each entry
played 14 matches.
The big winner of the day was Joe Griffis who lost only one gameto Larry Hodges. Jules
Millete, unrated when he began play, recorded the most upsets, defeating players rated 1776, 1668,
1557, and 1450 to give him an initial rating of 1781. Both Kris Van Nostran and Vijay Gideon also
did wellgained over 90 rating points. On the negative side, the big surprise was top-seed Billy
James (2053) losing four matches.
227

Results: Class A: 1. Griffis, 7-0. 2. Todd


Ingram, 6-1. Hodges, 5-2. Class B: 1. Mark Davis,
4-1. 2. Millete, 4-1. 3. Steve Hochman, 3-2. Class
C: 1. Van Nostran, 4-1. 2. Kevin Walton, 4-1. 3.
Phil Schafer, 3-2. Class D: 1. Pat Donahue, 5-0. 2.
Dana Hanson, 4-1. 3. Scott Cobel, 3-2.
Yvonne
Kronlage reports that
the Junior Olympic
Trials for Delaware,
Maryland, D.C., and
Virginia players will be
held June 2 at the
Wildelake School in
Columbia, MD. Money
Dana Hanson
has been and is still being
Photo by Mal Anderson
raised (thanks to
Catherine Haring for her $500 donation) to send the winners to the
National Championships in Jacksonville, FL. Lets all work hard to give
Catherine Haring
our Juniors more encouragement.
Photo by Tom Miller
Results of the 7th Open in the Howard County Circuit, held Apr.
7-8 in Columbia, MD: Open Singles: 1. Sean ONeill, 5-0. 2. Hank McCoullum, 4-1. 3. Don
Garlinger, 3-2. 4. Pat Lui, 2-3. U-2000: Lui, 3-0. 2. T. Miller, 2-1. U-3800 Doubles: ONeill/
Kevin Walton over Lui/Hodges whod gotten by Garlinger/Gene Wonderlin, 19 in the 3rd. U-1600:
Shibaji Chakraborty, 3-0. 2. Steve Kong, 2-1. U-1400: Walton, 3-0. 2. Craig Bailey, 2-1. U-2800
Doubles: Irv Goldstein/Bailey. U-1200: R. Banks, 2-1/5-2. 2. Prakesh Chougule, 2-1/4-2. 3.
Douglas Holtzman, 2-1/4-3. U-1000: 1. Peter March, 7-0. 2. Bill Fry, 6-1. Handicap: John Wetzler
over Goldstein, 51-45. Juniors: Jeff Harris, 3-0. 2. D. Walsh, 2-1.
Howard County Circuit Point-Leaders (as of May 4th): 1. ONeill, 81. 2. Chougule, 77. 3.
Wetzler, 64. 4. Goldstein, 64. 5. Erich Haring, 63. 6. Lui, 56. 7. Bailey, 49. 8. Walton, 48. 9.
McCoullum, 45. 10. Robert Fallon, 44. 11. Warren Wetzler, 42. 12. Ha Chi Do, 40. Since 48
points can be made in any one tournament for the Under-2100-rated player, 42 for the Over-2100rated player, its still anyones race. Three tournaments to go for the $1,000 first prize.
Pat Hernan (Timmys, May, 1984, 18) really gets into a couple of matches at the New
Castle, PA Open, held April Fools Day:
Just another routine victory for Ricky at the
1984
New
Castle Open.
Ricky
Not really. Danny had him down 2-0 in his
Seemiller
first match in the cross-over semis. But then, wait,
how could this be? There were only two Seemillers
at the tournamentand the one that was rated
about 2650 wasnt one of them. April Fool,
everyone! Danny, yesbut it was DANNY
WALK, 1707-rated (under-rated) who was on the
verge of taking Ricky to the cleaners.
228

For a while it seemed like two against one. Walk versus Ricky and Ricky versus himself.
Still, Danny was simply out-playing Ricky. Walk was looping Rickys serves, and his tactic of angleblocking and killing the return was extremely effective. It was certainly a sight to ponder. Dannys
been playing well lately, but the thought of an upset over Ricky waswell, preposterous. But it
almost happened.
Ricky won the third game, but Dannys confidence wasnt shaken. At 15-all in the fourth,
the spectators were highly partisan for the underdogbut they werent cheering against Ricky, just
louder (much louder) for Danny. However, a few loops in for Ricky, and a couple of unforced
errors by Dannyand off they went into the fifth. Walk looked so incredibly calm. Although he
went on to lose the fifth game, it was as if Ricky was handing him a diploma. A commencement
tribute of sortsthe beginning of more won respect. Good show, my friend.
Also, more compliments seem called for here. Nice guy Barry Rodgers had an upset win
over Bill Walk and a near upset over Pat Hernan; and twenty-year-old retiree Lance Falce and his
decade-old rubber swatted their way to several wins, as did the newly-indefatigable Gary Martin.
Ricky, Mike, Gary, and Randy Seemiller comprised the semifinal four. But it was clear that
Ricky and Randy would battle it out for the Championship. Its a tough thing for brothers to be
competitors, but this five-game battle featured two distinct adversaries. Randy was keeping the ball
so touch-tone short that often Ricky couldnt wind up for his bullet loop. Advantage Randy, 15-10
in the fifth.
But Ricky fought backand suddenly Randys lead evaporated. Courageously, though,
Randy struck back. From down 18-17 he went up 19-18. Then 19-all. The next point was a
topspin rally and Ricky was able to angle his brother wide to the forehand where Randy attempted
a loop around the net but the ball went long20-19 Ricky. The final point started as a slow topspin
exchange with Ricky jab-blocking Randy into his backhand corner. Randy floated one off and
Ricky had the bittersweet victory. Commented Ricky after the win, Did you ever get the feeling you
won the tournament and lost it at the same time?
Bill Walk (SPIN, May-June, 1984,
16) covers the 75-entry $1,000 Pennsylvania
State Closedheld this year, only for the
fifth time in its 47-year history, in Pittsburgh.
In 1971, a 16-year-old named Dan
Seemiller became the first player from the
western part of the state ever to win the
Mens Open event. In the past 14 years, due
in large part to the Seemiller family, the title
has stayed in the west 12 of those years.
Heres Bill with the highlights of the
tournament:
Bill Walk
Mens: Advancing from three round
robins were Pittsburghs Randy Seemiller,
Harrisburgs Horace White, and Philadelphias Enoch Green. Randy
had his hands full with the transplanted Jamaican White. Horace kept
Seemiller from playing his deadly loop-game by going for quick
winners and scoring often. As Randy would step around his backhand
to loop, White would hit a bullet backhand to Randys unguarded
229

Randy Seemiller
Photo by Tom Slater

forehand. White was up 18-17 in the first game when Seemiller looped a serve long but claimed the serve
was a let. The umpire didnt see the ball tick the net, but White graciously agreed with Randyand then
quickly lost the next four points. In the second game, White dominated all the way to establish a 20-15
lead. Randy then ran six straight points, and eventually won the game 23-21.
In his next match against Green, White never really got into the match.
The final between Randy and Enoch was anticlimactic. Enoch, who seems to have endless styles
of play (offense, defense, shakehands, penhold, and all variations possible), couldnt decide how to play
against Randy. So Randy won his first State title easily (21-9, 21-10).
Womens: 1. Bich Ngoc Tram over Linda Gaudi.
Mens Doubles: Surprise! Randy and TIMMY Seemiller over Horace White/Barney Reed in
the semis. Then in the final over Green/Hank McCoullum. Hank had played offense and Enoch defense
but that style wasnt best. Later Green admitted that both of them should have played offense.
U-2050: As in the Mens, three round robinsout of which advanced Jeff Young, Gary Martin,
and Barney Reed (the beneficiary of a default from McCoullum which automatically gave Reed a better
record than Wolfgang Deutz whod beaten Hank in straight games). But Reed proved up for the occasion
by beating Martin 2-0 and Young 2-1 (after being down 20-17triple-matchpoint).
Results of the Apr. 14-15 Westfield Open: Open Singles: Final:
Eyal Adini over George Brathwaite, 18 in the 4th. Semis: Adini over Brian
Eisner, 17 in the 4th; Brathwaite over Steven Mo, 24-22 in the 4th. Best
Quarters: Adini over Fu-lap Lee, 17, 19, -20, 20; Eisner over B.K.
Arunkumar, 18 in the 5th. Womens: 1. Jasmine Wang, 4-0. 2. Ai-ju Wu,
3-1. U-2200: George Cameron over Eisner, 18 in the 5th. U-2050:
Michael Henry over J. Wang. U-1950: Henry over Peter Dunn. U-1850:
George Hellerman over Howard Lee. U-1750: Debashis Kushary over
Carlos Monroy whod escaped Mark Kane, 19 in the 3rd. U-1600: Judith
Ackerman over Lyle Seales. U-1450: Carl Skeete over Doug Holtzman.
U-1300: Larry Stein over Karen Rugar. U-1150: Raul Mejia over M.
Lozada. U-1000: A. Dickinson over Lloyd Thomas, 20, -19, 18. D
Under 2050 winner
Doubles: Tony Gegelys/Huang over Marcus/Guy Castronovo. F Doubles:
Michael Henry
Gegelys/Moreau over Steve Kong/Al Matlosz. Esquires: 1. Dan Dickel. 2.
Ray Sprague. Seniors: Brathwaite over Igor Klaf. U-17: 1. Neil Agrawal. 2. A. Thomas. U-13:
Steve Fink. 2. Jason Ertel, 2-1.
Winners of the New Jersey Closed, played Apr. 28-29
at Westfield: Championship Singles: 1.
Rey Domingo, 3-0 (d. Arunkumar, deuce
in the 4th). 2. B.K. Arunkumar, 2-1. 3.-4.
Barry Dattel, 0-2. 3.-4. Brian Eisner, 02. Best Quarters: Arunkumar over John
Shareshian, deuce in the 4th. Womens:
Jasmine Wang, 2-0. 2. Joan Fu, 1-1. 3.
Sangeeta Dosi, 0-2. Open Doubles:
Dattel/Harvey Gutman over Domingo/
Ron (Babe) Luth whod outlasted Alan
Fendrick/Eisner, 19 in the 3rd. Mixed
Harvey Gutman
Doubles: Arunkumar/Ai-ju Wu over
Alan Fendrick
Photo by Mal Anderson
230

Domingo/Fu. Senior Esquires: 1. John Kilpatrick. 2. Dan


Dickel. 3. Ed Gutman. Esquires: Kilpatrick, 20, 18, over
Gutman, then 15, 24, over Gene Wonderlin whod eliminated
Ralph Vescera, 15, 23. Seniors: Mike Kuklakis over Elmer
Wengert, 19 in the 3rd. Senior Doubles: Weingart/Kuklakis
over Hellerman/S. Sinder. U-21: Fendrick over Ai-ju Wu, 20,
-19, 19, then over Wang. U-17: Rajiv Dosi over Michael Sinder.
U-15: Sinder over Brian Ertel. U-13: B. Ertel over E. Ertel.
Class A: John Shareshian over Alan Feldman whod
escaped Peter Zajaczkowski, 20, -20, 10. Class B: George
Hellerman over Frankie Fong. Class C: Heng Yiu Tsang over
Mark Kane, 18 in the 3rd. U-1900 Doubles: Zajaczkowski/
David Lowry over Kushary/Tsang. Class D: Vescera over
Mark Rose whod knocked out Kane, 25-23 in the 3rd. U1700 Doubles: Fu/Kushary over Rose/Kane, 19 in the 3rd.
Class E: Fu over Al Matlosz. Class F: Fu over Matlosz. Class
Joannie Fu and family
G: Nova Zakaev over Colin Mallows, 12, -20, 20, then over
Photo by Larry Hodges
Bill Hampton. U-1400 Doubles: Mallows/Vladimir Lojko over
Harry Monroe/Wood. Class H: Mallows over Lojko. Class I:
Nicolas Nicolaidis over B. Agrawal. Hard Rubber: Barry Dattel over Bob Holland.
Fred Danner
(Timmys, May, 1984, 19)
covers the Long Island
Open, held Apr. 9th in
Huntingtons Finley High School gym:
With a brand new format and purpose, table tennis (USTTA
style) was reborn on Long Island. [Huh? Whats USTTA style table
tennis?] The hiatus since the mid-seventies caused by top-player boycotts
and the pressures for high money prizes [well, at least money prizes] had
ultimately forced the Long Island Table Tennis Association out of
existence. [But why? In every section of the country tournaments offer
prize money, so why was the LITTA, that occasionally had drawn
hundreds of locals to its tournaments, forced to go its separate way?
Because it had an amateur agenda that didnt draw the top players? And
Fred Danner
that made a difference between success and failure? But now the LITTA
has a brand new purpose? Though still no prize money to attract top
players?] Since 1978, only local and club events had been run and there had been no incentive for
any new people interested in table tennis promotion to take the risks inherent in promoting a USTTA
Open without an in-place operating tournament committee.
In 1982, Neal Golub started a local table tennis tournament promotion to raise money for
the Melville Lions Club charities. It made a small profit and the tournament was repeated in 1983.
Improvements to the format and a better playing-facility were key factors in expanding the event
from 38 to 75 local players with net proceeds increasing from $172 to $750. It now looked
possible to build this fund-raising tournament into a major charity benefit provided the list of events
was expanded and a more professional operation planned.
231

The 1984 tournament was promoted as part of a USTTA 1-star Open Championships.
Over 1800 entry forms were mailed, along with promotions, through the Long Island clubs. Sixteen
tables were available for play, and a Township of Huntington Championship was included for the
first time to stimulate local-player participation.
A unique feature of the format permitted non-USTTA players to play in one of three Novice
events separated from the USTTA Open section of the tournament. This approach was extremely
important to the tournaments financial success, and over a few years will serve to greatly increase
USTTA membership on Long Island as these Novice players progress to join the other events.
Many new players will want to receive National Ratings when they understand how the system
works. [Well, such speculation is certainly upbeat.]
As a result of the expanded promotion 150 players joined the tournamentwith 88
entering the USTTA Open events. [Hasnt this initial rush of players happened before in such a
Long Island tournament? Then what?] Preliminary estimates of the net process for charity show
about $1,600 available to aid Melville Lion projects for the blind, deaf, and needy. It was my
pleasure to deliver a check to the Huntington Helping Hand Rescue Mission last week to help
them feed and clothe poor people of the community. Also, several other very worthwhile
groups will receive support from the tournament proceeds. We are working on another project
to produce a new hearing aid for a needy person who has to have this device to permit her to
work productively. Fred told Jerry Grillo, reporter for the Long Island paper, Newsday (Apr.
6, 1984, 24), There is a woman I know who will be able to hear for the first time after this.
Thats what this tournament is for.
You can see by now that this type of USTTA promotion is not the usual one reported in our
newspapers. For the first time we are evolving a tournament format which will attract people outside
of the normal table tennis channels to help promote, sponsor, and run the event. As we build up and
further develop this promotion we hope to aim for several important goals.
First, we want to expand the tournament over several years to a 1,000-player level. It is
possible to get a large free facility to run such an event by gaining support of the local town
government and school board. At levels over the 400-player mark, it is much easier to get extensive
local and regional media coverage. When crowds develop at this tournament we would next like to
build up charity revenues through paid spectator admissions. Local businesses may then be willing to
sponsor prize money or underwrite some of the unavoidable expenses. Prize money is justified when
it produces increased revenues from paid spectator admissions. The charity nature of the events
permits tax deductible contributions from businesses and individuals who want to help the worthy
cause. [So if prize money is to be brought into play to attract talented players to give spectators
their moneys worth, all you have to do is get more and more local players each year, hundreds of
them perhaps (so long as they can hold a racket), to enter this annual tournamentwith very
interested family and friends willing to pay admission to watch them?]
The success in achieving the above goals will depend on the active cooperation of the
USTTA and our ability to attract top-quality volunteers (particularly young people) for the
Operating Team. [Success, it seems to me, depends on the ever-increasing, perhaps evervarying number of local players you can get to play in the tournament. One of these certainly is
Bill Ma. I enjoy watching the game almost as much as playing it, he told Newsday reporter
Grillo. Its a dazzling thing to watch, like a ballet.] In any event, the progress made over the
first three tournaments exceeded our expectations. We are confident of large success in future
years. [Well, though I think Fred is very optimistic, even a moderate success has to be
wonderful for the needy.]
232

Results: Open Singles: Dave Llewellyn over Kok Liung, 5, 17, -10,
15. Womens: Flora Ng over Lena Martinsson, 11, 10, 10. As: Llewellyn
over Dan Green (default due to injury). Bs: Stu Kroll over Bill Ma, 16, 19.
Cs: Mike Egner over Art Brunelle, 14, 18. Ds: Steve Lerner over Lyle
Seales, 20, 12. Es: Mike Rose over Arvo Hytinnen, 8, 13. Junior Adults:
Ovidiu Nazarbechian over Ed Su, -19, 10, 12. Adult Novice: Oscar Teltier
over Steve Hertz, -18, 10, 10. Boys Novice: Scott Hertz over Ken
Rappaport, 7, 11. Girls Novice: Martinsson over Mindy Rosenberg, 7, 5.
Huntington
Mens: IBM
assistant engineer
Dave Llewellyn
Dan Green over
neurologist Dr. Philip Su, 18, 18. Reporter
Grillo speaks of Green and Su being
tennis partners. But he says, Both men
prefer the quickness of table tennis. Its
more challenging than tennis, Green said.
The game sharpens your reflexes. This
sport requires a quicker eye and mind than
tennis. Huntington Womens: Loretta
Dan Green
Jasinkonis over Debra Cohen, 15, 15.
Photo by Art Mintz, from Newsday, Jan. 1, 1984
Huntington Jr. Men: Ed Su over Jason
Seturno, 13, 9. Huntington Jr. Women:
Melinda Su over Rosenberg, 19, 19. Huntington Doubles: Green/Golub over Su/Su, 18, 18.
Long Islanders recently lost Frank Davison,
a long-time friend of the Game. As Ive written on
Frank in previous volumes, Ill forgo my obit and instead give you (Timmys, May, 1984,
19) Dr. Mitch Silberts remembrance of Frank:
I met Frank Davison for the first time in 1946, the year we
moved into our first home in the Franklin Square-West Hempstead
area. No sooner were Shirley and I (and our little two-year-old son
Alan) settled I was able to locate the only table tennis activity on
Long Island at that timea club in the basement of a church in
Freeport run by Frank Davison.
My earliest recollection of this club includes poor lighting, a
rickety wooden floor, dented tables, winter cold and summer heat.
However, competition was keen and it was great to be playing
regularly again. I made a number of new friends. [As readers of these
volumes know, Ive also written about Dr. Silbert, my former
Doubles partner.]
Around 1950, Frank built a new home in Baldwin around a
Dr. Mitch Silver
Photo by Mal Anderson
large, well-designed basement that held two tables. It was wellilluminated with adequate space for playing and tournaments. This
new home became the hub of table tennis activity for some 20 years on Long Island.
233

Besides weekly tournaments, and an


occasional Long Island Closed, league
matches were held regularly. A Baldwin team
was formedsome of the players: Frank
Davison, John Sullivan, Mitch Silbert, Tom
Franklin, Bud Brindley, Mary Larson, and
Mark Matthews [formerly Marcus
Schussheimsee my Vol. Iconsidered the
best player in the country from 1928 through
the founding of the USTTA in 1933]. This
team had a consistently good record in the
league matches.
Frank was always a generous host
his home was open to all his many friends
and table tennis players, not only for the
Mark Matthews (R) - with unidentified fellow champion
sport, but also for card-playing till all hours
Photo by Harry Frazer
of the morning, for meetings of the Long
Island Table Tennis Association, and for social functions and parties.
Life-long friendships were made in that basement of Franksa number of you readers will
remember the players you met and played with there: Peggy McLean, Tom Sullivan, Lionel Ovelton,
Harold Green, Alice Green, Arthur Draper, Phil Malamud, Helen Marcus, Bob Telzrow, George
Mott, Marv Shaffer, Bob Rosenthal, Frank Milano, Angelo Gutierrez, Gunther Sautjer, Harry
Liedke, Henry Deutsch, Bernie Lieber, Carol Haddock, and so many others.
I would venture to say that Frank Davison kept table tennis alive and well on Long Island
for more years than many of us remember. I also had the pleasure and privilege of teaming up with
Frank to win several doubles tournamentshe was a fine competitor.
Like all aspects of lifetimes change. A new
table tennis group formed at the home of Mary Larson, in
Rockville Centre, where a large room housed two tables
with adequate lighting, playing space, and seating for
spectators. Most table tennis activity was transferred to
this new location. [This is where I, on coming back to the
Game in 1965 after a 10-year absence, began playing,
and where, in preparing for the 1979 Pyongyang, North
Korea Worlds, my two sons Scott and Eric, and Long
Islander Roger Sverdlik, practiced.]
Eventually and unfortunately, Frank suffered
financial reverses, and ill health forced him to cease
playing the game he loved so well. But so many of us
table tennis aficionados will always feel a sense of
gratitude to a man who devoted so much of his life to the
enhancement and enjoyment of table tennis.
Frank Davison: may he rest in peace.
Frank Davison

234

Chapter Fifteen
1984: USTTA Miscellany.
Before I continue on with more USTTA-held tournaments, I
want to keep you apprised of the Associations most recent
preoccupations.
Ill begin with Sue Butlers Where Have All The Juniors
Gone? (Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 19-20). She starts to develop a
pertinent analogy by quoting the following Letter to the Editor that
appeared in the Feb., 1984 issue of SKIING MAGAZINE:
Sue Butler

Do I have a chance to become a professional or even an


Olympic ski racer? Ive been skiing for six years, since I was 10. Ive picked up the sport easily
and am now getting used to paralleling. I get in about 20 days of skiing during lucky seasons. I
would like to move to snow country so I can practice every day. My parents think my dream is a bit
wild, but I think one can do anything when one wants to badly enough. If you think I have a chance,
how do I go about moving from dream to reality?
The reply: The U.S. Ski Team selection system is now very much against your becoming
an Olympic racer. Late-maturing skiers (i. e., 16 to 18-years old) dont stand much chance of
catching up on the extensive year-round training that Olympic hopefuls enjoy because they havent
had the benefit of the five to ten years of annual competition and supervision by dedicated parents
and enthusiastic coaches. Most Olympians at age 16 would have already placed in the ranks of the
top 15 at national junior championships and would be skiing close to 100 days a season. Should
you be lucky enough to attend a high school or prep school in snow country, you might be able to
make a college ski team. After four to six years of that, you might be proficient enough to earn a
living on a pro circuit. By that time, even if your interests in ski racing havent waned, you certainly
ought to be well equipped to find employment at a ski area, especially if you also studied topics
leading toward some sort of business career.
Sue of course makes the point that its the same in a number of sportsincluding table
tennis. She says (and how discouraging this must be to many young enthusiasts and their parents),
If you really want to make the big-time it takes years of training, coaching, competition, and
financial support in addition to talent, a desire to compete, and a love for the sport. [So of course
in 1984 look at the U.S. Closed results, and from the U-17s down to the U-11s there you might
findand its no accidentSean ONeill, Brian Masters, Quang Bui, Khoa Nguyen, Scott Butler,
Jim Butler, Brandon Olson, Dhiren Narotam, and Eric Owens; and Lan Vuong, Diana and Lisa
Gee, Jasmine Wang, Vicki Wong, and Cheryl Dadianto be followed by Chi-sun Chui, Todd
Sweeris, Barney Reed, and Li AiJuniors sure to make their mark by 1988.]
Sue wants to know wherefewer now than in the pastthe formidable challengers to
these years-to-come winners are. Of course she knows that without family and financial support
aspiring enthusiasts have no chance to even try to climb the mountain to success. Moreover,
whats the reward as they try to climb? Does anybody, as they go about their everyday school lives,
careexcept maybe to say, What weird thing are you doing?
But, says Sue, there are options that could be pursued to improve the woeful Junior
situation. And woeful Sue proves it is by citing the total number of Junior Boys who played in our
235

83 Closed: U-9 (2); U-11 (4); U-13 (6); U-15 (8); U-17 (10)and, worse, theres over-lapping
among the 13-15 and 15-17 entries. Sue feels that itd be much better to hold the Nationals for the
Juniors when theyre out of school in the summer, and, in an economical move, combine them with
the Junior Olympics. This would bring young playersincluding the Butler brothers (and their
parents)at least some media recognition theyre not now getting. [Hey, try itwhats to lose?
But the requirements for stardom wont change, and those long in front wont easily be replaced,
and when they are itll be by others whove likewise paid their dues.] Anyway, give lots of credit to
Sue and husband Dickhes the National Tournament Director for the Junior Olympics, as well as
the Junior Olympics Chair. With the hope of interesting thousands of kidsreally interesting them as Ron
Shirley has done with hundreds in Oklahoma Citytheyve enthusiastically set up a USTTA Junior
Development Group with members having special duties wholl be supported by State Directors.
One representative figure, a model, for this Junior Development Group would have to be
Joe Shumaker. In an article, Junior Success in Indiana (SPIN, Mar., 84, 7), he explains why
raising money for youth table tennis is not as hard as you might think:
Since there were so many kids playing table tennis in the
Indianapolis Boys Clubs, I decided to run a raffle. I went to each of the
three Boys Clubs that I have worked with to see if they would help sell
tickets. I told them I would furnish them with a good used table.
I also promised them I would use part of the proceeds to bring
in Danny and Ricky Seemiller for a table tennis exhibition in each of these
Boys Clubs, plus a training camp at the Keenan Stahl Boys Club. Also,
after the Seemiller brothers, I would bring in USTTA National
Development Coach Henan Li Ai for further coaching. [Henan said that
Boys Clubs are like spare-time sports schools.] In addition, I would
also give trophies for all the major Boys Clubs tournaments.
At the state Boys Club team tournaments in April, each of the 35 clubs will have a team and
the tournament will draw around 150 players. Each match will be umpired by a Boys Club director.
And each individual winner of each age group (U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16, and U-18) will receive a
jacket. The jacket will be similar to a high school varsity-letter jacket and the back of the jacket will
say, 1984 Indiana Boys Club State Champion.
Since my raffle was a success, I have written to large companies in the Indianapolis area for small
donations to help send a Boys Club team to the National Junior Olympic Tournament [in Jacksonville, FL
Aug. 13-19].
I would like to thank the Keenan
Stahl Boys clubs and their director Chuck
Smith; program director Melvin Wright; and
Danny and Ricky
physical director Jim Spalding for all their
Seemiller
help and faith in me. Also, thanks to the
(From Butterfly ad)
Lagore and Lebanon Boys Clubs for all
their support.
Danny and Ricky Seemiller
(Timmys, Feb.-Mar., 1984, 19) were
giving some gotta-make-a-living
exhibitions and clinics in the area (Have
236

you ever been in the high schools in basketball-crazy Indiana? said Dannysome of their gyms
seat 12,000). So, sure enough, as promised, they spent a week at Joes cluba mecca for maybe
75 exuberant but generally disciplined kids.
Anyone can teach kids how to get started, said Danny. All you have to have is a place to
do it in. So what if the tables arent lined up together [Joe picked up most of them here and there
for maybe $15-20]you stick one here in this room, another in a corner of that one; theyre used.
These kids Joe and his staff see day in, day outespecially the ones not tall enough for
basketballhave nothing to do in the wintertime. You give them some supervision, organize them
into age groups, and you might be surprised how many of them will show up as regularly as Joe
does from 3-9 p.m. [Everyone, including the kids, call him Joe.]
Joe works his first job of the day for Eli Lliiy, a company supportive of Shumakers Boys
Club work. On Joes second shift he volunteers to try to turn his kids onto table tennis. Have you
seen little Bird play? Hes only 7 but he can hit the ball back and forth 100 times without missing.
That is, if he can ever find and keep his racket which some bigger bird keeps taking from its resting
place. Also, have you seen our Clark Yeh (8) and John Elwood (12) play? Theyre pretty good,
and getting better.
Many of the kids come from poor or relatively poor families, and of course theyre looking
for FREE fun. Naturally, too, their parents want them to go where theres at least some structure
and purpose instead of just hangin aimlessly about and getting into trouble. As a reward for some of
his most improved charges Joe took them to a tournament at Lyle Thiems Dayton, Ohio Club to
see the sport played seriously, and they were most appreciative.
How to get young people, students, to play this sportthats been many a well-wishers
thought. Its so difficult to get table tennis into the schools, says Dannyat least in Indiana. Each
and every little district has to vote on any change affecting the whole, and unless the percentage of
approval is overwhelming, theres no change. So its not just a question of convincing one or two
key people but a host of them.
You might say, though, that Danny and Ricky were at least for a time in a school of their
own makingbeing both teacher and student as they touched the lives of these young people and
were in turn touched themselves.
In another development of interest to young players, since the Cub Scouts of America is
starting a pilot Sports Program, Tom Wintrich and Bill Haid will compile a table tennis guidebook
for the 8-10-year-old age level.
Meanwhile, complementing the playing is the coachingwhich of course (see, for example,
SPIN, May-June, 1984, 3) Colorado Springs Coaching Chair Bob Tretheway, supported by SPIN
Editor Tom Wintrich, is repeatedly calling our attention to:
The success of the USTTA March Camp was
beyond expectations. Not only did the smaller group
(10 participantsJim Beckford, Mike Dempsey,
Scott Preiss, Larry Gold, John Allen, Tom Wintrich,
Thajay Ananthothai, Paul Williams, Takako Trenholme,
and Lan Vuong) allow Coach Henan Li Ai an
opportunity for more careful analysis and specific
instruction, it allowed the introduction of a new benefit
to the playersa free dental clinic. All but one of the
237

Mike
Dempsey

players took advantage of the Training


Centers dental clinic by having their teeth
examined, cleaned, and when necessary
cavities filled.
Even more surprising was the
camp becoming a media event. Through
the efforts of National Coaching Chair
Bob Tretheway working in cooperation
with Bob Condron of the USOC public
information staff, players were besieged
by newspaper, radio, and television
newsmen.
In a Mar. 8th letter to Tretheway,
USTTA President Sol Schiff indicated he
was upset at an unauthorized letter that
Bill Haid had sent to Coach Henan Li Ai
regarding payment for services. I want
this contract letter from Bill Haid to

Lan Vuong being interviewed for local TV


Photo by Bob Tretheway

Mrs. Ai
broken
immediately.
Bill sent
this letter
to Mrs. Ai
out of the
goodness
of his
heart and
I am sure
that he did
not intend
Coach Henan Li Ai
this as a
firm contract or commitment. I am
of the opinion that he did this only
at the request of Mrs. Sue Butler
and to help Mrs. Ai stay in the
U.S.I know that Mrs. Ai is an
excellent coach but I now feel that both Mrs. Ai and Mrs. Butler are taking advantage of this letter
written on her behalf. [Ive no copy of this unauthorized letter, but I know Mrs. Ai accepted a
pay settlement, and continued coaching for the USTTA.]
At the April Training Camp for Coaches, each of the 11 men who participated was
successful in completing the extensive American Coaching Effectiveness Program for Level 1
certification.
The mornings were spent in the classroom, afternoons were devoted to technique training at
the table with Coach Henan Li Ai, and after dinner it was back to the classroom for another three
hours. [How about warm-up exercises? asks Larry Lowry. Anyone have anything to say about
238

that? At my Pittsburgh Club most of the senior players have at one time or other been sidelined with
tennis elbows, muscle pulls, sore shoulders, and other joint problems. Id like to see an authoritative
treatment of correct preparation for play and avoidance of injuries.]
The ACEP material and special
speakers were combined to develop a course
of instruction unequaled by any other sport at
the Olympic Training Center.Guest speakers
were: Dr. Frank Patton, sports psychologist;
Nancy Harris, trainer at the OTC; Dan Roden, President of the American
Hypnotists Association; Ron Boller, area Director of Marketing for the Explorer
Scouts; Wendell Dillon, author of the USTTA Tournament Handbook and the
USTTAs Disciplinary Committee Chairman; and John Buck, Director of volunteer
Wendell Dillon
fund-raising for the USOC. [Pass the buck, everyone: write a letter to your
Congressman to urge passage of the Olympic Tax Check-Off act of 1984 that
allows you to contribute $1.00 of your tax refund for that year to the USOC].
Californian Bob Healy attended this April Coaches Camp, and said that what started out
as a halfway frightening experiencethat is, trying to assimilate so much of this new coaching
program so quickly in 12-hour daysturned out to be one of the most enjoyable and educational
times in my short table tennis career. Everyone from Bob Tretheway, the honorable Henan Li Ai,
and Scott Preiss made me feel welcome. Indeed, they made me realize we were all there for the
same purpose: to learn to coach, teach, and familiarize our youth with the sport of table tennis.
If, as it happens, you cant get
to one of these Coaching Camps, you
Help-a-Friend Robot
and a friend can improve on any past
self-help effort (seen here) by
purchasing the newest B-83 Training
Robot (Timmys, June, 1984, 22):
China, the undisputed leader in
table tennis, has developed a robot
player that can put spin on a serve and
drop shots short over the net. The B83 Table tennis Training Robot passed
state approval and will go into limited
production this year, the official
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
The announcement did not explain why the robot is called B-83, but said it was jointly
developed by the state Physical Culture and Sports Commission and the Songling Machinery Corp.
in Shenyang.
Appropos to Chinas new robot, Sam Steiner offers us a short article from Machine
Design, May 24, 1984:
The International Personal Robot Congress and Exposition (IPRC) has accepted a
challenge from the British for American roboticists to participate in a unique robot competition slated
for 1985. Its a Ping-Pong contest that will pit computerized personal robots against each other at
specially designed Ping-Pong tables. IPRC will hold the first U.S. trials for the Robot Ping-Pong
Contest during their March, 1985 meeting. [The winner (gotta be US) will eventually meet China?]
239

Lee Berton, writing in the Jan. 15, 1985 Wall Street


Journal, is also robotic-minded:
Computer scientists now are trying to build a
robot that can return the same ball hit at it. A contest
sponsored by an engineering school in Portsmouth, England
is spurring such efforts.
Its not around the corner, says Joe Bosworth, the
chairman of the National Personal Robot Association, a trade
group based in Golden, CO. Its as difficult as intercepting a
missile in space, he asserts.
Meanwhile, some of the current
generation of robots have found their
way to remote corners of the world.
Arthur C. Clarke, the author of the
science-fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, had a Sitco robot sent to his
home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, several years ago. R2D2 arrived safelyand
the local champs have been beating a path to my door, Mr. Clarke wrote to
Mr. Berliner. Its a splendid exerciser.
Arthur C. Clarke

In line with this push for new assimilation, Executive Director Haid has suggested to the
USTTA E.C. that, like other U.S. governing bodiesCycling, Skiing, and Boxing, for example
Table Tennis ought to invite their own officers, regional directors, and representatives around the
country to meet periodically at the USOC for group meetings. They would have to pay only their air
fare; the USOC would give free hospitality to all. Just imagine, says Bill, what can be
accomplished in three or four days of meetings. [Having had the benefit of three-day meetings at
our summer and winter E.C. get-togethers, I think some of us neednt rely on our imaginations as to
what could be accomplished.]
Expansions in Bill Haids mind (SPIN, Feb., 1984, 5). He sees how other sports divide
the country into much smaller areas than we do, and he feels that regional directors and
committeemen would be better able to supervise and coordinate activities if only three or four states
fell under their jurisdiction. So Bill proposed that the USTTA go to fourteen regions instead of the
seven we now have. But the E.C. was not receptive because they felt it would be more difficult to
solicit twice as many volunteers as we now have. But how about it out there? If youd be
interested in volunteering to handle a small region, please send your comments to me, Bill Haid.
Expansion is
also on USTTA
Club Chair
Richard
Feuersteins
mind. In the last
year weve gone from having 200 affiliated clubs to 218, and he thinks we ought to get more. If, for
example, the far away Anchorage TTC is going strong, why cant others get into the act? At the
Arctic Winter Games (the Olympics of the North), trading pins is a popular pastime. The Anchorage
Club has designed a small pin as a gift to guests, new tournament entrants, and to prospective
240

friends the members meet when they travel to other clubs. An exchange of club pins is always a
welcome thought.
And if the Arctic is not too far up and out, how about, especially if youre used to enjoy
playing in Colorado Springs, taking up with Paul Doumitt and his clubyou can reach him via the
American Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia. In a Letter to the Editor (SPIN, May-June, 1984, 3), he
writes all friendly-like:
After departing Lima, Peru, you have to gain altitude to land at La Paz, Bolivia (Elevation
13,000 feet). This is the worlds highest international airport, highest capital city, and highest table
tennis club.
The club is situated on the fifth floor of the memorial soccer stadium (most visiting teams
lose here). It has three Stiga Expert tables, each of which is illuminated by 32 150-watt flood lamps.
The club has about 30 members. The best players probably have about a 2000 rating. The annual
club dues are 1,000 Bolivian pesos or about 30 cents, which is in line with the general cost of living
in Bolivia.
After your body and loop-shot adjust to the thin air, you should have a very enjoyable stay
here.
Feuerstein is also interested (Timmys, June, 1984, 14) in telling us about the oldest
USTTA-affiliated clubs he has records on. Millie Shahians Chicago Net and Paddle Club [where
I, Tim, played in at least one tournament in the mid-50s] was not affiliated prior to the 1965-66
seasonprobably because table tennis in Illinois was then controlled by the Illinois TTA. Millies
club, I note, is about to move to a new Chicago address.
George Sinclairs Beatty TTC in Columbus, Ohio and the South Park TTC in Pittsburgh
were affiliated by the 1957-58 season (if not before) and have had an unbroken continuing
affiliation. The Amarillo, TX club affiliated in the 1958-59 season, but was then not affiliated from
1963-67. The San Diego club was affiliated for the 1959-60 season, but not for the 1965-66
seasonthough continuously after that. The Phoenix, AZ club has been affiliated continuously from
the 1960-61 season.
Such continuity is admirable, but changes are also constant. Ratings Chair Dan Simon, for
example, reports that since the paperwork to report results has been reduced for tournament
directors, I will now require that the tournament results be in the mail
within ONE (1) week [rather than as previously in two weeks].
Better for the accuracy of the ratings to have quick-arriving results.
Also, players, please make sure that when you sign in at a
tournament you show your membership card and make sure that the
tournament director has your information PROPERLY highlighted on
the ratings list.
Also, a desire for change down through the years is a
constant. Bob Green, who says hes been playing t.t. since 1930,
and for many years, like Shahian, ran a commercial club, and also
directed the famous Miles vs. Reisman 1948 U.S. Open, wants the
Sport to Return to the 6 and Net (Timmys, Apr., 1984, 12).
Heres why (though you dont have to be much of a history buff to
anticipate his argument):
Bob Green
241

In those 1930s days of the hard rubber bat, the defensive players and pick-shot artists
were in the majority and had a firm grip on the game. It was very difficult at that time to get enough
topspin on the ball to bring it over the then 6 and net height and down and get any winning pace
on the ball. So, because of the somewhat dull rallies of pushes, chops, and pick shots for the points,
many thought more sustained offense was needed to speed up the game and hopefully increase
spectator interest. Thus the net was lowered to the present six-inches, and this change helped play.
Today, however, due to the introduction of the sponge bat around 1950, the reverse is true
and the offensive players have a lock on the Game. Spectator interest has declined due to the sheer
speed of play. A classic example of this occurred in the final of the World Womens Singles seen
recently on Wide World of Sports TV. In the match it was serve and smash almost every point. (It
seemed no defense was possible.)
We ought to try then slowing the game down at least a
little bit. Due to the higher arch necessary to clear a 6 and inch net, the super spinny-serves would go deeper on the table
and bounce higher, making it easier for the non-server to
control a safer return, and minimizing the third-ball kill.
Wouldnt it be a good idea for clubs around the
country to conduct their own experiments with this new/old
net and document their conclusions for us?
Meanwhile, it was Larry Hodges view (SPIN,
Apr., 1984, 15/May-June, 1984, 14;16) that, given the
D-J Lee: net measures what?
shorter net and the serves that the aspiring tournament
player is currently faced with, a little coaching, both as to serving short and returning short serves,
would be most helpful. So he offers the following advice:
If you cannot serve short, you will always be handicapped against most good players.
A short serve is a serve that, if allowed, would bounce twice on the far side of the table.
Because of this, a short serve cannot be looped like a deep serve because the table is in the way.
This forces the receiver to reach over the table to return the serve, which can be awkward,
especially on the forehand side. Even a chopper has more trouble, because he cant dig into the
serve with the table in the way.
There are many types of short serves, with advantages and disadvantages to each. You can
serve very short so that the ball bounces very close to the net. You can serve a short serve so that its
second bounce will be near the end-line. You can serve sidespin, spinning either right or left,
combined with topspin or chop, or else a pure topspin or chop serve. You can serve to the wide
angles, to the middle, or anywhere in between.
With each of these serves, Larry tells you where and how to make interacting contact with
ball and racket so as, with practice, you
can gain control of the variations. He
urges you to get a bucket of balls and
practice alone on a table. If you point
the table into a corner, the balls will
mostly stay in one spot, so you can
practice without long breaks to collect
the balls.
How to practice without taking long breaks to collect balls
242

Larry says that all short serves can be classified as either


chop or side-top. He points out the advantages and disadvantages
of both the short chop and the short side-top serve. (If you like to
loop pushes, serve mostly chop.Realize a rightys backhand
sidespin serve to an opponent whos also a righty is usually effective
because the sidespin is spinning away from the opponent.)
Should you serve wide to one side or up the middle? Should
you serve the same serve over and over again? Larry emphasizes
youve got to determine what serves give your specific opponent
trouble, and then strategically master the placement of them.
As for returning short serves, says Larry, its most
important, first and foremost, to read the spin. You must watch the
RACKET very carefully to help you determine whether the serve is
Larry Hodges
topspin or chop and how much of either spin is on the ball. Also,
successfully returning short serves to the forehand where the table
may inhibit your stroke requires the most practice.
Footwork, he says, is mandatory
you need to step in to the table for extra balance
and reach. Larry, applying advice depending on
whether youre receiving short forehand or
backhand serves, discusses which foot, right or
left, is best to move in with first. Of course of
paramount importance is to position yourself for
the next ball. Try to insist on practicing your
returns with a good playerit will benefit him
too.
For how best to push the serve-return short,
Drawing by Anders Persson
or to push it long; and how to flip-return a chop,
or to chop/block-return a topspin or side-top
serve, Larry provides right-minded pointers. When receiving, he
says, you should always be trying to get the initiative, usually by
attacking. Most importantly, vary the way you receive serves.
Larry of course IS helpful, but sometimes a tad too
determinedly serious. So I revert, I admit rather whimsically, to the
topic of change. I invite you to read the article on the next page,
Ping-Pong Without Guilt, submitted by Dean Doyle/Nadine
Prather (Timmys, June, 1984, 14).

Faan Yeen Liu

The Athletes Advisory Committee is something new. Sheila


ODougherty is the Chair, and also the Player Rep on the E.C. (a
position shell have for the next 5 and years until she becomes the
USTTA Treasurer). Sheila replaces the now absent from the Game
Faan Yeen Liu who on Sept. 5th Id be writing a Letter of
Recommendation forshe was hoping to follow an advanced course
of study in medicine at Columbia University. Among those interested in
243

presently being on Sheilas Committee is


Perry Schwartzberg. Not resting on his
laurels as a player, or briefly as a U.S. Team
Manager, he continues writing articles,
including this one hell tell you about now,
Attacking Your Opponents Middle
(SPIN, Mar., 1984, 26):
Perhaps the most overlooked
spot on the table is your opponents
middle, or what I call the void zone.
By hitting the ball at your
opponents backhand/forehand crossover
spot, you immediately force him to make
a choiceto hit a backhand or forehand.
Either way, he will have to move to one
side very quickly, as a split second too
late will find the ball in his gut. After this
movement, space will have been gained
by youfor whichever choice he makes,
forehand or backhand, that side of the
table should now be open for your
attack. Its important, then, to realize that
the void zone, or middle, does not
pertain to a specific point on the table,
but, instead, to a specific place on your
opponents body. It moves as your
opponent moves.
By playing the ball up the middle,
you have cut down your opponents ability
to hit the angles against you, and so made it
difficult for him to gain a positional
advantage. By forcing your opponent to
move quickly to one side or the other, you
allow him little time to concentrate on the
consequences of his actions, and you can
adroitly continue penetrating the void zone
with your planned attack.
Your attack to his middle must
be based on a quick-moving ball, though
not necessarily a powerfully hit one.
Remember, too, it must not be
telegraphed. Keeping your opponent
unaware of the balls destination is critical
for void zone penetration to work for
you.
244

There have also been changessuccessful advancesin the USTTA Film Committees
Program. Chair D.P. (Don) Story tells us (SPIN, May-June, 1984, 21) of the memberships
enthusiasm for the videotape collection established through the auspices of the Audio-Visual
Services of Kent State University. Since theyve become available in the last year, roughly 100
rentals of tapes have gone out. And most importantly, says Don, There has been no abuse of the
rental service, no tapes returned late, no tapes returned damaged, and no problems over payment of
rental fees. THAT, everyone must think, is remarkable. No wonder Don and his particularly helpful
Ohio Committeemen, Dave Strang and Cam Clark, say, THANK YOU.
The Film Committee offers 13 tapeshalf of them showing 1979-1983 matches from the
Worlds and the U.S. Open, accompanied of course by a very detailed Film Rental Order for
immediate use.
Every once in a while, a Letter to the
Editor appears from a book collector abroad who
wants American publicationsjust recently
(Timmys, June, 1984, 2), Englishman Barry
Hayward said he was looking for books by
Coleman Clark, Si Wasserman, Doug Cartland,
and Dick Miles among others.
Naturally, being an English professor, I
have a literary bent and so am partial to those who
want to write, especially write creatively, for the
magazinehence my inclusion on the next page of
Eliot Katzs poem.
Also, since Im always conscious that the
magazine I edit might have historical value, it was
understandable that about this time I could write
the following letter to U.S. Table Tennis Hall of
Fame Chair Jimmy McClure. What would come
from these thoughts, readers 30 years later would
better be able to judge. Heres the Letter:

July 24, 1984


Hi Jimmy,
When Sally and I were on vacation recently (with Dick and Mary Miles), one of the places
we visited was the Womens Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
I was very impressed with the layout, and over and over again kept thinking, Why couldnt
we have something like this for our Table Tennis Hall of Fame?
I think we ought to work seriously on a one or two or three-room location, with some
volunteer curatorsrent a place somewhere other than Colorado Springs, where the Hall stands
alone. Seneca Falls goes back into the 1850s as an historic place for Womens Rights; a street
corner I stood at is a landmark. Perhaps we ought to pick a town thats historically significant in
U.S. Table Tennis, find a small store, or a spry widow with a big house, and do our thing. I bet
wed get a big response from the membership. Talk about IMAGE, Jimmy.
245

246

The Womens Hall charges


an admission fee, then gives
an introductory slide show
(Singer Caramate 4000). We
apparently dont have many
extant films of our great
players from 1930-80, but we
could round up quite a few
pictures and do an interesting
voice-over. Also, as we pay
homage to one member after
another, we could get a
recording of that members
actual voice, old though he or
she may now be, or an actor
pretending to be, say, Johnny
Somael (with copy provided
by a friend of Johnnys, like
Miles). Theres a marvelous
reading of Sojourner Truths
famous 1851 speech that each visitor
hears simply by picking up a nearby
phone.
We also visited the Franklin Delano
Roosevelt Museum in Hyde Park,
NY on our way home, and damned
if that wasnt very interesting too.
Im more and more turning over
thoughts in my head about doing a
History of U.S. Table Tennis [16
years later (2000) I finally got a first
volume out], and Id be 100%
behind the establishment of an
historic place that would house
interesting material and give our
greats just due. I would help
assemble material and try to fundraise for such a place, would urge
volunteers to provide house-cleaning
helpwhatever would be needed.
Jimmy, why doesnt the Hall of
Fame take this on as a project?
Tim
Sixteen years later I finally got my first volume out
247

Chapter Sixteen
1984: May Tournaments (Pintea/Domonkos Win Canadian NationalsKosanovic/
Caetano Boycott It). 1984: Danny Seemiller Wins $800, Sean ONeill $600 at Baltimore
Invitational.
Jay Crystal (Timmys, June, 1984, 16) reports on the $400 Tumbleweed Openheld at
Richland, WAs Community Center with the help of Director and Referee Liana Panesko and her
fellow teenage tournament committee members (not a one of them over 18): Duane Frank, Rick
Nootenboom, Joe Panesko, and Mary Frederickson.
Quang Bui won the Open Singles, but the
star of the tournament was Portlands Tait
Anderson, four years earlier the Junior Consolation
winner at the U.S. Open. Though losing a pre-lim
match to Bernhard Blattel, he went on to beat
Crystal to reach the final of the Open. He also won
the U-2100s.
The quote of the tournament came when
Tait collected his $120 Open runner-up and $40 U2100 prizesclearly the most hed ever won at a
table tennis tournament. Said a satisfied Tate, I can
buy enough rice for a year.
Naturally Crystal was very dissatisfied with
Quang Bui
(From Butterfly ad)
his straight-game loss to Anderson, but he did win
the Doubles with Bob Mandelover Bui/Blattel.
Other winners: U-1900s: Bill Popp. U-1750s: Vince Mioduszewski. U-1600s: Don Nash.
Not much action up here, says Jay. The only tournament of any note is the upcoming JC
Open June 23. Unfortunately for many t.t. enthusiasts its a golf tournament. Dan Seemiller had been
entered in this 11th annual golf extravaganza sponsored each year by Crystal Sportcamp U.S.A., but
withdrew citing his dismal performance on the links during his recent stay in the Great Northwest.
Carl Danner (Timmys, June, 1984, 16) was pleased to note that the Pacific Coast Open,
held in Concord, CA, May 4-6, by Bob Partridge
and his friends, offered good playing conditions,
reasonable entry fees, and an efficient desk.
Before I take up Carls focus on the Open
Singles and Doubles,
Im going to give you
the results of the other
events: Womens:
former Chinese star
Julie Ou, suddenly
appearing on the
California stage, over
Julie
Diana Gee, 11, -19,
Au
21, 19. Carl says that
Diana Gee
Dianas switch to a
Photo by Mal Anderson
248

fast pimpled-backhand and a more forcing style may allow herif she continues to improve as she
did hereto leave many of her current womens rivals behind. Mixed Doubles: Dean Doyle/
Nadine Prather over Thavaj Ananthothai/Carol Plato. Esquires: Harry Nelson over Partridge.
Seniors: James Chan over Shonie Aki, -19, 20, 9, 18.
U-2200s: Duc Luu, who, after having eight
straight ads, finally got the job donedefeated Danner
in the semis, 27-25 in the 3rd then took the final over
Gee, -20, 14, 18, 12. U-2050s: James Therriault over
Gee, 17, 15, -27, 13. U-1950s: George Sanguinetti
over David Chu, deuce in the 3rd, then over Tito
LeFranc, 19, -12, 14, 16. U-1825s: Horace Cheng
over Chu, 19, 19, -11, 12, after David had outlasted
Ananthothai, 19 in the 3rd. U-1700s: John Schneider
over Kent Leung. (In the first round of the Open, John
had gone 18-in-the-fourth with Jim Lane!) U-3400
Doubles: Aquino/Liu over Rich Livingston/Don
Chamberlain, 24-22 in the 4th. U-1575s: Doohyun
Won over John Ruhke. U-1450s: Ben Torrella over
Duc Luu
Minh Duong, 18 in the 4th. U-2800 Doubles: Szeto/
John Schneider
Harvey over Akif/Hasson. U-1325s: Hien Nguyen
over John Franicevich, 18 in the 3rd, then over Ed Kawai. U-1200s: H. Nguyen over Chan. U1000s: Pat Aubry over Tony Robbins in five. Unrated: Ken Bowan over Peter Wong. Hard
Rubber: Harold Kopper over Ananthothai whod escaped Tom Miller, 23-21 in the 3rd.
In Open Doubles play, Erwin Hom/Khoa Nguyen won the final from Rick Seemiller/Lane,
in a 21, 20, -14, -16, 17 thriller. Erwin and Khoa blew a 20-17 lead in the first but hung on to win
it. Then they won a miraculous second from down 20-14 when Lane, having suffered a 20-17
paddle point that otherwise would have won the game, served too deeply at ad-out. Ricky and Jim
looked good while evening the match at 2-all, but the fifth found Khoa the only one of the four
willing to swing when it counted.
In the three-game Singles final, Ricky defeated Khoahad trouble only in the first when
Khoa streaked off to a big lead looping in many of Rickys famed serves. But Ricky stayed close
and when, at the end, Khoa went from looping hard to a cautious rolling-return of serve, Ricky was
there with forcing forehands to pull it out, 22-20, and break the match wide open.
In the one semis, Seemiller downed Lane in four, and in the other Nguyen stopped Doyle,
also in four. After Dean had won the first, it was as if hed proved he could beat Ricky, and
thereafter wasnt in the match. Later, Doyle and Lane played off for third in a match that neither
wanted to playJim winning the exhibition third to no great applause.
Ah, but there IS recognition for Jim. Don Gunn has a remarkable companion piece to this
Pacific Coast article, in whichis it anything new for those whove read over the years his Gunn
Shots columns?he offers us another burst of devotion to Jim Lane. Only this time, in more than a
continuation, in a climax, as it were, to their long, one-sided love story, its Don who unexpectedly
gets the attention, scores.
Gunn, remembering Brigham Youngs historic words, This is the place, begins his tale,
aware, as he says, of the epoch-making, era-ending, precedent-shattering effect of a seemingly
innocuous question put to me at the Pacific Closed Championships, in Concord.
249

He then takes us back to a


time in the early 1970s where he
says, I met a small boy loaded
with skill and enthusiasm for table
tennis. Subsequently we spent
much time together, staying at one
anothers home, or together away
from home, traveling to
tournaments, and somehow I
became his go-fer. He asked for
Jim Lane
Don Gunn
nothing, not even for me to get lost,
so I remained Fidus Achates. In 1975, at the Houston
Nationals, he and I, and Lee Lawson and Don Flowers, little kids all, played some impromptu
doubles before being called to our scheduled events.
From that moment on, for nine long years, he never, by word or deed, gave the slightest
indication of any awareness that I played table tennis. Your most casual acquaintance will ask about
your game, who you play next, or whatnot. I was spared all this. We might spend hours discussing
his game, reasonable enough, as his rating was twice mine, but while I couldnt help his game, what
about mine? We would pass the table at his house in silence.
But what the hell, Im still here at his elbow.So what do you need, son?
He needed a lift from the motel to Concord High School, and I picked him up, with his
friends. When we entered the playing area, Randy and Steve reported in, but he hung back and hit
me with a mushroom cloud. Oh, I took it calmly. Im famous for my self-control, but there was that
surging sound in my ears which comes only when I stand naked before History, when the World is
altering before my very eyes, when the old order changeth, yielding place to new. After nine years,
and with only the faintest trace of a smile, he asked, Want to hit some?
We hit some, for the second and last time. It is sufficient. I die content.
Minutes of the May 12th Southern California TTA Meeting (Timmys,
June, 1984, 16) are as follows:
Dr. Jiing Wang gave a report on the International Committee.
Dr. Wang gave a report on fund-raising activities.
A discussion was held on ways to get more official umpires. Also, a
discussion was held on enforcing the dress code and the legal-service rule at
tournaments.
President Peter Antkowiak reported that the SCTTA is now a nonprofit corporation. Its Non-Profit number is 1305826.
An election procedure was voted on and adopted. The procedure will
take two meetings. The first will be for nominating officers, and the second will
be for election. Each affiliated club will have two votes (no proxies). Three atlarge members will be voted on by all USTTA members in Southern
California. There will be a majority vote and a secret ballot.
A discussion was held on the subject of discipline. Jimmy Lane will be
sent a letter censoring him for his actions at the Mar. 23-25 Alhambra
Tournament [see Chapter Eight]. He must reply to the letter.
250

SCTTA President
Peter Antkowiak

A proposal on the California State Open was passed. Alhambra Human Services will be
offered 25% of the net profit, concessions, and spectator fees for the Open Singles Finals. They will
also be offered a $400 guarantee for the use of their facilities.
A motion was passed approving the wording of a request to the USTTA E.C. for funds for
the SCTTA.
Ontario Coach/Manager Alain Thomas (OTTA
Update, June-July, 1984, 7-8) reports on the Canadian
National Championships, held May 18-21 in Calgary,
Alberta. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology venue was a spacious college gym, with

Joe Ng

Alain Bourbonnais

Photo by Brian Thuska

Canadian Champion Horatio Pintea


Photo by Brian Thuska

all provinces/territories participating, except for the Northwest Territories. The tournament was run most
efficiently, and the atmosphere was at all times friendly, which I understand is always the case here.
The Ontario Men lost the title theyd held for 18 years, since 1966. Obviously Zoran
Kosanovic and Errol Caetanos decision not to play was a deciding factor. Every Association
experiences internal strife at one moment or another, but it should not interfere with our Nationals,
our most important competition. Let us hope that in the future common sense will prevail and bring
Ontario back to First Place where we belong.*
Mens Team Final: Quebec (5) over Ontario (3)Joe Ng won three (including a win over
Alain Bourbonnais), but Dave Mahabirs returns were too high to confuse Bao Nguyen or Horatio
Pintea, and Steve Lyons was not fast enough for this level of competition. Alberta finished third.
Mens Singles: Final: Pintea over Bourbonnais, 15, 21, 17. (Back in the quarters, Alain was
down 2-0 to Albertas Bert Flisberg.) Semis: Pintea over Nguyen, 15, -20, -18, 8, 12;
Bourbonnais over Joe Ng, 20, -15, -9, 21, 17. Favourite Joe Ng could not reach the final because
of old-rival Bourbonnais efficient blocking. Although Joe won the third game easily to take a 2-1 lead in
games, he relaxed too early, let Alain catch up, and in the fourth even treated him to a 23-21 win by
serving off the table. After that Joe lost confidence, and in the fifth never had the upper hand.
Womens Team: Final: Ontario (5) over Quebec (3)Mariann Domonkos won her three,
but that was it for last years winner Quebec. Alberta finished third.
251

Womens Singles: Final: Domonkos over Gloria


Hsu, 9, 10, -16, -19, 14. Once again Gloria was close to
upsetting Mariann. Her serve-and-loop sequence started
paying off after the first two games. But in the fifth
Mariann varied her spins better, and Glorias loops
suddenly stopped clearing the net. Semis: Domonkos
over Thanh Mach, 12, 16, 15; Hsu over Becky
McKnight, 19, 18, -13, -18, 13, after Becky had scored
an encouraging win over BCs Cindy Choy.
Mens Doubles: Pintea/Nguyen over Eddie Lo/
Paul Judd, 20, 22, then over Ng/Lyons, 19, 10. Womens
Doubles: Hsu/Mach over Julia Johnson/McKnight, 18,
Canadian Champion Mariann Domonkos
16. Mixed Doubles: Pintea/Domonkos over Ng/Mach,
17, 15. Mens U-2000: John Mah over Tommy Vuong, 14, 11. Womens U-1600: Emiko
Kinoshita over Sandy Mah, 12, 18. Seniors: Neville Brabooks steady chop defense and overall
prudence allowed him to -15, 13, 5 defeat Defending Champion Maurice Moore, and so give Nova
Scotia their first National Title ever. Boys Youth: Ng over Nguyen, 16, 18. Girls Youth: Mach
over Johnson, -18, 12, 15.
Billy Su (Timmys, June, 1984, 20) tells
us that the May 13 Lansing Spring Open was the
local clubs first sanctioned tournament, and,
with a turnout of over 60 players laid claim to being the largest tournament ever held in
the Lansing area. Every event started at (or even before) its scheduled time, and the whole
tournament was concluded before 9:00 p.m. Thanks go to Lansing Community College Club
Tournament Directors Richard Mull and Larry Su of the Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics,
and to William Zuhl and Sarah Patterson of the Student Activities Office.
Winners: Open Singles: 1. Jim Doney, 3-0. 2. Mike Veillette, 2-1. 3. Bob Allshouse. 4.
Larry Wood (def. to Doney and Allshouse). U-1950: Mark Letgers over Connie Sweeris, 17 in the
5th. U-1800: Ross Sanders over Ward Wood (from down 2-0). U-1650: Max Salisbury over
Magdi Hanna, 19 in the 4th. U-1300: Phil Preston over
George Saleh. U-1150: Saleh over Steve Monroe. Seniors:
W. Wood over Su. U-17: James Dixon over Michelle
Mantel. U-15: Dixon over Todd Sweeris.
In giving us the Results of the Scioto Open, played
May 5 in Columbus, Ohio, Ron Schull (Timmys, June,
1984, 19) focuses on the Mens final between Randy
Seemiller and Bob Cordell. In the first, down five points at
mid-game, Cordell used his very quick hands to block and
counter Randys powerful forehand loop-kills, and,
rebounding, took a 20-18 lead. Randy deuced it, but Bob
went up game-point. Then he missed a hanger down the line
with Randy pinned against the barrier, and the home-crowd
groaned. Groaned the more when he lost that game. Nor was
it better for the partisan crowd when Bob was never in
Randy Seemiller
contention in the second.
Photo by Mal Anderson
252

In the do-or-die third, however, Cordell made a significant adjustment: he quit pushing deep
into Seemillers backhand side. Randy had been stepping around that shot and generating a
tremendous amount of power with his forehand loops. Now Bob began pushing wide to Randys
forehand, and this changed the pattern of play. Time after time in the next two games Cordell was
back to the barriers and corner-to-corner retrieving balls with topspin lobs, then suddenly chopreturned a ball with his backhand. When Randy returned that chop with a push, Bob would step
around and forehand loop-kill for a winner. Only then, in the fifth, it was as if Cordell had forgotten
how hed won those last two games and began pushing into Randys backhand again. With
predictable resultsmatch to Seemiller.
Results: Mens: 1. Seemiller. 2. Cordell. 3. Rod Mount. 4. Jim Repasy. Open Doubles:
Seemiller/Mount over Cordell/Repasy. As: Mount over Tony Marcum whod upset Repasy, 19 in
the 3rd. Bs: Ken Stanfield over Steve Liu, 18 in the 4th. Cs: Steve Zimmerman over Jim Fulks. U3400 Doubles: Miller/Liu over Stanfield/Herman Hoffman whod stopped Rick Hardy/Joyce
Jenkins, 19 in the 3rd. Ds: John Elwood over Hoffman. U-2700 Doubles: Elwood/Mark Artman
over Gerhardt Gary Egri/Watkins. Es: John Kizer (from down 2-0) over Chuck Weaver, -17, 22, 15, 21, 15. Novice: Artman over Joe Helfand. Beginners: Artman over John Devitt. Hard
Rubber: 1. Hardy. 2. Stanfield. 3. Brad Hudson. 4. Bob Allen. Esquires: Greg Brendon over
Hoffman. Seniors: Brendon over Jenkins, 19 in the 4th. Young Adults: Liu over Elwood. U-17s:
Elwood over Todd Jackson. U-15s: Elwood over Ben Culler. U-13s: Elwood over Culler. U-11s:
Ben over Adam Culler.
I, Tim, indulging in some dj-vu
moments, give you coverage (Timmys, June,
1984, 19) of the Howard Thomas Memorial
Open, held May 19th in Dayton, Ohio:
For the first 25 years of my life, I lived in a Tudor house on
Glendale Ave. in Dayton, Ohio. I was 19 before I found out from Cy
Fess, a classmate at the University of Dayton, that there was such a thing
as the USTTA, and my son Erics age (20) when, on the way to winning
the Dayton City Championship, I scored my first big winin the semis
over Howard Thomas.
Id thought Howard had dumped that match to me, for Id never
before beaten him. (Win it, kid. I cant beat Mark Neff, but maybe you
canthat was the romantic voice Id heard from deep inside.) Howard
was a table tennis father-figure to meand even toothpick-picking,
street-smart fathers sacrificed.
Howard Thomas
Back in Dayton for this 2nd Annual Howard Thomas Memorial
Open, after an absence of 30 years, I was given the Grand TourUSTTA Treasurer Lyle Thiem
drove me around my old neighborhood. First to the Corpus Christi grade school Id attended
almost 50 years ago [now, as I write, 76 years ago]. There was the door Id come out of after
receiving my first Holy Communion. It tastes funny, I remember saying to my father who was
accompanying me. You shouldnt say that, hed said.
Then up sleepy, curled around Glendale Ave. Lyle and I cameto my home, formerly an
upper middle-class all-white neighborhood (the Dayton mayor-to-be, Henry Stout, whose son
Sunny I played with, lived next door). Now, however, the neighborhood was all-black. I got out of
253

the car, feeling very much an outsider, gawked from a distance at the people on MY screened-in
porch, and, stupidly (instead of walking up to their door and introducing myself) couldnt resist
yelling out to them, I lived the first 25 years of my life in that house! I havent been back in 30
years! I of course got no responsethey must have thought this suddenly appearing stranger, this
white guy, nuts. I dont know what Lyle who stayed in the car thought, but I continued to feel very
uncomfortable, out of place, an intruder.
Nevertheless, there between the houses was the Public Walk, now shrunk to little more
than the size of an ordinary sidewalk (amazing, the image of it had gone so deep inside me when Id
been what?...three or four years old?). I, now the outsider, walked this Walk (about the length of
two ordinary blocks) until there, at the end of it, I saw the steps to descend. But the tree I used to
climb, the limb I sat on to gaze down at the winding avenue vista was no longer there.
Uneventfully, I returned to Lyle in the car.
Downtown was the Reibold Building. How proud Id been as a child to enter its lobby,
knowing my doctor-father had his practice there (once, he said, he had 103 patients in one dayno
wonder with that intense work ethic, his three-packs-a-day Camels habit, and his heavy drinking, he
died at 54 while shaving, looking at himself in the mirror).
AndsurpriseLyles downtown T.T. Club ($500 a month
rent in Dayton, $5,000 a month in New York City) was in the very
same building, on perhaps the very same floor of a Dayton club Id
played at over three decades ago. There in a corner of this Club
was a plaque commemorating all the Dayton City Champions,
beginning with Merle Arens in 1932. Howard Thomas, said the
writing on the wall, had been runner-up to Arens as far back as
1934; later hed be the Champion, as I would be for a few
yearslong ago. Still later, Howard, shortly after coming off a table,
would drop dead of a heart attack right there in Lyles Club.
Hail and Farewell, my surrogate father. No, I did not go to his
grave, or to that of my own father whom I always loved very much,
Tim Boggan
and who showed extraordinary patience in allowing me to
laboriously find my way in life when it appeared I wouldnt. At home
in Merrick, I look at him in his doctors whites from time to time.
For 10 years in a rowfrom the mid-1950s to the mid-60sHoward Thomas won the
Dayton City Seniors. Now, 20 years later, THIS Seniors in Dayton I wonover Andy Gad after
dropping the first at deuce, and then John Dichiaro. Earlier, John had scored a second-round
satisfying 19-in-the 3rd victory over Rod Mount. Also, in this Old Boys/Old Girls eventHow I
hate that name, Old Boys, says my friend Derek WallJoyce Jenkins scored two clutch wins
before losing to Dichiaro: she beat Sid Stansel (-18, 15, 20) and Greg Brendon (-25, 12, 23).
But in mild retaliation my early 1950s U.D. classmate Stanselwho found himself thinking
about blades, lawnmower blades, blades of grass this sunny Saturday afternoon that he really
oughta be back home cuttingteamed with Mike Etheridge to take the Doubles II title from Jenkins
and her partner Kim Farrow.
As for Doubles I, unbelievable, Andy Gad (rated 1748) and I (1988) did away with
Cordell (2083) and Repasy (2029), and then Ricky Seemiller (2442) and Greg Waldbieser
(1855) to come first in the event. Of course ratings fluctuate and doubles play IS different from
singles, but how explain our win, except as Andy said of our little triumph, Guile and wile beat
speed and spin.
254

Which is what multi-bat devotee Max Salisbury has long thought,


though losing to Gad in the Seniors. Max, whod entered his first USTTA
tournament when he was 44, today was often playing with Friendship
Regal on one side, and sticky pips (pebbles he called them) on the other.
Max is well known for having this or that bat for every occasion, or
sometimes for every point, and when he plays a Chinese he, what the hell,
plays penholder.
Juniors Ill talk about, too, of course.
Dan Hopper brought half a dozen kids from
the Indianapolis area to play. John Elwood,
the Columbus Championthats Columbus,
Indianawon the U-17s over Mark Artman
who finished second in both the U-1350s (to
Vernon Oliver) and U-1200s (to Don
Hamilton, himself a runner-up in the U-1500s
to Mike Hamm). Elwood also took the U-1700s. First he beat Voldis
Daskevics who, though in WWII he got a bullet in the knee, still has a
1600 kick, and then he beat John Pletikapich (which, given someones
mispronunciation, sounded to me at first like Bloody cabbage, but
John Elwood
which I now think is more trippingly, Pleh-TICK-a-pick).
Losing close matches to both Pletikapich (in the 1800s) and Waldbieser (in the 2100s)
was Brad Hudson, who cares about winning but who sometimes waits too long to react instead of
constantly initiating an attack. Is it the same at father Bobs equipment table? Good aggressive
practice there too, Brad.
In the absence of Tim OGrosky, 12-time City Champion from 1971-83, the favorite to win
Howards tournament was Ricky Seemiller.. First time hed ever driven the five hours from
Pittsburgh aloneand only to be challenged in one final singles match. But after losing a shaky first
game against Ohio Champ Bob Cordell, Ricky wrested the offense from Bob and quickly wheeled
back home a $200 winner.
In the one semis, Cordell, down 2-0 to me after trying to loop into my too steady
backhand block, began looping everything to my very unsteady forehand counter, and turned the
whole match around. Too damned smart, Bob. (Oh, did I tell you they have a Cuss Bank sign at
this Club? First offense is $.10; thereafter each offense is $.25guy could lose much of his prize
money in just one match if he didnt care about being careful.)
In the final of the Hard Rubber, too, Bob got meafter winning the first
from down 20-17 and the third from down 11-6. Maybe Im getting old? No.
Last year, I chanced to see six-time Dayton City Champion Mark Neff in
Vegasand, why, as I looked at him, and he at me, he looked exactly as Id
remembered him from 30 years ago.
Lets see, I played 16 matches that Saturdaywho else beat me?
Louisvilles Charlie Buckley who, after squeaking by Ray Stewart in five,
lost to Ricky in the other Open semi. Id gotten the better of Charlie for 3rd
Place. But then in the final of the Under 2100s, ohhh, Charlie got sensational
sweet revengeannihilated me in straight games (16-4 he had me one game
take note, Dan Simon, the guy was playing about 2500). Picked up 87 rating
points, said Charlie. Beat you and Repasy twicethose were my big ones.
Charlie Buckley
255

Word was that back in Louisville Vernell Pitts was gonna sauce up an appropriate Chateaubriand
for Charlie, and that Jordan Michelson, who lost in the U-1900s to Ken Stanfield, the U-1900
split-the-cash co-winner with Buckley, was gonna put on a tux and serve it.
Winners at the May 11-12 St. Charles Closed: Mens Singles: 1. Ngo Levan, 2/1 (5/2). 2.
Rich Doza, 2-1 (5-3). 3. George Hendry, 2-1 (4-4). 4. Eric Soldan, 0-3. Womens Singles: Moji
Kuye over Cuong Levan. Doubles: Hendry/Myron Harris over Soldan/Kuye. A-1 Singles: N.
Levan over Kuye. A-2 Singles: Jeff Tentschert over John Shores. B Singles: C. Levan over Bob
Beckman. U-17 Singles: Brian Vomund over Ron Hoff in five.
Duke Stogner tells us (Timmys, June, 1984, 20) that Bud Caughman, 16, from Hot
Springs, outplayed five other qualifiers to win the 10th Annual Arkansas Superstar Championship,
held on two tables before a small spectator crowd at the James H. Penick Boys Club in Little Rock
on Saturday evening, May 26th.
After both Caughman and another 16-year-old, Jon Self from Little Rock, had
eliminated their round robin competitionDuke Stogner (3rd), Paul Hadfield (4th), Emmanuel
Oyegoke (5th), and William Hall (6th)they were ready to fight it out for the Championship.
Both have been playing a little less than three years, and both are rated about 1860 (though
capable of playing at a 2000 level). However, their styles of play are not at all alike. Caughman
is a close-to-the-table pusher, blocker, hitter, and looper. Self is primarily a defensive player
who can also hit.
It would seem that their 2/3 match would be closeand from the start it wasbecause,
though Caughman took a commanding 16-9 lead in the first, Self had pulled to 19-20 before
succumbing. Then 21-14 back came Jon to even the match. Only to have Bud, who, with the
support of his parents, had been working hard on his game, regain the top form hed opened
with, and this time Jon couldnt draw close.
This year the Superstar Championship not only topped off our 83-84
season, it also brought down the curtain on Tickeys Table Tennis Palace. At this
time, we dont know if our closing is permanent or just temporary. Our facilities and location
were good enough for us to get started, but it had come to a point where, in order to grow, we
needed to make a change. If we can get the necessary capital together, well open up another table
tennis center.
Meanwhile, I would like to recognize those whove volunteered their time and energy on
behalf of the Superstars: Jack Haynes (Announcer); Dee Pollan (Referee/Umpire); Pat Kauffman
and Paul Vancura (Umpires); Jimmy Miller, John Pyland, and Tony Thomason (Scorekeepers); and
Wayne Kelly, Mike Lauro, Stewart Rogers-Adams, Alvin Ward, and Sam White (Ball Boys). Also
a special thanks to Gary Patterson and the Penick Boys Club.
Winners at Yvonne Kronlages May 5-6 Circuit #8 Tournament in Columbia, MD:
Open Singles. 1. Brian Masters, 3-0 (d. ONeill, -10, 22, 10). 2. Sean ONeill. 3. Barney
Reed. 4. John Wetzler. U-2100: 1. Dickie Fleisher. 2. Mark Davis. 3. Larry Hodges. 4. Carl
Kronlage. U-1900: 1. Pat Lui. 2. Wetzler. U-3600 Doubles: White/Shibaji Chakroborty over
Reed/Tom Steen. U-1700: 1. Steve Johnson. 2. Chakroborty. U-1500: Peter Kopolovic over
Erich Haring. U-2800 Doubles: Warren Wetzler/Stough over Kevin Walton/Kopolovic. U1300: Steven Banks over Craig Bailey. U-1100: Stough over V. Garcia. Sat. Handicap: P.
March over Irv Goldstein. Sun. Handicap: Prakash Chougule over J. Wetzler. Visiting Chinese
Coach Henan Li Ai, who gave some classes at this #8 Circuit tournament, would win Junes
Junior Olympic Raffle.
256

Results of the Pennsylvania Team Championship, held May


26 in Albertus: Class A: 1. Harrisburg (Keith Minnich, Steve
Delp). 2. NCACCI (Rich Sosis, Ahmet Koya). Class B: 1.
Hazelton (Dave Caravella, Jeff Sabrowsky). 2. Medicine Shoppe
(Jim Clark, Don Piper). Class C: 1. Muhlenberg (Doug Holtzman, Boamah Boachie). 2. Lehigh
(Eric Eisley, Dennis Essinger).
Winners at the May 19-20 Westfield Open: Open Final: Eric Boggan over Rey Domingo, 3-0.
Best Matches: Fu-lap Lee over Eyal Adini, 19, 19, -19, 19 (but scores suspect), then B.K. Arunkumar
over Lee, deuce in the 5th. Womens: Jasmine Wang over Alice Green, 21, 19, -17, -19, 15. Open
Doubles: Boggan/Ron Luth over Adini/Steven Mo, -19, 15, 20. Esquires: Harold Kupferman over Eric
Rothfleisch. Seniors: George Brathwaite over Igor Klaf whod downed Peter Holder, 18 in the 3rd. U17: Marta Zurowski over Ovidiu Nazarbechian. U-13: Kaz Zurowski over J. Ertel.
U-2200: Horace Roberts over Barry Dattel. U-2075: Bill Sharpe
over Dave Llewellyn whod escaped A. Green, 19 in the 3rd. U-1975:
Sharpe over Robert Ballantyne, 23-21 in the 3rd. U-1875: Thomas
Nazarbechian over Marius Wechsler. U-1875 Doubles: Harry Monroe/
Neil Ackerman over Zurowski/Nazarbechian. U-1775: Rothfleisch over
Zurowski. U-1600: Alex Landsman over Gary Guketlov, 19 in the 3rd.
U-1600 Doubles: Guketlov/Nova Zakaev over Mike Coke/Joan Fu, 19, 19, 26. U-1450: Eugene Palmore over Monroe, 24-22 in the 3rd.
U-1300: Larry Stein over David Bernstein. U-1150: Aston Brissett over
M. Lozada, deuce in the 3rd. U-1000: Howard Teitelbaum over K.
Zurowski. Unrated: G. Ishmael over A. Oliver.
In the April, 1984 issue of Timmys, there appeared an ambitious
entry form for a Pro-Am Killingly Springtime Festival tournament
Horace Roberts
Photo by Harry Frazer (2000) sanctioned by an organization I wasnt familiar with called The American
Table Tennis Association. It was to be played May 5-6 at the Danielson
High School Gym in Danielson, CT and offered over $1,700 in prizes. Turns out this tournament
was Bill Percys doing, and after I as USTTA President-Elect had spoken with him he agreed to
have the tournament sanctioned by the USTTA. On Apr. 19th I urged Clubs to post a notice Id
written that Bill, needing more players, had extended the entry deadline, and that he now wanted
everyone to understand that Players are advised that the prize money awards advertised may be
dependent on the number and quality of entries. For the protection of both sponsor and player, a
mutual understanding between Bill and the Prize-money-oriented player MUST be arrived at prior
to the tournament weekend.
This tournament, sanctioned by the USTTAaffilated Windham CountyAmerican Association Club
was indeed held (Timmys, June, 1984, 18)but the
venue was changed to the Brooklyn School Gym in
Brooklyn, CT. Helping out were the Jewitt City and
Danielson Federal Savings banksand winning the
$200 first prize without even working up a sweat was
U.S. Open Champ Eric Boggan.
In the four-man Open Singles round robin
final, George Brathwaite came secondand, with Eric
George Brathwaite
in the Draw, said The Chief, It was like winning.
Photo by Robert Compton
257

George began top-spinning down former U.S. World Team member Lim Ming Chui, and,
ever-inquiring reporter that I am, I later sought to get an explanation, not from George, who played
well, but from Ming, who, mgod, tells me he has a tendon sticking to the bone. Poor Chui. It hurts,
he says, when he blocks. Hurts so much that even before trying to play here hed consulted not one
doctor but two. Hey, Ming doesnt do anything by halves. Said the Western doctor, $75 a visit
no guarantee. Said the Chinese doctor, $200 nowthe rest, $300 more, when cured. Who
would you go to?
After playing and losing to George in the first of his round robin matches, Ming promptly
withdrew from the tournamentpresumably to go quickly off to get relief.
Which left John Allen to come 3rd. Since it may be a while before John returns to Japan,
hes taken to training at Benny Hills Club indid I say Benny HILL? I meant Benny Hull, whose
Waltham, MA Club is again going strong (though, Benny, why arent you holding tournaments
there?).
In the quarters, Allen finally tapped out Fu-lap Lee in five. But Eric Boggans win over a
byed-to-the-8ths Llewellyn was easysince Dave, the recent Long Island Open Champ, didnt
show. Against George Cameron, Chui didnt have to suffer in anguish, didnt even wince as he just
stood there for three games blocking while George zipped loops at him.
Of the quarterfinalists, Sugaru Araki gets the most
attention. He came out to play Brathwaite armed with an
Suguru Araki
authentic kamikaze scarf turned monks cowl (rising sun
on an all-white background) wrapped round his head, so
that he looked incongruously like a chef. Does this headcovering bother you? he said. Bother me? I WAS
startled. But, oh, he wasnt talking to me, the umpirehe
was talking to George. In answer, The Chief, whod
countered with DATUM on his shirt, shook his head
NOas if he hadnt even noticed the bizarre Wheres his
head?Araki. As was predictable, Sugurus willingnesss to
attack could not withstand Georges steady-arcing sky
guns.
In the U-2200s, however, Araki got to contest
againand did well. He lost in the final to Igor Klaf, the
mid-fortyish Russian who was adding coaching credentials in the U.S to his resume, but he beat
Cameron and Dave Valoy, winner of the U-2000s over Andy Diaz. Andy, however, paired with
Liang to take the U-4000 Doubles from Bill Maisonet/Lee. Rich
Tahnya
DeWitt, whos saving his money to go back to Sweden or, what the
Percy
hell, the Netherlands to play in a league there, won the U-1900s
over Don Najarian. The 1800 winner was Maisonet, squeaking by
Marta Zurowski in the semis, 18, -21, 19, and Mike Rose in the
final. But both Rose (winning the U-1700s from Kim Brastow in
five) and Zurowski (winning the U-1600s from Reterski in the fifth)
had their moment of triumph. And in the 1400s Hrobak was
backthis time as a winner over Kaz Zurowski.
There was no Womens eventbut Junior Olympic Champ
Tahnya Percy, in promoting the tournament, had played not only
Marc Allard of WINY Radio but any and all comers in Challenge
258

Match after Challenge Match (picked up by Channel 3 TV) that netted


Tahnya $.75 a point for what one might call Junior Development.
Winning the $50-maturity bond in the Juniors was 9-year-old
Rebecca Martin. She also distinguished herself by coming runner-up in
both the U-1300s and U-1200s to Jim Hallene, and by winning both the
U-1100s (over Hubert Farrell) and the Juniors (over Lenny Zurowski).
Understandably, Coach Klaf thinks Rebecca a fabulous prospect
(Give me that girl for three yearsshe is SUCH a natural). Well, he ought
to know. One of his early pupils was current European Womens Champ
Valentina Popova. Even when she was so tired from practicing she could
hardly stand up, said Igor, she would still be eager for half an hours
Rebecca Martin
discussion on her playWhat did I do wrong, Igor? What did I do right?
Photo by Mal Anderson
Becky, whos been coached by her father but who this weekend
received some impromptu lessons from Klaf, played none other than Eric Boggan in the Open. And when
he popped up a ball, or two, or three, she sometimes banged shot after shot at him, much to the delight of
the local spectators who hoped that this new Festival tournament will be repeated next year.
Both Steve Johnson and I, Tim, had things
to say (Timmys, June, 1984, 21-22) about the
$2,600 Baltimore Invitational, played May 12th at
the Polytechnic Fieldhouse. Ill begin:
We ought to have a $50,000 Circuit of these Invitational tournaments, said U.S.
Womens Champ Insook Bhushan (sponsored herethe only woman in the 16-player invited
fieldby patron Catherine Haring). Yeah, said Perry Schwartzberg, just back from winning the
Mixed in Santa Clara, Cuba, these Invitationals are easier to run, to get publicity for.
Baltimore promoter extraordinaire Jay Harris sold over $3,000 worth of ads for his
Tournament Program, prompting Steve Johnson to say, they probably should have called it the Jay
Harris Invitational. Said Jay, It was just a matter of phone calls. Harris got perspective spectators
(quite a few of whom had never seen REAL table tennis played) to buy 1200 $3 ticketsthe
Chinese community alone bought 200 (though come tournament time there wasnt a Chinese
supporter in the standsprobably because there wasnt a Chinese player on the floor).
Jay also had everyday plugs on ABC, CBS, and NBC tied in with the upcoming Preakness
Week, had Tournament Director Dennis Masters on Cable TV, an article in the Baltimore Sun on
Pan Am Champ Brian Masters, and, last but not least, the night before the tournament had Brian
and Brandon Olson casually sweat-suit batting the ball around in practice for an
inane Isnt this intense? local TV sportscaster. Oh, do our PR people need a
sophisticated 30-second promo film and a kept-up-to-date , month after month
usable Headquarters Photo Bank.
Steve Johnson, for one, pointed out that the Tournament Program was
marred somewhat due to the condition of the photos received, especially from
Colorado Springs:
The cover was a montage of photos of various players, but they werent
exactly recent. Pictures of Danny Seemiller, Mike Bush, and Dean Wong had to be
at least five years old; a picture of Eric about seven years old; a picture of Rutledge
Barry; a picture of Dean Doyle and Quang Bui at least five years old, pics of
Kasia Dawidowicz
Barbara Kaminsky, Sol Schiff, and Dick Miles, and a picture of Kasia Dawidowicz Photo by Mal Anderson
259

Gaca which, as Kathy ONeill put it, must have been taken while she was still a virgin. Surely one
would think there must be better, more relevant photos than these at our Headquarters in Colorado
Springs. [But even if there werent, obviously someone incredibly unknowledgeable and uncaring
about many of our very best players in a $2,600 tournament sent the photos received. This again
suggests to me a dis-connect between the amateur-minded leadership in Colorado Springs and the
professional-minded play-for-pay USTTA players elsewhere.] The pics from Mal Anderson were
greatly appreciated, but, because we didnt request his help until we saw what unusable photos
Headquarters had sent us, they arrived too late. The pics Tim Boggan supplied were also helpful.
Among mention of Sean ONeills accomplishments and awards listed in the Program was
the line 1983 NSF Mens Singles BRONZE medalistwhich seemed to bother Kathy ONeill
more than 83 NSF Mens Singles Champion Sean. But then, as with the cover, it wouldnt make
any difference to many of the spectators, ignorant of the players as they were.
In exchange for a full page ad, the Ramada Inn provided us with three rooms for two nights,
which were given to the umpires and (I could be wrong here) the Seemillers. Everyone else was
offered local hospitality. Some accepted, others did not, and there was some confusion about the
arrangements anyway. Yvonne Kronlage, whod graciously let us use her four Joola tables and some
of the barriers from the Howard County Club, mailed the hospitality letters a week before the
tournament, letting the players know where theyd be staying and who to contact, but several
players said theyd never received such a letter.
I, Tim, was well aware that Fred Tepper, recent USTTA Executive Committee candidate,
was eager to introduce top-flight table tennis to the masses and to give our best players their just
due. Trouble was, though, Freds hard work with words went too often more or less unheard
because at 10 a.m. Opening Ceremony-time only players well known to each other and their friends
were in the house. It would have been better if the Introductions had been postponed for a round or
two until, say, Yvonne Kronlage and Co. had set up their Equipment corner (as later it would have
been much better to have presented all the players awards BEFORE the final, not afterwards when
the spectators were fast departing).
It was also nice of Fred to introduce longtime table tennis
great Tibor Hazi, who in 1939 won the first of his four (over a 15year span) U.S. Open Doubles titles. You remember, said Tibor
wistfully to me while his friend Jim Verta listened in agreement,
those beautifully staged matches back in Toledo in 1939. You
couldnt get a room at the tournament hotel.
Very helpful, too, was beleaguered Tournament Director
Dennis Masters (O.K., O.K.enough! I wont ever use that
disastrous Quarters format again!). Also, a Thanks to Manny
Moskowitz, Harry Stern, Erich Haring, and Dan Simon who saw
to it that every single match was umpired.
Tibor Hazi
We started then with an elite field of 16 players divided
Photo by Mal Anderson
into four round robin Groups (A, B, C, D) of four players each.
Players each took alternate turns playing two-from-a-group
matches on the four barriered-off courts (each player would play a match then sit one out). Out of
each group would come the two survivors for the increased-prize-money single-elimination
quarters, semis, and final. Tournament Director Masters had decided how he would match up the
players in the quartersA1 vs. B2; C1 vs. D2; B1 vs. A2; and D1 vs. C2but wasnt telling
anyone, so there wouldnt be any temptation to dump a match for positional advantage..
260

GROUP A (Danny Seemiller, Sean ONeill, Perry Schwartzberg, and Igor Fraiman) opened
with Seans easy win over Igor, whod also get zonked by Danny and Perry. As if to substantiate his
admission at the outset that Im not ready for this tournamentbut what can I do? I cant pass up
the chance for an $800 winSeemiller in his second match found himself in a tough struggle with
Schwartzberg. Perrys light-topspin counter of Dannys moderate loop was quite effective. But adup in the first, Perry erred on an easy ball, then, ad-down, lost it when he served and backhandwhiffed the return. In the second, Danny, behind 14-11 and continuing to play conservatively
against an opponent who knew his game as well as anybody, yelled out, You turkey! Youre not
playing at all! However, he rallied to lead 20-19, then faltered to give Schwartzberg the ad. But
Perry pushed Dannys serve into the netand again lost at deuce. [As it turned out, said Steve
Johnson, if Danny had lost those two games to Perry (or even one of them?) hed have had to
settle for a token $50 and would be sitting on the sidelinesa big swing.]
Once ONeill got into forehand position against Schwartzberg, he seemed a great favorite
to win the point. And yet (maybe he needed to get over the ball more, was coming up on his stroke
too much, wasnt covering the ball) Sean was down 1-0 and then, from 15-10 up, was down 1917 in the second. But Sean had the serve at the end and scored four intimidating points to pull out
the game. Then the momentum shifted to Perry and the match was all even. But in the third, Sean
got off to a 6-0 lead. However, a net and an edge edged Schwartzberg up to 16-18. Then, after a
series of errors, ONeill, down 20-19, daringly looped in Perrys serve to deuce itonly to be
outsteadied at the end.
Seans idea, which in winning the first game against Danny he again and again
dramatized with bravura effect, was to step around and forehand loop at every opportunity.
Rather lose the point than not trywhats a young player got to lose? Also, Sean had to loop
strongotherwise Dannys block would be effective. In losing the second game, Sean was too
soft? But maybe Seemiller could slip into playing too much defense? In the third, down 13-9,
Danny was saying, Cmon, its not too late! But, oh yes, it wasfrom 15-10 up, ONeill ran
out the match. So in this Group Fraiman was out, and so was Schwartzberg (2-3 in the
tiebreaker) whod beaten 2nd-Place finisher Sean (3-3) and played two deuce games with No.
1 advancer Danny (3-2).
GROUP B (B.K. Arunkumar, Lekan Fenuyi, Brandon Olson, and Dave Sakai) provided
plenty of surprises. In the opener, Fenuyi (2386) found himself down 17-14 in the 3rd to a beautiful
blocking Sakai (2249). Perhaps Lekan was too much of a pattern player? No matter how viciously
the transplanted Nigerian looped the ball cross-court, Dave was there waiting. And now, after hed
served a succession of largely no-spin balls, Sakai unexpectedly gave Fenuyi two sidespin-topspin
serves and Lekan didnt return either. Down 19-17, Fenuyi missed a putaway and couldnt recover.
Upset win for Sakaiwho quipped that Danny Robbins would soon be coming out with a new
rubber called Sakai Spin.
Kumar, meanwhile, was straight-game downing Olson who complained that off Kumars
chops the too-light ball was just hangin there.
Nor could Olson do much better against Sakai. I just couldnt spin the ball, said Brandon.
From 17-all in the third, Lekan and Kumar played two typically long, crowd-pleasing
points that ended in traded-off point-winning edges. This spectacular attack-and-defense
match was a natural for any TV audience, the more so because play finally ended with Kumar
24-22 victorious and Fenuyi on the floor as thunderous applause for both players rose round
him.
Olson and Fenuyi, both 0-2, played a meaningless matchwhich Brandon won in three.
261

But the ArunkumarSakai match was


mysteriously
important, for, since
the quarters
positions in the
Draw remained
unknown except to
Director Masters,
the qualifiers could
only second-guess
the format. Surely,
B.K. Arunkumar
Dave Sakai
Photo
by Mal Anderson
though, it was better
to win than lose.HEYYY! Surprise again. Another upset
for Dave! This time over #2 seed Kumar (2574), a man hed never beaten. This was better than the
Indian rope trick. Ive got my respectability back again, said Dave whod been seeded #15 out of
16. But Steve Johnson said, Unfathomable. Sakai, the only undefeated player in the Group? This
result had to be unofficial pending the results of Sakais urine test.
IN GROUP C (Scott Boggan, Ricky Seemiller, George Brathwaite, and Scott Butler),
Scott Boggan was playing for the first time since his soccer accident in Germany in late February.
He got off to a 16-10 lead against Scott Butler, then, up 16-13 saw Butler mis-serve into his own
back edge of the table, off which the ball reacted crazily, came legally over to Boggans side of the
table and since it was high Scott took a quick whack at it but failed to make a good return.
Eventually Boggan lost this game at 19. In the second, though, he just held on from 19-16. And in
the third, up 11-3, he cruised in.
George The Chief Brathwaite split his first two games at deuce with Ricky. In the third,
Brathwaite, up 18-13, was lookin good. But then Ricky got two net points that threw off Georges
timingand, serving at the end, ran out the match. Said Ricky later, It took me a while to discover
that the harder I looped against The Chief, the better he played. If I looped it soft, Georges ball
went into the net.
After Scott Butler got a net that allowed him to win the first from Ricky, 24-22 (Ive been
playing him close for some time now, said Scott), he followed his general game plan (loop to
Rickys backhand but dont GROOVE a loop there) and took the second game too.
At 18-all in the first with Brathwaite, Boggan backhanded in Georges serve, then followed
with a cramped forehand that led to the game-winner. The second game was then pretty routine for
Scott, though at one point he yelled, Your deliverys all wrong!
When The Chief rebounded to give Butler his second loss, and Seemiller beat Boggan in
three to share a 2-1 result with him, Ricky finished first, Scott Boggan second.
IN GROUP D (Rey Domingo, Pan Am Champions Brian Masters and Insook Bhushan,
and Randy Seemiller), Masters opened with an easy win over Randy. Domingo, however, was
challenged by Bhushan. He was up 20-18 in the first, got a high ball from Insook, but chose
cautiously to push it and lost the point. Then he served into the net. But he won the game anyway,
22-20, for Coach Eugene Valentino. Rey also won the close (21-19) second. He was being
extremely cautious? Certainly he wasnt fooled by any racket-side switch of Insooks. Now that the
new two-color rule has come in, shes exchanged her earlier deceptive play with anti for pips-out.
Domingo also won, this time handily, from Randy.
262

But Masters lost patience with the Pan Am Champ. Down 1-0
and 7-3 in the second, Brian was trying to backhand out-push
Insook, but when at 10-all she picked two through him, he
abandoned this slow strategy and quickly looped himself out of
the match.
Insook, who needed to win her last match
against Randyto advance, was at deaths door: down
1-0 and 20-18 double-match-point. But then she
got a reprieveSeemiller pushed one into the
net, then tried to score on too low a ball. At
deuce, though, Randy did get a low ball in
(Shot selection, Randy! Shot selection!)
and was rewarded when he
successfully waited out the match.
End of Insooks chances.
Insook Bhushan
Masters, meanwhile,
Photo by Mal Anderson
had lost the first to
Domingo, 21-4! But then,
regaining his at times really
fierce concentration and intensity, won the next two, and so finished second to Rey. [Coach Li Ai
speaks of Brians unusual style. She singles out his loop strokesays it has a very different rhythm
because he catches the ball later than most players.]
The secret format for the quarters turned out to be disastrous. In the top half of the Draw,
Danny (#1 seed) played Kumar (#2 seed), and Rey (#3 seed) played Ricky (#5 seed). Need I go
on? In fact, even after the lunch break, the tournament itself didnt go on. Cries of favoritism
abounded. In the bottom half of the Draw, primed for a chance for more prize money than they
perhaps had a right to expect, were: the Tournament Directors son (Brian), the President Elects
son (Scott), the former Vice-Presidents son (Sean). Only Sakaia favorite son, a rising sonwas
above suspicion.
Of course, as Steve Johnson pointed out, Kumar, the #2 seed,
didnt think he should be playing Danny, the #1 seed, in the quarters
(where if he lost he got $100, rather than in the final where if he lost he got
$600). He argued long and hard**but to no avail. Dennis was between
the proverbial rock and the hard place. Since he had planned the quarters
format in advance, he couldnt morally justify a sudden change in format.
So in the 3/5 quarters, Kumar literally gave up the first two games
to Dannywhich brought a stern lecture from umpire Fred Tepper. Yet the
format was understandably unfair to Kumar. Even the eldest Boggan, that
moral eye in the sky, agreed that it was unfair but just (so to speak).
Yes, I admitted, Kumar, whose heart wasnt in the match yet
astonishingly managed to win the third game from Danny by countering, had
a point, he was rightfully upsetcould that be helped? But I kept my
Dennis Masters
mouth shut, didnt say it was all Sakais fault (for if Kumar had beaten him
as expected he would have been in the opposite half from Danny). Ricky pointed out that had he
lost to Scott Boggan, as his rating politely demanded, he, too, would not now be in his brothers
half. Were he to do it all over again, knowing what he knew now, why, he would have LOST to
263

Scottexcept, wait a minute, then Scott Butler would have advanced in his stead. Ricky, then, was
fixed.
Ricky did get the short end of the stick from Fate in his quarters match with Domingofell
in four, losing both key deuce games. At 17-all in the third, Ricky and Rey had a spectacular TV
pointwith Seemiller up in the air, grunting and swatting, and Domingo looping and also diving and
sprawling into the barriers. A net and a good backhand brought Ricky to 20-18. But then Rey
looped in Rickys serve, got to deuceand, as in the first, went on to win the swing game. [Coach
Li likes Rickys fighting spirit, but has this criticism of his game: He contacts the ball too late on his
loop, and his backswing is straight down instead of behind his back. Thats why he has such a good
slow loop. But he could do better if he had a fast one too. Question is: could he adjust to a different
backswing?]
The less said about Sakais straight-game match with ONeill the better. Let David rest on
his laurels.
The remaining quarters matchBoggan vs. Masterswas interesting up to a point. After
winning the first at 10 and taking a 20-16 lead in the second, Scott seemed in control. But then
Brian won four in a row and eked out the game 25-23. After which, Scott, down 7-0 in the third,
lost that game. Then, as Steve Johnson notes, down match point-something in the fourth, Boggan
asks scorekeeper Jeff Harris, possessed of an 800 rating, if he wanted to play the last point.
Everyone laughed, but Brianhe looped Scotts casual serve in for a winner.
All in all, continued Steve, some very dull quarters. A cameraman from Channel 2 came,
filmed a little, and left.
Actually, the Danny-Rey semis wasnt very interesting either. Danny continued his day-long
careful play, keeping the ball short and low, and blocking passively. Little if any offense from Danny,
just careful, patient playwhich didnt interest the spectators in the least.
Sean and
Brian, however,
picked up the pace. At
19-19 in the first, Sean
ripped a bullet- loop
off the table, then,
thinking it hit Brians
racket, put his hand up
and said, Sorry.
Brian looked at Sean
like he couldnt believe
what hed just heard,
then asked umpire
Moskowitz and
scorekeeper Simon for
their opinions. Simon
Sean ONeill
Brian Masters
had nonehe
Photo by Robert Compton
Photo by Mike Wetzel
deferred to
Moskowitz (because the alleged contact was obstructed from Dans view?). Manny awarded the
point to Sean.
No way! yelled Brian. It hit my arm, man! Then Brian appealed to Seanbut Sean was
still convinced he was right. Oh, man, said Brian to Manny. Youre 80 years old? You cant see!
264

Come on, ump, youve got to make the right call! It hit my arm! And so on, but the point remained
Seans.
Knowing both players as I do, I dont think for a moment that either would ever consciously
cheat anyoneIve seen them give each other points in tournaments before, overruling the umpire
by serving into the net. Anyway, everyone I talked to thought the ball hit Brians racket.
Eventually Brian calmed down (sort of) and, down 19-20, looped it past Seanonly to
lose the game at deuce. Then he took a parting shot: Nice call, ump. I hope youre happy. Brian
then proceeded to win the second with a nobody-does-that-to-me-and-gets-away-with-it attitude.
But Sean went on to win the third and, making a lot of spectacular off-balance counters, the fourth.
So, after beating Danny in their opening round robin, he would meet him again in the final.
As this last match began, I noted that Dan gave Sean, in yellow Yasaka shirt, a spinny
serve, and Sean responded by cracking in a brilliant winner. Hes gonna have a repeat win? But
Danny kept to a game plan: Good defense. Move your feet and play good defense. Up 15-12 in
this first game, Danny disputed a call, and when he asked Sean what he thought, Sean deferred to
the umpire. Which prompted Danny to lash out, Sean, youre always doing thistaking the call of
the umpire when he favors you. Its not etiquette, man. From that point on until the very end of the
third game, it appeared that Seemiller, who looked very confident after winning the second to take a
2-0 lead, would win without much trouble.
Then, up 19-17 in the third, Danny whiffed one, said sotto voce, Its never easy.
Whereupon Sean served into the net. And now, down 20-18 double match-point, Sean served and
followed with a marvelous down-the-line forehand, then deuced it, then looped in Dannys serve,
then set the crowd all abuzz by serving and looping in with all his might a stay-alive winner. A real
gutsy performance he gave us to win that third game.
Before the tournament, Coach Li had been staying at the ONeill home for 10 days or so. It
was quite clear that under her tutelage Sean, if he wanted to be a great player, was not EVER to
push a serve return, not even against a potential two-bounce serve. The THREAT of relentless
attack was always worth something too. Under the nervous pressure of combat, even an excellent
server couldnt always keep his serve low.
In the fourth, with Sean up 13-11, someone
said, Danny ought to see about wearing glasses.
Said another, as Sean, up 18-16, followed with
another dazzling winner, Danny looks tired.
Well, as Steve Johnson would make clear,
Sean, on winning that fourth game, now had all the
spectators rooting for him, with the exception of
Ricky, Randy, and Perry Schwartzbergbut Perry
was way up in the bleachers flirting with Pam
Simon.
.
As it turned out, I have to say that Seans
rally in the fifth suffered an irrecoverable stoppage
when, down 18-16, he went for an all-out
backhand that missed. I gotta go for that! he yelled
back to his bench, or else I m a jerk.
A jerk? No. Make it, or miss it, not Sean,
Baltimore Invitational Winner Danny Seemiller
not anyone connected with this tournament was a
being congratulated by Yvonne Kronlage
jerk. And the spectatorsthey really liked this final.
Photo by Kathy ONeill
265

Seemiller struggled, deservingly won it, but, as Steve Johnson, emphasized, almost all those
watching were especially fond of Sean because of his style, power, determination, attitude, and
youth.
SELECTED NOTES.
*Helen Dolik, writing for the Calgary, Alberta Herald, May 20, 1984, reports on the
Kosanovic/ Caetano Boycott of the Canadian Nationals:
The Ontario TTA told Defending Canadian National Champion Zoran Kosanovic that,
after three years as their Provincial Coach, his position was
abolished.
They didnt renew my contract because they felt they didnt
need a coach because they were changing direction, wanted to
focus on the grass-roots level, said Kosanovic, explaining his
absence in a telephone interview from Toronto. They do not need
top players, they do not need elite athletes, so why should I go to
Calgary to play?
The OTTA is a hotbed these days, with much infighting
between factions.
There are lots of personalities involved, said the outspoken
Kosanovic, a former Yugoslav National Champion who came to
Canada in 1979. Some of them felt Zoran didnt want to listen to
Zoran Kosanovic
them.
From Tischtennis Report, 2/81
Considering that Yugoslavia was at one time second in the
world in table tennis and that he knew the sport, Kosanovic didnt want to be told how to do his
job. [His position got support from his friend Errol Caetano, a many-time Canadian National
Champion.]
Kosanovic said he was sorry he couldnt be at the Championship because he has a lot of
respect for the Alberta organizers.
He was close to the players but not the administrators,
said Adham Sharara, the Director General and Technical
Director of the Canadian Table Tennis Association. The only
people who are losing are Zoran and the 9 or 10 people who
were his protgs. It was a classic case of a coach not looking
at what is most needed for Ontario.
**Arunkumar was so intensely affected by the Draw at
this Invitational that he not only protested, as was said, long and
hard, at the tournament, he wrote a lengthy Letter to the Editor,
titled Suppressed Feelings (Timmys, June, 1984, 2). In a private
response to Kumar, I defended the integrity of my friend Dennis
Masters, who, as I prepare to take on the USTTA Presidency, I
consider my right-hand man. Here to Kumars satisfaction (he
Adham Sharara
didnt want to blatantly offend and perhaps get into trouble) are
From OTTA Update, June-July, 84
pertinent excerpts of his Letter in which Id urged him to avoid the
preposterous line, The integrity of the people in question is not being raised:
266

It is certainly hoped that more and more Invitational


prize-money tournaments are held by individuals and
organizations, for they seem to be a step in the right direction to
show people what a spectacular sport table tennis really is and so
popularize the game. While it appears that only a few top players
are benefitting from these tournaments they really give a
tremendous incentive to lesser-rated players to train harder and
raise their game to a level where they too will get invited and earn
prize money.
The objective of this Letter, however, is to raise the issue
of establishing a playing format at these tournaments that would
insure fairness to all participants. The first of two points I put
B.K. Arunkumar
forward in this regard is to make sure that the format is known to
all the players before the event starts.
(Kumar then speaks of the format at the unnamed Baltimore Invitational and how the
method of placing the qualifying players in the quarters was not disclosed.)Because of this lack
of openness, there was definite concern among a number of the players about this private format
because the Tournament Directors son was involved and it was suspected by some that the format
decided upon would necessarily, consciously or unconsciously, have to be in the best interests of the
sonso that he should avoid playing a certain player or players at all costs, even if it meant that
other players would get burned because of what was or certainly seemed to be an arbitrary lastminute format.
My second point having to do with fairness is this: Because it smacks of self-interest, real or
imagined by the players, the parents or family members of those entered in an event should NOT be
allowed to be involved in the making of the Draw for that event.
This is of great concern among a number of players, for they strongly feel that they are being
or could be victimized by a few parents who apparently have had and/or have now good
connections in the USTTA, who push their kids into the limelight by putting other players down
the eagerness to punish Scott Boggan, for example, or the rumors being spread about certain
players involving themselves in drugs, etc. Numerous examples can be cited, but I refrain from
doing so as it could cause a great deal of embarrassment to the concerned people.
(Kumar then closes by saying, Thanks for letting me express a couple of years of
suppressed feelings.)

267

Chapter Seventeen
1984: Election Results/Pre-U.S. Open Action by USTTA President Boggan.

Tim Boggan

Gus Kennedy
Photo by Mal Anderson

D-L Lee

J. Rufford Harrison

You can see from the adjacent article and photos of Tim Boggan, Rufford Harrison, Gus
Kennedy, and D-J Lee (Timmys, May, 1984, 2) the Election results for the 1984-86 two-year
term of E. C. office. President-Elect Boggan adds a Thank You to those who voted for him, and
asks those members, whether theyre tournament-active or not, who didnt vote for him to inquire
of others why they think the majority of voters did. Life Member Norm Silver writes in (SPIN,
May-June, 3) that, Although I did not vote for Mr. BogganI hope all members of the USTTA
support him in his endeavor to advance the Association and the sport. All that we can ask of him is
to do his best.
Once I officially became President-Elect (Id actually take office as President on June 1), I
began through May to deal with current USTTA policy matters. Foremost among these was the
268

question of the Associations Executive Director Bill Haid. No sooner had he submitted a Report
(SPIN, May-June, 1984, 22; 24) summarizing what changes for the good had happened in the six
years since hed taken office, and what improvements were still very much needed, steps were
taken by the E.C. and me to fire him as of May 31st (later extended to June 1st).
This didnt come as a surprise to Bill (though on May 15th he writes to me, You are
exercising my termination without just cause), for the question of Fund-Raising had recently been a
very thorny issue in his life. He says in his Report:
One of the duties of my position is to raise funds for the USTTA. I had made contact with 96
different corporations in 1978-79 and was fortunate to get $10,000 from Coca-Cola, and $800 from the
Chrysler Corporation just prior to our U.S. Teams participation at the World Championships in
Pyongyang, North Korea. In 1981, another 80 fund-raising contacts were made with no success. In
Nov., 1982 through Apr., 1983 another 45 contacts were madeno success. The basic reason for this
was that corporate sponsors were interested only in U.S. sports that might win medals.
I learned from the Assistant Director of Swimming that their fundraising company had been able to contact two corporate sponsors for
$180,000 a year. I contacted this fund-raising company and got a
positive response. Appointments and reservations were made, but at the
insistence of Sol Schiff I had to cancel my trip. Sol said the USTTA
could not afford to let me keep my appointments, and said if these fundraising people were really interested they could fly out to Colorado
Springs to see me.
On Dec. 20, 1983, I was informed by Sol Schiff at breakfast at the
Tropicana Hotel that the USTTA was approximately $30,000 in debt,
and that his E.C. requested him to inform me that I must raise this
Sol Schiff
amount of money prior to June 1, 1984. If I did not raise the $30,000
a debt made through a verbal contract and poor judgment on the part of
a few Executive Committee members relating to approval for TV
production of the 1982 Closedthe USTTA E.C. would not renew my
contract.
Desperate to keep his job, on Feb. 10th, 1984, Bill, representing the USTTA, signed a
fund-raising contract with E. Ray Mueller (pronounced Miller) in which part of their agreement was
that Mueller would receive $200 a day for services rendered, not to exceed $1,600 in any one
month.
Three months later, during a conversation I had with Bill at Colorado Springs as he was
tidying things up two weeks before leaving his position as Executive Director, I was startled to see a
copy of this Contract-Agreement for the first time. Here is what I had quickly to explain to the
E.C.in a May 16th letter (Bills Contract-Agreement attached):
Youll notice that Bill had addressed his Feb. 10, 1984 Contract-Agreement with E. Ray
Mueller to the USTTA E.C. But as Im questioning him he admitted that he never actually sent it to
the E.C.
Oh, Bill, I said. Why not?
Because I knew theyd never pass it. [Would never, as required by the USTTA
Handbook, even get it to an E.C. lawyer for review.]
269

Given the $30,000 ultimatum Schiff had forced on him, what did common sense tell Bill to
do. You cant raise money without spending money, he said. Schiff wouldnt let me spend any
money at allnot even on travel to raise funds.
So how much money did Bill spend since Feb. on fund-raising? Budget was $1,000. Bill
spent $6,893.74.
But not so much with USTTA-member Mueller after all. Bill had to explain to him on Apr. 20th
when faced with another $200 bill that neither he nor the USTTA had the money to pay him (at this
moment the bill still remains unpaid). Thousands of potential fund-raising brochures were printed
up.Question is: What kind of return were they bringing in?...Interestingly, last year, the same bill was
paid twice to Minuteman Press. Did they ever call it to Bills attention? No, they did not. Today, as Im
going over some accounts with Bill, the mistake is found, Minuteman called, the error confirmed.
Well, Bill tried.
He still believes that one of the hoped-for contracts might come through (I have a book full
of particulars Bill gave me in this regard). He says it would be a big mistake were we to drop our
connection with Mueller, who, Bill assumes, has not really been doing anything for Bill or the
USTTA in terms of $200-a-day activities since Apr. 20th.
Following up on this Contract-Agreement, I, on taking office June 1st, spoke again to Bill
and reported to the E.C.:
Out of USTTA funds Bill paid Mueller $618.
Out of Bills largely uncollected 82-83 Bonus of $2,991 (he did collect $750 of it), Bill
paid Ray $1,518. So that meant Bill had used up all but $723 of his 82-83 bonus.
Bill said that, as of May 31st, neither he nor the USTTA owed Ray ANYTHING.
I called Ray Muellerand while he and his lawyer feel that Mueller DID make a valid
contract not just with Haid but with the USTTA [in an earlier letter to Mueller, Id emphasized that
Bill had no USTTA authority to sign such a secret agreement], Ray agreed that (1) as of May 31st
he had been paid in full, and (2) hes not going to do ANYTHING further unless he hears from us.
If monies begin to pour in due to Rays contacts, then well hear from him.
Also, on June 1, I signed Bills termination agreement. He got: a) Severance Pay:
$3,184.62; b) Vacation Time: $1,061.54; c) Bonus Pay for 1982-1983: $723and, on approval
of the E.C. at their June, 1984 Meeting, Bonus Pay for 1983-84 of $5,542.02.
On June 6th, as I wrote the E.C. on the 7th, Haid went to collect Unemployment
Compensation. Surprisehe couldnt get it. Why not? Because though as a non-profit organization
the USTTA doesnt have to pay Federal Unemployment, the State is looking to collect because we
have at least four employees. Bill obviously didnt realize this, and apparently neither did anyone
else. Ken Waugh, the USTTAs auditor, brought this to my attention (last year he didnt catch it) and
is also alerting the state Auditor, thus avoiding his visit to our Headquarters. Ken thinks we should
have been paying in 1983 2.7% of the first $7,000 per employee, and in 1984 3% of the first
$8,000 per employee. Which means, with our voluntary compliance, well owe maybe $1,600.
What exactly our financial situation was on June 1, 1984 when I took office, I dont think,
based on the financial sloppiness I inferred had been going on and I was later faced with (as may be
seen in Chapter 20), we really knew. However, this Report (SPIN, Sept., 1984, 20) was given, I
presume as conscientiously as he could, by USTTA Treasurer Lyle Thiem:
270

Income For Fiscal Year Ended 5/31/84:


Budget For Fiscal Year:

$314,290.44
$292.500.00

Income includes $29,000 deferred revenue from 83 U.S. Open


Expenses For Fiscal Year Ended 5/31/84:
$315,866.13
Budget For Fiscal Year:
$292,500.00
(Expenses include $3,962 unbudgeted severance and vacation pay)
Also, Ive included on the next page:
Proposed Budget For Year Ending May 31, 1985
USTTA Balance Sheet (May 31, 1984)
Other terminations: USTTA Legal Chairman, Haids son-in-law Rex Burlison (annual
retainer was $2,400) later hed be replaced by Bob Hibschweiler); and USTTA Public Relations
Chair Lee Berton (later hed be replaced at my urginga mistakeby Stan Robens, whod soon
resign and be replaced by Jay Harris).
One who wasnt terminated was Tim Boggan. Yeah, in mid-May, Schiff, who
understandably was taking his election loss very hard, wrote letters to USTTA Rules Chair Mal
Anderson, Executive Vice-President Gus Kennedy, and even, incredibly, to USOC Executive
Director Col. Miller looking to suspend menot via any defined disciplinary procedure of
course, but by Presidential fiat (as hed earlier tried to do with my
son Scott).
Sol had also rubbed Lyle Thiem the wrong way with a letter
to the E.C. It drew this May 30th reply from Lyle:
Dear Sol:
I would like to reply to page #2 of your May 15th letter to
the Executive Committee and others in which you stated that I voted
against Tim Boggan as Editor of Topics. You also made reference to
our common home city. [As we saw last chapter, I was in Dayton
attending Lyles tournament on May 19.]
What could you possibly have hoped to accomplish by
putting this statement in print and circulating itother than to expose
yourself as someone in whom one cannot confide? The statement
Lyle Thiem
insinuates that I betrayed my neighborhood chum and it is damaging
to Tim and me; probably more so to Tim.
Is it really an E.C. members privilege to publicly reveal how others voted on a secret
ballot? Were you perhaps trying to catch me in a lie in case I may have told someone that I voted
the opposite way? Do you think I was trying to hide how I had voted? Excuse me, but every time I
read the statement I read a little more into it.
To say the least, the statement is divisive in nature and it disgusts and displeases me.
Furthermore, I am attacking your motives in publishing it.
As it happened, at the very time Schiff was writing his deranged letter to Col. Miller
seeking my suspension, I was actually seeing Col. Miller in Colorado Springs. He wanted, and
I looking to mend fences, wanted too, a rather young Player Representative on our E.C. and
271

272

so Sheila ODougherty, Chair of our Athletes Advisory


Committee, also became our Player Representative, a new fullfledged E.C. member. Col. Miller and I also talked about the
possibility of using the Lake Placid site for training.
Though I wasnt
terminated, I myself had to
terminate, after the last of my
promised eight issues, Timmys.
It was hard for me to give it up
after Id got it flourishing, but I
knew if I continued it, Id be
working against Tom Wintrichs
Sheila ODougherty
official magazine, trying, as I had
been before, to make it better than SPIN. Given the office Id been
elected to serve, that would have a very divisive effect.
It was Haids termination, however. that most demanded
the E.C.s attention. Of course I spent quite a bit of President-Elect
time (May Time) at Colorado Springs trying to bring closure to the
Cover for the last issue of
past and openness to the future. I was worried about the stability of
Timmys, June, 1984
Headquarters. Id begun advertising for an Executive Director in
Drawing by Peter Thulke
SPIN and the Colorado Springs and Denver papers. But there was
this interim time when we didnt have one. On May 18th, I wrote the following letter to the E.C.:
Throughout my just concluded stay at
Colorado Springs I feel I got the maximum possible
cooperation from those in our Headquarters Office.
Bill, Sarah, Emily, and Tom. Their forthrightness, their
immediate and thorough attempts to answer my three
days of questions, made it easy for me to work with
them. There is no doubt in my mind that theyre
conscientious and
honest. I think my own
openness with them
right from the beginning
helped what had to be
something of an
Sarah and Bill Haid
unpleasant experience
bearable. [When I was in Colorado Springs, Bill and Sarahs friends
had a Farewell Party for them and it was obvious Bill would be
missedone woman burst into tears. I attended this Party, and being
the guy whod fired himwhich, since Id never fired anyone before,
I didnt do very smoothlyI wasnt at all comfortable about being
there.]
There was a problem of incompatibility at
Headquarterswith
Bill, Sarah, and Emily Hix Cale on the one
Emily Hix Cale
273

hand (shed acted as Notary for the Haid/Mueller Contract-Agreement back in February)
and Bob Tretheway on the other. At first Emily said that if Bill and Sarah go, she goes too. But
then she reconsidered, said that so long as she didnt have to take direction from Bob shed
remain as Office Manager. She could also do Membership, while Audrey Vernon, whod
worked in our Headquarters Office before, doing Accounting, could take over for Sarah
(though only half-days), and Tom, who for his salary and occasional perks could help out when
needed. They could all work together as a sufficiently cooperative, productive threesome
yes? At least until our June E.C. Meeting where by then we might have found a new Executive
Director.
Since I think highly of Emily, and feel sure as she continues on, Ill work well with her, I
intend to make certain the Office ambiance is as pleasant as possible for her. I know I can count on
Bobs cooperation in this.
Outside of my office work here (from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) I spent my time socializing
(eating, drinking, and talking) with Tom and Bob and learned some helpful things. Both Tom and
Bob are valuable to the Associationperhaps its fair to say Tom needs to be pushed a little
sometimes, Bob held back a little sometimes. I can better judge their potential value as Im with
them more. Bob, its clear, is quite ambitious.
By the first week in June, I had only two prospective Executive Directors resumesDavid
Devaneys (he was Nancy Hill Persauds brother, but not himself a table tennis player) and Bob
Tretheways. And, since I expected a lot more resumes, I wasnt in any hurry to hire someone.
Indeed, I wasnt even sure now I wanted to hire an E.D. There were other Olympic sports here
without an E.D., operating with an Office Manager
fencing, for example.
Of course, with Tretheways increasing experience
as Coaching Chairman and his ambitious observations as to
what works and what doesnt in an Association
headquartered in an Olympic complex, youd expect him to
present an excellent National Planning Outlineno, make
that a National Planning Outline #1to the E.C. The
Outline was extensive, more than I want to reproduce here, but
Ill mention a few points large and small that caught my eye:
I. Evaluate current office procedures and institute
changes necessary for efficient and responsive operations.
[Imagine Emily working under him?]
A-2: Handle all monies through Headquarters
provides better accountability.
A-3: Adjust fiscal year to Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 so as to
correspond with USOC operations.
Bob Tretheway
B-1: Establish and publish regular office hours. B-1a:
Have someone answer the phone through the lunch hour.
B-4: Establish and maintain all levels of inventory.
D: Utilize more effectively our committee system.
II-B: Evaluate youth-oriented programs and organizations for development.
D: Initiate an affiliate club-enhancement program.[Takes personal contact.]
274

G-4a: Note Lou Bochenski has 10,000+ equipment buyers on his


mailing list. [USTTA membership potential there?]
III: Develop a fund-raising strategy. [Wed need someone paid just
to do this?]
I was thinking about Tretheway quite a bit. He didnt seem to me to
have, matched-up with my vague idea of other Governing Body E.D.s
what shall I say?respectable-enough background depth for the position.
However, I liked his super-ambitionthought he could produce and that I
could help him become one of the most important, influential people in U.S.
Table Tennis. But I didnt want him in a Colorado Springs office, I wanted
him on the road.
So on June 5th I sent the following suggestion (How About a
USTTA Salesman on the Road Instead of an E.D.?) to my E.C.:

Lou Bochenski

Last
Saturday, in
Thornton,
Colorado, a
suburb of Denver,
as part of the
Grand Opening
Day Festivities at
the new
Community First
National Bank
(free prizes,
Pepsis, cookies,
pony rides for the
kids), Insook
Bhushan and
Bohdan Dawidowicz (R) and daughter Kasia
Kasia
Photos by Mal Anderson
Dawidowicz put
on I wont say a t.t. exhibition but some casual ball-batting on a table in the lobby for a steady flow
of (maybe youll open an account with us?) visitors. For their three-hour performance, Insook and
Kasia were paid $100 each. (Kasia and her dad Bohdan, pronounced Bogdan or Bob, get $250
each for 12-minute smash-and-lob exhibitions in between Denver Nuggets basketball games.) I
accompanied Insook and Kasia to this Bank and of course was nice and talked to anyone who
looked interested about table tennis.
The Bank President, I soon found out, had been coached by experts back in the early
1950s when he lived in Japan. Sure, with a little coaxing, hed hit somehadnt played in 30 years.
He doffed his suit-jacket, unloosened his tie, rolled up his shirt sleeves, took of his boots to reveal
white sweat socksand, modified-penholder-at-the-ready, went to itfor 15 minutes. Then he reassembled himself and was soon talking to a woman about interest rates. Periodically hed come
back to the t.t. table, especially when other bank officials were trying their hand at the game. One
guy who works there at the Bank said he used to have a table in his living roomonly place he
275

could put it, he said, but he liked the game so much he didnt mind. Another Bank employee was
telling us how back in Indiana he and his fraternity brothers played every afternoon.
So of course I began talking to the President about how there were Bank Leagues all over
the country and urged him to start and support organized play, get a league going. He liked the
ideaso much so that Kasia promptly approached him, asking for a $250-sponsorship to the U.S.
Openand, damn, he might give it to her.
It seems to me what we need is not just somebody in Colorado Springs to send this Bank
President paper info, but an on-the-road Coordinator to help him actually get a league going. Later,
if all goes well, we might get him to sponsor a prize-money Invitational.
Bohdan tells me all about the exhibitions hes given at school after school (like, for example,
years ago, Lou Bochenski and his kids did), but there was usually never much follow-up. One boy
watching Insook and Kasia said they had 7-10 tables at his schoolyep, players were out there.
So, instead of having a Director and his wife sitting in Colorado Springs for $40,000 a year
(Cyclings Executive Director, I heard, is gone from their Colorado Springs Office 50% of the time),
perhaps what we need is a knowledgeable organizer in the fieldlike Tretheway.
I went to a Polish Catholic Church with Dawidowicz on Sunday and
one thing that impressed me was that during the service the priest came
down the row of pews and back up the other side shaking hands with the
parishioners and saying repeatedly a few words of welcome. Supposing
Tretheway, representing USTTA Headquarters as a Coordinator, were to go
out not just, say, to the Denver area where I count six clubs that could give
him some support (Colorados Howie Grossman says he recently ran a
tournament exclusively for 110 Koreans who only wanted to play amongst
themselves). But suppose he went, say, from Kansas City to Cheyenne on a
paid experimental trek.
With his salesmanship ability and desire to be important couldnt he
get new clubs, leagues going, find new USTTA members, offer area after
area coaching opportunities, provide interested places with exhibitions,
develop prize-money tournaments, etc.? For the first time ever, a liaison man
from the USTTA would map out promising circuit-stops to explore. Just the
personal appearance of such a force-figure here, there, and everywhere in a
given area would be an act of salesmanship. Now, I thought, would be a
good time to try something like this on an experimental basis, for we have a
natural organizer in Tretheway. One question is, Do we want him to do it?
Howie Grossman
Another, and more important one, is: Would he do it?

276

Chapter Eighteen
1984: Marcy Monasterial Wins Two Medals at International
Games for the Disabled. 1984: Liz Hornyak Earns Gold at World
Senior Championships. 1984: June Tournaments.

Heres Marcy Monasterial (SPIN, Sept., 1984, cover+)after


winning two gold medals in the U.S. Amputee Athletic Associations national
competitionshowing an understandable interest in covering, what those
medals had qualified him for, the International Games for the Disabled, held
June 16-30 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long
Island:
The most thrilling moment of my table tennis career was 27 years
ago when [as an amputee] I was selected as a member of the 1957 U.S.
Team [all the others were able-bodied] to the 24th World Table Tennis
Championships held in Stockholm, Sweden.
The second most thrilling moment occurred during the 1984
International Games for the Disabled. In this two-week Olympic-styled
competition involving 1,800 athletes from 50 countries, I marched as a
member of the U.S. Table Tennis Team before President Ronald Reagan
who opened the Ceremonies. I saw on the reviewing stand not only the
beaming face of the President, but the smiling countenances of such
dignitaries as Governor Cuomo, Senator DAmato, Nassau County
Executive Francis Purcell, Official Hostess of the Games Cathy Lee Crosby,
Opera Star Elaine Malbin, and United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Marcy Monasterial
Shuaib Uthman Yolanin. In addition, I knew that my wife, children, and
grandchildren were among the 14,000 spectators enjoying themselves at this
Mitchell Park Stadium.
At the head of the Opening Parade was the previous host-country Netherlands group. The
U.S. contingent, representing the current host country, marched in last. All of us, including our
Coach Jim Beckford, had been given our official uniforms, pins, and emblems, as well as the blue
blazer and gray slacks we were wearing now. All 1800 athletes and their 700 aides paraded through
the stadium accompanied by music, with each countrys flag being held aloft as the teams passed by.
At the conclusion of the Parade, President Reagan took the Torch that would be used for
the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and passed it to an amputee swimmer from North Carolina
who then ignited a 20-foot-high torch at the south end of Uniondales Mitchell Field complex.
In his address, President Reagan told us that in our utter refusal to give up in the face of our
handicap we were sending a message of hope throughout the world. Sports, he emphasized has
less to do with things like faster times and heavier weights than something very simplethe human
heart. These ringing words really shook me up and inspired me. Let the Games beginI was
ready to do my best.
277

The day before the matches began, the U.S. playersall of us were staying in the Hofstra
University dormwent over to the University Gym to practice and to observe our competitors.
Coach Beckford and Mitch Stephens, the runner-up to me in the Nashville Olympic Trials, were
both very helpful. They had participated in the Second International Games for the Disabled at
Arnheim, Netherlands in 1980 and told me the strengths and weaknesses of some of our
competitors.
My partner in the Teams was Ted Debiak from Long Island, a Club player at Grummond
Aviation whod never played in a single USTTA-sanctioned tournament. But in our opening 3-0 win
against Australia Ted took his match in straight games and won the doubles with me.
Our next tie was against Germanytheyd won the gold at Arnheim. I played first against
Hullerman, who uses a combination bat with Chinese long pips and inverted Friendship. It was
paradoxical that although I use the same long pips combined with anti-spin, I could not handle
another player who used a similar racketI just hadnt practiced or played against anyone using
such a racket.* Ted then lost to the German Beck. And afterwards we lost the doubles.
Next up: Chinaand if we could win this tie, we could finish second in our Group and
advance to the semis. Ted quickly lost his match, but I won mine. The doubles? Maybe we werent
the favorites, but we took that key match. And then I scored the clincher.
We watched the Yugoslav players, our semis opponents, practicing, and they looked
formidablesomewhere in the 2200-2400 range. Their serves were severe with a lot of topsidespin. Their chops were heavy. Their kill shots deadly. Yet in the first game of the tie I handily
beat Franz Simoniched been content to chop, block, and play a steady, non-offensive game.
However, after the side-change, he talked with his coachand after that he started to hit every ball
off both wings. His forehand and backhand drives were too strong for my defense and he easily
won the next two games. Ted got killed in the second singles by Dimitrijevic. But in the doubles he
played an attacking error-free game, enabling us to stay alive in the tie. However, Simonic then
showed no mercy in beating Ted two straight.
In the final, Germany, whod stopped France in the semis, won 3-0 over runner-up
Yugoslavia. Both France and the U.S. shared 3rd and 4th Place and Ted and I each got a Bronze
medal at an official Olympic-style ceremony.
In Singles, Simonic was in my Group, and not surprisingly, after wed each won two
matches, he, confident after beating me in the Teams, beat me again. Thus, although we both
advanced to the quarterfinals, I had the misfortune of drawing 26-year-old Manfred Koller of
Germany, the top seed. Unknown to me, I was (probably intentionally) not forewarned by
either Coach Beckford or Stephens that Koller was the Defending World Champion in this
event.
While playing Koller, I was pleasantly surprised that I could handle his best spins and
drives. From 8-7 down, my steady blocks and consistent backhand flicks really bothered him and,
strange as it might seem, I won this game 21-9! And won the second, 21-18! Id beaten the World
Champion and had advanced to the semis!
Now I met Philippe Roine, the disabled Champion of France. I was told this player spins a
lot, has good serves, and possesses a tremendous two-winged attack. Since the Frenchman was 26
and I was 61, this was to be a classic battle between youth and experienceI was just hoping
Koller hadnt tired me out. Experience won, but with some 19, 15 difficulty. So now I advanced to
the final for a shot at the Gold.
But there was Simonic again. Since hed been steamrolling by his opponents, I was
getting anxious, nervous, and despondent, but at the same time I told myself that perhaps I was
278

due to win against him. Anyway, when we met for the Championship I was composed, as
confident and determined as I could be. Simonic, meanwhile, exuded overwhelming
confidence.
He won the toss, elected to serve, and without much ado won the first five pointshit in
everything like a man possessed. I lost the first game at 12. And, unfortunately for me, the second
game was a carbon copy of the first. But while I did not become the World Champion, I came
close. I won two medals and had a wonderful experience playing for the first time among my peers
at these International Games.
SPIN (July-Aug., 1984,
21) reports that Liz Hornyak of
Michigan City, IN teamed with
Japans Kikoyo Tasaka to win the
Gold in Womens Over 60 Doubles at the World Senior Championships in
Helsinki, Finland June 6-10. Hornyak was the only American to win a medal at
the Games, though Yvonne Kronlage was afforded some satisfaction by pairing
with a Swede to win the Over 40 Doubles Consolation. The tournament
featured more than 650 players from 25 countries playing in Over 40, 50, 60,
70 events. Hornyak and Tasaka were paired by chance, and although neither
could speak the others language, the duo worked out a perfect strategy. Liz
would force a set-up for her partner who would then kill the return. Liz,
however, also smashed in a few herself. Congratulations, Liz, on your Gold
Medal victory.

Silver Medalist
Liz Hornyak

Photo by
As a June 23-24 warm-up for the June 27-July1 U.S. Open in Las
Mal Anderson
Vegas, an International Invitational was held in Alhambra, CA. Results: Mens
Singles: Final: Wen-Chia Wu (Chinese Taipei) d. Mikael Appelgren (Sweden), 20, 15, 21. Semis:
Wu d. Chin Long Chih (C.T.), 15, 7, -23, -21, 17; Appelgren d. Hueih Chieh Huang (C.T.), -17,
11, -13, 13, 18. Womens Singles: Kyung Ja Kim d. Hsiu Yu Chang (C.T.), 12, 12, 12. Semis:
Kim d. Yueh-Jen Chen (T.C.), 9, 13, -18, 14; Chang d. Li-Zu Lin (C.T.), 15, 15, -16, 18. Two
best quarters: Kim (in a match she could have lost three straight) d. Shu-Wa Chuang (C.T.), -16,
24, -21, 9, 16; and Chen d. Mei-Jen Huang (C.T.), -17, 17, -9, 14, 16.
Tom Wintrich (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 26) covers at least part of the Rocky Mountain
Closed, held June 9th at Fort Collins, CO. Results: Open Singles: Three-year-old Austin Bhushan
waddles into the gymnasium and causally announces to no one in particular: My mommy beats
everyone. How right he wasInsooks the Champion over her winning Doubles partner Bohdan
Dawidowicz. In the one semis, President Tim Boggan took time out from his USTTA
Headquarters trip to come up for the tourney and, before losing to Insook, knocked off Howie
Grossman in a five-game battle. To reach the other semi, Roger Kuseski (rated 1838) scored two
upsetsover Kasia Dawidowicz (2006), then Dana Jeffries (2066).
In the As, Kuseski won by defeating in succession the Prez, Thomas Schlangen (in three
games), and Bob Leatherwood. It was a fine showing by the blocker/hitter who is to be
congratulated for his day of victories.
Tournament Director Paul Williams again ran a tight day of competition that finished on time
thanks to control-desk help from Debbie Dixon and George Weissberg. Personal thanks to Paul
from the Editor and the President for his generous hospitality.

279

Bob Tretheway tells us (SPIN, July-Aug.,


1984, 30) that 27 Juniors gathered at the Olympic
Training Center in Colorado Springs, June 20-26, to
be coached by Henan Li Ai, assisted by Scott Preiss
and Karen Thompson.In becoming surrogate
parents for 20 kids from the ages of 9-16, Karen and
Scott were frequently tested to the limits of their creativeness and
occasionally their patience.
Each camper had two two-hour coaching sessions and about
one hour of physical training each day. Free time was occupied with
movies, video games, talking with athletes bound for the Olympics,
and just hanging around.
Scott Preiss
The players were special guests of honor at a ceremony for
the Olympic Torch Relay Team arriving in Colorado Springs. They were also the subject of a twopage story in Arena Magazine, a supplemental sports publication appearing in the Colorado
Springs Gazette Telegraph.
The camp ended with a tournament, and 10 of the participants won blades donated by
JUIC.Also, Sitco of Portland, OR donated the use of their RIII robotand many found it to be
a very effective training tool.

Keri Herman

Toni Gresham

Jenny Slootskin

Photo by Mal Anderson

Larry Gold in his


developing years
Photo by Mal Anderson

The following juniors participated in the camp: Charles Baker, Scott


Bakke, John Elwood, Steve Fink, Leslie Garrad, Brad Gelb, Toni
Gresham, Lloyd Hansen, Keri Herman, Dan Legters, Joe Lomas, Greg
Lonnon, Michelle Mantel, Erik Naugle, Karl Schulz, Jon Self, Jenny
Slootskin, Todd Sweeris, Thor Truelson, and Tryg Truelson.
Winners at the June 9th Panda Open in Akron, OH: Open Singles:
1. John Tannehill. 2. Dave Strang. 3. Po Lee. 4. Norman Kilpatrick. A
Singles: Greg Brendon over Beka. B Singles: Rick Hardy over Beka.
Senior Singles: Kilpatrick over Neil Myers.
Larry Beal gives us coverage (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 21) of the
Open Team Tournament held in Orlando, FL, June 9-10. The format
featured round robin competition between 12 three-man teams.
Preliminary play decided what four teams would play tor top honors in
Groups A, B, and C. Results: Group A: 1. Larry Gold, Greg Gingold,
and Pat Patterson, 3-0. 2. Ron Rigo, John Elliott, and Scott Beauregard,
280

2-1. Larry Gold of the Class A Tampa Team was voted the tournaments Most Valuable Player by
virtue of his third-game win over Scott Beauregard in the decisive ninth match of their tie.
Beauregard had a 15-10 lead in the third game, but Gold won 12 of the next 14 points to clinch the
tie for his Team. 3. Olga Soltesz, Lenny Chew, and Mark Herbert, 1-2. 4. Steve Federico, E.
Oliver, and Harry McFarland, 0-3.
Group B: 1. Rene Tywang, Brian Miezejewski, and Cameron Phipps, 3-0. 2. Steve
McLaren, Scott Rousky, and Genevieve Hayes, 2-1. 3. Dean Andrian, Jose Lopez, and Kevin
Chew, 1-2. 4. Bev Patterson, Clint Steffan, and Randy Hess, 0-3.
Group C. 1. Jeff Kellott, Morris Wong, and Rob Stone, 3-0. 2. Dan Kutzer, Charles Ogburn,
and Hugh Babcock, 2-1. 3. Beal, Mike Binford, and Joe
Long, 1-2. 4. Ron Martin, Jerry Lin, and Ron Paukstys, 0-3.

Fontainebleu Hilton Hotel


Photo from $3000 Capital Bank Masters Invitational Program

Bard Brenner (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 22) reports on another and much more
extensive warm-up for the U.S. Openthe 200entry $3,000 Capital Bank Masters Invitational,
held June 23-24 at the Fontainebleu Hilton Hotel
in Miami Beach.
The two-day competition, says Bard, was divided
into three separate tournaments. Saturdays action featured
the amateur Age and Rating events, while on Sunday the
Celebrity/Media/VIP Paddle Battle preceded the 100-entry
play-for-pay Masters events.
The Celebrity event hosted real stars and athletes.
The feature match was between U.S. tennis legend Gardner
Mulloy vs. Miami Dolphin kicker Garo Yepremain, neither of Abel Holtz, Capital Bank President, receiving
Sponsorship Award from Brandi Wisner
whom was a stranger to a table tennis paddle. Abel Holtz,
Photo by Brian Miezajewski
281

Chairman of the Board and President of the tournament sponsor, Capital Bank, successfully took on
Miami Beach Councilman Alex Daoud. In the battle of the mayors, it was Miami Beach Mayor
Malcom Fromberg who beat North Bay Village Mayor Vogel. Duke Daniels, former lead singer for
The Platters, played against National Wheelchair Champion Terese Terranova, and then sang a
beautiful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner before the Masters final.
Sundays action took place in the famed ballroom of the
Fontainebleu Hilton, which the Fontainebleu generously provided at no
charge. Pre-event publicity was excellent thanks to Publicity Director
Bob Gordon and the 20-separate write-ups in the local papers such as
the Miami Herald, News, Sun-Reporter and community newspapers.
Also, the tournament received television coverage from all of the
network affiliates in the Miami Beach area.
Thanks to longtime Miami table tennis
supporter Joe Newgarden, a first-class
Program was produced for the event. In
addition, Delta Airlines was instrumental in
Bob Gordon
supporting the tournament by bringing in the
top two American stars, Eric Boggan and
Danny Seemiller, and offering convention-rate discounts for anyone flying
in on Delta to Miami and Las Vegas, or both.
By any standard, the Capital Bank Masters Invitational was a
great success. The support from the sponsor, the Fontainebleu, Delta,
Miamis city officials, and the local table tennis players who worked so
hard organizing the competition couldnt have been better.
Joe Newgarden
Also, the day after the tournament, the Herald followed-up with
an article on Eric and Danny. Heres an excerpt:
[The Mens
final, won by Eric
in straight games
over arch-rival
Danny] was a lot
closer than the
score showed,
Boggan said. But I
really had my killer
instinct going
tonight. I made the
important points
Mens Runner-up Danny Seemiller
when I had to have
them.
Mens Champ Eric Boggan
Boggan trailed in the later stages of all three games,
but battled back each time to win. In the first game, Boggan
won six of the last seven points to win 21-16. In the second, Boggan trailed 16-14 but won seven
straight points to run out the game. [Perhaps it was then that Danny could be heard saying to
himself, Cmon, make a match out of this! You can play better than this!] And in the third, Boggan
broke an 18-all tie by winning three straight points.
282

[Jim Carson, the Herald writer, in taking up the oft-made analogiesBoggan to John
McEnroe and Seemiller to Jimmy Connorsdrew this response from Eric:] Boggan does concede
that the comparison of him to McEnroe is accurate. Ive been taught to speak my mind, and if
something bothers me, I say so, said Boggan, the Defending U.S. Open Champion. I guess its
good for table tennis that I have this rivalry with Danny, and I do enjoy playing him. Ive got the
psychological edge now and am confident when Im playing him
Seemiller conceded that Boggan was the better player Sunday night, but said that he,
Danny, is better when theres more at stake. I play better than Eric in the bigger tournaments, said
Seemiller, who beat Boggan in the final of the U.S. Closed Championship last year. Its a great
rivalry, but I think over the years I have the edge. It wont be long before Im No. 1 again.
Results: Mens Singles (only nine
U.S. players made it to the second round):
Final: Eric Boggan ($600) over Danny
Seemiller ($400), 16, 16, 18. Semis:
Boggan over Perus Tosikiro Tanaka ($200),
9, 14, 14; Seemiller over Germanys
Engelbert Huging ($200), 5, 7, 20.
Quarters: Boggan over Perus Walter
Nathan ($100), 15, 5, 18; Seemiller over
Jerry Thrasher ($100), 11, 5, 14; Tanaka
over Dominican Mario Alvarez ($100), 9,
15, -20, 9; Huging over Sean ONeill
($100), 17, 9, 18. Womens: Perus Monica
Liyua ($200) over Perus Patricia Moreno
Flanking Tournament Chair Bard Brenner: Womens
($100), 12, 14, 19. Semis: Liyua over #1Champ (R) Monica Llyna and Runner-up Patricia Moreno
Photo by Brian Miezejewski
seed Canadas Mariann Domonkos ($50),
19, -17, 20, -17, 18; Moreno over Jamaican
Champ Nadine Senn-Yuen in the quarters,
then over Olga Soltesz ($50), -15, 19, -19, 20,
16. Mens Doubles: Seemiller/ONeill ($200)
over Tanaka/Nathan, 14, 7, -10, -14, 13, then
over Boggan/Huging, 10, -17, 12, 15. Mixed
Doubles: Seemiller/Domonkos ($100) over
Tanaka/Moreno, -17, 14, 14, 18.
U-2300s: Jamaicas
Keith Evans over
Jamaicas Dennis
Brown, 12, 15, 15. UJamaican Champion Nadine Senn-Yuen
2100s: Dickie Fleisher
From Natonal Bank Invitational Program
over Dominican Nicolas
Caffaro, 19, 13, 15. U-1950s: Juan Ly over Larry Gold, 15, 16, -15, 20.
U-1750s: Carlos Estrada over Earl Haley, -18, 9, 15, 17, after Earl had
squeaked out a win over Mark Herbert, 23-21 in the 3rd. U-1500s: Maira
Fonesca over Sean Hanley, 9, 15, 14. U-1250 Mens: H. Bronson Graves
over Scott Collins, -19, 20, 19, then over Ates Baydu, 17, -18, 20, -12, 12.
Keith Evans
U-1250 Womens: Sylvia Rosenthal over Terese Terranova, 22, 17, -15, 14. Photo by Larry Hodges
283

Seniors: Juan Chan Wu over Brenner, 14, 11, 14. Intercollegiate Men: Tanaka over Alvarez, 11, 18, 8, 12. Interscholastic Women: Domonkos over Fonseca, 10, 14, 12.
Regarding the June 9-10 Northern Virginia Open (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 26) where in the
Open Singles Dave Sakai beat Barry Dattel, 3-0, in the final, and Sean O/Neill, 3-1, in the semis,
Larry Hodges tells us that in the contested Sakai-ONeill match there were many hard topspin
points, with Sean trying to go for the winners but too often being forced back from the table by
Sakais strong forehands.
The best match of the tournament, said Larry, was the five-game semifinal between
ONeill and Enoch Green. Enoch is the only player I can think of who can play shakehands,
penhold, and Seemiller-style within the same rally! Green can chop, loop, block, hit, and lobbut
against ONeill he mostly chopped and made strategic use of his long pips on the backhand.
Sean tried to overpower Enoch on the forehand side, but Enoch kept chopping balls back.
It seemed like Sean wanted to loop every ball, even the high ones rather than smash them. Up 2-1,
ONeill almost ended it, but a few great chop returns by Green, and a few mishits by Sean, forced
the match into the fifth. There, however, Enoch never threatened.
Other Results: U-2300s: Dattel and Green didnt play, split
the prize money. U-2150s: T. Karlsson over Hodges. U-2000:
Hodges over Tom Steen whod gotten by Morris Jackson, 19 in the
3rd. U-1850s: Jim McQueen over Steve Delp. U-1700: Steve
Johnson over Rick Mundy whod escaped Bernie Lisberger, -15, 20,
15. U-1600: Barrymore over Ron Lutz. U-1450: Barrymore over
Kevin Walton. U-1250: David Surti over Herman Sprattling. U1000s: Nulph over Diehl. Seniors: Gregg over Nate Sussman.
Seniors U-1700: Bob Powley over Marty Staehlin.
Results of the Howard County Circuit #9 tournament, played
June 2-3 at Columbia, MD: Open Singles: 1. Sean ONeill, 7-0. 2.
Brian Masters, 6-1. 3. Barry Dattel, 4-3. 4. Eyal Adini, 4-3. 5. T.
Karlsson, 3-4. 6. Bill Sharpe, 2-5. 7. Larry Hodges, 2-5. 8. Pat Lui,
0-7. U-2000: 1. Sharpe. 2. Hodges. 3. Karlsson. 4. John Wetzler.
Capn Jim, right off his
Miami yacht
U-1800: 1. M. Trumbore. 2. Jerry Goldman. U-1600: 1. Irv
Goldstein. 2. Erich Haring. U-1400: 1. Steven Banks. 2. Dennis
Spellman. U-1200: 1. D. Critchlow. 2. P. Seymour. U-1000: 1. Critchlow. 2. P. Vodris. Sat. Handicap: 1.
Kevin Walton. 2. Jeff Harris. Sun. Handicap: 1. Dattel. 2. Wetzler (51-49 over Goldstein).
Final Circuit Standings: 1. Sean ONeill ($1,000). 2. Prakash Chougule ($500). 3. John Wetzler
((Color TV). 4. Erich Haring (Color TV). 5. Irv Goldstein (Stereo). 6. Kevin Walton (Stereo). 7. Pat Lui
(Radio). 8. Craig Bailey (Radio). 9. Jeff Harris ($25 Gift Certificate). 10. Hank McCoullum ($25 Gift
Certificate). 11. Warren Wetzler (Free Entry). 12. Robert Fallon (Free Entry).
On June 16-17 (Timmys, June, 1984, 24), the Shelton-Derby
Boys Club and VARCA (Valley Association for
Retarded Children and Adults) sponsoredwith the
help of the local Evening Sentinela $3,600 12-man
Invitational that was played at the Shelton High School Gym in Shelton, CT. The
Tournament Director was an industrious Pete Schuld, assisted by Stan Meyers,
Executive Director of VARCA, and Jack Ribas, Director of the Shelton-Derby
284

Jack Ribas

Boys Club. In the field were 7 of the top 8 players in the country. Only B.K. Arunkumar, now
somewhere deep in the South, was missing.
But, oh, despite media saturation of the area, and despite a special free-entry Valley Closed
Tournament (Novice, High School, and Grammar School events) held Saturday in conjunction with
the two-day tournament, the spectator response was very poorproving, I would think, once and
for all, that sponsors and a USTTA PR Committee must work hand in hand, and that everyone
involved has to do more than assume people are naturally gonna come out on Fathers Day, or any
other, to watch even super table tennis. Personal commitments must be gottenand a considerable
number of tickets pre-sold.
Still, spectators aside, there were some marvelous plusses here in Derby. Not only was the
prize money very good (1st: $1,000; 2nd: $700; 3rd-4th: $350; 5th: $250; 6th: $200; 7th-12th: $100
each), but the local Kiwanis Club got involved and each player was given $75 expense money. TV
and newsmen were on the scene, and since Dennis Kaminsky taped many of the matches, a promo
film can be made from them in readiness for next years Invitational which, with what everybodys
learned this time, figures to be much, much better planned.
This weekends playing format? A beginning three round robins of four men each (after that
controversial Baltimore Invitational, comparably-rated players here were drawn from a hat), with
the top two from each group moving into an all-deciding six-man round robin (players to carry over
the result of their match with the other advancer in their original group). Here were the opening
pairings; Group A: Eric Boggan (2728), Brian Masters (2475), Dave Sakai (2314), and Ron Lilly
(2243). Group B: Danny Seemiller (2648), Ricky Seemiller (2459), Scott Boggan (2459), and Pete
Schuld (?). Group Three: Rey Domingo (2503), Sean ONeill (2480), Scott Butler (2356), and
George Brathwaite (2302).
Preliminary Matches:
In Group A, Eric, waking with a slight
temperature, had to sweat out a match or two. He lost a
game to Dave, whom the Sentinel called the Joe
DiMaggio of New England table tennis (for the effortless
ease he roamed, deep or half-distance, back from the
center of the table?). Then Eric really had to struggle
against 4th-place finisher Ron who, with his combination
pips/anti play, his flat, one-ball attack, had the near 500point favorite down 1-0 and 20-17 in the secondonly
to lose that game and the next two. I kept waiting there
at the end to forehand-counter one, said Ron, but Eric
never gave me the chancejust backhanded me to
death. In their carry-over match, Boggan beat Group
runner-up Masters in straight games.
In Group B, neither Danny nor the Long Islandcommuting runner-up Scott Boggan had any difficulty with
Ron Lilly
longtime World teammate Ricky. Pete Schuld was of
Photo by Mal Anderson
course just happy to be playing in such prestigious
company.
In Group C, Rey, down 2-1 to George, topspin-lob recovered. But lost an important carryover match to Sean. The Chief also took ONeill to five before losing. Showing the most stamina
285

in this Group was Scott Butler who, sharing the driving and if
necessary the speeding tickets with his dad, endured a backand-forth 40-hour trip from Iowato play just three matches
(winning the one against Brathwaite).
Finishing Matches:
The six quarterfinalists played their remaining (given
the carry-over) four matches on Sunday (and so gave Scott
Boggan a Saturday evening back on Long Island to
dowhatever).
Eric, who, after 10 hours sleep, began another
morning complaining he had no strength, seemed as though he
was going to succumb to Reyfor, easy on the table, Eric,
easy with the language, after being -16, -14 badly beaten the
first two games, was saying, F! I dont WANT to play
Scott Butler
today! But right about then the Cable TV guy showed up,
Photo by Robert Compton
and, thrusting the long-wired mike tablewards, seemed to give
Eric a transfusion of sorts, for he won the third game at deuce. Then the juice in him started to
circulate. He quipped, after losing a spectacular point to Rey, Hey, youre an old manyoure not
supposed to get all those balls back. Still, after Eric had won the fourth comfortably at 15, 20-20
down to the cliffs edge in the fifth they battledwith Eric sharply attackinguntil Rey fell.
So having recovered from that crisis, Eric had no other. His last match for the $1,000 1st
Prize would be against Danny.
Or would it?
Sean ONeill
Photo by
Robert Compton

Danny
Seemiller

For Danny, too, was being extended (too much summer vacationgolf, softball?). First,
hed had some 18-in-the-4th problems with Rey (whose 6th-Place finish would not accurately reflect
the danger he often was to the other players). Then Seemiller found himself in major trouble. Not
only was he down 2-0 to ONeill, who in Baltimore had 4-4 split games with him, but, despite a
reprieve, was behind 10-6 in the fourth as Sean scored some world-class winners. You gotta
work! You gotta EARN points! Ricky was calling grimly to Danny. But it was Sean who abruptly
couldnt continue earning the points. No longer was he whipping in that barrage of forehands. His
arm got tired? Occasionally he lapsed into bad shot selection. And his very real threat gradually
subsided
Earlier, Sean, showing an effective backhand loop, couldnt hold a 2-0 lead against an outof-practice, slow-moving Scott Boggan. Scotts come-from-behind rallies against both Sean and
286

Brian (whom he was down 2-1 to) were struggles because it took him a while to steady his up-atthe-table half-containing, half-forcing backhand, and also to find what he called his at first nonexistent crack, carefully-placed forehands.
Sean beat out Brian for 4th-Placeand Im happy to say that each of them during the
course of their play on Sunday
showed excellent
sportsmanship: in the absence
of umpires, they voluntarily
called a point or two against
themselves.
The final between
Danny and Eric featured some
excellent playand though
Eric won three straight, the
first two games were 15-all
and the third 16-14 Eric, after
Danny had been down 12-0!
Said Danny to me at matchs
end, From now on Im gonna
live on Erics forehand. Said
Eric to a local reporter, Ive a
very bad practice situation
during the summer, so playing
and doing well in this
USTTA President Tim Boggan awards first-place plaque to his son Eric
tournament was very good for
as Pete Schuld of the Darby-Shelton Boys Club looks on
my head.
SELECTED NOTES.
*The Long Island paper Newsday (June 20th) speaks of a dispute at the Hofstra Gym
during these Games for the Disabled:
In first-round Table Tennis Team competition for one-arm amputees, West Germany
took the No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches from China. But after the second match, Chinas coach
Wu Rongsheng protested that the West German player used an illegal paddle.
It seems the West German paddle was black on both sides. According to Rainer Muller,
West German coach, the two sides of a racket must be different colors. But apparently theres a
catch: In some places, he said, this International Table Tennis Federation rule took effect Jan.1,
1984. For others, such as in our country, it doesnt take effect until Sept. 1.
Table Tennis officials decided none of that mattered since Rongsheng made his protest after
the match. [Uh, o.k., thats two matches for West Germany. What about the ensuing doubles
match?...Anyway, Monasterial wasnt the only one with paddle problems at these Games.]

287

Chapter Nineteen
1984: $12,000 U.S. Open.

In giving us (SPIN, JulyAugust, 1984, cover +) extended


coverage of the 1984 $12,000
U.S. Open, held June 27-July 1 at
Chinese Taipeis Wen-Chia Wu
the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas,
Photo by Mal Anderson
Editor Tom Wintrich begins by
praising the visiting Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) players and particularly their 20-year-old male star
Wen-Chia Wu. Woe for anyone who had to play Wu, says Tom and in summary tells us why:
Enroute to his victory in Mens Singles, Wu defeated two world-ranked players: #20 Eric
Boggan (USA) in the quarters, and #6 Mikael Appelgren (Sweden) in the final. Wu also won the
Mens Doubles with roommate and sparring partner Huieh-Chieh Huang; the Under 21s over
fellow countryman Chin-Shui Chih; and, in spearheading the Chinese Taipei Team to victory, the
International Team event.
The only event he entered that he didnt win was the Mixed Doubles. And he wasnt beaten
there. He and partner Hsiu-Yu Chang defaulted in the semis to the eventual winners, Chinese
Taipeis Huieh-Chieh Huang and Li-Zu Lindefaulted so that Wu could conserve his energy for his
Mens match against Appelgren.
Wu was undefeated in his singles play, posting 18 wins against the strongest field of players
in U.S. Open competition since the 79 Open on Long Island. (Over half of the 64-man draw here
in Vegas was rated above 2400, with the majority of that group above 2500.) His overall match
record, including doubles, was 28/2 (the two doubles losses coming in the Team competition).
As a team, Chinese Taipei mirrored the remarkable performance of their National
Champion, Wu. In every one of the five major events plus the International Team competition for
men and women, the Chinese Taipei players were in the finals or semifinals, including the all-Chinese
Taipei U-21 Singles (where runner-up Chin-Shui Chih was extended to 19 in the 3rd by Canadas
Horatio Pintea). Collectively, they shared in the prize money 18 times, earning $3,500 or nearly
30% of the total awards.
This accomplishment came from an Association that was granted admission to the
288

International Table Tennis Federation just over a year ago and is now eagerly looking forward to
their participation in World Championship competition in Sweden in March, 1985.
Given the obvious strength of the Chinese Taipei Team here, I, as USTTA President, wrote
a letter to Dr. Vladimir Palecek, Chair of the ITTF Technical Committee, urging that, on their longawaited acceptance into the World Championships in 1995, their Mens and Womens teams be
inserted into the Championship Division. (They werent.)
Wintrich goes on to tell us that in this unique (USA-style) Open, spectators see more than
Big Five (Mens/Womens Singles and Doubles, and Mixed Doubles) play. They see Mens and
Womens International Team competition, Club Team competition, Age events, Rating Events,
Novelty events (Unrated, Draw Doubles, and Hard Rubber), and the special North American
Championship event that will produce a qualifier for the elite 16-man World Cup.
Tom will report on the Big Five Mens and Womens matches in due course, but first I want
to take up those other events in the order mentioned above.
Mens International Team Competition
Tom points out that Tournament Directors Dennis Masters and Dan Simon (abetted by
wife Patti) purposefully rescheduled the International Team events from the traditional Wednesday
slot to Friday to give later-scheduled participants a chance to see the event. Initially, as we learn
from extended Result coverage in the Ontario TTAs Update ( June-July, 1984), 23 teams were
divided into eight round robinswith the winners advancing to a quarters /semis/final single
elimination. In the top half of the draw, USA (Eric Boggan/Danny and Ricky Seemiller) moved into
the semis with 3-0 wins over Switzerland, Sweden II, and in the quarters Indonesia. In the bottom
half, Canada (Horatio Pintea and Joe Ng), whod advanced 3-0 over Indonesia II and 3-1 over
Sweden I (Appelgren and Anders Thulin), fell in the quarters (in six straight games) to Chinese
Taipei I.
We hear from
Wintrich that
both of the
five-match
semis were
exciting. In the
USA vs. Taipei
II tie, Danny
narrowly 10, 19, 21 got by
Chin-Long
Chinese Taipei Chin-Lung Chih
Chih who, as
Photo by Mal Anderson
opposed to
Danny, shows no emotion when he plays and seems to be
disinterested in the matches. Eric, however, -19, -20 lost his
close match to Chin-Shui Chih, and, obviously disgusted,
opted not to play the doubles. The call for help goes out to
Danny Seemiller
Ricky Seemiller, who just moments before had beaten Rey
Domingo in the Under 2500 quarters. Ricky was soaking wet, but exuberant after having unleashed
an onslaught of bullet loops, ALMOST every one of which Rey had returned from deep in his court.
289

No time now though to savor the victory. Worse,


Seemiller/Seemiller then lost the doubles, 15, -17, -16, to
go down 2-1. But USA rallied for relatively easy wins
Eric over Chin-Long Chih two straight, and Danny, 21-11
in the third, over Chin-Shui Chih.
In the other Chinese Taipei I vs. India tie,
Manmeet Singh (India #5) opened with a close 19, 24 win
over Hueih-Chieh Huang. But Win-Chia Wu -16, 5, 9
suddenly found his game and stopped Venugopal
Chandrashekar (India #4). India rebounded, however, to
win the doubles. In the fourth match, Singh played
aggressively against Wu and was just as fast, which is
saying a lot. By 29-all, the game could have gone, still can,
either wayit goes to Wu. And so does the second, 21Indias Manmeet Singh
18. Huang then wins the critical fifth in three from
Photo by Robert Compton
Chandrashekar.
In the Team final, Chinese Taipei I gets off to a
good start when Huang beats an uninspired Eric two straight. Wu does the same to Danny. Then,
although Eric and Danny take the doubles in straight games, a pumped-up Wu finishes off Eric, 13,
12. Chinese Taipei is the $500 deserving winner, USA the $300 runner-up.
Wintrich notes that Chinese Coach Liguo Ai, along with his daughter Li, joined wife and
mother Li Henan as new residents of the U.S. Coach Liguo, on watching the Open play, offers
some comments on both the U.S. and Chinese Taipei teams:
The American style, at least that of Danny and Erics, is indeed unique in the world. They
are very good at blocking and maintaining ball control. However, the Chinese Taipei team was able
to offset this strength because their footwork is so good. They could quickly cover the court and reloop the blocks. While the Chinese Taipei players move similar to the Japanese (as opposed to the
larger-sized Europeans who favor spin over speed), their forehand stroke moves faster and their
block is done with power. They gain an advantage with the faster forehand and power blocks.
[Liguo said he was asked by Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) leaders who he thought would win
should Chinese Taipei play Mainland China. He responded:] The first time they meet, China will
not let the Taiwanese move so comfortably. Also, Chinas service and return of service will bother
them. Consequently, I think Taiwan would lose. However, the second time they meet, the Chinese
Taipei players will be more used to Chinas style and that will help them [though not necessarily
allow them to beat China?]. Right now I think the Chinese Taipei forehand loop is as good as any
the Chinese have, while their footwork is generally better than that of the Chinese. However, the
Chinese Taipei players need to improve on ball control and counter control.
Womens International Team Competition
In the Womens International Team event, three of the 11 teams (playing initially in four
round robins) were from the USA. Against heavily favored Japan, USA II (Lisa Gee, Takako
Trenholme, and Sheila ODougherty) was outclassed. However, though it didnt help them advance,
these American women did defeat the Dominican Republic team (Brigida Perez and Blanca Alejo),
3-2. Takako opened with a loss to Blanca, but Lisa balanced with an 18-in-the-3rd win over Perez.
Then, after dropping the doubles, USA finished well with two winsLisa over Blanca, and Takako
290

Indu Puri
From Indian Table Tennis,
Oct-Dec, 84

over Perez. In that same top half of the draw, the USA Juniors
(Diana Gee and Vicky Wong) lost 3-0 to both India and
advancer Chinese Taipei, 3-0. Wintrich, however, stresses that
against India our Juniors gained valuable experience by putting
up very strong resistanceVicky losing to longtime Indian
International Indu Puri at 19 and 20; while Diana, winning more
points than her opponent, extended Lakshmi Karanth, -19, 13, 19. Also in this tie they actually might have won, the USA Juniors
lost the doubles, 19 in the 3rd.
In the bottom half of the draw, USA I (Insook
Bhushan and Lan Vuong) cruised to an easy win over Peru
that advanced them to meet Chinese Taipei I in the semis.
Wintrich says that, although Bhushan won both her matches,
USAs 3-1 victory (Vuong had lost to Hsiu-Yu Chang),
would not have been possible without the crucial doubles win
that 15-year-old Lans good play helped provide.

Japans Kayoko Kawahigashi (L) on her way to defeating USAs


Insook Bhushan to lead her team to victory
Photos by Robert Compton

USA then went on to the final where, after Lan had lost her opening singles to 1980 and
1982 U.S. Open Champion Kayoko Kawahigashi, Insook evened the tie with a win over
Maruyama. But that was it for USAKawahigashi ending it with a straight-game win over Insook.
First prize of $300 to Japan; 2nd prize of $200 to USA.
Club Team Competition
Wintrich tells us that the Club Team competition started on Wednesday morning and
concluded 15 hours later at 1:30 a.m., Thursday. It wasnt planned that way nor was it Tournament
Directors Masters and Simons fault. They just politely acquiesced to the top players agreement
that a crossover should be played amongst the four teams that advanced out of the two preliminary
round robin groups of six. The original format called for a simple playoff between the winners of
each group to determine first ($300) and second place ($200) and another playoff between the two
teams that finished second in their group to determine third and fourth ($100).
[And while Toms indirectly telling us the inconvenience this change cost a number of people
involved in running the tournament, let me quickly run down the list of those, in addition to Masters
and Simon, who need to be lauded for their efforts to make this Open a success: Publicity: Bill
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Hodge;
Registration:
Sue Evans,
Yvonne
Kronlage;
Physical
Operations:
Dick Evans;
Referee: Bob
Partridge;
Chief Umpire
Assistant
Tom Miller
Referee: Allen
Photo by Mal Anderson
Barth; Chief
Umpire: Tom Miller; Director of
Dick and Sue Evans
Operations: Tom McEvoy; USTTA
Photo by Mal Anderson
Booth: Catherine Haring/Yvonne
Kronlage; Control Desk: Rich
Livingston/John Tentor/Shonie Aki and an additional crew of 12.]
In the one crossover Club Team semis, Canada (Zoran Kosanovic and Errol Caetano)
downed Sweden (Mikael Appelgren and Anders Thulin), 3-0with Caetano defeating Appelgren,
21-16 in the third. In the other semi, Peru (Tosikiro Tanaka and Walter Nathan) took down USA
(Ricky Seemiller, Brian Masters, and Quang Bui). The marathon competition ended when Nathan
beat Caetano to give Peru a 3-2 win. Peru gets $300, Canada $200.
Age Events (Under 9-17)
Sue Butler reports on the Junior play, highlighted by foreign players from Thailand, Chinese
Taipei, South America, Canada, and Europe (Nisse Sandberg brought eight players from his
Stockholm Angby Club). Sue begins with the youngest players then moves on up:
The U-9 and U-11 Singles
combined both boys and girls, an action
that drew complaints as the parents of the
U-11 girls thought their daughters should
compete in a separate event.
U-9 Singles: In the final of the
Under 9s were two eight-year-oldsEric
Owens, who weve heard so much about it
seems like he ought to be at least 10 or 11,
and Daniel Legters, whom we havent
heard so much about since his dad is a
U.S. Open Under 9 Champion Dan Legters
Presbyterian minister serving in Mexico.
Photo by Mal Anderson
While Daniel lives with his parents in
Yucatan, his older brother, Mark, 16, a 1900 player, lives in Grand Rapids, MI where he continues
to improve his table tennis skills working with Dell and Connie Sweeris. Owens isnt used to
meeting a strong player his size and age. So before Eric could adjust, Daniels strong consistent
game won out, 9 and 14, to make him the new U.S. Open U-9 Champion.
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U-11 Singles: The U-11 format saw the winners of three round
robins advancing to a single elimination draw. Both #1 seed Dhiren
Narotam (U.S. Closed U-11 Champ) and #2 seed Todd Sweeris
had no trouble winning their respective groups. But #3 seed Rene
Ramirez barely advanced (18, -17, 20) over new U.S. resident Li
Ai, daughter of Liguo and Henan Li Ai.

U.S. Under 11 Champ


Dhiren Narotam

Li is a
penhold attacker with a
strong forehand and a quick
topspin serve. She was
Think these parents are serious about improving Lis game?
ranked in the Top Eight in
Beijing and as a result was
paid a stipend of 12 yuan ($6.00) for extra food. This is no small amount of money in China as the
average worker earns 35 yuan per month. The money is paid by the Sports Federation and is
distributed to the ranked athletes in every sport by three coaches.
Although Ramirez did well to defeat Ai, he wasnt able to get by Sweeris. Todd won two
straight to reach the final against Narotam. But then Dhiren was too straight-game strong for Todd
and so added the U.S. Open U-11 title to his National U-11 one.
Unfortunately, the semis and final matches were played in the back of the hall under less
than ideal conditions as the sports-complex roof was leaking rain because of a major thunderstorm.
If the final had been featured on a table up front, this situation could have been avoided.
U-13 Boys Singles: Jimmy Butler, rated 2210, was 460 rating points above #2 seed Fredrik
Persson. Jimmy had lived with the Persson family in Sweden
during the month of March, and Fredrik in turn had spent six
weeks at our house before this U.S. Open. Both boys had a
relatively easy time reaching the final, except for Perssons
narrow 23-21-in-the-3rd escape from fellow Swede Johan
Edstrom.
Stephanie Fox
Jimmy was quick to exploit Fredriks backhand
Photo by
weaknessso with deep topspin serves followed by fast
Mal Anderson
backhand exchanges and strong forehand smashes, Jimmy
was able to add the U-13 U.S. Open Championship to his
Closed U-13 and U-15 titles.
U-13 Girls Singles: Stephanie Fox, U.S. Girls U-13
Champ, despite the lack of coaches and practice partners in
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St. Louis, came undefeated out of a round robin to also take the U.S. Open U-13s. Second was
Elizabeth Kecki from Regina, Saskatchewan. Having been coached by her father, a former ranked
player, Elizabeth has good strokes and some excellent serves.
U-13 Doubles: Winners: Jonas Fasth/Persson over Edstrom/Mourad Delyah, -17, 19, 13.
U-15 Boys
Singles:
Jimmy Butler
and Swedens
82 U.S.
Open U-13
Champ Daniel
Frejhammer,
after defeating
all their
opponents
two straight,
met in the
final. Both are
rated 2210
and have
U.S. Open Boys Under 15 Champion
U.S. Open Boys Under 15 Runner-up
Daniel Frejhammer
Jimmy Butler
been facing
Photo by Mal Anderson
each other for
several years. Although Frejhammer is two years older (15), the match figured to go either way.
Both boys have good forehands and backhands, but Daniels forehand loop is much superior to
Jims, while Jimmys backhand exchange is much better than Daniels. There were many long points
and Daniel was very stubborn about giving any of them up.
Frejhammers determination was the deciding factor in the match, especially in the crucial
second game when Jim, having lost the first and down now 16-13, came back to lead 19-16. Even
though Jim had the serve, he lost the next three points. At 19-all, a loop by Daniel tipped the net but
didnt land. Ad to Jim. The next exchange was fast and furious, but Jims backhand counter missed
to bring the game to deuce. Now on Daniels serve Jims loop doesnt go in
and hes down match point. Frejhammer then moved to victorystepped
around his backhand and looped-in the match-winner off Jimmys deep
topspin serve. He was the only Swede to win a Junior singles event.
U-15 Girls Singles: U.S. stars Diana and Lisa Gee were the top
seeds in the U-15 Girls Singles, but they faced strong competition from
Chinese Taipeis Su-Feng Huang, the 83 U.S. Open U-15 finalist.
Lisa faced Huang in the semis, and in splitting the first two games
Gee seemed to be getting the better of the long points. But in the third and
final game Lisa was unable to score with many of her shots and couldnt
contest. Nor could Vicky Wong make a match of it with Diana. In the final,
Diana, after losing the first game at 12, managed consistently to hit in winners
at the right time and prevailed over Su-Feng 16 and 18.
Under 15 Girls
Singles Champion
U-15 Doubles: Winner: Gees over Frejhammer/Butler, 19, -15, 17.
Diana Gee
U-17 Boys Singles: In the Boys U-17s, all the seeded players
Photo by Robert
advanced
easily out of the first round, but in the eighths there were two mild
Compton
294

surprisesJim Butlers straight-game win over Swedens 2250


Christer Anderson, and Gene Lonnons three-game losing effort
to upset California Circuit Winner Khoa Nguyen.
In the quarters, U-17 National Champion Sean ONeill
easily defeated Frejhammer, while Thailands National Junior
AND National Mens Champ Chartchai Teekaveerakit
(pronounced Tee-ka-wee-la-git) blitzed Jim Butler. The other
two quarters turned out to be the best matches in the event.
Chinese Taipeis 17-year-old Sheng-Chin Feng, a strong
penhold looper, has good serves and these gave Khoa Nguyen a
lot of trouble. Khoa, however, made good use of his powerful
forehand loop. At the end of the first game, the fact that Feng
was serving helped him win it at 16. In the second, Khoa mixed
up his play more, scoring with loop winners to the penholders
Gene Lonnon
weaker backhand, and so evening up the match at a game
Photo by Mal Anderson
apiece. But in the third, Khoa found himself down 19-16 and
couldnt recover. A couple of good serves by Feng and weak returns by Khoa and the match was
over.
The remaining quarters pitted Scott Butler against Swedens Anders Thulin. Anders had
never beaten Scott and indeed had lost to him in the Club competition here earlier. In the first game,
Anders, nervous, couldnt land a shot on the table. But in the second he settled down, became
consistent with his shots, and tied up the match. The third game was a point by point battle to the
end, featuring exciting rallies of loops, counter-loops, and
smashes. At 19-all, Anders served a high-toss that Scott
looped. Back and forth went the ball until Anders had
been worked deep into his backhandat which point
Scott zipped in a cross-court forehand for the winner.
Scott had made the decision to loop Anders next serve.
And when it camean outside topspin to Scotts
backhandScott stepped around and looped in a crosscourt forehand for the match.
Both Feng and Butler must have drained
themselves as neither fared well in the semisONeill
defeated Butler, 10 and 11, while Chartchai knocked off
Feng, 12 and 18.
Vicky
Unfortunately for th