|Erik Hjorleifson with room Owner Peter Chin|
By: Erik Hjorleifson
This past weekend at Shooters Snooker and Sports Club in North York, Ontario the first straight race open tournament in quite some time was held. There have been a few other no handicap tournaments in Ontario recently but never one open to pros within the city limits of Toronto. The event had staggered entry fee's of $200 for pro's $100 for semi pro's $50 for amateurs and $30 for beginners. Following up with what Shooter's has done recently for their independent events, they ran qualifiers for the lower level players to earn their spot in this event. The qualifying system has been very well received and has contributed to the success of the past few independent tournaments at this room.
The race to 7 on the winners side, race to 6 on the losers side rack your own winner breaks format was a bit of an ambitious venture for Shooters, as players in Ontario are so used to playing with handicaps. With pool gaining steam and popularity in the Toronto area in the past year. It was only a matter of time that a traditional no handicap tournament was going to be thrown into the mix.
At the close of registration 36 players threw their name into the ring and a total prize fund of $2500 was up for grabs. The field was made up of approximately 20 beginner level players, 8 amateurs, 5 semi pro's and 3 pro's. Surprising and somewhat disappointing was the lack of semi-pro and amateur level players entered in the tournament.
Understandably it is summer time and some players are not as active in the summer months. However for those who did not enter on the pretense that they did not have a chance to win the event I find this thinking flawed. Aspiring players must realize that ALL TOP PLAYERS with no exceptions have at one point in their development entered many tournaments where they were not a favourite.
Speaking personally, to a certain level I am still doing this to this day. If I go to a World Championship I don't necessarily consider myself a favourite. On the other hand, I know that I need more experience at this level and look forward to competing at a level that might be a little out of my comfort zone. The goal is to gain enough experience and skill that I can one day maybe become a favourite at this level, the same holds true for all players on different levels.
There were a few notable upsets at this one day tournament. Rob hall lost in the first round to the much improved Steve Spencer from Sudbury Ontario. Justin Kluznik and Stefane Godhino also were defeated by players that they would give 3 games in a race to 8 in the handicap tournaments. Amateur level payer Marius Nakas had a very strong 5th place finish and lost a close match to Mario Morra to end his tournament.
Eventually the Pros and Semi Pros would meet up and in those matches I had 7-3 and 7-6 wins over Mario Morra and Andy Aupin. Aupin had a 7-4 win over Tyler Nearing, Adam Monture made his way through the losers side eventually falling to Mario Morra in the 4th place match. It was a long day and at the end of the tournament the final 3 decided to make an agreement on the final 3 prizes.
Overall I think it was a good start to a new era of tournaments in Ontario. It has been a long time coming and hopefully we will see support from all levels of players in the future events. Special thanks goes out to room owner Peter Chin for organizing the event and as always tournament director Leo Nigossian made sure things ran smoothly.