The North East Challenge is now finished. Still standing after the ordeal is Adam Chambers who defeated Anthony Ramasami in the finals. Both are very good if not well known players from JD’Z Games, located in Schenectady, NY (upstate NY, by Albany). Our little event is starting to build its reputation as a place to prove oneself. Last year it was Kush Patel (who went on to take 3rd at the JSS Nationals) taking home the money.
The North East Challenge is comprised of a series of tournaments that ran in 17 stores this year. These stores were located in every New England state, plus New York and New Jersey. Each of these stores ran 5 qualifiers the winner of which qualified for the finals. Each store also sent a 6th player who qualified based on playing in the most matches at that particular store. An additional tournament ran at The New England Regional Championships and the reigning champion was also invited. These players competed for a little over $5000.00 in prize money. Anyone who did not finish in the money received draft sets – no one went home empty-handed.
This year we added some very well known stores. Many believed that the winner would hail from TOGIT (The Only Game In Town), or perhaps YMG (Your Move Games) as both of those stores are powerhouses on the Pro Tour circuit. Gamemaster located fairly close to NYC got many of the better known New York players to come down to try to qualify. Kings Games located in Brooklyn NY certainly sent some very competitive players - what else would one expect from the store owned by Alex Shvartsman? Barron’s in CT certainly is well known for its high level of play. The Vermont crew (Street Toys) had their own Robert Dougherty to boot! Gameboro came in with lots of enthusiasm as well as some Pro Tour experience as Nick Wilbur won a qualifier at TJ’s this past year. Both Hammer’s Comics and Academy Games (formerly M’s Collectibles) came back in this year and both are well known for their high level of play. We will have a complete list of the stores that participated in “THE CHALLENGE” at the end of this article, so you may find a store near you so you can win the big bucks like Adam did this year. The bottom line is that in the end it was JDZ dominating the rest of us.
This team domination has inspired the organizers to add another component to the challenge. That will be the TEAM COMPETITION. Next year we are going to add a trophy for the winning store and additional team prizes for the winning members of the winning team. Members of each store team will be the players who qualify at that store. Before anybody asks, NO THERE WILL BE NO PRIZES FOR 2ND BEST!! We will also feature an article on the winning store as part of our coverage of the event. I think that this will help inspire the rest of us to reach the level that JDZ set this year. Adam Chambers actually qualified at Lenox Sports Cards. This is starting to help develop store rivalries. Adam and Anthony EACH GOT A CHECK FOR $1100.00. They agreed to split the prize and played off for the title and the invitation for next year. That is one of the great things about THE CHALLENGE. Each year we invite back the current reigning champion to defend their title.
The challenge is fast becoming a proving ground for many unknown players and/or stores. The fact of the matter is that the challenge was created so that the local stores would have something for our players to do the summer of 2001. The first 2 years consisted of all New England stores. Now the challenge has grown to the point that it is now in New York and New Jersey as well as New England. We are also looking for more and more stores to take up the challenge. We are trying to show more and more players to realize their dreams and play for $$$$ just like the pros! Each year the challenge has grown both in stores involved, number of players playing in both the local store challenges and the finals. As well as more prize money given.
We were surprised that the larger prizes didn’t bring out very many of the top level pro tour players. It amazes me that $1700.00 to the winner simply isn’t enough? It wasn’t for Tom Guevin (the 2001 NEC Champion). The top 40 players all got some $$$ with the top 16 all getting at least $100.00! It was tremendous to get to see many high level junior and PTQ level players getting to play for some real $$$. Hopefully we will see Mr. Chambers doing well at the Pro Tour level someday. This tournament series helps local stores bring big time magic to their area. The finals were sanctioned at 32 K. Nat Fairbanks ( Level 4) was the head judge. He was aptly assisted by Mike Canu (Level 2) and Peter Rochet.
The organizers of this event are looking for more stores to participate. If you are a store owner looking to get involved please email Tom Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a list of the participating stores and the total prize payout:
|Lenox Sports Cards and Games||1-413-637-3243|
|Your Move Games||1-617-666-5799|
|Barron’s Comics and Cards||1-203-783-1630|
|The Only Game in Town||1-908-725-7077|
|JD'z Gaming Supplies||1-518-346-5926|
The prizes for the finals are:
|5th - 8th place||$125.00|
|9th- 16th place||$100.00|
|17th – 24th place||$75.00|
|25th – 32nd place||$50.00|
|33rd – 40th place||$25.00|
|41st – 48th place||3 draft sets|
|49th- 56th place||2 draft sets|
|57th -105th place||1 draft set|