Five Moments from New Orleans

Highlights from the 7th Crescent City Cup

140 players from 27 US States (including some overseas players) braved the US weather to descend upon New Orleans for the first WESPA Rated Scrabble tournament in North America for 2018. The Crescent City Cup is now in its seventh year and features 20 games of Scrabble; this year, there were two divisions in both TWL and Collins.

We present five (of what were many) highlights that demonstrate what made this tournament a great way to start the year.

1. Not even the weather will stop you wanting to be a part of it
Speaking before the tournament, the organizers made a point of noting New Orleans’ usually great weather for the time of year not being the case in 2018. Cancelled flights due to the inclement weather, meant players’ plans were changed, or even halted.

Not so, in the case of Jason Broersma and Sue Tremblay, determined to get to New Orleans, and take part in the tournament.

Despite ice and snow diverting flights, Jason recounted in an interview on Facebook that the trip to New Orleans that started in Toronto, Canada, concluded with an all night drive from Dallas, Texas to Louisiana with both arriving on the day at 8.45am, just in time for proceedings!

After all that, Sue excelled and was runner-up in the Collins "Lite" Division whilst Jason took out the High Word score prize in the top Collins Division.

2. Going Down to the Wire 1 - The Battle for TWL
Seeded 6th going into the event, Ben Schoenbrun (pictured) had a consistent run of wins throughout the tournament, dropping just the three games to Round 16 (a run that featured three 500+ games in the first 6 rounds). Included in this, was a play of CREDENZA for 230!. A loss to 16th seed Jack Norman, a win over 2nd seed Carl Johnson and a 1 point loss to the 20th seed Michael Baker meant that he went into the final game at 14-5 (equal on wins with Baker).

A 440-399 win in the final game against Baker secured Schoenbrun his victory.

Carl Johnson’s brace of wins against Jack Norman saw him finish third.

3. Going Down to the Wire 2 - The Battle for Collins
A 12-0 start to Evans Clinchy in a strong field and a consistent performance from David Wiegand (pictured) throughout meant that Collins was always going to be a battle between the two for victory

By Game 19, Wiegand and Clinchy were equal on wins (15 apiece) with only spread keeping Wiegand atop the leaderboard. A final game between the two would determine the victor. A tight five moves in, with Wiegand holding a bonus friendly rack, converted to the 131 point GASOm(ET)ER made for an advantage that could not be taken away from the current World Number 10.

You can play through that game here.

4. Topping 600 on your birthday
Successfully seeing off GUACOMOLE* in Game 9, World Number 33 David Koenig found himself up against Mina Le, on her birthday. An opening play of BEIGNET was just the start of a 612-314 win to Le, a victory at the time the fourth highest win of the tournament (it would end up the seventh highest). It was one of only FIVE 600+ scores for the tournament and the first for Le herself, pictured with the board photo.

Occurring in Round 10, this was also the round that featured the high combined score of the tournament: a 524-511 win to Rob Robinsky over Evan Berofsky, featuring wonderful words like AtAATAS and DRUPELET.

5. A win for Scrabble with an active social media feed.
In the digital age, it is wonderful to be able to follow Scrabble events from anywhere in the world and feel connected through your computer if you could not get there. From photos at jazz bars to the many mentions of food, the atmosphere of this tournament became ever more clear with thanks to contributions from a very active social media contingent.

The NASPA social media feed, co-ordinated by the excellent Mike Gincel, provided Facebook followers many aspects of this amazing event complemented by Twitch streaming of games. Followers of NASPA were treated to interviews on all topics, starting with the organizers before the event and included interviews with Austin Shin and Lindsay Bahra, Evans Clinchy and Jennifer Lee, and Jason Broersma. Facebook Live included Crescent City Chatterbox (as a daily wrap) and the presentation ceremony.

Nor does this include the active tweets, Facebook comments and Instagram posts of players at the event, all adding to the atmosphere and leaving the viewer with the feeling of wanting to be there in person.

Such comprehensive coverage sets a bar that all tournament presenters should attempt to emulate in an effort to engage the many fans of tournament Scrabble across the world.

Doing it right will undoubtedly grow the player base and it was great to have seen a little bit of it in action this past week.

Photos and news provided with thanks to NASPA