Students Go ‘Four’ Chance To Win

30 students vie for prizes, but only one ‘connects’ with $20 Finale gift tab

A new name, that of Max A. Newman ’07 must be added to the pantheon of Harvard’s great leisure-sport players. The Dunster House Grille played host to its first ever Connect Four Championship Tournament last night.

The organizers, Dunster House residents Sophia P. Snyder ‘07 and Dara F. Goodman ‘07 postered, e-mailed, and networked their way to an entry pool of roughly 30 contestants.

The music blared, the pieces clacked, and the victors rose as the double-elimination tournament rolled on through the night.

Sticky notes for a $10 tab at the Grille went to the first and second runners-up and a $20 Finale gift certificate went to the champion. Though the stakes were high, the victims of the seven-column-by-six-row vertical playing field remained composed in the face of defeat.

“I’m not a very good game player—so I pretty much expected to lose going in,” said E.E. Keenan ’06, one of the contestants who failed to advance past the preliminary round. “But I thought it was a lot of fun.”

Though the tournament teetered on chaos from time to time, with plans to follow a pre-made bracket falling by the wayside, the spirit of fun prevailed throughout the night.

One of those responsible for that spirit, tournament music director and residential tutor Martin S. Bell ’03, shed some insight into the game at hand and the importance of his role in the event.

“Connect Four is, if nothing else, a game fueled by pure adrenaline,” said Bell, who is a former Crimson sports executive. Describing his objective as “playing the pumpingest jock jams I can possibly fill this room with,” Bell put together a playlist that kept the tension in the room at a fever pitch. “Anything to pump that adrenaline.”

Eventually the tournament whittled its way down to the final three.

Falling just one four-token chain short of the championship match, second runner-up Joshua D. Samuelson ‘06, a former Crimson photo executive, described the moment when he realized that his dream was over. “I was red and all of a sudden I noticed all the red chips trapped at the bottom amongst a sea of black chips” said Samuelson. “I was bested by a better player”.

That better player was Megan E. Camm ’07. Her prize? A match with the champion-to-be Newman.

The final round was expanded to a best two-of-three format, and fittingly, a third game would be needed. As House of Pain’s “Jump Around” blared in the room, the two faced off to a near stalemate. The decisive black to A6 finisher, played with the very last available piece, left the crowd in awe.

Despite falling short at the absolute cusp of triumph, Camm was content with her prize. “This is a moment I’ve wanted for a long time, and I couldn’t have lost to a greater opponent,” she said.

Newman, staying true to the jovial mood of the night, was a gracious winner, remembering to thank those that made his triumph possible. “Dara and Sophia are sweet for giving me $20 in Finale food, and all I had to do was play games.”