the russian campaign [Updated October 2004]  

2004 WBC Report  

 2005 Status: pending 2005 GM commitment

Tom Gregorio, PA

2004 Champion

2nd: George Karahalios, IL

3rd: Joe Collinson, MD

4th: Doug James, NC

 5th: Jeff Lange, AE

  6th: Phil Evans, VA

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
2004    Tom Gregorio      36

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

Rank Name


 1. Tom Gregorio


 2. Doug James


 3. Gary Dickson


 4. Phil Evans


 5. Rob Beyma


 6. Pat Flory


 7. Art Lupinacci


 8.  George Karahalios


 9. Joe Collinson


10. Dave Ketchum


11. Alan Zasada


12. Ed O'Connor


13. Forrest Pafenberg


14. Jeff Lange


15. Brad Frisby


16. Allen Kaplan


17. John Bullis


18. Jim Eliason


19. 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
2000, 2003

Phil Evans - VA

TRC Champion: There can be only one...

The 2004 tournament was an unqualified success in many respects. Not only were records set in terms of participants and games played, but it's clear that the 4th Edition of this game has gained a secure foothold with only two games being played using the old 3rd edition version. While several TRC stalwarts didn't make it this year to WBC, it's a good sign that the reissuing of this classic is helping to bring back some of the guys who played this 20 years ago as well as some newcomers.

Quick Stats:
* The 32-player threshold was crossed when 36 people played 39 games in this, the 14th year of the convention.
* Five prior champions played, they had nine championship TRC wood among them.
* The Germans 20 wins, the Russians had 19.
* One match decided by the clock expiring.
* Eleven matches went to the final game turn.
* Eight matches featured 'upsets', i.e., the lower seeded player winning.

Things kicked off with the TRC tutorial on Thursday. Nine people showed, including two who'd never played the game before. Basic mechanics were reviewed. While I always go into the tutorial thinking that I'm going to be showing 'advanced tactics' and 'scenario strategy', I consistently end up in the 'explaining the concept of ZOCs' mode.

That same evening, 30 folks played in the mulligan round. I was flabbergasted by that number. Only one game was played using the TRC3 map and that was by choice by a veteran player who wasn't ready to use 'the big board'. Random matchups were performed and I somehow drew Doug James, the defending champion. My Germans surrendered in March/April, despite getting optimal Clear/Light Mud weather! I'm not sure what I learned -- Doug pummeled me so badly that I went to bed with a headache. The only bright side, for me, was having beheld the sight of fifteen matches of TRC on the L2 'Big Board' going on simultaneously.

Friday 9AM Round 1: 14 people played in this round. (Anybody who won in the evening round could forego this round and join in during the Friday 2PM round. There was random pairing between the top half contestant pool and the bottom half. I drew Doug Porterfield, my WBC roommate. I played the Russians so as to give him ample opportunity to test drive the Germans while I practiced 'moving quickly' as the Russians. This was my first tourney game as the Russians in many years and was a nice change of pace. (I believe time pressure is consistently on the Germans and that a key tourney tactic is to spring a new opening defense with a possible flaw that will cause the Wehrmacht player to expend a lot of time, 20 minutes+, on his first move.)

Friday 2:45PM Round 2: We entered the first 'real' round of single elimination with 20 people; we had five prior TRC champs playing so there definitely were some sharks in the pool. There were three family combos; Robert & Richard Beyma, Robert & Bradford Frisby, and Keith and Bert Schoose. Surprisingly, both Frisby's accomplished the automatic Axis tournament win in 1941 by capturing Moscow. (This has never been achieved since this victory condition was created several years ago!) Art Lupinacci was also knocked out this round in an upset, a victim of some terrible weather dice and Ed Welsh knowing how to take advantage of it. Rob McCracken bowed before the strength of Phil's Russian army but not before he was able to split matches against both Beymas. Alan Hayes also pulled off a big upset by defeating prior champ Ed O'Connor; every year Alan seems to make significant progress towards the wood.

Friday 7:30PM Round 3: We had eightpeople participate; two prior round winners declined to play further. As this ensured the tournament would finish Saturday with no byes, I didn't mind. As several of these folks had endured SIXTEEN hours of TRC this day, I think fatigue had become a factor. (TRC can definitely be an endurance event!)

Saturday 10AM Round 4: We were down to four. George Karahalios defeated Doug James in a ferociously fought game that went the distance. In a similarly tough match, I beat Joe Collinson who demonstrated yet again that he can compete at the highest levels of tournament play.

Saturday 3PM The Finals had me going up against George Karahalios. He beat me pretty soundly in 2003 and I was determined to not let that happen again. (Judging by the amount of material he has with him, he clearly is the best prepared player I've ever encountered in TRC tournament play.) I took the Germans with a relatively low bid. Unfortunately, my dice were abysmally bad on the opening Axis assaults. At the end of the first German turn, there were seven Axis units in the dead pile! Jul/Aug didn't start well when the Hungarians were sunk trying to invade a surprisingly vacant Rostov. Axis blood continued to flow but I was able to take advantage of some defensive misplacements to push my forces forward. By the time Nov/Dec 41 started, I'd already exceeded the 42 replacement quota and things looked grim. Fortunately, Soviet losses were also relatively large. The Germans won a few key combats to nail down the flank cities of Leningrad and Sevastopol and had secured their center by capturing some of the forward cities. The Russian winter counterattacks inflicted some attrition but the Red towel was thrown in when the Russian Jan/Feb commenced with the 1st Gd Infantry perishing in a daring attempt to sea invade in the Crimea. While the cause of the Red Army was far from lost, George made the decision that his long-term position was fatally compromised. While perhaps not the longest finals match, I happily accepted the first place wood, my third TRC title and sixth overall, as it gave me a relatively early ending to my gaming that Saturday night.

Final Thoughts:
The Lancaster Host will be the site of next year's WBC tournament; we'll be pressed to top this year's event but judging by some of the comments from the players, it will be another hard fought event. Gary Dickson, absent this year, has promised to attend to go for his fourth Wood but there will be more than a few prior champs who'll stand in his way! Rob Beyma has committed to taking the event 'seriously' next year which should give some pause to the many opponents he's left strewn in his wake these past few years. There has been some suggestion of making TRC a pre-con event but this will require some more discussion and a strong pre-commitment before pursuing that path. (In any event, next year's 5th place TRC winner will earn a plaque. For some unfathomable reason I thought that current year participation was related to current year prize level!) While we're a year away, don't forget that there are THREE on-going PBEeM tournaments in which to get some good TRC practice. I look forward to campaigning in 2005 - see you in Dutch Country!

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [5th Year]   1650 Chadwyck Place, Blue Bell, PA 19422    484-744-1086

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