trans america   

Updated Nov. 22, 2014

2014 WBC Report    

 2015 Status: pending December 2014 Membership Trial Vote

Jim Savarick, MD

2014 Champion

Event History
2004    Kevin Wojtaszczyk    44
2006    Tony Vickery    48
2007     Ken Gutermuth    47
2008    Laurel Stokes    56
2009    Roni Breza    55
2010     Patrick Shea    54
2011    Janet Ottey    58
2012    Carolyn Strock    60
2013    Doug Faust    51
2014    Jim Savarick    42

 Laurels

 Rank Name             From Last Total
   1. Ken Gutermuth     TX   10    62
   2. Janet Ottey       PA   11    28
   3. Carolyn Strock    PA   13    26
   4. Patrick Shea      VA   13    26
   5. Doug Faust        NY   13    20
   6. Roni Breza        VA   09    20
   7. Laurel Stokes     NJ   08    20
   8. Tony Vickery      bc   06    20
   9. Kevin Wojtaszczyk NY   06    20
  10. Sean McCulloch    OH   12    16
  11. Jeff Cornett      FL   12    14
  12. Matt Calkins      VA   08    14
  13. Debbie Gutermuth  NC   13    12
  14. Chris Gnech       PA   11    12
  15. Perrianne Lurie   PA   10    12
  16. April Gardner     VA   08    12
  17. Scott Nerney      RI   07    12
  18. Daniel Ottey      PA   12    10
  19. Bobbi Warczak     CA   13     8
  20. Nick Smith        uk   11     8
  21. Rob Flowers       MD   10     8
  22. Edward Fu         NY   09     8
  23. Karen McCulloch   OH   07     8
  24. Kathy Stroh       DE   06     8
  25. Fred Minard       PA   04     8
  26. Rob Kircher       RI   11     6
  27. Eric Monte        NY   09     6
  28. Virginia Colin    VA   08     6
  29. Andy Latto        MA   06     6
  30. John Pack         CO   13     4
  31. Luke Koleszar     VA   12     4
  32. Cary Morris       NC   11     4
  33. Norman Rule       MD   09     4
  34. William Duke      MD   04     4
  35. Bob Wicks         CT   12     2
  36. Jennifer Gorman   PA   11     2
  37. Ben Gardner       VA   09     2
  38. Michelle Hymowitz MD   07     2
  39. Aurora Pack       CO   06     2
  40. Katherine McCorry VA   04     2

2014 Laurelists
Repeating Laurelists:

Patrick Shea, VA
2nd

Mike Kaltman, PA
3rd

Daniel Speyer, NY
4th

Huston Johnson, WV
5th

Alex Bove, PA
6th

Past Winners

Kevin Wojtaszczyk, NY
2004

Tony Vickery, BC
2006

Ken Gutermuth, NC
2007

Laurel Stokes, NJ
2008

Roni Breza, VA
2009

Patrick Shea, VA
2010

Janet Ottey, PA
2011

Carolyn Strock, PA
2012

Doug Faust, NY
2013

Jim Savarick, MD
2014

The Paradise room wasn't as full this year, but the boards were more crowded as a game shortage forced 6-player games.

Joe Burch records the score as Rich Shipley and Holiday Saccenti calculate their odds for last chance wood before departure.

Both too few and too many ...

It was another year of "trial status" for Transamerica, which has appeared in 10 of the last 11 WBCs. Despite record convention attendance, only 42 players appeared this year, which was an all-time low tirmout for this event. Small changes in the schedule can have strong ripple effects from year to year. It seems that there is now a bit more competition for players on Sunday morning. The number of last-minute entries of out-of-breath players coming from 9 AM heats of Adel Verpflichtet and Yspahan was a clue this may be the case. The "last chance for wood" sweepstakes got a bit more crowded for the Sunday morning crowd who had not yet hit the road home.

The low turnout was actually a blessing in disguise, because if one more player had appeared sans game, they would have been turned away. In sharp contrast to the previous year, very few copies of the game were on hand. It was hoped that at least eight tables could have been seated, to facilitate a nice semifinal round, but it became necessary to jam six players around each of seven tables. Because tournament rules stipulate that each player will be the start player in one round, this meant that each game ran six rounds, and the preliminary heat ran significantly overtime as a result.

With seven preliminary winners, it was planned that up to seven runner-up alternates would be taken into a semifinal round. However, with the tournament running behind schedule, and numerous players impatiently standing around with suitcases, heat winner Kevin Lewis decided to drop out and head to the airport. This facilitated the decision to skip what would have been an awkward semifinal round, and move directly to a 6-player final. Heat winners Mike Kaltman, Alex Bove, Daniel Speyer, Jim Savarick, Huston Johnson, and Patrick Shea were randomly seated around the table. No alternates were needed. And unlike last year when the finalists were 50% female, no estrogen was sighted at this year's Final.

One observation taken from perusal of the preliminary rounds was that players have become uncomfortable with starting their networks anywhere but in the central region. This strategy became even more apparent in the Final. The first round began with all players placing their markers in the central "yellow" area. Patrick's marker was one space from Kansas City, Huston's was IN Kansas City, Alex started in Salt Lake City, Jim was in Oklahoma City, Daniel in Omaha, and Mike's piece went into Denver. It wasn't until the fourth round of the game, when Huston began his network in Dallas, that this pattern was broken. Alex did begin the last round in Seattle, but this move was borne of humor or desperation, or both. The reasoning behind this tendency is clear - a player who starts alone near a coast will end up doing a lot of "heavy lifting" for the benefit of their opponents. The winner of the game tends to be the player who gets more help from others than the player provides.

Jim Savarick received plenty of help from his opponents. He won the first two rounds, and in each of those rounds, one of his cities was connected by one of his opponents. After this, the game settled into more predictable moves. No player lost more than three points in any round after the second. Mike Kaltman dubbed these "the oatmeal rounds", sparking a lively in-game debate over breakfast cereals. Although Daniel won two of those last four rounds, he was unable to overcome Jim's fast start and his own poor first round.

The final was played with general good humor, with the traditional "whining phase" being indulged in by all players. This is a great feature of the game, as players examine their cards at the beginning of each round and bemoan the terrible luck of the draw. Hopefully, TransAmerica will be voted back for another "trial" next year, and these great traditions will continue ... albeit aided by more copies of the game allowing more entrants, faster games and a semifinal. So, when planning the drive home next year make time for TAM on the way out the door and bring a copy of the game.

 GM Ewan McNay points out the correct route.

 The simplest of the train games makes a good juniors entry point.

 Trans America Junior

There were 17 little train travellers on Tuesday morning this year for GM Ewan McNay's Junior tournament. 11-year-old Holly Saccenti got her week off to a good start with the first of her four Junior event titles. Other accomplished train riders were:

2nd: Julia Carrigan, age 11

3rd: Aidan McNay, age 11

4th: Chloe Smith, age 8

5th: Jillian Smith, age 12

6th: Lucas Holmquist, age 11

 GM     Dave Bohnenberger  [2nd Year]  NA 
   dweeb01@Gmail.com   NA

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