Return to the Century
What a great success the Anzio tournament was this
year! It was perhaps THE Cinderella Story of the WBC, drawing
24 entrants after years of averaging 12. Anzio "ruled"
on Tuesday afternoon, as there were four boards set up in the
hallway gaming area with tournament games underway. Seven games
were played that afternoon and evening. Wednesday morning the
tournament moved into the big ballroom and games were played
continuously through Saturday.
The resurgence of interest in
playing this classic was largely due to the tireless work of
Tom Oleson, the elder statesman of the game, who worked for nearly
eleven months to produce a playtested set of rule revisions.
These new rules, though fairly simple, were enough to breathe
life into the game, while correcting some anomalies in play and
greatly reducing the stereotyped patterns of play that had emerged
over the years. In addition, the Swiss-Elim format allowed players
to play three or more games before the field was narrowed for
the finals. A total of 31 games were played during the tournament,
with first invasions at Mondragone, Napoli, Pescara, Salerno,
Termoli, and Terracina. It truly was exciting to see such a variety
of strategic and tactical situations and everyone had a great
time in the process.
In the tournament, Bob Ryan took the well-deserved victory,
after finishing second in 1998 and 1999, pounding out four straight
victories with his rough and ready German troops to become only
third different champion in the ten-year history of the event
dominated in the past by Mike Sincavage and Tom Oleson. Bob had
a strong schedule: he faced hobby veterans Randy Heller and Bruno
Sinigaglio before taking on battle-tested Chris Harris. All three
fell prey to Bob's aggressive German attacks on the first invasion
While Bob was on the warpath, three other players were putting
together solid records that earned them berths in the finals.
Stephen Likevich lost one game to Bruno, but performed strongly
in his other two games, finishing the Swiss segment in second
place. Paul O'Neil also put on a fine showing and finished third
in the Swiss. Paul is a solid player whose experience with the
game goes back to play testing in the days of the Mussolini box
cover. (Paul is also known for singing silly army songs loudly;
enough said!) The other finalist was the enthusiastic Carl Walling
III, who played in the tournament for the first time last year.
The finals pitted Bob against Steve for first/second and Paul
against Carl for third/fourth. Despite Paul's earlier preference
for the Allies, and Carl's admitted favoring of the Germans,
the roles were reversed in the runner-up bracket as Paul brought
the Germans to victory against Carl's pesky Terracina invasion.
In the game for all the marbles, Steve's Allies invaded at
Salerno and Bob's Germans hit the Allies with all they could
muster. Bob rolled a '1' on a 1-1 surrounded attack and when
Steve gave up the re-roll chit, Bob rolled '1' again, eliminating
a US Division among other casualties! The line got very fluid
as the battle developed into a brawl. After a couple of turns,
the Allies had struck back, eliminating two German divisions.
The slugfest continued between the worn down armies but neither
side broke. Things settled down through the middle of the game
and it came down to the second invasion to determine the winner.
The Allies were threatening both Cassino and Termoli (having
Salerno, Foggia and Napoli in hand) when they invaded at Anzio/Roma
with two turns remaining. The Allies held both Anzio and a Roma
hex near the end, but were stretched a bit too far. Anzio fell
to a German counterattack, and as the Germans surrounded the
Roma salient, the game came to a close with a German victory.
Congratulations to Bob and the other finalists, and a big
thanks to Tom Oleson for his contributions. Tom was also our
iron man, playing 12 official games over the course of the tournament.
Overall, feedback from participants was excellent and we are
looking forward to doing it again next year!
Paul Fletcher, GM (with contributions from Tom Oleson and