History of The 2004 North American Challenge

Posted in Event Coverage on June 10, 2004

By Tom Shea

Tom Shea presents the trophy to the 2004 North American Challenge winner, Paul RietzlThree years ago while visiting a local distributor I, Tom Shea, met with area store owners: Michelle Cove/Andrew Stokinger (Academy Games). The three of us were brainstorming about running a big money tournament that summer. I went back to my store, brainstormed for a week and came up with the New England Challenge.

The idea was how we help the local scene while helping create a larger regional tournament base. The first year the NEC had 8 stores from 4 different states and gave away $2550.00 in checks to the top 16. The first year of the North American Challenge was special. The event back then was known as the NEC (New England Challenge). The first years top 8 was very memorable as Tom Guevin wanted to split the prizes amongst the top 8. One of the players didn't want to so they all played. The player who didn't want to split lost while Tom won. Then Tom wanted to split again and 3 out of the 4 left wanted to split but once again everybody had to play. Once again Tom won and the guy who didn't want to split lost. Then in the finals Tom wanted to split and once again his opponent didn't want to. You know what happened. I have never seen somebody work so hard at trying to split only to have to just win the tourney himself. It was amazing1

The second NEC had 10 stores from 5 different states. The second NEC also gave away just over $2750.00 in checks and draft sets to the rest of the competitors. The Second New England Challenge was covered by Alex Shvartsman of the Sideboard. This was also a special year for us as well. Andrew Ranks did very poorly in the finals of the New England Challenge. At US Nationals Andrew finished 3rd and made the US National Team for worlds. The winner that year was Kush Patel. Kush went on to finish 3rd at the Junior Super Series finals. Alex did a fantastic job covering the event for the sideboard. We were now known outside of New England.

Tom Shea presents the trophy to the 2004 North American Challenge finalist, Domenic MinicucciLast year the NEC grew into the North East Challenge. The NEC had 17 stores in 8 States. The event also gave away $1700.00 to the first place competitor with a total of $5250.00 in checks and everybody else received draft sets. Alex Shvartsman was on hand again to provide coverage for the Sideboard. Each year the NEC finals have been run at 32K sanctioning level. This was the year of JD'Z Games! JD'Z is a gaming store located in Schenectady, NY. Adam Chambers (who qualified at Lennox Sports Cards) regularly played at JD'Z as did Mr. Snyder and Tony Ramasami. It was total domination by this store. This also was the year that we added many well known stores. Kings Games, The Only Game In Town, Grand Master and Your Move Games all took up the challenge. Who knew it would be the true underdogs whipping all of us!

On June 5, we assembled for the fourth installment of this tournament. We added more stores, more prizes and more excitement! Pastimes(from Chicago), Neutral Ground(NYC), Silver Dragon(NH), Disposable Heroes(RI), Larry's Comics(MA), Altered States(NY) and Star City(VA) all joined the challenge. Over $7,000.00 in prize money went to the top 24 PLUS over 40 boxes of cards to the rest of the finalists, providing a suitable reward for those who not only took up but mastered the challenge of conquering Type 2 during this key time of year. This tournament has already helped many past tournament participants prepare for both US Nationals and the JSS finals. The North American Challenges were run from April 1st through May 31st at stores, conventions and large tournaments. The finals were held on June 5th, 2004 at TJ Collectibles located in Milford, MA.

The prizes for the Finals are:
1st place $2,500.00
2nd place $1,250.00
3rd place $625.00
4th place $350.00
5th - 8th place $200.00
9th- 16th place $125.00
17th – 24th place $100.00
25th – 40th place 1 box each
41st – 56th place ¾ box each
57th – 72nd place ½ box each
73rd – 98th place ¼ box each
99th -120th place 2 draft sets
120th place + 1 draft set

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