All Tied Up ...
Kevin Wojtaszczyk, Rich Meyers, Chris
Gnech and Peter Staab in Egypt.
Scott Fenn, Kevin Youells, Barb Flaxington,
Michael Shay and Mike Kaltman
In its 12th year at WBC, Amun-Re drew 66 players (two
more than its historical average). The three heats generated
20 tables and 17 different winners. Mike Kaltman, Jefferson Meyer,
and Greg Thatcher each won twice to account for the difference.
Alex Bove won by the largest margin (15 points) and had the highest
winning score (52). Dominic Blais posted the lowest winning score
(29) while narrowly defeating Scott Saccenti. The closest Preliminary
game finished in a tie between Bill Zurn and Cary Morris, with
only seven points separating all five players.
players filled four semifinal tables, with the closest runner-up
also allowed to advance. Only one two-game winner (Mike Kaltman)
went on to win his semifinal. The other winners were David Platnick,
Andy Latto, and 2009 champion Eric Freeman. Kevin Wojtaszczyk
was the closest runner-up, allowing him to advance to a 5-player
Final. Greg Thatcher and Dominic Blais each finished second by
the exact same margin (35-34) in their semifinal games, with
Greg earning 6th place laurels (via Eric Freeman's higher finish
in the Final).
Round 3 was a rematch of sorts: David had beaten Kevin by
a point in their semifinal. The Old Kingdom started the same
way for both players as they raced out ahead of their opponents.
At the halfway point, the scores were Kevin (19), David (18),
Andy (11), Mike (9), and Eric (6). Kevin had the least cash,
Eric the most. Did the former champion have a comeback in him?
The New Kingdom began with Andy buying Mendes and its two
pyramids for 15 gold, while Kevin spent 6 for Thebes and the
other players saved their money for the more valuable provinces
to come. The wait was longer than expected, so the bids in Round
5 were very low (three provinces were "bought" for
free). In the action phase, Eric began to take control of the
East side of the Nile by piling bricks into Berenike while Mike
tried to wrest control of the West but was thwarted when David
gave up his double pyramid set to overbuild Kharga.
The auction finally gained steam in Round 6 with four players
paying 15 gold or more for their provinces. David decided to
save his money and took underdeveloped Buto for free. Kevin,
Andy, Eric, and Mike completed their double pyramid sets, with
Eric securing his Eastern lead. David used his table position
(always after Mike) to maintain his Western lead but had to settle
for a single pyramid set.
In the end, Eric scored the most pyramid points (20) in the
New Kingdom and finished with the most cash for six more points,
but he was unable to score a single power card all game. Andy's
three temples only earned him one point apiece, but he did make
two power cards for six more points. Mike finished third in cash
for two points but was one of three players not to score power
cards in the New Kingdom. Kevin scored two power cards for six
points but had no other bonuses. David's Round 6 auction savings
were important as they helped him earn 2nd place in cash for
four points. The final scores were David (37), Kevin (37), Eric
(33), Andy (33) and Mike (25). David's one extra pyramid gave
him the win, while Eric's aggressive pyramid building earned
him the third place tiebreaker over Andy.
As usual, the tournament featured many close finishes. Overall,
18 of the 25 games played were won by four or fewer points, and
half of those were either ties or 1-point wins. Amun-Re
remains one of the most dramatic and competitive events at WBC.
Antony Saccenti and Daniel Farrow
IV build pyramids.
GM Alex Bove with assistant Mary Ellen
Powers and his finalists.