B Division was not, despite all my interest, everything going on at Pinball At The Zoo. For one, many of our friends were busy playing in the A Division finals. They got off to a slow start, partly because it's impossible to get 24 people organized in a whole expo center full of people. And partly because many of them were playing in the Classics Finals. MWS, who'd got into the Classics finals after a tiebreaker on Friday night, and then turned out not to need it because someone above him wasn't there Saturday morning, had a tolerable day in that tournament: he won in the quarterfinals. He came in third in his group in the semifinals, knocking him out of the classics tournament at that point, but that did give him some time to get to the bathroom and grab something to eat and find out how I was doing in the B Division before he had to get to work. Our friends ADM and RLM would also be knocked out in the semifinals. TG, who'd be the one that picked Whoa Nellie in my group in Main Tournament B Division, would make his way to a triumphant finish in the Classics and it is, of course, swell to know someone who's done that well.
The A Division finals would be a little complicated, since eight players had first-round byes. MWS would have a nail-biter to get through the quarter finals --- a second-place and then a last-place finish on the first two tables, before a first-place finish on Tommy that brought him through the second round. ADM would have three third-place finishes and get knocked out. PH, who ran the tournament, would get a first-place (on Meteor of all things), a third-place, and a last-place finish to knock him out of the tournament. CST would have two first-place and one third-place finish, marching ahead confidently.
And it would go on much like this. CST would finish the quarterfinals in a three-way tie and have to play Whoa Nellie as a tiebreaker. He doesn't like the game any more than bunny_hugger and I do. But he put up six thousand points when he needed to, which is more than we could have done put together. But CST would be knocked out --- with three straight last-place finishes --- in the semifinals. (Unfounded speculation about this to follow.) AJH, currently Michigan's top-ranked player, would be knocked out too, although on two second-place and one last-place finish. MWS ... he would go on, with one first and two third-place finishes.
So MWS was in the finals, to his surprise and delight. Ours too. Also in was JM, who hasn't been to many Michigan-area pinball events but has done well enough in them to be 13th-ranked in the state right now. He's also player number 255 in the International Flipper Pinball Association database; I'm number 23,917, for comparison. We kind of know him. EDB, who's from Delaware, Ohio, was in. So was YBX, someone else we hadn't seen before. I think he was one of those drawn by this being a Professional and Amateur Pinball Association-certified circuit event.
MWS had a lousy first game, Mustang, and started out in last place. His score was one-tenth the first-place finisher's, and not quite a fifth that of YBX and EDB. But score isn't everything. YBX was rattled. I'm not sure what happened but it was obvious from his body language, and from his next games: he never really got the ball in control, and he tilted several times. Tilting is normal enough, but losing your temper while tilting is abnormal. And that hurt him. On the last game, Prospector among the Old tables, a tilted-away bonus almost surely dropped him from second to third place on that machine. But that wouldn't have helped him, at that point; he was a lock in for fourth place.
EDB, who'd got second on Prospector, wouldn't have been hurt had YBX not tiled away his bonus. Even a third-place finish would have left him in first place, which is where he ended up. MWS, now, he had to not just win on Prospector --- he did --- but he had to root for EDB to finish last, which would have sent them to a tiebreaker for first place. EDB didn't finish last (it wasn't even close), and so MWS had to find a way to be content finishing second in the main tournament.
Second place, in a tournament of 158 people who played at all, is not bad. He would reap a bounty of 35.50 points in the IFPA rankings, and that's got him put in fourth place in the hotly contested Michigan state ratings. (For scale, I'm puttering around at 24th, with an accumulated total of just under 25 IFPA ranking points, and with nearly as many credited events as MWS has got this year.)
Trivia: On the 1st of May, 1861, the Confederate Congress took up a bill moving the capital from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia. Virginia's state legislature had approved secession, but contingent to a plebiscite not to be held until the 17th. Source: The Confederate Nation, 1861 - 1865, Emory M Thomas.
Currently Reading: Year Zero: A History of 1945, Ian Buruma.