NSA: Tourneys: 1998: CSC : Monday: Commentary
CSC98 Commentary: Round 23

Round 23

As the champion players entered the room, a bevy of reporters and running cameras followed. It was almost like a coronation. The opponents shook hands and the tile bag and then they just sat there. A few awkward seconds later, John Chew said, "The game will not begin until the cameras have left the room." As if in unison, lights shut off and camera lenses snapped down simultaneously and off they went with John saying after them, "Come back in 45 minutes. We will have some real news then."

Joel went first this round and he picked EEOUSNX and played UNSEX for 40. Strong start. He drew EEEOGLW.

Albert's first rack was PTHONII and he responded with HIP/EH/XI, then drew TOINAOI.

Joel then played OWES to the S in UNSEX and drew AEEFGLL.

The Lamp Room is overflowing with media and players. At a quick glance, I spotted: David Boys, Fern Lindzon, Shaun Goatcher (very fetching in a suit and tie), Zev Kaufman, Leah Katz, Lisa Kessler, Lynda Wise, Jamie Craig, Don Malcolm, and Lisa Deift. There is a nationalistic sense of pride in the discussions I overhear.

Back to the game. 
Albert put down NO, then picked it up and played ION/ON to the O in OWES, picking OITAGAL.

Joel's next play was FELLOE/LOWES, he then drew AAOFGTW.

Now that we are in our final game, the system of runners and helpers is running perfectly smoothly.

Albert played LOGIA/FA, hooking under FELLOE, and he drew TAGACRR. 

The score is now 83-52, Joel's lead.

I just heard Joel call out a definitive 36. We await the word. OFT/GO/IF/FAT (a gorgeous parallel play), drawing AAAKNGW.

Albert then played CRAG/AL/GO atop LOGIA, drawing TARIT?D.

That is now 9 out of 9 blanks! Incredible! Will somebody run a sim on the likelihood of this ever happening again?

Joel played GAWK/GAL/AGO, atop CRAG, and drew AAAEDNR. 

Doing this kind of coverage is really a lot of fun, but it isn't easy. We can't talk at all, so misunderstandings between written down Us and Vs are difficult to reconcile until we see the next play sometimes. Adam shows absolutely no emotion. 

The online forum is getting pretty rowdy now. We have tiles being virtually thrown around. 

A comment has been made that perhaps the blanks have hurt Albert as they sure slow him down as he thinks about possible plays.

Albert used the top middle triple for DATE to the E in FELLOW, and drew INNRRT?.

Joel then tries the beautiful triple-triple DRACAENA through the C in CRAG for 141. Albert challenges and the play is acceptable. Joel almost smiled at the distant cheers from the spectator's room.

He then drew JBOESYO. Score 304-95. It will take more than another blank, we think, for Albert to recover from such a giant lead.

Albert loses a turn due to the challenge and Joel presses on, announcing 38 for JOBS/HIPS.  His new rack is AEEIOCY. Nice to see that he is back to his old ways--ugh!

Albert plays PRINT from the P in HIPS and draws NERTZT?.

Joel then makes the small but strong play of YE/OY/BE parallel to JOB on the triple lane for 32 points. He draws AEEIOCQ. That lovely Q again. 

The score is now 374-109.

Albert plays TURN through the U in UNSEX and draws ZETUDR?. There sure are many open spots for a bingo. Adam shakes his head at me, fairly certain those tiles contain no bingo.

Joel then played QAID to the D in DATE, drawing EEOCLMP.

Albert played ADZ off the A in DATE and drew EURTAT?. Adam shakes his head no at bingo possiblities there, too.

Joel just played COMPLETE through the T in PRINT for 70 points, drawing EEIRSVY. 

Albert just got down his own bingo, TAUnTER/AT off the A in DRACAENA. He drew MHESII?. For those counting, that is 10 of 10 blanks. Either Joel had his fair share of them earlier in this touranment or he is due for some sweet racks in his next one! Adam agrees that Albert's choice of bingos was the right one.

The score is now 458-214 with 9 tiles in the bag. 

Time is not a factor for either player this game as they are both at around 10 minutes left.

Joel plays YORE through the well-placed O in COMPLETE for 33 and draws EIUBNSV. 

Albert plays HIS to the S in FELLOES and draws EIM?UVO.

Joel plays SUB/COMPLETES to the triple with the little word and has EIIODNV

The bag is empty.

Albert puts VOGIE won on the upper triple, making GHIS.

Joel responds with VINED

Albert plays out with UM.

Final score 542-284. New Canadian SCRABBLE Champion: Joel Wapnick.

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