2003 Canadian SCRABBLE Championship Commentary: Before the Tournament
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, Award Ceremony, Final Round 1, Final Round 2, Final Round 3, Final Round 4, After the Tournament.
Players started rolling into the venue early today, which with such a helpful group is a good thing. We are elegantly situated on the 5th floor of the Commerce Court Building in the Ontario Club. Everything about this place is plush from the wooden slat ceilings to the raffia wallpaper to the carpeting and rugs. This place is nice. And though I think we won't be taking advantage of it, there is even a cigar smoking room on this floor! Gilded framed original pieces of artwork adorn every wall and the three elevator doors are gilded with gold leaf!
While players made their way down to the registration room next door to the playing room, the Ontario club catered a reception in the large gathering room at the heart of the club. Platters of cold and hot elegantly designed delicacies were spread out over a round table. And as quickly as we could empty them, the staff brought in refills. Two people worked the soda bar and we had no waits for either food or beverages.
Each player was presented with a cloth bag which contained a Travel SCRABBLE® set, an event T-shirt, a contestant folder, a name badge, and a box that contained a pad of paper and pen from The Toronto Games (with their emblem emblazoned on both). The Toronto Games was responsible for finding us this event venue, which was no small feat during Christmas/Hanukkah season. We thank them and Hasbro Canada for making this event possible.
The highlight of the reception was a gift made to Jamie Chew by Kate Doe, who is managing the annotators for this event. She made a baby quilt for Jamie that looks like a, you guessed it, SCRABBLE® board! It is at least a meter square and covered in a perfect depiction of a cloth SCRABBLE® board with the squares appropriately colored. It was such a big hit that during the opening comments, the event director John Chew thanked Kate for the gift! This, of course, drew all eyes to the baby who is 3 weeks and 3 days old today.
We had a couple big setbacks this event. First and foremost, bad weather snowed in the National SCRABBLE® Association's John D. and Jane Williams. This is the first Canadian Nationals that they will be missing and we're all sorry for their absence. The other disappointment is that the event Protiles didn't arrive in time to be used for the Championship. They will be mailed off to all the players (via their club directors) after the event and their color will remain a mystery until then. Ever agreeable, the fifty participants pulled out their own bags of tiles and proceeded with hardly a moan of complaint.
John went on to explain that cash prizes would be awarded for the top 10 finishers. There will also be a Michael Wise Memorial Sportsmanship award, a daily high word, a daily best record, and a "tuff luck" award (6 losses by the smallest total spread).
In the end, the baby came early and the tiles came late, but everyone is thankful to Hasbro Canada for the opportunity to play in this event.
All in their places with nice shiny faces John called for the games to begin after humorously pointing out to the players that "there are Americans watching, so 'friendly rivalries' only, please."
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