we the people [Updated August 2000]

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Brian Mountford, NY

2000 Champion

2nd: Anthony Burke, NJ

3rd: Dave Tianen, WI

4th: George Young, VT

5th: Andy Lewis, DE

6th: Randall Borra, NY
Event History
1991    None      -
1992    None      -
1993    None      -
1994    Andy Lewis      60
1995    Roger Taylor      56
1996    George Seary      54
1997    Thomas Drueding      40
1998    James Pei      40
1999    Marvin Birnbaum     32
2000    Brian Mountford     45
AREA Ratings
 1    Thomas Drueding      1682
 2    Brian Mountford      1639
 3    James Falling      1630
 4    Roger Taylor      1605
 5    Nicholas Anner      1594
 6    James Scott II      1575
 7    Chris Rice      1570
 8    Marvin Birnbaum      1569
 9    Mike Lochtefeld      1567
10    Wayne Morrison      1566

Card Driven Champs

While all of the games in the "We the People" system are popular, I maintain that it is the best-suited for tournament format, which is one of the reasons that I offered to GM the event this year. Besides, the former GM had paid his dues -- everyone needs a break.

Instead of the double-elimination format used in the past, this year featured Swiss-elim play. The idea was that one loss early on shouldn't knock you out of the tournament, but that you shouldn't be able to "draw your way" to a high-place finish, either. Scores were cumulative, with a win being worth one point, a draw one-half point, and a loss gaining nothing. The field was progressively trimmed after each of the second, third, and fourth rounds, with the top eight scores finally emerging for
single-elim knockout play.

Another change from previous years was that each contestant had to play British and American sides in alternating rounds. This made for some brisk play -- and a bit of good-natured whining for those who couldn't always play their favorite side -- but it also meant that this year's champ would be well-rounded. After all, if you want to be good at chess, you have to be
able to win with both white and black.

Andy Lewis (left) on his way to the semis; Ben Knight (right) on his way to his next event.

Attendance was up about 40% from the previous year, and featured a strong field of past champions and annual contenders. There were more than a dozen players with a legitimate chance for the final eight spots, and a number of games came down to the very last card play. For example, both Asst GM Chris Lefevre and '96 champ George Seary entered the final round of Swiss play needing a win to advance. After fighting to a draw, they watched the playoffs from the sidelines. 1994 champ Andy Lewis found himself facing automatic elimination as the British against undefeated Brian Mountford (which would have seriously hurt Andy in the tiebreakers), but General Lewis barely survived the game, and made the final eight. Brian himself had to sweat out an adjudication of his opening-round game on his route to the finals.

From the quarterfinals onward, rather than alternating sides, players bid for preference. Two New Jersey stars faced off for their state's unofficial championship, including defending champ Marvin Birnbaum, who survived some scares in the middle rounds. Marvin's dreams of repeating went by the wayside, however, as he suffered a tough loss to Anthony Burke, who had
emerged from the Swiss rounds undefeated, untied, and way ahead on all tiebreakers.

Anthony was slated to play the winner of Andy Lewis-George Young, and it looked as though Lewis, who was winning handily early-on, would emerge triumphant in the quarterfinal. But while Young has never won the WTP plaque, he knows his way around a Revolutionary battlefield (he earned his quarterfinal spot by eliciting Randall MacInnis' resignation after four turns in the final Swiss round). As the game went on, George saw "swindling chances," slowly worked his way back into the game, and the two veterans finished in a draw. As the GM's stated rules were that you had to win to advance, both George and Andy were out of the tournament, to finish in fourth and fifth place.

Brian Mountford beat a different path to the final, winning with the British over a tenacious Randall Borra (who finished sixth), and then masterfully steering the Americans over Dave Tianen, who finished third, in the semis. The advantage would seem to have been with Anthony, who had a bye into the finals, due to the Lewis-Young draw. It was late enough in the evening, however, that fatigue had settled in equally for both players. Even so, everyone involved wanted to wrap up the event that night. So, Brian and Anthony warred into the wee hours, with the advantage going back and forth. As the game wore on, more emphasis was placed on maneuver rather than large battles, and Brian's superior positional play, combined with a little luck,
gave him his first We the People championship after a marathon final.

We tried an ambitious format, which made pairings in successive rounds rather difficult. We matched up players of similar tournament experience, tried to avoid matching up players with those from their hometown, and also had to make sure that no one had more than his/her share of Yanks or Brits. This was all in addition to following classic Swiss pairings, where players
of equal scores meet, and was made more complicated due to draws (though there were fewer draws than in other years).

All in all, the feedback from the players seemed very positive for the new format, and we did manage our stated goal of finishing the event in one (albeit long) day. An exhausting but exhilirating event, on which everyone, from the good-natured players involved, to the tireless efforts of the Asst. GMs (Chris Lefevre and John Poinske), should be congratulated. If we're
lucky, attendance will increase next year, too!

High Preliminary Scores (Swiss):
Anthony Burke  4-0
Brian Mountford  4-0
Dave Tianen 3.5-1.5
George Young  3.5-1.5
Andy Lewis  3-1
Mike Nagel  3-1
Randall Borra  3-1
Marvin Birnbaum  3-1
George Seary  2.5-1.5
Chris Lefevre  2.5-1.5

There is supposedly an advantage to playing the Americans. However, the victories for each side broke down as follows:


American Wins

British Wins






















It's particularly interesting to note that in the fourth round, where the majority of players had to win to have a chance of making the knockout rounds, the ratio of Redcoats to Rebels victories was five to one. In the finals, the Americans fared a bit better, with three victories to two for the British -- which will likely keep the controversy going.

Gutsy Move of the Tournament: To winner Brian Mountford, who as the British had chased George Washington through the wilds of Pennsylvania, only to find himself outnumbered and isolated by American PC control markers. Brian attacked from hostile territory and won an improbable victory by capturing Gen. Washington. After that, he was pretty much unstoppable for the remainder of the tournament.

 GM      Terry Coleman  [1st Year]   331 Powell Drive, Bay Point, CA 94565
    tcgamer@home.com   NA

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