When Matt Sundstrom swept our two tournaments back in 2009, we were certain it would never be done again. We were wrong.
John Gramila hadn’t even heard of Diplomacy back then. He didn’t pick up a pad of paper in anger until the year turned. In January 2010, he joined us for a novice game at Guthrie’s Tavern. He played all right, finishing second on the board with six centers. His next two results were less promising: He finished third with four centers and then got crushed as Russia. But he liked the game and kept at it, and in his fourth game in June of that year, he showed us a glimpse of what was coming, cruising to 16 centers and capturing Season 5’s Best England.
He took Best England again in Season 6, this time with a solo. And at Weasel Moot that fall, in a field loaded with travelers laying the groundwork for their world championship runs the next year, he soloed again as Turkey, finishing second to the great Chris Martin by just a hair over 5 points.
The 2014 year started with a bang for Gramila. At #UltimateWAC in January, the North American Diplomacy Championship at the last ever WACCon in Seattle, facing a field stacked with top players from all over the world, he placed seventh.
He kept rolling, storming to the CODCon title on the strength of two big board-tops. And last weekend at Weasel Moot VIII, he again dominated the field, posting two more huge board-tops to win the championship by more than 24 points.
John Gramila is our Alpha Weasel theta. Hail!
The eighth installment of our premier event was small by our standards. We fielded just nine boards, with 26 players competing. But it was a fun event with some brutal boards. The top seven were:
- John Gramila, 112.937 points.
- Jim O’Kelley, 88.561 points.
- AJ Roskam, 79.914 points.
- Cameron Rowlands, 72.453 points.
- Pete McNamara, 64.472 points.
- Chris Glassburn, 59.739 points.
- Chris Kelly, 52.270 points.
The Best Country awards went to:
- Best Austria: Cam Rowlands
- Best England: John Gramila
- Best France: Chris Glassburn
- Best Germany: AJ Roskam
- Best Italy: Ben DiPaola
- Best Russia: John Gramila
- Best Turkey: Jim O’Kelley
Rowlands was one of two players, both active on the webdiplomacy.net site, from Toronto playing in their first face-to-face tournament. The other was Rowlands’ high school chum Frank Grek, who had never before even played face to face. They were among four first-time travelers to Moot, along with Edwin Turnage of North Carolina and Nelson Flynn of Madison. Turnage is a regular at DixieCon, but he hadn’t traveled outside North Carolina for a tournament in 16 years. Flynn used to play by mail in the 1970s. He read the recent Grantland article about the WDC at DixieCon, did some Googling, and decided to attend our tournament. Although the field gave him a rude welcome, he paid club dues and plans to drive down for next month’s Weasel Pyle.
Eric Fries, another WebDipper who learned about our tournament on reddit.com, also joined us for the first time. He played in both Saturday rounds. Fries is a college student at the University of Virginia, but he’s interning at the Fermy Lab this summer. He’s also thinking about attending the Pyle.
Meanwhile, AJ Roskam, son of the U.S. Congressman from Illinois’ Sixth District, had a great tournament in just his second event. His first was at CODCon. In addition to playing three solid games of Dip, AJ brought two friends to Moot. AJ learned the game with a group of eight guys in the Western suburbs, and he plans to bring some of them to the Pyle.
And club regulars Chris Kelly and Josh Heffernan participated in their first Weasel tournaments, so although our numbers were down, there are lots of reasons to feel good about the future.
Roskam and one of his friends will be heading off to college in the fall. They asked me to put them in touch with the organizers in their respective areas, as did Fries. And Flynn and longtime Weasel supporter and don of the Milwaukee Mafia Grant Smith, who lives in Madison now, talked about trying to pull together a game there. Several Weasels have been looking for an excuse to travel to Madison, so we’ll enthusiastically support their effort.
Grek and Rowlands also caught the bug. I’m going to put them in touch with some of our contacts in Ontario and Montreal.
So, although small, Moot 8 was a great event for us and potentially for the larger hobby as well.
We were happy to welcome back Chris Glassburn of Cleveland, who attended with his girlfriend, Megan. Glassburn is one of only five people, and the only traveler, who have participated in every Moot. The others are Christian Kline, Kevin O’Kelly, Matt Sundstrom and me. Glassburn likely will be back next year, as he’s proud of his streak, and maybe Megan will play as well. She spent part of her day on Saturday reading the rules and observing games.
Graham Woodring didn’t fare as well as he did three weeks ago at the Philadelphia Massacre, a tournament he won. We were happy to see him anyway, and not just because he was so generous with his dots.
We fielded a team tournament in the first round. Seven teams participated. The final standings were:
- Kelly’s Heroes, 79.316: Kyle Brintwell, Chris Kelly and AJ Roskam
- Hipster Beatdown, 55.517: John Gramila, Peter Lokken and Ted McClelland
- Shit Fountain, 49.725: Eric Fries, Frank Grek and Cameron Rowlands
- No One Actually Wants a Level Playing Field, 45.86: Christian Kline, Edwin Turnage and Graham Woodring
- One Flew Over, 40.259: Don Glass, Tony Prokes and Grant Smith
- Weapons of Ass Destruction, 15.036: Chris Glassburn, Josh Heffernan and Kevin O’Kelley
- SPF Diplomats, 14.286: Nelson Flynn, Paul Pignotti and Matt Sundstrom
Two final notes:
- I finally won something at Moot, capturing Best Turkey and second place. I had never before placed better than eighth, and other than a share of the team title at the 2012 WDC, I had left every prior event empty handed. I’m pretty happy to finally get that monkey off my back.
- And the weekend doubled as a bachelor party and send-off for Ted McClelland. He’s getting married next weekend and will be moving to Boston next month. We will miss him, but we wish him well and our loss is the New England hobby’s gain. I’ll put him in touch with some of the local people in Boston.