Chet Ito Memorial Tournament

The 2nd annual Chet Ito Memorial Tournament was held last weekend at the California Billiard Club in Mountain View, California. 93 players showed up for the event held to honor Chet Ito, founder of the California Billiard Club, who lost his battle with cancer in August of 2009. For extensive coverage of the tournament, visit Doug Wu’s excellent website,

This year the tournament was held as an Open, meaning there were no handicaps given out to players. At first I was a little hesitant to play in the tournament given the $50 entry fee and the high caliber of players who would compete, but I finally decided it was worth the price for the opportunity to play against some of the best players on the West Coast. I have to say, it was a good choice, as I played much better than I expected. On the winner’s side, I made it to the match before the money round and lost to Deo Alpajora 2-8. Deo eventually finished the tournament in 5th place. I went to the loser’s side and made it back to the game before the money round, then lost to Jared Williams 4-8. Jared eventually finished the tournament in 13th place.

I did win a few matches.  I was very happy with my 8-6 victory over a very good “A” player in the second round of the winner’s bracket, but the most satisfying match from the tournament was my 8-3 victory in the loser’s bracket over an “A” rated player which was streamed live over the internet. My proudest moment was my 9 ball run out in rack number 4…a very difficult run that starts with a table length kick shot. You can watch my entire match on Ustream below.

The biggest benefit of having a match recorded is the fact that I can watch it repeatedly and identify things to work on (which are many). Here’s a very brief synopsis my match:
Rack 1: Win. Lots of safes and kicks and the game ends with a 4-9 combo.
Rack 2: Win. I make a shot but lose position. We trade a couple safes, then I bank the 3 and run out.
Rack 3: Win. I’m hooked after the break and foul on a kick. My opponent misses a shot and I make three tough shots, only to lose position on the eight. A few safeties later, I finally finish the rack.
Rack 4: Win. I make a dry break and my opponent plays a safe. Next I make the ESPN shot of the week – a perfect table length kick on the one. I get decent position for the 2, but can’t cut it clean, so I have to pocket the 2 ball using a carom off the 3 ball.  On my next shot I must execute a very tough draw shot off the 3 ball to get position on the 4. To get from the 4 to the 5, I have to shoot a 9 foot stun/draw shot.  I somehow continue sinking balls and run out the entire rack. A very difficult layout I might add! 😉
Rack 5: Lose. We have any early battle for control of the table, the I finally manage to take control and run the rack out…only to lose position from the 8 to the 9…then I dog the 9!
Rack 6: Lose. Lots of kicks and safes. I eventually sell out on a safe and my opponent runs 6 balls and out.
Rack 7: Win. Lots of kicks and safes. My opponent misses a shot and I run 4 balls out.
Rack 8: Lose. I scratch on the break. I miss a shot and my opponent runs 4 balls and out.
Rack 9: Win. Lots of kicks and safes (starting to see a pattern here?) I hit a 5-9 combo for the win.
Rack 10: Win. Kicks and safes again to start, he misses, and I run 5 balls out for the win. Look out for the scratch in the side pocket!!
Rack 11: Win. On the hill, my game play starts to falter a little. I get lucky though and manage to grind my way through the game and eventually make a very difficult cut shot on the 9 to win the match.


5 responses to “Chet Ito Memorial Tournament

  1. Very nice run on #4. The kick was sick, but then so was the carom.

    The commentators were amusing… seemed to be in their own little world (behind on the score, etc).

  2. I’m late to this post, but I finally got here. I watch the whole match and my question to you is: How many times did you watch the entire match and say to yourself “what the hell was I thinking”? I know, for me, it’s the *main* reason I video myself as much as I can. I’m always asking “why didn’t I just do [this] or [that]?”. There were a few shots in the video where I would have loved to stop you and say “why are you banking this ball when your next ball’s position isn’t a given?”. I’d have to rewatch the video again to point out the specific shot that gave me that thought; but I expect (if I’m remembering correctly) that you already know the shot I’m referring to.

    You played really well and I look forward to more videos in the future. 🙂

    • Johnny, you are correct. I’ve watched it many times and always marvel at some of the deicisions that I made. I do have to say that the table looks very different when you are actually shooting versus watching from the sideline. At least to me it’s different. When I’m watching at match, I’m thinking, “Yeah, the right thing to do is x, y, and z.” Often, when I’m shooting, I’m thinking something slightly different, usually because of my own knowlege of strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes I’m just not ‘seeing’ the balls right. Pool is a funny and sometimes fickle sport. Thanks for watching and commenting. Watching yourself on video is definitely a learning experience!

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