Adventures of a Tournament Scrabbler, Pt 4

Renewed with confidence after having held my own with world-

class players at Grand Canyon XX, I finished first place in my

next two tournaments in Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Then, in April of 2002, I reached an important milestone after

a tournament at Lake Murray near Ardmore, Oklahoma.  I

passed the 1600 rating mark, a level considered officially

expert.  After years of struggling to break free from the

intermediate ranks, I was finally there, never to go back.


That August, I got to attend my first national championship.

What an amazing experience!  Over 700 of my Scrabble

brethren converged in downtown San Diego, California.  My

rating wasn’t high enough to play in the top division, but

after five days and 31 games, I finished a respectable 16th

out of 103 players, breaking the 1700 barrier.   Immortalized

by the hit documentary WORD WARS by Eric Chaikin, the

tournament will always stand out in my mind as a special one.

I got to meet my Scrabble idol, Nigel Richards, probably the

most brilliant mind in Scrabble.   And I learned an important

lesson:  never feel too confident in your lead.  Fellow division

two play Iffeanyi Onyeanwu from Houston, Texas, started

red hot, winning 16 games in a row then nosedove, losing

his next 11.  (I would later be involved in an amazing

record-breaking game with Iffy.)


I finished out the year going 7-4 in Austin, Texas, rising

to what would turn out to be a peak rating for the next

few years, 1754.

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I moved here in May after 32 years on the Arkansas/ Oklahoma border. I love this town and already feel quite at home here. There is an amazing vibration here, to which I am happily contributing. I am a tournament Scrabble player, so I was quite pleased to find a couple of other tourneygoers here, forming the core of an official Scrabble club that meets Sundays at the Heartsong Chai Hut.

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