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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2012, 15:43 
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I ran into a couple of OOAK members at the recent 2012 Sacramento Fall Open, including 'Penhold Defender', who by his own admission has been more of a lurker on OOAK than a regular contributor. I had played PD only once, back in 2009, when he was using 802 on a classic one-sided C-pen blade. Back then he was USA 650 and I was USA 950. This time, PD was coming in a lot stronger at USA 1539 (a few points up on my current rating) and had revised his C-pen to CK531A 1.5mm on FH and 729 on his new RPB! And true to his screenname, he's mainly a chopper though he has a whip-fast RPB that's almost an automatic point when unfurled (which, thankfully, wasn't all that often). Against my 755 OX, our rallies were brutal, with PD chopping from well off the table, and me hitting through the backspin with my LP.. over and over. We met first in the tourny's U1800 RR where I prevailed 3-0 through some very lengthy rallies.

As luck would have it, PD and I were to soon meet again in the tourny's U1575 final which was to be an all-LP final. PD had craftily switched paddles to a version that reversed his red and black sides which was difficult for me as I still had "Red=LP" engrained in my brain. This finals match was much closer, with PD seizing the lead in a couple of sets only to have me take it back by the end. Luck was on my side and I again prevailed 3-0 to take the U1575 win, with PD taking 2nd place, meaning a 1-2 finish for LP!

In the U1800 RR I had won my group 2-0 which earned me the right to play the event's top seed, a USA 1787 C-pen smasher using 802-40. This player is a tall young man who smacks the ball so hard that I literally couldn't see it. The sound of the ball hitting his paddle and hitting my side of the table was almost the same sound. His short, jumpy SP serves were causing me all manner of grief and I dumped at least 8-10 of them into the net. When I'd fish or chop-block a ball slightly too high he'd slap it past me in a flash.. but he was also whiffing some of my long LP balls, and missing some of my serves. And somehow I took the first game!

Game two went similar to game one, with me flubbing his SP serves, and him punishing my less artful returns. Yet again, I was somehow staying with him and ended up winning game 2 as well. Clearly flustered to be down 2-0 to a player 250 points below him, he really brought his game to bear in the 3rd. I have a history of getting ahead of better players 2-0 only to start playing more conservatively and losing 3-2, so I also ramped up my game as well and started attacking his hoppy SP serves with an LP drive.. and it worked! Two second ball attacks, two points. With me up 9-7 in the third, he quickly tied it up 9-9 and I could see history repeating itself again with a 3-2 loss.

After serve at 9-9 I popped the ball a little high, he stepped around and smacked the #[email protected]! out of it.. and my block somehow found the ball and returned it perfectly for an open net goal! At 10-9 his next smack went a tad long (leaving quite a welt on my leg) and the match was mine, 3-0!

On to the U1800 quarters where I was pitted against a highly-coached junior (USA 1733) who had aced me 3-0 just this past March in this same gym. His entire entourage was present court-side, complete with the requisite over-clapping. Yet this wasn't to be his day. I took game 1 something like 11-5, mainly through excellent blocking of his successive two-winged drives. My service game was also giving him trouble as I'd alternate with spinny 999 serves and LP serves -- some spinny, some not -- and he never got comfortable. In and out I'd bring him on my serve, never letting him get into his groove. Game 2 also went to me, again something like 11-6. His coaching corner was formidable and they surely saw though my tactics and weaknesses, and he brought out new serves in each new set.. but nothing that really worked (actually, they just caused him to miss serves). Game 3 went like the first two, meaning I had just defeated my second 1700+ player 3-0, earning me a spot in the U1800 finals..

..which turned out to be my easiest match of the event, my opponent being a USA 1619 that I'd defeated 3-1 last March, and one who was, admittedly, tuckered out by the time this final match of the tourney got started. Dead ball serves from him, LP placement from me, 3rd ball attacks (and a lot of misses) from him, successful blocks from me, and the match became fairly one-sided, going to me 3-0.

I had won every match I'd entered that day (losing only one game, iirc) winning both the U1575 and U1800 events.. my best results to date, and my very first 1st place tournament finishes.


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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2012, 17:23 
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Congratulations, nathanso :)

It's so nice when you have "your day" when playing at a tournament. I bet you will be happy to see your rankings go up as-well.

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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2012, 21:46 
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great report and obviously great tournament. congrats!!!


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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2012, 22:01 
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Wow, great job, your rating will get re-adjusted and you will likely be up over 1700 or maybe 1800. Impressive day!

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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2012, 23:07 
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Wow! Great action!

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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2012, 11:37 
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USATT just posted results.. I picked up 180 in the tourney (including a 125pt adjustment) to finally break US 1700. : :dance:


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2013, 08:11 
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Now that you've been sitting on that 1700+ rating for six months, come back to Sacramento on May 11th and see what happens. I won't be so tired then.

Mike


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2013, 08:43 
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mts288 wrote:
Now that you've been sitting on that 1700+ rating for six months, come back to Sacramento on May 11th and see what happens. I won't be so tired then.

Mike


Mike, are you coming to play this Sunday's tournament at LATTA? We will have quite a lineup here for your enjoyment. :)


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2013, 09:57 
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I won't be at your tournament. I have a lesson tomorrow with Nan Li. I've been taking lessons the last few months in San Jose. I've dedicated the last 9 months of this year to focusing on improving my game. I'm taking 4 lessons a month from Stefan Feth's group. At your suggestion I worked on blocking a couple of weeks ago. I'm also reading Larry Hodges book "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers" which should help the mental part of my game. I've got Sacramento on May 11th, Reno on June 8th and the Open in July. I really enjoy your tournaments and will be there again.

Mike


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PostPosted: 27 Apr 2013, 10:08 
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Mike,

I admire your dedication, 100% positive attitude and great health! I want to be like you when I retire. :)

William


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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2013, 10:21 
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I'll be in Chicago on business during the upcoming Sac Spring Open, but keep up with the training, Mike! Maybe we'll bump heads again in the Sac TT Summer Open.


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PostPosted: 06 May 2013, 01:28 
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It's time you came to the Reno tournament on June 8th. It's a great tournament without all the kids.

Mike


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PostPosted: 06 May 2013, 08:23 
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Reno tournament June 8? Awesome! Our parents can gamble while the kid's play! I am sure it will be no problem for me to round up 20 -30 of our juniors for this one!

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PostPosted: 06 May 2013, 09:52 
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Hey Dave, keep your kids out of Reno! I'll see enough of them in Sacramento Saturday.

Mike


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