Choner Crokinole Championship - Preview
Erik and his wife, Lisa, have started the Choner Crokinole Championship 3 years ago in their Queens County, NY home. T-Shirts, participant giveaways and even an engraved chalice belied the fact that this event started with 10 friends and friendly games.
In 2012, the event graduated to the meeting room at the Bohemian Beer hall in Astoria Queens with nearly 30 participants in attendence. Erik outdid himself again adding engraved shot glasses for preliminary round winners, but still maintained the most dreaded prize in competitive gaming, the "First Loser" sash for the Championship runner-up. Tradition has it that the First Loser must wear his/her sash throughout the following years event.
The Choner tournament format is distinct from the typical NCA sanction tournaments and is loosely based on World Cup standings. Groups of 4 are assigned and play in a group round-robin to seed players into one of 4 brackets, which then compete for tiered championships. All games are played with 12 discs per player playing first to 100 points; the championship round plays similarly with a first to 200 score.
The 2nd floor of the Raven Public House in Astoria became the new home for the Choner Championship in 2013. And as registration opened, I sent Erik an email inquiring about participation. As it turns out, friends of my brother had participated in 2012 and had mentioned the event to him. So we signed up, volunteered to bring a board and headed to Queens.
When I arrived, I counted 11 Hilinski boards, 1 Grey Owl, and a 1st gen Mayday Crokinole board. My Puzzler stood out in its uniqueness! After having participate in my first WCC, I was surprised by the format, scoring method and lack of "dust." To say the board were slow was an understatement (especially that Mayday board).
After getting a couple of games, and pints of Guinness under my belt, I felt ready to take on the group 1 bracket. I was happy to have "won" my group. The atmosphere was jovial and festive. It was funny to see discs jump off the board out on to a city sidewalk/street. 1 disc even got caught on the fabric awning over the pub's front door.
I faced the epically strong crokinole-newbie/ringer in the semifinals and came back from a 95-60 deficit to move onto the finals.
While a newcomer to choner myself, I was happy to have our host in my corner as I faced his brother for the finals. Erik pulled me aside and told me that nothing would make him happier than to award his brother the "First Loser" sash.
After a slow start, I found my groove and proudly accepted my championship chalice. It now sits in a place of pride in my home. I have to admit to be a bit of embarrassment to win as the new guy, it was easy to tell that this was a welcoming and friendly group of people.
I'm excited to return to the Raven Public House to defend my 2013 win, but most of all I'm looking forward to a fun afternoon with a interesting group of people.