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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 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, Award Ceremony, Final Round 1, Final Round 2, Final Round 3, Final Round 4, After the Tournament.

round 3

Our playing room is beautifully cozy with each game at its own table. Each table is draped in two to three linen tablecloths which make the surfaces soft and padded. The chairs are high-quality leather studded with evenly spaced metal upholstery tacks. The whole look is classy and opulent. However, some players of shorter stature find the chairs a bit too deep, forcing them to reach up to play across the board. The club's staff, sensing this problem, gathered back pillows from chairs with unattached cushions and distributed them throughout the room. Some players even opt for two cushions. But there aren't enough to go around and some people are doing without. So, though the Hasbro Canada-donated boards are staying put, the cushions are not. Before this round began, people were carefully removing and hoisting their cushions to bring to the next game. I even observed a midair cushion crash when two players tried to move in the same direction.

I walk by table 20 and note cream-colored tiles with spring green letters. The font is unusual. Then I notice that Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) is playing at that game and I decide they are from the World SCRABBLE® Championship that was held in Malaysia this past October. Joel attended and would have a set of these. I'm instantly jealous and wish I had a set. The players politely let me take a quick photo and then move on to fill out endgame paperwork. A few minutes later I pull Mike Ryan (Vancouver BC) aside and ask him how the game went. Turns out that Mike handed Joel his third loss tonight with a 433-402 game. Mike explains that he went out to an early lead with the plays RETIrANT to the T for 74 on play 2, STORAGE for 69 on play 4, and APEX/XU for 63 on turn 6. Joel played wHIRRIES through the E for 70 and then in turn 9 got down ANATASE for 76, pulling ahead of Mike for the first time in the game. Mike then played DOTAL for 30 and Joel responded with MAVIE for 30. Mike got down JEEZ for 40 and Joel responded with JERK for 30. But then Mike drew the last U and Joel the Q, which he did play off for 13, but the game was over by that point.

Tony Leah (Ajax ON) was challenged for playing WILDiRED to the D for 92 on the triple lane and then he pulled another bingo out of the bag: MADRONE for 66. Holding a rack of AEINRSU, George MacAulay (Saskatoon SK) tried UNRAISED to the D in MADRONE, picked it up again and he put down SENARIUM* to the M, which was in the triple lane instead (since he was behind by 150 or so at this point, he really needed to lessen the spread and tried this word). Tony challenged, of course, and then had to figure out how to block another bingo attempt in that spot. The play he made, parallel to MADRONE, which was TOOL, one short of the left triple lane, permitted George to play URANISM (the non bingo for 35 points), hooking the S to make STOOL. I'm later told that at 3am well after the tournament was over, Tony awoke with a start to find the bingo that his TOOL play did NOT block: ANEURISM/STOOL. He dodged a bullet there! Tony went on to win that game, 498-276.

In an Albert Hahn (Calgary AB) vs. Andrew Golding (Verdun QC) game, one standup comic beat another! Andrew defeated Albert, 416-263. Fittingly, Andrew got down HECKlING through the C for 75 (in case that reads wrong, the blank is an L). He also got down AERATES for 72 and Albert played TWENTIES through the second E for 72. I also spot Andrew's CYMAR.

Lisa Kessler (Toronto ON) informs me that the walls are covered in grass-cloth. She's won all three of her games this evening and she's floating on a cloud. There are eight undefeated players who leave tonight with wide smiles. Seven leave with no wins and hope tomorrow brings a renewed infusion of luck and insight.

Fern Lindzon (North York ON) played Bernard Gotlieb (Cote St. Luc QC) at Board 1 this round, and their annotated game is available for browsing.

Sinna Vijayakumar (North York ON) played Jim Nanavati (Burlington ON) at Board 2 this round, and their annotated game is available for browsing.

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