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WSC 2009 Commentary: Round 2

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Go to: 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.

Experienced WSC coverage fans can tell from how quickly the website gets underway how smoothly things are running, and I'd say this one is above average. We correctly anticipated that the WiFi service would be unusable and had a broadband modem ready; we failed to realize that the modem would block both my USB slots, so I'm waiting for someone to deliver a USB cable to me so that I can connect other USB devices, such as say the camera full of event photos. From what I've seen of Malaysia so far, patience is both a respected and a necessary virtue of life here, so I'm not too concerned yet.

The pairings are different this year. For the first time at the WSC, we will be using accelerated Swiss pairings, often called Fontes or Portland pairings after the director who first popularized them and the city where they were used. This leaves a question however of how to pair the second round of the event, which in turn necessitated changing the traditional first round pairings. Round 1 was paired by ranking players by WESPA rating and randomly choosing players from the top and bottom quartiles, then the second and third quartiles to play each other. Round 2 similarly pairs quartiles 1 and 3, and 2 and 4. In the first two rounds, players will not face opponents from their own country, and defending Champion Nigel Richards (Wsc) counts as a New Zealander for this purpose. Also, there are no repeats in Rounds 1 and 2.

The featured game from Board 1 this round was Nigel vs. Mark Kenas (USA). They split the blanks, but Nigel out-bingoed Mark 3-1 to end with a lopsided 527-352 score. Half of Nigel's 12 main words were Collins-only words; Mark, who has very good CSW knowledge, only played 2 CSW-onlies. Coincidence, or was Nigel hoping to pick up a few nickel challenge penalties?

Leading the 2-0s at the end of this round, with an impressive +499 spread, is Panupol Sujjayakorn (THA), followed by Ron Hoekstra (CAN) at +421 and Naween Fernando (AUS) at +399.