ALB & GSB

HC II

Overview

Hucknall Cup is played along the lines of Intimate Diplomacy, however there are two differences with the first being that the cup is a knock-out competition whereas the other is a league. The second difference is that all 16 players are in HCII and a player in D1 can play a D2 player; knowing that if beaten, you are out of the cup!


Players and GMs

Below is the list of players and even though their division for IDV has no relevance in HCII, it is shown.

Sadly, Peter Hawkins suddenly died in September 2010 during his Round 1 game. He was only 54 years old. Such a great loss!

Name Division
Ally Bain 2
Kester Bearne 1
Brian Frew 1
Carl Hanich 1
Steve Hanich 1
Peter Hawkins 1
Jon Hucknall 2
Richard Hucknall 1
Todd Hunter-Gilbert 2
Graeme Murphy 2
James Ogle 2
Brian O'Farrell 2
Jim O'Neil 1
Greg Pierce 2
Michael Valentine 2
John Wright 1


The following have given-up their time to GM the games.

GMs
Ally Bain
Kester Bearne
Carl Hanich
Steve Hanich
Richard Hucknall
Todd Hunter-Gilbert


Rounds

The tables below show who played against whom together with which country they played. In addition it shows which season the game ended and of course the GM in charge of that game.

1st Round
Home Player Home Country Away Player Away Country GM Winner Season
Kester Italy Richard Turkey Steve Richard A02
Steve Turkey Ally Italy Richard Steve B06
Jim France James Germany Carl James B04
Todd Italy John Austria-Hungary Kester John A03
Graeme Turkey Carl England Ally Carl S06
Peter Austria-Hungary Greg England Richard Greg With regret a bye
Jon Russia Brian O France Todd Brian O A03
Michael Russia Brian F Austria-Hungary Steve Brian F A01

With great sadness, this was Peter Hawkins final game and he did not manage to complete it, so Greg won with a bye.

Congratulations to the above 8 winners who now proceed to the quarter-finals. Like last year, three of them are Division Two players!

The feature match was the first one involving two former ID Champs. Richard (Turkey) had never won a Cup game before, a Cup which bears his name, so he was quite relieved when he managed a win against the formidable Kester (Italy). Richard bid hard for Austria, controlling it in 1902 after it was neutral in 1901 for quite a quick win. Steve (Turkey) a D1 rookie in only his second year beat the experienced Ally (Italy) with exactly the same powers as the first game with the same result! Again Austria was the key. Steve managed to control her in 1901 and Ally never really recovered as Steve gradually extended his lead against a determined Ally.

Jim (France) was looking for his maiden Cup win and lost against the rookie James (Germany) in what will probably go down as the biggest upset in IDV leaving both Scotsmen scratching their heads (Ally is the other Scotsmen who also lost). This was James' first ever game, so bookies probably would have given you 20 to 1 odds against the might and experience and tough as nails Jim!! It was also Germany's first game with 22 Starting Credits. James started 1901 extremely well and had a surprisingly strong grasp of the Bidding that others have taken years to master. 1903 was the pivotal year and a couple of close calls went against Jim and James never looked back. John (Austria) had a win against Todd (Italy) in the most stressful of pairing there is in ID. And this game went longer than most as it is war right from the beginning and the only pairing where a game can be lost in Spring 1901! Todd has a fantastic Credit advantage after 1901, but used it all in 1902, which allowed John's Austria to win as it tends to do in this pairing.

Carl (England) achieved what no-one else has ever managed to do in ID and win as England against Turkey. Graeme played Turkey and this was his first ever game, so if anyone was ever going to achieve this feat, it was going to be under favourable conditions like this. Graeme only had Italy once in the six game years, which allowed Carl's England to enter the Med unopposed and take all Italian centres unopposed and therefore not allow Graeme to form a stalemate line. Graeme did learn a few things about the Bidding quite quickly but it was too late to save his first ever game. Brian O (France) played a great game winning against Jon (Russia) by docking a fleet in St Petersburg in Autumn 1903. Brian controlled Germany in all the game years and England in two of the three years, cleverly focusing his attack on Russia's weakness. A textbook example on how to play France against Russia. And in the final game, Brian F (Austria) who is playing brilliantly at the moment captured Warsaw in Autumn 1901 against Mike (Russia). Brian managed to get all but one of the Mercenaries and ruthlessly attacked the unsuspecting Mike!


Quarter-Final
Home Player Home Country Away Player Away Country GM Winner Season
Carl Italy Brian F England Richard Drawn S05
Steve Russia John Germany Richard Steve B03
Greg France Richard Russia Steve Richard S04
Brian O Russia James Italy Steve Brian O A06

Replay
Home Player Home Country Away Player Away Country GM Winner Season
Brian F Italy Carl Russia Richard Carl A03

Our first Hucknall Cup drawn game, so we have our first replay. Two of the Tourney's heavyweights drew each other in Carl (Italy) versus Brian F (England) which more than likely results in a draw. Carl was still reeling after losing his first game in 17 consecutive games to Brian in his Round 1 League game and held out a determined Brian for a draw. In the replay, Carl (Russia) controlled the crucial mercenaries and once Russia got going, Brian (Italy) had no answer. The replay means that Carl has used an additional power and will be at a somewhat disadvantage in the semi-final.

Steve (Russia) was on cruise control to beat John (Germany) quite quickly as one does in this pairing, or so he thought!! But with Germany now starting with an additional 2 credits and being played by the more than capable John, it was a nail biting game with John having an army in Sevastopol in 1902 by controlling Turkey in the first two years – quite extraordinary. Fortunately for Steve, he had managed to take Berlin simultaneously so the game continued. Then, with a huge credit deficit, John overspent and then conceded.

Richard (Russia) got off to a solid start and was never troubled in his game against Greg (France) despite Greg targeting Russia's Capital which is its biggest weak spot.

And to complete four wins for Russia, Brian O (Russia) overcame a spirited James (Italy) to inflict the first ever defeat for the rookie. As in the other games, once Russia gets going, she is very hard to stop. As with IDIV, we have one Division Two player who has made the semis, namely Brian O, and two players who were in Division Two last year!! Only one of the four semi-finalists has been there before and knows the immense pressure one is under!


Semi-Final
Home Player Home Country Away Player Away Country GM Winner Season
Brian O'Farrell Germany Richard Hucknall England Carl Hanich Brian O'Farrell S03
Steve Hanich Italy Carl Hanich Turkey Richard Hucknall Carl Hanich B03

It should have been a walk in the park for Richard, playing an average Division Two player, but with Brian clearly having a bit more time on his hands with the holiday season and therefore focusing, Brian played brilliantly. Has Germany with the two additional credits become one of the Big Guns with this quick and decisive win? Brian controlled Russia (one of the two key mercenaries) in all the three years and has now made history to become the first Division Two player to ever reach a Hucknall Cup Final!

The other semi-final saw the Hanich brothers do battle in the always tense and pretty evenly matched Italy versus Turkey. Carl, the IDIV League and Cup Champion has had a bad start in the League this season whereas Steve in his first year in Division One is leading the League. With Steve is such good form and Carl losing only a few months ago with the same home power pairings, Carl got aggressive and secured Russia in all the three game years and Austria in two of the years.

So Carl gets to defend his title against Brian. Ironically the two finalists are both languishing at the bottom of their respective divisions in the League!


Final
Home Player Home Country Away Player Away Country GM Winner Season
Carl Hanich Austria-Hungary Brian O'Farrell England Richard Hucknall Carl Hanich S08

This pairing can easily end in draw, so Carl went towards France immediately to deny Brian the oxygen to build. Brian retaliated by bidding hard for France allowing Carl to control Italy and Turkey very cheaply and gain a solid start. Carl built German and Russian fleets which lulled Brian into overspending in 1905 which consequently sealed Brian's fate.

So Carl wins the first two Hucknall Cups. Will Carl lose his first Hucknall Cup game in IDVI? Or will he win a hat trick of Hucknall Cups?


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