Minh Cam Ma (2nd from left next to Pedro Piedrabuena above) won the open tournament held at US Bida in Houston Texas November 17-19. The official players list for the tournament consisted of a total of 40 entrants. What was most exciting about the event was the entry of some of the top International players from Vietnam and Ecuador who traveled to Houston to play. All of the tournament details including players lists, charts, pictures and prize fund can be found in the gallery below.
Charles Brown the Tournament Director established the format as 5 groups of 8 in round robin with 3 from each group advancing to a single elimination final round. The qualifications were played to 25 points while the final knock-out stage was played to 40 points.
After the qualification rounds all the star players and top US talent still remained... only the local players and a few of the out of town US players were eliminated. The final 16th spot in the knock-out round was filled by a lotto. In the first series of knock-out matches there were no surprises - the top players all performed as expected. The final eight players that remained at the quarter-final stage were truly the best players in the event. Only former champion Hugo Patino didn't make it through, losing to one of the great visiting Vietnamese players in a 40-38 squeaker. The quarters included three former US champs: Pedro Piedrabuena, Mazin Shooni and Sonny Cho who were there along with Minh Cam Ma, Dinh Nai Ngo, Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, Ang Vu Duong and Quyet Chien Tran.
The quarters saw Sonny and Mazin fall, while two of the Vietnamese players facing each other were also eliminated. That brought us to the final four: Pedro, Ma, Vu and Chien. Pedro and Ma continued there undefeated ways forcing their epic showdown in the final match. In the end Ma proved better... but only on this day... as there hopefully will be many more to come for all our great combatants.
Our congratulations to Minh Cam Ma for a great undefeated performance capped by his win in the final match against Pedro Piedrabuena 40-29. And much thanks goes out to Tournament Director Charles Brown and organizers Michael Kang of New York's Carom Cafe and Patrick Tran the owner of US Bida.