Gasp ... Pei Loses ...
Chris Withers (left), whose GCA eight-year
winning streak just came to an end, tries to start a new one
in FTP against Chris Byrd. Tough sleddin ...
Dave Dockter (left) en route to his
annual showdown with Master Pei against Keith Schoose. However,
someone else would beat him to the Pei scalp.
In what will be one of the most talked about Finals in WBC
tournament play, James Pei (USA), eight times FTP champion lost
the Final to Riku Riekkinen (CSA) on Turn 8 when the Union was
doubled in SW. And so ended the seven-year winning streak of
Master Pei. I would like to acknowledge the 'Master', who was
gracious in his congratulations to the new champion. For those
who do not know Riku, he is a force to be reckoned with in the
wargaming room where he is 8-0 in FTP and has never lost with
The tournament has continued to resurge in attendance over
the last few years. This year we had a full field of 32 players
with some amazing play. I cannot wait to see how next year develops
as Riku has promised to try to return form his native Finland
to defend his title.
Riku's winning CSA strategy is to not defend Richmond, but
move all of his forces into the West or through West VA. His
goal is to block the five rail lines that enter the map in the
west. The idea is to give up SW and shut down 10 Union SPs of
reinforcements for a turn or two. As the South gains the SP edge
they begin to score some raids, which recover the SW given up
by the loss of Richmond and double up the Union in the mid-game.
His innovation is he does not worry about converting the rail
spaces as it is easy for the Union to cut off an early excursion,
but just places SPs on them (and several Union State capitals)
to accomplish his initial objective.
David Dockter and James both apply a similar strategy when
they play the CSA, but they have focused on cutting off DC for
two turns, which has the additional benefit of protecting Richmond.
The 'Riku gambit' leaves Richmond vulnerable ... enticing the
Union player to take it, giving him the time to move across the
Ohio in the West and accomplishing the same objective (cutting
down Union SP reinforcements to gain a strength advantage), but
he does it in the West and foregoes the East entirely. A Union
player confronted with no opposition in the East can shift almost
all of his forces West to counter the South and leave DC fairly
unprotected, while still having sufficient force to exploit a
CC to take Richmond. Even if the South takes DC, the trading
of 'Queen's Opening' (trading DC for Richmond) is well known.
All in all, it is great to see creativity and innovation still
raising its head after a decade on the market. Already FTP players
are devising new counter strategies to the Riku Gambit. Its very
heartening to see a design that gets played enough that strategy
can continue to evolve over years of repeat play. I look forward
to next year's tournament to see where things go from here as
Master Pei plots his return.
THE match of the convention for most
people pit James Pei's seven-year winning streak vs the unstoppable
Finn in the Final.
Nest of Spies slayer Riku Reikkinen
poses with his double trophies and the vanquished team whose
three-year winning streak he halted.
2002 PBeM Tournament
Stefan Mecay of Texas proved the best of a field of 46 in
winning the second BPA PBeM tournament of For The People.
Other laurelists were:
2nd: Baron August, PA
3rd: James Pei, VA
4th: Mark Giddings, NY
5th: Tim Hughes, UK
6th: Paul Risner, FL