If there’s a pattern to these things–and let’s be honest, there probably is–then one of the Kevins O’Kell(e)y ought to be feeling pretty good about his chances in next year’s Bar Room Brawl Championship game. (Of course, as the old joke goes, you can’t win without buying a ticket.)
Last year’s inaugural Brawl Championship went to Jim O’Kelley. Last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, Chris Kelly kept the title in the sort-of family by storming to a five-center lead as England. In fact, Kelly’s dominance was so convincing that the players voted to concede the Brawl Star title with more than an hour of play left on the clock.
The game ended by draw vote during the Spring 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Josh Heffernan): 5; 11.574 points.
England (Chris Kelly): 10; 46.296 points.
France (Jim O’Kelley): 5; 11.574 points.
Germany (Don Glass): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (John Gramila): 5; 11.574 points.
Russia (Matt Sundstrom): 4; 7.407 points.
Turkey (David St. John): 5; 11.574 points.
Kelly was the third seed heading into the contest and also selected powers third. O’Kelley was the first seed, and despite all his bluster after the Royale, he changed nothing this time around and picked France first again. Sundstrom, the second seed picking second, chose Russia this time around, throwing a wrench in O’Kelley’s diabolical plan. Turkey went fourth to fourth seed St. John.
Fifth seed Heffernan was the only player to break order. He opted to pick last and was left Austria for his troubles. Sixth seed Glass took Germany in the fifth spot, while seventh seed and 11th-hour alternate John Gramila grabbed Italy at No. 6.
The opening was pretty bland in the West; in the East, anything but. If you check out the supply center chart, be sure to click on the Spring 1901 tab and look at the moves. The Fall turn was even more dramatic as Italy opted to forgo a build in order to stuff the Turk’s bid to gain the Aegean.
The game settled down in 1902, and by year’s end, Heffernan and Kelly were leading with six apiece, while three others had five. The only change to the chart in 1903 was which three had five. On paper, it was still a tight game, and Hefferan’s gamble to take the best selection-order tiebreaker looked like it could possibly pay off. But a subtler change on the board hinted at what would happen next. All of England’s neighbors were attacked from the other side in 1903.
Kelly hit the gas in 1904 and left the rest of us in his exhaust. Congratulations to our new Brawl Star!
Manwhile, when the smoke finally cleared in Spring 1906, the French flag was still flying proudly over Marseilles. We take our victories where we can.
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I am told that if one traces my father’s side back to Ireland, our original family name is in fact O’Kelly.
Marseilles yearns for freedom.