Czech Open - Plzen, 1st May 2004


Czech Republic entered the European Union on 1st May 2004. On the same day entered to the Czech Republic several best table hockey players from Sweden, Russia, Finland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia. There was held the finals of EuroLeague 2003/2004 - Czech Open 2004 in Plzen. There were participating 126 players from 10 countries at this tournament. That's why it was the biggest tournament ever held at the Czech Republic in the history!

Before the tournament

Friday's afternoon and evening belonged tot the preparation of hockey games and place of event. Meanwhile witches were burned behind the windows (Czech habit for the last day of April), at the place of event in Plzen were passing preparations for the top event of this season of table hockey in the Czech Republic. Every table from every corner of the huge building was brought downstairs and a hockey game was installed on it. You can see 60 prepared hockey games at the picture. The tournament was played using 54 Stiga games, which is the highest count that was used for a Czech tournament in the history.

There were many helping hands (I would like to thank once again to everybody!) and that's why the preparation was managed without any problems and at a reasonable time. We appreciated the new system of preparing legs for games. It was made by Franta Suchý. You can see a new biological species at the picture: plastic multipede.

There was used an invention by Zbynek Pilar - suplak at every game! Also according to the echos from foreign players it is really a very useful thing, which can sweeten playing. Suplak went after the tournament to new countries - it will be used also in Slovakia, Hungary and Sweden. Golden Czech hands are reaching the world.

Its place got also prizes and cups for the winners. We thank to our sponsors and partners: to companies Stiga CZ, Radost Ondrejicek, Sympakt, the city of Plzen and to radio Sumava!

Saturday morning brought a very nice weather (the first European-Union weather!) and above the games was a dawn ...

Tournament begins

When registrating every player drow a number according to which he was seeded into a basic group. The world legend Hans Österman sent a draw to the same basic group with the Czech legend Pavel Plesak.

After registration every player got a sheet with the list of his matches. There was a friendly atmosphere, not only because of the fact that groups were differentiated by colors and some players saw their chances in pink.

You could feel a strong energy and an ecstasy from the big tournament from the team of Italy - as usually. Thank you for coming to Plzen!

Brothers from Slovakia discuss the right tactics tasks for the common action during the tournament.

Also the Austrian team was full of well-being. We would like to thank to all foreign participants for coming to the Czech Open! We hope you enjoyed the tournament.

The organisation of tournament was without problems. All questions were answered, all darks were cleared up.

The big thanks belong to all helpers who partook in a successfull process of the tournament. The great process on Saturday was in hands of Petra, Petr and Hanka, not only thanks to their perfect service with counting results.

The start of tournament was coming closer and participants tried their today's shape ...

... also our little plastic friends tried their shape.

The time for opening the tournament. The leading of the Czech Association of Stiga Game (Vladimír Kraus and Vladimír Studnička) welcomed all players, explained the playing system and wished a good luck to everyone.

Players listened and thought about what the 1st May day could bring to them.

During the tournament

Basic groups decided who promote to the elite group and who will be able to fight for the winning of the Czech Open 2004. Among the biggest favourites was counted also Alexej Zacharov (Russia).

Also the best Czech player Jan Suchy had a high ambitions.

Their own ambitions had of course all participants of the tournament.

First face-off was made!

To play table hockey is so easy - it's enough to pull the rod and score a goal!

Daniel Létay (Hungary) with his chair.

You can compare Daniel's chair and the chair of Vladimir Kraus and find 5 differences.

Jan Dryak had at the basic group only one draw and one lost.

There were played 2 873 matches at the tournament during one day!

John Wreland (Sweden) was a nice surprise when without problems promoted into the A group. After the result 6:5 with Pavel Plesak remained only B group for Pavel.

You know what is the matter on the table during matches. Do you know, what is the matter UNDER the table?

All goalkeepers are firmed in order to prevent their stick of being broken. It's another Czech idea. The surgical operation was made by Frantisek Suchy.

Go without borders ... (an Czech advertisement) This tournament was really without borders. The match against one of the best Sweedes was certainly a very interesting experience for Petr Tmej.

You can see both Swiss young players Hasler and Schott at this picture.

What is the matter in this case on the table?

Brothers at the same jersey. The draw placed three players from the club Zabka Praha into one basic group.

Everything was at the perfect condition. Hanka was able to manage it with only one hand.

Zbynek Pilar seems to be a little bit sad. He didn't make the promotion the the A group this time. Or maybe he just checkes his suplak.

Where is going to be played this centermove - to the left or to the right ???

Upwards !!!

Players just find out which pairs will play play-off series.

Alexander Kukushkin (Russia) lost against Jan Dryak 2:4 in matches (3:4OT, 3:2OT, 2:3, 2:6, 4:2, 0:5). At the background won Mikhail Martynov (Russia) againt Markus Laakso (Finland) 4:0 in matches (4:2, 6:2, 5:0, 4:1) - it was a real surprise, Markus finished at the A group at 4th place, while Mikhail at 13th.

Dmitriy Petrov (Russia) beat Petter Bengtsson 4:1 and showed that he belongs to the world best players.

Hans Österman (Sweden) defeated a Czech talent Lukas Turon 4:0. The results of matches were quite equable: 4:3, 5:3, 3:2, 3:2.

Also the father of Lukas, Petr Turon, left the 1/8 series as a loser. He lost against Ivan Zacharov (Russia) 0:4. Petr Turon was in spite of this lost the biggest Czech surprise of the tournament. He took 13th place which ment the 4th best Czech player at the Czech Open.

Above all was the watchful eye.

Pavel Plesak won at least the cup for the winner of B group. He wasn't much happy.

Zdenek Matousek jr. won the cup for the group C winner. He was enjoying it much more.

Also Bálint Nagy (Hungary) had a great enjoyment when winning the group D winner.

A nice success was made by Daniel Policar. At his first tournament he won a cup. He got it as a E group winner.

Satisfied was also Emil Galoci (Slovakia). He came to Plzen from far away city Kosice. Thank you.

Petter Bengtsson (Sweden) came from even further distance. The prize for 13th place - CD of music group Chinaski - pleased him as you can see. Who knows, maybe just this CD was the one which he was missing in his collection of records of this popular Czech music group.

The most dramatic quarterfinal series were between Alexej Zacharov and Stanislav Kraus. Stanislav defeated in 1/8 the best Czech player Jan Suchy 4:2 in matches and now he should overcome the hard task - to defeat the winner of the A group. He was fighting with brave, the victory was close. When leading 3:1 in matches he was leading also at 5th match. But Alexej scored a tie goal at the end of the match and was successful also in overtime. Finally Alexej won also two next matches and was going to semifinals. The tournament has already finished at quarterfinals for Czech players. The best home player was Jan Dryak at 7th place, Stanislav Kraus at 8th and Jan Suchy at 10th place.

Quartefinals Dryák - Österman. The best Czech player at the tournament against the best Swede. The results was as awaited and Hans could celebrate the EuroLeague title.

Semifinals were the Swedish and Russian affair. From the duels of Österman vs. Sjöstedt and A. Zacharov vs. Martinov came finals Hans Österman vs. Alexej Zacharov. It was a star series of double world champion against the current junior world champion. Hans proved that he is the number one at the world ranking in equity and won 4:0.

The main organizers of the tournament Vladimir and Stanislav Kraus give the prize for the best Czech player at the Czech Open 2004. It belonged to Jan Dryak finishing at 7th place.

Hans Österman gets prizes and cups for his victory at the Czech Open 2004.

Hans Österman became also the overall winner of the first season of EuroLeague. He shows the cup for the winner of this international competition.

Czech Open 2004 was also the tournament of the Czech Cup. That's why the name of Hans Österman will be inscribed at the cup which is connected with this traditional Czech competition.

The winners of the Czech Open: Rickard Sjöstedt, Hans Österman, Alexej Zacharov. Congratulations!

Copyright 2004 Vladimír Kraus, telefon: 605 821 144