2004 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Final Round 1
[ 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.
We are in the finals room with a stage at the front set up with the giant board toward the left side and a conference table with four chairs toward the right side, beside the podium. The biggest-ever finals screen is set up to the extreme right side of the stage. Three large areas of chairs, separated by two aisles, fill the rest of the room. I'd estimate about 500-750 chairs.
Ben Loiterstein Greenwood (Lexington, MA) is working the big board with NSC intern Zach Hample working with NSC organizer, Laura Klein to get the player racks onto the giant racks to the left of the big board atop blank tablecloth draped oyster tables. Larry Rand is also helping with a new scoreboard created for this event. In past events, we've tried to keep score in the playing room on a large whiteboard. This is a great improvement!
On the stage, a panel of "experts" is assembled. Right now I see Andre Ornish (La Mesa, CA), Marlon Hill (Baltimore, MD), Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON), and Chris Cree (Dallas, TX). Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) is at the front of the podium on the floor in a red SCRABBLE® tie with matching suspenders. They will talk to each other and to the audience as the game is played.
The internet table is between the audience and the stage. Andrew Rubenstein of the NSA is on one end of the skinny table and I am at the other. Lucky Jim Kramer (Roseville, MN) gets the seat between us. After much negotiating, Jim and I manage to get hooked up to John Chew in the playing room. He'll be feeding us racks, score, and playing room details while he updates the NSA web site with live play-by-play coverage. He claims to not enjoy multitasking, but I don't think I know anyone who does it better!
In the playing room, Trey Wright (Los Angeles, CA) and is being annotated by Kristen Chew and David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC) is being annotated by Gregg Foster (Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA). Gregg provided annotation for David at the All*Stars last year, and David, being a superstitious guy wanted some of Gregg's good luck to rub off on him again this year. Gregg is referred to as his "lucky caddy."
Back in the gallery room, sitting in the middle of the front row, behind the Internet table is [error: no such id: steverp] on Maven. I'm told that Robin will eventually run Maven, too, on her yellow laptop at the front of the room once she gets power.
The room is a confusing mess right now as we settle in. I'm glad the players are ensconced in a private, quiet space far away from us now.
The room is very nearly filled already and it is a combination of dark and extremely bright in areas lit by the television lights (which are almost as bright as the sun!).
On the giant screen, the camera is getting a great aerial shot of the new prototype board with bright yellow Protiles set up in 5x5 quadants in each corner of the playing surface. The board almost glows against the black tablecloth (freshly ironed by the NSA's Patty Hocker to make it look just perfect for television!).
Due to technical difficulties that required me to help get racks to Zach at the giant board in the front of the room, I wasn't "on" for the beginning of the game, so I join it in progress.
The room groans as David's new rack is shown: FGGHNDS.
I'm beginning to now follow the game, sorry for the delay!
They now groan even more loudly for Trey's rack: DEEIOOY. Jim Kramer tells me that Trey has EYEWATERS, if he can find it.
Jim is surprised that Trey exchanged.
We now see SHEARWATERS attaching to WATERS on the board. We see an 11-letter word. Will David see it?
He is doing HAVER instead.
David's just played KENNEL through two separated tiles, making two overlaps. The room applauds loudly.
Trey just responded with WAGERS to the triple, and all agree that this is a good play.
The score is now 164-215, and David played EMPTY for 24 and the crowd approves.
Trey now holds EYELIDO and he played YOM.
David's rack is JLNORS?. He playes JOYS through the the Y in EMPTY and everyone approves.
Trey's turn. He is pensive. EEIILDR. Jim Kramer says he doesn't have any really good plays and should just clean up. He played FAN.
Trey slams down GREENIE, the game's first bingo! Score 240-327 in Trey's favor.
Susan Love (Milwaukee, WI) has come up and is helping us do sign language from our computers (jim and mine connected to the playing room and John Chew, who can sometimes get the racks to us before the tv can) to Zach and the crew doing the racks.
Trey is counting tiles....
David holds COOTTU?.
Trey holds ADEIIO?.
The score is 263-341, in Trey's favor.
I must apologize for the confusion this round. We've got lots of cooks and not enough food to make this meal. Oh my, what a metaphor!
Debbie Stegman (Kew Gardens, NY) has come up to help us get racks across the room to the big board. We are all, in this room, trying to keep up with this game, and having some glitches in whose rack is whose and whose score is whose. However, it is quite exciting!
David holds AT and Trey has ABEIIO?. David went out with TI and gets four points from Trey's rack.
Trey wins, 365-328.
The room is clapping and happy for Trey. In the next round it will be David's turn to get a win!
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