On Saturday morning February 12th over 400 players converged upon the Jian Tan Youth Center in Taipei, Taiwan to compete in Grand Prix-Taipei. Players from around the world came to this Extended competition to vie for a $10,000 cash purse and invitations to Pro Tour New York. Sharp Point Publishing, sponsor of GP-Taipei created the huge Dragon banners that gave a New Year's feel to the event. The dragon holds special significance because Chinese New Year was celebrated last week and this year, 4698, is the "Year of the Dragon".
Players line up to check in for the tournament.
As soon as the doors opened 409 players swarmed the registration area. While most were local Taiwanese players, 10 were from Japan, 4 from the United States, 3 from Hong Kong, 3 from Singapore, 1 from Australia and 1 from the UK.
LA Williams first customer of the day.
Magic artist L.A. Williams arrived to find a line of people already waiting for him. Fans from around Taiwan were anxious to meet this well-known painter and get his signature.
Throughout registration on Friday night and continuing until early Saturday morning, players gathered at open tables and stairways with binders open for trading. Many were looking for that last minute edge, and so the action was fast and furious. Dual lands and various mana producers were popular; Squee was also in demand.
The calm before the storm
Tournament Organizer Jacky Yang issues orders to his teams of judges and staff prior to round one. Jacky Yang is Sharp Points' main tournament organizer, and working with DCI Representative David Ong runs many of the events on the island.
"Easy Rider" Mike Donais tries to ride off with a prize.
The large number of sponsors helped make this year's GP-Taipei extra special. Among the extra special prizes was a Suzuki scooter, computer equipment provided by Canon and INX. In addition, Pepsi Co. and Mars Candy provided snacks for players and staff.
The official staff t-shirt for GP-Taipei featured logos of all the sponsors.
Popular singing sensation Boxx appeared during the opening ceremony and helped kick GP-Taipei off to a great start. Michael Huang, Sharp Point's President and CEO, also addressed the players wishing them Happy New Year and good luck.
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