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International 9-Ball Open Day One Complete

Max Lechner (Erwin Dionisio)

The International 9-Ball Open began Monday, October 28 with 96 players prepared to battle for the title. Two side stories that fans were watching this week were that Max Eberle and Corey Deuel are both shooting for the final spot on the Mosconi Cup team. With the final decision due immediately following this event, their play this week could be the deciding factor. One other interesting tidbit is that we are getting to see all three of the Ko brothers in competition for the first time here in Norfolk. Pool fans are familiar with the games of Ko Pin-Yi and his younger brother Ko Ping-Chung, but this will be most US fans first chance to see the youngest, Ko Ping-Han in action.
 
The opening round kicked off Monday morning with some great matches. Austrian young gun Maximillian Lechner took down Team USA member Skyler Woodward 11-4, by simply denying Woodward opportunities at the table. Justin Bergman came from four games down to defeat John Schmidt on the hill. Other notable scores from the opening round were Johnny Archer winning 11-8 over Ivo Linkin, and Jeremy Jones over Yu-Lun Chang 11-5.
 
The second round of the day saw Ko Ping-Chung take down Ernesto Dominguez 11-5 and Alex Pagulayan besting Michael Yednak 11-6. 
 
The third round also had some matches of interest, with Alex Kazakis and Fedor Gorst both shooting perfect matches with Kazakis over Chris Lawson 11-0 and Gorst giving the snowball to William Brewer. James Aranas went past Mark Vidal 11-4 and Donny Mills owned William Collins 11-3.
 
Coming back from the dinner break, the crowd was treated to a battle between Roberto Gomez and Ko Pin-Yi. Ko took an early 2-0 lead, but Gomez came back to take his first lead at 5-4. Gomez held that lead until 10-10 when a miss on the 8-ball left the table and match for Ko 11-10. In another 6:30 match, Ralf Souquet found himself in a 7-3 hole against Matt Krah. Ralf came back to 7-6 down, but hung an 8-ball that would have tied things at 7-7. Souquet did get back to a tie at 8-8 and traded racks with Krah until he pocketed the final 9-ball for the 11-10 win. 
 
In the 8:30 round, Earl Strickland had his hands full with the event’s lone Japanese competitor, Kengo Suzuki. The match was tied at 6-6 when Strickland won two for an 8-6 lead. Suzuki came right back to tie things at 8-8 before Strickland took control and won the match 11-9. Another battle in the 8:30 round saw Tommy Kennedy take American 14.1 Straight Pool Champion Ruslan Chinahov to hill-hill before Chinahov won the match 11-10. 
 
The final round of the night was not pretty for US players, as Billy Thorpe, Donny Mills and Frankie Hernandez were all sent to the one loss side. Neither Thorpe or Mills looked to be comfortable at the table in their matches, as Thorpe dropped an 11-3 match to Vietnam’s Quoc Hoang Duong and Mills couldn’t stay with a free wheeling Chris Melling in an 11-4 match. While Frankie Hernandez’s match was more competitive, he still fell to Marco Teutscher 11-6.
 
You can follow the action all week long, with our online brackets and real time scoring. Select matches will also be streamed online as part of Accu-Stats PPV coverage of the event

Austria’s Lechner, Finland’s Siekkinen and Spain’s Ruiz lead the pack at 14.1 Championships

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz (Erwin Dionisio)

Three of the 2019 American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships’ competitors made it through the event’s three-day Round Robin phase (Oct. 22-24) with undefeated (6-0) records. They were arguably not the names you might have expected from this particular field of 42 entrants, which included six former winners of the championship title – Mika Immonen (2007), Johnny Archer (2011), John Schmidt (2012), Thorsten Hohmann (2013), Darren Appleton (’14 & ’15), and Neils Feijen (2016). Two-time runner up Danny Barouty (to Ed Hodan in 2006 and Bob Maidhof in 2008) was competing, as were runner-ups Shaun Wilkie (to Danny Harriman in 2010), John Schmidt (to Archer, 2011), Archer (to Hohmann, 2013), Hohmann (to Schmidt in 2012, Darren Appleton in 2015 & Klenti Kaci in 2018), Immonen (to Feijen in 2016) and Dennis Orcollo (to Konrad Juszczyszyn in 2017).
 
Instead, Austria’s Max Lechner, Finland’s Jan Siekkinen and Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz went undefeated through the Round Robin phase of the event and were awarded a bye in the 24-entrant single elimination phase which began today (Friday) and will continue through tomorrow (Saturday) at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Lechner was paired in his seven-entrant round robin flight and won his six race-to-125 matches by an average of 102 balls. He gave up, in order, one to David Alcaide, 66 to Marc Vidal, 24 to Tom Walter, seven to Blair Levandowski and 41 to Don Polo
 
Siekkinen competed in what was arguably the event’s toughest group of seven and went through Thorsten Hohmann (43), Johnny Archer (81), Lee Van Corteza (59), Sean Morgan (21), Neil Gold (65) and Pascal Dufresne (44); an average of 52. Ruiz got by John Schmidt (66), Petri Makkonen (25), Bob Hunter (55), Mike Badsteubner (27), Reymart Lim (72) and Michael Frank (-1); average of 40.
 
The remaining five competitors to receive opening round byes into single elimination were all 5-1 in the round robin competition. Ruslan Chinakhov lost his opening round match to Neils Feijen, one of two matches that Feijen won by shutout, 125-0 (the other was against Bob Madenjian). Chinakhov went on to down Albin Ouschan, Ralph Eckert and deliver a second shutout to Madenjian, before defeating Holden Chin and Darren Frank. Dennis Orcollo lost his opening match to Darren Appleton in one of the round robin’s closest games, 125-116. Orcollo went on to meet and defeat Maksim Dudanets, Marco Teutscher, Danny Barouty, Earl Herring and Steve Matthieu.
 
Feijen was the only member of this year’s European Mosconi Cup team who competed in this event, and while he did chalk up two shutout victories, he did lose his opening match to Albin Ouschan 125-44. In addition to the shutouts, he defeated Ralph Eckert, Holden Chin and D. Frank. The sport’s acknowledged comedian, Alex Pagulayan opened the round robin proceedings against Mika Immonen, and together, they produced the round robin’s official closest game, won by The Lion 125-119. Pagulayan went on to defeat Max Eberle before losing his one match to Shaun Wilkie in another close match 125-104. He finished with victories over Michael Yednak, Steve Lillis and Jay McWorter.
  
As noted above, Immonen’s path to his 5-1 round robin record began with a defeat by Pagulayan. The Iceman would go on to down Eberle, Wilkie, Yednak, Lillis and McWorter.
 
Friday morning competition in the single elimination phase saw eight matches scheduled. Five of the 16 competitors had also logged 5-1 records in the round robin phase; tie breakers were head-to-head results and beyond that, total ball counts. John Schmidt was scheduled to face Maksim Dudanets, who finished the round robin phase with a 3-3 record. The marquee match was likely to be Albin Ouschan (5-1) against Johnny Archer (4-2), who closed out Thursday evening’s matches with a necessary win of Sean Morgan that gave him the record he needed to advance.
 
The Darren Appleton (5-1) and Shaun Wilkie (4-2) combination was garnering interest and was selected as the Billiard Sports Network’s Friday morning choice for live broadcast. Ralf Souquet, competing in the round robin flight with the 6-0 Lechner, advanced with his 5-1 match record to face Reymart Lim (3-3). Marco Teutscher (5-1) was scheduled to face Ralph Eckert (3-3). 
 
Remaining matches pitted Lee Van Corteza against Petri Makkonen, Thorsten Hohmann versus Marc Vidal, and David Alcaide squaring off against Max Eberle. 
 

Hohmann chalks up final, double hill thriller to capture 7th Steinway Classic

Tony Robles, Thorsten Hohmann, Manny Stamatakis and tournament director John Leyman (Erwin Dionisio)

They were an odd couple, left standing on Thursday evening, October 17. Not . . . strange, or all that unexpected, or even odd enough to be characterized as a surprise, just . . . odd. In the 45-entrant field at the $7,000-added, 10-Ball 7th Steinway Classic, hosted, of course, by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY from October 15-17, Thorsten Hohmann and Fedor Gorst were unlikely to have been the two players deemed most likely to appear in the event final. In fact, the euphemistic spectator choices for the two most likely candidates were, as one might have expected, Shane Van Boening and Dennis Orcollo.
 
There were three members of the USA Mosconi Cup Team that were competing (Van Boening, Billy Thorpe and Tyler Styer), and two members of Team EUROPE – Jayson Shaw and Alex Kazakis. There was also, among others, Mike Dechaine, Lee Van Corteza, James Aranas, Jeremy Sossei, Tony Robles, Ruslan Chinakhov, Chris Melling and a boatload of serious local talent, like Frankie Hernandez, Joey Korsiak, Michael Yednak, Hunter Lombardo and Raphael Dabreo, to name just a few. Any one of them capable of winning the event on the proverbial “any given Sunday,” but this was mid-week, Tuesday through Thursday, and Hohmann went undefeated through the field, downing Gorst twice to claim the title.
 
Hohmann didn’t back into the title with a series of easy draws and just luck out. He faced the ‘meat’ of that entrant list and in spite of being occasionally off-stride in the early going of several matches, hung in to win it all, including a breathtaking comeback in an “all you could ask for” final match.
 
Hohmann did have something of an easy time in his opening match against local talent Elvis Rodriguez, but a shutout over him led to a nail-biting, double hill match against “Fireball” Mike Dechaine, which Hohmann won and followed with a 9-6 win over Venezuela’s Jalal Yousef. He then downed Greece’s Alex Kazakis 9-3 to draw Dennis Orcollo in a winners’ side semifinal; Orcollo having just sent Van Boening to the loss side 9-6.
 
Gorst’s path went through Chris Melling 9-3, local talents Michael Badstseubner and Zion Zvi, both 9-4, before arriving at a winners’ side quarterfinal match against Polish 18-year-old Wiktor Zielinski, the youngest player to ever win a Euro Tour event (the 2017 Treviso Open). Zielinski battled him to double hill before giving way and allowing Gorst to advance to his winners’ side semifinal match against Jeremy Sossei.
 
Hohmann and Orcollo locked up into a somewhat predictable double hill match that eventually sent Hohmann to the hot seat match. He was joined by Gorst, who’d sent Sossei to the loss side 9-6. Gorst took the opening rack of the hot seat match, but he and Hohmann battled back and forth to a 5-5 tie, before Hohmann broke out to win the next four and claim the hot seat. He waited in it to see how the youngster fared against Van Boening in the semifinals.
 
After his defeat at the hands of Orcollo in the winners’ side quarterfinal, Van Boening moved over and ran right into Mike Dechaine, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included, most recently, a 9-3 win that took James Aranas out of the picture. Van Boening ended Dechaine’s streak 9-7 and then, in a double hill fight, ended Alex Kazakis’ brief loss-side run to draw Sossei. Orcollo drew the youngster, Zielinski, who, following his defeat at the hands of Gorst had picked up loss-side wins over Hsu Jui-An 9-4 and much (one would assume) to the surprise of Jayson Shaw, defeated him double hill to face Orcollo.
 
Van Boening and Sossei fought to double hill before Van Boening prevailed and advanced to the quarterfinals. Orcollo earned the rematch by prevailing 9-5 over the youngster Zielinski, whose performance and finish in this event is bound to increase his spectator popularity in events ahead.  Van Boening was picking up speed as he approached the finish line and eliminated Orcollo 9-3 in the quarterfinals.
 
It was clear from the outset that the much-younger Gorst was going to give Van Boening all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. It was something of a cautionary tale for Van Boening, as he prepares for the Mosconi Cup next month, as he went down to defeat against Gorst 9-7.
 
As had been happening, more or less throughout the tournament, Hohmann got off to a bit of a bad start in the finals; a five-rack bad start at the end of which he had failed to chalk up so much as one. But then, as though someone had flipped a switch, Hohmann settled in to win the next five racks. Gorst slipped a rack in to make it 6-5, before Hohmann came back to win two and take his first lead at 7-6.
 
Hohmann missed a chance to go ahead by two, rattling a 9-ball in a corner pocket and allowing Gorst to tie things up at 7-7. They traded racks to an 8-8 tie before Gorst chalked up rack 17. It was a critical juncture in the match, as Gorst got out in front by a first, second and then, a third, and a fourth rack to put himself on the hill at 12-8 for extending the race to 15 games.
 
Hohmann came back with some extraordinary shooting in the 21st rack to chalk up his 9th (12-9); the crowd reaction (including comments from the booth in the live stream broadcast) was muted, as though they were encouraging someone who’s doing their best in a losing battle. Gorst moved on and over the course of the next two racks, made two critical unforced errors, which Hohmann took full advantage of to pull within one at 12-11.
 
And suddenly, it was 12-12, and calm as you please, Hohmann chalked up the win in the final rack and claimed the 7th Steinway Classic title.
 
Silent Assassin Production’s Tony Robles (who competed, was sent to the loss side by Roland Garcia and eliminated by Tyler Styer) thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as the event’s official director, John Leyman. He extended thanks, as well, to the usual members of his own staff, including his own “lovely wife, Gail,” and Irene Kim. He also acknowledged the work of UpstateAL and his broadcast crew for their streaming coverage of the event throughout the three days, the photograph work of Ernest Dionisio and thanked title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest.
 
The next event, to be held under the auspices of Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions, scheduled to begin today (Saturday, Oct. 19) and continue through tomorrow will be the 6th Annual NYC 8-Ball Championships, sponsored by Dr. Michael Fedak and hosted by Steinway Billiards. The Predator Pro Am Tour will return to Steinway the following weekend (Oct. 26-27).

West foils a strong, loss-side bid by Wilkie to claim MD State 10-Ball Championships

Rick Scarlato Jr, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Chuck Sampson, Michael Yednak, Kevin West, Loye Bolyard

The two competitors who squared off against each other in the finals of the Maryland State 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of September 28-29 are the only two who have ever won the Action Pool Tour’s annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament twice. That record was held by Shaun Wilkie, until in 2017 & this past April, Kevin West chalked up his two. West went undefeated in the MD State 10-Ball event, and was challenged by Wilkie, who’d been sent to the loss side in an early round by another Bob Stocks Memorial champion, Brandon Shuff. Wilkie won eight on the loss side to challenge West in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Champions Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
With his finals opponent toiling away on the loss side, West advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Del Sim. Chuck Sampson faced Robert Palucho in the other one. West sent Sim west 7-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Sampson, who’d defeated Palucho 7-5. West and Sampson battled to a 13th deciding game before West dropped the last 10-ball to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Wilkie and Shuff were working their way toward a potential re-match, which would have occurred in the quarterfinals had it not been for Scott Haas. As Wilkie was busy tallying his 4th loss-side win, downing William Gallagher 7-3, Haas was at work eliminating Shuff 7-5. Wilkie subsequently defeated Haas 7-4, which set him (Wilkie) up to face Del Sim. Palucho drew Michael Yednak, who’d shut out Dylan Spohr and given up only a single rack to co-event director, Rick Scarlato, Jr.
 
Wilkie advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sim and was joined by Yednak, who’d defeated Palucho 7-2. Wilkie took the quarterfinals 7-3 over Yednak and then shut Sampson out in the semifinals.
 
Momentum aside, Wilkie was unable to just roll over West in the finals. West got out in front and won it by three (7-4) to claim the MD State 10-Ball Title. 
 
Co-event directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Champions Billiards, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Simonis Cloth, Billiards Sports Network, Chesapeake Bay TAP Leagues and Aramith Balls.    

Sossei Picks Up Where He Left Off On Joss NE 9-Ball Tour

Jeremy Sossei, Room Owner Lenore Chen and Bruce Nagle

Jeremy Sossei closed out last season on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour with four straight regular season tour stop wins. He picked up right where he left off over the last two weeks with back to back wins in the first two tour stops of the new season. 
 
The new season kicked off on September 21st and 22nd at TJ’s Classic Billiards in Waterville, Maine. Sossei ran through the winner’s side on Saturday, dropping his final match of the day to Ross Webster 9-5. Sossei bounced back with Sunday wins over Michael Yednak and Jim Hayden before taking out his revenge on Webster 7-0 in the semi final match. Joey Dupuis was in the hot-seat after beating Webster and Sossei proceeded to double dip him 9-2 and 7-6 for his fifth straight regular season win. 
 
Sossei wasn’t done though, as he cruised through the field at stop two on September 28th – 29th at The Spot in Nanuet, New York. Sossei went undefeated and pretty much unchallenged. His 9-3 win over Bucky Souvanthong in the winner’s side final four was his closest match before the finals. He defeated Bruce Nagle for the hot-seat 9-1 and again 9-5 in the first set of the finals. 
 
The second chance tournament at TJ’s saw Robert Lee go undefeated with wins over Leroy Bedard for the hot-seat and Mark Ransom in the finals. The second chance tournament at The Spot featured another undefeated winner as Tom Acciavatti defeated Suzzie Wong for the hot-seat 3-2 and again 3-1 in the finals. 
 
Joss NE 9-Ball Tour director Mike Zuglan has been taking entries for the Turning Stone Classic XXXIII on January 9th – 12th and he urges interested players to get with him as soon as possible. The event (like all other Turning Stone Classic Events) will fill up with 128 players. 
 

Sossei goes undefeated, downing Korsiak twice to claim Eastern States Championships

(l to r): Jeremy Sossei, Joey Korsiak, Tony Robles and Jonathan Smith

They’re familiar rivals, Jeremy Sossei and Joey Korsiak. Joey’s been around a little longer; his recorded exploits dating back 20 years. Jeremy’s on record (here) back to 2007. They’re both veterans of the Joss Northeast 9-Ball and Predator Pro Am Tours and have met on numerous (sometimes unrecorded) occasions. When Jeremy arrived at the 2019 Eastern States Championships at Steinway Billiards this past Labor Day Weekend (August 31-Sept. 2), he’d already chalked up five wins on the 2019 Joss Tour, four of them in a row from April to June. Joey entered the tournament with only two ‘cash’ appearances on his 2019 resume. He finished 28th at the Derby City Classic 9-Ball event and was runner-up to Frankie Hernandez at a Predator stop in March. He was among the top five finishers in six events last year and downed Zion Zvi in the finals of a Predator stop last June.
 
As far as we know, the only time they met in a final before this past weekend was in February 2011, when Joey defeated Jeremy in the finals of a Predator Pro Am event. Joey finished as runner-up in another Predator event in April of that year, with Sossei finishing in fourth place.
 
They met twice in this year’s $1,500-added, 10-Ball Open/Pro division of the Eastern States Championships, which, held under the auspices of the Predator Pro Am Tour, drew 19 entrants to Steinway Billiards over the weekend. There was, arguably, a lot more at stake for Korsiak than there was for Sossei as they squared off in the finals of this one. For Sossei, it was going to be just a 6th notch on his 2019 victory belt. For Korsiak, on the other hand, a victory over Sossei would have been his first major victory since last June and only his third since he defeated Sossei eight years ago. It made for some high drama in the finals on Monday night.
 
A concurrent, $1,500-added Amateur event (separate story) drew 83 entrants to Steinway. Gary Bozigian went undefeated to claim that title, downing Matt Klein in the finals.
 
Sossei and Korsiak met first in the winners’ side semifinals of the Open/Pro event. Jonathan Smith and Michael Yednak squared off in the other one. Sossei sent Korsiak to the loss side 9-4 and advanced to the hot seat match against Smith, who’d defeated Yednak 9-6. Sossei claimed the hot seat and waited for Korsiak to finish his three-match march back to the finals.
 
On the loss side, Korsiak picked up Del Sim, who’d eliminated Duc Lam 9-6 and Zion Zvi, double hill, to reach him. Yednak drew Predator Pro Am Tour director Tony Robles. Yednak had sent him to the loss side in an earlier round and Robles had recently defeated Vinko Rumora 9-1 and survived a double hill match versus Jorge Rodriguez to earn the re-match.
 
Robles won the rematch against Yednak and Korsiak downed Sim by the same 9-5 score. Korsiak then eliminated Robles 9-5 in the quarterfinals.
 
Korsiak’s interest in a rematch against Sossei in the hot seat was evident in the gritty double hill victory he chalked up against Smith in the semifinals. As Labor Day drew to a close, Korsiak and Sossei went to work.
 
Sossei opened things with a break and run that was followed immediately by a tight safety match in which they both took about a half dozen shots at the 1-ball before Sossei broke out of it and went up 2-0. Sossei broke dry on the third rack and though Korsiak ran to the 6-ball, he got a little out of position shooting at the 7-ball, missed it and watched Sossei make it 3-0.
 
Korsiak got on the board with rack #4 and drew within one by winning rack #5, as well. They traded racks to 5-4, when Sossei jumped out by two to regain the three-rack lead he owned at the start. Korsiak reduced it back down to two (7-5) with a rack #12 win.
 
Rack #13 proved to be about as unlucky as it gets. Korsiak played a terrific safe shot that forced Sossei to make a soft-shot, multi-rail kick at the 3-ball. He touched it successfully, but it barely moved in the jaws of a corner pocket and Korsiak made the assumption that nothing had hit the rail after contact. Sossei tried to tell him that he’d made a good hit, but Korsiak reached out and touched the cue ball, committing a foul that in essence, took the wind out of his sails.
 
Sossei took the ball in hand and closed out the rack to reach the hill first; 8-5 in the extended-race-to-11 format (if Korsiak reached 9 first, the race would extend to 11).  Rack #14 featured a couple of unforced errors by both of them; Sossei dropped a ball that he had called safe, Korsiak missed a relatively easy shot that was a gateway to the 14th rack finish line, and Sossei scratched shooting at the 8-ball. Korsiak made another unforced error but managed to leave Sossei a difficult shot. Sossei made the shot he had to make and closed it out 9-5 to capture the 2019 Championship title.
 
Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his entire Predator Pro Am staff, to include his lovely wife, Gail. Robles also acknowledged the efforts of UpstateAl and his AZBTv staff for their streaming of selected matches throughout the weekend.

Turning Stone Day Two Complete






Stevie Moore defeated Niels Feijen on Friday

Friday matches at the Turning Stone Classic IX held their fair share of suspense as top players started squaring off against each other all around the room.


Stevie Moore sent Steve Lillis to the one loss side 9-3 and then scored a hill-hill win over the man of the week, Niels Feijen. Moore will next face Jose Parica who had back to back 9-5 wins over Dick Cappotto and reigning World Champion Ronnie Alcano.


Louie Ulrich scored wins over Jasmin Ouschan and Allen Hopkins. Ulrich will face Shane Van Boening on Saturday.


Thorsten Hohmann has been dominating opponents so far in this event. He has wins over three opponents including John Morra by a combined score of 27-4. Ralf Souquet will hope to end that run on Saturday as he faces Hohmann.


Online Brackets


File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe – Pool Pics by Hoppe

Sheerman wins seven on the loss side to win finals rematch against Acosta at Ginky Memorial

Luis Lopez, Jason Sheerman, Greg Matos and Jimmy Acosta

No one has ever repeated as the champion of the annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial’s Amateur Tournament. Raj Vannala was the event’s inaugural champion in 2011, and after that, it was won by Daniel Dagotdot, Michael Yednak, Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Rhys Chen, Tony Liang, and Phil Davis. Last year, Lukas Fracasso-Verner won the title and was the only one of the previous eight champions to compete this year. Delimelkonoglu and Yednak competed in the Open/Pro event. The amateur event maintained its ‘unique winner’ tradition at the 9th annual Ginky Memorial, held this past Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27). Jason Sheerman, defeated in an early round by Jimmy Acosta, won seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Acosta in the finals and become the 9th unique amateur to win the Ginky Memorial. Sheerman had cashed in two previous Ginky Memorial appearances, finishing 25th in 2017 and 17th in 2016. The tournament’s namesake would be proud to know that his annual memorial tournament has crowned a new amateur winner every year since the event was inaugurated. This year’s $2,000-added Amateur event, held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Pr Tours, drew a record 169 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
The Open/Pro side of the 9th Annual Ginky Memorial was won by Alex Kazakis, who went undefeated through a field of 36 entrants, downing Jayson Shaw in the finals (see separate story). Shaw, by the way, was looking for his third Ginky Memorial title, having been one of only two competitors to have won the Open/Pro side of the event twice, in 2015 & 2017. Mike Dechaine won the inaugural Open/Pro event in 2011, was runner-up to Earl Strickland in 2012, and won it a second time in 2014.
 
In this year’s Amateur event, the 169 entrants were initially divided into upper and lower handicap brackets, merging only as the event drew near the end. With Sheerman already at work on the loss side, Acosta advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Mike Saleh. Greg Matos, in the meantime, squared off against Jim Gutierrez.
 
Acosta got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 victory over Saleh and was joined by Matos, who’d sent Gutierrez to the loss side 7-3. Acosta claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Matos and waited (though not for very long) on what turned out to be the return of Sheerman.
 
It was Saleh who picked up Sheerman, four wins into his loss-side streak that had most recently included a 7-4 win over Juan Guzman, and 8-5 win over Andrew Lee. Gutierrez drew Luis Lopez, who’d defeated Mac Jankov 6-4 and Bob Mapes 7-5 to reach him.
 
Sheerman chalked up his fifth loss-side win 7-1 over Saleh. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Lopez, who’d eliminated Gutierrez 6-3. 
 
Win #6 for Sheerman sent Lopez to the figurative showers 10-5. Win #7 did the same to Greg Matos, who was eliminated 9-7.
 
As it turned out, the quarterfinals and hot seat match were happening simultaneously in this event, going into Monday evening. So, when Matos fell to Acosta in the hot seat match, the semifinals started immediately (this was happening just as the finals of the Open/Pro event were getting underway). So, Acosta didn’t have a lot of time in the hot seat to think about the fact that the competitor he’d sent to the loss side in what must have seemed like a lifetime ago, was on the verge of earning a rematch. And earn it he did.
 
Sheerman took full advantage of his second chance against Acosta. He defeated him 9-7 to become the 9th different player to capture the George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Amateur title.
 
Event director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his entire Steinway Billiards staff, who worked tirelessly, professionally and with remarkable grace throughout a long weekend with over 200 pool players and a contingent of venue regulars who spent time playing chess and backgammon at nearby tables. Robles also acknowledged his regular tour sponsors, including Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, Capelle (Billiards Press.com), PoolontheNet.com, The DeVito Team, as well as the cooperation of the other sponsoring tours (Tri-State and Mezz Tours) and the tireless, non-stop live stream operated by Upstate Al and his broadcast team.
 
Robles also made note to all in attendance of the defining fact that this annual event is held each year in memory of George “Ginky” Sansouci, who passed away in 2011, and whose legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of innumerable players in the New York area and wherever “Ginky” played. The event was attended by members of the Sansouci family, who were accorded ‘front row’ seating privileges for all of the live-streamed matches and remain deeply grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Ginky’s life with a living, breathing memorial to his influence on the game and the people who continue to play it. 

Turning Stone Classic XXXI Day One Complete

Jeremy Sossei (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Day one is complete at the Turning Stone Classic XXXI, and every player has played one match. Day one action went pretty much according to plan, with most of the tournament favorites advancing to round two undefeated. While not truly an upset, Jeremy Sossei's first round win over Mika Immonen drew some attention from the fans. 

 

Other notable players who took early trips to the one loss side include Jennifer Barretta, Michael Yednak, Ron Casanzio, Matt Krah and Danny Hewitt.

 

AzBilliards will have online brackets and real time scoring for the duration of the event, and Upstate Al will be streaming the event on Facebook. All of the links are available on our live page
 

Harricharan comes back from hot seat loss to down Carrasco on Predator Pro Am

(l to r): Luis Carrasco, Matthew Harricharan, Troy Deocharran & Mac Jankov

Robles and Reyes battle in exhibition at Amsterdam Billiards
 
Tony Robles took a brief break from his duties as tour director of the Predator Pro Am Tour on the weekend of Oct. 20-21, and welcomed Efren Reyes to the Big Apple, on the occasion of what has been dubbed his Farewell Tour. As a field of 44 amateur competitors began their battles at a Predator Pro Am Tour stop at The Spot in Nanuet, NY, Robles and Reyes squared off in a series of exhibition matches at Amsterdam Billiards in lower Manhattan.
 
With hundreds of spectators on hand to watch and bid a bond farewell to the man who, for good reason, is known as The Magician, Reyes and Robles played three matches, one each in 9-Ball, 8-Ball and 10-Ball. Robles took the opening 9-ball series, double hill (9-8), but Reyes flexed his muscles a bit in the 8-ball series, 8-3.
 
“He crushed me,” said Robles, with more than just a hint of admiration for Reyes, who might well have been spending his last weekend in New York.
 
With the overall series of matches tied at 1-1, they played a short, race-to-3 series of 10-ball games. Robles won that short series, double hill, and with the gathered spectators and stream viewers on the Facebook page of Michael Yednak, they bid something of a ceremonial goodbye to one of the best players the sport has ever seen.
 
Meanwhile, up in Nanuet, NY, about 25 miles north on the west side of the Hudson River, the 44 amateurs were busy with their own quests for pool fame and fortune at the $1,000-added event, hosted by The Spot in Nanuet. Matthew Harricharan and Luis Carrasco battled twice to claim the event title; Carrasco taking the hot seat, with Harricharan coming back from a semifinal win to defeat Carrasco in the finals.
 
Carrasco advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Mac Jankov. Harricharan advanced to the hot seat without sinking a ball as his scheduled opponent, Chris Kelly, failed to make it back to the second day of competition. Carrasco claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Harricharan and waited on his return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Jankov picked up Amy Yu (the tour’s #3-ranked female player), who’d defeated Irene Kim 7-3 and Ambi Estevez 7-2 to reach him. Jankov defeated Yu 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Troy Deocharran, who’d defeated Rikki Ragoonanan 7-4 and Abel Rosario 7-3 to enter the races for the 5th place tie, leapfrogged to meet Jankov in the quarterfinals, as a result of Chris Kelly’s forfeiture of that match.
 
Jankov downed Deocharran in those quarterfinals 8-5, but had his run ended by Harricharan 9-7 in the semifinals. Harricharan squared off against Carrasco a second time in the finals and snatched the event title away from him 10-8.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Rhys Chen and his staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, PoolOnTheNet.com, NAPL, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), Ozone Billiards, the DeVito Team, and his Predator Pro Am staff. The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for Oct. 27-28, will be hosted by Spin City Café and Billiards in Queens, NY.