el grande 

Updated 11/30/2008

2008 WBC Report    

 2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

Geoff Pounder, ON

2008 Champion

Offsite Links

  Rio Grande Games

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
2006      Greg Thatcher      55
2007     Robb Effinger      68
2008      Geoff Pounder      61

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Greg Thatcher      FL    08     62
  2.  Jason Levine       NY    05     62
  3.  Rob Flowers        MD    03     52
  4.  Geoff Pounder      ON    08     46
  5.  Charlie Kersten    OH    05     40
  6.  Jay Fox            NJ    04     40
  7.  Mark Guttag        VA    02     40
  8.  Robb Effinger      ON    08     39
  9.  Stu Hendrickson    VA    00     36
 10.  David Buchholz     MI    05     32
 11.  Anthony Burke      NJ    00     30
 12.  Mike Hazel         SC    07     24
 13.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    04     24
 14.  Josh Campbell      NY    03     24
 15.  Marc Berenbach     MA    08     18
 16.  Winton LeMoine     CA    07     18
 17.  Eric Freeman       PA    06     18
 18.  Nick Benedict      CA    01     18
 19.  Rob Seulowitz      NY    00     18
 20.  Dan Hoffman        NC    99     18
 21.  Barry Shutt        PA    04     16
 22.  Mario Lanza        PA    03     16
 23.  Gary Presser       NY    02     13
 24.  Brian Kirchner Germany   06     12
 25.  Pete Gathmann      NJ    05     12
 26.  John Poniske       PA    04     12
 27.  Davyd Field        SC    03     12
 28.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    01     12
 29.  Dennis Disney      TX    99     12
 30.  Rich Meyer         MA    07      9
 31.  David Gubbay       TX    06      9
 32.  James Pei          TX    00      9
 33.  Sean Vessey        VA    99      9
 34.  Eric Brosius       MA    03      8
 35.  Stan Hilinski      MD    02      8
 36.  Tim Mossman        MD    08      6
 37.  Mike Nickeloff     CA    07      6
 38.  Paul Murphy        UT    06      6
 39.  Peter Martin       NJ    01      6
 40.  Paul Hakken        NJ    99      6
 41.  Andrew Greene      VA    04      4
 42.  Gary Noe           FL    03      4
 43.  Jeff Meyer         MA    08      3
 44.  Brian Kowal        WI    07      3
 45.  Joe Pabis          VA    06      3
 46.  Andy Lewis         DE    01      3
 47.  Scott Buckwalter   MD    00      3
 48.  Scott Smith        GA    99      3

2008 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists 

Marc Berenbach, MA

Greg Thatcher, FL

Robb Effinger, ON

Tim Mossman, MD

Jeff Meyer, MA

Past Winners

Stu Hendrickson,VA

Anthony Burke, NJ

Jason Levine, NY

Mark Guttag, VA

Rob Flowers, MD

Jay Fox, NJ

Charlie Kersten, OH

Greg Thatcher, FL

Robb Effinger, ON

Geoff Pounder, ON

Defending champion Greg Thatcher looked spiffy in his El Grande Centurion shirt but was stopped in the Final.

The Finalists at work as GM Rob Flowers (with clipboard)
records the Final for posterity.

Still Hard Going for Laurelists ...

It has been ten years since El Grande made its appearance at the WBC, and the event has yet to see a repeat champion. Would this be the year?

The attendance appears to have settled down to a core group of players who are not only experienced with the game, but just love to play. Over a quarter of the field played in at least two of the three heats. Three players attended all three heats, including David Burkey who scored a win in the last one to advance. 19 winners meant that six alternates would also get to advance to the semi-finals, and for the first time since I have run the event, there were no dropouts for the semi-final slots.

The final table had the two previous champs, Robb Effinger and Greg Thatcher, as well as Geoff Pounder, who had placed third in 2005. Marc Berenbach had never actually laureled in the event before but he was a frequent tenant in the semi-finals. Tim Mossman was a relative newcomer, but advanced to the semis with the strongest record of 1st and 2nd place finishes in the first two heats.

Right off the bat, Greg used the King action to create a favorable situation for Geoff to score the 6's and 7's. Geoff took the score, putting him at 14 points and Greg at 13, with the rest trailing behind. In Turn 2, Tim used a Score the 5's card to catch up to them, while Robb and Marc still trailed. Robb placed the 8/4/0 mobile scoreboard on Greg's home territory (Valencia), where he was already tied with Robb with one caballero each.

During the first scoring round, everyone avoided Valencia when placing their pieces from the Castillo. Only Marc and Robb succeeded in scoring their Grandes. Greg had been beat on a bit, but still scored well enough to place him in first with 36 points. Robb was in second with 31, and the others were within 5 points of him.

In Turn 4, Tim scored New Castile, putting both Tim and Geoff within three points of the lead; Marc still trailed by nine. Turn 5 saw Tim execute the "Dial-a-Score" card, which helped Tim somewhat but helped Greg a lot more. Greg again opened his lead to five points over Robb, while the overall spread was now 12 points.

Meanwhile, Geoff had been strengthening his board position while other players were attacking the leaders. When it came to the second round of scoring, Geoff scored in seven of the ten regions (including a third in the Castillo) and was the only player to get points for his Grande, while Greg only scored in three regions and Robb in four. Geoff tied Greg for the lead at 60, although the players were all within four points.

In Turn 7, Geoff spent his 13 to grab a scoring card, adding eight points to his score while not helping Greg. Marc was a beneficiary, getting four points to barely put him into second. Midway though Turn 8, Geoff picked up a Veto card, which gave him tremendous leverage to protect his lead throughout the rest of the game. He used this to good effect in Turn 9, influencing Tim's move of the King, which finally went to New Castile to protect Tim's first place there. Unfortunately, this created a situation where Geoff was able to score Old Castile once again, getting him another eight points and putting him 11 ahead. Geoff had the lowest scoring in the third scoring round, but his lead was too much to overcome.

Unlike the previous two years, scoring cards did not play a dominant role. In fact, five scoring cards were taken by players and NOT executed. Still, Geoff managed to score about 10 points more than anyone else through scoring cards. He also managed to get points from his Grande five times, while no one else did the trick more than twice.

This year we played with a new rule whereby partial Vetoes of actions are not allowed. This simplified the rule and speeded up games. Next year I think I'll revisit the issue with the various differently worded cards in the 2 stack regarding "fellow players" versus "each player", to help reduce questions on that issue.

As with last year, I have a play by play record of the Final in Excel format, should anyone be interested.

 GM      Rob Flowers  [6th Year]  NA
    rpf1@mindspring.com   NA

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