Like Mother, Like Daughter ...
Ben Gardner topped Rich Shipley and
Marilyn Flowers to advance from this table making his early Sunday
Michael Shea, Carol Strock, Kevin
Wojtaszczyk, Jennifer Peat, and David Platnick all rose early
for a last shot at wood to no avail.
A large part of the convention packs up and starts the trek
home early Sunday morning. 55, however, decided to put off the
packing for a little bit longer, and joined the TransAmerica
tournament for a last shot at wood.
Many consider it a disadvantage to go first in a round, so
the "house rules" for the tournament require each player
to go first for one round. In the case of a tie, the player who
scored the fewest points when he or she went first would win
the tie. If there is still a tie, the scores in the second round
are compared, and this process continues until there is a clear
winner. We had eleven 5-player games in the first round, with
winners and seven seconds advancing based on their difference
from the winner's score. This way, there were three 6-player
semi-final tables, with firsts and seconds advancing to a 6-player
Final. Seating was completely randomized after the first round
- only in the first round were families and friends purposefully
Chad Gormly won his first round game with the lowest score
all day, three points, by going out in three rounds. Janet Ottey
also went out first in three of her rounds to advance, as did
Ben Gardner. At Ben's table Debbie Gutermuth managed to advance
with a close second. A tie at the table with Cally Perry and
Eric Monte resulted in both advancing. Only Paul Rubin advanced
from his table, the first game to finish the first round. Both
Norman Rule and Jeff Cornett advanced from their table. Unfortunately
for one table, there was a three-way tie for first. Since only
firsts and seconds advanced, Edward Fu and Pam
Gutermuth were the only ones to advance. With 10 points top laurelist
Ken Gutermuth and Patrick Shea advanced. Dave Bohnenberger and
Brian Mongold advanced with 10 and 13 points, while former champ
Kevin Wojtaszczyk won his table with 10 as well. Despite scoring
nine points in one round, Chris Trimmer still managed to win
his game, with Roni Breza advancing as a close second.
At the first semi-final table, it looked like Ken Gutermuth
and Chris Trimmer were running away with the game until the fifth
round - scores were 6 and 8 for them, 13, 17, 18, and 15 for
the other four at the table. Chris, however, hit a speed bump
of 11 points in the fifth round. Ken Gutermuth did advance, but
Ben Gardner is proof that you're never out of the game! The second
table was a close race, with no one ever being completely blown
away in a round. Roni Breza won this table; no surprise since
she went out half the time. Eric Monte and Dave Bohnenberger
sadly tied, with only one allowed to advance to the next round.
It turned out to be Eric, with zero points in his round as first
player, compared to Dave's one point. At the last table, Norman
Rule seemed set to come in first, with the other players not
too far behind, until he earned six points in the final round.
Fortunately for Norman, this was enough to tie him for second
- a tie that had to be resolved by looking at the second starting
position. Edward Fu went out in the final round to earn first
and make it to the Final.
As the top laurelist in TransAmerica, Ken Gutermuth
was the clear favorite since none of the other finalists had
ever laureled in the event. After the first three rounds, however,
it was Norman Rule on top. Then, in the fourth round, Eric Monte
dealt a painful blow to his opponents - going out when they were
5, 5, 6, 8, and 12 away from their cities. Unfortunately, Ben
Gardner couldn't recover from such a blow. After five rounds
Eric and Norman were leading with 11 and 12 points respectively,
with Ken, Edward Fu, and Roni Breza all following with 14 points.
In the final round, Roni went out just before Ken, winning the
final plaque of the convention - and more importantly - keeping
pace with her daughter who won the junior version. I reckon they
play a little Trans America at home.
Final Standings: Roni 14, Ken 15, Edward 16, Eric 16, Norman
17, Ben 26
Edward Fu advanced from this table.
Finalists go after the last wood of
There were 27 little train travellers this year. Katie Breza
refused to be upstaged by her mom winning the adult version and
took home Juniors wood. I wonder who taught who how to play?
Other accomplished train riders were
2nd: Aiden McNay
3rd: Jeremy Rice
4th: Brett Fox
5th: Greg Breza
6th: Sam Seulowitz