Date: June 6th & 7th 2009
Location: Nieuweweg 73, 6744 PL Ederveen, The Netherlands.

Report by Paul Jongma

On the 6th & 7th of June, the first edition of the Dutch Pinball Masters was held at Ederveen. 64 players from all over Europe battled for the title in a tournament comprised solely of head-to-head matches.

The Dutch Pinball Association currently owns 80 machines ranging from the electro-mechanical era to Pinball 2000. In combination with plenty of food and drink, these machines at the clubhouse in Ederveen proved to be a great recipe for a fun filled weekend of serious pinball action.

The left side of the Dutch Pinball Association’s clubhouse named “Funhouse”

Arjan Lugthart playing Eight Ball Champ at the back of the Funhouse

Martijn van Aken playing Dirty Harry on the right side of the Funhouse

The bar at the centre

Friday the 5th of June at approximately 7:00pm I received a text message. It read “Pizza, dude!” That was just the sign I was waiting for: to shut down the computer for work and the start of a great pinball weekend.

The sender of the text message was Christian Balac, who was driving down from Sweden with Gothenburg’s finest (Karl Broström and Henrik Tomson). I know from experience that a 10-hour drive to a pinball tournament needs a pinball ending, so when they pulled up at my place in the north of the Netherlands, we grabbed a pizza and managed to play a quick game of Attack from Mars. Afterwards the Swedish guys continued their drive to a hotel near their destination for the weekend: Ederveen, location of the Dutch Pinball Masters 2009.

That little side note shows the dedication of the players who attended this tournament. As the Dutch Pinball Open hasn’t been held since 2007 due to organizational difficulties, the idea arose to create a new and challenging international tournament on Dutch soil. As some Dutch players managed to win tournaments in other countries in the last couple of years (Sweden, Germany, England, Denmark), it was time to challenge foreign players to steal the Dutch pinball crown.

So on Saturday the 6th of June, 36 players from Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, England, Finland and France gathered to take on 28 players from the Netherlands for the title of Dutch Pinball Master 2009.

Trophies and prizes for the Dutch Pinball Masters 2009

The qualification was played on Saturday by dividing the 64 players into eight groups of eight. Everyone played a single 4-ball game in a head-to-head match against all other players in his or her group.  The top four players from every group advanced to the final round on Sunday.

Every player received a personal schematic on which the time and machine for all rounds of his or her qualification was listed. On each tournament machine another schematic was also shown that listed which players were destined on that specific machine according to the time schedule.

Machines used throughout the tournament were Bally/Williams ranging from Funhouse to Medieval Madness. Each machine was set up at a steep pitch with the outlane posts in medium or up-position. Besides being fast-paced, the machines were technically in prime condition thanks to all of to the Dutch Pinball Association’s engineers who took and still take care of the machines in the clubhouse. It was the perfect mixture for both a fair pinball challenge and keeping the tournament within the estimated time schedule.

One of the four top notch technicians Maurice Schouten testing Corvette
after fixing a sticky left flipper.

The morning qualification session showed no big surprises other than Switzerland’s Michael Trepp not making the cut. Mark van der Gugten won every game in his group with Brenn Oosterbaan, Karl Broström and Finland’s Olli-Mikko Ojamies scoring first place in the other groups. Some good scores were put up, for instance Martijn van Aken’s 750M on The Addam’s Family.

In the afternoon session Paul Jongma scored a clean sheet and Dirk Klaver, Mats Runsten and Michel van de Elzen managed to snatch first place in their groups as well. A lot of great matches were played, for instance the duel for the last finals place in Group E. Bas Vis’ 35M didn’t prove to be enough on Scared Stiff against Martijn van Amsterdam, with Martijn advancing to the Sunday rounds. The biggest surprise came from Group F, where Roy Wils didn’t make it to the top four in the group.

Roy Wils playing on Paragon

All the qualification‘s head-to-head results can be found at: http://www.dutchpinballmasters.nl/images/stories/download/qualification.xls

In the evening the team tournament was played, with Germany 1 and Netherlands 2 advancing to the semi-finals in Group B, taking on Netherlands 1 and Sweden 2 from Group A.

Trophies and medals for the team tournament

With a 4B+ on Dracula from Roy Wils, Netherlands 2 defeated Netherlands 1 (18-14). Germany 1 played excellently on Saturday night and beat Sweden 2 (19-13) to go into the final.

This final was won by Netherlands 2 with 19 points to 13 in an exciting match.

The Sweden 2 team (Mats Runsten, Per Holknekt, Svante Ericsson & Johan Småros) seemed tired after departing from Stockholm that same morning and left the bronze medals up for grabs by the Netherlands 1 team(25-7).

Head referee Ad Jonker presents the trophy to the team tournament winners Netherlands 2 (L-R: René van Gool , Roy Wils, Brenn Oosterbaan ( captain ) and Martijn van Amsterdam)

Germany 1 took second place. Their trophy and medals were presented by tournament director Albert Nomden (L-R: Ernö Rotter ,Albert Medaillon (captain), Mario Höfels and Peter Scheldt)

Head referee Ad Jonker (not shown) steals the show as Netherlands 1 receive their bronze medals (L-R: Dirk Klaver, Mark van der Gugten, Paul Jongma & Albert Nomden (captain))

The final round on Sunday saw the 32 players positioned in a double knockout bracket according to their Saturday qualifying positions. The winner’s side of the bracket was played in a best-of-three to advance on 3-ball games. On the loser’s side a single 4-ball game was played. This kept the relative advancement very well in balance and prevented long waiting times in the latter stages for the winner’s side. The setup was also constructed to prevent players playing each other once again for as long as possible.

Results were processed quickly by head referee Ad Jonker & Marijke Kool, and were projected on a large screen. This gave a direct preview of the next opponent and the scheduled match time. To give players a look at possible opponents beyond their next round match, the total tournament bracket was available as well.

Head referee Ad Jonker was in charge of a very smoothly run tournament

Tournament director Albert Nomden filling in the finals bracket accompanied by an interested Roger Wijnands

The machines were assigned using a Bingo raffle machine filled with 20 balls, each number representing the corresponding tournament machine. Balls that emerged were kept aside until the match result on the corresponding machine was received. Afterwards they were fed into the raffle machine once again.

So any machine drawn from the raffle machine was always free and every machine in the entire tournament was chosen at random – which was transparent to every player standing at the tournament organiser’s desk. With this system there was no need to wait for any round to be completed in total before starting the next.  It was one of the reasons that the tournament ran perfectly within the time schedule, both on Saturday and Sunday.

In the first round Roger Wijnands defeated Karl Broström and Belgium’s Lieven Engelbeen eliminated Albert Nomden. The next round saw Brenn Oosterbaan defeat French ace Franck Bona, while Switzerland’s Levente Tregova beat Michel van den Elzen.

Karl Broström plays Harlem Globetrotters

It was no surprise that Sweden’s elite player Mats Runsten won every single match on the winner’s side of the bracket, beating Paul Jongma 2-0 to be the first player to claim a place in the final. In the loser’s bracket Amsterdam’s street pinball legend René van Gool showed in one of his rare tournament appearances that he is a serious contender for any tournament title. He needed 400M against Brenn Oosterbaan on Creature from the Black Lagoon and got it on his last ball.

So a single 4-ball game on Johnny Memnonic was to decide the match between Paul Jongma and René van Gool for a place in the final. Paul was lucky as all things came together at the right time, ending at 33B. René, whose highscores on location surpass many of those on www.pinballhighscores.org, could not overcome the deficit and ended at 1B.

Amsterdam’s street pinball legend René van Gool receives his trophy for the 3rd place and the latest version of the Nintendo DS

So the final turned out to be a clash between The Netherlands and Sweden, as Mats Runsten showed he meant business coming over to Netherlands for the Dutch crown.

However, Mats would have expected to score more points on Congo, draining his last ball after missing a shot for skill fire. He ended at 750M. On his last ball, Paul’s score was a disappointing 350M, but he managed to get 15 diamonds from consecutively Amy, Gray attack and the Mystery to light three locks for his second multiball to clinch the first game.

On Medieval Madness 64M against 7M proved to be enough for Paul Jongma to win the first edition of the Dutch Pinball Masters.

All head-to-head results are available at:

Mats Runsten receives his trophy for 2nd place and a Xbox360 elite

 Paul Jongma takes 1st place and wins a trophy plus a ticket to the EPC in England

The reactions from the players who attended the tournament were unanimously positive and everyone had a blast. A big thanks goes out to all the members of the Association who made this great event possible! Right now we are already looking for possibilities to make the Dutch Pinball Masters 2010 even better – don’t miss it!

Sweden’s Henrik Tomson adepts very well to his new surroundings as he enjoys the local beer in a Dutch Pinball Association T-shirt outside the clubhouse

Photos courtesy of Christian Balac and Mark van der Gugten as published on the Dutch Pinball Masters website