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NSC 2000 Round 14 Commentary

Division 1's Rich Baker told me about his game with Dave Wiegand where he played consecutively: hANIWAS* for 68, FILIBEG for 27 through the first I, and INCURVED for 78 through the C. Rich said he doesn't often get to play low probability words that he spends so much time learning, so he really enjoyed the game. Talk about seeing the silver lining: Rich lost, 405-445.

Robin Schlauch (div 4) has lost her last four games by a total of 57 points and her lowest score was 360. She is 3-11 -169. Talk about big wins and small losses!

Walker Willingham (div 2) has won two games in a row. He calls it his first "winning streak." Prior to these two games, he'd lost six in a row! In his round 14 game, he beat Matt DeWaelsche, 406-384. Matt opened with COUPLET for 74 and Walker responded with WILTING for 77. Walker later got down CLINKERS for 80 and FIREmEN . In an earlier game against Fern Lindzon, Walker had the rack: ABCQDGV aqnd he announced "pass four" and put them down on the table face down. He then drew new tiles, which he laid face down, and put the first four tiles into the bag. His intent was to pass QDGV, however, he was horrified to see that he'd actually grabbed from the wrong end of his rack and passed ABCQ and lef t himself DGV! He had plans for that A, which never materialized because Fern got an A first and made the play.

Division 2's Ed Neugroschl has lost his past two games with scores over 400. The most recent to Leon Fernandes, 449-419. Through the first T in TOILETS that Ed left in the triple lane, Leon played the triple-triple SCATTINg for 140 points. In addition, Ed got down ENJOINED through an N and Leon played LOADERS. Leon is now 6-8 (not a bad record for a young man who played in his first nationals in the bottom division two years ago!). Ed finally disclosed, after much muttering about how he's going down to play in the third division midway through the tournament , that his record is 5-9.

Ann Mirabito (div 2) was smiling and looking happy as she discussed her game with Verna Richards Berg, so I figured Ann had won. Actually, she'd lost, 375-404. While Verna got down INTONED, Ann played ROSIEsT.

In division 1, Lester Schonbrun put an end to Ann Ferguson's hopes of a winning streak with his 383-313 victory. Ann had both blanks and played OvARIES, zEATINS, and UNALIKE. As far as I could tell, Lester's only "good" play was BLEEPED on the triple lane and it wasn't even a bingo, so I'm reduced to assuming that he distracted her a few times and padded his score to ensure the win. Okay, okay, I'm kidding.

Scott Pianowski (div 4) walked up to me and said, "my last opponent just did the worst tap dance on my face. " Said opponent (whose name isn't in my notebook. Note to self: take more complete notes, Sherrie) played WINIEST for 77, ACtUATED for 83 to the D, FLEECInG for 80 to the G, and to add insult to injury, SMILEY for 50. Scott played NITRATE, but that's it and this 249-546 loss attests to that fact. While he's got my attention and because I failed to take the highlight down the last time he told me, he reminds me of his greatest regret thus far: he couldn't play DODGEMS although he had it on his rack.

In division 6 news, which Elsa Bynoe Ewida (div 4) says I should entitle, "The Biter Bit," Elvira Toews had a monster game against Connie Creed, 549-311. Connie, as observant readers will note, has been tied for first place (based on wins) in the division, so this win was a great victory for Elvira. Connie was quick to point out Elvira's brilliant triple-triple of ABJURINg through the R for 194 points. Elvira also played COZY to the triple for 54 points. Not a slouch, Connie played EXPECT for 66 and QuALMS for 58. This loss was a double blow for Connie, whose earlier 507 had her atop the high win category for her division. Looks like Elvira is on the top now!

In division 1, Jim Geary beat Joe Edley, 496-414. Though I didn't get to see the board before it was picked up (being the end of the day's last game, the players were being encouraged to enjoy their evenings outside of the playing room), I heard Joe say he was having a hard time stopping the post mortem and endgame analysis. He wished Jim a hearty congratulations for the good game. One thing I did notice, Joe got both blanks, which just goes to show that two blanks don't ensure any of us an automatic victory!

I overheard some division 1 players saying something about how it is now I a "Chasing Randy" game, which nudged me to sit down and talk to the now 2 games up on the pack division leader about his defeat of Brian Cappelletto, 390-387. Randy pointed out that Brian took an 11-point lead when he played NAIADEs, but Randy responded with SOLLERET through the S (which Randy informs me is good with one L or two). Other plays were Brian's THENARS and IRITIS on the triple lane. I know it is my turn to praise Randy the winner, but I'm so impressed with that THREE I dump!

Bob Felt (div 1) says he just can't get any momentum going today. His record is 10-4 with little spread. He says he is averaging 380 a game, which is lower than what it has been at other nationals: 410. At the clubs he can get a 430 average. I tried to assure him that it would get better!

I'm very sorry to report that division 3's Pat Cole dropped out of the tournament following tests at a local hospital. We all send her our prayers.


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