Card Driven Champs
year's muster boasted a nice mix of former champions, hardy veterans,
and eager newcomers. The cooperation and discipline of our players
resulted in an unusually smooth tournament. No games were decided
by adjudication and in the time allotted we were able to complete
four Swiss qualifying rounds, one more than in 2002.
The extra Swiss round meant that players could suffer a defeat
in one round and still advance to the quarter-finals; four of
the eight advancers did just that. Three returning champions,
Marvin Birnbaum, Brian Mountford, and Tom Drueding qualified
along with Pat Mirk, John Poiniske, Barry Shoults and Joe Stenken.
In one of the hardest fought, and most emotionally charged
contests of the tournament, Young defeated Mirk in the semi's
to advance to the finals. Meanwhile Birnbaum and Mountford played
a nearly flawless semi-final game, each working to get the most
out of every card. In the end, Brian drove last year's champion
down to defeat.
the final, Brian Mountford, who had a draw during the Swiss rounds,
attempted to become the first to three-peat as WTP champion.
George Young, Green Mountain Boy and long time respected veteran,
had lost his first round of the tournament when he accepted three
PCs to take the British against (Caesar) Birnbaum. After that,
George gave the PCs to take the Americans in each subsequent
round, including the two PCs he spotted Mountford in the final.
For Young, it was a winning strategy as he was able to stymie
every attempt by Mountford to consolidate a British enclave somewhere
in the colonies.
This year's prize for the WTP nominee for Sportsman of the
Year was the biography: "The First American: The Life and
Times of Benjamin Franklin". Of four competitors who caught
my eye, Paul Gaberson is our nominee. After a first round defeat,
Paul cheerfully accepted a match against James Pei, even though
the redoubtable Pei could only commit to a single game and was
thus acting as a spoiler. By selflessly taking on this dangerous
opponent, Paul allowed me to more evenly match two relative newcomers,
both of whom would have been "candy" for either Pei
or Gaberson. When James prevailed in their game, Paul's chances
of taking the WTP wood in addition to the WNW wood evaporated.
Instead of resting for his WNW final, Paul selflessly stayed
on station for the entire event, coaching newcomers and acting
as a spoiler himself.