The Australian Masters and State Challenge Tournament is into year four, and finds itself back at the popular Jika International in Fairfield. Since its origins in 2005 this gathering of the best players in the country has become one of the most hotly contested and prestigious events on the Australian Scrabble scene, and once again all forty-one contenders have done well to qualify.
Just as in 2006 when Bob Jackman guaranteed his trip to Mumbai, the 2008 Masters winner will earn a spot at the next World Scrabble Championship (in accordance with a CASPA board decision). No doubt this will add a little extra spice to the final few games, though we don't yet know where the 2009 WSC will take place; will there be another new name on the trophy? And will David be able to maintain his streak of coming second?
Our jet-setting TD of yore, Wilma Vialle, is unavailable this weekend and we are very pleased to have secured the services of Barry Harridge. He will rule us with a firm but fair hand, while at the same time overseeing the collation of information and photographs for the hordes viewing the progress of events online.
Masters contenders will have to squeeze in nineteen rounds in accordance with the schedule featured elsewhere, and will also play with five-point penalties per move in place for incorrect challenges. SCT players will each have a bye at some point to even up the games, but are playing without challenge penalties.
The social activities also promise to be enjoyable, including the gala dinner on Saturday evening which may well feature some more tortured anagram quizzes supplied by Richard Jeremy.
We are once again hugely grateful to Mattel, who have provided very generous sponsorship for the tournament; we would also like to thank the Victorian committee, who have continued to work hard behind the scenes in planning and organising the weekend's activities.
Andrew Fisher and Naween Fernando
The Australian Masters field
The field for the Australian Masters is David Eldar, Edward Okulicz, Chris May, Naween Fernando, Andrew Fisher, Joanne Craig, Michael Hornung, Trevor Halsall, Bob Jackman, Esther Perrins, Joan Rosenthal, Peter Kougi, Richard Jeremy, Rod Talbot, Alastair Richards, Anne Drew, Glenys Lawrie, Carmel Dodd, Russell Honeybun, Alistair Kane
The format for the Australian Masters is a round robin, where each player plays every other player. The nineteen rounds will occur over just two days, eleven games on Saturday and eight on Sunday.
The State Challenge TrophyThe other event held at the same time is the State Challenge Trophy, where players are playing as teams of three representing their state or territory. Here are the teams:
Over 19 rounds, each player will meet the 18 players from states other than their own, and have one bye.
Round by Round
Click the tabs near the top of this page to see the latest results from each section. The "CD player" controls allow you to go forward or back one round.
|Masters 1||Naween Fernando||Bob Jackman||Trevor Halsall|
|Masters 2||David Eldar||David Eldar||David Eldar|
|Masters 3||Joanne Craig||Naween Fernando||Naween Fernando|
|State 1||Tony Hunt (NSW)||Edie Mueller (WA)||Carmel Dodd (SA)|
There is a superb feeling of conviviality as old friends from across Australia come together for this event. The first day of the event is Harry Malcolm's birthday, and he promises to wear his birthday suit to the evening dinner. Harry's Chile is radiantly expectant (no more so than Harry himself), the twins due to arrive at the end of the year.
Masters Round 1Glenys Lawrie was trembling as she handed in her result slip. "This is an historic moment," she said. She had just beaten Naween 529:379. "I had great tiles" she went on to say.
The New South Wales matchplay event, a series of knockouts had resulted in the final playoff between Joan Rosenthal and Esther Perrins, with Esther winning. Here they played off again, but this time it was Joan who won.
Boards: Eldar v Kane and Jackman v Halsall
Masters Round 2
Boards: Craig v Jeremy and Halsall v Perrins and May v Kane
Masters Round 3Alistair Kane was much happier this round, he'd got all the goodies this time. In the two earlier rounds he had had only one S. Edward was much amused at his initial rack which spelt a far fetched and filthy compound word, which we refrain from mentioning. He was at least pleased to get the legitimate compound word BEDSHEET.
Board: Eldar v Drew
Masters Round 4
Board: Fisher v Jeremy
States Round 4Much hilarity from Norma Fisher and Khen Meerding. Norma was pleased to get BETTING, but then Khen turned the B into a triple triple for DEBATING. Khen then promptly got another bingo FIERIEST.
Board: Visser v Hall
States Round 5Harry Malcolm noticed that Dianne Brumby had overdrawn. Because it was he who noticed it he chose the one tile to go back from a rack exposed to his sight. He chose to put an S back, and it turned out be crucial in giving him the game by a narrow margin.
Masters Round 6Richard Jeremy was pleased to break the drought.
States Round 6Geoff Wright wasn't a happy man. His record was 0:5 and he now faced Olga Visser on 5:0, but as so often happens in Scrabble, the underdog won.
Masters Round 10Richard Jeremy noted with admiration Bob Jackman's extending PA into PASSERINE.
Boards: Jeremy v Hornung, Kane v Okulicz, Kougi v Halsall
Masters Round 11Alastair Richards remarked after his victory over Bob Jackman by 5 points that that was the third time he had been given a gift.
Saturday evening dinnerPlayers enjoyed their evening meal after the strenuous efforts of the 11 games in the day. Richard Jeremy traditionally offers players a difficult anagram quiz based on player names. At last year's dinner, some had jotted their working out on the dinner napkins, which unfortunately were cloth. This year the tables were covered in large sheets of paper. Try for yourself Richard's quiz
States Round 12The game between Simon Walton and Helen Maurus attracted much post mortem interest. Helen won, 358 to 352.
Masters Round 13A quiet tense room suddenly erupted into laughter as they heard Anne Drew exclaim "I hate this game!". I have heard of someone who has created a tile bag which has "I hate this game" on one side and "I love this game" on the other. She thought she was sure to win until Alistair's last try of a plausibility, EXHAUST extended to EXHAUSTER for 36 points gave him the victory.
States Round 13Michael Vnuk's last play of HOMESITE onto an H gave him a score of 92, and caught Norma Fisher with AXIIRN and clinched his victory 425:347.
Board: Eldar v Hornung
Masters Round 14Peter exhibited his magnificent ZEBRASS which caused an exclamation from Edward, but Edward won the game. Bob Jackman played ANGULATE, David Eldar replies with PROXIMAL for 116. Three bingos each, but Bob was caught with Q in the endgame.
Boards: Fernando v Fisher, Eldar v Jackman
States Round 15Current number 1, Helen Maurus played number 2, Harry Malcolm in a superb game with good scores on both sides and a win to Harry, 483:470.
Board: Malcolm v Maurus
Masters Round 16Andrew Fisher has been one game ahead of the field for many rounds. But this round he loses to Alistair Kane, so David Eldar is now equal to Andrew on 13 wins, but ahead of Andrew on spread.
States Round 16Chris Hall played DISOBEY as a double double for 107. Heather Lowden replied with WEARIES for 74. Chris cleverly fitted PILOT down beside DISOBEYS for 57.
Harry Malcolm played J(ET)LINERS as a triple word score and then delivered a further blow the next move with FASH(I)ONS for 101.
Masters Round 17The board at right shows the position and final racks of Chris May (EGLLNS?) and Trevor Halsall (EEIIR?). It is Chris's turn, what should he play? It would have won him the game but he missed it.
States Round 18Norma Fisher played the bad word HOSTILER* for 95, but this was seized upon by Simon Walton to make JETLINER for 95.
Masters Round 18Richard Jeremy won on his last move, going out with DREDGiN(G) against Alistair Kane.
Masters Round 19David won his last game, so emerged as winner, and thus is immediately selected to represent Australia in the 2009 WSC.
States Round 19Harry Malcolm lost his last round, so thought he had lost the winner's crown. But Helen Maurus also lost her last game, so Harry emerged as winner.
|Masters 1st place
|Masters 2nd place
|Masters 3rd place
|Masters High Game|
Chris May 611
|Masters High Word|
Trevor Halsall 167
|State Team 1st
|State Team 2nd
|State Team 3rd
|State 1st player|
|State High Game|
Edie Mueller 575
|State High Word|
Khen Meerding 167
More photosThanks to Khwanjai for her photography. She has made her photos available in three Facebook albums.
Results (60 photos)
Game Boards (25 Photos)
Players (54 Photos)