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(see Stephen Ackart article below)

Article on the Wichita Tournament held 3-22-08 - by Kelly Boyce.


It took exactly 3 hours to get to Wichita from Tulsa - about 200 miles. It is 65 to 75 miles an hour the entire way. You take the Cimmarron Turnpike to I-35 then north to Wichita.

The Wichita table tennis building (their tournaments and weekly play are in the same building) is in the older downtown area of Wichita in an old converted movie theater with good lighting and plenty of space for the 8 tables set up.
One very nice feature was each playing area was sectioned off with barriers, all 4 sides with custom made barriers which meant no balls entering your court from the next tables.
There was also alot of room at the entrance for sitting and milling about and a separate room where 2 tables were set up for practice.
There was a very wide aisle down the middle so you can see people play matches from one end of the building to the other and lots of chairs to sit and enjoy watching matches.

The tournament started promptly at 10:00 AM with John Potochnik providing direction for all.
John has run this Davis Cup style tournament so long that he runs it very smoothly.
Teams are 3 person preferred, one team had 2 people due to simply not having exactly 3 people per team and I would not recommend 2 people teams due to the number of matches a team will play.
The teams were placed in 2 round robins (there were 12 teams - 35 players total so there were 6 teams per round robin).
Each team plays 2 single matches first and then a doubles match.
After these 3 matches, if a team has won all 3 matches, the team match is done and you play the next team.
However, if one team wins 1 team match (singles or doubles) and the other team wins 2 matches, the teams play 2 more single matches until one of the teams wins 3 matches.
The first team to win 3 matches (any combination of singles and doubles matches) then play ends immediately and the team plays the next team in the round robin.

The one big benefit of this style of tournament is that it is alot of fun because you are always rooting for your other team players as opposed to mostly rooting for yourself in most tournaments.
 
After the first round robin is done, the top 3 teams from each round robin play another round robin with the top 3 teams from the other round robin but you don't play any team your team has played before.
The bottom 3 teams play each other in a single elimination consolation event.

(Note - the over 2000 singles event was cancelled due to a lack of players).

The tournament ran smoothly with no problems and ended at 8:30 PM.

There was a 3 way tie for first place - each of the top 3 teams had one team loss and so it went down to games.

The final standing were:

Championship Division


1st
Guy Hendrickson, Hutchinson, KS
Vance Voth, Hutchinson, KS
Carl Miller, Hutchinson, KS

2nd
P.J. Phachantry, Wichita, KS
Don Beckstrom, Wichita, KS

3rd
Kelly Boyce, Tulsa, OK
Britt Salter, Okahoma City, OK
Cole Ely, Liberal, KS

And now I would like to write about individual matches I played (hopefully Stephen Ackart will write a article about his experience at this tournament)

George Taplin (1816) (I won) - very trickly serve and smashes the ball. Fortunately he misses enough of them. George is not one to rally the ball but end the point as quickly as possible.

Harry Chu (1824) (I won) From Arkansas. Never push or chop to him as he can smash everything off backspin (like Suzuki from Oklahoma City used to do). Fortunately I do not backspin balls.

Joshua Bartel (1954) - (he won) - great all-around game. No one big stroke, just alot of good ground stokes from back from the table and one very effective serve (I missed it everytime he played it).

P.J Phachantry (1820) (I won) - a young player with a 2100 level forehand that I never returned when he hit it. Fortunatly, his backhand is not at a 2100 level.

Carl Miller (1808) (I lost) - went 10 to 10 in the fifth game but Carl's steady play took it's toll.

Don Beckstrom (1746) - (I won) - uses anti and hits with it and counters well if you hit the ball hard to his forehand. He plays back from the table but does not come in on short shots well which is where I won alot of points. He is a good counter hitter if you give him balls to counter with (which I tried not to do).

Bob Cockerham (1670) (I won) - use pips out, no sponge and chops and hits. Don't waste your time playing a control game against him which I did at first and lost the first game. He is very steady. You have to just hit the ball hard against him to win.

Lei Yao (1650) (I won) - tall, older penholder and plays a control game and can place the ball in the corners and edges and wherever you are not. You have to hit hard against him to keep him from running you around the table.

Sascha Rosbach (1656) (I won) - a young player that plays a straight game, no tricks, just hits everything with top spin in a pure classic style. Cannot rally for long periods however which is my preferred game.

Homer Roman (1593) (I won) - Great control player from back from the table with all kinds of spins and speeds coming at you. He got legs cramps and had to retire.

James Spencer (1522) - could not sustain rallys and did not have an over powering shot.



Wichita Tournament
by: Stephen Ackart

After the 3 hour car ride I thought I was ready to play. Well the fierce competition told me otherwise. As we arrive we run into John (the tourney director) and sign in and chat for a bit. Once I finally glued my paddle and stretched for a bit, I found my partner, whom I had never met before. Real young kid, maybe 13-15 years old. We went to warm up and that is when I found that he had a solid foundation which will bring many more years of successful tournaments ahead. After about 30 minutes of warm up it was time to play. The first half of the day I was looking real sloppy and didn't pick up a single match. Well, Then came the 2nd half. I won 2 great matches (one to a 1593 player and one to a 1697 player). I felt that the whole room was watching us play since every time there was a point scored, we had cheers. It was a real fun time. I would definitely do it again! Hint Hint John.

Match Breakdown:
Donald Beckstrom (1740) - he won - Wasn't really much of a challenge for him since he found my weakness quickly and pounced.


Gregg McKinney (1653) - he won - After winning the first match, I believe I got to overconfident in this disappointing loss. The rest of the game went 3 straight to him and I believe it's because I under estimated him.


Vance Voth (1832) - he won - WOW. I thought I was aggressive. Couldn't really do much since I was feeling the stinging of ping pong balls at my core.


Manuel Bonano (1739) - he won - slow and steady with hitting a lot of dead balls. Every one knows how I play against that. And you can see that from the results.


Lei Yao (1674) - he won - Penholder. That's all I have to really say about that. Tricky misdirection shots is what came my way. I managed to take a game off by playing super aggressive but that lasts only so long when you are running back and forth all over the table.


Homer Roman (1593) - I won - First win of 2 in a row for the day. Played with pips on one side and inverted on the other. Just like playing Bob Kyker. Good thing I have spent many hours at the club playing Bob.


Gregg Rempel (1697) - I won - Counter driver / top spinner. My 2 favorite styles to play wrapped into one guy. He won 2 straight and that kind of opened my eyes to what I was doing wrong. After those 2 I went on to take the match by playing a little back from the table and using my power to keep him on the defense.

Well after all of that, I managed to gain 184 points to raise my ranking to 1591.