the russian campaign [Updated October 2003]  

2003 WBC Report  

 2004 Status: pending 2004 GM commitment

Doug James, NC

2003 Champion

2nd: Rob Beyma, MD

3rd: Ed O'Connor, NJ

4th: Dave Ketchum, FL

 5th: George Karahalios, IL

  6th: Alan Zasada, IL

Offsite links:

AREA Ratings


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
2003     Doug James     30

PBeM Event History
1999    Gary Dickson      19
2000    Gary Dickson      22
2001    Doug James      23
2002    Gary Dickson      44
2003          40

Rank Name


 1. Gary Dickson


 2. Doug James


 3. Tom Gregorio


 4. Rob Beyma


 5. Phil Evans


 6. Pat Flory


 7. Art Lupinacci


 8. Dave Ketchum


 9. Alan Zasada


10. Ed O'Connor


11. Joe Collinson


12. Forrest Pafenberg


13. George Karahalios


14. Brad Frisby


15. Allen Kaplan


16. John Bullis


17. Jim Eliason


18. Marty Musella



Past Winners

Rob Beyma - MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier - CT

Ed O'Connor - NJ

Jeff Martin - CT

Tom Gregorio - PA
1996, 2002

Gary Dickson - CA

Doug James - NC

Phil Evans - VA

TRC Champion: There can be only one...

Thirty entrants participated in the thirteenth TRC Tournament. At the end of six rounds, those players had played 31 games and put in 310 hours. Doug James, playing as the Germans, got his second TRC crown by defeating perennial contender, and two-time champion, Rob Beyma.


With the concurrent release of the 4th edition of TRC, by L2 Design Group (L2DG), the TRC event this year began a significant evolution. Several rules from TRC4 were introduced, the most significant of which being the use of the new weather system. The new weather chart builds on the last 25 years of playing experience and has been significantly revised to balance the overall weather so that, by itself, it will not be a game determining issue. Next year's WBC TRC event will exclusively feature the rules from the 4th edition; judging by the reaction to those introduced this year, this GM believes the transition to TRC4 will be seamless. TRC4 was officially available at 10AM on Friday and sold out within twenty minutes - the rest of the tournament was played with one or two 'pick-up' games of the new game constantly being played. For those wanting to get in tip-top TRC shape for next year's WBC event, stay tuned to the L2DG TRC folder at and for current standings and news, go to

The bidding for sides using extra Russian replacement factors continues to be well received. This gives both sides the opportunity to play the side they prefer which comes in handy as many players, including this GM, are 'better' at playing one side. Bids went down a little bit this year. The average bid for German wins was 8.25 (meaning the Soviets got a little over 8 extra replacements spread over the ten-turn event). The average bid in games that the Russian won was 10.45. Does this mean that the bid was decisive? It's hard to tell as all but one of the rounds featured seeded matchups which ensured that there was an experience differential between the opponents which may have overcome any edge to be gained from the bidding.

This year's competitors definitely constituted the most experienced player pool seen at WBC for TRC. Six TRC champions participated with TEN crowns between them. Five of these six made it to the 'Elite Eight' with twelve of the top 20 AREA ranked TRC players in attendance.

The War Begins

After the TRC tutorial in Cafe Jay, the Mulligan round kicked off at 7 PM on Thursday night. Based on feedback from last year's participants, this round featured random seeding. There were several upsets, George Karahalios over Phil Evans, Robert Frisby over Dave Ketchum, and, while maybe not an upset, the ever enigmatic Alan Zasada got the win against tournament veteran Forrest Pafenberg.

The main single elimination show started at 9 AM on Friday, no more 'free' losses. Rob McCracken, who'd been pumped for TRC all year, chose to skip the Mulligan and was on the receiving end of an ignominious loss handed to him by Joe Collinson. Playing Joe for your first tourney game isn't the best way to get the rust out of your TRC game! Ray Freeman, master of combat in the Atlantic and Pacific, enlisted for duty on the eastern front but had the misfortune to draw two-time champ Rob Beyma and learned the hard way how critical clock management is for this event.

The second round started shortly after 2 PM on Friday. Notable upsets included Robert Frisby over Phil Evans on turn 1: Phil's Russian setup was 'misplaced' and Robert went straight for the throat with an AV in the Odessa district which drew a concession from Phil. Robert happily accepted as it ensured that a Frisby would prevail in this round; his brother Brad having the misfortune to play Ed O'Connor who, as a TRC champ from many years ago, was on a mission to prove that he still had what it takes to play. (He does.) Lest this GM forget, the most upsetting of upsets was having himself tossed by newcomer George Karahalios whose Russians had my Wehrmacht on the ropes right from the beginning. Nevertheless, it was a fun match with things going down to the wire on the last turn. The Hacker brothers did not fare as well as the Frisby brothers - Jeff having been eliminated in round 1 and Kevin in round 2 by eventual champ Doug James.

The third and final round of the day kicked off in the early evening. The elite eight consisted of experienced tournament players so there were no quick knockouts. There was a significant upset though: Dave Ketchum advanced to the final four via his first victory over three-time champ Gary Dickson in a close match that could have gone either way on the last turn.

Saturday morning saw four tired participants (Dave and Rob having played 15+ hours the day before) teeing it off in the frigid Valley ballroom. The first semi-final match featured Ed O'Connor taking the Germans with a bid of 12 against Doug James. The opening attacks saw rather mediocre dice, including several DR's. The second turn saw much better German dice and very good progress in the north, but J/A ended with Russians still holding Kiev and Dnep. S/O was clear - Kiev, Bryansk and Leningrad fell while Dnep was vacated but uncontrolled by either side. S/O Russian counterattacks featured a 2:1=D1 on a 5-4 at CC18 with a follow-up on DD19 in Oct., causing the Germans a loss of several units and Russians regaining the city. N/D weather was snow, so the Russians pushed hard during the winter re-capturing Bryansk and driving the Germans out of Leningrad. The height of the Soviet advance had units within two hexes of Odessa, and controlling (but not occupying) Riga! All through this the Germans avoided significant losses. 1942 weather started with M/A lt. mud. Throughout the summer a fluid melee raged between Smolensk and Bryansk that cost both sides units but never resulted in a decisive blow for either. Meanwhile the Germans ground away at the advanced Soviet units in the south and re-captured Leningrad with a 3:1 stuka, weakening the overall Soviet position and troop strength. S/O was also lt. mud, and brought the Germans control of Kharkov and Stalino and within striking distance of Rostov and Kursk. The Russians consolidated, making Rostov and Kursk virtually impregnable and made a strategic withdrawal in the Bryansk sector. With a +1 drm for N/D, the Germans rolled a 2 for MUD, at which point the game ended as it was now impossible for the Germans to achieve their objective victory points. A very exciting game!

The other semifinal match had Rob Beyma taking on Dave Ketchum. Rob's Germans got off to a good start aided by some hot dice which eliminated 19 Russian units on turn 1. Dave never quite fully recovered. To make matters worse, the Germans rolled Clear S/O and Stuka'ed Stalino at 5-1. The second impulse had a 1-1 (contact) vs Leningrad but a huge 1 (AR) was rolled on a 3-1 surrounded vs Kharkov. Much like a 90 yard drive only to then fumble on the goal line. Uncle 'Mo had showed up - the Russians then rolled a 6 on a 1-2 at Leningrad and then got Snow for N/D. Rob consumed a lot of clock time in 1941 so he wanted to get in a better position for winter. He attacked a unit next to Leningrad at 2-1 (an EX) while soaking off on the city at 1-6 (AE). The Russians rolled an A1 on their forced counterattack. At Kharkov, Rob made a 1-1 surrounded with every unit that could reach the battle. Dave kicked himself because he then realized he could have moved one unit one hex further to force Rob to have used a soak-off unit and be unable to achieve the 1-1. Rob then rolled a 3 (AR). He moved back in the 2nd impulse for a 2nd 1-1 and rolled a 6. Silence reigned. Dave fought hard from a difficult position in 1942. Because of Rob's difficult clock situation, he had six minutes to play the last THREE turns. He literally was just sliding stacks of Russian units between the VP cities and the Russian line. Rob had three minutes for the last two turns and about 50 seconds for N/D 42 but that proved sufficient to deny Dave the opportunity to get the necessary victory point cities.

The Championship Match

The finals for the tournament got underway in the early evening: Rob Beyma vs Doug James. Rob was not up for a lot of factor counting and decided to stop the bidding at five replacements in order to get the Russians. Doug had seen Rob's non-traditional Odessa defense before and responded by putting seven (!) out of ten German panzers in the south. His rapid advance in the south caused Rob to execute the big retreat which did an excellent job of preserving the Red Army. (To get a feel for the extent of the German advance, the Jul/Aug Russian reinforcement for Kursk had to show up on the east edge!) After a brief and costly battle, Doug took Leningrad in S/O. The Germans also took Kharkov and Stalino. The Russians were down to only three workers but had light losses. Daring Russian counterattacks were thwarted by ungentlemanly rolls.

Things looked pretty balanced as 1942 got underway. The March/April weather was Clear, so the Germans caused attrition where possible, advanced to the gates of Smolensk, and consolidated in front of Stalino but withdrew from Kharkov. The Russians, with their large army, pushed forward to contest the Germans everywhere. At this point Rob was in severe time trouble, having no more than 15 minutes remaining for the rest of the match! Rob had no time to counterattack or count factors; he shoved the units up. In July/August 1942, Doug changed the axis of his attack: He drove on Rostov and concentrated both Stukas there. In a second impulse attack against Rostov at 3-1, he was repulsed by an AR result. Rob was down to about two minutes so he knew the outcome was a forgone conclusion. He did move another big stack into Rostov, killed the unit that invaded, put a big stack behind Rostov, and tidied up (re: lined them up ) the rest of the front. His flag dropped as he was about to do his second impulse and the game ended with Doug emerging victorious. There was a general agreement that the board position was about even with two turns to go.


As always, the tournament was both fun and heavily competitive. Gary and Doug served ably as assistant GM's. Next year's event will usher in the full suite of TRC4 rules and the new, larger physical components. Speaking for myself, playing on the old board is now quite painful. Bigger is better! The clocks continued to serve their purpose but I was a bit surprised by the number of games that went to the wire. (I suspect this was due to the higher level of competition, i.e., very few early blowouts.) The tournament format may change a little as; more than a few people wanted to participate but found the timing to be a bad fit.

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [4th Year]   49 Sibyllegatan 2tr, Stockholm, Sweden 11442    +46 70 292 9443

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