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Up Front (UPF) WBC 2019 Event Report
Updated February 6, 2020.
22 Players William Kendrick 2019 Status 2020 Status Event History
  2019 Champion & Laurels

There’s A New Kid In Town...

Montagues and Capulets, Hatfields and McCoys, The Five Families of New York – you get the idea. History, fact and fiction, is replete with stories of families struggling for dominance.

We can now add an entry to that list – the Kendricks and the Emerys. Over the past 12 years, the Up Front tournament has been won 8 times by someone with one of those two last names. Ten of those years has seen at least one Kendrick or Emery in the finals, and there has been at least one, and frequently two, in the top six every year.

Thursday marked the gathering of the regulars as 22 players showed up for this annual marathon. We started the morning on a solemn note by honoring long-time GM Jim Burnett and longer-time player and GM Bill Edwards, both of whom passed away this past year.

From there we proceeded to the five Swiss rounds. There were no upsets of note, as the difference in play among any of the top 16 is explained by simply who is having the better day or slept better the night before – and this group is particularly adept at taking advantage of any opportunity available to them or mistake made by their opponent.

After four rounds, Richard Irving and Kevin Emery stood on top of the group with 4-0 records. Richard’s French squad was unable to advance against Kevin’s Italian defenders in Outpost Line, giving Kevin the win, a perfect 5-0 records, and the coveted #1 seed for the elimination round. Joining Richard at 4 – 1 was Jeff Spaner, whose loss came in round 3 by Kevin. The other 4 – 1 finalist was John Emery, having lost to Richard Irving in round 4. Rounding out the final 8 were four players at 3 – 2, William Kendrick, Jeremy Billones, James Kendrick, and Ed Kendrick.

(For those of you keeping track at home, that’s five finalists with the last name of either Kendrick or Emery.)

The round of eight began with defending champion Ed Kendrick’s attacking Germans defeating Kevin Emery’s Russians in Armored Recon Patrol. Kevin managed to gain an early advantage by getting a Commander Killed result on Ed’s halftrack. But Ed battled back, getting a flanking advantage on one group, and discarding wire on his other group. Kevin chose to free the larger group from the wire, which allowed Ed to unload some large fire cards on the smaller group, eventually wiping them out. A successful sniper attack and supporting fire from the halftrack finished the job.

Meanwhile, William’s defending German squad held off John Emery’s attacking Russians in Infantry’s Iron Fist. John started by advancing all his Russians while William moved his fire base forward. Over the next deck and a half, William was able to whittle away the majority of John’s fire base, eventually breaking John’s squad for the win.

The other half of the bracket saw Richard Irving’s attacking Americans successfully assaulted James Kendrick’s defending Germans in Infantry’s Iron Fist. Richard had an early successful attack against James’ fire group, killing three men. He then transferred group C out to group D and was able to advance for the win. James was able to knock out Richard’s AFV, but too late for it to affect the outcome. Jeremy Billones’ Germans defeated Jeff Spaner’s Russians in a City Fight. The key to this battle was Jeremy successfully flanking one of Jeff’s groups while fording a stream, allowing him to have a Fire 11, killing all but one man of the target group.

Of the first-round matches, three of the four games were won by the lower-seeded player, which is most unusual for this group – but an indication of just how evenly matched the top players all are.

The first semifinal match was the father-son match between Ed and William. Despite several comments by Ed threatening to make William either walk or hitchhike back to England, William’s German attackers defeated Ed’s defending Russians in Armored Recon Patrol. William set up as a 2-AFV-6, while Ed used a 2-2-7-4 arrangement. William used medium strength attacks, including successfully flanking Ed’s group C with the AFV to carve him up for the win, and advancing him to his third finals.

Richard’s attacking Germans defeated Jeremy’s defending Russians in Infantry’s Iron Fist in the other semifinal match. About half-way through the second deck, Jeremy advanced his D group, perhaps a little too aggressively, and Richard was able to use multiple fire cards during the next deck to clear them out, along with Jeremy’s group A. However, the clock was ticking, and Richard had to advance quickly in the late portion of the game for the win, doing so with only about 9 cards remaining in the game. This advanced Richard to his third finals.

This created an Ed vs Jeremy match for third, with Ed’s German attackers defeating Jeremy’s Russian defenders in Infantry’s Iron Fist. Ed managed to have a fair number of small fire cards, managing to suppress Jeremy for a good part of the first deck, and from there it was a slow & steady advance through the second deck before getting the win.

The finals were another playing of Infantry’s Iron Fist, this time it was William’s Russians attacking Richard’s Germans. This was a fairly quick game, as Richard advanced early, trying to gain an advantageous position. However, William was holding onto an appropriate fire card, and followed that with drawing more usable fire cards. Richard found himself on the ropes at that point and was desperately trying to hold on, but was unable to do so. This resulted in giving William his first Up Front tournament win. (Something tells me this probably isn’t his last...)

A special note of thanks to David Wong – who, despite being able to attend the tournament this year, provided the field with t-shirts honoring our two departed members. I sincerely hope he has no reason to do this again in the foreseeable future.

2019 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 4
Richard Irving Ed Kendrick Jeremy Billones John Emery James Kendrik
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
The Greenville Mafia taking on the Kendrick clan. Jim Vroom enters the battle.
Smiles from Andy Maly's opponent. Richard Irving defeats John Emery on way to final.
Jeremy Billones battles Kevn Emery during his laurel run. A couple of Grizzled veterans in action.
GM  Ken Whitesell [1st Year]  NA