Card Driven Champs
This year, disappointed WTP contenders can rightly claim that
the Gamemaster was totally in the dark! Preparations for our
9 AM start were delayed by the hotel's "fifteen minute"
electrical black-out, but players cooperated nicely and we quickly
overcame the awkward kickoff. Our starting field was the largest
since 1996, 54 players and included three former champions(Birnbaum,
Drueding, Mountford) as well as four of last year's six finalists.
More importantly, we had a number of first time participants
who were familiar with the game plus four rookies who survived
the Valley Forge like environment of Cafe Jay during the Thursday
evening teaching session!
Players also cooperated with the collection of statistics
on bidding, frequency of automatic victories, year ending data,
etc. (The full analysis of these statistics is included in the
unabridged version of this report.) The average bid was 1.25
PCs to take the British. During the three Swiss qualifying rounds
this average bid yielded: 25 American wins, 24 British wins and
Notable Performances: In the opening round James Doughan
denied Brian Mountford his chance for a three-peat when, after
giving Brian 2 PCs, he proceeded to control Canada and all 13
colonies at the 1781 ending. James also receives this year's
"Buzz-Saw" award - he not only faced Brian in the first
round but was matched against another returning champion, Tom
Drueding, in the second. Brian battled back to gain two victories
in the subsequent rounds to qualify for a shot at the final slot
in the SE portion of the tournament. As the only player to hang
tough through the entire Swiss Round despite three disappointing
losses, Steve Rugge gets the "Valley Forge" award.
From a field of five that drew my attention, David Dockter was
given the nod as our Sportsmanship nominee. After he and Paul
Gaberson reached a draw in the semifinal game, David accepted
adjudication on the basis of the tie breaker rule with far more
grace and good humor than is reasonable to expect.
The eight players making up the quarterfinals were: David
Dockter, Tom Drueding, Paul Gaberson, Stuart Tucker, Marvin Birnbaum,
Bruce Wigdor, Michael Mitchell, and Roderick Lee. When the dust
settled, Marvin Birnbaum had claimed both the 2002 Wood and the
distinction of a second WTP championship.