afrika korps [Updated August 2000]

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Randy Heller, MD

2000 Champion

2nd: Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

3rd: Barry Smith, NY

4th: Jonathan Lockwood, VA

5th: James Tracy, NE

6th: Vince Meconi, DE
Event History
1991    John Poniske      12
1992    Mike Crowe      15
1993    Joe Beard      20
1994    Joe Beard      17
1995    Phil Evans      16
1996    Bruno Sinigaglio      10
1997    Bruno Sinigaglio      25
1998    Gregory Smith      23
1999    Gregory Smith     24
2000    Randy Heller     20
AREA Ratings
 1    Bruno Sinigaglio      6993
 2    Randy Heller      6689
 3    Vince Meconi      6151
 4    Gregory Smith      6034
 5    Barry Smith      5700
 6    Jon Lockwood      5463
 7    Phil Evans      5440
 8    Mark Gutfreund      5269
 9    Jerald R Tracy      5229
10    Michael Mathews      5123

Once More Behind the Sand Dunes ...

The Afrika Korps tournament drew 20 participants this year, down from last year's attendance of 24. Contributing to the lower turnout were several "no-shows" from among the preregistrants, including the surprising absence of two-time defending champion Greg Smith and semifinalist Mark Gutfreund. However, thanks to the introduction of flexible starting times that allowed first rounders to complete their first game anytime before 9am Thursday, we picked up several new players, including Tom Shaw, Jr. (son of the former AH General editor) and Edi Birsan, aka "Mr. Diplomacy."

The house rules incorporated an option for bidding supplies for sides, but only if both players agreed, so this rule was invoked only once in the tournament. Pairings were done randomly in an effort to diminish the advantage of higher AREA ratings. Play balance was surprisingly in the British favor this year, with the Brits winning 11 matches to the Axis' eight. This Allied superiority was due largely to the defensive prowess of eventual champion Randy Heller, who won all four of his matches as the British player, the first time that this has ever been accomplished in AK tournament history, going all the way back to Origins I in 1975!

The first round held few surprises, with the notable exception of the Steve Likevich vs Bruno Sinigaglio match. As the British, Steve took Bruno to the limit, forcing Bruno into a desperation 1-1 attack in October 1942 to finally win the game. Other 1st round survivors were Michael Rinella, Bill Scott, Paul McCarthy, Kurt Kurtz, Vince Meconi, James Tracy, Jonathan Lockwood, Barry Smith, and Randy Heller. In the second round, Smith (Axis) defeated Rinella (Br), Lockwood (Br) outlasted Scott (Axis), Tracy (Axis) defeated McCarthy (Br), Sinigaglio (Br) defeated Kurtz (Axis), and Randy Heller (Br) defeated Vince Meconi (Axis). This last match was easily the toughest of the second round, pitting the #2 ranked AREA player versus #3. Randy finally had to dodge "the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" (aka the desperation 1-1 assault against Tobruch) in order to survive Meconi's Axis attack and advance.

Round 3 featured a single game between James Tracy (Axis) and GM Jonathan Lockwood (Br), in which Jim bid two "sunk" supplies to play the Axis. This game went the limit, as Lockwood's modified Paleveda Gambit defense outlasted Tracy's methodical but relentless Axis assault, Lockwood also having to dodge the "holy hand grenade" in September 1942.

Round 4 had GM Lockwood (Axis) taking on Asst GM Sinigaglio (Br) in a semifinal match, with Smith (Axis) versus Asst GM Heller (Br) in the other match. Bruno stunned Jonathan early with a high-risk Brit counterattack that nevertheless destroyed the majority of the 21st Panzer. Faced with tight supplies and a crippled offensive capability, Lockwood eventually resigned after an unsuccessful desperation assault against Tobruch. Barry, in the other match, nearly knocked Randy out of the tournament with his Axis offensive. Randy was forced into a 2-1 counterattack at the gates of Alexandria in order to turn the tide and eventually win.

The final between Sinigaglio (Axis) and Heller (Br) was a classic, in which Randy successfully parried Bruno's Axis offensive, eventually forcing Bruno to resort to the 1-1 attack against Tobruch. This failed, and Randy Heller won hard-earned wood in the 2000 WBC, doing it all with defense!

 GM      Jonathan Lockwood  [1st Year]   P.O. Box 3436, Reston, VA 20195-1436   NA

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