Familiar Faces ...
GM Michael Kaltman (center) gets in
some playing time.
The job isn't finished till the paper
work is done.
The fourth year of Caylus at WBC featured it's
fourth GM in as many years, but 2009 greatly resembled 2008
both in format and results. Once again, two 3-hour
heats were run; most games finished in two hours with the 4-player
format (with 3-player games filling out the heats). A
notable exception was the 3-plus hour marathon match in Heat
1, won by defending champion Sam Atabaki, who edged last year's
Caesar recipient Raphael Lehrer by four points. Former
champion Andy Gerb faced a similar test in Heat 1, bowing to
Rich Meyer by a scant point.
In total, 34 players competed on nine boards on Tuesday night
for Heat 1, with 11 new players joining eight from the previous
heat to contest five boards on Thursday afternoon. The
45 total players who attended slightly eclipsed last year's 43. As
is often the case, conflicts with other Euros likely kept the
figures from being higher; the GM himself had to leave his duties
for the second Heat to his assistant, the very capable Ken
Horan (who was also notable for being the only player to win
games in both heats), due to a conflict with the El Grande
Due to an odd number of attendees among the winners and top
alternates, exactly 14 players advanced to the semi-finals, with
two 3-player and two 4-player games held. The 3-player
games were won by a pair of finalists from a year ago: Jeff Meyer
(edging Ryan Sturm by 6) and Sam Atabaki (who dominated his table,
winning by 26). The remaining finalists from a year
ago lost incredibly close contests to former champions: Rich
Meyer fell to Andy Gerb (who won his second heat) by four
points, earning 6th place, while new GM and 2008 runner-up
Mike Kaltman lost by a single point to last year's GM, Peter
Putnam to take 5th place laurels.
The Final was notable for its incredible uniqueness. No
castle builds or wood buildings were made in the first two turns
as all players hoarded resources and cash. Two players,
Sam and Andy, actually scored ZERO points for the entire Dungeon
Phase, while Jeff contributed one castle batch and erected the
double-cloth wood building, and Peter made two batches just before
the end of the first third (building the wood peddler for his
favors). Score at this point: 14-9-0-0, with Peter
in the lead and Jeff with the only other points.
Three players hit the building-favor track, with Peter erecting
two of the three stone production buildings (Workshop and Park)
and Andy grabbing the stone Farm. (The wood Mason,
by comparison, would not appear until after the goldmine space,
and was only used once by Jeff, who went for the point track
instead.) Peter maintained his lead, despite Andy
winning a castle favor in a round where all four players hit
the castle. The score after the Wall Phase was Peter
31, Andy 26, Jeff 21, Sam 17. The baliff was actually
one spot before the 'end of phase' space when the round
The Tower Phase would only take three rounds before the 14
requisite batches would be accepted. Nine of those
batches occurred in the second of those rounds from only
two opponents, with Sam's five batches trumping Peter's four. Andy
took advantage of the situation (helped by the stables) to get
the remaining four batches on the next round, ending the game. All
17 wood and stone buildings were built, but only one residence
(by Andy, who had no gold), and so no Prestige buildings. As
a result, the Final was also the lowest scoring game of the tourney. Peter
edged Andy by a point, 65-64, with Sam getting third with
58 and Jeff (who was shut out of the castle in that final phase)
fourth with 39.
To sum up: last year's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place
winners finished, in order: 3rd, 5th, 6th, 4th, and 2nd
and this year's 1st was last year's GM.
* * * *
Regarding my experience as a first-time GM, I was grateful
for all the assistance I received regarding all the questions
I had at the outset. I thought the demo went well
(though I had to scramble to make the first heat), and had a
pretty smooth event straight through the Final table (which was
a thrill for me to behold). Overall I had a great
experience with my duties, and look forward to being the first
two-time GM for the event.
Special thanks again to Ken Horan for assisting.
See everyone next year for WBC 2010!
Richard Meyer, Pete Staab, Rob Barnes
and Andrew Gerb have at it.
Our finalists go for the gold.
Three champs populate the final four.