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WSC 2001 Commentary: Round 18

Go to: Before Round 1, Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Round 7, Round 8, Round 9, Round 10, Round 11, Round 12, Round 13, Round 14, Round 15, Round 16, Round 17, Round 18, Round 19, Round 20, Round 21, Round 22, Round 23, Round 24, Final Game 1, Final Game 2, Final Game 3, Final Game 4.

Round 18

RA Fontes tells us that we can expect repeats starting in the next round. What that means in real speak is that up till now, effort has been made to avoid having players play each other again. Beginning in round 19 some players may meet up again.

James Kramer (United States) says, "Thank my brother Dan for the call last night!" He lost this round to Andrew Perry (England), 490-422. However, Jim is proud of play he debated making and finally did. Holding the rack BGIRSTY, he found the British-only BIRSY which nestled in nicely against many other tiles to create JOB, OBI, and KOR. He earned 72 points for the play and it didn't hit a triple word square. Unusually high! In an earnest voice Jim said, "I kept trying to catch up and win the game but Andrew wouldn't let me." Good for Andrew!

At table 31, I see the last few plays of game between Taewan Sutthasin (Thailand) and John Holgate (Australia). In textbook fashion, Taewan kept one-tiling John, who had less than a minute on his rack and an unplayable Q. Good endgame play couldn't win it for Taewan, he lost, 361-450. John got down DUBIoUS for 78 and set himself up for a triple bingo by playing LOP on short of the triple lane and playing RETAILS/SLOP the on his next turn for 80. Taewan played sAUNTED for 76.

Edward Okulicz (Australia) tells me that in the sea of not memorable games he's played thus far, one stands out. He was down by 150 points after 6 moves. Suddenly on fire, his next four plays were: BIVIA for 35, QUOIF for 45, DELaTION from the D for 77, and NEEZES which hooked and made QUOIFS for 93. He ended up pulling a win in this game against John Grayson (Wales), 420-367.

I run across Allan Simmons (England) and David Delicata (Malta) as they are finishing up their game. David opened with POTENT and Allan responded with CITRINES through the N in POTENT for 65. Later in the game, Allan got down SOLVENT, hooking the S to create THANKS for 75. David played GARBAGES through the R for 68. The blanks came late and Allan, using one of them, made a sacrifice blocking play of LOs because the other blank was out and he feared a triple-lane bingo from David. It was true, David had the blank, but with the board blocked, he ended up playing oOF to the triple for less points than he had wanted. Allan smiled and said that all game long he was hoping to get an IM to extend the opening play to the triple with IMPOTENT.

Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (Thailand), having defeated Joel Wapnick (World Champion) this round at table 1 moves up to fourth place. After the game finished, he quietly went over some of his plays and choices with a throng of onlookers. On a board littered with fabulous plays, he said that the best play he made that game was LI, which blocked the only remaining bingo lane and prevented Joel from wresting the win away. He told me that Joel Wapnick (World Champion) is "spirit." When I ask him if he means "spirited," he nods, but I think he means something deeper. Without going over the top in my analysis, I think he was honored to play so well against such a strong player. Later on in our chat, Pakorn went on to tell me that he was the Thai National Champion seven years ago when he was 15. He won that tournament in a battle with British expert Mark Nyman. He explains that in Thailand they switched to SOWPODS as their word source for the national championship three years ago. However, many smaller "local" tournaments still use the American word source, OWL.

Robert Felt (United States) promises to regale me later with a game he played this round against David William Boys (Canada). He mentioned something about playing WHE for zero points and David playing DIX for zero points.... Bob won that game, 505-485.

Probably still grooving to ABBA and wearing earphones and a huge grin, Joel Sherman (United States) finds me to give me some news. He just lost a game to Tony Sim (Singapore), but he could care less. Why? Because, Joel got to play the natural PLAIDMEN through the A. He only got 72 points (which included a 5-point penalty because Tony challenged), but it is a British-only play that he is excited to have found and played.

Steven Gruzd (South Africa) says that in this round he got no Ss, no blanks and his opponent David Acton (England) had four bonuses. (I love that many of the players call bingos bonuses!) No surprise, Steve lost that game by 130, but he almost had the play that could have turned the game around. David played INDORSE, hanging the I into the triple lane. Steve held TICKETD on his rack. He says he groaned so loudly that he had to show David his rack. Why couldn't that tile have been an E!! This is Steve's "shaggy dog" story.

This round's featured interactive games are:

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