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December 5-8, 2003

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Back to 2003 Canadian SCRABBLE Championship Live Coverage

2003 Canadian SCRABBLE Championship Commentary: Round 2

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.

round 2

I walk carefully by the games in progress this round and notice that some of the rows of tables are mightly close together and my shirt knocks some challenge slips to the ground. Before I know it, Ray Francis (Pickering ON) has picked them up for me while his game is in progress. In most other circles, I might get an angry glance, but this is Canada and everyone is being exceedingly nice to me. I'm told that once I leave the room, they all riot angrily, but refuse to show me this side.

At table 1, Jim Nanavati (Burlington ON) faces off against Tony Leah (Ajax ON). I see Tony's AZOTISE for 79, AGITATE for 92, and AMAsSED/VIGOURs for 80. Jim played HEROInE to the triple for 91. Tony went on to win this game, 456-435.

At table 2, John Robertson (Cambridge ON) is having a whale of a game against Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC). John opened with SKyLESS* for 80, then got down ImAGINE for 91 while the blankless Joel played AZOLE for 34 and ENJOYS for 40. He is leading by about 100 points as I walk by. Later on John got down INFERNAL to the L for 86 and Joel played POINTIER for 76. This was John's win, 424-346.

Maddalena Palazzo (Richmond Hill ON) is playing George MacAulay (Saskatoon SK) this round. On their board I spy her LOVINGLY on the triple line for 69. George opened with BIOTItE for 72 and got down SeRENES for 74. While I'm watching their game, the runner returns with a challenge. Mad had challenged YARER/IZAR, which was ruled acceptable, so George was getting another turn. Later Mad got down ATTENDS for 73. George won this game, 401-368.

From the "we learn from our neighbors" department, at the very next board to the last game, I see the word BIOTITES played through the second T for 61 and DIGESTS for 70. These are words on a Mike vs. Mike board. Mike Ryan (Vancouver BC) defeated Michael Krepakevich (Mississauga ON), 451-293.

Toronto club player Diane Brown is helping me this event. She's keeping track of who played whom and is pointing out better plays. I'm enormously grateful for her help and we'll all benefit from more color and better photos!

There are 11 women in this room of 50 players and two of them faced off this round: Fern Lindzon (North York ON) vs. Anita Rackham (Mansonville QC). There was an electric charge to the air around them as they went into their endgame. Instead of wandering around, I sat in the frame of the window near them and watched the last several minutes of the game. Fern, clad in leopard skin-print pants, sank back and almost disappeared into the oversized leather chair and wrote all over every surface of her scoresheet, which was folded in loose thirds. She drummed her fingers on the table as she counted possible plays around the board. Anita sat quietly across the table in a brown, leaf-covered shirt. With seconds left on her clock, Fern made a quick play which left tiles on her rack and then Anita played out and the game was over. It was Anita's win, 448-416. The game turned on two late-game blanks, both of which ended up in Anita's rack. Fern started off with a bolt opening with IGNOBLE for 76 and then playing PIROQUE through the I for 70. On the road to catching up, Anita played DERISIVE to the second E for 78 and SNOOTED for 81. Toward the end of the game with two blanks out, Fern made the rack-cleaning play of APERCUS to the S. Though she got good tiles in the draw, she failed to get the ones she really wanted. Anita then went on to play GENErALS through the N for 72 and high-scoring ZING play and the game was hers.

A call for "director" is heard toward the front of the room and John makes his way over to talk to Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) and Teri Tetreault (Calgary AB). A tile was left in the bag and they wanted John to help clarify who should get it. The tile went to Teri, who now had 7 on his rack (and a theoretical chance to bingo out and win the game, but his tiles were so dreadful it was not a possibility and the game just carried on). A 380-360 win for Dean. He told me afterwards that he played cARBONS for 82 and ANTIHERO through the H fro 72. Teri opened with THUNDEr for 78.

Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) played Salvatore Desiato (Toronto ON) at Board 1 this round, and their annotated game is available for browsing.

John Robertson (Cambridge ON) played Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) at Board 2 this round, and their annotated game is available for browsing.

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