ACBL Bridge Beat #53: Intercity Challenge Match
The first Intercity Challenge Match for the Sports Illustrated Trophy was played between Los Angeles and New York at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A. on Aug. 11 and 12, 1960.
The 80-board match was played in four 20-deal sessions. In what can only be classified as an upset, Los Angeles defeated New York 115 to 106. On paper, the New York Team captained by Waldemar von Zedtwitz (John Crawford, Edgar Kaplan, Peter Leventritt, George Rapee, Howard Schenken, Alfred Sheinwold, Helen Sobel and Tobias Stone) appeared stronger. At the table it was another matter.
The Los Angeles team (Oliver Adams, Ivan Erdos, Harold Guiver, William Hanna, Eddie Kantar, Lew Mathe, Ira Rubin, and Meyer Schleifer with Kelsey Petterson as non-playing captain) piled up a 21 IMP advantage in the first session, from which the New Yorkers never recovered.
In the second and third sessions L.A. added to its lead, and going into the last six boards of the final session they were 30 IMPs to the good, 115-81. Suddenly, New York came alive and L.A. never scored another point.
On the 75th board, NY won an IMP despite a losing slam bid: stopping at game would have added 5 more to the pick-up. On the 76th deal, NY gained 4 and on 77 they gained another 7. This last ditch effort tore huge chunks out of L.A.’s lead and it seemed as if NY had a chance. It was a little too late and the supply of boards ran out.
Generous in victory, Petterson said as he accepted the trophy, “We are all thankful it wasn’t an 82-board match.”