A couple of months ago, Mihai Pantis and Dan Laurentiu Sandu met in the final of the Qualifying Tournament for the World Scrabble Championship held in Johor Bahru. These two Romanian Scrabble players have met 20 times this year and the score is 10-10! I knew that either of them could qualify. It was Dan's experience versus Mihai's superior word knowledge. I named this article the war of the blanks since the two magic blanks decided the winner in the first 7 games. Dan drew the first 6 blanks to win the first 3 games. Mihai took the next 4 blanks and the score became 3-2. Dan took the next 2 blanks. It was 4-2 for him and he needed one more win in order to qualify for the WSC. This time it was Mihai' s turn to get the blanks. It was 4-3 for Dan. In the last 2 games they shared the blanks. Both games went Mihai's way and sent him to Malaysia.
Let's have a look at some statistics:
5 wins, 8 blanks, 12 bonuses,8 phoneys(6 challenged off) 3693 points
Bonuses played: Aerobes, Longers, Betaken, Mausolea, Torrents,
Timider, Mudiria, Renoted*(Erodent is valid), Ooriest, Nidating,
2. Dan Laurentiu Sandu
4 wins, 10 blanks, 12 bonuses, 6 phoneys(all challenged off), 3490 points
Overpast, Gardens, Toasted, Melodica, Soutanes, Bornite, Serafin,
Euglenas, Loiters, Areoles, Returned, Notates.
I have already congratulated Mihai on his win and sent my commiserations to Dan. Together we will try not to lose the 2 spots Romania has for the WSC. If the tile Gods are with us, we could even earn a third spot. Let's see what happens!