In the lead up to WDC, I mentioned often that the local hobby was excited to host the event. As evidence of that excitement, I share this piece that Brian Beck compiled prior to the event. He put it together on a slow day and asked me to share it. I withheld it until now, not wanting to give our out-of-town guests an edge.
Here’s Brian’s analysis of the opening Weasels strategy during the current season.
Of the 22 games of this season (plus the 2015 Weasel Royale and Bar Brawl Championships, which I included), 12 were home games and 12 were pub games. 8 of the weekend games had recorded first moves, as did 7 of the pub games.
- Austrian Weasels are a greedy bunch; 14/15 games featured an opening Tri-Alb headed toward Greece. 12/15 (80%) combined Tri-Alb with Bud-Ser.
- About half of Austrian Weasels either were scared of Russia or worked out a planned bounce; 8/15 games featured Vie-Gal.
- The most common set of moves was Tri-Alb, Bud-Ser, Vie-Gal, occurring in 6/15 games.
- Home game Austrians seemed more concerned about Italy, with 3/8 home games featuring Vie-Tri, and only 1/7 pub games featuring such a move. Meaning that in pub games, Austria left Trieste open to Italy 6/7 times.
- English Weasels don’t like opening against France. In 12/15 games, England opened Edi-NWG and Lon-NTH (and to the extent it matters, 8 of those featured Lvp-Edi, 4 featured Lvp-Yor).
- French Weasels had some of the most variety of opening moves, with 9 different combinations of opening moves.
- French Weasels trust England about as often as England trusts France; 13/15 games featured Brest-MAO.
- French Weasels also usually trust Germany. Only 5/15 games featured a move to Burgundy (3 from Paris, 2 from Marseilles).
- On that note, the strong Maginot opening is rare; only 2 games had Mar S Par-Bur.
- Only 2 games featured the anti-Italian Marseilles-Piedmont move.
- About half the time (8/15), Paris went to Picardy. Also in 8/15 games, Marseilles went to Spain.
- The most popular combination of German moves by far was Kiel-Den, Ber-Kie, Mun-Ruh, with 9/15 games. The Burgundy DMZ holds surprisingly often.
- Next most popular is Kiel-Den, Ber-Kie, Mun-Bur.
- Which leaves two games with unusual moves: (1) Kie-Den, Ber H, Mun-Kie, and (2) Kie-Den, Ber-Sil, Mun-Ruh. Oddly enough, those were in the two games I played this season.
- Italian weasels had as much variation as France, with 9 different combinations.
- Naples usually goes to Ionian, as expected, 12/15 times. In the other 3 games–all of which were pub games–it went to Tyrrhenian.
- 5/15 games featured the immediate anti-French Venice-Piedmont; more than I expected.
- Only 3/15 games featured the immediate Austrian attack, Nap-Ion, Rom-Ven, Ven-Tyr. 1 game featured Nap-Ion, Rom-Ven, Ven-Tri, which seems anti-Austrian; another featured Nap-Ion, Rom-Apu, Ven-Tri, which looks like a planned bounce.
- Only 6/15 games featured Rome-Apulia, which again surprised me. Most Italians aren’t even setting up the possibility of a Lepanto.
- Also lots of possibilities, with 9 combinations.
- But there was a clear most common set of moves, the standard Russian Sev-BLA, StP-GoB, Mos-Ukr, War-Gal, with 6/15 games.
- For all the North-directed English openings, only 3 games featured Mos-StP.
- As expected, Sev-BLA was featured in the vast majority of games, 12/15 times.
- Only one game featured the anti-German War-Sil.
- Also only one game featured the bizarre StP-Fin.
- 10/15 times, Russia moved War-Gal (slightly more often than Austria moved Vie-Gal). I didn’t total up how many times this was a bounce.
- Only 1 game featured Sev-Arm.
- There are generally only two Turkish moves; 14/15 games featured Ank-BLA and Con-Bul as expected.
- Of those 14 games, 8 featured Smy-Con, 5 Smy-Arm. There was a big divide, with home games being about evenly split between those moves and pub games heavily favoring Smy-Con. Given that pub games are more likely to have novice Turks, the conventional wisdom that experienced players are more likely to try Smy-Arm likely holds.
- Only one Turk didn’t move to the Black Sea, opening the Russo-Turk anti-Italian Ank-Con, Con-Bul, Smy H.
- And one Turk played the very bizarre combination Ank-BLA, Con-Bul, Smy-Ank. I assume a novice.