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MISO 2011 Commentary: Round 1
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Although announcements were delayed by a few minutes due to last-minute confusion over exactly who was playing (I had two cancellations on my list, registrar David Delicata (MLT) had a fictional player and the alternate on his), and despite more than the usual number of questions about the rules (not unexpected given that we have players from twelve countries and three continents playing here this weekend), TD Amy Byrne started play right on time at 13:30 MET.
The first to finish were Sheena Wilson (Eng) and Chinedu Nosike Okwelogu (NGA), on board 4. Chinedu came close to winning the European Open last weekend in this same room, and is rated 500 points higher than Sheena, but she beat him 386-348 and walked out of the room with a huge grin on her face. (Chinedu took the loss with good grace.) I have to move fast to get photos of board diagrams, and missed this one, as players are so well trained to square off their tiles by now, that even before the results come to my desk, the game has been put away.
For those on the full board, the lunch buffet today is served poolside. I'm having a salad, a roll, the fried cabbage and bacon, the pasta and the roast chicken, and can recommend it all.
In this round, the top quarter of each of the two divisions plays the bottom quarter in the same division, with opponents randomly selected within those quarters. We're expecting more than the usual number of extreme rating upsets (like Sheena's), and blowout games. At the top of the field in the Open Division is now last week's European Open champion, Theresa Brousson (MLT), after a 524-257 win over Teresa Lyes (Eng). Behind her is Mikki Nicholson (Eng), who beat Nicky Huitson (Eng) 539-336 in the annotated game at Board 1. In third place is Omri Rosenkrantz (ISR), who overturned Mihai Pantis (ROM) 488-292.
We had an unusual equipment failure at Board 3: a plastic rack fell on the floor and broke in two. I have never seen this happen in 18 years of Scrabble play, though I have seen games affected by chairs and tables collapsing, pens running out, clocks crashing, tilebags coming unsewn, and tiles falling apart. It's always nice to see something new in the game.
Another oddity was that Division A reported much faster than Division B, which is hardly ever the case, as the stronger players always need more time to postmortem their games. There were still four Division B games being played by the time Division A was complete.
In Division B, the pairings are similar. Top seed Jim Wilkie (Sco) (who appealed successfully to be placed on his established ABSP rating rather than his provisional WESPA rating) had a close win over lowest-rated player Marion Loewenstein (ISR), 368-341. In the lead right now are Margaret Armstrong (Eng), who won 471-276 against Carmen Borg (MLT), Mario Seychell (MLT), who won 515-336 against first-time player Lee Ann Tan (IRL) (I am told she has competed at School Scrabble), and Brid Ni Bhriain (IRL), who won 443-278 against Alfred Xuereb (MLT). The biggest upset was Pauline Cilia (MLT) beating Mary Morgan (IRL) by a single point, 427-426, despite a 500-point rating difference.
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