13 June 2012


I call 'Monster rallies' - rallies that last long, including both high pace and variation.
Mohamed El Shorabgy is involved in both the current and the previous monster rally that we have had here on the blog, that time against Karim Darwish, this time versus James Willstrop
Being involved in monster rallies is both a good and a bad sign. Good, because it means you can cope with anything what your opponent throws at you, and bad, because it also means your opponent can cope with anything that you throw at him. The deciding factor is whether you tend to win or lose these rallies - or maybe even more importantly - whether you or your opponent end up coming out with more shaky legs at the end of the rally.
Nick Matthew is famous for involving deliberately his opponents in such rallies; he generally wins these rallies, but even if not, he gets what he is looking for by tiring the opponent physically and mentally.
With El Shorbagy, I do not have the feeling that he tires yet enough his higher ranked opponents sufficiently with these type of rallies. Physically maybe, but mentally definitely not. The rhythm is slightly too steady (even if very high), you can disturb and make look silly lower ranked players this way, but not the top guys. They are very happy to handle any pace as long as the variation factor is low, as long as they are allowed to guess relatively easily where to expect the next shot. 
I have the feeling that El Shorbagy enjoys slightly too much executing lower ranked opponents simply with high pace, and forgets then in the next round that against the top guys this tactic will not work. He should take example from Gregory Gaultier, who is famous for shooting off lower ranked players with his speed and pace, but changes tactics as soon as he faces any of the top guys. Am not saying he is not hitting hard against the top players, I am just saying he makes sure he hits hard when it makes sense (in average every fifth shot, at least that's what I have counted at the British Open this year).
Concerning the opponent, James Willstrop, you have still some time left (till midnight UK time 13th June 2012) to leave a comment under this post to win his book, A Shot and a Ghost