Categories by Another Name ...
There were 31 entrants who congregated 9:00 p.m. on Saturday
evening for a battle of wits as the event's smallest turnout
in '99 was followed by its biggest in 2000. Go figure. The tournament
questions were prechosen by a Russian/German translator, Terry
Telger, who was unable to attend this year's convention but owns
wood dating back to 1992. GM Chuck Foster, made the Rail Baron
finals in the room nextdoor so he appointed Debbie Otto as
the assistant G.M. who facilitated the tournament. Ken Rothstein,
Greg Mayer and Steve Cameron also assisted.
The first-round scores were extremely high, much to the delight
of the contestants. Questions were generally easier than past
years which was demonstrated by twelve perfect rounds of 250
points. Several years ago, the top scorer in the semi-finals
by Eric Olin was 880 points. This year, all six finalists had
scores above that. The six finalists were Randy Cox (1032), James
Hopkin (988), Pitt Crandlemire (988), Steve Cameron (950), Donna
Balkan (908) and Debbie Bell (904).
An interesting moment during the first round occurred when
the category "American Presidents" was announced. Greg
Mayer commented as he left the room, "Don't forget Ben Franklin!"
Several contestants, under the pressure of time, actually used
his name. Don't underestimate the power of suggestion!
The finals ran similar to the first round with high scores.
All finalists scored over 200 points on the following categories:
words associated with money, famous duos, cartoon characters,
movie titles, horror/sciencefiction/fantasy and languages, with
the letters H, Y, W, N and * (any letter). Five perfect rounds
of 250 points were scored. Donna Balkan had two rounds of 232
points. However, Randy Cox, on the strength of his final round,
took the championship.