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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 16

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 16

I wouldn't say you could cut the tension with a knife, but the room is feeling less relaxed as the games progress into the day. Money, ratings, and national pride are on the line and even the ever polite playing pool is showing signs of intense effort.

A compliment to the not present and missed John D. Williams. In his absence, the other John has had to do a lot of press interaction (interviews, photo shoots, discussions on camera under bright lights) and he said, "My respect for John D. Williams increases with every passing moment. I sure wish he were here right now."

At table 2, Evan Berofsky (Thornhill ON) had a barn-burning good time against David Stokoe (Windsor ON). Evan played ASSIGnER through the G for 122 (a triple-triple), REcAMIER for 80 (which I'm told by a PDA-toting Roger Cullman anagrams to REARMICE), and MINARET for 75. Evans win, 545-284.

An abandoned game between Mike Ryan (Vancouver BC) and Jim Nanavati (Burlington ON) remains set up on table 9. Glancing over Mike's notes, I see that Jim played CHEAPEn for 81 and LADINOS for 83. Mike opened with NERVILY but it was Jim's win, 474-376.

Andrew Golding (Verdun QC) flags me down to show me one thing (his game) and tell me another thing. The latter is that he's been doing some major SCRABBLE® studying over the past few months (it shows) and he credits his mother's help with bingo stems for directly influencing his performance in these Nationals. Thus far, he has played three of the bingos they studied in this tournament! About the game he just played, he tells me that he held EEOBG?? and saw BOGEyEd for 61, but didn't want to play it, so he played BOG instead and picked FUA. On his next turn, he found FUsELAgE played through an L for 68. Only 7 more game points, but style points in the hundreds! Near the endgame, he played SAC which also created FUSELAGES for 30 points and he got down AIMLESS. Andrew points out a board-opening play made by Allan: GELID. Andrew didn't know it and thought it a smart strategic move. Allan got down STORMING to the G, but lost 284-401.

I overhear a murmur about Bernard Gotlieb (Cote St. Luc QC) defeating Tony Leah (Ajax ON). Now this is news! I race over to the "always doing an endgame analysis" Bernard and to my horror find him actually picking up the board. I tut-tutted loudly and he looked up all innocently and asked if I wanted him to put it back. Since it was only a handful or two destroyed, I nodded and he complied. Tony came in during the reconstruction and helped me see a few of the game's better plays based on his scoresheet because Bernard tends to keep one that looks a lot like the one kept by Siri Tillekeratne (Calgary AB). There is just something about these Canadian Directors of the Year and their unreadable score sheets! Tony got down REPOSTED for 65 and Bernard played ENEMIEs for 61 and ASTERIA (which hooked the S to make FAQIRS) for 96. Game score, 447-321.

At table 1, there was a change in tides this time. Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) fell to George MacAulay (Saskatoon SK), 381-409. Dean played iNGOTED for 64, ANTIHERO through the E for 72, and UNSMOkED through the M for 74. If I read my sheet right, he also played the non-bingo LABOURS to the S and later added MIS to the front for MISLABOURS* for 28. After the game was over, George checked it and it isn't good! Only MISLABORS is acceptable in our dictionary. George played SPLATTED throught the first T for 74 and REVEALS for 91. Dean lost a late-game challenge of CONTO, which I'm told was probably at the cost of winning the game for Dean.

At table 3, Lisa Kessler (Toronto ON) tells me about a great game she had with Mike Ebanks (Calgary AB). He opened with VALUE and she responded with AVIATE. His next play was MOTLIER and she got down GRIMY. After his next play of INN she held EIOOBNS and saw no place for her bingo, or did she? In a sudden stroke of parallel play insight, she found and played BOONIES/OMEN/NOD/IT/EL/SI for 85 points. The game proceeded with them virtually tied throughout. In what turns out to be Lisa's last rack, she held AEDFRR?. Short on time (down to 59 seconds left on her clock), she quickly put down DRAFtER, hooking the F to make FLAB for 81 points. This play was a mistake for her because Mike took the opening that play made to play OR/OUtSIZE for an out-bingo and the win because he caught her with 27 points on her rack. She was bummed, but philosophical. She said, "If I'd just taken the time, even risked going overtime a bit, to see REDRAFt, his play would not have gone down and we'd have a different result." Game score, 423-387.

Diane Brown, working the room with me this round saw at table 11 Lou Cornelis (Ottawa ON) adding to ZED on the board and making PARODIZED* to the triple for 69 and his opponent, Shaun Goatcher (Mississauga ON), allowed the play and then put PRIMULAS for 89 to the other triple. Other plays were Shaun's QUIET for 54, EMIGrATE to the last E for 70, and RELATION for 70. After the game, Shaun praised Lou's DACOITY through a C for 39. Although it wasn't a bingo, it was clever as it formed AD/LOO/ANI. Game score, 506-305. Shaun's win.

Diane kept her eye out on table 7 where Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON) played John Robertson (Cambridge ON). She played the phoney PHYLLOSE through the second L for 82. John wasn't sure, but that play allowed him to get down EXONS on the triple for 60. Later in the game, Robin played sYNDETIC for 95. Game score, 421-368, John's win.

As we break for a scheduled coffee/cookie snack, a lot more media are coming in. I'll write more about them next round!

As we leave this round, Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) remains at the top at 13 wins and Evan Berofsky (Thornhill ON), David Boys (Dorval QC), Bernard Gotlieb (Cote St. Luc QC), and George MacAulay (Saskatoon SK) are ready to join him up there!

Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) played George MacAulay (Saskatoon SK) at Board 1 this round, and their annotated game is available for browsing.

Evan Berofsky (Thornhill ON) played David Stokoe (Windsor ON) at Board 2 this round, and their annotated game is available for browsing.

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