squad leader [Updated October 2003]  

2003 WBC Report    

 2004 Status: pending 2004 GM commitment

Peter Pollard, TN

2003 Champion

2nd: David Von Bronkhorst, VA

3rd: Bill Thomson, TX

4th: Andrew Cummins, UK

5th: Bryan Van Nortwick, NC

6th: Eric Dunsmore, VA

Event History
1991    Scott Romanowski      12
1992    Jeff Miller      19
1993    Brian Laskey      14
1994    Eric Stranger      15
1995    Kevin Welsh        8
1996    Eric Stranger      10
1997    Kevin Welsh      12
1998    Peter Pollard      17
1999    Peter Pollard      19
2000    Mike Pacheco     18
2001    Peter Pollard     20
2002    Andrew Cummins     22
2003     Peter Pollard     21

PBeM Event History
2000    Andy Cowdery      16

Offsite links:

AREA Ratings


Rank Name


 1. Peter Pollard


 2. Mike Pacheco


 3. Andrew Cummins


 4. Bill Thomson


 5. Michael Day


 6. Allen Kaplan


 7. David Von Bronkhorst


 8. Michael Hennessy


 9. Bill Pittman


10. Warren Day


11. Francis Spencer


12. Bryan Van Nortwick


13. Dan Leader


14. Andy Cowdery


15. Eric Filipowski


16. Eric Dunsmore



Past Winners

1991: Scott Romanowski - MA

1992: Jeff Miller - NY
1993: Brian Laskey - CT

Eric Stranger - OH
1994, 1996

Kevin Welsh - NJ
1995, 1997

Peter Pollard - TN
1998-1999, 2001

Mike Pacheco - CA

Andrew Cummins - UK

Squad Leader celebrates 25 years!

The 2003 tournament engaged 21 entrants comprised of both veterans and novices of previous Avaloncon/WBC SQL & COI events. This year's field provided stiff competition due to the presence of no less than six previous champions (Cummins, Pollard, Pacheco, Thomson, Welsh, Stranger). Several past participants made their return to the fold in addition to new players. As in years past, this is a community of players that welcomes and assimilates participants to friendly and engaging play despite how the dice may fall.

Andrew Cummins (Cambridge, UK) crossed the pond again to defend his title and claim the top seed. The balance were seeded by AREA rating. The top seed played the bottom similar to tennis tournaments. The player pools with similar records were reseeded each round in a similar fashion as all strived to make it to the finals with a perfect record after four rounds of play.

Round 1 saw a mix of scenarios chosen, including one match played at Cross of Iron and another at GI: Anvil of Victory. The most common Squad Leader scenario, however, was the often bloody scenario 2 "The Tractor Works". Andrew Cummins, Kevin Welsh, Michael Pacheco and Allen Kaplan were victorious in their respective matches. And true to its balanced nature, scenario 2 saw an even split on the Russian versus German victories.

In Round 2, all of the matches returned to the standard Squad Leader level of play. Some of the play was in Stalingrad, split between the "The Tractor Works" and an On All Fronts scenario "Stalingrad, 20 October 1942". Eric Dunsmore's Russians were stalwart as they beat back repeated assaults on their position by Chuck Leonard. In a scenario 7 "Buchholz Station" game, Bill Beswick's Germans were thrown back by the crafty Kevin Welsh (American).

After the first two rounds, five of the six top seeds possessed 2-0 records resulting in round 3 pivotal matches. Players selected from a short list of scenarios of an mutually agreeable rules level ... lacking the ability to play the same scenario twice during the competition. In all, 38 matches were played broken down into 21 SQL, five COI and two GIA scenarios.

In Round 3, Pete Pollard (German) was pitted against Eric Stranger (American) in scenario 7 "Buchholz Station". From the start, Eric's whithering fire had Pete on the ropes and demoralized. Determined to at least make his Personal Leader Counter into a hero, Pete threw his forces at Eric's defenses.

At this point, someone walked in the room who looked like he was a man of the cloth. Wishing to change his luck (and believing that this man was dressed for an event at the convention), Pete asked him if he could bless his dice. A reluctant response finally came out, "ummm, - it doesn't work that way." Pete returned to the game, without a blessing, and pressed onward. The dice did
turn and though Eric had thought he had won the game with another KIA result, Pete (and soon Eric) realized that Pete had won earlier (their math skills were not up to par at that time of the initial counting).

Only two players remained unbeaten at the conclusion of the third round, defining the championship pairing. Bill Thomson (Austin, TX) earned an appearance in the finals for the second straight year only to fall short yet again. Pete Pollard (Bartlett, TN), behind the Russian steamroller in the play of Cross of Iron (COI) scenario 108 "Blockbusting of Bokruisk" emerged victorious as the 2003 champion. The win was sealed in the final turn, however, the turning point occurred two turns before when the German infantry suffered a widespread morale failure. Pete, now a four-time SQL champion heads the select group in multiple SQL/COI wins (Welsh, Stranger, Thomson).

Eric Dunsmore, returning to the Squad Leader event after a couple of years off, earned recognition as most improved; finishing 14 places above his seed. Needless to say, he improved his skills during the time off. Could it have been a coincidence that Kevin Welsh (a former champion) returned this same year?

The Personal Leader Counter (PLC) competition is a regular feature of Squad Leader Academy (SQLA) administrated tournaments, creating incentive to those out of the title hunt for continued play. PLCs seek glory, promotion, and survival to earn a distinctive plaque provided by SQLA. This year's crop of PLCs exhibited an uncharacteristically high survival rate with Sgt Kaplan, Cummins, and Pollard vying for top honors. SGT Cummins earned the top spot with a promotion to 10-2 (+24 Elan).

SGT Thomson, arguably exhibiting the greatest heroism, led his German squad into close combat against the Russian Guards to wrest building control from the attackers and blunt the Russian advance. This PLC was cut down after two rounds of Close Combat, taking the Russians with him. Perhaps his loss triggered the German collapse in the championship game.

As the 2002 top PLC (SGT Pollard) survived this year's event, the Pollard Memorial plaque went unclaimed. This award will be granted to the 2004 player who 'retires' the top 2003 PLC present (Cummins, Pollard, Kaplan).

Due to the steady increase in player participation, the existing four round Saturday event format is under review. The SQL tournament strives to capture players with weekend only restrictions, those eliminated from other events and the large pool of inactive players with past SQL experience. A group email address wbcsql@wargameacademy.org has been created with initial enrollment of past Avaloncon/WBC SQL & COI tournaments. Those who consider future participation are welcome to join this group. The focus of this group is to evaluate format changes of the 2004 SQL tournament.

Related (Squad Leader, Cross of Iron, Crescendo of Doom and GI Anvil of Victory) play opportunities are provided by SQLA, (www.wargameacademy.org/SQLA) and include:
1. SQL 2004 Email Championships (1/2004 start)
2. COI 2004 Email Championships (1/2004 start)
3. COI Orphan Scenario series (9/15/2003)
4. SQL half-bid Masters Tournament
5. COI half-bid Masters Tournament
6. SQL &COI Scenario playtest series
7. COI Campaign for multiplayer team play
8. Invitational SQL AREA tournament.

With the July, 2003 release of the Sun Java VSQL 2.5 module with full SQL and COI capabilities for both real time internet and PBeM play, VSQL will be the standard interface for all SQLA PBeM events. Both Rodney Kinney's Vassal Engine and SQLA Squad Leader Module are available for download at no charge at www.vassalengine.org.

VASSAL employs the computer platform independence to enable remote play regardless of the computer operating system employed. Future versions of VSQL are SQLA active projects to include full capability for Crescndo of Doom and GI: Anvil of Victory.

 GM      Peter Pollard  [5th Year]   8038 Breezy Meadows Lane, Bartlett, TN 38135 
    Pete4258@aol.com    901-384-6811

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