A Series of Progressive Southern Stalemate Positions
Robert Bryan Lipton
After the reaction to my article on Northern stalemate positions,
I have been badgered to write one on the Southern position. Surprisingly,
I found not one but two progressions. The more unlikely one goes
- Por, Spa, Tun, Con, Ank, Smy. (6)
- F NAf, F Wes, A Por, A Spa, A Con, A Arm. (6)
- F Wes & A Por S Spa.
I believe that this is the smallest possible Southern stalemate
position. Note that no enemy fleets can be tolerated in the Mediterranean;
this is an unlikely stalemate, but possible. (("no enemy
fleets" means real or potential. France, Italy, Austria and
Russia must all be out of the game, if this position is held by
Turkey. Thus, it would only be meaningful against an E-G alliance
--- Mark Berch, Diplomacy Digest 10-11 (April-May 1978).))
Except for changing armies for fleets, there can be no variations.
- Por, Spa, Tun, Nap, Rom, Con, Ank, Smy. (8)
- F NAf, F Wes, A Por, A Spa, A Apu, A Rom, A Con, A
- F Wes & A Por S Spa; A Apu S Rom.
This expansion onto the Italian peninsula can be extended to include
Venice by having the following units and moves in Italy: A Ven
H; A Tus & A Apu S Ven.
- Por, Spa, Tun, Nap, Rom, Ven, Ser, Gre, Bul, Con, Ank,
- F NAf, F Wes, A Por, A Spa, A Apu, A Tus, A Ven, A Alb,
A Ser, A Bul, A Arm. (11)
- F Wes & A Por S Spa; A Apu & A Tus S Ven; A Alb
& A Bul S Ser.
As can be seen, this line has a spare unit; a living Russia can
be guarded against by changing A Arm to F Arm and having it support
F Bla. (I'm not suggesting that you do this in the middle of a
game. Opponents tend to frown on this sort of thing.) Or, instead
of this, Piedmont can be taken and held by having A Tus support
A Pie, and A Apu supporting A Ven. It's all a matter of personal
- Por, Spa, Mar, Tun, Nap, Rom, Ven, Ser, Gre, Bul, Con,
Ank, Smy. (13)
- F NAf, F Wes, A Por, A Spa, F Lyo, A Mar, A Pie, A
Ven, A Alb, A Ser, A Bul, A Arm. (12)
- A Por S Spa; F Lyo S Mar; A Pie S Ven; A Alb &
A Bul S Ser.
This individual position is important because it links up the
Italian and Iberian fronts. As I remarked in my previous article
on stalemates (Graustark #268) this is desirable, since
it cuts down on the number of units needed in defensive maneuvers.
For instance, that army in Mar frees the fleet in Wes (or Por,
if a fleet is there) for an attack on the Mid.
- Por, Spa, Mar, Tun, Nap, Rom, Ven, Tri, Ser, Rum,
Gre, Bul, Con, Ank, Smy. (15)
- F NAf, F Wes, A Por, A Spa, F Lyo, A Mar, A Pie, A Ven, A
Tri, A Alb, A Ser, A Rum, A Bul, F Bla, A Arm.
- A Por S Spa; F Lyo S Mar; A Ven & A Alb S Tri; A Ser,
A Bul & F Bla S Rum.
What! Better than half of the units are just sitting. Something's
rotten in the South. Wrong. "Holds" are used when the
units are not necessary for defensive purposes other than just
being there. If there weren't a unit in Armenia, then troops could
pour down from Sev; ruining the basis of Southern resistance.
But, that army in Armenia could be doing something like attacking
Sevastopol; if it gets in, the situation becomes the following
variation: A Arm S Sev. That's it. You now have 16 units. Where
can you get the seventeenth?
- Por, Spa, Mar, Tun, Nap, Rom, Ven, Tri, Vie, Bud,
Ser, Rum, Gre, Bul, Con, Ank, Smy. (17)
- F NAf, F Wes, A Por, A Spa, F Lyo, A Mar, A Pie, A Trl,
A Vie, A Bud, A Rum, A Bul, F Bla, A Arm. (14)
- A Por S Spa; F Lyo S Mar; A Pie S Trl; A Bud S Vie;
A Bul & F Bla S Rum
Now, pick up Sev, and you've won. I don't mean to imply that this
is the only series of stalemate positions for the South. Although
the South needs more units (6) than the North (4) for its smallest
stalemate, this seems to be compensated by interesting series
of positions, like the one that follows.
((I hate to be rude, but I want to insert something else here.
Notice that Lipton's Positions 2-6 are extensions of Position
1 into Italy (and elsewhere). What follows is an extension of
Position 1 that does not require so much as one Italian center.
It appeared in Graustark #310 (11 May 1974) and was written by
Douglas Reif, dated 3 April 1973. --- Mark Berch, Diplomacy Digest
10-11, April-May 1978.))
- Por, Spa, Tun, Tri, Bud, Ser, Rum, Gre, Bul, Sev, Con,
Ank, Smy. (13)
- U NAf, F Wes, U Por, U Spa, F Adr; U Tri; U Alb; A Bud;
A Ser; U Rum; U Bul(ec); U Sev; F Bla (or U Arm). (13)
- F Wes & U Por S Spa; F Adr & U Alb S Tri; A Ser
S Bud; U Bul S Rum; F Bla S Sev.
Extension: Add Rom, Nap -- A Apu, U Rom -- A Apu S Rom.
Extension: Add Ven -- A Ven -- U Rom & A Apu S Ven.
Extension: Add Vie -- A Vie -- A Bud & U Tri S Vie.
((Now, getting back to Lipton's article.... --- Mark Berch,
Diplomacy Digest 10--11, April-May 1978.))
- Ank, Bud, Bul, Con, Gre, Nap, Rom, Rum, Ser, Sev, Smy, Tri,
Ven, Vie. (14)
- A Sev, A Rum, A Vie, A Ven, A Rom, F Ion, F Bla, A Bul, A
Bud, A Tri, A Apu, F Adr, A Nap, F Aeg. (14)
- F Bla S Sev; A Bul S Rum; A Bud & A Tri S Vie; A Apu &
F Adr S Ven; A Nap S Rom; F Aeg S Ion.
Variations are numerous.
- Change F Aeg to F TyS and have it hold; then turn A Rom &
A Nap to fleets, and have F Ion, F Nap & F Rom S TyS.
- Change A Bul in for A Gal, A Ven in for A Pie, A Tri for
A Boh, and A Apu for A
Tus. Then have A Vie & A Bud support A Gal, have A Trl support
A Boh, and have A Tus S Pie, and there's a new stalemate. It's
also more comforting to realize that the only supply center in
danger ((from an NMR I imagine --- Mark Berch, Diplomacy Digest
10-11 (April-May 1978).)) is Rum.
(( I'm going to excise Positions 2 and 3 as they appear to
be extensions of positions covered in Verheiden's "Minimal Southern Stalemate Positions".
--- Mark Berch, Diplomacy Digest 10--11, April--May 1978. ))
Finally, the last part of this; you may have noticed that all
Southern stalemates control either the Italian peninsula, all
of the Mediterranean or both. But, working on hints dropped by
John Beshera, concerning game 1967U, in which he and the late
George Heap held out against the Italians and Germans for such
a long time that the game took 27 "years", I have discovered
a stalemate that requires neither.
(( John Beshera later published "Fundamental Stalemate Positions, III"
which is devoted to precisely this topic. The position Lipton
mentions here is reproduced as Beshera's Position III,
so I won't reproduce it here. --- Matthew Self, The Diplomatic
Pouch (December 1995). ))
Reprinted from Graustark #282, 13th January 1973.
Retyped for email distribution by Mark Nelson
Converted to HTML by Matthew Self (email@example.com),