Mark Blumenthal

Hoist by my own Petard

When I was playing on a regular basis I often was approached by people to fix up a pair  or team.   As I had played  throughout much of  the country and Canada,  I generally  was able to have players of  roughly equal ability.  Many times I fixed up a pair or team that did very well, and this often  cost me finishing in  a higher position. I already wrote up one such incident in Tales of the Giant Crab -7. In 1965 I had a date to play with Harlow Lewis in the open pairs in a sectional in York, Pa. Harlow was frequently on my team, but we rarely were partners. Meanwhile, on Friday evening I talked to a friend of mine, Don Smolen, about going to the tournament. The problem was he didn’t have a partner. I asked him if he would play with Diane Aiken, (who became fairly soon after this Diane Lazarus). He said Yes. I happened to know where Diane was that night and called her to arrange for her to play with Don in the event.  Harlow and I had two very good sessions. Soon after the sheets had been posted Don came up to me and said, “We won.” I asked him, “Do you mean Harlow and I won? “No,” he said. “Diane and I won.” Again I had come in second to an entry that never would have played in the event if I hadn’t arranged it .

In 1974 I had a date to play in the national mixed pairs with Helen Utegaard with whom I had played twice before. We had won both  regional mixed pairs in which we had played.  Unexpectedly, I had an opportunity to play professionally. I asked Helen if she would mind playing with a fine player who was a friend of mine, Gerald Caravelli. She agreed to play with him instead of me. In the interim my sponsor had to pull out.  I obtained a good partner, but we did not do well.  However, Helen and Gerald won the event. 

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