trans america [Updated October 2007]  

2007 WBC Report     

 2008 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Ken Gutermuth, TX

2007 Champion

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Event History
2004    Kevin Wojtaszczyk     44
2006    Tony Vickery     48
2007     Ken Gutermuth     47

 Laurels

 Rank Name             From Last Total
   1. Ken Gutermuth     TX   07    44
   2. Tony Vickery      BC   06    20
   3. Kevin Wojtaszczyk NY   06    20
   4. Scott Nerney      RI   07    12
   5. Sean McCulloch    OH   07    10
   6. Karen McCulloch   OH   07     8
   7. Kathy Stroh       DE   06     8
   8. Fred Minard       PA   04     8
   9. Matt Calkins      VA   07     6
  10. Andy Latto        MA   06     6
  11. Patrick Shea      VA   06     4
  12. William Duke      MD   04     4
  13. Michelle Hymowitz MD   07     2
  14. Aurora Pack       CO   06     2
  15. Katherine McCorry VA   04     2

2007 Laurelists

Scott Nerney, RI
2nd

Karen McCulloch, OH
3rd

Matt Calkins, VA
4th

Sean McCulloch, OH
5th

Michelle Hymowitz, MD
6th

Past Winners

Kevin Wojtaszczyk, NY
2004

Tony Vickery, BC
2006


Karen McCulloch (left) smiles as she wins her semi-final. You'd be smiling too if you just finished five days in the Juniors room.

GM Lisa Gutermuth records the score for the finalists as her father preserves the family honor with last-chance wood.

ducat to travel light ...

With the hours of WBC 2007 trickling down to a precious few, those searching for their last chance at wood (everyone awake, that is) or looking for just a bit of fun decided to build train track across the continental US in TransAmerica. Each game had a number of turns equal to the number of players at the table, so that each player would go first once per game. To allow players to play more games, the 47 starting players were split into 11 tables: eight 4-player games and three 5-player games, with both firsts and seconds advancing from each table. A dropout between the first round and semis resulted in five semi-final tables, with four 4-player games and one 5-player game. Winners advanced to contest a 5-player Final, and thanks to Craig Trader buying a game from the vendor room, there were enough copies of the game for only TransAmerica to be played.

Rebecca Hebner, she who will forever be known as the first to accomplish a WBC grand slam, won all four rounds of her game to be the only player to advance with a score of zero. Alan Gormly took second at that table by earning a max of three points per round. Michelle Hymowitz won her table by three points, with Karen McCulloch advancing from a three-way tie for second by scoring only two points in the round where she went first.

Dave Metzger won his table with six points and only one first place finish, beating Andy Lewis by a point despite the fact that he had three of four first place finishes at the table (one round can kill you in this game!). Sean McCulloch and Rob Flowers advanced from their game, also finishing with six and seven points. Ken Gutermuth and Joshua Gifford advanced sharing the only tie for first in the round.

At the table with GM Lisa Gutermuth, Lisa managed first by leaving the leader Chris LeFevre with nine points in the final round. Chris had only two points before that round and consequently still managed to advance. Rod Davidson got second with no first-place finishes (one of only two to do this) behind Scott Nerney.

At the first 5-player table, Donna Balkan and Kevin Emery advanced from a table where each player had one first place finish. John Shaheen advanced with three first place finishes and Eric Hymowitz joined the semis in geometric fashion by scoring 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 points in the five rounds of play. At the table with the highest scores, Matt Calkins and Kathy Stroh advanced with 12 and 14 points, respectively.

Rod Davidson had to drive his wife to the airport, leaving 21 players, or four 4-player tables and a 5-player table, as the semi-finals. Only winners advanced. In the only 5-player semi table Karen McCulloch punched her ticket to the Final by scoring only one point when she went first, winning the tie breaker with Kathy Stroh, who scored three points when she went first. Husband Sean also advanced out of a tie, scoring no points in his turn as first player to Michelle Hymowitz's one point. Although Michelle did not advance her tie earned her sixth place laurels.

Despite a nice start by GM Lisa Gutermuth, two harsh rounds put her out of the running. Although she won the last round of the game, Rebecca Hebner did not finish early enough, and Matt Calkins got few enough points so that he advanced from this table. Ken Gutermuth revisited the Final for the second year in a row by being first out in rounds 1-3 and scoring only three points in Round 4. Even though he was last after the first two rounds and he had only played TransEuropa previously, Scott Nerney went out first in his last two rounds to advance.

Ken managed to connect first in the Final in a very close opening round.  Matt, Sean, and Scott were just one space away while Karen was two away.   In the second round, Karen managed a quick connection that left Scott two spaces shy, Sean three, Ken four, and Matt five spaces.  After two rounds, Karen led Scott by one, Ken and Sean by two, and Matt by four.

Ken completed his connection again in Round 3 with Karen one space away, Scott two, Matt three and Sean four.  This left Karen with a slim one-point lead over Ken, two ahead of Scott, five ahead of Sean, and six ahead of Matt.  As play entered the 4th round, Sean and Matt needed a quick connection to get back into the game.  Matt managed to pull off the quick connection with Ken the closest at two spaces away, Scott three, Sean five, and our now ex-eader Karen six spaces away.  This quick connection ended Sean's hopes of winning wood but opened the door to a bigger prize -- finishing ahead of his wife and preserving some semblance of family bragging rights.  Nor was this the only family pride at stake. Ken was in position to end his four-year wood drought and keep the Gutermuth family string of bringing home wood intact -- since the ladies in the Gutermuth household had been upholding the family honor without the patriarch ... much to the latter's expense.

Ken held a two-point lead over Scott, three over Karen and Matt, and seven over Sean. With the end of his travails in sight, Ken was not to be denied as he completed his route for the third time and won the wood going away. Scott finished two spaces away to hold onto second.  Karen was three spaces away and finished third -- or as she would put it -- two places ahead of you-know-who. Matt was five spaces away but managed to hold onto 4th while Sean's four-space shortfall left him in fifth place in the game and -- more importantly -- second in his household.

The final scores were Ken Gutermuth 6 points, Scott Nerney 10 points, Karen McCulloch 12 points, Matt Calkins 14 points, and Sean McCulloch 17 points.


GM Kathy Stroh -- serving her umpteenth tour as a juniors GM -- teaches the finer points of train travel.

Junior's Monitor Karen McCulloch gets some pointers on how to beat her husband in railroad games.
 Trans America Junior

There were 20 little train travellers this year. Alyssa Mills proved to be the most successful and she was followed by

2nd: Wes Lewis

3rd: Brian Pappas

4th: Brian Sherwood

5th: Trevor Middaugh

6th: Nathan Taylor

 GM      Lisa Gutermuth  [2nd Year]   NA
    NA   NA

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