puerto rico 

Updated 11/30/2008

2008 WBC Report  

 2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

Nick Page, ON

2008 Champion

Offsite Links


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
2008    Nick Page     164

Euro Quest Event History
2003    Lyman Moquin     57
2004    Arthur Field     44
2005    John Kerr     42
2006     Arthur Field     37
2007    Sam Atabaki     44
2008    Michael Brazinski    43

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    08    138
  2.  David Platnick     NY    06    126
  3.  Arthur Field       SC    06     96
  4.  Christian Moffa    NJ    08     95
  5.  John Weber         MD    08     69
  6.  Bill Murdock       VA    08     63
  7.  Nick Page          ON    08     60
  8.  Nicholas Anner     NY    03     60
  9.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    07     54
 10.  Malinda Kyrkos     NY    07     54
 11.  John Kerr          VA    07     54
 12.  Lyman Moquin       DC    05     49
 13.  Sam Atabaki        CA    08     42
 14.  Matt Peterson      MN    08     36
 15.  Gary Carr          VA    03     36
 16.  Andrew Greene      VA    05     30
 17.  Davyd Field        SC    07     26
 18.  Jonathan Tivel     VA    04     24
 19.  Phil Rennert       MD    03     24
 20.  James Robertson    MD    05     22
 21.  Michael Brazinski  MD    08     20
 22.  Alex Bove          PA    07     18
 23.  Aaron Buchanan     VA    04     18
 24.  Lucimara Martins   MD    03     18
 25.  Vassili Kyrkos     NY    07     15
 26.  Eric Freeman       PA    06     15
 27.  Sceadeau D'Tela    NC    08     12
 28.  Andrew Gerb        MD    06     12
 29.  Rob Barnes         WV    05     12
 30.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03     12
 31.  Winton LeMoine     CA    06      8
 32.  Bill Salvatore     MD    03      8
 33.  Kenneth Horan      PA    08      6
 34.  Luke Koleszar      VA    08      6
 35.  Norman Rule        MD    07      6
 36.  Ted Mullally       NJ    02      6
 37.  Chris LeFevre      AZ    06      5
 38.  John Adams         MD    03      4
 39.  Steve Simmons      NJ    02      4
 40.  Rachel McGinley    SC    02      3
 41.  Tom Browne         PA    02      2

2008 Laurelists                                               Repeating Laurelists:

Matt Peterson, MN

John Weber, MD

Chris Moffa, NJ

Sceadeau D'Tela, NC

Luke Koleszar, VA

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC

Nicholas Anner, NY

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Bill Murdock, NY

Chris Moffa, NJ

Raphael Lehrer, MD

Nick Page, ON

GM John Weber (right) plays his way into the Final. I've always been amazed that John could run such a big event AND still play in it. He not only plays but plays well enough to be a frequent finalist. Methinks John can play a little despite his denials.

Puerto Rico heats are always heavily attended, but that doesn't stop this GM from providing one of the more detailed reports on his event each year - and running a second event to boot. Double Attaboys and thanks for John!

Four for Four ...

One question hanging over this seventh WBC tournament was whether one of the prior winners would become the first two-time champion, or whether there would be a new king again. Five of the six former winners graced the field, but two (2005's Bill Murdock and defending champ Raphael Lehrer) failed to win in the heats and did not advance to elimination round play. Other former champs fared better. 2002's Arthur Field won games in the first two heats, 2004's Barb Flaxington won in the first heat to secure advancement, and 2006's Chris Moffa recovered from a one-point loss in Heat 2 to score a win in Heat 3, also securing advancement. As in past years, a win in one of three heats was enough to guarantee advancement to the quarter-finals, while two wins in the heats was sufficient to secure a bye to the semi-final round.

The first heat saw 22 four-player games contested. In addition to the two former champs, other winners included David Platnick, three-time runner-up, and Eric Freeman, a 2006 finalist. Eric's winning score of 67 and Barb's 66 were the highest scores. In one game, Barry Barnes and Doug Smith ended in a flat-footed tie, and thus both received credit for the win. Notable first-round losers included GM John Weber, a 2008 PrezCon tournament winner, and Malinda Kyrkos, last year's runner-up who volunteered to serve as one of three assistant GMs.

The second heat was the largest with a total of 109 players, necessitating 25 four-player and three three-player games, as we searched far and wide to procure enough copies so everyone could play. One of the three-player games was won by Malinda Kyrkos, who secured advancement to the quarter-finals. Another three-player game, won by Ilan Woll, finished 49-48-47 which was the closest finish in the tournament. GM John Weber managed his first win in another close game with scores of 53-52-52-49. Reigning EuroQuest champion Sam Atabaki was also involved in another tight four-player game, four points from top to bottom, won by John Jacoby while Sam came home in last. Dvd Avins and Bob Stribula each won their second games to join Arthur Field as the only two-game winners with one heat remining. Dvd and Sceadeau D'Tela each won with 67 points, tying Eric Freeman for the high score At the other end of the spectrum, Tom Wade won with the lowest winning score (33 points) in a game where no players scored any endgame bonus points for large buildings -- only the third time this has happened at WBC in seven years.

The last heat on Saturday had a strong turnout as well. A record 23 winners from prior heats, rather than resting on their laurels, checked in to try for a second win, and they were paired together at six four-player games after one of the non-winners (Michael Thompson) agreed to accept the handicap of being paired with the winners' group. Emerging with a second win from this group were Marc Berenbach, Tom Wade, Marcy Morelli, Hiroki Tanaka, Eric Freeman and Greg Thatcher. This guaranteed these players byes to the semi-final round, although Hiroki had an early morning flight to return to Japan and Eric and Greg (along with Arthur Field) wound up reaching the Final in a conflicting event; thus, all four withdrew. 2006 Champ Chris Moffa won a close game, three points top to bottom, to advance, as did two former EuroQuest winners (Sam Atabaki and Lyman Moquin).

The pairings for the quarter-final round required a bit of numbers-juggling to determine how many one-game winners would attend, how many bye spots were available, and whether any spots would be available for alternates. Luckily the numbers matched exactly: 32 one-game winners reported and, at the time, eight two-game winners had accepted byes. Starting with the quarter-finals, players had the opportunity to bid for seating position. Two of the eight QF round games were won by players who bid for a corn seat, two games were won by players who obtained a corn seat (the #4 seat) for free, and four games were won by players willing to accept an indigo seat. Winners included 2006 Champ Chris Moffa but Chris' wife, Barb Flaxington, the 2004 Champ, could manage no better than third in a game won by Dylan Routh over Andrew Gerb on a tiebreaker. Another close game where the bidding made a difference saw Kevin Walsh turn the tables on GM John Weber; Kevin, who had accepted the "worst" (#2 indigo) seat, wound up a 1/2 point winner over John, who had the most VPs but had to subtract out the 1 1/2 VP bid and thus a 43-42 win was turned into a loss, putting John in the #2 position on the alternate list for the semi-finals. Assistant GM Dave Platnick, another long-time Puerto Rico stalwart, tasted defeat in a hotly contested game won by Nick Page. Eric Kleist, Luke Koleszar, Matt Peterson and Sceadeau D'Tela won the other quarter-final games.

This set the stage for the last two rounds on Sunday, and something unusual for this event happened. Three of the 16 qualified players did not appear, necessitating some scrambling to find enough alternates to fill four tables of four. GM John Weber, Brian Kowal and Paul McCarthy (who had a win in one heat but could not attend the quarter-finals) were the lucky ones in the right place at the right time and thus had the opportunity to compete for "wood." One semi-final game saw Matt Peterson win from the #2 indigo seat, building out with the Guild Hall and City Hall to finish 3.5 points ahead of Luke Koleszar, who maximized his points from the Residence. Nick Page won another game with a whopping 36 shipping points, enough to overcome second-place Brian Kowal (also by 3.5 points) who had two large buildings and maximum points on one of them (the Guild Hall). 2006 Champion Chris Moffa made a return trip to the Final table, building a Guild Hall and a Residence to post the largest margin of victory in the semis, nine points over Eric Kleist. John Weber, paired with Kevin Walsh yet again, fared better this time, winning despite accepting a one-point handicap for the first corn seat, building three large buildings to finish just 2.5 points ahead of Sceadeau D'Tela, the big shipper in what was -- unfortunately for Sceadeau -- a relatively low-scoring game. However, the narrow loss meant Sceadeau went home with the fifth place plaque where the tiebreaker for sixth (better performance in the prior round) put Luke (a quarter-final game winner), ahead of Brian (who had advanced as an alternate).

The Final table saw two familiar faces, Chris and John, the ever-present GM -- with two first-timers, Nick -- the only one of the four who had yet to lose a game -- and Matt, who was attending his first WBC. In some spirited bidding for the favored corn seats, Nick outbid John for the favored #1 corn seat, willing to bid 2 VPs for the privilege. Chris took the #4 seat for 1.5 VP, and John wound up with the #1 seat for 1/2 VP. Matt, who had won in the semis with the #2 indigo position, was happy to take on the challenge once again, particularly with the corn seats taking on a higher handicap. John, going first, departed from the usual Settler-Quarry opening and went Builder-Construction Hut, something that had worked well for him in prior games. However, in the WBC final, Nick took full advantage and built a strong shipping position, amassing four corn plantations supplemented by purchase of the game's only Harbor. A couple of well-timed Captain plays put Nick into the lead, and Chris also was taking advantage of several shipping opportunities as well. John bought the Factory and by late mid-game was producing all five goods, giving him the funds to beat Matt to the Guild Hall, and Matt had to settle for his second choice (City Hall) instead.

A key moment arose when John, as Governor, chose to ship instead of trading or crafting (for income) or building (for more points on his Guild Hall). This had the effect of blocking Nick, who had four corn sitting in the warehouse, from the only open boat. However, it froze John out of the game's last two build phases, which enabled Matt to make up lost ground and trigger the game's end by filling his building display a turn later. By contrast, Nick had the funds to buy the one large building that complemented his strong shipping position (the Customs House) while John -- who did not anticipate the game ending without more crafting and shipping -- was stuck with two manned quarries but no money, forcing him to pass the last two builds. This enabled Matt to close the gap, but in the end, it was a narrow win for Nick, who staved off Matt's strong finish. Raw scores were Nick 37, Matt 34, John 31, Chris (who did not get a large building) 29. Factoring in the bids for seat position, the adjusted final scores were 35 for Nick to 34 for Matt, a narrow one-point win, the second closest finish in WBC Puerto Rico Final game history. John was third for the second time in three years with a score of 30.5 to 27.5 for Chris, who fell short in his bid to become the first two-time winner. Nick, who won the game, had no quarries and ended the game with five (!) colonists in San Juan. In another ironic twist, since the corn boat was blocked, the game ended with three corn (and no other goods) in the Trading House.

Thus, the two newcomers (Nick and Matt) outdid the "old pros" (John and Chris). By going through the entire tournament undefeated with four wins in four games, Nick Page became the seventh different winner in seven years of Puerto Rico at WBC and, hailing from Ontario, Nick became the first non-U. S. winner in the tournament's history. In a bow to his cosmic karma, Nick's win on the final day made up for the disappointment of being the first alternate left out of the Vegas Showdown semi-finals earlier in the week.

As in the past, statistics were collected and calculated regarding the relative value of the starting seat positions. In a slight departure from prior years, in 2008 the "worst" #2 indigo seat actually fared better than the #1 indigo seat, while the "favored" #1 corn seat fared slightly worse than the #2 corn seat. Overall stats from 64 four-player games without bidding showed the highest scoring average of 44.38 for the #2 corn seat compared to 44.17 for the #1 corn seat, although the #1 corn seat registered more wins. The #1 and #2 indigo seats averaged 41.53 and 42.48, respectively. When factoring in the 13 games where bidding was used, the #1 indigo seat surpassed the #2 indigo seat, although the #2 corn seat actually increased its advantage over the #1 corn seat.

Experience with the bidding system from the past three WBC tournaments shows that the two-point bid for the #1 corn seat by Nick, the 2008 winner, was the highest ever successful bid for the statistically favored corn seat; prior bids of two or more points had proven unsuccessful, and only twice before had a player accepted a 1.5 point handicap and won with the #1 corn seat. Similarly, to date no one has won with the #2 corn seat accepting greater than a one-point handicap. In all, out of a total of 29 games using the bidding system, 11 games have been won by a player accepting an indigo seat for no handicap (five wins for #1, six for #2), four games have been won by a player accepting the #2 corn seat for free, and 13 have been won by a player accepting a handicap to obtain one of the corn seats (eight wins for #1 corn, five wins for #2 corn), with the odd (29th) game being won by a player who accepted a 1/2 point handicap for the #1 indigo seat. Thus, the bidding system seems to have worked well and served its purpose thus far.

The GM wishes to thank the three assistant GMs (Barb Flaxington, Dave Platnick and Malinda Kyrkos), whose help was invaluable in keeping things on schedule this year. In addition, at various times throughout the tournament, Chris Moffa, Chris LeFevre, Ben Stephenson and Bob Stribula provided valuable assistance which was greatly appreciated by the busy GM. In addition, 2007 Champ (and Caesar Award winner) Raphael Lehrer is to be commended for volunteering to assist with the demo (and offer strategy tips) for new players, and finally, last but not least, kudos to Dvd Avins for offering to take notes for Final game replay given that the GM was engaged in the Final this time.

2008 Euro Quest Laurelists

Michael Brazinski, MD

Sam Atabaki, CA

John Weber, MD

Kenneth Horan, PA

Barb Flaxington, NJ

 GM      John Weber  [7th Year]   NA
    jcw222@comcast.net   NA

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