MIT graduate student Timothy E. Chin G, the 21st ranked player in the nation, placed third out of twelve competitors in the Ultimate Trick Shot Challenge, a pool trick shot tournament held in Las Vegas this past August.
After being invited to the tournament as an alternate when another competitor stepped out, Chin managed a win against the reigning world champion, Jamey Gray, in his first match. After qualifying for the eight-man playoff round on a tiebreaker, Chin knocked off previously undefeated Bruce Barthelette before dropping a second match against Gray to earn third place.
At the start of the tournament, the twelve competitors were split into two divisions for a round-robin qualifier section. Chin had prepared for Gray in advance and managed to shoot his way to a 12-11 lead with two shots left. To tie the score, Gray hit a juggling-speed shot, in which the cue ball is hit multiple times and fifteen balls are pocketed.
In order to secure the win, Chin would have to hit the same shot, one which he had not practiced beforehand. Chin proceeded to hit the shot on his first try to secure the victory, 13-12.
“I hadn’t actually worked on that final shot that he challenged me with, so it was even surprising to me that I was able to do it, especially on my first attempt,” commented Chin after the tournament. “After I made it, I nearly jumped through the ceiling!”
After Chin’s last-shot win, he struggled in the remainder of the tournament, posting two ties and two losses. However, Chin was in arguably the tougher of the two divisions, containing the last two world champions, Gray and Andy Segal.
Fortunately, the 1-2-2 record was enough for Chin to qualify for the 8-man elimination round on a tiebreaker based on percentage of shots made.
In the quarterfinals, Chin’s luck continued. He knocked off Bruce Barthelette in his first match with a 9-4 score after Barthelette posted a 5-0 start. In the victory, Chin hit the Triple Jump, in which three balls must jump and fall simultaneously into a pocket.
In the semifinals, Chin faced Jamey Gray for the second time, hoping for a little more upset magic. Although Chin kept the score close in the beginning, Gray pulled away at the end for an 11-6 win. The loss put Chin in third place for the tournament, while Gray and previous world champion Andy Segal competed for first place. Segal managed the win, going through the entire tournament undefeated.
Chin was not disappointed with his result. After making it to the tournament on chance and squeezing into the playoff round on a tiebreaker, he was perfectly happy with his third place result.