The same day as Dutch championship there was also Latvian Carcassonne championship. This year we set a new participant record - 50 people! We were divided into 2 groups (24 and 26 players) and started championship. Our format is very close to World championship format - we play 5 rounds of head-to-head games, recalculating Buchholz after each round in order to get opponent with the same skill. Our all-time champion was very busy with his studies at Finland, so he didn't come. This was my chance to take the throne!
First round fixtures are completely random, and my opponent was 5-6-years old boy. I was so unhappy to win from him, but this is championship after all. He played pretty well, escaped some of my traps, tried to set traps for me, didn't allow me to connect to his long road. During final scoring, before counting farmers, we were even - 76:76! But he didn't place any farmer, meantime I had 5 on different fields, which made all the difference. I advised him to pay attention to farms in his next games and I was truly happy for him, because he won at least one game (his last one)!
MrsNumbers also took part in the championship, we were at the same group, and her first opponent was woman, who won my last tournament with expansions, and who won from me two games in group stage in 2015. MrsNumbers lost that game.
But I lost my second game. Everyone can tell about at least one game in his "carrier", when you just can't win: you made everything right, you own main farm, but you opponent just continues to collect points and you can't do anything about it. This was my only chance for mistake, so, if I wanted to qualify into play-off games, I needed to win all remaining games. MrsNumbers won her second game, so we both needed the same.
My third game looked more like a friendly game: we finished together two big cities and one long road, the only difference was final scores: I had more than 50 points advantage
MrsNumbers also had a win.
Fourth game was tough one - against finalist of Championship'2014. We started to spend meeples to potentially big city, then my opponent started to build his own cities, but soon enough I managed to block them: both his cities needed cfrr, all of which were already gone, and second half of the game I relaxed. Another win for me and MrsNumbers.
My final game was against newbie at championships, so I didn't know what to expect. Nothing special, relatively easy win. MrsNumbers did the same and we both qualified! MrsNumbers qualified from 3rd place in the group and I - from 4th (due worse Buchholtz).
My QF game was against B group winner. Unexpectedly easy win for me. But MrsNumbers lost here QF game against former champion (2012). She wasn't upset, as she needed to catch the bus to Lithuania (work trip).
In semi-finals I met the same woman from first MrsNumbers's game. There is such definition "uncomfortable opponent". She IS my uncomfortable opponent! It looks like she plays almost randomly: she places tiles very fast. She spent less than 5 minutes to the whole game, meanwhile I spent more than 15 minutes. I lost by 5 points. Another lost opportunity to became national champion. After that I easily won a game for 3rd place, but that woman became Latvian champion: in final game she won from champion'2012 (the one from MrsNumbers's QF game).
So this year I will try to sneak to the Worlds the same way I did it last year. Who knows, maybe I will have my second chance Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3218.0