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Trans America (TAM) WBC 2023 Event Report
Updated November 15, 2023
70 Players Jim Fry Event History
2023 Champion & Laurels

Fry Wins Transamerica!

As always, Trans America is a last opportunity for plaques, laurels and fun. For 2023 we had a 40% increase in participants with 70 unique players (there were 50 last year) and I want to thank everyone who participated for their support. For consistency in play, I am continuing to use the number of players to determine the preliminary heat table size. With exactly 70 players, I chose to seat everyone at 5 player tables which would give me 14 winners and then add the 11 best second places to give me 5 tables in the Semifinal with winners that would continue on to a single 5 person Final.

The crowd was lively again this year and we were able to start fairly quickly. Unfortunately, with the increased participation we ran out of tables in Seasons and several games were delayed starting as an alternate location was found. A big shout out to all the players who helped with setting up tables and chairs in Wintergreen. The delay in starting these games did delay the Semifinal and Final. I appreciate everyone’s understanding of the delays.

Play was very competitive during the preliminary heat and the majority of games were very close with two tables determined by tiebreaker and more than half determined by less than 2 points. The tight finishes in play continued into the Semifinal with one game determined by tiebreaker and four of the five tables determined by 2 points or less. Our five winners from the Semifinal were Jim Fry, Norman Rule, Glen Pearce, David Wolfe and Ed Prem.

For the first round of the Final, Jim was randomly chosen to play first, Norman would start the second round, Glen the third, David the fourth, and Ed the fifth round. For starting positions in the first round, three players chose to begin in cities: Jim in Chicago, Ed in Denver, and Norman in St. Louis. Play was typical in the early game with players bypassing cities not needed while trying to make their connections. David was the first to connect the west coast to the rest of the country connecting Medford to Salt Lake City. Glen connects to the west next going from Santa Fe to San Diego and Los Angeles. Ed goes west next connecting to Sacramento. Players then race around the country connecting their remaining cities. Jim manages to finish his cities first with connections to DC, Atlanta, Omaha, Chicago and San Diego. Norman and Glen are caught in the worst position as Jim finishes, but still have plenty of game to catch up with four rounds remaining.

Norman begins the second round by placing his marker in Salt Lake City. Glen, David and Ed choose not to start in cities for this round and place their markers around the central US. Jim follows Norman’s lead and places his marker in Denver to start. That also leaves him placed between Norman and the other players giving him flexibility to connect with the other players. Norman briefly heads northwest but then builds eastward connecting with Jim and Glen. Ed is the next to connect with other players with everyone moving in various directions making connections to cities as the opportunity arises. David is the last to connect following up with a connection to New Orleans on his next move. Various connections follow for other players around the Southeast and then everyone drives to the West coast. David is the first to finish his final connections when he connects to Sacramento. Glen and Ed are the furthest from their connections this round leaving Glen in a more challenging position for the remainder of the game.

Glen begins the third round east of Omaha and most of the other players follow suit placing near cities except for Ed who places his marker in Kansas City. Early in this round everyone moves in various directions with no early connections to other players. Eventually Norman connects to Glen with Ed connecting to both of them with his next move. Players seize opportunities to connect cities this round building upon other players moves to nearby locations. Glen is most efficient with this strategy and completes all his connections first. Jim and Ed almost finish being only one track away from completing their connections, but David and Norman are caught with many tracks remaining and fall further behind. Jim at this point is building a significant lead with only 3 points total with Ed being a distant second with 7 points, Glen in third with 8, David in fourth with 9 and Norman in fifth with 10 points.

David starts the fourth round placing east of Medford and this time everyone follows his lead placing just outside of city locations with the majority scattered around the Midwest. Early maneuvers are similar again. Norman connects first meeting up with Jim. But the mid-game is different this round as everyone is more cautious with only a single round remaining once this round is complete. Connections occur slower this time as David and Ed are the next to connect and Glen remains independent. Eventually Jim connects Norman and his tracks with David and Ed’s with Glen connecting last with the other players. Ed manages to be the first to connect all of his cities and manages to set everyone with significant tracks remaining except for the leader, Jim. Ed solidifies his position in second and cuts Jim’s lead in half to 2 points.

This was another great year of Transamerica and I look forward to continuing as GM again for 2024. I want to thank Andy Latto for the wonderful spreadsheet he creates for the WBC GM’s which makes the recordkeeping for the tournaments so much easier!

Please contact me with any thoughts you have to make this tournament even better at kbreza42@gmail.com.

2023 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 0
Ed Prem David Wolfe Glen Pearce Norman Rule Philip Shea
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Finalists with GM Kevin Breza.
GM  Kevin Breza [2nd Year]