the russian campaign [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Doug James, NC

2005-06 Champion

Offsite links:

  The Russian Campaign Online

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
2001    Phil Evans     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     30
2003     Doug James     30
2004    Tom Gregorio     36
2005     Doug James     33
2006     Doug James     23

PBeM Event History
1999    Gary Dickson      19
2000    Gary Dickson      22
2001    Doug James      23
2002    Gary Dickson      44
2003    Tom Gregorio     40
2006    Doug James     34


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Doug James         NC    06    251
  2.  Tom Gregorio       PA    06    230
  3.  Gary Dickson       CA    06    191
  4.  Rob Beyma          MD    05     76
  5.  Phil Evans         VA    04     63
  6.  Pat Flory          CT    05     61
  7.  George Karahalios  IL    06     54
  8.  Art Lupinacci      ON    02     40
  9.  Joe Collinson      MD    04     36
 10.  Dave Ketchum       FL    04     36
 11.  Bert Schoose       IL    06     26
 12.  Alan Zasada        IL    02     24
 13.  Ed O'Connor        NJ    06     22
 14.  Mike Pacheco       CA    05     20
 15. Scott Abrams        CA    06     16
 16.  Allen Kaplan       NJ    05     16
 17.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    06     16
 18.  Jim Eliason        IA    05     14
 19.  Michael Mitchell   GA    06     12
 20.  Jeff Martin        CT    05     12
 21.  Jeff Lange         AE    04     10
 22.  Brad Frisby        MD    01      8
 23.  John Bullis        WI    02      6
 24.  Rob McCracken      DE    05      5
 25.  Roy Walker         UK    06      4
 26.  Marty Musella      VA    99      3

2006 Laurelists

Bert Schoose, IL

George Karahalios,IL

Tom Gregorio, PA

Ed O'Connor, NJ

Forrest Pafenberg, VA

Past Winners

Rob Beyma, MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier, CT

Ed O'Connor, NJ

Jeff Martin, CT

Tom Gregorio, PA
'96, '02, '04

Gary Dickson, CA

Doug James, NC
2000, 2003, 2005-2006

Phil Evans, VA

TRC Champion: There can be only one...

I'll dispel any sense of suspense by providing the punch line early:  Doug James took home his fourth first-place wood. This year's trip to the wood, however, took Doug through the Windy City—our boys from Chicago demonstrated they'd not been idle in the off-season!
Event Overview
While the format has varied greatly over the last 16 years, there were very few changes when compared to prior years. Chess clocks were mandatory, a ten-turn Barbarossa scenario, and bidding for sides all ensured that tourney participants could leverage prior experience.  The 'wrinkle' in 2006 was the introduction of "Option Schoose", a modification to Stuka availability in Sep/Oct and Nov/Dec 41, which provided further balancing for weather.  (This option had been tournament tested at the 2006 PrezCon event.)  Doug James and George Karahalios served as the over-qualified assistant GMs.
The Tournament
Things opened up on Thursday evening with the tutorial session.  Ably run by George Karahalios, a dozen new and familiar faces were provided with a good overview of the game as well as how to approach the tournament event.  Our eyes are weaker, and our fingers less nimble, so the 4th edition biggie-sized continues to draw TRC players of yester-year back to the fold.  Of particular comfort to many returning players is the fact that the rules changes are minimal between the two editions and the battle-tested tactics from 25 years ago still apply.
The initial mulligan round had 22 players matched up.  The random pairings ensured that there were some interesting matches but only a few upsets. Winners got to sleep in and start the main event on Friday afternoon.  Bruno Sinigaglio continues to hone a strategy aimed at a 1941 German Automatic Victory (capturing Moscow) but this seems to fall short when confronted by inclement weather OR a "mass the Red Army in the Kremlin" approach to defense.  Larry Hollern, who has played on the PBeM circuit for many years, showed in person and, not surprisingly, is much nicer than his 'kill every unit' approach to TRC would otherwise indicate.  Having the 'privilege' of matching against a fully rested Doug James, not surprisingly, left Larry fighting for his tourney life in the first round on Friday morning.
9AM Friday morning had ten players trying to qualify for the next round.  One notable surprise was that Alex Gregorio, gaming offspring of yours truly, scored his first TRC tourney win.  He was in a euphoric state the rest of the convention but the downside is that he then was crowing for months over the fact that it took his father five tries before winning a TRC tourney game while he accomplished it in four matches. (Needless to say, over the next few months I will make sure he gets pounded on the east front!)  Another upset was Matt Burkins besting Joe Collinson, a former laurelist.  By the end of this round, the entire cadre from Chicago, Alan/Bert/George/Mike, had all been 'blooded' and left their mark on the rest of the tourney entrants.  Dick Jarvinen was playing his own event, however, and was keen to win the 'iron man' tourney so his foray into TRC-land was brief as newcomer Mike Mishler made a splash with his first tourney win.
The end of the 2PM Friday afternoon round saw only six seasoned TRC grognards still standing.  At this point there were 100+ TRC gaming years among the contestants so every match was brutal and every contestant able to capably play either side.
Doug breezed through the last Friday round. but only because he had a bye into the final four match!  Two Chicago'ans, George & Bert, clawed into the final four while I barely outlasted Alan Zasada to take the last slot.
A break was taken on Saturday - the 'gang of four' took a communal meal in at Fuddruckers before descending into the Maelstorm that the final rounds of a TRC event inevitably become.  The meal-time camaraderie soon gave way to the dice-fueled fury that is high level Russian Campaign competition. The yelps of indignation coming from Doug upon resolving the early summer combats were quite surprising - a distinct murmur went through the crowd as it seemed that George was well on his way to thwarting Doug's Axis steam roller.  George was resolving extremely low odds attacks with his out of supply units which netted six German units (including a panzer) in the first two turns.  George's favorite part of that game occurred when trying to form an attack against an 8-7 panzer that had breached the Bug on the first turn:  Doug looked at George and said: "you'd better run".  George immediately pulled back all the units as far as he could get, saving both his units and his clock time.  It was a strategy that paid off because the Sep/Oct 1941 weather turned to Lt Mud.   Alas, it was not meant to be.  Doug's Wehrmacht survived the winter and the Red Army melted under the glare of the 1942 summer sun.  It still was close though, as Doug said, it "came down to the final turn and a 50/50 chance with my last stuka on a Sevastopol that had changed hands a couple of times already!"   Tom's match with Bert went down to the wire with Bert pulling off several low-odds moves that, in combination, gave him enough points to secure his slot in the Final.
Bert Schoose and Doug James emerged from their tough matches and immediately plowed on into the championship match.  The Fnal match featured Doug as the Germans while Bert was more than content to play the Russians.  Doug's Germans wore down the Red Army that had so spiritedly defended Mother Russia in 1941.  The game tone was set on the first turn when Doug made two second impulse 3:1 attacks on the flanks of the KMD defenders.  Doug lost both attacks; rolling 1's and getting AR results, but the forward retreat allowed him to place seven Soviet units out of supply. Bert attacked a 7-7 panzer (2:1 surrounded) in the first impulse to try to restore supply. This attack and the subsequent 1:1 attack on the 7-7 panzer both failed costing Bert all seven Soviet units. Bert continued to hang in there despite some amazingly bad luck and, with his Chicago comrade George, displayed great sportsmanship in the face of improbable outcomes.   When the dust settled at the conclusion of the Sept/Oct 42 turn, Doug's Germans had achieved their victory conditions.  In taking the wood, he's now won the event four of the last seven years.  
For those who question the balance of the game, I have no trouble pointing to this years stats:  28 games played with the Russians and Germans each getting 14 wins.  (As always, no ties can occur in tournament play.)  Recorded bids ranged from +20 to +3 with several bids for the Russians occurring. Congruent with his playing style, Bruno led the pack with bids of +15 and +20 for the Germans.  No games were adjudicated but many felt the pressure of the time clock at the end.  Those who micromanaged their initial turns often paid for it on the last turns with units often being left in place in order to save a few seconds!  Eight of 28 matches went down to the last turn.
Looking Forward to 2007
I anticipate some more changes next year.  As the 'balance' issue has seemingly been addressed, we're now going to focus on trying to modify the event format to increase attendance as the participation dip to 23 entrants was not welcomed.  Options could include some 'open scheduling' for the initial round as well as exploration of a shorter scenario aimed at 3-hour rounds instead of 5-hour rounds.

The Russian Campaign PBeM Tournament:

RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN: The Sixth BPA tournament has concluded with Doug James matching his WBC championship in that game with the email crown as well, this time over Gary Dickson who was unable to attend WBC this year. There were 33 matches played in the Single Elimination tournament of 34 players with 3rd to 6th place laurels awarded to: Scott Abrams, Michael Mitchell, Bert Schoose and Roy Walker respectively.

I am planning the 7th BPA Sponsored The Russian Campaign (4th Edition) PBeM Tournament.

1. Single elimination, 10-turn Barbarossa scenario (with Schoose Option);
2. Initial Seeding by AREA rating (last time I did this randomly);
3. 3-month rounds starting October 9, 2006
4. Exclusive use of TRC 4th edition rules and map
5. Rolling start until November 27, 2006

I am trying to gauge if there is any interest in a Novice tournament run separately from the Standard tournament.  The Novice tournament would be for players new to TRC and for those returning from a long hiatus. Any player would be able to participate in the Standard tournament, but only players who have NOT been to the quarterfinals in the WBC, BPA PBeM or Ladder would be eligible in the Novice tournament.

More details to be found at: under Site News.

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [7th Year]   1650 Chadwyck Place, Blue Bell, PA 19422    484-744-1086

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