Charlotte Scrabble Club
NASPA Club #668
Myrtle Beach ::
Carolina Cup :: State :: Alpharetta
We are at the Renaissance South Park in Charlotte for this year's Eastern Championships. Charlotte is special: it has TWO Renaissance Hotels!
We have been beset with a few cancellations so far due to backed upairlines, but so far we are doing fine. This hotel is gorgeous with a capital G. There is an open atrium in the middle with a working fountain covered in a variety of tile mosaics. I heard a mother with her son and she said, "I've only got four more coins Damien!" He was chucking them into this giant fountain. There's gold in them there fountain hills I think!
Ryan Fischer, John Luebkemann, Amy Krafchick, Joey Krafchick, and I fell upon the Queen's Court, our event playing room, all at the same time this early afternoon. We decided to challenge Joey early by giving him a stress injury. We had him cut ENORMOUS amounts of paper (table numbers, result/challenge slips) and he sat for hours helping us out. Amy straightened up the event T-shirts and got the player cards sorted. Ryan set up the computer/printer and the hotel put out water pitchers and skirted our tables. The overnight rooms here are pretty, the building itself is gorgeous with restaurants that spill out into open areas, comfortable chairs are everywhere, and we are happy to spend the long weekend here!
After his stress injury, we freed Joey and he found Danny Kidd and they set up a game in the atrium. It was Joey's win both times, but the second game was closer and Danny told me that Joey "had game."
A total of 15 newcomers and 16 early bird open contestants showed up by 5pm. I did a quasi orientation to tournament SCRABBLE for the new players, many of whom had never played in a club before. They were amazing: like sponges soaking it all in. I spared them the really annoying rules, figuring we'd cross that bridge when we had to....I really hope we don't have to. We had about two boards and one set of tiles from the group, so we scrambled. Players in the early bird ran to their rooms to get extra equipment. Winter gave me a board, tiles, a rack, and a timer! I was so happy! Anyway, everyone is sitting now, playing. And I've only made seven or eight annoying, game-interrupting announcements so far. So, I'm feeling good about this. The newcomers are great! Really game, really focused. Got a couple younguns, which is always so awesome. One of them said to me, "Hey, weren't you at the School SCRABBLE Championships last Spring?" What a memory she has!
Eileen Johnson, who signed up to play the EB, had a turn for the worse on her cold and called in her buddy, Gerianne Abriano to jumpinto her spot in the the Open today. And Gerianne did! I see her in a game with David Koenig and it has wound down. I played VIRAGOES, ISOBARE, GONIDIA, and the phoney UNAVERSE*. He admits that UNIVERSE would have been better, but it wasnt a bingo. Actually, she played VERSE and then front hooked vertically with ZAX/AVERSE, which he was was so impressive, he added a UN to it!
On one newcomer board, I spot EXPIRES that went down as EXPIRE and an S was added later. These two players end their games with IIII on one rack and EIIU on another.
The word TAMPON jumps out at me on a newcomers board. TA was down and the opponent (both women, don't you know), extended to the TWS with MPON. I think that takes great vision.
On a Linda Wancel vs. Sam Rosin board I see StERIGMA and UNBANNED. But the best play was his front extension of her opening play. A very Valentine's move, actually. He played three tiles: AOD. Yes, he played ADORATION to the triple. Gotta love him!
We got a last-minute entrant to the event, which made us even in the newcomers division, but which threw tsh off a bit and made a delay in this round's pairing. A player, clearly versed by the local club said to me, "I know we're supposed to be quiet at this event. Katya Lezin, you know her? She told me to just NOT talk at all." I smiled and told her it was good advice. We eventually got the pairings started and we thank local player, Marc Handler, for coming in and evening us out.
On a David Koenig vs. Cynthia Seales board, I see TROTLINE to the E and IMPLIEd by David. Cynthia played STARTEd.
On a Gerianne Abriano vs. Greg Heidler board I see ENnEADS and INDIcIA.
This hotel has many events going concurrently. There is some sort of Middle Eastern couples date night event across the hall and everywhere else a Christian ministries outreach for couples program. Lots of hand holding and smiles everywhere!
I watch newcomer Mike Powers slap down SAUNTER hooking onto to make GRIPS on the triple lane.
Libero Paolella was playing Sam Rosin this game and I see REImAGES and VAULTInG on their board.
Fun words from newcomer boards this evening: LEISURE, REPAStE, OVERCOAT, and TIDYING.
Round 2 pairings were a bit slowed in newcomers so they wound up this round a bit later than the Open players. Thus, they get a much shorter dinner break.I have been kicking them out of the room as quickly as I can to get them moving for free time.
Amy Krafchick is back from dinner with Katya Lezin and family. Amy's eyes were round as saucers as she walked up the hall. She said, "My car, my car, my car." Turns out she had to leave it at Katya's because the road was one slick mess. She says she'll go tomorrow to get it.
We took at shortish dinner break. John Luebkemann, not in early bird, had dinner with Martin and Mary Ellen Weisskopf and Judy Cole. Their good time was marred with the news of the shooting at Mary Ellen's place of employment: The University of Alabama.
Eric Harshbarger, known to most here for his SCRABBLE prowess, was a huge Lego artist and I knew he was kinda out of the biz (but he still keeps his red Lego SCRABBLE board). Today he told us that he didn't donate his supplies as I'd thought, but rather sold them. One quarter million lego bricks were sold. I wasn't gauche enough to ask for how much, but wow! That is a lot of Legos!
I see RAILING and CREEPING on one newcomer board. Sam Rosin vs. Ian Weinstein this round, a 452-418 win for Ian. Sam got down three bingos to Ian's one bingo. Sam played UNTRULy, CASEATES through the T, and TORRIDER through the first R. Ian played PECHANs for 99. How did Ian do it? Well, ZONKS for 56, ABIOL for 45, MINTS/YEPS for 57 helped a lot. Ian also played the beautiful YEELIN. Sam says Ian had EYELINER but Sam put the R in the place on the board! Nice playing, cowboy! Have I mentioned the snow? It keeps coming down, for hours now, collecting on things that normally don't see so much snow: outside audio speakers for the patio, lights interlaced through patio coverings..... Gorgeous, but deadly slippery, and has cost us some players who fear staying much longer due to the weather. Round 5 Speaking of which, we've heard from Robert Linn, who is about a 2% for making it due to his cancelled flight. The worst tournament trip reward has to go to Bradley Whitmarsh, though. His flight yesterday from Boston to Charlotte was cancelled. The next flight he could get on made him miss the Early Bird, so he cancelled out of that. His next flight left him stranded in Pittsburgh. Though the airline said they could get him here tomorrow by noon, effectively missing several games, he just doesn't trust them. So, he is rented a car and is en route to this venue RIGHT NOW. We are estimating he his driving 8 hours through snow to get here. Someone write this guy a sonnet! Two kids faced off this round: J.P. Flynn (who is 14) vs. Pierre Lipton (who is even younger). It was a close game with Pierre's penultimate play being SLICING on the triple lane. It was a 360-338 win for J.P. and I catch the boys shaking hands when it was over. Round 6 This round David Koenig battles Steve Polatnick for first place in the open and unrated coming in Courtney Myers is playing Mary Caviness in the newcomer division. David needs to defeat Steve by something like 12 points to win first place in the open. Don't crucify me, I heard it on the fly! I walked around the room and noticed some plays. Linda Wancel vs. Cynthia Seales: LESSENER and ?TOMIST. Paul Avrin vs. Winter: AUDITED, OPENING, THESAURI, SNORKLe, and ABSOLUTER. David Koenig said he drove all the way to Charlotte with Winter in a car. I had to ask if Winter changed his underwear while driving in their ride and he said no, but that Winter did apply deoderant while driving. Nice to know that everything is just as dangerous as always in Winter's cars! Libero vs. Greg Heidler: eVILEST, NEUTERS, and URE?INIA. David Koenig vs. Steve Polatnick: ?ANDORS and S?RFBOATS. The top left corner of their board was compacted with these tiles: STEW
Eric Harshbarger vs. Ian Weinstein: GASMAN, BYLINEs, DIVIDEND, HERRINGS, JIHADS, and the late occuring QUADRATi. Sam Rosin vs. Daniel Milton: PILSNER, CISTERN, AREO?AR, and ACETINS. It was wonderful to have so many unrated players at the highly successful newcomers event. My one regret was that clock unfamiliarity made some games go so long they had to be called to keep the event moving. One game in round 6 was particularly vexing, because a tired player was over on the clock a lot, many tiles were left. It was just a mess. In the end, I think the right thing happened and the top three performers were rewarded for their excellent play. You can revisit all the results on another section of the live coverage, but here are the winners of cash. Newcomers 1st: Mary Caviness (5-1 +372 -- $95); 2nd: Marjorie Dana (5-1 +215 -- $55); and 3rd: Courtney Myers (5-1 +152 -- $40). It is worth noting that both Marjorie and Courtney came into this event unrated. Their performances are stellar and exciting. I hope to se them again. In the Open, David Koenig actually *did* defeat the giant, Steve Polatnick, but he didn't win by enough points! So, the Open results: 1st: Steve Polatnick (5-1 +415 - $125); 2nd: David Koenig (5-1 +403 -- $95); 3rd: Ian Weinstein (5-1 +299 -- $65); and Class Prize: Libero Paolella (4.5-1.5 -4 -- $30). See you tomorrow for the main show!