2005 National SCRABBLE® Championship Commentary: Round 14
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.
Division 4 had a tie/tie table last round. Paul Baginski (Berkeley, CA) and Andy Ross-Perry (San Rafael, CA), at board 24, tied with 388-388 scores. Within rubbing elbows distance, at board 23, Mady Garner (Sevierville, TN) and Phyllis Gelb (Surprise, AZ) tied with 347-347 scores!
Robert Crowe (Fort Wayne, IN) shows me his 412-363 win over Conrad Bassett-Bouchard (Moraga, CA) in division 2. The word that Bob most liked wasn't even one he played, it was Conrad's find of RETEAMInG.
Midway through the round, a division 3 board between Norbert Saldanha (Richmond BC) and Evan Koch (Petaluma, CA) caught my eye. It had the look of a division 1 board with long, spidery arms stretching to the boundaries in all directions. Norbert, whose family again is making a huge splash at this NSC (son Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) in division 1; daughter Dielle Saldanha (Richmond BC) in division 2; wife Miriam Saldanha (Richmond BC) in division 4; and daughter Dion Saldanha (Richmond BC) also in division 4), played CONVEYED through the N for 75 and LoOSENED through the S for 60. Evan played TAWNIES for 78 and tANGLIER through the L as an 82-point double-double. Toward the end of the game, Evan extended his earlier play of METAL to METALIZING for 44 points. Norbert is dismayed that he lost this game as he made a silly mistake at the end, playing a phoney that cost him the game. Final score, 443-368, in Evan's favor.
Division 3's Shah Ali (Herndon, VA) asks me to come see his 586-367 romp over Marc Levesque (Victoria BC). Shah got down GaRNETS, ENERVATE, GRADINE, and GAMIEST. Over the course of the game, Shah got down two perpendicular D plays that hooked the top and bottom to extend ENERVATE to DENERVATED. Marc had to be content with his play of VALINES.
Carolyn Easter (Birmingham, MI) chuckled about coming all this way to play a club member. Her buddy, the oh-so-young Alex Fiszbein (South Lyon, MI) won there matchup, 436-376. Alex played LANCETS and RAIDERS and Carolyn drew a challenge for her play of GARROTER to the final R. However, even the loss of a turn wasn't enough to slow Alex down.
Evan Berofsky (Thornhill ON) invites me to check out his division 1 bingofest against Jeremy Frank (New York, NY). MILITARY to the Y for 67 was the game's first bingo. Then Evan slapped down GANGSTER through the second G for a 140-point triple-triple. Without realizing it, Jeremy, with a play of MAVENS for 45, blocked Evan's back-to-back triple-triple possiblities. Evan was poised to put down LAMISTER, but with that opening blocked, had to settle for the 89-point double-double ESTRIoL instead. Toward the game's end, Evan poured salt on the wound and got down EYEFUlS (that should read EYEFULS if the blank L makes it hard to parse) for 80 points. It was Evan's win, 519-324. The board was already picked up so no photo this time.
A game that was not yet scooped up was next door between David Koenig (Englewood, NJ) and Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC). Back-to-back bingos of GERAnIAL for an 82-point double-double and COULTERs for 79 kept David's hopes of winning going strong. Joel got down BEARING for 83 and ACETONIC for 82. David played IXTLE for 60 to a triple and KOPHS/GERAnIALS for 46 ended up being the game's turning point. Joel challenged it and the play stayed. In he end, it was David's win, 458-418.
A top table win, 381-302, went to Marsha Gillis (Huntsville, AL) in her game versus Chad Hopper (Austin, TX), in division 6. In the flurry of endgame paperwork, I spotted Marsha's SOaRiNGS from the first S for 74.
At a nearby division 6 board, Jacob Williams (Austin, TX) pulled out a 387-377 squeaker against Janice Kaye (Saint Paul, MN). A division 6 onlooker, Gioia Fonda (Sacramento, CA), helps me pronounce her name, joy-a, which means happiness in Italian.
The last division 6 game to wrap up was at board 2. Sheri Justice (Kansas City, MO) defeated Lizzy Kate Gray (Santa Cruz, CA), 408-313. I remarked how tolerant of noise they had been with all the day-end talking going on around them.
Division 1's Kevin Fraley (Madera, CA) stops by and impresses onlookers by reciting the bingos from his 575 win against Ronald Howard (Irvine, CA) this round. TRUDGENS through the D, GRIDIRON from the G, MIsEVENT through the I, and AqUIFER. The division 6 players were surprised he could remember which letters he played through without referring to the board. I teasingly suggested they ask what his rack was in turn 3 of that game, because he would be able to recite that, too. Kevin isn't in division 1 for nothing. Those players have a relationship with their memory unlike anything I've ever seen!
Ted Rosen (Buffalo, NY) shares that in his last four NSCs, he has had a deplorable start, going 1-15 for the first 4 games. This year, however, he broke even, going 2-2, which he feels is moving things in the right direction.
Long after the games are over, a virtual throng of players continues to linger over a Marlon Hill (Baltimore, MD) vs. J Goard (Foresthill, CA) board. By the time I get there, the tiles are on their way to the bag.
From the bad pun department, Sam Kantimathi (El Dorado Hills, CA) asks if I know why Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand) is disliked. I shrug and his answer is PANUPOL plus a blank explains it all. Can you get the answer?*
The annotated game this round between Nathan Benedict (Tucson, AZ) and Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand). It was a 368-347 win for the World SCRABBLE® Champ, who got down the game's two bingos: cRUTCHES for 74 and SENARII for 70. Nathan relates how at one point in their game he had the opportunity play CRANNOGE through an N, but almost like he sensed it, Panupol blocked the opening. In classic top expert fashion, Nathan points out that his almost play can be spelled with and without the final E.
*PANUPOL plus a ? anagrams to UNPOPULAr. Please note that this was an anagram joke and not a comment on Panupol who is liked by everyone who meets him!
About 70 directors from all over North America gathered for the 7:30pm optional meeting this evening held in one corner of the playing room. Directors from as far west as Calgary, AB, Siri Tillekeratne (Calgary AB), and from as far south as Houston, TX, Judy Newhouse (Houston, TX), discussed ideas related to directing tournaments.
Early on, Jeff Widergren (Los Gatos, CA) discussed his impending pairing software, TourneyMan, and that it is due any day now once a few adjustments are made. The NSA is hoping to make Jeff's program available to directors so that they can easily computer pair their tournaments and submit more detailed result files for the NSA's use.
Rebecca kept the meeting going, focusing on one bulleted idea at a time. She even took an informal poll of the directors in the room who used pairing software and which specific software was used. Most who raised their hand used TMenu by RA Fontes, but others used software by Ravi Ravichandran, John Chew (TSH), Bruce D Ambrosio (Los Angeles, CA), David Boys, etc. Moving toward using some sort of software was clearly of interest to most people in the room and Rebecca's questions brought that into high relief.
She also opened the discussion to locating affordable event venues for tournaments and clubs. Judy Newhouse (Houston, TX) related that she was able to get five hotels to bid for her tournament business by working with a group that specialized in bringing groups and hotels togerther. Mary Rhoades, division 2 leader, suggested that directors contact the SMERF representative within hotel marketing offices, as these reps are used to bringing lower-revenue groups to most properties.
Updating the Directors Manual came up and Joe Edley (Coram, NY) let us know that he has been doing all the rewriting and Jane R. Williams at the NSA has been editing his work. When it is finished, will it go on the NSA's web site? We think so.
People shared stat-heavy web sites and most are particularly fond of the work of Keith Smith (Austin, TX) and Seth Lipkin. John Chew suggests people submit scores through the NSA web site when submitting tournament results as the NSA is keeping them, despite not making them available right now.
Rebecca broached on the third rail of tournament directing, asking us if we paid ourselves for our tournament organizing/executing work. The highest self-paid director in the room, Rich Baker (Eureka, CA) confessed to paying himself $1 an hour and he received an applause and we all laughed. John Chew shared that in Toronto, tournament monies are split 60 percent for prizes, 20 percent for expenses, and 20 percent for salaries and charity donation (their September tournament is the Michael Wise Memorial event and the organizers treat the absent Mike as a worker and give his salary to a fund in his name). Joe Edley (Coram, NY) said that he knows there is an overall tendancy for directors to work for free, but that the NSA does not insist this is "the way" to run events. Other directors paid event workers $10-$12 per round and some gave data entry workers $50 a day. Mary Rhoades and Bryan Pepper have worked out a system whereby they will trade data entry work. She will run the computer at his event if he will run the computer at hers. That way, there is more funds for prize monies.
A smattering of raised hands by directors who both run and play in their own events hit a cord of envy for those who reluctantly sit out to focus only on event administration. It was pointed out that having more than one director on hand makes it easier to share the reponsiblities. Siri Tillekeratne (Calgary AB) says that he has played nearly 200 events that he has simultaneous directed.
Directors ran the gamut, too, on club fees. Some charged nothing, some charged from $1 to $4 per session, and the Manhattan $11 fee was raised. Carol Dustin (Minneapolis, MN) and Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) both run their clubs at bridge clubs and highly recommend those venues with their game atmosphere and plethora of available tables.
Most directors who had no club web site admitted they wished they had one and a few kind souls offered to help. For names of those who can help, reach out to Rebecca. It was widely agreed that club web sites were enormously helpful for recruitment. In addition, though senior centers and church basements were often used as club sites, some clubs opted to go the "in the public" way. Carol Ravichandran (Northville, MI) discussed her Michigan club meeting in a grocery store and other clubs use restaurant space.
I predict this meeting will become an annual affair. Kudos to Ted and Rebecca for organizing the
Town Hall Meeting
About 75 players gathered around the main stage for the Town Hall Meeting at 8:30 this evening. John D. Williams, Jr., started the show by introducing the NSA staff that sat to either side of him at the podium (Theresa Bubb, Sara Hallock, Patty Hocker, Jane R. Williams, John Chew, and Joe Edley (Coram, NY)). A brave new employee, Tara Rogers, flew from Long Island, NY, to Reno to make today her first day as an NSA employee! We look forward to her administering the NSA's Educational Programs and handling the National Marketing and Communications workload.
John D. Williams, Jr., joked that this meeting was his way of matching player expectations to the NSA's realties and thus the show began. Though no firm date is set for NSC 2006, a July or early August date is being sought and word will be issued as soon as the NSA knows the dates and the site. Looks like a possible New Orleans or Reno location, but no promises are being made yet. Look for more concrete confirmation in October.
Suggestions for handicap needs were raised as was the Best of SCRABBLE® News book in the workings. Jim Pate, chairman of the dictionary committee, got on stage and fielded a series of dictionary issues. He thanked the dictionary commitee members by name and said our next word list is imminent and though it IS NOT OFFICIAL, he foresees a possible 1 January 2006 adoption of the new word list. We should expect 10,800 new words, about two-thirds of which are 9-letter words or longer. The NSA is encouraging the School SCRABBLE® program schools to being using the Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, 4th edition this fall as classes commence.
Other discussions circled around electronic versions of the dictionary, possible updates to John Babina's WordJudge, and the potential for other word judging options in the future.
The meeting wrapped up with Nancee Mancel (Albuquerque, NM) raised her hand to thank the NSA for pulling together this year's NSC on such short notice and for doing such a good job. A little appreciation goes a long way!
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