el grande [Updated October 2005]  

2005 WBC Report    

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Charlie Kersten, OH

2005 Champion

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Event History
1999     Stu Hendrickson     47
2000     Anthony Burke      40
2001     Jason Levine      70
2002     Mark Guttag      41
2003     Rob Flowers      55
2004      Jay Fox      68
2005     Charlie Kersten      97


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Jason Levine       NY    05     62
  2.  Rob Flowers        MD    03     52
  3.  Charlie Kersten    OH    05     40
  4.  Jay Fox            NJ    04     40
  5.  Mark Guttag        VA    02     40
  6.  Stu Hendrickson    VA    00     36
  7.  David Buchholz     MI    05     32
  8.  Anthony Burke      NJ    00     30
  9.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    04     24
 10.  Josh Campbell      NY    03     24
 11.  Greg Thatcher      FL    05     20
 12.  Nick Benedict      CA    01     18
 13.  Rob Seulowitz      NY    00     18
 14.  Dan Hoffman        NC    99     18
 15.  Geoff Pounder      ON    05     16
 16.  Barry Shutt        PA    04     16
 17.  Mario Lanza        PA    03     16
 18.  Gary Presser       NY    02     13
 19.  Pete Gathmann      NJ    05     12
 20.  John Poniske       PA    04     12
 21.  Davyd Field        SC    03     12
 22.  Mike Hazel         SC    02     12
 23.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    01     12
 24.  Dennis Disney      TX    99     12
 25.  James Pei          TX    00      9
 26.  Sean Vessey        VA    99      9
 27.  Eric Brosius       MA    03      8
 28.  Stan Hilinski      MD    02      8
 29.  Peter Martin       NJ    01      6
 30.  Paul Hakken        NJ    99      6
 31.  Andrew Greene      VA    04      4
 32.  Gary Noe           FL    03      4
 33.  Andy Lewis         DE    01      3
 34.  Scott Buckwalter   MD    00      3
 35.  Scott Smith        GA    99      3

2005 Laurelists

David Buchholz, MI

Geoff Pounder, ON

Pete Gathmann, NJ

Jason Levine, NY

Greg Thatcher, FL

Past Winners

Stu Hendrickson,VA

Anthony Burke, NJ

Jason Levine, NY

Mark Guttag, VA

Rob Flowers, MD

Jay Fox, NJ

Nearly Three Figures ...

More than once I've heard that one of the strategies in this game is not to get out to an early lead. Several players this year, including the eventual champion, proved that wrong. Players have to keep both the board position and the score in mind when taking their moves. It's also possible to defend your position by judicious bidding and use of the Castillo.

I had hoped to increase attendance this year, which would have certainly set the record for this event. What I didn't expect was a 40% gain over last year, which overwhelmed my primitive game tracking methods and caused me to take a couple of hours after the second heat to make sure I could sort the semifinal qualifiers and alternates correctly. The laptop comes with me next year! As it was, we narrowly missed breaking 100 ahd shattered the previous attendance mark in much the same manner that Bonds and McGwire set their homerun records ... by leaps and bounds.

Three initial heats saw thirty games played, mostly full five-player boards, with 28 different individual winners. Charlie Kestler and Robb Effinger managed two wins each. Jason Levine, having of course switched his team game from El Grande to Battle Line, managed the biggest win in the heats, with a 31-point victory. Charlie had the narrowest win, a tie game decided by the first tie-breaker (just barely). I was worried about having to adjudicate games with the shorter two-hour slot this year, but all games finished within the time limit although a couple came close.

I scheduled the semifinals and Final for Thursday night in an attempt to avoid the weekend bottleneck, and appear to have succeeded since only four of the 28 qualifiers stayed away, allowing Geoff Pounder to advance with his three runner-up finishes.

Lots of familiar faces populated the semifinals. Jason created another blowout when his home province scored multiple times in the initial rounds. Charlie had a similar blowout at his table. Pete Gathmann established an early lead, which was maintained as his fellow players, including defending champion Jay Fox, somehow managed to attack each other's positions with as much gusto as Pete's. Greg Thatcher edged Davyd Field for sixth place laurels by means of tie-breakers.

In the Final, New Castile quickly became the big battleground. Charlie used his 1-13 combo to get lots of pieces on the board and lock down his home territory with only two men. He opened a small lead, but was spread extremely thin. David remained close behind with two scores of his home territory, which had no other players present. Geoff was only concentrated in a few territories and was trailing, occasionally taking scoring cards just to deny them to other players.

In the next three turns, Pete used his 1-13 combo, and that along with a "Score the firsts" card served to tighten up the scores considerably, although Charlie still maintained a 3-point lead. Late in the game, Geoff broke out of his trailing position with the "Dial-a-Score" card. He also bid his 2 on turn 7, hoping to get to use his 1-13 combo, but Jason pre-empted with his 1 that turn, allowing David to execute it instead. When the final cabs landed, however, David couldn't overcome Chris's lead, falling short by two points.

 GM      Rob Flowers  [3rd Year]  NA
    rpf1@mindspring.com   (NA) 

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