leader off the starboard bow ...
The six Round 1 winners prepare to
do battle in the Final. Pick a leader and fire away.
Michael Ussery, Ernest Czyrvca, Tim
Miller and Larry York pick their targets.
2010 Naval War tournament, given a second life when another
qualifying event failed to generate a GM, continued to draw a
small but loyal contingent of hard core players while attracting
a few new players. This was in evidence at Table 1, with 2010
Battlecry champion Nicole Reiff making her first appearance.
Although new to the game, she quickly caught on to Naval War's
central guiding principle: Always be aware of who is leading
at any given moment, and concentrate on sinking that player's
fleet to impose the ten point penalty. Table 1's match turned
out to be one of the evening's shortest, with GM Jonathan Lockwood
and Robert Paul taking advantage of their successful destroyer
squadrons to lead after the first round with 47 and 41 points
respectively. Nicole then correctly zeroed in on Lockwood in
Round 2, sinking his fleet with the aid of other players to limit
his gains. Unfortunately, Paul was able to exploit his second
place position with another successful destroyer squadron to
win the match and advance to the Final with a total of 80 points.
GM Lockwood finished second with 47 points, Nicole Reiff close
behind with 43, followed by Daniel Pappas with 34 and newcomer
Geoff Allbutt rounding out the field with 14.
Table 2 was more of a marathon affair, lasting four rounds
before Ben Collinson Sr managed to prevail with 95 points to
advance. He was followed by Melissa with 87 points, Thomas with
86, Craig with 63, and Patrick bringing up the rear with 19.
Sorry for having to relegate the rest of you folks to relative
anonymity, but that is what happens when you fail to put your
last names on the score sheet!
Table 3 saw a previous champion making yet another serious
bid this year, as Bill Place advanced to his third Final after
four rounds of play with 85 points, followed by Greg Wilson with
75 points, Matt Bacho with 58, and two obviously shy players
named Ernie and Ray with 56 and 44 points respectively.
Table 4 was dominated by veterans, with nary a newcomer in
the bunch. Nevertheless, the redoubtable Jim Kramer managed a
decisive victory in three rounds among this pool of "sharks",
mainly on the strength of a 90 point surge in the last round
(the most successful single round of the night) to win going
away with 131 points! Left to flounder in his wake were Ruth
Evinger with 49 points, Michael Ussery at 47, Matt Evinger at
40, and journeyman Alan Arvold at 34.
Table 5 hosted the only six-player match in the event, and
not coincidentally, the only one to go five rounds, mainly because
Mac Willingham and Stephen Squibb tied at 81 points apiece at
the end of four rounds, thus forcing another round of play. The
other players zeroed in on the two leaders, finally sinking Squibb's
fleet and limiting Willingham's gains to nine points. However,
this second life ultimately worked to the advantage of Frank
Mestre, who parlayed an excellent 44-point fifth round to win
the match with 94 points. He would be accompanied into the Final
by Tim Evinger, who finished with 92 points as the highest runner-up
among all tables. Mac Willingham finished close behind with 90
points, followed by Stephen Squibb with 80, Robert Brode with
77, and capable newcomer Rebecca Johnston with 71 points.
The championship match followed in the tradition of previous
Finals, with all players mindful of whom the leader was at any
given moment. At the end of Round 1, Ben Collinson led with 22
points, followed by Jim Kramer at 20, Bill Place and Robert Paul
tied at 15, Frank Mestre in fifth place at 7, and Tim Evinger
at -1 due to having his entire fleet sunk (apparently his formidable
reputation had preceded him).
Round 2 saw both Collinson and Kramer lose their fleets, resulting
in a significant shakeup in the standings. When the smoke cleared,
Paul led the field with 49 points, followed by Kramer at 33,
Evinger at 32, Place at 29, Mestre at 28, and Collinson at 12.
Round 3 featured Collinson and Place striking back with excellent
rounds of 35 points each to pull back into contention. Coupled
with the sinking of Paul's and Kramer's fleets to impose the
penalty, this jumbled the standings once again. Place now was
within striking range of victory in the next round with 64 points,
with Collinson at 47 points along with Mestre (who had quietly
moved up from fifth). Paul was still in contention at 43, followed
by Evinger at 37 and Kramer at 26.
Round 4 proved to be the decisive round, and it became a free
swinging melee, with three players eventually losing their entire
fleets. In the midst of the chaos, Mestre demonstrated skillful
verbal misdirection to conceal the strength of his position until
the last possible moment, when he used a destroyer squadron to
sink Evinger's fleet and impose a ten point penalty. That proved
to be the margin of victory for Mestre, as Evinger would otherwise
have won on the strength of his 49 point surge in the round,
and second best round of the night. Mestre won with 79 points,
followed by Evinger with 76, Paul in third at 74, Collinson at
62, Place at 54, and Kramer rounding out the laurels with 49
some 13 years after scoring his last laurels in this event. Congratulations
to Frank on his first Wood in Naval War!