the russian campaign [Updated August 2000]

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Doug James, NC

2000 Champion

2nd: Rob Beyma, MD

3rd: Gary Dickson, CA

4th: Dave Ketchum, FL

 5th: Allen Kaplan, NJ

  6th: Brad Frisby, MD
Event History
1991    Rob Beyma      31
1992    Alan Frappier      26
1993    Ed O'Connor      20
1994    Jeff Martin      16
1995    Rob Beyma      16
1996    Tom Gregorio      20
1997    Gary Dickson      24
1998    Gary Dickson      27
1999    Gary Dickson     26
2000    Doug James     30
AREA Ratings
 1    Gary Dickson      6841
 2    Robert Shurdut      6643
 3    Patrick Flory      6632
 4    Edward O'Connor      6597
 5    Robert Beyma      6584
 6    Timothy Greene      6103
 7    Daniel Barker      6097
 8    Jeffrey Martin      6063
 9    Thomas Gregorio      5958
10    Phillip Evans      5846

The Russian Campaign Champion: There can be only one...

This year's Russian Campaign (WBC tournament saw the defending three-time champion, Gary Dickson, upended by Doug James in the semi-finals. Not only did this secure Doug the TRC plaque, but it also garnered him the "Classics Iron Man" award! Clearly Doug has been practicing in the off season - his level of play was certainly a notch above the rest this year. He ascribes much credit to Sensei Pat Flory but this GM suspects that no small amount of natural talent is present.

The turnout was heavy this year - 33 individuals participated in 31 tournament matches. Things kicked off with a tutorial Wednesday night (with eight attendees) followed by a preliminary heat. Thursday saw two more preliminary rounds that qualified 18 people for the single-elimination portion of the tournament that would begin Friday. ("One win and you're in"
was the tournament format; i.e., win any preliminary game and you were eligible to play in the single-elimination component of the event.) The Beymas, Frisbys, and Sinigaglios had their clans represented by more than one warrior - it's good to see one family member introducing another to the joy of strategic combat on the Eastern Front! As has been the case for the last eight years, the ten-turn scenario was used with balancing weather modifiers and bidding for the Germans. Tom Gregorio assumed the GM reins from Rob Beyma knowing that he had big footprints to follow. Tom was lucky to have Gary Dickson and Doug James serve as assistant GMs - their years of experience helped ensure that any issues that came up were addressed quickly
and equitably.

The single-elimination (SE) event began early Friday morning; fortunately two of the 18 qualifiers gave up their slots to participate in tournaments more dear to them and this made for a perfect SE bracket of 16. They will be forgiven but only this year. <grin> The16 grognards remaining counted among them no less than 13 hardy veterans of prior years. This experience was probably relevant - all eight slots in the next round were filled by veterans. (See for the specific match outcomes.) Bidding for the Germans in the tourney scenario has continued to climb - perhaps a reflection of a desire to wear scuttle-butt helmets but more likely a conscious decision to ensure that the opponent doesn't get the Germans for
too cheap a price.

Some specific highlights indicate how closely fought the matches were and the extremes to which players go to in order to compete:
- Gary had to win one of two 1-1 combats to win against Forest.
- Dave won on a last turn 1-2 vs Rostov, but that was justice for Tom's rolling a 3-1 "Defender Eliminated" in which he used a stuka to raise the odds on a 1-2 versus two stacks (three Guard units, including Big-Momma perished).
- Doug endured Gary's Germans getting a Clear Sep/Oct 41 roll but he had defended with that possibility. Judicious counter-attacks by the Soviets crushed the left flank of AGC in 1942 and that, combined with plenty of MUD and SNOW weather that year ensured that Gary's +4 bid would not hold.
- Rob Beyma, making a difficult decision, chose to singularly participate in the Waterloo Tournament Final: he conceded the TRC final to Doug James. (Justice will be served in 2001 if those two meet in the cardboard arena next year...) His strong defensive play prior to that would have induced hesitation in anybody contemplating bidding +4 or more for the Germans.
- Both Frisby brothers, Brad and Robert, continue to display an amazing ability to take more experienced opponents down to the last turn's rolls. Having seen, and participated in, matches against them, I know it's only a matter of time before they are contending for the top spots.
- Tim Greene continues to work on his "Northern" blast offense. While most players reinforce the Southern front, Tim is pumping up the Northern forces! The result is usually a German force *beginning* the September/October 1941 turn on the doorsteps of Moscow. Unfortunately, the Russian has large forces available that escaped from the South that usually prevent the Russian player's early demise. Once Tim perfects his opening, it will be just a matter of time before others start trying it out too!

Adjudications were minimal and well received - no outcomes were disputed and this is a testament both to the ability of the Assistant GM's to analyze a game and the sportsmanship of the adjudicatees. As always, TRC games between opponents of even skills were going well over five hours. Luckily, no subsequent round starts were impacted.

Looking ahead already to next year's event, this GM senses that the level of play will go even higher. Several WBC TRC participants were advised to get more involved in the numerous PBeM events; experience has shown that this is the *quickest* way to get in combat shape. The tutorial will probably be expanded as this GM underestimated the level of interest and the amount of material that should be covered in an 'introduction' to TRC. Knowing that winning TRC alone can get one the "Iron Man" championship will probably enlarge the field even further next year. (Perhaps a 32-person single-elimination component is out of reach in '01 but the trend over the past few years is certainly positive.) Time management continues to be a concern for this grueling event - this GM has much to ponder as he tries to ensure that no player gets an unfair opportunity to 'work the clock' next year. WBC 2001 promises to be even more fun given the increased participation and high overall skill level. Russian Campaign is simple to learn but demonstratably hard to master; that alone often defines a 'classic game' but the consistently high level of playing skill and game excitement throughout this year's WBC event also is proof that TRC is a proven winner.

TRC anyone?

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [1st Year]   2908 Sheffield Dr., Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462    (610) 292-9973

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