Winning Thrice is Twice as Nice
when you do it Twice
Barry Barnes vs Dave des Jardins.
Akihisa Tabei of Japan meets Dave
Gubbay of Australia at WBC.
The beginning of the tournament is always a time of excitement.
The players draw randomly to see who will become their first
round opponent, waiting for the occasional straggler who is not
able to make it right at 10 am. The boards are set up, the clash
begins. There is also the contingency extended to a few players
who contact the GM ahead of time to arrange a late start, when
the 10 am time slot conflicts with another favorite game.
The field included no less than seven former champions. Their
games are seeded into the bracket so that the earliest meeting
between two champions would take place in the quarter-finals.
Five of those champions made it to the quarters, and each quarter-final
winner was a former champion, the first time that the semi-finals
included no unseeded player.
In the only quarter-final that featured champion against champion,
the contest resulted in the mutual death of two titans. Dan Strock
won the tiebreaker over David desJardins. Brian Sutton won his
quarter in 13 minutes over our good friend from Tokyo, Akihisa
Tabei. Aaron Fuegi took a bit longer, running up his score steadily
against Tom Johnston. After Aaron earned Titan teleport and an
archangel in consecutive battles, Tom bowed to the inevitable
It is worthwhile to mention Aaron's Round 2 game against Art
Wines. I happened by the board at a critical moment. Aaron's
unwounded 6 high titan had moved between an angel and a ranger.
With help from other creatures, both had been eliminated but
had yet to strike back. On another part of the battle land, it
appeared as if an unwounded lion would become free and be able
to reach the titan, so Aaron spilled two hits to that lion rather
than kill another lion which would remain engaged. On the strike
back, the angel and ranger combined to hit the titan five times,
leaving Aaron one hit from elimination. As expected, the lion
killed the Cyclops pinning it down and ran to engage the titan.
Needing only a single hit, Art's throw did not include a 5 or
a 6 and the lion quickly expired. This is unquestionably a game
which includes chance, and the eventual winner must not only
be good but lucky as well. The probability simplifies to two
thirds to the fifth power, or 32/243 for the lion to fail to
get at least one hit. And there is also a good chance that the
angel and the ranger with ten dice might have killed the titan.
Aaron's semi-final win over Brian included only two battles,
and was over quickly. By contrast, the semi-final won by Sean
McCulloch over Dan featured 12 battles won by each player before
the climax. Sean's big score out of those battles was only 92
points, but Dan's was even lower, scoring 66 points in his largest
win. Neither player topped 400 points to achieve teleport. It
is unusual for that many battles to take place without a single
In the Final, Sean made an early tactical error by splitting
the gargoyles from his titan stack before they had recruited
a Cyclops. Shortly after that, Aaron entered a tower with his
angel stack, recruiting a guardian. After splitting, he teleported
to the tower above Sean's titan stack to recruit a second guardian.
When Sean moved, Aaron rolled another 6 and chose to teleport
to a plains hex immediately in front of Sean's titan, recruiting
ranger with ranger. Sean had nowhere to go. His titan would be
blocked forever unless he attacked. Sean had a warlock and a
ranger, but because of the earlier split, still had two centaurs
and two lions. Not very hopeful, even with the angel to summon.
Nevertheless, he attacked as the best option, and the result
was the expected outcome. Aaron won his third TT2 title to go
with his third TTN championship - all in the same year - with
a great deal of skill and a little bit of luck.
2002 Champ Dan Strock loses to Sean
in this year's semi-finals. Dan had to settle for third.
GM Rich Atwater watches Aaron complete
Titan titles over 2007 champ Sean McCulloch.