the russian campaign [Updated October 2002]

TRC  4 prizes Beginners Sing Elim w/Mul Continuous 
   17   19    Round 2 14 Round 3 19  
 Round 4 9  Semi  Round 5  14  Final     


Tom Gregorio, PA

2002 Champion

2nd: Art Lupinacci, ONT

3rd: Joe Collinson, MD

4th: Alan Zasada, IL

 5th: Gary Dickson, CA

  6th: Forrest Pafenberg, VA

Event History
1991    Rob Beyma      31
1992    Alan Frappier      26
1993    Ed O'Connor      20
1994    Jeff Martin      16
1995    Rob Beyma      16
1996    Tom Gregorio      20
1997    Gary Dickson      24
1998    Gary Dickson      27
1999    Gary Dickson     26
2000    Doug James     30
2001    Phil Evans     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     30

AREA Ratings

GM: Tom Gregorio

Past Winners

Rob Beyma - MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier - CT

Ed O'Connor - NJ

Jeff Martin - CT

Tom Gregorio - PA

Gary Dickson - CA

Doug James - NC

Phil Evans - VA

TRC Champion: There can be only one...

For the twelfth year in a row, The Russian Campaign was launched not against the deafening roar of an opening barrage but amidst the relatively quiet din of tinkling dice, ticking clocks, and hushed voices of commanders vying for European supremacy. While tested by the Russian winter in the Maryland Ballroom at the Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland, the contestants rose to the challenge throughout the six 5-hour rounds of the ten-turn tournament scenario. The event continues to evolve with changes to both the game scenario and the tourney format. The main change this year was the implementation of a new bidding system based on Russian replacements which had been tested at Prezcon as well as the BPA PBeM event. (Players bid for the Germans by offering extra replacements to the Soviets.) Clock allotments were shifted slightly with the Germans getting ten more minutes and the Soviets five less. Based on the fact that there were no complaints received about the time, this GM will assume an equitable balance point has been reached. Noteworthy is the fact that most last-match-of-the-day games were played without clocks because both players agreed to forego their usage.

Turnout looked good as things began with a dozen people showing up for the Thursday night tutorial at Jay's Cafe. As usual, most of these 'newbies' actually knew the game but just wanted to get some scoop on the tournament scenario. 22 folks then showed up for the mulligan round later that night. (Eight new participants subsequently joined in on the first round on Friday.) Three rounds took place on Friday and the sixth, and final round was completed Saturday afternoon. The Germans won 16 of 31 matches. Of the 30 participants, eight had not played in the event before. Among the entrants were the holders of seven TRC titles so there clearly was a lot of expertise at the tables.

There were several memorable games that stood out:
* Steve Dickson upset Rob Beyma, a two-time champion, in the first round. (Steve had recently gained familiarity with the game via an intense two-week TRC boot-camp supervised by his dad, Gary, a three-time TRC champ.) Steve's Russians took advantage of weather and fortunate die rolling to squash the pride of the Wermacht panzer corps in the frozen swamps south of Leningrad. If Rob had known that Steve only knew how to play the Russians than I suspect the bidding would have been different. I expect both players to do some off-season training and I'm pretty confident Rob will be aiming to be a serious contender for the title in 2003!
* Rob McCracken continues to demonstrate his mastery of the game. In the second round, he took advantage of good weather as the Russians to hold a firm line in Russia that stretched from Riga to Smolensk in the north. Things looked bleak, however, as the ever-wary Marty Musella had enough victory points to win because of good German gains in the south. Thinking he was prepared, he confidently guarded his rear areas against paratroops - Helsinki and the frontline cities were protected from the imposing presence of STAVKA in Riga. Unfortunately, Marty didn't guard Koenigsburg and the paratroop landed there on the last turn which gave Rob the game. Well done, Rob.
* Alan Zasada continues to gain on his 'giant-killer' reputation by defeating the reigning champion, Phil Evans, in round 3. Despite a successful NEGATIVE bid for the Russians, i.e., Alan was giving up replacement points to the Germans, and getting pro-German weather, he crafted something wicked and forced a mid-1942 concession from Phil. I only wish I could have seen it - the game was put away in less than two minutes after the resignation, leaving little time for admiration or reflection. (At WBC 2001, Alan performed a similar feat by knocking out Doug James who was the reigning champ then.)
* Dick Jarvinin gets the "Eastern Effort" award. Having tuned up with a punishing set of practice PBeM games, he was all set to go after a multi-year hiatus from the game. Unfortunately, he earned the dubious privilege of matching up against another returning veteran, Randy Heller, who demonstrated that his armed forces were as lethal on the snowy steppes as they are in the bitter woods of the Ardennes.

The final match featured yours truly, the GM, against Art Lupinacci. As always, I bid high for the Germans and got them after yielding 16 replacement points. Art adroitly managed the Red Army in 1941 and was in reasonably good shape coming out of the first winter. The weather was relatively balanced with my Germans getting CLEAR in Sept/Oct 41 while his Soviets benefited from SNOW in Nov/Dec 41 and LIGHT MUD in Mar/Apr 1942. No big gaffes occurred on either side but the game turned in the beginning of 1942. In a seemingly decisive move, Art committed the bulk of his Guards to the defeat of Finland. The quantity (and quality) of this force ensured that Helsink would not be controlled by the Germans at game's end but this tactical victory, nevertheless, proved to be fatal to the Soviet cause. Once the Summer of 42 started, the Soviets did not have a viable mobile counterattack force available as the pride of the Red Army was still engaged in its push on Helsinki. The Germans were quickly able to grind up the bulk of the Red Army in the center and south in the summer campaigning. Art conceded the game in Jul/Aug 42 thus handing me my second TRC title!

I continued to keep my 'ultimate Soviet defense' a secret by bidding high in all five of my matches. Experienced players were bidding between 10 and 15 for the Russians with some 'downwards drift' in later rounds. It's still hard to tell if bidding really makes a difference; five games made it through the last turn and only two individuals felt that the bid impacted the outcome. Ten of the 31 matches could be termed 'upsets'.

Looking ahead to next year, I foresee several big changes. The biggest, of course, is the expected usage of the 4th Edition of TRC. The tournament scenario itself probably won't change but there will be significant rules cleanups to take care of some of those especially gamey tricks. The weather system will be changed to reduce its impact on the game's outcome. A revised and tested 1942 scenario will also be introduced. (Default version will continue to be the Barbarossa scenario if either player would prefer not to play the 1942 scenario.) To enhance the WBC 2003 experience, mulligan round games will feature random opponent matchups.

See for other TRC details.

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [3rd Year]   2908 Sheffield Dr., Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462    (610) 292-9973

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