Days of Wonder was proud to announce its winner of the Ticket to Ride World Championships today. This announcement was however scarred by the fact that the initial champion was caught cheating. As a result they have had to award the championship to Kenneth Heilfron (USA). Fortunately for all involved the cheating was observed and brought to light very quickly before official announcements went out. This championship had been broadcast over the internet and numerous fans watching in addition to competitors there in person pointed out the issues to DoW.
This news is very unfortunate. That being said in the end the caliber of our community truly shined. That we had fans who cared enough to actually watch this championship live and were able to call out someone for cheating speaks well to this community.
Days of Wonder’s official press release below
Representing the USA, Kenneth Heilfron is officially declared the 2014 Ticket to Ride World Champion as the previously announced champion, Erwin Pauelsen has resigned his title.
After more that 25,000 contestants played around the world, Days of Wonder gathered the 28 National Champions in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France for the final stage of the Ticket to Ride World Championship tournament. After 3 qualifying rounds, the top 8 then played a succession of head to head games for quarter, semi and then championship games. Erwin Pauelsen appeared to have won the final match and was awarded the Golden Train Trophy.
However, quickly after the event ended, contestants and Ticket to Ride fans from around the world (who were able to follow the tournament live on the internet) voiced concerns about possible irregularities during the final game.
Days of Wonder closely examined the final matches and unfortunately found evidence of cheating during the 2nd game of the final. Mr Pauelsen has admitted to his dishonesty and agreed to hand back his title and trophy.
In accordance with the Official Rules of the 2014 Ticket to Ride Championship, the final ranking is now as follows:
- 2014 Ticket to Ride Champion: Kenneth Heilfron (USA)
- 2nd Place: Michel Hautecœur (Belgium)
- 3rd Place: Piotr Hrachun (Russia)
While it is unfortunate that the Championship was marred by cheating, Kenneth is a true champion and Days of Wonder congratulates him on winning the title.
The board game world, specifically the Ticket to Ride community, has always been one filled with friendly and fair competitors. It saddens us that this dishonest behavior occurred, especially given all the time and energy put into the Championship – not only by the company, but by the hundreds of volunteers who helped run Ticket to Ride events worldwide. Days of Wonder is thankful to those who have helped to uncover and resolve this situation in the most honorable way possible.