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NSC 2000 Round 15 Commentary

Last night at the Biltmore Hotel, the NSA held a Town Meeting from 8:30 to 10:00. The 100-150 NSC participants that attended the event were offered a biannual open forum, emceed by the NSA's Executive Director John D. Williams, to discuss issues with the NSA staff. A sample of the topics touched on included ratings deflation, tournament divisional rating boundaries and their inconsistencies, the desire to reach new members, the recent SOWPODS vote, possible sites for NSC 2002 (no announcements were made about a specific location), and possible expansion of SCRABBLE News to include more than just the first place finishers at tournaments. Highlights included a short presentation by Yvonne Gillispie on the evolving School SCRABBLE program and some brief gossip about a movie now in post-production starring Jennifer Lopez, called "The Wedding Planner." John D. Williams did some consulting with the film and we can expect around three scenes where Jennifer's character is playing competitive SCRABBLE.

We begin the games today with more defined leaders than we did yesterday.

(div 6) Andrea Ross-Greene 13-1 +1617 (the highest cume of the tournament)
(div 5) Rob Matthews 12-2 +958
(div 4) Michael Ecsedy 12-3 +1071
(div 3) Dean Cullen 13-1 +1123
(div 2) Bob Lundegaard 13-1 +723
(div 1) Randy Hersom 13-1 +840

Of the division 1 Thai contingent, the one with the best record is Gerald Carter, 9-5 +348.

The women in division 1 are having some difficulty so far. Going in, the 5 top-seeded women were ranked 17th, 18th, 21st, 33rd, and 44th. As we start round 15, the women with the top 5 win/loss records are in the following positions, 31st, 37th, 44th, 47th, and 63rd!

Looking over the registrants according to home states/provinces, I'm not sure I would have guessed the state or the province with the most attendees. The answer is New York and Ontario.

Last night, during after-hours anagram playing, two plays stood out:

Kristen Chew, an NSC word judge and new SCRABBLE player, saw the word CHOLINE sitting in front of Joel Sherman, former World SCRABBLE Champion. An R was turned up in the middle of the table and she leaned over to her husband, John Chew, who was playing the game at the time and whispered the word she saw. He encouraged her to call out the word, which she did: CHLORINE! Since she wasn't even playing the game, this steal was pretty amazing!

Later in the same game, Joel saw the word SPECULATOR in front of another player. The letters IOR were turned up and he found PROSECUTORIAL. He told the players that he'd been studying that anagram recently. Pretty impressive stuff!

The games are under way.

As the round wound up, I heard Karen Merrill (div 1) congratulate her opponent, Louis Schecter on a good game despite being in "catch-up mode" for the whole game. Karen won, 466-333.

Trey Wright and Dave Wiegand had a stellar game in division 1 this round! Trey opened with MIXED (36), Dave played BANKSIDE through the D (66). Trey played EPHORATE through the A (80), Dave responded with VENEREAL (71) through the first E. Trey played EDACIOUS (69), Dave FAQIR (36). Trey OUTwAIT (64), Dace SPELTZ to the triple (81). Trey played JOB (55), Dave GRACKLES for a 60 point double-double through the separated K E. Trey played WIFE hanging the W in the triple lane (45), Dave BRAVED (30). Trey slowing down played TANG (10), Dave RANGY (42). Trey UN (2), Dave traded 7. Trey played EX (9), Dave WILDWOOd from the W down the triple (92). Trey NEATEST (62), Dave MY (32). Trey OHO (26), Dave AI (16). Trey went out with IF (7), got 6 from Dave from his rack. End score: 526-471, Dave's win an 8-bingo game!

In division 3, Adrian Manella lost a close one to Lois Cappellano, 373-369.

Division 3's Brenda Megannety, ever cheerful, had a bigger smile than usual on her face. She defeated Robert Gillis, 402-331. Brenda played LOVaGEs, which drew a challenge (it is acceptable) and BILLERS. The game was much closer than the score indicates, because Robert went over on his clock 2 1/2 minutes and got stuck with a QU in the endgame. Brenda didn't have it easy either, she exchanged her tiles three times!

In division 4, Paula Cantanese lost to Murray Griffin, 324-397. While Paula got down the lovely RIDDLERS, Murry played ETaLONS and mISTIEST.

Late breaking news: Jim Geary beat Randy Hersom, 477-393.

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