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.