SCRABBLE ALL*STARS 2003 Commentary: Round 12
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.
As we start this round there were two announcements:
1. This will be the last round with no repeat pairings. 2. The top six players in the standings are being asked to sit in an interview with ESPN crews to record footage that may be used in the show!
Charlie Southwell walks up to me all excited and asks if I heard about Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) vs. Chris Cree (Dallas, TX). I admitted I had not. Well, he wrote down the first six moves, which included five bingos: UNlOVED for 78 by Chris, REPAVING through the V for 78 by Ron, LAETrILE played to the last E for 78 by Chris, CAPONIER through the N for 70 by Ron, CONGOS for 30 by Chris, and finally DUNGIEST through the S for 61! After this barrage, the score was 209-186, Ron's lead! Rod MacNeil stops by to fill me on the rest of that game. Later in the game Chris got down two more bingos, BIASEDLY through the D for 80 and two turns later AEROSAT for 73. For those counting, we are up to SEVEN bingos in this game. Final score 534-410, Chris wins. It is noteworthy that Ron, despite bingoing on his first three turns, lost this game!
At table 6, Sam Kantimathi (El Dorado Hills, CA) defeated Tim Adamson (Saint Paul, MN), 498-415 due, in large part, to a beautiful 203-point triple-triple BEnDWISE through the S. Sam tells me that he could have played BInDWEED to a D on the opposite side of the board down another triple lane for 104 and not have given Tim the chance to bingo to the S in his word (which Tim did: SNAReRS to the last S for 69), but he opted for the points! Tim made a 5-vowel bingo dump by playing EMERITAE through the T.
At table 12, John Luebkemann (Charlotte, NC) had a big game, too, defeating Randy Hersom (Morganton, NC), 489-413. John got down a 90-point double-double, ANTIGLARE through the TI. He also found AGUEWEeD through the W for 74. Randy played BISECTED through the first E for 82 and cARPOOL for 66.
Fellow Canadians and fellow World SCRABBLE® Champions Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) and David Boys (Dorval QC) faced off on board 10. This time around it was Joel's turn to win. He ended the game with a flair playing two blank bingos: TREASONs for 99 (on the triple lane, creating ABA/TAXIS/DO/Is) and fUTURES for 63. Earlier in the game he got down MOORAGE for 76. David played IRONIST for 75 and ARDENCY for 86, but perhaps his best play was with the rack PBIENNN. Through a disconnected F and G, he found PFENNIG. It was only for 14 points, but it earned many more style points! Demonstrating his great vocabularly, Joel later extended it to PFENNIGE!
"Robin fought the whole time and she played great." This is how Trey Wright (Beverly Hills, CA) greeted me when I went over to see his 479-341 victory against Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON). In the endgame he had EPRH?TA as his final rack. He opted to play KEP for less points than CEP so as to not give her a response play. He'd planned his next play to be RHyTA for an outplay. What impressed him so much is that Robin tracked him, figured out his rack and the possibilities and blocked that potential play. This doesn't sound like much but think about these tiles: AHRT?. Would you see RHyTA and where it could possibly play? In the end, it didn't affect the outcome of the game, but it shows the depths at which these players think and execute.
We are now breaking for lunch. Based on the results of this round, ESPN will be meeting with and interviewing the top 6 players as of this round: Jim Kramer 9.0 -87 Brian Cappelletto 8.0 +512 Joe Weinike 8.0 +424 Chris Cree 8.0 +266 Trey Wright 8.0 -43 Ron Tiekert 7.0 +55
I got a chance to go in while Stefan Fatsis interviewed Chris Cree (Dallas, TX). Their rapport and friendship came out in the ease of the questions and Chris did a great job. As before, the room was very dark with a bright light on a chair about 10 feet in front of a portable, giant SCRABBLE® board covered in a strategically draped grey dropcloth. Chris was asked to speak into the camera at times and to Stefan at times. It was marvelous.
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