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Wu and Chen Earn China Open Titles

Wu Jia-Qing (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

With back-to-back hill-hill wins (Shane Van Boening in the semifinal and Anthony Raga in the finals), Wu Jia-Qing has won the 2019 World 9-Ball China Open. Wu actually lost his first match of the event to Filipino Johann Gonzales 9-8 in the group stages, but he came back to defeat Marc Bijsterbosch and Oscar Dominguez to qualify for the final single elimination bracket. In the single elimination bracket, Wu had wins over Naoyuki Oi, Mateusz Stiegocki and Chinese countryman Zheng Xiao Huai before the wins over Van Boening and Raga for his second career China Open win. 
In the ladies division, Chen Siming won her third China Open title with an undefeated run that includes wins over Chezka Centeno, Kelly Fisher, World #1 Han Yu and Rubilen Amit in the finals. Chen had won the title in 2017 and 2010. 
The wins were worth $40,000 for Wu and $36,000 for Chen. 

Kazakis Makes It Three In A Row At The Spot

Ruslan Chinakhov and Alex Kazakis (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Alex Kazakis made it “three in a row” with another undefeated run through the field at The Perfect Storm Open event at The Spot Billiards in Nanuet, NY on November 9th – 11th. 
After his undefeated run and victory over Tony Robles in the Grand Master’s division of the NYC 8-Ball Championship at Steinway Billiards on November 3rd – 4th, Kazakis then came from the one loss side to double dip James Aranas at the Sandcastle Billiards’ Player Relief Open 9-Ball event on November 8th. Kazakis kept up his winning ways over the weekend of November 9th – 11th with another undefeated run, this time in the Men’s Pro 10-Ball division at The Spot. 
Kazakis had wins over Ryan McCreesh, Mike Dechaine, RYan Lineham and then Ruslan Chinakhov for the hot-seat. On the one loss side, Chinakhov had a rematch with Casper Matikainen who had lost to Chinakhov in the first round. Chinakhov was successful again in the rematch, but still couldn’t get by Kazakis in the finals. 
The Men’s Pro event was only one of four events that took place at The Spot over the long weekend. A six player round robin Women’s Pro event saw Chezka Centeno come out on top of the field, with Kyoko Sone taking second. The Women’s Amateur division was won by Jia Li, who defeated Borana Andoni for the hot-seat and again in the finals. Finally, the Men’s Amateur division was won by Ryan Lineham, who defeated Mark Nanashee for the hot-seat and then Mhet Vergara in the finals. 
The Spot added $1000 to each Pro event and co-owner Lenore Donovan-Chen was appreciative of everyone for their help managing the different divisions and players on this weekend. She thanked event sponsors Pro Vapes Liquid and Clutch Shot Apparel, Upstate Al for streaming the event and Ariel Roy Francisco from Roy’s Basement for bringing his players out to support the event. 

Chinese Pool World Championship Day One Complete

Darren Appleton

Day one of the 2017 Yaqi Group Cup Chinese Pool World Championship is complete, and half of the players advancing into the single elimination stages are now known. 
Last year’s third place finisher, Darren Appleton, has qualified for the final stage, but it wasn’t easy. Appleton was taken to the hill by Iran’s Mohammad Pordeliri, and then taken to the hill again by AzBilliards 2016 Player of the Year Jayson Shaw. Shaw was running out the final rack and scratched in the side to gift an open table (and a trip to the single elimination stage) to Appleton. Shaw will face England’s Jack Whelan on day two to determine who goes to the final stage and who goes home. 
American Corey Deuel turned in two match wins on day one to earn his place in the single elimination final stage. He and Appleton will be joined by such notables as Wu Jia Qing, Pin Yi Ko, Lee Van Corteza.
Players who need one more win on day two to advance include Alex Pagulayan, Michael Hill, Carlo Biado, Ching-Shun Yang, Brandon Shuff and Antonio Lining
The ladies division sees a veritable who’s who of ladies pool on the one loss side, fighting for a spot in stage two. Karen Corr will face AzB Ladies Player of the Year Han Yu, Filipino sensation Chezka Centeno will take on Chihiro Kawahara, Kelly Fisher will face Rubelin Amit and Ga-Young Kim will play Claudia Djajalie on day two. Bai Ge, Sha Sha Liu, Siming Chen and Yuan-Chun Lin have already qualified to join eight Chinese women in stage two. 
After the first matches of the day finish here in Yu Shan China, the remaining players will be redrawn into a single elimination bracket that will be used to determine the eventual World Champion. 
AzBilliards is live streaming from the event at, and fans can follow along with online brackets for each division at…
International Men –
Chinese Men –
International Women –
Chinese Women –

Amway Cup Day 3 – Sha Sha stood out in last 24

Han Yu (Photo courtesy of Samuel Lai)

FURY Cues sponsored LIU ShaSha (Sandy) of China came through from winning in the last 24 to be up against Jasmine Ouschan of Austria on TV table.  The two played in the televised Chinese New Year Exhibition Match in Beijing this year and Jasmine was the winner.  Jasmine had a good opening but Sandy quick made it back to all square at 1-all.  When the score stood at 3-3, Sandy started shooting off and won four games in a row.  It was a funny interlude when Jasmine went up for the handshake, Sandy did not realise that she had already won the match as she thought it is was a race to nine.  At the end of the day, Sandy became the only player standing in the last 8 from the initial line up of 16 runner-ups from the group stage.
The biggest excitement of the day came from the match between FURY’s Kelly Fisher (GBR) and WEI Tzu-Chien (TPE), which was also a replica of the group stage match.  Wei had a good start and soon went ahead in the game, but missed an easy 9 then allowing Kelly to catch up.  Wei missed another 9 and not long finding Kelly waiting on the hill.  Kelly broke for the match, but was unable to clear the table, allowing Wei to match up and a turn to break for the match.  Upon hill-hill, Wei broke but was not able to find a connecting ball.  Wei pushed out, forcing Kelly to play a hooked shot.  Kelly made an excellent jump shot to pot the 1, and then ran the table and made it into the last 8.
The other Fisher (Allison Fisher of GBR) took on FURY’s Agelina Ticoalu of Indonesia, again replicating group B in the round robin stage.  Allison went into a quick lead, but when she was only three racks away from winning, Angeline fought back to stay in the game, making it even at 4-4.  Just when everyone thought that the game might go hill-hill just like yesterday, Allison suddenly realised the situation and started playing more safety shots as the game went on.  This created enough room for Allison to build up her shots and finally made the score stood still for Angeline.  With the 7-4 win, Allison will meet Sandy again (yes again!), which also a replica of group B.
Clash of the titans – Chezka Centeno met the all-time great Karen Corr in the last 16 of the tournament.  Chezka was the first to make it to the hill when she was leading 6-3.  However, Karen cooled down to make it all square, bring the game into a thrilling hill-hill match.  In the decider, Chezka failed to escape the hook shot on the 3, Karen then went on the run the table, but leaving a long straight pot on the 9 for herself.  With her ultra-strong snooker background, Karen made the winning ball and dropped on her knees with a big scream as she moved into the last 8 of the Amway Cup 2017 by knocking out the defending champion.
Han Yu, the current world #1 in women’s pool, has been surfing through the whole tournament without conceding a single match.  In this round, Han kept enjoying her joyride against Veronika Ivanovskaia of Germany.  The young Veronica had her chances to keep the score close but failed in doing so.  Han, the semi-finalist last year, on the other hand, was sweeping the table as soon as she gets chance to come on to the table.  In the end, Han advanced into the last 8 with the final score standing at 7-2.
KIM Ga-Young of South Korea, being another player unbeaten yet in the tournament, faced qualifier WU Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei in the last 16 match.  Wu is an experienced player and at one point found herself 5-4 up against the two times cup winner.  Nevertheless, Ga-Young was able to kept her cool and turned the game around to win at 7-5.  Ga-Young shall meet Han Yu, the current world ranked number one in women's pool, in the last 8 to fight for a seat in the semi-final.
Multiple champion CHEN SiMing of China, the other unbeaten player, seems to be untouchable even when “Hurricane” CHEN Ho-Yun stepped up for the challenge after defeating Grim in the previous round.  SiMing was 6-1 before making a critical mistake that allowed the Hurricane to make two games back.  However, Ho-Yun’s safety shot in the 10th game was not safe enough for SiMing.  After winning this game, SiMing will be playing against Kelly Fisher in the next round, which will be a replica of the World Chinese 8-Ball final last year.
The final match of the day, and could be considered as the biggest encounter of the day, was between the three times cup champion CHOU Chieh-Yu (Rita) of Chinese Taipei and PAN XiaoTing of China.  Rita had a loss on TV yesterday, but was able to benefit from a scratch by Pan to square the match at six-a-piece.  Alternate breaks meant that Pan had a chance to break for the match but was left with no chance to attack.  After exchanging a couple of safety shots, Rita scratched but again Pan found no chance to attack.  After careful consideration, Pan decided to play the 1-9 combo and successfully potted the winning ball.
Upon the exit of Rita, and to everyone's surprise, all Taiwanese players were out of the Amway Cup 2017.  All the four players from China stayed intact in the final 8, joining them were 3 from the United Kingdom, as well as one from South Korea.  What's worthwile mentioning again is that Liu ShaSha (Sandy) became the only player in the last eight that came through as a runner-up in the group stages.  Actions shall continue tomorrow at 12:30 (venue address: #10, Section 4, Nanjing East Road, Songshan District, near Taipei Arena)

Amway Cup Day 2 – Surprising Whitewash on TV Table

Kelly Fisher (Photo courtesy of Samuel Lai)

The Amway eSpring International Women 9-Ball Championship 2017 continued its action today (Mar 3 local time) at the Taipei Gymnasium.  All matches in the round robin stage were completed, with the leader of the respective group advancing directly into the last 16, while the players in second and third place will have to play in the last 24.
FURY sponsored Kelly Fisher (GBR) won the last match on the TV table against WEI Tzu-Chien (TPE) to gain a direct entry to the last 16 of the tournament.  Kelly was one of the players that had 4 wins in her respective group after the initial round robin stage.  Wei and Veronika Ivanovskaia (GER) came in as 2nd and 3rd place respectively in Group H, hence advancing to play in the round of last 24.
Sandy LIU ShaSha (CHN) and Angeline Ticoalu (INA), the other two FURY sponsored players, were drawn into the same group.  They finished off 2nd and 3rd respectively in Group B, thus advancing into the last 24.  Even though Sandy was leading most of the time throughout the stage, Allison Fisher (GBR) took her down on TV table to equal their scores in games and had a better rack-difference to snatch the first place and advanced directly into the last 16.
In Group D, PAN XiaoTing (CHN) was another player that had 4 wins after whitewashing the three times Amway Cup champion and the local favourite Rita CHOU Chieh-Yu, giving as much pleasure as well as shock to the audience both at the stadium and on TV.  During an interview earlier on, Pan reviewed that this was a match long expected, while the result was a pleasant surprise as she expressed in the post-interview.  Oliwia Czuprynska (POL) came in as third and will follow Rita into the next round.
In the other groups, despite the fact that Jasmine Ouschan (AUT) lost to the defending champion Chezka Centeno (PHI) yesterday, Jasmine had more wins in the end and therefore became first place in Group A.  Chezka finished second after making a couple of critical errors to lose two hill-hill matches against Kristina Tkach (RUS) and WU Hsiso-Wen (TPE).  Wu successfully made it into the last 24 after qualifying from stage 1.
Japanese leading lady Chihiro Kawahara had a rough ride in Group C, with only one win against Claudia Von Rohr (SUI), the new face in the tour.  All of the other three players had the same result of 3 wins, but in the end it was Karen Corr (IRL) that secured a seat in the last 16 with a 2-rack difference.  FAN Yu-Hsuan (TPE), who had made her appearance in stage 2 through qualifiers, fell short marginally by one rack against her local senior CHEN Ho-Yun.
Current world #1 Han Yu (CHN) gave no chance to HSIEH Yu-Wen(TPE) on the TV table yesterday, then went on to win all the matches in Group E.  HSIEH, who came through from the Taiwanese qualifier, and LEE Woo-Jin, the rising star from South Korea that made her way through stage 1, were on the same page before their last encounter with each other.  In the end, it was HSIEH that had a better day, turning an hill-hill excitement into an entry ticket to the last 24 for herself, leaving her opponent out of the tour.  Two times world champion Rubilen Amit (PHI) finished second in the group.
KIM Ga-Young (KOR) stood out in Group F with 4 straight wins, thus advancing to the last 16.  For the remaining players, it was a close call amongst Natalia Seroshtan (RUS), CHEN Chia-Hua and qualifier Bean HUNG Meng-Hsia, with all three of them winning 2 games and losing 2.  Natalia was the lowest one after rack counts and therefore the two Taiwanese girls went through to the last 24.
It was not exactly a joyride but CHEN SiMing (CHN) still surfed through Group G by winning all of her matches.  Twice Amway Cup winner LIN Yuan-Chun had a close one, lost in the decider against Chen, but still managed to win all of her other matches to go through to the next stage.  Kristina Grim of Germany, who took down qualifier KUO Szu-Ting (TPE) on the first TV match yesterday, came third in the group.
Upon the completion of the last match on the day, all players gathered at the TV table to draw for the positions tomorrow in the last 16 to 24 stage.
Round-robin stage Results & Draw for last 16 to 24 stage: click here

Amway Cup Day 1 – Han Yu, ShaSha going strong

Chieh-Yu Chau (Photo courtesy of Samuel Lai)

The Amway eSpring International Women 9-Ball Championship 2017 started its official matches of stage 2 at 10:00 this morning (Mar 2 local time) back at the good old Taipei Gymnasium again this year, with the first 6 matches featuring players from 8 different countries and regions.
      FURY, the official cues of the tournament, immediately felt the excitement as two of their sponsored players, former world #1 Sandy Liu (ShaSha) of China and South-East Asian gold medalist Angelina Ticoalu of Indonesia, also being a semi-finalist in 2015 after taking down Sandy two years ago, faced each other again this year in one of the opening matches in Group B.
     Angelina managed to snatch the first point on the scoreboard but her opponent soon settled down and took over to lead the match all the way.  In the end, Sandy was the better one in the FURY derby and took her “revenge” with the final score standing at 7-4.  Later on during the day, Angelina recovered her lost ground by beating the Japanese Triple-Crown winner Joana Wu (Zhi-Ting) of Chinese Taipei, as well as the all-time multiple world champion “Duchess of Doom” Allison Fisher, who is also a 5-times winner of the Amway Cup, in a hill-hill thriller on TV table.  Sandy then extended her lead overnight in the group by beating Joana Wu 7-4 in the evening session.
      The 2013 Amway Cup winner as well as multiple world champions Kelly Fisher of England, came back from behind to beat LIM Yun-Mi of South Korea 7-5.  Kelly, also sponsored by FURY, is coming back in good form after her surgery and is looking to stay strong against her other opponents in Group H.  These shall include Longasy Tips sponsored WEI Tzu-Chien as well as her Taiwanese comrade HO Hsin-Ju who came through from the qualifiers.
      In the other groups, even though Kristina Tkach of Russia had a bad opening after scratching on her first 8-ball and eventually losing the match to the 2004 Amway Cup champion LIU Sin-Mei of Chinese Taipei, she was able to re-strengthen her position in Group A with two hill-hill wins over qualifier WU Hsiao-Wen (Chinese Taipei) and the 2016 Amway Cup winner Chezka Centeno of the Philippines respectively.  Earlier on, the defending champion had a relatively comfortable win over European Jasmine Ouschan of Austria.
      Multiple world champions Karen Corr of Northern Ireland had wins over Japanese #1 Chihiro Kawahara and qualifier FAN Yu-Hsuan (Chinese Taipei) to lead in Group C.  Karen will be facing the 2015 Videoland Year-End Champion CHEN He-Yun, who had lost to her Taiwanese comrade Fan in another match.  Claudia Von Rohr of Switzerland made her debut in the Amway Cup this year, but lost both of her matches against Chen and Fan.
      Three times Amway Cup Champion Rita CHOU (Chieh-Yu) made both of her wins on TV table by taking down Oliwia Czuprynska of Poland and Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan of New Zealand.  The great PAN XiaoTing of China, who won the Amway Cup exactly ten years back, missed her action last year but now returning to the scene brighter than ever, beat Molrudee and qualifier MU Shu-Fong of Chinese Taipei to equal Rita in Group D overnight.
     Han Yu of China, the recently selected AZB player of the Year, current world #1 as well as a semi-finalist last year, marked the first absolute win of the day by whitewashing the Taiwanese qualifier HSIEH Yu-Wen on TV table, then moved on to beat Pia Plaeser of Germany in Group E.  Two times world champion Rubilen Amit copied Han and gave a lesson to the young South Korean rising star Woo-Jin LEE, being the only non-Taiwanese that came through from stage one.  Lee lost in an hill-hill encounter with Hsieh but was able to win over Pia that saved a last hope for her against Han in the afternoon session tomorrow.
      Ga-Young Kim, the two times Amway Cup winner from South Korea, stands out in Group F by beating Jennifer McCulla of Australia and qualifier Bean Hung (Meng-Hsia), who is coincidentally working in Australia.  The 17-years old Taiwanese Amber Chen (Chia-Hua), being the youngest player on board, enjoys her first direct-entry to stage 2 this year, had 1 win and 1 lost on the day, and will be facing Kim on TV table tomorrow.
     LIN Yuan-Chun of Chinese Taipei, also a two times Amway Cup winner, won her first match 7-4 in Group G against Kristina Grim of Germany.  Kristina, who almost broke down to tears after having a good lead but still lost to Kelly Fisher on TV table last year, celebrated her victory over a deciding rack on TV this year against qualifier KUO Szu-Ting of Chinese Taipei.  She will be playing again on TV tomorrow at 4pm against the almighty CHEN SiMing of China.
     Action continues tomorrow at the Taipei Gymnasium (#10, Section 4, Nanjing East Road, Songshan District, near Taipei Arena) to decide the last 24 players in the knockout stage.
     All Results (Group Stage) : click here

WPA Women’s World 9-Ball Championship, Emeishan, China, Day Two

Allison Fisher

Today kicked off with the completion of the double elimination group stage leaving just 32 players remaining. There were no real surprises from the double elimination favoured players getting through to the single elimination stage which features 32 players.
The draw was not so kind for two former world champions, Han Yu (CHN) and Kelly Fisher (GBR) drawn against each other in the first round. Han Yu has a world ranking of 3 and Kelly Fisher 8. Playing on the television table, both players produced some high quality play and it was sad to know that only one of them would remain in the tournament. In a tensely fought out battle it was Han Yu who prevailed and advanced to the last 16. Another thriller was between the two Filipinos, world number 7 Rubelin Amit and world number 9 Chezka Centeno. These two players slogged it out going rack to rack with Centeno finally getting in 9/8. Centeno is one of the up and coming stars, a left-hander she is a real delight to watch with her free and easy style and no messing about attitude.
Two other Brits, Allison Fisher and Karen Corr also drew against each other. Karen has recently acquired a USA passport and now competes under the stars and stripes. It was real test of wills, both players very cautious as they are well aware of each others ability, but Karen found the finishing line first 9/6. Unfortunately the bubble burst for the youngster from Chinese Taipei, world junior champion Jia-Hua Chen, but not without a fight, losing 8/9 to Tan Hui Ming. Another former world champion got through to the final 16, Yuan-Chun Lin of Chinese Taipei when she defeated Sun Danhong 9/7 in another high quality battle.
Another impressive performance came from world number 4, Chinese Taipei’s consistent Chou Chieh-Yu who had a comfortable win over Kateryna Polovinchuk of the Ukraine 9/2. One player travelling under the radar is China’s Jiang Teng who had a solid performance defeating Korean Solid Choi. Jiang is one to keep an eye on, a dark horse selection.
One of the favourites for title is world number 2 China’s Chen Siming, had a convincing win over Ji Won Hyun of Korea 9/2. But the best performance today belonged to Korean Kim Gayoung against Ho-Yun Chen of Chinese Taipei. After trailing 1/6, Kim then found another gear and played flawlessly to runout the winner 9/7.
Play gets underway tomorrow at 1.00 pm local Chinese time. We will see the Last 16, Quarter-finals & Semi-finals played, a gruelling day for those who get through with just the play-off for 3rd and 4th place on Friday, followed by the final.
The winner of this world championship will gain automatic entry into the 2017 World Games being played in Wroclaw, Poland 24-31 July 2017.

Turning Stone Classic XXVII 9-Ball Open – January 5-8, 2017

Mike Zuglan's Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour,  and Turning Stone Resort Casino are proud to present our 2016-2017 Mid Season Championship, The $25,000 Added, "Turning Stone Classic XXVII 9-Ball Open". This event will take place in Turning Stone's beautiful & spacious Event Center which has become known as one of the best venues ever. There are no bad seats, and the layout allows you to mingle with all of your favorite players and friends, giving you the feeling of being part of the action yourself. There is an aura of intimacy that seems to surround you at these events. If you have never been to Turning Stone, located in Verona NY, you simply don't know what you are missing. Check them out at
For 27th time, we will have a full field of 128 players with no shortage of past, present and future Champions. Jayson Shaw (4 of the last 5 TS Championships), Johnny Archer, Rodney Morris, John Morra, Karen Corr, Jennifer Barretta, Chezka Centeno, Kevin Cheng, Jung Lin Chang, Darren Appleton, Jeremy Sossei & Thorsten Hohmann are just a few competing in this world class event. Don't think for a minute that any of these players are a "lock" to win. Our regular Joss Tour players just might have something to say about that. The complete player list (subject to change) is on our site
There will once again be a "Second Chance" tournament on Sunday January 8 at 10AM running continuously and concurrently with the main event until completed. This is an event for those Non Pro level players (I will decide) eliminated from the main event. The event format will be as follows: $60 Entry Fee – 32 Player Max – same rules as main event – Single Elimination – Races to 4, best 2 of 3 sets, with the deciding set a single game sudden death. This means that if each player wins a race to 4, there will be a lag for the break and a 1 game playoff to determine the match winner. Entries will be taken for this tournament as players are eliminated from the main event and will be treated as first paid – first in until the event is full.

The equipment for our world class event will once again be 16, 9 foot Diamond Pro tables, with Diamond overhead lights, covered with 860 Simonis ("The Cloth Of Champions") tournament blue cloth. We will be using the Aramith Tournament TV Pro Cup balls. Thanks again to Ivan Lee for providing us with the World's best cloth and the World's best balls! All of these items will be for sale in tournament used condition, and only seriously interested parties are urged to contact Mike Zuglan immediately at 518-356-7163 for info and pricing. 
Being a spectator at Turning Stone is an experience you won't find anywhere else. We always offer fans, Free Admission, Free collectible posters (while supplies last) and once again Turning Stone will be giving away a $10 free play to all players and fans. So you get Free admission, Free posters and Free bets!! No one else does it like Turning Stone and the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour! Included in the Event Center at Turning Stone is a full service snack bar serving all of our favorite foods and adult beverages. There will be billiard product vendors and on site cue repairs available for all your needs. We will also be raffling off 2 gorgeous, custom, engraved Joss Cues on Saturday at 8pm and Sunday immediately prior to the final match and you Do Not have to be present to win. These cues have a retail value of $1,500 each and are generously provided by Danny Janes of Joss Cues Ltd. Thanks again to Danny, Debbie & Stephen Janes for all they do for us!! We will also choose a winning ticket to receive the Pro Cup cue ball used in the final match autographed by the winner. 

The raffle cues can be viewed here:

So, why not make your way to Turning Stone Resort Casino January 5-8 for a great experience and 4 full days of some of the best pool you will ever witness. If for some reason you are unable to make it, there will be a Free live stream and live scoring expertly provided by Mike Howerton & Jerry Forsythe( ), Upstate Al Leon, The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour and Turning Stone Resort Casino. Match times are Thursday 4, 6, 8, & 10 PM. Friday 10 AM, noon, 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10 PM. Saturday10 AM, noon, 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10 PM. Sunday 11 AM, 1, 3, 5, and the final match at 7 PM.  
Good News! Our 2016-2017 Season Finale, the "Turning Stone Classic XXVIII 9-Ball Open" is now official and scheduled for August 31 thru September 3, 2017. I will begin accepting entries for that event at this January event but not before. I suggest early entry to avoid being shut out. For more information and a complete schedule of our Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour events, go to       

Thank You & Happy Holidays.

Mike Zuglan   

The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;

Joss Cues – 
Turning Stone Resort Casino – 
Simonis Cloth – – –

Aramith – 
Billiards Press – 
Heidrich Custom Cues –                 
World Class Cue Care –


Thorpe downs Van Boening twice to go undefeated in 2nd Annual Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic

Billy Thorpe (Photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

As happened last year in its debut, the 2nd Annual Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic benefited from its temporal proximity to the US Open 9-Ball Championships. Both years, players from all over the country and around the world, already in-country to compete in the Open, used the Dismal Swamp event as a warm-up and potential means of filling up their financial 'gas tank' prior to the Open.
This year, the $2,000-added event drew a full field of 32 entrants, including its defending champion, Shane Van Boening, who defeated Oscar Dominguez in the finals of the 1st Annual Dismal Swamp Classic. Held on the weekend of October 14-15, at Colonial Cues in Elizabeth City, NC, about an hour away from Norfolk, VA, the event yielded something of a surprise winner in Billy Thorpe, who defeated the defending champion twice to claim the title.
Thorpe, in the middle of his best year, financially, to date, had yet to win an event in 2016, though he had placed among the top five in a series of major tournaments, including all three of the US Bar Box Championships (10-Ball, third place/4th in 8-ball & 9-ball), the 3rd Memphis Open One Pocket (third), the Derby City Classic 9-Ball Banks (4th), the Chinook Winds Open 8-Ball (fifth), and the 34th Brickyard Classic (5th). His last recorded tournament victory came in October, 2014 at the eighth stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour.
Though Van Boening put up a fight, twice, Thorpe won both of their meetings to claim the title. Of the four competitors who made it to a winners' side semifinal on this weekend, three were former US Open Champions; Van Boening (2012/13/14), Gabe Owen (2004) and Tommy Kennedy (1992). Thorpe and Van Boening met first in the hot seat match after Van Boening had sent Owen to the loss side 8-6 and Thorpe had dispatched Kennedy over 8-5. Their first meeting was a double hill battle, during which Thorpe made a "ridiculous bank shot" to win the deciding game.
On the loss side, Kennedy picked up Ramil Gallego, who'd defeated Eddie Abraham and newcomer female sensation Chezka Centeno to reach him. Owen drew Vilmos Foldes, who'd eliminated Jeremy Sossei and Oscar Dominguez (Oscar's father, Ernesto, had been eliminated by Centeno in the previous round).
Kennedy downed Gallego 8-6 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Foldes joined him after a winning double hill effort against Owen. Kennedy and Foldes fought to double hill before Kennedy finished it. He and Van Boening then locked up in what was most certainly one of the weekend's marquee matchups in the semifinals. It went double hill before Van Boening advanced for a second shot against Thorpe.
The two came within a game of double hill. To the surprise of many, though possibly not all, it was Thorpe who pulled out in front, late in the match, to win it 11-9, at approximately 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
And it was off, for most of the 32 participants, to the US Open.

Sweat Begins to Pour at U.S. Open

Pin Yi Ko

Play continued Wednesday at the U.S. Open and we are at that period of the event where some big names begin to fall away. Radislow Baica first took out Denis Grabe 11-2 and then eliminated Chip Compton 11-2. Next he will face Ramil Gallego. Maxim  Dudanets of Russia sent Greek powerhouse Nikos Ekonomopoulos  to the sidelines 11-7, ending his run for this year.

Imran Majid got past one of this years Hall of Fame inductees, Rodney Morris, 11-10 and then bested BJ Chu by the same score. He next faces Nick Van Den Berg. Van den Berg narrowly escaped Albin Ouschan 11-10 before disposing of Jani Siekkinen 11-5. Mika Immonen is still alive after dominating Kenichi Uchigaki 11-5 and M. Fortunski 11-8. This puts him up against Carlo Biado who destroyed wunderkind Chezka Centeno 11-2.

Thorsten Hohmann will find himself battling Shane Van Boening today after slipping past Mike Davis 11-10 and then easily handling Antonio Lining 11-3. Mario He will face Ching Shun Yang today. He defeated Brad Shearer 11-4, ending a great week for Shearer. Mike Dechaine will face Darren Appleton by way of his beating Shane McMinn 11-8. Dechaine and Appleton are old Mosconi Cup foes so this should make for a great match.

Eklent Kaci had a marvelous day. First he took down Karl Boyes 11-5 and then went on to ruin the evening for Jason Klatt 11-8. Now it gets really tough as he goes up against young Ko today. Ko took out both Amar Kang (11-3) and Ralf Bouquet (11-5) to rest on his current bracket perch.

Josh Roberts will play Jeremy Sossei today after Earl Strickland resigned the match against Josh with the score at 9-7. Roberts then went on to beat H.X. Han 11-8 and he is playing at the top of his game. Sossei had a rough road to get this far out on the charts. He had two double hill victories in a row against John Morra and Raj Hundal.

Players still unscathed by loss include Brandon Shuff who faces Jung Lin Chang and Alex Pagulayan who is to play a resurgent Jeremy Jones. One headliner match that has the buzz gong today is Jayson Shaw will be playing Pin Yi Ko. These two are both fan favorites to win the event so this match will be a thriller.

Our final two undefeated players are Abdulrahman Al Shammer and David Alcaide. They will  face off in the winners rounds this afternoon or evening.

The matches just get tougher from here. Watch the best of them live at