February 9, 2018

Tournament Prep for Butterfly MDTTC February Open This Weekend
I'm running the Butterfly MDTTC February Open this weekend at my club, the Maryland Table Tennis Center. We'll have about 80 players in the eleven events.

MDTTC normally has 16 tables set up, about half full courts, the others smaller courts. For tournaments, we use eight full-sized courts, with the full-time coaches using the others throughout the tournament. With the tournament set-up the coaches have six tables that they'll be coaching on throughout the tournament, which is actually a strain since we have ten full-time coaches - but I'm one of them and won't be coaching, and another is out of town. After lunch some of them stop coaching as they are playing in the Open. (We sometimes use some of those tables in the afternoon.)

I run the tournaments on Omnipong. It's great for running tournaments, very user friendly, and the creator, Craig Krum, is very helpful when problems arise.

We ran into a potentially serious problem with this tournament. I'd made some changes to the time schedule in December, but I didn't think to upload the new entry form to Omnipong until about ten days ago. Yesterday I discovered some players had the old version, and so would likely have shown up at the wrong time - either way early, or (worse) way late, and so get defaulted. But Omnipong has a feature that allows me to email the players, so yesterday I emailed everyone about the entry form, making sure everyone had the correct one. Problem averted.

Mossa Barandao of PongMobile will be helping out, as usual. We take turns on who runs the computer, who does the rest (calling players over, assigning tables, sending them out, all the other miscellaneous stuff). International Umpire and Certified Referee Paul Kovac is the referee.

The top seed is Junhan Wu (2691), who entered Friday afternoon (so this is an update). Second is Chen Ruichao, who is usually close to 2700, but recently dropped to 2615. Chen Bo Wen is usually around 2600, and is now also under-rated at 2515. There are 13 players over 2300 in the Open:

  1. 2691 Junhan Wu 
  2. 2615 Chen Ruichao
  3. 2519 Martin Jezo
  4. 2515 Chen Bo Wen
  5. 2495 Lidney Castro
  6. 2494 Wang Qingliang
  7. 2456 Wang Yimiao
  8. 2433 Nathan Hsu
  9. 2397 Khaleel Asgarali
  10. 2373 Gabriel Skolnick
  11. 2330 Roy Ke
  12. 2317 Tiffany Ke
  13. 2306 Shao Boyang

One event some of you might want to jump into is Over 50. For some reason, we only have three entries so far, rated 1842, 1708, and 948. The event has $50 first, $25 second, and starts at 5:30PM on Saturday. I'm retired from tournaments (other than occasional hardbat events, though I normally use sponge), but I'm tempted to enter. Also, as of now, there are only two spots left for Under 2000, which should go soon, and then that event will be closed, unless someone drops out. (Max is 28, we have 26 entries.) 

I did some investigative work last year, and counted up all the USATT tournaments I've run over the years. This will be my 198th. In April I'll run the MDTTC April Open, and then the USATT Hopes Trials Tournament on April 29 will be number 200. (Followed soon after by the Maryland State Championships in June, #201.) Nearly all of the tournaments have been two-day tournaments - I think only three have been one-day tournaments, including the Hopes tournament that will be #200. The largest was the 1998 4-star Eastern Open, with 411 entries, still the record for a 4-star tournament, excluding the North American Teams, which is listed as 4-star.

I have no coaching today, but I'll be going over to the club tonight to get any final entries left there, and to set up. I keep two fold-up tables in the back storage room, which I combine with one of MDTTC's regular lounge tables for our control desk. I set up my laptop, the printer, clear out the tournament results on the wall from the last tournament to make room for this one, and about a zillion other things. Here is my tournament checklist of things to do before the tournament, and things to bring.

Before Tournament

  • Check on trophies DONE
  • Check on prize money checks DONE
  • Check on balls DONE
  • Print table numbers
  • Test laptop and printer
  • Backup mouse battery – AA DONE
  • Umpires DONE
  • New ratings DONE
  • Verify online checks
  • Check for Open Specials (discounts)
  • Remove players registered but not entered in any events
  • Set up check-in list
  • Draws for first events

To Tournament

  • Laptop
  • Printing paper
  • Bottled water, snacks
  • Paper clips, pens, tape, duct tape, extra folders
  • Extension cords, cell phone cord
  • Blue cash box
  • Table numbers
  • Printing ink for Samsung ML-6060
  • 3-prong power converters (2)
  • Umpire kit
  • Blank RR and SE draws
  • Director’s Password for Omnipong

Timo Boll ALC Review
I don't usually put up equipment reviews here, but I'm making an exception - here's a video review (14:16) from Table Tennis Daily of my own blade, the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC! The video features lots of action play by Timo Boll, who uses and help create his namesake racket. I've been using the blade (flared - FL) for about eight years now, with Tenergy 05 (FH) and Tenergy 25 (BH, though I've been experimenting with using 05 there as well), both 2.1mm. I originally discovered it when I was coaching Tong Tong Gong at tournaments, and he used it. When he made the USA Cadet National Team by upset - he was seeded 9th - he and his dad gave it to me as a reward. (I'm now sponsored by Butterfly so I get them free now.) I still use the one they gave me, with Tong Tong's name carved into it!

Table Tennis Grip and Handle Shape
Here's the article from Coach Me Table Tennis (Eli Baraty). "I was asked by an international player my opinion and thoughts regarding handle shape. And how does the grip effect your backhand and forehand strokes?!"

How to Improve Your 3rd Ball Attack
Here's the video (8:40) by Tom Lodziak.

Best Table Tennis Glue for Your Rackets
Here's the article from Table Tennis Spot.

Table Tennis Legend Ma Lin Serves Up Some Advice
Here's the article. "Growing up as one of the best table tennis players in the world isn’t like a normal childhood, but it brings its own reward."

Pingpong Diplomacy: How two Koreans united for table tennis -- and haven't met since
Here's the article from ESPN. "They were rivals when they first met, she said. Bitter adversaries. Two champions from nations who were -- and still are -- at war. Yet somehow they left each other having forged something deeper."

USATT Insider
Here's the latest issue that came out on Wednesday.

Forehand and Backhand Loop Against Backspin Multiball
Here's the video (37 sec) from 3T Table Tennis.

Some Fast Multiball
Here's the video (36 sec) of João Monteiro of Portugal, world #56 (but as high as #12 in 2014).

Just Do It!
Here's the video (5:26) from two years ago - I ran it then, but I just saw it again and thought I'd run it again.

LIU Shiwen vs CHEN Xingtong - China Super League 2017/18
Here's the video (32:14).

Turn Your Door into a Ping-Pong Table
Here's the video (37 sec).

The King of the Ping Pong of D4rkolandia
Here's the video (6:17) - it looks really funny, but it's spoken in Afrikaans! (Tell the truth - how many of you even knew that was a language?)

Adam Bobrow in the Philippines on a Table Tennis Tour
Here's the video (59 sec). Lots of funny trick shots!

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