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WPC 2010 Commentary: Round 17
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Another gloriously warm summer morning in Dallas and the players are all in their places playing SCRABBLE.
John Chew and I lingered over breakfast a bit and when we got to the Addison room a handful of players had gathered at the door. A new Dan Stock tableau was on the giant board, put up last night by John. When you think about it, Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (THA) is a wonderful tableau topic as he uses up that K perfectly!
We discussed the other WESPA-sanctioned event going on this weekend, the Trans-Tasman Challenge (a team event pitting players from Australia and New Zealand against each other). Wilma Vialle said, "The kiwis are squishing us!" Us, meaning Aussies. I suggested that players from New Zealand had more time to study since they grew tired of watching sheep all the time. At this point, Nigel Richards (MYS) sagely and ambiguously said, "Sheep are more exciting than you might imagine." He was rescued from the ensuing awkwardness when Chris May (AUS) walked into the room wearing a T-shirt in the hue of hot pink, carrying a banana.
John and 7 other WPC players attended a screening of "The Expendables" last night. When I asked him and others how it went, I heard about the same thing, "It was what I expected." Chris Cree (USA) enjoyed his cheeseburger, but thought the whole affair was too loud. Nick Ball (CAN) thought it was an average action movie and just an excuse to string together large explosions.
Sam Kantimathi (USA) made a short announcement from the newly renamed International Committee (formerly the WESPA Committee) about qualifying for the Causeway event and other Collins events. Information on all this can be found at the NASPA web site. Essentially it boil down to about 30 games and at least two different tournament appearances.
Uncharacteristically late, the Robbins family (mother and son) dashed into the playing room during morning announcements. Bradley Robbins (USA) was apologetic and sandy eyed. They had not received their wake-up call this morning and had frantically dressed and ran to the playing room. Bradley had a mangled and hastily opened orange juice in one hand and an unopened soy yogurt in the other. I'm glad he arrived in time to not have his clock started. That can be a lousy way to start the day.
His opponent, Robert Linn (USA), who has been taking this event very seriously, studying in every spare moment he has, had an interesting Saturday evening. During an exciting and aerobic evening flossing session, his tooth broke in half! (kidding, I'm not sure how one would aerobically floss....) He was able to find a dentist who could get staff members together for a Saturday evening visit. So, Bob tried to get a cab to the dentist's office. Well, it is Ramadan and the majority of the Dallas cab drivers were breaking their daytime fasts and Bob had a very hard time finding a ride to the office. Once there, the dental team was able to stabilize, medicate, X-ray, and treat Bob so that he'll be fine until get returns home to the Washington, DC area in a few days.
Over breakfast, Philip Nelkon (Eng) announced that he'd been able to locate the drugstore near the hotel. All in all, it was a swinging Saturday night at the Intercontinental.
Judy Newhouse (USA), smiling broadly (she is always smiling and positive as this will demonstrate), said, "this may be the most awful game I've ever played. He nearly tripled my score." I see TOWSERs, SLEEKEN, and GRAVITON. I don't ask who played them and moments later, Bob returns having checked out two phonies that he made: ATEN* and ATENS*. She admits to not liking it either time it was played, but that she was so demoralized that she didn't even bother to challenge. However, she was still smiling!
Kunihiko Kuroda (JPN) vs. Nathan Benedict (USA) at annotated game 1. The annotators tell me that it was a close game. Two bingos each that I can pick out: AECIDAL for 69 and cURVATE for 76 for Nathan and OUtBIDS and SEXTANT for Kunihiko. A 474-425 win for Nathan. Nathan opened their game with QUEME!
Kunihiko, is, obviously from Japan. And usually when I'm at places with John Chew and other Japanese citizens, they speak in Japanese. However, I notice that Kunhiko only speaks English with John. I finally dared to ask him about it this morning and he smiled and said, "I speak Japanese so infrequently these days that I'm not as fluent as I once was." I asked what language he was used to using and he said English. John says he has forgotten on occasion and spoken Japanese to Kunihiko, but that the responses come back in English, which is fine. John is at least bilingual.
A wonderful breakfast treat for Nick Ball (CAN), he tied Nigel Richards (MYS), 449-449. Already the recipient of a tie win, this just tickles Nick. In the endgame, holding BEEEMR?, and down, 417-429, Nick had to find some POINTS. BEGUM seemed to fit that need and Nigel could not go out and make enough points. Words of note: ?ARDISM, PROTONIC, PHARISEES, HORSIER, and WEEVILS.
A pretty close game, Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (THA) does in Fidelis Olotu (Eng), 439-424. Pakorn had 00:00 left on his clock as it ended.. I see THOUSAND, DELETION, PIQUET?, and ENRAGES on their board. I'd interrupt, but Pakorn has half the board torn apart. He is like a kid in sandbox, so I just let him continue.
Jim Kramer (USA) vs. Eric Kinderman (USA). It is a 383-346 endgame with Jim up on the points. One tile unseen, Eric holds INSERTS. He needs to bingo and he needs points. Suddenly, as if speaking to the divine, it came to him, make the 9!! He hen slaps down BANISTERS from the BA for 74. There was an O left in the bag and Jim wasn't able to make up the point deficit on his next turn and Eric net out the winner, 438-413! Go Eric! Even Jim was wowed. Other plays: FIREABlE, LADRONS, EVoLVED.
LlANERO, is how Sam Kantimathi (USA) opened his game with Chris May (AUS). Sam says, "when holding tiles like AEOLNR?, it is good to make the blank a letter already on the rack (thereby giving the opponent one less tiles to play through/to. Clever thinking, Sam! The play of the game had to be Chris' though. He played MISCEgEN and won, 445-371.
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