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NSC 2008 Commentary: Round 7
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Verna Berg Richards (Manhattan, NY) smiles broadly at me as I walk by. She just won her game this round against David Whitley (Monrovia, CA), 395-311. At one point, he held a bingo, but decided to play off two tiles instead to build up to a better bingo, but Verna blocked his spot in a big way with her natural PORTENTS.
One row over in division 2, Eric Kinderman (Burlington, VT) earned his way to play Charles Smith (Durham, NC), both players undefeated to this round. Charles played OvULATION through the LA for 62 points. Eric played ORPINeS for 73 and the other two bingos belonged to Charles: ECHIDNAS for 74 and RAINWEAR for 65. Eric admits he held HAEMOID and could have played it down the triple to an S, but HAEMOID doesn't take an S. And he figures, karmicly speaking, that playing phonies you know are phonies leads to a guaranteed loss. Charles says he's sure he would have challenged HAEMOIDS* off, so good call, Erik. Charles' win, 413-385. He ends the day the only undefeated division 2 player!
Prior to the NSC, Joel Horn (Reading, MA) a member of the Lexington SCRABBLE club, outside of the Boston Metropolitan area, said to me, "I'm going to be playing in division 2 with a player I haven't seen in twenty years. I last played him at a nationals long ago." Sure enough, he squared off against this "every two decade" player this round, Paul Izikoff (Miami, FL). Paul, feigned great sadness at his loss to Joel, 363-417, but clearly was happy to be remembered! Joel ends today 6-1 and his smile is broad.
Alex Fiszbein (South Lyon, MI) had a nice win against John Stardom (Ottawa ON) this round, 476-415. As I look over their game, I notice the clock. John ended with 24 seconds left and Alex with 12:55! John played three bingos and lost: TENUrIAL, SAPIENT, and TRAITORS. Alex got down UNDERLAY and RiNGTOSS.
I see Alan Stern (Shadow Hills, CA) of Mr. 338 fame (everyone know that Mark Landsberg is Mr. 770, but that wouldn't even be possible were it not for Mr. 338!). He smiles at me and admits he is ending today 3-4. I ask him if he is coming in cold, has he not been playing much. He deadpanned, "I am coming in from the freezer!"
Shannon Burns (Airdrie AB) pulls out is phone to look up a word in a game he just finished with Diane Firstman (Forest Hills, NY). Diane says as dry as toast, "I had both blanks and he still kicked my tushie." I wrote down tushie in my notes and Diane said, it is with a Y, right? And Shannon said, it is both, right? Well, the one that knew it was both won that game! Diane's favorite play of the game was holding AEEULR?, she found a fun play through an L. Can you find it?* Shannon opened with EMPTIES for 78 and later played NIOBITES for 61.
Paul Avrin (New York, NY) has his glasses flipped up again. His hands are in his hair, his opponent, Roy Kamen (Covina, CA), is up to his wrists in tiles moved all over their board. Post-game analysis is going on strong. Paul sees me and says, "After two plays I was ahead, 223-47, but then his next plays scored 75, 34, 76, 39, 70, 34, 37 for an average of 53 points a turn!!" I venture a question, "I guess this means you lost, Paul?" "Lost? Of course I lost! Who can do anything against that?!!? I see DEFUNCT, REPLIERS, and ROOTAGE on the board. Roy's win, 472-418.
Matt Graham (New York, NY) leaves the room on a cloud, he is undefeated in division 1, as does Bradley Robbins (Windham, NH), who in the next division, 6, leaves undefeated, too. More news on the others later!
Time for dinner and 7 more tomorrow!
*Diane playd LAURELEd through the L for 66.