2015 Malta International Scrabble Open: Main Event

May 2–4, 2015

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Commentary: Round 8

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Go to: Before the Tournament, Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Round 7, Round 8, Round 9, Round 10, Round 11, Round 12, Round 13, Round 14, Round 15, Round 16, Round 17, Round 18, Round 19, Round 20, Round 21, Round 22, Round 23, Round 24, Round 25, Round 26, Round 27, Round 28, After the Tournament.

Division A Round 8 Auto-Commentary

Austin Shin (Eng) stays in the lead for the 8th consecutive round, 7-1 +932. David Webb (Eng) is +755, on a 7-game winning streak, remaining unchanged at #2 for 4 rounds. Bob Violett (Eng) is 1 game behind at 6-2 +673, on a 4-game winning streak, steady at #3. Theresa Brousson (MLT) is +486, still at #4. Ray Tate (Sco) is +173, remaining unchanged at #5. Jayne Mackenzie (NIr) is 2 games behind the leader at 5-3 +129, #6 up from #8. Phil Kelly (Eng) is -17, #7 climbing from #9. Mario Saliba (MLT) is -149, on a 3-game winning streak, #8 improving from #11.

In Class B: Jayne Mackenzie (NIr) is the lead, 5-3 +129. Phil Kelly (Eng) is -17, #7 rising from #9. Mario Saliba (MLT) is -149, on a 3-game winning streak, #8 up from #11. Naomi Landau (ISR) is 1 game behind at 4-4 +144, #10 slipping from #7. Charles Micallef (MLT) is -122, #11 dropping from #10.

High Win: Bob Violett (Eng) 510-339 vs. Pauline Russell (IRL). Low Wins: David Delicata (MLT) 389-359 vs. Nicky Vella-Laurenti (MLT); Mario Saliba (MLT) 389-373 vs. Vincent Boyle (Sco). High Loss: Kay McColgan (IRL) 424-466 vs. Jayne Mackenzie (NIr). Low Loss: John Barker (AUS) 315-459 vs. David Webb (Eng).

Director's call: simple overdraw.

Director's call: Players A and B came to my table in an agitated state, speaking in inappropriately loud tones. I went to their table to see what had happened, and asked them to tell me in turn what had happened. They both started to talk at the same time. I repeated that they needed to speak to me in turn, one at a time. They both started to talk at the same time again. I asked Player A to remain silent, and Player B to tell me their version of what had happened. Player B began, and then was interrupted before the end of their first sentence by Player A. I told Player A, "I am cautioning you in my capacity as the tournament director to remain silent, or be penalized." Player B began again, and was again interrupted by Player A. I ejected Player A from the playing room, and asked Player B to begin again.

Player B said that Player A had played three tiles haphazardly on the board, none of them completely within a square, and at least one of which was almost entirely out of its intended square, forming an illegal play; then Player A had hit the clock to stop it at -0:58 without announcing a score. Player A then moved his tiles to their originally intended locations with the clock stopped. Player B asked Player A to announce the score and started Player A's clock. Player A grew angry and disputed Player B's right to do so, and eventually stopped the clock well past -1:00.

I went to review the rules, and Player A approached me, despite having been ejected from the playing area. I asked them to be patient, and then eventually asked for their story.

Player A said that they had played quickly to avoid going overtime, in the following sequences: place tiles somewhat haphazardly but still reasonably clearly within their intended squares, announce score, hit clock. They agreed that Player B had then restarted the clock and asked for the play score.

I asked both players to join me at the table, and to demonstrate how believed that the final tiles had been placed. Player A agreed that the tiles had been placed clearly enough within their squares while the clock was running, and that they had repositioned them more carefully after the clock was started. Players A and B were not able to agree even in approximate terms on how the tiles had initially been placed.

I ruled in favour of Player A on the question of announcing the score of the final play, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Player A is relatively soft-spoken, and speaks English with a different dialect from Player B. The single syllable "eight" could easily have been misheard, or not heard at all, by Player B.

I ruled against Player A on the question of correct placement of tiles. I said that if the position of the tiles had been such that even Player A themself had felt the need to reposition them, then according to the principle of omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem, I had to assume that they were not initially placed so as to constitute a legal play. I considered permitting an automatic challenge of the play, but was uncomfortable doing so due to the uncertainty in the sequence of events, and did not suggest it. I ruled instead that the play would stand, together with a 20-point time penalty.

Players A and B accepted my ruling, and I stayed with them to ensure that the game's paperwork was completed correctly. Afterward, I informed them both that even though the next round had long since started, they could both spend five minutes regaining their composure, and encouraged them to do so.

Division B Round 8 Auto-Commentary

Moira Fenech (MLT) remains in the lead, 7-1 +601, on a 7-game winning streak. Pam Morris (AUT) is 1 game behind at 6-2 +579, #2 rising from #3. Pauline Cilia (MLT) is +314, on a 4-game winning streak, #3 up from #4. Brid Ni Bhriain (IRL) is +288, #4 up from #5. Gila Blits (ISR) is +284, #5 climbing from #6. Eileen Meghen (IRL) is 2 games behind the leader at 5-3 +529, #6 dropping from #2. Philip Turner (Eng) is +157, #7 improving from #8. Hannah Kingston (IRL) is +97, #8 rising from #14. Anna Borg (MLT) is +25, steady at #9. Nancy Alroy (ISR) is +24, #10 down from #7.

In Class B: Pauline Cilia (MLT) is the lead, 6-2 +314, on a 4-game winning streak. Philip Turner (Eng) is 1 game behind at 5-3 +157, #7 rising from #8. Hannah Kingston (IRL) is +97, #8 jumping up from #14. Linda Marguy (ISR) is -285, #12 climbing from #15. Mary Morgan (IRL) is 2 games behind the leader at 4-4 -17, #16 improving from #18. Marlene Calleja (MLT) is -20, #17 climbing from #20. Judith Puttick (Eng) is -60, on a 3-game winning streak, #18 rising from #21.

High Win: Mario Seychell (MLT) 498-376 vs. Josephine Mayo (MLT). Low Win: Brid Ni Bhriain (IRL) 385-358 vs. Eileen Meghen (IRL). High Loss: Anne Creaven (IRL) 394-439 vs. Maria Scicluna (MLT). Low Loss: Dominic Borg (MLT) 237-476 vs. Pam Morris (AUT).

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