And the Winner almost was ....
54 players showed for a couple hours of mass melee in the
Battle Line tournament. Using an open format, players
could play as many games as they could without playing the same
opponent twice. The signal given, play started quietly in the
EF Salon. Soon the volume of the room began to rise, as the action
worked faster than a quisinart, playing a record seven games,
and chalking up five victories. Bruce Monnin must have thought
this was the War at Sea preliminaries, going 5-0 in the opening
round. John Leggat got off to a rocky 0-3 start, but rebounded
and won his next three games to advance. Mike Nagel went Down
in Flames with five losses, yet still managed to keep trying
and was rewarded with a victory in his sixth and final game.
After two hours of fever pitched action 23 players had won at
least three games. 21 decided to continue, and Gordon Elgart
benefited with the best showing with two victories, to provide
an even number.
A commander knows that his plan has to be flexible. The troops
had been pushed too hard and too long in the opening stage of
the campaign. The players continued to the second round with
the knowledge the round was to be shortened to 90 minutes. This
proved to be a sufficient time based on the average time most
players were taking to complete games.
The second round
played in stark contrast to the first, with players playing with
a reduced volume level, preferring to save their strength for
concentrating on the games. The increased intensity resulted
in many close games.
John Leggat quickly established himself as an irresistible
force, cranking out five victories in 90 minutes. Peter Staab
in his lucky chair, Michael Johnsen, Kaarin Engelmann, and Cliff
Ackman also went undefeated in the second round to advance.
Andrew Fedin lost two, but still managed to rack up the needed
three victories. Gordon Elgart continued to benefit on strength
of performance as one of two qualifiers for the third round.
Andrew Cummins was disappointed when the second round was called,
and he was only a few cards away from delivering a coup de grace.
However, his disappointment was soon overcome as his performance
was sufficient to allow him to advance as well.
The third round began single elimination play, with three
victories needed to claim the title. In the quarterfinals Andrew
Cummins defeated Andrew Fedin by breakthrough. Peter Staab inflicted
the same result on Michael Johnsen. Cliff Ackman defeated Gordon
5-3, ending Gordon's lucky streak and relegating him to 6th.
John Leggat took out Kaarin Engelmann 5-4 in the closest quarterfinal
The semifinals pitted John Leggat against Andrew Cummins while
Peter Staab faced Cliff Ackman. Both games were tight matches
and went deep into the troop decks, with John taking his game
5-4 and Peter claiming his 5-3.
Thus, the final game was the
irresistible force, John Leggat, riding a 10 game winning streak,
against the immovable object, Peter Staab, who earned that moniker
by keeping himself in one "lucky" chair throughout
the tournament. The final game moved quickly. John was up four
flags to three, and each player had just three card plays left.
One flag for John would be a phalanx of 5's, facing the purple
5-6 of Peter. John could complete the second unclaimed flag with
a phalanx of 7's or a battalion of Yellow. Such a decision would
be easy with perfect card knowledge
However, the kicker for John was that he held the Purple 7
that both he and Peter needed, but Peter held the only Tactics
card drawn during the game. The fog of war led John away from
playing for a phalanx of 7, and instead going for the Wedge.
The cards fell quickly, with John seemingly claiming his fifth
flag, when Peter played the sole tactics card. The fog of war
revealed the Fog. With this dramatic turn of events, the flag
went from John to Peter, giving Peter a breakthrough and the