NSA: Tourneys: 1998: CSC : Players: Profiles
CSC98 Player Profile: Fran Silver

See also: Silver's player information.

With a rating of 1803, twelfth seeded Fran Silver, is the highest-rated woman competing in this year's Canadian SCRABBLE Championships (CSC). She is convinced that owning a large station wagon caused or at least accelerated her entry into competitive SCRABBLE play. It was 1986 and she'd been playing at Montreal's Club #83 for only three months. The club's director, Bernard Gotlieb, with one eye on the parking lot, asked her if she wanted to go to a tourney. She remembers saying, "What's a tourney?" One month later she recalls, "I piled in five SCRABBLE players and away we went to Boston." Fran placed third in the novice division. The following year she won the intermediate division in Montreal and in 1996 won the expert division in Boston.

Since reaching expert status, she's managed to keep her rating between 1775 and 1900. Reflecting on what has led to her success, Fran says, "I have never studied formally but I have been lucky in that my kitchen table has become a center for SCRABBLE foursomes which have included David Boys, Robin Pollock Daniel, and Bernard Gotlieb. That competition has been totally gratifying."

Although her family isn't as enthuasitic about the game, her husband, Ike, made her a one-of-a-kind game board, which is the centerpiece of their kitchen. Fran's older son is an electrical engineer and she refers to her younger son as a "flower child' who is involved with teaching English in Japan, blowing a saxaphone, and ingesting herbal remedies." She continues, " The combination of words and math has never grabbed them. Their loss." Married for 30 years, Fran says her husband is extremely supportive of her nights out on the town playing SCRABBLE as it gives him an opportunity to "do all his male things with the boys.'"

When I asked about the high points of her SCRABBLE career, she said, "On my 50th birthday four years ago, I chose to play SCRABBLE undisturbed for two days. In a Laurentian Mountain setting, Bernard Gotlieb and I managed to polish off 36 games while munching on pizza that my husband ordered in order to ensure some type of nutrient to stimulate the brain power."

"I love to play Scrabble; I am fascinated with the different combinations and decisions one has to make. I play Maven a few nights a week before bedtime. It is my way of unwinding, however,it will never match the excitement of a live person. I am a people person."

During the summer, Fran directs a day camp in the Adirondacks and during those two months she takes a hiatus from SCRABBLE. She explains, "outside fresh air is too strong a competition for tiles."

Trained as a special education teacher and a dance instructor, Fran received a BA and Masters' from McGill University. These days she teaches privately and has replaced giving dance classes with entertaining. Ever direct, she claims she isn't the greatest cook, but her guests are guaranteed to laugh a lot. When she isn't her favorite game, she reads avidly and "exercises less than [she] should."

Fran's enthusiasm spilled over when she said, "Two years ago I was honoured to play in the first Canadian Championships. I wrote to Hasbro to tell them how impressed I had been with the spread' they had put on and the way they had catered to the players. I was truly thrilled to be a part of it. And I am looking forward to this year's excitement."

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