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WPC 2010 Commentary: Round 18
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Just as this round was getting underway, Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (THA) ran over, all smiles to let me know that the oldest/youngest players here were matched up. Being such fast players, I realized that they had already started this round at the end of last round and that I'd photographed them in last round's shots.
Wilma is keeping a close eye on Stu and Bradley and rushes over to say that Stu has just made a "9-timer" BEARDING through the R for 158 points. Thinking she meant a 9-letter play, I kept asking for the 9th letter. Talk about being at crossroads. She admits that they do use "triple-triple"and know what it means, but tend to say 9-timer. And bonuses, don't forget them! We say bingos, they say bonuses, which sounds better than bingos.... After we iron out this "Commonwealth" business, Bradley joins us, bouncing just a little bit on his toes. He says very fast, "Stu just had his highest tournament score ever!" I get over to the board, and sure enough, it is a 670-334 win for him! I see Bradley's DETAINEE and MITRInG. Stu played OUTSOLE/DETAINEES on the triple for 101, CANDLeERS for 78, and the now famous BEARDING for 158. There were three challenges made by Bradley: HEFTE, OUTSOLE, and CANDLeRS. This gave Stu an extra 30 points right there.
The usually super easygoing Travis Chaney (USA) did not have fun at the annotated table 1 this round against Nigel Richards (MYS). The tile gods were showing terrible favoritism to Nigel (ilke he really needs this help?!?). I see OVeRLIT and REGrOWN. Of the two blanks, Nigel helpfully tells me they are a V and a Q. I'm beginning to want to strangle him. :) Travis, needing to "cool off," went into the hall to bang his head into the door frame a few hundred times. I see that he got stuck with ABOISER on his rack and the air is permeated with a "this was no fun" feeling. I feel sorry for Travis and explain to Nigel that though some may say they love collins, there isn't another player in North America who has been as invested in Collins as Travis and to hit the wall of crap draws in the moment of utter bliss is just more than disappointing.
Tapani Lindgren (USA) is grinning. Wait... when isn't he grinning? He asks if I want to see a terrific play. He points to ZOOGLEAE for 122 played by Geoff Thevenot (USA). I also see Geoff's LAIRAGE for 75, EXTINCT for 100 and AURElIAN for 58. Tapani got down PLAINED for 72. A 546-317 blowout for Geoff.
Philip Nelkon (Eng) tells me that he did his part to lose the game this round with Chris Cree (USA). I see RETINAE, TOENAIL, UNEXOTiC, and ExTERIOR. A 427-383 win for Chris. I tell Philip that it is gracious to lose to one's host.
I ask Nick Ball (CAN) what he thinks the blanks are in ?ETAI?IC. He says H and R. I check with Marty Gabriel (USA) and Jim Kramer (USA) at the end of their game: hETAIrIC, DEUTERIC, and YAWPING were played. I get the feeling that Marty does not think it a worthy board and he half covers it. Enough to shoo me away.
Nick Ball (CAN) is counting and turning his completed board. He's just finished with Steve Polatnick (USA). I see two bonuses (for our overseas readers!) PITcHES and OOGONIA for Steve, yet it was Nick's win, 399-392. Looking closely, I see FIRECLAY as a nonbingo played to the AY. Of the game's 24 moves, 19 are horizontal. I see ILLITE on the board and Nick explains that SLUING/STOOK probably won the game for him, across the triple line. I think Steve may have been caught with a blank on his rack.
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