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Speed Scrabble: 2004-06-19

[photo of play in progress]

On Saturday, June 19th, 2004, I hosted a small Speed Scrabble tournament at my home. In honour of my recent fortieth birthday, we played forty rounds of Scrabble in one day. The rest of this web page describes that event. See also a CGP Report.


Entry fee is CAD 40.00, payable at the door. All of the entry fees received will be paid back in prizes. Space is limited, so please check with me if you're not on the following list of registrants:

Adam Logan
Matt Graham
Sinna Vijayakumar
Lynda Wise
Libero Paolella
Heather McCall
John Chew
Roger Cullman 

Kibitzers are welcome, especially if they bring food or drink, or are willing to fill in as scorekeepers or word judges. I'll provide some beverages, snack food, bagels and veggies for lunch, and depending on how late things run, we may order in food.


9 Fulton Avenue is four blocks or two bus stops north of Broadview subway station. There's a hanging basket of pink petunias on the porch, a thriving boxus* on either side of the porch steps, and a large bed of petasites* below the living room bay window. If you're delayed arriving, call me at 416-876-7675.


Please be ready to play for 10:00 A.M. We'll take a lunch break around 1:00 P.M. and possibly another break late in the afternoon if things run late. I hope to be finished by 7:00-7:30 P.M.



I'll post more details about the pairings shortly, but they will involve several round robins, followed by a fixed partial round robin. As much as possible, games will be played in groups of three, with one of those three being a nonplaying scorekeeper.

Here are the additional details. Barring further change in plans, we will begin by playing one 7-player 9-round round robin as explained in a pairings document that is more complicated than I thought it would be. Then when Lynda arrives, we'll play a triple round robin among eight players, lasting 30 rounds. The last round will be KOTH (with repeats :)) and with lower-ranked players having the option of playing or keeping score.


We will play by 2003 MWMST speed rules with italicized modifications:

  1. Where possible, games will be scored by a non-playing scorekeeper. For each play that is made, the scorekeeper is responsible for recording the first letter of the play, the play score and the cumulative score. If play gets ahead of the scorekeeper, the scorekeeper should record only the first letter of the play, and catch up when time permits. If a scorekeeper does not see a play made, s/he may ask the player to identify it. Either player may ask the scorekeeper for the current score at any time.
  2. Players should declare at the beginning of the tournament if they prefer to play SOWPODS (and a 5-point penalty per acceptable word challenged) or OTCWL. When two SOWPODS players face each other, they play SOWPODS; all other matches are OTCWL.
  3. To begin the game, both players draw seven tiles facedown, before the timer is started. If a player sees a tile, s/he must leave it faceup.
  4. Clocks start at 03:00, not 25:00.
  5. At the end of each turn, you must hit the clock. You do not have to announce or record any scores. If you play a blank, clearly announce its designation and check to make sure that the scorekeeper records it correctly.
  6. If your opponent calls hold on a play, you may draw your provisional tiles immediately.
  7. Your opponent may challenge your play at any time up until the end of their turn. Keep your new tiles separate to avoid invoking the overdraw penalty on a successful challenge.
  8. Time penalties are 1 point per second, not 1 point per minute.
  9. When your clock reaches -1:01, you may make no more plays. If a partially or completely executed play is on the board when your clock passes -1:00, it should be removed from the board with the clock paused.
  10. If your opponent runs out of time and you are still behind, you may continue to make plays if you think you can catch up doing so. Your opponent may hold or challenge your plays before passing his/her turn.
  11. The director may call a halt to recounts after sixty seconds, if all other games that round have finished. If it is not possible to determine who won the game in time, the game is declared a tie.
  12. Latecomers will be added to the tournament as soon as possible at the end of a round robin, and awarded match points equal to the currently lowest-ranked player.
  13. Players score one match point for a win, half a match point for a tie, no match points for a loss. [The rest of this rule was waived by unanimous consent.] Player scorekeepers score one match point for correctly determining the outcome of a game, no match points for being shown wrong in a recount or for being unable to determine the winner.