43 Still in Convoy
Bruce Monnin, the original Avaloncon
GM for WAS back in the olden days and current PBeM GM, runs afoul
of Jim Kramer, fresh off his 5-0 Swiss run last year.
Mark Gutfreund and Steve Raszewski
get in a game using the new L2 version of the game with enhanced
graphics aplenty on the map and ships.
Richardson won the 2009 title with a record of 7-0-1. Pat, who
previously won the 2000 WBC, defeated teammate and one-time neighbor
Andy Gardner (6-1-1) for the title. Ewan McNay nabbed third place
with a 5-1 tally. Ewan was the only player with a perfect slate
in the Swiss rounds, doing so for the second year in a row. Fourth
went to defending champ Jonathan Lockwood who went 4-3. The other
playoff contenders were Chuck Stapp and Ed Menzel who took fifth
and sixth place laurels at 4-2, and Mike Kaye, 4-2, and Bruce
Reiff at 3-3. Just missing the playoff cut on strengtyh of schedule
tie brekers were Ray Freeman and Scott Beall at 3-2.
In addition to his second place wood, Andy Gardner became
the fourth inductee into the War At Sea Hall of Fame,
joining previous inductees Alan Applebaum, Ray Freeman, and Bruce
Monnin. On top of his two WBC crowns, Andy is the only player
thus far to have won the War At Sea "triple crown,"
which includes the WBC, PBeM Ladder, and BPA PBeM Championship
37 players opened the competition shortly after 9 AM. But
playoff eligibility for most players came down to Round 5, eight
hours later. At the end of the Round 5 carnage, five of the eight
playoff slots were set. Andy Gardner and Pat Richardson led the
way with identical 4-0-1 records and 45 VPs apiece; Andy's strength
of schedule was marginally higher. Similary, Chuck Stapp (4-1)
edged Ewan McNay (4-0) for the #3 seed; both had 40 VPs, but
Chuck's strength of schedule was slightly better. Next was Mike
Kaye at 4-1 and 38 VPs. The five following players all finished
3-2 with 30 VPs: Scott Beall, Ray Freeman, Jonathan Lockwood,
Ed Menzel, and Bruce Reiff. Ed, Jonathan, and Bruce won the strength
of schedule tiebreaker to round out the elite eight field. Mike
Kaye, Jonathan Lockwood, Ewan McNay, and Ed Menzel all repeated
from last year's playoffs; the only previous player to have done
so since the playoff field was expanded to eight was John Pack.
In the quarter-finals, top seed Andy Gardner took the Allies
for a 2.0 bid against #8 seed Bruce Reiff's Axis, and Andy prevailed
with an 8-POC win after the bid. To avoid a rematch, rather than
play the #7 seed, Pat Richardson's #2 seeded Allies, bidding
2.5, faced Ed Menzel's #6 seed Axis, and won by just 0.5 POC.
Jonathan Lockwood's #6 Allies upset #3 Chuck Stapp's Axis by
8 POC. The Axis started with a 2.0 bid, but lost four ships on
Turn 1 and never recovered, never even breaking the blockade.
And finally, #4 Ewan McNay's Allies, bidding 2.0, crushed Mike
Kaye's Axis. The Axis could not break the blockade with six U-boats
against 11 ASW in the North Sea on Turn 6, then failed with seven
U-boats to break out against 11 ASW in the North Sea on Turn
7. In the semi-finals, Andy Gardner continued his winning ways
against Jonathan Lockwood; Andy took the Allies for 2.5 bid and
won by 5.5 POC. Meanwhile, Pat Richardson used an Allied bid
of 2.5 to turn Ewan McNay's Allied lead of 1 POC into an Axis
victory by 1.5 POC.
Finalists Andy Gardner and Pat Richardson reprised their Round
3 tie. Pat won the die roll for 1st bid and promptly bid 2.5
for the Allies, which Andy accepted. Pat's Barents on 1 tactic
was met by Andy sending the Axis fleet to the South Atlantic.
2x225 speed rolls failed, but the Axis won the area anyway; each
side losing one ship. Turn 2 proved the defining moment as the
Axis sallied forth to the South Atlantic again, but lost a 225,
3x117, and the area. While they retained a 3-POC lead, the majority
of their fleet was now trapped. With nowhere else to go, the
Axis fought in the South Atlantic again on Turn 3, losing both
357 battleships, the last Italian CA and, again, the area; the
Axis lead was now +2. On Turn 4 the Axis used U-boats to decontrol
the South Atlantic, but the Allies landed a convoy and took the
lead by 1 POC. On Turn 5 the Axis sailed their remaining ships
to the Barents. LBA disabled the convoy, but after 20 rounds
(the GM was counting!), the Allies barely won the battle to go
up by 2 POC. Turn 6 saw the Axis U-boats again disable Convoy
2B, but the Allies got it to England on Turn 7 to widen their
lead to +4. The Allies landed Convoy 3C in England on Turn 8
to clinch the victory at 5 POC before the bid and 2.5 after.
Including later entries, our field of 43 played a total of
72 games. For the first time since the initial Avaloncon in 1991,
when everyone was a rookie, no Rookie of the Year was named.
Champ Pat Richardson added Best Axis Player (2-0) to his honors;
he was previously Best Axis player in 2000. Andy Gardner and
Jonathan Lockwood shared Best Allied Player laurels at 4-0; Jonathan
repeated from last year and Andy was the 2007 Best Allied Player.
For the sixth year in a row, no chess clock expired.
Bidding for the Allies reached an all-time high this year
(90.3% of the games had an Allied bid vs. 9.7% with no bid; no
player bid for the Axis). However, the percentage of games won
by the Allies also reached a new peak. The Allies won 45 games
(62.5%), the Axis 25 (34.7%) with two ties (2.8%). The average
bid this year was 1.51 for all games and 1.68 for those games
which had bids; both numbers were higher than last year. The
percentage of games won by the Axis has now declined every year
but one since 2002: from 51% to 50, 36, 49, 42, 39, 37, and now
34% even while, as mentioned, bidding - and bidding for the Allies
- has steadily increased.
Bidding effected the results of more games than ever before
- 15 in all were altered this year by bids. Four Allied wins
became Axis wins, four ties became Axis wins, and two Allied
wins became ties. In addition, one Axis win by less than 2 POC
became an Axis victory by 2 POC or more, and four Allied wins
by 2 POC or more converted to Allied wins by less than 2 POC.
Chuck Stapp battles GM Vince Meconi.
The event has thrived under Vince, consistently drawing 40+ players
to the swiss format.
Defending champion Jonathan Lockwood
runs out of mojo in the Final against Pat Richardson who earns
his second title in the event.