Charles Drozd, Charles Catania, Richard Beyma, Jim Tracy, Jim Eliason, Marty Musella, Doug Richards, Lembit Tohver, Art Lupinacci, and Rob Beyma all advanced to Round 2 Thursday afternoon.
Rob Beyma, playing the Russians, survived Charles Drozd's 1941 offensive despite perfect German weather in the fall.
Charles Catania joined Richard, Art, Jim, and Rob who had all advanced to Round 3 for the second straight year.
In the other semi-final, Charles Catania was enlisted as an eliminator to play Rob.
Snow in November ended Charles's attempt at preventing Rob from reaching his 4th consecutive Final.
The Final saw another Beyma family tree father and son match (Rob and Richard had met in the Waterloo semi-finals last year).
Rob constructed an opening German attack to eliminate a lot of Russians.
The key attack was a 5-1 versus 2431 to enable an un-doubled and surrounded attack against 2029 during the 2nd impulse.
Four '1' rolls slowed the German attack and two of the four panzer corps in the south were flipped during the 2nd impulse.
Richard defended forward in force to both minimize German Turn 2 penetration and to force Rob to use precious clock time to plan his attacks.
With a +1 weather DRM for Nov / Dec, Rob figured that he had better go all out on Turn 3.
Rob noticed that Stalino was defended by a lone WEC.
The remaining full strength panzer in the south and one of the flipped panzers headed straight for Stalino.
Rob decided to use 50 factors and three Stukas in the center to AV the 7-4 and break three panzers into the Russian rear.
One panzer raced straight for an undefended Voronezh.
The other two set up for a second impulse attack on the 6-4 in Kursk.
Three Stukas that were still based in Bucharest were used to attack Odessa along with the 3-8 cavalry and three flipped infantry units.
Rob decided to surround both Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk with mostly infantry.
In the north, a lone 7-8 panzer corps crossed the Luga and, with the aid of six infantry corps that had finally reached the Luga, made a second impulse 7-1 attack.
Rob scrapped together two infantry corps and a 7-8 panzer plus the last two Stukas to attack two Russian units in the forest next to Bryansk at 4-1.
An unfortunate X2 result flipped another panzer (which was intended to support the second impulse attack at Kursk).
The attack on Kursk was now only a 4-1 and another X2 was rolled flipping another panzer and eliminating the SS unit.
Rob also staged Stukas to Bryansk and Voronezh during second impulse.
Ominously, Rob was down to only 45 minutes for the last four turns of the game.
Rob, recognizing the danger to his center position from this critical attack, committed the last German Field Marshal to make it a 2-1 (-2) attack.
A '2' was rolled and Bryansk was saved.
Rob was fortunate to roll Mud / Mud in Nov / Dec.
Despite Rob adding a Field Marshal to each attack, Richard rolled a 10 on both attacks and got two D1 results.
Rob could have made Kursk 1-1 proof but failed to notice that the ZOC of a 3-6 that had slipped into the German rear was blocking the rail to Kursk until it was too late to march an infantry unit from Bryansk to Kursk.
A D2 was achieved on the second German stack at Veliki-Luki.
The German player was unlucky to "win" the 2-1 against his other stack next to Kursk; the Russians picked up the whole stack during second impulse on a 4-1 surrounded attack.
The momentum was shifting to the Russians and Richard's confidence was growing.
It was now Rob's turn to be concerned.
The next "roll of the game" would be the Mar / Apr weather roll.
Rob's woes were compounded by the fact that he had only 12 minutes remaining for the last two turns.
Rob was considering conceding on a Snow roll (a 50% chance) but probably would have gone one more turn, especially with Lt Mud during second impulse.
Rob was really hoping for Mud / Mud to enable a quick move and to limit Russian attacks and advances.
So, Rob picked up the black die and tossed it into the dice tower.
Rob had won his fourth Russia Besieged wood.
The game was much closer than the final VP tally would indicate.
In fact, the Russians would have had the edge going into Mar / Apr had Snow been rolled.
A Mud / Mud weather roll would have resulted in a very close ending.
No one, especially Art, Jim, or Rob, will be surprised if Richard wins it all next year - but that would still keep it all in the family.
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