The biggest tournament of the year in terms of rankings points has concluded, and so there are some big changes in the rankings tables, along with some exciting news for the end of year 2015 European Masters tournament.
The FNC Rankings reflect player form over the last 52 weeks of tournaments, and as of the new rankings of August 10th 2015, the most significant change is right at the top. Since January 2013 (the modern era of tracking Fight Night results), Jochen Pfeiffer spent 131 weeks at number one. That's every week except four brief weeks in May 2013, and then holding the top spot in an unbroken streak until this month.
Going in to the EJC, Luke Burrage only had to progress further in the tournament than Jochen to take the number one spot, something that would have been out of his hands until the final. Florian Marienld's defeat of Jochen and Luke's defeat of Till Rautert in their round of eight matches means Luke arrived at the top spot, bumping Jochen down to second place. Luke's rankings points were greatly boosted by his victory at the NJF 2015 Fight Night, where he denied Jochen the 750 points for the tournament win by defeating him in the final.
Eóin Allan won 1000 points for his first place at the EJC 2015, which moves him up to third in the FNC rankings. Dave Leahy's 410 third place points moved him up to fourth in the rankings. Most impressively, Florian Marienfeld's 360 points for his fourth place finish boosts him up an incredible 80 places in the FNC rankings, to 16th place overall.
Even though they didn't reach the knockout stage of the EJC 2015 tournament, strong qualification results helped some players reach their best rankings yet. Sander VanPraet moves up two places to number eight, and Jochen Hänsel finds himself in tenth place.
The rankings losers in the top 10 were jugglers who took part at the EJC in 2014, but lost all their points by not entering this year. Iver Tronstad and Jon Peat both drop two places, and Brook Roberts four places, taking him down to 12th.
The 2015 Race Rankings reflect player form in the current calendar year, showing the top contenders for the end of year rankings. They also show who is in the race to be invited to the FNC European Masters in Berlin in December (details to be confirmed).
As of August 10th, there's no change at the top, with Luke Burrage remaining in first place and Jochen Pfeiffer in second. With his 1000 points from the EJC, Eóin Allan moves up seven spots to third place. But this is a VERY close third place, just 5 points behind Jochen.
According to the rankings formula, which counts a player's top six results from four different levels of tournament, even if Jochen Pfeiffer wins every tournament from now until the FNC European Masters in December, he can't overtake Luke in the rankings. He can only make up an extra 675 points, and Luke is 895 points ahead.
On the other hand, with their stronger EJC 2015 results, both Eóin Allan and Dave Leahy could overtake Luke in the race. Eóin can still make up 1500 points, and is only 900 points behind Luke. Winning Hamburg, worth 750 points, and one 250 level event would put him in the top spot. Dave can still make up 1735 points, but is 1175 points behind Luke, so would require a win at both Hamburg and Karlsruhe to get past Luke in the race rankings. Luke, however, is planning to enter the Hamburg 2015 Fight Night to make this very hard for them, though will need to place third or better to gain any points.
The upside of all this is that the 2015 European Masters becomes very exciting. For the purposes of the 2015 Race Rankings, the European Masters counts as a bonus 7th tournament for all the players who take part!
That means that if the top of the rankings race is close at the end of November, the year end number one could very easily be decided in Berlin. Jochen or Eóin could very easily be within 150 points of Luke in the Race Rankings, and that's how many points are on offer for the final match of the tournament.
As for the other players who could be invited to the European Masters, the criteria is simply that they live in Europe and have entered at least three tournaments this year. Accordingly, if the invites went out today the lineup would be:
If any of the players decline the invitation for any reason, lower ranked players will be invited instead. And even then, the lower ranked jugglers' places aren't assured, as Iver Tronstad, Emil Dahl, Tony Pezzo, Johnny Malcolm and Florian Marienfeld could all find their way onto the list if they enter one more FNC tournament before the end of November.
Anything could happen, of course, because there are 15 more tournaments scheduled before the end of the year, and more could be added to the calendar at any time. It's going to be an exciting end to 2015!
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