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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: Final Round 3

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.

Finals: Game 3

So, we had a much-needed lunch break. Even the ESPN talent was hungry when we broke.

Jim Kramer spoke to Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) during lunch and he said that he had steamrolled quite a few players to get the finals, so he couldn't be too disgusted that it happened to him. This said in reference to his 0-2 start in the finals. He also said that he feels comfortable, the he played pretty well. The one word he wasn't sure of was BITSY, which he could have played instead of SYN in game 2, though he didn't think that SYN was a bad play. When Ron played ZOO in game 2, he was trying to draw RERADIATE which would have played through the AD on the board.

This is Jim Kramer typing now, as Sherrie goes to take some pictures. There has been some scrambling during the first two games to get the racks transferred to us in the watching room, but generally we've been able to follow along okay. Stefan says the games have been flying by, and that commentary has been hard to give in all the confusion of talking to the ESPN host, trying to follow audience suggestions, and trying to follow the flow of the game and racks as displayed on the giant board in the room. Trey Wright will apparently get a shot at Robin's guest commentary slot this afternoon.

ESPN is redoing some of the banter from earlier: Cara Capuano and Stefan are exchanging some fairly canned TV-speak, but it sounds like it might come together well later. Thank goodness this is not live, though.

Sherrie back typing with Jim's input.

John says from the game room: "Back now. Players are ready. Ron and Milt are reminiscing about Chicago, and how Milt Wertheimer annotated a real bungle of Ron's."

The players just drew their tiles and Ron started the game with ABACK (his rack was KCBAANS).

David, holding VRALFDU just played FRAUD for 21.

Ron now holds SOGRINS and bingos with SORINGS/FRAUDS.

David, holding ALVOABE, plays LAVABOES to the S for 82.

The score is 112-103, Ron's lead.

Holding DEHLMOO, it is Ron's turn. Joe Edley suggests HOOD. Stefan talks to Cara in front of the camera.

Ron does play HOOD as Edley suggested.

Now with TQINVOZ, David plays QAT for 22.

Ron holds EEILLMW and he plays NEWEL from the N in SOARINGS. Joe Edley says maybe to keep the board open did Ron play this word.

David holds FINOVXZ. David played VOX/HO/OX for 31.

Ron's turn with POMLOIE. Brian Cappelletto suggests POLIO, forming HOP/OXO. And now Ron has arranged the word POLIO on his rack. He plays it.

David's turn: FNITZEI. He played FRITZ as Jim thought he would for 45 points, taking a slight lead.

Ron has drawn the blank and the crowd cheers loudly as they would like to see this go to five full games! He is certain to bingo this time: AEMNST?.

Trey shouts out, "Wow, what a wild game already!"

Ron is shuffling the tiles, biting down on his lip determinedly. MISTAKEN seems to be the room's consensus.

Ron is staring down the board and Jim says he knows he has to maximize this play. The game and the tournament depends on it. He doesn't disappoint and plays MiSTAKEN through the K for 76.

David up: AEIIJNR. JIN has been mentioned as a potential play, but it is somewhat dangerous as it takes a D front hook. Jim observes that now that David is a bit behind, 266-201, he might need to open up a bit more and JIN would open up two more bingo lines. As expected JIN went down, leaving a bingo-prone leave of AEIR.

Ron's turn: ACEGNRY is his rack. A dozen players are now standing up in the room. David Boys is pointing to the board, Marlon is shaking his head in agreement, but what they are saying is lost to me. We hear CAGE coming down the other side of MISTAKEN. It went down. Jerry Lerman in the room with John says of this rack, "which Jerry points out is two tiles short of pREGnANCY."

David now holds AEIRIWI, which is a terrible draw. So much for his good "leave" last turn. He is rubbing his mouth beneath his mustache as he contemplates this rack.

The score is 292-230. ESPN's camera is focusing on our temporary score board in here.

David played WIRE/EF, leaving AII to draw to.

Ron has drawn the second blank along with a second Y: ALNYYR?

Poor David, just drew more vowels and his rack is a wretchedly unbalanced AEEIIIN. He finds WIENIE from the W.

Back to Ron. He plays JAY, leaving the Y in the triple-triple lane, leaving LNRY?. His full rack is now AHLNRY?

David now holds AEIMTTU, which allows him to play ULTIMATE if it isn't blocked. It would be one letter short of a triple word score, with the potential for an S addition later.

Ron is determined, he even looks fearsome. He plays HANdY for 54. It scores a lot and blocks the best bingo lines. And it blocks ULTIMATE.

David and Ron were confirming their score and they look bemused and smiling at each other.

We were all waiting for Ron's rack this turn. The whole room looking at me for it since John feeds me them. He gives it to me, but is given the wrong rack and the room yells back that it can't be. Finally the camera shows the rack.

Jim speculates that it may be time for David to open a triple-triple lane and hope for a miracle bingo. It would be the second triple-triple lane open. A Y is in the second spot of a lane already.

AUTO was suggested as a good play for David. He is holding AEIMTTU. If he were to play AUTO, it would leave him EIMT, which are good potential bingo tiles.

A roving camera is on Joe Weinike now and back to Marlon.

Okay, David has chosen to play MUTE, which also opens a triple-triple lane, but may leave too many vowels on his rack.

Ron immediately responds with PLUNDER for 20, the score is now 392-274.

David has DREGRET on his rack now. Two tiles left: OU. He played NU. Jim says that David needed to draw a triple-triple through the Y that he could play this turn, but he didn't.

"DETERGERS is good right," asks Trey from the stage. It is unplayable. Trey Wright is now in the middle of Cara and Stefan.

Ron plays GYRED through that Y and blocks the board.

Gibson holds AEIISTU.

Stefan, clearly overworked this game, is wiping his brow. It is hot in a suit under the lights, no doubt.

The crowd is bantering, waiting for the next round, but David is taking this endgame seriously. He wants to keep every spread point he can.

The score is now: 425-276, in Ron's favor.

Jim suggests that in situations like this, where spread doesn't matter, perhaps a resignation option could be exercised.

With three minutes on his clock, David is contemplating all his options.

Joe Edley just suggested the resignation option, too. The crowd is restless.

Someone suggests TEASHOP to HOP already on the board for David. Cute find.

The room is quiet enough for us to hear Trey talking to Stefan about the importance of maximizing every play. That a player can lose, but still know he/she gave it his/her all.

Jan Dixon says, "Well the good news is David is down to 1:20 on his clock, so it will be over soon one way or another."

David plays ETUIS, blocking Ron's outplay spot of ROTE/NUT.

The camera just focused in so closely on the side of Ron's face, we could see the distortion of his glasses in the image in front of them.

And now, Ron is taking his time. I've known Ron for years and I've never seen this type of game face on him. He is just all there. The camera pans on Ron's arms folded in front of him, one on top of another. The angles are getting better and more varied with fade ins and fade outs of the board, players, racks.

Ron plays TO/UP, leaving ER on his rack.

David plays AI/YA to go out and the room explodes in an applause. The fans are psyched for a round 4.

End score, 445-305.

The players shake on the screen and the game is over.

Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) wins the third round 445-301, bingo-ing SORINGS and MiSTAKEN to David's LAVABOES. David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC) still leads 2-1.

This round's recorded game matched Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) vs. David Gibson (Spartanburg, SC).

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