SCRABBLE ALL*STARS 2003 Commentary: Round 16
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.
Before today's final round started, Laura Klein thanked the players for being so cooperative. She admitted it would be hard to go back to the larger events with more players after these last few days of paperwork/rules compliance! Stefan Fatsis then took to the mike and asked a few players to meet outside the room after the final round of the day for another interview with ESPN. I remember him calling off Joe Weinike (New York, NY), David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC), Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC), Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA), and Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON).
As I walk by table 9, I notice that both players have blanks on their racks. Brian Cappelletto (Chicago, IL) holds ADEELS? and finds bEADLES/TIFFS. Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) holds AIIOLR?, plays off, holds ALOIRS? and gets down cALORIES thorugh the second E in Brian's bingo. I'll check in with them later.
Joe Weinike (New York, NY) has one of those "if only racks." His tiles are arranged: BASSNET. I can almost hear his ad: "Looking for an I." A few plays later, Joe challenges ACTIN with the A hooked to make ALONELY#, played by Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC). After the play comes off I see the scores are 235-227, anyone's game.
I walk by Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) and spy IONIZER on his rack. It looks like he can't get it down...
I'm drawn to table 12 again this round. The paperwork shows that Joey Mallick (Cape Elizabeth, ME) defeated Randy Hersom (Morganton, NC), 467-326. This looks like it was a tough game for Randy as he exchanged twice in his first three plays! He did play CONELRAD through the L for 80, but Joey got down ONETImE for 74, WATERLOO for 61, and SAINFoINS through the IN for 86. Put another way, Joey's rack was AIFNSS? and he found a 9-letter word through IN! Pretty good!
Admittedly, I walked toward Jeremiah Mead (Chelmsford, MA) with trepidation, but he surprised me by looking up with a broad smile, "this one I won!" After 8 losses in a row, he can put a W on his scorecard! I simply don't have the heart to say anything to Jere that will slow down his exit from this room, so I ask no questions and just observe SOAPIER, MELAMINE, DEFOGGER, LORINeRS, and ANImATED. No idea who played what, but the score was 512-360, Sam Kantimathi (El Dorado Hills, CA) the game loser.
Table 4 is the "scores in the 400s" club this round. Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) defeated John Luebkemann (Charlotte, NC), 464-429. Joel had a "bingo-bango" his first two plays of the game. He got down SINFONIA to the A for 95 and then LIgHTNING through the disconnected first I and H for 74. Between those two plays, John played HAULERS for 77 to give Joel an H to play through. Later in the game, John had his own "bingo-bango" with REAGInIC from the R 62 and FUELERS/ANE/MIR/ADS for 110. However, Joel got down TAMANDU for 84, and extended John's JOCK to JOCKO/MOZO.
At the next table, Trey Wright (Beverly Hills, CA) has a BLT Q, on his rack, that is. I find out later that he lost to Joe Edley (Coram, NY), 401-408. I'd say eating any part of a Q BLT will cause a person to lose a game with scores that close.
At table 2, Chris Cree (Dallas, TX) pulls out a big win against Jim Kramer (Roseville, MN), 419-345. Jim's bad luck manifested itself early in this game when he passed OOOJQ in his opening turn, drawing to HS. Of course, he drew a V in his next rack and got down HOVEL for a few points, prompty picked up the Q again and passed it with IOOQY. Later he got a blank and played DRUdGES for 73. Chris looked like he passed a bunch of Is midway through the game, but scored with ELMIEST for 83 and ELUATES for 75. Toss in ZAFTIG for 38 and OX for 30 and victory is achieved.
After winning at table 3 last round, David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC) fell to Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) this round, 439-370. Ron played TEENIER for 63, UNItiZER for 87, and ASTERIA for 70. David played FARINOSE for 74. While the players were doing post-game paperwork, it came to Ron's attention that he'd actually miswrote one of the blanks! He may have said TI, and it was clearly understood by David and the annotators to be TI, he wrote TE on the blank slips! Oops!
All the challenges this round were ruled unacceptable: MELANISE*, ARNATOS*, BERMED*, and ALONELY*.
Well, tomorrow should prove to be a very intense day. So many players stand a chance of making it to the finals. Chris Cree (Dallas, TX) and Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) at 11 wins are the leaders, but with five players at 10 wins with two games to go, it really could be any of several players, which makes for a highly exciting time.
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