2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 16
[ 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.
Okay, do it is a little overcast, but at least it isn't pouring rain outside, so I deem today another beautiful day in New Orleans. The doors opened at around 9am this morning and the players filed in a bit more slowly than in days past. I think the midnight ghost tours, riverboat (John Chew asks what RIVERBOAT makes with an A*) cruises, afterhours game room play, and general nightlife activities are making our mornings seem just a bit early.
Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) approaches and tells me of a statistical anomoly that occured at the end of day 1. In division 2, the only two players that went winless were the only women named Connie in the division. One, Connie Breitbeil (Cincinnati, OH) came back on Monday to win all her games.
Employing any available minute for studying, Aniekan B. Uwan (Santa Clara, CA) is reading word lists before the round begins.
Ted Rosen (Rochester, NY) gives me a bit of color. "Last night I lost a blank Protile, but today I found it at the bottom of my bag. And, I left my chess clock and water bottle in the playing room and they showed up, too." Who says "color" can't come in all shapes and sizes.
John Ezekowitz (Boston, MA) walks into the room with a broad smile. He said, "I got 10 hours of sleep last night." I feel sorry for his opponents!
Rosetta Brooks (Detroit, MI) was sitting outside the playing room with Mark Miller (Radnor, PA), who gave me his broken name badge for me to fix. My jobs never end. After the round ended, Rosetta's sons made a surprise visit in the ballroom to wish her well.
Benjamin Bloom (Sunny Isles, FL) tells me that he just finished his masters dissertation entitled "Tongue Twister," a collection of prose about disabilities and how society misconceives people with disabilities, particulary cerebral palsy. He says he is using humor to gently guide the reader into an understanding. Watch out, Benjamin is sending it out to New York publishers!
Division 3's Robin Ross (St. Petersburg, FL) tells me that yesterday she had a funny "who goes first" occurrence. Alice Goodwin (Seattle, WA) and she drew to go first and both pulled Es, then they both pulled Rs, then they both pulled Es again! Then, on their fourth draw, Robin got an R and Alice got an E! Talk about a redundant pile of tiles!
At table 1 in division 1, Adam Logan (United Kingdom) defeats Nigel Richards (Malaysia), 433-314. I missed the board, but Adam later explains that Nigel played LUX and Adam later played FrEEMAN, hooking the F to make FLUZ for 113 points. And that could be summed up as the game's major turning point.
On a total roll, Trey Wright (Los Angeles, CA) defeats Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (Thailand) at table 1 in division 1, 408-344. He still has only one loss in this whole event! Trey excitedly tells everyone about Pakorn's great TRIHEDRA play. Trey played ASSISTER for 62, CAEOMAS for 33 (low-scoring, but pretty), CHUFA (only 14, but a great word!), TOUgHLY for 78, and KENOTIC for 42. Pakorn played DIPTero for 74 and managed to wrap TRIHEDRA around the H in CHUFA, creating AE, ED, OR, and MA; a beautifully nestled play. As the game ends, Trey leans in and talks in low tones to Pakorn, mentioning that he was worried about Pakorn playing EROTICA down the triple. Both of them are speaking softly, but there is a giant crowd around them, two television cameras, and a giant boom microphone swooping in to record their every utterance. What was once a private endgame analysis is now big news!
Table 29 in division 1: Wendell Haynes (Loxahatchee, FL) has a 602 monster game against Dave Wiegand (Portland, OR), who gets 331. Some of the victor's plays: a 52-point UMIAQ opening, MENHIRS for 93, ACAULINE for 76, and ERODINg for 73. He also triple-tripled TENORITE (122) after Dave opened up with the bingo QUAESTOR (86), but lost a challenge when he tried to hook Also seen on the board, but we're not sure who played it: AGNiZED (87).
Mary Rhoades, division 2 leader, tells me to find Jeff Clark (Linden, MI) at table 9 in her division. The board now gone, Jeff said his first six plays were fish, bingo; fish, bingo; and fish, bingo. The first one was the phoney NONSTATE* played through the second T. His opponent did not challenge. The second bingo was UNPILED, which the opponent did challenge, but it is good. The third bingo was FANCIERS through the I. So, Jeff admitted he felt confident. Three early bingos, an extra turn due to a bad challenge, and the world was his, right? Well, in SCRABBLE® speak, wrong. His opponent, Mike Wolfberg (Concord, MA), came roaring back with HOARIEST and OUTSEEN as well as other great plays and won the game, 438-417.
In division 1, John Scalzo (Middle Village, NY) defeated Amit Chakrabarti (Hanover, NH), 425-390. John played JAvELIN and said the blank was a V, but circled a J on the blank slip. Amit let him correct it and the game went on. John later got down EMPiRES and Amit played SATYRIDS through the D.
I'm across the room when Jason Katz-Brown (Richmond, CA) comes to tell me that he defeated Brian Cappelletto (Chicago, IL), 468-399. Brian got down METRICAL ad ASTErOID and Jason played OVERAPT and kINASES.
FASHION ALERT: Mark Kenas (Madison, WI) is not, I repeat NOT, wearing bib overalls today.
Both players are away, but I spot a great board in division 2 at table 3. Nearby paperwork tells the story. Fern Lindzon (Toronto ON) defeated fellow clubmate, Jim Nanavati (Burlington ON), 490-352. Jim played MAILERS and Fern got down RETINUE, ANTIlOGY on the triple lane, and DAPSONE.
I'm pulled over to a game with a 9-letter word on it in division 3. In the best Roseanna Danna moment, the player, Franklin in hand, flushed to the roots and said, "Nevermind." It turns out that Ed Liebfried (Exeter, NH) defeated Bob Becker (Jefferson, MA) this round, much on the strength of what turned out to be a phoney triple: THESBIAN*. It needs a P instead of the B. Other good words on that board: ADAPTING for 66, WORKERS, and SENHoRA for 101. In his embarrassed defense, Ed points out that Bob's outplay was to put an S on the phoney bingo!
Games already beginning around them, Kurt Davies (Whispering Pines, NC) slips his round 16 scoresheet. He defeated Maxim Panitch (Toronto ON), 557-375. Max got down TERRIES and OXIDANT for 110, but Kurt scored much more with STEALER for 86, COMPASS for 91, and QUOINED for 89.
Poor Herb Lewis (Cherry Hill, NJ). Distressed about his poor performance yesterday, he put a note on the message board. It said: LOST, my rating. He's having a better day today!
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