the russian campaign  

Updated 11/30/2009

Grognard Pre-Con
2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Doug James, NC

2008-09 Champion

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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
2007    Bert Schoose     34
2008     Doug James     27
2009     Doug James     39

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
2008     Tom Gregorio     31

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Doug James         NC    09    350
  2.  Tom Gregorio       PA    09    296
  3.  Gary Dickson       CA    09    261
  4.  Bert Schoose       IL    09    111
  5.  Rob Beyma          MD    05     76
  6.  George Karahalios  IL    08     74
  7.  Phil Evans         VA    04     63
  8.  Pat Flory          CT    05     61
  9.  Ed O'Connor        NJ    08     40
 10.  Art Lupinacci      on    02     40
 11.  Joe Collinson      MD    04     36
 12.  Dave Ketchum       FL    04     36
 13.  Alan Zasada        IL    02     24
 14.  Mike Pacheco       CA    05     20
 15.  Tim Nielsen        VA    09     18
 16.  Scott Abrams       CA    06     16
 17.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    06     16
 18.  Allen Kaplan       NJ    05     16
 19.  Jim Eliason        IA    05     14
 20.  John Ohlin         FL    09     12
 21.  John Popiden       CA    07     12
 22.  Michael Mitchell   GA    06     12
 23.  Jeff Martin        CT    05     12
 24.  Roy Walker         uk    08     10
 25.  Jeff Lange         ae    04     10
 26.  Brad Frisby        MD    01      8
 27.  John Bullis        WI    02      6
 28.  Rob McCracken      DE    05      5
 29.  John Ryan          FL    07      4
 30.  Alex Gregorio      PA    08      3
 31.  Larry Hollern      TX    08      3
 32.  Marty Musella      VA    99      3

2009 Laurelists                                      Repeating Laurelists 

Bert Schoose, IL

Gary Dickson, CA

Tim Nielsen, VA

John Ohlin, FL

Tom Gregorio, PA

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
00, 03, 05-'06, 08-09

Phil Evans, VA

Bert Schoose, IL


Grognards at work as Phil Evans meets Gary Dickson.

Alan Zasada was one of many welcome new faces in the tournament.

TRC Champion: There can be only one...

2009 saw the19th rendition of The Russian Campaign tournament at WBC. As a sign that the event is still healthy, records were set in both numbers of participants, 39, and total games played, 93. Much of these impressive numbers can be attributed to the format, featuring membership in the Grognard Con and the consistent usage of the 5-turn tournament scenario, but there were also a significant number of new faces in the event.  When the last die was tossed, however, a familiar person would own the first place wood:  Doug James.  It will look nice on his wall next to the five others he already has.
Tournament Summary

The first six days saw TRC faithful all fighting fiercely for a slot in the final four.  Particularly memorable was seeing the defending champ, and AREA leader, experience losses to Gary Dickson , Tom Gregorio, and Jeff Martin in the first few days.  Seemingly discouraged, Doug nonetheless pushed through with some key wins and made it to the final four. The semi-finalists were not identified until Friday evening; the way tournament points were assigned in the Grognard Con ensured that nobody could secure early wins and then avoid playing without risking being overtaken.  Gary and Bert had strangleholds on the first two slots as they'd gone undefeated against some serious competition.  Doug James nailed down the third slot while Tim Nielsen narrowly edged out Jeff Martin and John Ohlin for the final slot.
Semi-final Matches

The semi's saw James vs. Dickson, and Bert Schoose vs. newcomer Tim Nielsen. James' Germans prevailed over Dickson in the semi-final while Bert defeated Tim Nielsen.  In both rounds, Doug saw some early German advantage gained in the KMD after exploiting some unusual Russian setups there.
In the other semi-final, Bert was the Germans against Tim as these two recreated their Final match from the 2009 Prezcon tournament.  Unfortunately for Tim, the game was mostly decided on the second impulse of the first turn when Bert's die rolls averaged 5.0 on eight attacks.  This followed a decent first impulse result for the Germans.  The total carnage from the first turn attack killed or trapped 21 Russian defenders with only a single Axis unit lost (an EX roll on a 1-1 attack).  Tim gallantly defended for several turns but could never reverse the advantage that Bert had gained with his initial attacks.

Championship Match
In the Final Bert consistently forced Doug to AV Russian units on first impulse in order to keep advancing in the south.  Particularly noteworthy was that Bert's KMD setup encouraged the creation of a LARGE pocket of Russians at Lwow.  Bert's pocketed units counterattacked and he used an AR to get a Russian unit into Warsaw on Turn 1.  Doug  used two of three stukas in July on attacks IN POLAND!  Things really broke open in a clear S/O when the overrun of a 3-7 allowed German panzers to attack Kharkov at 4:1 surrounded. After Kharkov fell in September, a 6-7 panzer moved in October to cut the Soviet rail into Kursk from the east. An invasion by a 4-4 that same impulse accomplished the same between Stalino and Rostov. This effectively prevented Soviet reinforcements from threatening the Axis position in the Ukraine for the rest of the game, and in spite of a successful Russian surge on Smolensk the Germans held on to enough points to secure the win.

Strategy Summary
Players continue to evolve their own styles for the 5-turn scenario.  With a significant number of experienced German players mentally prepared to go for Moscow, it's particularly important for the Russian player to prevent the WMD from being overrun on the opening impulse.  The Odessa Military District defenses also are being adjusted to prevent the Automatic Victory overrun of Odessa on the second impulse and the subsequent breaching of the Bug River on the first turn.  The July/August 41 Russian move often featured a positional strategy that was based on a weather 'gamble'; making a correct 50/50 'guess' will allow the Russian to significantly improve an otherwise losing position.

Notable Accomplishment
For the first time, I submitted a sportsmanship nomination.  John Ohlin defeated five-time defending TRC champ Doug James in a hard-fought match that was decided by ONE victory point.  John consoled Doug with a beer at the bar.  During the traditional post-game recap, they realized that Doug had not been credited with eliminating a German HQ which would have given Doug the win.  The GM was notified, the outcome was reversed, and John no longer had the tournament points necessary to advance to the single elimination portion of the event.  Good sportsmanship, John, that beer turned out to have cost more than just money

Individual Mentions
Tim Nielsen's TRC star continues to ascend - after an impressive showing at Prezcon in February, he continued to rack up the wins by making it into the WBC final four.  The other members filling out the final quartet included Doug James, Bert Schoose, and Gary Dickson with nine TRC championships amongst them.  Barely missing the final four were John Ohlin and Tom Gregorio.  Alex Gregorio seems to have picked up some bad habits from Bruno; no less than three of his wins were derived from the capture of Moscow.  Michael Trobough had a stellar year as he racked up numerous wins.  Joe Collinson continues to do well in face to face play with numerous wins recorded this year.  (Should he ever decide to give up "History of the World", he'll be a serious contender!)

Event Recap
As always, it was good to see the TRC faithful but it was also reassuring to see the pipeline of new TRC players continuingto be strong.  Noteworthy were the performances of Gregory Smith and Nick Drochak, but seeing the 'younger generation', including Alex Gregorio, John Schoose, and Vinny Sinigaglio, also portends well for the future.

Some matchup statistics were collected and reviewed by Gary Dickson.  Raw highlights included: 

· German wins:  43%, games where individuals did not include the weather results:  27%. 
· 69% of the German wins featured Light Mud in September/October 1941.  (In the tournament scenario, light-mud in Sept/Oct ensures that there will be light-mud in Nov/Dec.)
· In the 23 games that reported clear weather in Sep/Oct, the Russians won TWICE as often as the Germans. 
· The average game bid had the Russians getting an extra 9.3 replacements over the course of the five turns. 
· In German wins, the average bid was 9.5

The key takeaways at this point from this analysis are that the GM needs to encourage the reporting of complete match data and that, in general, the Russians have a slight edge but this advantage does not seem to be driven by the replacement bid. Given the overall win ratio, logic would seemingly dictate that bids go lower but this GM believes that German win ratio was above 50% when experienced Germans were at the helm.

This GM is already looking forward to the 20th incarnation of TRC at WBC in 2010.  With Doug having revealed that he is vulnerable in the early going, perhaps there is hope that someone else will take the wood next year. There continues to be a wide variety of opening defenses so the wise German will bring a full bag of tricks to Lancaster as the current trend does seem to favor the Russians.


Bert Schoose with talented newcomer Tim Nielsen in their semi-final,

Doug James takes his sixth title in this Final with Bert Schhoose.
 GM      Tom Gregorio  [10th Year]   1650 Chadwyck Place, Blue Bell, PA 19422    484-744-1086

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