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El Grande (ELG) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Oct. 25, 2016 Icon Key
60 Players Jefferson Meyer, MA 2016 Status 2017 Status Event History
2016 Champion

A New Champion Emerges

This year saw the passing of Mike Hazel, who was fond of playing El Grande and had made it to the Final twice during his WBC years. Seven fellow gamers from Mike's Greenville Mafia gaming group played the first heat in his honor. His presence certainly will be missed.

Probably due to the venue change, the tournament was missing a number of familiar faces, but we also had a number of new players, which kept the field just about on par with previous years. This included the entire Wolff family during one heat (with the boys holding their own against more experienced players) as well as a few players I knew from other tournaments but were playing in this one for the first time.

The heats generated 18 games with two double winners (Greg Thatcher and Geoff Pounder). The highest score was snagged by Doug Faust, who racked up 137 points in a particularly high-scoring game. The lowest winning score was 81 by Eric Brosius in his second heat.

We had a severe shortage of qualifiers at the semifinals, and so the games were adjusted to four semifinal games leading to a 4-player Final. In one semifinal, Jeff Meyer topped two-time champion Robb Effinger as the “Decay of Authority” card appeared on the first turn. In the next game, Dominic Blais secured his first Final appearance, dispatching former champions Geoff Pounder and Jay Fox in the process. Similarly, the third table featured three former champions (Greg Thatcher, Curt Collins, and Rob Flowers). Of course, Anni Foasberg outplayed them all to advance. At the last table, Doug Faust fell just short of Mike Schulze in his bid to advance, but took fifth place for his efforts.

The Final started slowly as usual with no dramatic cards appearing in the opening rounds. The main developments included Mike being able to score his home province four times in a row, three times by scoring cards he executed and once on a "Score the 5's" card played by Dominic. Jeff, meanwhile, managed to play his 1 and 13 cards which allowed him to both place the 8/4/0 scoreboard on his home province in Seville and then secure it with the King. This strong move timed perfectly with the first scoring round to give Jeff 38 points, which tied Mike and left him in a stronger board position.

Then started the attempts to reign in Jeff, and to a lesser extent, Mike. Dominic especially worked to wrest control of the valuable 8/4/0 Seville province away from Jeff, but with mixed results. Jeff was able to snag a scoring card to gain another 12 points from Seville, and then later was able to secure it for the second scoring round as well. Mike was still getting the occasional scoring card, but was trailing Jeff by 11 at the 2/3 mark, with the others further behind.

In the last third, Jeff was hampered, often running short in his Court reserves, but he was often getting to pick the two stack cards, damaging the other players' positions while preserving his own. Scoring during the last round was actually even across the board, and this maintained Jeff's significant lead - making him our 14th different champion in the 18 years of the event. Dominic did eventually manage to seize control of Seville and maintain enough of his own board position to pass Mike for second place.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 0
Dominic Blais, qc Mike Schulze, CT Anni Foasberg, NY Doug Faust, NY Greg Thatcher, CA
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
GM Rob Flowers oversees his finalists.
GM  Rob Flowers [14th Year]  NA
 rpf1@mindspring.com  NA