Mark Blumenthal

The Thrill of Victory

Until gambling became legalized in Atlantic City in the seventies very it had very few visitors from about Labor Day until after Memorial Day. Because of that the hotels were very inexpensive at that time. As the city was part of the Philadelphia unit, the Philadelphia Whist Association which later changed its name to the Philadelphia Contract Bridge League would often have one of its sectionals there in the early Spring or late Fall even though they didn’t draw many players. 

In April, 1963 I won my first tournament by coming in first in a seven table mens pair there with Mike Carson. We still were still in college at the University of Pennsylvania. I had just turned twenty one. Mike was a little older.

We saw that we had won when the directors posted the results. We also noticed they had misspelled Mike’s last name. Being inexperienced, Mike was worried that because of this he wouldn’t receive the one and a half masterpoints he had won. I told him to tell the director. That was the famous Al Sobel who  was chief national director as well as the author of Thirty Days, a column which appeared in the Bulletin monthly.

Mike went up to tell Al of the mistake. Al waved him away without listening. Mike waited for a while to approach again, but the same thing happened. Mike was determined.

As Al was ready to leave for the afternoon Mike went up to him saying, “I won the mens pair…”

Al interrupted him saying, “Won the mens pair? I thought you were one of my pick up boys.” (We call them caddies now.)


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