The Last Word February - Portland Scrabble® Clubs

Comments

Transcription

The Last Word February - Portland Scrabble® Clubs
W
O
R
D
G
A
M
E
N
E
W
S
The Last Word
The Independent Tournament SCRABBLE® Newsletter
A Monthly Newsletter
Issue 4- February 2010
Albany New Year’s Tourney
Strategy
Book Reviews
Puzzles
The Last Word is an independent publication for tournament SCRABBLE® players. It is not is
affiliated with Hasbro, Mattel, the North American SCRABBLE® Players Association (NASPA), the
Word Game Players Organization (WGPO), or the National SCRABBLE® Association (NSA). Our
mission is to provide content of interest to all SCRABBLE® players, so please let us know if there
are topics you would like us to add. We welcome contributions: stories, artwork, etc.
For the time being, we are hoping to provide this Newsletter at no charge; however, since it is a
100% volunteer effort, we would appreciate any donations. Advertisers are encouraged, too. If you
would like to have The Last Word emailed to you, please send a request with your email address to
[email protected] and we will add you to our mailing list.
Editor in Chief: Cornelia Guest
Monthly Columnists: Joe Bihlmeyer, Cheryl Cadieux, Jan Dixon, Diane
Firstman, Ryan Fischer, Stu Goldman, James Leong, Katya Lezin, Art Moore,
Ember Nelson, Juraj Pivovarov, Larry Sherman, Chris Sinacola, Siri
Tillekeratne, Linda Wancel
Editors-at-large: Robin Pollock Daniel, Joe Edley, Stefan Fatsis, Ted Gest
Contributors: Sandee Bloom, Mark Bonta, Jeremy Cahnmann, Arlyne Coker,
Judy Cole, Roger Cullman, Lynn Cushman, Linda Federico-Omurchu, Goran
Fernlund, Eric Goldstein, Peggy Grant, Jill Heffner, Nancy Konipol, Joel
Lipman, Denise Mahnken, Heather McCall, Aune Mitchell, Will Nediger, Susin
Nielsen, Steve Pellinen, Christopher Peterson, John Robertson, Dan Stock,
Joyce Stock, Michael Tang, Adam Townsend, Jeff Widergren
Thanks to Ed Wilson for recommending The Professor and the Madman!
The Last Word is a volunteer effort.
We appreciate your donations.
(PayPal or snail mail--contact
[email protected])
If you are interested in advertising
in The Last Word, please email
[email protected]
Copyright © 2009 GuessWhat! Some data copyright ©1999-2009 NSA; copyright © 2009 NASPA; and copyright © 2005-2009 Seth Lipkin and Keith Smith.
SCRABBLE® is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc.in the USA and Canada. Elsewhere it is the trademark of J.W. Spear & Sons, Ltd.
T
A
B
L
E
O
F
C
O
N
T
E
N
T
S
Table of Contents
From the Editor
4
Emails to the Editor
6
Top Players by State or Province in 2009: Inactive Leaders
Players’ Organization Debuts
Tournament News
9
10
11
Albany New Year’s Tournament by John Robertson
Albany Team Trivia Contest by Jeremy Cahnmann
12
15
Reno MLK SCRABBLE® Tournament by Jeff Widergren
It Happened in Reno by Stu Goldman
24
27
Redeye 2010, a SCRABBLE® Odyssey (Oddity?) by Steve Pellinen
25th Summit Open by Dan Stock
January Tournament Results
New Faces
28
32
34
36
Play the Game: Game Analysis by Joe Edley
Know the Rules by Jan Dixon
38
42
The Wordsmith by Chris Sinacola
43
Anagram Tunnels Quiz by Juraj Pivovarov
46
Will Nediger: Puzzle Master by Cornelia Guest
Anagram Crossword Puzzle by Will Nediger
Badqoph Blog Talk by Ryan Fischer
48
50
52
Historic Moments: SCRABBLE® Throughout the Years by Stu Goldman
2
54
T
A
B
L
E
Linda’s Library by Linda Wancel
O
F
C
O
N
T
E
N
T
S
55
Stell’s Racks of Mirth by Stellacious (AKA Cheryl L. Cadieux)
57
Interview with Susin Nielsen, Author of Word Nerd by Cornelia Guest
Diane’s Defalts by Diane Firstman
The Art of Strategy by Art Moore
Find the Best Play
63
61
62
63
Player Profile: Denise Mahnken by Katya Lezin
SCRABBLE® in the News
65
67
Book Review: The Professor and the Madman by Cornelia Guest 73
Meet Our Columnists: Katya Lezin
Club News
75
80
Video Joe by Joe Bihlmeyer 81
Passages
82
Equipment Roundup: Boards
SCRABBLE® Resources
Tournament Calendar
Archives
83
87
92
94
3
F
R
O
M
T
H
E
E
D
I
T
O
R
From the Editor
New Year’s Day my daughter and I welcomed in the new decade in West Hartford, CT, at an unrated
SCRABBLE® tournament organized by Dave Carlson. The tournament was open to all players, tournament
and casual, and each player brought a food item for a potluck lunch.
It was an incredibly pleasant day--friends gathering to play SCRABBLE® and share each other’s company
(and good food). Entry fees were low ($10 for six games)--and went back to the players as prize money.
It made me realize that ratings, “participation fees,” and big payouts sometimes obscur what is best about
SCRABBLE® for many of us: playing a game with friends.
I hope in this next decade to play many more games of SCRABBLE® with friends. Thanks, Dave, for
reminding me about the true joy of SCRABBLE®!
__________________________________________________________________
There was good news this past month for top-level players. Michael Tang, the organizer of the Causeway
Challenge and other top tournaments including the 2009 WSC and WYSC, made two significant
announcements: 1) the 2010 Causeway Challenge in Malaysia will be offering a US$30,000 top prize; and
2) a “Tournament of Champions,” featuring 10 of the world’s best SCRABBLE® champions, will take place
December 8-10, 2010, in Malaysia. With NASPA now rating SOWPODS (Collins) tournaments, North
American players may get more opportunities to practice the lexicon used at these events. Kudos to
Michael Tang for his terrific work in promoting top-level international SCRABBLE®!
____________________________________________________________________
This month’s issue of The Last Word covers the year’s first tournament: Annette Tedesco’s Albany New
Year’s Tournament. Annette runs three tournaments a year--two in Albany and one at Lake George--and
does an amazing job. (We’ve included Jeremy Cahnmann’s popular Albany Team Trivia Contest to try!)
Jeff Widergren reports on the Reno MLK Tournament he organized with Rick Wong. The number of top
players who attended this event was remarkable--and winner Kenji Matsumoto, fresh from winning Albany,
has most definitely started his tournament year with a bang.
Steve Pellinen, who will be running the North American Scrabble Tour (NAST) finals on February 7th, writes
about the Twin Cities Redeye--an incredible tournament where participants play 30 games in 41 hours. A
true SCRABBLE® marathon!
Dan Stock covers the 25th Summit Open in Hudson, OH, which used an unusual match format. Winner
Brian Bowman continues to demonstrate world-class skills.
NASPA Rules Committee member Jan Dixon joins our staff as author of a new monthly column: “Know the
Rules.” With new rules taking effect February 2, Jan’s arrival could not be more timely. We invite readers to
send in their questions about rules to [email protected]
As we were going to press, an announcement was made about the formation of the Word Game Players
Organization (WGPO). We include details here with contact information.
In response to reader requests, we are including an “Equipment Roundup,” which will list SCRABBLE®
equipment with links. Readers are encouraged to contact me with suggestions of equipment to include.
This month we are featuring boards; next month we will spotlight timers.
In tribute to our hardworking columnists, I’ve added another new section: “Meet Our Columnists.”
February’s columnist in the spotlight is Katya Lezin, who writes the monthly “Player Profile” (this month
featuring one of the most genial players on the SCRABBLE® scene: Denise Mahnken).
4
F
R
O
M
T
H
E
E
D
I
T
O
R
Will Nediger, a young Canadian student with an expert rating, is also a cruciverbalist (a constructor of
crossword puzzles), whose work appears regularly in the New York Times. With the 33rd Annual American
Crossword Puzzle Tournament coming up in Brooklyn, NY February 19-21, it is a timely moment to read
about Will’s feats--and also try a puzzle he specially constructed for The Last Word.
“Find the Best Play” offers another kind of puzzle SCRABBLE® players face every game: looking for the
optimal play on the board. In this issue we offer the challenge met by Eric Goldstein in a game against Scott
Kitchen at the Rhinebeck NY Tournament in January. We hope other readers will send in great plays we can
feature.
Last month we reviewed Word Nerd, a most enjoyable young-adult novel about a boy who plays
SCRABBLE®. This month we interview the author of Word Nerd, Susin Nielsen, an award-winning writer of
books and television scripts (and a big SCRABBLE® fan!)
We’re also pleased to include a game analysis by Joe Edley, who always offers great insight. This game,
between top players Joel Sherman and Joey Mallick, is an excellent example of how expert players score
points with racks many intermediate players would consider hopeless.
Recently players have been talking about a blog entry by psychologist Christopher Peterson in Psychology
Today: “There Are No Bad Racks.” Using SCRABBLE® as a metaphor for life, Dr. Peterson offers good
advice for success in both SCRABBLE® and life. We reprint the essay here in our “SCRABBLE® in the
News” section with the gracious permission of the author.
Talking about blogs, Ryan Fischer, creator of the Badqoph Directory, will be talking about blogs in his new
monthly column, “Badqoph Blog Talk.” This month’s topic is sims (computer game simulations).
Be sure to read this month’s “Club News,” which features Lauderhill FL Club #276, directed by Sandee
Bloom, who for the past 21 years has made this club’s weekly meetings full of fun. Club directors in
particular are encouraged to read this write-up--and visit the club’s fantastic website. You’ll find a slew of
great ideas! Thanks, Sandee, for sharing your club’s story.
Thanks, too, to the many readers who sent in donations and encouragement--I am overwhelmed! And
thanks also to the many SCRABBLE® players (including our regular columnists) who sent in stories,
puzzles, and suggestions. Any players wishing to contribute to The Last Word in any way--stories,
donations, ideas for articles--are greatly appreciated. Just email me at [email protected] or write
to me at Cornelia Guest, 6A Barry Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Note: This issue the columnists for “Word Trivia Quiz” and “The Tile Bag” are taking a month off. We expect
to include these popular columns in next month’s Newsletter.
Cornelia Guest
THIS MONTH, IN LIEU OF DONATIONS TO THE NEWSLETTER, I
ASK THAT READERS SEND WHAT THEY CAN TO HELP THE
DEVASTATED PEOPLE OF HAITI.
5
E
M
A
I
L
S
T
O
T
H
E
E
D
I
T
O
R
Emails to the Editor
Should you wish to comment on any of the Newsletter articles—or make suggestions or corrections
—please email Cornelia Guest at [email protected] Snail mail is also welcome at 6A
Barry Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877. Emails chosen for publication may be edited at the editor’s
discretion.
_______________________________________________________________________________
To the Editor:
I recently read your newsletter and wonder what your system is for keeping track of home states. I
also wonder if you could extend your list and publish the top ten in every state. Your newsletter is
excellent and I can always pass something on to friends even if they don't play.
Thank you.
Joel Lipman
Thanks so much for your email. I use the home states listed at cross-tables.com; however, players
often move from one state to another during the course of a year, so there may be some
inaccuracies.
I would love to list the top ten players in each state, and had considered adding a link under each
state until I got overwhelmed with holiday madness. The good news is that you can easily find the
rankings of players by state or province at cross-tables.com.
Go to cross-tables.com and click “FIND” at the top and then “Top Players by State.” Pick a state or
province, and you’ll find all the players listed by rank, both active and inactive.
Thanks, too, for your nice comments about The Last Word. I appreciate your support!
Cornelia Guest
_______________________________________________________________________________
CORRECTION: In last month’s coverage of the top U.S. Youth Players, we
incorrectly reported that Bradley Robbins had the second highest rating gain
in 2009 (464 to Max Karten’s 547). We have since been informed that
Paolo Federico-Omurchu actually holds that honor, as his rating went up
468 points last year, from 541 to 1009. Paolo was also the coach of the 8th
place team at last year’s National School SCRABBLE® Championship
(Glenfield Team 2: Rachel Keller and Conor McGeehan), making him the
youngest coach in NSSC history.
6
E
M
A
I
L
S
T
O
T
H
E
E
D
I
T
O
R
Dear Ms. Guest,
In last month’s Word Trivia Quiz, it states that "All words are found in OSPD4/TWL2."
I have recently created a word finder Web site (http://www.lexifind.com ) that uses TWL06 and
SOWPODS. I had thought that these were the most recent versions for North American and
international English play, respectively, and the only versions supported for official tournaments, and
therefore thought that I should support only those versions.
But I have found numerous sites, including your own, that are still referring to versions of OSPD
(which has been merged with the OSW list into SOWPODS), and so I am wondering what the value
of these earlier versions is, and whether I should support them on my Web site. It may be that
these sites simply have not yet been updated, but then again, maybe these older lists are still in
use. I am not a professional Scrabble player (just a home player for many years) but my site is
intended to serve players at all levels, and so it is important for me to understand this topic.
Using TWL06 and my Web site, I obtained quite different answers than those given for two of the
questions in the above trivia quiz. Specifically,
Question 2: In addition to DREAMT, REDREAMT and UNDREAMT, I also found DAYDREAMT and
OUTDREAMT.
Question 3: In addition to FACETIOUS, ARSENIOUS and ABSTEMIOUS, I also found
FACETIOUSLY, ABSTENTIOUS and ABSTEMIOUSLY. (In SOWPODS, we also have
HALFSERIOUSLY, PARECIOUS and CAESIOUS.)
The answer to question 5, by the way, is still the same for TWL06.
I am genuinely in the dark about the continuing relevance and uses of the earlier OSPD lists vs. the
more current TWL06 list. I'm mainly interested in knowing whether there is a significant
group of people who would prefer to use those older lists rather than SOWPODS or TWL06. Can
you point me to authoritative information on the nature and uses of the various lists? Also, it would
be great to know where files holding these earlier lists reside. There are some lists at http://
www.isc.ro/en/commands/lists.html, but none of the OSPD variants are included there.
Thanks in advance,
Carl Gunther|
Thank you for your email. I'll pass your comments along to the author of the quiz. My belief is that
the reason some of those longer words aren't included in the quiz answers is that they are too long
to be in the OSPD4 or OWL2. But I'll check! (I also have corrected the copy to read OWL2.)
In regard to your comments about the OSPD4 and its relevance to tournament SCRABBLE® today,
the OSPD4 is the official word source in the U.S. for School SCRABBLE®, a team variation that is
taught to approximately a million schoolchildren nationwide and championed by the Hasbro
7
E
M
A
I
L
S
T
O
T
H
E
E
D
I
T
O
R
supported National SCRABBLE® Association (the National Championship offers a first prize of
$10,000!) In addition, the OSPD4 is used at many unrated SCRABBLE® events including
numerous Literacy Volunteers tournaments and other fundraisers. It is also the dictionary of choice
for most North Americans for recreational play--which means more North Americans use the
OSPD4 while playing SCRABBLE® than any other word source. While all the words in the OSPD4
are included in TWL06 and SOWPODs lists, the OSPD4 words remain a distinct list, the most
widely used in North American SCRABBLE®, so I would recommend supporting it on your web site.
Cornelia Guest
8
T
O
P
2
0
0
9
P
L
A
Y
E
R
S
:
I
N
A
C
T
I
V
E
L
E
A
D
E
R
S
Top Players by State or Province in 2009: Inactive Leaders
In the January issue of The Last Word we listed the top active players for the year by state or
province. A reader brought to our attention that in some states and provinces, players who are
inactive actually hold the top ranking. We’ve changed the heading in that issue--and also made a
correction: For the District of Columbia Ted Gest was the top active player for 2009 (although Stefan
Fatsis played in 2009, he did not play in enough tournaments to qualify as an “active” player).
Here we list those inactive players who hold the distinction of being the highest ranked players in
their states. The year after each name is that of the player’s last tournament as of 12/31/09.
ALABAMA
GEORGIA
MISSISSIPPI
NOVA SCOTIA
Anna Chisling ’02
OHIO
Anna Chisling ’02
Tracy Cobbs ’07
CALIFORNIA
Ray Smith ’06
INDIANA
Jerry Miller ’03
KENTUCKY
Marlene Milkent ’09
MONTANA
Michael Orford ’02
NEBRASKA
Patrick Caulfield ’05
Charles Goldstein ’08
ONTARIO
NEW BRUNSWICK
Steven Fisher ’92
PENNSYLVANIA
Mike Yowoske ’07
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Ted Blevins ’05
RHODE ISLAND
Richard Lupo ’00
MICHIGAN
Chuck Abbate ’05
SOUTH DAKOTA
Mark Oppenheimer ’09
NORTH CAROLINA
Stefan Fatsis ’09
John Attamack ’99
NORTH DAKOTA
Peter Morris ’07
WYOMING
Martha Stearn ’05
June Land ’09
9
P
L
A
Y
E
R
S
’
O
R
G
A
N
I
Z
A
T
I
O
N
D
E
B
U
T
S
Player’s Organization Debuts
A new organization, the Word Game Players Organization (WGPO), has joined the constellation of
associations for competitive players.
Designed as an alternative, although not one that is mutually exclusive, to NASPA, the organization
is free and open to all, regardless of tournament experience or rating. There are no restrictions on
membership or participation in any other organization.
According to its mission statement, the WGPO will be run "democratically, by and for the players." It
"emphasizes a respectful and supportive environment.that encourages every member...to play
often, play fair and have fun."
The new organization, which its leaders describe as "a work in progress" and open to future
modification by a vote of its members, is planning tournaments, with a rating system also under
construction, and expects to have its own website in operation soon.
In 2010, the WGPO will be led by an Executive Committee of four, who will share equally in its
direction. In January 2011, leadership will pass to formal officers, who will be elected by an open
vote of the membership. The executive committee members are Keith Hagel of Maine
([email protected]), Stephanie Steele of Minnesota ([email protected]), Linda Wancel
of New York ([email protected]), and Rick Wong of California ([email protected]).
"This is an exciting, hectic time, and we are grateful for the large amount of support and offers of
assistance we have received so far. But, literally and figuratively, we've only just begun, and we urge
interested players to contact any of us by email for information about joining, volunteering for an
advisory board, or any aspect of WGPO," the Executive Committee members said in a statement.
10
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
N
E
W
S
Tournament News
For the most up-to-date tournament results and the official calendar of upcoming tournaments,
players should consult the NASPA results and calendar. Detailed information about past and
upcoming tournaments is also posted at www.cross-tables.com. Here we will feature a tournament
or two each issue, plus list winners of recent tournaments. Directors who would like to submit results
and photos from their tournaments are encouraged to send them to [email protected]
________________________________________________________________________
January opened with a bang: Annette Tedesco’s fabulous Albany NY New’ Year’s Tournament. The
tournament started with two early bird events, both in December, then moved to the main event on
December 31, New Year’s Eve. Contestants enjoyed seeing the New Year in at Annette’s party
Friday night, then had fun participating in Jeremy Cahnmann’s Team Trivia Contest after games on
Saturday. A group of night owls danced into the wee hours at The Fuze Box, a local disco.
Later in the month players ventured west to enjoy the great hospitality of Jeff Widergren and Rick
Wong, the organizers of the Reno MLK SCRABBLE® Tournament in Reno NV over the Martin
Luther King weekend. Early-bird and main-event players played 27 games.
That same weekend Club #247 of Brandon, MS honored the memory of the late Nita Washington,
their former director, by renaming their 16th annual tournament “The Nita Washington Memorial
Tournament.” Two days of games, with both an early bird and a main event, produced ten different
winners, two of them first-time tournament players.
The weekend of 1/16-18 Steve Pellinen organized a tournament that traditionally brings out the
most rabid SCRABBLE® players: The Twin Cities Redeye, in Bloomington, MN. An astonishing 30
games were played in a 41-hour period, with players starting games at dawn to get as many games
in as possible. True diehards stayed for a really late late bird (starting at midnight) and 5 more
games.
The following weekend players gathered in Hudson OH for the 25th Summit Open, captured this
year by Brian Bowman, who represented the U.S. in Malaysia at this year’s World SCRABBLE®
Championship. The unusual match format meant that players with fewer wins overall sometimes
beat players with more.
The month closed with the beginning of the Atlantic City Tournament, held this year at the Trump
Plaza Casino Hotel. We’ll list results in next month’s issue.
11
A
L
B
A
N
Y
N
E
W
Y
E
A
R
’
S
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
Albany New Year’s Tournament
by John Robertson
In keeping with recent tradition, another large crowd of
SCRABBLE® aficionados descended on the Crowne Plaza
Hotel in downtown Albany, NY from December 29 through
January 3 for the fifth annual New Year's tourney hosted by
Annette Tedesco. As usual the event produced its fair share
of surprises and general SCRABBLE® excellence. The main event was preceded by two eight-round early birds
directed by John Robertson. The December 29 affair featured
36 players vying in three groups of 12. Seven wins in eight
games was enough to take first place in all three divisions.
Denise Manhken and Bernadette Buckley Winter Zxqkj's 7-1 mark was enough to give him a one-game
ring in 2010 in style at Annette’s New
edge over Michael Wolfberg. John Morse, the only player to
Year’s Eve party! (Photo courtesy of
upend Winter, finished in third with the best spread among the
Peggy Grant)
5-3 players. Brett Constantine and Tobey Roland were the
front-runners in the second division and faced each other
twice in the last two rounds. The games were split, which earned Brett the divisional title with a 7-1
mark. Roland's 6-2 was good enough for second. Shelley Ubeika came in third place for the final
cash placement--but just barely. Her 5-3, +236 was a mere 13 spread points ahead of fourth-place
Mona Larsen. In the third division, Bridget McGrew and Janet Elliott both roared out to 6-0 records;
they too faced off twice in the last two games to settle championship matters. Those games were
also split, but McGrew took top honors via superior point spread. Sean Aery, the only player in the
division with a 6-2 record, came in third to round out the money winners. Fifty-two players entered the December 30 early
bird and were slotted into four divisions. Michael
Wolfberg was the class of the field in Division "A."
He accrued a sensational 7-1 record with a +947
spread. In second place was Darin True (6-2), while
Jason Keller's 5-3, +474 was good enough for third
place. In Division "B," Michael Bassett's six wins
vaulted him into first place over five rivals who
all finished at 5-3. Daniel Milton and Heather
McCall finished second and third respectively to end
up in the money. Wilma Pitzer's 6-2 record earned
her first place over Denise Mahnken in Division "C"
on the basis of spread points. Young Noah
Lieberman came in third with a 5-3 mark. Dave
Krook and Nancy Wroblewski topped 16-player
Division "D" with 7-1 marks, with Krook taking the
title by 121 spread points. Glen Aery edged Doreen
Fiorelli for third place by just 16 spread points. 12
Dance Dance Revolution at the Fuze Box in
Albany. Left to Right: Winter, Jim Fonti, Risa
Horowitz, Linley Bingham, Jeremy Cahnmann,
Denise Mahnken, Chris Lipe, Heather McCall,
Jessica (non-player), Roger Cullman (Photo
courtesy of Heather McCall)
A
L
B
A
N
Y
N
E
W
Y
E
A
R
’
S
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
Among the added after-hours attractions for the players were a New Year's Eve party at Kelsey’s, a
spirited evening of Fry Your Brain, and a fun and challenging multi-subject trivia contest created and
hosted by Jeremy Cahnmann that drew 51 participants (see page xxx). Many of the questions had
specially designed SCRABBLE® themes or required anagramming skills. Division 1 winner Kenji Matsumoto contemplating a
move. (Photo courtesy of Roger Cullman: Photos by
Roger Cullman http://www.rogercullman.com)
The four-day main event began on December
31. The total prize pool was $4,200. Ninety-five
hopefuls, spread over three divisions, tested
their endurance in the 24-round main event.
The 26-player top division featured four players
entering the final day's play with identical win
totals. Kenji Matsumoto eventually prevailed
and took home the $1000 first prize. The genial
Joel Bihlmeyer took top honors and $800 in the
42-player Division "B." Nancy Konipol was
clearly the best of the field in 27-player Division
"C" and won $600. Both Bihlmeyer and Konipol
had insurmountable leads after round 23 and
were subsequently Gibsonized for the 24th
round.
Annette Tedesco generously provided goody-filled Christmas stockings for all the contestants and
various treats throughout the event. Allen Pengelly and John Robertson were the acting directors
for the main event.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Joe Bihlmeyer, winner of Division 2, prepared this video of thanks to Annette Tedesco, who is
undoubtedly much “More Than a Woman!” (Video courtesy of Joe Bihlmeyer)
13
A
L
B
A
N
Y
N
E
W
Y
E
Division 3 winner Nancy Konipol receives her $600
prize from co-director John Robertson as
tournament organizer Annette Tedesco and codrector Allen Pengelly look on. (Photo courtesy of
Adam Townsend and Judy Cole)
A
R
’
S
14
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
Margo Kuno is all smiles as she
accepts the prize for coming in 2nd
in Division 3. (Photo courtesy of
Adam Townsend and Judy Cole)
A happy Ben Schoenbrun
came in second in Division 2.
(Photo courtesy of Roger
Cullman: Photos by Roger
Cullman http://
www.rogercullman.com)
Joel Wapnick accepts his prize from codirector John Robertson for coming in 3rd
in Division 1 as Annette Tedesco smiles in
the background. (Photo courtesy of Roger
Cullman: Photos by Roger Cullman http://
www.rogercullman.com)
T
The woman of the hour--tournament
organizer Annette Tedesco--gets a big
thank-you hug from Division 2 runner-up
Ben Schoenbrun. (Photo courtesy of
Adam Townsend and Judy Cole)
Joey Mallick finished 2nd in Division 1. (Photo courtesy of Roger
Cullman: Photos by Roger Cullman http://www.rogercullman.com)
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
C
O
N
T
E
S
T
Albany Team Trivia Contest
by Jeremy Cahnmann
On Saturday night of the Albany Tournament I ran a team trivia event. It was my first time trying this
at a SCRABBLE® tournament, and it seemed to go over quite well. There were 52 people playing
in teams of 3-5 (the entry fee was $10 per person on the team), and there were 7 rounds of
questions. There was no penalty for wrong answers in the first 6 rounds.
"Quizmasters" after-hours trivia team Noah Lieberman, Les Hipenbecker,
Peggy Grant, Gerianne Arbiano, Kevin Gauthier, and Hannah Lieberman
finished solidly in the middle of the pack! Photo courtesy of Peggy Grant.
Round 1 (30 points): Picture handout (players were asked to identify pictures of snippets of games
from various games people play in living rooms across America; and yes, everybody's favorite
crossword brand board game was on there).
Round 2 (15 Points): Mostly geography.
Round 3 (15 Points): Mostly entertainment (movies, TV).
Round 4 (34 Points): Picture handout (pictures of baseball stadiums; players were asked to name
the stadiums and the teams that play there).
Round 5 (15 Points): Mostly sports/leisure activities.
Round 6 (15 Points plus 5-point bonus for guessing the theme): General trivia.
Round 7: Wager round. Every question you answered correctly was worth 5
points; every wrong answer cost you 5 points. Round was worth from -50 to 50
points.
Teams were allowed to double the value of one round (had to be Round 2, 3, 5
or 6 (6 bonus points not doubled).
179 would have been a perfect score, and going into the last round there were
3 teams tied with 116 points each:
1. Mainiacs with Rod McNeil, Alyssa Faria, Richard Popper, Kate Fukawa-Connelly, and Rebecca
Lambert.
2. Monkey Pod with John O'Laughlin, Cecilia Le, Sam Rosin, Evans Clinchy, and Terry Kang Rau.
3. Jasons Inc. with Jason Ubeika, Jason Keller, Jason Idalski, Shelly Ubeika, and Darin True.
15
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
C
O
N
T
E
S
T
They finished with 35, 30, and 25 points respectively in the last round; the prize payout was:
• $250 1st place
• $150 2nd place
• $100 3rd place
• $20 Last place booby prize
•
Below are the questions. I have the handouts in excel files (if anybody would like to see them, just
shoot me an email and I will send them to you). Note that this was not the order of the questions,
and some have been changed slightly from the way I announced them at the tournament, although I
have tried to note most of the changes.
Anybody who is ever in Chicago and wants to come see one of my pub quizzes--I host 3 a week
back home (t-w-th)--let me know when you will be in town and I'll make sure I throw in a
SCRABBLE® question or two.
TEAM TRIVIA QUIZ (ANSWERS ARE ON PAGES 20-23)
1. Name two countries that are not GREAT. (That do not contain any of the letters in the word
GREAT.)
2.There are 5 countries in the world whose full names contain all 5 vowels. Only one of those
countries has a one-word name. Which one? (The others are United States of America, Dominican
Republic, Equitorial Guinea, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.)
3. What is the only state capital whose name has no letters in common with the state that it is in?
(i.e., Springfield, Illinois would be incorrect because both names have INS in common.)
4. If you were to list all the state capitals alphabetically, which would be first and which would be
last?
5. If you were to list all the world capitals alphabetically, which would be first and which would be
last?
6. Which city is furthest West? Spokane, Washington; Canyon City, Oregon; Reno, Nevada; Los
Angeles, California; or San Diego, California?
8. What is the oldest English founded settlement in North America?
9. On April 3, 1953 which baby was on the very first issue of TV Guide? (His mother was also on the
cover with an inset photo.)
10. On “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” who was Dobie’s beatnik sidekick?
16
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
C
O
N
T
E
S
T
11. Who is the last surviving member of “The Honeymooners” TV show cast?
12. The answer to #11 was not the first person to play her character. What Tony and Emmy awardwinning actress was the first to play the role on “Cavalcade of Stars”? (HINT: She won her Emmy for
her work on “30 Rock,” playing Alec Baldwin’s mother.)
13. Steven Spielberg has appeared in and directed several films; however, he has never actually
appeared in a film that he directed. The closest he came was when he used himself as a voice on
the radio in this, his fourth highest grossing film to date, and one of the seven films he has directed
to be nominated for Best Picture. What is the name of this film?
14. On Saturday Night Live who provided the voice for the “Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy”
sketch?
15. On July 11, 2000, which company--the world’s largest chain store--opened its 20,000th store in
Tokyo, Japan?
16. What is the only state that has on its flag a picture of a real person and not just a generic
caricature of a soldier or something of that nature?
17. What is the only state whose state flag is not four-sided?
18. Who is the only African American to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar?
19. What is the only movie to win Best Picture and be primarily set in and around L.A.? (HINT: I said
everybody in the room was alive when the picture won. If you look at cross-tables.com, the
youngest entrant at Albany was in the room with her brother, and I assured her that I was correct
when I said EVERYBODY was alive when the picture won.)
20. Only 3 movies have ever swept all of the top awards at the Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director,
Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay). Name one of them.
21. Formed in 1992, the Premier League Championship has only ever been won by 4 teams.
Manchester United has won it 11 times. Name the other 3 squads that have a combined 6
championships between them? (Actually I asked competitors to name 3 of the 4 teams without
giving Man. U at the trivia event.)
22. According to cross-tables.com, what woman has played in more then 400 tournaments, more
then any other woman? (This question was misread at the event as “more than anybody else.”)
23. According to cross-tables.com, who has won more money then any other SCRABBLE® player
without ever having won a major tournament? (Majors being the National Championship, Worlds,
the King’s Cup, etc.)
24. According to cross-tables.com, only 2 women have won more then $16,000 playing
SCRABBLE®. Name them.
17
S
E
Q
U
O
I
A
C
L
U
B
25. Who is the only person to win a Heisman Trophy, the Super Bowl MVP, and the AP NFL MVP
award?
26. What Hall of Famer is the only person to be the all-time career leader in 2 of the 5 major
statistical categories in the NBA (Points, Rebounds, Steals, Assists, and Blocked Shots)?
27. Who led the majors in wins in the last decade (2000-2009)? (HINT: He played in both leagues
during that span.)
28. Who led the NFL in rushing yards during the 1990's: Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith?
29. What NHL team had three different players lead the league in scoring over the last decade?
30. What chess piece is prominently featured on the cover of the book Breaking Dawn? (The one up
front, not in the background. Provide the color and the name of the piece.)
31. What is the only multisyllabic word in the book Green Eggs and Ham?
32. Felix Hoenikker, Billy Pilgrim, and Kilgore Trout are all characters created by what author?
33. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was
born and what my lousy childhood was like....” Name the source.
34. John Grisham's new book of short stories is entitled Ford County. Ford County was the setting
for two of his earlier works, one of which has been made into a film. Name those books.
35. On “Seinfeld” what magazine does George's mom catch him with when she walks in on him
"taking care of business," leading to the famous bet of who could remain master of their domain the
longest?
36. On “Seinfeld” when George buys a used car, what actor does he believe used to own the car?
37. On “30 Rock” what do the writers of TGS call their annual Christmas party? (HINT: It sounds
like a rapper might have thrown the party.)
38. In the first-ever episode of “South Park” when Jesus and Santa Claus engage in a fight to the
death, the boys seek to bring the peace by wondering what this athlete would do?
39. In 1981 the state of Wisconsin add what 9-letter word to its flag?
40. What two actors have each been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar 3 times since the year 2000?
41. Who is the all-time leading scorer in Boston Celtics history?
42. I called this trivia game VERTICAL RABBIS. Why?
43. How many gold medals has Michael Phelps won? (This was the 14th question of the round, a
fact I pointed out several times just to see if anybody would pick up on it.)
18
S
E
Q
U
O
I
A
C
L
U
B
These next 15 questions had a theme that connected the answers. There was a 5-point bonus for
correctly guessing the theme.
1. What TV family included Shirley Jones and Susan Dey?
2. Bradford, Bosc, and Bartlett are all types of what?
3. “Happy Together” was a #1 hit for 3 weeks in 1967 for what group?
4. Hot-headed Hank Hall became the superhero Hawk while his more sensitive younger brother Don
became what superhero in DC comics?
5.The state of Maine has the highest percentage of speakers of which language? (Over 5% of
households in Maine speak this language at home.)
6. What is the word for a female octopus?
7. Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, and Suzanne Pleshette are terrorized by what creatures
in a 1963 horror film?
8. Country artists George Jones and Tammy Wynette released what album in 1976?
9. When Veruca says she wants it now in a popular film, what is she originally talking about?
10. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago was founded in 1868 when the Lincoln Park
Commissioners were given a pair of what as a gift?
11. Exposure to cowpox poses no real threat to human beings, but it does actually convey a partial
immunity to the disfiguring disease of smallpox. Persons thus exposed had smooth skin that was
often described as being as smooth as a what? (I also mentioned that the answer was an
acceptable 8-letter SCRABBLE® word and would be worth 17 points without bonus squares.)
12. Fred Astaire’s first movie role was in this 1933 film where Joan Crawford played the title
character, a burlesque worker living in New York. What is the name of the film?
13. Only one of the many adult films this star made was made after her 18th birthday. She started in
the industry in 1984 at the age of 15 and has gone on to appear in several mainstream films
including Underworld, Blade, and even Zack and Miri Make a Porno. What is this actress’s last
name?
14. Every Sunday in the summer the tale of this man from a popular children’s story is enacted in a
city in Germany. Who is he?
15. From 1967-1971 and again from 1974-1995 the Grateful Dead featured two of what in the
band?
5-Point Bonus: What is the theme of these questions?
19
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
A
N
S
W
E
R
S
ANSWERS
1. Name two countries that are not GREAT? (That do not contain any of the letters in the word
GREAT.) KOSOVO and FIJI
2.There are 5 countries in the world whose full names contain all 5 vowels. Only one of those
countries has a one-word name. Which one? (The others are United States of America, Dominican
Republic, Equitorial Guinea, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.) MOZAMBIQUE
3. What is the only state capital whose name has no letters in common with the state that it is in?
(i.e., Springfield, Illinois would be incorrect because both names have INS in common.) PIERRE,
SOUTH DAKOTA
4. If you were to list all the state capitals alphabetically, which would be first and which would be
last? ALBANY and TRENTON (Thankfully I think everybody got Albany right!)
5. If you were to list all the world capitals alphabetically, which would be first and which would be
last? ABU DHABI, U.A.E. and ZAGREB, CROATIA
6. Which city is furthest West? Spokane, Washington; Canyon City, Oregon; Reno, Nevada; Los
Angeles, California; or San Diego, California? RENO, NEVADA (Look at a map--it’s true!)
8. What is the oldest English founded settlement in North America? ST. JOHNS,
NEWFOUNDLAND (Founded in 1497 by James Cabot.)
9. On April 3, 1953 what baby was on the very first issue of TV Guide? (His mother was also on the
cover with an inset photo.) DESI ARNAZ, JR.
10. On “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” who was Dobie’s beatnik sidekick? MAYNARD G. KREBS
11. Who is the last surviving member of “The Honeymooners” TV show cast? JOYCE RANDOLPH
(Trixie)
12. The answer to #11 was not the first person to play her character. What Tony and Emmy awardwinning actress was the first to play the role on “Cavalcade of Stars”? (HINT: She won her Emmy for
her work on “30 Rock,” playing Alec Baldwin’s mother.) ELAINE STRITCH
13. Steven Spielberg has appeared in and directed several films; however, he has never actually
appeared in a film that he directed. The closest he came was when he used himself as a voice on
the radio in this, his fourth highest grossing film to date, and one of the seven films he has directed
to be nominated for Best Picture. What is the name of this film? JAWS
14. On Saturday Night Live who provided the voice for the “Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy”
sketch? JACK HANDY
15. On July 11, 2000, which company--the world’s largest chain store--opened its 20,000th store in
Tokyo, Japan? 7-11
20
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
A
N
S
W
E
R
S
16. What is the only state that has on its flag a picture of a real person and not just a generic
caricature of a soldier or something of that nature? WASHINGTON
17. What is the only state whose state flag is not four-sided? OHIO
18. Who is the only African American to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar? JOHN
SINGLETON (Boyz in the Hood)
19. What is the only movie to win Best Picture and be primarily set in and around LA? (HINT: I said
everybody in the room was alive when the picture won. If you look at cross-tables.com, the
youngest entrant at Albany was in the room with her brother, and I assured her that I was correct
when I said EVERYBODY was alive when the picture won.) CRASH
20. Only 3 movies have ever swept all of the top awards at the Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director,
Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay). Name one of them. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT,
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
21. Formed in 1992, the Premier League Championship has only ever been won by 4 teams.
Manchester United has won it 11 times. Name the other 3 squads that have a combined 6
championships between them? (Actually I asked competitors to name 3 of the 4 teams without
giving Man. U at the trivia event.) ARSENAL, CHELSEA, and BLACKBURN ROVERS
22. According to cross-tables.com, what woman has played in more then 400 tournaments, more
then any other woman? (This question was misread at the event as “more than anybody else.”)
VERNA RICHARDS BERG
23. According to cross-tables.com, who has won more money then any other SCRABBLE® player
without ever having won a major tournament? (Majors being the National Championship, Worlds,
the King’s Cup, etc.) JOEY MALLICK (Here's hoping I can ask this next year, and the answer will
be different.)
24. According to cross-tables.com, only 2 women have won more then $16,000 playing
SCRABBLE®. Name them. PAT BARRETT and JAN DIXON
25. Who is the only person to win a Heisman Trophy, the Super Bowl MVP, and the AP NFL MVP
award? MARCUS ALLEN
26. What Hall of Famer is the only person to be the all-time career leader in 2 of the 5 major
statistical categories in the NBA (Points, Rebounds, Steals, Assists, and Blocked Shots)? JOHN
STOCKTON (Assists and Steals)
27. Who led the majors in wins in the last decade (2000-2009)? (HINT: He played in both leagues
during that span.) ANDY PETTITTE
28. Who led the NFL in rushing yards during the 1990's: Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith? EMMITT
SMITH (Would have been Barry Sanders but he retired before the decade was up.)
21
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
A
N
S
W
E
R
S
29. What NHL team had three different players lead the league in scoring over the last decade?
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (Jagr, Crosby, Melkin)
30. What chess piece is prominently featured on the cover of the book Breaking Dawn? (The one up
front, not in the background. Provide the color and the name of the piece.) WHITE QUEEN
31. What is the only multisyllabic word in the book Green Eggs and Ham? ANYWHERE
32. Felix Hoenikker, Billy Pilgrim, and Kilgore Trout are all characters created by what author?
KURT VONNEGUT, JR.
33. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was
born and what my lousy childhood was like....” Name the source. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
34. John Grisham's new book of short stories is entitled Ford County. Ford County was the setting
for two of his earlier works, one of which has been made into a film. Name those books. A TIME TO
KILL and THE LAST JUROR
35. On “Seinfeld” what magazine does George's mom catch him with when she walks in on him
"taking care of business," leading to the famous bet of who could remain master of their domain the
longest? GLAMOUR
36. On “Seinfeld” when George buys a used car, what actor does he believe used to own the car?
JOHN VOIGHT
37. On “30 Rock” what do the writers of TGS call their annual Christmas party? (HINT: It sounds
like a rapper might have thrown the party.) LUDACHRISTMAS
38. In the first-ever episode of “South Park” when Jesus and Santa Claus engage in a fight to the
death, the boys seek to bring the peace by wondering what this athlete would do? BRIAN
BOITANO
39. In 1981 the state of Wisconsin add what 9-letter word to its flag? WISCONSIN
40. What two actors have each been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar 3 times since the year 2000?
JOHNNY DEPP and SEAN PENN
41. Who is the all-time leading scorer in Boston Celtics history? JOHN HAVLICEK
42. I called this trivia game VERTICAL RABBIS. Why? IT ANAGRAMS TO THE PHRASE
“SCRABBLE TRIVIA”
43. How many gold medals has Michael Phelps won? (This was the 14th question of the round, a
fact I pointed out several times just to see if anybody would pick up on it.) 14
These next 15 questions had a theme that connected the answers. There was a 5-point bonus for
correctly guessing the theme.
22
A
L
B
A
N
Y
T
E
A
M
T
R
I
V
I
A
A
N
S
W
E
R
S
1. What TV family included Shirley Jones and Susan Dey? PARTRIDGE
2. Bradford, Bosc, and Bartlett are all types of what? PEARS
3. “Happy Together” was a #1 hit for 3 weeks in 1967 for what group? THE TURTLES
4. Hot-headed Hank Hall became the superhero Hawk while his more sensitive younger brother Don
became what superhero in DC comics? DOVE
5.The state of Maine has the highest percentage of speakers of which language? (Over 5% of
households in Maine speak this language at home.) FRENCH
6. What is the word for a female octopus? HEN
7. Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, and Suzanne Pleshette are terrorized by what creatures
in a 1963 horror film? BIRDS
8. Country artists George Jones and Tammy Wynette released what album in 1976? GOLDEN
RING
9. When Veruca says she wants it now in a popular film, what is she originally talking about?
GOLDEN GOOSE, GOOSE LAYING GOLDEN EGGS, GOOSE
10. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago was founded in 1868 when the Lincoln Park
Commissioners were given a pair of what as a gift? SWANS
11. Exposure to cowpox poses no real threat to human beings, but it does actually convey a partial
immunity to the disfiguring disease of smallpox. Persons thus exposed had smooth skin that was
often described as being as smooth as a what? (I also mentioned that the answer was an
acceptable 8-letter SCRABBLE® word and would be worth 17 points without bonus squares.)
MILKMAID
12. Fred Astaire’s first movie role was in this 1933 film where Joan Crawford played the title
character, a burlesque worker living in New York. What is the name of the film? DANCING LADY
13. Only one of the many adult films this star made was made after her 18th birthday. She started in
the industry in 1984 at the age of 15 and has gone on to appear in several mainstream films
including Underworld, Blade, and even Zack and Miri Make a Porno. What is this actress’s last
name? LORDS (Traci Lords)
14. Every Sunday in the summer the tale of this man from a popular children’s story is enacted in a
city in Germany. Who is he? PIED PIPER (The city is Hamelin)
15. From 1967-1971 and again from 1974-1995 the Grateful Dead featured two of what in the
band? DRUMMERS
5-Point Bonus: What is the theme of these questions? THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
23
R
E
N
O
M
L
K
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
Reno MLK SCRABBLE® Tournament
by Jeff Widergren
2010 marks the 21st year of the Reno SCRABBLE® tournaments, originally organized and run by
Johnny Nevarez and Jeff Widergren, and now organized by Rick Wong and Jeff Widergren and run
by Kyle Widergren. The MLK weekend event took place at the Grand Sierra Resort hotel in Reno,
NV. In addition to the 19-game main event, there was an 8-game early bird tournament on Friday.
The playing room at the Grand Sierra Resort
The competition at Reno is
always tough, and this year
was no exception. Among the
top expert players in
attendance were Dave
Wiegand, Carl Johnson, Kenji
Matsumoto, Nathan Benedict,
Rafi Stern, Nigel Peltier, Jerry
Lerman, and Conrad BassettBouchard. When the dust
settled, it was California’s topranked active player Jerry
Lerman surrounded by the
young stars. As has become
very much a custom this new
year, Kenji Matsumoto finished
first in the tournament, with a
15-4 +720 record. His entry-towin percentage in Reno
tournaments, including early
birds, is an impressive 34%.
Jerry Lerman held off the other 20-somethings and finished second in a very competitive top
division, with a 13-6 + 1049 record. Jason Hlady came in third, missing second place by only 38
spread points. Nigel Peltier and Eric Tran, both with 13-6 records as well, came in fourth and fifth
respectively
The first five finishers in Division 1 of the Reno MLK SCRABBLE® Tournament (L-R):
Kenji Matsumoto, Jerry Lerman, Jason Hlady, Nigel Peltier, and Eric Tran.
24
R
E
N
O
M
L
K
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
Although Carlynn Mayer, 16-3 +1225, won by
Division 2 by two games, the division winner still
in doubt until the final game. Carlynn and Paul
Terry both entered that game with 15-3 records,
with Carlynn beating Paul to take the prize. Paul
finished second with a 14-6 +991 record.
Division 2 winner
Carlynn Mayer
Division 3 had a similar finale, with Ron Barker
coming in first with a 16-3 + 1442 record over
Wilma Pitzer, who finished 14-5 + 1403.
Division 3 winner
Ron Barker
Thursday’s Early Bird winners were Nathan Benedict (Division 1), Rich Baker (Division 2), Stuart
Goldman (Division 3), Paul Terry (Division 4), and Jeannie J. Wison (Division 5). For Stuart
Goldman, who has been playing in tournaments for 36 years, this was his 61th tournament win!
Early Bird winners (L-R) Nathan Benedict, Rich Baker, Stuart Goldman, Paul Terry, and Jeannie J. Wilson
Of course it's great to win,
but playing the game,
especially with people who
play well, is what it's all
about for me.--Stu Goldman
Certainly the most unusual game in
the tournament was in Division 1
between Rich Moyer and Spencer
Sun. The game finished with a
trapped board--24 tiles unplayed.
Rich took the win: 304-272.
25
R
E
N
O
M
L
K
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
Carl Johnson 514, Dave Wiegand 424
Dave Wiegand 611, Joey Mailick 325.
Dave’s comment: “It was pretty silly.”
Jeff Widergren is Senior Engineer for Microsoft in Mountain View, the author of TourneyMan, the coorganizer of Reno, a former WSC contestant, and former 2000 rated player. Now he gets beaten
too regularly by youngins: Nigel, Conrad, Rafi, Nathan, Kenji, and the ilk.
26
I
T
H
A
P
P
E
N
E
D
I
N
R
E
N
O
It Happened in Reno
by Stu Goldman
Stu Goldman won Division 3 at this year’s Reno
MLK Tournament--his 61st tournament win and
his 5th at Reno, where he has played in 59
tournaments! Here are a few of Stu’s anecdotes
from Renos of the past.
The Reno tournaments twice a year have proved
popular and successful for more than 20 years.
Johnny Nevarez, who started the series, was
always looking for ways to improve tournament
SCRABBLE®. He was the first organizer to offer
more than six games of NSA tournament play in
a day. In typical fashion, he asked players to
answer a questionnaire at the conclusion of the
event.
The first question was: "Were the three days of
play too many, too few, or just right?" The
second question: "Were the nine games
Saturday too many or just right?" My answer
was: "I won the last three--probably too few."
Another early tournament gave me my
explanation of the lack of relevancy of sleep to
performance. I roomed with Bob Lipton for the
two-day event. Bob and I were friends, but we
had never roomed together before. The first
night he complained that I kept him up all night
because I couldn't sleep and was roaming
around the room, playing solitaire SCRABBLE®,
etc. I went 5-1 that next day. The following night
I knew I slept because Bob complained that I
snored all night. I went 1-5 the day after that.
Bob said I can stay in his home any time I wish,
but he will never room with me again.
My third anecdote about Reno illustrates an
attitude about making assumptions around word
knowledge that may prove helpful to some. I
quote from my Confessions of a Compulsive Tile
Pusher (1992). My opponent was Jim
Neuberger, who left the game with a rating over
2000.
"I had taken a huge lead based mainly on two
early bingos when Jimmy laid down SO?KAGE
and called the blank a C. The play scored over
a hundred points and reduced my lead
considerably but not completely. I called hold
and looked over the situation.
"SCRABBLE® experts know the word SOCAGE,
to which R and S may be added for a bingo. I
was also quite sure the C could be doubled, but
extremely skeptical of that K. At the same time, I
was nearly certain that if Jimmy had made the
blank an A for SOAKAGE, it would be an
acceptable play and score just as much.
"Meanwhile, at the other end of the board, I had
just played the Z on the Triple Word Score row,
and could now make another high-scoring play
using it. If I challenged SOCKAGE and it was
acceptable, Jimmy might use the Z to score well
after I lost my turn, and the victory... would be in
jeopardy. If I challenged successfully, Jimmy
would probably play SOAKAGE in the same
place after my play off the Z, and all I would have
gained would be the turn.
"Therefore I did not challenge and won the
game. Dictionary research afterward proved me
right on all counts: SOCKAGE* is not a word and
SOAKAGE is. Yet, even if I had certain
knowledge that this was true, I would have
gained very little by challenging."
Stu Goldman lives in California and has been
playing tournament SCRABBLE® for 36 years.
Confessions of a Compulsive Tile Pusher: San
Francisco: Stu Goldman Publications, 1992.
(currently out of print, but available at the Toronto
SCRABBLE® Club #3 Library to club members)
27
R
E
D
E
Y
E
2
0
1
0
Redeye 2010, a SCRABBLE® Odyssey (Oddity?)
by Steve Pellinen
There is nothing like it. Not for the
weak, the wimpy or whiney, the Redeye
happens once a year in Minnesota,
naturally in the coldest and snowiest
month. This was the fifth year for this
unique event, the brainchild of Joe
Gaspard and Stephanie Steele, a
couple of Minnesota players likely
having had a few too many heartwarming but brain-freezing drinks one
winter night.
Redeye co-founder Steph Steele faces
Wally Schultz over the board.
28
R
E
D
E
Y
E
2
0
1
0
It took a little work, but the NSA eventually gave the event a
provisional go-ahead. Among the provisions, the players that first
year had to respond to a post-event questionnaire that tried to
assess their ability to play well for 24 games and still have fun.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. Among the
suggestions for future Redeyes was the addition of more games.
From that initial 24 games, the Redeye has grown each year to
this year’s 30 games--with 69 players from 17 states and 2
provinces. Anne Loring, in her second year as tournament
organizer, concluded her opening remarks with, “And now, I think
I’m going to say something that’s never been said before at a
(rated) SCRABBLE® tournament. Today, you will be playing 16
games.” That made for a comparatively easy 14 games on the
second day to finish with 30 games in 41 hours. That 41 hours
includes meals, breaks, and some sleep. The Redeye is grueling
for the players, to be sure, but it is just as grueling for the directors
and data-entry helpers.
Redeye co-founder Joe Gaspard
considers a move in a game
against John Karris.
Part of the Redeye experience is the uncertainty of structure in the
weeks and months leading up to it. Some of that uncertainty is due
to the need to be as efficient as possible with pairings (the event is
not computer-paired, though it may be some day if it proves more
efficient and enough computer-savvy helpers can be found). Until
the approximate final number of attendees is known, the number of
divisions remains in limbo so that a schedule of games can be
worked into the meal and break schedule with minimal waiting time
for data entry and pairings.
This year, we eventually settled on a double round-robin format for
the top three divisions of 16 players. That made for no on-site
pairing work in those divisions and allowed all such effort to be
devoted to the fourth division, which ended up with 21 players.
That division was set up to not start performance pairings until after
lunch on the second day, which resulted in the easiest Redeye for
pairings to date. The double round robins also incorporated backto-back games between contestants, which made things even
easier in those divisions.
Redeye organizer Anne Loring
hard at work.
First day registration opened at 5:45 am (pajamas allowed), and
things got underway very close to the scheduled 6:30 am start.
Five games were followed by lunch, another four games before a
short break, three more games before dinner, and four games
before bedtime. Meals were included with the entry fee and were
provided by the hotel’s restaurant. (It wouldn’t be possible to play
this many games if players had to leave the venue for meals.)
With only 14 games on the second day and a comparatively late
Sue Gable demonstrates how to draw
tiles. Richard Lauder to the right.
29
R
E
D
E
Y
E
2
0
1
0
Main event winners (L-R) Tim Adamson (Div 1), Ruchie Gupta (Div 2), Rob Siegel (Div 4), and Phyllis Koselke (Div 3)
7:00 am start, the tournament managed to finish ahead of schedule. The organizers took a short
time to verify results and determine winners of place and category prizes, and the tournament and
award ceremony were done around 11:00 pm on Sunday night.
But the Redeye wasn’t over. This year, a late bird was added for those diehards who thought 30
games weren’t enough. The late bird was also open to local or other players who didn’t want to play
the Redeye but had nothing better to do after midnight. Players could wait until the last minute
Above: John Karris playing Lisa Odom (Winter in the
background). Right: Scott Hawkins faces 16-year-old Jason
Vaysberg, the youngest player at the Redeye.
30
R
E
D
E
Y
E
2
0
1
0
before signing up for the late bird, and we expected maybe a dozen or so might brave this rather
bizarre event.
Left: Mark Kenas plays CALCTUFA (a soft porous rock consisting of calcium carbonate deposited from springs rich
in lime). Right: A seven-bingo game by Tim Adamson and Rob Robinksy. Robinsky won the game, which totaled
almost 1,000 points. Can you spot the phony that was played?
To our amazement, 36 players signed up, including only five non-Redeye participants. Nearly half
of the players who had just finished playing 30 games over the last two days decided to add five
more games in the early morning hours before making flights or sleeping or whatever else they had
to do that day.
The late bird was one open division, paired by NAST pairings, which easily adapt last minute to any
number of players. After the four even-strength round-robin games, six undefeated players were
Swiss-paired for the top prize, which was won by Eric Harshbarger (AL), followed by Rob Robinsky
(MN), and Winter (car) in second and third place, respectively.
Main event winners were Tim Adamson, Div 1; Ruchie Gupta, Div 2; Phyllis Koselke, Div 3; and Rob
Siegel, Div 4.
Anecdote 1, the I’m-Glad-This-Wasn’t-Televised Game. Midway through the tournament, a player
considered playing DENAZIFY for a 356-point TWS-TWS, but rejected it and settled for 93 points
with NAZIFY. His opponent immediately extended it with his own DE.
Anecdote 2, the Always-Check-Your-Tile-Distribution Game. Very
few of us do this, but it proved critical in the tournament’s first round
when two players were playing a tight end game and both ended up
tracking and retracking for several minutes, only to end up scratching
their heads. After concurring that they both seemed to be missing a
tile, a search was made of table, chairs, floor, clothing, etc., only to
turn up empty. The game was finished, whereupon further
investigation revealed that it had been played with three Ws and one
V. A play of AW had been inconclusively tracked by both players.
Steve Pellinen often plays, sometimes directs, and always wonders about this game we play.
31
2
5
T
H
S
U
M
M
I
T
O
P
E
N
25th Summit Open
by Dan Stock with photos by Joyce Stock
Frank Lee (left) faces Summit Open winner Brian Bowman, who only lost one
game over the weekend (to Pete Zeigler). Lee finished in sixth place.
Brian Bowman made a convincing statement at the 25th Summit Open in Hudson, OH, this
weekend: He's a force to be reckoned with in this country, in addition to his recent fine performance
at the Worlds.
Bowman swept Winter in the best-of-five championship match, winning all three games by at least
90 points.
Before the tourney, Winter had posted an ethical question to CGP: Since his goal is to play as many
tourney games as possible this year, would it be ethical to intentionally lose some games in a bestof-five match to allow playing more games (since in this tourney format, the fourth and fifth games of
the championship match are played only if needed)? However, the question was posed before two
experts joined the field: Bowman and Pete Zeigler. Bowman's performance made the question
moot, a least for this tourney.
Bowman lost only one game over the weekend, to Zeigler during the qualification portion of the
tourney on the first day. Winter lost his game to Zeigler and all four games to Bowman (including
one on the first day).
32
2
5
T
H
S
U
M
M
I
T
O
P
E
N
Zeigler ended up with the second-best record in the
tourney at 8-3, but due to the tourney format and some
bad luck he ended up in fifth place. He was a couple
hundred spread points behind Winter after the first day to
miss out on the finals. That put him in the group of four
that played for third though sixth places. He played Dan
Stock in a preliminary best-of-two match, with the winner
to meet the winner of a similar best-of-two match between
Kevin McCarthy and Frank Lee for third place.
Stock drew
nine power
tiles in the first
of the best-of-two match against Zeigler, but misplayed
the endgame (missing a huge spot for the E front hook to
SQUIRES) and won by only 105. The drawing was much
more even in the second game, and at first it seemed
like Zeigler had won by 106 to win the best-of-two match
by a single point. However, a recount showed that there
had been a two-point error in Zeigler's favor ... so Stock
ended up winning the match by a single point! Note that
if the match had ended as a tie, Zeigler would have
moved on to the third-place game due to his stronger
record on the first day.
Connie Breitbeil and Pat Hardwick
In the McCarthy-Lee best-of-two match, Lee won the first
game by 56 points but McCarthy won the second game
by 120 to take the match.
Christopher Sheppard awards the firstplace trophy to Brian Bowman.
In the third-place match, Stock defeated McCarthy in both games.
In the fifth-place match, Zeigler defeated Lee in both games.
The rest of the field continued to play
modified Swiss pairings. Heather
Steffy won her last three games to get
the last money place. Christopher
Sheppard, Connie Breitbeil, and
Eileen Popich won ribbons.
Kevin McCarthy, Sr. finished fourth.
About Dan Stock:
QUITE BRAINIlY
MEMORIALIZING
IN A GOOD TROVE
OF TABLEAUX
DAN STOCK LOVES
PURPLE AND WISE
WIFE JOYCE ANd
THREE DAUGHTERS
33
T
O
Tournament
Results 1/1-31
ALBANY (MAIN EVENT)
12/31-1/2
1. Kenji Matsumoto
2. Joe Bihlmeyer
3. Nancy Konipol
LAGUNA WOODS CA
1/3
1. David Pearl
BERKELEY CA (NAST)
1/9
1. Bruce Ward
BERKELEY CA 1/10
1. Sam Kantimathi
2. Andrea Michaels
3. Whitney Gould
FENTON MI 1/9
1. Jeff Fiszbein
2. Carolyn Easter
3. Cheryl Melvin
REGINA SK CAN 1/9
1. Angela Rea
2. Maureen Keal
TAMPA FL 1/9
1. Joan Knobelsdorf
FENTON MI 1/10
1. Jason Idalski
GUELPH ON CAN 1/10
1. Jim Nanavati
2. Shelley Ubeika
3. Dave Krook
34
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
R
E
S
U
L
T
S
RHINEBECK NY 1/10
3. Nicholas Vasquez
1. Eric Goldstein
2. Kathy Hooper
3. Judy Rosenthal
BRYAN TX 1/16-17
RHINEBECK NY YOUTH
(A.M.) 1/10
1. Nicholas Vasquez
2. Conor McGeehan
1.
2.
3.
4.
Michael Early
Becky Dyer
Edward Gordon
Oliver Roeder
1. Conor McGeehan
KINGSTON CUP
(TORONTO VS.
MONTREAL;
RESTRICTED ENTRY)
1/16-17
INDEPENDENCE OH
1/12
1. Craig Rowland
2. Nicholas Fall
3. Pamela Hunter
RHINEBECK NY YOUTH
(P.M.) 1/10
1. Daniel Stock
BRANDON MS 1/15
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Scott Garner
Reid Warren
Eric Cahanin
Lanita Wadley
Jane Peacock
Erica Stutzman
BRANDON MS 1/16
1.
2.
3.
4.
Scott Garner
Eric Cahanin
Lindsey Dimmick
Mark Bonta
RENO NV EARLY BIRD
1/15
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Nathan Benedict
Rich Baker
Stuart Goldman
Paul Terry
Jeannie Wilson
BAYSIDE NY 1/16
1. Daniel Tinkelman
2. Edwin Roth
RENO NV 1/16-18
1. Kenji Matsumoto
2. Carlynn Mayer
3. Ron Barker
TORONTO VS.
MONTREAL SOWPODS
(RESTRICTED ENTRY)
1/16-17
1. Adam Logan
TWIN CITIES REDEYE
(BLOOMINGTON MN)
1/16-18
1.
2.
3.
4.
Tim Adamson
Ruchi Gupta
Phyllis Koselke
Rob Siegel
SOUTH AMERICAN
CRUISE 1/17-30
1. Aldo Cardia
2. Verna Richards Berg
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
R
E
S
U
L
T
S
1. Jeff Clark
TWIN CITIES REDEYE
2. Marcia Wade
LATE BIRD OPEN
(BLOOMINGTON MN) 1/18 3. Laura Thomley
1. Eric Harshbarger
4. Pat Feigin
FT. LAUDERDALE FL 1/23 LAKE OSWEGO OR (LCT)
1/31
1. Ron Tiekert
2. Roy Dixon
3. Mitchell Brown
MOUNTAIN VIEW CA 1/23
1. Christiane Tran
2. Emely Weissman
SEATTLE WA 1/23
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Dave Johnson
Frank Kashuk
David Foerstel
Adam Henderson
Hilary Johnson
1. Michael Baker
2. Charlie Kaplan
3. Gunther Jacobi
STANTON CA 1/31
1.
2.
3.
4.
David Pearl
Victor Tantua
David Slavin
Ruben Radlauer
SAN FRANCISCO CA 1/31
1. Conrad Bassett-Bouchard
TUCSON AZ 1/23
1. Richard Spence
2. Sara Boykan
WINNIPEG MB CAN 1/23
1. Caroline Polak Scowcroft
2. Amy Knight
3. Lynne Ward
CALGARY AB CAN
1/30-31
1. Eric Tran
2. Richard Martin
LAGRANGE PARK FL 1/30
1.
2.
3.
4.
Melissa Routzahn
Diane Pietrzak
Mitchell Szczepanczyk
Rebecca Gilmore
ORLANDO-KISSIMMEE
FL 1/30-31
35
N
E
W
F
A
C
E
S
New Faces
Since our last issue, 20 new faces have competed at NASPA tournaments. Two of these players
won their divisions at their first tournaments: Erica Stutzman, winner of Division 6 at the Brandon
MS 1/15 Tournament, and our featured “new face,” Mark Bonta, who won Division 4 at the Brandon
MS 1/16 Tournament (6-2 +709).
______________________________________________________________________________
Mark Bonta
Mark Bonta, 40, lives in Cleveland, MS, with his lovely wife Luz (a
Honduran professional artist) and their beloved teenaged daughter Eva, 13
going on 30, who aspires to be a professional dancer. A geography
professor with research activities in Mexico and Honduras involving
cycads, birds, and environmental issues, Bonta teaches a full slate of
classes at Delta State University in the Mississippi Delta, “where the Blues
were born, one of the most unique places in the world.” He is the author of
Deleuze and Geophilosophy: A Guide and Glossary and Seven Names for
the Bellbird: Conservation Geography in Honduras. Other than
SCRABBLE®, some of his hobbies include birdwatching, hiking, piano
playing, traveling, reading philosophy, and watching horror movies.
Bonta has been playing SCRABBLE® for as long as he can remember being able to read. “I was
raised in the woods with a lot of books and no TV, and my sole competitor was my older brother.
When we were kids, my Dad, who was a reference librarian, had purchased the complete Oxford
English Dictionary for home use(!), so we used that as our SCRABBLE® dictionary. The OED has
just about every word ever written in English in the last five centuries, so we managed to wrack up
huge scores--plus we allowed every possible 're-' and '-er' combination (reeaters, redrinkers),
resulting in some pretty bizarre non-words.” After Bonta grew up and moved away, he only played
SCRABBLE® occasionally, but he never lost his love of the game. “When the first good electronic
versions came out in the 1990s, I started playing a computer, and quickly became re-addicted. Of
course, I had to learn to use only the acceptable words.”
Bonta’s New Year's resolution for 2010 was to actually get out and play human beings. “My brother
and I had been talking wistfully about tournament SCRABBLE® since the very beginning, so I
thought I should take the plunge--I'm not getting any younger, and all that.” Searching the Internet,
Bonta found a SCRABBLE® club in Mississippi only a couple hours' drive away (Brandon MS Club
#427)--and an upcoming tournament he could attend. He jumped right in!
Like many “newbies,” Bonta was somewhat nervous about playing in a tournament. “But Danny
Gatlin and Sharon Hall [the tournament organizers] were very encouraging by email and over the
phone, and anyway this is Mississippi, the most friendly and hospitable state in the Union! The food
was excellent and abundant in Brandon and the atmosphere was competitive but somewhat
relaxed; I got to chat with several other players, and found them all to be intriguing folks. I was
amazed at how well organized everything was, and of course I loved everybody's professional,
sportsmanlike behavior.”
To prepare for the tournament, Bonta played 10-15 daily games against the computer (which he
does most days), using Tournament mode in the Yahoo Games version. “I usually have the
36
N
E
W
F
A
C
E
S
computer set at 1700 rating, but occasionally I set it at 2100, which is humbling! I memorized the
two-letter words when I was a kid, and last year I memorized all the 3-letter words. My goal for this
year is to learn all the 4-letter words, and we'll see after that. Also, I've read up a lot on
SCRABBLE® strategy as written by the masters, and that has helped a lot--rack management,
shepherding, and so forth.”
Bonta found the tournament quite different from online play. “I'd never played under those
conditions, so I initially struggled a bit with the clock, and even after 8 games I couldn't manage to
track tiles, which is crucial for my endgame strategy. I was slowed down by physically having to
draw tiles, move them around on the rack, and announce cumulative scores, so I guess you could
say I had gotten spoiled by playing only the computer. Nevertheless, the human element is
something I had been missing these past years.
“I was happy to win the Division as well as its high word for the day [QUILTERS for 104 points as his
opening play in Game 3]--and have such a good spread [+709].”
Bonta “definitely” plans to participate in the Brandon Club #427 meetings “as much as my gasoline
budget allows,” and he hopes to play in more tournaments, at least those nearby.
Welcome to Mark Bonta, Erica Stutzman, and the following other new
faces:
FENTON MI 1/9: Han Ei Chew
FENTON MI 1/10: Ryan Hersha
RHINEBECK NY YOUTH (A.M.) 1/10: Noah Bressman
RENO NV 1/16-18: Elaine DeFelice, Kate Russell
SOUTH AMERICAN CRUISE 1/17-30: Rosalie Wargaski
TWIN CITIES REDEYE MN LATE BIRD 1/18: Marie Swetalla
FT. LAUDERDALE FL 1/23: Mary Fonti
SEATTLE WA 1/23: Whitney Golob, Patrick Holm
WINNIPEG MB CANADA 1/23: Angela Kapoor-Dozois
CALGARY AB CANADA 1/30-31: Dave Thai
LAGRANGE PARK FL 1/30: Wesley Underwood
OSWEGO OR 1/31: Scott R. Smith
STANTON CA 1/31: Deborah Komatsu, Cooper Komatsu, Rasul Macasimbar, Lillian Salas
37
P
L
A
Y
T
H
E
G
A
M
E
Play the Game: Game Analysis
Notes by Joe Edley
The game below is Round 6 of the 2009 Dallas Open 3/13/09: Joel Sherman (NY) vs. Joey
Mallick (ME). To play the game, click here (or go to http://cross-tables.com/annotated.php?
a=795#0). (Note: All simulations, done using Quackle, are at least 10K iterations.)
1
JS:
AAEEEMS EXCH. AEE
0
T: 0
Best. Given that the AE combo is so strong, and that he has 5 of these 21 tiles (12 Es + 9 As),
saving both is slightly better than just the ES. Plus, the M is a good bingo tile, as well as
overlapping attacker (note the 11 two-letter M words).
1
JM:
EGHLLQ?
QuELL
8D
46
T: 46
Best. There’s no point to saving the blank, because he’d have to guarantee a bingo next turn to
do as well for his first two turns.
2
JS:
AABEIMS
IAMB
9G
17
T: 17
AIM 9C 20 is immediately 3 pts more and the ABES leave is more balanced than the SEA after
IAMB. Additionally, without an I, he’s giving Mallick an extra place for a variety of return shots
(IAMBI).
2
38
JM:
DEFGHLS SHELF
K9
31
T: 77
P
L
A
Y
T
H
E
G
A
M
E
Good play, but GULFED or FUGLED E7 20 would also be wise decisions. While the S is often
thought to be worth about 8 pts, in the beginning of the game it’s usually more valuable because
that’s when bingos get played more easily, and where the huge scoring lead from an early bingo
can give a big advantage.
3
JS:
AEEOOST
TABOO J7
18
T: 35
OOH 10I 18 is best. The AEEST leave is much more conducive for bingos than EES.
3
JM:
ABDEGNU BANGED
10B
22
T: 99
He may not have been certain of the superior BUNGED in the same spot, to get rid of the U.
4
JS:
DEEEGS? TEG
7J
4
T: 39
He’s down and should be playing aggressively. FEED 13K 16 is well worth the risk, since his
opponent, even with an S (not likely!), won’t score more than 9 additional points with that hotspot
than without it. And without the S, Sherman has a chance to catch up quickly.
4
JM:
AAGIIUU
EXCH. ALL
0
T: 99
Nothing better.
5
JS:
DEEHJS?
HaDJEES
M1
92
T: 131
KORAI
2J
36
T: 135
Great bingo!
5
JM:
AIKNORR
Overlooking IRONBARK through the B. 2nd best would be KHAN 1L 48.
6
JS:
GINPRRY
PARRING
C9
26
T: 157
Using six tiles, he clearly wants to draw some power tiles. However, just PARRY C9 26 keeps
the ever-valuable ING, which, in this case, is worth saving for its synergy.
6
JM:
AEIINRV
VINIFERA 13G 88
T: 223
Another great find!
39
P
7
JS:
EELTTTY
LYTTAE
L
A
N9
Y
T
34
H
E
G
A
M
E
T: 191
Not easy to see, but by looking for a word with the Y on the TLS, he finds his best play.
7
JM:
ACMORVX AXIOM
H11
66
T: 289
15A 27
T: 218
Another winner!
8
JS:
EIOOTUY
YOGI
Tough decision. UNITY 14B 32 also looks inviting, and, in fact, simulates slightly better, though
the EOTU leave after YOGI might look a lot more appealing than just the 5 pt. gain from leaving
EOO.
9
JM:
CORSUVW VOWER
5J
22
T: 311
Much better to get rid of the U with VROUW 12B 22. No good reason to keep it. However, it’s
likely he wanted to block the O column from a random bingo while setting up his own S for
perhaps a smaller, but potent +40-point play. That’s certainly a worthy goal. With such choices,
I’d still take the better leave after VROUW, which gives more flexibility in the long run.
10
JS:
AEOOPTU PAREU
12A 20
T: 238
Or UPO O7 17, which sims a very slight amount better.
10
JM:
ACEISUU
JEU
M4
13
T: 324
ULU 9M 4 actually defends better, and keeps bingo-prone tiles.
11
JS:
ADEOOTT TOAD
I3
18
T: 256
HOT 1M 20 or TOO O8 16 are good choices. Close calls as to which is better.
11
JM:
ACFISUU
FUCI
O6
29
T: 353
Best. He gets rid of some junk and scores very well.
12
JS:
EENORTW OWN
14A
27
T: 283
Why not HOW 1M 29? He can use the extra points.
40
P
12
JM:
AIINSTU
L
INIA
A
Y
T
I12
H
E
19
T: 372
8
T: 291
G
A
M
E
Or AIS O11 24. He has the win already.
13
JS:
CEENNRT GNU
E10
He’s trying to save spread now with a last-minute bingo, and that’s a very good thing to try for!
Note that his current rack has an unplayable bingo, CENTNER.
13
JM:
DNSSTUZ DOZE
K4
14
T: 386
He might not have tracked Sherman’s tiles accurately....
14
JS:
ACEENRT CANTERED
FINAL SCORE: JM: 386
6B
69
T: 360 + 10 (NSSTU) 370
JS: 370
Joe Edley is a three-time National SCRABBLE® Champion and the author and co-author of many
books, including BANANAGRAMS!: The Official Book, Everything SCRABBLE® (Third Edition
reviewed in the December issue of The Last Word), and SCRABBLE® Puzzles, Vol. 1-4, all
available at amazon.com. His second Bananagrams® book, MORE BANANAGRAMS®!, is
scheduled for publication in April from Workman Press.
41
K
N
O
W
T
H
E
R
U
L
E
S
Know the Rules
by Jan Dixon, NASPA Rules Committee Member
Jan Dixon, a longtime expert player and a member of the NASPA Rules
Committee, will be writing a monthly column on rules for The Last Word.
We are thrilled that Jan will be sharing her rules expertise with our readers,
and we encourage you to email any questions you may have about
tournament and club rules to [email protected] With the recent
NASPA announcement of rules changes effective February 2, Jan’s arrival
could not be more timely, and she addresses these changes in her first Q
& A answer. (Photo credit: Jill Jarrell)
________________________________________________________________________
What major rules changes will take effect on February 2, 2010?
It is NASPA's goal for the Rules Committee to only do one update each year. Hopefully, as time
goes by, there will be very few changes or corrections that need to be made. The Rules
Committee reviewed and debated numerous issues, and have agreed on roughly two dozen
changes. Many of the changes are just for clarity. Following are three major changes being
implemented:
• The exception at the beginning of the game to the “six-scores-of-zero-and-the-game-is-over” rule
was removed. The game can now end with no tiles on the board.
• After an adjudication, the clock may not be restarted until both players are seated and (in the
event of an unsuccessful challenge) the drawer has seen the face of at least one replenishment
tile.
• The blank designation rule was revamped. The key features are that the written designation is
mandatory and spoken designation is equivalent to NO DESIGNATION.
Please refer to the NASPA website (www.scrabbleplayers.org) for complete details of these changes
and to download a copy of the Official Tournament Rules effective February 2, 2010.
Always remember that it pays to KNOW THE RULES!
Jan Dixon
Rules Committee Member
Jan Dixon has been playing tournament SCRABBLE® for 28 years and has been a member of the
Rules Committee since its inception. She divides her time between New York City with her fiancé,
Aldo Cardia, and Delaware, where her children and grandchildren all reside.
42
T
H
E
W
O
R
D
S
M
I
T
H
The Wordsmith
“A week’s worth of words”
by Chris Sinacola
The chief obstacle standing between most SCRABBLE® players and a higher rating and greater
success in club and tournament play is simply not knowing enough words. Strategy is significant, of
course, and well worth attention once you have developed a solid vocabulary, but the best strategy
won't carry you far if you don't have the word weapons you need.
If you don't believe me, spend a few hours playing Quackle (www.quackle.org) and keep track both
of what the program finds and what you miss.
The cure for ignorance is, of course, hard work and study. Methodical study of the SCRABBLE®
dictionary is essential to success, as is some kind of systematic approach to anagrams of seven
and eight letters.
But I have always felt that learning words out of context, without much mind to definitions, part of
speech, and usage, drains the game of much of its beauty. Not every player will agree, of course.
Those intent on rapid advancement, or those who view SCRABBLE® as another in a series of
game “puzzles” to be solved and conquered, may see it as little more than committing to memory
which strings of letters are valid and which are not.
I much prefer to dwell in the language, and as various interesting and unusual words crossed my
desk this week, I got to thinking exactly how many “new” words someone immersed in language
meets in a given week. And make no mistake – we are all immersed in language in this age and
culture.
Here are a few that I met in recent days in the course of reading newspapers, books, magazines;
listening to the various media; and, of course, playing SCRABBLE®.
Reading Michael Pollan's best-selling The Omnivore's Dilemma, I happened upon this sentence,
describing the dominance of corn in our domestic food supply: “It's a good thing this plan can't form
an impression of us, for how risible that impression would be: the farmers going broke cultivating it;
the countless other species routed or emiserated by it....”
I stopped at emiserated, a wonderful example of a word – if it is a word, SCRABBLE® players
would quickly add – whose meaning is almost immediately clear. It surely wants to express the
process of making poorer, or a reduction to a state of miserliness. And yet, something about it
doesn't look quite right.
I call a quick timeout here to to note that whether something “is or is not a word” doesn't mean all
that much. Anything we see in print is commonly referred to as a word, even if it appears nowhere
else and has no generally accepted meaning. But there are many perfectly valid words that are not
acceptable in SCRABBLE®, and when you stop to consider the neologisms that Shakespeare,
Melville, and Joyce engaged in (to name just three of the most poetical offenders of the linguistic
status quo), it's clear that the OWL-2 is rather limited in scope.
43
T
H
E
W
O
R
D
S
M
I
T
H
But back to our word. I would challenge EMISERATED in a heartbeat, simply because I've played
Quackle enough to judge that if these fairly common tiles could be put together in that fashion,
Quackle would have done so long before now, nine and ten-letter words being no problem for
silicon-based lifeforms.
Checking the word judge just now, I see that I would win such a challenge, but I can't take much
pleasure in it, because the “word” EMISERATE*, now bearing our little asterisk, makes no sense.
The challenge was what we label “an easy call.” The prefix e-, as Latin students will recall, confers
the idea of out and away from, as opposed to in- or im- prefixes, which suggest inwardness, or the
state of becoming something, that something, in this case, being impoverished. (See what I mean?)
Indeed, EMISERATE* doesn't appear anywhere in the Oxford English Dictionary, which leads me to
my first conclusion on this word: Mr. Pollan either made it up or was thinking of some other word,
which he then misspelled.
But what other word?
Google EMISERATE* and you are prompted to search for IMMISERATE. Do so, and you
immediately find an online dictionary claiming that word derives from the Latin immiserare, meaning
to sink into poverty. But the various Latin dictionaries inhabiting my house yield only: “immiserabilis,
unlamented, unpitied,” and note that the word appears in Horace's Odes.
Unlamented is not quite the same as falling into a state of poverty or miserliness, which leads to my
second conclusion about this word: Internet lexicographers may also be making things up. I add one
caveat – IMMISERATE may be perfectly good medieval Latin. At my house, we are generally stuck
in the classical age.
But I promised you a week's worth of words, and here I have just spilled 500 or so on a single word,
which you cannot even play.
Here are five more you can play (technically, the tile gods being with you), taken from a New York
Times story of Jan. 19 on insects that adapt to cold temperatures: ANTARCTIC, SNOWBANKS,
SPRINGTAIL, BUDWORM, CRYOPROTECTIVE. I didn't say any of these would be particularly
likely to show up.
From an article on a newly discovered “super-Earth”: EXOPLANET. Alas, give it an asterisk, at least
for now. The list of 135 EXO- words doesn't welcome EXOPLANET*. (You could still give it a spin if
you wanted.)
GADARENE. This word, an adjective meaning “headlong, rash, impetuous,” cropped up in a column
by George Will, who is never shy about sending his readers to the dictionary. It is within the top
2,000 eight-letter words by probability, so many players will readily recognize it. I wonder, however,
how many know its context. I confess that I did not.
It comes from the Gadarene swine in the Bible, who were possessed by demons and rushed into
the sea, as recounted in Matthew 8:28. Some online biblical commentaries note that Gadarene is
given as Gergesenes in some translations – if that were the standard, however, we wouldn't be
falling over ourselves to play GADARENE!
44
T
H
E
W
O
R
D
S
M
I
T
H
Here are a few words that came up during actual SCRABBLE® play this week:.
HOTSEAT*, which I played during a club game, was doubted (by both myself and my opponent) but
remained unchallenged. Often, players will not challenge words such as this that we pronounce as if
they were one word. SNOWBANK, see above, comes to mind.
Another game featured the trio of DUCTING, EDUCTING*, and REDUCTING*. I played the first,
which is perfectly valid, then hooked CLOVE to it for EDUCTING*, which my opponent didn't much
like. Neither did I. Yet EDUCTION is the act of EDUCING (drawing out), and an EDUCT is what an
EDUCTOR gets when they are finished with their EDUCTIVE process. It's just that at no point can
one be EDUCTING*.
At this point, my opponent hooked RELEARN onto the word for REDUCTING*. You might think
REDUCTING* follows a similar chain of reasoning leading to invalidity. Not quite. There are 18 valid
words with the stem REDUCT-, but REDUCT* itself is invalid. And yet, as the OED shows, reduct is
a perfectly good English word, meaning to reduce to a different state. It's just that it's obsolete and
didn't make the cut in modern times. No one promised this was fair!
While getting the car inspected – multitasking is wonderful, no? – I read another dozen pages of
Pollan's book, and ran across a treasure trove of words, 15 of which I give here in list form, and
leave to readers to decide which are acceptable. If in doubt, you'll have to look up the answers
yourself, of course. That's the whole point of this month's column – study harder.
FOXTAIL, VERDUROUS, TROPISM, COEVOLVE, BIOPHILIA, TIMOTHY, BELOWDECKS,
FESCUE, PHAGES, SHRIMPY, POLYCULTURE, ATRAZINE, TITYRUS, XANTHAN, PINPRICKS.
Chris Sinacola is co-director of the Worcester MA SCRABBLE® Club #600.
.
45
A
N
A
G
R
A
M
T
U
N
N
E
L
S
Q
U
I
Z
Anagram Tunnels Quiz
by Juraj Pivovarov
An Anagram Tunnel is a sequence of words such that there is exactly ONE word that can be formed
from the previous word and a blank.
Example:
GRIFFS
GRIFFES
GIRAFFES
FIREFANGS
RESTAFFING
AFFORESTING
OVERSTAFFING
In our current dictionary, the maximum length of such a tunnel is 7, and it is realized by 6 different
starting words (see The Last Word, Issue 2).
Here are 5 (from the 15 total) 5-letter words that stretch into 5-word tunnels. See if you can find the
3 missing words that complete each tunnel:
HUSKS...CHECKSUMS
MUSKY...KOUMYSSES
OHMIC...SHAMBOLIC
SULLY...LUMPISHLY
TOFTS...FOSSETTES
ANSWERS ON NEXT PAGE
Juraj Pivovarov is a 1400 SCRABBLE® player and a near-expert chess player. He has a degree in
Pure Math and a M.Sc. in Computer Science.
46
A
N
A
G
R
A
M
T
U
N
N
E
L
S
Q
U
I
Z
ANSWERS:
HUSKS
SHUCKS
SHMUCKS
SCHMUCKS
CHECKSUMS
MUSKY
KOUMYS
KOUMYSS
KOUMYSES
KOUMYSSES
OHMIC
HOLMIC
MOCHILA
MOCHILAS
SHAMBOLIC
SULLY
LUSHLY
PLUSHLY
PLUSHILY
LUMPISHLY
TOFTS
OFTEST
SOFTEST
FOSSETTE
FOSSETTES
Juraj Pivovarov is a 1400 SCRABBLE® player and a near-expert chess player. He has a degree in
Pure Math and a M.Sc. in Computer Science.
47
W
I
L
L
N
E
D
I
G
E
R
:
P
U
Z
Z
L
E
M
A
S
T
E
R
Will Nediger: Puzzle Master
Will Nediger, a 20-year-old college student from London, Ontario, is one of
the highest ranked SCRABBLE® players under 21 in North America
(current NASPA rating: 1792). Although Nediger has played in only 14
tournaments since he started competing just over 5 years ago, he won 6 of
those tournaments, and his 67.2% lifetime win record rivals that of
tournament giants such as Dave Wiegand (67.5%). Nediger also played in
the inaugural World Youth SCRABBLE® Championship in 2006, coming in
3rd, the best placement of any North American in the history of the event-an astonishing feat considering that the tournament used the unfamiliar
Collins dictionary.
But Nediger is an expert with words--crosswords in particular. Since 2006 Nediger has been
constructing crossword puzzles for the New York Times, the New York Sun, and numerous other
publications. “We like to call ourselves cruciverbalists, because it sounds impressive,” said Nediger,
who has an engaging sense of humor and an easy confidence. And an astounding vocabulary!
Nediger had always enjoyed solving crossword puzzles, and, like many crossword puzzle fans, he
thought it couldn’t be to hard to make one. “It is, it turns out, but I kept at it.” His early “rather
amateurish” efforts were quickly rejected, but he persevered. His first New York Times puzzle
appeared in 2006, when he was just 16, and now his name appears regularly alongside that of Will
Shortz, the New York Times crossword puzzle editor--and hero of the successful 2006 documentary
Wordplay.
Nediger submits his puzzles with clues; however, the puzzle editors will usually change “a goodly
percentage” of these clues to match the difficulty level they are looking for in that puzzle. While the
editors do not suggest themes to Will, he usually bounces a theme off an editor before spending too
much time on it. “A flawed theme is a deal-breaker,” advises Will.
Nediger constructs a couple dozen puzzles a year--in between doing his homework as a third-year
college student at the University of Western Ontario, where he studies linguistics and Spanish.
“They say SCRABBLE® players tend to be mathematically minded instead of linguistically minded,”
notes Nediger, “so I guess I'm an exception to that.”
While Nediger enjoys completing crossword puzzles, he has never competed at the annual
American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, now held in Brooklyn, NY (formerly in Stamford, CT).
“I’m a pretty fast solver, so I’d probably be able to do fairly well with some practice.
He also was not involved with the documentary Wordplay, though many of his colleagues were.
He’s glad the movie has made people more aware of the art of crossword construction. “Even
though it’s one of the most popular hobbies in North America, most people really don’t know
anything about what goes into making a crossword. The most common question I’m asked is
whether I write the clues or make the grid first. I’ll leave that one as an exercise to the reader!”
48
W
I
L
L
N
E
D
I
G
E
R
:
P
U
Z
Z
L
E
M
A
S
T
E
R
Nediger does not play often in SCRABBLE® tournaments, and he has competed in just four events
outside of Canada. His only two majors were the 2006 World Youth SCRABBLE® Championship
and the 2009 National Scrabble Championship in Dayton (where he finished 43rd out of 127 players
in Division 1). “Some might say the WYSC isn't really a major, but there was some pretty stiff
competition, including David Eldar and Suanne Ong, who just recently won the 2009 WYSC [and
who beat Nigel Richards to win the 2008 King’s Cup].
“It was a great experience,” said Nediger of his trip to Wollongong, Australia, to compete in the 2006
WYSC. He represented his country with two other Canadians: Michael Loo and Vimalan Raviraj.
(The U.S. did not send a team.)
“It was pretty daunting, and it remains the only time I’ve ever used cue cards to study, and pretty
much the only time I’ve studied by probability. Obviously, there was no way to learn 30,000 words in
a few months, so I just learned the important stuff: 2s, 3s, as many 4s as I could, JQXZ words, and
high-prob bingoes without TWL anagrams.
“I discovered that that’s basically all you need to be able to be competitive at a SOWPODS event,
although there’s not much hope of winning without a much better SOWPODS knowledge than
mine.”
Nediger wishes there were more interest in SOWPODS/Collins in North America. But he adds that,
“Luckily, the situation seems to be changing for the better.”
Nediger recommends Quackle to North American Youth Players looking to improve. “Quackle is the
best thing around for improving your game. I find it really useful for developing the instinct for
evaluating leaves, for example.”
For Youth Players considering competing at the WYSC, Nediger advises “not to sweat the dictionary
issue too much.”
“Just learn the basics, and play some Collins against Quackle (or a real Collins player, if there’s one
available) to get a sense of the dynamics of the Collins game, which is quite different from the TWL
game.”
Does knowing the meanings of so many words give Nediger an edge? He admits it does, but he
says he often forgets the definitions, unless the words are ones he’s encountered outside of
SCRABBLE®. He does read a lot, though, which he feels definitely helps his game.
Nediger has constructed a special “Anagrams Grid” crossword puzzle, using the American-style
crossword grid, for this issue of The Last Word (see the next page). All of the words are acceptable
in the OSPD4 and TWL (except for the 9s, which are too long for the OSPD4). Good luck!
For more information on constructing crossword puzzles, visit the www.nytimes.com/wordplay and
www.cruciverb.com, or read Patrick Berry’s Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies, available at
amazon.com. For information on the upcoming 33rd Annual Amerian Crossword Puzzle
Tournament in Brooklyn, NY, February 19-21, go to www.crosswordtournament.com.
49
A
N
A
G
R
A
M
C
R
O
S
S
W
O
R
D
Anagram Crossword Puzzle
P
U
Z
Z
L
E
SOLUTION ON NEXT PAGE
by Will Nediger
Across
50
35 AAELOOPRT
Down
28 EEGRT
1 ACEEHLT
37 AEIKKMNO
1 ACHIIMS
30 AJLOP
8 ABBELSU
40 FFHOSW
2 AEHINSS
32 MOS
15 AEGHNOX
44 EEGST
3 CEIMOSX
34 HOO
16 DEENORT
45 DEH
4 ABL
36 EELOPSST
17 ABIORSS
47 AEPRU
5 AAGS
37 BBCEKKU
18 AFILSTY
48 BEER
6 EORST
38 AAAGHPR
19 ASS
49 AEKST
7 EEILNS
39 EELKNOS
20 EEIRSUZ
51 AMSY
8 BDDEEFLU
41 AFILRSZ
22 ELS
52 ABL
9 AERRU
42 EEFIIMN
23 AIMS
53 ADILLMM
10 BELO
43 CEPSSTU
25 DEILS
55 IPZ
11 ADS
46 ADHHIT
26 CERU
56 AEPRSTU
12 EEILRSU
49 EINRS
27 AEIMZ
58 AEIINST
13 AEELNRT
50 AAHKS
29 DEN
60 CEHOSSU
14 ELSSTTY
53 AAMS
30 AJRTU
61 CHIILOT
21 ADEFILNNZ
54 AIMR
31 CGINOS
62 AABKNNS
24 AEIOSTZ
57 BTU
33 AEFLLOST
63 ADEHRST
26 AACTUWY
59 DOT
A
N
A
G
R
A
M
C
R
O
S
S
W
O
R
D
P
U
Z
Z
L
E
SOLUTION
51
B
A
D
Q
O
P
H
B
L
O
G
T
A
L
K
Badqoph Blog Talk
by Ryan Fischer
Ryan Fischer manages the Badqoph Directory, a database of blogs by known SCRABBLE®
bloggers, primarily tournament players. Here he looks at some interesting threads from the blogs.
This month's focus is on the value of the sim and other things that make you go "hmm." But first, a
Badqoph Directory primer. [The Badqoph Directory can be found at http://
www.charlottescrabble.com/badqoph/people/.]
As of this writing, the directory is split into two sections: active and inactive blogs. This is not an
automated feature yet, so on occasion, I'll go through and move blogs that don't have any recent
public posts to the “inactive” section. Currently, the directory has 191 blogs and other
SCRABBLE®-related websites listed: 110 active, 81 inactive. Clicking on "Inactive" takes you to
those inactive blogs of interest.
On the main page, you'll see a list of the first 30 blogs of note, sorted by the owner's rating in
descending order (last month, I mentioned two of the first ones to appear: Dave Wiegand's "The
Windage Report" and Kenji Matsumoto's "kenji_v_quackle"). Say you want to find someone's blog.
You can sort by NASPA rating, WESPA rating (this is still incomplete), last name, first name, ISC
handle, or blog name, just by clicking any of the columns listed on the main page. In some cases,
clicking a column head again will reverse the sort (this is still experimental and a bit buggy). You
can cycle through pages via the links at the top of the page and the previous sort will remain intact.
A newly debuted feature is the database search. Simply type in any information you have on a field
(one piece of information at a time), and the database will return all likely partial matches. For
instance, say you want to find all SCRABBLE® players named "Eric" (who have a blog or a known
ISC presence, mind you). So you type that in. The search is case-insensitive, and it matches any
occurrence of those four letters in a row. So in addition to finding Eric Tran, Eric Harshbarger, and
Eric Pivnik, it also matches ERICa Moore, Jesse Day's "ExotERICa", and Katie Devanney's
"amERICan idiot."
This search is also useful for that nagging question that first contributed to my wanting to start this
database. A lot of times when playing on ISC you'll come across a player who claims s/he is
N(A)S(P)A. How to know for sure? Seen user "TakeItAway" tear it up with a 600 game and find
yourself intrigued? Type in his handle, and you'll seen he's Mike Yowonske. Click his name to link
to his cross-tables.com profile, and you'll see he's only played in one tournament, Atlantic City's
Open of three years ago. He came out of it with a 1766 rating, finishing 5th out of 130, besting the
likes of Lloyd Mills, Stefan Rau, and Scott Appel.
To further the completion of the info in this database, I invite any and all NASPA members to submit
their ISC handles and blogs they'd like to share, in the name of growing the community and further
uniting it.
As for "things that make you go hmm," this month Geoff Thevenot and Nigel Peltier pontificated on
simulations. Peltier first posted on CGP in response to a query by Brian Williams about how to
52
B
A
D
Q
O
P
H
B
L
O
G
T
A
L
K
quantify whether to forego a bingo based on what it gives back. Matthew Hodge's allusion to a
"Statistics 101 example" is apt. Whereas on average "adults hav[e]... one testicle and one ovary" is
a true statement, it is "misleading and utterly useless."
Peltier explained that "In a game of SCRABBLE®, you win or you don't. Plays happen along the
way. You make judgments about endless factors, MOST of which have nothing to do with numbers,
to decide how ‘good’ different plays are, compared to one another." And, "You can't write a program
to predict how the average opponent thinks. You can analyze a board and quantify its ‘equity’ in
terms of the highest amount of points that your opponent can score with a certain rack, but they
have an unknown rack." This is a trait that another well-known SCRABBLE® Nigel shares: that of
not wanting to post-mortem too much because every game is different, so ultimately, once it's over,
what's the point?
The conversation then trickled over to Geoff Thevenot's "Bozo's Montreux," where as
"getofftheoven" he likened the aforementioned phenomenon to being a musician or a teacher of
music: "I can show a student technical things, talk about theory, expose him to new styles and
sounds that might expand his vocabulary. I can give him the raw material and point him to sources
where he can find what he's looking for if I don't have it myself. But I can't make my student a true
musician, no matter how hard I try; that's up to him to unlock, and it has damn little to do with how
well he plays his scales in the practice room."
Marlon Hill (cuzzakenji) added that "SCRABBLE® is a such BEAUTIFUL game BECAUSE da higher
concepts mirror LIFE--REASON, SEQUENCY, CHOICE wif CONSEQUENCE, TIMING, and
CHANCE." while David Koenig (jigsawn) interjected a contrary opinion, saying "Quantitative
analysis has led to a much better understanding of SCRABBLE® and a much higher quality of play
than in the past." Quoting Cecelia Le, he wrote: "the objectivity of the computer can help dispel us
of our biases."
Labels never really fit. There is rarely in SCRABBLE®, or in life, a 100% best play. Hence the oftmentioned joke, especially in the SCRABBLE® blog community, of wanting a "Life Quackle" to
assess the success rate of real-life decisions. So Nigel Peltier's apt final word on CGP sums it up
quite nicely: "Why do people feel the need to quantify everything?"
Ryan Fischer graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2005 with a degree in
communications studies and a minor in creative writing. He is a NASPA player and director, a major
force, with John Luebkemann and Sherrie Saint John, behind the Eastern Championships in
Charlotte, NC, where he now lives. He recently completed a documentary on chaos magick, and he
is working on a television pilot about ballroom dancing.
53
H
I
S
T
O
R
I
C
M
O
M
E
N
T
S
Historic Moments: SCRABBLE® Throughout the Years
Embarrassments of Riches
by Stu Goldman
The J, Q, X, and Z can be powerful weapons separately, but what about having them all at once? In
a recent tournament game I picked the X and Z after a bingo. There were no good plays evident
using either of them, but a 40+ point WEND was available at H12-15, so I did that. To my
amazement I drew the J and Q! Luckily, I played the J, X, and Z for decent points on the next three
turns, and several plays later got rid of the sometimes pesky Q.
I was reminded of a game over 25 years ago in the legendary Game Room with the late Mike
Martin. With the game nearing its end, I was down by well over a hundred
points, but holding AIILLNO found ILLATION for a double-double off a T. Mike challenged and I
drew the remaining tiles. He then played two of those HPT's for very few points.
Hardly anyone tracked tiles in those days, but Mike's play aroused my suspicion. Sure enough, a
quick look around the board showed me that the other two were not there, so Mike had to have
them. I'd like to say I went out immediately and stuck him with both of them, but I don't remember
that I did. I do remember sticking him with at least one and only losing by 3 points, a considerable
gain from the position I'd been in a while back when playing for two cents a point.
But the ultimate in excessive Scrabble riches was created by Nick Ballard in a "Medleys" piece. He
claimed that the rack JQXZSS? had been sent to him by one Handin D. Cookiejar. I appropriated
that rack in an story I wrote called "The Scrabble Club from Hell,” and gave it to a hapless
soul who asked the devil always to play a bingo, but forgot to specify that it had to be good.
Stu Goldman lives in California and has been playing tournament SCRABBLE® for 36 years.
MMedleys (1991-1993) was the outstanding journal of its type. Although there
is some out of date material among the 398 scanned pages in this version (e.g.,
old word lists and anamonics), it includes much of value for todayís player:
Classic articles on theory by Nick Ballard, Charlie Carroll, and Brian Sheppard;
over forty annotated games, including the three games of the 1991 WSC finals,
the five games of the 1993 WSC finals, and the deciding game of the 1991
Masters Tournament between Carroll and Morris;
monthly Endgame Practice
Published from 1991 to 1993, Medleys was a
SCRABBLE®
newsletter published
by expert
columns; hundreds of game positions, discussed
and analyzed
by experts
of the
player Nick Ballard. It included articles on theory
top players,
annotatedand
games,
monthly
day; Dear Aunt Scrabby (humorous advice tobythe
wordlorn);
much
much
“Endgame Practice” columns, and game positions
analyzed by experts of the day. Players interested
more.
in seeing archive copies of this newsletter can
purchase them on disc by clicking here.
54
L
I
N
D
A
’
S
L
I
B
R
A
R
Y
Linda’s Library
by Linda Wancel
As an avid reader and book lover, I have found that many other Scrabblers also share my passion
for books and for reading. So, I am happy to have this opportunity to share some of my favorite
books with you. These reviews, for the most part, were written for Amazon.com, where I have been
writing reviews under a pseudonym for nearly ten years. I hope that the book lovers among you
may find their interest piqued by some of these books.
Non-fiction:
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great
Victorian Detective
by Kate Summerscale
This is a beautifully written, well-researched book that dissects the
murder investigation that surrounded an appalling murder that
occurred in England in 1860. It is a fascinating story replete with
historical detail about the era in which the murder took place, as well
as those persons involved. It is a page-turning mystery, as well as a
wonderful portrait of those involved in this human drama.
When three-year-old Saville Kent was found murdered, his throat
savagely cut, in the outhouse of the home of his well-to-do parents,
suspicion immediately fell upon the family and their servants, as the
murder happened during the night when all were sleeping and nothing
was taken from the house. After all, who else might have murdered
this innocent child? This murder engendered outrage and much press
coverage throughout England, and when the local police came up
empty-handed, Scotland Yard stepped in, sending their best
detective, Jonathan Whicher, to spearhead the investigation.
What Whicher surmised from his investigation was that, indeed, one of the family members was
responsible. Though he eventually accused one of the family members of the crime, the evidence
proved insufficient to bind the accused to trial and provoked a public outcry against Whicher. This
case virtually ended his career, as he resigned from the force soon after. Whicher would eventually
be vindicated years later, when an amazing turn of events occurred. His investigative methods and
deductive reasoning would later come to be embodied in many of the fictional detectives that would
prove to be popular.
This book not only details the murder investigation, it places the events that transpired in the context
of the history of the times, as well as the social mores that dominated. This elegantly written true
crime thriller will keep the reader riveted to its pages.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is available at Amazon.com.
55
L
I
N
D
A
’
S
L
I
B
R
A
R
Y
Fiction:
A Judgement in Stone
by Ruth Rendell
This is one of Ruth Rendell's earlier works and, perhaps, one of her
best. More of a novella, rather than a full-fledged novel, by virtue of its
brevity, it is absolutely brilliant, well-written, and gripping from the getgo. Ms. Rendell captures the reader with her first sentence, "Eunice
Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or
write."
This is a descriptive and insightful literary stunner about how an
illiterate, middle-aged woman gets to the point that she wipes out an
entire family one fateful evening. The book takes the reader, step by
step, through the events that lead up to this crossroad. It explores the
mind of Eunice Parchman, a woman so limited in her world view and
so robotic in her actions that she is almost repellent. The reader
marvels at her very existence and is sure to find her a fascinating
character study.
Ms. Parchman's interactions with the well-educated Coverdale family, who employs her as a
housekeeper, are intriguing and always interesting, as she struggles to keep her illiteracy a secret.
How Ms. Parchman circumvents its discovery for as long as she does, the lengths to which she
goes to maintain a facade of literacy, and her socially inappropriate responses to everyday
situations, paint an amazing psychological portrait for the reader. The eventual discovery of her
illiteracy results in a ghastly outcome, which makes for some gripping and chilling reading.
Ms. Rendell is masterful in her storytelling, infusing mundane situations with an understated horror
that is all the more frightening because of the common denominator that strikes a chord with the
reader. Written in a well-nuanced, taut, spare style, this book is a literary gem that will keep the
reader enthralled to the very end.
A Judgement in Stone is available at Amazon.com.
Linda Wancel loves reading, writing, watching films, traveling, and Scrabbling. She is the mother of
27-year-old twins and has been a criminal prosecutor for the last 23 years.
56
S
T
E
L
L
’
S
R
A
C
K
S
O
F
M
I
R
T
H
Stell’s Racks of Mirth
by Stellacious (AKA Cheryl L. Cadieux)
Thanks to Jill Heffner for organizing my thoughts for this column, as much as such a thing is
possible!
******************************************************************
It was all about hooks.
Mr. Chuck Armstrong, at a Detroit area tournament, hooked an M onto my MAXI and I said, "What
the hell is that?!" He IMMEDIATELY hollered out, "Director! She's trying to intimidate me!"
And, at the Casselberry Club near Orlando, my opponent Art Moore, upon seeing me make AGLEY
out of GLEY called out, "Director! She's playing obscure hooks!!"
******************************************************************
Karrie Bowe to someone who had only won one game: "Well,... your family loves you!"
******************************************************************
During a marathon scrabble session with Jill Heffner, I played LURID for the second time in a few
hours, she commented, "Your favorite word." I responded, "NO, my ONLY word!"
******************************************************************
And, speaking of Jill, she related to me an incident where it wasn't the Tile Gods causing trouble
with racks of tiles. Her mother was visiting and they got up and started a game at breakfast. Jill
drew seven consonants, could not make a word, had to exchange. Oddly, her mother had the same
problem, exchanged as well. Nor could Jill play following her exchange, still no vowels, and her
mother did not draw any vowels either. The culprit? Jill's husband had removed all the vowels from
the bag the night before and hidden them in the sugar bowl!
******************************************************************
Stellaisms for Your Day
Little differences – like a letter in a word – make all the difference in the world.
No individual raindrop ever considers itself responsible for the flood.
People are funny. They want the front of the bus, middle of the road, and the back of the church.
Pride is something we have. Vanity is something others have.
57
S
T
E
L
L
’
S
R
A
C
K
S
O
The best way to keep your kids out of hot water is to put some
dishes in it.
We judge others by their actions; we judge ourselves by our
intentions.
There is no I” in team, but there is a “ME”.
The wonder of a single snowflake outweighs the wisdom of a
million meteorologists.
Those who jump to conclusions often land in ignorance.
F
M
I
R
T
H
To join OSPD, Stella's
SCRABBLE® mail group, please
send a blank message to the
following URL: [email protected]
We are so delicious, that we are
DIGESTable, with the digest form
of only one e-mail a day.
At the bottom of each and every
e-mail that you receive from
OSPD, you will see the address to
change your daily subscription
from receiving the e-mails as they
come in to only once a day in the
digest form.
OSPD is a way for Scrabblers to
communicate. We also have a
Daily Word List: For example,
one recent word list was “N” back
hooks.
Paul Epstein occasionally does
Mystery Racks and we have a
quiz from time to time.
Please join us!
Stellacious
AKA Cheryl L. Cadieux
This picture of me and my husband, Gary, was
taken about a week before I had surgery to
remove a brain tumor. The palm tree in the
background looks as though it is growing out of
my head. I’m going to print this photo out and
take it into my doctor and tell him, “Here it is-right here!”
Cheryl L. Cadieux, a congenial tournament player better known to her OSPD group members as
“Stella,” lives in Au Gres, MI and New Port Richey, FL.
58
A
N
I
N
T
E
R
V
I
E
W
W
I
T
H
S
U
S
I
N
N
I
E
L
S
E
N
An Interview with Susin Nielsen
Author of Word Nerd
by Cornelia Guest
In the January issue of The Last Word we reviewed
Susin Nielsen’s young adult novel Word Nerd, which
tells the story of a a 12-year-old boy, Ambrose
Bukowski, who befriends his landlord’s son Cosmo, a
25-year-old ex-convict, through their mutual interest in
SCRABBLE®. Here we learn more about Susin and
how she came to write a book set in the SCRABBLE®
world. (Photo credit: Goran Fernlund)
Susin Nielsen lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and son. She has written
numerous television scripts, including sixteen for the hit show Degrassi Junior High, and is the cocreator of the critically aclaimed series Franny’s Feet and Robson Arms. She is the recipient of two
Canadian Screenwriter Awards. Prior to writing Word Nerd, she wrote four books in the Degrassi
book series, and three illustrated books for younger children: Mormor Moves In, The Magic Beads,
and Hank and Fergus, for which she won the Mr. Christie’s Silver Award. In researching the
SCRABBLE® world for Word Nerd, Susin contacted SCRABBLE® player Val Gallant, who invited
her to observe players at Vancouver Club #545 and at the 2007 Vancouver SCRABBLE®
Tournament. Val also recommended Susin read Stefan Fatsis’s Word Freak.
TLW: How much familiarity with the SCRABBLE® world did you have when you decided to use it for
the setting of Word Nerd?
SN: I love to play SCRABBLE®, but I am just a “kitchen player,” a term I didn’t even realize existed
until I read it in Stefan Fatsis’s book Word Freak. I had also seen a documentary about tournament
SCRABBLE®, so I was aware that it was an interesting world populated by very interesting people.
TLW: Your description of the SCRABBLE® club depicted in your book seems spot on. Do you
attend a club?
SN: When I knew that that was the world I wanted Ambrose to explore, I got in touch with Val
Gallant, who recommended I read Word Freak. She also invited me to visit the Vancouver Scrabble
Club and observe the players. I went to the club a number of times. I also attended the Vancouver
Tournament, which had players from all over the Pacific Northwest, including California and Oregon.
It was really fun to go to the tournament.
TLW: Did you play any games when you visited the Vancouver Club?
59
A
N
I
N
T
E
R
V
I
E
W
W
I
T
H
S
U
S
I
N
N
I
E
L
S
E
N
SN: No, I never played. Playing at the level they were, the members sort of terrified me in their
“goodness.” But I brought a friend with me, and she played. My excuse is that I was too busy doing
“research!”
TLW: Some of the characters described in the book sound very familiar. Are they based on any
particular players you met at the club and the tournament?
SN: I tried to make sure that nobody resembled anybody at the Vancouver Club. The characters are
amalgams of players I met or read about--or just made up. For example, I never met a large woman
who wore all pink!
TLW: Some of the games in the book describe rather obscure words. Did you know these words?
SN: Most were new to me. While I was at the Vancouver Club I would make diagrams of the
players’ boards and their scores. The club members were very nice about it.
TLW: With your many television connections, is there a movie version of Word Nerd in the works?
SN: I’ve been approached by several producers in Canada; however, they would like me to write the
screenplay and be heavily involved. Also, right now it is an arduous slog to produce films in
Canada. Ideally, I’d like to sell the rights to a U.S. company, let them hire a big-name screenwriter,
and let me visit the set. I think that it could be a really nice family film--like Akeelah and the Bee.
TLW: Any thoughts about a cast?
SN: We discussed that one night at my book club, which was reading Word Nerd--despite my
protests. We saw Johnny Depp as Cosmo, though he’s probably too old now. Catherine Keener
would make a great Irene. Ambrose I see as some bright new face. And Amanda would have to be
a beautiful young actress--we had a lot of fun fantasizing about a dream cast that night!
TWL: Do you have another book coming out soon?
SN: Yes, I’m just finishing up my next book, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, which
should be out this fall. It is also being published by Tundra Press, the publishers of Word Nerd.
TWL: Has your perspective on SCRABBLE® changed since writing Word Nerd?
SN: For me the real benefit of going to the SCRABBLE® club was that I now have all these tricks up
my sleeve when I play! I know my twos, some threes, and some interesting hooks. My game has
definitely improved!
TWL: Thanks so much, Susin. Good luck with Word Nerd and with George Clooney later this year!
Word Nerd and Susin’s other books are available at Amazon.com. To learn more about Susin
Nielson, visit her website, www.susinnielsen.com, or read her blog, Susin-Nielsen.blogspot.com. To
read our recent review of Word Nerd, click here. We’ll let readers know when Susin’s next book is
available!
60
D
I
A
N
E
’
S
D
E
F
A
L
T
S
Diane’s DEFALTS
by Diane Firstman
Diane Firstman published her first book of DEFALTS, Generous to
a DEFALT: Vol. 1-3, in 2006. Since then, she has published a
second volume of her humorous alternative definitions to common
(and not-so-common) words--DEFALTS Vol. 4--and selected
DEFALTS have appeared in SCRABBLE® News and on the online
SCRABBLE® discussion groups crossword-games-pro (cgp) and
OSPD. The Last Word is pleased to offer the following selection of
DEFALTS.
SKIDDY: 1) a child with slippery footwear; 2) a brand of peanut butter that does NOT stick to the
roof of your mouth
SKIFFS: people who ski "if and only if" conditions are good
SKYBOX: a prizefight on an airplane
SKYMAN: 1) the father of "Rain Man"; 2) a fellow said to always have his "head in the clouds"
SMILAX: someone who has been neglectful in finding reasons to be happy
SNIFFY: 1) possessing a penchant for smelling everything; 2) descriptive of an item with iffy or
indeterminate odor, aroma or smell
SNOOZY: the eighth dwarf, a cousin of SLEEPY
SPELTZ: Schlitz beer made from a hearty wheat
SPHYNX: the "Y" located within a sphinx, where all the Pharaohs played
SQUUSH: a squashed W
Diane Firstman is a lifelong New Yorker and has been playing SCRABBLE® competitively since
1994. When not thinking up DEFALTS, she attends crossword puzzle tourneys, and writes on the
New York Yankees for www.bronxbanterblog.com. She is adept at math, can reach items on top
shelves in supermarkets, and does a dead-on impression of a sea lion. The collected “DEFALTS”
are available at http://stores.lulu.com/dianagram.
61
T
H
E
A
R
T
O
F
S
T
R
A
T
E
G
Y
The Art of Strategy
Swapping
by Art Moore
Swapping is a valid strategy in SCRABBLE®. Sure, it scores no points, but it will
(at least temporarily) relieve you of junk. But first, a quick discussion about leave.
Leave is simply what tiles are on your rack after you've made your play. Obviously
it is the foundation of your next rack. If you’re holding AERUUVW and your only
play is AREA (using an A on the board) for 8 points, you'll quickly find that it’s the
wrong play to make. 8 points is better than 0, sure. But your next rack is
guaranteed to have UUVW on it. Your following play might only net you a few
points as well. And you’re handicapped with those 4 tiles until you get rid of them, which you'll have
trouble doing in two turns. (As a sidebar, expect to draw a Y, I, or O to go with it. Or all three. Some
of the worst combinations of letters you'll see).
So, playing the word doesn't improve your score much, and it certainly doesn't improve your rack.
Instead of playing the 8 points, exchange everything except ER (or maybe AER if you're feeling
lucky) and build a new rack with it. Yes, you can exchange. And no, you don't have to exchange all
of your tiles. Seems too good to be true sometimes. But there do have to be at least 7 tiles in the
bag for you to be allowed to exchange.
Going first is an advantage in that you can exchange with little drawback. I don't hesitate to
exchange the first play if I can't score at least 14 points and hold a decent leave.
Under normal circumstances, exchanging a bum rack with 7-10 tiles in the bag is akin to dropping a
grenade on your opponent. You fill up the tile pool with junk, leaving them to clean up your mess. If
you do this, be cautious with your next turn as well. You may also get hit with the shrapnel.
And never pass your first turn. If your opponent passes he's likely needing a letter for a bingo. Don't
oblige unless you have a bingo yourself.
Swapping goes hand and hand with rack balance. If you can play off a couple tiles of a very bad
rack, you're probably still going to have a very bad rack. How many 8-12 point turns are you willing
to endure to rehabilitate? If you average 20 points per turn (which puts you at about a 300-pointgame player), you will effectively have lost a turn after two plays in the 8-12 range. If you average
higher than that you're instantly better off dumping that stuff and getting back into real scoring
territory.
It helps to have a good idea of what tiles are available in the pool before you swap. And, of course,
your position in the game matters, too. There have been times when I was up a bingo and holding a
rack of vowels (or consonants). Seeing that the exact opposite is in the bag, I'm better served to
hold what I've got, knowing my opponent is having the exact opposite problem. Neither one of us
will be able to score big and the lead is protected. Call it sneaky or call it clever, but it can work.
Art Moore lives just outside of Orlando, husband to an incredibly patient woman and father of four
equally tolerant children. He is co-director of Club #438 in Casselberry, Florida. Find him on ISC
under the moniker "Werds"
62
F
I
N
D
T
H
E
B
E
S
T
P
L
A
Y
Find the Best Play
At the January 10 Rhinebeck (NY) Tournament, Division 1 winner Eric Goldstein had an amazing
play in Game 1 against second-place finisher Scott Kitchen. The score at the time: Scott 348, Eric
270 (Eric won the game 409-396). See if you can find the best play (there were two very good
ones).
ANSWER ON NEXT PAGE
If you have a particularly good play in a game, send it in to us at [email protected]
63
F
I
N
D
T
H
E
B
E
S
T
P
L
A
Y
ANSWER
Eric played REOPpOSED at O1 for 100 points. Another good play would have been RESPOOlED
at 01 for 99 points.
If you have a particularly good play in a game, send it in to us at [email protected]
64
P
L
A
Y
E
R
P
R
O
F
I
L
E
:
D
E
N
I
S
E
M
A
H
N
K
E
N
Player Profile: Denise Mahnken
by Katya Lezin
Most folks, when asked about the highlight of a particular SCRABBLE® tournament, will cite a game
or play that stands out as a personal best or won them a prize. But if you ask Denise Mahnken
what she most enjoyed about Nationals, for example, she's just as likely to gush about a karaoke
bar she discovered or the night she gathered a group of friends to go out dancing. For Denise, who
hails from Long Beach, Long Island, it is the experiences she has in and around SCRABBLE®
tournaments, and the people she has met along the way, that fuel her love of the competitive
SCRABBLE® world.
Denise does not come to the game with a lifelong passion. She did not
play SCRABBLE® growing up; her family played cards. A savvy card player
from the age of seven on, Denise maintains she “can play poker with the best of
them,” and she is particularly proud of her Omaha high-low game. As for
SCRABBLE®, she got started by playing with her husband after dinner. "We'd
brew a pot of decaf," she reminisces, "and play three or four games a night." In
2001, after learning about the rules and the existence of tournaments in the
book Everything Scrabble, Denise and her husband decided to test the waters
at Ginger White's tournament in Plainview, Long Island. Reflecting on her first
impressions, Denise's face lights up as she describes the people she met and
how at home she felt among so many others who loved the game as much as she did. "I had no
idea it was going to be such an eclectic group," she says. "It was filled with real characters and I
just found them all so interesting."
"Oh, this is something good," she remembers thinking. But she also realized she had a lot of
studying to do, and that first tournament was a humbling experience. She found herself emotionally
invested in every game, taking the losses to heart. She used her tournament games, especially
those with better players, as study tools and honed her competitive game. Her attitude improved
along with her SCRABBLE® skills. "Now, win or lose", she acknowledges with her trademark grin,
"it's fun either way."
While her SCRABBLE® buddies, and the fun she has with them in a slew of after-hours
activities, are a big part of what Denise relishes about competitive SCRABBLE®, she is also an
enthusiast of the game itself. Asked about a favorite game or play, she points to the thrill she gets
from pulling out a victory at the end of a fiercely competitive game or tournament.
Her most memorable victorious run? Denise was seeded 116 out of 154 players in the bottom
division at Nationals. She won 13 of the final 15 games, and found herself at table one on the start
of the last day of competition. “I finished seventh and gained a record 312 rating points for one
tournament, going from 961 to 1273,” she recalls. “It was thrilling!"
Her most memorable loss? “That’d have to be my loss to Mike Baron,” Denise recalls, thinking back
to the first game of the early bird at BAT [the Boston Area Tournament] three years ago. “I still
shake when I think of this one.” The game was neck and neck all the way. Denise matched his
65
P
L
A
Y
E
R
P
R
O
F
I
L
E
:
D
E
N
I
S
E
M
A
H
N
K
E
N
bingos (“with gorgeous tiles,” she notes) with her own (“ugly, ugly tiles, playing through vowels.”) He
actually complimented her towards the end of the game, noting, "I can't believe you are finding
bingos with that drek on your rack.” Denise also summoned up her courage and challenged off one
of Mike’s words (GLOSZING), taking the lead before losing the game by failing to block a bingo line
for his outplay (FIANCEE).
Encouraged by the warm reception she received at her first Long Island tournament, Denise has
traveled across the country to cities and states she's never visited, where she does not know a soul,
to play in tournaments. Her work as a teacher of the deaf affords her summers off, so she'll hop on
a bus and play in tournaments all summer long, undaunted by the fact that she doesn't know
anyone. "People bring you home," she says, "and show you around. I've made so many friends.
Lifelong friends. We support each other through major life changes, easing the hard times and
doubling the fun.” It is no wonder that the social perks of the game are what fuel her love of it.
SCRABBLE® has also opened up a world of cultural experiences and travel opportunities for
Denise. She has traveled to Prague, Budapest, and Alaska for SCRABBLE® tournaments and
cruises, and Spain is planned for this summer. She has wonderful memories of games she's played
in a little village café or while sipping a glass of wine by the Danube River at sunset. "It just doesn't
get any better than that,” Denise says, and it's hard to argue with her.
Katya Lezin lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three children (Noah, Hannah,
and Eliza). She is the author of Finding Life on Death Row, which profiles six individuals
sentenced to death, and KNIGHT SWAM, a young adult novel based on SCRABBLE®, and she has
written numerous articles for magazines and other publications. When she is not on the tennis court
or competing in a SCRABBLE® tournament (two of her passions, which her husband would argue
border on obsessions), she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family. Katya is this
month’s featured columnist in “Meet Our Columnists,” page 75.
66
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
I
N
T
H
SCRABBLE® in the News
See something about SCRABBLE® or a SCRABBLE® player
in the news? Let us know! Send your stories to
[email protected]
We’ve added a new category--”Milestones”--for news about
players with notable achievements in the previous month.
We reprint here, with permission from the author, Christopher
Peterson, an entry that appeared January 16 in Psychology
Today in his blog “The Good Life: Positive psycholgy and what
makes life worth living.” This essay, which uses SCRABBLE®
as a metephor for life, has justifiably attracted a lot of attention
in the SCRABBLE® community. Enjoy!
There Are No Bad Racks
by Christopher Peterson
This entry is about Scrabble as a metaphor for life.
Published on January 16, 2010. Copyright (C) 2010 by Christopher
Peterson.
This blog entry is about Scrabble, where one's "rack" is the
seven tiles in front of you that you want to play in a way to
produce a high score and/or to prevent your opponent from
doing the same and/or to set yourself up for future high-scoring
plays.
This blog entry is also about Scrabble as a metaphor for the
good life, just in case you are not a dedicated Scrabble player
like I am. But if you do play Scrabble, my advice here is
useful. :)
Scrabble is deliciously middle-brow, which is why I like the
game. When psychologists have studied complex problemsolving, they have often opted to investigate the high-brow
game of chess, which in my opinion does not provide nearly as
good a metaphor for life. Chess is thoroughly deterministic,
whereas Scrabble has an element of chance. Great chess
players always beat poor chess players, whereas great
Scrabble players sometimes lose to their less talented
opponents. If the less talented player draws a lot of power tiles
(Q, X, J, K, S, and blanks), good things will happen, if they are
played well. That's the first lesson about life from Scrabble.
Luck can matter ... if one takes advantage of it.
E
N
E
W
S
JANUARY
MILESTONES
JAN DIXON played her 5000th
cross-tables-listed game on
Janary 18--at sea! The game was
the first one Jan played on Larry
Rand and Barbara Van Alen’s
South America Cruise. (Jan’s
played more, but records from
early years are incomplete.)
KENJI MATSUMOTO reached
2000 for the first time at the Reno
MLK Tournament.
ORRY SWIFT reached 2000 for
the first time at the Texas
Tournament of Champions.
MATTHEW HODGE reached
1900 for the first time at the Texas
Tournament of Champions.
KEN KASNEY reached 1800 for
the first time at the Bryan TX
Tourmanet.
PETE ZIEGLER reached 1800 for
the first time at the Albany NY
New Year’s Touranment.
BEN SCHOENBRUN reached
1600 for the first time at the
Albany NY New Year’s
Tournament.
SAMANTHA SOUTHARD
reached 1500 for the first time at
the Albany NY New Year’s
Tournament.
Let us know if you hear of any
milestones reached!
[email protected]
67
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
I
N
T
H
E
N
E
W
S
Said more positively, anyone can win a Scrabble match against anyone else, not often but at least
occasionally. That's a useful metaphor for life, at least for the vast majority of us who are not the
"best" at anything, except of course being ourselves.
More systematically, here are the lessons for a good life that I have learned from playing Scrabble
during the past decade.
First, like chess, you don't need to bet on the outcome of a
Scrabble match to make it enjoyable. There may be highstakes Scrabble games, but I've never heard of them. In
contrast, other popular games - like poker or the NFL would likely not be as interesting or engaging without a pot
or a wager. Here is a lesson about the good life pertaining
to those things that we choose to do. The best activities are
those that are intrinsically rewarding.
Second, Scrabble is more of a visual game than a verbal
game, something I did not appreciate when I first started to
play. I have a great vocabulary, so I should be good at
Scrabble, right? Wrong, as I learned the hard way in the
beginning. It's where you play the word, across doubles
and triples, more than what the word per se happens to be.
Good players see patterns and the possibilities they
present. The particulars matter but mainly in the context of the bigger picture. That's another good
metaphor for life. Do what you do in situations where doing well has the biggest payoff.
Third, the "meaning" of a word in Scrabble is not its dictionary definition. It is the worth of the word
where it is played on the board. Period. Consider the word SUQ. Every time I throw that one down
against a neophyte, he or she looks puzzled and asks "What does that mean?" I always reply "It is a
three-letter word that ends in Q ... and a great play!" "But what does it mean?" they persist. And I
repeat what I had just said. Here is the lesson for the good life: The value of anything is contingent
and contextualized. A productive play is purposeful and pragmatic. What are we doing with it, where
are we doing it, and why are we doing it?
Did you know that some of best Scrabble players in the world don't even speak or read English?
They speak Scrabble, as it were, which is what you need to do when playing Scrabble. That's yet
one more lesson for the good life: Speak the local dialect!
Fourth, move tiles! If you can't make a high score, then make a low score that frees up your rack.
Most of us know that in poker, you cannot draw to an inside straight, and the same principle applies
to Scrabble. Don't hold tiles hoping and praying that you'll get the one extra tile that allows a good
play. Move them out! Doing so clears out the nonsense and allows new possibilities. If that is not a
useful metaphor for the good life, then nothing else in this blog entry is.
Indeed, sometimes discarding the ten-point Q can be a great play, and one that is often
recommended by Scrabble experts. Another good metaphor, but one that is hard to heed. Even
though I know better, sometimes I die ever so slowly by the overly-held Q.
68
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
I
N
T
H
E
N
E
W
S
Fifth, one of the "best" racks is really mundane - SALTINE - all one-point tiles. Why? Because this
ostensibly ordinary rack allows all sorts of plays that can be hooked with the S and produce a Bingo
(playing all seven tiles and thereby yielding a 50-point bonus), like:
ELASTIN
ENTAILS
NAILSET
SALIENT
SALTINE
SLAINTE
TENAILS
Sixth, Bingos rule. The player who makes more Bingos than his/her opponent is going to win the
vast majority of Scrabble games, even if his/her other plays yield little. The lesson for life? Pretty
obvious, I think, and one akin to Kahneman's peak-end theory of what we remember from hedonic
experiences. The peaks are what matter (along with how an experience finishes, which in the case
of Scrabble is determined by the peaks - i.e., the Bingos).
Seventh, don't rely on what are called bluehair moves, those that are cautious, conservative, and
constipated. They block your opponent's future plays, but also your own. Unless they have good
reasons for playing defensively, the best Scrabble players open up the board, and their plays create
what looks like a spiderweb on the board. The lesson? Go for it!
Eighth, don't cofffehouse, a pejorative term used to describe Scrabble playing in which the chatter
overwhelms the game. In my opinion, one can (and should) chatter before and after a match, but
when you play Scrabble, you should do so fully, deeply, and sincerely. Flow is thereby produced,
even under the time constraints of tournament Scrabble. Yet another good metaphor for life: Do
nothing half-heartedly.
Ninth, Scrabble requires that you juggle the here-and-now and the future. If you can play a Bingo,
you should probably do so, even if it opens up the board for your opponent. But a thirty-point play
that allows your opponent to make a forty-point play is not preferable to a safer twenty-five point
play.
Tenth, when the game is coming to an end and you are winning, close the board down! Tournament
Scrabble matches and even informal games reward margin of victory, but close victories are always
better than "should of, could of, would of" losses that resulted from an attempt to pile it on. A lesson
for life? I think so.
Finally, and to mention explicitly the title of this blog entry, there are no bad racks, only bad players.
Good Scrabble players may blame their strategy, but they never blame the tiles they draw. Tiles are
to be played, not used as excuses. To be sure, there are less than productive racks (e.g., what I call
irritable vowel syndrome racks), but these can be fleeting annoyances, if one deals with them by
moving tiles or exchanging them. In the latter case, you lose a turn, but you void your rack, as it
were, and you make the bad tiles more likely to appear in the rack of your opponent. Another
metaphor for the good life, with or without opponents.
Scrabble on, dear reader, whether or not you have a rack in front of you.
69
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
I
N
T
H
E
N
E
W
S
Christopher Peterson is Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. One of the founders
of the new field of positive psychology, the scientific study of what makes life work living, his most
recent book is A Primer in Positive Psychology, published in 2006 by Oxford University Press.
Peterson also writes a blog for Psychology Today titled "The Good Life" (http://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-good-life), where this article first appeared. Peterson is a
casual but regular SCRABBLE® player, playing several games a week with friends online or over
lunch.
______________________________________________________________________
Funny about SCRABBLE®...
Myq Kaplan, a Boston-based comedian, participated recently in the 7th Annual Charleston Comedy
Festival in Charleston, SC January 20-23 with Alt Com! The Alternative Comedy Festival Tour. Myq
grew up playing SCRABBLE® with his grandmother, which he uses for this short ad he did as part
of the Subway/SCRABBLE® promotion last year (click photo to see video).
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
____________________________________________________________________
UK Open in Financial Times
FT.com, the online arm of the Financial Times, included a nice story about the UK Open on January
15. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/febb6746-ff1c-11de-a677-00144feab49a.html
Nerd Nite
The January 22 Washington Post featured the inaugural monthly “Nerd Nite” at the DC9 bar in its
“Going Out Guide,” with Word Freak author Stefan Fatsis the star attraction for the capacity crowd.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/profile/nerd-nite,1159662/critic-review.html
Causeway Cash
The Star.online (Kuali, Malaysia) had a story by SCRABBLE® player Tan Jin Chor January 8th on
the December Causeway Challenge. The article shared tournament organizer Michael Tang’s news
that next year’s first prize will be US$30,000, with US$15,000 going to the runner-up.
http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2010/1/8/lifeliving/5408549&sec=lifeliving
70
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
I
N
T
H
E
N
E
W
S
Berry slim!
A newly svelte Jeremy Cahnmann and Linda Nguyen, one of America’s top SCRAMBLE players on
Facebook, were interviewed playing SCRABBLE® for a Berry Chill yogurt promotional post. Linda
will be making her SCRABBLE® tournament debut March 7th at Jeremy’s Chicago one-day tourney.
http://berrychill.tumblr.com/post/347861772/bip-of-the-day-names-jeremy-cahnmann-and-linda
Dirty words?
The Oak Meadows (CA) Elementary School pulled the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary off
classroom shelves for study by a newly formed committee after a parent complained about explicit
definitions of sexual terms.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dictionary26-2010jan26,0,4779588.story
Free the Clinic!
The Iowa City Press-Ciizen announced that the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic and Dick Parrott Free
Dental Clinic would kick off its capital campaign with the Free the Clinic SCRABBLE® Tournament. The
January 30th tournament, which was open to SCRABBLE® players of all levels, ages 8 and older, offered
individual and team (up to four players) competition. Funds raised were to free the clinic from its mortgage.
http://www.freemedicalclinic.org/scrabblereginfo.html
Facebook SCRABBLE® players protest “forbidden” words
Facebook SCRABBLE® players have expressed anger over the words used in the popular online
game, as reported in the London Times.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6970969.ece
Iowa’s top player profiled
The Iowa GazetteOnline ran a nice feature on the state’s top player, Mike Weepie.
http://gazetteonline.com/local-news/2010/01/26/scrabble-pro-proves-his-s-k-i-l-l-s
Cross-tables’ Lipkin on the iPad
Cross-tables.com genius Seth Lipkin gives his thoughts on the new iPad to the Boston Globe.
http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2010/01/28/
apple_devotees_applaud_as_ipad_comes_into_view/
71
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
I
N
T
H
E
N
E
W
S
SCRABBLE® on the iPhone
New York Times reporter Bob Tedeschi discussed the growing iPhone gaming community in his
January 27 column. He played a game of the EA SCRABBLE® app, with the following comments:
“I used the iPhone this week to play a Scrabble game hosted on Facebook. I competed against two
friends who played on their PCs. The Scrabble iPhone app ($5) sent me messages whenever it was
my turn, and it also displayed smack-talk, in real time, from the game’s instant messaging feature.
“And yes, my productivity suffered. Immensely.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/technology/personaltech/28smart.html
SCRABBLE® Cookie Recipe
Posted on the blog Peas Love Carrots is a recipe for SCRABBLE® cookies--enjoy!
http://peaslovecarrots.blogspot.com/2010/01/cook-your-hobby-scrabble-cookies.html
72
B
O
O
K
R
E
V
I
E
W
Book Review
by Cornelia Guest
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity,
and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester
Any lover of words cannot fail but be intrigued by this engrossing
story of how the Oxford English Dictionary came into being--and
how two very different men found their lives entwined by their
mutual love of words, books, and language.
What is most striking about this story is that prior to 1692, English
dictionaries did not exist. In Shakespeare’s time, there was no
source for definitions and spellings (which may account for the
great variety of spellings during that time). Words were defined by
their usage in books. Then, in the mid-eighteenth century, Samuel
Johnson published A Dictionary of the English Language, which
defined 43,500 selected headwords. It remained the standard for
the next century.
In 1857, Dr. Richard Trench, a member of London’s Philological Society, came up with a great plan:
to collect in a “big dictionary” all the words in the English language, with their pronounciations,
definitions, and usages. Each word was to be accompanied with quotations illustrating its various
meanings and its first recorded use.
Trench proposed that an army of amateur volunteers be recruited to read certain books, looking for
words, each of which they would write on a slip with a quotation (with page number) showing the
word’s meaning. It was an incredibly bold and ambitious venture. Originally estimated to take
several years, the first edition of the dictionary was completed over 70 years after it had first been
proposed. To this day, the OED, as it is familiarly called, remains the ultimate English-language
word souce worldwide.
The Professor and the Madman focuses on two men who made the creation of this dictionary their
life’s work. Professor James Murray, the original editor, and Dr. W. C. Minor, a contributor of more
than 10,000 of the book’s well over half million entries. Although the two men worked as colleagues
for over 20 years, they communicated primarily by post, and their shared interest in the dictionary
belied the vast differences in their personal lives.
James Murray was an academician and a scholar. From a humble background, he distinguished
himself as a man of letters, coming to the attention of the brilliant eccentric Frederick Furnivall (the
model for the Water Rat in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows). Furnivall, who was
secretary of the Philological Society and a member of the amusingly named “Unregistered Words
Committee,” recommended Murray as editor of the dictionary. Murray took the position in the spring
73
B
O
O
K
R
E
V
I
E
W
of 1879, and immediately issued an appeal for volunteers, which was published in newspapers and
distributed widely by booksellers. During his tenure as editor, Murray received more than six million
small slips of papers with words from volunteers. He had the mammoth job of sorting through these
many slips to select the best definitions and quotations illlustrating usage. He also faced a
challenge Scrabblers can appreciate: Language is constantly changing, never “complete.” Indeed,
Murray’s reluctant acceptance of that fact did not deter him. Were he alive today, he would
undoubtedly revel in seeing the OED move from its twelve massive volumes in 1927, to a twovolume set with a magnifying glass in the late 1970s, to the online version available today at
www.oed.com.
Although not the foremost contributing volunteer to the OED, Dr. William Chester Minor was
certainly the strangest. An American, Yale-educated army surgeon imprisoned for murder at the
Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum in Berkshire, Minor suffered from what is now called paranoid
schizophrenia. Each night he imagined malevolent figures emerging from the floorboards or falling
down from the ceiling and torturing him in bizarre ways. He ended up spending the majority of his
adult life institutionalized. Responding to one of Professor Murray’s nationwide pleas for dictionary
volunteers, Minor found new purpose in his life, and his meticulous research and submissions
earned him the highest praise from the editor. Minor worked on the project for twenty years, poring
over books from the 17th century to find quotations illustrating meanings and the first documented
use of a word. To this day, thousands of Minor’s submissions remain in the OED, the majority
appearing little changed from how they had been submitted.
While the stories of Murray and Minor make for fascinating reading, the true star of this book is the
dictionary itself. During the course of seven decades, the “big dictionary” project sees various
contributors lose interest or die, and yet the dictionary continues on. To give an idea of the amount
of work involved, the T section of the dictionary alone took a full five years to complete. At one
particularly poignant moment in the book, Murray offers his dying supporter Furnivall a glance at
final “majestically long” entry for the word take. With the many dictionaries of our time and their
frequent updates, it is amazing to read how this dictionary, the great-grandfather of them all, came
to be.
Author Simon Winchester, who has written a dozen other books and is a frequent contributor to
Vanity Fair, gives readers a provoking look at the world of that era. From the battlefields of the
American Civil War, where Dr. Minor tends dying soldiers, to the rough Lambeth Marsh section of
Victorian London, where the delirious Minor kills an innocent laborer, to the rarified world of Oxford,
where Professor Murray and his colleagues discuss the future of the English language, Winchester
tells a compelling story. Our lexicon today owes much to Murray, Minor, and the thousands of other
volunteers in Victorian England who contributed to the OED. The Professor and the Madman is a
remarkable look at what is undoubtedly one of history’s most phenomenal achievements.
The Professor and the Madman is available at Amazon.com.
Cornelia Guest is a writer, publisher, and editor who also directs and plays in SCRABBLE®
tournaments. She teaches and coaches School SCRABBLE® players at the Ridgefield (CT) Library
and the Somers (NY) Middle School.
74
M
E
E
T
O
U
R
C
O
L
U
M
N
I
S
T
S
Meet Our Columnists
The Last Word would not be possible without the generosity of our many contributors. I am
particularly grateful to our monthly columnists, many of whom have been writing for the Newsletter
since it first appeared in July as the NASPA Tournament SCRABBLE® Newsletter. To
acknowledge their enormous contributions, I hope to feature a short introduction to a different
columnist each month. This month’s featured columnist is Katya Lezin, from Charlotte, NC.
KATYA LEZIN
Katya Lezin writes the monthly PLAYER PROFILE and
enjoys the opportunity to highlight players who might not
otherwise get any press. “Everyone brings something
different to the game,” she explains. “And you do not have to
be an expert player to be noteworthy or interesting.” She has
enjoyed discovering the world of competitive SCRABBLE®
and the slew of characters who populate it, and she is
particularly appreciative of how warm and receptive everyone
has been to Noah and Hannah, her son and daughter who
also play in tournaments. Competing together has served as
a fabulous family activity, although her husband and
youngest daughter, who do not play, may choose to differ.
When not playing SCRABBLE®, Katya engages in several part-time endeavors that allow her to be
home with her kids and involved in their various activities while funding her SCRABBLE®
obsession (because tournaments are expensive enough without multiplying all the associated costs
times three!) As a recovering attorney (one who only practices under duress), she occasionally
teaches and writes about the law. She also teaches cooking classes to kids and adults and has a
small catering business, Katya’s Creations. Her culinary claim to fame is that she won her kitchen
and the title of “Charlotte’s Best Home Chef” in a cooking competition. She recently launched a
college admissions advising business, www.perfectfitcollege.com, drawing upon her experience as
an alumnae interviewer for both Brown University and Georgetown University Law Center. She
already has plans to use campus visits as an excuse for competing in SCRABBLE® tournaments
across the country.
Katya is also a writer and is the author of both a published
nonfiction book on the death penalty and many freelance
articles. Her latest publication is a young adult novel,
KNIGHT SWAM, revolving around the game of
SCRABBLE®. It is available for purchase at www.lulu.com
or at www.amazon.com. “I suspect many people will
recognize a character or two,” she says, chuckling. “I
certainly drew from my own experience at tournaments in
writing it.” What Katya most hopes to convey in the book is
her love of the game and the wonderful outlet for fun,
travel, and bonding it has provided her family.
Katya Lezin with her husband, David
Lieberman, and their children Eliza, Hannah,
and Noah.
75
C
L
U
B
N
E
W
S
Club News
Larry Sherman, Editor
If you'd like your club to be considered for an article or if a newsworthy event has taken place at
your club in the last month, please submit material to [email protected]
Lauderhill FL SCRABBLE® Club #276 was born in 1986 at the newly built Veterans
Park Recreation Center in Lauderhill, Florida. Ann Robin directed for the first three years, then
Sandee Bloom took over the directorship in January 1989 and Ann became assistant director.
Recently Ann, the club’s assistant director emeritus, has been unable to attend and Larry P. Gradus
has stepped up to the plate as acting assistant director. Sandee writes, “As always, we meet in
Veterans Park every Wednesday night and rarely miss a session unless the park is closed for
holidays or Hurricanes Andrew and Wilma!”
Sandee Bloom and Ann Robin at 14th Annual SCRABBLE® Awards Night--January 2003
When Sandee first started directing the club, she created and edited a newsletter, SCRABBLE®
Babbles. A few years back Sandee replaced the newsletter with the website
www.scrabbleclub276.com, which is updated at the end of each month. It features information such
as the weekly happenings at club, members’ profiles, club stats, NASPA news, other SCRABBLE©
links, upcoming tournaments in the area, a fun page, and much more.
Writes Sandee, “Over the last 21 years, we have had more than 400 people walk through our door
and try their luck at playing in our club environment. Although we have a core of about 40 people
76
C
L
U
B
N
E
W
S
who attend sometime during the year, our usual weekly attendance is between 18-28 players. We
have some very strong expert players such as Ian Weinstein, Steve Polatnick, Trip Payne, Robert
Kahn (among others), and also many intermediate players who keep getting better. Florida is a
wonderful place to visit in the winter and we always look forward to our visiting players and
snowbirds.” Says Kahn, “Our club is like a second family to us.”
Here is a photo composite of some of the many players who attended SCRABBLE© Club #276 from
1989 until 2009.
The energy at the club is magnetic. John Thomason, a reporter from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
newspaper, visited the club a few years ago to write a story about the players. He was bitten by the
SCRABBLE© bug that night and has become a regularly attending player ever since. The article
that he wrote on his first-night experience appears on the home page of the club website, as does
the follow-up article that he wrote the next year.
77
C
L
U
B
N
E
W
S
Sandee continues, “We have had so many fun nights over the past 21 years….One week I told
everyone at club that they would receive a lei if they scored a bingo that night. Here are the happy
winners.”
Ann Robin, Shahnaz Mallat, Carl Stocker, Ken Weinstein, Mary Capalbi, Dee Jackson, Howard Pistol, Marty Rosen,
Larry P. Gradus, Robert Kahn, George Rogers, Trip Payn, Jeff Garrett, Ed Gordon, Michael El-Deiry, Cheryl Levin,
Lya Korda, Shereen Weinstein, Melissa Edelson, Angel Dupree, Sandee Bloom, Ossie Mair, Steve Wolf
“In 2007, our weekly Wednesday-night session fell on Halloween and some of our club members
came dressed for the occasion; a prize was awarded for the best costume.”
Back Row, L-R: Jed Martinez, Carl Stocker, Trip Payne, Larry P. Gradus
Front Row, L-R: Ann Robin, Shereen Weinstein, Sandee Bloom, Dee Jackson
78
C
L
U
B
N
E
W
S
Angel Dupree, winner of the
2009 Good Sportsmanship
Award (aka Ms. Congeniality)
Sandee and Larry Gradus at the 21st Annual
SCRABBLE® Awards Night--January 2010
The club recently celebrated its 21st Annual SCRABBLE© Awards Night. Twenty-six members
braved unusual cold to attend and cheer on their fellow players as awards were presented.
Computer stats have been kept at the club for the past 12 years, and plateau awards were given to
those who have completed 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 games. Ian Weinstein and
Sandee Bloom each reached the 1000 plateau level. Prizes were also awarded for in many other
categories, including Most Bamdingers (words scoring 100+ points) and Best-Looking Scoresheet.
(Complete results are at the club website.)
Sandee obviously loves heading Club #276. “Back in the beginning days of directing the club, I
clearly remember sitting at my computer typing away at the newly created newsletter, “Scrabble
Babbles,” and wondering if I would have the stamina to direct the club for as long as Ann did. It is
now twenty-one years later and I’m still going strong!”
Lauderhill FL Scrabble® Club #276 meets Wednesday nights from 5:45-9:00 p.m. at Veterans
Park, 7600 NW 50th Street, Lauderhill, FL 33351. Fee is $3 per week; score sheets and “cheat
sheets” are supplied, but please bring sets and clocks. Contact Sandee Bloom, 954-726-6449,
[email protected]; or Larry Gradus, [email protected]
Take Two Aspirin...
John Robertson, director of Cambridge (ON) Club #471, shares the following story:
One director story I like to tell is about the most disagreeable player who ever attended our club.
Let’s call her Ima Pain (not her real name). I met her in the parking lot outside the club. One of our
semi-regulars had brought her. When I said hello, she immediately went into a tirade: "I don't know
why I'm here. I'm not a game player and I really don't like SCRABBLE®." I was tempted to say,
79
C
L
U
B
N
E
W
S
"Please feel free to leave," but I instead told her she might be pleasantly surprised. During the first
round of play, she was matched against Su Edwards, one of the club's directors.
At one point in the game, Su noticed that the sulking Ima had overdrawn and had eight tiles on her
rack. Su politely said, "Oh, you've overdrawn. Here's what happens now. I get to pick three tiles
from your rack..." As Su moved to select the tiles, Ima yelled, "NO!!!" and violently jabbed her
fingernails into Su's wrist! How she didn't draw blood is a great mystery.
Ima never returned after that night. We were all very grateful. The lesson I learned was that if
someone flat-out states he/she does not want to be at a SCRABBLE® club, that person should be
encouraged to leave immediately!
Cambridge (ON) Club #471, the Golden Triangle SCRABBLE® Club, meets Fridays at 7:15 p.m.
at Riverbend Place, Lower Level Rec Hall, 650 Coronation Blvd. Contact John Robertson,
519-621-6432, [email protected]
80
V
I
D
E
O
J
O
E
Video Joe
by Joe Bihlmeyer
Ever wonder what expert SCRABBLE® players are thinking when they play? If you watch experts
play each other on ISC, you might be curious why they made certain choices. Here Joe Bihlmeyer,
a top Connecticut SCRABBLE® player, talks us through a game on Quackle, telling us what’s going
on in his head as he plays. He next talks through pre-endgame strategy on an ISC game. (For those
Bihlmeyer fans who enjoy seeing--as well as hearing--Joe on video, see his wonderful “Albany
Thanks!” tribute to Albany organizer Annette Tedesco on page XXX.)
Think like an Expert!
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Pre-endgame Thinking
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
NOTE: “3rd take, don't feel like redoing! I forgot to mention the ONYXES/UNSEXY threat on the left side of
the board, which I thought was the least likely problem because they both require the ENSXY combo....”
81
P
A
S
S
A
G
E
S
Passages
Larry Sherman, Editor
Each month we will be including information about SCRABBLE® players (births, deaths, marriages,
etc.) Please send your news to the newsletter editor, Cornelia Guest, at
[email protected]
_______________________________________________________________________________
DEATHS
EDWARD COKER
by Charlene White
Edd Coker passed away on Sunday, January 10, 2010, after a long illness.
Edd’s longtime friend Charlene White remembers him here.
What do we know about Edd Coker? He was born in Washington, D.C., but
raised in Clarksville, PA. He graduated from Allen University in South
Carolina. He had a masters in both political science and social work. He
taught on both elementary and college levels in North Carolina, South
Carolina, Ohio, and New York. He retired after serving the city of New York
as a social work administrator.
Prior to his interest in SCRABBLE®, he was an avid bowler, enjoyed playing pinochle, and had a
vivid interest in the Negro Baseball League. He was well informed and involved in movements to
aid African American people.
I believe I met Edd in early 1988 at a Yonkers SCRABBLE® tournament and invited him to join a
SCRABBLE® Club that met in the Bronx at the home of Jenny Bailey. It included Chester Collins,
Arline Silverman, Lesley McTaggart, Mike Sherman, Bee Dreyer, and others. He later joined
another group of players in Queens called The Blank Tiles, which was a forerunner of SCRABBLE
Club #490. In addition to attending Manhattan Club #56 and several other registered and nonregistered groups, he was a staunch member of the Bronx club run by Ed Halper and Maris Brody
Greenwald, and of the Montclair Club in New Jersey. Edd attended several National SCRABBLE
Championships and a Players’ Championship, among other tourneys, over the past few years.
I'll never forget how he would say whenever we played sessions in New Jersey, “I came all the way
from the Bronx, you should let me win.” I would just laugh. He was always very witty. His transition
occurred on Sunday, January 10th, leaving behind, to mourn, his lovely wife, Arlyne, his grandson,
Jonah, and numerous relatives and friends.
82
E
Q
U
I
P
M
E
N
T
R
O
U
N
D
U
P
:
B
O
A
R
D
S
Equipment Roundup
In our survey last fall, an overwhelming number of readers asked for us to include information on
SCRABBLE® equipment. However, since there are many different opinions on which board, timer,
or rack is the “best,” we will not be reviewing or rating equipment here, simply listing it (in
alphabetical order by maker) and providing a link to the supplier. The Last Word makes no
representation as to any of the equipment listed, and we will not accept calls related to order
fulfillment or quality. We do not list prices as they are subject to change; follow the links for these.
Readers are encouraged to write in to add equipment to our list ([email protected]).
Our first “Equipment Roundup” features some SCRABBLE® boards, both custom and commercial.
CUSTOM SCRABBLE® BOARDS (with revolving turntables)
SAM KANTIMATHI (www.samtimer.com)
Sam Kantimathi offers a variety of boards listed below. Special discounts are offered at the web site.
Round SamBoards
Available in steel, wood, or acrylic; green or yellow playing surface.
Square SamBoards
Available in wood or acrylic; green or yellow playing surface.
FoldBoards
Available in wood; green or yellow playing surface.
SamBoard Apple
Available in red, green, or orange acrylic; red board has yellow playing surface;
green and orange boards are availble with green or yellow playing surface.
83
E
Q
U
I
P
M
E
N
T
R
O
U
N
D
U
P
:
B
O
A
R
D
S
OSSIE MAIR (http://www.tucsonscrabble.com/links/ossieboard.html)
Ossie Mair offers lucite boards in red, blue, green, and black (all colors are not always available, so
a second choice is always requested).
Styles
•
•
•
OVAL BOARDS -- Smaller and lighter than the original round boards.
STAR BOARDS -- This is a two-piece board, the playing part of which nests in the base
when not in use and when ready for play, forms a star.
FOLDING BOARD -- This board is hinged at the joints of the nearest grids to the center
and when opened a base is attached and locked in place for rigidity.
All boards have free-turning turntable bases and are supplied with protective cloth covers. 9"
long matching racks are also available.
PETER MANZOLILLO (www.customscrabbleboards.com)
Wooden boards featuring hand-painted customization by Peter Manzolillo.
Plain Boards (no customizing)
One Color
Two Color
Customized Boards
(Customizing can include lettering; pinstriping; artwork; cartoons; abstract designs, etc. Detailed
artwork is extra--ask for quote.)
One color, customized on 1 quadrant
One color, customized on 2 quadrants
One color, customized on 4 quadrants
Two color, customized on 1 quadrant
Two color, customized on 2 quadrants
Two color, customized on 4 quadrants
23K GOLD LEAF lettering available for an additional charge.
84
E
Q
U
I
P
M
E
N
T
R
O
U
N
D
U
P
:
B
O
A
R
D
S
KELLY SMITH www.sparkyenterprises.com
Sparky Enterprise’s Custom SCRABBLE® Boards: Custom-painted boards with acrylic glaze over
painting.
Custom Boards
Custom-painted boards. Includes a hand-made carrying bag
and two acrylic tile racks.
GENE TYSZKA (www.adjudicator3000.com)
Adjudicator custom boards are available in four different styles and a variety of languages. See the
website for details.
Fold-up Boards
In medium blue or charcoal gray/black acrylic. Includes two racks and
padded carry pouch with handles.
Round Boards
In matte black, frosted colorless, and frosted dark blue acrylic. Includes two
racks, tile bag, and cover.
Deluxe Wood Boards
Custom stains on ash wood. Includes matching board cover, tile bag, and 2
long non-tipping tile racks (stained). Prices on request.
Standard Game Board
Gray malamine over particle board. Includes matching board cover, tile bag,
& 2 extra long non-tipping tile racks (unstained) w/pouch.
85
E
Q
U
I
P
M
E
N
T
R
O
U
N
D
U
P
:
B
O
A
R
D
S
COMMERCIAL SCRABBLE® BOARDS (from Hasbro)
Standard SCRABBLE® Game
Folding cardboard board. Available at Amazon.com.
Diamond Anniversary Edition SCRABBLE®
With rotating board/carrying case. Available at Amazon.com.
Super SCRABBLE®
Double the spaces and tiles. Folding cardboard board. Available at
Amazon.com.
There are numerous variations of commercial boards available. Check Amazon.com for listings.
Please let us know if there are other boards you believe we should include in our links here. Next
month we will be listing SCRABBLE® timers.
86
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
R
E
S
O
U
SCRABBLE®
Resources
ISC, found at www.isc.ro, is
similar to the Internet Chess
Club in that it offers pure
SCRABBLE®. No ads, no popThere are many study tools to
ups, no constant chit-chat.
help tournament SCRABBLE® Games are available in English,
players hone their skills,
French (translation by Herve),
including a number of programs
Dutch, Italian (translation by
that can be downloaded for
Dragone), and Romanian.
free. This section will offer
suggestions and links, plus
Players may select which
feature each month a different
dictionary they prefer to use.
SCRABBLE® resource. This
Current choices are TWL98
month’s focus will be on the
(American), SOWPODS
most popular site among
(English) , ODS (French),
tournament players for playing
real-time SCRABBLE® online:
LOC2000 (Romanian), ZINGA
the Internet SCRABBLE® Club, (Italian), SWL(Dutch), and the
better known by its initials, ISC. exotic MULTI, which accepts
words from all dictionaries.
ISC
Where to begin? ISC, the
Internet SCRABBLE® Club,
Wordbiz--all refer to an
incredible site for playing online
SCRABBLE®, populated by
many of the worldʼs top
tournament players. Founded
in Romania in 2004 by a
mysterious SCRABBLE® fan
known only by his first name-Carol--ISC keeps a low profile.
Its creators, well aware of how
Hasbro and Mattel made short
work of Scrabulous in 2008, did
not respond to requests for an
interview. And because ISC is
not generating the huge
revenues Scrabulous did, there
is hope that it will be
appreciated for the interest it
has generated in SCRABBLE®,
and be allowed to survive.
Players pick how long a game
they wish to play (the 3-minute
blitz is the shortest option).
They may also choose to play
“double challenge,” in which a
lost challenge costs a turn;
“single challenge,” in which
R
C
E
S
there is no penalty for
challenging; “5-point penalty,”
which assesses a 5-point
penalty for an incorrect
challenge, but no missed turn;
and “void,” in which only
acceptable words may be
played, and which provides
players with the option to check
their words before playing (type
CHECK, plus the word, on the
command line).
Another interesting option is
“duplicate,” a variant of
SCRABBLE® that is the most
popular version of the game in
France. In Duplicate
SCRABBLE®, each player is
given the same rack, and then
is rewarded for finding the
highest scoring play (NOTE:
Adding an “S” to a play for a
single point is a good move in
Duplicate SCRABBLE®; usually
suicide in a standard game).
87
S
C
ISC also offers players the
option to observe other
games, either those friends or
“high-rated games” selected
from games being played at
the time. Observers may not
offer suggestions to the
players, but they may
“whisper” suggestions and
comments among
themselves. Players
preferring more privacy may
opt to hide their tiles from
viewers.
ISC is a free playing site.
However, should you wish to
become a subscriber (for $30
a year at present), you gain
two amazing options. First,
you may play the ISC “bots,”
computer programs that are
set at different competitive
levels. Second, you may
analyze your games after
playing. Many players do this
after every game, seeing
what plays they missed (it
can be humbling to see how
many bingos were out there!)
ISC gives players the options
of adding “buddies,” who are
displayed on the top of the
page, and of “no-playing”
unpleasant types. If an
opponent uses foul language,
subscribers may report that
player; the administrators
examine the game and then
decide whether to temporarily
silence or, in rare cases, to
ban the player.
88
R
A
B
B
L
E
R
E
S
O
U
Players may chat online
during games--or may
indicate that they prefer not to
talk. There are also special
channels for chatting that can
be added or removed. These
channels are helpful should
groups wish to organize
online tournaments.
ISC rates players, though
NAPSA players are quick to
note that an ISC rating is
often far higher than a live
rating. There is no way to
ascertain whether players are
using anagrammers or
dictionaries, though ISC does
require players to sign a fairplay agreement, and the
administrators monitor the
site to be sure the players
arenʼt using computer help
programs while playing.
There is a down side of
playing on ISC (other than the
obvious risk of addiction).
The program draws tiles,
does all the scoring math,
and tracks tiles (perfectly,
every time--I wish I could!)
When switching to live play,
ISC aficionados often find
scoring and tracking
cumbersome and timeconsuming. Tournament
players figure that a 15minute ISC game
approximates a 25-minute
live game.
But despite criticisms, most
players recommend
practicing on ISC as the
R
C
E
S
single fastest way to improve
at SCRABBLE®. A few years
back players joked that a
Pennsylvania student, Mike
Yowonske, rated over 2000
on ISC, was probably using
an anagrammer. Yowonske
showed up at the 2007
Atlantic City Open--his first
live tournament--and finished
5th out of 130 players, losing
only 4 of 16 games and
gaining a rating of 1766. He
hasnʼt played in another rated
tournament since.
Other ISC players entering
their first tournaments have
found themselves similarly
well-prepared--and directors
trying to place an unrated
player in an appropriate
division may ask if the player
has an ISC rating. Most of
the first-time winners featured
in our “New Faces” column
credit their success to ISC.
Because you can match
players at a suitable level, all
players can get better by
practicing on ISC. And
because there are thousands
of players from all over the
world playing, you can always
find someone interested in a
game!
Try ISC--within a few years
you might join the select few
who receive the following
announcement when they log
on: “A hush fills the room as
[fill in a handle here] enters
the room!”
S
C
OTHER
SCRABBLE®
RESOURCE
LINKS
Play SCRABBLE®
On Line
POGO SCRABBLE®
The official SCRABBLE®
online game. Created under
agreement with Hasbro in
2008.
SCRABBLE® ON
FACEBOOK
Select the SCRABBLE®
application on the Facebook
home page to play the official
SCRABBLE® game. Various
groups hold tournaments at
this site, including a group
called “Mad Scrabblers”.
INTERNET
SCRABBLE® CLUB
A Romanian-based site and
application for interactive
games. A favorite site for
many of the top players.
Play Live
SCRABBLE®
CROSS-TABLES
Lists all upcoming
tournaments, as well as
results of past tournaments.
Has SCRABBLE®
tournament aides.
NASPA CLUB LISTINGS
Lists clubs throughout North
America with their meeting
times and locations.
]
R
A
B
B
L
E
R
E
S
O
U
R
C
E
S
NSA CLUB LISTINGS
ZYZZYVA
Lists casual clubs throughout
North America with their
meeting times and locations.
A free application for
practicing anagramming skills
and learning words. Also has
Word Judge capabilities.
Anagramming/
Practice Tools
SCRABBLE®
DICTIONARY
JUMBLETIME
A free web site for practicing
anagramming skills.
MAC USERS: After you do a
Jumbletime quiz on a Mac,
the scroll bar to view the
results is missing. To make it
appear, go to the lower right
corner and grab the striped
triangle and shrink the
window all the way to the top
left corner. When you pull it
back, the scroll bar to the
right of the answers to the
quiz (magically) appears.
(Make sure you do this before
you check your score against
other players.) Also, before
running a quiz, you might
want to first press Control and
scroll with the mouse to
enlarge the screen so that
you can more easily view the
jumbles. Once you finish
playing, scroll the screen
back to its original size.
(Thanks to Larry Rand and
Monique Kornell.)
AEROLITH
A free application for
practicing anagramming skills
and learning words.
QUACKLE
A free application for playing,
simulating, and analyzing
games.
Type a word to check for
acceptability. OSPD4 words.
LEXIFIND WORD
FINDER
Type a word to check for
acceptability (includes Collins
words and TWL06).
FRANKLIN
SCRABBLE® PLAYERS
DICTIONARY
An electronic handheld
dictionary and anagrammer,
with many helpful options and
games. Includes the latest
word lists, and can be
adjusted from OSPD4 to
OWL2 lists with a code.
CLICK HERE TO HELP
END WORD HUNGER
AS YOU LEARN
WORDS
A free vocabulary testing site.
For every correct word, grains
of rice are donated through
the United Nations World
Food Program. Feed hungry
people as you expand your
vocabulary!
89
S
C
R
Online SCRABBLE®
Discussion Groups
CGP ([email protected])
This group, for tournament
players and directors only, has
the largest membership of any
online tournament
SCRABBLE® discussion group.
Most important events and
changes in the SCRABBLE®
world are discussed on cgp.
Admission is by approval only.
Details can be found in the
NASPA Tournament
SCRABBLE® Newsletter #1.
A
B
B
L
E
R
E
S
O
U
tile words, and good bingo
stems. Includes useful front
and back hook letters to make
3s from 2s. Adapted from Mike
Barron’s SCRABBLE®
Wordbook and the Official
Tournament and Club Word
List, 2nd Edition.
MIKE BARON’S CHEAT
SHEET (for School
SCRABBLE® and home
play)
A great cheat sheet with 2s, 3s,
vowel dumps, short high-pointtile words, and good bingo
stems. Includes useful front
and back hook letters to make
OSPD (ospd3s from 2s. Adapted from Mike
[email protected] Barron’s SCRABBLE®
om)
Wordbook and the Official
This group, dedicated to players SCRABBLE® Players
using The Official SCRABBLE® Dictionary, 4th Edition.
Players’ Dictionary, offers lighthearted humor, daily word lists, COOL WORDS TO KNOW
and more. Admission is to all
A terrific cheat sheet from the
SCRABBLE® lovers. Details
National SCRABBLE®
can be found in the NASPA
Association for School
Tournament SCRABBLE®
SCRABBLE® and home play.
Newsletter #1.
Gives useful information on how
SCRABBLE® Blogs
THE BADQOPH
DIRECTORY
This is a database of blogs by
known SCRABBLE® bloggers,
primarily tournament players.
As January 24 there were 191
blogs in the directory.
CHEAT SHEETS
MIKE BARON’S CHEAT
SHEET
A great cheat sheet with 2s, 3s,
vowel dumps, short high-point90
to find bingos, plus the 2s, 3s,
vowel dumps, and short highpoint-tile plays.
BOOKS
BOB’S BIBLE
A terrific book to build word
power for tournaments.
BOB’S BIBLE, SCHOOL
EDITION
The great Bobʼs Bible for School
SCRABBLE® and home play.
R
C
E
S
BROW-RAISERS II
A brilliantly organized study
guide geared towards the
success of beginning and
intermediate players.
THE CHAMPION’S
STRATEGY FOR
WINNING AT
SCRABBLE® BRAND
CROSSWORD GAME
A guide from North American
SCRABBLE® Champion Joel
Wapnick. Out of print, but
available sometimes at
Amazon.com and on disc.
Note: New words not included.
EVERYTHING
SCRABBLE®, THIRD
EDITION
The ultimate guide to winning at
[email protected] by 3-time
National Champion Joe Edley
and John D. Williams, Jr.
Completely updated to include
all new words. (See review in
the January issue of The Last
word.)
THE OFFICIAL
SCRABBLE® PLAYERS
DICTIONARY, FOURTH
EDITION
The official word source for
School SCRABBLE® and
casual play.
THE OFFICIAL
TOURNAMENT AND
CLUB WORD LIST, 2ND
EDITION
The official word source for
NASPA tournament and club
play.
S
C
R
A
B
B
L
E
R
E
S
O
U
R
C
E
S
SCRABBLE®
TOURNAMENT & CLUB
WORD LIST (COLLINS)
The official word list for
international tournament play.
SCRABBLE®
WORDBOOK
A great word book for
SCRABBLE® players by Mike
Baron. OSPD4 words. (POO
Lists available with words
excluded from the OWL2.)
91
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
N
T
C
A
L
E
N
D
A
R
Tournament Calendar
The most accurate tournament information is posted on the NASPA Calendar, which includes all
regular sanctioned tournaments to date. Additional tournament information is posted at crosstables.com, which often includes tournaments not on the NASPA Calendar: Local Club
Tournaments (LCTs), School SCRABBLE® Tournaments, and special invitational and/or unrated
tournaments. Cross-tables.com also provides for most tournaments a list of participants, both
confirmed and tentative, with their ratings. Many unrated fundraiser tournaments and School
SCRABBLE® tournaments can be found on the NSA website. Additional international tournaments
can be found on the WESPA calendar. (Past tournament flyers will be removed from archives.)
FEBRUARY TOURNAMENTS
Texas State Championship (Restricted) 2/5-7
Berkeley CA (NAST Final) 2/6
Greater Des Moines (Johnston) IA 2/6-7
Seven Hills OH 2/6
Berkeley CA 2/7
Laguna Woods CA 2/7
Rhinebeck NY 2/7
Eastern Championships NC 2/12-15
Phoenix AZ 2/12-15
Bayside NY 2/13
Ft. Lauderdale FL 2/13
Tampa FL 2/13
Edmonton AB CAN 2/20
Pittsburgh PA 2/20
Guelph ON CAN 2/21
Mountain View CA 2/21
Philadelphia PA 2/21
Saratoga Springs NY 2/26-28
Dallas TX 2/27
Ft. Lauderdale FL 2/27
WEST
Berkeley CA (NAST Final) 2/6
Berkeley CA 2/7
Laguna Woods CA 2/7
Mountain View CA 2/21
MIDWEST
Greater Des Moines IA 2/6-7
Seven Hills OH 2/6
Indianapolis IN 2/27
Warren MI 2/27-28
NORTHEAST
Rhinebeck NY 2/7
Bayside NY 2/13
Pittsburgh PA 2/20
Philadelphia PA 2/21
Saratoga Springs NY 2/26-27
SOUTH
Eastern Championships NC 2/12-15
Ft. Lauderdale FL 2/13
Tampa FL 2/13
Ft. Lauderdale FL 2/27
Lakewood Ranch FL 2/27
SOUTHWEST
Texas State Championship 2/5-7
Phoenix AZ 2/12-15
Indianapolis IN 2/27
Lakewood Ranch FL 2/27
Warren MI 2/27-28
92
CANADA
Edmonton AB 2/20
Guelph ON 2/21
T
O
U
R
N
A
M
E
MARCH TOURNAMENTS
Myrtle Beach SC 3/5-7
Vancouver BC CAN 3/5-7
Worcester MA 3/6
Berkeley CA 3/7
Chicago IL 3/7
Laguna Woods CA 3/7
N
T
C
A
L
E
N
D
A
R
WEST
Berkeley CA 3/7
Laguna Woods CA 3/7
Mountain View CA 3/21
Ashland OR (Collins) 3/27-28
MIDWEST
Chicago IL 3/7
Elyria OH 3/13-14
Ortonville MI 3/27
Rhinebeck NY 3/7
Ramat Gan ISRAEL (North American Lexicon)
3/10-12
Elyria OH 3/13-14
Port Jefferson NY 3/13
Tampa FL 3/13
Guelph ON CAN 3/14
Dallas Open TX 3/19-21
Ft. Lauderdale FL 3/19-21
Durham NC 3/20
Mountain View CA 3/21
Philadelphia PA 3/21
NORTHEAST
Worchester MA 3/6
Rhinebeck NY 3/7
Port Jefferson NY 3/13
Philadelphia PA 3/21
New England School
SCRABBLE Championship
(Ridgefield CT) 3/27
SOUTH
Myrtle Beach SC 3/5-7
Tampa FL 3/13
Ft. Lauderdale FL 3/19-21
Durham NC 3/20
Columbia SC 3/26-28
Columbia SC 3/26-28
Ashland OR (Collins) 3/27-28
Calgary AB CAN 3/27-28
Cambridge ON CAN 3/27
Ortonville MI 3/27
New England School SCRABBLE®
Championship (Ridgefield CT) 3/27
SOUTHWEST
Dallas Open TX 3/19-21
CANADA
Vancouver BC 3/5-7
Guelph ON 3/14
Calgary AB 3/27-18
Cambridge ON 3/27
INTERNATIONAL
Ramat Gan ISRAEL 3/10-12
93
A
R
C
H
I
V
E
S
Archives
To access previous issues of The Last Word click the links below.
Issue 1: November 2009
Issue 2: December 2009
Issue 3: January 2010
94