EPT Prague: The bridesmaids

December 02, 2009


No one remembers the guy who came second.

It’s the adage that haunts every sportsman as they look down upon their silver medal, listening to the congratulations heaped upon the champion, peering through misty eyes at the winner thinking: “That would be me if it wasn’t for that donkey my wretched ill-fortune.

How one deals with cruel defeat can often define a player. No one has ever won two EPT titles, but two runners-up have bounced back to take first spot – Ram Vaswani in season one, and ElkY in season three/four.

It’s also true that some runners-up vanish without trace. I don’t recall seeing much of Andreas Harnemo (Vienna, season one), Farid Meraghni (Warsaw, season three) or Ben Johnson (Baden, season three), for instance. And as for Phil Ivey (Barcelona, season three), whatever happened to that guy?

Two other champions have also been within one pip of a double. Brandon Schaefer won in Deauville and then came second in Monte Carlo, and Mark Teltscher won in London before losing out by one place in Barcelona. (A further nugget for trivia fans: no one has ever come second twice. Put that in your database and crunch it.)

All of that aside, Prague this week seems to be the chosen place for a chance at redemption. There may be the usual flotilla of former champions in the house, but there are also a raft full of runners-up attempting to better their record.

On just a short traipse around the tournament floor we spotted Nico Behling (Warsaw season five), Alfio Battisti (Warsaw season six), Alexsandr Dovzhenko (Kyiv season six), Antony Lellouche (San Remo season four), Ciprian Hrisca (Budapest season five) and Peter Hedlund (Copenhagen season five). Michael Tureniec (London, season five) had already been and gone.


Nico Behling


Alfio Battisti


Alexander Dovzhenko


Ciprian Hrisca

Yesterday was pretty similar. We had Pierre Neuville (Vilamoura season six), Massimo Di Cicco (Prague season five), Holger Kanisch (Dortmund season five), Florian Langmann (London season four), Gino Alacqua (Prague season four) and Cristiano Blanco (Dortmund season three).

Time to step out of the shade and into the sun.


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