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2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 17

[ 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 17

The first game to finish this round in division 2 is between Jim Nanavati (Burlington ON) and Korakoch Kiatsommart (Winter Park, FL). The Canadian was victorious, 450-402. Korakoch got down PETERING for 76 while I walked by their game in progress. In the first 14 plays there were 5 bingos! Korakoch also played LIGATIVE. Jim played COATEEs, SEQUOIAS from the first S, ANTITAX, and SUBSOLAR to the R, which his opponent challenged. It is good.

At nearby table 2 in division 2, I see Kevin Fraley (Madera, CA) in a tense battle with David Pearl (Long Beach, CA). On their board, I see ELICITOR, RESTORAL, and TEAWArE.

Division 5's table 25 features a FANTASTIC game with 5 bingos in the first 9 plays! Esther White (Wexford, PA) played AIRLIKE for 78, BLENDED for 83, and sOCIETY for 74. Toni Nicholson (Asheville, NC) played GLUEIST for 74 and VISITING for 76. It was Toni's win: 476-359.

At table 1, division 1, Trey Wright (Los Angeles, CA) has essentially moved in. He's been inviting players to come lose to him for a while now. This round it is the former National and Canadian National SCRABBLE® champ in the hot seat. Adam Logan (United Kingdom) kicks his shoes off and cross his white stocking feet under the chair, his toes curled down and under, bearing in for the long haul. An event pen is clenched between Adam's teeth and his eyes comb the board in quick flickers. Early on, Trey bingos with EMPALiNG for 74. A few turns later, Adam gets down two bingos in a row: ACIERATE for 70 and FEsTIVALS for 80. The score is then 294-293 in Adam's favor. Adam makes one more play to pull up 36. Trey then slaps down STAUMREL through the T for 72 and that was pretty much it. Trey won, 428-406. When Trey's last bingo went down, John D. Williams, Jr., said to me, "He is clearly in the zone." When the game ends, Trey mentions that he'd played an online SCRABBLE® game recently that helped him in this round's game. He called Joey Mallick (Cape Elizabeth, ME) over and invited him to find HONNIER through an IT. It took him no time to say ORNITHINE. That Joey!

I found a pen on the floor that had a 28.00 price tag. Powers of deduction tell me this can't be a $28.00 felt tip pen, but it might have cost THB 28.00 (Thai Bahts) so I hand it to Amnuay Ploysangngam (Thailand) suggesting it must belong to a member of his crew.

At table 2 in division 1, Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (Thailand) faced Nigel Richards (Malaysia). On their board I see AUREOLAE, Nigel's CATNAPS for 108, SAFROLES down the triple, and Nigel's TORQuATE for 128. Both players keep indecipherable scoresheets so I can't tell what is going on no matter how much I bend down and try to parse Nigel's micro handwriting. He keeps score, tracks, and seems to have spare noodling room to boot on one quarter of a standard piece of paper. If anyone is going to glean something across the table from his scoresheet, the player will have to use something with high-power magnification! So far, I can't read any of the Thai player scoresheets. Nigel wins, 526-371.

Joev Dubach (Watertown, MA) finds me in division 1 (where I'm drawn like a moth to a flame) to tell me about his game with Bill Wood (Tallahassee, FL). Joev's rack was REPLANE. He saw a couple of spots to play it, but failed to think about the word itself. He hooked onto OVA, making NOVA and played REPLANE*. Bill challenged and paused the clock. Then he realized he'd overdrawn on the previous draw. So, they called the director over and Bryan Pepper ruled that the overdraw had to be remedied before the challenge adjudication took place. So, lucky Joev turned over S S ?, and no intelligence test needed, put the blank back into the bag. His luck didn't hold long as REPLANE* was ruled unaccepable. A few turns later, Bill plays the outbingo pROMISE. Point being, he got his blank back. Joev ended up winning by 68 and a nearby observer was a good enough sport to point out that Joev might try to play REPANEL the next time he has those tiles.

Mark Fidler (Waltham, MA) is in a great mood. He just had a fun game with the World SCRABBLE® Champ, Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand). Mark played the board's "easy" bingos, RESIDER for 80 and SANDIEsT through the A for 140. Panupol played ALVEOlUS for 83 and CATBRIER to the R on the triple lane for 89. Mark lost this game, 447-491, but he's still smiling. Although competitive SCRABBLE® encourages winning rather than losing, sometimes just being in a game is reward in itself.

Albert Hahn (Calgary AB) tells me about his round 1 game with Komol Panyasophonlert (Thailand). Komol tried MARrKETRY* to the Y and Albert saw that HATMAKER could have played elsewhere, so he didn't challenge the phoney. Albert then played HABITATED* through the AT for 66 and Komol failed to challenge that. Komol then played EXPEl for 66 and Albert used the second E for CASEFIED for 94, but still lost by 6 points. When it was all over, Panupol told Alber where he could have played IONIUM to win the game. AS TREY'S GAME

This round's Division 1 Board 1 game between Trey Wright (Los Angeles, CA) and Adam Logan (United Kingdom) appears in our playable games section.

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