Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The draw is done!

And hmmmmm, not the group of death I was most worried about, but it's going to be tough. Check out the group draw here!

Let's have a look at the groupings, starting with Group A: Simon, Yanjaa, Anne, Katie. Poor Katie, she was hoping to avoid Simon, and I'm sure she would have preferred not to go up against Yanjaa either. But I don't think that's a problem - Katie really is better than those two at the crucial names and words (nurds), and I think she could spring a surprise or two. In fact, Simon could be in a little bit of trouble here! This is the nurdiest group of all, with four experts fighting it out. If he slips up on numbers or cards (which, I'll grant you, he seldom does), it might not be plain sailing for the reigning champ.

Group B: Jonas, Enhkjin, Lance and Marlo. I'd certainly give Marlo a chance here of reaching the knockout stages. (I'd really love to see Team Britain do well in the XMT). It does look like Jonas will be favourite to top the group, but I can see a fierce battle developing between the other three.

Group C: Mark Anthony, Boris, Tuuruul and Akjol. That's a good draw for Boris, I think he'll do well here. And I can see Akjol being his closest rival; he's got a sort of all-round consistency on the big occasions, I think based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the guy. By the way, is it me or does that photo look nothing like Boris? Are we sure it's him?

Group D: Johannes M, Ola, Enkhmunkh, Marwin. This is going to be a real ding-dong; all four of them are likely to be evenly matched and producing some impressive results. It'll be down to who can do it with the most consistency, and I think that's probably going to be Hannes. Marwin is my dark horse to do well at the XMT this year; he's improved a lot since 2014.

Group E: Christian, Johann, Annalena, Johnny. Interesting in that Christian and Annalena are a couple, and will be head-to-head against each other for the first time; that's something to talk about in the press. But I can see Christian coming out on top of this group quite easily, maybe with Johann in second place.

Group F: And finally, it goes Ben, Johannes Z, Tsogbadrakh, Alex. The good thing about this is that at least three of the group will probably be blogging extensively about it - Tsogo might too, although if he does it'll most likely be in Mongolian. I'm going to face some tough challenges from all three of the others here, and it really depends on how fast and reliable everyone can be with cards, images and numbers. In my training lately I've been pretty good at getting 100% correct in a reasonably good time, but we'll just have to see how it goes in the competition...

And if I win my group and my round-of-16, I'm liable to face Jonas in the quarter-final. Finish second, and it'll be Simon. But I'll cross those bridges if and when I come to them.

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