Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Scrabble is not like riding a bike

“Maybe, it’s a French word, I’m thinking of...I don’t know...I guess I’ll try it...I mean, you might challenge it, but whatever, I’ve got nothing else,” KJ said as he caressed two tiles between his fingers. He then put down an s and an h forming qats and ash on the double word square for 38 points.
I went to write down his total and he stood up “you’re not going to challenge that??!”
Not. My. First. Rodeo. Buddy.
Challenging qats! He clearly has no idea who he’s dealing with.
KJ is actually a very good strategic player, with an admirable competitive spirit to boot. It was my first live game of Scrabble since I visited Fisch out in California last month, so when KJ jumped out to a 37 point lead with some impressive plays, the one above and a triple word score that hurt me, I definitely started to worry...especially since I might have started the game with some version of “if you win, I’ll give you a thousand dollars.”
But I drew a blank and managed to bingo with “reality” to take a small lead and then he played hu and I managed to draw the second blank after challenging his play and playing off some of my crap letters, I then bingoed with bassist.
As the game went on, the word knowledge gap devoured KJ.
“Man, I have to study my two letter words,” KJ said after I challenged “Da” off the board and then he challanged “vum.”
I won the game handily, but I found myself unsure of certain three letter words that at the height of my Scrabble game, I knew cold.
Time to hit the books...don’t want a repeat of the Queens tournament when I go out to Reno in the Winter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The prodigal player returns

I made my triumphant return to Scrabble club last Thursday. Tired of my friends whining about my competitiveness, it was good to return to the arms of others who share my affinity for smacking others down with tiles and clocks. Everyone was very happy to see me -- I even suffered the indignity of being hugged. I actually hadn't been studying as much as I would have liked given my seven week hiatus, but thankfully the really evil asshole guy who beat me by 300 points in August, wasn't there. My first match up was a woman who said she was playing the New York tournament next week. So I was a little worried...right up until she challenged my bingo of "anestri" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH challenging satine racks! It's like playing Fisch. Anyway, I handily beat her and was feeling very much in control. I bongoed twice and managed to score 25-30 points with my smaller plays -- typically, where I fall apart.
My second match was with the very first woman I ever played at Scrabble club, and sicne I almost beat her then, I wasn't worried. Indeed, I jumped out to an insurmountable lead after six turns. At which point, she kinda seethed "good game," even though there was a full ten minutes left of play and plenty of tiles. And then, I found out that I don't quite know what insurmountable means. :-( She drew both blanks, bingoed on a triple just at the time when I started doing my patented late game collapse of two point plays trying to draw to bingoes. Boo. In the end I got stuck with no place to put my j and it was all over, I lost by 21. And she kept saying things like "whew...that was close" and I wanted to cry. But I still felt pretty good because she has a way higher rating than I do and I almost beat her twice now.
My third game was against a woman who very clearly shouldn't be playing in the beginner division. I hate these people. But I held by own and ended up only losing by 8 points. I actually think I play better when playing against an opponent I don't think I can beat. I rarely play phonies and I always just try to score as many points as I can, whereas with people that I think I can crush, I fuck around trying to bingo every turn. A la my final match, which was with my Scrabble student.
Sadly the two of us hadn't played for about five weeks, during which time she evidently went from never challenging if she isn't sure of a word, to ALWAYS challenging. So when I opened with a ridiculous bingo against her: Daputed, she challanged. Boo. Of course, I totally didn't learn and tried to play another phony later in the game which she challenged off. Fortunately, she has serious clock management problems and ended up losing the game because she went over by four minutes and lost forty points. Ah, god bless the Scrabble clock.
.500! Back to pre-beating form and ready for my tournament the next day! Or so...I THOUGHT.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Not So Random Thought

Is there anything sweeter than drawing satine + a blank to start a game? Nope.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not So Random Thought

It would be nice to draw an ess during a Scrabulous game sometime this Fall.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back to Scrabble

With my recent foot surgery limiting my ability to walk long distances, and parking in Manhattan being non-existent, my live Scrabble play pretty much dissolved into my occasional games at bookstores with the Scrabble gang or impromptu four ways in my house. Of course, I’ve become a fiend for Scrabulous and the internet Scrabble club, but this past weekend, I was reminded that it’s just not the same.
My nemesis and ersatz Scrabble tutor was in town and we managed to play something like 16 games of timed tournament-style Scrabble.
After the first 6, I received a text saying “I’m a bit in shock that we just split six games of Scrabble.”
I don’t remember all the details, but I will admit that the first two games I won, I drew both blanks, three esses, the x and the q – at most opportune times. However, I did open the first game with the masterful find of ‘ceramic,’ and Fisch incredibly challenged satinet (a common bingo found in the satine rack which any self respecting tournament Scrabble player should have memorized.) And in case you doubted whether he played tournament Scrabble.

He also almost challenged entasis…I was salivating the whole time as he paused to think it over. Incredibly, he then didn’t challenge artesian, which is a phony and lost that game by 60 points. After suffering back to back defeat at the hands of a girl he used to abuse while watching MTV and talking on the phone at the same time, he managed to comeback with a vindictive crushing that resulted in the patented Dawn Summers throwing her tiles on the board in the middle of the game and saying “okay, next game.” Usually a 200 point deficit is involved.
The last game we grinded it out, and in the end, I failed to see the opportunity to use all my remaining tiles “i r l” to play girl and win by the tiles on Fisch’s rack and instead, he finished first and won by the two points for my remaining l. He then spent another minute looking for the play that would have won me the game and proceeded to mock me for being a girl who didn’t play girl to win.
This is why we hate him more than all others.
We played again the next night and it was yet another back to back crushing by yours truly, I opened with something cool…oh…quality! That was awesome…the whole game we were waiting for one of us to extend it with an ine to hit the triple. It didn’t happen.
His short game is vastly superior to mine. Who the hell knew Honda was a real word? Not I said the cat, but my long game crushes his. “You’d be able to find the bingo in this rack,” he’d cry while taking five to ten minutes staring blankly at his rack only to eventually play “retailer” and I’d laugh “hahahaahaha…you couldn’t find retailer in less than an hour. BAHAHAHAHHAA. I won the last game of the night and he said “You’ve never won three in a row before.”
And so after getting crushed in back to back to back games, he swore that he was bringing out his A game.
“I’m crushing you, Dawn.”
He said using the steely eyes.
And sure enough, he opened with a bingo.
“Rewinds” using an s and a blank.
I was sad. And a little worried…until I found “heavier.”

Fisch' "A game"
Then he played “pod”
And I bingo again with rolier.
BAck to back dawn bingoes
I then drew a blank and an ess and made protons, but he challenged it off the board when I made “shep” with the p. Sad Panda.
And then he took the camera.
However, in the end, I was victorious! Though I squandered my hefty lead and ended up winning by only a few points.
So, having suffered defeat at my hands, once again. Fisch did what anyone else in his position would do.
He threw a tantrum.
Now, I’ve blogged about this before…but yes, either I just bring out the worst in people with all my awesomeness, or the best Scrabble players are just competitive bastards that will do anything to win…including studying for no other reason than they want to crush the people they play with.
“I'm not keeping score anymore. It’s taking all my time and I don’t have enough time.” (This is particularly amusing for me because when we played last Winter, Fisch always took a seven minute handicap and still won 99.999% of our games.) Ah the times, how they are a changing.
Unfortunately Scrabble apparently rewards tantrum throwers and he drew perfect against me. He opened with creation and didn’t look back. He might have had something like four bingoes that game, while I struggled to get to triple digits thanks to a string of craptacular tiles.
The games which followed aren’t at all memorable in any way (oh, he did play “bingoed” as a bingo, which, though I didn’t challenge it, is no good.)
I managed to play more phonies on him including the one that I challenged F-train on one time. Sadly, after running neck and neck for the whole weekend, I had a few bad games and ended up with a 7-10 record, which isn't too shabby for a girl who just learned to play eight months ago. But I have my taste for live competitive Scrabble play back and so I shall make my triumphant return to the club this week.
Watch your back old Fischwoman. I’ve been studying.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Quote of the Day

"You're a better Scrabble player than me now, Dawn." - My newest Scrabble student, Fisch

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New GTUAS Feature

We'll call this this "holy mother of God" play.
So, I'm playing online with Texas April and I am sitting their with atineib...so I play off my bi making ob and bi and sing a little "give me an s and anything but a j, q or y" song. Those are pretty much the words. You say them over and over in a singsong tone until boop boop boop: you get an s and r! You go yay! And then pray she doesn't challenge Ob off the board, making you cry.
Anyway, she doesn't challenge, instead she bingoes with outacts. She takes a commanding lead. But no worries for Dawn, I bingo right back with retains, I'm retake the lead.
And then the holy mother of God play of the game:

SHE PLAYS JEUX through my e in retains to hit the double letter with the j ON THE TRIPLE WORD SQUARE FOR 78 points.

That sound you hear? That's right? My spirit breaking.

Holy Mother of God.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wow! That is a wacky idea


We had a really whacky idea last night!! We wanted to see how many "offline connections" we can make through Scrabulous.

Here's how you can be a part of it:

1. Wear a shirt or a cap that says "I Scrabulous - do you?" (You can buy one from our CafePress Store. It's reasonably priced and we DO NOT profit from it even one cent).

2. Go about your day as you normally would. Make sure you carry your camera phone or, digital camera with you.

3. If anyone approaches you and says that they also Scrabulous, then take a picture and send it to us at fb.scrabulous@gmail.com with your first names and location where you met!

Let's see how many strangers meet like this!


Monday, September 3, 2007

Scrabble and me

"Scrabble tricks smart people into thinking they should play the biggest words, instead of looking for the most points." -pearatty

I was not always the nationally ranked Scrabble professional that I am now. In fact, here is the first publicly available picture of my early Scrabble play:


Now, I did win this game, like I won all my Scrabble games in those days. Threw a tantrum until it was declared that whoever had the least points was the winner.

Or as Rick so kindly wrote:

For those of you who are interested, according to Dawn a “jif” is a “hurry”; “bonrelaxer” is “a very good relaxer”; and “zariy” is an adjective that refers to something that makes the Baby Jesus cry (for example, the word “bonrelaxer"). Apparently, “Zariy” is also a popular name in the world of pre-pubescent cartoon fan-fiction. I have no idea what a “codet” is, but I think it was featured in the DaVinci Code.

Needless to say Dawn won (as per our prior agreement), and a good time was had by all.

We can’t wait to have Dawn back, and I only hope that the next time she comes out this way she won’t be lured by strangers with Bavarian candy. After all, the doors on a Bimmer all open the same way.

** I meant “OK, we’ll play”. Dawn heard, “OK, you’ll win”.

I miss people blogging about me. I would probably have at least three less blogs if other people would pick up the slack.

Anyway, Scrabble. Yeah, so I was a creative Scrabble back then...I'm still a creative Scrabble player now (ahem: sinulae), but you know what I mean, I had no idea what I was doing then, as opposed to knowing now, just not doing it. But I hated losing and playing would always frustrate me. Even as I started to play more frequently this past Winter, if I'd have a sucky night of crap tiles and brain freeze, I'd want to throw things. Leading to the infamous "I'm never going to let you win, Dawn, so if you can't deal with losing, maybe we shouldn't play," night of a hundred lost dollars and a million broken dreams.

I thought of those days on Sunday night, when a few friends were over to play and one guy was pretty much talking to himself after he hung a T and I opened with the bingo toothier through it. Then when he played har and I challenged it, he totally lost it -- first refusing to honor the challenge and choosing new letters anyway, then knocking the tiles off the board when (I assume) his new tiles were equally sucky.


And then he in turn, blamed me for challenging such a low point play, just because I could and then Scrabble for its arbitrariness in what are words. Non: No. Hae: Yes.

I see that look in the eyes of a lot of the people I play live now, except for Alceste's, because he is dead inside, and I know that look stares back at the many of the people I play with at the club. Stupid Old Fischwoman. The combination of dammit, if that u was just an e, I would...or if that damn c wasn't in the way, I could! And ultimately, I think that's what ends up separating the casual livingroom player from the people that end up becoming really good players. One doesn't care that they've used an blank and opened up a triple line for a mere 14 points, the other one will smash your face in, if you block the spot for him to play the j on the TLS going two ways.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Quote of the Day (Dawn)

"It doesnt get more painful than what im about to do to you" - Fisch, just before bingoing with turquois on the triple word line for 128 points.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Scrabble rule the twentieth

So, I went and violated Scrabble rule the ninth and taunted Fisch out of his online Scrabble retirement. He has mercilessly killed me in something like eight games straight. Which leads me to believe online Scrabble is rigged. Because I'm just not that bad. I'm not. I can't be.
However, today, out of defeat, I salvaged the pride in playing the player.
(That's the rule right there in case you missed it.)
All winter Fisch and I had been playing hours and hours and hours of Scrabble, and no one remembers win/loss records or anything like that, but sometimes a play or two will just stand out for some reason. Like there were five days in a row where he would play ricier or riciest or ricy even though all derivations are invalid.
And then there was the time I played outseer. And Fisch challenged it. And I was sad when it wasn't in the book.
Then today, I have outseer on my rack again, and I'm losing by about a hundred and I've had the crappiest racks of all time. I need to bingo. So...I play outseer. And I hope that he remembers that I've played that word before and lets it go. And in fact, in the chat he writes:

Fisch: outseer
Fisch: i seem to rem that...but it wouldnt make sense...one who outsees?
Fisch: grrr
And I play it totally cool.

Dawn: ive played it b4 dingus
Fisch: hm did i sucesfully challenge it be4?
Dawn: of course.eyeroll
Dawn: riciest!
Fisch: 80 points...ahhhh...i dunno....ok ure turn.

He didn't challenge it!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH
I laughed. A lot. I laugh still.

I love this game.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

Also, your stats currently show you are playing -1 games. It's official, you're no longer playing Scrabble; it's PLAYING YOU! -Texas April

Oh, and Fisch would like it known that he still owns me in Scrabble. I bingoed TWICE TWICE!!! in three moves and still...I lose by two hundred points and have to concede. It's just not fair. Stupid Scrabble :-(

I now look forward to Fisch's comment of "it's over, dear."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Coz we all like to Scrab

I think I have 14 Scrabulous games going right now. Including my personal nightmare, a three person game where I can't play phonies. I am getting my ass kicked. I hate regular games so much.
The word mun has been played on me three times in the last two days. I challenged it the first time. Doh.

Of course, as awesome as online Scrabble has been, nothing beats actual tiles. I played Scrabble with some people from the club tonight and won two out of three games. Ugh I played the phony tearies AGAIN cause I couldn't remember what word was there. Seriate. Aeriest. Idiot. Maybe that'll help me remember. I did manage to bingo with zaniest with the z on the triple letter AND Heating where I hooked the h onto fe and the e onto ar. It was beautiful. My opponent plum lost his mind when I played zaniest and decided to exchange four tiles three times in a row. I crushed him something like 478 to 242. And then I got him to challenge limn! My favorite akeelah and the bee word. He lost the challenge and gave up.
We like crushing people.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Scrabble lesson the ninth

F-train: I don't read your Scrabble blog.
Me: mmm...I can tell.

F-train came to visit me in the ghetto, braved the evils of Times Square to buy a Scrabble set and violated his previously declared "I wont ever play you in Scrabble anymore because you know 'words'" rule. And for all these amazingly nice things from a guy known as "assface," I did not blog about our game. F-train, on the other hand, went and told my Scrabble tutor about my two...er...maybe three mistakes in the game. So, after being mercilessly taunted by Fisch for the last two days because I let said assface play "Fi" on me, while I was too busy looking for a bingo with the tiles: deeitss. (I came up with sedites and desisters, but F-train challenged them both off the board.) I have decided to set the record straight on my 300 point destruction of F-train. Reenactment style.

Well, ok, we're only going to reenact one particular series of genius moves on my part. Never mind that I got him to challenge the word destain or that I played yi on him without a challenge or that in the middle he was crying about his bad tiles and how he needs a handicap.

F-train decided to adopt a closed board strategy on me, which actually is a pretty good road to take...if you know a lot of high scoring three and four letter words and all the possible hooks. F-train. Does. Not.

So, he plays something -- I don't remember what, but I pluralize it to make the word soja. Which he doesn't challenge, even though I needle him to.


This leaves both the J and the a hanging in double word scoring lanes. I have QDITESA on my rack, so I can make a word with the J on the double,but Ftrain will probably take that, I just hope I'm able to dump the q on that double word after he plays.

F-train thinks for a long time, periodically saying "I know you want that j", but instead he exchanges! HA!

I'm about to play Jet, when I decide for rack sake, dump the q and the d. So...I make


F-train doesn't challenge. I draw y, a, n. Boo. Stupid y.

Plus, I figure he'd definitely take the j double word now. But no!

He plays:


And then triumphantly says "well at least I blocked you." (Better play would have been playing the o under the j.)

At first I was mad because he did block jet...but then I saw that really, he gave me a way to play the y off with the j for the double word.



And so, boys and girls, today's Scrabble lesson: you mess with the bull...you get the horns.

I now await Fisch's comment of "Fi."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'd like to think I am to blame

Scrabulous is being upgraded.

Due to extremely high loads, we are currently adding on another server to this application. Service is temporarily interrupted. Please check back in a few hours.

Sorry for the trouble!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I love English

So the single biggest non-memorization based technique that helped my Scrabble game was learning to put the letters on your rack in predictable order based on knowledge of the English language. ees and ars together, us preceded by the other vowels, ing clumped together at the end. In this way, and I guess it's been a gift and a curse, I am now the self-proclaimed bingo master. Sometimes my words are fake...but sometimes, just sometimes I play valid bingos of words I've never seen before. So it was tonight when I played spelter on the triple because I needed to start with the s...my opponent challenged and I was like dang. But woo hoo...spelter is evidently some kind of metal! Grin. I am becoming addicted to the internet scrabble club.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I remember my first bingo. It was herniate in the Spring of '06. Also it was the first time I won a Scrabble game without throwing a temper tantrum.

Conversation of the Day (Dawn)

I missed the Scrabble club for the first time since I ran screaming in fear two months ago, because into every life a little surgery must fall, but here's a funny Scrabulous story.

I started a game with Alceste in which crushed him by hundreds of points, he then started a game with me. He opened with the word 'Tex' I had a very craptacular rack, so I tried to play off my ug and g to make gut or tug or xu. But all these words were rejected as invalid. So I emailed him to say that Scrabulous wasn't working, but I'd make my play as soon as I figured out what was wrong. He replied
"ok, just so you know we're playing with the French dictionary. It was the only way to level the playing field."
I laughed.
And then proceeded to bingo on him in French five times. And beat him by 400 points.

So yesterday we had this conversation:

Alceste: Speaking of which, now that it's over, can you please tell me how exactly you pulled off the french game? :)
Me: hahhaahaha...i traveled through time, learned french, played years of scrabble against a film student named francoise and then came back to 2007 to demolish you.
Alceste:well done then

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Lifetime of Scrabble Tilt

I will be on Scrabble tilt for the rest of my life after the game I just played. First, I hate playing badly. But, I especially hate playing badly against an asshole.
Here's what happened. He drew the tile closest to a, so he goes first.
He says "pass." Now, any idiot that has played Scrabble for one frickin day knows that there's only one reason someone gives up double score advantage. A bingo rack that needs one letter. Ergo, therefore, any idiot knows to exchange tiles, unless they have a seven letter bingo. I, evidently, am less than an idiot, so I play pond. He bingos with hollowed. I then play three turns for single digit points trying to complete a satire rack. Which I do, I then spend three full minutes trying to find a bingo that I should already have memorized. I find it, but I decide to play a PHONY bingo which hits the triple. WITH A RACK THAT EVERYONE has memorized. He challenges. Of course. He then blocks my bingo lane. So, I spend another 6 turns with single digit plays drawing to a satine rack. Cause yeah my rack was the problem. I then bingo again, hooking an s onto tae. Which I am fairly sure is no good. He challenges. And in the end, I have something like 130 to his 542. And then he says "well that wasn't pretty. Looks like you get the mercy rule."
Kill me. And I still have two more dang games to play.
Mood: Glum.

UPDATE: I lost those two games. Including my last match, which was supposed to be the 'gimmee' against the woman that asked me to help her get better.
And at the end, when I just wanted to take my 1-3 self and get the hell outta there, I had to wait ten minutes for these newbies to finish their game because they were playing with my clock.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guess who's back?

"You're no Chugarte, but it still feels good to beat you," I said upon beating Fisch in a live game of Scrabble without any time or point handicaps whatsoever. Of course, despite my taking an early 200 -21 point lead, Fisch still managed to make me sweat out the win, but ultimately I took the game by a healthy 60 point margin.
Yeah, yeah
Sequoia! That was me!!! He was so sad. Only made sadder when I bingoed on my second turn with versions! Ah, it was so beautiful, I was playing sequoia and he was playing ignoited. HAHAHAHHAAHAH
The second game, he opened with the q and the double and took an early lead, but I battled back and it looked good for our hero...but I forgot the x was still unseen and failed to block the triple...I lost by a miserable six points.
Sad Panda
I honestly. You should have to win by ten points or more for it to count.
The third game, we were both so exhausted at one point it was like "I have two es a d and a j, what would you play?"
"Are we playing collaborative Scrabble now?"
I don't remember who won the tie breaker.
But I did play a phony bingo on Fisch which he didnt challenge! IMG_2334
And in facebook Scrabble news, I played zax on Alceste today with the z and the x on double letter squares going two ways for 77 points. I'm pretty sure if he had a soul, I would have crushed it with that play.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Between playing on facebook, I played A LOT of Scrabble Thursday. And since I only slept about three hours, I have to say, I did not fare all that well leading to a newly discovered difference between my two favorite games (being Scrabble and No-limit Texas Hold Em), I cannot nay I should not play Scrabble when I'm tired.
I just can't focus enough and I start playing like a four year old. My first match at the club, I drew a blank and an s on my first draw -- I had like a million bingoes in my rack and just couldn't find a place for any of them. But, instead of playing off three or four letters for twenty/thirty points, I kept putting down one letter for single digits points, so that when I finally dropped my bingo, the other guy was still ahead. And then I drew the other blank and proceeded to repeat that strategy all over again. In fact, by the end of the game I was losing by more than 150 points and I had given up playing Scrabble. I was like playing "hey what words can you make in rack regardless of the board." I went over on time -- blah disasterous. I got really bitter when I played off my tiles making some word and leis for like 8 points (mind you guy was still leading by triple digits) AND HE CHALLENGED!
First game
I won the challenge (the first time ever) but I was so appalled at his unsportsmanlike conduct that I wanted to punch him. But I was too tired.
My next match up was against a college kid interning in New York for the summer. It was his first time playing at the club or with a clock.
I played many a phony against him. There were terrible pangs of guilt when he'd look up from the board and be like "Gedd? I don't know that word...can you tell me it's good?"
Second game
He also straight up passed his turn three times in a row!
And, of course, this not being my first rodeo, I just kept exchanging tiles till I drew a bingo.
I won that game.
I played the really good guy again and managed to come within 8 points of beating him. I drew a satine rack late in the game, and opened up the triple line so that I could bingo on it and he hurt me with the f going two ways with fe and of. Pout.
But we bingoed three times on him with teaspoon, satinet and JENNIES! I actually opened that game bingoing with jennies! HA!
Third game
He was sooo mad.
I won my final game. It was against this really nice guy named Elvis. At least I thought he was nice.
Then halfway through the game he pulls this move on me after I opened up a triple line:
ANISEED for a bingo on the triple also making narks (i played nark or ark something like that)
I raise an eyebrow at it and he says
"yeah, I don't know...but I have to try something (I had bingoed on him twice already and played the z two ways) so he's all struggling to count up his points and I see his clock running down and I KNOW I'm challenging...I mean aniseed??? But when he says that to me, I feel all bad for him like "awww, he admitted to his hail mary play...ok we'll spare him counting his points and losing time, I'll challenge right now and stop the clock."
So I call the director over, but I notice this guy is still counting up his points.
And sure enough, Director takes one look at it, nods his head and says "it's good."
Well, you can imagine the mercy I showed him for the rest of that game.
So once again we had a .500 night.
Though one of the women at the club asked me if I'd help her get better. I smiled.
Oh, and Chugarte would like me to blog about our game yesterday where he tried to play the word GASTrICIESOISAE for 300 points, but I challenged it. He also still refuses to believe that oi is a valid Scrabble word. Which is good...hopefully, he will challenge it in our next game as well.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Online Scrabble

So, I've just gotten into playing Scrabble online -- on facebook, not the irc thing everyone always suggests to me. I played irc once and got yelled at by some douchebad in the United Kingdom because I didn't say "hi" to him fast enough. And then he disparaged Americans for having bad manners. And then I provided him with evidence. It was a whole thing.
But I like the facebook online game, mostly because I can play with my friends and play at work, as opposed to um...blogging. I've had two really close games with Fisch, though I am currently being crushed and one close game with Chugarte which is still ongoing and for which I received this note today ("If I play a phony to make you laugh, will you promise to challenge it and then play a phony back so we can be right where we started?") Which in itself made me laugh. It's like the pact that Fisch and I have to allow the other to hook "bylewski" onto Prez without challenge should the opportunity ever arise. Well, I think we have the pact, he doesn't like when I ask about the status of pacts.
Anyway, I have to say I do miss the tiles and the spinning of the board -- though I DO NOT miss counting my own points and having to read the board upside down because you're playing on a stationary set with some old lady. My two favorite plays so far have been when there was a z hanging over a DWS with a g underneath and an n to the left of the DWS and I put down "ix" making zig and nix and getting double word scores on both the x and the z in one play.
My second favorite play was Fisch's when I bingoed with Lushing down the second to last row on the left(and he accused me of cheating even though its a very obvious make an ing ending and see whats left kinda bingo. Jackass) And the G was dangling on the square right diagonal to the TWS and he played quay down the side for 101 points. It was beautifully disgusting.
He probably cheated.
Now, I'm not sure what kind of readership this blog gets, my ego can't handle putting a sitemeter in, but if you're on facebook and want to play, drop me an email at clareified at gmail.com.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am David (Dawn)

Ok, so I'm still a .500 player. BUT. Tonight I played three players that beat me in the past and a really good regular that I hadn't played before.
Well, I should preface this post with the following: The Scrabble club is divided generally into two houses, the experts and the intermediates. The experts are pretty evenly matched, they are playing competitively -- some have even won it all. Stephen Fatsis, the author of WordFreak, played in the expert division last week. Intermediate, on the hand, is pretty much everybody else. Anybody else. In intermediate you find your experts who just like to go 4-0 by playing in the intermediate level and you find the guy that'll use and s and a blank for 24 points. I fall squarely in the middle.
However, tonight I was matched with one of experts cowering in the intermediate level. His name is Steve and he pwned me before. And when I challenged apod or haed, he summarily invited me to "read a dictionary sometime."
So when he was my first game, I figured "oh well, get ready for a beating.
But we bingoed early, found a way to play the x on a double both ways, didn't make any challenges and just kept matching him point for point including my favorite play...he hung a m on the third row from the triple and I remembered the word Limn from watching Akeelah and the Bee a hundred million times and I played it! Plus, I slipped a pretty big phony by him and he didnt challenge. I beat him by 23 points and he just sat there in disbelief. When the other like beginner intermediates heard I had beaten him they were so happy. The hole room was abuzz that I had beaten the bully of the playground. Read a dictionary indeed.
Unfortunately, my camera is busted and it doesn't look like I can post pictures from it. :(

Monday, July 16, 2007

Month of Scrabble

My month of Scrabble is going well. I got mentioned in the weekly Scrabble report for second most bingoes in the night and I have a Scrabble buddy to play with. during the offseason. And by offseason I mean any day but Thursday. Of course, I haven't really studied in two weeks or so, what with all the birthday obligations I managed to foist upon myself. But i'll pick it up when things slow down around these parts.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One more time

"Honey, I won my first game at the Scrabble club!" You'd think she'd have the decency to walk a few feet away from me before making that call. But no. She got her first win. Two bingoes to boot against the girl that crushed her last week. I don't begrudge her the win.
Who am I kidding? I hate her. And her stupidface. I know exactly what went wrong in this game. I underestimated her. I played a phony bingo on her, she challenged and capitalized with choice small ball plays (of course, she uses the cheat sheet, so what.ever. she's not so great.) I kept fishing for a bingo and when I drew one aeiirst I couldn't even find the word and ended up playing off the extra i for two points and fished out another tile. Disgraceful. But, in my defense, I kept assuming that I could make up the point deficit later. She did keep exchanging her letters. Of course, she then bingoed her very next turn both times, so sasat for me.
Anyway, as she called her boyfriend to pat herself on the back, I was going to cry.
I had arrived late to the club, so I had to play a 20 minute clock. Which, truth be told, wasn't a problem for me, I play very fast -- possibly too fast --- but I was out of breath and frazzled a bit and he beat me.
It didn't help that after the game I discovered he played a phony bingo on me. Husting my ass.
And I was gonna challenge too! But...well, let's just say my challenge record is as follows 100% of my words that have been challenged were deemed invalid and pulled off the board. 100% of the words that I have challenged have been deemed valid and I lost my turn. So, you can understand my reluctance.
Anyway, so at 0-2, I was ready to throw in the towel.
I then drew one of the tough regulars and wanted to die.
"Hey, how have you been doing?"
"I'm 0-2," I answered glumly.
"Me too," he said gleefully, "I'm due."
He drew a c. I drew an e. He goes first.
But he played a total donkey word "Lim" AND left the vowel right under the double word score!
I had the x and made him pay for that.
He then played two turns of baby words and I kept up my double digit scoring. Of course, he then bingoed with recoiling. AND THEN!
He realized he hadn't started my clock the whole game!
(Honestly, I didn't notice either, I just thought I was playing quickly.)
Anyway, I get closer and closer to a bingo rack. "I only need an s!" I thought to myself.
And then I realized that I was a moron if I was just gonna sit there waiting for an s to fall out of the bag, so I found a bingo with what I had "latrine." But I couldn't find anywhere to put it ---I thought about skipping my turn---- but then decided on playing the phony "int" instead.
He let it go because "well, you opened a triple line for me."
He then showed me I could have played latrine for many more points AND no phonies atop "gag"
Doh. Again.
He was being very nice to me, but when I bingoed again on my next turn with aroused (who knows how to use her u's? who? He stopped being nice and started hammering at me.
I set him up for another triple by playing feel (even though I had the s for feels because I didn't wanna waste it.) He punished me hard with kois (k on the double and hitting the triple two ways. 69 points and I wanted to cry.
But then I fished for another bingo and was rewarded. I played moisten on him. The game was still close, but I had much more time left than he did and I took my time in the endgame.
I managed to find ether to take the triple on the bottom right and then played lot to finish my tiles and get his points! I won. He was unhappy.
My last opponent was also really good. (Not the usual softballs right over the plate I get when I'm 0-3) But he had a serious clock management problem and I punished him.
He'd take three minutes with his turn, and I'd plunk down my word complete with point total before he even drew his tiles.
I bingoed with unheated on my second turn.
Then I got to play queen for a double with the q on a double letter.
He was sweating the clock and playing foolishly.
He bingoed though to come within a frightening 22 points.
But I drew a familiar rack and bingoed back with dressier on a double.
I won handily.
He was a good sport though and held the board out of the glare for me to take a picture.
It did not feel good to utter the words "I have a Scrabble blog."
Oh, and I learned another thing about myself...if I can angle shoot, I will. In my first game with the 20 point clock, I found a bingo, and I noticed him look at me when I stopped shuffling my tiles.
So, I started shuffling them again and separated them into groups of three and two and two, so that he wouldn't block my bingo lane. AND THEN HE DIDN'T!
And in my match with the girl, I asked to borrow her cheatsheet to look up a word I wanted to play. It wasn't on there, but I played it anyway, knowing she couldn't very well challenge it when I'd just looked it up!
I'm funny.
Hmmm...of course, I lost both those games....

Thursday, July 5, 2007


So, the other day Fisch, asked me why I kept losing at the clubs. I decided the reason was my attitude. I figured they were better than I was, so I expected to lose and did. Today I went in decidedly determined to win. Twice as many games as before.
With my attitude changed, turns out that wasn't the problem.
People at clubs know that "jart" is not a word ---(thanks fischelstupidface) and they are also able to bingo back to back and make bingoes with the x and z, so that you cry. Vortexes!
My first game, I spent too many turns fishing to complete my bingo racks, so that even though I bingoed twice, I still lost by 76 points.
(Although new milestone: that was the most anyone beat me by and I finished the day with a positive spread!)
My next guy, I opened with a phoney: alonged...hoping he wouldn't challenge...but he did.
Then I accidentally played a bad two AND he not only challenged but asked me if it was my first time playing. I wanted to stab him in the eye.
Despite losing my first two turns, I stayed pretty even with him the whole way and then at the end bingoed out on the triple line with panters --hooking the the s onto ka.
He was deflated. I was smugly satisfied.
"Oh well, since it's the last play, I guess I'll just challenge it."
"Oh. It's good. My friend played that all the time...people who pant." I said all adding up my points and licking my lips and rubbing my hands together.
The director walks by, barely glances at the board and says "it's no good."
I'm all -- WHAT?? WHAT?? I want a second opinion.
I get one.
This is when we invented the "how much do we hate fisch?" scale.
He managed to play off his q for 33 points and so even though I bingoed out the next turn with parents, it wasn't enough and he won the game by 16 points.
I cry.
My next game was against a blind old dude. The tiles were size of a human hand. We used spatulas to slip them in place on the floor sized board. I kid. But they were HUGE print.
He opened with the bingo tensive. He followed that up with the bingo Throated.
I cry.
But then a beautiful thing happened...he would take like 15 minutes a turn. He played throated, I immediately played lung. He played whatever his next word was, I immediately bingoed with vaseline. And so on until even though he had like 430 points, he was getting a 250 point penalty on his clock alone.
Woo hooo! Victory. Mine. Suck. It.
My final opponent was a twenty something Jewish girl, who challenged my bingo teenies off the board.
I came back with weenies. She didn't challenge that.
She was pretty good, but I played a couple of phonies on her -- including agilier -- hahahahaha, so I won the match by 79 points.
July: Dawn's month of Scrabble!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Plan? Plane. Airplane!

“I haven’t held an e all game,” Polo said sighing, “I bet that open r won’t be there when it’s my turn,” he said hinting to his wife.
I laughed because I was handily ahead of both of them, but it made me wonder how on earth I ever used to play against them. The importance of the e or open lines never even entered my consciousness until a few months ago. No wonder they used to kick my ass. Even now, Lola totally set herself up to bingo and, as she said later mocking me, I “never saw it coming.”
Damn hidden word hooks.
I finally played Chugarte tonight and he also had similar talents. He played flak, which, if I’d had my trusty Scrabble dictionary with me, I would have challenged (Seriously, I don’t trust any other dictionary, I played Polo and Lola the next day and Polo insisted that we play with the America Heritage dictionary, and it totally screwed with my ability to securely play my “Scrabble words.”) A turn later he hooked on with an e to make flake and video.
Alceste keeps teasing me about writing about Scrabble strategy, but honestly, I don’t do very much of that kind of word setup. On the upside, I’m getting almost insanely amazing with my bingoing ability. I’ve learned like eight stems and am just generally super facile with making up words. Chugarte was personally offended when I bingoed on him with boonest.
What? I had to try.
I did get him to challenge zoon when I needed to get rid of a cumbersome nf and f in order to complete my bingo tiles (tangles was the resulting play). He tried to "pull a Dawn" by playing tare instead of tear, I was about to challenge when Mary saved me. And then Chugarte hit her. And I laughed. I've really got to stop assuming that people have misspelled words...just because Fisch couldn't spell, doesn't mean everyone suffers that affliction.
I did bingo twice with real words…although I wasn’t sure about dottier (it’s good.)
I’ve been banned from playing at Jamie’s, so most of my Scrabble is going to have to be at the NYC club and tournaments, which means unless I want to keep crying in my soup, I’m going to have to start paying greater attention to strategy as well as word knowledge.
Good thing I’m going on a poker hiatus.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I hang my head

1-3 at the club. AGAIN. And once again it was after going 0-3 and then getting matched up against a completely clueless opponent who let me play jed, ini, ni and all manner of phonies to rack up enough points to erase the 100+ point spanking my third opponent delivered.

Although, come on, if you're using a blank and an s for 27 points you've got no business playing me in Scrabble.

In my defense, there weren't that many players tonight, so I ended up matched with at least one expert. And he owned me. Dawn for sale. Dawn for sale. Dawn for sale.
I mean come on haed? Apod? What's that an analog ipod. Pout.
At the end of the game he suggested that I go give the dictionary a looksee.

The most interesting games though were my first two. I was matched with people who were actually my level. The first game ended 333 to 333 and then she discovered that she forgot to count 20 points for herself and I lost. I found a cool bingo of supines, which she almost challenged...but decided to just bingo back instead with airiest.
At the end of the game, she pointed out that instead of playing afar for like 8 points or something stupid, I should have hooked it on waited to play awaited. This is the second time in my short Scrabble career that I have missed this easy hook. By gum, there shant be a third. BY GUM.
She was nice and said that I made her heart go "ba boom" the whole game...the sound of an inferior player almost winning, I guess.
My second game was with a woman I had beaten before. The tiles fell evenly, but I became obsessed with completing my satire bingo, that I didn't take advantage of her many single digit point turns in a row.
I lost in a squeaker when she played the j on a double letter score going both ways in the second to last round of the game.

But. The very very very worstest most humiliating part of it all...
The director of the club comes up to me and says "You're taking a picture of the board? Did you see someone do that this weekend in Philadelphia?"
I was taken ABACK.
"Huh? What?"
"Why'd you go and play a rated tournament so soon?"
Good. God.
Until tonight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Taking the plunge

Say what you want about blue hairs and old people, I’ll take being beaten by them everyday and twice on Sundays to getting my ass beat by a scrawny kid with floppy hair and braces.
I played my first Scrabble tournament on Sunday…I didn’t know what to expect, but the only way I’ll ever make good on the myspace claim that I’m nationally ranked, is to play a rated tournament.
I emailed back and forth with the president of the Philly Scrabble club and he said that his King-of-the-Hill one day tourney was a good tournament to get started at.
I was giving a ranking of 0 and listed as the tenth best player. Even though there was another guy there with a 0 ranking.
This annoyed me.
My first game was against the 1 ranked player. Again, this annoyed me.
I held my own against her, especially considering she opened with a bingo.
I had one of those “almost a bingo” racks, so I played off a u for like two points. She punished me by hitting the x going both ways. I cry. But I drew the blank and managed to find the word lavished through her d to bingo. Ok…we’re kinda back.
I ended up picking up the z and playing it on a double going two ways.
She physically winced!
Yeah, baby.
I took a brief lead, but she capitalized by playing dices on the triple. Actually, looking at the board, she hit every triple. Pout. Gotta stop opening up those triple lines. My humiliating moment of the game was when she played moues and I thought she had misspelled mouse. I was soo gleeful when I slammed the button and said challenge.
SOOOO GLEEEFUL. Like hahaha stupid lady misspelled mouse.
She won by more than 100 points.
Oh well. Whatever. Stupid number 1 ranked player.
My next opponent was the number four ranked player. She was an affable enough older woman – like mid sixties.
She asked how my first match went, I said I got stomped. She said “yeah, my first tournament didn’t go so well either.” She then showed me how the clock worked (it was one of those cheapie small silver ones) and how to fill out the score sheet.
And then we drew tiles. I drew aelorss and immediately bingoed with lassoer.
She was all “Wha—but but…one who lassoes? I guess that’s good. Argh. I hate when people open with a bingo on me.”
I smiled and promised I wouldn’t do it again.
She played cults and my j on a double. She exchanged. I played the k on a double.
She started complaining bitterly.
I was in total control. Even when she bingoed finally, I was still ahead handily.
HAHHAHA and then I played the q going both ways on her for almost as much as her bingo.
She started whining like there was no tomorrow.
To her credit, her small game almost killed me, coupled with my penchant for choking in the endgame.
She took a small lead with no more tiles in the bag. Her fucking “wired” play was worth something like 50 points somehow. I was going to cry. Then I saw I could play my y on the double going two ways for thirty odd points.
She exclaimed.
I jumped.
“I can’t win,” she muttered.
Whew. She played out her last two tiles for 6 points and Dawn was 1-1.
Then I was matched up with the number 2 ranked player.
This woman ate me alive.
She opened with a bingo (dieting), she ricochet played off my power tiles for more points than I realized were allowed on a play AND the challenged off my phonies in a heartbeat. To wit: Opa. No good. Then I played wang on the triple line and she turned red and said “um, I challenge that.”
Honestly, I thought it was good. But no.
She put down wait instead and said “I think you were thinking of ‘vang.’
Yeah. That’s what I was thinking.
She posted the 492-234 score up on the highest score sheet at the back of the room. Fuck her.
I took my aggravation out on the next old lady.
I played flawlessly.
I bingoed three times, including a fake – but way plausible looking “skivener” hahahaha…once I established that she wouldn’t really challenge, I got more creative (She did rebel when I played zart on the triple line for 65 points…it was no good.) She then played some word, which formed AYA, a phony I’ve played in the past. I insta challenged it. I actually crushed her by almost 200 points.
My next opponent was an old black lady.
I underestimated her.
This game was fun because she also wouldn’t challenge. I played a classic Fisch/Dawn phony “awo” and though she thought long and hard, she didn’t challenge. Ha, I thought, neither did he.
But, her game was sick.
I played my z for a nice amount of points, she exchanged a few letters and then bingoed with instant.
She then ricocheted off my z like two turns in a row for way more points than I got from the z.
I played a phony bingo on her – tearied, though I thought it was good. I also got to play the word miaouing – after opening with miaou – though I wasted like three turns trying to draw the damn g. But she challenged it and I earned myself a free turn.
She took an handy lead when she played jars on the triple line, and in desperation I tried to bingo out by playing the word candier.
“Well, since it’s the last play, I challenge.”
Oh well.
She ended up going out, so she got all my candier tiles.
Not so candier for Dawn.
I was then paired with the other newbie and he won in a game that I should have taken down. I fucking suck so bad at the end game that I couldn’t even take a picture of the final board. I improved his 1-4 record to 2-4. I wanted to vomit. Mostly because instead of opening up a bingo line for myself when I was holding two blanks with two tiles left in the bag, I played Mig, leaving the m hanging with four open spaces behind it – of course, I should have played rig instead so I could find a word ending in r. impressively I came up with the bingo vomiters but I would have needed five spaces behind the m.
I had to walk it off.
Since our records were tied, we were paired up again for a tie breaker. He won that won more handily.
I was honestly scrabbled out after 7 games.
7 grueling games. But I got my first tourney out of the way, memorized a couple of useful wordlists. (The funny moment in my last game with the kid involved the rack aegirst. I had been having trouble remember the words seagirt and stagier because they are way weirder than the more common words found in that rack…of course, when I actually see the rack aeirsst with a g near the front – all I could think of was stupid seagirt and stagier, though they wouldn’t work…pout…ok, it’s only funny if you were there for the fuck why can’t remember seagirt moments, only to then live through the why can I only think of seagirt moment.)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I almost got beat in Scrabble tonight. By some dude. At some other dude's house.
So after hearing me trash talk Jamie a couple of nights ago, this guy casually says "if you want...I'd be up for a Scrabble game."
He is playing poker online and so he says "do you mind if I keep playing this while we play, it might slow down the game a little."
I shrug my shoulders. I haven't played Scrabble in a while, so I was like ok! (No, Jamie, my bingoing on you with my first turn and then eviscerating your lead in the last two plays of your game with Mary, does not count as me playing...and you rifling through the dictionary as you try to figure out what to do with your last tiles doesn't count as you playing either.) Anyway, so this dude draws seven tiles and runs back to his online poker game.
I drew the z, so he got the first turn.
He runs back to the board and plunks down A BINGO: Jasmine.
He runs back to the computer, so I have to count up his damn points. 92.
My saving grace was his assertion that he couldn't challenge me because I "know all those stupid Scrabble words."
I played a million and one phony twos and threes to balance out my rack, until I finally took the lead bingoing with fingers, using a blank.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Only three more boroughs to go

I ran out of the Brooklyn Scrabble club today!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pay to Play

Ouch. My head. My pride. My very humanity. All bruised, all battered, all really really hurting.
So, like all good pushermen, my first time at the Scrabble club was free. Next time. Fifteen bones.
I dilly dallied as long as I could, so as to avoid getting to the club too early. My undiagnosed social anxiety disorder causing me to dread spending empty time with strangers...or friends or family for that matter. Idle hands, devil, whatnot. Today's delaying tactic involved taking photographs of every bingo I saw on the walk from my office to the club.
Yes, yes. Dawn. Gay.
Unfortunately, I still managed to get up to Honors twenty minutes early. I didn't recognize anyone but the club director.
He came over to me, scratched his head and said "gimmee a minute to remember your name."
This caused me to panic and immediately blurt out "Dawn."
Oops. Sorry.
He gave me a look and said "Summers?"
I smiled.
Evidently, his older brother or maybe younger brother, who really knows, was in attendance for the first time in a while.
This drew much commenting and then I overheard this conversation.
"Why do you leave after only three games?" (The mini-tournament consists of four games.)
"I want to get home earlier."
"Why? It's not like you have anything to do there. You don't have a wife or kids or anything going on."
"Hey, I go home, get drunk and play with the cats. It's what I do."
I made a mental note to maybe possibly find a new hobby.
The last time I was there I went 1-3, though I felt that had I not made a few simple mistakes I could have easily been 3-1. I decided to get that record today.
My first opponent was apparently the first person to speak in the movie Word Wars. And there are entire pages about him in the Fatsis book.
I know this because he told me. A couple of times.
"What's your name again," I asked cause I thought he'd like the mention.
"Again? You mean still. It hasn't changed."
I laughed. But forgot his name. Again. I mean still.
But hey, I remembered his joke...which, if you ask me, much more flattering.
Anyway, Mr. Again Still kicked my ass.
Although, in my defense, he drew all four esses, both blanks, the Q, and the X.
I got the J, but had nowhere really good to put it and played it for like 24 on a double. Ugh. At the end of the match, he was up by like 250, but said the spread would only be 200 because of the club's mercy rule.
But he gave me some pointers, told me some stories about beating people who were way worse than him because sometimes "you draw good."
Yah. I know.
I can't say if I would have beaten him if the tiles had been more even -- but later I heard him arguing with this Asian woman who was kicking his ass because he challenged barties (not really) and she was explaining to him that it was satire plus b, so he should have known it was good because it was a list word and he yelled back "I don't study lists!"
And I suppressed a giggle. I looked over at his sheet and his game with me was his only win. That made me feel real good about myself.
My next game, I jumped out to an early lead I found an impressvely high scoring word in a rack of c e d k m s u and jumped out to an early lead. I then drew the z and cruised to almost triple my opponents score. He was taking forever and then putting down single digit plays.
I so had this game.
And then I got a rack of a e i i n s t and recognized it as a satine rack. I found the place for my bingo and then...he plays rejudges.
I say..."Challenge!" It's good.
I ask for a rejudgment.
I play off an i and an n to maintain my bingo possibilities...i pick another i and n...I cry.
I open up a bingo line for myself on the triple and he takes it. Not. His. First. Rodeo.
Dawn goes down by 145 points.
HA! No mercy rule for me.
My third opponent was a guy my age. He had his own board, rack, clock and word looking up book -- and wasn't afraid to lay claim to them.
He was very serious.
Again, I jumped out to an early lead. But my time management was atrocious. At one point he had 11 more minutes than I did...
He set himself up for certain things and I just couldn't block them.
He played Bunk, then bunkers on the triple, the debunkers on the other triple.
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK...BUT I managed to keep the lead for the vast majority of the game with a steady diet of 30-40 point plays...but then he bingoes with stealers (Dammit Dawn, close down the board when you're ahead!!!) Played the ixia, hitting the triple with the x...I drew both the Q and the Z on my last draw with like less than two minutes on my clock, he had pulled ahead by 30 and I dropped "sized" on the triple, also making glaciers -- yay, up by 15! And then he said:
"78 and out."
I look up and he had set himself up the turn before to bingo out by playing off an o to my op...he then hooked on the s to make sop, tirades AND get double points for my Q.
I cry.
At least I only lost that game by double digits.
He stretched out his hand to me said good game. But I wanted to hurt him. Violently and permanently in ways that let me know deep down that I am unfit for civilized society and should probably relocate to whereever apocalypse now was filmed.
He said I should come out and play in the park.
Hey! A park invite! Wait...a...minute...they play for money in the park.
I play a lot of poker and I've come to use the phrase "sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you" to describe those nights where you just get clobbered, crushed, smooshed, demolished. Outplayed, outdrawn, out. Tonight was one of those Scrabble nights. Facing my last game, the best I could do was tie my previous outing.
I was paired up with a friendly looking middle aged white woman who very much reminded me of my high school best friend's mom.
But I was going to crush her!
I drew an A, so I went first.
I played gauno. And hit the clock.
"Gauno," she said softly, I've never seen that word before.
My heart started to race. FUCK! I spelled it wrong!!!!!!
But I stayed cool, drew my tiles.
And then...well, there's another phrase my friend and I use to describe poker results.
"I'm up, but I'm not proud of it."
I.e. I had a rough day at poker, so I changed up a hundred dollar bill and played roulette. My number hit and now I'm up...but I'm not proud of it.
So...seeing that this nice sweet lady wouldn't challenge an obviously misspelled word, I played my best creative Scrabble game.
And just so you get an idea of excatly how horribly disrespectful this all is...beginners are given sheets with all the twos and threes on them and are encouraged to use them during play.
But I just knew I could get away with it...
I played "Poy" which is no good.
She didn't challenge.
I then hooked an s in front to bingo with "twinges" -- who the hell knows if that's good, but spoy...definitely no good. I then play "ruff" (um...sound a dog makes?) and played off an o, looking for an e to bingo with released...instead I drew a p. I played the phony "por" and bingo with pleased instead.
I was up my like 160 points and she was all "you are so good at this game, how long have you been playing."
Then she played the word aroe.
"Do you think that's good?" she asked meekly.
Look lady, I don't care, I'm about to hook touting on top of that for another bingo because I know you won't challenge "te."
But she insisted on looking it up anyway.
"Oh, dear, it's no good. I'll take it off."
What's that horrible sensation creeping into my stomach...
"No, no...I didn't challenge it! Leave it. Don't worry."
"Well, I want to play fair."
"No, it's ok...um..it's part of the game...Scrabble's like 50 percent word knowledge and 50 percent guesswork..."
And 90 percent of all statistics are made up right on the spot.
I looked at my rack...ugh...candy...baby...
I played the valid word outing instead of my phony based phony bingo.
Of course, it didn't stop me from playing ajeer on the triple. I ended up beating her by 197...just shy of the mercy rule.
At the game's end, she looked up ajeer...no good.
I quickly started clearing the tiles before she started looking up any more words...
So, we tied our previous record...but we're not proud it...well...actually.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not So Random Thought

How many games of Scrabble would you have to play before you see every possible rack?


Played Scrabble this weekend, but due to the soreloserness of one or more sore losers, there aren't any board pictures...however, this was taken after I played bionics (although Fisch claims I played biotics) hooking the s on top of the word imp for an impressive find of the word 'simp.'
I won the game and Fisch tried to hide his shame.

I make my triumphant return to the club on Thursday and I've heard there's a Brooklyn game, so we shall see.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Conversation of the Day (Dawn)

Joe Grossberg on what I would do if I moved to D.C.

Joe: Play Scrabble, duh!


There is an open N on the board ... going for the bingo.

Me: Wait...for real? Cause I'll move tomorrow.

Joe: Haha. No, but next time in NYC we should definitely play. Karol can come too, if she doesn't think it's too nerdy.

Me: Oh, crap. But I already subletted my apartment and quit my job. Who has just learned a valuable lesson about joking about Scrabble?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fun with Scrabble board

Unfortunately, it seems that I started my Scrabble blog in the midst of a poker resurgence...but game play should resume at the end of the week or by next week Thursday. Until then, we'll do flashbacks!

Glib! Zek!

What two letter word can be placed in the top right corner to make three words, including a nice triple word score going two ways?


Making Kif, Ka and Aby.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Aw, man...holes

Or how Dawn learned the importance of closing off a board when you're ahead.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Racks O the Day

Is there a bingo here?

Did I miss a bingo here?

Would you exchange?


I ended up playing Ham, using an a on the board.

Quote of the Day

"What could she add to the end of 'duo'? - Jamie about to find out when I played suq for 48 points.


Friday, June 1, 2007

I play Scrabble good

I run so good against Jamie. I mean, unbelievably (I don't know if that's how you spell it, but if I spelled it that way and played it in a Scrabble game against Jamie, it would be valid. Just. Sayin.') I play at Jamie's place about once a week, after getting knocked out of his tournaments -- either first or second, as is my way. Last week, I extended his play of laters by hooking the e for echoing on the front to bingo and make elaters. One who makes another happy. He, understandably, challenged it. I was wrong. And elater is not a person at all -- it's a CLICK BEETLE!
Dawn's play is good AND Jamie loses a turn.
Fast forward to last night. I have a rack of E N R R T U U. I groaned. I drew the letter closest to A and had the first turn, but with my crap rack, I was worried I would be playing some dumb three letter word for six points or skipping my turn...i.e... "nut." But then I saw "True" Hmm...eight points...still crappy and I am giving up the ever so lovable E...and then I saw Untrue...ooh...I could get rid of six of these ridiculous letters! Woo hoo...done and done.
I put them down...and looked at the r left behind...hmm...if something was untrue...it could be untrue...r?
Hmmm...this was Jamie after all...and I was Dawn...OK! I call...I mean, I place.
"Untruer" 68 points!
He immediately challenged.
I lunged for the Scrabble dictionary, I scanned the Uns and saw untrue...and then there in the definition!!!! UNTRUER!!!
I. Love. This. Game.
Final Board

Take Two

I went back to the Scrabble club yesterday. I timed my arrival for a little later in the night, hoping that there’d be more people. I was right.
I walked in with two people, I didn’t talk to them, but I walked in with them.
I sat down, sent a couple of text messages. I was still a bit panicky, but I decided to wait five minutes.
“Hi, I’m Nancy! Are you new?”
“Yes, I’m Dawn…hi…”
“Great! Sign in with Joel, the director.”
I went up to the man at the desk.
“Hi. I’m Dawn Summers, this is my first time…”
He went to reach for a yellow slip. (Now, for the rest of this exercise, imagine that my blog last name is Summer, instead of Summers, otherwise he’ll come off looking stupider than he needs to.)
“What’s your last name?”
“No, last name.”
He gives me an audibly annoyed sigh,
“What? Start over. What’s your name?”
“DAWN…SUMMER. That’s my last name…I understand the question…”
This exchange is then followed by the spelling of my name routine, which just doesn’t translate on the blog.
Finally, he asks me if I’ve played with a clock before. I say no.
(Months ago, after weeks of playing with the three minute sand timer and giving ourselves two flips of it, Fisch insisted that we buy an official time clock. Huh…and now that I think about it, by we, he evidently meant me. Jerkface. After a minor two week detour to California, the SamTimer finally arrived a few months ago, and the slamming of buttons is now a staple sound at the dining room table. But you know, just in case Fisch had tricked me about any particular custom, as is his way (“no, Dawn, it’s not garbage, it’s part of the lamp…I’m serious!”) I said no. Plus, I was in full-on ‘I’m just a girl’ mode. Managing expectations, people. Managing expectations. I didn't want my first time to go like this.)
I spotted a guy about my age milling around the beverages and went over to say hi.
“Um…do you come here often…”
“No, this is my first time…you?”
“Oh my God, do you feel like a total freak!?”
We laughed and introduced ourselves. His name was Charles, he lives in Harlem and plays Scrabble online all the time.
I told him I could never get any of the sites to work for me, but I played at home.
He laughed and said:
“Yeah, I can beat all my friends…they won’t play with me anymore. But I wanted to play live.”
Afterward, the tournament director Joel gave us a list of instructions on how to play with the timer, how to draw tiles and a list of two letter and three letter words.
“We not only allow newbies to use the list while playing, we encourage it.”
Charles and I crossed our fingers and hoped they would let us play with each other the whole night…uh…that was a poorly phrased sentence.
But no, I drew a woman across the room.
I sat down to my first club game ever. My opponent was in her early fifties, with short curly black hair. She held out the bag for me and I drew the E. I was fairly confident that I would go first.
“Closest to A goes first,” she said, simultaneously drawing the A.
I usually play with a brash kid who used to compete in Scrabble tournaments, our games are usually loud relentless displays of unsportsmanlike conduct unbecoming a Marine…er…Scrabble player.
If I had drawn the E and he outdrew me to grab the A – I would be hurling a “fuck you, luck box,” right about now. I suppressed that instinct and smiled.
She scored 14 on her first turn with Gay and I outscored by playing AMA with the m on the double letter square.
Then she exchanged and I pulled further ahead.
I drew extremely well – both blanks, three esses, the z, the q – but she exchanged three times and I was consistently outscoring her and using enough of my tiles to get the opportunity to draw new ones. She even drew eight tiles and I was able to throw back her x. I bingoed once with retiles and she audibly sighed, leaned back in her chair and said
“Man, are you going to win your first game at the club? No one does that.”
Again, I had to suppress my Fisch-honed instinct to say “fuuuckkk yoouuu,” for the premature jinxing.
Sure enough, my endgame fell apart. I started playing off one or two letters and she pulled ahead by five, I came back to take a six point lead and then she said “12 and out and out,” and I still had an m on my rack.
She exhaled and said “wow, you’re good.”
“Not really,” I said in keeping with the humble newbie persona I decided to adopt for my first time playing at “the most famous Scrabble club in the country,” as the first woman who introduced herself to me said earlier that night.
Of course, I realized that since I almost beat her, that might not have come off as gracious as I meant it to.
But she was super nice and we chatted for a bit about how we both came to play competitive Scrabble on a Thursday night.
“I’ve been playing about two years here. I used to play the informal games on Sunday, but I love the mini tournament style of Thursdays. How about you?”
“Well, the guy I mainly play with is very competitive and humiliates me every time I lose, so I had to get really good, but now he’s moving to California and I can beat everyone else I know…so I’m either giving up Scrabble or I have to play here.
Charles also lost his first match, but by 100 points, so I felt a little better about my patented endgame collapse.
I won my next match in what I thought was a crushing…I bingoed with outsize on the triple line, but then challenged the word: wos.
It was good. And as Joel told me the word was valid, he added “that’s why we give beginners the cheatsheet of twos and threes and tell them to use it…so you don’t make challenges like that.”
I think he muttered ‘idiot’ as he walked away.
Anyway, as I said, I thought I crushed my second opponent until my third match, where I had six bad challenges, exchanged TWICE and got all around murdered by this old lady by 174 points.
She was also very dirty. Like she would make me count my own points and not tell me if I’d forgotten to press her clock. So, pretty much, we’ll be calling her Fischwoman from now on. She even has his sneaky Fisch expression when she knows she's getting away with extra time. Fucker.
The Fischwoman played sneller and YUCH and a bunch of other bullshit that turned out to be good…by the time she was up by 220, I so wanted to dump my tiles onto the board and concede. But evidently, this is not allowed.
So, I battled back... a little…I bingoed with crossed and managed to get the loss to under 200 points…UGH.
I was still smarting from that match and botched the last game against a black woman who hadn’t won a game all night…I let my clock run down trying to think of ways to use the q and the z on some incredible power square…never happened and I ended up struggling with two minutes left and something like 20 tiles still in the bag. All around poor time and rack managment.
I cry.
During the breaks in the game, this Asian guy was playing cards and when I asked him what he was playing, he said “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Indeed, he had dealt out four hands of two cards each, and then would lay out a flop, a turn and a river and then turn over the hands to see who won.
I told him I’d play the imaginary poker with him.
He told me he was very good.
“Oh? Where do you play?”
“Well, Playstation 2,”
“Oh, they reopened it,” I asked thinking he meant a defunct poker club called Playstation.
“Huh? I have two characters and they beat Christy Gazes AND Clonie Gowen.”
I tried not to laugh.
I didn’t succeed.
“Oh, the videogame?”
“Yeah, and I play on my phone. Do you play?”
“Yeah, I play.”
“In the city?”
“I’d like to come with you sometime!”
“Um…what’s the most money you ever played for?”
“Umm…Millions of dollars on the Playstation game. I play better when the stakes are higher. Otherwise, I never fold before the flop.” (Or turn or river, I might add.)
(He had been bluffing me hand after hand during imaginary poker.)
“Well, you might want to start playing small games first…like for money…before…going to a club.”
He told me that at the Scrabble tournaments, players have poker cash games and tournaments on the side.
And dude, if they all play poker like he does, I could so subsidize my Scrabble costs with my poker winnings!
All in all it was a good night. My 1-3 record, was definitely not indicative of my abilities and I learned some valuable strategic lessons. I also have a nemesis who will drive me to keep up my studies…seriously, Fischwoman, I am going to crush you…someday.
Like crack, the first time was free…each time thereafter, it’ll be $15…BUT maybe I can challenge Asian guy to some real heads up play…

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Scrabble can Mess you UP

I was reading a story in 'Everything Scrabble,' about a guy who challenged the word 'was,' and a young boy who was helping out at the tournament, looked at the word on the slip and said "you challenged was?"
I laughed thinking about the time I challenged 'mere' (meh ray? what the hell is that? I challenge!! I remmeber saying confidently. D'oh)
I had a friend challenge Dupe this weekend "Dup EEE? No way! Challenge."
But that's the way of Scrabble, isn't it?
After a while of trying to think of words that can fit in the three blocks square on the triple line, you can spot UDO and ECU, but CON and DOG suddenly look positively foreign.
And the flipside is also true. I find that I'll always go for the Scrabble word, even though there's a perfectly good real world word right there.
I played Adze(d) in two different games on Saturday. In the first one, my opponent was like "why wouldn't you just play 'daze'?" I was like "huh"? And it took a good minute for me to see the more common word in my tiles.
"Oh...um...I dunno...I just always play adze," I said honestly.
Yet more proof positive that Scrabble messes you up.

Monday, May 28, 2007


A bingo!