2022 World Championship - The League Room, Parkersburg, WV
A World Championship is always an important event, no matter the sport. No different for the 2022 WPA World Artistic Pool Championships that was held October 6-8 at the League Room in Parkersburg West Virginia. The last WPA World Artistic Pool Championships was also held at the League room in February of 2020. Chi-Ming Lin from Taiwan won the last event before covid, and he was back to battle it out with Artistic Pool Players from around the globe to defend his title. The event is separated into two parts, the preliminaries and the playoffs. During the preliminaries, players will shoot a total of 40 shots through out the eight disciplines of artistic pool with various degrees of difficulty. (6 point to 10 point) Players with the highest score in each of those eight disciplines will be that year’s World Discipline Champion and there was some history made with discipline titles this year.
Round one is the combination of the Trick & Fancy and Special Arts Disciplines. Trick & Fancy are typical set up shots where Special Arts are speed and timing shots that can have props on the table. The 2022 World Trick & Fancy title went to current #1 WPA ranked player Abram “Too Tall” Diaz with a score of 37/40 while Tim “The Dragon” Chin made history when he won the Special Arts Discipline title with a score of 39/40. This is Tim’s third World Special Arts title, which ties him with Hall of Famer Tom “Dr Cue” Rossman for the most World Special Arts titles. Tim had to beat out Gaston “The Prince” Tomadoni in a discipline playoff. This ended up being a theme of the event with more history to be made.
Round two combines the Draw and Follow disciplines. Gaston won the draw title with a score of 36/40, besting defending World Draw Champion Brian “Superman” Pauley by one point. Gaston was the defending World Follow Champion and made history when there was a four-way tie for first in the follow discipline with a score of 29/40. The four players for this history making occurrence were Gaston Tomadoni, Jason “The Michigan Kid” Lynch, Chi-Ming Lin, and Jimmy “The General” Glanville. The four players drew balls 1-4 to determine the order of play for the initial tiebreaker shot, which was the classic “Window Shot” which sees players make a 3 ball cluster and send the cue ball arching through a wall of balls with a 2 ball gap to make an object ball. Neither Jason nor Jimmy could make this shot and they were eliminated from the tiebreaker. Lin and Gaston both made the shot on the same attempt, which meant the 10 point shots would be drawn at random to continue the tiebreaker. After the third tiebreaker shot, Gaston bested Lin and defended his World Follow Title in history making fashion.
Round 3 saw more history in the making. Gaston won the World Bank/Kick title with a score of 38/40, besting former World Bank/Kick Champion Jason Lynch by one point to go three disciplines in a row. The stroke discipline went to Abram Diaz with a score of 38/40, which made history. Abram tied Hall of Famer Mike “Tennessee Tarzan” Massey for the most World Stroke Titles with three. This ended the day with Gaston in first place with Jason Lynch one point back. History was made on day one and that theme continued on day two.
Day two started with the conclusion of the preliminaries with round 4, which pairs the two fan favorite disciplines: Jump and Masse. Abram made more history when he went a perfect 40/40 in the jump discipline and tied Florian “Venom” Kohler with a total of three World Jump Titles. Tim Chin scored a 31/40 in masse to finish off the World Discipline titles. With only 11 players in the field, the top five players received a first-round bye into the quarter finals.
The playoff format is similar to a game of H.O.R.S.E. where players will pick a shot and their opponent has to duplicate the shot, even if the shot is not made. Players lag to see who leads out in either the odd numbered disciplines or the even numbered disciplines through the first eight shots of the playoffs. The final 8 shots of the match, called the wild card round, is where each player has four shots and they can select from the entire 120 shot program. The only rules are that a player can not duplicate a shot they have already attempted in the match and can not shoot the same discipline in their four wildcard shots. The first round of the playoffs saw three matches based on seeding. Chi-Ming Lin (6) defeated internet sensation Tim “The Quiet Man” Gallagher (11) 66-11. In the 7/10 matchup, France’s internet sensation Maxence “JMasem Trickshots” Delattre (10) upset 7 seeded Brian Pauley 63-35. In the closest match of the round Andrew “The Driver” Sozio (9) defeated Jimmy Glanville (8) on the last shot of the match 37-31.
Day 2 concluded with the quarter final matches, and there were some nailbiters. The number 1 seed Gaston Tomadoni defeated Andrew Sozio 93-52 with only one shot that was missed, showing why he was the number 1 seed. Chi-Ming Lin dispatched #1 Ranked Abram Diaz (3) with a score of 74-44. Lin was in good form and showed why he was the defending champion. Tim Chin (4) outlasted Jamie “The Bayou Bullet” Moody (5) in a close match 82-63. Tim showed why he is the defending National Artistic Pool Champion. The last match of the quarter finals saw Maxence Delattre almost pull off his second upset of the day but falling short 40-37 to the number 2 seeded Jason Lynch. Jason was down 37-33 with one shot left in the match. Jason picked the classic over and under shot, an 8 point special arts shot where the bridge rests across the width of the table on the 1st diamond line. An object ball is shot under the bridge and pocketed while the cue ball jumps over the bridge and then draws back under the bridge to make another object ball in the corner pocket. Jason made the shot on his second attempt. Maxence had a couple good attempts at the shot but came up with no points. The final 4 were set and the players were all looking to etch their names in the history books as World Champion.
The first semi final match was history making match between Gaston Tomadoni and Tim Chin. Since the inception of the current playoff format, there was never tie in a match. After 16 shots, Gaston and Tim were locked in a 56-56 tie. The tiebreaker is a sudden death shootout with each player getting a 5th shot in the wildcard round. Tim picked a shot he shoots very well, a 10 point special arts shot where a cue ball is shot off of a cube of chalk, jumping over a combination, and then kicks back and makes the combination/kick shot. Tim made the shot on his first attempt going up 66-56. Gaston missed this shot on all three attempts. Gaston needed to hit a 10 point shot on the first attempt and then hope Tim misses. Gaston picked a 10 point power draw shot but did not make the shot, which gave Tim the victory and the first spot in the finals.
The second semi final match saw defending champion Chi-Ming Lin and National Artistic Pool Championship runner up Jason Lynch lock horns. Chi-Ming Lin opened up to an early lead over Jason, which forced Jason to attempt harder shots to get back into the match. Lin kept making points where Jason struggled to find a groove. This led to Lin defeating Jason 70-40. The finals were now set. The defending National Artistic Pool Champion in Tim Chin against the defending World Artistic Pool Champion Chi-Ming Lin.
The players started off making a number of shots, trying to pull ahead in the points. After a couple uncharacteristic misses by Lin, Tim Chin held a narrow lead of 54-45 half way through the match. Down eight points, Lin went for a ten point stroke shot on his second wild card pick. Lin had made this shot against Abram in the round before, becoming the only person to have ever made this shot in competition. Lin missed all three attempts. It was then Tim’s turn to attempt this difficult shot. After carefully measuring out the setup, Tim became the second person to every make this shot in competition buy drilling it on the first try. Tim jumped with excitement and ignited the crowd to come to their feet. Tim was in the drives seat, up 18 points with only 5 shots to go. Players traded shots back and forth until each player only had one shot left. Tim was again in the drives seat up 86-75. At this point in the match, Lin needed to hit a ten point shot and hope that Tim didn’t make it. If Tim was up by 11 points with only his shot left, the match would have been over. Master Lin lived up to his nickname and buried a 10 point Trick & Fancy shot on the first attempt, bringing the score to 86-85 in favor of Tim Chin. If Tim made the shot on the first attempt, he would win the match. The other scenario was if Tim made the shot on any other attempt, all Tim would need to do would be attempt a six point shot and the match would be over. Unfortunately, Tim missed the shot all three times. Tim was very close on his second attempt but the cue ball, after going three rails, did not make the combination. Instead, it kicked off the rail and only hit the first combo ball. Tim was still in the driver’s seat, however, as he still lead 86-85. All Tim needed to do was pick an easy shot and make it on the first try and the match would be over. Tim picked the classic special arts shot “The Hand is Quicker than the Eye.” This is a push through shot where the cue ball is in line with the object ball and a blocker ball is half way between the cue ball and object ball and off set. The player strokes through the cue ball, which hits the blocker and ball and both balls separate, which allows the stroke to continue and hit the object ball. The object ball then strikes a combination/kiss shot set up that makes two balls. At the end of the shot, the only balls on the table are the cue ball, the blocker ball, and the object ball. Tim had made this shot many times this event was comfortable making this. Tim took his first attempt and to the amazement of everyone watching, Tim missed his first attempt. This left the door open for Lin to tie the match if Tim were to make the shot on his second try. Tim took a little bit extra time on the set up before taking his second attempt. To everyone’s amazement, Tim missed his second attempt. People where looking to each other dumbfounded. Tim had to gain his composure since he had one more attempt. After making sure the set up was correct, Tim made his third and final attempt at his final wildcard shot and lead the match 90-85. This left the door open for Lin as all he needed to do was make this shot on his first attempt to win the match. After making sure his set up was correct, Lin took his turn at the shot and when the balls settled, the shot had been made, giving Lin a 91-90 win in a match for the ages. Lin successfully defended his title and became only the 3rd person in the 22 year history of the artistic pool division to win back to back WPA World Artistic Pool Championships.