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When you wish upon a Tsar

Sam Bassett (pictured) spent much of his Spring 1901 negotiation time hatching an exotic opening* as Russia in last night’s Game No. 211 at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. In this particular opening–which Bassett has played before with the Weasels to varying degrees of success–Russia works with the Turk to quickly pressure the Austrian while also beefing up her Scandinavian presence. The Spring 1901 moves are:

 
 
Russia: F Sev-Bla, F StP-Bot, A Mos-StP, A War-Ukr
Turkey: F Ank-Con, A Con-Bul, A Smy-Arm
 
In the Fall, Turkey sails to the Aegean while the Russian fleet in the Black Sea convoys Armenia to Rumania, with support from Bulgaria and, if deemed necessary, Ukraine.
 
In last night’s game, Spring 1901 went according to plan, but in the Fall, the Turk changed the plan, and that’s one of the problems with exotic openings: When you wish upon a star, it makes a big difference who your neighbors are. The Turk was Nate "the Snake" Cockerill. Rather than accept the offered convoy to Rumania, his army in Armenia (some would say predictably) slithered into Sevastopol, the one in Bulgaria oozed into Rumania, and the fleet backfilled (slimily) to Bulgaria, giving Cockerill the rare Turkish turkey. Gobble, gobble, gobble.
 
After that, Cockerill faced little resistance en route to a 10-center board top. Bassett’s line, meanwhile, went 4-2-1 and out. The game ended by draw vote in Spring 1907 in the following center counts.
 
Austria (Don Glass): 7; 19.758 points.
England (Matt Sundstrom): 5; 10.081 points.
France (Chris Paxhia): 5; 10.081 points.
Germany (Keith Ammann): 7; 19.758 points.
Italy (Matt Kade): 0; 0.000 points.
Russia (Sam Bassett): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Nate Cockerill): 10; 40.323 points.
 
We fell short of our goal of two boards, as 11 people showed up. Kade is another playdiplomacy.com, recruit who played for the first time with us at CODCon and was making his first appearance in a league game. He ran into problems on his commute from Hyde Park and so arrived just as the players were writing orders for Spring 1901. Ben DiPaola, who handled the negotiations for Italy, gladly turned over the position after briefing Kade. The transfer of power changed the dynamic in the East somewhat, but we’re usually pretty laid back about our bar games. No one complained.
 
DiPaola, John Gramila, Ted Phillips and I chatted, laughed at the Dip players, and smoked cigars. After Phillipps left, the three of us played a game of Tigris & Euphrates, which I won with 9 points, to John’s 7 and Ben’s 5.
 
Back to the Dip game, Cockerill’s board top was enough to move him past Sundstrom for first place in the league. Glass also benefitted from his respectable second, vaulting into sixth place (and knocking my son Kevin out of the top seven).
 
What’s next for the Weasels? Well, Weasel Moot VII looms next month. We hope you’ll join us June 22-23 at the Holiday Inn in Willowbrook. But before that, we’ll schedule a couple of games…perhaps as soon as next Wednesday. Our friend Alex Amann will be in town from the Bay Area and would like to play. He’ll be staying in Hyde Park, so we’re trying to line up a venue in the Loop. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out the supply center chart from Game No. 211 here, and perhaps the players will share their thoughts.

* In some circles, exotic openings are known as "hare-brained schemes."

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