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NSC 2013 Commentary: Round 15

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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, Round 19, Round 20, Round 21, Round 22, Round 23, Round 24, Round 25, Round 26, Round 27, Round 28, Round 29, Round 30, Round 31, After the Tournament.

Round 15

"Release the hounds!" called out Division 4 leader, Art Moore, as we opened the doors at 8:30am to let in the players.

Sunshine Lewis ran into see us before the games began. She is wife of Herb Lewis (Cherry Hill, NJ) and she is so excited to be here! We have worked with her for years on these events. She unfortunately broke her arm working at a School SCRABBLE event a few years ago, so she is now letting others work while she sees exhibits on the stip (the one at the Venetian is fabulous!) and visiting day spas. She is a ball of positive energy and after the morning we just had (resetting the room because doing it fell through the cracks for the hotel staff), it is great to see her!

Jack Norman (Petaluma, CA) is sitting at table 5 in division 2 this morning. I notice that neither he nor his opponent, Siddharth Murali (Collierville, TN), have equipment on their table. Jack said, "Hey, I'm new!" This is his first NSC and he is 9-5, not bad! I asked him for his favorite play so far and he has one: an outbingo of EXILIAN beneath TALKERS, creating AI/AL/LI/KA/EN for 98 points. Now that is some style!

We now have room to set up so that the podium for announcements is not on the command center, but on the side of the room on its own risers. The big board is flanking that riser and event trophies are being put out for gawking purposes. The venders now are more visible since the player games are not right up against them and they spread out to the left side of the room. This setup is much better with more room for the players and staff. In time, the fact that it was confusing his morning will slide away.

All current and former School SCRABBLE kids/young people gathered at the big board this morning to celebrate that program and the importance it has to us in NASPA. These superstars are our future! Speaking of which, one of them is actually working this year! Former NSSC co-champion, Jackson Smylie, from Toronto, came down to annotate board 1 in division 1 with Kate Watson. He's been a dream to work with and I'm sure that sponge between his ears is eating up all Nigel's great plays.

Alan reminded the players about paperwork and new resource table locations and then some yearly awards were handed out!

Then we began!

So, the cat theme begins! On table 21 in division 4 this round on a board between Marilena Souza (Pembroke Pines, FL) and Carmela Long (Thornhill ON), the word FELINES went down (blank L). I also see DEICIDE.

Also, at table 19 in division 4, on a Chandra Hebert (Lafayette, LA) vs. Anna Marie Cook (Calgary AB) board, Chandra played KITTENS. If we are going to be in the former cat room, we're going with it!

According the real weather bureau and not the one created by Alan Stern (Shadow Hills, CA), today is going to be the coolest day, by far, of any day we are slated to be here. Get ready for this you triple-digit fans, it is 84 outside now! Wow! We might need our coats.

Table 1, division 3, Katya Lezin (Charlotte, NC) played Benjamin Ritter (Redondo Beach, CA). He is a character and he reminds me a bit of our beloved Marlon Hill (not here this year). Benjamin wore his hat backwards (it says "Play Dirty") and he sat on this chair backwards leaning forward against the backrest as it nearly touched his rack. I see GAIEtIES on their board early on and find out later that she won.

Evans Clinchy (Boston, MA) vs Brian Bowman (Villa Hills, KY) at table 2 in the Collins division. Brian played GIROLLES, but the rest was pretty much all Evans: EPHEbOI, DIUrNAL, and the pretty outbingo of ERGATOID# down the triple lane, catching Brian with AEPRSFZ on his rack. Ouch. At one point, Brian tried AYGRE#/WELTY*, but Evans called it off. Sad, really, because it went down the triple for a bunch of points!

Evan Berofsky (Oxford, MI) vs. Geoff Thevenot (Austin, TX) at Collins table 1: DySURIA, PHONEYS, DISLEAF#, and the fun GADJOS* (John Chew tells me that the plural of GADJO is GADJE and for some reason, in Collins you can have GADJES#. It was Geoff's win. Evan got him yesterday. There is honor in sharing wins, right?

Division 2, table 6, Siddharth Murali (Collierville, TN) vs. Jack Norman (Petaluma, CA): MEGABAR#, CARACHEs*, and STINKER.

Division 2, table 5, George Asaka (Omaha, NE) was playing Joshua Sokol (Montreal QC). I see George's SCaRTING for 74 and DAILIES for 76. Joshua played ARANEID for 71 and BoRANES for 72. Late in the game, George got down QUIZ for 1 and then REJOINS for 56. What had begun as a runaway win for Joshua was turning into a nervous breakdown. Joshua played TEATED which drew a challenge, and this helped a lot in Joshua's 415-402 win.

Cynthia Pughsley (Oakland, CA) vs. Curtis Lee (Jacksonville, FL): I see BREEDING and MISTEnD on their board. Very few tiles left. Neither keeps clear scoresheets with words listed, so I had no idea. I wandered away and came back just in time to see her bingo out with sENARII hooking to make BREEDINGs. Requisite challenge followed. She caught him with a few tiles and won the game.

"How many tiles do you have on your rack right now?" asked Glenn Dunlop (Brantford ON) of Kristina Simon (Plano, TX). I see fERNIEST, ENGORGe, SEDATION, and ENROLLEE on their board. It was a 431-402 win for him and as I walked away I heard him telling him she had to challenge or play more bingos or something like that. She kept saying, "But, I don't understand...."

Sal Piro (New York, NY) was teaching Stephen Sneed (Fort Worth, TX) a thing or two this round. Sal is one of our long-time awesome players. Their board is pretty and I see the Vegas appropriate WYNN on their board! Four bingos toward the end: STEADILY for 63 and NODELESS* for 77 in the Stephen column and COERECTS for 76 and an opening play of TEMPERS for 78 for Sal. I saw them go to the challenge machine and scurried over. AHS/MATZOES* was challenged off. After the game was over I saw Sal carrying the winning slip to the command center. He told me that he'd challenged off two phony bingos and one was METAZOIST*.

Mark Kenas (Madison, WI) vs. Sam Kantimathi (Sacramento, CA). Pretty, pretty board! WEEST is there. And some bingos: FLINGERS, SNARERS, and the gorgeous opening 90-point play of PEACeNIK played by Sam. EXONUmIA and RONDELS for Mark. There was story behind that play. Mark initially tried NORSLED* and Sam challenged it off. (After the game, Mark admitted he tried that very same phony at a Gatlinburg tournament against Sam years before, so that doggy knew he was phoneying!) Anyway, knowing Mark's rack, Sam was trying to block, but he outsmarted himself by not blocking hard enough and RONDELS came down. Sam is pretty sure he could have blocked better and was kicking himself a bit after the game. Anyway, it was Mark's win, 429-412. For those fans of Mark out there, you'll be happy to know he's got his overalls on today and is looking tan enough to be a farmer!

Pretty, pretty board between Ryan Fischer (Charlotte, NC) and Brian Galebach (Columbia, MD). Brian played ARENOUS and Ryan slapped down SWEATIER through that A for a triple-triple. A few turns later, Ryan played SWEATED (it IS hot in this room!). TeRMINaL and DURATION were also Ryan bingos and this was his win, 558-368.

Jesse Matthews (Kelowna BC) tells me about his game with Chris Williams (Vancouver BC) this round. Jesse bingoed out with ELOINER and caught Chris with ADGIS?? on his rack. Chris has stubbled with consonant heavy racks on his last several turns and could just never make it work to even use the blanks! Wow!

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