North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

Three  Four Five Years in the Making!

Rick Tucker

Both number theory and numerology now lead us to believe that the long hibernation of winkers and winks is now on the wane. Long-lost winkers are starting to emerge from their stations in carefully selected locales throughout the nation. American game collectors no longer snub their noses at the incomparable game of tiddlywinks. The Olympics have come and gone, and the now usual jokes of Olympian tiddlywinks continue to echo with such familiarity.

After three four five years of forced silence, Newswink now boldly emerges to recount what has been submerged in our collective instincts impatiently waiting for just this day.

And so many events have crossed our paths. Okay, the print versions of the photos are grainy. Go web, young man (and woman). And don’t look back.

Cathy Furlong and Larry Kahn
Larry Kahn has had a fling going with his (now) wife, Cathy Furlong, on the ballroom floor and otherwise. The wedding photo says it all. Winkers aplenty filled the wedding hall within earshot of Wolf Trap Farm Park in Vienna VA. Charles Frankston and Arye Gittelman took the money and ran… to Redmond WA as Microsoft bought out CharlesView. Perhaps a winking endowment to MIT is a tax necessity now? Charles reports: “Well, we no longer have a company with enough office space to host a tournament, so I made sure to buy a house with enough space to host one. So you’re all invited here for a FFET.”
Dave and Ben Lockwood

Dave and (well, let’s be precise) Déjà Lockwood have borne… oh, let me see… one kid, named Benjamin Hamilton, né 5 September 1995, since the last Newswink. We are all awaiting the debut of the all-Lockwood team.

IFTwA leadership has passed from Jon Mapley to Nick Inglis, who has taken a …

Ken Wrona reports a record in playing winks… at new depths. After he was Case Western Reserver University partner of Dick Henninge in the 1972 Continentals, he reports that as “a career Naval officer […] in 1976, the game of Tiddlywinks was played extensively on the submarine to which I was then attached. Tiddlywinks has been played submerged in the far Pacific.”

When last Newswink was afloat, had debuted as an Internet newsgroup… back in 1993. In the meantime, the web has predominated, and two major winks sites are getting a few thousand hits per year: Rick Tucker’s NATwA site at http://www.tiddlywinks.organd previously at, and in 1997 sites from Patrick Barrie and others as listed on Rick Tucker’s site and Ben Soare’s at And if you are reading this Newswink on the web you’ll find links that the print edition cannot include.  And unfortunately, is mostly spam nowadays.

Marg Calhoun, in addition to flying tiny kites™, has hosted several winking events in Cleveland, and has succumbed to foisting Brad Schaefer as the draw, drawing upon his archeo-astronomical ventures.

Jesse Calhoun & Amanda at the Cleveland Invitational at the Elise Newman Gallery (7 October 1995)

The prominent games collectors in the nation (and abroad) heard Rick Tucker in an invited speech inform them that they have been slaves of the tiddlywinks stereotype for many years. The unfortunate side effect for Rick, now with 170 antique and modern tiddlywinks sets in his collection (as of 1995), is that the strike price for winks in this market has jumped due to his derring-do.

… sabbatical at Purdue University for 1996-97. Did I say Nick Inglis?

Winks Akimbo à la Kahn (from MITRE newsletter, 16 August 1995)

Michael Crick, one of the founders of NATwA in 1966, and now a man about Microsoft, has ventured to be in touch again, a decade from our last contact. He was so kind to send copies of the London Tiddlywinks Bulletins from the early 1960s. What is past is prologue…

All the best to Rupert Thompson, who lost a leg in a motorbike accident in the Czech Republic in the Summer of 1996.

Rumor has it that 7 April 1952 is Jim Marlin’s birthday. And there’s a $50 reward for verifiable leads on Brad Schaefer’s date of birth.

And Al Moser, MIT ’75, has resurfaced at Seattle University, with a stated aim to rekindle the spirit of winks for the next millennium through a dozen highly-motivated kids.

A Mike Wegner of Texas reports: “Yes, I really did play with the Trix set in the 60s, and have been patiently waiting for them to bring them back. I was in high school in Houston, TX at the time, and it was quite a obsession with a group of us. I was on the debate team, and all of us had Trix sets. At tournaments, at school, whenever there was a break, we’d whip out the sets and start playing. I even took a set to Viet Nam in 68-69, but it was a little harder to find folks to play… :-)”

Sports Illustrated (27 Nov 1995) reported on “ahem, one of the most enduring sports rivalries in U.S. history” between Kahn and Lockwood (alphabetical-correctness suddenly having flushed through my medulla oblongata) and including a Tucker photo from the Cleveland winks events in 1995.

In January 1997, word has it that Frank Pacheco is on the verge of gaining official recognition to form a tiddlywinks club at Harvard… the third fourth generation (1962, 1966, 1980, 1997).

Well, there’s plenty more random news winking around the world, but as it is less than 12 hours away from the close of the 1996 NATwA Singles (in 1997), I’ll declare this revived edition of Newswink closed.    Well, okay, so I’ve dallied for 11 months or so.

In this Issue

Caricatures by Frank Porath
… sketches of kvetches, 1995

Too Tired to be Tense by Sunshine
The1997 IP and Quad Squads in Ohio … in the past tense

What is Past is … Backlog, by Rick Tucker
Trundling through all the tournaments of note … and not … since 1993

WORF Rules, by Sunshine
Winks among artisans and fireworks … at the Cleveland Winx 95 Invitational

Ye Olde Perimeter Rule Debate, by Sunshine
Geometric discussions reach a new plane in winking circles … elliptically speaking.

NATwA Abolishes 3 2/3 – 3 1/3 Score, by Joe Sachs
Numerologists mourn … historically possible score is legislated away.  Brother, can you spare a random number?

World Singles XLV, by DragonDave Lockwood
Once one would wantonly wonder who won wild winks wingding.

20th Annual VFW Tiddlywinks Tourney Draws 250, by Rick Tucker
Culture shock as we uncover a winking lifestyle … in a parallel universe to our sheltered world of winkdom.

President’s Day Weekend—But Not the Continentals, by Sunshine
Yet another IP … in yet another year.

Individual Statistics, by Sunshine
Sunsch trains his bifocals on the Individuals … uncovering sinister secrets hidden for years by winks monopolists.

Seedy Seedings Mar Marvelous Match, by Dave Lockwood
It doesn’t matter if you win or lose … it’s when you play the game.


Frank Porath, 18 Feb 1995, at the Individual Pairs

Jim Marlin
Chris Marlin
Dave Lockwood
Rick Tucker
Bob Henninge
Larry Kahn

Frank Porath, 7 Oct 1995, at the Cleveland Invitational, Elise Newman Gallery

Radio reporter and Rick Tucker
Matthew Rose
Marg Calhoun

Too Tired to Be Tense by Sunshine

Individual Pairs, 12-13 April 1997, Millfield OH
Quad Squads, 12 April 1997, Millfield OH

For Perimeter IP #11, the usual suspects gathered, not near DC, but at Toad Hall in southeastern Ohio. Dave Lockwood took the early lead and 6-time champ Larry Kahn found himself in 7th place after 3 rounds, ahead of only the missing Nick. In the last game of the 4th match round, Dave potted out his partner Bob (in the 5th round of the game) en route to a 7-0 that pushed them 11 and 8 points respectively ahead of the rest of a tightly bunched field. Then, in the first time in match history, instead of just a lunch break, a 20 hour break before round 5 followed.

Late afternoon winking would be the Quad Squads, the first NATwA “real” team event since Gill in June 1991. 19 players would take part, including 8 first-timers (most in one match since 9 Brits played in the 1988 Pairs in Falls Church VA in September (or since 9 Ithaca High School students played in the 1987 Pairs in October)) and one long missing Rich Davis (last played in the 1979 Continentals, February 1979), in a 3½ round match. There were 6 female players, possibly a record percentage (32%) playing in a single NATwA match. The Dragons (with two new Lockwoods in a NATwA match) and the Toads (the home team) took the lead over the Confused and the Wookies. Most games in the experienced paired with relative novice match were closely contested, with 5½-1½ being the highest score in the first 8 games. Rick, playing mostly with Jimmy Stockwell (who had never played at all before the match), posted a match high 20 points to lead the Dragons to a 6 point margin over the Toads. Rookie Piper Avalokita (3-0, 15 points) was the only undefeated player. The Wookies, despite their team chant of advice of “Let the Wookie win”, neither won a game nor tore off any arms. Kumquats appeared in 5 of the 14 games. Persimmons were out of season. However, there was plenty of glorious food provided by Sue Crapes both before and after the Quads.

Chicken Pox limited the number of Lockwoods to only 3 and thus they were only able to tie the Henninge clan at 4 NATwA winkers. However, Bob’s “family” (siblings, wife, son, nephews, nieces) record seems quite safe at 9.

When folks were neither winking nor eating, there was homework to be done (even by Larry), strange music videos to watch (courtesy of Jim Parrott), Tiger Woods to follow, and cards to be played. 2 games made it into the venerable Humbletoad games book.

On Sunday the IP was completed. Bob thanked Dave for having potted him out the previous day by potting his partner again in the 5th round, again for a 7-0, this time against Dave. The big win gave Bob the match lead and a chance to defend his title. In 3 of the 4 previous IPs Dave had also been in 2nd going into the final game, only to be denied. Not this time–a resounding 6-1 solo effort over Bob & Larry gave him the coveted first place ribbon, which he supplied.

Match records were set for:

  • Most points with only 4 wins (Bob, 32)
  • Highest match ppg at 5.68 (with a record three 7-0s)
  • Fewest fractional scores (one, in the last game), and
  • Most ribbons

Dave was the first champion to lose a 7-0 and only the third to come from behind in the final round.

IP #11

Dave Lockwood366
Bob Henninge324
Larry Kahn274
Rick Tucker21½3
Mac McAvoy18½3
Marg Calhoun13½1
(no Nick Inglis)  

Quad Squads

TeamPoints Pts Pts Pts Pts Pts
Dragons26½ + 9Rick Tucker20

Jimmy Stockwell

20Dave Lockwood15

Sam Lockwood


Alex Lockwood

Toads24½ + 5Bob Henninge18

Piper Avalokita

15Rich Davis11½Aaron McAvoy11½

Jared Crapes

Confused22Larry Kahn12Amanda Crapes12Mac McAvoy10

Claudia Sheehan


Mariah Renz

Wookies11*Jesse Calhoun

Jim Parrott

Marg Calhoun  

Note: rookies are shown in red and in italics in the table above.

P.S. I was glad to be able to participate in the Singles in January. I thank everyone for being willing to honour my request and to play me with the perimeter rule.

What is Past... is Backlog by Rick Tucker

NATwA tournaments, World Pairs, World Singles, and nothing else (… perhaps) has been on the records waiting to be reported since Newswink 28 on 10 April 1993. The numbers numb for themselves.

199712 AprilQuad QuadsMillfield OHDragons team wins
199712-13 AprilIndividual Pairs #11Millfield OHDave Lockwood wins
199718-19 JanuaryNATwA Singles (1996)Vienna VA,
At the home of Larry Kahn
Larry Kahn wins, Dave Lockwood 2nd
199628-29 SeptemberNATwA PairsVienna VA,
At the home of Larry Kahn
Larry Kahn & Rick Tucker win,
Dave Lockwood & Brad Schaefer 2nd
19958 OctoberNATwA PairsCleveland Heights, Ohio,
At the home of Frank Porath
Dave Lockwood & Brad Schaefer win,
Larry Kahn & Rick Tucker 2nd
19957 OctoberCleveland InvitationalCleveland, Ohio,
Elise Newman Gallery
Klingons win by 1 over Romulans
199529-30 JulyNATwA SinglesVienna VA,
At the home of Larry Kahn
Dave Lockwood wins, Larry Kahn 2nd
199518 FebruaryIndividual PairsAshburn VA,
At the home of Jim and Chris Marlin
Bob Henninge wins, Dave Lockwood 2nd
1994SeptemberNATwA Pairs Arye Gittelman & Larry Kahn win,
Richard Moore & Matthew Rose 2nd
199430 -31 JulyNATwA SinglesWheaton MD,
Wheaton Library (day 1)
Kahn residence (day 2)
Larry Kahn wins, Bob Henninge 2nd
199313 FebruaryIndividual PairsSilver Spring MD,
Kahn residence
Larry Kahn wins, Bob Henninge 2nd

1994 North American Singles, Day 1, 30 July 1994, Wheaton Library, Wheaton MD

ADave LockwoodX1166667*6 
BBob Henninge6X12665 ½66 
DRick Tucker151X5 ½6461 
110*1 ½X6174 
FMarg Calhoun110*11X111 
G*11 ½1366X66 
HChris Strong0*10*1061X1 

whereupon Dan Sachs (Josef Tobias Sachs fils) talked of Lock-zilla vs. King Kahn and coined the term “blunts” for non-sharp squidgers.

Cumulative after Round

BBob612*17 ½19 ½25 ½26 ½32 ½38 ½3
DRick*41011161722 ½28 ½29 ½4
EJim1511*121213 ½14 ½21 ½6
G*691011 ½12 ½*18 ½24 ½30 ½N/A

1994 North American Singles, Day 2, 31 July 1994, Kahn Residence, Wheaton MD

CBob56X55 ½665
DRick0*1*2X165 ½6
EJoe15*1 ½6X155
GChris1*0*11 ½20*X3

Cumulative after Round

 First DayRound 9Round 10Round 11Round 12Round 13Round 14Round 15Place
Bob38 ½44 ½49 ½55616772772
Rick29 ½20 ½36 ½42 ½484849514
Joe25313637 ½38 ½43 ½44 ½49 ½5
Jim21 ½26 ½27 ½27 ½28 ½35 ½41 ½47 ½6
Chris1011121213 ½13 ½16 ½18 ½7

WORF Rules—by Sunshine

With the Indians safely thru to round 2 of the AL playoffs, Cleveland’s media focused (some) attention on the rather large collection of winkers that journeyed from all corners of Ohio, as well as from DC, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Toronto, to Northern Ohio. No, it was not the Carnovsky Pay-For-View but it was the Cleveland Winx 95 Invitational.

Originally billed as a Pro-Am winx event, the match structure changed to a much broader theme as 2 teams met for what was believed to be the first Romulan-Klingon match in any xxTwA’s history. A Federation of Planets rep was brought in to serve as benevolent dictator—it seemed that a simple Tournament Director role was too mild for such fierce opponents. The perimeter rule was established to protect the neutral zone. Cloaking devices were not allowed.

5 novices (novi?) and 11 older match-experienced players took part. As often as possible, a novice and an ‘old=timer’ would pair up and then find another such grouping and would then figure out which pairing represented which empire.

The Klingons quickly jumped to a 19-9 lead but by lunch time the Romulans had fought back to a 43½-40½ advantage and the artists had arrived. Once again the mighty Klingons surged for an 11 point advantage (58-47) but 3 straight Romulan wins forged a 63-63 tie. The final game ended 4-3 for the Klingons for a 67-66 margn as late Romulan shots failed. It was believed that the player who missed was seeking asylum in the Klingon home world.

The most valuable players for the Romulans were the Calhoun brothers, Nathan (15 pts) and Jesse (13), while the Klingons were led by their uncle Bob (9), mother Marg (8) and BD* (8). Most neutral were a resurfacing from Cincinnati Rich (0) and Dave (1). Amanda Crapes led all players with 7 games, Larry (who studied in Romulus) with 5 wins, and Mac & Aaron with the most hard fought 3’s (3 times against more experienced foes). 68% of the games contained relatives.

On the evening news a new squopping theory was broadcast, proclaimng the advantage of shooting at reversed ramps. The footage was both confusing and convincing. Ask Dave for details.

Ye Olde Perimeter Rule Debate—by Sunshine

(2 March 1995)

The Individual Pairs (IP) is the last bastion for NATwA match play use of the Perimeter Rule. In Pairs and Singles tournaments, consensus is needed (and often reached) to invoke this rule over the old standard off-the-table rule. At the IP it’s the other way around, altho if Dave is playing, there’s sure to be a vociferous ‘discussion’ between Dave and Sunshine.

So, to rephrase an old commercial—if you come to the IP, expect the Perimeter Rule—and don’t leave the table without it.

NATwA Abolishes 3⅔ – 3⅓ Score—by Joe Sachs

From: [email protected] (Josef Sachs)
Subject: NATwA abolishes 3⅔ – 3⅓ score
Date: 01 Aug 1995 02:04:21 -0400
Message-ID: <[email protected]>

A NATwA Congress was held on Saturday, July 29 [1995]. I expect Rick to eventually provide details of the discussions and decisions that took place, but I wanted to make note of one particular decision and mention some points that were not made at the Congress.

A change was made in the rule concerning the 1-point transfer after a pot-out. The previous rule awarded the transfer to the color that played the potting-out shot (this according to a combination of historically-based convention and a ruling made during the 1994 Pairs).

The new rule awards the transfer to the pair which has more match points (for clarity’s sake, these are sometimes called “game points”, or, with the advent of the “tiddly” nomenclature, simply “points”) prior to the transfer.

The new rule changes the outcome in the following cases: (notes: [1] choice of colors in these examples is arbitrary [2] B/R denotes “blue or red, but not both”)

  1. B pots-out B-G-R-Y simultaneously or
    B pots-out B/R-G/Y simultaneously, and the two remaining colors also pot-out simultaneously
    Old: 4½ – 2½
    New: 3½ – 3½
    (I see this being implied; it is not explicit in the rule.)
  2. B pots-out B/R-G-Y simultaneously.
    Old: 3⅓ – 3⅔
    New: 1⅓ – 5⅔
  3. B pots-out B/R-G/Y simultaneously, and the other G/Y pots-out next.
    Old: 4 – 3
    New: 2 – 5
    (Note: in this case, third place is in effect worth 3 points!)
  4. B pots-out G, and then R and B pot-out.
    Old: 4 – 3
    New: 2 – 5

(I’ll elide the obvious alternative versions of this case, where Y pots-out before one or both of B and R; I simply chose as an illustration the case most favorable to B.)

It can be seen in example (2) that one of the “Holy Grails” of winks, the 3⅔ – 3⅓, is now abolished. Example (3) provides a new way to pot yourself out and still lose. And in the prior way to do so, you now get 1⅓ points instead of 3⅓.

It is true that the first three examples are all extraordinarily unlikely. However, the fourth example is totally plausible (in fact, it came up in last year’s Pairs). I’m admittedly in the minority, but I maintain that the player who actually performs the potting-out *deserves* the point transfer. I also find the outcome in example (3) to be particularly perverse. And, of course, I regret the abolishment of the 3⅔ – 3⅓.

In closing, I’ll note that while the change was proposed for the purpose of bringing the NATwA rule into accord with ETwA’s, the latter is not, in fact, clear on the issue:

[Rule 10 (a)]

“In a game in which Rule 8 has come into operation, the first colour to be potted out scores 4 points, the second to do so scores 2 points, the third one point and the remaining colour does not score. Partners’ points are added together and one point is transferred from the losing partnership to the winning partnership.”

It would be better for the rule to be explicit. Likewise for the (I believe) common understanding that all colors potted-out in the same shot tie for the corresponding positions.

World Singles XLV—by DragonDave Lockwood

(submitted 17 January 1997)

The length of a streak is not defined until its end is determined. At Cambridge in November (1996), the end of my World Singles drought was determined. Yes, after 13 years and 7 losing challenges (5 to Larry (after 2 wins), 1 to Geoff Myers, and 1 to Patrick Barrie), the Dragon has regained the WS with a 26-16 win over the world’s top-ranked player, Geoff.

This was truly a battle of the generations as Dave was trying to become the oldest WS Champion while Geoff sought another oldtimer scalp. Geoff took Larry down a year ealier and was solidly ranked as Number 1 in the ratings. Dave had to be considered the underdog for this match.

The match is deceptively easy to describe. Four close games yielded a 14-14 tie, then Dave dropped two 6-1s on Geoff and it was quickly over.

Dave’s 10th WS makes him the second winker with over 10 WS career wins. Larry still leads with 14. Larry leads in total career Big 6/7 Titles with 51. The Dragon trails in second at 31. Significantly, The Dragon holds the World Singles and the World Pairs simultaneously for the first time in his career.

With his defeat of Larry, Geoff had become ony the second player to regain the WS. Dave is now the third.

20th Annual VFW Tiddlywinks Tourney Draws 250—by Rick Tucker

‘ “We’re the team of the ‘90s and we were the team of the ‘80s,” said Dave Bullock, a member of the team 5 Guys Named Dick, which took first place in the tournament and took home the championship trophy and $150 cash prize.’

36 teams of 5 players each paid $25 to enter this annual VFW event, now in its 20th year. The tournament was started in 1977 by Archie Johnson, the bar manager for the VFW post in Milwaukee. Johnson died in 1995 but the tradition continues. Johnson used to play the game while stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. The tournament is held annually at the Horne Mudlitz VFW Post 6377 in Milwaukee, colocated with Hella’s Restaurant at N63-W24375 Main Street.

The game is played on a 3-foot by 3-foot mat with a 3-inch tall glass placed in the center. Each team has five players, and each player has four winks. The objective is to pot the winks from the baseline corners that are 15 inches from the glass. Potting a wink in one shot garners 10 game points; in two shots, 5 game points, and three shots, just 1 game point.

(15 February 1996, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, page 4)

President's Day Weekend—But Not the Continentals—by Sunshine

For the 10th time in 11 years, much of NATwA converged near DC for the Individual Pairs. Chris & Jim Marlin hosted the event at their Ashburn VA home—the 5th site for the IP. After 3 rounds the local residents were the only ones of the 8 players not to have both won and lost games. By the 4th round Bob and Dave had begun to pull away convincingly from the field. For once Larry was well off the lead, holding down 7th place as late as the 5th of 7 rounds.

The final game was between Marg & Dave and Bob & Larry. Scoring better than 4 ½ would earn Dave his first IP tittle (note: Sunshine does not include the two Brits/NATwA matches of ’93) and Marg would have placed a very solid third. It was not to be. Bob proved unbeatable after the second round and posted the 2nd highest individual score in match history as he picked up his 2nd title (to go along with 2 seconds) in the last 5 matches. Only 3 points sepeated third thru seventh place.

In the strange but hard to notice unless Sunshine searches for such things department, IP 10 highlights included:

  • First IP without a fractional score
  • Second highest match ppw at 5.57
  • Only the 2nd match rookie in 7 years as Chris became the 14th NATwA member to participate
  • Average age calculations coming in real close to 40, tho only Chris was younger than the 40.06 average
  • Jim scoring 12 pts in 2 games against Larry after managing only 20 in 12 previous—and still finishing 1 point behind him
  • Only Rick scoring within 2 ½ pts of his career IP match average

In the easy-to-notice category: food & hospitality by Chris Marlin.

Bob Henninge6139
Dave Lockwood5232
Larry Kahn4324
Rick Tucker3423
Jim Marlin4323
Marg Henninge3421

Top Pairs Averages (5 Game Minimum)

Dave Lockwood*505.40
Larry KahnBob Henninge815.17
Larry Kahn*724.72
Larry KahnBrad Schaefer514.67
Dave LockwoodRick Tucker414.60
Larry KahnRick Tucker724.44

Individual Statistics—by Sunshine

The 9th IP (and 8th Kahntinentals) was held 27 March 199x in Silver Spring. Most of the usual crowd attended—4 of the DC locals, 3 Ohioans, and this Philadelphian. The match took place for once on Sunday, tho there was tennis, winking, pizza, and late night Oh Hell fun on Saturday.

The results included—No scores between 4 and 6 in any of the 14 games, a test of the sports cliché of a tie is like kissing your sibling (one game between Bob and Marg ended 3 ½ – 3 ½), Dave setting a record by finishing with the same number of wins (4) in 4 consecutive IPs, and Sunshine wearing glasses (new bifocals) for winking for the first time since 1991.

Four players set personal highs for points in an IP—Rick (best finish outside of England), Dave, Brad, and Mac (tied for 3rd with only 2 games to go!!). Three players had a shot at first going into the final round and two others had hopes for second. Sunshine and Rick were almost squopped out late in the final game but a key judgement on a pile and strong end play helped them pull out the win to lead the field and to relegate Brad and Larry to 4th and 5th. Mac led the Ohio contingent (Bob’s best results were in the Oh Hell game). Larry-Sunshine (5.19 ppg) overtook Larry-Bob as the top-rated pair in the tourney’s 10 year history (minimum of 5 games). Sunshine’s title was his second in the event, tho his first had 2 *s (one for name and one for ‘missing Larry’.) (P.S.—the glasses helped.)

Points Wins Lifetime IP ppg # matches
Sunshine 34 ½ 5 ½ 3.87 8
Rick Tucker 30 4 3.48 9
Dave Lockwood 27 4 3.68 4
Brad Schaefer 26 5 3.22 7
Larry Kahn 25 ½ 3 ½ 4.85 8
Mac McAvoy 25 3 2.65 4
Bob Henninge 17 ½ 2 ½ 3.73 9
Marg Henninge 10 ½ ½ 1.79 2

Seedy Seedings Mar Marvelous Match—by Dave Lockwood

A marvelous tournament was held in November (1995) at Cambridge in Queens’ College. Eighteen pairs played in the 24th annual English Pairs Championship. However, stupidity by the tournament seeding committee created a seeding which allowed the most critical game of the match to be played in the penultimate round as opposed to the final one. Utilizing the most recent ratings would have produced a far better seeding… and a far more accurate one.

Perhaps the primary purpose of seeding a Championship tournament such as this is to optimize the chance that the top two pairs will play in the final round. It is at that point that both pairs have the most information on the overall tournament situation. Game strategies and particularly, end-game strategies can differ markedly under varying point differential scenarios. In this all-play-all format, each pair will play all the other pairs in the tournament. If the tournament organizers had desired a random format, fine, but don’t subvert the advantages of a seeded tournament through pettiness or idiocy.

The defending champions were Dave Lockwood and Larry Kahn with the 1993 winners, Patrick Barrie and Richard Moore, also expected to contend (note 1). The game between these two pairs should have been scheduled for the final round. Inept seeding left it to the penultimate round where Patrick & Richard beat Dave & Larry 4½ – 2½ to create a tie between the two pairs for the lead. Dave & Larry won the tournament by winning 7-0 in the final round while Patrick & Richard only won 6-1.

Note 1: Larry had just lost the World Singles to Geoff Myers the previous day by a score of 28-7. This match would undoubtedly have caused Larry’s rating to drop and Geoff’s would have risen. This match could not be incorporated into Nick Inglis’ ratings by the Saturday start of the Pairs. However, given the most up-to-date ratings available on Saturday morning, the seedings would have been far more accurate if those ratings were used for the Championship.

Pair Rating Finish/Score Seeding
Dave & Larry First/5168 First/95 Third
Patrick & Richard Second/4848 Second/94 First
Geoff & Ed Third/4769 Third/79 Second