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Dad on the Ropes

July 29, 1994 — San Diego NABC Bulletin

Thursday morning, Richard Pavlicek Sr. and Jr. sat in their hotel room discussing the Spingold Knockout Teams. “If you win today,” Senior said to Junior, “where are you going to sleep tonight?”

You see, father and son, both from Fort Lauderdale, were on different teams which just happened to be playing each other in the Spingold round of 16.

Senior was joking about the room, of course, but they were dead serious about the event and their match. While Senior has won eight North American championships, young Pavlicek had never before advanced so far in a major event.

Said the elder Pavlicek: “I told Rich this morning that I wasn’t rooting for him to win, but I was rooting for him to play well.”

Pavlicek Jr., one of the leading ACBL Junior players, played with another star Junior, Blair Seidler of Fair Lawn NJ. Their teammates were Andy O’Grady of Miami and Bob Rosen of Delray Beach FL.

Pavlicek Sr. is playing on the team captained by Jeff Wolfson of Northbrook IL. Their teammates are Neil Silverman, Fort Lauderdale; Robert Lipsitz, Annandale VA; John Schermer, Seattle; and Neil Chambers, Schenectady NY.

Father and son were at the same table in the opening round when Junior’s squad took a 62-25 lead. The two have opposed each other previously in regionals but never in a major event such as the Spingold.

“He played well in the first quarter,” Senior said. “They bid an excellent slam and a difficult game that were not bid at the other table.”

Junior’s team added 13 IMPs in the second quarter to take a 50-IMP lead at the halfway point.

Said the younger Pavlicek of his dad: “He’s my hero and my mentor and one of my best friends, and I want to impress him. We love each other and nothing will ever come between us, but I have to beat him. It’s my goal.”

The elder Pavlicek said he is proud of his son and would have been happy for him if he had won. Senior said he has been in daily contact with his wife, Mabel, back home in Fort Lauderdale. “Mabel,” Senior said, “did not take sides. She’s just happy that we’ve both gotten this far.”

Dad’s team mounted a stirring comeback in the third and fourth quarters to win the match 151-149.

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© 1994 Brent Manley