WGPO Board Meeting May 1, 2022

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Sunday May 1 , 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm CST.

AttendingSteve Pellinen, Keith Hagel, Jan Cardia, Helen Flores, Laurie Cohen, Bennett Jacobstein.

  1. Approve March 27, 2022 Minutes  No changes to the minutes as posted on the WGPO website.
  1. Update on Majors and Word Cup 2023  Board members moved to discuss locations, venue options and planning issues in closed session following the meeting.
  1. WGPO/CoCo Word Cup 2022 update  Word Cup Budget details, including all prize amounts have not been finalized other than committing $10,000 each top prize money for TWL and Collins. Venue and overhead costs are significant. The event requires funds for a second ballroom, and Steve noted that $3500 of entry fees will be used to live stream several CWL Word Cup games.  Word Cup 10 is a joint CoCo/WGPO event, and CoCo leaders urged streaming to promote and publicize the game.  The Board of Directors discussed benefits vs. costs for live streaming games. Doing so should increase awareness of the Word Cup and WGPO Inc. as well.
  1. Possible WGPO hosting of World Championship  Steve asked Board members to consider hosting the World Scrabble Championship in 2023. This prestigious CWL event attracts players from all over the world.  Laurie noted that it would be a wonderful and exciting opportunity for our organization.  Members expressed interest in this idea but expressed concerns about the amount of work we have already taken on.  WGPO needs more time to plan before we can take on this charge.  If CoCo decides to host the World Cup, WGPO Directors agreed to support that effort.  WGPO’s hosting interest is not in 2023, but in the future, perhaps 2024.
  2.  Finances:  Directors addressed the following financial concerns.

* IRS Form 990 must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Steve forwarded a partial copy with the agenda. Steve and Jan are finishing work on that.

*Financial redundancy:  Jan and Laurie will have signature permission with the WGPO bank account, along with Steve, at Wells Fargo Bank.

* Helen had sent Directors information about fundraising efforts for WGPO administrative costs.  Fundraising committee members are few, and it is difficult to estimate whether or not the committee will raise enough to cover all annual costs.

Bennett suggested that the members vote on membership dues in a referendum, perhaps when elections are held at the end of the year.

  1. Insurance upgrade, Hasbro license  As primary sponsor of the School Scrabble Word Planet event, WGPO needs to have a license agreement with Hasbro.  Steve had forwarded Hasbro’s license with redlined initial and final versions prior to the meeting. The original license agreement proposal required extremely high insurance liability insurance. Steve noted how easy it was to meet and work with Hasbro’s new Director of Development.  They were able to negotiate a reduction in the liability insurance amount needed.  The updated WGPO insurance policy will cost $600+ additional annually.
  1. President’s expense spending limit:  Steve asked the Board to consider whether or not the President should have an expense limit – to use WGPO funds – without consulting the Board.  Such a policy would apply to the individual in the position of President.  Members decided that the President is generally able to consult with Directors via Email or phone.  Action: Set President expense spending limit of $250 without consulting the Board (Helen/Keith).
  1. Update School Scrabble Championship May 14 – 15

Steve noted that WGPO is providing 90% of the support for the School Scrabble Championship.  WGPO is carrying the Hasbro license, providing liability insurance and $10,000 in funding.  Will is streaming the event.  Stefan Fatsis is directing.

  1. COVID update

COVID cases are rising again. However, tracking of cases is difficult, given home testing and less reporting than earlier. A Director recently lost a parent to COVID.

Directors considered vaccination/booster requirements for players from other countries. National policies differ. WGPO set a precedent when the Board agreed that Canadian players who comply with their country’s vaccination standards may play in WGPO tournaments. Directors agreed that players who meet COVID vaccination requirements to travel to the U.S. shall be considered in compliance with WGPO vaccination standards.

Should the Board further amend WGPO tournament guidance about masking? Players are to be masked in Word Cup playing rooms. Masks will not be mandatory at the reception. In order to protect members, Directors agreed to maintain Tournament guidance for COVID (last amended April 1, 2022) through the Word Cup in July.

  1. Proposed Advertising and Promotions Committee  After brief discussion of the need for additional to WGPO advertising and promotions, no action was taken.
  1. Website update  Charles and Thomas Reinke continue work updating the Web site. Current plans are for the Board to see a preview at the next (June) Board meeting.
  1. Director! Update  Marc Levesque is the Director developer, and he has recently upgraded the software. The new version — Director 5 – is easier to use and may be downloadable to the upgraded WGPO website.  It can manage 100-game tournaments and large tournaments like the Word Cup.  For use of the software, Marc has generally received an annual fee of $200.

The Board voted to hold a closed Executive Session. (Keith/Jan)

The Board adjourned the open session Board meeting at 7:30 pm CST (Jan/Helen).


News from Calgary

From Juraj Pivovarov:

Zana Anderson's selfie with the other players

Zana Anderson’s selfie with the other players

Calgary recently hosted an open 14-round Scrabble Tournament, and it featured two octogenarian finishers in the top 3!
Siri Tillekeratne beat George Macaulay of Saskatoon in their final round to win clear first.  He made a nice bingo that won him the “best word” prize for ABELOOW in the penultimate round.   Prizes were awarded for top three finishers overall and the top three Under1300.  Winning the U1300, and surprisingly finishing in 3rd overall was Wendy McGrath.  One of her great finds was ACDEEINU.
The lowest rated player, Tom McKay managed to play a phony triple-triple against the highest rated player George Macaulay and lived to tell.  REREPAIR.  However it has two legitimate solutions in TWL18: AEEIPRRR.  Can you find them?
Thanks is due to those who travelled great distance to play, like John from Vancouver, Zana from Utah, and George and Hank from Saskatoon. Noella had to drop out at the last minute, and donated her entry fee as a special category prize for LOW WIN, which was a very pleasant surprise for Zana, who didn’t finish in the money, but managed a win with only 301.
We typically have 20-30 players in a tournament, but this tournament was low with only 15.  Many last minute cancellations for reasons such as covid, etc.

We had 15 players and 14 rounds, so it was a little awkward.  14 players would get a bye and one person would not.  In this case George had the best record all tournament and was the only one who didn’t get a bye.  But in hindsight, with these numbers, I’d be tempted to give NO bye to the lowest rated player, as they are least likely to win the tournament overall, and thus it may have been the fairest.
Also, we had an option of round-robin style pairings (truncated round robin, with perhaps one king-of-the-hill at the end).  This gives more VARIETY of opponents.  What we chose instead was three legs: 8 rounds, 5 rounds and 1 round, whereby players could get repeat opponents in the second leg, and could potentially face the same opponent a final 3rd time in the very last round.  This had the virtue that players could compete more with (rating-wise) peers.  ie strong players could get more games against strong players, which they like, and ditto for lower rated players.  The downside is less VARIETY.
We didn’t like the concept of two divisions because there were a lot of players in the mid range, and very close to each other.  Thus, with two divisions, some middle players would play in the top group – and ALL their games would be hard.  Other middle players would play in the bottom group, and ALL their games would be significantly easier.  An OPEN tournament makes it more fun, where “players sort themselves out” and play who they should be playing based on their tournament ranking.
We have always done sectionals in Calgary, it was fun to try an Open, and it was generally well received by players.

Word Cup TWL Division Announcement:

We’d like to announce that the TWL division will have a total of 4 divisions as follows.

A player’s Peak WGPO rating will be determined by:

1) Their highest WGPO TWL rating at the end of a WGPO tournament between 6/1/2021 and 7/1/2022.
2) If a player has not played in a WGPO TWL tournament between 6/1/2021 and 7/1/2022, their current WGPO TWL rating as of 7/1/2022 will be used.
3)If a player has never played in a WGPO TWL event, a player’s peak rating will be based on their tournament results from other organizations, based on the discretion of the Tournament Directors.

Each player will be initially placed in a division based on their peak WGPO rating: (these are just some possible cut-offs for discussion.) Directors will require that a player play in a higher division if ratings/past results in other organizations and/or lexicons place them well above a cut-off for a higher division.

Division 1: 1700+
Division 2: 1400-1699
Division 3: 1100-1399
Division 4: 0-1099

Unlimited Play-ups Allowed: Any player may play in a higher division than they are placed, however, they may not play in a lower division than assigned by their peak rating. To request to play in a higher division, you must let Lynda Finn lyndafinn@aol.com know by July 1st. After July 1st, requests to “play-up” will be considered to minimize byes or balance division sizes. Please check the WGPO tourney roster at


prior to July 1st to make sure you are placed in the appropriate division.

An updated draft of the tentative prizes is expected to be announced sometime in May.

Word Cup Directors,
Lynda Finn, Mike Johnson, Steve Pellinen

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes March 27, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm CST.

AttendingSteve Pellinen, Keith Hagel, Jan Cardia, Helen Flores, Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Bennett Jacobstein.

1.    March 6, 2022 Minutes – Approval  There were no changes to the minutes as posted on the WGPO website.

2.    Executive Session  Steve identified the need for the Board to document certain types of sensitive issues with discretion. Disciplinary charges require the Board to investigate charges and complaints, gather information, and document concerns. In order to maintain privacy during this phase of the process, the Board met to review a potential disciplinary action. Members reviewed concerns at length and assessed possible WGPO action at this time. The Session closed with agreement that action would be needed and authorized Steve to pursue coordinated efforts with other organizations.

3. WGPO/CoCo Word Cup Update: Board members noted that entry fees go up on April 1.

4. School Scrabble Planet Word Event: Steve Pellinen has been invited to participate in the School Scrabble Championship event, May 14 – 15, in Washington D.C. to assist with the event layout and logistics. It will also provide an opportunity for Steve to meet with new Hasbro executives. Will Anderson, representing Scopely, will have his expenses covered.

Action: Board approved use of WGPO funds for Steve’s lodging and travel for Planet World School Scrabble Championship (Helen/Laurie).

5. Director Software: Bennett identified the need for continued support and updating of Director software that is used for managing tournaments. He suggested that perhaps WGPO could look into taking over these responsibilities. Discussion included assessments of other software products that have been used for tournaments. All agreed that the software needs to be director-friendly and of course accurate. CoCo is in the process of developing a new software, and it might also work for WGPO.  Officers will check to see what other efforts are underway, with the Woogles team, among others. It would be beneficial for the software to tie into the Reinke’s website revision work as well.  Steve agreed to contact Mark Levesque.

6. Fundraising Committee Report: Helen noted that the Fundraising Committee has determined that its goal is to raise funds to help cover WGPO Inc. administrative costs.  Given the infusion of CCSFF funds for prizes, tournament entry fees should fully cover tournament venue and associated costs.  Therefore, we will no longer contribute additional funds to increase prize amounts, as we have done in previous years.  With this amended focus, Committee members are doing wonderful things. Stay tuned!

7. Finances – Budget for 2022 remainder and look-ahead to 2023

Steve provided a detailed summary of finances to date in advance of the meeting.  Some items listed are one-time expenses related to incorporation, IRS filing, etc.  Insurance and some other items will not change much from year to year. Some other items are difficult to estimate; legal fees, for example.

Bennett requested that the Board estimate amounts of CCSFF prize funds that will be allocated to the three regional tournaments that he is trying to schedule.

The Board noted that CCSFF funds are earmarked as follows: $50,000 Word Cup, $10,000 School Scrabble. $1,500 CCSFF funds contributed to the Phoenix prize fund.

Members suggested that the total prize for each of the three regional tournaments needs to be substantial. Tournament directors need incentives.

Action: WGPO will use as a goal $10,000 CCSFF prize fund for each of three regional tournaments in 2022-23.

8. COVID Update: COVID infection news remains unpredictable. Board members discussed whether or not to further amend the Updated WGPO Tournament Rules. Consensus was to take no action.

9. Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm CST (Keith Hagel/Laurie Cohen).

Minnesota turns green

IMG_20220320_173403885_PORTRAITAfter a two-year delay, we convened in Bloomington for Greeneye III.  It was well worth the wait.  When you think of March in Minnesota, balmy spring weather doesn’t usually come to mind, but it was certainly springlike last weekend.  Nonetheless, 33 of us spent many sunshiny hours in a windowless room playing 23 games over two days.  Director Mike Johnson did his usual fine job of keeping us going.  Co-directors Steve Pellinen and Jason Vaysberg were big factors in the tournament success as well.

On or before the end of Game 22, the winners had clinched  their victories.  Laurie Cohen did it in Division A, Fran Galt in Division B, and Rasheed Balogun in the Collins Division.

I hope we don’t have to wait two years for Greeneye IV.

Players were camera shy, but Paddy had no choice.