Candidates Q & A

From the Elections Committee (Lynda and Winter):

We asked the candidates their thoughts on the following questions which we believe are of major interest to the members. Their responses are below. There are some interesting areas of agreement and some great ideas for moving forward.  Click on the links for their answers:

  1. What do you currently do to support WGPO?  Question 1 Responses
  2. What are your thoughts on unifying the various North American Scrabble Organizations? What should be the next steps?  Question 2 Responses
  3. What are your thoughts on dictionary expurgation? Question 3 Responses
  4. What are your suggestions on growing the game? Question 4 Responses
  5. Are there any changes in how WGPO runs that you’d like to see implemented? Question 5 Responses
  6. What are your thoughts on the best way to cover WGPO’s administrative expenses? Question 6 Responses


WGPO Board of Directors’ Meeting December 4, 2022

From Helen Flores:

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Sunday December 4, 2022

  1. Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm CST, December 4, 2022.  Board Members Attending: Will Anderson, Jan Cardia, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Keith Hagel, and Steve Pellinen.
  2. Surveymonkey Software: Laurie Cohen has prepared and analyzed member surveys following Word Cups in the past. She recommended that the Board approve $25 per year for continued use of the software. Members noted that surveys provide a useful method to collect suggestions and information directly from the membership. The cost for this communication tool is well worth it. Approved unanimously.
  3. Word Cup 2023: The Board resolved details for next year’s Word Cup.

** Word Cup Branding: From inception WGPO branded each Word Cup with a consecutive number, through #10 in Naperville this year. The numbering system is traditional. However, using the year as the title provides an easier method to track and research the events. Following discussion, the Board adopted Word Cup + YEAR as the title, i.e., Word Cup 2023.

** Prize Fund Amounts & Publicity: As decided earlier, a total amount of $50,000 of CCSFF grant funds will be allocated to Word Cup. The top prize for TWL/NWL will be $10,000. If the total number of Collins player is 50 or more, the top Collins prize will also be $10,000. This worked in 2022, with two Collins divisions. Board members discussed preferences for publicizing prizes. Consensus was to lead the initial announcement by specifying that “at least $50,000 in total prize funds will be awarded.” Additional information in that announcement – and in subsequent publicity — should highlight that “first place prize winners in each lexicon will be awarded $10,000 prizes,” in order to attract top-notch international players. Members plan for strong promotion and wide-spread publicity, including local venue media coverage.

** Word Cup Logo: WGPO funded two-thirds of the cup logo design that was used for CoCo and WGPO in 2022. Board members look forward to other design options. Will has received a proposed design and will forward it to the Board following the meeting. Depending on the Board’s reaction it will be included in the upcoming announcement.
** Word Cup Announcement: The 2023 announcement is much later than Word Cup announcements in previous years, and members are eager for information. Will said the announcement is expected within the week and before the Annual Meeting.

  1. Annual Meeting Procedures

Board Members reviewed a draft Annual Meeting agenda, based on the first Annual Meeting in December 2022. The process will be consistent with last year’s.

** Meeting Schedule: PART I – Business Meeting begins on Saturday December 10, 3:00 pm Eastern/ 2:00 Central/ 1:00 pm Mountain/ Noon Pacific. PART II extends the voting period until close of the meeting Midnight, EST Wednesday December 14.

** Meeting Structure: PART I will be an interactive TWITCH video conference – approximately two hours long and accessible to all members. Members must sign into TWITCH to submit questions to the TWITCH Moderator Charles Reinke during the Board business agenda or afterwards during the Question & Answer session. A YouTube video of the meeting will be made available after the fact on the website.

** EMail Questions/Comments: WGPO members who are not on TWITCH may send questions to before or during the meeting. Directors will address comments during the business meeting or include them in the Q&A session.

  1. Annual Meeting PART I Agenda 

** Call to Order and Welcome – Keith Hagel, Vice-President

** Word Cup 2023 – Bennett Jacobstein

** Elections Committee – Lynda Finn/ Winter on the candidates for office and electoral process details. See Candidates’ Statements and their Q & A responses on the WGPO website.

** Financial Report – Steve Pellinen, President. The written report will also be available on the WGPO website.

** Lexicon Committee Update: Steve Pellinen

** Ratings & Tournament Committee – Bennett Jacobstein: 2022 Tournament statistics, recommended CCSFF prize fund allocations for 2023, and application procedures.

** Educational Mission – Steve Pellinen: WGPO’s Articles of Incorporation educational requirements and how to incorporate those efforts into all we do.

** WGPO 2022 Accomplishments – Helen Flores, Secretary.

** Question & Answer Session – Member comments, suggestions, questions

** PART I Adjournment – Saturday December 10.

  1. Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:44 p.m., CST (Keith/Jan).

WGPO Board Nominations are in: Here are the Candidates

Updated December 3:

The terms of four board members; Steve Pellinen, Keith Hegel, Laurie Cohen, and Helen Flores, expire at the end of the year.  Steve and Laurie are running for re-election, Helen and Keith are not.  We have three additional candidates for a total of five (Carl Voss has withdrawn).  Members will receive voting instructions next month via email.  Here are the candidates.  Click on the names to read their candidate statements.

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

From Helen Flores:

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes Sunday November 6, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:31 pm CST, October 2, 2022.

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

Absent: Jan Cardia.

Old Business

  1. Tournaments
  • Word Cup 2023: Will Anderson reported that the event is scheduled to begin on Friday, June 30th and culminate on July 4th. The final meeting with the hotel has been scheduled and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) terms are agreed upon. Expect an announcement with full venue details in the near future.
    Publicity for the event is expected to include strong local media coverage.
  • The Board agreed that the level of CCSFF prize funds for Word Cup 2023 will be consistent with Word Cup 2022 – $50,000.
  • Regional Major Tournaments: Registration for the Madison Midwest Major, November 11-13, was strong – 50 players for TWL and 12 playing Collins.
  • The Phoenix West Regional Tournament is scheduled for Presidents Day weekend, February 18-20, 2023. Laurie Cohen noted that registration has begun.
    Finally, the South Regional Tournament in Columbia. South Carolina is scheduled for Memorial weekend May 27-29, 2023. Registration will be announced within the month.
  • Other Tournament issues: Bennett reported on the success of a WGPO Las Vegas tournament. The Tournament and Ratings Committee plans to develop a process for directors to request CCSFF prize fund support to (1) continue supporting venues such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland that have scheduled regular WGPO tournaments in the past and (2) encourage all regions to host additional tournaments. Keith noted the success of Word Cup in Springfield. The Coral Gables Word Cup also drew many players. He noted that WGPO needs to develop a regular presence in the Northeast and the South, all regions.
    Bennett has a list of about 75 directors. The Board suggested increasing communication with them. Ask if they are still interested in directing and/or if they have suggestions to encourage additional player opportunities and tournaments. Board members also noted that using small amounts of CCSFF funds for prize money seems a worthwhile incentive. This is an effective use of the funds to grow Scrabble.
  1. Updated Website/Technology:Charles and Thomas Reinke provided the Board with a thorough status report prior to the meeting.

Work on the look-and-feel of the website is mostly completed. Need to make sure the website is as usable on mobile devices (phones, tablets) as on computers. Also determining locations for meeting minutes, committee reports, other content.

Statistical functionality is fully implemented. Includes full game-by-game, tournament-by-tournament stats for all players. Plan to work with Seth Lipkin to see if WGPO stats and upcoming tournaments can be shared with Cross-Tables.

Features for tournament directors  – 90% complete. Includes adding/removing players from upcoming tournaments, modifying tournament divisions for rating ranges, etc., and submitting new tournaments to be listed. Need to test existing rating system code (Marc Levesque originally developed for WGPO) against the new functionality added.

Member login system is functional. All current WGPO members will have an account allowing them to login for tournament registration, update their information. New members will simply have to create an account. Tournament directors may register players, but the preferred method will be for players to do this themselves.

Major work still needed:

* Provide functionality for viewing/maintaining the membership list.

* Add functionality for managing a list of WGPO-affiliated clubs. Allow club directors to log in to the website and update data for club without a WGPO administrator. Ideally the result would be a more accurate club listing.

* Determine how to handle roll-out of the account system. Clear messaging needed to avoid current members creating a duplicate of themselves in the membership system.

Future improvements needed after completing main work and the new site goes live:

* Possible integration with Director! tournament software for live tournament results.

* Handling tournament entry fee payments as part of the sign-up process.

Charles and Thomas aim to be ready to roll out the new website sometime soon after the beginning of the year, January/February 2023.
Board members noted that the Reinkes have done an excellent job. They anticipate that the redesign will serve WGPO and the Scrabble community well.

 3.  Committee Reports

  • Conduct Committee:  Keith recommended changing the name of the “Disciplinary” Committee. Members agreed. Steve has identified some possible members. Helen Flores volunteered to serve on the committee for one year. She was a member of the Board of Player Representatives for 3 terms, and she has addressed several conduct complaints. This committee needs to follow established consistent and fair processes.
  • Lexicon Committee: Bennett resigned from this committee. Steve noted that Jim Sherrill is the Chair, and the Committee will need to reconvene.
    • Will noted that the contact at Hasbro has changed, and he thinks neither Hasbro nor Merriam Webster is particularly interested in partnerships with Scrabble organizations. Any plan to stream games would need a streaming friendly lexicon, i.e., without slurs. School Scrabble excludes scatological words. Thus far, streaming sponsors have no issues streaming Collins lexicon, but that could also come under scrutiny.
    • New OSPD words have been added. NASPA has the list, and Scopely will receive them as well. Lexicon Committee attention will be needed. Helen noted that NASPA and WGPO would benefit all players and both organizations with consistent and cooperative attention to lexicon changes.
  • School Scrabble: Will reported that the 2023 School Scrabble Championship Event will be held at Planet Word, Washington DC in the Spring. The 2022 event was successful, and corporate sponsors have chosen to stay with the location and venue. The Board noted that WGPO will plan to again provide support including CCSFF prize funds. Steve asked about the dates for this event. We need to check for conflicts with WGPO tournament schedules.
  • Communications Committee – David Weiss and Dave Postal are unable to serve on this committee at this time. Board members agreed that WGPO communications strategy is a weakness. Steve asked Keith to work on this committee and noted other individuals with strong qualifications in this area. He will contact them.
  • Elections Committee: Lynda Finn and Winter completed work on member email  addresses, with much help from Mike Johnson. The electionrunner application is contracted to conduct the voting process. They identified Board actions needed to prepare for the December election. See Board actions under New Business.
  • Nominations Committee – Report from Mary Becker, Sue Hoehn, Ruth Hamilton.
    • The Nominations Committee solicited candidates, provided information and received statements of interest. Prior to the Board meeting, five members in good standing – listed below – qualify as candidates. The Elections Committee forwarded information and photos to the Board. Board members expressed appreciation for the Nomination Committee members’ efforts.
  • Finance Committee Report: Steve is completing the Finance Report for the year.
  • Funding Committee Report: Helen reported that the Committee goal was to raise $10,000 throughout the year through fund-raising efforts at tournaments (auction, silent auction, direct sales of donated items) as well as monetary donations to the organization. The Committee raised $3,390 at Word Cup Chicago. Steve noted that perhaps $1,000 total funds were donated by individuals through the website donation button, entry fees, etc. during the year. Helen’s group hopes to raise additional funds at the Madison Midwest tournament. Note: The Madison total raised was $700 . The total raised in 2022 = $5090 and is not enough. Helen and the Committee do NOT recommend implementing membership dues before exploring additional fundraising alternatives. One option: Whenever WGPO provides CCSFF prize funds, allocate a small portion of that tournament’s member entry fees to WGPO administrative costs.

4.  New Business

 Board of Directors Nominees: Prior to the November meeting, the Elections Committee received statements of interest from the following players: Kathleen Murphy, Carl Voss, Susi Tiekert, Steve Pellinen, and Conrad Bassett-Bouchard. Keith Hagel nominated Laurie Cohen at the meeting, and she agreed to run for reelection. All nominees are members in good standing. Board members commented on the strong slate of candidates for the Board.

The Board decided to use the 2021 election and annual meeting announcement as a template for the upcoming meeting and election. There will be no referenda this year. WGPO’s annual Membership Meeting will begin on Saturday December 10 at 3:00 pm Eastern/ 2:00 pm Central/ 1:00 pm Mountain/Noon Pacific Time. Part I of the meeting will be an interactive Twitch video conference – approximately two hours – accessible to members. The agenda will include candidate announcements, committee reports, and a Question and Answer session. Part II will be an extended open voting period until the meeting closes on Wednesday December 14 shortly before midnight Central Time.

5.  Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:32 p.m., CST (Will/Laurie).

We love tournaments

Here’s a belated report on the Madison one.  Lynda Finn and Mike Johnson really know how to organize and run fun-filled events.  Even those of us who lost most of our games had fun.  Noah Walton won the big money in TWL Division 1, while Thomas Reinke was Gibsonized in the final two rounds of the Collins division.  Lilla Sinanan won TWL Division 2 and Roxanne Prichard topped Division 3.  Details under “Past Tournaments”.

Trish and Roxanne

Trish and Roxanne

Since I’m not much of a photographer, I asked for others’ photos.  Ruchi Gupta responded with this picture of Roxanne Prichard with her mother, Trish Harrop.  On her way to victory, Roxanne beat Trish, 404 – 378.




One week after the conclusion of the Madison tournament, West Coast WGPO members had a choice between tourneys in Redwood City, California, and Lake Oswego, Oregon.  Since I live in Lake Oswego, my choice was easy.  Mitch Bayersdorfer made his WGPO directorial debut there.  He organized a Friendsgiving feast at Scott Smith’s house, raised $70 for literacy, and guided ten of us through a 6-game tournament.  Those of us who played poorly could attribute our losses to too much good food.  Washingtonians carried away the top prizes:  Adam Henderson in Division 1 and Mary Logullo in Division 2.  Maybe we need more border security.

I’ve gotten no report from Redwood City, but I see that Bennett Jacobstein emerged as the victor.

WGPO Needs You

This has been an amazing year for WGPO!

 The generous financial support from the Carter Chapman Shreve Family Foundation has enabled us to expand our footprint greatly in the Scrabble community, both in North America and overseas. We’ve sweetened prize funds for the Word Cup and other major events, stretched geographically, supported School Scrabble and worked to collaborate with CoCo and other organizations where we can find common ground.

 Of course, we labored mightily to keep tournament players as safe as possible from Covid.  In addition, we handled, carefully and fairly, some touchy conduct issues.

 It’s been an amazing year, but also an exhausting one for the WGPO Board of Directors. As we change and grow, our workload has at least doubled, maybe tripled.

So, we’re asking for committee help from you, the players who are the reason for our organization’s existence and success. We need folks, both old hands and newbies, to help us with diverse areas including, but not limited to finance, membership, rules, discipline, communications and technology. If you have experience or interest in one or more of these fields, or if you wish to suggest a different way you could help WGPO continue to flourish, let’s talk. Please contact Keith Hagel:

Thank you.

 Your WGPO Board of Directors:

Will Anderson

Jan Cardia

Laurie Cohen

Helen Flores

Keith Hagel

Bennett Jacobstein

Steve Pellinen