Scrabble New South Wales

NSW Scrabble Tournament Reports - 2008

Hills Yearly Nearly Early - January 13th 2008

Report from Richard Birch

A final field of 82 players made it to Baulkham Hills yesterday to play in YNE (Kick Off).

A very hot day with lots of suggestions to turn on the aircon which was going full bore anyway as it was a good 15 degrees warmer outside.

In A div. Chris May swept the field with only 1 loss and also high game of 567.

Similar fortunes in B div. to fast rising Jyoti Chandna also with 7 wins. Betty Foreman playing down a division but top rated player (a dangerous placing) held her own with 2nd place.

Jenny Templeton in C div followed by Lee McGiffen (the late Jean's son), and Liz Jackman, all formidable opponents.

Meanwhile in D div, Michael McKenna added a bit of bulk to his piggy bank by taking out 1st prize (6 wins) as well as High Game 545. In fact, 3 of the top 4 players in D div were juniors broken up only by veteran Edith Lowbeer, the other 2 being Phillip Hamilton (3) (brother of John Hamilton playing in Div B) and Alwin So (4).

Lots of practice for Sydney Masters and the Junior champs.

City of Sydney Masters - 26th January 2008

Report from Tony Kalayzich

Congratulations to David Eldar on a stunning comeback on Day 2.

I told Mark Smith I was aiming for 13 wins.I was happy with 8 wins and 41 points.I was even more happier to play with John Holgate,Fernando Naween,and was very inspired by the mauler from South West Rocks (Wayne Jones)-his performance

Fernando played efficiently.He opened his account with zlote,right on the money here.About the third move he produced imagine.I had a very hard rack and came up with thesp which I was 99% he would challenge,he did.By the seventh move I was quite behind and monumental blunders only put me further behind. eg jugas* jugae* I had a chance to play betties and a spot and chickened out .Turns out the word means a man who does housework(betty).Maybe we can call those moves" betty blues" !Fernando certainly displayed his inventive skill with playing dedalian .I also challenged loned* off .There may have been other bingos Naween played but they dont come to mind.Both Naween and I emptied our bags together with him going first.Naween beat me to playing thespian.Thankyou for blessing me with a walloping, I thorougly enjoyed it.

Since I come from Orange and Orange is an anagram of onager which is an an ass, I happy for anyon(e) to kick my ass. I also could tell you about my other plays like cajolery ,eastland dogeate,zoftig(adjective) tossers,aglimmer,or(dinants) niner,I am sure the event was thoroughly enjoyed by most
See you next year

Kempsey Challenge - 3rd February 2008

Report from Bob Jackman

New South Wales took out the Kempsey Cup this year despite some strong resistance from Trish Reynolds representing Queensland.

Joanne Craig led all the way in Masters only to pipped on the post by going down in the last game which was a pre-determined KOH round.

The Advanced section played a pure Round Robin with Anne McGinnis, a lone player from Maclean winning comfortably. Jan Chapman was also a comfortable winner in the local derby.

Adjudication for this event was by in situ pda lookup, with players given the option of this method or taking the slip up to the operator. Everybody opted for table service, with the result being no rubbish on the tables and fast turnarounds, especially once two pdas were in operation.

Once again the local ladies led by Joy Smith turned it on with superb catering and generous prizes throughout, making Kempsey as always (for those adventurous enough to give it a go) a most enjoyable weekend.

Ratings will be hopefully published by Alistair Kane once anomalies caused by dropouts due to illness on day two have been rectified,

Balmain Tournament - 2nd March 2008

Report from Ian Close

The Annual Competition of the Balmain Club (officially BUGS) was held on Sunday at the salubrious Club Five Dock.The day ran smoothly under the supervision of the renowned Wilma Vialle with only one minor hiccup with a reluctant printer - solved by Wilma by turning it off and then on again. Attendance was a pleasing 79, with 3 novices, one of whom, Jennifer Pinchbeck, became the third tournament player in her family.

In A Division Edward Okulicz was found in fine form. He blitzed the opposition, winning all 8 games. Two players tied for the high word prize on 140, Paul Richards with ZANJEROS and John Holgate with ASPIRANT. It was decided to give Paul the certificate - he played his word first - and they split the prize money. But it was Paul who took out the highest game of the tournament: 574.

In B Division it was Jan Serisier's day. She was one of only two players in the tournament to notch 7 wins. Hari Nanayakkara claimed the high game and high word (NATURALS).

Three players won 6 games in C Division, and were placed on aggregate, with Sharon Sorensen first, followed by Krystyna Batten and Margaret Andrews. Junior Michael McKenna impressed, taking out both high word and high game (532) prizes and coming fourth in the division.

D Division was won by Edith Lowbeer on 7 wins. A delighted Diana Field was heard telling everyone that she had played WAVERERS for 149. That remained the highest word score for the day, in any division.

We're very grateful to Club Five Dock which gave generously for the raffle. A number of happy players made their way home with a bottle of wine or other prizes. Our Club President Hanne Marks was unable to be present due to medical treatment but sent her congratulations to all.

Wyong Tournament - 15th March 2008

Report from Donna MacDonald

Beware the Ides of March" - with that thought - 63 players arrived for a day of scrabble at the Wyong RSL.

In Masters - Bob Jackman made it a clean sweep with 7 wins, together with high word of sequoia for 95. John Barker came 3rd and took out the high game award with 557 points.

In Advanced - Colleen Walker achieved her goal of gaining at least 1 rating point to be eligible to play in Masters at the Nationals in Melbourne this weekend. In fact, Colleen gained 38 points; Shelley Cartwright's high game was 459 and John Hamilton scored 101 for ironies.

In Intermediate - Chris Ostrowski placed 1st. High game went to Michael McKenna with a score of 488 and Jan Tomlin scored 109 points for zodiacs.

In Recreation - a novice from Newcastle - Allen Wicks made it 6 out of 7 games to take first place and earn a rating of 1171. Allen also had the high game with 486. Ray Bride had the high word of sextant for 108.

All other placing and final results are available from the ozscrabble site.

Thank you to all who participated and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

Blacktown Tournament - 19th April 2008

Report from Raya Wilkinson

63 people braved the weather to take part in the Blacktown Tournamant on Sat 19th April.
There were no latecomers so we should have started on time, except the printer decided not to print when we wanted it to. It could not hold out for long as Janine knew just what to do.
Joan Rosenthal scooped the pool in A division with 8 wins / 8 games, while Rod Talbot and Bob Jackman shared the honours for 2nd and 3rd place resp.
In B division Jyoti Chandna had a 7 game win, while Trish Windhurst, 2nd and Ann Fidler 3rd had higher margins than 3 other players who also had 5 wins.
Jean Balmer with 7 wins in C division, was very happy with her day, as I`m sure was Kitty-Jean Laginha 2nd with 6 wins.Hari Nanayakkara came 3rd, also with 6 wins.
Frank Hunt enjoyed his first Tournament win in D division, with 7 games and a great margin of 874. Frances de Lange came second with 6 wins and Arie Holla 3rd with 5 wins.
Highest game for the day was played by Joan Rosenthal - 544 - in A division while highest word for the day went to Diana Hilly for " Equates" 122 in D division.
Congratulations to Kitty -Jean who had the highest game and highest word in C division as well as coming 2nd.Also congratulations to Diana Field for winning 4 games.
My tournament director Jean Noonan wishes to thank those people whose knowledge and espertise helped her to make my tournament a success, particularly George, Bob and Paul.

Sydney's West Tournament - 3rd May 2008

Report from Graeme Lock Lee

I'd like to sum up this unique tournament using just two Dutch words: *TYPISCH and *GEZELLIG.

'Typisch' is the Dutch word whose closest English equivalent is 'quaint'. 'Gezellig' relates to an atmosphere that is cute, cosy, and happy. I suppose a near equivalent in French would be the borrowed BONHOMIE.

The Rembrandt Club is situated within an industrial estate in St Mary's, surrounded by car wrecking businesses and grey warehouses. It is so far out west that I had to check whether my GPS had changed its time zone during my odyssey from the inner city. HARDWORKING Arie Holla and Frances de Lange had done a lot of enthusiastic hard-sell to attract 51 hardy HARDHEADS to this hard-to-find HARDSCRABBLE venue. Once inside the unassuming club, one is inexorably transported to the time of the Dutch Renaissance. Ceiling-height paintings by the Dutch master adorn several of the walls of the players' room. You feel as if you are playing inside a chamber of an art museum that also contains a bar and a platform from which Arie and director Fred Reynolds entertain us with their cheerful exhortations. One of the raffles was for a magnificently ornate gilded blue and white china tea set worth far more than one player could win in tournament prize money.

One could enjoy coffee and tea along with treats such as *spekulaas biscuits in between games and for lunch we could choose between chicken or roast beef accompanied by carrots, cauliflower and an extravagant serving of mashed potato swimming in gravy - typical Dutch cuisine I'm told. Three staff members were employed to pamper us along with West Sydney's eager band of helpers. As we queued for lunch we could read a sign advertising "Sauerkraut and Wurst $5" and underneath was the Dutch translation "Zuurkool Worst". I must say that neither the German nor Dutch terms sound very tasty. At least it made us ponder how many might be acceptable CSW words (answer: the one with doubled vowels is the non-CSW one).

Who invented Sauerkraut?Credit the Chinese for the creation of Sauerkraut more than 2,300 years ago. Originally it consisted of shredded cabbage that was pickled in wine. Workers building the Great Wall of China were among the first to enjoy it. As for the Scrabble, we had a congenial and efficiently-run tournament. The full results have already been reported. However, a few observations can be made.

Anne Mortel, Arie's partner was never headed in Recreational division and Arie had to battle from behind to snatch second - thereby retaining a sizeable chunk of prize money between them to help balance the books for the West Sydney Club. Mary Michael-Oxby had the largest margin of 438 points but was unlucky to lose 3 games by 6,2 and 6 points (including games against Anne and Arie).

In an exciting tussle, five different players held the lead in Intermediate division before local Robyne Williams triumphed over a surging Chris Ostrowski (Newcastle) and Bill Scowcroft (Canberra).

Jean Balmer, Liz Jackman and Lyn Parnell jostled for the lead over the 7 games, finishing in that order. Betty Hardy's colossal 544 stood out as the only score over 500 in Advanced division.

Although top seed Rod Talbot led all the way in Master division, he was just 3 seconds away from swapping places with yours truly who finished third. He just avoided a 10 point time penalty and won our game by a mere 4 points in a down-to-the-wire nail-biter. After playing NAIAdES, next turn he placed the tiles for PRANKLED but chickened out to leave me some hope. Rod had previously played LERNAEAN (anagram of ANNEALER) to help him win his game against Rene Chelton who eventually finished second to him. Rene had "*bagled" me in our game by bagging all 10 power tiles to cruise to a comfortable win. I'm very pleased that our WORDS club founder capitalised to grab a place in what was a Wollongong trifecta, with Rod having been a club member for many years. Another WORDS club member, Keith Bioletti had an exciting day to nab 4th after beating Rod and Karen (another former WORDS member) and tying with Rene.

And for another year we'd all like to say a big "dank u" to Arie's crew and the Rembrandt Club staff.

For those that are puzzled by the term "*bagled", it means to cop a thrashing in tennis without scoring a game. Over two sets the score would be 6-0 6-0 ; the two zeros joined together form the shape of a bagle. This was appropriate in my match against Rene on another level when, after she played SURfIES for her first bonus, she finished me off with the lovely REZErOS.

For the official report compilers, I would like to add the following paragraph regarding the Masters division.

Going into the final round, any of the top 5 could theoretically have won the division. Rod simply had to win against Karen to stay in first position. Even if Rod lost, he still could have triumphed if I won modestly against Keith Bioletti and Rene lost against Paul Richards. The scenario was far more interesting if Rod lost. Rene then needed to beat Paul and trust that Keith wouldn't beat me by a large enough (60 or more may have sufficed). Conversely, Keith could triumph if he beat me by 57 more points than Rene's winning margin against Paul or if Rene lost. Rod's lovely partner Jyoti Chandna also had a chance if she won her match against Greg Pinchbeck by 224 and Rod lost by 224 against Karen and Keith and I tied. Of course, Rod managed the win he needed to make the other scenarios irrelevant. I was privileged to witness the tournament-clinching moment when he showed me his rack of AEIIMNS and pointed to the board where a G was sitting 4 squares away from middle right-hand-side triple-word square. It certainly didn't take much imagination from me to spot the IMAGINES coup de grace!

Woy Woy Tournament - 31st May 2008

Report from Denise Smith

Eighty one Scrabblers came to Woy Woy last Saturday, May 31st, enjoying a day of good food, good company, and for some, good Scrabble.

Unfortunately because of a last minute drop-out we had to have a bye in Recretation but those players were put to good use, helping to score for Wendy Evans and her new carer Sarah.

Recreation saw a Woy Woy player, Glenys North in first place on 6 wins. Another local Jan Chapman came in 2nd and a visitor from Gunnedah, Anne Luke in third place.

Pam Bennett and Arie Holla both had 6 wins in Intermediate. Unforunately Arie's margin was not as high as Pam's and this put him into second place, Contratulations go to Pam for winning this section. Sharon Sorensen was third.

Section "B" (Advanced) was won by Hari Hanayakkara on 6 wins with two ladies from "The Gong", Jean Balmer and Janine Whittaker, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

In Masters Section it was nice to see John Barker take the honors over Rod Talbot, with Bob Jackman coming in third.

The best High game over all sections was in Masters. this was 524 points from Keith Bioletti

The High Word over all sections was a tie, Rod Talbot (Masters) got 158 for the word TORCHIER and Fay Wassell (Advanced) also scored 158 for the word PADDINGS.

Highest rating gains were Matthew Taylor +86 and Arie Holla + 81

Congratulations to Trish Chisholm from Newcastle who won the Scrabble Rug.

Thanks again to all who came and made the tournament a great success and we hope to see you all on 22nd and 23rd November for the Central Coast Championships.

Winter Challenge - 6th July 2008

Report from Edward Okulicz

The Winter Challenge came right down to the wire. Jean Balmer lead Owen Randall by half a game and only had to win to nail the prize. But if she lost and Owen won, Owen would win. In fact, if Owen lost, first prize could have gone to Michael McKenna if he beat Jean by more than 88 points. As it happens, Michael ran out a big win over Jean, and Owen went to a lead over Denise Smith, but Denise pulled out a small win in the last few moves to create a top 5 that looked nothing like the leaderboard at any point in the event.

Tuggerah Youth Tournament - 13th July 2008

Report from Karen Richards

After 3 days of intense coaching and practice, a group of our rapidly-improving young players pitted their skills against each other. This is the first anniversary of Kitty-Jean's debut, and she showed just how far she has come in that time - by blitzing the field. Younger sister Bela was participating in her first coaching clinic. Whilst not having a wonderful result this time, she is showing signs of following in Kitty-Jean's footsteps over the coming year. The most spectacular game was the 1000+ combined effort from Michael McKenna and Kitty-Jean, with 6 bonues played - TOASTER (66) WAVERING (98) RELENTS (70) and BLUDGER (72) from Kitty-Jean; TREADING (86) and DIARIES (75) from Michael. Final result was 522:483

Winter Masters - 20th July 2008

Short report from Bob Jackman

This tournament went down to the wire with Chris needing Edward to lose his last game against me to win (plus win his last game himself). This was courtesy of his 2 point loss to me in the penultimate game, despite a brilliant 95 point outplay.

As it happened, Edward came from behind late in our game to fortuitously pick off the only opening of sorts by using the last blank as a G to hook on top of NU and make gNU and gINNERY, and seal the game,

Sothern Tableland Challenge - 3rd August 2008

Report from Bob Jackman

Thanks to a couple of late cancellations, including David More whose rail bus left him behind at Campbelltown, the eventual field for the inaugural Southern Tableland Challenge was reduced to 35 players. With every game being played between a NSW and an ACT player counting towards the final result, NSW were victorious with 42 wins to the ACT's 35 wins. As ACT team captain Tim Reddan pointed out, the result may have been significantly different had their novice player not lost all her games!

The venue being the Astor Hotel-Motel proved adequate despite some rejigging of tables to find the best light after the evening break. Thanks go to our lighting specialist George Khamis who was able to to deliver maximum light in a function area in which dim lighting was the standard.

The bistro area was second to none, with sumptuous meals being readily available during mealtimes, and the on-site accommodation very reasonably priced. In short, the venue worked and the thirteen game format (5,4,5) also worked well. All players were in favour of repeating the event next year, by which time hopefully Goulburn will have it's own operating Scrabble Club, under the guidance of local Allison James.

It was good to see Chris Cole (ex Phillips) back in action after a long break and she is now keen to start a group in Bowral. And with Kerry Constable now living in Shellharbour and aiming for a group there that makes three potential new clubs for NSW, a positive outcome of the inaugural Southern Tablelands Challenge,

Wollongong Youth Fundraiser - 17th August 2008

Report from Karen Richards

Thirty-four players competed in a 9-game, one-section, progressive round robin at Wollongong University, to raise money for Kitty-Jean to compete in WYSC 2008 in Penang, Malaysia. Last year, she paid her own way (plus an entry fee of US$200) in order to experience the challenge and ambience of an event which brings together young people from all over the world, including such excellent players as Ong Suanne, rated 2034, and ranked number 9 world wide - who at 16 won Kings Cup 2008 in Thailand, in a tough finish against World Champion Nigel Richards. Kitty-Jean enjoyed the 2007 experience sufficiently to return to Australia with the motivation to work on improving her rating so she could qualify as part of the official team this year – which she has done, with a rating rise of over 800 in one year.

We were pleased to welcome a novice from Nowra, Brenda Sloane. Nowra were well represented in final placings, with Jon Strang third, and rapidly-improving Martin Millgate fourth. Ed Laginha (father of Kitty-Jean plus her two talented sisters) gallantly stepped in as Reserve Player, and was rewarded with a high word (SHEARED 106). His workmates are probably, right now, admiring his $4 trophy. At the other end of the field, Edward Okulicz competed with the hope of finally cracking the 2000 rating barrier (from 1999). It was a courageous move, as the next players were rated over 300 behind him – close enough to have a chance to beat him, but far enough below him that they would steal a large number of points off him when they did. Could he gain one lousy little rating point? Unfortunately for Edward, Mark Smith beat him (and was chuffed – a first for Mark) and then I followed up with a lucky "DVANDVA" victory. (DVANDVA - a word which combines two opposing concepts, the usual example quoted is BITTERSWEET – I honestly felt sorry I had beaten him denying him that 2000 level). Edward did, however, win the tournament overall, as well as playing the highest non-bonus (FUTZES for 96). Second-placed Phillip Hamilton also won the trophy for High Rating Gain (+53). In fifth place was the highest-placed lady, Esther Rolf, a Wollongong local (and also highest-placed player over 70 – well done, Esther). High Game went to Rex Shakespeare with 511.

In the spirit of "giving something back" to those who have kindly supported Kitty-Jean, there were numerous novelty prizes and a monster raffle, with most donated by Wollongong residents WiIma, Jean and Janine. Wilma also organised and cooked the sausage sizzle, capably assisted by Jennie Mackie (Kitty-Jean's mother), with gourmet salads and some genuine Portuguese desserts (provided by Kitty-Jean's genuine Portuguese grandmother) - the custard tarts were the best, or was it the cheesecake? (guilty - I tried them both, so much for weight loss).

From the novelty prize group, the "University" category attracted the most appropriate words, including – TUTORIAL (Bela), VARSITY (Graeme), SEMINAR (Colleen), ELISION (Greg) and even UNI (Jon).

A big "thankyou" to all players who supported Kitty-Jean with their presence and presents (of money, time, and encouragement). Thankyou also to Kitty-Jean and her family for providing us, the players, with a great deal of enjoyment – I believe our money was well spent. Hopefully, you will again qualify for WYSC 2009, Kitty-Jean, so we can repeat the experience.

Oatlands War of the Words - 31st August 2008

Report from Bob Jackman

The annual Oatlands War of the Words was full of colour. A huge poster of HG Wells' War of the Worlds, with space ships stomping on a Scrabble board adorned the stage, and to add to the colour the sole novice was asked to wear a bright yellow Learner plate around his neck.

The raffles were also full of colour, with baskets of fruit the order of the day. I was surprised when my number was called out in the second draw, and even more surprised when the number of I pulled out belonged to my spouse, purely by chance.

I can't report too much as I was unaware of most of the brilliant plays that occurred during the day. I did hear that Bill Scowcrioft, all the way from Canberra, had played the ten-letter word FLANNELETS for a high score.

As usual, Arie's impossible awards went unclaimed. The ones I remember were a word with each vowel in it, a word with three Is, a word with three Os and a seven-letter word with six cononants. The one that did get awarded was the word that most conjured up a Martian landing, in the spirit of the day, and that went to VISITING.

The two youngsters, Michael and Kitty-Jean acquitted themselves well in Masters, both winning four games. Michael scored a pair of Richards which is no mean feat considering where he was a year ago.

Thanks Arie for your enthusiasm and providing us with yet another amusing and enjoyable day.

NSW Championships - 4th October 2008

Report from Tony Hunt

This is not a comprehensive report, just a collection of observations made and tales presented to me during the 3 days of competition.

71 players fronted up for the competition on Day One with a representation from Queensland, ACT, Victoria and SA. 70 from 71 managed to complete the three days of competition. The change to daylight saving mid event did not seem to create too many issues, however, some players reported difficulties with transportation on Day 2.
All age groups were represented - the Under-18s being: Michael McKenna, Alastair Richards, Natsha Podesser, Natasha Cininas, Phillip Hamilton and Kitty-Jean Laginha. This event was Natasha Cininas' 2nd tournament and it was remarked upon how brave she was to throw herself into a 3 day open with such a strong field so early in her Scrabble career. Over-80s were also represented, no statistics were collected for fear of being considered a bit rude.

The first interesting play I was informed about was the bingo play of BOPEEps by Kitty-Jean from the unsynergistic rack in her game against Sue Gergelifi. Mark Smith noted in his game against Bob Jackman that he believed he would win but then Bob extended JAMB to JAMBE and then further extended it to JAMBEE (making also EX) for a game-winning 51 points from 20 behind. In the same game, Mark opened with GORGE and Bob replied by making DISGORGED reaching the TWS for 39.

Esther Perrins scored a total of 290 points in 2 consecutive moves in the game against Trevor Halsall, with one of those words being the 9-timer DEIFYING (212), the high word for the tournament. DERNIER (78) followed . Chris Ostrowski was able to come back from the dead in his game against Adam Kretschmer by extending EXAM to the TWS by adding pLED for 61 points. In Game 12, Bob and Liz Jackman were drawn to play each other in game 12 - the final score a surprising Liz 386 to Bob 378. Noted was one of Liz's bingos: AVENGED. Draws were reset after Game 12 and Bob and Liz were drawn to play each other again - Bob beating Liz in therir second game.

John Barker played the anagram of TIETACS against me in game 13 (1). I had never seen it before - I was able to use the same word to advantage in my game against Trevor Halsall the following day. Against Mark Smith, Chris May extracted a neat bingo with the AAEEGNR off a C (2).

In my game against Colleen Walker I felt compelled to play strange words - mainly becuase I considered them to be optimal moves - although it may have been partly to elicit the wow factor. Of my 14 moves, 9 were challenged: JOUAL, SEITY, ASEITY, ACINI, KOINE, BUTUT, CUEING, MUSTHS and GRENZ. I won by just 19 points in a game where Colleen scored the only bingo. In the following game I had a lucky 6 point win against Bob when he went 2 seconds overtime as a result of tile fumbling. I had thought I had lost when the few onlookers that had gathered around pointed my attention to the clock.

Chris Ostrowski made the comment that he thought BJ was "making up words" when he played the only other valid anagram of SEXTILES (3). In a similar vein, I lost against Alastair as a result of chickening out of playing the bingo in EEGNNOSS (4) - I saw the word and then thought that it was too stupid to be a valid word and played GON instead thereby giving Alastair a lovely spot for his ALATION.

When Bev Purkis played Natasha Podesser, four bingos were played in the first four moves: HAIRING (Bev) for 80, OUTBRAVE (Natasha) 67, PIDDLES (Bev) 89 (has 1 anagram (5)), and BACTERIA (Natasha) 74.

I'm sure there were lots more stunning plays that escaped my attention. Maybe some of you might like to send some post-game analysis to the list? Apologies for omissions.

Scrabble NSW held their AGM during the course of the competition. In a healthy sign of people wishing to volunteer their services to keep the wheels of Scrabble turning effectively all committee positions were filled expeditiously, with 2 positions (Secretary and Publicity Officer) being contended by 2 people each with the appointments being made by a show of hands (counted by George Khamis) while the nominees were asked to leave the room (escorted by George K). The AGM was held after lunch and was concluded in less than an hour and we were back at the boards playing.

Apart from the usual awards, there were some special awards at the presentation ceremony. The "Spirit of Scrabble" award was presented to Edith Lowbeer. The "Tournament Medal" awarded to the played who achieved the highest rating gain at the NSW Champs who had also achieved a HRG at a NSW tournament in the previous 12 months was won by Kitty-Jean Laginha with a gain of 112 points. Overall high ratings gain for the tournament was won by Lexie Neale from Nowra/Bomaderry with an impressive 147 points. Looks like she may have been inspired by fellow South Coast player Lindy Lawson to crack the 1200 mark. The Nowra contingent were keen to remind people of their upcoming 2-day tournament on 1st-2nd November. Various awards were made for different ratings bands but my note-taking after 24 games of Scrabble was not sufficiently good enough to present the information in a meaningful way. The High Game award for players rated under 1300 was scored by La'reine Lang with 545 and High Word achieved by Sue Fullerton, PLAITERS for 149 points.

Congratulations to Alastair on his decisive win. Alastair made a brief speech upon receiving his prize in which he thanked his opponents, thanked the organisers and volunteers, and was generally very thankful to everyone before having to dash off to deliver some of the interstate players to the airport. All players seemed to be enjoying themselves some of the time, and some players seemed to be enjoying themselves all of the time. It was a great way to spend 3 days and if you've read this far and never entered a Scrabble tournament, what are you waiting for?


Remiss of me: I failed to mention the winner of the Joan Rosenthal Award. This award is presented each year at the NSW Champs to the player who has achieved the greatest ratings gain over the previous 12 months. This year it was awarded to Michael McKenna who achieved a ratings gain of 764 over the 12 months, a record gain. The runner up, Kitty-Jean Laginha wasn't far behind with a ratings gain greater than any other years' previous winners. Well done Michael and Kitty-Jean!

Like "Australian of the Year", no one has ever won the Joan Rosenthal Award twice. Mark Smith and I were contemplating circumstances that might lead to someone winning the award twice and most of the circumstances we envisaged weren't all that pleasant.

Another omission - Colleen points out that in our game in which 9 from 14 plays were challenged and I won by just 19 points, that I had both of the blanks. Good point, as the blanks score zero, if I had scoring tiles instead (from memory I used the blanks as a U and an E) I guess that I would have won by at least 2 more points. The blank can sometimes be an overrated tile. OK, there's a flaw in my reasoning. In a game that I partially observed between Mark Smith and Peter Shaw, both blanks were used mid-game for strategic purposes (once for blocking and once for opening) for a total point value of less than 20.


It was Ian Close, not Chris Ostrowski, who had EXITLESS played against him by Bob. Sorry Ian. Sorry Chris.

La'reine Lang has decided to tell me her Scrabble goal. The key to their success is not in telling me, but in making it public! So here it is, quoted with implied permission :)

La'reine: "My goal is reach 1000 by the Nationals. A big ask for me coz every time I get near 900 I crash badly. I am currently 897 with my 50 point gain last weekend. I am currently trying to improve learning stems. So far I have retain, satine, senior and satire. If you can add anymore to the list I would be grateful, and any other useful hints."

From my observations, people don't stay below 1000 with that attitude, combined with rack balance, tile tracking and not being afraid to challenge words. I'm sure we'll be seeing La'reine in Advanced division soon.

Spring Marathon - 18th October 2008

Report from John Holgate

Some forty players contested this year’s October Marathon in the Waratah Room of the Revesby Workers Club.

A few of the high fliers were missing but John Holgate returned to the fold after a five-month stint at filmmaking to interlock lexemes again. Another veteran Bob Jackman lead the show from go to whoa winning all twelve games and gaining a wopping ratings gain of +116 ahead of Greg Pinchbeck 9/12 (+87) with Joanne Craig on 8/12. Lee McGiffen (carrying on the grand McGiffen tradition) won 7/12 and the under 1200 ratings prize. Top word scores were RANCIDER, ORGANIST (RJ) and MALARIAL (Ann Fiddler). Karen Richards high-scored with 598.

It was good to see a bunch of promising youngsters - Kitty-Jean, Bela and Ruby-Rose Laghina – take part and compete well with the ‘old hands’.

My game against Bob was a close tussle with him finding an excellent find to tip me out (with a rack of E-E-H-M-N-R-U)*. We vets can still dig up the odd unusual word – I found KEELHAUL, AUBRETIA, TRAVOISE and BECRIME - even if our strategy may be getting rusty. Two interesting words played against me were CONTRIST (Joanne) and SKITCHED (Karen).

Thanks to Liz Jackman for her sterling work as DOP.

Nowra/Bomaderry Tournament - 2nd Novemeber2008

Report from Lindy Lawson

We welcomed our visitors with pelting rain and cooler temperatures but not enough to dampen anyone's spirits.

Day 1 kicked off at 12.30 with Bill and Caroline making a mighty effort from Canberra with tanks in tow.

We had one lady literally walk off the street paid up, sat down and off she went. Dorothy Jones hadn't played scrabble for years, didn't know about tournaments until the ad in the paper. I was thinking she may fade away after tea and not return but to her credit stayed the 2 days and played well winning 8 games and coming 4th in her division. Needless to say she is hooked, is now an ASPA member and joined one of our local clubs.

By game 6 we paused for dinner with most of us going upstairs to a sumptuous (all you can eat including seafood) meal.

After another 3 games we called it quits with most going to motel rooms and some billeted.

Back at my house to freshen up and go to bed (NO)!!

Out came the boards.

I have never played Tony Hunt before and was looking forward to it. Expected a thrashing from this master but am happy to brag that I won the game. In my excitement I have forgotten the score, Tony might remember?? I do remember him challenging my 'CATTIES' tho.

Maybe I should mention that on my side of the table was Karen and Paul Richards, La'Reine Lang, Margaret Berliner and the Hamilton Brothers.

Tony's back was LITERALLY against the wall. (But my fingers DID place the tiles on the board).

Day 2. Weather wise a much better day but as we bustled out of our home Tony was greeted with the flattest flat tyre I have ever seen.

A man always prepared for hurdles he opened his boot and pulled out an automatic air pump and in a few minutes was on his way.

I might offer a prize next year for the best snapshot of Tony Hunt not smiling. Even with a flat, his arms crossed, he was still grinning. I think my prize is safe.


After publicly declaring her goal, La'Reine Lang reached her goal of 1000 rating points, a big congratulations. (new goal of 1100.)

Graeme Lock Lee saved on challenge slips, thanks Graeme.

Greg Pinchbeck and Don Hadley sported new shorter haircuts, although looking very dapper it wasn't enough to help them into the placings.

I hope this doesn't mean they will grow pony tails now.

We did think of having a novelty prize on the day for the longest beard but there were only 6 contenders.

Not enough to challenge the obvious would be winner in Gary Pollard with his 'SANTA'.

So maybe a challenge for the guys next year.

All went well with no complaints that I heard of.

The only belly aches reported were from over eating.

A nonstop supply of biscuits, 'chocolate ones too', dips, fruit cake, Madeira cake, watermelon, rockmelon and grapes.

With nibblies on the challenge table.

Thanks to Paul Richards who put in a mighty effort into keeping us running smoothly as well as competing.

Thanks to all our volunteers from our local clubs who kept the food table well stocked.

Also thanks to the staff at Shoalhaven Ex Servo's Club who provided the venue and could not do enough for us.

With that all said I would like to leave you with a quote I think sums up my scrabble experience.

Quoting La'Reine Lang " Scrabble is just the icing on the cake when you are with such a great bunch of people and friends."

On behalf of Jon Strang and myself a big thanks to all players for making it a huge success.

See you all next year.