Amateur Diplomats Descend on Burr Ridge for Annual Tournament

The Windy City Weasels Diplomacy club will hold its fourth annual Weasel Moot tournament this weekend at the Quality Inn and Conference Center in Burr Ridge (300 S. Frontage Rd.). Organizers are expecting 40 players for the three-round tournament, including players from Boston, D.C., Houston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The event kicks off Friday night at 7 p.m. Rounds 2 and 3 will be Saturday, and the awards ceremony will be Sunday morning at 10 a.m.


“Players of all skill levels are welcome,” says club founder and tournament director Jim O’Kelley, who lives in Chicago. “A few of the top players in the country will be playing, but we’ll also have several beginners.”

Diplomacy is a multi-player strategy game that was designed in the 1950s by LaGrange Park resident Allan Calhamer, then a student at Harvard. Calhamer was profiled in the May 2009 issue of Chicago Magazine (

In Diplomacy, players assume the role of head of state for one of the seven great powers of pre-World War I Europe. There’s no element of chance in the game, which features simultaneous movement. Instead, players must use their wits and guile as they make and break alliances in an effort to dominate Europe. A typical game can last between six and nine hours.

“It never feels quite that long while you’re playing,” says O’Kelley, “because you only have 15 minutes per turn to figure out what you want to do and then try to influence the other players to move in a way that will allow your plans to succeed. Afterward, you’re drained, but while you’re playing, the time flies.”

Founded in 2005, the Windy City Weasels has become one of the country’s two largest Diplomacy clubs. The Weasels have more than 50 active members, and in the past year, the club played 35 games, more than any other club in the world. Weasel Moot is expected to be the third largest North American tournament this year, behind the North American Championship, which was played in San Francisco in April, and Husky Con, an event held in Long Island in July.

This year’s Diplomacy World Championship was held in August at The Hague. At that event, the Weasels bid on and won the right to host the 2012 World Championship. It will be the first time Chicago has hosted the event, which has rotated among North America, Europe and Australia since 1988.

“Chicago used to be a hub for the Diplomacy hobby,” O’Kelley says. “The city hosted four straight North American championships in the 1970s. We’re trying to get that event back, too.”

The registration fee for Weasel Moot is $40, $20 for students. For more information, visit the club’s website at

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Find out more about an upcoming event or article, talk smack before a game, brag about your board top, or most likely, ask what on earth your fellow Weasels were thinking!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Jim O'Kelley

    I sent this release to area newspapers.

  2. Kevin O'Kelly

    Looks good.

    For the WDC, we’ll have to give the major papers about a month’s notice. Never know if we can get a feature writer to write a piece promoting the event or a summary of the event.

  3. Jim O'Kelley

    Yah, we tend to give publicity short shrift in our tournament planning. I intended to write this a couple of weeks ago but finally got around to it yesterday. For WDC, we’ll definitely need a dedicated person or committee for publicity.

  4. Aashirwad Viswanathan Anand

    Is Mr. Birsan aka Master Yoda still attending?

  5. Jim O'Kelley

    Sadly, Master Edi, who attended the first three Moots, will not be joining us this year. He’s campaigning for a City Council seat in his hometown and consequently has curtailed his Diplomacy travel. We’ll miss him. He’s a fun opponent and a great ambassador for the hobby.

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