war at sea [Updated October 2006]  

 2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

John Sharp, FL

2006 Champion

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Event History
1991    Bruce Monnin      20
1992    Tom Scarborough      23
1993    Bruce Monnin      28
1994    Phil Rennert      18
1995    Ray Freeman      33
1996    Steve Packwood      27
1997    Tim Hitchings      33
1998    Mike Kaye      32
1999    Ray Freeman     45
2000    Pat Richardson     42
2001    David Finberg     43
2002    Andy Gardner     51
2003    Ray Freeman     47
2004    Bruce Monnin     51
2005     Dennis Nicholson     55
2006    John Sharp     46

PBeM Event History
1999    Vince Meconi      22
2000    Ed Menzel      39
2001    Jonathan Lockwood      43
2004    Don Greenwood      44
2006    Andy Gardner      44


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Ray Freeman        CA    04    133
  2.  Pat Richardson     VA    05    110
  3.  Andy Gardner       VA    06    105
  4.  Ed Menzel          CA    06     78
  5.  Bruce Monnin       OH    05     66
  6.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03     59
  7.  Vince Meconi       DE    06     53
  8.  Dennis Nicholson   NY    05     50
  9.  Don Greenwood      MD    04     50
 10.  David Finberg      MA    01     50
 11.  Rob Flowers        NC    06     44
 12.  John Sharp         FL    06     40
 13.  Jonathan Lockwood  VA    04     39
 14.  Tim Hitchings      DE    04     30
 15.  Bill Thomson       TX    03     30
 16.  Steve Packwood     MN    00     30
 17.  Michael Kaye       CA    06     28
 18.  Greg Berry         VA    05     28
 19.  Robert Drozd       IL    06     24
 20.  Ewan McNay         CT    06     24
 21.  Darren Kilfara     UK    04     20
 22.  Glenn McMaster     ON    06     19
 23.  Rob Day            KS    06     16
 24.  Phil Rennert       MD    99     16
 25.  Tim Tow            TX    04     15
 26.  Joe Collinson      MD    03     15
 27.  Michael Ussery     MD    01     15
 28.  Ron Dietz          OH    00     15
 29.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    06     12
 30.  John Pack          CO    99     12
 31.  Chuck Stapp        NJ    05     10
 32.  John Strand        CO    03     10
 33.  Michael Knautz     WI    00     10
 34.  Mike Brophy        NC    06      8
 35.  Kevin Shewfelt     CA    04      5
 36.  Dave Streams       OH    00      5
 37.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    01      4
 38.  Alan Applebaum     MA    00      4
 39.  Bob Hamel          CT    99      4
 40.  Dan Henry          IL    01      3
 41.  Nick Markevich     CA    99      3
 42.  James Pei          TX    99      2
 43.  Sean McKenzie      AK    99      1

2006 Laurelists

Ewan McNay, CT

Ed Menzel, CA

Vince Meconi, DE

Mike Brophy, NC

Glenn McMaster, ON

Past Winners

Bruce Monnin, OH
1991, 1993, 2004

Phil Rennert, MD

Ray Freeman, CA
1995, 1999, 2003

Steve Packwood, MN

Tim Hitchings, DE

Mike Kaye, CA

Pat Richardson, VA

David Finberg, MA

Andy Gardner, VA

Dennis Nicholson, NY

 2006 was the tenth straight year that the War At Sea field topped 32 entrants. The use of chess clocks keeps the event running on schedule through eight rounds!

 Mike Brophy (right) defeats Jon Lockwood en route to an unbeaten record in five rounds of swiss play in an event where almost everyone seems to have lots of experience.

Dice At Sea

John Sharp of Sarasota, FL, won the championship plaque on Thursday, in his first Final 4 appearance. John finished 6-1-1 and bested Ewan McNay of Milford, CT (6-1-1) in the Final. Their match was one of the most sweat-inducing Finals ever, with the POC marker staying on zero virtually the entire game. The championship came down to the last die roll in the last sea area on the last turn, as John's Axis LBA disabled Ewan's last Allied convoy. Failure to land the convoy meant the POC marker remained at zero, giving the game to John on the basis of the 1-POC bid. John was playing in only his fourth WBC War At Sea event, while this was just Ewan's second! Third place went to Ed Menzel (Fullerton, CA, 5-2) and the GM took 4th (5-2). Mike Brophy of Battleboro, NC got the 5th and final plaque.

Brophy and McNay were the only two players to go undefeated in the Swiss Rounds, with 4-0-1 logs each after tying each other. Mike's finish was his best since the inaugural War At Sea event at the 1991 Avaloncon! The rest of the playoff contenders were 6th, Glenn McMaster (Troy, Ontario, 4-2), 7th, Greg Berry (Fairfax, VA, 3-2), and 8th, John Pack (Parker, CO, 3-3). 9th and 10th places went to Bob Jamelli (3-1) and Tim Hitchings (3-2).

2006 was the first year of expanded playoffs, and the addition of quarterfinals seemed to work well. All three rounds of playoffs were completed by 10:30 PM Thursday. In the quarterfinals, Ewan beat Pack, the GM defeated McMaster, Sharp edged Brophy, and Menzel bested Berry. In the semi-finals, McNay clobbered the GM and Sharp axed Menzel. Ewan's success prompted Ed to suggest a tightening of the immigration laws. (For those of you who have never met Ewan, his British accent is a giveaway!)

Sean Druelinger achieved the unusual double of Rookie of the Year and Best Axis Player at 3-1-0. Ewan McNay added Best Allied Player (6-1-1) to his second place wood.

46 players entered this year and 87 total games were played. Play balance shifted slightly towards the Allies, who won 45 games to the Axis' 37; there were five ties. 50 games featured Allied bids, while three iconoclasts bid for the Axis. The remaining 34 contests had no bid.

My thanks to Assistant GMs Bruce Monnin, Frank Cunliffe (who ran our demo), and John Sharp (who provided the chess clocks) for their help.

The official War At Sea FAQ and Errata in effect for this event can be found at http://www.markevich.com/was/rules99.html.

For those of you not already on the War At Sea email list of post tournament wrap-up news, here are excerpts from the current version:

40 players opened the competition shortly after 9 AM on tournament day. Upsets were plentiful from the start as the higher-seeded player won only 12 of the 20 first round matches. In fact, five of the top 10 seeds did not make it to Round 5. The expansion of the playoffs to eight quarterfinalists and the discontinuation of the "playoff bracket" meant the most wide open Round 5 ever. No fewer than 16 of the 22 players who answered the bell for Round 5 could have made the playoffs with another win, and a 17th player, Greg Berry, couldn't play Round 5 but already had 30 VPs. Of those 17, only two, Ewan McNay at 4-0, 40 Victory Points and Mike Brophy, 4-0, 38 VPs, had clinched spots. They played each other with Ewan taking the Allies, and tied. In the next bracket, 3-1 Ed Menzel took on 3-0 Bob Jamelli. Nobody had beaten Bob, but he'd skipped Round 3! Ed was seeking his second playoff berth, while Bob was trying to break into the playoff ranks. The game wasn't close, with Ed's Allies prevailing after just four turns. Next, Glenn McMaster matched up with Ed O'Connor, both having 3-1 scorecards and seeking their first playoff berths. Glenn's Axis sank two convoys and turned in a 3-POC win. Finally, Vince Meconi (3-1) met Jim Kramer (2-1-1) in a rematch of last year's Round 5 struggle between the good friends. Vince was looking for his second playoff appearance while Jim sought his first. Last year it was Jim with the hot dice as the Axis, but Vince turned the tables on him in 06. In the next bracket, 2-1-1 John Sharp matched up against 1-0-2 Matt O'Connor, with each player hunting for playoff nod #1. John's Allies won going away. Also, former champions Steve Packwood (2-1-1) and Pat Richardson (1-1-2) had at it. Pat's Allies came out on top this time around. In the last playoff-eligible bracket, John Pack (2-2 and seeking his third playoff slot) opposed rookie Tom Richardson (2-0 after skipping the first two rounds and entering, to hear him tell it, as an afterthought!) His third time was not the charm, though, as John's Allies turned in a solid 4-POC triumph. Finally, Tim Hitchings (2-2) faced David Rynkowski (2-2). Tim is a five-time playoff contender while David was trying to break into the playoff ranks. Tim's Allies rolled with a 7.5-POC margin after the bid.

With the preliminary rounds completed, the playoff situation looked like this. Ewan McNay (45 VPs) and Mike Brophy (43) had previously qualified. Ed Menzel (40), Glenn McMaster (40), and Vince Meconi (40) were in for sure, with strength of schedule placing Ed 3rd, Glenn 4th, and Vince 5th. John Sharp (35) was 6th. For the last two slots, all players with 30 VPs were eligible for a strength of schedule tiebreaker. However, Ed O'Connor had a conflict and declined to advance. Bob Jamelli and Greg Berry had the highest two schedule strengths, but Bob withdrew also, making room for John Pack. Tim Hitchings and Pat Richardson came up short on the tiebreaker. In the quarterfinals, #1 Ewan McNay faced #8 John Pack and #4 Glenn McMaster opposed #5 Vince Meconi. Normally, #2 would play #7 and #3 contest #6, but to avoid a rematch, #2 Mike Brophy took on #6 John Sharp and #3 Ed Menzel sat opposite from #7 Greg Berry.

Ewan took just 10 minutes to dispose of Pack. Ewan took the Allies for a bid of 1.5. John sailed to the South Atlantic and lost the area with four ships sunk and five disabled to the Neutral Port, at a cost of just one Allied ship. With most of his remaining fleet bottled up, John resigned and lost his chance to repeat his 1994 feat as the only player ever to make the semi-finals with 30 VPs. The Turn 1 South Atlantic disaster sounds rare, but this actually wasn't the first time it has happened in the playoffs. In the 1998 semi-finals, Tom Scarborough's Axis fleet sailed to the South Atlantic on Turn 1 and lost the area to Matt Romaniecki's Allies, with half his ships sunk and the other half stuck in the Neutral Port. He, too, resigned after just a few minutes of play. Meanwhile, John Sharp upset Mike Brophy in the second quarterfinal matchup. Taking the Allies for no bid, John eked out a 1-POC victory. At the other extreme, Ed Menzel's Axis cruised to a 10-POC victory over Greg Berry's Axis; Ed didn't even need the 1.5 bid. Vince Meconi's hot dice enabled him to prevail over Glenn McMaster's Axis by three POC after the 1-POC bid.

The first semi-final rematched McNay's Allies, bidding 2.0, against Meconi. Ewan had won as the Allies against Vince on Round 3, and this one was no different. The Axis took heavy losses and could not win an area on Turn 1 and were therefore behind the 8-ball from the start. On Turn 4 they made it a contest when the Axis LBA sank a convoy and U-boats got a second in the North Atlantic. But Allied ASW maintained the blockade throughout and the Allies won comfortably by four POC after the bid. At this point, Ewan's success caused fellow semi-finalist Ed Menzel to suggest tightening the immigration laws. We love ya, Ewan! In the other semi-final, John Sharp scored his second upset, clobbering Ed Menzel by ten POC. John had the Axis without benefit of a bid.

The McNay-Sharp finale, which was played Thursday right after the semi-finals, paired two relatively new players. Ewan's prior experience consisted of two games at last year's WBC, while John was playing in just his fourth tournament (including a 1-4 mark his first year!) But their play in the Final was nevertheless very chess-like. Ewan took the Allies for a 1.0 bid. The POC marker scarcely moved from zero the entire game and the match came down to the last sea area on the last turn. The Allies had a large fleet and Convoy 3C in the Barents; the Axis countered with all remaining German units to the Barents save a cruiser in the Baltic to preserve the POC. U-boats broke control of the area but missed the convoy with their torpedoes. With the POC tied elsewhere on the board and too few units for the Axis to claim a flag, it came down to the last die roll, an airstrike on the convoy. If the Allies could land the convoy they would win, but the die showed 5, disabling the convoy back to the USA. The POC marker remained at 0, but the bid pushed the margin to 1 for John's Axis.

Our total of 46 entrants was somewhat lower than last year's record total of 55, but still robust by historical standards. 87 total games were played. Play balance shifted slightly in the Allied direction, as the Allies won 45 contests to the Axis 37, with five ties. 3 games featured a bid for the Axis, compared to 34 no-bid contests and 50 with an Allied bid.

Sean Druelinger gained our Rookie of the Year nod with a 3-1 record, and doubled his honors with the Best Axis Player designation at 3-1, just ahead of Mike Brophy and John Sharp at 3-1-1 each. Ewan McNay's 6-1-1 scoresheet, just the third time a player has won six games as the Allies, earned him Best Allied Player. Following were Ed Menzel at 4-1 and John Sharp at 3-0.

It is the GM's considered opinion that almost all players have no difficulty whatsoever with chess clocks. Clocks did not expire once (for the third year in a row); in fact, the majority of the games played appeared to take less than half of the 1 hour and 55 minute allotted time. Every round started on time, and play was so rapid that we completed all eight rounds on Thursday and didn't need to extend the playoffs to a second day.

Play Balance and Bidding
Play balance shifted slightly towards the Allies this year. The Allies won 45 games (51.7%), the Axis 37 (42.5%), and there were five ties (5.7%). Here's a breakdown of this year's bids:

Bid        Games	Axis Wins   Allied Wins   Tied
Axis 1.5    1       0            1          0
Axis 1.0    2       0            2          0
No Bid     34      14           17          3
Allies 0.5  2       0            2          0
Allies 1.0 18       7           10          1
Allies 1.5 23      13           10          0
Allies 2.0  7       3            3          1
Totals     87      37           45	         5

As you can see, generally the higher the bid, the better chance the Axis has of winning - which is the outcome bidding is designed to accomplish! Collapsing the categories brings things into sharper focus:

Bid        Games	Axis Wins   Allied Wins   Tied
Allied <1.5    57  21           32          4
Allied 1.5-2   30  16           13          1
Totals         87  37           45          5

The Allies won almost three out of five games where there was an Axis bid, no bid, or an Allied bid up to 1.0. In contrast, the Axis won about 55% of the games with Allied bids of 1.5 or 2.0.

The increased importance of bidding in tournament play can be seen in the following numbers. Bidding altered the outcome of nine games: one Allied win became an Axis win, two Allied wins converted to ties, three ties moved to Axis wins, and three Axis wins by less than 2 POC became Axis wins by 2 POC or more. Those nine games affected by the bid comprise almost one out of every five of the 50 games where there was an Allied bid.

War At Sea PBeM Tournament 2004-2006

The 2004-2006 War at Sea PBeM Tournament finished this summer with Andy Gardner of Virginia topping Robert Drozd of Illinois in the 7th and Final round. 44 players participated in the event with nearly half of them starting with a 5300 or higher AREA rating. The format was five Swiss Rounds that advanced the top six to the Single Elimination Phase. The other laurelists were Rob Day, Mark Gutfreund, Rob Flowers and Mike Kaye who finished third through sixth, respectvely. Full results of the tournament can be found at http://www.geocities.com/kjlshewfelt/2004_was_bpa.html.

 War At Sea Junior 2006

Six youngsters received their baptism of fire in a real wargame tournament as grognard John Sharp attempted to school the next class of wargamers. Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as young Ben Gardner emerged as the War At Sea Juniors champion. Must be in the genes ... or maybe a little home spun practice with dad. The other future admirals included Chris Czyrca, Cameron Graf, Ryan Burchfield, David Rennert and Jack Doughan. Future threats all.

 GM      Vincent Meconi  [6th Year]   105 Churchill Ln, Wilmington, DE 19808-4355 
    vmeconi@aol.com   NA

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