Multi-balled Lately?

  1. Xiao Wei from Sichuan fed top-spin balls to Auria when he and Chen Longcan visited the United States in 2004
  2. Xiao Wei fed under-spin balls to Jackie Lee
  3. Chen Longcan practiced with Ariel Hsing when Ariel was 8-year-and-3-month old. (2/5/2004)
  4. Chen Longcan warmed up with Xiao Wei while waiting for Auria Malek and Jackie Lee

10/20 and 10/27 Weblog Updates

  • The deadline for the US Nationals at Las Vegas will be 11/1. If you win any event there, you can play MSC round robin for fee for a year! If you win three events, free for life! Check out the USATT website for more info.
  • 10/20 RR: (full result)
    1. Dan Lin
    2. Danny Hui
    3. George Siu
  • 10/27 RR: (full result)
    1. Truong Tu
    2. Peter Tsang
    3. Winston Chen
    4. Chao Zhang
    5. Wilson Ta
  • Congratulations to all winners. 7059 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • There are still spots in the 11/3 RR. Please email me to sign up ASAP.
  • Financial position:
    $42: RR
    $30: DVD contribution
    $76: welcome dinner for Sara's homecoming after Stanford tournament (paid for Sara, Mark Hazinski, Scott Andre, and Guo Xi)
    Balance: $7,044.57

World Cadet Challenge

Two of our girls, Ariel Hsing and Lily, helped Team USA to get the 5th place in the tournament. Ariel is our regular and Lily played a few times.

Let's cheer for them in the following individual event.

Check out the ITTF website for more results.

North America Tour Final

(Now that Mark Hazinski has eaten with us, can we include his result as MSC's?:-))

I think everyone would agree that the biggest story for MSC in the tournament was the upsets in the U2000 event, right? Nah, I don't think that would make it even top seed Jim Chai and 3rd seed Bruce Liu did get knocked out at the semi-final.:-)

Instead, it was the U2250 event! Five of our "The Incredibles" members made to the main draw! Three of them made to the semi-final. In the first semi-final, Joey Hu faced his teammate and doubles partner Nelson Yu. Joey lost to Nelson a couple of times in their previous encounters. But not this time! When Joey won the 4th game at 3:1, he pumped his fists in ecstasy to claim the victory. Alas, it turned out from semi-final up it was 4 out 7 instead 3 out of 5.:-) Nelson, mean while, teammate or not, made sure Joey had to earn it and won the next two games to even the match to 3:3! Joey did just that by winning the last game at deuce! (11,-5,8,6,-12,-8,10)

In the second semi-final, Michael Sung overpowered a strong Japanese female player from southern California, who upset quite a few good players, including Nelson Yu and Avishy Schmidt, throughout the tournament. (9,-7,-1,6,-8,-5)

So, the stage was set, it was Joey and Michael who played with each other numerous times. Joey took the early lead to 3:1. However, despite being exhausted and having a cramp, Michael did not give up. He even the the match to 3:3! Joey was in disbelief! Would the first ever 4-star tournament champion slip away from him again? Not this time! Joey won the 7th game to secure the victory. (9,8,-5,8,-7,-6,8)

Trieu-Tien Nguyen's win in U2125 was a great one, not only for himself but also for MSC. He beat Walter Guan in the final after Walter knocked out Jim Chai in the semi, Henry Sit in quarter, and Wayne Lo in 8's!

BTW, all quarter-finalists in the U4200 pairs played MSC RR's before except Sally Su and Peter Chen! Any idea how we should recruit them?:-) Some familiar names did not even make the quarter! For example, Bruce Liu, Troung Tu, and Ankur Patel, to name a few.

Also, MSC only had one team, with a combined rating merely 2901, ranked 16th among 17 teams, entered the U3200 Doubles! It was a well-deserved champion. Claire Yeh and Stanley Sun knocked out the 2nd seed in the first round and top seed in the final!

Congratulations to all winner! All 1st place finishers will get a month RR free!

  • Open - semi-finalist Shen Hailong
  • Open Doubles - quarter-finalists Joey Hu/Nelson Yu
  • Women's - 2nd Sara Fu (homecoming from Texas)
  • U22 - 1st Shen Hailong
  • U2375 - semi-finalist Truong Tu, quarter finalist Nelson Yu
  • U2250 - 1st Joey Hu, 2nd Michael Sung, semi-finalist Nelson Yu, quarter-finalist Terry Tam
  • U2125 - 1st Trieu-tien Nguyen, semi-finalist Jim Chai, quarter-finalist Henry Sit, Wei Chen (the Cupertino Wei), Han Nguyen
  • U2000 - semi-finalists Jim Chai, Bruce H. Liu
  • U1850 - 1st Chao Zhang, semi-finalists Peter Chung, quarter-finalists Garry Barretto, George Zhao, Qingmin Liu, Ali Safai
  • U1700 - quarter-finalists Ton Huy, Arjun Desai,
  • U1550 - 2nd Jerome Poon
  • U1100 - semi-finalist Omkar Raje, quarter-finalist Ewrin Yu
  • U4200 - 1st Terry Tam/Sally Su, 2nd Michael Sung/Tzu-ying Li, semi-finalsts Trieu-tien Nguyen/Henry Sit, Vincent Tai/Johnny Huang, quarter-finalists Barry Or/Mark Johnson, Qingmin Liu/Peter Chen, Voltaire Benedicto/Jim Chai, Ming Zhang/David Chow
  • U3200 - 1st Claire Yeh/Stanley Sun (Have they ever lost?)
  • Over 40 - quarter-finalist Voltaire Benedicto
  • Over 50 - 1st Kock Loe, 2nd Wayne Lo, semi-finalist Mark Johnson
  • Over 60 - 2nd Mou-Lin Zhao
  • Junior Under 10 - 1st Madhukar Lokavarapu

10/13 Weblog Update

  • 9/29 RR: (full result)
    1. Ariel Hsing
    2. David Rudesill
    3. Dan Lin
    4. Jerome Poon
    5. Bobby Sun
  • Congratulations to all winners. 6965 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • 10/20 RR is free! There are still a few spots. Please email me to sign up ASAP. In case you haven't noticed, the RR contribution is $3 now.
  • We'll use Joola balls for the RR's as well as for the prize. The Joola balls will be the official balls for the coming 2007 NA Tour Final at Stanford on 10/20-21. (And all future NATT tournaments)
  • Financial position:
    $54: RR
    $9: USATT membership renewal (Sean, Nelson)
    $210: 2007 WTTC DVD's (14 disks)
    $45: one scorekeeper and one net set
    $6.24: two racket holders
    Balance: $7,048.57

2007 World Table Tennis Championships DVD's

We purchased a set of the DVD's. They are ready for checking out. Let me know if you are interested. The standard recommended contribution to check out a disk is $5.

Table Tennis Illustrated

The July/August issue of the Table Tennis Illustrated has arrived. It is an official magazine published by International Table Tennis Federation. Let me know if you are interested in the magazine.

8/4 - 10/6 Weblog Updates

  • It's been a while. Just came back from a rehab center in Taiwan for Internet addition.:-) I guess I failed!
  • 9/29 RR: ($39)
    1. Voltaire Benedicto
    2. Peter Tsang
    3. Ali Shafai
    4. Chao Zhang
    5. Madhu Lokavarapu
  • 9/22 RR: ($42)
    1. Truong Tu
    2. James Nguyen
    3. Michael Liu
    4. Jerome Poon
    5. Bobby Sun
  • 9/15 RR: free
    1. Ming Zhang
    2. Chao Zhang
    3. George Siu
    4. Erik Thai
  • 9/8 RR: ($36)
    1. Hai-Long Shen
    2. Phuc Tran
    3. Harsha Lokavarapu
    4. Claire Yeh
  • 9/1 RR: ($24)
    1. Quan Huynh
    2. Henry Sit
    3. Everett Wang
    4. Madhukar Lokavarapu
  • 8/25 RR: (free)
    1. Ming Zhang
    2. Vincent Wang
    3. Qingmin Liu
    4. Wei Chen
    5. Charles Yang
  • 8/18 RR: ($27)
    1. Ming Zhang
    2. Richard Li
    3. Larry Lee
  • 8/11 RR: ($45)
    1. Barry Or
    2. Andrew Wong
    3. Tran Bui
    4. Lin Sun
  • 8/4 RR: (free)
    1. Seyed Nejad
    2. Chao Zhang
    3. CJ Wang
  • Thanks to Jerome and Ron who took care of the RR's while I was away and kept excellent records to make my updates much easier.
  • Congratulations to all winners. 6906 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • I foresee 10/13 RR will be crowded. Please email me to sign up ASAP. In case you haven't noticed, the RR contribution is $3 now. (However, the MSC admission has been increased to $4 since 7/2/2007.)
  • We'll use Joola balls for the RR's as well as for the prize. The Joola balls will be the official balls for the coming 2007 NA Tour Final at Stanford on 10/20-21. (And all future NATT tournaments)
  • Financial position:
    $213: RR (from 8/4 - 10/6)
    Balance: $7,246.81

Chen Longcan Article in the USATT Magazine

The Editor shortened the article and credited the photo used as mine. It was actually taken by Dan Lin.

Here is the full article originally submitted to the USATT magazine.

Chen Longcan at the 2007 US Open

(From left Tang Gaolin, Marty Reisman, Cheng Yinghua, and Chen Longcan in the "Top of the World" at top of the Stratosphere)

(From left Peter Tsang, Mark Johnson, Bo Lei, and Chen Longcan in an 11-seater limo to Stratosphere)

Quite a few familiar names, such as Aleksandar Karakasevic, Thomas Keinath, Wilson Zhang, and Stefan Feth returned to play in the US Open this year. Although trouble with their travel documents forced a few top Indian players to withdraw from the Open at the last minute, the presence of the Japan national team made the men’s singles draw very strong.

However an “old guy” whose hairline is nearly as high as the altitude of Las Vegas made quite a splash at the Open. Chen Longcan, age 42, former Olympic gold medalist, had entered the men’s singles.

Chen is a good friend of Cheng Yinghua, many times US Nationals champion. They are from the same province and were teammates on both the China national team and the Sichuan province team. In fact, they had teamed together to win the men’s doubles at the 1987 China Nationals.

After retiring from the China national team in 1991, Chen went on to play in Japan and had the highest winning rate in Japan. In 1999 at the first World Club competition in China, he represented Nissan Motors and stunned Wang Tao and Liu Guoliang.

In the year 2000, Chen decided to retire as a player. He chose the North American Teams Championships in Baltimore as his last tournament. His 9-0 record earned him a 2809 USATT rating. After the tournament, Chen coached Fukuhara Ai, the highest ranked female player in Japan now, for a full year before he decided to return to China in 2001 although eligible for Japanese citizenship.

Chen is now the head coach of Sichuan province in China. He has not played a tournament since 2000. When he played in an exhibition, he used inverted rubber to make it easier for his opponents. But could he still play competitively after retiring from competition for seven years? Lots of people were dubious about that. After all, this was the US Open!

Despite his 2809 USATT rating, Chen had to play the preliminary round robin since he no longer had a world ranking. Chen had two sub-2000 players in his group. Although Chen won both matches easily, it was hard to tell how good or bad he was since he simply pushed or blocked down his opponents without much moving. In the two best of seven matches, his opponents averaged 10 points per match.

In the first round of the main draw, Chen faced Andreas Baecker from Germany who came in with a 2436 USATT rating. It appeared Chen was not comfortable playing competitively any more as he lost the first game in deuce. He had trouble returning the serve and serving short. It was very tough for his fans to see an Olympic gold medalist struggle like that. Chen continued to struggle in the second game but won it 11:9 to even the match at one game apiece. A spectator unintentionally commented out loud that Chen was old. Chen just might have heard that. All of a sudden it was all Chen in the following three games, winning 4, 3, and 8! Chen appeared to gaze in the direction of that spectator just for a moment after the match.

His second round match was against Khoa Nguyen, a two-time US Olympian. Chen and Khoa are old acquaintances. They had played in an exhibition in San Francisco in 2000. Chen seemed to loosen up a bit in this match, beating Khoa in four.

In the next round fighting for a spot in the quarter-finals, Chen faced Shen Qiang. Shen Qiang was born in China but is currently a member of the Canada national team. Chen dispatched Shen quickly. (8,4,10,9)

Chen’s serves in this match wowed quite a few spectators. Chen could impart a deadly spin with a seemingly casual swipe of his backhand. Shen either pushed it into the bottom of the net or popped it up for the inevitable smash. Hardly noticeable, Chen twiddles his racket. He uses the inverted side to serve and immediately twiddles to the short pips side. People could only see it because the colors of the two rubbers were different. Imagine the problem this would present if there were still no two-color rule!

Hey, the “old guy” was in the quarter-finals! Even Chen himself was smiling. Chen mentioned somewhat proudly, while smoking like a chimney after the match, that he honestly did not expect to advance this far.

Chen’s quarter-final opponent, Yosuke Kurashima, was also an old friend. Chen had played him several times when he was in Japan. He was not sure if he had ever lost to Yosuke-san. After all, it was more than ten years ago. However, this time, it was going to be different. Yosuke-san had just upset the second seed Thomas Keinath 4:1 in the previous round. Yosuke Kurashima was no longer a green kid and Chen was no longer in his prime.

It was arguably the most watched quarter-final match of the tournament. A large crowd, mostly Chinese people over 30, gathered in the arena to watch the match. They cheered for Chen, mostly in Chinese but sometimes in English, throughout the match just like they had 20 years ago. (Chen won his Men’s Doubles World Championship in 1987) But Kurashima was able to ignore the spectators in the first game, winning at 3. Chen probably had not played at this level for quite a long time. However, he did not panic. Actually, he looked pretty calm. He did not even use his backhand serve. He was able to turn the table by winning the next two games. This made the crowd go absolutely crazy. The rowdy middle-aged crowd chanted as loud as if they were at a rock concert back in their youth!

However, Kurashima regrouped. He won the next two games convincingly to snatch back the lead in the match 3:2. But just when people began to think it was all over, Chen won game 6 to tie the match. He refused to go away without putting up a fight! But alas, Chen could not sustain the momentum and lost game 7 and the match. In the end, youth was finally served.

This was not the first US Open for Chen. It was actually his fourth. He had also played in the ’89, ’90, and ’91 US Opens. Chen always enjoys visiting the US and may come back to play again, provided that it is still in Las Vegas!

(photo by Dan Lin)

A brief list of Chen’s achievements:
• 1985 World Championships - 1st in Teams, 2nd in Men's Singles
• 1986 World Cup - 1st in Men's Singles
• 1987 World Championships - 1st n Teams, 1st in Men's Doubles
• 1988 Olympics - 1st in Men's Doubles, 2nd in Teams
• 1988 Asian Championships - 1st in Men's Singles, 1st in Men's Doubles

ICC California State Open Videos/Slideshows

Chen Longcan and Xiao Wei Footage