adel verpflichtet  

Updated 11/14/2008

2008 WBC Report  

 2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

Louis Gehring, IN

2008 Champion

Offsite Links


Event History
1991    Ray Pfeifer      23
1992    Terry Tegler      34
1993    Tom DeMarco      55
1994    Ralph May      49
1995    Beth Zhao      65
1996    Ray Pfeifer      32
1997    Thomas Stokes      54
1998    Marc Geary      64
1999    Ray Pfeifer     46
2000    Richard Irving     40
2001    John Pack     58
2002    John Pack     47
2003    Thomas Browne     60
2004    Marc Houde     52
2005    Ray Pfeifer     35
2006    Mark Geary     31
2007     Tom DeMarco     51
2008    Louis Gehring     64

PBeM Event History
2008     Ken Gutermuth     34

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Ray Pfeifer        MD    07    104
  2.  John Pack          CO    08     73
  3.  Thomas Browne      PA    08     72
  4.  Tom DeMarco        NJ    07     72
  5.  Mark Geary         OH    07     57
  6.  Marc Houde         VA    04     42
  7.  Nick Henning       CT    05     36
  8.  Abby Cocke         MD    05     33
  9.  Louis Gehring      IN    08     30
 10.  Ken Gutermuth      NC    08     30
 11.  Richard Irving     CA    00     30
 12.  Ben Foy            MD    02     24
 13.  Shea Lawson        MD    08     18
 14.  Sharee Pack        CO    08     18
 15.  Anne Norton        NJ    07     18
 16.  Greg Crowe         VA    05     18
 17.  Tom Stokes         NJ    01     18
 18.  Scott Cornett      FL    99     18
 19.  Alex Bove          PA    08     15
 20.  Brittany Bernard   PA    08     12
 21.  Luke Koleszar      VA    07     12
 22.  Karl Henning       CT    06     12
 23.  John Weber         MD    04     12
 24.  Patrick Mitchell   DE    03     12
 25.  Kevin Wojtaszczyk  NY    08      9
 26.  Derek Landel       NJ    07      9
 27.  Carolyn DeMarco    NJ    03      9
 28.  Alan Moon          MA    99      9
 29.  Frank Cunliffe     PA    03      8
 30.  Steve Cameron      PA    03      8
 31.  Beth Zhao          TX    08      6
 32.  Greg Thatcher      FL    08      6
 33.  Alexandra Henning  CT    04      6
 34.  Jean DeLattre     Belg   00      6
 35.  Eyal Mozes         NY    99      6
 36.  Shea Lawson        MD    06      4
 37.  David Meyaard      CT    08      3
 38.  Frank Arndt        MD    01      3
 39.  Wendy DeMarco      NJ    00      3
 40.  Christine Frattali WA    99      3

2008 Laurelists                                                 Returning Laurelists: 0

Shea Lawson, MD

Brittany Bernard, PA

Kevin Wojtaszczyk, NY

Beth Zhao, TX

David Meyaard, CT

Past Winners

Ray Pfeifer, MD
'91, '96, '99, '05

Tom DeMarco, NJ
1993, 2007

Ralph May, SC

Beth Zhao, DC

Thomas Stokes, NJ

Mark Geary, OH
1998, 2006

Richard Irving, CA

John Pack, CO

Tom Browne, PA

Marc Houde, VA

Adel continued its resurgance at WBC with a near record 64 entrants as the ballroom reverberated with cries of anguish from caught thieves and stolen treasures. Three champs with seven titles between them populate this table.

BPA Chairman of the Board Ken Gutermuth (left) tries to recapture his recent PBeM success to no avail in the face-to-face competition. As many on-line champ has discovered, live tournaments are an entirely different animal.

A Family Affair ...

In the first round, every entrant can play up to four games, scoring points based on finishing position (1st=5 points, 2nd=4, 3rd=3, 4th=2, 5th=1). The ten players with the highest total points advance to the semi-final. Each semi-finalist plays two games, with the four winners and the best second place finisher advancing to a single winner-take-all Final.

This year's event saw another large increase in attendance (+25% over 2007) to 64, only one short of the record for this event (in 1995). There were nine former champions present and eight of 2007's ten semi-finalists, yet we managed to find six entirely new laurelists this year! Perhaps no other game reinforces the family unit as well; we had five members of the Pack family, four of the Henning family, three Lees, and at least six other pairs of family members.

13 games were played in the first round. Ranking the 13 winners (with 5 points each) by tiebreakers (spaces past the finish, then cards in last set), gave the early lead to Jonathan Izer (8 spaces, 11 cards), edging out Ken Lee (8 spaces, 10 cards), with Jim Vroom (7 spaces), Jonathan Gemmell (6 spaces), Katy Lee (5 spaces, 9 cards), David Meyaard (5 spaces, 8 cards), and Ray Pfeifer (4 spaces, 12 cards) close behind. Jim & Ray's wins were in the only games in the event where all the players had crossed the finish line at game's end. Ray's game also had the tightest bunching at the end with all five players ending between 1 and 4 spaces past the finish line, and Ray gained the 8 space end-of-game bonus to vault up from fifth place to grab the win.

Six players moved on to other tournaments while two late arrivals signed on for the second round, consisting of 12 games. Four of the first round winners won again, with Katy now edging out Jim, 17 spaces to 16, followed by Ken L (13 spaces) and David (10 spaces). Five players had a first and a second place finish for nine points; Louis Gehring (12 spaces, 21 cards), Marie Pack (12 spaces, 20 cards), Kevin Wojtaszczyk (9 spaces), Shea Lawson (8 spaces), and Jonathan G (7 spaces).

There were 11 games played in the third round, and no one remained in the ranks of the undefeated. Marie now led the umm. pack with 14 points and 19 spaces, closely followed by Shea (14 points, 14 spaces). Five players were at 13 points: Katy (17 spaces), Ernie Chambers (13 spaces), 1995 champ Beth (Bernard) Zhao (11 spaces), Jonathan G (11 spaces), and Kevin (9 spaces). Seven more players were tied at 12 points: Jim, Louis, the PBeM tournament champion Ken Gutermuth, David, Inger Henning, Brittany Bernard (sister of Beth), and Paul Weintraub. With that many leading players so close after three games, there would be no guaranteed entries into the semi-finals; the next round would determine who would advance.

44 players remained for the final nine preliminary games. When the results were reported and the scores tallied, the semi-finalists were led by Shea and Jonathan G with 18 points out of a possible 20. Louis, Marie, Ken G, Beth, Kevin, and Paul followed with 17 points, while David, Jim, and Brittany ended with 16 points. Paul left, leaving exactly 10 to move onto the semis. This year's qualification cutoff of 16 points was higher than any of the past eight years; it is usually 14 or 15 points, has fallen as low as 11 points, and is likely a function of tournament attendance.

Moving from Ballroom B to the quieter confines of Limerock, the semi-finalists were placed in two games. Beth sprinted to victory in one game, finishing 4 spaces past the finish and 8 spaces ahead of Jim, followed by Shea, Jonathan G and Kevin. In the other game, Brittany finished 6 spaces past, beating David (4 spaces past, but with no set), Marie, Ken G and Louis. Then the players were rearranged for the last semi-final games. In one, Shea finished at 8 spaces past, ahead of Louis (4 spaces, 7 cards), Marie, Jonathan G, and Ken G, while in the other Kevin finished at 3 spaces past, followed by Beth, Brittany, David and Jim. Louis' second place finish was the best second, so he got to advance with Beth, Brittany, Shea and Kevin. David's second place finish earned him the 6th place
tournament laurels.

In the Final, Beth was the first out of the gate on the first turn, showing a highly coveted "CCC" opening set to advance 2 spaces, while Louis stole one of those lovely "C" cards. Brittany paid the $24K check to buy at the Auctionhouse, and Shea's thief stole it from the cash register. Next, Louis advanced 3 spaces for an exhibit while Shea bought at the Auctionhouse with the $24K check and Brittany stole it back. Kevin was the next out with a 4 space exhibit. After Beth advanced 3 when her detective caught Shea and Brittany's thieves, Brittany advanced 5 and Kevin 3 with an exhibit. Meanwhile, Louis had stolen the $24K, followed by Beth stealing it. Usually, this (highest) check doesn't move around this many times, especially this early in the game. Brittany and Shea were able to catch a thief and advance 2 and 5 spaces, followed by Shea's 3 space exhibit and then Kevin's 3 space exhibit, which took him to the first corner. Next Kevin (1 space), Beth (4) and Louis (5) all advanced on the same turn with detectives. On the next turn four advanced; Beth (4 spaces) and Kevin (2) exhibited, while Shea (3) and Brittany (5) detected. After a couple more turns of exhibits and successful detectings, Kevin again took the lead around the second corner, then vied with Brittany and Louis for the lead along the final stretch until Brittany landed on the penultimate space before the finish line. At this point Brittany was 2 spaces back, Kevin was 3 spaces, Louis, 5, Shea, 9, and Beth 11 spaces from the finish. All five players chose to go to the Castle for the (probable) last turn. Shea chose to play a thief while everyone else chose to exhibit. Louis showed the best set, earning 5 spaces to move one space past the finish line and triggering the end of the game, while Beth showed the second best exhibit and advanced 3 spaces. Kevin and Brittany did not advance, but lost a card from their sets to Shea along with Louis and Beth. And then - the final showdown! Shea added the four cards she just gained to the eight she had to win the longest set at 12 cards to advance 8 spaces, ending up 2 spaces past the finish and one space in front of Louis. But Louis had 10 cards for the second longest set and the 4 space bonus, putting him at 5 spaces past the finish and winning him the game and the tournament.

If attendance figures continue to be over 50 players, I am considering increasing the number of players in the semi-final to 25, and then just playing one semi-final round of five games with the five winners going directly to the Final. This would increase the number of players and player-hours in the semi-final while shortening the tournament by one game (from 7 to 6 games). The downside of this change would be to decrease the role of skill in making the Final, with only one chance to win and advance instead of two. If you have thoughts or opinions on this potential change, please contact me by email.

Strategy Info

Most players realize the value of the 8 space bonus at game's end for having the biggest set. Just how good is getting this bonus? If you can win games by running away from everyone with undisturbed exhibits and cross the finish more than 8 spaces ahead of the other players, there is no need to worry about having the longest set. Even if you can finish between 5 and 8 spaces ahead, you have a good chance of winning if the person with the longest set isn't in second place. But if the race is tight, and multiple players are near the finish line, that 8-space bonus usually decides the game. Of the 50 games played this year, 23 (46%) were won by the player who ended with the longest set, and in 20 games (40%) the player with the longest set finished second, leaving just 7 games (14%) where they finished third or lower. The 4-space bonus for the second longest set helps too, but mainly in the preliminaries where not finishing in 4th or 5th in any game is a great way to make it to the semi-final; in 8 games (16%) the player with the 4-space bonus finished first, in 13 games (26%) they finished second, and in 24 games (48%) they finished third, leaving only 5 games (10%) where they finished fourth or fifth. Shea Lawson, the top finisher in the preliminaries, was the best at getting the longest set this year: out of the seven games she played, she got the 8 space bonus four times (winning three of those four and getting second in the Final), and the 4-space bonus three times (finishing second twice, and third once). Louis Gehring, this year's champion, took the 8-space bonus once (in a win) and the 4-space bonus four times (a win in the Final, two seconds and one third). Other players using this strategy to good effect were Marie Pack (8 spaces three times for two wins and a second, 4 spaces three times) and Jim Vroom (8 spaces four times for two wins and two seconds).

Marie Pack and Brittany Bernard were two of the 21 ladies who participated in the Adel event to make up nearly a third of the field. Their success rate was even higher with 60% of the finalists composed of the fair sex.

The Finalists at work as conscientious GM Tom DeMarco takes notes in the background. Only Beth Zhao had won previously, but all were experienced players - even young Shea Lawson - not all that long graduated from the Junior ranks.

PBeM Tournament 2008

"No one here for to see my pretty things." - Bob Hamel [all alone at the castle]

At the end of five preliminary rounds where 34 players each played five games against 18-20 different opponents, Thomas Browne emerged as the leader with 23 of 25 possible points. Each game was worth a maximum of 5 points. Alex Bove and Sharee Pack each finished with 21. The final five was rounded out with two of the players who scored 20 points, Greg Thatcher and Ken Gutermuth. Naturally, one of them would "steal" the tournament in the all important Final round. The sixth place player, GM John Pack, also had 20 points but only finished with a total of 9 spaces across the finish lines (vs. 25 and 19 for Greg and Ken respectively).

The tournament was lively -- with many players in three or four games simultaneously. I've interspersed some of the lively dialogue throughout this report. Needless to say, the players had a lot of fun!

"Oh, that was a great round. Bunch of thievin' varmints around this place." - Anthony Daw
"That may be the first time I've seen a double thief-convention..." - John Pack
"Looks like I have to play something other than a thief now." - Greg Thatcher
"Come on folks, I need my thieves back!" - Greg Thatcher
"Thanks for that file in the cake guys!...I'm free!!" - Bob Hamel

The Final played so quickly, taking just two weeks, that the champion is already determined! Congratulations to Ken Gutermuth who prevailed by a single space over Sharee Pack. Four of the five players still had a chance to win on the last move. Sharee was just two spaces from the finish and although she had five cards, her set was the bare minimum of three. She elected to exhibit and charge across. Darn the thieves, full speed ahead! If no one beat her exhibit, she'd have a lock on victory. Alex Bove and Ken Gutermuth played thieves to maximize their sets for final advancement. Ken would have the biggest set (ten cards). Eight spaces would put him ahead of Sharee if she got three or fewer spaces for exhibiting. Ken needed someone else to beat her exhibit. Greg Thatcher played a detective - sending the thieves to jail and moving forward five spaces (a move which brought him into the pack and which would have made him a contender if the game had lasted another turn). Greg needed two people to beat Sharee's exhibit and keep the game going. Unfortunately for Greg and Thomas, only Thomas Browne exhibited against Sharee - taking the five space reward. However, the thieves took his set down from 7 to a mere three of his five remaining cards, guaranteeing that Thomas would not advance again. Sharee finished with no set whatsoever. Ken got the 8 space final reward to finish three spaces across the line. Sharee finished two spaces across. Thomas finished one space short. Alex, who got the four space reward, finished three spaces shy, and Greg finished 5 spaces out for a very tight finish. Congratulations to Ken Gutermuth for besting a fine field! Also taking laurels were Sharee Pack, Tom Browne, Alex Bove, Greg Thatcher, and John Pack for finishing 2nd thru 6th respectively.

"It's the Secret Policeman's Ball!" - Rob Seulowitz
"Guess it was time for the annual detective's convention. I went to the panel on proper use of the magnifying glass. It was very educational!" - Greg Crowe
"Wow, THREE detectives...Guess I'm going to prison for a LONG time...." - Bob Hamel

The next BPA Adel Verpflichtet PBeM competition on SpielByWeb will get underway this October 1st. Check
for details of all the tournament games and scoring!

"How much will you give me to Exhibit???? I take PayPal. :-)
"JUST KIDDING...of course...we're in it 'TO THE DEATH.'" - Bob Hamel

Tamara Houde gaves Art Appreciation class 101.

We didn't swipe it ... honest!

 Adel Verpflichtet Junior

In the Juniors event twelve kids reported to show and swipe the best refrigerator crayon art. Matt Leader proved to be the most promising young art collector. He was followed in order by Lissa Rennert, Willow Barbero-Menzel, Brian Pappas, Emily Barriere and Jonathan Berry.

 GM      Tom DeMarco [2nd Year]  720 Wood Lane, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077-3976   NA

2008 Preview Page | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page