The National Xball League released the field layout for September’s Chicago Open today, and it’s a pretty drastic departure from what most are used to seeing.
The field, frankly, is crazy all the way through. There are no corners, with only a short cake on the outside of the snake and a tall cake inset on that side. The Dorito side could be dominant either as an offensive weapon or as a tool to lock things down with cross-shots. The “X” shape in the center will also be a spot to watch. The large wedges could allow for some close-quarters surprises, but the sheer number of bunkers in the area could turn the middle into a bounce shot-laden deathtrap.
PBNation’s John Dresser pointed out that “diehard snake players that can’t play any other spot and corner players who don’t ever want to leave their corners are all out of a job this event.” The situation might not be quite that dire for snake players if they’re willing and able to use speed and aggression to push to the 50 as fast as possible, but there’s no doubt versatility will be a virtue in Chicago.
Given the lack of tall bunkers in the center, though, it will be interesting to see how far teams can push off the break against opposing shooters. There’s certainly a pocket if teams want to play conservatively, but the tape lines seem likely to eat teams up if they’re reluctant to risk runners to the outside.
However things balance out, the Chicago Open, September 13-15 at Gaelic Park, looks to be an exciting follow-up to one of the crazier events in recent memory in Philly this past June.
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