The 5th annual Pittsburgh Festival of Ping Pong is history. Seventy three players came to beautiful South Park for a weekend of table tennis. The detailed results are available on Omnipong.com, but here’s a summary.
- Juniors – a single round robin with 5 players. Logan Herman dominated the group with 4 match wins, winning 12 games and only losing one game to Nick Keener. Nilaksh Nagapure finished second with a 3-1 record.
- Over-50 – local player Bob Niklewicz won the round robin event with a 3-1 record. Second place was a three-way tie between Guoqiang Wang, Don Lawson and Mark Sokalski, with Guoqiang Wang winning the tiebreaker.
- Young/Old Crossover Playoffs – just for fun, we had every Junior play off against their counterpart in the Over-50. We called this the “Dinosaurs vs Mammals Playoff”. When the dust cleared it was a tie, we had two mammal winners (Logan Herman and Nilaksh Nagpure) and two victorious dinosaurs (Mark Sokalski and Korky Greco). Logan walked away with a $20 Dorido’s gift card in addition to his Junior event winnings.
- Amateur “A” – three round robin groups, winners were West Virginian Jay Nelson, and local players Michael Zhu and Luke Chilson, all undefeated at 5-0. Nine players advanced to the playoffs. In the semifinals, Michael Zhu defeated Jay Nelson, and Luke Chilson beat Ilia Minkin. And in a dramatic five-game final, Luke Chilson stormed back from an initial 0-2 deficit to win 3-2.
- Amateur “B” – three round robin groups, winners were local players Sandesh Gowda, Kaige Liu, and Anish Manocha, all undefeated at 5-0. Nine players advanced to the playoffs. In the semi’s, Kaige Liu beat Sandesh Gowda, and Anish Manocha defeated Zongyuan Yuan. Kaige Liu won the final match 3-1 to take home the trophy and $100 cash.
- Amateur “C” – four round robin groups, winners were local players Clement Ekaputra from Eastern PA, and local players Josh Dorn, Dan Morton, Bo He and. There was a large group of 12 players in the playoffs. In the semifinals, Tylar Farmer beat Josh Dorn, and Dan Morton defeated He Bo. In a very close final match, Dan Morton won 3-2.
- Handicap – last event of the day was a double-elimination playoff, each match was a single game to 31 points, with the lower-ranked player starting with anywhere from 1 to 25 points. Imrul Kayes was undefeated in the winner’s bracket. Ya Liu lost his first match to Imrul but went on to win the rest of his games and reach the final match with Imrul. But Imrul defeated him again, by a score of 31 to 29.
- Doubles – we had 8 doubles teams, consisting of six U-3000 teams and two U-4000 teams. We combined them into two round robins. In the first group, the winners were the team of Minglu Zhao/Yukun Li, favored to win based on rating but with both Minglu and Yukun playing with injuries. In the other group, Ilia Minkin and Istvan Kovacs upset the favorites to win. In the U-3000 playoffs, the West Virginia team of Jay Nelson / David Goff took first place, besting Minkin/Kovaks in the final. In the U-4000 playoffs, Zhao/Li beat visiting New Yorkers Haoran Guan and Tianzuo Huang.
- Giant Round Robin “A” – a very strong field of top players, playing in two 6-person round robin groups. Group winners were local stars Randy Seemiller and Shay Sinha, runner-ups were Mustafa Alrebh and Chip Coulter. In a dramatic final match, Shay beat Randy 3-1 to take the trophy, the cash, and the Dorido’s gift card.
- Giant Round Robin “B” – despite a difficult starting time (late Sunday afternoon), we had a nearly-sold out field of 22 players. Round robin winners were Jay Nelson, Istvan Kovaks, Logan Herman, and Rick Claraval. There were two crossover round robins, with the final winners being Jay Nelson (2nd place to Luke Chilson) and Rick Claraval (2nd place to Logan Herman).
Congrats to all the players, and thanks for coming out. We hope to see you at the Steel City Open next May, and the 6th annual Ping Pong Festival next November!
Jeff Pepper and Chip Coulter