SCRABBLE ALL*STARS 2003 Commentary: Round 5
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.
Fortified by lunch the players are now starting round 5. There will be two more in this round robin before we switch into swiss pairing for the last round of today and for all of tomorrow.
At table 5, Joe Weinike (New York, NY) defeats Paul Epstein (Ann Arbor, MI), 512-314. Paul is groaning, so I don't bother to ask how it went, but I see AUDITING, CHAIRMEN, EUCrITE, STOWABlE, and MITHERS on their board.
A two-point win to the young man from Maine! Joey Mallick (Cape Elizabeth, ME) pulled out a squeaker win againt Sam Kantimathi (El Dorado Hills, CA) this round, 416-414. As I approached the board, Sam was amidst a recount, but I could glean some plays from Joey's scoresheet. At one point in the game, the score was 275-71 in Sam's favor. Joey managed to come back from a 204-point deficit (yet another reason to eat a good lunch!). Sam got down PuTRIDLY for 76 and I see that Joey played STAGIEST for 72 and the triple-triple REAdOUTS through the T for 122. Late in the game, Joey extended FAUGH to FAUGHT*, which is a phoney. Perhaps due to being down on time, Sam didn't notice or challenge the play. Sam ended the game with 8 seconds on his clock!
Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) defeated Jerry Lerman (Foster City, CA), 394-346. She opened with VOX, Jerry passed, and then she put down LECTInS for 71. Suddenly it was 97-0. I'm sure Jerry was loving this beginning! Later on, he got down SIGNORA for 73, but she bingoed right through it with a double-double ITERAtES from the I in Jerry's bingo for 78 points. Latter in the game she played ZINNIAS and HEMIN for 44 points. After that she just tried to block and bank up some points. Jerry's bad luck: he played BLUE and she played PYE/BLUEY for 34 points. He was doomed.
Tim Adamson (Saint Paul, MN) and Jim Kramer (Roseville, MN) were sitting at their board pondering it all when I walked by. Tim got down the doubles delight bingo of ELASTASE through the L (double delight in it being AAEESST) for a mere 59. Jim got down the non-bingo HAZaRD for 78 and won the game, 419-331. Only one bingo this game!
What I'm not able to convey very well is the brilliance of the play in this room. I can honestly say I've never seen such consistently excellent games in such a small space before! Everyone one of this is leggy and spidery, full of long, gorgeous, well-studied words. Most of us reading this are players, but this gang just resonates with such intensity over this game. And they speak in a well-understood shorthand. I overheard Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) talking about studying her 5-vowel bingos and every time I turn around, David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC) is buried in his dictionary, taking it all in. At the end of every round, there is a virtual hum of fliptop PDAs being turned on for post-game analysis. I can see the smoke rolling out of their ears as they decide between one bingo or another. Lots of sportsmanship, too, and appreciation of good plays, even if the player who flags me down is the loser!
Challenges this round: YUPS/SWARD (acceptable) and VERMINS* and RERATING* (not acceptable).
We will break for coffee after the next game. Our warriers will be playing eight games today. That break will be appreciated, I'm sure!
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