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NSC 2008 Commentary: Round 1
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At a few moments before 9 am, the doors were opened this morning and the players streamed into the playing room. They always look excited but confused all at the very same time, seeking out their division's placement in the room. After only about five minutes, everyone had found their seat and John Chew, the NSA webmaster, introduced the NSA's Executive Director, John D. Williams, Jr., to the players from the podium at the front.
JDW's comments were brief, as always because he understands down deep that people are here to play and not listen to speeches. He congratulated the players for participating in this, the 30th year of NSC-type tournaments. And, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of our favorite board game, for every session of the event, all players born in 1948 (the year of SCRABBLE's birth), will be put into a pool to draw a door prize. By the end of the NSC, nigh everyone born in 1948 ought to end up with some sort of prize!
Mary Rhoades, division 1's leader, made a few comments from there about procedures, rules adjustments, and then the games were underway.
At table 1, under the glare of the annotation lights in division 1, Jeremy Cahnmann (Chicago, IL) played Peter Armstrong (Milwaukee, WI). Old pro, Kate Watson, and new annotator, Ed Gordon, were typing away at their laptops and things appeared to be going swimmingly.
Division 5 assistant, Allen Pengelly, pointed out that Ron Barker (Boise, ID) made a nice extension at table 5. From the PE already on the board, Ron played PENETRATE for 74 points versus Loretta Shapoff (Viera, FL).
Margo Kuno (Philadelphia, PA) is making a fashion statement today. Her nails are a very close shade to her purple Protiles!
Stephen Sneed (Fort Worth, TX), the reigning Texas State School SCRABBLE champion (he is part of the two-person team), played Debbie Guiffre (Long Island, NY) this round. I spy on their board: AIrIEST for 84 points, Stephen's play.
Pat Yarnell (Corona Del Mar, CA) vs. Mark Rosenberg (Brooklyn, NY) in division 3: UNEVEnEST appears to be a triple-triple. Also on their board: DEAIRING and REPTILE. Neither of them records words on individual play scores so I've no idea who played what!
Jacob Bergmann (Lexington, MA) vs. Betty Burton (Middletown, NY) in division 3. Like junior high students, it looks like they called each other last night to plan their wardrobes. Both came clad in bright red shirts and they are playing in the red division with red tile racks. I see Jake's SEnORITA for 122, WAITERS for 67, and the lovely QUANTED for 89. Betty has played TINNERS for 79 and VaGINAS for 81.
The room is eerily quiet and the players are so agreeable. Not one "director" call this round.