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NSSC 2009 Commentary: Round 3

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Go to: Before the Tournament, Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Final Round 1, Award Ceremony.

Round 3

Our last round today and just as the games are underway, a former NSSC player and event volunteer comes forward. Aaron P. Green is a former Hopkinton player and he so missed getting to play this year that he offered to come volunteer for the event. A bit under-busy, he asked me for a task. Throughout the event, when the players have had a challenge, they have filled out lime green challenge slip and after adjudication have slipped it into the boxes on the challenge tables. I asked Aaron to find some of his favorite challenged plays. He found the following acceptable challenges: EXALTING, TAENIAS, GRANGERS, RETINTED, and AUDITEE/DEE/AE. Unacceptable plays of note: UNTATTER*, SAFFIRE*, COOTIEST*, ANTIDIAL*, OUTBINGE*, and RESTAINED*. These next plays were ruled unnacceptable because at least one of the plays was a phoney: NONSENT*/GADGETS, DISTLED*/VOWELS, OFT/OUTEARS*, and FATE/HA/BEN/ZING/REANGERS*. In competetive play, you only know if a play is acceptable or not. Thus, challenging more than one word at a time gives less information to your opponent. It doesn't say which play was unacceptable. Smart challenging!

A lovely TROWELER jumps at me off a Plymouth South Middle School #2 (MA) vs. Sage School #3 (MA) board.

Clark School #2 (MA) has an embarrassment of riches with a EITQZ?? rack!

A key part of what makes this event soar is coaches who are dedicated to the game every bit as much as their players. The Eastern Green/Bloomfield teams have one of those dedicated coaches in Dinah Fuller. She helps them fundraise all year long to raise the money to bring students, coaches, and parents to Providence each year from Indiana. She pulled me aside this round to show me a letter her students sent to President Obama in January. In it they mentioned the upcoming NSSC and how if he could make the time to come, they would be sure to introduce him to the likes of SCRABBLE superstars like Joel Sherman and Joe Edley. They congratulated him on his election and each student signed the letter. Imagine their delight when John D. Williams, Jr., read the letter from President Obama earlier today. According to Dinah, despite what anyone else might be thinking, they are certain their letter in January brought the President's attention to Providence this weekend!

On a Bear Branch Bingo #2 (TX) vs. Rising Star Montessori (GA) board, I see JUGGLERS.

Atlanta- Pinckneyville Middle School (GA) vs. Buckingham Browne & Nichols Lower School (MA). The team from Atlanta opened with RONDOES for 68 and later played GRUEING/REM for 90 and AnoLYTES from the A for 68. I see a 42-point AZOTE and FARCE for 39. A 530-221 win for Joey's team, the team that has twice placed second at the NSSC!

White Plains SCRABBLE Club (NY) vs. Town of DeWitt School SCRABBLE (NY). As they are doing their endgame paperwork, I hear the White Plains team ask what POUTINE is. A member of the Dewitt team said, "Canadian french fries." I added "with gravy and cheese," to which the White Plains player said, "ewwww." Dewitt got down PoUTINE for 70 and pANTING for 64. They point out White Plains' WORN to the triple for 41. It was Dewitt's win, 410-361. They end today undefeated. I find out that the Dewitt team is a brother and sister combo. Matthew has played in adult tournaments and has earned a respectable 1044 rating to date playing in mostly New York SCRABBLE tournaments.

On a Ridgefield Library #3 (CT) vs. Somers/North Salem SCRABBLE Club (NY) board, I spot SpONGER and DEAREST.

I hear a fast pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass to end a game between Eastern Greene School #2 (IN) and North Clay Jr. High Team Red (IL). The board was incredibly closed and one team had LU and the other LL on their racks. Three consecutive passes with no score means a game is over in competitive SCRABBLE. So, they were ending with unplayed tiles on both sides because they were stuck.

We ended today with a few missing slips and confused results, but before the staff cleared out, everything was finished and the pairings for round 4 tomorrow morning were already computed.

This evening, the students, coaches, and their families are invited to an Ice Cream Social in the Narragansett Ballroom on the ground floor of the Westin.

Tomorrow, the students will play two games after breakfast, break for lunch, return for their last game and then the top two finalists will play a seventh game while the rest of the event watches on a closed circuit tv in the viewing room nearby the playing room. It should be an exciting day!

With 12 teams finishing today undefeated, we should see some incredible matchups tomorrow!