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2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 25

[ 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 25

The closest race in the tournament is in division 3, where four players are neck and neck at 18-7, Dielle Saldanha (Richmond BC), +1101, Kenneth Rubin (New York, NY), +980, Steve Moniz (Manchester, NH) +971, and Chip Brown (Bothell, WA) +747.

Jon Rumzis (Chandler, AZ) continues his domination in division 7. He defeated Jason Oppenheim (Seminole, FL) at board 1, 355-325. Division 3 leader, Larry Rand, walks over and I point to the board and to this guy's spectacular record. Larry smiled and said, "Oh, I know. He's my student." Larry sounded like a proud papa. On the board I see Jon's SNEAKED and TOROIDaL to the L down the triple line for 77. At the next game, Matthew Levine (Oak Park, CA) leaned over and expressed how impressive was that play. Jon didn't exactly blow his knuckles or anything, but he knew he'd made a great find.

Board 3, division 1, Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Thailand) defeated David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC), 454-437. The board has been picked up and David is doing a mind meld with his famous dictionary, so this one has no photo.

At division 1's table 4, Nathan Benedict (Tucson, AZ) defeats Adam Logan (United Kingdom), 383-334. I see JAUDERS and NOYADE on their board.

Table 2, division 1, I see Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (Thailand) challenge NONVOID*, a desperation bingo tried by Jason Katz-Brown (Richmond, CA). It came off and they tried to get to it before I saw it, but they weren't quick enough! Pakorn wins this game, 543-276, with both players very low on time. I see Pakorn's ANTIQUER through the N and ReSiZED for 103.

Mark Nyman (United Kingdom) ferrets out Stefan Fatsis in the expert throng. They discuss life and honeymoons and a bit of SCRABBLE®, too. I overhear Mark say he is 2-0 so far today and that he's happy.

Table 1, division 4, Eugene Murray (Indianapolis, IN) defeats, Rhonda Roederer (Lafayette, LA), 439-281. They aren't around, so I can't get much about their game.

Down the row at table 13 in division 4, Barbara Puky (St. Lazare QC) has a nice game against Maneck Contractor (Kenner, LA). 415-357. I see the word COMmUNALLY on the board and I ask how it happened. First Maneck played COMmUNAL for 65 and then Barbara added the ly for 32. They point out the phoney on the board. Maneck played SWING, which hooked, creating UTILES*. Barbara left it because she could play FRETTING to the G for 76. Later on Barbara also got down BuSTIER/SCAB for 91.

At table 1 in division 6, Jerome Pivnik (Miami, FL) defeated Mel Skolnik (New York, NY), 430-277. I see no bingos on the board and lots of little words (as in only one 6-letter word and very few 5-letter words!). I ask Jerome if it was a defensive game and he said, "Oh yeah, very."

Table 1, division 1, Trey Wright (Los Angeles, CA) exhales and blows his bangs up on his forehead. I see Trey has played DUCKY. Chris played JIG, which created a front hook making IODIC, which Trey challenged immediately. Stefan Fatis, standing near me said, "Wow, he didn't even hesitate." The play and subsequent challenge happen so quickly that we don't see what is being challenged (Chris' play was acceptable.) On their board, I see Trey's pOINTED for 67 and UNIQUER for 88. Chris played ASPECTS for 69 and ROMAnIZE for 90. It was Chris' turn to win, 448-367. Trey is 21-4.

At table 1, division 5, Ryan Barrett (Englewood, CO) defeated Ron Barker (Portland, OR), 379-361. Ron was stuck with QI at the end.

As we end this round, Trey Wright (Los Angeles, CA) has a two-game lead on the pack. Woo-hoo!

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