Flexible Setup -- Two Eliminations In 1901?

"Attend closely, Watson," said Holmes, "and you will just possibly learn something of my methods. First, let us ask again, but this time with respect to 'Flexible Setup', which individual powers can possibly be eliminated in 1901?

"Russia cannot be. Still, no unit could take Moscow.

"Turkey still cannot be. A Russian unit (or the Austrian army from Budapest) could reach either Constantinople or Ankara, and an army (Italian or Austrian) could be convoyed into either Constantinople or Smyrna; but there is no way for a third foreign unit to reach a third Turkish home SC.

"England is still proof against first-year elimination. To eliminate England, one English fleet would have to begin at Edinburgh and be occupied in the Fall in convoying a foreign army into Edinburgh, since no other fleet can reach either the Norwegian Sea or the North Sea in the Spring. The other English fleet must start the game at Liverpool and be cooperating in Fall with the French fleet (from Brest) in convoying a foreign army into Liverpool. But no other fleet (besides the two English and the one French) can have reached a position adjacent to London, so no fleet can either capture London or convoy an army into London in the Fall.

"Nor can Italy be eliminated. The same reasoning applies with equal force as before, as Rome still must be taken by convoy; note that Rome cannot be reached overland by an Austrian army beginning the year in Trieste, because the Austrian fleet would then have to have begun inland -- a violation of the Flexible Setup rules.

"France, Austria, and Germany are still vulnerable as before; if a series of events is possible under Standard rules, it remains possible under Flexible Setup, since it is possible for every unit to begin a Flexible Setup game in its Standard location.

"But now we ask, can any two of these be eliminated?

"Our reasonings regarding the first two pairs of powers apply just as before. France and Germany cannot both be eliminated in 1901; nor can Germany and Austria.

"But France and Austria can both be eliminated! The key here is to realize that with Flexible Setup, there is a third unit (besides Munich and Venice) that could take Marseilles -- one of the Italian armies can convoy in! But if an Italian army convoys into Marseilles -- and remember that the other Italian army must take either Vienna or Budapest (Warsaw taking the other, and Munich taking Paris) -- how can the capture of Trieste (which was the task we had assigned to this second Italian army in our discussion of Austrian elimination in a standard game) possibly be effected? Only by a Turkish army, convoyed by three fleets -- the Turkish fleet in the Aegean Sea or the Eastern Mediterranean, the Italian fleet in the Ionian Sea, and the Austrian fleet in the Adriatic Sea!"

I was speechless. Holmes continued.

"We still have to answer the question, though, as to which Italian province contains a unit in Spring 1901?

"We know that the Italian fleet must move in Spring into the Ionian Sea to be ready for the Turkish convoy in the Fall, and likewise that an Italian army must start in Venice and move immediately into Trieste or Tyrolia, preparatory to taking either Vienna or Budapest in the Fall. So the Italian army that is to convoy into Marseilles must begin in Rome and move to a location from which it can be convoyed by the single French fleet, no other fleet being available to help with the convoy -- and that French fleet must have begun at Marseilles.

"Now the French fleet is necessarily in the Gulf of Lyon, the only ocean province to which it could have moved in the Spring. So the convoyed army must have moved from Rome to Tuscany in the Spring, Tuscany being the only land province adjacent both to Rome and to the Gulf of Lyon.

"So we see that France and Austria are the only two powers which can both be eliminated in 1901, and that Tuscany -- and no other Italian province -- contains a unit after the Spring movement!"

Back to the puzzle....