1960  

Updated 12/6/2009

2009 WBC Report  

   2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Chris Withers, CA

2009 Champion

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Event History
2008    Chris Byrd     55
2009    Chris Withers     24

WAM Event History
2008    Chris Byrd     24
2009    Stefan Mecay     17

PBeM Event History
2009    Justin Nordstrom     16

 

 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Chris Byrd         CT    08     70
  2.  Chris Withers      CA    09     54
  3.  Stefan Mecay       TX    09     50
  4.  Terry Coleman      CA    09     24
  5.  Steve Brooks       FL    09     24
  6.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    09     20
  7.  Justin Nordstrom   PA    09     20
  8.  Jean FrancoisGagne qc    08     16
  9.  Jim Doughan        PA    09     12
 10.  Keith Schoose      CA    08     12
 11.  Bill Pettus        NJ    09      8
 12.  Phil Rennert       MD    08      8
 13.  Mike Pacheco       CA    09      8
 14.  John Wetherell     PA    09      6
 15.  Roger Taylor       VA    08      6
 16.  Bob Jamelli        PA    09      6
 17.  Joe Yaure          PA    09      4
 18.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    08      4
 19.  George Young       VT    09      4
 20.  Philip Yaure       PA    09      3
 21.  Mark Yoshikawa     CA    08      3
 22.  Anthony Daw        UT    09      2

2009 Laurelists                                                Repeating Laurelists 

Stefan Mecay, TX
2nd

Jim Doughan, PA
3rd

Steve Brooks, FL
4th

John Wetherell, PA
5th

Philip Yaure, PA
6th


Past Winners

Chris Byrd, CT
2008

Chris Withers, CA
2009

Marshall Collins (left) and Jamie Tang argue partisan politics in a much nicer way than they do on cable news - and with a better result.

Steve Brooks (left) meets defeat at the hands of Chris Withers in the semi-final round on his way to a fourth place finish.

Sixties Hardball

The populace appeared to sour quickly on presidential politics as attendance dropped sharply with the election year behind us. Only 24 vetted candidates showed up for this year's presidential campaign.  Enthusiasm was high, with one candidate attempting to literally imitate Nixon's knee injury on an adjacent chair.  (NOTE: no candidates were harmed in the making of this tournament).  News spread quickly that last year's winner, Chris Byrd, would not be running for re-election.  Fox News reported he has accepted a position as 2010 campaign manager for New Jersey's Dan Dolan. 

Early returns indicated this would be a tight election.  The first round had six wins each by Nixon and Kennedy.  Average electoral scores: Kennedy: 255, Nixon: 263.

One candidate had to drop in the second round and his staff was unaware of his whereabouts.  Fox News reported he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Overall results continued to be close, with three wins by Nixon to two by Kennedy.  Average scores, Kennedy: 250, Nixon: 277.

Six players advanced to the quarter-finals, with the three winners and highest scoring loser surviiving to do battle once more.  Stefan Mecay and Chris Withers enjoyed lopsided victories, while Jim Doughan sweated out a close win over Steve Banks, allowing Steve to continue to the semis.  With their losses, John Wetherell and Philip Yaure accepted 5th and 6th place laurels respectively as they bowed out of the race.  Kennedy won on all three boards with a 120+ electoral vote margin. 

There was little drama in the primaries (semis) with Chris Withers as Nixon winning big over Steve Brooks (4th place).  Stefan Mecay won as Kennedy over Jim Doughan (3rd place). Jim resigned halfway through the campaign to "spend more time with his family", although Fox New reports he was trailing by a wide margin.  They also reported he was seen the next morning with a bunch of children, one of which may not have actually been his.

The Final was a showdown between this year's WAM winner, Stefan Mecay, and last year's WBC runner-up, Chris Withers.  Chris, as Nixon, dominated the early going and won all the debates but Stefan refused to throw in the towel.  A late October push and some election day recounts closed the gap, but Chris nonetheless persevered for a 277-231 win.

Chris was awarded a DVD of the Kennedy-Nixon debates and recycled last year's GM prize (1960: The Book) to Stefan.  "The Making of a President 1960" by Theodore White is a must read for any fan of the game.

The final tally for the entire tournament was 12 wins for Nixon and 11 for Kennedy.  A good time was had by all and as a first time GM, I also enjoyed myself.  Many thanks to my assistant GM, Greg Schmittgens. In the immortal words of an inspiring icon, "Ask not what your convention can do for you, but what you can do for your convention".

Stefan Mecay (left) downs the Breakout Normandy master James Doughan in the 1960 semi-finals by relying on a combination of the Kennedy charisma and family values.

GM Mike Gentile oversees his finalists as Chris Withers (left) improves on his 2008 runner-up status and downs Stefan Mecay to win it all. All Hail the Chief.


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
2nd

Bill Pettus, NJ
3rd

Steven Brooks, FL
4th

Joe Yaure, PA
5th

Marvin Birnbaum, NY
6th


1960 PBeM Tournament:

Justin Nordstrom won the BPA PBeM Tournament in an upset win over veteran CDW gamer Stefan Mecay and a field of 16. Semi-finalists Bob Jamelli and Mike Pacheco played a consolation game for third with Mike taking the bronze. Fifth and sixth place laurels were awarded to George Young and Anthony Daw respectively based on the number of electoral votes won in their last losing contest.

 GM      Michael Gentile (1st Year)  NA  
    barcaboy4@aol.com   NA

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