puerto rico [Updated November 2007]  

2007 WBC Report  

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Raphael Lehrer, MD

2007 Champion

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Event History
2002    Arthur Field     152
2003    Nicholas Anner     217
2004    Barbara Flaxington     176
2005     Bill Murdock     164
2006     Chris Moffa     136
2007    Raphael Lehrer     157

Euro Quest Event History
2003    Lyman Moquin     57
2004    Arthur Field     44
2005    John Kerr     42
2006     Arthur Field     37
2007    Sam Atabaki     44


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    07    134
  2.  David Platnick     NY    06    126
  3.  Arthur Field       SC    06     96
  4.  Christian Moffa    NJ    06     77
  5.  Bill Murdock       VA    05     61
  6.  Nicholas Anner     NY    03     60
  7.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    07     54
  8.  Malinda Kyrkos     NY    07     54
  9.  John Kerr          VA    07     54
 10.  Lyman Moquin       DC    05     49
 11.  John Weber         MD    07     37
 12.  Gary Carr          VA    03     36
 13.  Sam Atabaki        CA    07     30
 14.  Andrew Greene      VA    05     30
 15.  Davyd Field        SC    07     26
 16.  Jonathan Tivel     VA    04     24
 17.  Phil Rennert       MD    03     24
 18.  James Robertson    MD    05     22
 19.  Alex Bove          PA    07     18
 20.  Aaron Buchanan     VA    04     18
 21.  Lucimara Martins   MD    03     18
 22.  Vassili Kyrkos     NY    07     15
 23.  Eric Freeman       PA    06     15
 24.  Andrew Gerb        MD    06     12
 25.  Rob Barnes         WV    05     12
 26.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03     12
 27.  Winton LeMoine     CA    06      8
 28.  Bill Salvatore     MD    03      8
 29.  Norman Rule        MD    07      6
 30.  Ted Mullally       NJ    02      6
 31.  Chris LeFevre      AZ    06      5
 32.  John Adams         MD    03      4
 33.  Steve Simmons      NJ    02      4
 34.  Rachel McGinley    SC    02      3
 35.  Tom Browne         PA    02      2

2007 Laurelists

Malinda Kyrkos, NY

Davyd Field, SC

Vassili Kyrkos, NY

Barb Flaxington, NJ

John Weber, MD

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC

Nicholas Anner, NY

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Bill Murdock, NY

Chris Moffa, NJ

Another Puerto Rico packed house at the beginning ...

... yields GM John Weber's sixth Final Four.

Six for Six ...

Strong attendance this year proved Puerto Rico was still a popular event with WBC attendees, as a three-year decline in overall attendance was reversed. There were a total of 23 games in the first heat, 20 in the second heat, and 15 in the third heat. A total of 48 different players won at least one game in the three heats, including one winner who came all the way from Japan -- Hide Hisanaga. Four of the five prior WBC champions elected to play, but none of them reached the final table -- ensuring that there would be a sixth champion in as many years.

The random pairings in the initial heat produced some interesting matchups. Defending champ Chris Moffa was paired with Eric Freeman, one of his opponents in last year's Final. Chris established a dominant shipping position to win the game by a whopping 18 points, 63-45, over Eric. (As it turned out, this would be Chris' best game in the 2007 tournament as he failed to win another game.) 2005 champ Bill Murdock, who missed last year's WBC, drew Malinda Barnes (now Malinda Kyrkos), who was one of his Final opponents.. This time Malinda was the winner, while Bill could manage only third place. 2002 Champ Arthur Field also suffered defeat, finishing a close second to Marc Berenbach. Arthur's son, Davyd, fared better, taking first in a game in which Malinda's dad, Barry Barnes, was second. Form held up in several other games as 2004 Champ Barb Flaxington and 2004-05-06 runner-up David Platnick each won their initial tries.

The second heat produced six duplicate winners, as Sam Atabaki, Mike Backstrom, Luke Koleszar, Malinda Kyrkos, Eric Monte, and David Platnick each made it two wins in a row. David's second win came in a rematch of last year's finalists, as he turned the tables on 2006 Champ Chris Moffa who could do no better than third (Davyd Field placed second in that game). Bill Murdock continued to struggle, finishing second to Andres Dunn and, although he managed a close second in his third and final heat, his performance this year was only good enough for a coin flip for second alternate spot -- which meant that Bill wound up on the outside looking in as elimination round play got underway. Ditto for 2002 Champ Arthur Field, who did manage to qualify for advancement with a win in the third heat, but schedule conflicts prevented him from continuing further.

Three tables of winners were paired together in the third and final heat, and those games produced the first four semi-finalists -- winners Bob Stribula, Davyd Field and Eric Freeman along with runner-up David Platnick accepted byes into the 16-player semi-finals based on their overall record of two wins and a 2nd in the three preliminaries. At this point, with six other two-game winners and 38 one-game winners, the remaining two-game winners were asked to report to the quarterfinal round games. However, when the names were called off for the quarterfinals, there were a sufficient number of no-shows so the five two-game winners who were present were offered byes on the spot. This turned out to be hard luck for the sixth two-game winner, Luke Koleszar, who missed out due to schedule conflicts but could have played in the semis. The end result was that we had six tables of four for the quarterfinals, which used bidding for seat position using the same system that was instituted in the semis in 2006. Five of the six quarterfinal games were won by a player who accepted a handicap to start in one of the two corn seats. Bucking the trend was 2004 champ Barb Flaxington, whose score of 69 VPs while playing the "worst" #2 indigo seat was the highest score ever recorded in any elimination round game at the WBC. GM John Weber placed the other winners, with a 16-point adjusted winning margin in one of the corn seats; this turned out to be the second highest winning margin in any elimination round game in WBC history. Robb Effinger, Eric Nielsen, Raphael Lehrer and Brian Kowal advanced to the semis with wins as did the top runner-up, Anthony Daw -- with Brian ending the reign of defending champ Chris Moffa to leave Chris' wife, Barb, as the only ex-Champ to reach the semi-finals.

The competition increased in the semi-finals, as nine of the 16 had yet to taste defeat. In a total reversal from the quarterfinals, all four semi-final games were won by players who did not bid for a corn seat and were willing to start with an indigo seat for no handicap. Davyd Field registered the largest margin of victory to reach the Final with a 7-point win over Sam Atabaki. Malinda Kyrkos returned to the Final with a win over another rival from that 2005 championship; David Platnick. This meant David's streak of four straight WBC Puerto Rico plaques came to an end when he finished last, behind Malinda and runner-up Brian Kowal. Malinda edged out Brian by just three points, but the other two semi-final games were even closer. Raphael Lehrer ended the bid of the last remaining ex-champion, Barbara Flaxington. Final scores (after bids) were Raphael 36, Barb 34 and Eric 32 1/2. The last semi-final to finish turned out to be the closest of all, with all four players finishing within three points. In the closest elimination round game to date, the winner was none other than Malinda's husband, Vassili Kyrkos. GM and 2006 Finalist John Weber edged out Eric Nielsen for second on a tiebreak, 2 1/2 points back while the fourth player, Bob Stribula, was another 1/2 behind the two of them. Barb Flaxington, who registered the closest second place finish, was awarded the fifth place plaque for the second year in a row.

After those close tussles in the semi-finals, the Final proved anti-climatic. Raphael bid just 1/2 VP for the #3 corn seat while Malinda got the #4 corn seat for free, and the two of them finished one-two. Raphael secured an early corn trade and used that to obtain a coffee monopoly that lasted most of the game. While Raphael's coffee did wind up on a boat, he made sure to reserve a spot on a slow mover while still putting himself in position to make a couple of well-timed coffee trades. By this time, the other players were playing catch up. Malinda and Vassili developed tobacco while Davyd was content with sugar and indigo while procuring three quarries. Raphael then secured a Harbor and later a Wharf and pursued an aggrressive shipping strategy. Malinda (who already bought a Factory) added a Harbor while Vassili snapped up the second Wharf. Davyd bought a Factory and pursed a building strategy, first buying the Guild Hall and later following up with a second large building. Vassili did alot of shipping but fell behind in building -- the converse of Davyd -- and he was unable to obtain the needed funds when the race was on to procure the last of the five large bonus buildings. Malinda turned out to be Raphael's biggest rival as she secured two large buildings late, but Raphael pinched his pennies and secured one of the last remaining large bonus buildings, City Hall, to cinch the win. Final scores (after taking bidding into account) were Raphael 56.5, Malinda 51, Davyd 45, Vassili 41. One interesting fact about the Final: None of the players bought a warehouse to store their goods (Raphael bought one as his last buy to earn points with the City Hall). Raphael also selected the Craftsman role on four occasions -- something many Puerto Rico experts generally advise against -- indicating that each game is different and that the general rules often do not apply to each specific situation.

Raphael managed to run through this year's tournament undefeated, winning all four games he played -- including a win in the semis over the player who eliminated him last year in the quarterfinals, 2004 Champ Barb Flaxington. Malinda and Vassili became the first husband-wife duo to reach the Final together, and Malinda had the foresight to designate Puerto Rico as her team game. Malinda's second place finish was one spot higher than her third place performance in the 2005 Final, and in 2007 she managed to best both of the players (Bill Murdock and Dave Platnick) who finished ahead of her back in 2005.

Statistics from this year's tournament showed a similar pattern to prior years -- an overall advantage for the corn seats, which averaged around two points per game higher than the two indigo seats. In a slight departure from prior years, more wins (21) were recorded by the #2 corn seat, followed by 18 for the #1 corn seat, 16 for the historically low-scoring #2 indigo seat, with 14 wins for the #1 indigo seat. In the bidding that commenced with the quarterfinals, the favored #1 corn seat went for 0.5 (five times in 11 games) to 2 (one time in 11 games) and the #2 corn seat went for 0 (five times) to higher than 0.5 VP only twice (once for 1 VP, once for 2 VPs). The statistics on the most popular violet buildings in winning displays followed a familiar pattern: Small Market first (44), followed by Harbor (36) , then the Factory (32). The most popular bonus building was the Guild Hall (31 times) followed by City Hall (20).

Running such a huge event would not be possible without good help; the GM wishes to thank the official assistant GMs, Barb Flaxington and Dave Platnick, as well as three others (Eric Freeman, Jim Freeman and Greg Thatcher) who helped manage the very hectic third heat when several groups of players had to be sent to a separate room when space became tight in the main ballroom. In addition, two past champions, Arthur Field and Barb Flaxington, are to be commended for assisting in the demo for new players by offering strategy tips in addition to the basic rules explanation.

2007 Euro Quest Laurelists

Sam Atabaki, CA

Alex Bove, PA

Barb Flaxington, NJ

John Kerr, VA

Norman Rule, MD

 GM      John Weber  [6th Year]   NA
    jcw222@earthlink.net   NA

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