Wednesday, April 08, 2009

History-review: Norwegian 9-ball Challenge 2006

After the Eurotour for women, in October 2005, both me and the EPBF/IBP, organizers of the Eurotour, wanted to do a men's event too.

Unfortunately the IBP had 3 years contracts with most the 7 yearly tour-stops, and I didn't want to wait that long. So I decided that I could do a tournament of my own.

I worked hard for weeks trying to get in touch with the right person in the Norwegian TV-channel TV2. I wanted to talk to the guy who could say yes or no, not only people that said "maybe, send me an email". That wasn't easy to accomplish, but in the end I finally got a chance to talk to the chief of sportprograms, and loaded with confidence I told him that I wanted to host a pro-tournament in Oslo at our poolhall, and I wanted TV2 to broadcast it.

"No", was his short reply after I had talked for minutes.

I was desperate. I wanted this tournament to happen, and I wanted tv-coverage. I lied.

"Did I mention that Ronnie O'Sullivan has agreed to play?"

That sparked his interest and he put me up for a meeting with another guy.

Now I had a big challenge ahead of me. Not only did I have to get in touch with O'Sullivan, I also had to convince him to join my tournament. I had only organized small local tournaments before, held on evenings in the weekdays.
I made a few phonecalls, and I got to Tony Drago. He told me that Raj Hundal was spending a lot of time together with Ronnie, so I should call him. Got his phonenumber, and called. I ended up convincing Raj, Ronnie and Tony to join the event.

The meeting with TV2 went ok, and I put them in touch with Kozoom Production and Bwin.com, which I had talked to prior our meeting, and now I had dates for the event, 12th - 15th of June, I had 3 great players agreeing to join, tv-coverage (PPV) + livestream and 28 matches broadcasted on Bwin.com where fans could make small bets on the matches.

I then called Niels Feijen, and based on his experience in Oslo from the women's event, he said yes. So did Marcus Chamat, Mika Immonen, Jasmin Ouschan and a few more pros I can't remember right now.

In the end we ended up with 125 players, $ 10 000 first price. We played for 3 days, with groups of 8 players, round-robin race to 5, alternate break.
The players meeting was on Wednesday evening, and O'Sullivan trigged the interest of lots of spectators and media. 3 TV-stations, radiostations, newspapers etc. did stories about the upcoming tournament, and they all wrote about the last match in Ronnie's group, which would be played on Friday at 1 PM. Then Ronnie was scheduled to play on the tv-table against the young Jasmin Ouschan.

At Tuesday night, at 02 AM, I got a text from Ronnie's manager, saying that because of an ear-infection Ronnie wasn't allowed to travel by air, and had to cancel.

That was popular! haha. The 4 players who travelled all the way from Kuwait to play never complained or said a word about it, but I think they wanted to play this event because of O'Sullivan joining. I felt bad for them, but there was nothing I could do. I told O'Sullivan's manager to make a press-release about his cancellation, which the newspapers printed.

Despite of this, the tournament was a huge success. We had more than 35 mini-tournaments during that tournament, with 8 players in each. The tournaments varied from race to 1, $15 entry, to race to 5 $ 150 entry. There was something for everyone, and it was like a big party till closing time every night.
Marcus Chamat was the top seeded after the groups, with only losing 3 games on 7 matches. He was in top-form, and therefore he got to meet the last seeded in the single elimination, young snooker player Kurt Maflin. Kurt Maflin ended up beating Marcus 9-8 in a thriller, and then proceed to finish 3rd in the tournament. Kurt later on won the World Amateur Snooker Championship.

Jasmin Ouschan lost 9-8 to #1 ranked in Netherland, Brian Beekers, in the quarterfinal, and got a nice 5th finish.

The final was a superp performance by Mika Immonen, winning 9-4 over Oliver Ortmann.

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How I practice

Most of the time I practice by playing the Ghost in 9-ball or 10-ball. Sometimes I line up difficult shots or safeties that I have been struggling with, and the rest of the time I am normally using on the system called PAT.

I am using PAT (Playing Ability Test) to test my skills and to see progress, and it is really working great for me.

I have bought the books and DVD's on Amazon, and I recommend it to all players who wants to raise their game to another level.

PAT consists of 4 different levels, from amateurs to professionals. As a side-note, top-players such as Jasmin Ouschan and Thorsten Hohmann uses PAT on a regular basis.

The best part of PAT is that the majority of drills in the books/videos are situations that you often will face in a match. Nothing pleases me more than be in such a situation knowing that I have practiced this and fires it in with confidence.

Check out my Billiard Store and buy the books/dvd's that suits your level!

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