Paul Pignotti was one of the great characters of the club's early days. The Hammer of the Old Guard burst onto the Windy City Weasels Diplomacy scene at Season 1's Weasel Pyle.
He was brash, intense, and seething with testosterone and menace. In fact, he once grew a full beard over the course of a house game.
To know him was to love him, but getting to know him was like an organic chemistry class--the process weeded out a lot of hopefuls.
And then he had kids.
Fatherhood mellowed Paul and also cut into his hobby time. The frequency of his trips down from Wisconsin diminished. When he did show up, his play style and general demeanor were more relaxed, even happy-go-lucky. Occasionally, his eyes would flicker with rage, but for the most part, Paul the father treated the hobby as a getaway, not a battleground.
But every now and then, the Hammer will pounce on a board and cripple it for life. Such was the case in Game No. 361, played February 11 at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1908 turn in the following center counts:
A gray sky surrounds the grayer plains… or is it snow? There is nothing around except a few bare trees, no one to talk to, no place for respite. It is cold, damn cold. There is no more Ritz to be Putin on. You inhale, reeking of friends lost and hopelessness, but the only showers here are (allegedly) used to blackmail other, more important players.
Do you have what it takes to survive the winter? This, weasels, is where we share our Wisdom.
THE WISE OLD WEASEL—RUSSIA
“Why does this club hate Russia?” ponders club founder and Soviet sweetheart Jim O’Kelly. Verily, Russia is the most difficult country to play in this club, as it is the least likely to top or split a top.
Perhaps it is because of this club’s proclivity to the Sundstrom/ Armenia opening. Perhaps it is because Germany tends to bounce Sweden. Perhaps it is because two units are often bounced in S01. Perhaps it is the lack of guaranteed builds. Perhaps it is because Russia always happens to look big. Perhaps it is because Germany is too eager to move east. Perhaps it is because it neighbors nearly every nation and has the most number of “strategically imperative” diplomatic conversations early in the game. Perhaps Weasels are just fulfilling their patriotic duty.
Much like matryoshka doll, each Russian problem just opens up into another Russian problem. Playing Russia can be a real bear.
YOUR RUSSIAN INSPIRATION
I debated putting the "Miracle on Ice" here, but found this more appropriate. For context, you are the bear.
Quit Stalin and drop by the comments to leave your motherland musings.
Hit the JUMP for Russia stats, correlations, and the part where Jake posts links he knows are broken and reminds himself to correct them later.