2006 Quaker City Open

 In an amazing counter-looping final, Wilson Zhang defeats Atanda Musa at the 2006 Quaker City Open!  Read more Alan Williams’ tournament article and list of results.  Log in and view the recently added tournament photos!

2006 Meiklejohn Senior Competitions and Quaker City Open
March 11 and 12, 2006
Pottruck Fitness Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Bill and Louise Meiklejohn have been more than generous to the sport of Table Tennis. As a condition of a gift to the alma mater, they created the ‘East Coast version’ of the famous Meiklejohn Senior tournament held annually in California. They were repaid with excellent performances and a spirited competition here in Pennsylvania. NATT operated the tournament, and held it in conjunction with a Four Star set of events, the Quaker City Open.

Referee Pat Collins and UPENN’s Al Pendleton were essential to the tournament success, providing supervision of the competition and the physical oversight of the playing hall. Table spacing was generous, and if it was a little warm, players seemed to find it acceptable. There was great appreciation for the generous prize money as well.

Atanda Musa gave us a great demonstration of his skill, little diminished by the passing years! The Manhattan resident took first place in Over 40 singles with an impressive 9,-9,7,6,7 win over De Tran, his doubles partner.

Together, Musa and Tran took the Over 40 Doubles category in a great final against Li Yuxiang and Daniel Green, 12,8,-8,-10, 7. In fact, all the doubles events were well played and a joy to watch!

Li Yuxiang won the Over 50, but without the chance to show us his best game, as his opponent, Jan Klemendorf twisted an ankle on his way to that final and was forced to default. Jan’s tenacious game had earned him the right, but his throbbing foot would not cooperate. Daniel Green gave a fine performance in taking Over 60 honors against ever-so-eligible, 70 years plus, George Braithwaite, 9,-8,2,8,-6,9. While you won’t find their names in our winner’s list, I have to add that I continue to be impressed by players ‘of a certain age’ who not only compete well in these age events, but also have no problem in vanquishing the bulk of USATT members in match play. I admire the play of Dave Sakai, Gary Fraiman, Gary Gudzenko, Lim Ming Chui, Nazruddin Asgarali and Jiri Hlava more and more each year.

At the other end of the age spectrum in our field, you had to be impressed with the hard-working and successful Yang Jiang. This young man was involved in several event categories, was unfailingly prompt and courteous and showed no sign of fatigue. He not only came second to Reza Ghiasi in the U-18 Boys, he won the Men’s Under 22 in fine style against Alden Fan, the U-2125 in seven beautiful games against Inna Leskova, and the U-2375 against the smart Nazruddin Asgarali. My hat’s off to you, sir!

It seemed that Daniel Kokotov, Ramon Barrera, Taylor Wilk and Jesse Estlow were also continually in play, and a quick look at our results shows why. In the U-950,U-1100,U-1250 and U-1400, the winner of the lower rating event managed to be second place in the next higher step. That’s always a good sign for a player’s future progress!

Open Singles Round Robin Groups

Group 1: Zhang, Teile, Ko, Lilly

The Canadian contingent at this tournament was spearheaded by Wilson Zhang, who came accompanied by his wife, Alice. Wilson’s play is perhaps the best on the continent at this time, and nothing we saw in this round robin upset disturbed that belief. Christopher Teile (pronounce that “Tyler”) is a soft blocker with very good touch against the loop. To his credit, he did scrape Wilson for a game, and the only one to manage that as Zhang came through in first place. The Qualifier, Ronny Lilly, went 4-2 against both Teile and Ko, which made the head to head confrontation between Teile and Ko decisive. Edward Ko’s combination of flat attack and loop attack unsettled Teile’s control game, and -4,7,8,9,-9,5, Ko defeated Christopher for the second advancer’s position.

Group 2: Musa, Munoz, Nadmichettu, Sakai

Musa dropped a game each to Raghu and Dave, but was a perfect 4-0 against Munoz, scores of 4,12,4,12. You might suspect that the sun was in someone’s eyes. Raghu needed six games to get past the wily Dave Sakai, -7,16, 9,8,-6,6. Munoz had less trouble, -4,9,9,9,6. That made Nadmichettu’s match with Munoz pivotal in finding our second seed, and 6,-9,6,3,5, Guillermo advanced past the youngster to the Quarterfinals.

Group 3: Kamkar-Parsi, Tran, Kim, Poradich

Follow closely, because this gets complicated! When the dust had settled three players were tied, with records of 2-1 in the group, 1-1 against each other. Valdimir Poradich was left behind, losing to Homayoun, 3,4,4,-10,11 ; and to De Tran 6,8,-7,9,-9,9. With no way to advance, he defaulted his match to Kim Bong Geun. Kamkar-Parsi defeated Kim, 16,5,13,-6,-11,7, so you see right away that Kim has ‘game’. De Tran does his part by upsetting Homayoun, -9,6,-9,-8,9,11,9! What a great comeback! Kim completes the paradox by defeating De Tran, -9, 8,6,7,9. So in game count amongst the tied players, De Tran is 5-7 and finishes third, while Kim’s 6-5 places him ahead of Homayoun’s 7-6 to decide first and second. These always take awhile to explain to the players, who can’t believe they finish behind someone they defeated head to head.

Group 4: Therien, Dubina, Li, Fraiman

No such confusion here, as Xavier Therien passes through unblemished, 4-0 ahead of young Peter Li, 4-0 against Gary Fraiman and staves off an upset from Samson, 4-3, scores of -8, -10,-5, 10,7,10,7! These are two excellent young men, and always a pleasure to see them in play, both their games are fluid, stylish and powerful! Dubina goes 4-0 against both Li and Fraiman and secures his spot in Sunday’s Quarterfinals as well.

Quarterfinals

Wilson Zhang vs. Guillermo Munoz

Wilson may well be the best player on the continent. This match did nothing to dispel that notion! Munoz, who has taken games from Werner Schlager, and come from Mexico many times to puncture a bubble north of the boarder is no slouch. The veteran was simply unable to find traction against Zhang. Both players work quickly, so if you blinked, you missed it! Wilson’s combination of touch and power is very persuasive, and 3,9,6,7 he advances to the Semifinals.

Samson Dubina vs. Bong Geun Kim and Xavier Therien vs. Edward Ko

I combine these two quarterfinals, because the story, unfortunately is the same. Neither Korean player appeared, so Kim and Ko are both out by default. As is NATT policy, neither of them are paid for reaching the Quarterfinals and defaulting. I am sure that they had their reasons, but I have no idea what they were. Dubina and Therien advance.

Atanda Musa vs. Homayoun Kamkar-Parsi

Which makes Homayoun’s ‘situation’ even more unfair, in my eyes. Only narrowly second to Kim in the RR, he knows plays the 2nd seed in the whole tournament in the Quarterfinals, while Kim does not even appear to contest his match! Kamkar-Parsi is, naturally, game. He is always game. But Musa seems to have shed the years and refuses to yield a thing, not the table, not the serve, not the stare-down, nothing! It’s Atanda in four straight against the disappointed Canadian, 6, 10, 6, 5.

Semifinals

Wilson Zhang vs. Samson Dubina

Samson’s been training in Ottawa with the Canadians, but will familiarity help him in this uphill battle? Despite his best efforts, it does not. Sporting his highest ever rating of 2527, Samson can offer opposition by no answers to the ‘King of Canada’, 5,4,5,3. The crowd is beginning to realize that Wilson is something special.

Atanda Musa vs. Xavier Therien

And great though Musa is, this is no given! Xavier’s a solid 2500 player, and is unlikely to be satisfied with the $300 Semi-finalist payoff. He shows his stuff by jumping out to a 2-1 edge in games, but Musa’s heart is part of his toolkit. This guy simply hates to lose, and pushes himself into a higher gear. Every game is a cliff-hanger, and either player would be a worthy winner, but only one gets through! By scores of 9,-9,-7, 9,7,9 Atanda Musa makes the Championship match.

Final

Atanda Musa vs. Wilson Zhang

So the top two seeds do arrive at the Final. Musa has a very straightforward game, beating you with his power. What Wilson shows in the first game is simply amazing. When the two players get into deep from the table powerlooping duels, Musa goes to Zhang’s backhand…and my eyes go glassy. Wilson is able to powerloop against Atanda’s powerful forehand with either wing! The crowd oohs and ahhs, and Zhang notches game one, 11-3. Musa seems somewhat disgusted with himself between games. He can be forgiven if he is thinking, ‘Twenty years ago I could take this guy’. But this is 2006. And pulling all his skill to the top in a mighty effort, Musa evens the match, 11-9 in the second game! Now it is Wilson who wears a less than happy expression. But do I notice a subtle shift of tactics? Now, looping hard against each other, forehand to forehand, both players dropping deeper and deeper into the corners of the court, Wilson suddenly snap! Punches that exchange of shots down the line, leaving Musa staring from 25 feet away. Not just once! Not just ‘wow look what he did!’, but over and over and over… 11-4 in the third for Zhang. This is one player you DO NOT WANT to be in a hole against, so Musa comes out in the fourth with redoubled effort, and exchange after exchange these two trade thunderbolts. But it becomes apparent, that Wilson is always one shot better. Musa sends a screaming flatkill off the loop across the table, and Zhang, as though he has these for breakfast, sends it crisply back before Musa has even recovered his stroke. 11-6 and Wilson leads 3-1. The fifth game is more of the same, and Musa trails 7-0 before taking a single point when Zhang misses. A smile lights Atanda’s face and he claps his hands above his head, turning to the spectators, “One for me!” It’s all over, actually, and Atanda accepts his fate. He’ll not be beating this man, not today. Wilson Zhang wins, 4-1, and gains $1500 and the title 2006 Quaker City Open Champion.

Great play, great times and great memories! Thank you, Philadelphia! Thank you, UPENN! Thank you Bill and Louise! Thank you players, and we’ll see you back here next spring!

 

Results

 

2006 Quaker City Open & Meiklejohn Senior Open

Event Name

Champion

Finalist

Open Singles

Wilson Zhang

Atanda Musa

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 22 Men’s RR

Jiang Yang

Alden Fan

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 18 Boys RR

Reza Ghiasi

Jiang Yang

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 16 Boys RR

Wesley Fan

Toby Kutler

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U13 Boys RR

Sam Mujumdar

Allen Wang

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U13 Girls RR

Emily Yang

Nicole Jankura

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U10 Boys RR

Allen Wang

Sam Fazel-Sarjui

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U10 Girls RR

Annie Shi

Sabrina Daoud

Meiklejohn Senior Open Over 40 RR

Atanda Musa

De Tran

Meiklejohn Senior Open Over 50 RR

Yuxiang Li

Jan Klemendorf

Meiklejohn Senior Open Over 60 RR

Daniel Green

George Braithwaite

Meiklejohn Senior Open Over 40 Doubles

Atanda Musa & De Tran

Yuxiang Li & Daniel Green

Under 2500 SE

De Tran

Bong Geun Kim

Under 2375 RR

Jiang Yang

Nazruddin Asgarali

Under 2250 RR

Raghu Nadmichettu

Nazruddin Asgarali

Under 2125 RR

Jiang Yang

Inna Laskova

Under 2000 RR

Eric Dang

Trieu C. Chieu

Under 1850 RR

Chris Salazar

Herbert Hodges

Under 1700 RR

Di Kang

Damiel Stadden

Under 1550 RR

Samuel Russel

Brahma Koodallur

Under 1400 RR

Daniel Kokotov

Ramon Barrera

Under 1250 RR

Ramon Barrera

Taylor Wilk

Under 1100 RR

Taylor Wilk

Jesse Estlow

Under 950 RR

Jesse Estlow

Christopher Jin

Under 800/Unrated RR

Viral Gandhi

Mark Hammond

Under 4200 Doubles SE

Shahab Joudaki & Eric Leventhal

Dennis Spellman & Donald Feltenberger