Last Saturday, we ran our 2018 Triangle June Open Tournament. 51 players from 5 states competed in events ranging from U550 to U2100. In the U550, a small field of only 5 players battled for the top 3 spots in a round robin format. Young local Jean Dominguez didn’t drop a single game, but was unrated and thus could not claim any prizes this time around. Jean is certainly a player to watch for in future tournaments. Sara Gulabani (105) played well, getting a game off of Richard Frye (385) and winning a close one in the 5th against Ved Vanga (318) from Virginia and taking the silver medal. Ved had the final chance to potentially knock Richard out of the top spot, but Richard beat Ved handily, winning 3-0 and securing the gold, giving Ved the bronze. Congratulations Richard!
In the U1100, they also only had one round robin group to decide the podium, though this one had 8 players. Seeding seemed to have no effect on this event, as there were 11 upsets according to pre-tournament ratings. This event ended with 2 3-way ties, but only one of them had any bearing on the top three finishers. The three players tied at a group-leading 5-2 record were Tianyi Zhou (811), Bryce Milford (770), and Qin Ding (765). The #1 seed in this event, Bharath Padmanabhan (944) ,beat Qin, but struggled in other matches and dropped down to a 3-way tie at 3-4. Qin beat Tianyi 3-1 and squeaked out a close one against Bryce 3-2 to claim top prize. Bryce was also able to pull out a 5 game victory against Tianyi, securing his silver medal and giving Tianyi 3rd place. Congratulations Qin!
The U1700 event was twice as big, with two full groups of 8 players each. Two people advanced from each group into a 4-person bracket to decide the finals. This event went much more traditionally in the group stage, with both top seeds going undefeated and both #2 seeds dropping just one match each. Overall #1 seed Jay Nelson (1665) lost just two games in the round robin stage and found himself matched up against Sabyasachi Patra (1543) in the semifinals. After Jay dropped the first game, an umpire was requested and this quickly changed the effectiveness of Sabyasachi’s approach, as he was called for numerous illegal serves and struggled to adjust. Jay went on to win the next three games, guaranteeing at least the silver. In semifinal #2, Jinpeng Xiao (1656) had to play Samyuktha Sundar (1512) from Charlotte. This was a seesaw battle as Sam lost game 1, rattled off the next two, and then lost again in the 4th. In the fifth and deciding game, she was able to execute just enough to squeeze out 2 more points than Ping, taking the final game 11-9. In the 3rd/4th match, Jinpeng won convincingly, losing just 16 points in 3 games, similar to group stage match. In the finals, Jay and Sam found themselves in a rematch from the first round. Jay won the first meeting 3-0, and the finals were no different, as Sam didn’t have an answer for Jay’s driving loop attacks. Congratulations Jay!
The highest event this tournament was the U2100. To start off the action, 3 round robin groups of six players each competed fiercely, with two from each group advancing. The top seeds in groups 1 and 2, Chris Xiao (2076) and Cameron Smith (1972) both went undefeated and advanced comfortably. Bella Xu (1755) won a tiebreak and advanced as the second player from group 1, while Phil Dadzie (1769) maintained his second position in group 2 and also got into the knockout stage. Group 3, however, ended in chaos. Dhimant Bhensdadia (1717) scored a near 200-point upset against Tony Ma (1912) in a close match, which really put the pressure on Tony in his final match against Jerred Miklowcic (1923). Jerred, the top seed in the group, has developed a bit of a rivlarly with Tony over the last few months; Tony got a big upset against Jerred in Cary Cup this year, but Jerred got his revenge last month when he beat Tony 3-0 in two different events during the May “Upside Down” Open. This time, the pendulum swung back the other direction, as Tony beat Jerred 3-0 and created a 3-way tie to see who would advance. In the end, Jerred found himself the odd man out and Dhimant and Tony moved on to the single elimination rounds. The first round saw no upsets, creating semifinal match-ups of Tony against Chris and Bella against Cameron. Bella fought hard but could not overcome Cameron’s strong attacks, losing 3-0 and fighting for a place on the podium. In the other semifinal, Chris, who had only lost one game the whole day and had never dropped a single game to Tony in a tournament, got beat 3-0 by a confident and more-consistent Tony. This resulted in the unlikely pairings of Chris and Bella in the 3rd/4th match and Tony and Cameron in the finals. Chris quickly recovered from his tough loss and beat Bella keep himself in the podium picture, despite having a different place than he expected earlier in the day. Cameron and Tony, whose only other meeting was a 5-game upset loss for Cameron at Cary Cup, battled hard and went the distance. They traded blows and games, alternating wins back and forth, but in the end Tony came out on top, winning in the fifth (5,-9,7,-8,9). Congratulations Tony!
To watch the U2100 Finals, you can go to our YouTube page.
The fun event for this tournament was the Brazilian 3-Person Teams. Overall top-seeded team of Dhimant/Anav/Raga got a bye, then lived up to their ranking and dispatched their opponents all the way to finals. In the double elimination format, there were a couple rematches from A-side that played again in the bottom half of the draw. The team of Jerred/Tony/Sara beat Jinpeng/Chris/Weiguo twice and redeemed themselves against John/Jason/Chingyao to get into the finals. The top seeds proved to be too strong, and Dhimant/Anav/Raga took the gold. Congratulations gentlemen!
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