grand strategy on a titanic scale
late on a Tuesday evening at the WBC... early arrivals are tucking
themselves in for a last night of sleep before the contests begin.
The late evening quiet is broken by the forlorn call of a wild
moose (ie really loud moose call), calling to others (ie really
loud Elchfest players) of it's ilk to join.
The call is answered by 27 misguided Elchfesters (ie people
who should have been in bed, but weren't). The pairings were
made and the contest began!
Elchfest is a finger-flicking game wherein each player
tries to walk his moose to the other side of the table. Your
moose gets to move to the next stone, when you flick the stone
within range. Each player gets two flicks per turn. (three, if
you count the finger-flick directed at your opponent) The rules
are simple and straight-forward (ie just right for 27 people
with nothing else on their mind).
Armed with two assistant GMs, one large rack of moose horns,
several moose visors, and libations, the rules of the contest
were set down. Contrary to the printed tournament rules which
stated SE, the players were asked to embark on an arduous 'best
out of 3' contest against their assigned opponents. This vastly
increased the playing time for each round from three minutes
to nearly ten! This was done as a preventive measure so that
those staying up waaaaay past their bedtime, would at least have
ten minutes of 'festing' to show for it.
After nearly 15 minutes (can you imagine being adjudicated
in Elchfest??), our 27 entrants were reduced to 14. These
were paired into seven games and when the moose dust settled,
only seven remained. Among these chosen few were the best Elchfesters
in the nation. The likes of Vince Fratalli, Christopher Bodkin,
Kevin Youells, Lynn Ribiero, the Dan Dolans (both of them!) and
yours truly were still standing at the gates to the semi-finals.
An eternity (ten minutes) later, there were only four. The
room was now much quieter, since half of the Dan Dolans were
out of the moose running. Lynn Ribiero was paired against yours
truly, while Dan Dolan, Jr (the more well-behaved one) was paired
against Vince Fratalli. The going was tough at both tables, each
going the distance of three games. A gruelling ten minates later,
only two Elchfesters remained.
The Finals for the inaugural "Running of the Moose"
saw Vince Fratalli facing off against yours truly. The assistant
GMs circled over head... waiting to swoop in for the kill should
a false move be made. Oops! I mean they stood by in case a rules
question arose during play.
After many tears and cheers, with no timeouts, the dust settled,
and one moose stood at the other side of the table.. 2001 became
a year of firsts for this GM as Elchfest took its rightful
place in the pantheon of games of over 25 players at the WBC...
it also marked my first 1st place wood in eleven years. Thanks
to Jim Doughan for making it all possible by sponsoring the tournament.
Somehow... Elchfest seems right.
(No moose were hurt during the making of this tournament.)
difficult to tell them apart from their more senior competitors,
a dozen miniature elk hunters joined the fray also. The best
flickers ... err players, turned out to be Alex Henning (1st),
Sasha Turner (2nd) and Zach Rucker (3rd).
The Thrill of Victory.....
and The Ag(ninny) of Defeat ...