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Back to 1998 MSSC Commentary

1998 MSSC Commentary: Round 2

Since Joe Edley is unable to do much reading during the event (due to an eye operation), Gregg Foster has taken charge of announcing table assignments and pairings for the students. Just prior to beginning Round 2, Gregg read off the teams as he walked from table to table. In almost absolute silence, a crowd of students fluttered after him in anticipation of hearing their names.

Although we might have anticipated a 50/50 breakdown, of the 104 students playing here today, 70 are boys and 34 are girls.

Ben Lyons, one of interns, has been a great help to me. He has been hand recording the results of each round (all 52 games) and giving me a sheet of this information so I can type it in for our Webmaster, John Chew, who is working on posting the event information while on vacation in London. his friend's downtown flat and a cool Internet cafe called Cyberia, John has been kept busy.

On table 18 (Quabbin blue vs. Immaculate Conception-Revere blue) I see the play SQUINTEd to a triple. The students explain that Ed was added to SQUINT. Great extension! At a nearby table, in a game between Skinner/Comeau (St.Mary Star of the Sea blue) and Boisvert/Boisvert (Sullivan-Lowell red) I see FLOCKING. Turns out that one team played LOCKING and the other team attached an F to it making FLOCKING, FUN, with the latter going to a triple word acore. Another great play!

The coach lounge behind the playing area is bustling. Teachers are grading papers, sipping coffee, talking to winning and losing teams, and visiting with each other. Since standing on the sidelines in the playing room is tiring, this lounge is a big hit.

In a Rebecca Johnson dual between Price-Cortez/Smith (blue) and Mariotti (red--her partner hadn't yet arrived), I see a word played by the blue team: REGAINeD for 80 points! Mariotti, ever a good sport, was delighted for them.

Many teams, perhaps not used to swiveling deluxe SCRABBLE® boards, have opted to play sideways. This reminds of games I've enjoyed against some New York SCRABBLE® players. Even with a swiveling board, they chose to play sideways on their turn!

This round had the first bad word ruling, but fortunately it was reversed to everyone's satisfaction. A team tried the word LAS and it was ruled unacceptable by a word judge. Seeing this, I knew something was up, so I checked with Joe Edley. LAS has been good the whole time I've played SCRABBLE®! Sure enough, it is acceptable and the students were able to put it back down on the board.

I just saw one team try an interesting two letter play: ZI and IZ. Their opponents, knowing their two-letter words, challenged the play off the board.

St. Mary Star of the Sea player, Ellen Handly, told me her game was awful. They had the opposite of vowelitis: they had too many consonants. They even exchanged tiles, but it didn't help. I assure her we've all been there at one point.

Plumfield tells me, before heading off to lunch, that both teams are undefeated after two rounds.

We are actually a bit ahead of schedule, so the players and coaches are mingling a bit before lunch. We are expecting an Italian buffet of salads, pasta, and bread.

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