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[August 17-22]

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2000 NSC

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Back to NSC 2002 Live Coverage

NSC 2002 Commentary: Round 28

Congratulations to our new National Champion, Joel Sherman!

See also: video clip 1 (2 MB), video clip 2 (2 MB). (video courtesy Roger Cullman)

Go to: Before the Tournament, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Round 7, Round 8, 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 23, Round 24, Round 25, Round 26, Round 27, Round 28, Round 29, Round 30, Round 31, After the Tournament.

I'm called over to a division 4 game between Rhoda Klein (Culver City, CA) and Mary M Gordon (Garden Grove, CA). The play BLOCKBUSTER is on that board! I get a quick photo of the in-progress game. I think it was Mary who extended BLOCK with BUSTER!

Nigel Richards (Malaysia) falls to Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY), 332-538, in their division 1, board 1 game. Joel played TENACES for 74, STANDERS to the S for 72, and UNAWAKed for 92. Nigel got down AGONISES to the S for 68 and FIXING for 75. While they were doing their post-game paperwork, Nigel suggested Joel fix the result slip as Joel Sherman did not beat Nigel Sherman. Joel blushed and realized that he'd made a mistake. Instead of crossing out the wrong last name, he just did a whole new slip over from the start. His recovery was that his middle name is Richard, so seeing Nigel Sherman didn't look overly strange to him as he wrote it. We joked that he was just trying to add another brother to the Sherman brother mix! Imagine the round robins Mike, Larry, Joel, and Nigel could have in da Bronx every night!

After the game, Nigel stayed around and spoke to the annotators, the documentary filmmakers, and a few onlookers. I asked if he planned to play at the next World SCRABBLE® Championship (WSC) for Malaysia. It doesn't look like he will ever qualify for the Malaysian team since he isn't a native of that country and no length of stay there will affect that kind of qualification system. And, to return to New Zealand to play enough games to qualify for that team is difficult since he has to work (as an electrical engineer for a small Malaysian company). He was pleased to hear about his 0-to-2056 North American rating (as of round 25), but said he had one that was more than 2200 in New Zealand. I explained that all of us who play in North America suffer from ratings deflation and he was getting to experience it with us.

In division 2 at board 2, Mark Landsberg (Laguna Woods, CA) defeated Clay Daniel (Dallas, TX), 423-293. On their board, I spot Clay's TANGELO for 68. Among Mark's better plays was QANATS on the triple, hooking to make TANGELOS for 54 and ACONITE for 79.

Dave Wiegand (Portland, OR) walks by with a result slip (this normally means a player is doing the victory dance on the way to the table where the slips are collected) and shows it to me with a smile. He defeated Marlon this round and moves into third place with a 19-9 +1503 record.

Back in division 1's cage, Brian Cappelletto (Chicago, IL) defeats Jakkrit Klaphajone (Thailand), 423-292. Cringing as he checked over his scorecard, Jakkrit admitted that this was his lowest score yet in 28 games of play. While I take a question from the sidelines, the game gets picked up. So I can identify it with a caption later (I'd already taken a photo), I asked them to give me a bingo on the board. Jakkrit rattled them off for me: GAIETIES, ANNEALED, and REASONER (all Brian's). Jakkrit clipboard caught my eye during their game and I got a shot of how he tracks using a black marker to cover letters on a small credit card-like device.

Zev Kaufman (Toronto ON) smiles as I approach his board and he says, "I had a game like Robin's last round!" He detailed it for me and I'll try to catch the hightlights here. His opponent, Ira Cohen (Los Angeles, CA), opened with HANKIES for 80 and Zev responded with XI. Then Ira plays ELOINERs through the N for 61. The score is now 147-36 in Ira's favor. Knowing he'll need the board open to catch up, Zev played CUTEY one short of the triple row, hoping Ira didn't know the S-hook. Ira played HEFTED, then Zev played CATENOID through the E for 74. Ira then played small and Zev got down WIZ for 33. Some more small plays and ZEV holds QUPRIG?. He plays QUIDs for 68, which gave him a 20-point lead. Then Zev got down PODGIER. Ira held him, but kept the play. A bit later, Zev held OINETEN. He so wanted another O to play OPTIONEE down the left top triple line, but it didn't happen. However, another miracle occured. While he held VERT, he picked up VES. Next turn, he finally got to use that S-hook and play VERVETS/CUTEYS for 112. He ended up winning the game, 537-362.

Next door, Jeremiah Mead (Chelmsford, MA) defeats Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON), 461-385.

As I head back to the internet table, I check out a tense game. Robert Linn (Potomac, MD) defeated Paul Epstein (Ann Arbor, MI), 408-385. I see bONNIER, PRARIE, NESTLER, and DONATES on their board.

Tomorrow is a day of possiblity! Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) leads the division 1 pack by 1 games, 22-6. Chuck Armstrong (Saline, MI) and Sal Dijamco (Margate, FL) are both 21-7 in division 2. A new division 3 leader emerges, Susi Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA), 20.5-7.5. She is a half-game ahead of the pack. Now two games up, Norbert Saldanha (Richmond BC) is living large in division 3 with a 23-5 record, two games above the field. Two games up in division 5, Scott McDougall (Williamsburg, VA) is 22-6. with a half-game lead on the field, Dielle Saldanha (Richmond BC) is still in first place in division 6.

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