Sunday, January 25, 2009

On the Lighter Side with Limis Ward

The World Championship of Solitaire
as heard on the All Sports System network on November 10th 2010
Fitz:  Welcome friends to beautiful Bloomington, Indiana for the 43rd World Championship of Solitaire.  I'm your host, Fitz Porter, and let me introduce you to this big fellow beside me, the old warhorse, five time World Solitaire Champion, Pete Longstreet.
Pete:  Thanks Fitz and we've got a really exciting first round match up here between two highly ranked players and let me tell you, the cards will be flying.
Fitz:  All right Pete and it looks like we're going to get started right away.  Here comes President Obama and his lovely wife, Michelle, to turn over the ceremonial first card.  The President and First Lady are walking up to the referee's computer, smiling and waving to the crowd.
Pete:  To see them you'd never know that the President just suffered a major loss in the mid-term elections as the Republicans have taken back both Houses of Congress.
Fitz:  Well this isn't a political show Pete and we're just glad to have such a prominent couple here for the games today.  
Pete:  That's true and it's a great day for our sport that the President could take time out of his busy schedule to...
Fitz:  Excuse me Pete.  Look at that, the President has stepped aside from the computer and is allowing his wife to turn the first card.  What a gentleman!
Pete:   A lot of people probably don't know that Michelle Obama is an accomplished Solitaire player, having sharpened her skills during here tenure as Diversity Coordinator for the University of Chicago hospitals.
Fitz:  And I heard the President himself has been known to turn the cards on occasion.
Pete:  That's true and aides have said that sometimes they've noticed the President getting in a quick game during the Cabinet meetings.
Fitz;  Oh no, it looks like Michelle Obama accidentally shut off the referee's computer.  Looks like we're going to have a little delay here.  So Pete, why don't you give our listeners a little backround on our first round players.
Pete:   To your left, on the red computer will be Debbie Smith, the 10th ranked player in the world and reigning Great Lakes Solitaire Champ.  Debbie is know for her fast and daring playing style.
Fitz:  Didn't Debbie once score over 500 points in a 10 minute session?
Pete:  At the Great Lakes semi-final.  She totally blew Fatty Cunningham out of the water with that score.
Fitz:  But today's matches are only 5 minutes right?
Pete:  That's right Fitz.  In these preliminary rounds each player has 5 minutes to play as many games of Solitaire on their computer as they can and highest score wins.
Fitz:  And what about our other player, Pete?
Pete:  Veteran Malcolm Hastings will be on your right on the black computer.  Three years ago Malcolm was ranked as high as 4th in the world but has fallen on hard times as of late. 
Fitz:  What seems to be the trouble?
Pete:  Like of confidence.  Ever since that blow up at the Seattle Open a few years ago..
Fitz:  Well let's not go into that again.
Pete:  No of course not, but ever since Malcolm destroyed his Mac after a tough loss there he's never really been comfortable with his computer since.  He's tried Dell, Toshiba, HP, nothings really worked for Malcolm since he ruined his beloved Mac.
Fitz:  Ok Pete.  Well the referees got the computers back up and running and it looks like we're ready to go.  How do the players look?
Pete:  Good, real good.  Debbie is slowly cracking her knuckles and Malcolm is adjusting his monitor.  They both look calm and ready to go.
Fitz:  All right here we go.  There's the gun and we're on the clock.  Both players deal and all eyes are transfixed on the two big monitors above the players.
Pete:  Wow, look at Debbie Smith go.  You can see why she's so good.  Her fingers are flying all over that keyboard.
Fitz:  Smith deals again and is ahead, -32 to -60 for Malcolm Hastings.
Pete:  It's early yet.  There's still time to come back.
Fitz:  Hastings dumps his game and re deals.  -40 to -120, Smith.
Pete:  That's good strategy Fitz.  Why waste time on a bad game?
Fitz:  And it seems to be paying off.  Hastings has a big game going.  He's through the first pass and has all his cards uncovered.
Pete:  Listen to that crowd.  They know a winner when they see it.
Fitz:  And there it is!  Hastings clears the deck and surges ahead, 108 to -10.
Pete:  Smith is playing a good round though and don't count her out.
Fitz:  Three minutes down and two to go.  Both players are hunched over their respective computers, typing furiously.  Hastings seems to be sweating a bit.  Smith closing slightly here, 120 to 20.  Is there still time?
Pete:  Its going to be close.  She needs a big game or some kind of break.
Fitz:  90 seconds left.  Smith's working on a solid game but Hastings might have another winner.
Pete:  Malcolm's got to be careful though.  He has a Queen-Jack block on the top of his deal pile.  That could sink him if he's not careful because it looks like that Ten is covering up a lot of cards.
Fitz:  Hastings adjusts his computer.
Pete:  No!  He missed it.
Fitz:  In a shocking turn of events, Hastings missed the move of the five off the waste pile and just blew this game.
Pete:  That would have finished this game off because under that five was the other Queen to free up that Jack.
Fitz:  An hence the Ten and all those cards underneath too.
Pete:  That's exactly right but he may still pull this out.
Fitz:  Smith continues to play Solitaire like a women possessed and she's closed this match to 90 to 75 - Hastings. 
Pete:  She might be able to squeeze in one more game in this round.
Fitz:  Hastings is laboring, trying to protect his lead.  The crowd is growing more and more excited, hoping that Smith can pull this out.  Even the President's on the edge of his seat.
Pete:  Smith needs the Four.  She needs that Four.  And there it is!!!
Fitz:  Smith surges ahead, 100 to 98.  Ten seconds to go.  There's the eight, it's all over.
Pete:  Wow what a round.  Smith needed all her skill to pull that one out.
Fitz:  Smith punches her fist in the air.  Listen to that crowd. 
Pete:  They love her.
Fitz:  Lets talk to our winner.  Debbie, Debbie..Congratulations on a big win today.
Debbie:  Thanks Fitz.
Fitz:  You really had to hang in there after Hastings put that clean sweep up.
Debbie:  Oh yeah.  Malcolm's a real veteran and I knew I had my hands full today.  When I saw that score go up, I just put my head down and ground it out.
Pete:  Pete Longstreet here Debbie and congratulations on a big win.  A lot of our viewers have asked how you stay so calm during the big matches. 
Debbie:  Practice, practice, practice.  I'm lucky enough to work at the Department of Health and Human Services office in downtown Chicago and I have a lot of time at work to sharpen up my game.  I think a lot of my ability to stay focused comes from the office.  All the time, there's people running around, asking questions, bosses dropping in and I just shut it all out and play my game.
Fitz:  Well thanks again Debbie and good luck to you in the next round.
Debbie:  Thanks guys.
Fitz:  Wow, what a round.
Pete:  And we're just getting started.  After the break, we have another exciting match between an engineer for a green building firm and a Sergeant from the newly formed National Civilian Defense Corp. 
Fitz:  Sounds like a winner.  We'll be right back.

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