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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 17

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.

John Chew here. People have been asking on CGP about the pairings. After an initial seven-round round-robin, we had five rounds of Swiss (not Fontes) with no repeats, then four rounds of Swiss with one repeat. Round 17 will be paired 1-3, 2-4, 5-7, 6-8 etc. with threepeats allowed, and Round 18 will be KOTH.

This round's recorded game matched Joe Weinike (New York, NY) vs. Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) again.

Round 17

Yesterday as games were winding up, I met a woman in the hall who identified herself as the person who did the "talent make-up," which I take to mean the people on the stage in the finals theatre. I've seen her again this morning, so I guess she's getting ready to make-up the talent!

We gathered in the room early this morning, hoping to get a large photo of all the players. We did manage to get all the committee members, annotators, and staff members shots, but will wait to get all the players when ESPN isn't filming the top board players (as they were early this morning) and when we're sure Marlon Hill (Baltimore, MD) is here.

Speaking of Marlon Hill (Baltimore, MD), he received a round of applause when he did arrive a few minutes tardy a few minutes ago! Laura Klein, still at the microphone, said as our applause died down, "Let the games begin!" A little bit of levity is great in the morning!

While I've got a moment, let me say that events like this are hard to organize and execute. The NSA and John D. Williams in particular, are to be thanked for all the effort that went into this. I think I speak for all the players when I say that they've been treated well for this event: gifted, put up at a great hotel, and given access to the best SCRABBLE® opponents in one small room than they've seen in a good, long time!

Our committee for this event was a very small seven people. Well, as the former First Lady says, "it takes a village," and in our case, it takes a village of volunteers. Profuse thanks to all the unpaid people who've given hours of endless free labor: Kate Doe, David Johnson, Paul Avrin, Susi Tiekert, Rod MacNeil, and later today Jerry Lerman (Foster City, CA), who will help with play-by-play input from the closed finals room. And there were more!

As I was combing the room this round, I stopped by Jan Dixon and Susi Tiekert and my camera got knocked to the floor. After whining for about 10 minutes and whirring, John and I took the batteries out and put them back in a few times and manually steered the zoom in and out. I think it is working again, but if the photos stop we'll know why!

I still get a kick out of the way Tim Adamson (Saint Paul, MN) tosses his tiles on his rack so insouciently! This round he is playing Jeremiah Mead (Chelmsford, MA) who has a completely opposite style with his color coordinated hand-drawn scoresheets and his precise drawing manner.

As I walk by table 5, Joey Mallick (Cape Elizabeth, ME) slams down OOGENIES through the second E for 70. Just as quickly, and without a "thank you for the opening" comment, Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY) put down JOLT through the first O which reached the triple for 57. I note a scoring difference on their scoresheets, but admit I can't read Joey's handwriting very well (can he?). As I note Joel's fashion plate-ness (he is in bright red suspenders with a burgandy hued SCRABBLE® tie), I hear him pause the clock and ask if they can take time out to agree on scores. After a bit of back and forth, they settle on 268-240, in Joel's favor. I return after the game finishes and Joey pulled out the win, 460-442. Since I'd last checked in Joey had gotten down EROTICAL to the L for 82. It came down to a Q-stick, which was in Joel's rack.

As I've mentioned, Susi Tiekert is helping me figure out which board is which by drawing 12 rectangles on the sheet, putting the players on the "right" side of the "tables," and then putting down the opening play. Well, Sam Kantimathi (El Dorado Hills, CA) and Rita Norr (Danbury, CT) decided to play a practical joke on her and they pretended to play, with tiles on their racks and an opening play of H?IL on the board. Susi, trying hard to keep a poker face, started to write down the play but couldn't figure out WHAT they were thinking! Who would make THAT kind of opening. Sam, unable to keep the joke going for too long smiled up at her and she pantomined a knife stick to her heart repeatedly. :)

Randy Hersom (Morganton, NC) played Trey Wright (Beverly Hills, CA) this game and an early pass by the board caught a 375-241 score in Randy's favor. I spotted ANTEATER through the T for 63, SAUGERS for 74, and LINEUPS for 73. It wasn't a lot of points, but it earned style rewards: NANDIA* through the first A for 12 points. A nice rack cleaner. Later on I see a 426-241 result, still in Randy's favor. Randy's games get mentioned a lot because I adore his scoresheet: very neat, each play written down, and turn plays recorded.

At table 1, Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) defeated Chris Cree (Dallas, TX), 485-305. Ron got down two late bingos: CROWNETS for 92 and AIRLINES for 66. Chris played MILTERS for 68. Ron challenged off Chris' REDDINGS* play.

At table 3, David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC) defeated Jim Kramer (Roseville, MN) 416-297. He wasn't jumping for joy. It is tough to knock out friends in events like this. David began the game with a third turn play of ALfRESCO through the C for 87, which set the tone. Three plays later, he got down FoVEOLE for 73. Jim played INTRIGUE for 60, but wished it was more. The annotator notes that Gibosn thought ALFRESCO was a more defensive play (more defensive than what, I'm not sure).

Marlon Hill (Baltimore, MD) defeated Dave Wiegand (Portland, OR) this round, 449-422, in a q-stick game. In after-game banter, he said that he played ZIN holding onto a G, hoping for NORMALIZING or ANIMALIZING. It didn't pan out, but he won anyway.

Poor David Boys (Dorval QC) and Joe Edley (Coram, NY) had to play right next to the internet area this round and we aren't always able to be quiet since media ask us questions, etc. In a tense endgame, when I wasn't near the "loud Chew," David turned around to shush John and remembered something. His rack, which was HONERS plus a W, is an anamonic rack. His anamonic for HONERS is MR CHEW. So, this means there was a bingo on that rack and he bingoed out with REShOWN to win! In truth, the play prior, he picked the Q without and U, but got a blank and put down SQuEAK for 39, which got him down by only 91 points with 8 tiles left in the bag. Then he picks the second blank and wins, 333-317.

Another challenge this round: DEACONET*, ruled unacceptable.

Well, it is here, the final round. Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) will play Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) at table 1 and Chris Cree (Dallas, TX) will play David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC) at table 2.


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