WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

From Helen Flores, Secretary:

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm CST, October 2, 2022.

Board Members Attending: Will Anderson, Jan Cardia, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Keith Hagel, and Steve Pellinen.

Old Business

  1. Tournaments
  • Word Cup 2023 – Will reported that a detailed quote from the hotel is pending, and organizers agree with the terms in the Memorandum of Understanding.  Will plans to continue coordinating with the organizers.
  • Majors  – The November tournament in Madison and the Phoenix tournament are both announced and posted on Cross Tables. Registration is going well. Registration for the South Carolina Spring tournament will open on December 1.
  • Other Tournament issues: Board members suggested that the Crescent tourney in conjunction with CoCo needs additional publicity. It needs to be posted on the Facebook page. Bennett planned to follow through.
    Board members noted the need for increased promotion for all WGPO tournaments and additional communication and support for WGPO Directors. Bennett was asked to develop a mailing and contact list for all WGPO Directors by the November meeting.
  1. Revised COVID policy– Mike Johnson/Lynda Finn drafted updated vaccination language for the Board to review. The Board decided to require up-to-date vaccinations and eligible boosters for all tournament players. Bennett suggested that masks be optional for players in counties with low Covid threat levels. Members agreed to proposed revisions of sections #2 Vaccinations, and #3 Masking in the Tournament Guidance policy. Revised guidance will take effect for tournaments beginning November 1, 2022. Secretary Helen Flores will incorporate changes into the original policy and have it posted on the website and Facebook page.
  1. Committee Reports
  • Disciplinary Committee – Steve reported that he has a short list of members for appointment to a Disciplinary Committee. Board members suggested additional names of players for the committee. Steve will try to provide a list of appointees at the November meeting.
  • Lexicon Committee – Bennett reported that the members of the original Lexicon Committee had several conversations and one ZOOM meeting. The group noted that much energy and time will be needed just to maintain the current list. After meeting, the Committee members did not reach agreement for how to create and maintain a separate WGPO lexicon over time.
    Bennett outlined one option. Use the TWL/NWL 18 current list and remove the few words that are not also in the Collins word list. There are only 9 words of 8 letters or less. Bennett already has files for this.
    The Board discussed sources for adding new words to a list over time since language continues to change. Will noted his preference to working with Merriam-Webster – rather than Collins – as new words are recognized. Will also noted a strong preference for the Scrabble community using fewer rather than more word lists. Every list adds to the labor, time and cost for support. He hopes to see WGPO develop its own streaming process for its lexicon.
  • Elections Committee Lynda Finn and Winter forwarded a report outlining the Nominations and Election timeline and their comments. The Bylaws require that the Board take the following actions as soon as possible including:

o   Prepare list of members in good standing with email addresses

o   Appoint Nominating Committee.

o   Board Secretary send message to qualified voting members seeking resumes for open Board positions. Bylaws require 30 days prior to November Board meeting.

o   Appoint Elections Committee – Lynda Finn and Winter. The Committee is actively seeking a third member and encourage interested WGPO members to contact Lynda.

o   Approve expenditure for electionrunner. The Committee reported sending 861 ballots in 2021 at a cost of $90. 373 voted. The Board approved expenditure of $90 and look forward to increased membership voting.

The Board agreed on the above Elections Committee Report actions. The following requirements were identified for the Board to address in November.

o   November: Determine cut-off date for newly registered members to be eligible to vote. (Bylaws Article 5, Section 1)

o   November: Deadline for list of members in good standing (registered before cut-off date and eligible to vote) with their email addresses

o   November: Consider changing “majority” to “plurality” in bylaws, as well as other desired bylaws changes.

o   November: Finalize candidates

o   November: Establish Dec. Annual Meeting date and duration of voting period.

  • Communications Committee – Helen noted that she took the opportunity in Chicago at Word Cup to approach David Weiss and Dave Postal about the need for a WGPO Communications Committee. Both members are highly qualified in this area, and both agreed at the time to serve if appointed. Board members asked President Pellinen to formally appoint  David W. and Dave P. and assign them the task of developing a WGPO Communications Strategy.

 4.  Other Scrabble Organization Coordination:  WGPO is coordinating again with CoCo by providing a share of prize funds to co-sponsor the New Orleans Crescent City Tournament January 14 -16, 2023.

NASPA has changed its policy and will now permit NASPA directors to direct WGPO tournaments without penalizing them. Board members reviewed Judy Cole’s announcement regarding the decision. The Board identified areas of concern and agreed to draft a response to Judy. Steve noted the need for a congenial, cooperative relationship with NASPA leadership and members. Coordinated efforts are needed to grow the game.      

New Business 

  1. Youth Grant/Scholarship Funding– Helen noted a GoFundMe request to send a passionate young player from Texas to India to compete in the Asia Cup Youth Scrabble Championship. Board members noted that many other players may also need and deserve formal WGPO support and possible CCSFF funding. However, we need to develop scholarship application, develop a process and set an age range before approving any case-by-case funding requests. Helen noted that Lynda Finn had posted the GoFundMe request on the WGPO Facebook page, and a number of Scrabble players chose to make individual donations in support of the young player. Until we approve a policy and process, this is a good interim method to publicize, promote and support such causes.
  2.  WGPO Member Dues Discussion.– Keith noted that for several years, WGPO Funding Committee members have raised funds for the organization. He does not foresee this group raising operational and administrative funds needed on an ongoing basis. Helen and Jan both opposed requiring membership dues after just one year of incorporation. If and when dues are proposed, WGPO’s budget, accomplishments over time, and need for additional resources will need to be explained and justified to the membership. The Board tabled the discussion of dues.
  1. Annual Meeting:As President, Steve plans to draft a summary report of the year and have it available to members prior to the December annual meeting. At that meeting election results will be announced, and new Board members welcomed. Also at the Annual meeting, the new Board will elect officers for 2023.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:50 p.m., CST (Bennett/Will).

Updated WGPO Sanctioned Tournament Requirements

Updated WGPO SanctionedTournament Requirements

Effective: January 2, 2022

Requirement #3 Amended effective:  April 1, 2022

Requirement #2 Amended effective: May 21, 2022

Requirements #2 and #3 Amended effective: November 1, 2022

These requirements amend and supersede Updated Tournament Rules issued by the Board of Player Representatives (BPR), effective  September 1 – December 31, 2021. Rules apply to sanctioned in person tournament play only. Standards for resuming local WGPO Club play shall be determined by individual clubs and directors.Variants of the COVID virus, Delta and Omicron, have evolved. Because viruses constantly change through mutation, new variants are also expected to occur.  WGPO requirements are based on Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, updated November 19, 2021, and advice from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

  1. Directors shall conduct Tournaments that comply with federal, state and local health directives including Canadian, provincial and territorial directives.
  2.  All tournament participants must be both fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 andup-to-date with recommended Covid-19 booster shots for which they are eligible.

With the recent availability of the new bivalent Omicron booster, starting November 12022, players will be required to have an additional booster – if they are eligible and recommended for an additional booster — to participate in WGPO tournaments.

  • For US players (12 years and older), an additional (bivalent) booster shot after August 31, 2022 is required, unless the last shot in your primary series was less than two months ago.
  • For Canadian players, eligibility is currently based on your province and is typically recommended 5 or 6 months after your most recent Covid vaccination. Recent Covid infection may affect your guidance for the new booster in certain provinces.
  • Players outside the US and Canada must follow Covid vaccination guidance from your home country.

For tournaments prior to November 1, 2022, players will follow previous Covid vaccine policy (primary series plus 1 or 2 boosters depending on age.)

Either a printed or electronic copy of COVID 19 vaccine plus booster must be presented to tournament director at time of registration.

  1.  Masking requirements effective November 1, 2022, are as follows:
  • Masks are optional in tournaments if the tournament is held in a county where the CDC has designated the Community COVID-19 level as less than red (high) at tournament time.
  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html
  • Masks are required in tournaments if the tournament is held in a county where the CDC has designated the Community COVID-19 level as high at the time of the tournament.
  • The tournament director retains the option to require masks regardless of tournament size.
  • Masks are not required at tournaments held in private residences or outdoors.
  1. Tournaments shall be held in venues away from public or congested areas, e.g., in a separate hall or room in a restaurant, community center, hotel, private home, etc.
  2. On the day of the tournament, each participant shall attest by signature to the following:
  • I do not currently have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • I am assuming all risks of attending the tournament.
  • I have fully cleaned and sanitized all equipment to be used in play.
  • I will practice safe hygiene and follow COVID-19 safety precautions.

6.  Directors shall provide hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes to participants

Autumn – A great time for tournaments

Bennett Jacobstein gathered 15 of us at a pizza place in Vancouver, Washington, on Sunday, September 25.  We enjoyed good pizza and great company.  Three of us showed up in Calgary, Alberta, five days later to begin three days of Scrabble® with 14 of our Canadian friends and Californian David Pearl.  Adam Henderson managed to take second place in Division 1 at both tournaments.  Mary Logullo was third in Calgary’s Division 2, while I got the prize for fourth place in Division 1 in Vancouver.

First place in Vancouver went to Mitch Bayersdorfer in Division 1 and Benjamin Ansell in Division 2.  Juraj Pivovarov handily won Division 1 and Sue Brigliadori edged out Richard Martin for 1st in Division 2 in Calgary.  Hank Hees, rated at 1160, finished 3rd in Division 1 in Calgary, raising his rating to 1354.

It was beautiful autumn weather in Calgary.  The trees were turning to gold, with sunshine and highs in the 70’s.

Sorry, no pictures.


A sunny day in Moraga

From Bennett Jacobstein:

Moraga TournamentTen players enjoyed Scrabble in the Park on an ideal day in Moraga with perfect weather.  Billy Nakamura and Saint battled for first place with Billy winning on spread.  Alan Whitman won the performance prize finishing 4th place while being seeded eighth.

WGPO – More good times ahead

Have you looked at the list of upcoming tournaments lately?   It’s growing, with more to be added soon.

After two years off, Calgary is again hosting its three-day autumn event from September 30 through October 2.  This has always been fun.  The Calgarians are great hosts and pleasant people.  Here are the details:  Calgary flyer.

Las Vegas is always a popular spot for a tournament.  There’s one scheduled for October 15 and 16.  Details:  Las Vegas Flyer.

And over Veterans’ Day weekend, there’s the first of three WGPO Regional tournaments, with an augmented prize pool.  This will be in Madison, Wisconsin.  Madison Flyer.

These are the big ones coming soon.  There are others.  Check them out under Upcoming Tournaments


WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – August

From Helen Flores:

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm CST.   Attending: Will Anderson, Steve Pellinen, Jan Cardia, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Keith Hagel, Bennett Jacobstein.

Approve July 3, 2022 Minutes: With no changes or additions, the Minutes were approved (Steve/Laurie).

Member Discipline/Discipline Committee Needed: On August 4, the Board took disciplinary against a member for failing to disclose testing positive for COVID in order to play in a tournament. The player received an immediate suspension from tournament play and attendance. The player is further required to acknowledge and apologize for violating tournament requirements.

Board Members discussed sharing player disciplinary action with directors, the full membership, and the public. They agreed that tournament directors need to know which members are suspended and which are in good standing. However, the identity of a disciplined member need not be shared with the general public or the membership at large. Therefore, Board meeting minutes shall briefly summarize the infraction, disciplinary action taken, but without member identification.

For future discussion, Board members asked how discipline should be addressed when there is no consensus: How many votes will be required to act: a simple majority? Unanimity? or other?

Keith noted that disciplinary issues consume an inordinate amount of time for the Board, He recommended that the President appoint a Disciplinary Committee to be charged with reviewing complaints, requesting and assessing incident reports from all parties involved, and recommending Board action.

2022 Word Cup Review – What worked, what could be improved?  Improvements suggested included:

  •  Print names on both sides of lanyards.
  • Instead of loose strips of paper to report winners and scores, provide sticky note tablets at playing tables.
  • TWL Streaming coverage was disappointing. It worked for CoCo – but the WGPO tourney received no coverage except for the Awards Ceremony. Board members discussed options for TWL tournaments to be streamed, including ideas to address Hasbro and Mattel concerns about using the TWL lexicon. Will Anderson agreed to investigate setting up our own separate streaming channel.
  • TWL tournament publicity and coverage were sorely lacking. Board members noted that WGPO has always been weak in this regard. We need to appoint a communications  committee to promote the organization and the game; and publicize events.
  • The Town Hall Meeting needed an agenda. Topics raised were of limited interest to the membership, and discussion rambled. Laurie noted that low attendance is often because there is little incentive to be there. Previously the incentive for member meetings included learning where the next year’s Word Cup would be held.

Future WGPO/CoCo Joint Ventures: Board members shared mixed views about the joint 2022 Word Cup event. Both tournaments were successful, but there was little joint interaction. Obstacles included: players in entirely separate rooms, COVID and other health concerns, and extremely busy directors.

As noted earlier, the TWL tournament should have been announced frequently during the streaming session. What other measures might have been taken to include more TWL coverage?

Our next CoCo collaboration will be at the upcoming 2023 Crescent City Cup. Tournament organizers approached CoCo, who then contacted WGPO, about co-sponsoring the event in New Orleans. Steve will meet with CoCo leaders to discuss this tournament and ways to improve further joint ventures.

 2023 Word Cup 11 Discussion: Board members discussed alternative locations and venues in Northeast United States for Word Cup 11, including costs and benefits of two alternatives. Details about specific venues were discussed in closed Executive Session. Members expressed concerns and raised questions that need to be addressed before the Board will make a final decision. Steve agreed to gather additional information within the next two weeks.

 Election Committee: Bennett agreed to contact Lynda Finn to request that she chair the Elections Committee again. Four members’ terms are up at the end of the year: Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Keith Hagel and Steve Pellinen. Helen suggested that Board members identify potential candidates for office.

 Lexicon Committee: Bennett has contacted Lexicon Committee members. He will send a written report to the Board.

 Adjournment: The Board adjourned the Board meeting at 8:00 pm CST (Helen/Keith).

Helen Flores, Secretary, WGPO