Tantrix in Your Country
|2010 World Open|
2. World Tantrix Open (2010)
The 2010 World Tantrix Open was held on 23-25 July, in Budapest, Hungary. Organized by Attila Mikulan and Leslie Harsanyi, it was also the 6th Hungarian Table Championship. Forty four players from ten different countries took part. The trophy was captured by reigning champion Niklas Andersson of Sweden.
Back Row: Zormac, Snuitje, Kissali, Kameamea, Nica, NiklasA, Malle, Pellepen, Luigi, Marek
3rd row: Pepe, Blick, Padam, Alpaka, Nojcica, Fukkike, Pierre286, Vercsi, Superbear, Mikem, Reiki, Berenbroer (behind), Illes
2nd row: Mikellos, GyiZsu, Flohuels, Igor85, Yantrix, Tizz88, Aata, Lac, Marymaus
1st row (sitting on bench): Barbiko, Csopi, Rick, Bdot, Benopi, Egmaria, SiRPi, Kcina, Grandpere, Leslie
On the floor: Tolyas, Syagrius, Dunadan
Trouble got a bit over-excited by all the commotion and couldn't make a decision on where to go next.
After seeing the bright lights of Budapest with Bdot, he decided he was a bit tired of France. He turned down a visit to the Netherlands with Benopi.Then Alpaka came along and offered him an all-expenses-paid trip to Prague. At first he jumped at the idea. Later on though he spotted his old friend Rick and was talked in to heading off to the UK.
Yet after dinner he remembered the British weather - this was not the place to go! Panic set in. NiklasA (who doesn't win many table matches) casually mentioned Trouble could come to Sweden where he could sing ABBA songs all summer long and ski all winter. Trouble accepted.
There followed a minor scuffle between Niklas and his mum Nica over which room he would stay in, but tired from all this haggling, he refused to change hands, and it appears he has settled in with Niklas for the long term!
Two Palago competitions were held over the weekend. One for the Palago World Table Championship, the other for the best Palagonian creature.
In a schocking upset, the world's top ranked Palago player and tournament #1 seed Mike McManaway could only manage second place. Wrestling the title away from Mike was Damásdi Gábor of Hungary. Capturing the bronze medal was Attila Mikulán, also of Hungary.
The winner of the Palagonian creature competion was Tristan Husmann from the Netherlands for his creature shown on the right - the aptly named "Fish With Hole".
Critics from around the globe were divided as to this new piece. Some were stunned and amused at Tristan's novel approach of using negative space, others merely thought it looked cool. Either way, he won the competition and more is hoped for from this young Palagonian prodigy.
A player auction was held the night before the tournament - this one was run by famous Dutch auctioneer B. Polman. Auctions are becoming more popular, the WTO was the third tournament to hold one. At a player auction, anyone is allowed to bid on any player, and if that player finishes in the Top 3 their "owner" receives a portion of the auction pool.
The big winner was Nica. Her dogged persistence in bidding on her son paid off as he won first place. Niklas hopes that this has made up for all the home-cooked meals and music lessons.
If the big winners were Nica and Niklas the little winners were Mike and Britta. After going on a spending spree and combining to lay out 113 euros on a stable full of players (including unknowingly bidding against each other), they won 114 euros when Pepe came second. That's efficient investment.
Never before have so many "Tantrix couples" been at one and the same event!
Three couples who met through Tantrix came to the WTO, in fact they all took part. We were lucky enough to get them to pose together for a snapshot. From left to right they are SiRPi and Egmaria, Luigi and Nica, and Illes and Csopi.
We'd also like to mention the debut of Bence, SiRPi and Egmaria's son. Their attempt to build a Tantrix champion from the ground up is worthy of note and is an example for others to follow.
WTO FIFA Fantasy|
Tizz88: Haha - I remember writing something last year and Deborah (Snuitje) then telling me off for being too harsh on her - fortunately we didn't play this time! It was again a very enjoyable weekend (although obviously the results help).
The venue was very nice and in spite of the difficulties on the Saturday morning the event was on the whole very well organised. Niklas won at a canter and to win both world opens is a fantastic achievement.
Egmaria: My favorite part was, that because of the modified Swiss system you couldn't know in advance who you gonna play next. It was always exciting to wait for the pairings. Especially in the last round.
Pellepen: I must say that my best moment was when I won over Mike. I had prepared to win, and manage to do it - that felt good. It's special to win over him, since I am his agent in Sweden, and now have beaten him once more in competition.
Flohuels: My favourite moments? Maybe those endgames, in which I have only 5 seconds left on my clock (what in my opinion happened too often), maybe the moment when I got a medal, not having expected it - but I also really liked the Hungarian food ;-)
Bdot: Things about the WTO that stuck in my mind:
I discovered the golden rule of tournament play - if you expect to win, you'll lose, yet if you expect to lose, you'll win. Once you know this, winning is easy... Unfortunately I am still only a student of "how to professionally expect to lose". Tune back in in a few years.
I lost Trouble, which broke my heart (and his).
It was great to see so many players come to the WTO. I met up with old friends and got to know new players. This is always the most fun part of table tournaments, apart from actually *playing* table Tantrix. Also there was never a moment without yummy things to nibble on, including Tantrix biscuits at times.
I found the Swiss system exciting. It seemed to make every game worth fighting for, until the very end. Not knowing who your next opponent was, also was suprisingly refreshing.
Zormac: To me, the best moment was briefly listening to some music performed by a fellow player... the one I'm talking about is Grandpere playing Moonlight Sonata beautifully!
Mikem: Great venue, great format, great organiser, great entrants... shame about the Hungarian food. No just kidding, the food was awesome. All in all, simply the best tournament I've been to.
Blick: I think the Swiss system was really great, I'm looking forward to see how it's gonna develop in the future.
My favorite moment was when I got Niklas as my next opponent. After last year's fights (WTO and WTC) it was really cool to play again. It was a tough game, both of us fighting hard, and I was really happy that I won at the end. It's a shame, that it happened last year as well that I beat him, but he won at the end... Something is wrong, although, he really deserved it.
The best non-tantrix part of the weekend was the football match. It was really great to strech our legs after sitting for hours.
As the organiser I also need to mention the 3rd Hungarian OpenCake. This competition has become a tradition based on Illes' idea. Everyone could bring their favorite cookie on Sunday, and the players voted their favorite. This year there were 5 entrants, 3 of them coming from the Husmanns. One of their cookies was a full set of Tantrix tiles, painted with colorful sugar on some kind of gingerbread. They played a game at home with them :-) Their effort paid back, they won the 2nd and the 3rd place. The winner was Illes, who won with his coconut balls, which were just delicious. The last cookie was brought by the Swedish team, unfortunately they didn't make it in the top 3.
Pre tournament: When blick asked in a mail if I was planning to win the tournament I quoted the sketch Dinner for One (Lauri Wylie) and answered "same procedure as last year". When writing the mail I thought it was just a fun way of answering, I had no idea how true it would be.
In the morning on Friday 23rd I took down the WTO-trophy from my wall and put it in my suitcase. By then I couldn't imagine that it'd be back on the same spot just days later. I flew from sunny but not too warm Gothenburg to a sunny and extremely hot Budapest. The temperature, 37 degrees Celsius, was like a punch in the face when I walked off the plane.
I met up with the other players in an restaurant called Vapiano to attend the prize giving ceremony for the first World Palago championship (congrats to Damásdi Gábor for winning, mikem for second and blick for third place).
The Palago prize giving ceremony was followed by the draw and then the betting. All players were divided into groups of 1 to 5 players, and then there was an auction where you could try to buy any group you wanted. All the money was put into a pot, and the ones who had bought the groups including the winner, runner up and third players in the tournament would share the pot. I was put together with a dark horse. Mum asked me if I was sure to win, I smiled and answered "of course", whereupon she bought me for 53 euros.
Saturday - day 1: I started of by winning my first game against Barbara by 24-19. Then in the second game I had to play against my Swedish team mate, the 6th seed, Lennart Aspelin .
I managed to find a way of blocking one side of his line after just 8-10 tiles had been played, I created a b-g-r that had only one tile left in the bag, but when that last tile came there would be another b-g-r which would block his line.
Unfortunately he could use the same and similar combinations for making the game on of those blocked ones where everything comes down to the last tiles. I managed to waste the tile he needed for make a 6-tiles loop for a score of 12, and thereby win the game by 9-8, which was the lowest aggregated score in a game this tournament.
So, a good start with 2 wins was followed by a tough game against the 5th seed Ben Polman. It started off quite well for me, but then a mistake move from me combined with the wrong tiles coming at the wrong time made Ben the deserved winner of the game, the score was 23-19.
That loss made me fall down a bit in the table, so my next game was against Tristan, a game that I won by 40-18, which took me straight up to the top 10 again.
Next game against Gábor (tolyas) also started off quite well, until a stupid green straight came out from nowhere and connected everything for him. (ok, it honestly didn't come from nowhere, it came from the bag and I should have seen it coming...) 19-22 and I now had 2 losses out of 5 games and was down somewhere in the middle of the group.
But I thought to myself that with "only" two losses I still had a fair chance to win the tournament if I win all the rest of my games. Maybe I could afford to lose another game, but not more than that to be able to have a chance to finish in the top when things would be decided on the Sunday.
So, with new positive thoughts in my head I beat Vincent (Syagrius) by 18-13 after wasting the last yby he needed to complete his 28-loop, and in the last game I had a really tough game against my room mate Chris (tizz88), which could have gone either way, but where I found a 24 loop coming out from a sequence of forced spaces that was enough to win the game, 24-15.
So, after the first day I had a record of 6 wins and 2 losses, which put me on third place in the table only about 8 TP's behind the leader. I thought my first day after all was quite ok, I was now in a good position for the crucial games on Sunday, and only 8 TP's behind could change fast.
After a whole day of playing we went out to play soccer, which was a very nice thing to do after just sitting on the same chair for 8-9 hours. After a tough game a shower was needed, and then we headed to the restaurant for dinner, being social with other players and playing games!
Sunday - day 2: Today was the day everything would be decided. I thought I had a fair chance to finish among the top players if I just could manage to concentrate on the new games instead of thinking of the games I lost yesterday.
One of the toughest games for the weekend was coming up on the second round of the day, and it was against the 3rd seed Marek Reiners (1kornik21) from Poland. I knew before the game it was going to be tough, and so it turned out to be.
I got the shape of a 14-tiles loop quite early, which was very well blocked by Marek. That block and some other blocks placed by me made the game one of those blocked ones with not many spaces to play the tiles. I got some blue tiles from a sequence of forced spaces where I could start a new line, on which I got 14 points, which was enough to win since I managed to waste the tiles Marek needed to extend his line to any more than 12. So, 14-12 for me and I felt as things were starting to go my way. And by now I also had managed to get from 3rd place to 1st place!
Next game was against the player who has won the Hungarian championship three years in a row - László Szobonya. This is one of the games I don't remember much about, but I won it by 19-15.
The following game I clearly remember though. A player I've had lots of good battles against and know very well. He was the player that finished 2nd last year when I won, and then beat me in the World Online Championship final. Attila 'the Hun' Mikulán. I knew from start this would be a tough game, and so it turned out to be. Some draws in my favour in the beginning gave me a small advantage, which was gone after some draws in his favour later on. With less than 10 tiles left in the bag a yellow corner came out close to his line which he could bend towards his main line, creating a b-y-y. Two tiles were left in that space: one straight which then needed a yby to connect an extra 6 points to his line. I had 2 yby on my hand and another two were in the bag and nowhere to waste all of them. The other one was a bend which would, together with the same straight mentioned before, put the lines together with only an additional corner needed. My only chance was to play something that would block the corner and then hope for the bend to come out first. I miscounted and made a terrible move which gave him those extra tiles that also gave him the win: 21-26.
Still in first place though I went on to play Vojtech (alpaka) in my next game, a player I've had many good games against online and who I really looked forward to have a tough game against. Unfortunately it didn't turn out to be such a good game as I was hoping for. A draw in my favour made me able to connect the two blue lines Vojtěch had kept separated from each other to give me a line of 16 while he still had 7. In my next move I pair blocked his line, and then I could use the same combination all over the board on every attempt Vojtěch made to creat a line. The game finished 22-8 for me, a misleading score according to me, but in Tantrix everything can happen.
Next game was again Péter Petrecz (pepe). Another tough game which I don't remember much about, but I won by 29-21, establishing my lead. Next game was against Chris again. Another tough game which I in the end won by 24-17.
Still in 1st place I got to play the German top player Rolf Schreiber (kameamea). In this game I managed to somehow find that all ryg (or was it yrg?) were gone after just about 10 tiles had been played. I used that to block one side of his lines, but he played well by not letting me use the same block on the other end. I could add to my line and finally win the game by 26-19.
Before the final game I was about 18-19 TP's ahead of the player in second place, pepe. If I just could manage not to lose by more that 25 I would be sure to finish first. My last game was against Rick. Bad tiles in the start combined with well played moves from Rick gave him an advantage for most of the game. Rick was clearly going for a huge loop, and in his attempt he connected two small of my blue lines to one longer. With 4-5 tiles left in the bag I could add 4 points to myself and block him on the same time, which somehow was enough to win this game by 28-24.
I had to walk away for a moment and come back to see the final table just to be sure about the fact that I somehow had manage to win the World Open this year too! The quotation "same procedure as last year" obviously was true. After the prize giving ceremony the Swedes, according to tradition from last year, performed an ABBA-medley with lyrics changed to suit Tantrix.
Conclusion: The World Open was finished for this year. A big thanks to the organizers; blick, pepe and leslie for all the efforts put down as well before the tournament as during the tournament. Also thanks to all players coming there and making it another unforgettable tournament and a great social event. Congratulations to Pepe for taking silver medal and Chris for bronze. I noticed that 3 of the top 4 players from last years WTO managed to finish top 4 this year too- I think that shows Tantrix really is a game of skill and not a game of luck! :-)
So, when next year's organizers ask me if I'm planning to win the WTO I'm going to quote Dinner for One again, but not by using the quote I used this year, instead I can now answer, "Same procedure as every year!" :-)
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Last update: December, 2012