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Player Profile: Jesse Wornum

[photo] Since May 1995 in Seattle, where he competed in his first-ever tournament, Jesse Wornum <jessejr@sprynet.com> had earned only second and third place finishes, never "tasting the big enchilada." All this changed last July 19 at Victor Havens one-day Oakland, CA, tournament. Jesse went 4-2 +304 in the fourth division and tasted his first big enchilada win!

Jesse lives in Portland, OR, and plays in SCRABBLE® Club #370, directed by Ruth Hamilton. His 9-5 work is as an agent for Farmers Insurance Group <http://www.portland.citysearch.com/E/V/PDXOR/0003/52/91/3.html>.

As Jesse tells it, "I started playing SCRABBLE® after my divorce. As a matter of fact, it was a lady I was dating that exposed me to the game. She would later accuse me of not coming to see her but to play SCRABBLE®." Most interesting, perhaps, is that she hung around long enough to play 130 games with Jesse, only 10 of which he won! In October 1994, he happened upon a club in session and joined it on the spot.

Since Portland has such a strong stable of SCRABBLE® players, Jesse often plays against experts such as Steven Alexander, Gail Wolford, Chris Lennon, and John Hart. In these sessions it isn't uncommon for him to lose 9 out of 10 games. Despite this, Jesse has a healthy perspective on the game of SCRABBLE®. Though many study daily, he has taken a six-month hiatus on cramming word lists. He was getting burned out and despite the impending Nationals, needed to take a break. He says, "I have accepted where I am now I will rely on what I have learned to this point to carry me to wherever it will take me. I do this to maintain my love for the game and to keep it a game. I can't allow it to consume me to the point where SCRABBLE® loses it's splendor, which might cause me to stop playing." With a rating of 1299, Jesse will be competing in Chicago's third division, vying for the division's $1,500 top prize.

-- Sherrie Saint John, Internet Reporter, NSC98

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