SPI still lives on ...
In this year's final, 1998 champion Michael Pustilnik defeated
defending champion Robert Frisby. In 1998 Pustilnik defeated
Frisby in the first round, and in 1999 Frisby defeated Pustilnik
in the first round. What comes around ...
This year Pustilnik started the bidding at 64, and allowed
Frisby to play the Germans with a bid of 65. The Germans got
off to a poor start by losing a misdeployed 4-10 panzer regiment
to a Soviet counterattack on turn two. The Soviets immediately
began building a L-shaped line running from the northern map
edge south to the Dnepr river a few hexes west of Smolensk, and
then east to Smolensk and beyond along the Dnepr. The Soviets
also called in seven southwest reinforcements, giving the Germans
nine victory points, and deployed about 15 divisions around Roslavl.
The Germans assaulted the Soviet line near Smolensk on turn
3 and began pushing the Soviets back. On turns 4 and 5, three
panzer and one panzer grenadier divisions outflanked the Soviet
right. The Soviets diverted several divisions to meet this threat,
thereby weakening their line near Smolensk. The Germans subsequently
penetrated the Soviet line and surrounded Smolensk along with
several divisions defending nearby. Soviet counterattacks reduced
two German divisions to half strength but failed to relieve Smolensk.
The Germans captured Smolensk two turns later. While the Germans
reduced Smolensk, the Soviets strengthened the line defending
Yel'nya and Roslavl. The Germans assaulted this line before mopping
up the Soviet units pinned down north of Smolensk. As a result,
nearly half of the German mechanized divisions were pinned down
and unable to join the assault. The Soviets' skillful defense
prevented the Germans from taking either Yel'nya or Roslavl,
though the German spearheads destroyed over 20 divisions and
reached the outskirts of both cities. In the end, the Germans
achieved only 54 victory points,1 1 short of the needed 65.
The revised bidding system, used for the first time this year,
seemed to work well, and most players expressed support for retaining
it. Once a player bid a particular victory point level, the other
player had the option of bidding that VP level plus one combined
with a reduction of up to eleven rifle divisions from the Soviet
player's first turn reinforcements. The other
player then had the option of bidding the same VP level with
fewer rifle divisions subtracted from the turn one reinforcements.
I plan to use a similar bidding system at the 2002 WBC, and
would appreciate any suggestions for improving the bidding system
This year the Soviets won 75% of the games played. The three
victorious German players bid 70, 65, and 64. The defeated German
players bid as follows: 70 (minus four Soviet turn 1 reinforcements);
66; 66 (minus five Soviet turn 1 reinforcements); 66 (minus five
Soviet turn 1 reinforcements); 66 (minus six Soviet turn 1 reinforcements);
65; 65, and 65.