el grande   

Updated Nov. 23, 2012

2012 WBC Report    

 2013 Status: pending 2013 GM commitment

Eric Freeman, PA

2012 Champion


Event History
1999     Stu Hendrickson     47
2000     Anthony Burke      40
2001     Jason Levine      70
2002     Mark Guttag      41
2003     Rob Flowers      55
2004      Jay Fox      68
2005     Charlie Kersten      97
2006      Greg Thatcher      55
2007     Robb Effinger      68
2008      Geoff Pounder      61
2009     Rob Flowers      71
2010     Curt Collins II      69
2011     Curt Collins II      68
2012      Eric Freeman      61


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Rob Flowers        MD    11    103
  2.  Curt Collins II    PA    12     87
  3.  Greg Thatcher      FL    11     77
  4.  Robb Effinger      WA    10     69
  5.  Jason Levine       NY    05     62
  6.  Eric Freeman       PA    12     60
  7.  Geoff Pounder      on    12     58
  8.  Jay Fox            NJ    12     55
  9.  Charlie Kersten    OH    05     40
 10.  Mark Guttag        VA    02     40
 11.  Stu Hendrickson    VA    00     36
 12.  David Buchholz     MI    05     32
 13.  Anthony Burke      NJ    00     30
 14.  Mike Hazel         SC    07     24
 15.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    04     24
 16.  Josh Campbell      NY    03     24
 17.  Mike Kaltman       PA    09     18
 18.  Marc Berenbach     MA    08     18
 19.  Winton LeMoine     CA    07     18
 20.  Nick Benedict      CA    01     18
 21.  Rob Seulowitz      NY    00     18
 22.  Dan Hoffman        NC    99     18
 23.  Eric Brosius       MA    10     17
 24.  Barry Shutt        PA    04     16
 25.  Mario Lanza        PA    03     16
 26.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    09     15
 27.  Gary Presser       NY    02     13
 28.  Drew Duboff        NJ    11     12
 29.  Brian Kirchner     de    06     12
 30.  Pete Gathmann      NJ    05     12
 31.  John Poniske       PA    04     12
 32.  Davyd Field        SC    03     12
 33.  Dennis Disney      TX    99     12
 34.  Jeff Meyer         MA    12      9
 35.  Rich Meyer         MA    07      9
 36.  David Gubbay       TX    06      9
 37.  James Pei          TX    00      9
 38.  Sean Vessey        VA    99      9
 39.  Stan Hilinski      MD    02      8
 40.  Bruce DuBoff       NJ    12      6
 41.  Nick Henning       CT    09      6
 42.  Tim Mossman        MD    08      6
 43.  Mike Nickeloff     CA    07      6
 44.  Paul Murphy        UT    06      6
 45.  Peter Martin       NJ    01      6
 46.  Paul Hakken        NJ    99      6
 47.  Andrew Greene      VA    04      4
 48.  Gary Noe           FL    03      4
 49.  Brian Kowal        WI    07      3
 50.  Joe Pabis          VA    06      3
 51.  Andy Lewis         DE    01      3
 52.  Scott Buckwalter   MD    00      3
 53.  Scott Smith        GA    99      3

2012 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists: 

Curt Collins, PA

Geoff Pounder, on

Jay Fox, NJ

Bruce DuBoff, NJ

Jeff Meyer, MA

Past Winners

Stu Hendrickson,VA

Anthony Burke, NJ

Jason Levine, NY

Mark Guttag, VA

Rob Flowers, MD
2003, 2009

Jay Fox, NJ

Charlie Kersten, OH

Greg Thatcher, FL

Robb Effinger, on

Geoff Pounder, on

Curt Collins II, PA

Eric Freeman, PA

Kevin Lewis and GM Rob Flowers breathlessly await the next card play.

Thomas Morris, Eric Freeman, Yoni Weiss and Dave Buchholz try to qualify.

Curse the 5's ...

This was my tenth year running this event, so you would expect that I would do something special, perhaps give out some nifty prizes, right? However, I continue to run El Grande like a no-frills airline -- go for a minimum of hassle and just set up the games. I even use plain index cards to mark and assign tables, unlike some of the more ambitious (i.e., better) GMs.

Fortunately, even with a lazy GM this game is good enough to attract high caliber players. Attendance was slightly down, but the competition was not. Only Bryan Berkenstock managed two wins over the three heats. Yours truly failed to get any wins at all, but advanced with a couple of seconds.

We stuck with our usual three heats, trying to be done by Thursday. Two-hour rounds kept things moving, although we had a few new players, and the time limit is always tough on them. I'm reluctant to extend the heats to three hours in the future, but I do wonder if I should make this an A-level event.

The semifinals had a good mix of returning players and new faces. There was an especially strong showing from the "Jay's Basement" game club, who had six players in the semis. The Final featured former champs Curt Collins, Jay Fox, and Geoff Pounder. The 12th ranked Eric Freeman had made it to the last round twice, but never won. Bruce Duboff was the newcomer, but had just dispatched a pair of former champs in the semifinals so he was no easy mark.

Bruce started strong. In cooperation with Eric, they executed two scoring cards in the first round to open a 20-point gap between them and the pack, with Eric trailing by a few points. In the second round, Bruce again used a scoring card to widen his lead to 30 points, with Eric half that score, and the rest still at or near zero. Even after the Turn 3 scoring, Bruce maintained a 10-point lead over Eric and 20 over the rest. However, the low number of men placed on his turns, plus attacks had seriously compromised his board position.

During the next three turns, the typical jockeying to slow the leaders while controlling the Castillo took place. Through board position and scoring cards, the group tightened, with everyone within a few points except Jay, who trailed by 10.

An opportunity arose in Round 7 when a "Score the First Place in every Region" card was available. Eric was bidding last, and was in a good position to open a lead with the card. The bid to him was a 10, but Eric had no cards left over 9 so he had to settle for second pick as Bruce burnt the card.

Over Turns 7 and 8, both Eric and Curt managed to use a score card, once in the Castillo and once in Galicia, each of which benefitted the two of them and nobody else. They were opening up a substantial lead over the group. Then, in Turn 9, a "Score the 5's" came out. The defending champ, going first with the 1/13 combo, managed to lock down his home province (New Castile) with the King, but had only a tenuous hold on the 5 regions. When the card was scored, everyone received points but him, and this along with the last Castillo drop made the difference, giving Eric a decent lead and his first El Grande title.

Canada's David Gagne and Finland's Juhana Keskinen await Geoff Pounder's move.

The lucky ... err skilled ... finalists mug for the title shot during tSSShe Final.
 GM      Rob Flowers  [10th Year]  NA
    rpf1@mindspring.com   NA

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