Last Winter on the Volga
The "final of the final" is what I called it - this
year's match-up between myself and Ron Fedin for the TPS plaque.
This will be the last year that a TPS tournament will be run
at WBC. The steady decline of players over the years has forced
me to the realization that I am fighting a losing battle. It
was especially disappointing this year as I had made an extra
effort by moving the start time from Wednesday to Saturday morning,
shortened the time required per round, and advertised through
the use of t-shirts and internet postings.
However, let us return to the match.....late Saturday afternoon
we began our struggle on the banks of the mighty Volga in Stalin's
city (and you thought it was the Hunt Valley Inn). Here we were,
the two most active and ardent proponents of the game, GM and
assistant g'amemaster, appropriately clashing for the championship
in this final match. Both of us having quickly disposed of our
prior opponents, we were anxious to begin this final game. Using
the auction bid system, which I installed last year, we very
quickly went to eight victory points, but then began to gradually
inch-up the tie breaker number (number of Russian counters eliminated
less eliminated German ones). Having played against each other
more times than we care to recall and knowing everything regarding
our styles of play, gave the bidding process something extra.
Finally, Ron passed at 8:46, which for all intents-and-purposes
is a 9 VP bid, and I had the Germans. It had all the appearances
of a great matchup between two very experienced players, both
of which have wood on the gameroom wall at home. But that kind
of game was not to be as after 50 minutes of play, the Russians
faced a total collapse of the center front at Mamayev Kurgan
with the Germans on the verge of breaking through to the river
in two places. Ron conceded and I had my third straight TPS championship.
I had warned Ron before we started that I was on a roll and that
my dice were hot. Those were prophetic words.
I hate to see TPS come to an end as it has been much fun over
the past ten years and the game remains one of my favorites.
We have had a good run though, with some memorable games and
tournaments to go along with some very fine champions such as
Jim Doughan, a two-time winner, and Byron Stingley, a thre-time
champ. As it was with the ill-fated German 6th Army, this is
our final message from Turning Point: Stalingrad.