And Other Equally Unpronounceable
the first round, every entrant plays four games, scoring points
based on finishing position (1st=5 points, 2nd=4, 3rd=3, 4th=2,
5th=1). The ten players with the highest total points advance
to the semifinal. Each semifinalist plays two games, with the
four winners and the best second place finisher advancing to
a single winner-take-all final.
Among this year's contestants were five former champions,
22 returnees from last year, and five of the ten semi-finalists
from last year. The most impressive victory in the first set
of ten boards was Ashley Collinson's best-in-tournament finish
of 13 spaces past the finish line, followed by Mark Neale's finish
at +12 spaces. Both finished ten spaces ahead of the 2nd place
finishers at their boards (Ashley over three-time former champ
Ray Pfeifer and Mark over defending champion Thomas Browne).
John Weber and Wendy DeMarco's wins were two of the three games
that ended in ties and were decided by tiebreakers. John Weber
beat Inger Henning with ten cards in his ending set to her nine,
while Wendy used the eight-space bonus for having the longest
set at game end to rocket from 5th place to beat Frank Cunliffe
at the +1 space with 11 cards to his zero cards. Wendy's board
also had one of the tightest bunching at the finish with all
players within a seven-space span.
2001-02 champion John Pack was the only one of the winners
in the first set of games to gain a victory during the second
set, again with ten boards, moving him up to the top of the leader
board with tenpoints. Mark, Ashley, Wendy, and John W. each took
a second place, and were joined at nine points by Paul Weintraub,
and Alexandra Henning (each of whom had a second in their first
game). Brandon Foster had the third of the victories decided
by a tiebreaker when he beat Marc Houde five cards to four.
Left to right: Nicholas Henning
(4th), Tom deMarco (2nd), Marc Houde (1st), Ray Pfeiffer (GM),
John Weber (3rd).
The third set consisted of nine boards. John Pack won again,
remaining in the lead with 15 points. Wendy and Alexandra also
won, giving them 14 points. Mark dropped to 4th overall with
13 points. Finishing out the top ten with 12 points after three
sets were John Weber, Marc, Nicholas Henning, Alice Trumble,
Tony Musella, and Jason Wagner. Alexandra's win was the second
one (after Wendy's in the first set) to use the eight space end-of-game
bonus to move from last to first, and provided the tightest bunching
in a four-player game with all players within a span of six spaces
at the finish.
Attrition had winnowed the field to eight boards for the final
preliminary. John Pack showed that his two tournament championships
were no fluke by winning again and finishing with a perfect score
of 20 points. Finishing three points back at 17 were Marc, Mark,
and Nicholas. Wendy and her dad, 1993 champ Tom DeMarco, finished
at 16 points. Filling out the top ten who would advance to the
semi-final were Alexandra, Tony, Erika Poniske, and Abigail Cocke
at 15 points. Tony decided to play in the Slapshot tournament
instead, allowing John Weber to become the tenth semi-finalist.
After moving to the quieter environment of the Valley ballroom,
the ten remaining players were divided into two games. At one
table, Marc won over Mark, Wendy, Abigail, and Alexandra, while
at the other table Tom advanced to the final by beating John
Weber., Erika, Nicholas, and John Pack. In Tom's game, four of
the five players crossed the finish line and Tom's ending set
was a tournament-high 15 cards long. Next, the other eight players
were shuffled between tables for the last two semi-final games.
This time, the Henning siblings were victorious as Alexandra
won over Abigail, Erika, and John Pack, while Nicholas outdistanced
Mark, Wendy, and John Weber. The best second place in the semi-finals
was gained by John Weber, whose +3 space finish allowed him to
advance to the final. Abigail's +2 space second place finish
was earned her sixth place laurels.
The final was a tight game, with nobody running off ahead
of the pack or collecting a huge set. The lead changed a few
times, with Tom holding the lead entering the last stretch. Tom
triggered the end of the game by exhibiting, ending two spaces
across the finish line and three spaces ahead of Marc. But the
final victor would be determined by the bonuses for the largest
two sets. One of the two things Tom needed to happen so as to
retain his lead happened when John Weber, who was in fifth place,
turned out to have the largest set at ten cards. The eight space
bonus was only enough to move him up to one space behind Tom.
But the four space bonus for the second largest set was gained
by Marc, who had seven cards, and which allowed him to move to
three spaces across the finish line, one space ahead of Tom,
and into the winner's circle to be awarded his first championship
For the first time, the player of the yellow cards won the
most games, tasting victory 15 times, including the final and
three of the four semi-final games. The player of the blue cards,
who won the most games last year and in 2000, won ten times,
followed by red with nine wins, black (most wins in '01 and '02)
with five wins, and green with a paltry three victories. For
the second year in a row, the player of the red cards had the
most last place finishes, followed by black, at 13 and 12 respectively.
Again the player of the yellow cards gained the most points toward
advancing with an average of 3.71 points/game. The player of
the black cards averaged the least with only 2.60 points/game.
And yellow again was the color that had the farthest average
ending board position, at 0.12 spaces short of the finish line,
while green averaged 3.97 spaces short of the finish. On average,
39.3 of the 45 art object cards were bought per five-player game,
with a range from 34 cards to the maximum of 45 (which happened
three times this year). Four-player games averaged 32.3 cards
per game, with a range of 29 to 36. Brian Stallings, Eric Wrobel,
Tom DeMarco, and Greg Crowe each won a game with no set at game
end. Eric, Tom, and Greg were the only three to do that in 2002,
while Greg was the only one to achieve that distinction in 2001.
eleven little art thieves ventured forth to play Adel Verpflichtet
Jr but David Pack of Colorado proved the best collector of
the lot ... not surprising considering his dad, John, is a two-time
GM Wendy DeMarco went over the rules before setting up three
boards. At one table Andrew Wilson triumphed over Daniel Long,
Jennifer and Hannah. At the next table Jacob Hebner won over
Zack Dunn, Michael Schoose and Daniel Collinson, while at the
final table David Pack was victorious over Conel Jaeger and Kaleigh.
The three winners were joined in the final by Daniel Long and
Zack who had the two best runner-up finishes. In the final, David
showed that they must play a lot of Adel Verpflichtet at
home by improving from his 5th place finish last year to take
the crown. Jacob improved from his 4th place finish last year
to take 2nd place this year, followed by Andrew, Daniel Long,