Butterfly MDTTC August Open
Gaithersburg, MD • August 18-19, 2018
By Larry Hodges, Tournament Director
(Featured photo: Under 15 Finalist James Zhang and Champion Jackson Beaver. Photo care of PongMobile)
It was time for Alguetti confetti as the two 17-year-old fraternal twins, Sharon and Gal, met in the final of Open Singles. But it wasn’t always easy for the two as it was the strongest draw we’ve had since the 1990s, despite several locals who were out of town or busy coaching. Here were the top eight seeds:
- 2673 Alguetti, Sharon (NJ)
- 2650 Liang, Jishan (NY)
- 2593 Chen, Bo Wen (MD)
- 2564 Ventura Dos Anj, Bruno (TX)
- 2562 Alguetti, Gal (NJ)
- 2555 Alguetti, Adar (NJ)
- 2551 Luo, Xue (CHN)
- 2514 Castro, Lidney (MD)
A total of 82 players took part in the tournament, in eleven events. The tournament finished Sunday night, and was processed for ratings by USATT by 3:30PM on Monday! Here are the biggest gainers – the “100 Point Club”:
- 242 by James Zhang, 564 to 806
- 158 by Barry Dancis, 1165 to 1321
- 115 by Ali Paryavi, 1751 to 1866
- 106 by Benjamin Arnold, 1698 to 1794
- 100 by Abhilash Thomas, 1168 to 1268
In the Open qualifying round robins, Gal was down 4-8 in the fifth against Xu Rui (2294), but with a series of attacks came back to win 11-9 and avoid a big upset. I’ve noticed in the past, both with myself and others, that often when a player struggles early on and has his back to the wall, but manages to overcome it and pull out a close match against a “weaker” player, he often goes to the opposite extreme – and that’s what happened!
After struggling with Xu, Gal went up against Jishan Liang (2650) in the quarterfinals. Jishan, who has won several MDTTC Opens (including our last one in April) and was rated over 2700 last year, was thought by many to be a lock to make the final, most likely against top-seeded Sharon, especially after seeing Gal struggle earlier. But there’s a reason they play it out, and Gal won 3-0, 12,8,9! Meanwhile, Sharon won against Lui Xue, 7,8,5. (Lui’s a former member of the Chinese Sechuan Province Women’s team, and was Chinese National Junior Girls’ Team Champion and Women’s Team Finalist.) Alas, Bruno Ventura Dos Ani, from Brazil but now a member of the Texas Wesleyan College Table Tennis Team, hurt his neck and had to default to Lidney Castro. The big battle in the quarterfinals was powerlooping penholder Bowen Chen vs. the third Alguetti brother, 18-year-old Adar, with Chen winning in a close battle, 10,-11,9,9, or else we’d have had a 75% Alguetti semifinals.
Sharon and Gal both had to battle in the semifinals, with Sharon over Chen, 10,-10,6,10,4, and Gal with an even tougher struggle with Castro. Up 3-2, Gal lost the sixth 11-1, but won the seventh 11-7. Talk about momentum changes!
Next came the all-Alguetti “final.” The two brothers didn’t want to play, or at least not play a rated match. They asked if they could have one default to the other, but that they’d still play an unrated final for the small audience that was still there. I’m not a hardliner and understood why two brothers might not want to play, and so I reluctantly agreed. Did I make the right decision? I’m not sure; perhaps not. But they played an unofficial match, with Sharon winning 4-0, with Gal defaulting the actual final. Here’s the video (24:42 – Sharon has the dyed blond hair, Paul Kovac is umpiring). It might not have been “official,” but they played for real, no exhibition. (Whoever lost the “final” agreed to default.)
On Saturday, Gabriel Skolnick won Under 2400 over Thomas Sampson, 7,-9,5,9. Talk about wild swings – Thomas, who is rated 1979, upset Xu – yes, the 2294 player who almost beat Gal Alguetti – in the semifinals in a wild one, 9,9,-8,-8,10. In the other semis, Skolnick defeated Vikash Sahu, 9,7,8. But Vikash would then win Under 2200 over Spencer Chen, 3,4,9. In the semifinals Chen came back to win against 12-year-old Connor Lee, -11,-11,8,9,7. But Connor would then win Under 2000 over Ali Paryavi, 8,-9,9,6.
On Sunday, Sean Hwang defeated Andrew Nolan, 6,-6,9,-8,8, to win Under 1900. In the semifinals Hwang defeated 13-year-old Todd Klinger, 2,6,9. But Todd would go on to make the final of Under 1600, losing the final to Mahmoud Youssef, -9,8,7,8. Andrew, who had made the final of Under 1900, was also in the semifinals of Under 1600, losing to Mahmoud in a long battle, -9,11,10,-12,6. (Mahmoud would also make the semifinals of Over 50.) In Under 1300 it was David Xiao over Chris Buckley, 8,5,5, while Jiang Weiguo, a penhold pushblocker (i.e. blocking everything with long pips) won over 14-year-old Joseph Cho, 8,6,5. In the semifinals was promising 10-year-old James Zhang from Pennsylvania, who lost to Cho, 9,9,8.
In Over 50 it was Thomas Sampson again, over Sun Xiao Jian, 8,7,8. In Under 15, it was 12-year-old Jackson Beaver over 11-year-old James Zhang, 8,5,6. James would then win Under 12 over Kay O’Hara. But to avoid confusion – this was a different James Zhang than the one who made the semifinals of Under 1000 and gained the most rating points in the tournament, 242. If only the two could meet in an all-James Zhang final!
As usual, a great thanks goes to sponsors Butterfly, PongMobile, and HW Global Foundation, the latter which runs the Talent Development program that trains at MDTTC – which swept all four finalists in the junior events. A great thanks also goes to Mossa Barandao of PongMobile, who helped run the tournament – he’s at the control desk the entire tournament doing much of the data input, plus taking pictures – see links below in results. (Mossa also sets up a station at our tournaments and leagues so players can easily look up via PongMobile, 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. Mossa and I argue continuously over whether PongMobile is pronounced like “automobile” – as I stubbornly do – or so it rhymes as if it were “Pong” followed by “Mobile” as he, the co-owner and founder, claims.) Jackson Beaver, who won Under 15 on Saturday, switched hats on Sunday and got about six hours of school SSL (Student Service Learning) as he helped run the control desk, mostly doing inputs. (He also coined the term “rating disability,” for a player who loses a lot of rating points.) And finally, a great thanks goes to referee Paul Kovac and umpire Stephen Yeh.
Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. Below is a summary.
Open Singles – Final: Sharon Alguetti d. Gal Alguetti, def.; SF: S.Alguetti d. Chen Bo Wen, 10,-10,6,10,4; G.Alguetti d. Lidney Castro, -7,9,8,-7,11,-1,7; QF: S.Alguetti d. Luo Xue, 7,8,5; Chen d. Adar Alguetti, 10,-11,9,9; Castro d. Bruno Ventura Dos Ani, def.; G. Alguetti d. Jishan Liang, 12,8,9.
U2400 – Final: Gabriel Skolnick d. Thomas Sampson, 7,-9,5,9; SF: Skolnick d. Vikash Sahu, 9,7,8; Sampson d. Xu Rui, 9,9,-8,-8,10; QF: Skolnick d. Tony Ma, 6,11,-10,11; Sahu d. Abbas Paryavi, 4,6,6; Sampson d. Louis Levene, 7,-8,5,3; Xu d. William Huang, 7,9,9.
U2200 – Final: Vikash Sahu d. Spencer Chen, 3,4,9; SF: Sahu d. Mohan Yang, 6,3,6; Chen d. Connor Lee, -11,-11,8,9,7.
U2000 – Final: Connor Lee d. Ali Paryavi, 8,-9,9,6; SF: Lee d. Daniel Gong, 4,6,3; Paryavi d. Jerred Miklowcidc, 10,6,-9,5.
U1900 – Final: Sean Hwang d. Andrew Nolan, 6,-6,9,-8,8; SF: Hwang d. Todd Klinger, 2,6,9; Nolan d. Wang Zhantong, 8,9,9.
U1600 – Final: Mahmoud Youssef d. Todd Klinger, -9,8,7,8; SF: Youssef d. Andrew Nolan, -9,11,10,-12,6; Klinger d. Danny Wan, -12,6,9,10.
U1300 – Final: David Xiao d. Chris Buckley, 8,5,5; SF: Xiao d. Wu Di, 7,-6,9,6; Buckley d. Barry Dancis, 12,9,9.
U1000 – Final: Jiang Weiguo d. Joseph Cho, 8,6,5; SF: Jiang d. Brett Hanna, 7,7,9; Cho d. James Zhang, 9,9,8.
Over 50 – Final: Thomas Sampson d. Sun Xiao Jian, 8,7,8; SF: Sampson d. Lin Cheng, 5,2,4; Sun d. Mahmoud Youssef, 7,10,10.
Under 15 – Final RR: 1st Jackson Beaver, 3-0; 2nd James Zhang, 2-1; 3rd Todd Klinger, 1-2; 4th Corbin Aquino, 0-3.
Under 12 – Final: James Zhang d. Kay O’Hara, 4,6,9.