el grande [Updated October 2002]

ELG  4 prizes Experienced Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled 
  Rnd1 Heat1 15
   Rnd1 Heat2 20    Round 2 11 Round 3 14 Final   

   Rnd1 Heat1 Salon CD   Rnd1 Heat2 Round 2 Round 3 Garden  

Mark Guttag, VA

2002 Champion

2nd: Jason Levine, NY

3rd: Greg Thatcher, FL

4th: Mike Hazel, SC

5th: Stan Hilinski, MD

6th: Gary Presser, NY

Event History
1999     Stu Hendrickson     47
2000     Anthony Burke      40
2001     Jason Levine      70
2002     Mark Guttag      41

AREA Ratings

GM: Stu Hendrickson

Past Winners

Stu Hendrickson - VA

Anthony Burke - NJ

Jason Levine - NY

showing its age already?

Sadly, el Grande might be starting to show its age, as conflicts with Taj Mahal, Carcassone, Princes of Florence and Ra dropped attendance to lower (pre-heat) levels. Players have gotten more experienced, however, as most rounds finished in a lot less than the three-hour timeslot.

The two heats were uneventful, with Jay Fox and Barb Flaxington turning in two impressive showings each. There was one game in which nine points separated five players, and another in which seven points separated four players.

Unfortunately, the Semi-Final No Show Problem reared its ugly head - perhaps people bailed to play the ubiquitous Puerto Rico. Five of the 25 slots went begging, allowing the runnerup at one of the four boards to advance to the finals. Gary Presser took 6th place by virtue of an unplayed card tiebreaker; in El Grande, percent of score is not useful, as some games are higher scoring than others (and thus disadvantaged) simply by which cards come up. In one semifinal, former champion Jason Levine eschewed a quick 7-point sole score in round 1, commenting that he did not want to be an early leader. He overcame his shyness, however soon enough, and by round 3 had a lead that would never be challenged. Each of the other players had to slam a competitor to catch Jason, and the mutual slamming of the trailers prevented any comebacks.

In the finals, it looked like the same pattern would emerge, however the players through shrewd calculation were able to keep Jason in striking distance. Mark Guttag's pieces-on-the-board strategy paid off, as he eclipsed Jason only during the final scoring round and emerged the winner by a proverbial nose in a photo-finish.

Previous years' statistics are not available, however the player going first won an alarming eight of 16 games, and finished second for more times. Hopefully, this is a fluke result; while the first player can have a significant advantage in rare circumstances, the number of opponents and length of the game give the other players time to bury an early leader (as a former champion of the game can verify).

Outside commitments have forced this GM to give up the reins to another dedicated person. Perhaps they can, or must, adopt a 2-hour time slot to help reduce conflicts with newer, more popular games.

 GM      Stu Hendrickson  [1st Year]  NA
    GamesofMD@aol.com   (NA) 

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