Irish Open Report | The Irish Duelist

Irish Open Report

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Talk about being thrown into the deep-end. The first tournament of the new format that we have just entered into and it was going to be the largest one for most Irish players, myself included. Back in January at the first Irish Open I had a terrible weekend where Lady Luck decided to poke fun at me every five minutes; "Summon Snipe, roll..... 1,6,6,1,6,1,6,6,3,6,1,6,1,1" "Attack for game? Gorz! Honest! Mirror Force!" You get the idea.

I ended up going 3-5, a victim of hype and overconfidence, and started soul searching for the next few months. Two weeks later I had shown great resolve to claw myself back into contention at the Irish Fortune Tour Finals, an event that will be remembered for something entirely different. I became a wanted man in Dublin and I didn't get a chance to put it behind me until Nationals in April, where I gained back some of the respect I threw away on my previous visit.

Two months of local dominance followed and I found myself going to Lille, hoping to emulate the successes of Amsterdam '08. Needless to say, it didn't go so well. Then came Manchester and the UkayPro Championship. After that particular weekend I had finally recovered from the Irish Open and passed another turning point in my eventful dueling career.

All of the above was a result of The Irish Open, and now I'm back for a second shot, hoping to put in a respectable performance.


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[PREP] Preparation
[HSTL] The Hostel
[RGST] Registration
[RND1] Round 1
[RND2] Round 2
[RND3] Round 3
[RND4] Round 4
[RND5] Round 5
[RND6] Round 6
[RND7] Round 7
[RND8] Round 8
[PLOF] The Playoffs
[WNDN] Winding Down
[FUTR] Future Plans

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After the World Championships in Tokyo, a list of cards was 'leaked' and spread around the globe like wildfire; the rumoured list of cards to be banned, limited and semi-limited in September. Weeks of speculation followed before Konami finally put an end to all the buzz by posting up the real thing, which was fairly similar to what was on all the forums already. I wrote an article on the new list, letting my thoughts be known and once I posted it up on my blog, I started to dissect it in detail and get working on my deck for the Open.

For a start I requested that the Tournament Organiser in Limerick (Garry Jackson of The Gathering) allow the final two events of the format to use the new list, as many of the players would be attending the Open. For the final tournament of the format in Cork I was co-TO'ing it with Seán Lynch and we agreed that the Cork players should get in some new format practice as well. By the time the Open had come around I had played in four events with a new format deck (I ran new format Lightsworn for an event in the previous format aswell, refusing to rely on Crush Card Virus, Monster Reborn and Dark Strike Fighter).

Outside of a few games with Doomcaliber Stun, Zombie Monarch and other things, I ran Lightsworn, as I had been doing since July and decided to go with it for the Open. My one major concern going into the event was the decks inherent problems with bad opening hands, a feature that cost me two matches at the UkayPro Championship (my feature match loss just came down to my opponent milling lots of Necro Gardnas). I tried various things to try and improve the consistency of the deck, with moderate results. There's only so much that can be done with a deck that's so combo-reliant but I did what I could regardless. There was also the fact that people will be trying various things just because it was the dawn of a new format, so I had to prepare for a wide variety of matchups. Here is what I went with in the end, my thoughts on the deck and its development can be read here:

Monsters: 22
2 Judgment Dragon
2 Celestia, Lightsworn Angel
3 Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner
2 Wulf, Lightsworn Beast
2 Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
1 Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid
1 Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior
1 Jain, Lightsworn Paladin
1 Ryko, Lightsworn Summoner
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
3 Honest
3 Necro Gardna

Spells: 13
3 Charge of the Light Brigade
3 Solar Recharge
2 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Brain Control
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Monster Reincarnation

Traps: 7
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Beckoning Light
2 Threatening Roar
1 Torrential Tribute

Extra: 15
2 Stardust Dragon
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Thought Ruler Archfiend
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Avenging Knight Parshath
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Blackwing Armor Master
1 Arcanite Magician
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth
1 Tempest Magician
1 Iron Chain Dragon
2 Magical Android

Side: 15
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
2 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
1 Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid
1 Phantom of Chaos
2 Book of Moon
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Monster Reincarnation
3 Royal Decree
1 Mirror Force
The Hostel[HSTL]

On the Friday before the event I get up early and head into college to check up on a few things online. Unfortunately the technical staff turned on the 'Games' filter of Websense again so I couldn't go to 99% of the pages I usually would on an average session (I'm currently trying to get this issue resolved as my thesis and main project work are gaming-related). After checking the few sites I could I headed to the bus station to begin my four hour trip across the country. Upon arriving in Dublin I check in to Isaac's Hostel and pick up supplies at a nearby supermarket. Once I return I unpack and have a drink with some Germans who booked the same room.

I head downstairs just in time to see Alex and Anto check in and we kicked off the Yugi-session that I had arranged on the forum. Alex was running Gladiators while Anto was playing Zombie Monarchs. I have a few games against both with my Lightsworn as more players arrive. After an hour or so there were quite a few of us in attendance (Myself, Alex, Anto, Ant, Karl, Duggan, Kev Wong, Darren, Niall, Packie, Roche, Patrick and a few of Alex's mates from England) so a lot of testing, trading and (most importantly) drinking was done. At about 9pm or so most of the group heads off to get some food while I go find the nearest Internet café to print out my decklist. While I'm there I get a call from Gehan (himself and Suzie travelled over here from the UK) and we meet up before all heading back to the hostel.

After some more games and Gehan's reunion with his idol Kevin Wong I pull a folder out of my bag and ask the question that most Limerick players want to hear: "Who's up for Lucky Random Auction!TM" For €1 a go players get to pick random cards out of my 'weaker' folder, which is full of holos, commons and rares that I can't usually trade away. People could walk away with anything from a common D.D. Warrior Lady to an ultimate rare Black Rose Dragon or whatever is in between. Essentially they can get a €10 card or a €0.10 one depending on what numbers they pick (the numbers help decide the page and so on). The money rolls in as people chance their luck, some coming very close to getting the 'money cards' right away. Luminas and Crows hop out of the folder till Gehan gets his hands on it and suggests a new way of picking the pages (flicking through it at speed and hitting the first card that shows up). Much hilarity ensues as people see dirt cheap Colossal Fighters and Ultimate Rares leaving the pages. Every time another Euro goes in (and another bottle of booze goes down) it gets better and better till people run out of change.

I ended up making about €30 from it before I head off around town for a bit with Gehan and Suzie. I introduce Gehan to the awesomeness that is 'Tayto Cheese & Onion' when he realises he's short on cash. Despite O' Connell Street being the biggest street in the country we could only find 2 ATM machines, and one of them was out of order. The other one was the wierdest one ever. For a start it was at a stupidly high level, almost 2-3 feet higher than a normal ATM. Then when Gehan puts in his pin code we all gaze at the options: the smallest pre-set amount that could be taken out was €150! When he pressed other amounts the reply was "Please select a multiple of €50 to withdraw". You don't get these ATMs down in Limerick, that's for sure.

After this we try and find a bus that can take them back to the Airport (their hotel was out there) and none of the ten stops on O' Connell Street were going there tonight. We try Busáras (Ireland's biggest bus station) and find out that it is.... closed. At 11pm on a Friday night? What the hell? There was no other choice but to go back to the hostel, where we chilled out for a bit before they got a taxi (to be honest I can't remember if the 'Lucky Random AuctionTM' was during their first or second visit to the hostel so I'm just guessing here). By midnight the group had halved as Alex and his mates went to bed and Ant headed back to his hotel. Most of us were all Yugi'd out so we chilled with some pool and more beer for a few hours. I manage to sell off a whole bunch of stuff (including my spare European Championship Mat), making about €150 in the process. After more drinking (I hardly had any to be fair), pool and Chuck Norris jokes I headed up to my room at about 2am while the others decided to forget about sleeping altogether.

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I get up at 8am and stock up on supplies for the day before heading down to the venue, bumping into Brian Dunne and James Kinsella along the way. Once I get there I see the Italians that I knew were heading over for the event. Silvio hadn't shown up yet but arrived like five minutes later and explained why they weren't at the hostel the night before (it was fully booked). More players arrive and I catch up with Ant, who was still having trouble with his Dragon deck. He had made some of the changes that myself and Kevin Wong suggested last night but the deck still wasn't feeling right so Brian chipped in and changed a lot of things, making it a better pick against Lightsworn.

The doors open at about half nine and we all queue up for registration, with some of the Limerick lads struggling to stand up and/or stay awake after last night's session. A few feet ahead of me I spot a Paris Saint Germain top and wonder if it belonged to who I think I did (turns out it was indeed Vincent Ralambomiadana, the 2008 French Champion) and eventually get to the registration desk, where Kenny hands me a blank Konami decklist. I look at him and go “aww, but I typed my list already” but since these sheets had plenty of new stuff on them (like spaces for deck checks, warnings etc.) I had to re-write my list.

After saying hello to a few more people I hadn't seen in a while (Petru thanked me for helping out with the Dark End Dragon mod trade on Pojo) I found a table that wasn't too busy and got writing. I needed some backing though and pulled out the Irish Open playmat that I had designed to use in this event. The mat got the attention of a few people who all thought it was very striking and good to look at. Many also enquired as to whether or not it was part of the prize support but I had no plans to sell it off... until Kenny enquired about it himself. After Gehan suggested that I should try and get a little profit for designing it I agreed to sell it off and allow the winner to take it home with him (I got to use it for the first 3 rounds of swiss though). Once everything calmed down and Tim Chen gave the player briefing the pairings for the first round went up.
Round 1 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Ryan McCusker [RND1] Table 8
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Stun) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

As soon as I saw the first card hit the table I was glad that I wasn't playing a mirror-match, I didn't need that kind of awkwardness right from the off. It turns out he was playing a Stun variant, something that my main deck was ready for. I drew pretty well and got off an early Celestia to put pressure on him right away. He couldn't recover and I took it with successive attacks and an extra 3,000ATK near the end from my 'little white dragon'.

Game 2 was a little more competitive, with some card-for-card trades keeping the field clear most of the time. After a few turns he has a set monster and I go Lumina into Aurkus and attack into it with the free Wulf I had. Turns out it was a Sprit Reaper, which could be troublesome as I was 20 cards into my deck already. He has no answer to my field on his turn to I tune up and summon Avenging Knight Parshath to run over it. (I was expecting a Mirror Force or something to get in the way, but I took the risk regardless) I should have activated Avenging's effect to kill it outright, but luckily enough the misplay didn't cost me anything and I finished it next turn.



Game record: 2-0
Match record: 1-0
Round 2 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Thomas Connelly [RND2] Table 25
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Stun) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This was a fun game, with a very carefree atmosphere. Thomas greeted me with good spirits and was like "my first big event and I get you!? I read your blog all the time!" As the game developed I realised that he was running an updated version of the deck I posted in my 'Deck of Commons' article recently. Since it was a stun variant, a deck that I had beaten in the previous round, I was well prepared for anything he could throw at me. After some early hits in the first game I regain control and press my advantage with some big hitters (Wulf and Kycoo mainly) to take the game. Game 2 was mine from the beginning as I went in hard with the aggressive moves that I like to make every so often.



Game record: 4-0
Match record: 2-0
Round 3 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Patrick Farrell [RND3] Table 4
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Synchro Mix) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Patrick was one of my local opponents and one of the guys who stayed up through the night in the hostel. He was running some random synchro variant with many strange deck choices so if I got the right hands it should have been an easy match. He started off with a T-set before I summoned Lyla. Instead of popping the backrow I tried to get an attack in or force him to use it and he hit me back with a Magic Cylinder. Next turn he sets another and I use Lyla's effect right away, forcing him to chain Fires of Doomsday. I set a Necro Gardna to finish, milled another and watched him take my monster with Destiny Hero - Plasma, running over the Gardna in the process. Next turn I top Gold Sarcophagus and search for Lightning Vortex. Two turns later and the hero was gone and my Wulf got in a direct hit. Next turn I clear his field with Celestia before dropping Judgment Dragon for game. Game 2 was a far easier proposition, as I had a strong opening hand and had answers to his initial threats before making my move, taking the game in less than five turns.



Game record: 6-0
Match record: 3-0
Round 4 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Massimilliano Parisato [RND4] Table 4
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Lightsworn) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

To be fair, I had an easy ride up to this point, going through my matches with no real difficulties at all. Things were getting serious now as I knew I was going to have a tough game ahead of me. The one thing I noticed about this match was how long it took. Towards the end of the first game I knew we were going to go into End of Match Procedure and tried to press home my advantage before then. The first game was very tactical as we both played around cards we knew were in each other's hands, either through reads or card effects like Sarcophagus. In the end he miscounted the number of cards in his deck and lost due to deckout.

The second game went better for him as I wasn't drawing pretty well until the later stages of the game. By the time this game was nearing its conclusion there was very little time on the clock and quite a few people were watching. Again I was playing around cards he had searched for Sarcophagus, trying to force him to make the first move before I could swing back with my Lightning Vortex/Judgment Dragon. According to Lynam afterwards I misplayed and should have just went for it, which made sense when he re-told me the scenario that should have played out. It eventually went to time and I went first, hoping to get a good draw/mill session going. Unfortunately I opened up pretty badly with Plaguespreader Zombie, Necro Gardnas and some other cards that I could only defend with. It didn't help that he got off two Celestias either and he duly won the match.




Game record: 7-2
Match record: 3-1
Round 5 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Adam Bienvenu [RND5] Table 6
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Lightsworn) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I had seen this kid play throughout the day and he was pretty impressive. Unlike some of his previous opponents I wasn't going to underestimate him (I was pretty hard not to when he had a Dark End Dragon mat right in front of him that he earned himself). Once the game got underway I realised just how good he was and got totally outplayed in the first game, with him making some really good moves. Game 2 I open pretty badly (double Wulf) and mill pretty awkwardly aswell (milled THREE Royal Decrees off a single Charge, talk about bad shuffling, though it was a risky call to side them in in the first place) but his hands were worse and I got the win with Judgment Dragon (we had a good laugh when he surprised me by dropping Reincarnation and shouting "Gorz!" at this point). Game 3 he opened with 2 Judgment Dragons, but played them really well, forcing me into clearing smaller threats before dropping them one at a time, taking every precaution not to have his moves backfire. He ended up making it into the Top 8, which is pretty impressive for a 12 year-old at a 112-man event.




Game record: 8-4
Match record: 3-2
Round 6 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Joseph Wier [RND6] Table 25
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Tragoedia Gadgets) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

By this stage I knew that topping would be very difficult, even if I won the rest of my rounds as I would be relying on tiebreakers for a high finish. I also didn't want another mirror-match since I had just come off two tight defeats to pretty decent players. Luckily enough I got Joe Wier, who was on the table to my left for Round 1, so I knew beforehand what kind of deck I was facing. In Game 1 I get out an early Judgment Dragon for 3,000 points of damage but it gets hit by Smashing Ground right away. After taking a Green Gadget to the face I steal it and poke before tributing it for Celestia which gets Bottomlessed. Another 1,200 from a Yellow Gadget follows and I'm having to rely on Necro Gardnas until I can regain my footing. Unfortunately he dropped a Kycoo and I was out of it for Game 1. Game 2 went over and back for quite a bit (three consecutive Bottomlesses I believe) before I drop a Thought Ruler to get around the Shrink/Book he had face-down. Once I get it out and gain some LP there's not much he could do but he eliminates it after a few turns with Smash/Fissure and gets in a quick hit before I seal it with Judgment Dragon.

Game 3 was difficult from the start, as he dropped Tragoedia fairly quickly and started stealing my monsters. By the time I could summon Judgment Dragon I had a difficult decision to face; I have Judgment Dragon and Phantom of Chaos in-hand (a Lyla and 4 other Sworn in grave) to his 3 in-hand, Tragoedia, Garoth and 2 face-downs. I expected one of them to be Solemn Judgment/Royal Oppression and wanted to clear it before dropping the dragon to wipe out the rest, so I summon Phantom, copy Lyla and pop his... Mirror Force. I drop Judgment Dragon anyways and it gets Oppressioned. He takes it in the next few turns. In hindsight I could have dropped the Dragon first and cleared with Phantom, but at the time I wanted a monster that could do enough damage over 2 turns to seal the win. These things happen, at least he was a fun opponent to play against.




Game record: 9-6
Match record: 3-3
Round 7 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Jack Doyle [RND7] Table 32
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Blackwings) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I had zero chance of topping now and wouldn't even make Top 16 so I just wanted to have some fun with the rest of these games. On the table next to me Gehan got paired up against Kevin Wong so there was going to be some fun stuff going on regardless (Kevin hit him with Time Wizard and various other tricks but couldn't win out). Meanwhile I got paired against a Blackwing player and when I ran over the first monster (Mistral) I was like "Easy win!". Turns out it was quite easy game 1 as I had Sarco'd for Judgment Dragon pretty early and beat face from there. Game 2 I sided in my usual stuff against Blackwings (if they can't Normal Summon they can't win I always say) and made quick work of them with another Judgment Dragon, backed up by Bottomlesses and Books. At this point I enquire about some Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragons (been wanting to run Disaster DragonTM ever since I heard of the Wyvern reprint and that awesome match from US Nats) and Gehan sells me a playset for €40 and a Rai-Mei (he collects them). With that done I head off for a quick lunch and wait for the final round.



Game record: 11-6
Match record: 4-3
Round 8 vs Image and video hosting by TinyPic Gareth Steward [RND8] Table 24
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(Lightsworn vs Cat Synchro) Image and video hosting by TinyPic

By now I was no longer worried about winning or losing as I had, at worst, broken even. At first I thought I was facing another Stun deck as I kept on attacking over D.D. Warrior Ladys but my mind was put at ease once X-Saber Airbellum came out. Turns out I was playing against some wierd Cat Synchro deck that was on its last legs after the banlist. He didn't feel too confident about this matchup once he saw how aggressive I was playing and ran out of defensive options quite quickly in Game 1. I didn't bother siding for Game 2 and went second as he used up his Cat to synch into a Goyo right away (his hand must have been really bad). I play Solar Recharge, draw Celestia and mill a Wulf, perfect! After dropping the Celestia and clearing the field he eliminates it with Smashing Ground and pokes for 1,500 with a Warrior Lady. Next turn I play another Recharge to... draw Celestia, mill Wulf. I cleared his field again, he replies with Bottomless and we exchange blows for a few turns before I drop Judgment Dragon, which causes a big enough shift in momentum for me to seal the win.



Game record: 13-6
Match record: 5-3
The Playoffs[PLOF]

After finishing off my previous game I head around and get in some quick trades before catching up with Alex. Turns out he dropped at 2-3, his Gladiators not doing him well at all. We decide to have a few games with swapped decks and mess about with various combos. In one game he gets out Lumina, Lumina, Aurkus, Wulf, Wulf so I decide to be cheeky and summon Secutor and set 5, playing up that I have Mirror Force. He tributes for Celestia and gets walloped by Torrential. I flip Call of the Haunted, get it back, top Test Tiger and beat face. After this the standings get called out... twice (Tim read out the Round 7 standings by mistake the first time) with only 2 Irish and a lot of Lightsworn in the top 8:

Top 8 (Decklists here)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [1][7-1] Silvio Bronzino
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [2][7-1] Yohann Descamps
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [3][7-1] Alain Ly
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [4][7-1] Luke Lennard
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [5][7-1] Huynh Hoai Nam
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [6][6-2] Anthony Toner
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [7][6-2] Adam Bienvenu
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [8][6-2] Dave Duggan

Top 16
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [9][6-2] Francesco Liuzzi
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [10][6-2] Massimiliano Parisato
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [11][6-2] Jonathan Hamer
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [12][6-2] James Kinsella
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [13][6-2] Thomas Connelly
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [14][6-2] Eduardo Lorenzini
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [15][6-2] Stephen Lynam
Image and video hosting by TinyPic [16][6-2] Seán-Tee Lim

Other Standings
[17][6-2] Salem Teko
[23][5-3] Cian Greaney
[27][5-3] Suzie White
[28][5-3] PJ Tierney
[31][5-3] Joseph Wier
[33][5-3] Karl Ryan
[46][4-4] Gehan Amaranayake
[47][4-4] Gareth Steward
[56][4-4] Kevin Wong
[57][4-4] Kieran Waters
[64][4-4] Brandon Murtagh

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As the tournament rambled on I got the standings sheets off Kenny and tried to fill out as many decks as possible in order to establish the metagame we had on the day. While I could only get about half of them there were still 25 Lightsworn decks on the 50 or so I gathered, which shows how popular the deck is in Europe (with Ireland and the UK known to have more LS decks on average than the rest of the continent). After this I start trading for more Disaster DragonTM pieces off of Alan Warnock and Adam Hussein and we get into a quite amusing haggling war going down to the last penny every time I wanted something. I also got quite a good deal off Massimiliano when exchanging English cards (Lightsworn secret rares) for Italian ones as he threw in €35, 2 Blizzard Dragons (one super rare) and an Exploder Dragon to seal the deal.

Meanwhile Alain had won the event, making some really impressive plays against Luke Lennard in the final (you can read the feature match here) so congratulations are in order and I hope he does just as well at SJC Orlando. Well done also to Anthony Toner and Dave Duggan for making it to the Top 8, Ant doing it with Dragons and Duggan doing it in a large event for the first time. I (and many others) would have hoped for an Irish victory but it was not to be unfortunately...
Winding Down[WNDN]

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After some more trades and banter (Gehan managed to make profit off of some cards he found on the floor, getting players to sign them and then selling them off to others, I almost bought the Tim Chen one as it looked so awesome) a group of about 20 of us headed into the city centre for some food/drink and discussion regarding the event. We all agreed that Mark Kenny and the TakeOverGames team ran the event very well, and that it was an enjoyable experience for all involved. Hopefully we can build on this for the next Open and improve on the attendance even further (150 is certainly possible, which would be fantastic for such a small dueling country).

The group dwindled in numbers as we made it back to the hostel for another drinking/dueling session. I got some more trading/profiteering done before Karl sold off some of his very old OCG Boosters (we're talking PP04 and earlier here). A Parallel Rare Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon was among the cards pulled and Karl contemplated spending top dollar to get it 'back'. We rounded out the night with some games of pool and an amusing five-way duel involving God Cards (and 'The Almighty DudTM') before calling it a weekend at 4am. 9 hours later and I'm on the bus home after an enjoyable 3 days of cards, craic and general Irishness.
Future Plans [FUTR]

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It terms of major tournaments, there's a long wait till after Christmas when 'Irish Open III' and 'UkayPro Championship 2' could potentially be taking place (nothing has been arranged regarding either event yet though). I was thinking of attending The Dutch Open on September 27th but I've travelled enough as it is this year and don't want to disrupt the start of my final year of Art College (Limerick School of Art and Design). There's also the fact that I don't feel confident enough to top the event which leads to my next problem; how do I develop as a player now?

Anybody that keeps track of my progress will already know this, but I've been dominating both of my locals (Limerick and Cork) for the past 6 months to a year, winning the majority of the events (often going undefeated in the process). This has caused me to become complacent and stuck at the same level (which is the x-3 bracket of players) for quite a while now. If I want to do properly well in big events in the future, I need to up my game but the options are limited.

For a start, there's no real challenge from any of the players in Limerick or Cork anymore. Yes, I can lose or come very close to losing every so often (to the same group of players) but there's no 'edge', there's no intensity anymore. While I enjoy almost every tournament I go to I never feel as if I'm being tested to my limits. Truth be told, I haven't felt (and enjoyed) an level of intense action since the Fortune Tour Stop I won in Dublin almost a year ago and therein lies the answer; I have to play in Dublin more often against the best in the country. Problem is.. it's over 180 miles away and Irish public transport on Sundays is woefully bad regarding timetabling and cost. I'm trying to work out some way to make it possible on a monthly basis at least, but the logistics and cost involved are proving difficult so far. If I had broadband at home I could play YVD and get into competitive online play but my area's in a veritable blackspot for mobile coverage while the cost of home broadband is unfeasible with college payments and the recession we're in. I'll figure out something but until then, I'll have to contend with my locals.

It's been an eventful season for me, with 3 large unofficial events, Nationals, Europeans and the controversies surrounding the Fortune Tour and I'm sort of glad it's come to an end. I've gone from a failure to infamy, redemption to misfortune, and everything in between. Here's hoping that after this half-format of waiting, I can finally get where I want to be again.. the top.


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