A First in Brass ...
Kevin Barry and Sceadeau D'Tela in
the first heat.
Brian Conlon watches champion Paul
Sampson at work.
Attendance at the third tournament fell to a midpoint of 37
players, again originating from four nations. After 14 preliminary
games, nine of the 12 winners attended the semis, so two alternates
(based on their two best scores) were admitted to form two 4-player
and one 3-player semifinal games. The two best seconds from the
semis were 2.990 and 2.984 and so the GM advanced by 0.006 of
From the start of the Final, Hourany and Sampson both went
heavily for cotton development. Corrado, third last year, and
Sampson both developed iron, coal and ports. Kendrick took opportunities
to build coal and iron but fell behind in development. By the
end of the canal era, Kendrick had built all his iron and had
a lead but the others had shipped two and three M3s and were
better placed to score twice.
The rail era opened with the usual flurry of double rail builds.
Hourany and Sampson both shipped three mills, Hourany with a
slight edge having built three in the canal phase. Corrado went
for rail, iron and a shipyard, dipping to -10 income at one point.
Kendrick stayed away from mills, built coal opportunistically
and managed to block Corrado to build two shipyards. However
he found his rail network constricted and eventually finished
last with 133. Several coal and iron overbuilds proved decisive
as Hourany reached 139 and Sampson and Corrado both made 140
-- but Sampson was one point higher on the income track -- enabling
him to secure his first ever WBC title. All in all, it was a
very tight game and any of the players could have emerged triumphant.
The 18 games yielded an average score of 133.9 -- significantly
higher than last year -- and the highest was Lee Proctor with
167. Two players, Proctor and Hourany, each won two heats. The
standard of play was noticeably higher than in preceding years
which can be attributed to the Web version which allows players
to hone their skills against opponents around the world throughout
Assistant GM William Kendrick took meticulous notes during
the play of the Final, without which this report would have been
much shorter! And the GM's component retrieval and return service
enabled several players to maintain the integrity of their game
Chris Senhouse, Elaine Pearson and
Eugene Hourany in the first heat.
The finalists at work.