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August 15-18, 2003

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Back to SCRABBLE ALL*STARS 2003 Live Coverage

SCRABBLE ALL*STARS 2003 Commentary: Round 1

Go to: Before the Tournament, 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, Final Round 1, Final Round 2, Final Round 3, Final Round 4, After the Tournament.

Round 1

As the games were to begin, Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) raised an objection about the boards. The players had all just opened brand new Deluxe SCRABBLE® boards to use thoughout the tournament. He asked John D. Williams if we could use other boards with a more pronounced grid. San Diego National SCRABBLE® Championship attendees may remember these same deluxe boards used last year. Though the tiles do slip a bit more on this board design, the players, save for Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) agreed they were fine. The NSA's Jane Williams said to me a few minutes later, "If I remember correctly, Joel did pretty well on that board design in San Diego...." And, she's right! He won the event and $25,000!

The event's first challenge was AEROTONE# ruled unacceptable by Charlie Southwell. Later on I hear Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) call challenge. Charlie worked his way over to rule on Randy Hersom's (Morganton, NC) DUSTINGS*. Not acceptable.

Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) admitted she had a lucky win versus Joe Weinike (New York, NY) this round. Toward the end of the game, she opted to play the more defensive DRAGNETS instead of GRANDEST, which would give Joe an easy S to play through. Undeterred, he slammed down EOBIONT, letting her know he didn't need her S! In the endgame, she was able to play WEAR for a lot of points and then cleverly blocked Joe's play of ZITHERS by playing AGAS, "sticking Joe with the zed" as they say in Canada! She won, 463-362.

Joe Edley (Coram, NY) hearing us talk softly, pointed toward his board at the next table and said, "I was in it until the fourth bingo!" I laughed quietly while he explained how his opponent Chris Cree (Dallas, TX) had a great five bingo game. "Chris opened with PELORIAn through the R, then got down FORWARdS, STANDEE, EUGENIA, and his last play was RELIGION!" Chris also played QUEEN for 68 points! The game ended 531-399 in the favor of the gentleman from Texas.

A little later I spotted Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) and Randy Hersom (Morganton, NC) wrapping up their game. Joel won, 541-295, Randy admitting his phony bingo being a big factor in their lopsided scores. He then asked Joel, "Was your opening bingo good?" I spot SCAPHOID through the O. Joel nodded and mumbled, "Yeah, I think it is a bone in the wrist...."

A quiet recount is underway at table 11. David Boys (Dorval QC) is quickly going over the plays in his game against David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC). In the battle of the Davids, the man from South Carolina defeated the player from Montreal by a mere four points, 438-434. Always a good sport, David Boys said, "If I play 17 games like that, I'll be happy." David Gibson just kept shaking his head over the game.

In the Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) vs. Sam Kantimathi (El Dorado Hills, CA) game, Sam won 471-376. They were amidst a quiet late-game analysis, deciding if DECOY was indeed the best play or not. Sam points out later that one of the board's fun bingos: SIGHTER was played for 102 points!

As we go into round 2, Dave Wiegand (Portland, OR) stays at board 1, now playing Joe Weinike (New York, NY), and Jeremiah Mead (Chelmsford, MA) faces off against Chris Cree (Dallas, TX) at table 2.

This round's recorded game matched Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) vs. Brian Cappelletto (Chicago, IL).

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