What a wonderful celebration we had for our 10th Annual Crescent City Cup Scrabble tournament, January 15-17 in New Orleans, Louisiana!

It was different indeed, but given the times we are living in, well, it is what it is. At 80 players, this was the smallest attendance we have ever had, ranging from 90 in 2012 to 137 to 2019. 28 registered players canceled within the last two weeks reflecting concerns about the Omicron variant. While very understandable, it was also disheartening. The flip side of the coin: these 28 players WANTED to be with us and as this pandemic subsides and better times return, we look forward to a time when all who are able will return to play! It was a fully vaccinated group of players, healthy if we judge by the lack of coughing and sneezing and the frequent temperature checks.

 It was a wildly different experience depending if you were a viewer in the comfort of your own home or a player in the confines of our hotel venue. Streaming of live games brought top-quality Collins (CSW) play right to your living room. Facebook posts brought you pictures of people playing and interviews with some of the Scrabblers. Result links brought round by round scores right to your computer or cell phone. As a director in the playing room, imagine my surprise when a family friend in Texas texted me, “Exactly the same tiles!” On the stream, Austin Shin and Chris Lipe each had racks with A E I M O R T! What is the statistical likelihood of that happening? Carl Davis in Atlanta watched all 20 games that were streamed. Hassan Wasiu Oluwagbenga texted me looking for the results links. 

We were so touched by Facebook posts from Scrabblers around North America who were unable to come, but in union with those of us here, were cooking New Orleans favorites. Our own Kate and Tim Fukawa-Connelly in New Jersey were cooking gumbo as was Matt Canik in Texas. Christ Patrick Morgan was cooking Shrimp Tchefuncte. Geoff Thevenot and Melissa Routzahn in Illinois had Zapp’s potato chips, macque choux corn, gumbo, and muffulettas! With us in spirit! 

Speaking of Tim and Kate, they were involved with the tournament through Zoom planning meetings and emails. During the length of the tournament, they were connected by Zoom, entering date to TSH, providing guidance about the stream and director calls, correcting errors made by players on reporting slips. So invaluable!

 Tim Crotty, who has been with us all nine years inputting results to TSH was home this year babysitting our two granddaughters and 11-month-old Oliver. He was able to come on Friday to help set up and then again on Monday afternoon to help break down the room, pack our cars, and move everything home. 

Christian Kay, who has been streaming with us now since 2018 provided the best coverage to date! His custom-designed C3 logo surrounded by 10 fleurs-de-lis adorned our name tags, souvenir cups, flashing necklaces, and table number signs. His CCC animated clip awed us on the stream receiving 1600 views to date. 

Our commentators were Will Anderson and Conrad Bassett-Bouchard who added their expert observations, explaining plays and options as our competitors faced each other on the stream. Games were viewed by as many as 150 watchers around the world. 

Lindsay Shin and Lila Crotty handled the onsite directing and running of the tournament with the able co-directing team of Kate and Tim Fukawa-Connelly. Austin Shin did so much work prior to the event including overhauling our spreadsheet and automating registration. He assisted with set up and tear down and concentrated on playing during the event. 

A big thank you to our friends at the Drury Inn who kept us comfortable all weekend. As omicron caused our numbers to dwindle, management at the hotel granted us use of Ballroom C at no additional cost. Along with Ballrooms A and B, we had 50% more space to accommodate our smaller group. We were able to space our tables out. They also assured me I would not be held to selling 80% if our room block should our reservations fall below the contracted number.

A shout out to NASPA who supports us each year with donations of equipment (long racks, tiles, and dictionaries) that we can give out as prizes.  An additional $300 donation was provided again to help us provide Social Media manpower.  And this year for the first time, since we qualified as a Scrabble Player’s Championship Satellite Event, we were able to award a complimentary SPC registration.  This went to the NWL Open player with the highest rating gain.  All of these contributions helped to make the CCC a fun and rewarding event for so many players.

Huge thanks to our sponsor Scopely (ScrabbleGO) for supporting our tournament to the tune of $5000. As tournament costs are constantly increasing, the donation allowed us to provide a quality tournament experience. While the majority of funds went toward expenses for streaming and commentary, we also were able to spend money on amenities for all of our players. An agreed-upon amount was added to prize funds for the Collins Divisions as Scopely’s primary audience use the CSW dictionary.

We are very much looking forward to better times and the hope of a bigger and better Crescent City Cup! 

Prizes were awarded as follows: 

Early Bird Prize: Chris Schneider (*return of Entry Fee) 

CSW Open Division (14 Players) 

  Champion: Dave Koenig, 13.5-6.5, +1280 $1,190 

  Runner-up: Austin Shin, 13-7, +695 $660 

  3rd Place: Josh Castellano, 13-7, +390 $360 

  4th Place: Dave Wiegand, 12-8, +641 Tile bag/Tiles 

  Class B, 1st Place: Puneet Sharma, 11-9, +45 $240 

  High Play: Rasheed Balogun TOWLINES, 149 mask 

  High Game: Chris Lipe 643-357 vs Dave Wiegand $10 

  High Loss: Lucas Freeman 477-490 vs Ben Schoenbrun $10 

CSW Lite Division (12 Players) 

  Champion: Laura Wolfson, 15-5, +1338 $670 

  Runner-up: Jeremy Jeffers, 14-6, +198 $420 

  3rd Place: Ifedayo Obisesan, 11-9, -13 Tile bag/Tiles 

  Class B, 1st Place: Ayotunde Adeyeri, 13-7 $160

  High Play:   Absar Mustajab READJUST, 167 

  High Game: Absar Mustajab 628-281 vs BriAnna McKissen $10 

  High Loss: Nitya Chagti 443-548 vs Ifedayo Obisesan $10 

  CSW High Rating Change: Laura Wolfson (from 1355 to 1468) $200

NWL Open Division (22 Players) 

  Champion: Kevin Fraley, 15-5, +1185 $730 

  Runner-up: Joey Mallick, 14.5-5.5, +761 $460

  3rd Place: Jackson Smylie, 13-7, +586 $270 

  4th Place: Josh Sokol, 12-8, +1115 Tile bag/Tiles 

  5th Place: Jeff Fiszbein 12-8, -306 NWL Dictionary

  Class B, 1st Place: Michael Baker, 12-8, +513 $200 

  Class B, 2nd Place: Chris Schneider, 12-8, -108 $160 

  Tuff Luck Award (donated by Helen Joffe) Billy Nakamura (losses by 1,2,18,31,46,48) $30  

  High Word: Judy Cole DIFFUSER, 98 Mask 

  High Game: Timothy Botorff 607-296 vs Jackie Camper $10 

  High Loss: Cynthia Seales 453-457 vs Ed DeGuzman $10 

NWL Lite Division (32 Players) 

  Champion: Josh Greenway, 16-4, +939 $620 

  Runner-Up: Annette Obrestad, 15-5, +787 $410 

  3rd Place: Kevin Black, 14-6, +468 $290 

  4th Place: Ferdinand Addo, 13-7, +628 $250 

  5th Place: Rishabh Murali, 13-7, +433 $210 

  6th Place: Sarah Waits, 12-8, +767 Tile bag/Tiles 

  7th Place: Brian Summers, 12-8, +520 NWL Dictionary 

  Class B, 1st Place: Elaine Livers, 11-9, +642 $210 

  Class B, 2nd Place: Aaron Dyreson, 11-9, +88 $120 

  High Word: Brian Garnett, STUBBING, 167 $10 

  High Game: Ralph Ireland 533-272 vs Aaron Dyreson $10 

  High Loss: Cheryl Kagan 429-439 vs Kevin Black $10 

  Newbies High Rating Change: Annette Obrestad (from 0 to 1556) tiles

                                                             Jeffrey Moore (from 0 to 1125) tiles 

  Newbies Welcome Prize: Brian Garnett racks 

                                                   Aaron Dyreson racks 

                                                   Caleb Dentry racks 

                                                   Richard Scheidt racks 

                                                   Cody Smith racks 

NWL High Rating Change: Michael Baker (from 1626 to 1745) free entry to Scrabble Players Championship

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