the russian campaign   

Updated Nov. 23, 2012

Grognard Pre-Con 2012 WBC Report  

 2013 Status: pending 2013 GM commitment

Gary Dickson, CA

2012 Champion

Event History
1991    Rob Beyma      31
1992    Alan Frappier      26
1993    Ed O'Connor      20
1994    Jeff Martin      16
1995    Rob Beyma      16
1996    Tom Gregorio      20
1997    Gary Dickson      24
1998    Gary Dickson      27
1999    Gary Dickson     26
2000    Doug James     30
2001    Phil Evans     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     30
2003     Doug James     30
2004    Tom Gregorio     36
2005     Doug James     33
2006     Doug James     23
2007    Bert Schoose     34
2008     Doug James     27
2009     Doug James     39
2010    Bert Schoose     36
2011    John Ohlin     41
2012     Gary Dickson    31

PBeM Event History
1999    Gary Dickson      19
2000    Gary Dickson      22
2001    Doug James      23
2002    Gary Dickson      44
2003    Tom Gregorio     40
2006    Doug James     34
2008     Tom Gregorio     31
2010    Gary Dickson     31
2012    Gary Dickson     24


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Gary Dickson       CA    12    405
  2.  Doug James         NC    12    368
  3.  Tom Gregorio       PA    12    353
  4.  Bert Schoose       IL    12    215
  5.  George Karahalios  IL    10     86
  6.  John Ohlin         FL    12     81
  7.  Rob Beyma          MD    05     76
  8.  Phil Evans         VA    04     63
  9.  Pat Flory          CT    05     61
 10.  Alan Zasada        IL    11     48
 11.  Jeff Martin        CT    10     48
 12.  Ed O'Connor        NJ    12     47
 13.  Art Lupinacci      on    02     40
 14.  Tim Nielsen        VA    11     36
 15.  Joe Collinson      MD    04     36
 16.  Dave Ketchum       FL    04     36
 17.  Mike Pacheco       CA    10     32
 18.  Richard Beyma      VA    12     30
 19.  Joe Angiolillo     CT    10     24
 20.  Gregory M. Smith   PA    12     22
 21.  Ari Kogut          TX    12     22
 22.  Michael Kaye       MD    12     20
 23.  Scott Abrams       CA    06     16
 24.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    06     16
 25.  Allen Kaplan       NJ    05     16
 26.  Jim Eliason        IA    05     14
 27.  John Popiden       CA    07     12
 28.  Michael Mitchell   GA    06     12
 29.  Roy Walker         uk    08     10
 30.  Jeff Lange         ae    04     10
 31.  Brad Frisby        MD    01      8
 32.  John Bullis        WI    02      6
 33.  Mike Mishler       CA    12      5
 34.  Rob McCracken      DE    05      5
 35.  John Ryan          FL    07      4
 36.  Alex Gregorio      PA    08      3
 37.  Larry Hollern      TX    08      3
 38.  Marty Musella      VA    99      3

2012 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists: 

Richard Beyma, VA

Bert Schoose, IL

Tom Gregorio, PA

Gregory M. Smith, PA

Mike Mishler, CA

Past Winners

Rob Beyma, MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier, CT

Ed O'Connor, NJ

Jeff Martin, CT

Tom Gregorio, PA
'96, '02, '04

Gary Dickson, CA
1997-1999, 2012

Doug James, NC
00, 03, 05-'06, 08-09

Phil Evans, VA

Bert Schoose, IL
2007, 2010

John Ohlin, FL

Steve Packwood finds new challenges vs Greg Smith.

Mike Mishler scores 6th place laurels. No mean feat in TRC.

Alex Gregorio seems more enthused than Michael Trobaugh.

Gary Dickson puts former champ Bert Schoose in his rear view mirror.

13 Years Later ... Again on Top ...

After 22 years of "World Championship" Russian Campaign tournaments one would think that setups, openings, and tactics in tournament play would be well known. Looking at this year's results, such thinking would be quite wrong. 2012 saw a variety of surprises; nobody got to the final four without assimilating some key lessons about how the tournament game has evolved.

A mix of tournament veterans and newbies went for the wood in 2012. There were some notable absences, including the defending champion, but included in the field were four ex-champs with nine shields between them. This being the sixth year featuring the 5-turn scenario, a reasonable prediction would have been that things would play out as they always have with the experienced players just grinding down opponents simply because they had more TRC lore and trickery to draw upon. However, based on the number of upsets, this was not a year in which the sharks coasted their way through schools of less-experienced players.

From the opening moves it was clear that some folks had been doing some offseason tune up work. Numerous new Russian setups were unveiled. Many participants were familiar with the Massive Odessa Overrun, which is distinguished by an Axis second impulse overrun of Odessa on Turn 1, but Russian players were now prepared to face this with a tweaked version of the Russian defense of the Odessa Military District. The consensus opinion now is that the MOO can be averted, or at least deterred, but the tradeoff often involves ruinous position and casualties in the Kiev Military District. Further north, the "Capture Moscow in 1941" fanatics were all to ready to pounce on any defects in the Western Military District as evidenced by numerous German attempts to capture the capital.

From a strategic perspective, it was clear that many players had thought beyond the turn-to-turn tactical nuances and were looking at the big picture. There were Russians who were deciding on Turn 1 whether or not they wanted to defend in such a way as to prevent a Turn 4 Snow attack against Leningrad just as there were Germans who were trying to determine during their OPENING assault how heavily they wanted to threaten the Donets Basin cities on Turn 3. Richard's decision in the Final to set up for a potential low odds attack on Moscow on Turn 3, if non-favorable clear weather occurred, is yet another example of an evolving approach to strategic planning.

At a more detailed level, many Russian defenders now recognized that preserving the flexibility of their Turn 3 reinforcement deployments was critical. Numerous defenses, that appeared sub-optimal if looking solely at the current turn, were devised to ensure that the Sep/Oct reinforcements would be able to rail through or into Kharkov and Stalino. Tactical gaffes were few and far between. The days of AV's allowing the Germans to run ramshod over multiple layers of Russian defenses are long gone. Also apparent was that most players these days know to defend against attackers retreating forward, guard against VP-stealing paratroops, and do some minimal factor-counting to avoid giving their opponents some easy shots. The best example of tactical evolution, however, was that many folks now recognize a 1-2 attack is quite viable in this shortened scenario; numerous games were won because a player knew that taking ENOUGH of these 1-2 attacks was almost a guarantee that one or more of these battles would be won!

Still, there is no substitute for experience. When it came down to the elimination portion of the event there were three former champions still standing in the final four (For the first time the TRC final four included the son of a former champion which then begs the question as to whether being skilled in TRC is inheritable or merely a reflection of environmental exposure at an early age.) The climate in the Lampeter room presumably contributed to suppressing the participation and game count earlier in the week but by Saturday it would take more than failed air conditioning to deter Gary Dickson from acquiring his fourth TRC title.

Below are some summary figures that quantitatively assess the 2012 WBC event:
· 81 games played and 31 entrants
· All games featured the 5-turn scenario with bidding for sides.
· S/O and N/D 41 weather combinations were clear/snow and light mud/light mud with 38 of the former and 42 of the latter occurring.
· One game saw a concession at the end of Turn 2; 62 of the games ended on turn 5.
At an individual match level, here are some additional figures:
· Germans won 45/81 (56%) games, 23 in light mud, 21 in clear.
· Russians won 36/81 (44%) games, 19 in light mud, 17 in clear.
· Five games were German autovictories because of Moscow being captured in 1941.
· 58 of the 81 games were won by the player with the higher AREA rating at the start of the event.
· The average bid for the Germans was 13.1 with a range of 7 to 27.
· The average bid for a German win was 13.07.
· The average bid for a Russian win was 13.22.
· The average bid for the Germans in the playoffs was 24.3.
An analysis of these figures leads to the following conclusions, some of which are counter-intuitive, especially when you think back to TRC events from years past:
· Weather doesn't matter; each side won slightly more light mud games than clear games.
· Average bid of 13 for the German was virtually identical in both wins and losses.
· Going for Moscow is a viable German strategy regardless of the weather

Statistical Conclusions: With a German winning percentage of 56%, and assuming replacement bidding is the balancing mechanism, the average bid needs to be higher. As noted previously, weather alone doesn't seem to be a determining factor. The most significant predictor of match outcome is AREA rating.

Semifinals:The semifinals featured a "Final Four" matchup of Richard Beyma versus Tom Gregorio, and Gary Dickson versus Bert Schoose.

Richard got to face Tom again, having already beaten him during the open portion of the tournament. Both players felt they were better German Field Marshals than Russian Commissars but after some intense bidding, Tom deferred and Richard got the privilege of playing the Germans with a bid of 25. A standard 1-1 AR opportunity in the south failed but the usage of the anti-MOO defense allowed the upper Bug to be breached. The Russians fell back in good order and seemingly remained so at the end of July/August 1941. The Russians launched no fewer than three assaults on German HQs but only one succeeded on Turn 2. No Stuka was lost, however, as the weather was Light Mud in September/October. Richard's daring was evident on Turn 2 when the reinforcing 40th Panzer Corps was sent on a sea invasion to attack Sevastopol's 5-3 Soviet infantry garrison. With a Stuka, the 3-1 resulted in a Contact result; the subsequent 1-2 on second impulse failed. Turn 3 turned out to be the fatal turn, however, with Stalino captured, Kharkov smothered, and the Leningrad defenders retreated. Turn 4 saw Rostov and Leningrad firmly under German control. With the failure of the Russian counterattacks in November/December, Tom conceded and Richard's path to his first TRC Final was cleared!

In the Schoose/Dickson match, Bert had the Russians for a bid of 21. Gary's Germans got off to a good start, especially in the south, where he surrounded or destroyed the entire KievMilitary District. On Turn 2 however, Gary stacked two panzers and HQ North near Vitebsk, from where they could equally threaten Moscow and Leningrad. This stack could be surrounded, but only attacked at 1-2 on second impulse. Sensing an opportunity, three Russian tank units moved in and Bert rolled a 6, eliminating the stack and putting Gary in a serious early hole. However, Lady Luck promptly changed sides: the Sept/Oct weather was light mud and ended with Gary taking Sevastopol and Stalino, gaining a contact at Kharkov, and repulsed at Leningrad. Bert lost the ensuing Kharkov counterattack, and Leningrad eventually fell to a 1-1 snow attack. Suddenly it was Bert who was fighting uphill. The last turn was a whirlwind of mobility and emotion. Using the rail line that had never been converted, Bert expertly infiltrated the central marsh to threaten numerous rear area cities, and also successfully landed a 6-3 sea invasion at Odessa to attack an HQ and an Italian at 1-1. Gary's lead stood at a tenuous +1 as Bert started rolling. Odessa yielded a first impulse contact, Smolensk and Brest held, and Minsk fell to a second impulse Guards attack. Suddenly the match came down to a final die roll versus Odessa for its two victory points. Bert needed a 6, threw a 3, and Gary claimed the hard-fought victory at -1.

Final: Richard Beyma made his TRC Final debut against former three-time champion Gary Dickson. Both players wanted the Germans but Richard's gutsy bid of 27 earned him the honor. His opening dice were unfavorable but he did succeed in cutting off numerous Russians in the south. On his half of the opening turn Gary saved these units via successful counterattacks. The Russians had an abundance of units but Gary inexplicably failed to garrison Rostov; this triggered Richard's sea invasion attempt using a panzer unit but the die roll of '6' sent those invasion barges to the bottom of the Black Sea. Richard's second turn saw the cleanup of the rear areas and featured several 1-1 bounce off attacks to get his army into more favorable attack positions. The Sept/Oct weather roll was clear and both players and the numerous onlookers agreed that things looked very grim for the Germans. Young Beyma had one more bullet in his gun, however, and he used it to create an opportunity for a most memorable victory that he alone foresaw.

Richard started September by cracking the Russian southern front via an overrun through which two panzer units raced to then assault the Russian defender in Kursk. Further north, three armored units attacked the Russians defending the bend of the Dneiper River near Smolensk. The objective was much more important then either city: Richard was aiming his tanks at the spires of the Kremlin! The German lowered the odds of both attacks to 1-1, seeking the 50% chance of an outcome that would result in the tanks retreating FORWARD towards Moscow. Several calculations later, it was determined that the maneuver had a 22% chance of winning the game.

Fortune favored the Russians, however, and Richard actually 'won' his low odds attacks -- actually preventing his second impulse assault on the Soviet capital. Richard extended his hand, and once Gary regained consciousness, he took a deep breath to celebrate his fourth WBC Russian Campaign crown after a 13-year hiatus. The Champ was back and atop the laurels list too. I'm not sure which was more impressive -- that he completed his 13-year comeback or that he could still wear that same Avaloncon shirt he wore in 1998 when he won the first title.

Beyma the Younger puts away three-time champ Tom Gregorio on his way to the Final.

Finalists Richard Beyma and Gary Dickson get to play on the BIG board for all to see.

 Play By Email 2012

The 9th Annual TRC PBeM Tournament was completed in five rounds with a field of 24 players. The Final matched defending, four-time champion Gary Dickson against two-time champion Doug James in the 10-turn scenario, with bidding determining extra replacement points given to the Russian. The two had also combined for nine WBC titles in addition to their email resumes. Doug got the Russians at +16. The "Schoose Option" was employed for weather, giving the Germans a maximum of three stukas in Sept/Oct and Nov/Dec combined, with up to two in light mud and 0 in mud.

Gary's Germans got off to a great start with some really hot initial dice followed by a successful sea invasion of a vacant Sevastopol, a 2-1 attack vs. Kiev, and 3-1 attack vs. Leningrad. The advance slowed when the weather turned light mud followed by snow. Doug's armor failed a key October 2-1 attack against a 5-4 in Bryansk, and in a rare mistake, Doug botched his retreat, allowing Gary to leave and then re-enter the City. Ultimately the Russians killed the 5-4 and took Bryansk, but lost several armor units in an unequal exchange. Gary withdrew out of winter range but remained in good position to take advantage when the March/April 1942 weather roll came up clear. Gary's hot combat dice continued, but Doug's remained cold throughout the match, including a key surrounded 3-1 against a German stack near Smolensk in June, 1942, that failed with a "contact". Gary's July/August turn featured more of the same and Doug threw in the towel early.

Also earning laurels were Michael Kaye, John Ohlin, Ari Kogut and Ed O'Connor who finished third through sixth respectively.

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [13th Year]   1650 Chadwyck Place, Blue Bell, PA 19422    484-744-1086

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