Epic struggle with @irishdomer08 still in turn 9, thought I would update since we seem to be the last matchup still underway of the first tourney round.
We both bid +1 to play as USSR and I ended up as USA. I was able to put that +1 in Iran and headline ME scoring in turn 1 for 4 VPs. Then, in what seems like the most defining aspect of this game so far, he drew and played the next seven scoring cards over the rest of early and mid-war, and actually drew an eighth scoring card and discarded it with 5yp, before I drew my second scoring card of the game.
He skillfully played these for maximum advantage and was up 12 VP by early turn 4 making me seriously worry about losing on points before even getting to late war, and he also somehow managed to stay ahead in total battlegrounds the entire time until turn 7. Surely I had more chances to play cards for ops while he played all those scoring cards and it started tilting the board toward my favor in the later mid-war, but he made up for some lost ops in turns 6,7,8 with Breshnev, Red Scare, SALTed Red Scare, forcing me to basically play defense with one less ops point every round for three turns in a row.
Currently I'm up 5 VP and dominating more regions, but he is too good a player for me to feel confident until it is over...