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Can't Stop (CNS) WBC 2017 Report
Updated February 21, 2018 Icon Key
275 Players Rob Kircher 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
2017 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Overcoming THE CALL

On the Wednesday night of WBC 2017, a record smashing 275 gamers descended on the ballroom to partake in the 12th running of the Can’t Stop tournament. With the assistance of AGMs Duncan McGregor and Adam Hurd, we were able to get people seated relatively quickly and off to appreciating the fine skills required to excel at this deep game of probability.

With 67 first round tables, your humble GM’s plan to set aside 16 tables for the quarterfinal games quickly went astray, as nearly every table was required. Many tables finished quickly in round one and my thanks to all people who offered their copies to some of the later arrivals who were waiting for a game.

As the primary objective in the first two rounds is to let the non-winners get to bed (or werewolf) as soon as we can, first round winners were immediately paired and sent to a second round game. With a few people taking off after winning a round and a moment of GM confusion in pairings, we did eventually get down to a final 16.

Those tables resolved their matches quite quickly and by about 1:30AM we were ready to start the finals. Rob Kircher, Kurt Kramer, Erica Kirchner, and Bruce Reiff had all braved 3 rounds of play and emerged to play a finals on the big board for a mere 3 plaques, meaning someone would be left with a 4th place and laurels to keep them happy, but would watch the other three get wood.

The game started off with some very conservative moves from Rob. On the first turn he rolled 5-6-8 and mysteriously stopped after having advanced only 5 spots up the 8 (and 4 and 2 respectively on the 6 and 5). Over the incredulous objections of the GM he believed that a softer approach was required for this particular final table.

The game progressed from that point with Kurt jumping to an early lead with some fortuitous rolling and capping off the 2. Erica established a close spot 2 away from the top of the tens and Rob again playing lightly had gotten two away from the top of the 8s. Rob’s next turn though ramped up the excitement of the game. Rob rolled a 6-7-8 and got his two 8s to get to the top of the column. But because he had the 6-7 still active he decided to keep going and see if he could gain ground in those numbers as well. But the dice had other ideas in mind and Rob saw a set of all low numbers and his capped 8 disappeared.

Then came the pivotal moment of the game which will henceforth be referred to as THE CALL. Invoking memories of Babe Ruth, Bruce stepped up to the box and declared “That was a mistake son. And to prove it to you, I am going to cap the 8s.” Despite having no pieces on the board at this point, Bruce picked up the dice and got a 6-7-8 streak. He rode that streak for about 20 rolls and got to the top of the 8s and capped them, sending Rob’s cup back home.

From there, the game progressed. Erica got her 10 and Rob managed to get on the board by running the 5s he’d started in the early game. Then we had a contentious moment and the need for an actual GM ruling in the finals. Bruce had been rolling up the 6-7. He was at the top of the 6 and one away from the 7 when he rolled all low. He tried to claim a 4 and stop but both Rob and Erica pointed out that 2 turns earlier he had rolled a 6-9 and should have been required to take the 9 which would make this roll a flame out. Bruce protested that he had not realized the 9 was there, and it had not been placed on the board, nor had the GM noticed it. We agreed to let Bruce pull back his roll to that point and stop with the 6-7-9.

This gave Bruce 2 numbers and was one away on the 7s, but Kurt was also only 3 back on the 7 track and quickly claimed it. That left both Kurt and Bruce with two numbers, with Erica and Rob having one each. Rob then quickly ran off five 9s to cap that one and the players were left with slim pickings for future rolls. Only the 12-11-4-3 were left and players took turns making slow progress. Kurt had started with a slight advantage as he had two 3s, a 4, and an 11 with the others having no numbers at all still active.

Rob picked up a couple of 4s and then Kurt jumped way ahead by getting within two spots of the 3s (and a lead on the 4s). He couldn’t convert on the next couple of rolls though, and Rob got a couple of boxcars on a turn to be one away from the 12s. The next set of rolls were tense as Erica and Bruce missed on the huge streaks they needed to catch up and Rob and Kurt both missed a turn for their numbers. But in the end, Rob was able to bring home the 12 and cap his 3rd number for the win. A hearty congratulations to him for enduring the 3.5 hour slugfest and overcoming the other 274 players to get the win.

We also collected the same stats as last year, and noticed an interesting trend. In games this year:

  • 2 was used by 28% of winners (+8% over last year)
  • 3 was used by 11% of winners (-5% over last year)
  • 4 was used by 23% of winners (same as last year)
  • 5 was used by 26% of winners (+7% over last year)
  • 6 was used by 34% of winners (-12% over last year)
  • 7 was used by 43% of winners (same as last year)
  • 8 was used by 42% of winners (+6% over last year)
  • 9 was used by 28% of winners (+4% over last year)
  • 10 was used by 23% of winners (same as last year)
  • 11 was used by 16% of winners (-4% over last year)
  • 12 was used by 23% of winners (-5% over last year)

What this shows again is player’s bias towards the higher numbers. In 4 of 5 sets (only exception being 2 vs 12) the higher number was used more often. It isn’t the most exciting finding in the world, but it could help steer a strategy if you know your average opponent will likely take the bigger of equivalent numbers.

I also tracked from the QF onwards start player to see if there is a bonus available but again it appears that there is no strong correlation between winning the game and starting first. We now have 44 games of data and in only 12 of them has the starting player won the game. That is slightly higher than 25%, but not enough to take actions going forward.

Thanks to everyone who came out, a special shout out to those who never stopped, and we’ll see you all again next year!

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 1
Kurt Kramer Bruce Reiff Erica Kirchner Nate Peteron Henry Rice
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Having fun at Can't Stop We see everyone's colors on the board except
for Harry Flawd's, I guess he can't stop
Erica Kirchner is getting a lot of moral support at this table Rob Effinger just "can't stop"

Can't Stop Junior 2017

This year the juniors came out in force as Can't Stop junior attendace rose by more than 50% to 36 players. Bailey Burdett is one of our upcoming stars with the first of five junior plaques. Bailey was followed by Ella Landel, Preston Saccenti, Zoe Polcen, Kyle Wines, and Aubrey Powers.

Where are all my blue pieces! GM Tom Parauda awards 1st place to Bailey Burdett
GM  Andrew Drummond [2nd year]  5053 Pinedale Ave Unit 76, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7L 5J6
 andrew.ross.drummond@gmail.com  NA