Never Admit You Won ...
There were 40 gamers vying for the El Grande championship.
Fun was the focus of the tournament with the GM wearing a purple
top hat with gold stars. The new single elimination format this
year brought the total number of players down from 48 last year.
Many interested players showed up after the first heat and had
to be turned away. The top scores varied from a high of 106 to
a low of 75 among the eight top finishers of the first heat.
There was a tie for first place in the low scoring game with
both first and second place scoring 75. The most notable scoring
effort was managed by Sean Vessey who scored 28 points in the
non-scoring round 2 of his first game. The eight winners and
the top four runnerups advanced to three four-player games in
the second heat.
Top scores were naturally higher in the second heat due to
the four-player fields. The second heat game with the
number two finishers form the first heat had a one point difference
of 115 to 114 between James Pei and Mark Guttag for first and
second place. There was a two-point scoring difference of 114
to 112 between Anthony Burke and Stu Hendrickson in one of the
other second-round games.
The final began with James Pei clearing the opponents courts
with the Decay of Authority card. Defending champion Stu Hendrickson
played to bring the scoring down on Anthony Burke by playing
the four-zero mobile score board on his home region of Valencia.
During the second round, James Pei made an inquiry as to wheher
the El Grande defending champion was playing. I reluctantly
pointed out Stu Hendrickson and a target appeared on his shirt.
After some scoring in Rounds 1 and 2, Rob Seulowitz with twelve
had a slight lead over James Pei with nine and Anthony Burke
with seven. After the first general scoring in round 3, Rob Seulowitz
with 44 had a substantial lead over his closest competitor Anthony
Burke at 30. Stu held a disappointing fifth place with 21 points.
Through Rounds 4 to 6, the field continued to target Stu Henrickson
to keep his scoring down. The opponents did not fight for Anthony
Burke's home region of Valencia, since first place scoring there
was only four points and second place was zero. The mobile four
score board on Anthony's home region was working to his advantage
rather than lowering his score. Anthony scored all four regions,
giving him a slight lead by the end of Round 6. By the end of
the second general scoring round, the score was tied with Anthony
Burke and Rob Seulowitz at 67 each.
Seulowtiz battled to stay in contention but got some fierce
competition from Rob Flowers and James Pei who were both within
four points of him. Anthony continued to score heavily with Valencia
in Rounds 7 and 8, pulling ahead to 80 points. Stu Hendrickson's
game position remained hopeless due to constant battering from
his opponents. Anthony Burke kept a comfortable lead and easily
took first place in the third and final general scoring round.
Final scores were Anthony Burke: 94, Rob Seulowitz: 85, Rob Flowers:
83, James Pei: 81, and Stu Henrickson: 58.
Many suggestions were made to improve the tournament for next
year. The most interesting idea, made in jest, was to toss caballeros
on the board. Wherever they land they would be played. If any
landed in the ocean they would sink. Arguments were made for
both Swiss Elimination and Single Elimination formats. In order
to allow for more entrants and strengthen the competition, El
Grande will be run as two Swiss Elimination heats scheduled
on different days for WBC 2001.