puerto rico  

Updated 11/23/2010

2010 WBC Report  

 2011 Status: pending 2011 GM commitment

Luke Koleszar, VA

2010 Champion





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
2009    Steve Pleva     151
2010    Luke Koleszar     150

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
2009    Richard Shay     39
2010    Barbara Flaxington     44

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    10    173
  2.  David Platnick     NY    06    108
  3.  Christian Moffa    NJ    10    104
  4.  John Weber         MD    09     97
  5.  Arthur Field       SC    06     96
  6.  Luke Koleszar      VA    10     66
  7.  Bill Murdock       VA    08     64
  8.  Malinda Kyrkos     NY    09     63
  9.  Steve Pleva        CT    09     60
 10.  Nick Page          on    08     60
 11.  Nicholas Anner     NY    03     60
 12.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    07     54
 13.  John Kerr          VA    07     54
 14.  Lyman Moquin       DC    05     49
 15.  Sam Atabaki        CA    08     48
 16.  Greg Thatcher      CA    10     36
 17.  Alex Bove          PA    10     36
 18.  Jeremy Osteen      MD    09     36
 19.  Matt Peterson      MN    08     36
 20.  Gary Carr          VA    03     36
 21.  Aran Warszawski    is    10     30
 22.  Keith Walsh        NY    10     30
 23.  Richard Shay       MA    09     30
 24.  Michael Brazinski  MD    08     30
 25.  Andrew Greene      VA    05     30
 26.  Lexi Shea          CT    10     27
 27.  Davyd Field        SC    07     26
 28.  Rob Barnes         WV    10     24
 29.  Jonathan Tivel     VA    04     24
 30.  Phil Rennert       MD    03     24
 31.  James Robertson    MD    05     22
 32.  Sceadeau D'Tela    NC    09     18
 33.  Geoffrey Pounder   on    09     18
 34.  Aaron Buchanan     VA    04     18
 35.  Lucimara Martins   MD    03     18
 36.  Vassili Kyrkos     NY    07     15
 37.  Eric Freeman       PA    06     15
 38.  Chris Terrell      VA    09     12
 39.  Haim Hochboim      is    09     12
 40.  Andrew Gerb        MD    06     12
 41.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03     12
 42.  Kenneth Horan      PA    08      9
 43.  Winton LeMoine     CA    06      8
 44.  Bill Salvatore     MD    03      8
 45.  Doug Galullo       MD    10      6
 46.  Norman Rule        MD    07      6
 47.  Ted Mullally       NJ    02      6
 48.  Chris LeFevre      AZ    06      5
 49.  John Adams         MD    03      4
 50.  Steve Simmons      NJ    02      4
 51.  Rachel Cox         SC    02      3
 52.  John Downing       VA    07      2
 53.  Tom Browne         PA    02      2

2010 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists:

Greg Thatcher, CA

Aran Warszawski, Israel

Lexi Shea, CT

Rob Barnes, WV

Chris Moffa, NJ

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC

Nicholas Anner, NY

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Bill Murdock, NY

Chris Moffa, NJ

Raphael Lehrer, MD

Nick Page, on

Steven Pleva, CT

Luke Koleszar, VA

Puerto Rico? marked its ninth straight year under John Weber's watchful eye with at least 136 entrants ... rare for a non-light game.

GM John Weber and Assistant David Platnick with their final four which is always recorded in play-by-play fashion for replay.

Down with the Champs ...

Attendance remained strong throughout all three heats, with 23, 22 and 21 games in the three heats. These 66 games yielded 57 different winners. Two players, Lexi Shea and Aran Warszawski, won in all three heats, joining David Platnick and Phil Rennert (who turned the trick in 2004) as the only players to do so since the event moved to a three-heat format that year. This year proved to be a difficult one for former Champions: In Heat 1, all three former winners present tasted defeat: Luke Koleszar topped 2006 champ Chris Moffa by a 20-point margin; Helen Powell finished 19 in front of 2004 champ Barbara Flaxington; and Marcy Morelli bested 2007 Champion and Caesar holder Raphael Lehrer by two. It proved to be a recurring theme as former champions collectively managed to win just one game in ten tries during the Preliminaries.

The second heat yielded four repeat winners: Tim Knicker and Greg Thatcher joined Lexi and Aran in winning their second games. Unfortunately,Tim withdrew at this point. Lexi's second win was notable for the total score, 76 -- one short of the all-time tournament record of 77 -- and the margin of victory (29 points) which would be the highest this year but fell three points shy of the all-time record winning margin (32 points) set by Lexi in the 2009 tournament. Vassili Kyrkos, a finalist in the 2007 tournament, got some measure of revenge by registering a nine-point win over Raphael Lehrer, the 2007 winner. Chris Moffa recovered from his setback in Heat 1 but his wife Barb, the 2004 Champion, continued to struggle, finishing second to Kevin Shaud. 2002 winner Arthur Field was on the short end of the score in one of the closest games of the tournament, a 47-46-44-43 squeaker, one of two games where the point spread was four from top to bottom. Another really close game saw three players wind up tied for first at 32 points, with the win going to Hany Hebisha on the doubloons plus goods tiebreaker.

The last heat had six complete tables of winners, and one game that saw two double-game winners paired together (Lexi and Greg) went to Lexi on the doubloons plus goods tiebreaker. Other winner's table games were won by Mike Backstrom, Luke Koleszar, Aran Warszawski (Aran's third win), Dan Zielinski and a resurgent David Platnick, the three-time runner-up (2004-06) who seemed poised for another run at the title after going winless in 2009. These four, plus Lexi, Aran and Greg, won byes into the semi-final rounds although the two-game winners were kept in suspense until the pairings for Saturday evening's quarter-final round. Double winners were declared in one game in Heat 3, where Rob Flowers and Rob Kilroy tied on the tiebreaker. At the other end of the spectrum, former winners Barb Flaxington and Raphael Lehrer were unable to post wins, meaning Chris Moffa was the only former winner to advance to elimination round play this year. It also meant an end to Barb's streak of advancing in six straight tournaments, dating back to her winning performance in 2004 when she advanced as an alternate and won the entire tournament.

The quarter-finals saw eight games contested, and this year -- for the first time -- three alternates were needed to fill the field to eight tables of four. One of the games was a rematch of a 2008 semi-final, with Sceadeau D'Tela defeating GM John Weber to end the GM's string of five years of consecutive semi-finals. Sceadeau's winning margin over John -- eight VPs when factoring in the bids -- was the largest in any of the eight QF games. The closest quarter-final game, won by Rob Barnes, was decided on a tiebreak, and J. R. Geronimo, who came in second, advanced as the 16th player into the semi-finals based on that close finish. 2006 champ Chris Moffa paced the other quarter-final winners, who included Marc Berenbach, Vassili Kyrkos, Michael Mecksay, Kevin Shaud and Kevin Walsh.

As was the case last year, all 16 qualifiers were present when the semi-finals began on Sunday morning. It was a more experienced field than 2009, as all but three had prior semi-final experience and seven of the 16 were former laurelists. Chris Moffa, Vassili Kyrkos and David Platnick were the only three semi-finalists who had advanced to previous Finals; only one of last year's top six (sixth place Aran Warszawski) remained. The first of the four semi-final games to finish was won by the youngest player and only female remaining in contention, Lexi Shea. She bested a table that included 2007 finalist Vassili Kyrkos, using a strong shipping strategy featuring corn and indigo as primary goods and a Wharf that helped her amass 41 shipping VP. She also generated enough income to take a Residence, enabling her to finish 10 points ahead of Kevin Shaud, whose three manned large buildings were insufficient to make up a 31-point deficit in shipping; Vassili came in third as he failed to obtain a large building. The three remaining semi-final games were all nailbiters that came down to the wire. In the next game to finish, Rob Barnes and Luke Koleszar, both of whom accepted handicaps for the two corn seats, finished in a tie but, because Rob bid a half-point more for his seat, Luke advanced while Rob collected his second fifth place plaque (he also took fifth in the 2005 tournament). Then, 2006 Champ Chris Moffa fell a point short in his bid to reach his third Final, losing to Aran Warszawski. Once again, the bids made all the difference, but this time both contenders were in an indigo seat -- Chris bid 1 VP for his while Aran accepted the disfavored #2 indigo seat for free.

The last semi-final game, between three-time runner-up David Platnick, Sceadeau D'Tela, Marc Berenbach and Greg Thatcher was -- according to all reports -- a strong candidate for the best game of the entire tournament. Going into the last turn, all four players were within striking distance, and it came down to a question of which opponent to hurt or help the most by role selection and shipping placement. Marc Berenbach, the eventual runner-up, noted that a different role selection (the Builder) would have led to a different winner -- David Platnick. Dave actually finished last, losing by just three points to Greg Thatcher. Final scores (factoring in the bids) were 55.5-54-53-52.5. The three-point margin top-to-bottom ties a record from a 2007 semi-final game as the closest elimination game in WBC history, but if measured as a percentage of winners' score, then this game was by far the closest PRO elimination round game ever.

All four of this year's finalists were contesting their first WBC Final -- the first time this has happened since 2004. However, the four had gone a collective 14-1 to get this far -- the one defeat suffered was by Greg in a narrow tiebreak margin in the third heat, when he was paired with Lexi. Interestingly, each player had advanced by winning their semi-final in a different seat and, therefore, it was perhaps no huge surprise when, after the bidding for seat position, they occupied the very same seating positions that had carried them to victory in the semis -- Lexi was first indigo (bid of 1 VP), Aran second indigo (for no handicap), Greg was first corn (2 VP bid) and Luke was second corn (1.5 VP bid). Lexi's advancement to the Final ended a two-year string of "all male" Finals, as one female gamer has graced the Final every year except for three (2006, 2008 and 2009). Aran's appearance adds Israel to the list of four nations represented in nine WBC PRO Finals.

The drama commenced with the very first move when Lexi, going first, took the Builder and spent all her doubloons on a Hospice; this was the first first turn Hospice buy in a WBC Final since the days of 5-player Finals when players start with more doubloons. Luke's first build -- a Hacienda -- while not a particularly unusual play -- was something not seen before as an initial buy in any prior Final. In another unusual development, the first six turns saw three rounds of shipping, yet the first action at the trading house did not take place until Round 7! In a game that favored the shippers (it ended when the VP chits ran out), the winner was the one player with the lowest number of shipping VPs.

Greg, in the favored first corn seat, established tobacco production capability on Turn 3 while Aran established the game's first coffee crop a few turns later. Lexi used her Hospice to rapidly populate her plantations, while Luke used his Hacienda to expand his production opportunities. Aran often faced difficult decisions in the early and mid-game regarding how to best use his scarce supply of colonists. In Turn 7, Greg and Aran cashed in their crops at the trading house. Then, Luke, who had quietly been accumulating doubloons left on various roles, built a Factory while Aran countered with a Harbor. Surprisingly, the remaining Factory and Harbor buildings remained unclaimed for the remainder of the game. Greg and Lexi, troubled by having to dump goods at the end of the Captain phase, each purchased a Wharf to improve their shipping prospects. Aran, despite his coffee monopoly, got to trade just once, not counting a gratuitous trade in the last turn after the issue was decided. Aran and Greg pushed the shipping that eventually caused the game to end once all VPs were exhausted on the 15th and last turn. Luke, on the other hand, focused more on a building strategy, buying the game's first large building (the Guild Hall), eventually earning eight bonus points and then adding a second large building (Residence) just before the buzzer.

The outcome hung in the balance well into the last turn. Greg, who did not purchase a large building, became the game's largest producer and shipper, at one time selecting the Craftsman four turns in a row in Turns 11-14. This put him in a contending position that might have been enough to claim the title, had there not been a build phase in the last turn. This allowed Luke to garner another five VPs from constructing a Coffee Roaster (three for the roaster plus two on the Guild Hall) while Greg could only afford a one-point building. Final scores (after adjusting for the bids) were Luke 47.5, Greg 44, Aran 43 and Lexi 39. Despite having the fewest shipping VPs (16) in a game that ended with all the shipping VPs (and a few more) in players' hands, Luke's income generation (42 doubloons over the course of the game) was twice that of any other player, thus securing a victory in a very close finish. Overall, It was a well-played game by four deserving finalists.

Luke has been a bit of a hard-luck story in Puerto Rico, going back to the very first tournament in 2002, when he advanced to the semis only to lose by a single point to eventual winner Arthur Field. One year he missed advancing due to schedule conflicts that prevented him from appearing at a QF round to claim a bye; in 2008 he placed sixth during the only year five plaques were awarded. This year, his perseverance paid off as he became our ninth champion in as many years.

Rounding out the plaque winners were Rob Barnes, fifth for the second time after pushing Luke in the semis, losing by just a half VP (the difference being the bid for seat position) and the coveted sand plaque for sixth place went to 2006 Champ Chris Moffa who lost by a point to Aran in the semis.

In the ever-ending battle for supremacy between the corn and indigo starting positions, it was a blowout in the three preliminary heats this year -- almost twice as many wins for the corn seats (44) compared to just 23 wins for indigo. However, things evened out a bit once the elimination round games started. In fact, it was six to six heading into the Final, where Luke's win with the #2 corn seat gave corn the edge (7 to 6) over indigo in the 13 elimination round games played. Overall, the raw scores from the 79 games showed the following pattern:

Seat 1 indigo 43.73 ppg 15 wins
Seat 2 indigo 42.62 ppg 14 wins
Seat 3 corn 46.67 ppg 24 wins
Seat 4 corn 46.57 ppg 27 wins

The four-point spread between the "best" (#3 corn) and the "worst" (#2 indigo) is one of the largest seen in all the years of keeping these stats. As far as the most popular buildings, the top three non-production buildings in winning displays were, once again, the Small Market (40), the Harbor (37) and the Factory (37); the most popular large bonus building among the winners was the Guild Hall (29). Well over half the games (48) ended by filled buildings.

2010 marked the fifth year of bidding for seat position in elimination round play. While the corn seats still hold the edge (based on 55 elimination round games using the bidding system), it now usually takes a higher bid to garner a corn seat.

Here are the raw stats based on 55 four-player games using the bidding system at WBC from 2006 through 2010, inclusive:

Seat 1 indigo 10 wins (18.2%) Average bid 0.44 Average winning bid 0.30 Highest winning bid 1.0 (2 wins)
Seat 2 indigo 12 wins (21.8%) Average bid 0.02 Average winning bid 0.00 Highest winning bid 0 (12 wins)
Seat 3 corn 14 wins (25.5%) Average bid 1.51 Average winning bid 1.50 Highest winning bid 2.5 (3 wins)
Seat 4 corn 19 wins (34.5%) Average bid 0.93 Average winning bid 0.74 Highest winning bid 1.5 (3 wins)

Three of this year's finalists tied prior records for winning in certain seats with large handicaps: Lexi became the second person to win from seat #1 with a 1 VP handicap in her semi-final game; Greg (along with fifth place finisher Rob Barnes) won with a 2.5 VP handicap from seat #3; and Luke twice (in the semis and again in the Final) won from the #4 seat while accepting a 1.5 VP handicap.

Finally, the GM wishes to extend thanks to Assistant GMs Barb Flaxington, David Platnick and Malinda Kyrkos for helping out for another year. Thanks also to Vassili Kyrkos, Chris Moffa and Bob Stribula who helped out during the hectic moments of pairing people for the third heat on Saturday.

For those craving more details about this year's tournament, here is a link to the play-by-play of the Final game:

2010 Euro Quest Laurelists

Barbara Flaxington, NJ

Alex Bove, PA

Kevin Walsh, NY

Lexi Shea, MA

Doug Galullo, MD

 GM      John Weber  [9th Year]   NA
    jcw222@comcast.net   NA

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