While a number of events saw significantly reduced attendance in 2022, Can’t Stop was not one of them. 251 participants came to the ballroom Wednesday night to fight for the most prestigious of WBC awards, the Can’t Stop Shield. Many, many people have tried to win this award but most lack either the skill, the fortitude, or the persistence to outlast and out math their opponents. This year saw yet another epic challenge to see who had the greatest understanding of probability amongst the WBC attendees.
With a few dropouts of those winners that couldn’t stand for the late-night battle to continue, we were left with 60 winners out of the opening round. 2 players in the first round (Leslie Coussis and Keith Boone) managed the incredible gladiatorial feat of winning their games without allowing their opponents to get a single column. On the flip side, 2 first round games also went the distance with 3-2-2-2 scores (and very lengthy play times). Congrats to Sage LeWinter and Thomas Vickery for their persistence. Lastly, some love for the players who won on the rare numbers. Betsy Burdett and Tim O’Flynn used 2-11-12 to win their games and Patrick Murphy pulled out the top of board 10-11-12.
In the second-round things got more serious, no 3-0-0-0 wins (though Luke Parauda’s 3-1-0-0 was close) and no games that went forever at a 2-2-2-2 tie. Ralph Gleason though still used the 2-11-12 combo on the edges to book his semifinal ticket.
That brought us to 15 semifinalists meaning one lucky table would be only 3 players and an easier path to the most competitive finals at WBC.
Table 1 was the quickest slaughter of a semifinal table in history as Keith Boone picked up a 3-0-0-0 against Noah Heinz, Pascal LaFreniere, and Nick Benedict.
Table 2 was our luck three player table where Paul Brenner overcame Cally Perry’s domination of the middle (7, 8) to still pick up a win with 4, 5, and 12. Kevin Youells unfortunately could only cover 9 in that game.
The third semifinal had a closer fight. After some time Luke Parauda managed to cap a third column over Jack Wolff giving him the win over Jack as well as Peter Eldridge and Ralph Gleaton. Jack could console himself with 6th place laurels, because everyone knows Can’t Stop laurels are the very best laurels.
And the last semifinal table was a battle for the ages. A tight, back and forth 3-2-2-2 match where 2017 Can’t Stop Champion Rob Kircher outlasted the field of Luke Koleszar, Kirk Porteous, and Jay Buckwalter to book a ticket to his second final in 4 tournaments.
And then we were down to 4. Keith and Paul got some early pieces on the board. Both were halfway up the 10s with only a notch or two on other numbers. After some aggressive and some unlucky falls by the others Keith then got a run on 10 and was able to cap it to get the first point on the board. At this point (3 rounds in) still only Keith and Paul had any pieces on the board and none were halfway up except the capped 10.
In the next round Paul got his 6s three from the top and Rob made a play to get in the game with a 5-7-12 run the got him two 12s and halfway up the 5s. Luke tried to get in too with two 9s a 2 and a 12, but for some reason stopped there (the GM asked him to review the name of the game) but at least he was on the board. Rob and Paul flamed out again, and Keith made more progress getting two 2s and enough 7s to be five from the top.
The following two rounds saw Keith get his second column (7s) and Paul cap his 6s to make the score 2-1-0-0. Both Rob and Luke kept flaming out and made no progress from their earlier stopped locations.
Then came the pivotal moment of the match. Keith had gotten one away from the 2s and stopped there, setting him up for a win and coveted shield. Luke responded with a 2-5-8 run. He got two 2s, a 5, and four 8s. AND THEN HE STOPPED! He was one step from blocking out the 2 that Keith could win on and two away from the top of the 8s AND HE STOPPED!
The next two turns played out predictably as Rob finally got a 12 to lock in a point (and a plaque) and then Keith rolled the 2 that Luke left for him and won the game 3-1-1-0. Keith became the 15th holder of a Can’t Stop shield and joins the ranks of the most skilled players in the history of WBC. Congratulations as well to Rob who is now the all-time leader in Can’t Stop laurels with his second place finish.
- A huge thank you to my wonderful AGMs who helped keep everything moving
- We again ran with the 10:30 sign-in start, open seating, and immediate seating of second round tables as soon as 4 first round games finished. I think all of those things continue to work well and I intend on continuing them in 2023.
- I think we may need a solution to long games. While no one’s fault, the 3-2-2-2 games take way too long and delay the rest of the tournament. I’m not sure there’s a good solution, but I’ll consider options for 2023.
We tracked a new stat this year by asking everyone to note on their scoresheet who was start player. Surprisingly, only 22% of players who went first won their games (18 out of 81). We’ll keep tracking over the next couple of years, but this suggests that there is not a huge advantage to going first.
As for the numbers, this was the distribution this year:
- 2 was used by 26% of winners (+1% to WBC average)
- 3 was used by 11% of winners (-2% to WBC average)
- 4 was used by 20% of winners (equal to WBC average)
- 5 was used by 26% of winners (+1% to WBC average)
- 6 was used by 43% of winners (+2% to WBC average)
- 7 was used by 48% of winners (equal to WBC average)
- 8 was used by 36% of winners (-4% to WBC average)
- 9 was used by 24% of winners (-1% to WBC average)
- 10 was used by 20% of winners (-3% to WBC average)
- 11 was used by 16% of winners (-3% to WBC average)
- 12 was used by 30% of winners (+3% to WBC average)
What does this mean? Probably nothing to be honest, but with more than 400 games of data now, including a PBEM tournament, the trends shown here probably are indicative of players tendencies. I doubt that it can be used to any effect while playing, but it is at least interesting to see the following:
- This year players went hard for the 11 and 12 relative to the 2 and 3. Even in the overall averages, players tend to win more on the higher extremities than the lower ones
- The 3 and 11 are by far the least popular numbers. A statistical analysis could show whether that is justified in their probability relative to their number of steps, but it seems likely those numbers are less efficient.
- 48% of winners capped the 7, with about 40% each capping 6 and 8. This shows that you almost always need to be competitive in the middle numbers to be able to win
Thank you again to everyone for playing and especially to my wonderful AGMs. It is a really fun tournament to run, and I look forward to seeing you all next year.
|Convention Director enjoying late night with
some of the auction staff.
|Do you know where your kids are?
Probably playing Can't Stop.
|The Wojtaszczyk's keeping Yoshikawa in line.
||Kevin Youells trying a shorter game
| Andrew Drummond [5th year]