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2005 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 8

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Go to: Anagrams Championship, 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, Final Round 1, Final Round 2, Final Round 3, Final Round 4, Final Round 5.

Round 8

A bit of unexpected, last-minute tinkering on the pairing for division 1 and 3 delayed our start this morning by a few minutes. Robert Kahn (Plantation, FL) ever funny about everything, noticed he was slated to have four byes in a row this morning when he inspected the as of yet unfixed round 1 pairings, but decided it was maybe something he could do, fall on the sword of divison 1 pairings and take the bye for the rest of the event. We opted to not take him up on the offer and fixed it so that he would receive just one bye.

John D. Williams, Jr., joined Laura Klein at the podium to announce the winner of the "MW Prize" before the games began. Merriam Webster, the publisher of the Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary and various other SCRABBLE®-related word lists, and a longtime friend to the SCRABBLE® scene, donated $1,000 for an MW prize and this year's winner was division 1's Ben Withers. In round 3, Ben played WAMES and for having his entry drawn randomly, he is $1,000 the richer! The whole room gave him a giant round of applause. Thanks to Merriam Webster for adding even more fun to the event.

It is time for the World SCRABBLE® Champion to experience table 1 in division 1. From what I can see by the this morning's schedule, Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand) is stationed there for the rest of the day! Going 7-0 on day 1 can do that to a person.

I walk by Ben Withers (Houston, TX) as he places RIssOLE, creating ER/NAGs for 66 points in his game against Iffy Onyeonwu (Austin, TX). Without even batting an eyelash or turning the board, Iffy made a parallel play to the bingo and it was again Ben's turn. Hard to impress these guys, I guess.

Division 3's Joan Glatthorn (La Jolla, CA) planted herself at the director's table and decided to while away her bye time studying word lists from a well-organized folder. I told her it was a good thing to do and she said, "I have to, I'm in dead last place in the division!"

Division 5's table 1 featured a game between Nat Gardenswartz (Newton, MA) and Arna Schutz (West Hills, CA) this round. Nat had a whale of a good game, winning, 518-229. Since other games were in progress nearby, I quietly glanced over his scoresheet and I hope I gleaned right. Nat got down sPRIEST for 90, ALPINES for 66, RETITLE for 66, WINDAgE for 67, and the phoney MAILROD*.

Also in division 5, Marty Levine (Bozeman, MT) and Marilyn Pomeroy (Whispering Pines, NC) were winding up their game. They walked back from the WordJudge machine to him saying that he couldn't believe it, a one-point win. I see Marty's ENCOREs for 77 and them starting a recount, so I'm not sure if this win will stand. And the results aren't up yet....

In division 6, Jane Whitmore (South Burlington, VT) has a win against Phyllis Vargas (Katy, TX), 358-325. I see Jane's YOWLERS for 80.

At the next table, Bernadette Buckley (Atlantic City, NJ) and Alice Symons (Eureka, CA) wrap up their division 6 game, too. It is Alice's win, 361-340. I note her 69-point WITHEReD to the D for 69 points.

Lisa Kessler is in her directing element at this event and I catch her going over the rules about game score adjustments and when it is appropriate to pause the clock to do so. David Alyea (San Francisco, CA) and Ida Scaglione (Tonawanda, NY) listen intently.

At the top board in division 6, Chad Harris (Clemson, SC) faced off against Sharon Valorose (Williamsburg, VA). When I pointed out that they were among the best right now, they both deferred, so much so that I failed to record which one of them won their game! I do know the score was 396-363 and that Sharon played SENDiNG for 80 and Chad earned 73 for HANDIEr.

In division 4, Al DeMers (Sparks, NV) is smiling broadly. For the first time ever, he's beaten a longtime nemesis, Gertrude Savadge (Albuquerque, NM), 334-307. While Al got down bOONIES for 72, Gertrude played LONgATED* for 59.

At table 1 in division 4, Ben Harrison (Cambridge, MA) had his way SCRABBLE®-wise with Angelina Scroggins (Minneapolis, MN), winning 412-364. She tells me that she bingoed out with PURItIES through the E for 70 and still it wasn't enough. She also playes ISAGOGE for 75 and Ben played GELaTION for 68 and the high-scoring phoney, CHANDY* for 59.

Jeffrey Jacobson (Philadelphia, PA) defeats Andrew Golding (Verdun QC) in their division 2 matchup this round, 435-310. I see Jeff's OBElIAS, which hooked to the front of CORN, making ACORN for 72 points. At one point, Jeff overdrew and Andrew got to choose from AOO, he chose A to go back in the bag and then Jeff played COONTIEs for 72. Turns out that he could have bingoed with either an A or an O, so there was nothing Andrew could have done to prevent a bingo. Andrew did get down RETIRANT for 77.

Rita Norr (Danbury, CT) shows me her division 2 scorecard. She has had very close games up to this round. Her game spreads have been +11, +4, -4, -9, +10, +26, -17, but this round she had a +134 monster win.

Paul Terry (Las Vegas, NV) fell to Robert Crowe (Fort Wayne, IN) in their division 2 game, 417-450. Robert played four bingos: RESITES for 69, WAYSIdES through the S for 84, ENFORCED from the first E for 65, and BERLINEs through the R for 72. Paul got down the double-double non-bingo of DEPARTED through the AR for 48 and BIALY for 38.

A great game at table 1 this round in division 1. Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand) defeated Randy Hersom (Morganton, NC), 409-380. Check it out in the annotated game area!

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