August 3–8, 2007
Dayton, OH

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PC 2007 Commentary: Round 24

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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, Award Ceremony.

This round's annotated game featured: John Luebkemann vs. James Leong.

Round 24

"I opened with a bingo-bango and only won by 16," said Andy Saunders (Guelph ON), as he walked with me to his board across the room. There were a few raised eyebrows. He is well over 6-feet tall and very obviously a male and very much wearing a LOUD blue and silver wig. I'm used to blending in. I felt conspicuous. When we reached the board, he pointed out his first two plays: VAPORING through the N for 68 and RECODING to the G for 71. Later on, he got down COLLIeS for 74. Ben's plays: STANINE for 68, REJOIcER to the last R for 95, QIS for 46, and AWFUL for 45. 453-436, Andy's win.

Denise Mahnken (Long Beach, NY) beat up on Jeremy Jeffers (Milford, CT) this round, 451-392. I see Denise's DAUNtIER and Jeremy's ROTATED and POLENTa. They werre more about having fun than reliving their game, which I think is a good thing.

Well, the state of Montana is certainly having its way with Michael Wolfberg (Westford, MA). He's lost a second game in a row, this time to Andrew Gaertner (Glenwood City, WI), 448-297. Both Andrew and Lynda Finn (Madison, WI), who handed Mike a loss last round, hail from Montana. As I walked up, Mike said, "He destroyed me." While Mike got down ROILIEST through the L for 68, some of Andrew's better plays were: ABREAST for 74, NERTZ for 68, PLOY for 39, and oLEINES for 72. I told Andrew how I had a hard time spelling his name and he told me he liked his name a lot, found it fitting. I asked why and he said, "I'm a farmer. And Gaertner means gardener in German." And, it is driven home to me again, how SCRABBLE® crosses so many boundaries of class, profession, age, gender, etc. As I walked back to my table, I was reminded of my grandmother, the wife of a potato farmer, who adored SCRABBLE®. It is because of her battles with my own mother that I grew to love this game.

Eileen Johnson (Freeport, NY) eyes are jumping with excitement. She just played a barn burner with Faye Edwards (Homewood, IL) and she wants me to see it. Eileen got down FUDGIEST* to the T for 80 and BRIQUETS for 90. Faye played VOCaTIOn through the I for 72, RETILLED to the D for 80, and EXPIRES for 82. The radiated such great sportsmanship and appreciation for each other's game with none of that "he got both blanks" stuff. In the end they were both winners, but Faye gets the tournament win, 462-411.

Mike Frentz (Seattle, WA) walks by with another zinger. You gotta hear this guy talk sometime. He's got a very expressive voice. He told me yesterday that he's done a lot of stage work, which explains a lot. Anyway, he said, "Great, I've lost five in a row and NOW I draw Robin Pollock Daniel (Toronto ON)!" I just checked, and sadly, Mike now has six losses in a row.

John Luebkemann (Bear, DE) tried his hand at James Leong (Vancouver BC) this round at table 1 in div 1. It looks like an endgame bingo, NEGATIVE for 78, and catching James with FIMNOTY for 30 brought John closer in score than the it appeared as the game unfolded. Early on John played dELUsTER through the L for 64 and SEXT for 51. James played HEADIER for 79, PURANAS for 72, and ASTONIES for 59. Game ended, 435-405, James' win.