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.