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Round 8 Commentary

[Word Judge Pam Grazette] Word judging has been smooth and efficient. No "bad" challenges have been brought to my attention. Each word judge has put bookmarks along the top of the TWL so that they can more easily find the letter divisions.

Division 2 Computer Guru Flo Turkenkopf fills me in on the highlights of her group. After this round, there are at least 10 people with the same 7-1 record. Carlynn Mayer, with a spread of +711 maintains first place, however, Roy Dixon with +700 is close behind. The other 7-1 players in the top 10 are Norma Fisher, Femi Awowade, John Karris, Douglas Hoylman, Harriette Lakernick, Phyllis Patukas, Greg Heidler, and Jerry Scheiten.

We began today with a re-pairing of the last game of the morning session. Jeff Widergren had posted the 4-game pairings last night, but learned from yesterday's disorganized attempt to change tables that he had to do something that was a bit easier for all involved. As I understand it (and take that as you may), it was difficult for people to navigate between tables to change pairings.

It is more than amazing, the sheer size of this crowd of people. Even the most gentle shake of a tile bag creates a soothing, steady white noise effect. It is almost hard to hear the challenges.

Ron Tiekert played Rita Norr this round and eked out a win. It isn't often that past NSC winners get to face one another in an NSC.

Division Four's board one this round pitted Dan Rathberger against Ruth Barr and he was victorious 316-313. That division's computer guru, Diane Firstman says, "If she had a child, it would be a Baby Ruth Bar!" There are still two undefeated players after 8 rounds. They are Dan Rathberger and David Pearl.

We've already been on TV! This morning the local CBS affiliate had a long segment on us. And Jane Williams tells me that we were on all the local radio stations this morning and she says, "The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times both carried pieces on the event and pictures of Brian Cappelletto." The NSA has hired a local photographer to cover this event: Todd Rosenberg <toddrphoto@aol.com>. His most recent gigs have included Kraft, The Lincoln Park Zoo, and USA Today.

In round 8, Ben Loiterstein has EEILST? and it had to begin with an S. He was going to play STErILE, but he realized that he didn't know if it took any hooks (like an S), so he thought he'd try something more interesting like making the blank an X. So, he played SExTILE for 68 instead. He finds the definition most interesting, "The position of two celestial bodies when they are sixty degrees apart." The upshot is, his opponent, Beulah Cooper, challenged the play and he followed it with ZEALS for 48 and ended up winning the game, 425-270.

During breakfast this morning, I overheard Karrie Bowe (division 3) talking to Sophia Murzin (div 4) in Polish. It may be the North American SCRABBLE® Championships, but we've got it all here! Also overheard at breakfast was Randy Hersom (div 1) reliving a game with Sam Kantimathi yesterday. It was towards the end of game 7 and there was the word MAN on the board. Sam was fishing and Randy couldn't figure out why. Turns out, Sam's fishing expedition was incredibly successful! He won the game by extending MAN to FUNNYMAN!

-- Sherrie Saint John, Internet Reporter, NSC98

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