2006 CanAm Challenge: Live Coverage

The Fourth Annual Can-Am SCRABBLE® Challenge takes place on June 17 & 18, 2006 at the Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street in Toronto. Vying in this invitational tournament for the majority of the 98 team points and the Challenge Trophy will be the seven top ranking players from Canada and the USA.

The Can-Am SCRABBLE® Challenge has pitted the top players from Canada and the United States against each other since its inception in 2002. The U.S. leads Canada by a record of two titles to one.

Live Internet coverage for this event has been improvised following the discovery half an hour before play started that wireless access was available in the playing rooms. It consists of the following sections.

The event wall chart is updated after each round with the individual and team standings.

Ratings estimates are updated after each round.

Live games will be posted, time permitting. As of round 1, several games are being paper-recorded for subsequent data entry; if the director catches up with event coverage we may move to live rack-by-rack entry. Or if we have time to enter multiple games from paper, we may do that instead.

The rest of this web page is the director's log, by John Chew.

Opening Ceremonies

We're playing on the 26th floor of the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Toronto, which is my personal record for height of a directed tournament. Thanks to our altitude, we have unexpectedly been able to access a wireless network, so I'll be busy over the next hour getting web coverage set up.

Adam Logan and Jason Katz-Brown drew tiles to see who would go first in odd-numbered rounds; Adam drew a G to Jason's R, so Canada won the draw. Each of the seven players on each team will play each player on the other team twice in succession, for a fourteen-round schedule. We'll play four games this morning, four games this afternoon, and six games tomorrow starting at 9:00 A.M.

Round 1

U.S. beats Canada five games to two to take an early lead. Only one word challenged: Adam's late-game INRUN vs. Chris. No rules adjudications.

Round 2

Jan Mills is annotating Lloyd vs. Jason, John Robertson is annotating Jerry vs. Dean, and Carla is annotating Joey vs. Robin. Tim challenges Joel's early double-double UNDERTAX. Lloyd challenges Jason's earlyish GIGGLI(S)H*. Jerry challenges Dean's INIUM*. Dean challenges Jerry's ASPIRATA. Dave W finishes first, beating Evan a second time, 467-296. Chris resigns after falling behind 407-229 vs. Adam. Lloyd and Jason just finished an exciting game. Lloyd had a moderate lead with three tiles left in the bag and less than two minutes left on each clock; he emptied the bag with a six-tile play, drew the X and watched Jason bingo out with FENNECS, but Lloyd held onto a 1-point lead.

Canada wins this round 4-3 and now trails the series 6-8.

Round 3

Jan Mills, annotating Lloyd Mills vs. Chris Cree, calls their board "the newlywed game". Chris and Carla Cree were married just last week; Jan and Lloyd last year.

John Robertson is annotating Dave vs. Tim, Carla is recording Jerry vs. Robin.

Lloyd challenges off Chris' HERMITED* (the only anagram is in SOWPODS), bingoes LOITERs to take a large lead, holds Chris on CHIRMED for a minute or so, but accepts.

Joel finishes first, beating Joey 560-306.

Robin loses a challenge to Jerry on TOFULI*.

Jason beats Evan by one point this round, making up for his one-point loss in Round 2.

Canada wins again, 5-2 and leads 11-10.

Round 4

Dave B challenges off Tim's DEI#, Tim gets him back a few turns later by calling him on JOWLER#. The game ends with Tim double-doubling SAVO(R)OUS and Dave resigning.

We break for lunch after this round. As I write this, all games are finished except for Lloyd vs. Chris right in front of me. Both players are doing a good job of keeping their tempers in check; I look forward to finding out why. (Chris appears to have been concerned about the possibility that Lloyd might succeed with a triple-triple setup; Lloyd was disappointed that it failed.)

I've posted photos from two rounds ago.

Team U.S.A crushes Canada 6-1 and regains a 16-12 lead going into lunch.

I'll be entering more games over the lunch break; play resumes 14:15 or 14:30ish EDT.


Today's lunchtime quiz theme is HONEY. Numbers indicate length of answer, # and $ as usual indicate lexicon (SOWPODS or OWL/LL). Questions are ranked roughly according to how long it took the group to find the answers.

  1. Alternate spellings of HONEYPOT (8#, 9#).
  2. Word meaning "a honey-yellow mineral" (8).
  3. Alphabetically last inflection of HONEY (6).
  4. Word meaning "a mixture of vinegar and honey" (6#).
  5. Word meaning "a Welsh fermented liquor made from honey", and its anagram (9, 9$).
  6. Alternate spelling of HONEYMOON (10#).
  7. Words meaning "feeding upon honey" (11#, 11#).
  8. Longest words containing -HONEY- (13$, 13#, 13#).
  9. Scientific name for a HONEYSUCKLE (8#).
  10. Word meaning "the honey-fungus" and the armlet-like frill on its stalk for which it is named (10#, 7).

Round 5

Play has resumed as of 14:30 EDT. Tim loses a challenge to Adam on COREMIAS*, which would be a double plural of COREMIUM (a mycological term). Chris challenges off Evan's outplay ARCHIVER* and then bingoes out with UNTANNED, Lloyd challenges off John's TRASHLIKE* (hooked from RASHLIKE).

The round runs quite late at one table, where Dean recounted a ten-point loss to Jason. Canada wins 4-3 and trails 16-19 overall.

Round 6

Robin challenges off Dave W's DATINGS#. The boards are getting quite staggered because of the late Dean-Jason game last round; Chris has gone up to his room to watch TV because his next opponent, Dean, had just started playing his previous game.

U.S.A. wins 4-3 and widens their lead to 23-19.

I experimented this round with using Quackle to enter a recorded game, and have a list of suggested corrections for Jason Katz-Brown and John O'Laughlin before I use it again, mostly having to do with typing efficiency and the exigencies of dealing with indecipherable handwriting.

Round 7

My chronology continues to become more complicated; Adam and Joey finished their game this round before Chris and Dean began theirs.

Dave B challenges off Jerry's BLINKISH. Dave goes on to win 472-384 and announces that he has scored the tieing game; we're 23-23 with three games still to finish this round. Joel scores the go-ahead point against Dave W and Robin an insurance win against Jason with a lovely endgame find. Canada is now up two games with just one game to report in (Dean vs. Chris) this round, and of course the 98 games in the second half of the tournament yet to be played. The round ends with Canada ahead 25-24.

Round 8

Tim loses a challenge to Lloyd on INSNARER.

The first four games to report in were split 2-2, and players are discreetly milling around the remaining three games waiting to see which country will end the day in the lead. When the round ends, we'll head to the Bright Pearl in Chinatown for dinner and resume play tomorrow morning at 8:30.

Dave W beats Joel to tie the overall score. Robin beats Jason to give Canada a one-game lead, and Dean beats Chris to widen the lead to two. The first day ends with Canada ahead 29-27.

Round 9 (Day Two)

We reconvened this morning at 8:30, delayed starting briefly for several group photos, and will play four games before a short lunch break.

Tim challenges off Evan's AUXINE#, Dean challenges John's DIELDrIN, Dave W challenges off Dave B's TRADEWINd. Not a good start for Canada, which ends up 3-4 but still ahead 32-31.

Round 10

Dave B loses another challenge to Dave W on VODOU.

Zev Kaufman arrives and volunteers to annotate. I wish we had a way to get some of our annotators to save their energies for Phoenix, where we're still desperately looking for USSO game recorders.

Jason entered a few annotated games for me, using Quackle's new .gcg file save feature. He points out that Adam blocked Tim's nine-letter bingo when he played WINCH in Round 5; Adam says that he also (more importantly) blocked Tim's eight-letter bingos.

With two games still in progress the U.S. leads Canada 4-1. It would have been a sweep, except that Jerry tried to block Adam's fish and score a few points by playing IF, where sacrifing points to play ELF would have guaranteed him the game. Adam played RETSINA/TOT/IFS to eke out a narrow win.

Evan and Joel win those last two games, giving the U.S. a 4-3 round and tieing the series 35-35 with 28 games to play.

Chris Cree plays a game where his first ten plays were horizontal. On his 11th and final turn, when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt, he chose to score one extra point with a vertical play, ruining his perfect record. What was he thinking?!

Round 11

Jason challenges off Dave B's BETAMING*. Several turns later he bursts out in pained laughter as Dave plays ZOFTIG 13i hooking AD-Z for 81 points. Robin finishes her game first, trashing John L 535-265. Adam's next, bingo-ing out and catching Dave W with 56 points on his rack to win 427-393. More rueful laughter. Joey beats Evan 502-368.

Joel loses a challenge on Chris' DIVINiSE. Dave B beats Jason KB in a 577-455 slugfest. Lloyd beats Jerry.

Dean finds a lovely bingo in GHLPRS? through an I, but loses 420-483 to Tim.

Canada finishes the round 5-2 and now leads 40-37 with 21 games remaining.

Round 12

Evan beats Joey but Dave W beats Adam. 1-1 so far. The results continue to come in in alternation, and Canada wins the round 4-3, including this close match between John and Robin. As of the lunch break Canada leads 44-40. There are only 14 games left; if they're split 9-5 in favour of the U.S., we'll tie and the trophy will go back to the States.


We had a very quick game of two-bag anagrams over lunch, with the two Daves cleaning up and Jason coming in third, Tim 4th, Zev 5th, and it would have been nice to have had some words in front of me at the end.

Today's lunchtime quiz theme is CHOCOLATE. Numbers indicate length of answer, # and $ as usual indicate lexicon (SOWPODS or OWL/LL). Questions are ranked roughly according to how long it took Adam and Jason to find the answers.

  1. Longest acceptable substring of CHOCOLATE (4,4,5#)
  2. An alkaloid found in chocolate, poisonous to dogs (11)
  3. The word alphabetically preceding CHOCOLATE and its alternate spelling (11, 11#)
  4. The four words alphabetically following CHOCOLATES (10,11,12,9)
  5. A word meaning "an 18th century chocolate stirrer" (7#)
  6. The eponym for the taxonomic family to which cacao belongs, from the Latin word for dung; and its anagram (9, 9$)
  7. A word meaning "a pastry covered in chocolate sauce"; add two letters to get a word meaning "yielding petroleum" (11,13#)
  8. A word that can either mean "slender pasta" or "thin pieces of chocolate" (10)
  9. A word meaning "a biscuit with a chocolate base", and the only word that can be made by omitting one of its letters (10#,9)
  10. A governor of Queensland who liked spongecake covered in chocolate and coconut; with three letters he is magniloquent (9#)

Round 13

Canada goes 5-2 and clinches a tie, leading now 49-42. If the U.S. wins all seven games in the final round, we'll tie at 49 games and the trophy will return with them. If Canada scores even a tie, the trophy stays on Canadian soil.

Round 14

Americans won the first four games to finish: Dave W over Lloyd, John L over Joel, Chris over Dave B and Joey over Dean. Adam came through for Canada next though, beating Jason to give Canada the trophy for this second time in its four-year history. Robin follows up with a second win to close the tournament 51-47 for Canada.

Award Ceremonies

I've posted the group photos and two photos from the brief award ceremony. I'm going to shut things down in a few minutes here and leave Robin and Joel here playing a friendly match. Thank you for following along with us this weekend!

Two Days Later...

I've posted the official cross-table for the event.