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History of U.S. Table Tennis Volume 14: 1985-86

CHAPTER NINETEEN 

            1985: Duneland and other Nov./Dec. Tournaments (Including the NYC Big Apple Sports Festival).1985: U.S. Players Fail to Win Titles at the USOTC’s.           

            Tom Wintrich (SPIN, Dec., 1985, cover+) reports on the Nov. 2-3 Annual Duneland All-American tournament. It’s called “All-American” because foreigners, and that includes Canadians, can’t win any of the $9,225 prize money in the 22 events in which it’s offered. “This year’s tournament,” Tom says, “drew 270 entrants, including 12 of the top 13 men in the U.S., and about every Midwest junior there is. Matches ran behind as usual, but it couldn’t have been otherwise given the size of the entry and 44 events. Nevertheless, the players return in droves each year, and for good reason. Duneland offers abundant play for everyone, considerable prize money, and the biggest trophies on the circuit.

            Then, too, it’s a congenial competition, thanks to the friendliness of the directors, Bill and Liz Hornyak. The Hornyaks have worked diligently the past eight years and are to be commended for their continued dedication in producing this major tournament on the players’ behalf. Thanks are also due Dell and Connie Sweeris for their invaluable assistance at the control desk. Duneland and Halloween didn’t coincide this year; nevertheless all the saints of table tennis had their day.”

Since in this article Tom  concerns himself only with the Final Four round robin in Open Singles, before I let him get to those matches, I’ll show you the various event winners, not all of whom I’ll wager are saintly.

Chartchai Teekaveerakit

Chartchai Teekaveerakit

Results: Open Singles: RR. 1. Chartchai Teekaveerakit, 2-1/7-3 (d. Olson, 18, 18, 19; d. O’Neill, 15, 16, 16). 2. Sean O’Neill, 2-1/6-4 (d. Olson, -23, 19, 13, 16; d. D. Seemiller, 16, 19, 17). 3. Dan Seemiller, 2-1/6-4 (d. Olson, 14, -17, 18, 17; d. Teekaveerakit, 14, -17, 18, 17). 4. Brandon Olson, 0-3. Quarter’s:  Olson d. Perry Schwartzberg, 12, 13, -19, 19; Teekaveerakit d. Khoa Nguyen, n.s.; O’Neill d. Ricky Seemiller, 18, 20, -17, 15; D. Seemiller d. Rey Domingo, 19, -12, 16, 12. Eighth’s: Olson d. Eric Boggan, 19, 16, -12, -10, 19. Women’s Singles: RR: 1. Insook Bhushan [$300], 3-0 (d. O’Dougherty, 16, 11, 9; d. Sweeris, 8, 6, 3; d. Patel, 15, 15, 9). 2. Sheila O’Dougherty, 2-1 (d. Sweeris, 17, 13, 16; d. Patel, 21, 15, 17). 3. Connie Sweeris, 2-1 (d. Patel, -19, 17, -17, 14, 22). 4. Neena Patel, 0-3. Open Doubles: Final: D/R Seemiller d. Boggan/Domingo, def.  Semi’s: Seemillers d. O’Neill/Teekaveerakit, 20, 10; Boggan/Domingo d. Scott/Jim Butler, 10, 18. Mixed Doubles: Final: D. Seemiller/O’Dougherty d. O’Neill/Bhushan, 10, -13, 16. Semi’s: D. Seemiller/O’Dougherty d. R. Seemiller/Chery Dadian, n.s.; O’Neill/Bhushan d. S. Butler/Ardith Lonnon, 18, 10.

U-2400: Final: Brandon Olson d. S. Butler, 15, 20. Semi’s: Olson d. Perry Schwartzberg, 18, 18; Butler d. Randy Seemiller, 15, 16. U-2300: Final: Ed Ozuem d. Bob Cordell, 8, 7. Semi’s: Ozeum d. Eyal Adini, -21, 17, 19; Cordell d. Christian Lillieroos, -22, 19, 19. U-2200: Final: Ozeum d. Lillieroos, -19, 16, 17. Semi’s: Ozeum d. Dan Wiig, -21, 12, 16; Lillieroos d. Cordell, 21, 5. U-2100: Final: Tim Boggan d. Wayne Wasielewski, 15, 16. Semi’s: Boggan d. Khoi Nguyen, 13, 15; Wasielewski d. Wiig, -20, 6, 13. U-2000: Final: Fox d. Chris Fullbright, 15, 19. Semi’s: Fox d. Charlie Buckley, 19, -17, 9; Fullbright d. Chi-Sun Chui, -18, 13, 13. U-4000 Doubles: Final: Bob Fox/Wiig d. Gary Elwell/Mitch Seidenfeld, 19, 12. U-1900: Final: Buckley d. Mike Menzer, 17, 17. Semi’s: Buckley d. Tony Gutierrez, 14, 10; Menzer d. Thor Truelson, 19, 19. U-1800: Final: Clark Yeh d. Mark Merritt, 22, 15; Gutierrez d. Patel, 22, 17. U-1700: Final: Dennis Hwang d. Bob Clay, 12, 14. Semi’s: Hwang d. Tryg Truelson, -18, 12, 11; Clay d. W.K. Yeh, 17, 14. U-3400 Doubles: Tryg Truelson/Scott Bakke d. Guenther Schroeder/Thor Truelson, 15, 18.

U-1600: Final: Ken Heinritz d. Phil Preston, 17, -18, 21. Semi’s: Heinritz d. Haroki Holzer, 17, -18, 21; Preston d. Joe Mayer, 16, 10. U-1500: Final: Jim Nauert d. Karl Schulz, 18, -19, 18. Semi’s: Nauert d. Bill Burch, def.; Schulz d. Jim Webb, 17, -16, 18. U-1400: Paul Lewis d. Mike Christy, 16, 13. Semi’s: Lewis d. Arlan Lewis, -24, 19, 18; Christy d. Boluwaji Alajo, -15, 23, 18. U-1300: Final: Dave Bose d. James Sydnor, -16, 18, 24. Semi’s: Bose d. Schulz, 18, 13; Sydnor d. A. Lewis, 17. -17, 17. U-1200: Final: Nels Truelson d. Paul Pell, 18, -17, 12. Semi’s: Truelson d. Nilesh Narotam, -19, 18, 19; Pell d. Ed Foster, -18, 18, 14. U-1100: Final: Robin Eads d. Carl Fisher, 17, -19, 18. Semi’s: Eads d. Dewey Helmick, 16, 10; Fisher d. Lawrence E. Su, 15, 19. Men’s U-1000: Final: Helmick d. Dean Williams, -16, 11, 17. Semi’s: Helmick d. Mike Macaluso, 16, -17, 12; Williams d. Fisher, 15, -12, 17. Women’s U-1000: Final: Claire Lan d. Hsu-Yi Lee, 15, 20. Semi’s: Lan d. Jia-Yi Lee, -17, 17, 19; H-Y Lee d. Julie Ripley, 5, 11. Women’s U-900: Final: Cindy Hall d. Jeanne Quam, 13, 14. Semi’s: Hall d. Andrea Butler, 12, 17; Quam d. Dawn Gates, 9, 16. Handicap Singles: Final: J-Y Lee d. Randy Seemiller, 40. Hard Rubber Singles: Lim-Ming Chui d. Schwartzberg, 12, -18, 15. Mini Stiga Table Singles: Final: C-S Chui d. L-M Chui, 19, -19, 19. 

Before I continue on with the Duneland results, I want to acknowledge (TTT, May-June, 1986, 20) the death of Earl Coulson, a table tennis contemporary of those older players in their 60’s and 70’s I’m about to mention:

“Coulson, one of the best defensive stylists in the U.S. during the 1930’s, died on Tuesday, Apr.22, at age 68. He played table tennis for six years on the Indiana team that competed in the annual U.S. National Team Championships (NTC’s). His best ranking was U.S. #6 in 1939.

For several years he provided current USTTA Vice-President and former three-time World Doubles Champion Jimmy McClure with excellent practice and top-flight competition.

After World War II he stopped playing competitively. In recent years, although he was not in good health, he attended all the tournaments in Indiana, and even volunteered to help in the 1987 Pan Am Games that will be played in Indianapolis. He was recently elected a charter member of the Indiana Table Tennis Hall of Fame.” 

Over 70: RR. 1. Gene Bricker. 2. Henry Levin. 3. Coach Schleff. Over 60: Final: Harry Deschamps d. Joe Baltrus, 15, 12. Semi’s: Deschamps d. Max Salisbury, 16, 12; Baltrus d. Bruce Ackerman, -17, 24, 21.Over 50: T. Boggan d. Deschamps, 16, 16. Semi’s: Boggan d. Norm Schless, 16, 21; Deschamps d. Salisbury, 18, 11. Over 40: Dell Sweeris over T. Boggan, -19, 11, 16. Semi’s: Sweeris d. Hugh Shorey, 14, 17; Boggan d. Houshang Bozorgzadeh, 16, 19. Over 40-A: Bob Brickell d. Gus Kennedy, 16, 10. Semi’s: Brickell d. Lawrence Su, 19, 15; Kennedy d. Schroeder, 18, -17, 19. Over 30: Domingo d. D. Seemiller, def. Semi’s: Domingo d. L-M Chui, 12, 14; Seemiller d. D. Sweeris, n.s.

Youth (U-21): Final: Teekaveerakit d. O’Neill, 15, 16. Semi’s: Teekaveerakit d. Brian Masters, 18, 19; O’Neill d. Khoa Nguyen, 15, 18. Boys U-17: Final: Gene Lonnon d. D. Narotam, 12, 19. Semi’s: Lonnon d. C-S Chui, 14, 17; Narotam d. John Elwood, 11, 21. Boys U-15: Final: D. Narotam d. C-S Chui, 15, 16. Semi’s: Narotam d. Chi-Ming Chui, 15, 18; C-S Chui d. Duy Vo, 10, 12. Boys U-13: Final: D. Narotam d. C. Yeh, 15, 17. Semi’s: Narotam d. Reggie Madrigal, 9, 10 [Reggie’s dad Primo said that at this Duneland tournament a fourth of the entry, 75 players, participated from just a single state, Illinois]; Yeh d. Todd Sweeris, 22, 18. Boys U-11: Final: N. Narotam d. L. E. Su, -15, 16, 16. Semi’s: Narotam d. Norman Yeh, 13, 3; Su d. Aaron George, 14, 11. Boys U-9: Final: N. Yeh d. Robert Su, 20, 6. Semi’s: Yeh d. Aaron Brown, def.; Su d. Ernest Lee, 9, 11. Girls U-17: RR. 1. Janine Schroeder. 2. Linda Gates. 3. Hsu-Yi Lee. Girls U-15: RR. 1. L. Gates. 2. Martha Gates. 3. Schroeder. 4. J-Y Lee. 5. H-Y Li. Girls U-13: RR. 1. M. Gates. 2. J-Y Lee. 3. D. Gates. 4. Gina Zamboni. Girls U-11: Final: A. Butler d. Lisa Zamboni, 17, 19. Semi’s: Butler d. G. Zamboni, 16, 9; L. Zamboni d. D. Gates, 15, 13. Girls U-9: Final: Butler d. D. Gates, 11, 9. Semi’s: Butler d. Shannon Hopper, 12, 10; D. Gates d. L. Zamboni, 17, 7.

            I return now to Tom Wintrich’s write-up of the climactic Men’s matches:

            “Chartchai Teekaveerakit [his friends call him ‘Hank’] and Sean O’Neill finished first and second in the Duneland All-American over their peers-in-residence at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. The odds of them doing that didn’t seem fair, two vs. eight, and private resources against 12,000 USTTA dollars. Training-wise, the disparity was greater: two players with limited practice time challenging eight with daily workouts.

            Ironically, one of those USTTA resident athletes, Brandon Olson, greatly aided the Virginia duo’s one-two finish. Brandon, dubbed the ‘Road Warrior’ by his Lake Placid buddies, eliminated #1 seed Eric Boggan, 19, 16, -12, -10, 19 in the eighth’s. [“I knew it wasn’t over after I’d won those first two games,” Brandon later told reporter Red Griggs of the Michigan City, IN News-Dispatch, the tournament’s primary sponsor. “I had him a couple of match points before and he’d come back to beat me.” How different this time for Brandon, for he’d been down 18-14 in the fifth before winning 7 of the last 8 points to end the match.] Naturally, Chartchai and Sean weren’t the only players pleased with that outcome.

            Ironic, too, that Brandon has yet to win a major tournament against his own caliber of play, despite his proven ability to beat the best of the field. But directors of the major tournaments in the U.S. seem obsessed with semifinal round robin play instead of the more logical and more dramatic single elimination format. Consider this: Brandon knocks out U.S. Champion Boggan in the eighth’s, takes Perry Schwartzberg out in the quarter’s, and, instead of playing one semifinal match, has to play three semifinal /final ones. That doesn’t seem fair either, but at least everyone has to face the same dilemma.

            Playing the semifinal field, especially without Eric present, has long been considered Danny Seemiller’s advantage, since winning two of the three matches is often enough for the tournament title and Danny’s past record includes a large percentage of semifinal wins, let alone his abundant straight match wins.

            But the times, they are a changing.

No one at Duneland won more than two matches in semifinal action, so the end result came down to who you beat in how many games, or, perhaps more accurately stated, who you lost to in how many games—meaning specific game wins could be more important than a match win. When O’Neill beat Olson in their last match, it turned out that Chartchai, in taking a single game off Seemiller in their last match (he lost in four), was guaranteed first place. And O’Neill, after losing that first game 25-23 to Olson, had to win the next three to finish second. Of course it all could have ended differently; there are so many “what if” scenarios possible with this round robin nonsense that it’s belittling to the players themselves. [Also, USTTA Public Relations Director Jay Harris complained that the round robin nature of the final here made it difficult for him to give USA Today the understandable results it wanted.]

            Actually, despite their one-two finish, both Chartchai and Sean had been a bit apprehensive that they weren’t tournament ready, for they hadn’t practiced the three weeks previously. [Why not?] That’s not necessarily significant except that each felt they might not be sharp during critical times in crucial matches. However, during the round robin finals they came through when they had to. As Sean said, “That made the difference.”

            The real difference from a spectator’s viewpoint, though, was this twosome’s intensity of play, which was evident from the first semifinal match when the two met each other. Since they’re housemates and practice partners [at the O’Neill home in Virginia] there are no competitive secrets between the two and the odds were even as to who would be victorious. Chartchai came out on top in straight games, primarily because he was able to play his style, which is based on serve-and-follow and close-to-the-table fast attack. Chartchai prefers short rallies and he continually drove Sean away from the table to maintain control of the points.

            Meanwhile, Danny beat Brandon in four, successfully stopping Brandon’s power game with some exceptional blocking. During one point of their match, Brandon executed a bullet loop with his forehand off a topspin ball from mid-court. Danny blocked it back with his anti and stopped Brandon dead in his tracks—stopped him dead because, unbelievable as it sounds, Danny’s return bounced twice on the table!

            The next round pitted winner Chartchai against loser Brandon and winner Danny against loser Sean.

            As he’d done against Sean, Chartchai used aggressive footwork in taking Brandon down in straight games. Chartchai’s a penhold looper and is forced to move quickly to initiate his forehand loop. Move all the more so, in fact, because his opponents continually press his backhand, looking to block his loop wide to the forehand. He’s not yet equal in quickness to someone like Wen-Chia Wu of Taiwan, who beat World Champion Jiang Jialiang at the last U.S. Open, but often enough he mimics Wu’s rapid play. Brandon did score frequently by blocking, counter-spinning, and doing what he does best—blasting balls by his opponent—but Chartchai’s physical exertion and fast loops gave him the edge for the 18, 18, 19 win.

Concurrently, Sean was pounding Danny with his own brand of aggressive play. Noticeably up for this one and aware that a straight-game win would even their round robin records to 1-1/3-3, Sean played true to his most improved top-player status. He was relentless in attacking, even when some of his go-for-broke shots cost him points; but overall he was more consistent in opening and following than Dan. So 16, 19, 17 for Sean.

In the final round, Brandon took game one off Sean and so did Dan against Chartchai, opening the door for Seemiller to win the tournament. However, Sean and Chartchai each won their second game, and when Sean won the third against Brandon and had a commanding lead in the fourth, Seemiller’s hopes were vanishing quickly (even though against Chartchai, Dan too had won the third and was leading in the fourth). The Sean/Brandon match finished first, in favor of Sean, which immediately put Seemiller in third place.

Here’s why: Brandon’s record was 0-3, so he was out of it. A three-way 1-1 tie among the others had to be resolved by games won and lost. Chartchai was 3-0 vs. Sean and 1-3 against Danny, so he had a 4-3 total. Sean was 3-0 vs. Seemiller and 0-3 against Chartchai, so a 3-3 total. And Dan was 3-1 vs. Chartchai and 0-3 against Sean, so a 3-4 total. Hence the final results: Chartchai ($1000), Sean ($600), Danny ($400), Brandon ($300).

Calculating this close finish does not detract from Chartchai and Sean’s performance, particularly Chartchai’s. More than ever before, Chartchai, former two-time Thai National Champion, served notice that he is here to stay, literally and figuratively. Chartchai is the proud owner of a Green Card now and he will be eligible for the 1986 Nationals, which will make him eligible to qualify for the U.S. World Team to India in ’87. He has recorded wins against every top U.S.player except Eric Boggan, but the two have yet to meet in a tournament.

Chartchai will be at the U.S. Nationals this year as a frustrated observer, patiently biding his time until it’s his time all the time in the USA. Chartchai, an exemplary athlete and sportsman, will be welcome as a permanent addition to American table tennis.” 

Results of the Tri-City Open, played Dec. 7-8 in Seattle, WA: Open Singles: Final:  Quang Bui d. Jay Crystal, 12, 10, 18. Semi’s: Bui d. Dave Talcott, 8, 5, 7; Crystal d. Bob Mandel, 12, 15, -19, 19. U-2000’s: Mandel d. Talcott, 16, 10. Semi’s: Mandel d. John Trevthan, 12, 12; Talcott d. Kerry Vandaveer, 12, -18, 15. U-1800’s: Bob Ho d. John Fredrickson, 20, 12. Semi’s: Ho d. Harold Fredrickson, -13, 15, 17; J. Fredrickson d. Robert Melton, 9, 14. U-1400’s: Steve Goodwin d. Michael Earhart, 17, 17. Semi’s: Goodwin d. Phat-Tan Du; Earhart d. Glenn Johnson, 19, 17. U-1200’s: RR. 1. Alan Hsieh, 4-1. 2. Cliff Looyenga, 4-1. 3. Joe Paneska, 3-2. 4. Kirby Parker, 2-3. 5. Steve Wong, 2-3. 6. Robert Morrow, 0-5. 

Bill Hodge reports [Wiggy’s, Nov. 27, 1985] on the $3,300 Stiga Open, held in San Diego Nov. 8-10:

 “With its $3,300 in prize money, 15 new Stiga tables, and perfect playing conditions, including hard-wood floors, it was the most successful tournament in Southern California in years.

There were 167 entries, with 54 from San Diego, and the rest coming from as far away as Pittsburgh, PA. That’s right, Mr. Seemiller was here. No, not Danny or Randy—they were back in the New York mountains at the Lake Placid Training Center. Ricky Seemiller, who’s #5 in the U.S. and #88 on the ITTF Classification list, came to the world’s finest city, San Diego, and left with $520 in prize money after defeating Carlo Brignardello in the Open finals. Carlo was Peruvian National Champion at 15 and a Peruvian World Team member.

Carlo, now 22, is currently ranked #2 in Peru and #5 in South America. The final was an exciting four-game match, with world-class exchanges on almost every point. After Carlo won the second to split games, old pro Ricky came back strong and had an easy 21-7 fourth-game finish.

There were 24 entries over 2000—players traveled from Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Texas…and Sweden. Yes, Christian Lillieroos was here. With his 2190- rating, his powerful penhold smashes, and his crowd-pleasing behind-the-back and under-the-leg serves, Christian was a force to behold. He has done a lot in his short time in this country, and we hope all his efforts will not come to an end because of the USTTA’s money difficulties.

  Speaking of traveling, we had four current athletes attend from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs: Gene Lonnon, David Chun, Dhiren Narotam, and Chris Fullbright. Ron Shirley was also present on behalf of Stiga.

Also of note: we had a nice 28-page Program that (in contrast to a much discussed expensive one elsewhere) made money.

There were 29 events and everything came off almost on schedule. Players got a freeT-shirt if they entered on time and most everyone did. Plus, coupon specials for Sea World and the San Diego Zoo were given away. There were 120 awards and trophies galore—even to 3rd and 4th-Place finishers.

Selected Results: Men’s Doubles: Ricky Semiller/Brignardello d. Ray Guillen/Avishy Schmidt. Mixed Doubles: Chin-Yur King/Saubana Adio d. Hanna Butler/Schmidt. U-2200: Schmidt d. Tunde Jacobs. U-2100: Jacobs d. David Chun. U-2000: Ron Von Schimmelman d. Mike Perez. U-1900: Hilton Simanowitz d. Randall Mullins. U-1800: Lyn Smith d. Ragnar Fahlstrom. U-1700: Jim McKinstry d. D. Nam.” 

Winners at the Nov. 11th Disney’s Fall Classic in Minneapolis: Open Singles: RR. 1. Gary Kerkow, 2-0 (d. O’Dougherty, 17, -16, 18; d. Steblay, 16, -13, 18). 2. Sheila O’Dougherty, 1-1 (d. Steblay, 14, -18, 8). 3. Steve Steblay, 0-2. A’s: RR. 1. Steblay, 2-0 (d. Lonnin, 15, -17, 21; d. Kerkow, 20, -17, 21). 2. Gary Kerkow, 1-1 (d. Lonnon, 14, 11). 3. Ardith Lonnon, 0-2. B’s: Final: Tryg Truelson d. Gus Kennedy, 17, 17. Semi’s: Truelson d. Scott Bakke, 19, -15, 21; Kennedy d. Dennis Schimmel, -14, 20, 18. 17 & Under: RR. 1. Thor Truelson, 2-0 (d. Tryg Truelson, 14, -18, 13; d. Kerkow, -18, 9, 14). 2. Tryg Truelson, 1-1 (d. Kerkow, 13, 8). 3. Gary Kerkow, 0-2.

Charlie Disney reports that a longtime player and friend at his Club, Ed Ells, recently passed away. See Charlie’s adjacent In Memoriam remembrance. 

Lansing, MI Community College Results (no date): Open Singles. Final: Bob Cordell d. Mike Veillette. Semifinalists: Mike Joelson; Frank Sexton. U-2100’s: Veillette d. Joelson. U-2000’s: Dave Cafone  d. Kurt Lloyd. U-1950’s: Lloyd d. Mark Nordby. U-1900’s: Chuck Burns d. Ross Sanders. U-1800’s: Guenther Schroeder d. Dave Fortney. U-1200’s: Zuqi Zie d. Dale Ward. 

Rick Hardy (Table Tennis Topics, Jan., 1985, 32) covers the 2nd Yasaka North Coast Classic, played Nov. 23-24 at Cleveland, Ohio:

“Former Nigerian team member Edward ‘Ogini’ Ozuem, now a Cleveland resident, defeated U.S. team member Ricky Seemiller in an exciting four-game final to win the Open Singles. The win over Seemiller, easily Ozuem’s finest since he resumed play in the U.S. last winter, came in a classic offense-defense struggle.

Ozuem won a well-played first game at 18, then was nearly helpless in the second as Ricky blasted through him at 11. But Ogini reversed that score in the third game and surged to a 14-9 lead in the fourth. Ricky, ever the fighter, hung in there from down 20-18 to deuce it. At 20-all, Ozuem picked a backhand for a winner. Up 21-20, Ozuem got a semi-edge, but Ricky looped it anyway then  ripped the return for a winner. Deuce again. Seemiller then got the ad…but couldn’t win another point. Ozuem closed out the match 24-22 to win the $100 first prize.

Results: Open Singles: R.R. 1. Ed Ozuem, 3-0 (d. Seemiller, 18, -11, 11, 22; d. Powell, 14, 19, 12, -13, 7, d. Martin, 12, 13, 17). 2. Ricky Seemiller, 2-1 (d. Powell, 16, 9, 14; d. Martin, 11, 14, 16). 3. Bob Powell, 1-2 (d. Martin, 9, 9, 14). 4. Gary Martin, 0-3. Open Doubles: Seemiller/Chip Coulter d. Pat Hernan/Dave Strang, 20, 15. A’s: Mike Joelson d. Martin, -11, -20, 20, 21, 18. B’s: Coulter d. ? -17, -14, 17, 15, 16. U-3800 Doubles: Martin/Hernan d. Prouty/Miller, -20, 16, 16, -16, 11. C’s: Hernan d. Neil Myers, 15, -22, -17, 10, 15. U-3400 Doubles: Ozuem/Berenson d. Hardy/Panik, -17, 17, 18. D’s: RR. 1. Scott Snelling. 2. Ian Chen. U-2800 Doubles: Snelling/Berenson d. Turner/Krumins, 18, 16, 12. E’s: Al Risaliti d. Jeff Jackson12, 19. F’s: Ken Marsik d. Shannon Price, 17, 18, 16. U-2400 Doubles: Marsik/Wein d. Towns/Berenson. 21& Under: Snelling d. Ben Culler, 18, 10. 15& Under: Snelling d. Culler, 8, 17. 

Howard County Circuit Standings (as of November): 1. T. Steen (42). 2. P. Basu (40). 3. B. Douglas (37). 4. My Dung Nguyen (36). 5. S. Chakraborty (33). 6. P. Lui (31). 7. Y. Kronlage (29). 8. S. Emmons (27). 9. B. Dattel (27). 10. C. Kronlage (24). 11. R. Peffer (24). 12. E. Haring (23). 

Winners at the Canadian Top 12 “A” tournament Dec. 14-15 in Montreal: Men: 1. Alain Bourbonnais. 2. Horatio Pintea. 3. Eddie Lo. 4. Lam Tan. 5. Danny Poh. Women: 1. Mariann Domonkos. 2. Becky McKnight. 3. Gloria Hsu. 4. Julie Barton. 5. Helen Simerl (17 years earlier, in 1968, Helen, nee Sabaliauskas, won the Canadian Closed, interrupting Violetta Nesukaitis’s 10-year reign (1965-75). 

Results of the John Kauderer Open, played Nov. 16-17 at Westfield, NJ: Open Singles: Scott Boggan d. Brian Masters, -14, 17, -18, 21, 13. Semi’s: Boggan d. George Brathwauite, 17, 11, 13; Masters d. Steven Mok, 19, 14, 18. Women’s: R.R. 1. Joan Fu. 2. Luz Brissett. 3. Margaret Hzeih. 4. Jennifer-Brown Johnson. Open Doubles: Dave Sakai/Boggan split with Mok/Fulap Lee. Esquire’s: Bob Barns d. Eric Rothfleisch, 17, 12. Semi’s: Barns d. Dan Dickel, -18, 19, 19; Rothfleisch d. A. Skangalis, 13, -17, 7. Senior’s: Brathwaite d. Bill Sharpe, 13, 17. Senior A’s: Stuart Sinder d. Dennis Spellman, 18, 20. Jr. 17’s: Andre Liu d. Benjamin Yeh, 3, 9. Jr. 13’s: Truong d. Mike Galbraith, 10, 8.

U-2300’s: Randy Seemiller d. Brian Eisner, 13, -12, 12, -12, 18, after Brian had stopped Dave Sakai, 19, 20. U-2075’s: Maximo Vasquez d. Dave Lewllyn, -9, 17, 19. U-1975’s: Monasterial d. Marta Zurowski, 14, 14. U-1875’s: Mike Murphy d. Bob Saperstein, 11, -19, 14, then Debashi Kushary, -12, 16, 17. U-1775’s: Kushary d. Murphy, -12, 18, 22, then Sinder, 26, 10. U-1775 Doubles: Murphy/Dendrinos d. Fu/Kushary, 16, 10. U-1625’s: Tibor Kiskolczi d. Michael Coke, 18, 19. U-1625 Doubles: Miskolczi/Nagy d. Rabinovich/Dickel, 15, 17. U-1475’s: Miskolczi d. Parham Ghandi, 18, 7. U-1325’s: Frank Lebron d. R. Weber, 15, 16. U-1175’s: Ma d. K. Newman, 19, 14. Semi’s: Ma d. Art Dickinson, 19, 17; Newman d. Roy Greenberg, -7, 17, 18. U-1025’s: Ma d. Steve Fink, 22, 16. Unrated: Robert Spitzer d. D. Foster, 17, 17. 

On Dec. 14-15 a $1,500 Stiga Grand Prix tournament was held at Westfield. As usual, Eric Boggan played in this warm-up for the U.S. Closed and won it—though unusually over Chartchai Teekaveerakit, for it was the first time they’d met.

Results:  Open Singles: Eric Boggan d. Chartchai Teekaveerakit, 9, 13, 5. Semi’s: Boggan d. Steven Mok, 15, 7, 8; Teekaveerakit d. Scott Boggan, 19, 18, -18, -16, 13. Quarter’s: E. Boggan d. Lim-Ming Chui, 8, 3, 11; Mok d. George Brathwaite, 20, -20, 12, 23; S. Boggan d. Barry Dattel, 11, 14, 17; Teekaveerakit d. Bill Sharpe, 14, 14, 14. U-2200’s: Jian Liu d. Stephen Yeh, 17, 17, 10. Semi’s: Liu d. Simon Shtofmahker, -18, 13, 14; Yeh d. John Andrade, 17, 19. U-2100’s: Liu d. Yeh, 11, 14. U-1950’s: Don Peters d. Richard Awuah, 13, 16. Semi’s: Peters d. Hong Tsang, 8, -18, 18; Awuah d. Stu Kroll, 11, -10, 19.

U-21’s: Basil Boyce, Jr. d. Graham Head, 15, 19. U-17’s: Liu d. Inga Forstner, 8, 15. U-15’s: Don Ma d. Mike Galbraith, 7, 12. U-13’s: Truong d. Ong, 18, -20, 15. U-11’s: A. Ma d. Barney Reed, 7, 9 (first appearance of future U.S. World Team member and National Doubles Champion Barney Reed). Semi’s: Ma d. Saku Hyttinen, 4, 3; Reed d. Derek Ma, 12, 12. U-9’s: Reed d. his sister Kristy Reed, 16, 12. 

Mel Eisner reports (TTT, Jan.-Feb., 1986, 29) on The Big Apple Sports Festival, held Nov. 28-29 at Madison Square Garden. Sol Schiff heard about this Festival from his dentist, called me, and I turned over our USTTA participation in this project to an enthusiastic Mel Eisner. The cost of our involvement, according to Mel, was roughly $1,200. To judge whether the result’s worth the money, read Mel’s account that follows:

            “The Big Apple Sports Festival was produced in the Madison Square Garden rotunda by National Media Group, Inc., also known as High Bar Productions, in conjunction with radio station WNBC in New York, and the New York Post newspaper. Major sponsors included Energizer batteries, which brought in gold-medalist gymnast Mary Lou Retton to special performances in the main arena, plus Schick, Inc. A variety of famous personalities were there, including Cory Everson, Miss Olympia 1984, George Foster and Ron Darling of the New York Mets, Rory Sparrow and Ernie Grunfield of the N.Y. Knicks, Ron Greschner and Ron Scott of the N.Y. Rangers, plus sportswriters from the New York Post.

            Just about every indoor and outdoor sport was represented as well as many well-known fitness centers and sporting goods sellers. Even the Heisman Cup organization was at a booth. As a coup-de-grace publicity effort, a 20-page pull-out was part of the Monday, Nov. 25th issue of the New York Post (reaching 2.2 million readers each day). There were also at least two large ads in the Post every day for two weeks prior to the Festival.

            And there we were—part of everything. We put on continuous three-day exhibitions to show paying sports fans what table tennis is all about. In a way, it was equivalent to a mall exhibition, except that it went on for a total of 22 hours over three days, put on without a stop. Each day we staged six separate exhibitions, held six novice-level tournaments, conducted coaching clinics, and had ‘Beat the Expert’ sessions. We used our own PA system to broadcast the exhibitions, and to play music during the ‘quieter times.’

            Who did it? Well, we had a superb crew. Scott Boggan, Christian Lillieroos, Brian Eisner, Alan Fendrick, Mark and Matt Kane, and Judith Ackerman took part in just about everything, including time to meet the public and distribute the variety of pamphlets and brochures we had.

            A special kudo goes to Christian, Mark, and Matt for getting the tables and barriers to that most difficult Madison Square Garden location. Plus, we had the best announcer in table tennis in Alan Fendrick—you have to hear him to realize how good he is in attracting people to watch those great matches between Brian and Scott. More thanks go to Ray Wu for his video of the event, to Paul Lee who arranged for a lot of free trophies and T-shirts from Tsingtao Beer (which we used for prizes), to Michael Ackerman who was our photographer for the event, and to the national office (Bob Tretheway, Emily Cale, Tom Wintrich, and Ann Orthwein) for arranging the delivery of brochures, banners, and a publicity photo.

            The result: A lot more friends for table tennis, the opportunity for future participation (which may be very significant), the good possibility of getting a club started in Brooklyn, and, most important of all, the personal contact with George Foster. [An account that appeared elsewhere said that “a match between Foster and former U.S. Champion Scott Boggan (won in deuce by Foster) was a great crowd pleaser, and that a follow-up of celebrity Foster’s table tennis interest and endorsement was enthusiastically being pursued by Mel.]

            This was truly a major-league event involving top stars in many sports. If we continue our efforts wisely here, I believe we can reach significantly large numbers of people, get more local table tennis involvement, and sharply improve our public image—all at a relatively low cost, and, with sponsorship, at perhaps no cost at all.” 

Results of the Tennis 128 Autumn Open, held Nov. 9-10 at Burlington, Ma: Open Singles: Kurt Douty d. Lim-Ming Chui, 17, 12. Semi’s: Douty d. Jiri Hlava, 15, 15; Chui d. Chi-Sun Chui, 15, 15. U-2200’s: Douty d. C-S Chui, 17, 18. Semi’s: Douty d. Charles Hung, 19, 15; Chui d. Ralph Bockoven, 16, 19. U-2100’s: Hlava d. C-S Chui, 10, 9. Semi’s: Hlava d. Kok-Liang Liung, 14, 14; Chui d. Hung, 12, 12. U-2000’s: Tak Wong d. Bob Zarren, 13, 14. Semi’s: Wong d. Jim Warren, 15, -18, 16; Zarren d. William Maisonet, 18, 19. U-1900’s: Warren d. Marta Zurowski, 13, -14, 20. Semi’s: Warren d. Humberto Gil, 12, 21; Zurowski d. Don Najarian, 15, 11. U-1800’s: Terry Mahoney d. Gil, 15, 13. Semi’s: Mahoney d. Kim Brastow, 19, 19; Gil d. Michael Reterski, 18, 13. U-1700’s: Reterski d. Brastow, 16, -15, 15. Semi’s: Reterski d. Gil, 20, 18; Brastow d. Dick Batten, 10, 10, 15.

U-1600’s: Odo Wang d. Ralph Osborne, 11, 16, 13. Semi’s: Wang d. Doug Smith, 20, 12; Osborne d. Barry Scott, 19, 18. U-1500’s: Everett Britto d. Smith, 15, 15, 17. Semi’s: Britto d. Chih-Yen Zhao; Smith d. David Yee, -15, 15, 13. U-1400’s: Masaru Horiuchi d. Yee, 14, 18. Semi’s: Horiuchi d. Gen Shee, -5, 18, 14; Yee d. Phong Huynh, 13, 13. U-1300’s: Horiuchi d. Oscar Arroyo, 9, 16, 15. Semi’s: Horiuchi d. Kazimier Zurowski, 18, 19; Arroyo d. Nick Huynh, 13, 13. U-1200’s: N. Huynh d. Jane Chui, 19, 22. Semi’s: Huynh d. Patrick Shorb, 19, 17; Chui d. Hank Camillo, 9, 18. U-1100’s: Shorb d. Philip Rounseville, -12, 13, 14. Semi’s: Shorb d. Philip Oreto, 5, 11; Rounseville d. Mike Mahoney, 16, 17, 19. U-1000’s: Kenny Chen d. Werner Grabowski, 15, 20. Semi’s: Chen d. Stephen Fasulo, 12, 14; Grabowski d. M. Mahoney, 16, 20. U-900’s: M. Mahoney d. Leonard Zurowski, 19, 15. Semi’s: Mahoney d. Ricky Robinson, 3, 11; Zurowski d. Tony Yu, 13, 16, 17. U-800’s: Michael Loebel d. Ricky Mercer, 10, 17. Semi’s: Loebel d. Robinson, 11, 8; Mercer d. Yu, 10, 17. Unrated: Michael Floutsacos d. Robinson, 19, 19. Semi’s: Floutsacos d. Ben Goddard, n.s.; Robinson d. Donald Curioso, 5, 11. 

State Champions were crowned at the Dec. 7th Massachusetts Closed (though I don’t know where the tournament was played). Winners: Open Singles: Chi-Sun Chui d. Charles Hung, 19, 15, 20. Semi’s: C-S Chui d. his father Lim-Ming Chui, 18, 24 (first time in a tournament?); Hung d. Bob Zarren, 13, 17. Open Doubles: L-M and C-S Chui d. Zarren/Marta Zurowski, 15, -21, 14. Semi’s: Chuis d. Trischitta/Roy, 9, 4; Zarren/Zurowski d. Frank Hrobak/Michael Floutsacos, 15, 17. U-2100’s: Zarren d. C-S Chui, 18, -17, 19. Semi’s: Zarren d. Kim Brastow, 14, 20; Chui d. Humberto Gil, 4, 16. U-1650’s: Jim Brown d. Dick Batten, 9, -20, 16. Semi’s: Brown d. Oscar Arroyo, 17, 19; Batten d. Nick Gangi, 11, 10. U-1500’s: Arroyo d. Jason Koontz, 15, -22, 17. Semi’s: Arroyo d. Floutsacos, -18, 16, 18; Koontz d. Ruth Crowley, 18, 19. U-1200’s: Jane Chui d. Kenny Chen, 18, 20. Semi’s: Chui d. Patrick Shorb, 7, -18, 9; Chen d. Norman Pang, 14, 9. Senior’s: Robert Oakes d. Michael Reterski, 18, 11. Semi’s: Oakes d. Kazimier Zurowski, 10, 15; Reterski d. ?, def.          

Bob Allshouse tells me that the Detroit Club in running the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 U.S. Open Team Championships (USOTC’s) must now pay three times as much rent at Cobo Hall as before. It’s now $1,800 a day, so understandably a rather small increase in entry fees is absolutely necessary. This year brought both good and bad news. There were more entries (130 teams) than last year, but, though women and juniors used to have some prominence here (though never enough), the Open Division is now beginning to subsume all players.

 Bob Beatty, Director of these Championships since 1977, Bob Allshouse, Chris Wibbleman, and others who run these annual Championships, in an effort to make the tournament more prestigious, are toying with the idea of inviting…well, not a Boo’s Brothers team—they’ve invited themselves—but a Chinese team. And also, on being so emboldened as to think  Chinese, of exploring the possibilities of finding a wooden floor for the major ties; of securing sponsorship; and of getting at least local cable TV. Beatty had lamented that “reporters, photographers always appear at the wrong moments. We usually just don’t have anyone with the leisure time or the current what’s happening knowledge to give these media people what they want.” This year, however, thanks to USTTA Public Relations Director Jay Harris, the Championships got coverage in the two Detroit papers.

Scott Bakke, the new Editor of our USTTA magazine (the name’s no longer SPIN but has reverted to Table Tennis Topics), lists for us below the top team finishes for both men and women (TTT, Jan.-Feb., 1986, 30). Following that, SPIN Editor Tom Wintrich, in his last issue (Dec., 1985, 5), will give us his coverage of the tournament.

OPEN-A: 1. Nigeria Skypower: Yomi Bankole, Fatai Adeyemo, Fatai Ayinde, Taju Oshadi. 2. Nigeria Union Bank: Atanda Musa, Oye Olusodi, Titus Omatara, Muri Ajala, Lateef Sunmola. 3. Stiga: Sean O’Neill, Chartchai Teekaveerakit, Zoran Kosanovic. 4. Canada-1: Gideon Joe Ng, Horatio Pintea, Alain Bourbonnais, Guoxi Su, Non-Playing Captain (NPC).

OPEN-B: 1. Wiggy’s Winners: Ake Petersson, Mitch Seidenfeld, Dan Wiig. 2. Southern Stars: Larry Thoman, Dick Hicks, Sr., Eric Seiler.

OPEN-C: 1. Mexican Valley University: Alberto Borges, Orlando Casas, Luis Vivanco, Mark Legters, NPC. 2. Missing Links: Bob Fox, Chuck Turchick, Steve Steblay.

OPEN-D: 1.The “Young” Timers: 1. Michel Goyette, Karl Berube, Patrick Leveille, Martin Ladouceur. 2. Slippery Rock: Gary Martin, Chip Coulter, Pat Hernan. 

Women:

1. Canada’s Carleton: Thanh Mach, Cindy Choi, Becky McKnight, Adham Sharara, NPC.

2. Butterfly: Diana Gee, Lisa Gee, Chaeryl Dadian, Paul Dadian, NPC.

3. Nissen: Sheila O’Dougherty, Takako Trenholme, Ardith Lonnon, Connie Wong, Houshang Bozorgzadeh, NPC.

4. Gates Sisters: Cindy Marcum, Linda Gates, Martha Gates. 

Here’s Tom with his write-up:

“Spin here, spin there, spin everywhere.

The semifinal crossovers in the Men’s ties at the Detroit Teams featured non-stop topspin play on four tables, and the best show of spin was produced by a group of green-clad spinners from Nigeria. It’s not that the Nigerians spin the ball better or harder, they just play the game of spin faster, and no one, not in the U.S. or Canada, could do anything about it during the Nigerian teams’ rout of their semifinal opponents.

But it wasn’t so earlier, and why was that? Both Nigerian teams lost quickly and easily, came runner-up in their preliminary bracket, and so in the crossover ties, since A1 played B2, and B1 played A2, each advanced not to meet each other, but the #1 finishers. A1 turned out to be the National Team of Canada (Ng, Pintea, Bourbonnais) and B1 the Stiga team (O’Neill, Teekaveeraskit, Kosanovic). So in the Canada-Nigeria Skypower tie, Canada defeated the Nigerians, led by Yomi Bankole, 5-2; and in the Stiga-Nigeria Union Bank tie, Stiga defeated the Nigerians, led by Atanda Musa, 5-1.

In the crossover ties, the results were quite different. Skypower knocked off Stiga 5-1, and Union Bank took down Canada 5-2. Those two ties were a no-contest display of Nigerian fast topspin superiority, a style of play strengthened from years of coaching by the Chinese. [Why did the Nigerians dump their matches? Had each team won, as obviously they could have, the crossover semi’s match-ups would have been the same. Ah, but also obviously not as dramatic.]

The final was not an exhibition tie between countrymen, but a seriously-fought battle to the ninth-match conclusion. Although Musa won all three of his matches for Union Bank, it wasn’t enough. Skypower’s Bankole and Adeyemo each took two, while Ayinde won the only one he had to—the crucial eighth with his team down 4-3. The ninth match—Adeyemo over Omotara— then completed Skypower’s comeback and gave Adeyemo the Most Valuable Player Award and his Skypower team their fourth straight U.S. Open Team Championship. 

Women:

            The Women’s Most Valuable Player Award [though Canada’s Thanh Mach was undefeated] went to Sheila O’Dougherty—largely for championing the women’s cause. She was actively voicing her concern regarding this year’s distressing number of Women’s teams entered in the competition—a scant seven. She repeatedly sought anyone and everyone’s helpful advice on how to improve matters. Her lobbying efforts didn’t fall on deaf ears, but no immediate solution was formulated. Nor could Sheila resolve her own team’s dual third place finish. She and Nissen teammates Takako Trenholme, Ardith Lonnon, and Connie Wong were third in preliminary round robin play, and third in final round robin play.

            First and second place was contested between the Carleton team from Canada (Thanh Mach, Cindy Choi, Becky McKnight) and the Butterfly team (Diana and Lisa Gee and Cheryl Dadian). As with the men there was a conclusive flip-flop. In preliminary round robin play, Butterfly went undefeated with a 5-4 victory over Carlton. But in the end, when it counted most, the Canadians came out on top, 5-3, to become the 1985 Women’s Team Champions.