The first ever Boenning Cup Invitational Handicap Doubles tournament, honoring H. Dickson S. Boenning, Founding Chairman of the United Sates Court Tennis Preservation Foundation, was held at Prince’s Court over the Columbus Day weekend. The event was open to donors to the United Sates Court Tennis Preservation Foundation to thank them for their support of the game.
The winners in three sets were Kris Motz and Robin Martin. The finalists were Jonathan Pardee and Ryan Carey. In all 18 players participated under a unique format that seems to have been rather successful and is likely to be repeated in 2007.
Though the matches were doubles, players competed as individuals. On the first day all current RTO handicaps were recorded and each match was played according to the IRTPA calculator. Wins and losses were then recorded and the handicaps were adjusted accordingly. In subsequent matches, the players had new partners and opponents with the results again recorded for handicap adjustment purposes. The four finalists were those whose online handicaps had decreased the most. Robin Martin, who improved by 3.2 points in the course of the weekend, was the Most Improved Player.
The goals of the weekend were to thank supporters of the game, sensitize leading players to the new doubles handicap system and to provide an opportunity to think about playing smart doubles. Maybe the U.S. Ryder Cup should try that! Much thanks to Tim Graham of Real Tennis Online who devised the algorithms for the doubles handicaps that seem to have worked very well. The weekend provided about 300 separate results to enhance the database.
In one match pitting Peter Pell and Peter Bender against Jonathan Pardee and Haven Pell, the handicap difference was 3 thus permitting the use of a bisque. This was determined the evening before thus affording ample opportunity for planning (scheming?) optimization strategies to maximize the value of this little known technique.
Participants and their guests were entertained by Temple and Ellie Grassi at a dinner in their house on Friday evening and by Haven and Simmy Pell at a similar event the following evening.