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NSC 2008 Commentary: Round 2

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Go to: 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, Award Ceremony.

Round 2

The play that calls me over like a siren song, FERVENT, turns out to not even be a bingo, but SaDDENED for 86 and SATIsFY for 73 were played on a Kevin Leeds (Austin, TX) vs. Chris Patrick Morgan (San Francisco, CA) board.

I catch Lisa Slankard (Chicago, IL) and Christiane Tran (Santa Cruz, CA) on their way to the challenge machine. OSTEOmAs has been challenged and is ruled acceptable. Christiane intrigues me for a few reasons. First, she is a new face to me, is well dressed, has a gorgeous tattoo on her back, and the best part? She uses a reuseable scoresheet! It is laminated and she can wipe it off after each round and use it again! Talk about environmental responsibility!

Jeff Clark (Linden, MI) calls me over to his division 2 game that just finished with Carole Denton (New Carrollton, MD). He was down by 150 and she put down ZEBU in the endgame. Holding EICPST?, he found through that E, CrEPIEST, hooking the C beneath MAGI to make MAGIC for 93 points. He caught her with 20 points on her rack, but still lost, 404-432. We all agreed that despite the loss, that bingo out play had about 1,000 style points. Ever the nice guy, Jeff is quick to explain that Carole was low on time or he's sure she would have seen CrEPIEST and would have blocked it. He could have given me the better part of six months and I doubt I would have seen that play. Kudos Jeff!

School SCRABBLE superstar and one half of the second-place finishing team at the past two National School SCRABBLE Championships, Joey Krafchick (Roswell, GA) gave one of the visiting Thai players a lesson this round, defeating Thavachai Thivavarnvongs (Thailand), 383-327. They asked Joey his favorite play this round and he rolls off, "Oh, I guess ANOXIAS for 86." Thavachai played REINJURE for 65.

I see Matt Graham (New York, NY) in the middle of four ongoing games. As always, he has a bottle of some tincture by his scoresheet. His game was just finishing and I caught his gracious opponent, Marjorie Schoneboom (Deer Park, NY), reach across the table and congratulate him on his win.

Michael Early (Forth Worth, TX) sees me by his board and says, "Oh, it was all Cesar all the way." I look down and see AeONIAN. Returning to the table, Cesar Del Solar (Pasadena, CA) said, "Oh, I got stupid lucky after that play and then picked FLOWERY out of the bag. Talk about a high-probability draw." I think he was being facetious. He also played FETIALIS and COTTAGES from the C.

Jason Katz-Brown (Cambridge, MA) is standing in the aisle, trying to have a moment of solitude. I decide to break into his reverie. Jason is a part of the tremendously successful Quackle software program. Competitive SCRABBLE players live by this product. Recently, a new version has been released (check out quackle.org to download it free for mac or pc!). In the announcement about the release, I noticed two new names alongside the ones we know so well, those being Jason and John OLaughlin (Cambridge, MA), Quackle's cocreators. The two names were John Fultz (Savoy, IL) and Matt Liberty. I asked if I'd been living in a cave, because I wasn't familiar with their contributions to Quackle. Jason said, "Well John has always been on board as the 'Windows' guy for Quackle, making it look good and run well on Windows systems. He has been an integral part all along. And, Matt, how do I describe Matt. He isn't even a tournament player. But one day he wrote us and said, "I can make Quackle run faster." So, they told him to go ahead and he did just that. Matt is an electrical engineer who is "totally awesome," according to Jason. Thanks from all of us to all of them for their work on Quackle, the best game playing, sim running program ever!

Winter Zxqkj (Houston, TX) drove 600 miles to get here. He told his division director, Mary Rhoades, that he willed himself to have an opening bingo in his first game and he did! Now, I suppose this story would be better if either Mary or I actually knew this bingo, but why mess up a good story with the holes, right?

John Chew brags: "Several players have noticed that with the free WiFi access in the tournament room, they can view the tsh feed directly on their PDAs (see Reports, above), save themselves a trip out to the hall to see who their next opponent is, and see stats pages that aren't getting posted to the bulletin boards in the hall."

I swing by table 1 in division 1 and Kate Watson says: "We are 75% through this game and there are already 5 bingos on the board!"

Lisa Odom (St Louis Park, MN) lost a close one to Keith Smith (Austin, TX) this round, 513-546. She was happy to get down EPINAOI, hooking to make QI, but then he got down RESHOWED from the R for 107 points. He also played QUENCH for 69, which she extended to QUENCHER for 66, but it just wasn't her game to win, no matter how clever she was.

I see a game in progress between Nathan Benedict (Tucson, AZ) and Alyssa Faria (Cambridge, MA). I see Alyssa's WASTERIE for 85 and Nathan's DOmINAnT.

Debbie Stegman (Kew Gardens, NY) informs me that she is in first place in division 1 and she has to call her mother now. She received the bye this round, so she is 2-0 way before any result slips are turned in, so she is actually in first place!

Bradley Robbins (Windham, NH) is on fire! The youngest player here is in division 6. He won his first game with a score in the 400s and his second with a 488!

It appears that we have byes in division 1 and division 6 today. Tomorrow, division 6 will be even. Don't ask me why, but I guess someone is coming or going...

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