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WSC 2009 Commentary: Round 8

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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.

So we end the day with just Wellington Jighere (NGA) undefeated at 8-0, after trouncing Panupol Sujjayakorn (THA) 540-440. Jighere has faced a strong field: after playing 1397-rated Warodom Geamsakul (JPN), his opponents have been rated 1868, 1869 (NASPA), 1910, 1933, 1956, 1961 and 2088. I'll see if I can get a comment from him before the end of the tournament, but given that he makes other notable quiet Scrabble players like Nigel Richards (Wsc), Panupol Sujjayakorn (THA) and Adam Logan look like chatterboxes by comparison, I'll be happy with a few syllables. I'm tempted to ask about his hat: in the absence of any sort of visible reaction on his part to his winning streak, speculation in the room has turned to why he traded in his old cowboy hat for this new one.

Behind Jighere at 7-1 are Andrew Fisher (AUS) and Paul Allan (Eng), followed by fourteen players at 6-2, led by David Boys (CAN). Boys is the highest-ranked of the five past champions competing this week; Nigel Richards (Wsc), Panupol Sujjayakorn (THA) and Joel Wapnick (CAN) are also at 6-2, and Mark Nyman (Eng) is one game back at 5-3. No one's ever won a second world championship so far, but this could easily be the year.

In the team standings, Nigel Richards (Wsc) and Sherwin Rodrigues (IND) are leading the way among the singletons, followed now by England and Nigeria at 62.5% (averaging exactly 5-3), the U.S.A. at 60.8% and Australia and Thailand at 58.4%.

This round at Board 1, Jim Kramer (USA) and Geoff Thevenot (USA) played a hotly contested game, with each scoring two bingoes in their first four turns and one winning by bingoing out.

Dinner tonight was provided to staff and contestants on the meal plan, and served at the Sukkothai restaurant in the hotel, Malaysia-style Thai food (or possibly vice versa). I'm back from dinner now in the playing room where the broadband signal is strongest, and will watch the rest of today's photos get uploaded, but wait until tomorrow morning to caption them.