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2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 4

[ 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 4

The smallest, but not least important division in this tournament is division 7 with forty players. Their group of tables go up the middle of the room between divisions 4 and 3. At the risk of boring you all, I will attempt to set up the room in some sort of text-based way:

(I've replaced the text description with an HTML table -- John Chew)

Division 2 Division 6 Division 4 NSA Word Gear
Division 5
Seven WordJudge Stations Exit
Division 1 Division 5 Division 7 NSA Press Table
Division 3
  Web and Pairing Staff on 3' Stage    

Do not ask me why I thought this was important to draw when I'm pressed for time, but it helps me figure out where things are for myself! This room is so large! John Chew estimates the room's square footage to be half a football field and I think most of it runs from one end to the other! We both agree that even if the room was much taller, it would be very difficult for someone to throw a football from one end to the other. John suggests a frisbee because of the downdrafts.

I hear more talking in division 7 than any of the others. Nothing loud or antagonistic, just more social banter and gentle encourgements like "nice play," and "I wanted to play here, but you blocked me" type of stuff.

Division 7 leader, John Robertson, tells me about his favorite attempt of the day thus far. Sam Rosin (Bernardsville, NJ), our 11-year-old player, tried BRAINDEAD* to the AD as an outbingo. His opponent, Linda Hoggatt (Blanchester, OH), challenged it off, but it was brave.

James P. Smith (Port Clinton, OH) from division 5 wanders over to tell me that he's not doing anything flashy, but somehow he is 4-0. I suggested he keep up the good work.

In division 2 news, I spot a Kevin Fraley (Madera, CA) vs. Dave Johnson (Portland, OR) game. I It was Dave's win, 395-346. Dave got down DIAZINES and Kevin played tEARILY.

Randy Hersom (Morganton, NC) from division 1 has other news. He played PULvINUS from the P to the triple for 77 points. He was proud of that play!

Division 1's Howie Greenspan (Norwalk, CT) tells me that he is 3-1 after this round, losing only one game to Wendell Haynes (Loxahatchee, FL).

Verna Richards Berg (New York, NY) is 1-3 in division 2. She is bummed as she just let her opponent bingo out to win their game. When pressed her for details, she wasn't interested in going into it. Time for lunch!

NSA Advisory Board member Michael Baker (Portland, OR) is 2-2 and feeling mostly good. He regrets letting Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) get away with a phoney play: GUNNITES*. He tells me it has only ONE letter N and if he had challenged her, he'd probably be 3-1. If wishes were..... how does that saying go?

Robert Fenske (San Antonio, TX), done with his round 4 division 6 game, wandered by division 1, trying to sneak a peek or two. He is 1-3 so far and looking for a better afternoon. He plays in the San Antonio, TX club run by T. Matthew De Waelsche (San Antonio, TX).

A huge smile spreads over the face of Neil Bines (Whitestone, NY). He has just defeated Nigel Richards (Malaysia) at board 1. I see AIRBORNE, AL(L)UDING, and FUSTIER on their board. Seemingly unaffected by the loss, his first, Nigel pulled out a loaf of sliced white bread and made himself an American cheese sandwich at the table with the game still spread out on the board! I asked him if it was going to be any good. He said he wasn't sure, but it was a cost-effective lunch!

Division 1's Mallick brothers--Joey Mallick (Cape Elizabeth, ME) and David Mallick (Andover, MA)--gather around a just-finished Jim Kramer (Roseville, MN) game. Jim had just lost to Craig Rowland (Mississauga ON). He explains that Craig was 0-3 coming in and he was 3-0, so Craig was due a win and he was due a loss. It all works out. On that board I see: JANgLES for 83, STINGER for 70, CAVITIES through the A for 76, and RAINIEST from the R for 77 to the triple. Jim confesses that his highest-scoring play in their game was 36 points.

Rita Norr (Danbury, CT) bingoed out on Komol Panyasophonlert (Thailand) in their division 1 game, but it was to no avail. Her THEREIn/SI/En on the triple lane for 80 only brought her to 390 versus his score of 472. Rita points out Komol's RIGORIST and HAFIZ, the latter play for 71 points.

Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand) is 4-0 in division 1. He says his first game today against Jonn Dalton (Austin, TX) was his biggest. He got down SEQUITUR for 80 points and had a lead of about 130. John held CLINED? with an open A in the 4th position, but there wasn't a play to be found. If John had triple-tripled, he would have had a chance to defeat the undefeated.

Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Thailand) tells me he is 3.5-0.5. I ask him what happened and he tells me about getting into a 383-383 tie with Joel Horn (Reading, MA). Joel was ahead by 80 points and Charnwit found and played ANGSTROM to the M for 80 points on the triple lane.

Division 1's Bruce Adams (Worcester, MA) tells me that he's lost 'em all, but he's still smiling. He says, "Hey, I lost to the likes of Lisa Odom (St. Louis Park, MN) and Jim Kramer (Roseville, MN)!"

In an end-session chat with Jan Dixon (Newark, DE), I overhear Lester Schonbrun (Oakland, CA) say that he is 2-2 and that he "blew" two endgames. He admits to being a little tired (there is a time change from California to Louisiana) and he's not happy. His round 4 game was still on the board and he pointed out the better plays. He opened with HOUNDED, played NEARLIER through the second E, and got down SAUCiEST. Terri played INTAGLIA thorugh the N. This was Lester's second win, 464-313.

I ask Jan Dixon (Newark, DE) how she is doing and she says, "Well, I'm 2-2. The only interesting story so far was in round 1 when I played John Scalzo (Middle Village, NY). He was ahead by a lot and he said, 'I was told to watch out for your endgame, Jan. Do I have enough of a lead?' He was up by more than 260 points when he asked." I laughed and looked over the record of their game. John had a monster win, 620-302, and he had a +318 spread after game 1! Pretty good stuff!

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