USATT Insider poses 11 questions to Scott Gordon.
11 Questions with Scott Gordon
1) Why do you play?
When I quit playing competitive chess, I found myself playing table tennis a lot more. I guess my psyche needs a competitive outlet.
2) Which is your favorite tournament?
Domestically, I enjoy the US Open. Internationally, there was a hardbat event in Nordhorn Germany that was incredibly fun. There were about 60 players and the director just kept telling us who to play. At the end, he made a list of how everyone placed, 1-through-60. Then there was a big feast afterwards outside behind the playing hall. Franz Huermann played in that tournament.
3) Who is your primary nemesis?
Kevin Au kills me every time we play. I only get about 1 or 2 points. Sure, he's better than me, but honestly I think I'd do better against Ma Long. There's also this guy in my club named Dhadhie Rachmadi - his rating is about 200 points lower than mine, but he beats me every time. Some people are just a bad style matchup.
4) What is your favorite game tactic to score?
Because of my style I have to play everyone differently, so I don't have one favorite tactic. One shot I enjoy is to to move like I'm going to hit a crosscourt forehand, but instead go down the line.
5) Thoughts on the Poly Ball.
At first I hated it, but I've come to like it. And the good ones last longer than the old 40mm balls.
6) Toughest Loss?
About 15 years ago at the US Open (21-point era), I was leading in the third game against a 2200 player, 18-7. I didn't score another point - he ran 14 points and beat me 21-18. To make it worse, he did it lobbing.
7) Greatest Win?
At last year's US Open I beat Robert Shahnazari 13-11 in the 5th. That was possibly my best win in a normal (sponge) event.Probably my best hardbat event win was a few years ago, beating Loc Ngo and Larry Hodges in succession to win the hardbat O-40.
8) How you prepare for a tournament?
I'm not a serious enough player to actually prepare for tournaments. For the upcoming Nationals, preparation will involve finding a proctor for my final exams so I can attend the tournament.
9) When you see a new player at the club?
I usually say hello and chat a bit, ask how they learned about the club. Most table tennis clubs are pretty intimidating.
10) Player you would most like to play in a tournament?
My favorite opponent is Al Papp. He's out with a hip injury, and I hope that he gets better so that we can square off again.
11) If you had to face Jimmy Butler, Lily Zhang or Kanak Jha what would your game plan be?
I'd have no chance, so my goal would just be to try my hardest and try not to give up.