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NSC 2008 Commentary: Round 24
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Shannon Burns (Airdrie AB) is creativly using the NSC to raise money for an AIDs hospice and orphanage near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Prior to the event, he asked friends to sponsor him (flat pledge or per game won). His goal is come in the money and donate half of his winnings toward the cause, too. He is doing so well at the event, I think he will get the chance to make that donation!
I see GUNKIEST for 108 on a Ryan Chepita (Ottawa ON) vs. Bradley Robbins (Windham, NH) game. This is the second time they've played and the second time that Ryan has defeated Bradley, 385-371. This is the first time in the event that Bradley has lost two games back to back. His dad was encouraging him that losing by 14 points is no big deal and then Jeremy Cahnmann (Chicago, IL) came along. He may be one of the funniest people in SCRABBLE and he offered sage advice about losing from a person currently 8-16. Some might say, he is an expert in the field of losing!
Ted Rosen (Rochester, NY) tells me that he had a dramatic outplay in his game against Steve Pellinen (St Louis Park, MN). For 95 points, he played DRAMATIC. Play was fun, but sadly, for him, he still lost the game.
I encounter Sam Rosin (Bernardsville, NJ) in, of all things, a sweater vest. Yes, with 90% humidity outside and the ballroom's ac working hard to keep us cool, Sam is wearing a gray sweater vest. He claims that it is his "lucky" vest and that he is 11-0 wearing in (most of those wins from other events). He is 13-11 now in division 1. I ask him to remind me how he's done at past NSCs. In 2004, he was 15-15 in division 4; in 2006, he was 17-11 in division 4; and at the Players Championship last year, he came in 4th place in division 2. He assures Phil Wertheimer (Short Hills, NJ) and me that he does wash it between tournaments.
Conrad Bassett-Bouchard (Moraga, CA) wants to show me his board 1, division 2 board this round. He played someone even younger than he is and this young man's game impressed Conrad. ENTAILER for 82, vANADOUS for 77, and BERTHING for 84 were Conrad's better plays. Andrew Friedrich (Aurora, CO) played FROSTNIP through the O, AXONE for 60, ZEES for 47, and the terrific SOUPCON through the disconnected P and O (the latter wasn't necessarily high scoring, but it was a great find). Despite the fact that he played BARFUL* (and it stayed on the baord), it was Conrad's win by a bit, 433-409.
Out of the blue, from across the room, we hear very clearly "Oh my god!" I look at John Chew, who is busy watching game 1 on the web site (not that there isn't some work he could be doing....). I curl my lip at his lack of productivity and he smiles sagely, registering my dismay and suggests I check in with Jason Katz-Brown (Cambridge, MA) once his game is done for an explanation of the exclamation. Thus, I do saunter over to Jason, who is shaking his head looking over the board, pointing, shaking his head some more, exhaling sharply. I ask him about his outcry, and he says, "Holding ABENNOQ, I played GOB for 32 and the second I hit the clock I saw that I could have dumped that Q with QI for 31!" He lost to Brian, 434-461. Ouch.