August 31, 2017

$2700 Butterfly MDTTC August Open
Aug. 26-27, 2017 • Gaithersburg, Maryland
By Larry Hodges (tournament director)
[NOTE – not interested in reading about a local tournament, with a final between two of the best players in the country? Then jump ahead to the other segments below!]

The MDTTC August Open was the day the choppers, juniors, and women & girls roared. There were choppers in the final and quarterfinals of the Open, and they won Under 2200 and Under 1500. There were juniors in the final of five of the six rating events (and – surprise! – both junior events). And women & girls won three of the six rating events. The ultimate winner was Stephanie Zhang, a chopping junior girl who won Under 1500!

Top-seeded Jishan Liang (2671) of New York, a powerful lefty two-winged looper, won the Open over second-seeded chopper/looper Jian Li (2660) of New Jersey, 2-1 win in this best of seven. Well, it was scheduled to be best of seven, but both players asked if they could play best of five, and we agreed. Then, after Liang went up 2-1 (with all three games being 11-5), Li was forced to retire due to an arm injury. The other chopper/looper in the mix was Wang Qingliang, who lost to Liang in the quarterfinals, 8,6,11. So $1000 to Jishan, $500 to Li, and $250 to the two semifinalists, Jeffrey Zeng and Chen Bo Wen, both MDTTC coaches, as is Wang.

Making his U.S. tournament debut was Czech Under 21 Men’s Team Member Jakub Nemecek, who by most estimates was about 2650. In the preliminaries he clearly showed that level – he might have the most powerful backhand loop in the country right now. But he might have suffered “first American tournament” jitters as he lost the first two games to Chen Bowen (2598) in the quarterfinals. He fought back valiantly before losing a close five-gamer, 5,8,-4,-9,8. Also making his American tournament debut was Martin Jezo of Slovakia, now a full-time coach at MDTTC. He was estimated at 2500, but alas, lost a close five-gamer to Khaleel Asgarali, who has been practicing with Nemecek and may be playing close to 2500 level himself.

Khaleel won Under 2400, defeating 14-year-old George Li (2240) in the final, -8,4,10,7. (Neither are choppers, but George does like to lob and sometimes chop!) Chopper Ed Watts, age 71, with long pips on the backhand, won Under 2200 over 15-year-old Abbas Paryavi at 4,2,-9,7, who probably had never played such a pure retriever who got everything back, and perhaps attacked once per game at most – but as the scores show, after a slow start, Abbas began to figure things out, but it was too late. Thirteen-year-old Kallista Liu won Under 2000 over senior Xisheng Michael Huang, -8,11,9,-8,8 – and she also made the semifinals of Under 2400 – and her rating skyrocketed from 1764 to 1993 as a result. Haoran Aries Guan was down 0-2 in the Under 1800 final against sometimes-chopping Steven Thoren before she mounted a comeback to win, -9,-9,9,7,3. Fourteen-year-old Stephanie Zhang, as noted above, was the chopping junior girl who won Under 1500 over Allan Anzaqira, 7,2,5. And 12-year-old Todd Klinger won Under 1200 over Aaron Thaul at 7,-9,8,9, as well as making the semifinals of Under 1500.

Xisheng Michael Huang, the Under 2000 finalist above, won Over 50 in an upset over Thomas Sampson (2067), 5,-6,6,8, and saw his rating jump from 1832 to 1933. In Under 15, it was George Li (the Under 2400 finalist above) over 8-year-old Stanley Hsu, who gave him a scare before George pulled it out, -12,9,9,8. Stanley went on to win Under 12, going 5-0 in the final round robin, and (with a win over a 2059 player) saw his rating jump from 1761 to 1812 – not bad for age eight! Mu Du came in second in Under 12 at 4-1, with Ryan Lee, Kay O’Hara, James Zhang, and Jacob Lee coming in third through sixth.

A great thanks goes to sponsors Butterfly and HW Global Foundation, which sponsors the MDTTC Talent Development program. A great thanks also goes to Mossa Barandao of PongMobile. What is PongMobile? Mossa sets up a station at our tournaments and leagues so players can easily look up their ratings and ratings histories, both in numbers and graphic form. (The station is always surrounded by players looking up all their friends, coaches, and rivals.) It allows you to follow your favorite players, find clubs nearby or when traveling, and easily find tournament results. Thanks also goes to referee Paul Kovac and umpire Stephen Yeh. Also a thanks to John Hsu (one of our coaches), who not only took care of credit card payments (saving us time at the control desk), but also took charge of running the Under 12 RR. And above all, a great thanks to all 71 players who competed in the tournament!

Complete results are available at Omnipong. Here is a summary – click on event links to see pictures of the finalists! Here are the post tournament ratings.

Open Singles – Final: Jishan Liang d. Jian Li, -5,5,5, ret. (arm injury); SF: Liang d. Jeffrey Zeng, 12,5,-6,5; Li d. Chen Bo Wen, -10,6,8,8; QF: Liang d. Wang Qingliang, 8,6,11; Zeng d. Roy Ke, 9,9,2; Chen d. Jakub Nemecek, 5,8,-4,-9,8; Li d. Khaleel Asgarali, 8,4,10.
Under 2400 – Final: Khaleel Asgarali d. George Li, -8,4,10,7; SF: Asgarali d. Kallista Liu, 2,7,4; Li d. Richard Bowling, 8,5,-8,-9,7.
Under 2200 – Final: Ed Watts d. Abbas Paryavi, 4,2,-9,7; SF: Watts d. Gary Schlager, 4,7,14; Paryavi d. Burak Cevik, -8,6,7,8.
Under 2000 – Final: Kallista Liu d. Xinsheng Michael Huang, -8,11,9,-8,8; SF: Liu d. Michael Cai, 4,-9,3,-3,8; Huang d. Bob Slapnik, -8,11,9,-8,8.
Under 1800 – Final: Haoran Guan d. Stephen Thoren, -9,-9,9,7,3; SF: Guan d. Jozef Simkovic, 8,9,-9,8; SF: Thoren d. James Zhang, -5,10,-5,5,8.
Under 1500 – Final: Stephanie Zhang d. Allan Anzaqira, 7,2,5; SF: Zhang d. Todd Klinger, 9,7,8; Anzaqira d. Jeff Pepper, 5,-6,7,7.
Under 1200 – Final: Todd Klinger d. Aaron Thaul, 7,-9,8,9; SF: Klinger d. Eugene Zhang, 4,9,6; Thaul d. Steve Brown, 4,9,-9,6.
Over 50 – Final: Xinsheng Michael Huang d. Thomas Sampson, 5,-6,6,8; SF: Huang d. Jozef Simkovic, -8,7,8,7; Sampson d. Patrick Lui, 8,6,6.
Under 15 – Final: George Li d. Stanley Hsu, -12,9,9,8; SF: Li d. Hanfei Hu, 7,8,9; Hsu d. Mu Du, 6,2,9.
Under 12 – Final RR: 1st Stanley Hsu, 5-0; 2nd Mu Du, 4-1; 3rd Ryan Lee, 3-2; 4th Kay O’Hara, 2-3; 5th James Zhang, 1-4; 6th Jacob Lee, 0-5. 

Fall Coaching Scheduling and Injury Update
As I noted in a previous blog, working out a coaching schedule is like trying to do a 20-piece jigsaw puzzle where the pieces keep moving around, changing shape, and sometimes disappearing, with new ones showing up randomly. Well, it’s finally done. Things kept changing up until it was finalized, and it’ll always be changing week to week. But below is the basic schedule. And the really nice thing? After doing some maneuvering, I was able to get it all on four days!!!

This does several things. First, it gives me more time to rest – physically, mentally, and to let various nagging injuries heal. Second, it gives me more time for USATT, MDTTC, and writing. (Technically, it doesn’t do this since it would be the same amount of hours if spread over five days, but I find I get more focused on other work when I have no coaching scheduled that day.) And third, it means I’m going to get really, really tired on Sundays – which makes it great that I’m off on Mon and Tue!!! Here’s the basic schedule, about 20 hours/week:

  • Mon: OFF! (Well, I may give one lesson or so a month to one player.)
  • Tue: OFF!
  • Wed: 5:30-8:45PM
  • Thur: 5:15-8:45PM
  • Fri: OFF!
  • Sat: 12-5PM, plus 6:30-8:30PM twice a month
  • Sun: 1:00-8:30PM (with two 15-minutes breaks)

As to the Injury Update, I have nothing but good news. (I blogged about these injuries on Aug. 17.) Here’s a rundown.

  • Neck injury: For two weeks I struggled with this, barely being able to look to my left, but it’s over now. Most students didn’t even notice.
  • Right knee injury from Nationals: 80% healed. I’m still a bit skittish walking up and down stairs, but I use the railing to help support my weight. At the table I’m also a bit leery of moving too quickly to my right, but nothing like before. I still wear a knee brace, and probably will for some time.
  • Shoulder problems: I hurt my shoulder a bit a couple weeks ago demonstrating my 50-foot serve, but it seems fine now. I refuse to give up doing that serve, but I’ll have to make sure to really stretch out the shoulder first.
  • Arm problems: Nothing to report, the arm has been fine for some time. This is probably because I still wear an arm brace when I play, mostly to prevent injury.
  • Back problems: While I still periodically have them, nothing right now.
  • General exhaustion: That’s an ongoing thing, but knowing that I’ll now have THREE days off each week will solve that problem, especially having two consecutive days!!!

Don’t Be Scared! How to Return a Smash
Here’s the video (2:55) by Samson Dubina. “Just as a disclaimer... I highly recommend for other coaches to NOT use this exercise. This is some risk involved. If you hit their eyes, you could be in huge trouble.” (Note – you’ll understand when you see the video. It depends on the level of play of the coach – I know I can safely do this smashing drill without hitting the student. Regarding the drill where the student only has to touch the ball, I might try that one out – perhaps one point for touching the ball, two for returning it?)

Table Tennis Power and Control
Here’s the new article by Coach Jon.

New Table Tennis Articles from Sports Flu

China National Games
Here are ITTF articles on it.

Bids Open for 2018 ITTF World Hopes and Challenge
Here’s the ITTF info page.

Third Edition of the Young Umpires’ Project Announced
Here’s the ITTF article.

2017 Butterfly Canadian Championships – Women’s Final: Alicia Cote vs Leisy Medina
Here’s the video (38:07).

Show #290 - Tibor Klampar's Birthday
Here’s the podcast (34:06) from PingSkills.

Pong Bowling!
Here’s the picture. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.) We do this regularly in my beginning junior classes!

Table Tennis: Moments of Love ❤
Here’s the new ITTF video (1:39)!

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