Billed as the NADF Masters, the tournament was conceived and organized by 1998 world champion Chris Martin of the Potomac Tea & Knife Society in response to feedback that the hobby needed a way to crown its champion that was more selective than the open DipCon format and more accessible than the Grand Prix. His solution was an invitational for which players could qualify by finishing on a top board at any Grand Prix-qualifying event in the previous two years.
More than 60 players received invitations to the inaugural Masters, including 16 Weasels. Around 20 are expected to attend, including Peter Yeargin and Jim O'Kelley. At least one European will be there as well, two-time world champion Cyrille Sevin.
By Sunday evening, after three rounds of what should be intense Diplomacy, the hobby will have its first NADF champion. ... To go along with its North American Champion, DipCon winner Eric Mead, and its Grand Prix Champion, our own Yeargin. This new title will augment rather than replace the other two. Each title is meaningful and prestigious in its own way.
It's not unlike our structure here in Chicago. The DipCon Champion is similar to our Alpha Weasel, the player who dominates at the open Weasel Moot, where the level of play can run the gamut. The Grand Prix Champion is like our Weasel of the Year, the player who posts the best collection of results over the course of a season. And the new NADF Champion or Master will be like our Bull Weasel, the player who wins the invitational Royale, where the play should be of a high caliber.
What matters more than the new title, however, is that the reenergized NADF has stepped up to the plate to provide us with another reason to support the tournament hobby. Want to be a part of the next Masters in 2013? Get out to a Diplomacy tournament and finish in the top seven.
Locally, the addition of the Weasel Royale to our landscape has contributed significantly to the increase in the number of games played each season. People want to qualify, so they sign up for games, and when games fill, we offer more. Hopefully the new Masters will spark a similar surge in attendance at tournaments across the continent. And maybe that surge will increase interest in local hobbies.
It certainly can't hurt.
Kudos to Chris Martin. Kudos to Conrad Woodring. I'm proud to support their efforts.