Air Hockey’s World Championship took place Oct. 17-20 at the Brunswick Zone in Naperville, IL. The event was sponsored by Gold Standard Games and World Championship Air Hockey. This was the 53rd World/National championship sanctioned by the USAA, starting with the first in 1978. And it was the first Worlds to be played on Gold Standard Games tables.
Danny Hynes of Houston won his record-tying 11th World title in typical fashion for him: he had to fight his way through the losers bracket after being put there by Davis Lee of California, who beat him 4-2. Davis also beat 2012 Champion Billy Stubbs, who was the favorite coming in to win the tournament. So Davis was on top of the winners bracket waiting for whoever emerged from a tough losers bracket.
Pedro Otero, who had captured the #1 World Ranking earlier in the year by beating Stubbs in a challenge match, suffered a surprise defeat early on to fellow Venezuelan Javier Pulido. Pedro managed to fight his way back to a 3rd place finish, along the way defeating 4 former World Champs: Mark Robbins, Tim Weissman, Ehab Shoukry, and Billy Stubbs. Pedro was finally stopped by Danny Hynes in an exciting battle that went down to the final 7th game.
Davis had come into the tournament at the top of his game, having beaten both Ehab Shoukry and Danny Hynes in USAA challenges matches in the month before the tournament. So Davis came to the Worlds ranked #2 by USAA, although his seed and rating was only #4 due to differences in the Ranking and Ratings systems. But unfortunately for Davis, Danny was like the “Danny of old”, catching fire in the losers bracket and playing with great intensity with his back against the wall. Danny dropped only 2 games in beating Davis two sets to capture the title.
Billy Stubbs finished 4th after being knocked out of the tournament by Pedro Otero, his nemesis who beat him in February in that challenge match. Fifth place went to former Champion Ehab Shoukry, followed by Brian Accrocco. Finishing 7th was 14-year-old prodigy Colin Cummings of Houston, the youngest player ever to finish Master (top 10) in a World/National tournament. Earlier in the year Colin had become the youngest Master via a challenge match victory.
Rounding out the top 10 were August Parra, 8th; Tim Weissman, 9th; and Javier Pulido, 10th. Mike Cummings of Houston won the 17-24 bracket. The 25-32 bracket winner was Dionisio Diaz of Venezuela, and Houston’s Donovan Brown won the 33-48 bracket. Junior Champion (highest finisher 16 and under) was Colin Cummings.
The Friday night Doubles Championship was won by Danny Hynes and Ehab Shoukry. On Thursday night, Chris Aston of Dallas won the Handicap (point-spot) event.
In winning his 11th World title, Danny Hynes tied the long-standing record of Jesse Douty. Jesse won 11 titles between 1978 and 1988. He was dethroned in 1989 by Tim Weissman, who went on to win 10 titles of his own. Danny pulled ahead of Tim by winning this year’s Worlds.
To see more details on the 2013 Worlds, got to http://www.airhockeyworld.com (or http://www.airhockey.com) and you can see charts and individual match details. Videos from the tournament should be online soon, check back for details.