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History of USA Table Tennis Volume 12

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

            1983: Year-Ending International Play (including Americans’ Adventures Abroad).

            As we’ve seen now for some time, Americans with a passionate interest in table tennis have been visiting and living abroad. Here’s USTTA Sports Medicine Chair Dr. Michael Scott (SPIN, Dec., 1983, 18) to tell us about some of his recent travels to places where U.S. players and officials are normally not seen:

            “Under the auspices of the United States Sports Academy, I toured Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Malaysia. The threefold purpose of the trip was to instruct national coaches on the psychological aspects of sports; present table tennis exhibitions; and give dermatological lectures. This, my second yearly Arabic tour, took me to Dhahran, Taif, and Riyadh. The Malaysian trip included Kuala Lumpur, Sungei Patani, and Penang in West Malaysia; Kota Kinabalu and Tawau in Sabah; and Kuching and Sibu in Sarawak, East Malaysia.

            SAUDI ARABIA—a land of six million people and one-fourth the size of the USA, contains nearly a quarter of the world’s known oil reserves. The ruling house of Saud transformed this desert kingdom from a land of nomads in 1932 into a modern influential nation. It is a country that went from dire poverty to enormous wealth in five decades. From barren land, modern cosmopolitan cities, international airports, and busy seaports have risen. Although it had no national currency until 1953, its international monetary reserves are greater than the U.S. and Britain combined. The vast Rub Al Khali, or Empty Quarter, still cannot support life because of extreme desert.

            It is interesting to note that members of Royalty prefer Chevrolets and Buicks over Rolls Royces or Cadillacs. Why? Because of their superior air-conditioners. [“Temperatures frequently rise into the 120’s and 130’s.”]…Water trucked to residential houses, is $2.50 per gallon.

            Alcohol is not permitted. Crime is practically non-existent as punishment is swift, sure, and public.

            Sports  is relatively new in this country where they had no electricity until 1960. However, now their swimming pools, duplicates of the one utilized in the Munich Olympics, have enclosed glass-elevators to swiftly transport divers to the higher platforms. The Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force bases in Dhahran, Taif, and Riyadh have new sport complexes, each costing $80,000,000. These ‘marble sports palaces’ contain unmatched facilities for archery, soccer, tennis, track, volleyball, basketball, bowling, weight-lifting, martial arts, swimming, rifle meets, and table tennis. All activities cease five times every day for 10 to 30-minute prayer periods, preferably at local mosques.

            The Saudi’s modernization is integrated as closely as possible with their personal, unique traditional culture and that of Islam. The people are exceptionally friendly, honest, meticulously clean, and possess a superb sense of humor.

            MALAYSIA—The areas I visited in Malaysia varied from modern cosmopolitan skyscraper-cities to typical native Malaysian villages (‘compos’) consisting of grouped thatched-roofed houses on stilts to Dyak headhunters’ longhouses situated on remote jungle river banks.

            In addition to native Malaysians, there are those of Indian descent (who hold political positions and produce many doctors), and those with Chinese ancestry (mostly merchants and businessmen, and of course table tennis players).

            Snake bites are as common as reptiles are profuse. Snakes from less than a foot in size to pythons and giant cobras are masters of camouflage and difficult to detect. Poisonous water and land snakes abound. A small, jet-black cobra, one to two feet in length, thrives in cocoa and rubber plantations and is as deadly as the large King Cobra. Death from its potent venom reputedly ensues in a matter of minutes.

            Travel in Malaysia can be as modern as anywhere in the world. In contrast its jungles can be impenetrable. Crocodiles are not uncommon along the river banks and become completely hidden in water less than six inches in depth. A diligent search for one crocodile near Kuala Lumpur which has killed 13 people has so far proven futile.

            Soccer and badminton are the principle sports but table tennis is also exceptionally popular. Table tennis facilities usually consist of only three or four tables. But even the smallest of villages have exceptionally skilled and well-coached youngsters avidly playing the game. Groups of 20 to 30 players, equally divided into males and females, 10 to 14 years of age, are coached daily at local clubs available to all Malaysians though often located in Chinese Fraternal Associations. It’s common for eight youngsters to simultaneously use one table. When one set of active players miss a ball, both instantly step out and are replaced by two waiting players stationed just behind them. Most Malaysian players are penholders using Chinese or Japanese rackets. Due to the scarcity of tables very few games are played and the time is primarily devoted to practicing various strokes. Attack is stressed. These clubs are primarily for pre-teens and teenagers; it’s rare for anyone in his/her twenties to play.”

            LONGHOUSES [communal dwellings]—Among the most fascinating of my world travel experiences was a visit with the Dyak headhunters of Northern Borneo. To reach them [what in the hell did you want to reach them for?—you were gonna teach them ping-pong, lecture them on the dangers of melanoma? (“Let me see your scalp, your neck, please?”] I had to be flown in by plane and then take a lengthy river trip in a small outboard boat. Similar to the ‘mountain people’ in Sabah, Dyaks have dark brown skin and are approximately five feet in height. Despite their relatively small stature, they are exceptionally powerful. They are a remarkable, friendly, and meticulously clean people.

            Each longhouse is governed by a ‘Headman.’ When he welcomes you to the longhouse, shoes are removed upon entering the covered porch, and tan woven mats are spread on its spotless hardwood floor. Inhabitants and guests gather in a ten-foot circle sitting cross-legged. While seated in this circle, I glanced up and observed numerous human skulls dangling from the porch’s ceiling. They were suspended by a short rattan cord that entered through a small hole drilled in the vertex of the skull. Elderly men were tattooed, many even on the anterior aspect of their throat. The location of the tattoo was significant—for example, neck tattoos indicate the tribesman did the capitation himself. Fortunately, the last known incident occurred in the 1960’s.

            When I ran out of gifts, I presented one Dyak Headman an embroiderd USTTA emblem. He was totally perplexed as to what it was or what he was to do with it. He turned it sideways, upside down, flipped it over, and still could not determine a use for it. {Not a good idea to frustrate him, do you think?] Another Dyak finally took it and placed it against the Headman’s T-shirt. I’m certain he’s the only headhunter with an official USTTA emblem.”

            Now we’re going to follow Mike Bush (Timmy’s, Jan., 1984, 11) as he describes in detail how he and Eric Boggan fared recently at the 20-nation Hungarian Open—what European President Dr. Gyorgy Lakatos had called a “mini World’s.” Who could think there’d be any danger of either of them losing his head there?

            “It started peacefully. Eric stayed the night at my place, and next day we were tanked up and buzzing down the landesstrasse at 9:15 a.m. Soon we hit the autobahn and were cruising along on the clean, clearly marked race-track-quality road at about 100-110 mph. The Police, Men at Work, and Simon and Garfunkel were flowing through our ears. Indeed, we were psyched at the thought of playing in the Hungarian Open. We both agreed that we should get fired up and play worthy of the First Division status that America had earned and kept in the past two World Championships.

            The Open, held in Miskolc, Nov. 11-13, was then still a two-day drive away, and no matter how fast we felt we were driving it wasn’t getting us much closer.

            We stayed the night at the place of an acquaintance of mine, an echtes Bayerisches maedel, near the Austrian border and Salzburg. Her apartment is a cozy nest in the top part of an old wooden Bavarian house imbedded deep into the rustic alpen countryside. Looking out a window I saw an old stout steeple appearing sharp yet insignificant next to the awesome masses of earth and dark, disturbing clouds. A rush of water poured through an old stone bridge. Later, Eric and I took a knock at the local club. Then, after a hot fulfilling shower, we went with the gemeindschaft to a local pub and drank self-fermenting, yeasty wheat beer (called Weissbier, a Bavarian specialty).

On TV we watched Deutschland lead 2-0 in matches and 20-18 in the third game of men’s doubles in a European Cup match against Czechoslovakia. But der Deutsche were not to win. They lost the tie when Stellwag, in the seventh and last match against Pansky, down 1-0 and 8-4 in the second, systematically fell deeper and deeper into an abyss, a lack of confidence, a point by point degeneration, until he did everything except actually resign from play.* Pansky, meanwhile, took control of the table and closed out the match. It had been nothing new in the history of German table tennis and the players looked depressed.

            The cameras zoomed in on the face of the new German trainer, 60-year-old Charles Roesch, formerly the French national trainer, who has replaced Istvan Korpa, the former world-class Yugoslav. Roesch’s eyes tried to comprehend what had happened as they stared into thought behind his cold stone face, but they only reflected the grumbles of the 2,500 spectators who had stopped cheering and applauding somewhere in the middle of that last game and who were now noisily but orderly filing out of the gymnasium.

            That night we slept under feather quilts. In the morning we ate a Bavarian breakfast of rolls, salamis, cheese, eggs, and coffee. After farewells, Christine left for work at the handicapped children’s clinic where she’s a physical therapist, and in no time at all we were buzzing once again down the autobahn, the gas pedal pressed to the floor. It was 9:30 a.m. and Miskolc was a difficult day’s drive ahead.

            Travel through Austria was routine. At the Hungarian border there was a long delay—filling out papers, picture taking, more red tape. Finally we were through to the other side and I hit the gas. The monotonous road ahead was a two-way highway, one lane in each direction. Hours were spent passing (speeding up, slowing down) and waiting to pass slow-moving vehicles.

            Finally, a couple of full tanks of gas later we arrived at our hotel. It was 8 p.m. and we asked the organizing committee about training that evening. The interpreter for Deutsch told us we had only an hour and gave us directions to the hall. In the dark streets we couldn’t find our way out of the small complex of roads to get to the main road. In a burst of anger Eric cut a sharp U-turn, nailing two curbs in doing so. The second curb was of squarely-cut stone that punched the life out of our right front tire. Peace lay in jeopardy.

            To make a long story short, Eric found somebody who’d be happy to help him with the tire. In the meantime, we got a ride to the sports complex with Hungary’s Gergely, practiced, rode back to the hotel with the Austrians in their bus (which would break down during the Open and which they would have to have towed 200 miles to Budapest for repairs), ate, and went to sleep.

            U.S.A. vs. France. The next morning I awoke psyched, but Eric had a headache and was in a bad mood. I tried to cheer him up and get him psyched. I thought if we were to have any chance against France Eric would have to win both singles. He held his bad mood at bay and at the hall we prepared for our match.

            In the draw room we were pleasantly surprised by the French trainer’s nominated team: Farout, Parietti, and Secretin/Farout.

            I was first up against Farout, the 23-year-old French #5 who the week before in a European Cup match against Yugoslavia had led in the third game against both Kalinic and Karakasevic before losing both matches close, and who would reach the last 16 in Men’s Singles in this Championship.

            In the first, we were both uncomfortable with each other’s game. It was close all the way and revolved around serves, flips, short balls, and following attacks. At 19-18 for me with him serving, I fished up a return off a net-edge after a long point and he missed the sitting duck. I then took the first game at 19. In the second, his attack dominated—game to him, 21-14. In the third, I led 18-17 with him serving, and knew I had to play aggressively. He served short to my backhand and stepped around to follow strong with his forehand. I had played most returns into his deep backhand, but this time I went for the down-the-line backhand flip and there was nobody home—19-17. 

Then we had a couple of long counter-spinning rallies with one net by him and it was 19-all. I went for two hard flips deep into his forehand off of two short serves placed in the middle of the table. The first flip produced an error from Farout; the second, a weak return which I followed up with a hard forehand topspin that he blocked into the net. I screamed and looked at Eric 1-0 for America.

            Eric was then up against Bruno Parietti, French #6, who at 26 is a well-known face on the European table tennis scene. Parietti is an attacker with long pips and inverted, and is seemingly orthodox except for an occasional twist of the bat in his hand. He is a player who on any given day can give many of the top Europeans heat, but I just couldn’t imagine him beating Eric.

            In the first game, Eric, though still in a bad mood, led 20-16. Then he played a couple of bad points, Parietti a couple of good ones, and suddenly it was deuce. After that, the points were long and well-played by both. Eric got an ad with excellent blocks and picks. But he couldn’t put Parietti away. Then the Frenchman got an ad and they contested a very long point where Eric made a great anti-block of a kill, then followed with two backhand punches and a forehand kill of his own. With fight and determination Eric took this game, 26-24.

In the second, Eric looked solid as he led 13-5. But then his concentration lapsed and soon it was deuce again, the points long and heated. This time, as I had feared, even though Eric is great in close situations, Parietti earned an ad and then dug in to take the game 23-21. The third was close until 12-all, then Eric won a streak of points and the match. America (2)—France (0).

In the doubles, the French looked strong with lefty Secretin and righty Farout. They’d prove their strength later in the tournament by reaching the last 16 by beating two Hungarians and losing close in three games to China’s Cheng Yinghua/Chen Longcan. In our match they took the first game 21-10 and led in the second. Eric had given up fighting somewhere along the way. Down 12-6, I turned to him and almost screamed, “Please fight!” He told me it wasn’t important, he’d beat Farout next match. I told him I didn’t want to know about the next match; we were in this one, and I wanted to win.

He just looked at me, said O.K., and suddenly we were back in it. Eric had made two solid anti drop shots off of Farout’s serves, and Secretin had handled them badly. I had followed up both returns with hard loops. From 8-12, Eric served loaded, straight-chop short serves that Secretin had difficulty returning in a way that would ward off my attack. Soon it was 13-all and we were hot. Eric’s placements and anti drops were very difficult for Secretin to deal with. I attacked Secretin’s returns and Farout was looking troubled. Luck was on our side and we took the game 21-18.

In the third, Farout was having much less difficulty with Eric’s game than Secretin had, and got in his attack often. Secretin seemed to be more at home playing against my topspin than he had against Eric’s antis and pushes. But the points were long, well played, and we managed to escape from that order down only 10-7 at the change. Now our styles had the advantage and we fought successfully to lead 18-17, with Eric serving to Secretin. We discussed tactics briefly and decided Eric should serve short, straight chop with as much spin as possible, and that I should go for hard forehand topspins into Farout’s middle.

Secretin went for a flip to my forehand and caught me going the other way: 18-all. Another good return, which I spun up slow and which Farout killed: 18-19. Eric made two low, short serves with heavy spin and Secretin went for hard forehand flips into my backhand and put both into the bottom of the net: 20-19 match point for us. Eric served the same serve and Secretin made a middle-strength long return to my backhand. I responded with a controlled backhand topspin down the line. Farout counter-spun it hard, cross-court, into Eric’s forehand. Eric blocked a beautiful, low cross-court shot with Sriver deep into Secretin’s backhand. Secretin, in his usual graceful way, rolled it back low and long to the middle of the table, where I, waiting, scored the game, match, and tie winner, a fade-away forehand down Farout’s backhand line that caught him moving to cover his forehand. We screamed and smiled at each other. We had just defeated France 3-0 and would play China in the quarter’s in less than an hour.

U.S. vs. China. Against the Chinese we were loose and hot. I started off against Xie Saike and my style worked well against his lefty pips-out penholder-attacking game. Off his pips-drive, I used sidespin pushes, sidespin chop blocks into his backhand to set up my loop. If he blocked me out of position, a low, loaded sidespin chop would keep me in the point. My slimy New York table game and powerful loops were clearly throwing him off his rhythm. But it didn’t really matter because he was just too damn good and [after that build-up!] I lost 9, 13. China (1)—USA (0).

In the second match, Eric played Fan Changmao, the righty pips-out penholder cracker. Eric played unbelievably well. His backhand, with both Sriver and anti, controlled Fan’s attack and created openings for Eric’s pick hits. Eric, down 20-19 in the first, got a break with an edge. Then, after several long counter-drive points Eric emerged the victor, 24-22. In the second game, Eric was hot and got off to a big lead. Fan, down 11-4, watched in disbelief as Eric killed in a backhand. Fan looked at Hsi Enting, the Chinese Coach and former World Champion, with a disgusted expression—this while doing an imitation of Eric’s backhand. Fan’s voice was questioning and Hsi’s answer was calm and clear. Perhaps this Fan/Hsi reaction broke Eric’s concentration, for he lost five of the next six points.

When Eric awoke, it was 12-9 and he was fighting again hard. Then what happened was amazing. Up 14-11, Eric continued to play fantastic long points, but he didn’t win one a single one of them. Game to Fan 21-14! Eric’s chance for victory against one of the world’s best was no longer a reality. Fan was unstoppable in the third game, won it at 9. China (2)—USA (0).

The doubles was a routine win for the Chinese, even though Eric and I didn’t play badly (14, 11). A 3-0 victory for China—and USA was out of the Team event. Eric was slightly depressed that he hadn’t put Fan away, but all in all we were proud about our showing. We had finished 5th-8th in a Norwich Union Grand Prix with 10 out of the 12 top teams in the world participating and all of the First Division teams except Japan, Poland and South Korea.

Bush’s Singles Play—We went to have lunch. Then, back in the hall, we watched great matches. At 4 p.m. I played my first match in the Men’s Singles Qualifying rounds. Against Horvath, a Hungarian top-spinner, I played my best match of the tournament and beat him (18, 18). In my second round, I played the Rumanian Crisan, a quick top-spinner on the table whose style made me uncomfortable. I was down 19-11 in the first and came back. Down 19-16, I made five high-toss serves and followed them up with bullet loops to come out a winner. Eric told me it was my day and to jump all over him in the second.

But it wasn’t to be. He fought hard and I was feeling fatigued after the long day of play. He took the second game 21-5, and in the third I was moving poorly. Down 20-14 I spun a forehand and he blocked a high, perfectly placed sitter to my backhand. I thought what the hell and put every bit of power and body weight into an all-out backhand loop kill that even shocked me. Down 15-20 I was making high-toss serves and tracer-like follows. But at 20-17 he made a great block and I was out of the tournament.

Later Engelbert Huging and I stood watching in awe the powerful play of the new face on the Chinese Team, He Zhiwen, winner of the Swiss Open a few weeks earlier. He dominated Appelgren in the final of the Team event between China and Sweden. Zhiwen’s serve and follow game is a work of art. He aced “The Apple” twice with short serves!

At one point Engelbert slapped his face and exclaimed, “Mein Gott!”** I too couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. Zhiwen served and Applegren pushed long into Zhiwen’s deep lefty backhand. Zhiwen drove a forehand hard down the line and Appelgren counter-spun it with sidespin deep into Zhiwen’s forehand. Zhiwen moved and killed a parallel forehand on the run into Michael’s backhand. The Apple’s touch was marvelous. He used Zhiwen’s force to hook the ball back, medium high, deep into Zhiwen’s backhand. The ball had tremendous spin, arc, and velocity. It caught the corner of the table and kicked high and away from Zhiwen with sidespin/topspin. Zhiwen was still standing well past his forehand side of the table. If time could have been stopped and my opinion requested, I’d have said that Zhiwen had little chance of getting to the ball, let alone doing anything with it with his penholder pips-out backhand. Well, Zhiwen not only got to it, but with his back to the table turned into the ball and blasted it in for a winner with as much force as was humanly possible. It was the best shot I’ve ever seen in my life.

Boggan/Bush Doubles—The next day, Saturday, Eric and I played our second round of Men’s Doubles (we had a bye in the first round). It was against the Hungarian loopers Varga/Harczi, both about 20. They were not great players, but they were steady, had good footwork and powerful loops. It was a very difficult match for us that we just managed to survive.

The first we won at 17. Eric’s anti game was very effective—it set me up for put-away shots time after time. But the Hungarians were also very quick to eat up loose balls. In the second, we were down 13-7, fought to come back but only made it to 18.

In the final game, we were playing well. With Eric’s great anti drops, solid blocks, and aggressive picks, the Hungarians were unable to play strong enough balls to keep my attack from doing damage. At 13-7 for us we looked invincible. Then it happened! A slow, spinny forehand was placed to my backhand and I stepped around it for an on-the-table counter-loop kill down the line. The attempt just missed. Eric turned to me and angrily told me I should play more control and not waste points. Then he served into the net. Then they looped one in and I blocked long. We started to fall apart. Their loops were stinging in left and right. We no longer had the lead, were dogging it. But then, down 17-14, the victims of a 10-1 run, our rhythm and harmony began to come back. Still, we were down 19-16…20-17.

Now there was a long point and Eric’s anti drop out of nowhere hadn’t been anticipated. The ball bounced three times on their side of the table: 20-18. Eric returned their short serve even shorter with his anti. The ball stayed very low and short and they had no choice but to push it back and I rocketed it in for the point: 20-19. Eric made another short return, they flipped long, I spun slow, they blocked, Eric punched with his Sriver into his receiver’s middle, and when the player couldn’t get around in time to make a powerful loop so instead spun it medium-paced out of his body with sidespin, I loop killed: deuce!

Eric served short, they pushed long into my backhand and I shut my eyes and swung with all my might. Match point for us. They served short and my return, which was supposed to stay low and short, went long and high. They loop-killed and Eric, his adrenalin flowing, dove and tried to counter-kill off the floor. The attempt just missed: 21-all. I served short and Eric made an unstoppable topspin: 22-21. Eric returned serve with a sticky Sriver push deep into the Hungarian’s backhand which he spun up slow and spinny to the middle of the table and I loop-killed it: 23-21, game and match. There was no verbal outburst by us, but our eyes screamed as we smiled at each other and slapped hands together.

Eric’s Singles—In Eric’s first round of Men’s Singles, he played Yugoslav veteran Karakasevic. It was a weird match. Both styles were equally effective and equally weak against each other. “Karak” is a pips-out penhold blocker and had trouble attacking off Eric’s blocks, pushes, and anti. But Eric also had difficulty against Karak’s dead block and relatively spin-less game. The points were long, with slow-paced countering, Eric using much anti.

One of Eric’s tactics was to play deep into Karak’s forehand, then deep into his backhand to force a weak ball. It was a good tactic, but equally good for Karak against Eric. The match revolved around diagonals, parallels, and angles. Eric won the first two games, 19 and 17. The third he lost at 23. The fourth he won at 19. The match was a grueling struggle and Eric’s determination and youth pulled him through.

In the last 32, Eric met a slightly overweight Gergely who was playing well. In the first game, the Hungarian looped powerfully from both sides and constantly penetrated Eric’s defense. Eric didn’t get a chance to attack often. Game to Gergely, 21-14. After that, Eric and I talked. I thought he should mix his anti and Sriver much more than he had been. Very important was the anti drop-shot. Gergely would have to concentrate on moving in and out, as well as laterally. Eric agreed. The tactic worked well in the second game: 21-16, Eric.

In the third game, it didn’t matter what Eric did, Gergely, who had won the World’s Men’s Doubles with Jonyer eight years earlier, was hot. He made three counter-kills off Eric’s smashes, rarely missed Eric’s topspin, and was sending in rockets from both sides. Eric tried to stop Gergely by out-attacking him, by punching Gergely’s loop, rather than blocking it, so as to create openings. This tactic backfired and the Hungarian took advantage of Eric’s poor footwork: 21-9. Gergely leads 2-1.

During the five-minute break, Eric and I talked strategy. I thought he was playing Gergely wrong. Eric shouldn’t try to force his own attack, should rather concentrate totally on stopping Gergely’s. Eric shouldn’t punch-block, should instead focus on placement and keeping the ball low. With his anti he should try to play as short and as low as possible. In that way Eric would get the weak balls to put away.

In the fourth game, Eric controlled Gergely with this tactic and took the game 21-16. Before the fifth, Eric came to me and said, “You don’t have to do anything, I’m going to be a wall.” And he was. Game and match to Eric, 21-15.***

Observing Eric‘s effectiveness in Europe is interesting. In a sense, it doesn’t matter that Eric plays with two colors. His success is based on his short-long game and his steadiness at blocking. Also on his ability to put away weak balls. Europeans are very weak at moving in and out. Their strength lies in very good lateral movement, and in touch against topspin. Most Europeans are ready for a short return of serve, but aren’t able to deal with a short ball thrown into the middle of a point. After the service and return, most Europeans drop back to the “half-distance” position and spin, block, counter-spin, and kill. The Swedes like Lindh and Carlsson play somewhat differently. They play close to the table and force their attack. Carlsson is probably one of the top three Europeans (he finished with the best record in the Bundesliga) and is the only European I’ve seen that when playing well has no problem against Eric’s game. Eric has seemingly no chance not only because of Carlsson’s ability to play all balls but because of his quick footwork both laterally as well as in and out.

The Chinese also use the short-long game very successfully in Europe. At this Championship most Chinese were penholders and played with pips out. Their serves are either very short and disguised or long and quick, placed on the corners or in their opponent’s middle. Their serves are followed by powerful cracks or pips-out topspin drives. If a European got into the attack, the Chinese would either counter long and hard, or drop short and dead. The most amazing thing about these players was their loop off a push. In all other aspects of their game, the pips are used as pips, but against a push they used a beautiful inverted sponge technique that gave them the ability to actually loop a ball. Granted the loop doesn’t have much spin, but it is fast, well-placed and effective.

Eric played Cheng Yinghua in the last-16 round. Cheng, a righty shakehand topspinner, beat Sweden’s Waldner in five games in the round of 64 [some early match-up that was!]. I remembered Cheng’s versatile game from the German Open three years ago where he’d been spinning every ball against Dvoracek in the final of the Team event. Late in the second game, however, Cheng had gotten severe hamstring cramps and in the third had stayed up to the table and blocked Dvoracek down, sometimes blocking literally more than 40 topspins to win the point.

Eric went into the match with the same strategy that he’d beaten Gergely with. It was amazing what took place. Cheng had no problems moving in or out (or laterally for that matter). He could spin powerfully and with control from both sides, defend, block and counter. Eric blocked and dropped, blocked and dropped, looped and killed. The points were very long but Cheng kept winning them. He just kept putting in one more shot or making one more return than Eric. Match to Cheng, 10, 9, 13.

Post-Play Party—For both Eric and me our table tennis play was over. Eric stuck his bat in his case and we drove back to the hotel. We ate dinner and then went to the bar to sit, drink, and talk with different players. Time went by and somehow we ended up drunk in Boehm and Huging’s room with Parietti and two German women players, Olchewski and Mauszopf. We were all lying around buzzed from the gin we’d brought with us. It was very cozy and warm, and we talked into the night.

During the course of the evening Parietti had brought up the topic of our France-USA Team match, and I asked the question that had been on my mind so long, Why didn’t France play their best team against us? [That is, Secretin in the singles.] Didn’t they care if they lost? Bruno looked at me through glazed eyes and smiled, “Yes,” he said in his slurred French accent. “We wanted to win. Our trainer told us it’d be no problem. You see, excuse me, Mike, we’d win two points against you and the doubles. Yes! No problem. 3-0 for the USA, but no problem!”

The party went on and on, got louder and louder, more and more jovial. Either the jokes were getting better or we all imagined they were funnier. Then suddenly the door opened. There amidst all the carefree smiles was the stern grimace of Charles Roesch in his pajamas telling us that it was 4 a.m. and the party was over. The German players’ faces had dropped upon Roesch’s grand entrée, and his orders were followed without question or hesitation.

At 11 a.m. next day I awoke with a splitting headache. I vowed I’d never drink like that again, and drove to the hall with Eric.

Men’s Quarter’s—All the Men’s quarterfinals were played simultaneously and I chose the Lindh-Xie Saike and the Carlsson-He Zhiwen matches to concentrate on. The Swedes lost the first games and were both well down in the second. But then, almost in a team effort, they started to control the pace with their spin games. They both took the second, 22-20. In the third, Carlsson was awesome. He handled Zhiwen’s serves well and often pinned him to his backhand, looping hard and quick, and putting away loose balls like Kjell Johansson. Game to Carlsson, 21-11. Meanwhile, Lindh was loop-killing every ball off the bounce, backhand and forehand. Both players were lefty and Lindh used that to force backhand to backhand. It was a battle to the end, with Lindh coming back from 17-10 down to, fist upraised, take the game 22-20.

In the fourth, Carlsson stayed on top of Zhiwen the whole way. The Chinese seemed nervous, made four unforced errors in a row, and lost the match at 18. On the other table, Xie fought Lindh for the fourth game, taking it at 14. In the fifth, the match was tight all the way, the points being played with tremendous pace. Lindh led 20-19 match point, but then Xie made a great diving down-the-line kill to keep himself in the match. Lindh then got in a super forehand for the ad, and then loop-killed three backhands in a row off Xie’s blocks, each harder than the one before, and finally Xie, no longer able to contain the spin and force, blocked long, and the two best players in the tournament were out of contention.

Men’s Semi’s—In the semifinals we watched the last Chinese left, Chen Longcan, go down in five to Secretin, who was playing as aggressively as I’ve ever seen him. Secretin hadn’t lobbed one ball all match, his specialty, until, up 20-16 match point, he finally spun one up high for Chen to blast. Chen killed and killed, but wasn’t going through. Eric, England’s Carl Prean, and I all agreed that it looked like Secretin was going to lob down the Chinese for the match. But it didn’t happen. Two points later, Secretin made a great serve and follow to propel himself into the final. In the other semi, it appeared that Lindh had Carlsson’s number. The match was never close—Lindh won three straight.

Finals—After lunch we were back in the hall watching the finals of all events. The Women’s final was a thing of beauty. China’s Dai Lili placed her loops precisely and Tong Ling returned ball after ball with graceful gliding movements. The points were long, and drop shots played an important role in Dai Lili’s clear victory. One got the impression from watching these two players that they were good enough to go a few rounds in the Men’s Singles had they been allowed to play.

The Men’s final was disappointing. Lindh played much too fast, tried to kill every ball off the bounce, and made many mistakes off of Secretin’s clever changing of spin, pace, and arc. The match went four games but was never really close. The old fox, whom most players had written off as a has-been, stood on the pedestal and received a beautiful ceramic vase and medal, and everyone rose as the French National anthem was played.

Event Results: Men’s Team: China, 3—Sweden, 0 (Xie Saike d. Waldner; He Zhiwen d. Appelgren; He/Fan Changmao d. Lindh/Waldner—all matches won by the Chinese short-pips penholders in straight games. Best tie: Sweden 3—North Korea 2 (Lindh d. Hong Chol, 16, -16, 8; Appelgren d. Cho Yongho, -13, 17, 15; Chol/Yongho d. Lindh/Waldner, -16, 19, 18; Yongho d. Lindh, -20, 18, 16; Appelgren d. Chol, -13, 8, 19). Women’s Team: China, 3—Hungary, 0 (Dai Lili d. Olah; Tong Ling d. Szabo; Dai/Li Huifeng d. Szabo/Urban)—all matches won by the Chinese with their long-pips defensive play in straight games.

Men’s Singles: Final: Secretin d. Lindh, 18 in the 4th. Semi’s: Secretin d. Chen Longcan, -13, 21, -8, 17, 18; Lindh d. Carlsson, 14, 17, 16. Quarter’s: Secretin d. Broda, 15, -17, 9, 10; Lindh d. Xie Saike, -10, 20, 20, -14, 20; Carlsson d. He Zhiwen, -16, 20, 11, 18; Chen d. Cheng, 17, 18, 16. Best Eighth’s: Secretin d. Molnar, 18, -15, 18, -12, 13; Carlsson d. Chong Inchol, 23-21 in the 4th. Best Sixteenth’s: Molnar d. Appelgren, -20, -19, 17, 10, 16. Best 32nd’s: Cheng d. Waldner, 13, -19, 17, -19, 17; Fan d. Persson, -12, 14, -18, 16, 15.

Women’s Singles: Dai Lili d. Tong Ling, 13, 16, 14. Semi’s: Dai Lili d. Li Huifeng, 17, 15, -11, 13; Tong Ling d. Hrachova, 11, 11, 17. Best quarter’s: Dai Lili d. Valentina Popova, deuce in the 4th.

Men’s Doubles: Final: Lindh/Waldner d. Appelgren/Kalinic. Semi’s: Lindh/Waldner d. Saike/Fan; Appelgren/Kalinic d. Chen/Cheng—all in straight games.

Women’s Doubles: Final: Dai Lili/Tong Ling d. Jiao Zhinin/Li Huifeng. Semi’s: Dai Lili/Tong Ling d. Bulatova/Kovalenko; Jiao Zhinin/Li Huifeng d. Szabo/Urban—all in straight games.

Mixed Doubles: He Zhiwen/Dai Lili d. Chen Longcan/Li Huifeng, 15, -18, 14. Semi’s: He Zhiwen/Dai Lili d. Pansky/Hrachova, 17, 14; Chen/Li d. Lindh/Marie Lindblad, 19 in the 3rd.

Post-Open Activities/Trip Home—The tournament over, that evening there was a banquet of tasty Hungarian cuisine, speeches from the organizing committee, and a disco party that lasted until 3 a.m. Eric and I certainly want to thank the Hungarian TTA for their hospitality. It would be nice to see that hospitality returned at one of our U.S. Opens.

Early the next morning, Eric and I were on the long, bland road traveling towards Austria. We stopped in Budapest for lunch at one of the most expensive restaurants there. It was a famous Russian restaurant and we followed the waiter’s suggestion and ordered the most expensive things on the menu. We started off with beef blintzes with sour cream followed by Beef Stroganoff. We drank various juices and split a Pilsner Urquel. While Eric ate an ice cream sundae I hit the streets and bought 10 bottles of Russian Krim Champagne (respected as one of the best the world over) for about $1.20 per bottle. I also bought Hungarian salami and Russian vodka. I went back to the restaurant where Eric and I paid the equivalent of $5 each for the filling feast, and then we were again on the road, driving through brain-draining traffic.

At the Hungarian border we had what seemed to us an unnecessarily long wait at each of the three checkpoints. We waited in a line and watched every car going through. An expensive-looking Mercedes was parked off to the side. The owner unpacked suitcase after suitcase and bottles of Krim (at least 50) stood on a table. Cold-looking officials scrutinized the German’s every move, and once in a while a command was issued.    

Finally it was our turn, and to the question of what we had to declare, I said, “Tja…Hmmm…let me see…oh, yeah. This hat and ahh…some champagne….Ahh, vodka….” The critical face watched my answers but gave the appearance of boredom. He turned, looked in our car, pointed at Eric’s suitcase. We opened it, he searched it, and then waved us through. More driving, driving. At both the Austrian and Deutsch borders we were allowed through at the sight of our American passports.

Again we warmly accepted the gastfreundlichkeit of Christine’s Bavarian zuhause. After fond farewells the next morning we were once again on the autobahn, this time slushing through misty sleet. We arrived in Reutlingen in the afternoon.”

That night [after Eric’s Bad Hamm Bundesliga team tie with Reutlingen—Mike will cover Eric’s matches with Stellwag and Appelgren elsewhere], we stayed in my old apartment in the house of the family Kleith. Their gastfreundlichkeit is almost impossible to be matched. Awaiting us that night on the kitchen table was a bottle of champagne and some homemade cookies with a note congratulating Eric on his Reutlingen victories.

In the morning, after breakfast and a friendly knock with Helmut and his daughter Ursula, the Dettingen women’s champion, on their attic ping-pong table, we were once again on the road. At my place, Eric and I peacefully parted, agreeing that the trip had been a success and a great learning experience. After shaking hands, Eric drove, as he had come, alone, back to his apartment in Hamm.”

German Leagues Results

            Engelbert Huging (Timmy’s, Nov.-Dec., 1983, 10) reports on the first half of the 10-team German Bundesliga season. Here’s how they finished: 1. Saarbrucken. 2. Dusseldorf. 3. Reutlingen. 4. Grenzau. 5. Altena. 6. Julich. 7. Bremen. 8. Hamm. 9. Heusenstamm. 10. Herbornseelbach. Note that Eric Boggan’s Hamm team eked out the coveted 8th place, barely avoiding the relegation to the Second Division that befell the 9th and 10th –finishing teams.

            “The Reutlingen team, despite their dreadful blunder in mixing up their dates and failing to show against Altena, is the very model of professionalism. The players train twice a day—and if any are absent from practice they’re fined accordingly.

            “The Saarbrucken team is also very serious-minded. Scott Boggan, who playing the #1 position on his Second Division team was 20-2 for the first-half season, said cheerfully to Saarbrucken’s Stellan Bengtsson, ‘Your team’s got the Bundesliga locked up. So now we can go have a few beers—party just a little bit—huh?’ But to Scott’s amazement on this Tuesday night Bengtsson begged off, said, “No, Friday our team’s got one more match to play.’

            “Dusseldorf’s professionalism extends not only to every player wearing the same playing outfits but the same after-the-match uniform.”

            Mike Bush (Timmy’s, Jan., 1984, 10) summarizes how the four Americans playing in leagues in Germany did for the first half season. He begins with Eric whose 12-6 record playing the #1 spot was not great but good, respectable. His six losses were to Ulf  Bengtsson, Boehm, Carlsson, Douglas, Lindh, and Nolten. His wins were over, among others, Appelgren, Stellan Bengtsson, Karakasevic, Lieck, Plum, Stellwag, and Wosik. We’ll now pick up Mike’s descriptions of Eric’s matches against Reutlingen I’d deferred earlier.

            “When, after our play in the Hungarian Open, we arrived at the hall for the Hamm-Reutlingen match, we were informed that in western Germany the autobahn was rendered useless by freezing rain. Eric’s team would be coming by train and we expected the match to start an hour late. Eric was sick. Literally, I mean. He had some kind of virus and felt very weak. When Eric’s team finally arrived and warmed up, it was 9 p.m. The match had been scheduled for 7:30. The 700 spectators had patience and had waited. Eric’s Hamm team hadn’t a chance against powerful Reutlingen, but Eric, though not feeling up to par, was ready to play.

            Against Peter Stellwag in his first match, Eric’s strategy was to concentrate on defense—blocking, mixing, and dropping. In the first game, ‘Stell’ was at a loss what to do. He couldn’t go through. Eric played mostly defense and only attacked very weak returns. That worked fine because Stell attacked every ball. In the second game, though, Stell pushed more and played defense himself. In that game Eric attacked too much and Stell found holes in Eric’s defense when he counter-attacked. One each. In the third game, Eric played more patiently, but Stell was playing steady and the match was close all the way. At 19-all, they played a tremendous point. Stell spun ball after ball from both sides and Eric blocked. After the tenth topspin Stell found an opening and hooked the ball soft but spinny deep into Eric’s forehand. Eric had to reach for it and his anti return popped high and short. Eric jumped back to about six feet from the table and Stell came in and smashed into Eric’s forehand. Eric somehow, as if heaven or hell was on his side, made an incredible block that caught the net and went over. Stell was pinned at the table, had been caught unprepared, and lost the point. At 20-19, Eric served and killed for the match.

            Against Appelgren I suggested to Eric that he not attack at all unless the ball was ridiculously weak. Even if The Apple pushed, which I thought he would, Eric should only push back. Also I told Eric to use the anti a lot and to aim it often into Appelgren’s backhand. The tactic worked perfectly. Mikael plays his best when he’s being forced upon, when his opponents are spinning hard at him. He isn’t physically strong, but he’s quick, has good technique, incredible touch, and creates his own power from the force of his opponent’s attack. Against Eric, he looked soft and vulnerable. Against Eric’s low, well-placed shots he couldn’t create any speed or force. Eric was steady and led 14-4 in the first and 12-3 in the second. This evening there was a worm in the Apple.

            Mike continues with his summary of the Americans’ first half-season of German league play. “Scott Boggan’s team and my team finished tied for second place in our Second Division. Scott finished with the best singles record for the best players on each team with 20 victories. I finished second according to the German system with 17 victories. No top player managed to play without a loss. Mesaros, the Yugoslav National and one of the best choppers in the world,

finished with a 7-1 record, including an 18-in-the-third victory against me and a clear 2-0 victory against Scott. Richard Fritz, a quarterfinalist in the German National Championships, finished third in our Division with 16 victories. Scott had given Fritz his first loss of the season, beating him 17 in the third.  I had led him 18-15 in the third, but hadn’t been able to put him away.

In the Boggan-Bush ‘prestige duel,’ as they call it, Scott, down 16-13 in the third, played very well to come back and beat me. The tie between our teams had lasted over four hours. My team had led 6-1 in matches, then was down 7-6, then won 9-7. Scott had made two points for his team, both in singles, and I had made three points, one singles and two doubles. The last doubles was a close three-game match between Scott and his partner and me and my partner. There were 400 spectators and the atmosphere was great.

Charles Butler finished his first half with only three losses in his Third Division league, including a loss to the well-paid South Korean world-class star Park Lee Hee. But he had a win over Scholz who two years ago had finished with the best singles record in the Second Division ahead of Scott.

In a separate article, Mike (Timmy’s, Jan., 1984, 10) calls our attention to a Dec. 11th double elimination tournament in Bad Iburger, West Germany that he won. “I had lost 3-1 to Bruenner, a Third Division top-spinner/blocker, in the semi’s of the winners’ draw. Later I moved into the final of the losers’ draw. Bruenner, meanwhile, lost to Alan Griffiths (the Welsh #1) in a match that he had led 2-0 and 14-6 in the third. In the final of the losers’ draw I then beat Bruenner—dropped the first two games 24-22, but then won the next three at 15, 10, 12.

“To take the tournament I’d have to beat Griffiths twice, whereas he’d only have to beat me once. In the first game I beat him 3-1, and in the second 3-0. Thus I received the first prize, a bottle of champagne and the Bad Iburger Wanderpokal, a beautiful brass engraved goblet.”

Bundesliga-Bound Olga Nemes Defects

            “The big news in Olten, Switzerland, not to say Bucharest, Rumania, is that 15-year-old Olga Nemes, winner of the last European Top 12 tournament, has defected to West Germany (Timmy’s, Nov.-Dec., 1983, 17, and USA Table Tennis Magazine, Sept.-Oct., 2001, 84):

            “That makes seven National players Rumania has lost in the last three years! George Boehm, the German Champion, is a defector, as is of course Canada’s Horatio Pintea. Nemes’s old coach, Eva Ferenczi, defected and is in Germany preparing to play in Bundesliga matches. It’s expected that Nemes, who’s now practicing at the Reutlingen Club in Germany, will do the same.

            Turns out that young Olga had been thinking about defecting for quite a while. Earlier, she’d told Canada’s Mariann Domonkos that she would like to get out of Rumania and wanted to know if she could possibly come to North America. Maybe, in time, said Mariann, but of course Olga couldn’t accompany her back to Canada now.

            The Rumanian Team was brought to Olten by a brand new coach who was participating in his first international tournament. Oh!—would it be his last? Still, what could he do? When he discovered Nemes was gone, he asked everyone, including Pintea, if they’d seen her. Teammate Maria Alboiu was quite upset. She was “the last one left’ and would she ever get to go to another international tournament in her life?

            Finally the coach called the Rumanian Embassy and then the police. News of Nemes’s disappearance went out over TV and radio. Perhaps she could be found? If so, according to Swiss law the police were obligated to return her (since she was not yet 16) to the Rumanian Embassy. But her escape was well planned—and two days later the Rumanian coach received a letter at his hotel saying, ‘Hi there’ or something to that effect.

            Eighteen years later, after Olga had known Scott and Eric from their league play in Germany and had been a house guest in our home, I interviewed her and of course found out how she’d escaped to Germany. Here’s what happened:

            An adventurous move Olga had made—and a much desired one, for life in Rumania was not Life in Germany. While playing in Switzerland, her tournament unfinished, she took a life-changing chance. Helped by we’ll call him Agent X, Olga, since she hadn’t a passport, and entry from one country to another in those Iron Curtain days was difficult enough anyway, agreed to be smuggled into Germany. She’d hid in the closed trunk of a car that was now pulling up to a border check point.

            Although she couldn’t see, she could hear—what she didn’t want to hear. That the driver of the car in front of her had been asked to open his trunk. My God, I’m caught, she thought. But Agent X was no dummy. He’d brought along his mother. And now, as the car made its approach, he got out and, showing his passport, walked through the check point—leaving his courageous, aging mother, alias Agent M, to drive up alone to…proceed unhindered.

            Olga, then, was mysteriously a missing person. And, for a time, a wanted fugitive…but a safe one. After her ‘disappearance,’ it’d be 3 and ½ years before she’d see her parents again.”

Swedish League Results

            On Nov. 27, Nisse Sandberg’s Angby Club completed their first-half play in the Swedish League. How’d they do? Here are the standings: 1. Sparvagars—with Jan-Ove Waldner and Lars Franklin. (Franklin won the Swedish Grand Prix tournament held recently just outside Stockholm by beating 1983 World Cup winner Mikael Appelgren, 17 in the 3rd.) 2. Boo. 3.-4. Soderhamns. 3-4. Safir. 5. Rekord. 6. Angby. 7. Falkenbergs. 8. Lykeby. Obviously Angby missed World #18 Eric Boggan—but Canadian U-21 Champ Horatio Pintea in his first season in Sweden was playing beautifully. He had a 13-4 record that included wins over Jonny Akeson and Kim Kartholm.

Sweden Open

Results of the Sweden Open, played Dec. 1-4 at Gothenburg:

Men’s Team: Final: China d. Czechoslovakia, 3-0: Fan Changmao d. Vadislav Broda, 14, 15; Xie Saike d. Jindrich Pansky, 12, 14; Fan/He Zhiwen d. Broda/Pansky, 13, 8. Semi’s: China d. Hungary, 3-2: Chen Longcan d. Kriston, 14, -18, 12; He Zhiwen lost to Klampar, -11, 18, -17; Fan/He Zhiwen d. Klampar/Kriston, 8, 27; Chen Longcan lost to Klampar, -16, 16, -17; He Zhiwen d. Kriston, -25, 13, 20. Czechoslovakia d. France, 3-2: Pansky d. Martin, 14, 10; Broda lost to Renverse, 24, -16, -9; Pansky/Broda lost to Birocheau/Secretin,-16, 21, -14; Pansky d. Renverse, 20, 11; Broda d. Martin, 16, 17. Best Quarter’s: France d. England 3-2. Czechoslovakia d. Sweden, 3-2: Pansky d. Carlsson, 19, -18, 16; Dvoracek lost to Appelgren, -12, -13; Pansky/Broda lost to Appelgren/Carlsson, -17, -8; Pansky d. Appelgren, 17, 14; Dvoracek d. Carlsson, 21, -19, 21. First Round: Norway d. USA: Johanssen d. S. Boggan, 19, -15, 13; Rasmussen d. E. Boggan, 19, -6, 12; Gustavsen/Johanssen lost to Boggan/Boggan, -13, -21; Johanssen lost to E. Boggan, 13, -10, -11; Rasmussen d. S. Boggan, 19, 19.

Women’s Team: Final: China d. South Korea, 3-0—all straight games. Semi’s: China d. Czechoslovakia, 3-0—all straight games; South Korea d. Japan, 3-0 (S.K. gave up one game in doubles).

Men’s Singles: Final: Jan-Ove Waldner d. Xie Saike, 18 in the 4th. Semi’s: Waldner d. Secretin, 15 in the 5th; Saike d. Mikael Appelgren, 18 in the 4th. Quarter’s: Waldner d. Fan Changmao, 3-0; Secretin d. Broda, -16, 19,-18, 18, 13; Saike d. Chen Longcan, 3-0; Appelgren d. Zoran Kalinic in four.

Early matches of note: In the first round: Russia’s Andrey Mazunov upset Japan’s Kiyoshi Saito in four; Sweden’s Jorgen Persson d. South Korea’s Kim Wan, 19 in the 4th (then fell in turn to the Czech Vladislav Broda, 19 in the 4th); Sweden’s Erik Lindh d. USA’s Scott Boggan in five; Poland’s Leszek Kucharski d. England’s Des Douglas, 19 in the 5th; Yugoslavia’s Dragutin Surbek d. Hungary’s Zsolt Kriston. 16 in the 5th; Germany’s George Boehm d. South Korea’s Oh Byung Man, 18 in the 5th (then went down to Sweden’s Jan Ove-Waldner, -19, 21, 16, 13); China’s He Zhiwen just got by Poland’s Andrzej Grubba, 19 in the 5th; Hungary’s Tibor Klampar d. Sweden’s Stellan Bengtsson after being down 2-1 and at 24-all in the 4th (then was upset by Russia’s Valeriy Shevchenko, 18 in the 5th); USA’s Eric Boggan d. Sweden’s Lars Franklin, deuce in the 4th (then advanced by the Japanese #3 Takouini Haqihara in five).

Later matches: Jacques Secretin d. Erik Lindh, 24-22 in the 4th; Saike d. Eric Boggan in four; Kalinic d. Renverse, deuce in the 5th; Appelgren d. He Zhiwen, 18 in the 5th.

Women’s Singles: Final: Dai Lili d. Tong Ling, 3-0. Semi’s: Dai Lili d. Yang Young Ja, 3-0; Tong Ling d. Jie Zhimen in four. Quarter’s: Lili d. Bulatova, 3-0; Yang Young Ja d. Batinic, 3-0; Tong Ling d. Kim Sook Hee, 3-0; Jia Zhimen d. Marie Hrachova in four.

Early matches of note: Sweden’s Marie Lindblad d. Hungary’s Csilla Batorfi in five (then was stopped by Russia’s Fliura Bulatova, deuce in the 4th); Yugoslavia’s Branka Batinic d. Japan’s Mika Hoshino, deuce in the 4th; South Korea’s Yang Young Ja d. China’s Li Huifeng, 15, 20, 21; South Korea’s Kim Sook Hee d. France’s Brigitte Thiriet in five; Netherland’s Sandra de Kruiff d. Japan’s M. Mori, 19 in the 4th; France’s Patricia Germain d. USA’s Angie Rosal, 3-0; South Korea’s Li Young Mi d. Marie Svensson, 19 in the 5th (from down 2-0).

Men’s Doubles: Final: Klampar/Kriston d. Kim Wan/Kim Ki Taek, 20, -17, 14. Semi’s: Klampar/Kriston d. Broda/Javurek, 19, 18; Kim/Kim d. Appelgren/Carlsson, 2-0. Sixteenth’s: U. Bengtsson/Franklin d. Boggan/Boggan, 2-0.

Women’s Doubles: Final: Li Huifeng/Jiao Zhimen d. Tong Ling/Dai Lili, -22, 13, 16. Semi’s: Li/Jiao d. Yang Young Ja/Ki Jung Mi, 2-0; Tong Ling/Dai Lili d. Lee Mi Woo/Lee Young Mi, 2-0. Sixteenth’s: Szigeti/Bellinger d. Monsen/Rosal, 2-0.

Mixed Doubles: Final: Surbek/Batinic d. Kim Wan/Yang Young Ja. Sixteenth’s: J. Akesson/C. Bjork d. E. Boggan/Rosal, def.  

SELECTED NOTES.

            *Stellwag was undeniably bad this match, but in an important Ranking Tournament at the end of this year where the best 12 players in Germany came together in round robin play, Peter finished second to German Champion George Boehm. It’s the results of this tournament and the German Closed that influence the coaches who’ll decide who represents Germany at the World or European Championships.

            **Engelbert says, “At the Tokyo World’s this spring, I’d laughed scornfully at Dick Miles’s claim that compared to China’s penhold hitters nobody else in the world could play. And I was clearly skeptical that, as Miles contended, the penhold grip was superior to the shakehands. (‘One gun’s as good as two,’ Topics, now Timmy’s, editor had added, quoting the good gun-slinger’s advice from that old 1950’s movie ‘Shane.)” But now, after seeing Swiss Open Champ He Zhiwen kill the Swedes Waldner and Appelgren (note He Zhiwen’s long fast topspin serve to the backhand and how, when The Apple could make only a passive return, the ball was quickly snapped away). I’m not laughing, not skeptical anymore. The Chinese pips-out hitters show the direction table tennis is about to go.”

            ***Marius Czajor, who in the’70’s had trained with Polish stars Grubba and Kucharski, but who now lives in Canada, says (Timmy’s, Nov.-Dec, 1983, 7) that Hungarian Captain/Coach Zoltan Berczik “is looking for each of his country’s clubs to help him—with 3-4 good boys, 2-3 good girls—to build a new Hungarian Team. ‘Jonyer is about to play in the Bundesliga, Gergely is finished, and Klampar, at age 30, is still very good but has an unpredictable head and must learn to hold his tongue.’

            “This summer, Berczik wrote a 29-page report for the Hungarian Association analyzing the World Championship scene. In this report he makes the following five points: 1. The Hungarians have a long way to go to catch the Chinese. 2. Emphasis in training must be on short serves and short return of serve. 3. Emphasis in training must be on backhand-counter topspin. 4. A great effort must be made to stop the server from attacking. 5. The Hungarians must improve their anti-topspin play.”

            [This sounds like advice Eric Boggan has been following.]