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2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 13

[ 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 13

Seamless NSC pairing is made possible by the hard work of a group of folks who are mostly hidden from the view of the players--the computer staff. Ably led by Fleurette and Howard Turkenkopf, sibling codirectors of computer operations, William Saines, Ashvin Shah, Tony Wilson, and Christina Coughlin, create accurate pairings for every session. Getting through cards--checking and correcting math--at the end of each session is particulary tense between the morning and afternoon sessions. The staff, mostly obscured by the full-size monitors in front of them on the stage, work feverishly with the division leaders and assistants to verify cards before creating standings and session pairings. Sometimes the pairings are finally completed only moments before we open the doors for afternoon sessions. It looks like clockwork, but it is actually the product of quickly massaged data in a compressed time. I sit beside this crew and admire them for their hard work.

Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) comes in from lunch and tells me he is 6-6 +0. In essence, 12 games in, he's made no progress! But on the bright side, he hasn't lost any ground either.

Scott Kitchen (Bridgewater, NJ) tells me about his game last round with Carol Spencer Yamashita (Hilo, HI). He lost 431-455, despite playing three bingos in the game: CRATERS for 77, SPRINKLE for 92, and DISUNITE for 58. Carol's better plays were ARROINTs for 74 and the non-bingo YALD for 84.

Albert Hahn (Calgary AB) played Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Thailand) this round and lost, 360-468, in division 1. Charnwit played DILATOr and the gorgeous 96-point JAROvIZE through the A for 96. Albert played GAROTTED to the D and the pretty PERIQUE through the PER and Q for a mere 19 points. Showing that no good deed goes unpunished, Charnwit responded to this play by playing PATENS/PERIQUES for 52! He also played FLUNK and the next play BAY/FLUNKY.

At table 7 in division 6, Sheri Campbell (Carmel, IN) defeated Faye Edwards (Chicago, IL), 360-349. Sheri played DENTALs, the game's only bingo.

Ben Harrison (Cambridge, MA) picked the bag against Valerie Miller (Lafayette, LA) and won, 484-220. Before the tiles get picked up I see INVAdER. In his most ironic way, Ben said, "Well, I don't know what she wants, I gave her the J." I think this was his way of admitting he'd had it all.

I'm running a bit behind, so I'll keep this round short and sweet.

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