Here's a quick summary of the results from this weekend's big Puerto Rico tournament at the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, PA. this past weekend.
We had a total of 150 participants. That's actually down -- by one -- from last year. But, with 23 games in the first heat, 22 in the second, 21 in the third plus the usual eight/four/one in the quarters/semis/final rounds, all four-player games, by the way, meant we had a total of 79 games played, which should be enough to retain the highest prize level (Level 6). A grand total of 67 different people won at least one game during the course of the tournament, including one game in the third heat where double winners were declared (a tie on points and the rulebook tiebreaker of doubloons plus goods). It is the 8th year in nine appearances that PRO has drawn 150 or more.
This year's winner is Luke Koleszar. From the Charlottesville gaming group that puts on PrezCon, he's participated in just about all of the Puerto Rico tournaments at WBC going back to 2002, actually losing to Arthur Field by just one VP in the semis before Arthur went on to win by a much larger margin in that first final. Luke has been a bit of a hard luck story as far as Puerto Rico at WBC is concerned; one year he was shut out of advancing due to schedule conflicts that prevented him from appearing at a QF round to claim a bye; another year he placed sixth when we only had five plaques.
This year he went through the tournament undefeated, emerging victorious from an impressive final table that was a collective 14-1 in 2010 tournament play just to reach the final. (The one loss among the four finalists was by Greg Thatcher, on a tiebreak, to Lexi Shea, another undefeated player who came through to reach the final.) All four finalists (Luke, Greg, Aran Warszawski and Lexi, who finished in that order) were making their first appearance in the final having reached the semis in prior years. Lexi and Aran went 3-0 by winning in all three preliminary heats, the first time that has happened since Dave Platnick and Phil Rennert turned the trick in 2004 when we moved to the current three-heat format. Lexi's appearance in the final snapped a two-year run of all boys' finals, and, as a high school senior, she also reached the final of at least two other WBC tourneys this year (Power Grid and Vegas Showdown); also, by having the foresight to select PR as her team event, she was rewarded with some team points. Everyone should watch out for Lexi in years to come!
Aran, who was sixth last year, is the only returning laurelist to place in the top six. He also adds Israel to the list of countries represented in the nine WBC PR finals to date; the others being US, Canada, and -- this one needs correcting on the WBC laurels page -- Brazil, represented by Luci Martins who was residing in MD in 2003.
Score counts in the final game (factoring in bids for seat position) were Luke 47.5 Greg 44 Aran 43 Lexi 39
Rounding out the plaque winners were Rob Barnes, fifth for the second time who actually pushed Luke in the semi, losing by just a half VP (the difference being the bid for seat position) and the coveted sand plaque for sixth place went to 2006 Champ Chris Moffa who lost by a point to Aran. Chris was the only former Champ to reach the semis this year.
As for myself, I had a five-year string of reaching at least the semis snapped when I came in a distant second in the quarters to 2009 EuroQuest Harold Siegelman trophy winner Sceadeau D'Tela in a game that was a rematch of a semifinal game from two years ago. My reaction? Similar to the Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer when his consecutive SF streak was snapped in grand slam play earlier this year -- to note I still have an even longer QF streak (7 WBCs going back to 2004) still intact.
With regard to Sceadeau, did also want to acknowlege his involvement in one of the closest games ever in elimination round play, which was the semifinal game won by eventual runner-up Greg Thatcher. Final scores (factoring in the bids) were 55.5-54-53-52.5. Congrats to Greg, Marc Berenbach, Sceadeau and Dave Platnick who finished in that order in what must have been a really well-played game; too bad we don't have the moves to do a replay. A three-point margin top-to-bottom ties a record from a prior semifinal, but if you measure it as a percentage of winners' score, then this game was by far the closest PRO elimination round game ever.
Speaking of a replay, I did keep a record of the final game and will be posting it here on BGG after reviewing it for accuracy and soliciting comments from the players. For you PR stats freaks out there, I plan to post something around the time I file my post-tournament GM report (required within a month of the WBC of all GMs)..
So, nine Puerto Rico tournaments at WBC have produced nine different winners. Once again, many thanks to everyone who participated and to my three assistant GMs, Barb, Dave and Malinda, plus Chris Moffa and Bob Stribula and others who helped out even in a small way at times during the event.