March 29, 2011

Breaking 2500 Revisited

Sometimes when looking for historical records, such as the youngest players to break 2500, you look so hard to the past you forget about the present. And yesterday, while compiling this list, I left out an obvious one - Michael Landers. He was born in August, 1994, and broke 2523 in at the Nationals in December, 2009, at age 15 years 4 months. This makes him the third youngest to do so, after Lily Zhang's 14 years 9 months and Adam Hugh's 14 years 11 months, and just beating out Han Xiao's 15 years 5 months and Keith Alban's 15 years 7 months.

An interesting question came up - who reached 2500 the fastest? That's tough to judge since we don't know when most of these top juniors started, only when they played their first tournament. But Landers might be in the running for fastest. Landers played his first tournament in December of 1994 (age 10), starting with a rating of 1056, and broke 2500 exactly five years later with a rating of 2523, undoubtedly one of the fastest to achieve this.

I'm a little proud; Michael came to a number of the five-day camps I run at MDTTC with Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang. I don't have complete records with me, but he came to our camps in July 2005 (age 10, rated 1256); August 2006 (11, 1777), and December 2006 (12, 2020). I believe he came to a couple of other camps, but I don't have a listing handy for all of them. (I may run over to the club later to look those ones up.) Of course, the main credit goes to Michael, his parents, and his coach, Ernest Ebuen, but can't we grab a scrap of the credit, maybe one big toe's worth?

MDTTC was a bit more instrumental in the development of such local juniors on the "2500 club" as Han Xiao (15 years 5 months), Peter Li (16 years 11 months), Marcus Jackson (17 years 2 months), Sunny Li (17 years 4 months), Amaresh Sahu (17 years 6 months), and a whole new group of cadets currently in the 2250 range.

U.S. Junior Champion and Men's Singles Finalist Peter Li might be of interest. He was born in January, 1993, and reached 2552 at the Nationals in December, 2009 (the same tournament Landers went over 2500) at age 16 years 11 months. Exactly one year later, at the 2010 Nationals, he broke 2600 with a rating of 2642 at age 17 years 11 months. (But there might have been a few others who broke 2600 at age 16 or 17; I'll let others work that out.)

Yesterday I wrote that Mark Hazinski was the youngest to reach 2550, 2600, and 2650 at 15 years 10 months. But only one month behind was Adam Hugh, who reached 2611 at age 15 years 11 months.

There was also a typo in the blog - it read, "Adam Hugh reached 2410 on Dec. 8, 2002. He was born on Jan. 5, 1988. So he was 14 years 11 months old when he broke 2500." The 2410 should have been 2510.


  • My apologies to long pips blockers for this parody - but this video (48 sec) is hilarious! Yes, that's Professor Larry Bavly, mathematician, high-ranked table tennis player in the "heavy division," . . . and insurance agent? I'm wondering if a certain online community dedicated to the proposition that all racket surfaces are equal (but some are more equal than others?) will go bananas over this.
  • I have no idea what to make of this video (3:46), but it's Brian Pace at his most hilarious.
  • Here's Brian again, but this time more serious as he relates in this rather long video (13:36) the relationship between training and peak performance and improvement.
  • Brian's got a lot of other great table tennis videos on his website, Dynamic Table Tennis. If you want to see high-level table tennis demonstrated, go have a look. (Some you have to pay for - table tennis players have to make a living - but much of it is free.)


Send us your own coaching news!

Glad he got a revisit. It was probably harder for you to think with the numerous national level players that must have been circling inside your brain xD. He won the nationals the year I started playing table tennis. Going from 1056 to 2500 in five years is certainly no small feat. I myself started at around 600 and now rest about 1800 after 20 months. I'm hoping to reach 2300 within 5 years of play. Maybe I can attend one of the Maryland Table Tennis Camps and receive some instruction like Michael did (I'm sure it did help him, maybe even a whole foot's worth). I know Kil would probably enjoy seeing you again. Just need to convince 1 or 2 more people to split the gas.