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In the tournament, contestants used their kites' glass strings to cut others' kite strings until only one triumphant kite remained in the sky. Hassan was Amir's assistant. When kites fell out of the sky, especially the last kite to fall, those not flying their own kites would chase them and try to catch them-they were called "kite runners." Hassan was an exceptionally good kite runner. The competition is basically an arial dog fight.