2003 Canadian SCRABBLE Championship Commentary: Final Round 4
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.
After a refreshing lunch break we are back in the viewing room. Lunchtime conversation centered on whether to carb or protein up. The results were split on which was best. I got to sit next to Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) and he was happy with the last game. I told him we all were happy as it meant more great play!
Dean holds AERONIE. Trevor Sealy (Oshawa ON) suggests OE. Others agree. He plays OE, forming OBI, but Robin does not agree. She thinks an R hook set up on the other side was better. Oh well.
David holds HOASSIE. Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) says HAO. Joel says "alright!" when that word is played. Robin jokes that it doesn't make it right! I think she disagreed.
Dean holds QUARINE. What do people suggest? Robin mentions the C front hook on HAO. QUA and QUIRE are suggestions. She jokes about INQUIRE making an S hook. QUAI. He plays REQUIN and Robin says, "David is about to get some points."
He holds EISSMHO. Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC)says HOMINESS and that is the play. Robin says, "good." She saw MONISHES.
Holding VARTRAD, the players suggest VAST and the that is the play made by Dean.
David holds MZICEUA. Robin predicts AMU, she is right.
Dean holds RADARE? and Robin says he has an A-hook. ARRAyED to open the board is Robin's suggestion. There are two spots to play. Does Dean play open or close it? What is his strategy? Robin wouldn't open as much were she playing. With David's vast knowledge she thinks the one he played was dangerous.
David holds ZICGGEN. Robin sees ZINC/CHAO. Joel likes ZINGED to the D in ARRAyED and Robin says NO very forcefully. She plays people who get the J and make tons of points off openings like that.
Dave played AGNIZE. Dean held, but let it go. I hear someone ask why he did that play. Robin suggests an esoteric bingo of 9 letters....
Dean holds YOURAWE. The room suggests AYE and Dean plays it.
David's rack: CGRTBTO. Robin asks if now is the time to use the C hook. She asks if there is any way for him to dump tiles. She says he needs to play a T. BEGET is suggested. Shaun suggested CORTEGE through the two Es on the board. He played TRAGIC which makes the room laugh as they knew he needed to dump, but didnt' see his play. They like it.
Dean holds YOURAWE. The room is quiet. It took a while for us to make sure it was the right rack. YOW is suggested in two places. He takes one, we agree.
David has OBIEJET. Everyone agrees that JOEY to the triple, which David plays, is the play.
Dean now has WAURIES. SWEAR/TRAGICS. Joel suggests EWE, which blocks BEGIFTED for David.
David now holds DBEFGIT and is bummed he lost his opening with Dean's last play. Robin sees almost FIDGETED. BIGFOOT is good, Robin asks. BIGFEET too? Robin suggested DIB/AGNIZED. David plays FIG. People like it. Good for the heaviness of his rack, but it doesn't score much.
Dean holds URTALIS. Robin asks about RITUALS. TISSULAR, pertaining to a tissue. ULTRAIST to the T. Words are flying. ALTRUIST called out Evan Berofsky (Thornhill ON). People like this rack. Robin points out the lovely S-hook at OBIA, but he has to have a vowel before it to come down. Robin says to get rid of u, but scoring is important. Not knowing the TRAGICS hook is hurting him. LUG is okay, they understand the thinking, bu tthey wanted hiim to get more points.
David holds NPOBETD. Robin doesn't like any plays. The crowd mumurs. He plays BOP, we like it.
Robin points out that David is going counter to the way he has been playing, and is playing more closed now.
Dean holds PISARIT. Robin sees no opening for APIARIST. The consensus is PIP and he plays it.
David holds TENDEEL and plays DE, which is what the "talent" suggested.
Dean has ASTORIA and Robin says he is suffering from not getting Es with his racks. No bingos are jumping out. Robin says the O is a valuable tile to hook with the PIP and HAO words. OAR was his play. Robin points out that it blocks his S-hook. Others point out that he is creating another one.
David holds ETLNXEO. Any suggestions? Robin says he has real problems. XU is suggested. LUX is suggested by Zev. HEX is his play and he blocked the S hook.
Dean now has FISTURA. The crowd murmurs quietly. Robin says 10 Es played. FUJI may be his best play. The players like his play FAUX.
David has TELNOD?. The crowd sees TENFOLDs and he plays it.
Dean has been sucking up the 1-point tiles, Robin notices. He has NITRITS and plays TINT, we agree.
Dave has VLECNNS. What can he do to kill that spot opened with TINT? VEINS is suggested to block. Joel says no. He needs to leave a tile in the bag. He plays VICE, which the crowd likes okay, Robin calls it interesting...
She says that Dean will have to play off one tile AIIKRST. Robin says the K. They see almost no plays Dean could have made with the available tile pool. No one can find a spot for the K. Someone suggests he throw it under the table. There is only 1 tile left in the bag. Dean played EWER. He was fishing.
David holds LTRNNLS. The crowd talks about how they think we have a new champion. Dave has about 5 minutes and he plays NULLS, which Robin says means he has tracked right and is confident that there is no bingo chances for Dean.
It's pointed out that, ever sharp, David has blocked Dean's TAILSKID! It turns out that Dean was in fact fishing for this word. It wouldn't have won him the game, but he could have felt pretty proud of making such a nice out play.
I'm called to the playing room to photograph the game's end and Gregg Foster and Robin take over the keyboard.
Dean plays IT(s) setting up unblockable ouplays of KADIS in two spots. The crowd wonders, with much glee, whether David will block the more dangerous play to the triple with his N or his T, making either NITS or TITS. It's pointed out that perhaps David will have a tough time deciding whether he'd like it announced that he won the tournament playing TIT(s). He chooses TIT(s) and the crowd roars.
Dean plays out with KADIS and we all applaud the new Canadian champion, David Boys. 414-344, game score.
At the awards ceremony, David is called up in haste so he can run out for a much-needed smoke! John tells him that he no longer has to worry about qualifying for the next World Championship and David literally collapses in delight that he no longer has the burden of worrying whether he will be playing in his favourite tournament (well, after the Canadian Championships, of course!).
After the event, Dean admitted that he didn't know TRAGICS and Dave admitted he thought AGNIZE was a British-only play, which is why he didn't add the D to it as Robin suggested.
I check my mail at the end of the second Awards Ceremony and discover to my delight that Sam Kantimathi has offered to donate another rug to the Championship so that both Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC) and Dean Saldanha (Richmond BC) will win a rug for the Michael Wise Sportsmanship Award. Using my best schoolteacher voice, I got everyone's attention and read the message to the crowd. Dean stepped forward and positively glowed. He'd agreed that Joel should have the first rug and he was rewarded for his generosity by getting his own rug! Thanks Sam!
As I type, the big board is being disassembled and the players are leaving the room (hesitantly, Zev reminds me). It is always hard when these events end. We want them to last forever.
Thanks to John Chew and his crew for organizing and executing a tremendous event from start to finish.
Last words overheard by one of the departing players to the others, "So, when's the next tournament?"
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