Master of the universe wins German impressioning games

In the middle (first place) Dr. Manfred Bölker, on the left (second place) Barry Wels, on the right: (third place) Julian Hardt

If there would be a decathlon for lockpickers, Dr. Manfred Bölker would win it for sure. Besides being one of the most skilled lockpickers on the planet, he also takes great pride in mastering all other opening techniques. But that is what it takes to become ‘master of the universe’.

And last week he showed his brilliance again by winning the 2007 German lock impressioning championships in Koln. Nothing new, as he already won in 2001 and 2004, and scored a third place in 2005 and a fourth place in 2006.

This year he made a key for the Abus C83 lock trough impressioning in a devastating time of 7:15.

And in my first serious attempt to compete in this discipline I became second. It took me 25 minutes and 5 seconds to make a working key for this lock. The reason it took so long is it took me two blanks … on my first blank I went too deep on one position.

Only three out of the eighteen people that attended opened the lock this year. Julian Hardt became third in 46:03.

Below is a picture of the original key (code 8 3 6 2 7) and my impressioned key.

25:05 minutes of hard work to make this key
(Yellow paint on blank is a security feature to identify it is an ‘original championships blank’)

A little about the lock:

In previous championships the Abus C83 lock was used. This is one of the most common locks in Germany and all Ssdev members know it inside out.

This ‘inside out’ knowledge was of no use as Abus had other plans this year. The lock was filled with special ‘black pins’ (hardened?). If I understood correctly some of them were even special SKG anti manipulation pins.

And normally the first four housing pins in an Abus are mushrooms and the last one a solid one. But not in this lock. Here the second housing pin was solid while the rest were mushrooms. Not to mention the first pin being a cut eight (normally four or less?).

Abus is a clever company. They sponsor the championships by supplying free locks and blanks, and in return learn from the feedback. I must say I admire Abus for this approach!

In less then two months we will all meet again. During the Dutch Open lockpick championships we will also spend some time on an impressioning workshop and championship. And Dr. Manfred will be there too, trying to win the only trophy missing on his chimney: that of winner of the Dutch Open lockpick games ….

* Update 3/10: Julian mentioned I made a mistake, I mentioned Abus C38 instead of Abus C83. Corrected that now. Thanks Julian!

13 Responses to “Master of the universe wins German impressioning games”

  1. Henk says:

    Congratz Barry,good work!!

  2. PickPick says:

    Now it’s Meister Barry 🙂 Congratulations

  3. Congratsulations for you Barry for taking that second place! That sounded a really tough competition, when comparing times taken.

  4. bdkkecoh says:

    congrat.. but i still dont have i any idea how impressioning work..

  5. Julio says:

    Good going Barry, nice job !! Soon, I will be looking into impressioning as so.

  6. Barry says:

    Thanks all for your kind words 😉

    German Ssdev President Steffen also had some kind words for me (in German):

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch Barry, das war eine meisterliche Leistung, vor allem weil Du das erste mal an diesem Wettkamp teilgenommen hast. Du darfst Zukünftig den Titel „MEISTER“ tragen und bekommst natürlich auch noch eine goldene Vereinsnadel.

    Als MEISTER trägst Du natürlich auch Verantwortung, dafür dürfen die anderen Dir Dein Bier holen.

  7. Julian says:

    And another congratulation – again – from 3rd winner. I also needed two blanks, same reason.

    And besides: It’s been an Abus C83.

  8. Schuyler says:

    Barry! Excellent to see you in second. Congratulations. I’m very excited to learn some impressioning while in Holland this year.

    Very nicely done!

  9. AL says:

    Is the lock meant to be hard to impression for any reason ? Mushroom pins etc make no real difference with normal impressioning but a high proportion of people taking park failed completely, I don’t mean to be rude but is that down to their lack of skill or the lock in question ?

  10. Barry says:

    AL: That is a good question. Personally I think it was a little harder as the standard C83 locks I have at home.

    Having said this, it could very well be the time pressure causing this, and maybe the fact three pins were relatively long/deep. The lock contained an 8, 7 and 6 pin, and the combination was a typical ‘low-high-low-high-low’ combination. And we know this sort of combination well as we receive it regularly from manufacturers we do lock tests for 😉

    And the fact Meister Dr. Manfred Bölker opened the lock in five minutes, taking almost two extra minutes to prepare his key to open the lock both ways probably means it was just the time pressure.

    On the other hand, maybe the black pins (and in particular the special security pins) could have made the difference? For me it was the first time ever to see black pins in an Abus lock.

    Just before the game we all got the message this lock was not an ordinary C83 like used in pervious games, but this one was specially prepared by Abus. In German: “speziell bestiftetet” and “untypischen Schließung”. But maybe I misunderstood as my German is not perfect.

    I am quite sure some other talented people just did not have their day and could open a standard C83 lock in under an hour normally (maybe even below 30 minutes?). The Germans take their championships very serious and practise till they bleed sometimes 😉

    And if you feel lucky, in six weeks is your chance to join the Dutch Open lockpick and impressioning championships. More about the Dutch Open 2007 (and the mandatory registration!) in the days to come …

  11. AL: You said “Mushroom pins etc make no real difference with normal impressioning”. This is not totaly correct! Mushroom pins actually make impressioning more easy.
    On a normal Abus C83, when you file too deep you recognize it immediatly because the lock turns 2-3 degrees.
    With a lock with more full pins, the lock does not tell you when you file too deep! So it is a little bit harder with more full pins.
    And it is time-consuming when you file and file until you reach the depth 9.
    So I think in the championchip some people filed until the key broke.


  12. AL says:

    Barry – Thanks for your explanation. Given my location I cannot attend. Could you perhaps email me directly as I would very much like to get such a lock to experiment with, I am sure I can find something to send in trade …

  13. NKT says:

    Just thought I’d ask, since no-one said anything about it, but are the black pins simply coated in molybdenum or Teflon? This would make impressioning far more difficult, but make picking rather easier.

    How long did it take to pick this lock? I assume someone tried?

    I hope there will be some around for the Open, so I can have a look. 🙂