war at sea  

Updated 11/26/2010

 2010 WBC Report  

 2011 Status: pending 2011 GM commitment

Vince Meconi, DE

2010 Champion


  Laurels Recommended

Event History
1991    Bruce Monnin      20
1992    Tom Scarborough      23
1993    Bruce Monnin      28
1994    Phil Rennert      18
1995    Ray Freeman      33
1996    Steve Packwood      27
1997    Tim Hitchings      33
1998    Mike Kaye      32
1999    Ray Freeman     45
2000    Pat Richardson     42
2001    David Finberg     43
2002    Andy Gardner     51
2003    Ray Freeman     47
2004    Bruce Monnin     51
2005    Dennis Nicholson     55
2006    John Sharp     46
2007    Andy Gardner     44
2008    Jonathan Lockwood     50
2009    Pat Richardson     43
2010    Vince Meconi     46

PBeM Event History
1999    Vince Meconi      22
2000    Ed Menzel      39
2001    Jonathan Lockwood      43
2004    Don Greenwood      44
2006    Andy Gardner     46
2008    Darren Kilfara     46
2010    Jonathan Lockwood     43

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Andy Gardner       VA    09    169
  2.  Pat Richardson     FL    09    150
  3.  Ray Freeman        CA    04    133
  4.  Jonathan Lockwood  VA    10    125
  5.  Ed Menzel          CA    10    116
  6.  Darren Kilfara     uk    08     94
  7.  Vince Meconi       DE    10     93
  8.  Ewan McNay         CT    10     80
  9.  Bruce Monnin       OH    07     78
 10.  Bruce Reiff        OH    10     71
 11.  Dennis Nicholson   NY    08     65
 12.  Michael Kaye       CA    10     64
 13.  Alan Applebaum     MA    10     52
 14.  Don Greenwood      MD    04     50
 15.  David Finberg      MA    01     50
 16.  Rob Flowers        NC    06     44
 17.  Robert Drozd       IL    10     42
 18.  John Sharp         FL    06     40
 19.  Tim Hitchings      DE    04     30
 20.  Bill Thomson       TX    03     30
 21.  Steve Packwood     MN    00     30
 22.  Greg Berry         VA    05     28
 23.  Glenn McMaster     on    06     19
 24.  Chuck Stapp        NJ    09     18
 25.  Andy Choptiany     CA    10     16
 26.  Charlie Drozd      IL    08     16
 27.  John Pack          CO    07     16
 28.  John Elliott       MD    07     16
 29.  Rob Day            KS    06     16
 30.  Phil Rennert       MD    99     16
 31.  Tim Tow            TX    04     15
 32.  Joe Collinson      MD    03     15
 33.  Michael Ussery     MD    01     15
 34.  Ron Dietz          OH    00     15
 35.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    06     12
 36.  John Strand        CO    03     10
 37.  Michael Knautz     WI    00     10
 38.  Karl Bodenheimer   MO    10      9
 39.  Jim Kramer         PA    07      8
 40.  Mike Brophy        NC    06      8
 41.  Scott Beall        OR    08      5
 42.  Kevin Shewfelt     CA    04      5
 43.  Mike Bailey        VA    02      5
 44.  Dave Streamo       OH    00      5
 45.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    01      4
 46.  Bob Hamel          CT    99      4
 47.  Phil Watkins       au    10      3
 48.  Dan Henry          IL    01      3
 49.  Nick Markevich     CA    99      3
 50.  James Pei          TX    99      2
 51.  Sean McKenzie      AK    99      1

2010 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists:

Ed Menzel, CA

Andy Choptiany, PA

Ewan McNay, NY

Mike Kaye, MD

Jon Lockwood, VA

Past Winners

Bruce Monnin, OH
1991, 1993, 2004

Phil Rennert, MD

Ray Freeman, CA
1995, 1999, 2003

Steve Packwood, MN

Tim Hitchings, DE

Mike Kaye, CA

Pat Richardson, FL
2000, 2009

David Finberg, MA

Andy Gardner, VA
2002, 2007

Dennis Nicholson, NY

John Sharp, FL

Jonathan Lockwood, VA

Vince Meconi, DE

Steve Raszewski and Bryan Eshleman were among the also-rans this year in what is always a very competitive field.

A couple of past champions, Steve Packwood and Pat Richardson were unable to finish in the Top Ten.

46 Still in Convoy ...Let's Hear it for Blind Squirels

Proving that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while, the GM won the 2010 title with a 7-1-0 record, ending 19 years of also-ran status. The GM defeated Ed Menzel in the Final, a game which was not a fair test of skill (see below). Ed was the only player to go undefeated in the Swiss Rounds. Andy Choptiany competing in just his second WBC after a long absence, took third with a 5-2-0 tally and Ewan McNay nabbed fourth with a 4-2-1 log. Mike Kaye (4-2-0), finished fifth and received a copy of the book Cruisers of World War II: An International Encyclopedia, given to the highest finisher not winning a plaque. The remaining playoff contenders were sixth: 2008 champ Jonathan Lockwood, who had a 4-2-0 mark, 7th, Charlie Drozd (3-2-1) and 8th, Rob Drozd (3-3-0). Rounding out our top 10 were Bruce Reiff and Jim Kramer (3-2-0).

Entrants (46) and games played (82) in this, the 20th annual competition, were both up from last year. According to the GM's count, by the way, War At Sea is one of just 30 games that have been contested at all 20 WBC/Avaloncon conventions.

38 players opened the competition shortly after 9 AM on Thursday. But as usual, playoff eligibility for most competitors came down to Round 5, eight hours later. At the end of four rounds, only Ed Menzel (4-0-0, 40 VPs to that point) and Andy Choptiany (4-0-0, 38 VPs) had clinched playoff slots. With only pride at stake, Ed and Andy played, with Ed's Allies, bidding 2.0, knocking off Andy's Axis by two POC after the bid. 12 other players faced off for the remaining six playoff berths. The next board featured Charlie Drozd's (3-1-0, 32 VPs) vs. Ewan McNay's (3-1-0, 30 VPs) Allies, bidding 2.0. The game went down to the last die roll, with the bid pushing the score to a tie. Veterans Mike Kaye (3-1-0, 30 VPs) and Chuck Stapp (3-1-0, 30 VPs) faced off, with Mike's Axis prevailing by seven POC against Chuck's Allies, who had bid 3.0. The Axis benefitted from favorable ship attrition, with no ships sunk through the first four turns to the Allies' eight. Bruce Reiff and the GM (both 3-1-0, 30 VPs) reprised their recent PBeM Championship match, with the GM's Allies, bidding 2.0, turning the tables this time in a dice game that the Axis resigned after four turns. Another contest of longtime competitors involved John Pack (3-1-0, 30 VPs) and Jonathan Lockwood (3-1-0, 28 VPs). Jonathan's Allies, bidding 2.5, forced an early Axis resignation with unequal ship attrition. Next, Rob Drozd's (2-2-0, 22 VPs) Axis held off Bob Hamel's (2-2-0, 20 VPs) Allies, who had bid 1.5. Finally, it was Jim Kramer (2-2-0, 20 VPs) prevailing over John Sharp (2-2-0, 20 VPs). John's Allies had bid 1.5.

At the conclusion of the Round 5 games, all eight playoff slots were set, the only time since we expanded to eight playoff berths in 2006 that we haven't needed a tiebreaker. Ed Menzel led the way with a perfect 5-0-0 record and 50 VPs. Vince Meconi (4-1-0) edged Mike Kaye (4-1-0) for the #2 seed; both had 40 VPs, but Vince's strength of schedule was slightly better. Next were Andy Choptiany and Jonathan Lockwood at 4-1-0/38 VPs each; again, strength of schedule placed Andy in the #4 slot. Rounding out the field were #6, Charlie Drozd (3-1-1, 37 VPs), #7 Ewan McNay (3-1-1, 35 VPs), and #8 Rob Drozd (3-2-0, 32 VPs). Rob made the elite 8 the hard way, dropping his first two games and rallying to win his last three. Mike Kaye, Jonathan Lockwood, Ewan McNay, and Ed Menzel all repeated from last year's playoffs, the only four to do so, and in fact they all repeated from 2008 as well, making them the first four players to make the expanded playoffs three years in a row.

In the quarter-finals, top seed Ed Menzel, bidding 1.5 for the Allies, cruised past Rob Drozd's Axis, the maximum victory margin reduced only by the bid. To avoid a rematch, #2 seed Vince Meconi (Allies, 1.5) took on #6 Charlie Drozd in one of the more entertaining games the GM has ever played. Axis LBA and U-boats disabled five straight convoys (one was sitting in the USA on Turn 8, unable to sail), and the game came down to the sixth convoy, which dodged LBA bombs to make it into Russia on Turn 8 and convert defeat into victory. #3 Mike Kaye and #7 Ewan McNay engaged in a similarly nip-and-tuck affair, with Mike's Allied bid of 2.0 changing an Allied margin of one POC to an Axis victory by one. #4 Andy Choptiany's aggressive Axis invaded the North Sea on Turn 1, won the battle, and forced Jonathan Lockwood's Allies (2.5) to concede after seven turns. In the semi-finals, Ed Menzel's Axis continued his winning skein, clobbering Ewan McNay's Allies, bidding 2.0, by 10 POC. Vince Meconi's Axis survived heavy losses on Turn 1 against Andy Choptiany's Allies, bidding 2.0. Andy's ASW missed everything, every turn, and U-boats finally put the game out of reach by sinking a convoy.

In the Final, the GM took the Allies for a bid of 2.0. Ed sent his entire fleet to the South Atlantic on Turn 1, and the first indicator that the dice gods were all going to line up on one side was when all three German 225s failed their speed rolls. Still, the Axis had eight ships to the Allied fleet of the Eagle, a 553, and three 443's. But on the first round, Allied gunnery sank both 127s, disabled and put max damage on both 357s, and disabled an Italian CA. In return the Axis could manage only to sink one 443 and put a point of damage on another. The Allies sank two and disabled the last Italian cruiser on Round 2, suffering no hits in return. So, the Allies controlled the South Atlantic and trapped two Italian CAs and the cruiserized Scharnhorst & Gniesenau in the Neutral Port. It should have been all over for the Axis at that point, with their fleet shot up, four ships trapped in the Neutral Port, and trailing by 2 POC after just one turn. However, salivating in my overeagerness to annihilate the Neutral Port fleet on Turn 2, the GM made the Barents too weak. Two failed speed rolls left the Allies with just the Ark Royal, a 456, a 336, and four cruisers to face the Axis LBA, Bismarck, three 225's, and a 127. But the Ark Royal sank a 225 and disabled the 127, while the Axis LBA whiffed. Allied gunnery then sank another 225 and disabled the two remaining ships. The Allies had already sunk all four Axis ships in the South Atlantic, so the Axis resigned without bothering to return fire in the Barents. It was all over in 15 minutes. Ed Menzel's terrible luck was not unprecendented. Twice before in the playoffs an Axis player has had to quit on Turn 1 or 2 after losing the South Atlantic and having their fleet trapped in the Neutral Port - although never in the Final.

And finally, Rob Drozd copped Best Axis Player with a 3-2-0 scoreboard, while Ed Menzel nabbed Best Allied Player laurels at 5-0-0. Bob Hamel, always a competitor, always a helper, always a good sport, always a gentleman, was our Sportsmanship nominee. For the 7th year in a row, no chess clock expired.

As has been the case almost every year recently, the predominant Allied opening strategy was Barents on 1; the GM is aware of only one game in which the Allies used Barents on 2 and one other in which the Mediterranean strategy was used. There may have been others not noted on the game slips, of course.

Last year the GM declared that the Allied edge had gone from marginal to substantial. But after a steady decline in the Axis win percentage over the past seven tournaments, Axis players staged a comeback this year, taking 42 of the 82 contests, or 51.2%. The Allies won 39 games and there was a single tie. It was the first time since 2003 that the Axis won more than half the games. The average bid this year was 1.51 (all games) and 1.76 (games with a bid). In games with no bid or an Allied bid less than or equal to 1.5, the Allies won 26 times to the Axis 22, but in games with an Allied bid of at least 2.0, the Axis won 20 times and the Allies 13. This year, at least, the bidding worked as it should - pushing a slightly unbalanced game into almost perfect balance. Whether this is a return to normalcy or a 1-year aberration remains to be seen.

While there may be some debate as to whether bids are high enough to balance the game, it is indisputable that they do "move the chains." The outcome of 13 games was altered by the bid. One Allied win became a tie, two ties became Axis wins, and a record six Allied wins became Axis wins after the bid was taken into account. On top of that, one Axis win by less than two POC became an Axis victory by two POC or more, and three Allied wins by two POC or more converted to Allied wins by less than two POC. And that is only a sumation of the final scores. What is left uncounted is the amount of moves or altered strategies dictated by the bid which are not directly reflected in the final score.

As always, putting on the War At Sea tournament is a team effort, starting with Assistant Gamemasters Rob Drozd, Ewan McNay, and John Sharp; John also provided the chess clocks. Thanks also to Greg Smith, who volunteered to play Round 1 only if we had an odd number of entrants, which we did this year. Extra help was provided by Charlie Drozd, Bob Hamel, and sharp-eyed John Pack, who spotted a GM scoring error just in time.

Three-time champ Ray Freeman battled the Bruce in what was
one of his best years. The plaque king was unable to advance
to the play-offs this year with two losses that represented
the majority of his losing at WBC 2010.

The blind squirrel in this saga is the not so visually impaired.Vince Meconi finally notched a WBC title to go with his 1999 PBeM title. He is shown here against Andy Choptiany who made his return to WBC a successful one with a third place finish.

War At Sea PBeM Tournament 2010 Results

Jonathan Lockwood earned his third BPA War At Sea plaque, besting a field of 43 players in the seventh BPA War At Sea PBeM Championship. Jonathan had previously emerged victorious from the 2001 PBeM event and the 2008 WBC tournament.

Jonathan went 5-0 to win the single elimination event. He began with a win over Daniel Blumentritt, then continued to defeat 2004 PBeM champ Don Greenwood, Robert Drozd, Bruce Reiff and Alan Applebaum. Jonathan outbid his opposition to play the Allied side in all five games, giving his Axis opponents 2.5 POC in three of the games. Alan, meanwhile, had played the Axis in his first four games, usually receiving 1.5 POC in the bidding.

In the Final, Lockwood bid 2.5 POC for the Allies, which Applebaum accepted. Jonathan then deployed his standard "Barents on One" opening. Alan responded on Turn 1 by leaving a 2-2-5 in the Baltic and sending six German ships and the Italian cruisers to the South Atlantic. The ensuing combat gave the Axis control, but at the cost of Scharnhorst and Admiral Hipper, with Gneisenau damaged for 4 points, but successfully oiling at sea. Axis led by 3 POC (5.5 POC with handicap) at end of Turn 1.

Turn 2 saw Lockwood holding all four sea areas again, forcing the Axis to send its six ships in the neutral port back to the Med. The Axis attempted to break the blockade in the North Sea, but failed with a loss of two U-boats. Little happened on Turn 3, though the Allies trimmed the Axis lead to 1 POC (3.5 POC with handicap) at the end of the turn.

Turn 4 witnessed the Axis LBA sink Convoy 1A in the Barents. Turn 5 saw the Axis finally challenge the blockade in earnest with six U-boats in the North Sea. 17 Allied ASW sank three U-boats and disabled two more, but the Axis had broken the blockade. Meanwhile, Convoy 2B put in at Murmansk to give the Allies a lead of 2 POC (but a 0.5 POC Axis lead with the handicap).

For Turn 6, the Allies used a balanced deployment, with a force of seven British battleships and the Illustrious to meet the anticipated German-Italian attempt to reunite their fleets. The Axis sent a force of eight German ships and four Italian cruisers to the South Atlantic. The ensuing five round combat saw the Germans sinking three British battleships and disabling all but the Warspite (-3) and the Illustrious. The Allies sank two German ships and two Italian cruisers in those same five rounds, disabling the rest to the neutral port to hold the area and trap six German ships and two Italian cruisers in the neutral port. The Allies owed their victory to the Warspite (-3) taking on three Italian cruisers and winning over the course of the last three rounds.

Meanwhile however, the Axis had sent six U-boats to the North Atlantic to go after Convoy 3C. Three U-boats were sunk and two more disabled, leaving just one U-boat to break control and sink Convoy 3C. The outcome of the game would now depend on the results of the ASW war against the four remaining Axis wolfpacks.

On Turn 7, the Allies destroyed the remaining Axis fleet at the cost of four battleships. But the crucial contest was in the North Sea, with four U-boats attempting to break the blockade again against 10 Allied ASW. Allied ASW sank two U-boats and disabled the others to maintain control of the area and gain 1 POC for the Allies at the end of Turn 7. The Allies now led for the first time with a cumulative 3 POC lead (.5 POC with handicap).

The sole remaining Axis chance was to split its three remaining U-boats into two groups, with two going to the North Sea and one to the Barents, where they would each face 10 Allied ASW. If the Axis could break control of two sea areas, they would gain 1 POC for the turn and win the game. But Allied ASW came through again, sinking all three to gain 1 POC for Turn 8. The Allies finished with a lead of 4 POC (1.5 POC with handicap).

Final Results:
1st ­ Jonathan Lockwood
2nd ­ Alan Applebaum
3rd ­ Bruce Reiff
4th ­ Karl Bodenheimer
5th ­ Robert Drozd
6th ­ Phil Watkins

 GM      Vincent Meconi  [8th Year]   105 Churchill Ln, Wilmington, DE 19808-4355 
    vmeconi@verizon.net   NA

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