This year I decided to try experimenting with a Double Elimination format. In the 5 years since I became the event’s GM we had gradually lost half of our players. So, after dipping below 30 players for the first time in the event’s 25 year history in 2018, I became disenchanted with the Swiss Elimination format we had long been using and thought it was time to try something new. Surprisingly, however, attendance was up this year and the new format did not work as I had planned. With the expanded field, after 6 rounds (at 0100 on Sunday) we still had 3 players each with 1 loss and faced the prospect of 2 more rounds to be played with the addition of an Eliminator in Round 7. None of the survivors was thrilled with that prospect, so I gave them the option of continuing or of having me determine the final standings at that point using tiebreakers. All eagerly agreed to stop there (and get some sleep!) and the Champ was determined without a true championship game. That was a rather disappointing way to determine a winner, not that the 3 finalists appear to have minded very much. The experimental format can therefore be deemed to have been a failure. Live and learn I guess!
After coming close a few times over the years, most recently losing in the 2017 championship game, Dan Leader won his first WBC title. The fourth seeded Leader defeated Evan Walter, Geoff Allbert and Brian Mountford before losing to the top seeded James “The Master” Pei in Round 4. He then rebounded with wins over third seeded Bill Peeck and second seeded Keith Wixson, which earned him the tiebreakers he needed to put him over the top.
Runner-up James Pei (with 2 previous WBC crowns) defeated Mike Mitchell, Randy Pippus, Randy Buehler, Leader and Wixson only to fall to Mountford in Round 6. His tiebreakers were only slightly worse than Leader’s.
Defending Champ Brian Mountford (with 4 total WBC crowns) defeated Bob Hamel and Rob Doane before losing to Leader in Round 3. He then won his remaining games against Mike Mitchell, Randy MacInnis and Pei. Despite beating the top rated Pei, his tiebreakers were not nearly as good as Leader’s and Pei’s and he finished in third place.
Wixson and Pei were the only returning laurelists from 2018. There were 4 new players at the tournament this year, which is a good sign. I plan to return as GM in 2020 and to schedule the tournament in its traditional Saturday time slot using a variation of the Swiss Elimination format.
This year the Brits had the edge, winning 26 out of 47 games played (55%). That was slightly better than last year, when the Brits won 51% of the 39 games played. The game continues to appear to be well balanced.
| Keith Wixson [6th Year]