The U.S. Tak Association’s 2021 Tak Open tournament is well underway with Round 1 coming to a close on November 1st. With 45 competitors - including 7 of the top 10 rated players alongside several newcomers - this year’s competition is expected to bring lots of excitement.
And Round 1’s mix of random match-ups didn’t disappoint. Here are the top three takeaways from the tournament’s opening round:
Upsets! (#6) PlutoTheBrave shows his potential, splitting 1-1 with (#1) NohatCoder
In Round 1’s biggest match-up, the IIT champion, PlutoTheBrave, took on the 2018 Tak Champion, NohatCoder, winning his first game on flat count and ending the match 1-1. Prior to this match, these two competitors had only played four games against each other, with NohatCoder winning each one. Whether PlutoTheBrave can repeat his performance against similarly ranked opponents in later rounds will be closely watched.
Unfortunately, the second major match-up for Round 1 - (#3) Abyss vs. (#10) Simmon - faced scheduling difficulties and is expected to miss tomorrow’s deadline for the end of Round 1, resulting in a forfeit or a draw.
Other notable surprise “upsets” include (#14) Reimen’s sweep of both (#8) Gowellja and (#9) Archvenison. Reimen would be undefeated if not for a slip-up in his match against EVRNjayhawker, missing an early road threat.
(#2) Fwwwwibib, (#5) Ally, (#19) Nitzel, and others remain undefeated
With a few matches still left to be played before Round 1 ends tomorrow, several players have already finished their games undefeated. Depending on the outcome (draw or forfeit) of Simmon’s ill-fated match against Abyss, Simmon may also finish Round 1 undefeated as well.
Due to the nature of this tournament’s modified Swiss system, Round 1’s match-ups were completely random, but later rounds will pit competitors with similar records against each other. So retaining an undefeated status will only become harder as each round goes by, as players must compete against others who have played as well as they have.
The reigning Tak Champion is favored to win it all
This comes as no surprise, since Fwwib is the current 2020 Tak Champion and rated #2 player on Playtak.com. He won last year’s Tak Open, but that year’s competition was notably less competitive than this year’s. However, regardless of the outcome, Fwwib will retain his title and automatic entry into next year’s Championship tournament, where the next “Tak Champion” will be crowned.