Monday, January 01, 2007

Worlds 2007 So Far...

Happy New Year!

Just after midnight the break (those who have got through to the knockout stages) was announced. This is only my second Worlds but from the picture I've built up of old trends this looks like a return to a tradition of a massive English presence in the later stages; particularly Oxbridge, of course, but other schools such as Manchester, Kings, Durham and Middle Temple also made it through. Australia also did as well as they always do.

Last year was a massively strong year for the US, loads of teams and breaking first, and Canada, all the University of Toronto teams breaking and winning the tournament, but this year they had a far more muted result. The Irish got a few teams through but not as many as it appeared they might earlier in the tournament.

Judging at various IVs this year I've often been a little sceptical about the strength of the British circuit: Yale A's success at Oxford seemed to suggest, like Hart House's at Cambridge last year, that British teams were struggling to cut it against international opposition. However, it appears that these concerns were unfounded and last year may, indeed, have been something of a blip.

Colm's analysis supports the suggestions above; a huge number of English teams and a collapse in Canadian and American success.

None of LSE's three teams made it which was dissapointing but LSE A (Travis and Patrick) came pretty close. Also, myself and Ali didn't break as judges but I'm struggling to feel too put out. If I'd been offered, at the start of the tournament, a choice between getting to the Master's final and judging a break round or two I know I'd have chosen speaking in a heartbeat.

I've enjoyed judging Worlds. In particular, I found chairing some of the mid and lower range rooms felt genuinely worthwhile instead of the chore it tends to be in British competitions as international teams often genuinely listen to your advice rather than sitting and fuming at you. The idea of offering my services to LSE as a judge again next year and heading to Thailand is seeming more and more attractive.

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