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2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 2

[ Congratulations to the new National Champion, Trey Wright, who defeated David Gibson in three straight games, 365-328, 355-344 and 429-328. Please tune in to ESPN to watch the final games at 1 P.M. ET on Sunday, October 3rd, 2004. We welcome your e-mailed corrections to our web site. ]

Go to: Before the Tournament, Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Round 7, Round 8, Round 9, Round 10, Round 11, Round 12, Round 13, Round 14, Round 15, Round 16, Round 17, Round 18, Round 19, Round 20, Round 21, Round 22, Round 23, Round 24, Round 25, Round 26, Round 27, Round 28, Round 29, Round 30, Final Round 1, Final Round 2, Final Round 3.

Round 2

Since the pairings are put up on the division boards ahead of time, players are seguing into their next games with little fanfare and thus it is hard to tell which game some of them are on since they are starting in a more disjointed fashion. And with the volume of players in this room, there is A LOT going on!

Just as this round started, Kristen Chew, a table 1, division 1 annotator, approached us and slipped the master annotation sheet in. She said, "Oh my goodness!" We looked over the sheet and she explained that toward the end of the game, Cheryl Tyler (Lubbock, TX) played ELIONED* and Nigel Richards (Malaysia) challenged. But he wrote down the correct spelling of this word, ELOINED, on the challenge slip. And they both entered it into the computer. They both didn't realize this error until they got back to the table and Cheryl had drawn! At this point it was 316-361 in Cheryl's favor and she drew SQ. Nigel had CUTTTDN and he won, 379-376 with the Q-stick. What was most amazing about the game is that most people would have beaten themselves up about this at this point, but he found a way to win and came up with 63 points in an endgame. The essential definition of a champion. Afterwards, Nigel said he's learning and will be much better with the self-adjudication from now on.

John Chew observes that near the end of this round, in division 1, there are 70 SamTimers, 5 Pocket SamTimers, and 9 Adjudicator clocks in use. Our clockmakers, Sam Kantimathi and Gene Tyszka, are on display, and players have reported seeing each one playing a game using the other's product.

Division 5 leader, Wendell Smith came up to us and said, "They are really sucking up the water." I think this meant for us to make sure some more was put out! This is a good sign, really, because there is one constant at any tournament we play: SCRABBLE® players drink water like crazy. All those smoking brain cells or something! And in honor of one of our favorite but missing expert players, Stu Goldman, a division 1 player spilled his full cup of water all over a table with four games about to begin, necessitating the changing of two tablecloths. We miss you Stu!

Dave Krook (Mississauga ON) at board 1 in division 7 just drew a blank to beat his opponent's A to go first!

Diane Firstman (Brooklyn, NY) tells me that she bingoed out with SARtORII to the I for 66, but it wasn't enough and she lost to Kenji Matsumoto (Aiea, HI) by 30 points this round.

At table 5 in division 4, Scott McDougall (Williamsburg, VA) had a big win against 11-year-old Sam Rosin (Bernardsville, NJ), our youngest player at this year's NSC. Their score was 440-357. Scott got down OUTSANG, LINGErS, and WINELESS to the second S. Sam played REnAILS. Division 4 director, Bryan Pepper, said, "This is the third time this round in this division that I've seen OUTSANG on a board!" Scott won division 5 in San Diego, so he is interested in doing some sort of repeat this year in division 4.

I spot Gene Tyszka (Mississauga ON) playing Carolyn Kribs (Lansing, MI) and I see a 396-321 score in their division 4 game. On the board is APRAISED* and ENTRieS. Both bingos by Gene and it was his win.

John Luebkemann (Pineville, NC) comes up to tell me about a division 1 round 1 game. He was playing Siri Tillekeratne (Calgary AB) who put down OUTLENDS*. John held him for over a minute, so Siri got to draw new tiles (due to the courtesy rule that doesn't let someone be on hold, unable to see tiles for more than a minute). In the end, John decided to challenge and the word was ruled unacceptable. Instead of just showing John the new tiles drawn, then putting them back into the bag, and picking up his offending play, somehow Siri managed to dump all 14 tiles back into the bag! A loud call of "director" came out and Bonnie Rudolph had to dig the original OUTLENDS tiles out of the bag for them.

In a round 2 game against Frank Tangredi (West Babylon, NY), John Luebkemann (Pineville, NC) overdrew twice and he thinks this quite rare happening has been taken care of for the whole tournament in this one game! He ended up winning that game, too, 417-376.

Showing that she has slowed down, but only by a fraction, Rebecca Slivka (Seattle, WA) in division 2 scored 556 this round against 306 for Paul McCarthy (Littleton, CO).

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