Navigation Bar NSA Home NSA Word Gear catalog School SCRABBLE(R) NSA Membership

[WSC 2001 logo]

Go to: Finals Commentary Games Players Photos Profiles Standings Teams Press

Congratulations to the 2001 World Champion, Brian Cappelletto!

Back to WSC 2001 Live Coverage

WSC 2001 Commentary: Final Game 3

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.

Finals Game 3

As the game began today, Stefan reminded the players that Brian Cappelletto (United States) is an options trader by day and Joel Wapnick (World Champion) is a McGill music professor who wanted to be a concert pianist. Smart aleck, James A. Cherry (Canada) yelled out, "a concert what?" Not missing a beat, Stefan said, "yeah, that too!."

The game opened with a bingo from Joel: LOURINg for 64. Brian then missed the British-only bingo: BALNEARY, which is a bath house, and played BAY. Joel's next play was OXID, hooking the O into the triple lane.

Steven Gruzd (South Africa) sitting with me says, "here comes a triple-triple, we hope." The crowd is going mad trying to find it and hoping that Brian does. deep Blue couln't find one here,. His rack is AEIOLR? and he has an open O on a10. He is thinking. He has just played OvARIOLE, using the triple, but not making a triple-triple.

Joel has FRUGDHN. The crowd is quiet. They've got no more idea what he should do than he does probably. Stefan is calling for suggestions. Randy Hersom (United States) suggests a play I can't hear. He played FRUG b12 for 21.

Brian played QI/QI/IN for 22. No choice, really.

Joel is short of vowels: ADFGHNR. He is three points ahead, 121-118. Stefan says Joel looks pained and someone said he always looks pained! Not nice.

Overall, the frenzy of the first two games is absent in this round, so far. However we have heard that Joel should challenge Brian's shirt, which is loudly Hawaiian. Steve looks it up, and the shirt is good.

Joel finally played FRAG/FIN for 16. We hope he gets some vowels.

On the other hand, Brian is floating in vowels: BOMEEIS. BIOMES and FRAGS has been suggested. He chooses IMBUE through the U making BAYE for 24 points. Stefan suggested OBEISM/FRAGS. That was best.

Joel now has AADHHNY, still in vowel lightness. Steve sees "AH, HANDY." I think he could write song lyrics. I hear suggestions of HA/HANDY from the crowd. He chooses HANDY for 37 which is considered aggressive by some in the crowd. HIs pick is now AAEEIPH. Well, he got vowels.

Brian has STEWPOT, but we think he might not want to risk it. It is a British-only word he might not know. He plays WYTES down the triple for 45 missing STEWPOT hooking onto LADS or IMBUES. The crowd agreed that it was a better play than STEWY for the same score for strategic reasons, but not as good as SPEWY for 6 more points.

Joel played AGAPE, in the bottom left corner for 33 points.

Brian holds TOPTWED. David Wiegand (United States) has just joined Steve and me and is going to help us keep up. He was the one to see the STEWPOT play. Brian is taking a long time with this rack. He is moving the tiles quickly, referring to his tracking, looking at his tiles again. He played DEPOT/IMBUED for 29 points keeping the TW. Dave points out that Brian could have played DOWT for 33. Better leave, more points says Dave. Computers showed that the top 9n plays were all British-only.

Joel is pondering his rack: DEHIIIN. He played HI for 26.

Brian has AKRTVWZ. Steve says that if there was an N he have KRANTZ, a good South African word for a hilltop. He played WARK for 28. I hear Allan say it took out two bingo spots.

Joel has DEIILUN. We've heard PINULE suggested to get the triple, leaving DI. Not bad says Steve. However, it was no good. He is 11 behind at this stage. Allan is suggesting a parallel play under DEPOT. There are still three Ss unseen. From the camera angle, it looks like Brian is concentrating just as hard as Joel right now and it is difficult to tell whose turn it is. Joel seems frustrated. Brian sighs and drinks water. Joel is burning a lot of time. The commentators bring up that there is only one more I left in the bag. There is 5 minutes on Joel's clock and 8 on Brian's. Joel played NUDIE onto the E of AGAPE for 12 points.

Brian's rack is AEEETVZ. Allan just said, "back to Brian with the V, ZED." His British accent is so strong, I can barely tell the letters he is talking about! And with Steve sitting beside me with his South African accent.... Brian played ZETA for 34 points. Lots of talk about the Z dangling up there in row three.

Joel's rack: AEEILLS. He played LAZE for 26 points and is down by 7. He drew OOU, to hold EILOOSU. O, LOUISE!

Brian now holds CMVEGIE and quickly played VEGIE/GLAZE for 35 points which opens the top triple-triple with V in column 2. In the bag there were only 4 vowels, out of 16 tiles. But Joel has 5 on his rack ...

Joel: EILOOSU. OVOLI is suggested. Joel has 2:10 on his clock. 5 for Brian. He plays LOUIE under DEPOT for 20 points.

Brian: CEMONSV. There are no vowels in the bag: CJNNTT are in the bag. Crowd is getting antsy. He plays POOVES for 36 - He is up 349-291. Both are running out of time. Brian kept CMN, and draws CNTT!

Joel now holds EOORSST.

Brian's body language is bad after the draw.

Joel played KO for 6, not to empty the bag and to give himself a chance to draw a bingo through the E of POOVES. He pulled the J.

From the crowd, Jere Mead (United States) recommended RESOJETS through E of POOVES. A clear win, unless Brian blocks. RESOJETS is OSPD only - a type of engine. The crowd was starting to celebrate.

Brian plays CHAM for 19, leaving CNNTT. He has about 30 seconds. He draws another N!

Joel missed the play!!! He played JO for 38, leaving RESTS, probably figuring he'll win with all Brian's consonants, but he is still down by 32.

Brian played CAN for 14. About 15 seconds left.

Then Joel quickly slapped an S onto GLAZE to make glazes for 17. He would have scored 26 for RESTS in that spot, plus 8 on countback from Brian, to finish on 369, which loses by 23. He had seconds left.

Under HUGE time pressure, Brian made a brilliant outplay, holding NNTT - he played INTENT through the I of NUDIE and E of POOVES. Brian had 4 seconds left on his clock and Joel had plenty of time with 8 seconds.

Final score - 400 to 352. 2-1 Brian.

We break for boxed lunches now, again provided by the NSA and Hasbro. They've really done a great job of feeding the contestants and workers throughout this event.

Thanks to Steve Gruzd, David Wiegand, and Dr. James Cherry for helping me make the color SO MUCH BETTER and more accurate this round.

Round 4 next!

HASBRO is the owner of the registered SCRABBLE® trademark in the United States and Canada. © 2001 HASBRO. All rights reserved. "SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game" is the proper way to refer to this unique group of word games and related properties marketed by HASBRO. "SCRABBLE®" is not a generic term. To use it as such is not only misleading but also does injustice to the company responsible for the trademark's longtime popularity. All we ask is that when you mean SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game, you say so. 

The SCRABBLE® trademark is owned by J.W. Spear and Sons, PLC, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. outside of the United States and Canada. 

For more information about SCRABBLE® or the NSA, or to comment on or correct the contents of this page, please e-mail: 
To report technical difficulties in reading this page,  please contact webmaster John Chew at: