Laughing at the Cold War ...
1998 champ Chris Geggus (upper
left) again favored us with a trip across the pond and nearly
regained his Kremlin title.
John Pack, Jason Wagner and
Bob Jamelli (left to right) are among the gulag bait in this
preliminary round contest.
Long suffering Pete Stein ran this event faithfully for 11
years and was the subject of much self deprecating humor in his
annual reports as he entertained all who would listen with the
saga of his never ending travails. Whether it be the outrageous
fortunes of a cruel fate or some basic flaw in his strategy,
poor Pete was always left wanting ... hopes dashed yet again.
Finally, he could take it no more and bid adieu to his role as
Kremlin GM. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So, Pete turned
over the reins to three-time champ Steve Cuccaro and melted into
the crowd like a banished Russian politician shuffling off to
A total of eleven games (six 5-player, five 6-player) were
run in the four Kremlin heats. Of these games, five were
won by a player getting three October Parade waves from a controlled
Party Chief (two of those in the first three turns), three by
controlling the highest active politician in the Politburo after
killing/banishing so many politicians that there weren't enough
left to fill the offices, and three on turn 10 by the player
who controlled the highest active politician at the end. Ten
people qualified for the semi-final (the GM played and won as
an eliminator) with two declining to advance.
The eight-player semis, by random draw, pitted former champs
Llew Bardecki and Chris Geggus against each other. Also at that
table: former GM and perennial contender Peter Stein, and relative
newcomer Keith Schoose. Pete took control of the sick Party Chief
on the first turn, but had his usual luck with the dice, only
getting one wave out of his four turns at the top. When Nestor
finally kicked the bucket,. Llew took the helm, but was unable
to consolidate his position and lost control to Chris, who ended
the game with three consecutive waves; Pete's early performance
was good enough for second place and a ticket to the finals.
At the other table, Martin Davis took an early lead with Nestor
netting him a wave on the first turn, but sickness took its toll
and he was unable to wave again on Turn 2. Control passed to
Sean McCulloch on Turn 3, with the same results one wave,
one failure. Greg Tanner's ill party chief was not able to wave
in his three turns at the helm, and the torch eventually passed
to Joe Delaney. The game ended on turn 10 when there were too
few politicians available to fill the politburo. Sean took the
victory, having the highest ranked politician still active, with
second place going to Joe.
The four-player Final started with heated competition for
control of Nestor, who turned out to eventually reside in Chris'
camp. The game seemed to be heading to a quick end, with two
waves for Chris in the first three turns, but the health die
decided otherwise on Turn 4. A clever card play by Pete busted
the Foreign Minister to the people after the first round of votes
for the new Party Chief, leaving him in total control of the
election. His young, healthy party chief gave him an easy wave
before falling sick on Turn 5 and failing to make it through
the parade. Same old Pete ... but to the amazement of all, Pete
succeeded on the next two die rolls and won the game and the
tournament on three waves ... thus ending a decade of torment
on his first try as a face in the crowd.