pillars of the earth

Updated 11/30/2008

2008 WBC Report  

  2009 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Bill Crenshaw, VA

2008 Champion



Event History
2007    Raphael Lehrer      34
2008    Bill Crenshaw     38

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Raphael Lehrer     PA    08     39
   2.  Bill Crenshaw      VA    08     30
   3.  Greg Thatcher      FL    08     24
   4.  Alex Bove          PA    08     21
   5.  Cary Morris        NC    08     18
   6.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    07     12
   7.  Chris Moffa        NJ    07      6
   8.  Matt Peterson      MN    08      3
   9.  Dan Eppolito       CA    07      3

2008 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists:

Cary Morris, NC

Alex Bove, PA

Raphael Lehrer, MD

Greg Thatcher, CA

Matt Peterson, MN

Past Champions

Raphael Lehrer, MD

Bill Crenshaw, VA


Eric Freeman - the Euro Track co-ordinator - ponders his options at Table 4 while Paul Skrabut, Eric Eshlman and Sean Vessey await their move.

Hey! What's Marvin Birnbaum doing looking over Keith Levy's shoulder? The new papa had to be home for the 3 AM feeding and had to leave early.

After a Year of Experience ...

The second year of Pillars of the Earth was quite a success, with the level of competition increasing markedly over the first year. Twelve matches were played in the the two heats, which were paced by Keith Levy as the only two-heat winner (and who also ended defending champ Raphael Lehrer's unbeaten record in this game) and Greg Thatcher who had both the highest score (62) and highest margin of victory (an astonishing 19 points). Ten of the 11 winners were present for the semi-final, so they along with alternates Matthew Morgal and Marvin Birnbaum advanced to the semis where four three-player games were played. All four of the 2007 finalists made the semis, but only two survived their semi-final games (GM Raphael Lehrer defeated Bill Morgal and Eric Freeman, while Alex Bove took out Rich Fetzer and Matthew Morgal). Greg Thatcher (last year's 2nd place), was eliminated along with Keith by new face Cary Morris in the closest semi-final (5 points, earning Greg 5th place), while Marvin Birnbaum (last year's 3rd place) fell to Bill Crenshaw along with Matt Peterson in a 6-point game, earning Matt 6th place.

For a report on the Final, I yield the floor to Bill Crenshaw, the eventual winner:

"Alex got off to a fast start, buying the money-making Woodworker and getting Prior Philip on Turn 1. The other finalists played defense and got to the Priory early and often to blunt Alex's advantage. Raphael played his typically solid game throughout, hoarding money and making frequent use of the Wool Mill. Unfortunately his master builders hid at the bottom of the bag time after time and he was unable to capitalize on his wealth advantage, despite frequently controlling turn order. Bill had money early but nearly went broke shortly after boldly acquiring three new craftsmen on Turn 3 and an additional sculptor on Turn 5. Cary played well with a good mix of craftsmen and resources and appeared poised to edge into the lead. On the final turn, Bill got the break he needed when his master craftsman was drawn in time to enable him to buy the super- Sculptor, to add to his other two Sculptors, and his multiple stone holdings enabled him to eke out a one-point victory over Cary. Alex's strategic blocking of the metal spots so that Raphael couldn't' get the metal he needed gave him a one-point edge over Raphael to take third place."

Records were taken of the scores by seating order. Unlike last year, there appeared to be little appreciable difference between the seats in four-player games, where in average scores ranged from a high of 40.8 (for the "worst" 4th seat) to a low of 38.4 (3rd seat), with first and second seat at 38.8 and 38.9 respectively. This suggests that the apparent advantage of going first is greatly diminished with experienced players (as last year's WBC debut had a far greater percentage of players who were just learning the game). Thanks go to Assistant GMs Chris Moffa and John Weber whose help was invaluable in the success of the event. Despite being elminated during the heats, Chris came to help during both the semi-final and Final rounds to observe games and adjudicate disputes.

 GM      Raphael Lehrer [1st Year]  NA
  lehrer@cmt.harvard.edu   NA

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