August 3–8, 2007
Dayton, OH

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PC 2007 Commentary: Round 29

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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: James Leong vs. Joey Mallick.

Round 29

Our last day of this year's Players Championship. Chris Cree (Dallas, TX) took to the microphone at 9:00 am sharp and mentioned that we had players from 43 states in attendance. He joked that he knew the people in the states with no attendees and he would be visiting them soon to discuss it. And then, one by one, he mentioned those who had come from foreign countries, asking them to stand for acknowledgement: Chani Katz (Israel), Mike Whiteoak (United Kingdom), Amnuay Ploysangngam (Thailand) and his Thai contingent (all too shy to stand), and then lastly, all our Canadian brethren. He was brief and then it was Mary's turn. She was brief and then we were off!

Benjamin Bloom (Miami, FL) could not be happier! He and his new spouse were married 7.7.07 at Wachussetts Mountain in Massachusetts. Terry, who is a professor of broadcast journalism at the University of Miami, was here this morning with Ben, and they were showing some of us their wedding proof book. So very gorgeous! Benjamin wanted me to know that they were to be referred to as Dr. and Mr. Bloom, as Terry has a Phd. With a broad smile on his face, he told me he loves being married. Mazel tov to them both.

Katya Lezin (Charlotte, NC) and her children met John Chew at the pool yesterday evening. It was brought up that today would be a very busy day and some quick feet might be useful. So, Eliza and Hannah Lieberman have volunteered to help us this morning. They are stationed by the div 1 director's table and will be running result slips to the data input staff every few minutes. Since today's pairings will be predicated on the results of the last round, new pairings won't be able to be generated until every last result slip is tabulated. We are delighted to see Alba back and if we can pry Michael off his gameboy long enough, we'll get him to do some running, too. The volunteers have been so important to the smooth running of this event. Yesterday, when we were down Alba, Sue Hoehn had double duty helping distribute the materials.

Time will get short as the rounds wear on today, so let me take the time now to thank all the volunteers who donated their time and all the players who donated their laptops, their money, their goods. This has been such a smashing success, made possible only because we pooled our resources to make it happen. Yeah to us!

Bennett Jacobstein (Milpitas, CA) approaches me, smiling. He says, "Okay, so I'm dead last in my division, but I had a 212-point play, which were I in div 1, 3, 4, or 5, I would have won for high play, but someone in div 2 has a 221-point play." Curse the luck.

I walk up to table 1 in div 1 to see James Leong (Vancouver BC) and Joey Mallick (Cape Elizabeth, ME) playing. James waves at me and I'm afraid to disrupt them anymore, so I scurry out.

At table 1 in div 2, Rafi Stern (Seattle, WA) and Sam Rosin (Bernardsville, NJ) are in a nailbiter of a game. Right after Sam played, he grabbed tiles out of the bag and had Rafi tracked perfectly before I could get around to the other side of the board. There was an electric intensity around the board. I tried to stop by two more times, but they were in the middle of a recount, which ended up holdingk, giving Rafi the win, 402-397. Sam shook his head and admitted to botching the endgame. A minute or two later, Rafi came by and said, "I was able to find an out in two. I think Sam could have won, but it would have required some non-intuitive playing. I really enjoyed this game." I see on the board, ILLUVIA (that even John Luebkemann (Bear, DE) who was walking by said, "wow, nice play!"), XENIAS (opening play), RE?ANTING, TAILORED, and ENSNARED.

At table 1 in div 3, Michael Wolfberg (Westford, MA) lost to Chad Hopper (Austin, TX). The game was all picked up, but I caught Mike checking on the results from table 2. I overheard him saying, "... if that happens, I'll just play the next two games with Chad..."

At table 1 in div 5, Joey Krafchick (Roswell, GA) defeated Andrew Friedrich (Aurora, CO), 378-345. I see that Andrew started strongly with an opening play of CONISES for 74. They were very close throughout with Joey getting down hiw own bingo, SAUTOIrS from the S to the triple for 74. Toward the very end of the game, Andrew played ZORIL and, holding the second blank, Joey was able to play ARs/ZORILs/HA/ER for 39, which Joey declared was his favorite play of the game. It is clear by the game score that it was a well-fought game. This win guarantees Joey first place in div 5. He will be Gibsonized for the next two games. He said to me in passing, "My SCRABBLE® earnings to this year to this point: $2,000." He won $1,000 at the National School SCRABBLE® Championships in the Spring for coming in second place. He just cracks me up: 12 going on 40.

Larry Rand (Chandler, AZ) gives me a hug and thanks me for being part of such a winning undertaking (the Players Championship). I take the hug, but am sure to mention that I was but a small part. He says the game is taken down now, but he had a 586 win this round. Yeah Larry!

Amit Chakrabarti (Hanover, NH) wants me to see his game against Conrad Bassett-Bouchard (Moraga, CA). He was down by 154 and came back to win. I see Conrad's RANTERS for 69 and FERMATA for 69. At one point, Amit admits to making a hail mary play of LOBBERS one short of the triple lane. He had an S, he was hoping he could do something. He drew a C, and came down with SCLIFfS#/CLOBBERS. Turns out the main word, which Conrad accepted is good only in Sowpods, another SCRABBLE® dictoinary. Amit figures he has a lot of spread and he wants to finish in the money, so he starts to play aggressively. Conrad then slaps down SHAPELY, but Amit came back with ENDOGENs to the triple. Conrad walks up and says, "I don't regret the play I made, it should be a word." So then, it is explained that he played UNHID*, which would have won him the game were it good, but it came off the board. Amit's win, 427-398.

Rod MacNeil (Somerville, MA) vs. John OLaughlin (Cambridge, MA). Rod's win, 498-394. I see LAOGAI played from the L (no points really, but a way to dump some tiles. I would have played AGIO somewhere, so this is a good word to know!). Other words: EsTRIOL, VERGENCE, ESPANOLs, ORNATELY, and the fun BEHOWLs. While we are passing the while, Cecilia Le (Boston, MA) says, "Hey, did you hear about Winter Zxqkj (Houston, TX) playing in two directions yesterday?" I guess he played AY, but then somehow YO, too. Needless to say, you can't do that. Maybe he thought he was playing Boggle said John.

Mike Whiteoak (United Kingdom) had a win this round against Keith Cejmer (Stevensville, MI), which started out a 426 tie, but turned into 427-426. Mike played PORKIEST for 95 through the R. He wanted to play POKERIST*, but wasn't sure it was good, it would have been a triple-triple. Not good. Keith got down SNODDIER and Mike also played DENUDES.