Updated 2/18/2009

2008 WBC Report  

   2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

Chris Byrd, CT

2008 Champion

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Event History
2008    Chris Byrd     55

WAM Event History
2008    Chris Byrd     24
2009    Stefan Mecay     17


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Chris Byrd         CT    08     70
  2.  Terry Coleman      CA    09     24
  3.  Chris Withers      CA    08     24
  4.  Stefan Mecay       TX    09     20
  5.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    09     20
  6.  Jean FrancoisGagne QC    08     16
  7.  Steve Brooks       FL    09     15
  8.  Keith Schoose      CA    08     12
  9.  Bill Pettus        NJ    09      8
 10.  Phil Rennert       MD    08      8
 11.  Roger Taylor       VA    08      6
 12.  Joe Yaure          PA    09      4
 13.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    08      4
 14.  Mark Yoshikawa     CA    08      3

2008 Laurelists

Chris Withers, CA

Jean Francois Gagne

Keith Schoose, CA

Phil Rennert, MD

Raphael Lehrer, MD

It appears Dennis Nicholson (left) is going for the Native American vote as he faces off against William Burch.

Vintage campaign buttons added to the nostalgic return to Sixties politics. Presidential elections haven't gotten any less partisan since.

Sixties Hardball

The inaugural WBC tournament of 1960 drew 55 contestants. After 13 hours and six rounds, the honorable Chris Byrd of Connecticut followed his dominance in the WAM Primaries with a successful run for the White House. The early rounds saw a mixture of blowouts and close games, including two one-point (269-268) victories (Jean-Francois Gagne's Kennedy over Eric Landes' Nixon and Megan Byrd's Nixon over John Wetherell's Kennedy).

Six players played in the quarter-finals, with the three winners and closest non-winner (AKA 'loser') advancing. Raphael Lehrer and Phil Rennert failed to advance, while Jean-Francois continued his penchant for survival while losing to fellow semi-finalist Keith Schoose.

Chris Byrd made it to the Final based on a convincing 324-213 Nixon victory over Keith, while Chris Withers was less convincing but just as effective with a 299-238 Kennedy win over Jean-Francois.

The finalists randomly drew the opposite sides for the last game and the fight was on. Nixon (Withers) looked to be building a lead in the early turns, with solid coverage in all regions. However, a misplay during the debates (shoulda wore a dark suit and shaved!!) resulted in nine cubes for Kennedy and his leading New York, California and Pennsylvania.

At the end of Turn 7, Kennedy (Byrd) got two endorsement markers to take the West endorsement and emptied the East endorsement. Both players remarked this swing could be the key.

Going into the elections, the game was still close, but Byrd picked some key weakly-defended states for final Campaign Strategy, while most of Withers' Campaign Strategy ended up in already controlled states.

But. . .Withers had the Nixon recount. After counting the votes, Withers decided to demand a recount in Pennsylvania. Taking out the two Kennedy cubes and placing one of his own would give him a 274-263 victory. Out came the cubes ­ Red ­ Red! - Blue!! Pennsylvania goes Blue because of the natural edge. Republican hopes dashed and Kennedy in the White House with a 295-242 mandate.

Chris Byrd got a DVD of the first Kennedy/Nixon televised debate and second, third and fourth places received a copy of the Theodore White book, The Making of the President 1960.

The final tally for the entire tournament was 28 games for Kennedy and 17 for Nixon. Throwing out the first round (which contained several newbies), the Kennedy edge was more pronounced, at 13-7.

The format worked (random assignment of initial opponents, random side selection, followed by brackets when practical) and will be retained next year.

Keith Schoose (left) manages the Kennedy Campaign to defeat in the semi's against Chris Byrd's GOP juggernaut. My, how times have changed! Will 1960 prove to be as popular next WBC in a non-election year?

Chris Withers (left) appears no worse for wear in the wake of the demise of his Great Campaigns streak as he guides the Democrats over Canadian Jean-Francois Gagne to move into the Final as GM Schmittgens hovers nearby.

2008 WAM Laurelists

Chris Byrd, CT

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Terry Coleman, CA

Steven Brooks, FL

Roger Taylor, VA

2009 WAM 1960: The Making of the President Tournament

After a strong debut last year, it was reasonable to wonder whether 1960: The Making of the President would continue to draw at WAM, now that the historic real-world election of 2008 had passed. Attendance did drop slightly, but there were plenty of newcomers among the 17 campaign managers, a trend which bodes well for the future.

The early rounds on Saturday showed the tension this game can produce among well-matched opponents, with several games going down to the last contested state. Veteran James Terry had a chance to turn New York for Nixon, but failed three support checks, allowing a relieved Jeff Finkeldey to escape with a 289-248 electoral victory. Bill Pettus, on the other hand, won a similarly close game with Nixon over Marvin Birnbaum due to Nixon's superior endorsements.

Chris Yaure held off Don Chappell, 274-234, as the long-time We the People GM couldn't find an answer to Nixon's Momentum cards in the West, South and East. Don would play an even more memorable game in the following round. After all the states had been counted, he and Bob Jamelli had tied, sending the election to Congress! Nixon had won more states, so Don emerged triumphant, in the only game to go "overtime" in the history of the event.

Terry Coleman defeated Chris Yaure in a rare game that had no debate or electoral events played (another first for the tournament). Meanwhile, Sean McCulloch squeaked past Mike Mitchell in a contest which saw a number of states change hands late, 273-246.

In what turned out to be probably the event's wildest game, Bill Pettus had built up a huge lead early on versus Steven Brooks. Steve had a strong debate performance with Kennedy (sound familiar?) to get back into the game late, and managed to eke out almost all of the big states at the end for a very hard-fought victory. It turned out to be a big loss for Bill, as he finished just behind the 4-0 records of Texan Stefan Mecay and Terry Coleman, who would play for the title.

After the excitement of the prelims, however, the Final unfortunately couldn't live up to the hype. Terry's strategy of shutting down his opponent's mobility failed miserably when Stefan was able to utilize both the Kenn-Air and Bobby Kennedy card for bonuses and free movement on the critical late turns. As a result, Terry's considerable endorsements over most of the board made little difference, and Stefan won going away, 394-114. After Chris Byrd last year, Stefan becomes the second 1960 winner to win multiple WAM titles in the same year (also winning Twilight Struggle this year).

26 games were played in all, and overall, the Nixon side bucked history, emerging victorious 16-10. This 61% margin of victory was almost identical to last year's WAM results. Yet the bidding for sides was slightly higher for playing from the Kennedy side, at about 58%. The average bid for playing Kennedy was 1, while the typical bid for Nixon was less than 1 (players were allowed to start bidding at zero). Similar to last year, about a third of the games were played with no preference shown by either player (and thus no bids).

It should be noted that the overall edge for Nixon was offset by a sweep of four Kennedy victories at the end of the event, including the Final. The average game time was about 1 hour 45 minutes, with only one game going over 2 hours. The Final was played as a virtual sprint, finishing in 1 hour and 8 minutes.

The best Kennedy player was-no surprise-tournament winner Stefan Mecay at 4-0, followed by Terry Coleman at 2-0. Among the best Nixon players was teenager Joe Yaure—who finished fifth overall—along with Bill Pettus, Terry Coleman, and Marvin Birnbaum, all 2-1 with Tricky Dick.

Although quick to play, it seems that the WAM crowd hasn't discovered all of the electoral mysteries of 1960: The Making of the President quite yet. So, even though the next couple of years won't tie in to an election year in the real world, it seems likely that 1960 will continue to be a WAM staple for years to come.

2009 WAM Laurelists

Terry Coleman, CA

Bill Pettus, NJ

Steven Brooks, FL

Joe Yaure, PA

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

 GM      Greg Schmittgens (1st Year)  NA  
    aslcouple@worldnet.att.net   NA

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