Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I felt really ready for this tournament. Of course, I felt really ready for Washington too. And just like that tournament, I went down in flames to my first opponent. She was all smiles before the game and real friendly-like, but the minute the game started she was super aggressive McGrinch Scrooge. At one point, after I played "rallies" using the blank as an ess, announced my score and what the blank was, I hit her clock. She hit my clock and snapped "you have to write it down on the paper first." A rule I have NEVER heard before. But whatevs. I'm all No drama Obama, so I let it go. She then bingoed twice in three turns and well, that was that. She tried to triple triple on me with needliest, but as we used to say back in the day I challenged that shit off the board. I lost by a huge spread. My next game was against an unrated player, who was playing in her first tournament. I was still reeling from my loss, so I was looking forward to an easy game. No such luck. She was very good. I had a million bingoes. A MILLION, but every time I'd open up a place for them, she'd close it. I finally managed to bingo with visitors, but it was waaay late in the game and no real comeback was possible. She bingoed with voicers, I wanted to challenge, but after getting burned with challenging wanters yesterday, I let it go. Ugh. I'm afraid to look even now. She also tried to play "pricings," which I let her spend a lot of time counting up the points for, only to insta challenge it since I know all the ing endings that takes esses (like endings) and pricing aint one of 'em.
I, sad to say, took out ALL my frustrations from the first two games on my Game three opponent, a very nice older gentlemen. It helped that the tiles were finally cooperating. I bingoed in my first turn with stamens, using the blank as an e. Then I go every powertile imagineable AND he was opening up every hot spot imagineable. I used my x on a TLS going to ways, Got the Z under the Q on the TWS (Zin/qi) Got the J on the TWS going two ways. It was gross. But I needed that win and I needed it to be big. My spread is still negative, but it's a manageable negative. Hopefully, we won't lose anymore games.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pay It Forward

Well now that the New England Patriots are done for the season, for ridiculous craptacular technical tiebreaking stupid rule reasons, I now find myself bitter AND with lots of free time! This is BAD news for my opponents in next week's tourney! I plan to take my hatred of the AFC East (except for the Bills, cause awwww, they're the Bills) on each and every person unfortunate enough to sit across me at a Scrabble board! I will break the thousand mark. I will have a winning record. I will cash! For Belichick!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kicking ass, taking names

One of my all-time favorite shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer...actually, it's probably The all-time favorite. My blogonym comes from a character in the show. Well, there's an episode where one of the bad guys shoots Buffy and as she and her friends hunt him down, she says "I find getting shot very motivating." Losing all my games last week, was very much like that. I've been studying up a storm ever since and even though my friend Ugarles managed to crush me in a game of Wordscraper yesterday, (I hate him and his little whap, too!) I've been feeling a greater confidence in my game.
So much so that when Woody, one of the expert players at the club, showed up early, I asked him if he wanted to play. I've only played Woody once, maybe a year ago, and it was such a disasterous blowout that about six rounds in we simply switched to him playing his rack and telling me what he'd do if he had my rack. This time was different. I started off poorly, playing Tom instead of Mot because I doubted my grasp of the threes. This led him to play boxy/tomb I then drew a rack of einortu, but there was nowhere to put my bingo, so I got rid of the crap letters playing off my new favorite word: roue (also euro) and then picked up aniy, he played Taj hanging off the triple line, so I bingoed with inanity on the triple line hooking an I off raj. He challenged it off because raji was no good. Waa. I played Tinny, he bingoed on the triple line with earners. It was not looking good for our hero. But I picked up another good rack, and double double bingoed with toadies to get back in the game. He opened up another triple line and I played zoea for a crapload of points and to tie the game. I bingoed again with something simple and took my first real lead, he mounted a brief comeback, but I was able to play qat with the q on the TLS for thirty-odd points. It was a nail biter till the end, but I managed to go out and with the tiles on his rack I won by twelve!
I couldn't believe it! I was in such shock I barely registered that I'd be playing my nemesis Adam in the first real game of the tournament. He had recently discovered my blog and swore to punish for everything bad I wrote about him. "I think the word was dork" he say after playing some disgustingly high scoring word like "quare" with the q on the TLS going two ways and the e on the DWS. SICK! I had opened with Hex, and then bingoed with "forties" making sox and ewe as well, he exchanged and instead of exchanging my double ui, I played them off, setting up his quare move. Boo. He went back and forth, he pulled head toward the end, but I managed to go out first and get the tiles on his rack. He did the math and in the end...we tied! Afterwards Joel showed me two plays that would have scored huge (glidepath for a TWS or icily, neither of which I saw. So he yelled at me.) I played Nancy next. We always manage to create a horrid blocked board early on, so I was making very low scoring single digit plays, using one or two letters. I played an a and e off a v, for ave, setting up Nancy to bingo with retinal. Boo. It opened up the board though and I managed to bingo a few turns later with denials. It was a close game, and then I drew esquire! She didn't block my one spot for it, so I pulled ahead by what I thought was a comfortable 60 points, right up until she scored 53 with jinn, with the j on a DLS and the blank on the triple word. So gross. We went back and forth again, but I pulled a lucky ess and was able to play hours for a bunch of points with no more tiles to draw. Whew.
I have nothing to say about my third game. I played like crap (case in point, I had aasnier and knew that was a stem, so I played off an a and hoped for the best, I drew another ess. So I had aeinrss. I played raisens. Joel was standing over my shoulder and when my opponent instachallenged, he said "no good" and snorted.) I then played off "ar" hoping to draw a t. I didn't. I didn't stop hoping. Horrific. I scored 6 points or less five turns in a row. Blah.
Anyway, my last game was with a guy I'd never seen before, so I assumed I would beat him. He played gama. I challenged. I lost. Uh oh. I bingoed with snottier, he used my e to make equine with the q on a TLS and the e on a DWS for 70 points. I triple worded with Josh, he bingoed with magnetic. Arrrgghhhh!!! I was losing and losing bad, my only hope was to bingo AND that he'd go over on the clock, I had like 15 minutes and he was already down to 3. Sure enough he went over, he was already at minus 20. But I was behind by 50, I played vow to open a bingo lane for myself...the only problem was I didn't have an a and I didn't draw one. In the end I was down by sixty. There were no more tiles in the bag and an open L and an open T. My rack was eeilrts I had a lot of time, so I shuffled and reshuffled till I finally came up with "retitles" through the t and hooking the s to ado. He sat and thought for a long time, costing him another ten points, before he challenged "ados." It was good! I managed a three point win! Woo!

I love Scrabble!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not my night

Here's how much not my night it was: I actually left my house early so that I wouldn't have to make now weekly call to Nancy to have her tell Joel that I'm running late. BUT I missed my exit off Park avenue and ended up ensared in third avenue traffic for 30 minutes. I think I was later today than I ever had been before.
My first match went terribly. I was outtiled, outplayed, outscored, out everything. I lost and by a lot. As I walked to get snacks I remember thinking it had been a long time since I had been beaten like that. Well, turns out it wouldn't be long before I was beaten like that AGAIN.
My second match, same thing, just beaten. I had a couple of bingo racks late in the game, but there was nowhere to play anything. AND when my opponent opened up a bingo lane on the triple for herself: my rack was titnesd and I needed a word ending in r. Nothing. She bingoed out with overbear and I had by second 100 plus loss on the night.
My next opponent was a 14 year old kid, who was winless on the night and when I challenged off his opening play of rancider seemed to give up on the game. So, naturally, I started to play badly too, fishing for bingoes, making terrible plays, ugh. I played so horribly. He started to realize that the game wasn't over, even though I had a nice lead, and he made quite the comeback. I picked up a q and y with my last draw and there was nowhere to put them. So I lost again.
And then to cap off the best night I have ever had at Scrabble club, somehow, someway on the day when I am 0-3 Jim freaking Piazza is 1-2, so he's my last matchup of the night. JIM PIAZZA.
WHAT THE HELL??????????????????????
Oh, and of course, he draws both blanks in his second turn and bingoes with weapons OH YEAH AND HE HAD AN ESS. Actually he drew three esses. I drew the last ess on my last turn and had a final rack of antions. I had to bingo out right then to win because he had the q on his rack. So I played antison. It's not good. I lost. 0-4. On my way out Joel told me I had anoints. Awesome.

I hate Scrabble.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I won!

Okay, second place, but still! I actually got money back from my buy-in to the weekly New York tournament! I want to say I felt victory (and yes, victory for the rest of this post...and um...well, this blog, will always be 3-1 with an almost three hundred point spread...if I ever leave the club with a 4-0 record...well, suffice to say with some degree of certainty, I will never leave the club with a 4-0 record.) when I sat down to play. But honestly, I hadn't been studying, the previous week I had gotten clobbered and well, my head was elsewhere. I played my first game against Jean Lithgow. Who, when she heard the matchup, said "yay, I love playing you." I made my sad face because she usually beats me. In fact, I think I've only beaten her once or twice before, so I wasn't expecting much. I opened with a five letter J play for a nice lead...maybe jewel. I think she must have drawn the blank at that point because her next two plays with two letter words for like four points and I felt like she was fishing for a bingo. I scored a steady 25-35 points when she finally used her blank to play qaids with the q on a double letter square and the s on a double word square, but I was ahead by enough points that it didn't matter. She then opened opened up the triple line and I bingoed through with mantles and I think that was the game, she couldn't catch me after that, though she did get both blanks and the rest of the esses.
My next game was against Jim Piazza. I would often refer to people who I can't beat as "my Jim Piazza" because I've never been able to beat Jim Piazza. I think I dubbed him the unbeatable Jim Piazza in a game where I was leading the whole way, until in one of the late rounds he took back the lead, but then I drew aenprst on my rack with two tiles left in the bag and the word ka was sitting right next to the triple line leaving me a nice bingo lane to take back the lead and probably win the game. I played panters/ska. He challenged. It was no good. He blocked the lane. I ended up losing by a lot. Anyway, here was the original Jim Piazza, he also drew a blank and opened the game with a bingo: tentiest. I think he thought I was going to challenge it. But I already learned that word the hard way against Steve Williams last year.
Pyscologically I probably lost that game when I was matched against Jim Piazza, his opening with a bingo cemented my state of mind and I lost. Not by a lot -- maybe thirty points or so, but he drew both blanks, I don't think I bingoed the whole game and at no point was I ever ahead.
My next game was against Dulce. She is one of the weaker players in my division, so I expected to win. This is the game where I relearned the lesson "no matter how weak a tournament Scrabble player is they are still a tournament Scrabble player!" I played a phony on her "bew" to get my w on a double letter square two ways, she let it go, but then bingoed on the triple line with both blanks playing minutia with the a atop my 'by' for minutia/aby. For some reason the word didn't look right to me, and for eighty odd points I decided to challenge (I thought it was supposed to end in e.) Obviously, the word was good and I lost my challenge, but she used the free turn to exchange letters, so I didn't fall too far behind. I bingoed twice: first with some stem word and the second time with charters to end the game. I ended up winning by 100 plus, but with a rocky start due to overconfindence.
My last game was against a guy I had dubbed "Jim Piazza" in the past. His name is Sal and he had his boy with him picking the tiles for him.
It was cute.
I picked a lot of high point tiles, but no vowels to go with them, so I had to use his vowels leading to him getting more points playing off my big tiles than I'd get. I played "wiz" through his i but landing the z on the triple line. He played le in front to score with lez. I used his u to play qua he played some crazy y word to make quay. The game was really close until he bingoed with sections using a blank. I had ettines on my rack, and was down by 70, so I took a chance and played et for four points and hoped for an a or a blank on my next draw. I picked up ag! Hooray, he used his turn to open a bingo lane by playing a u on top a p for up, so I had to play something with the t on top of the u (I didn't realize sup was also good.) which suck since the easiest satineg bingoes to remember are the ing ones...I finally remembered ingesta and played that. I was now only down by fifteen and with no more tiles in the bag. My fourth straight game without drawing a single blank! He tried to bingo out with his remaining tiles through an e on the only available lane. He played defasted which I challenged off. Then he played feastedd which I challenged off and in the end, I went out and then got all double for all the tiles on his rack for another 100 plus win!
Twas a good day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not so random question

Is it wrong that I think those crossword puzzle people are nuts?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Kearns

Maybe this will be the year you finally beat me at Scrabble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Living room Scrabble

I haven't played non timed livingroom Scrabble since July might have been July 1, 2007, if I recollect correctly. I was visiting my friends in D.C., a husband and wife duo which had been cleaning my clock at Scrabble for nearly ten years. They were so nuts about Scrabble that they brought the game with them to the delivery room when their daughter was born. They were very good, but after a year or so of playing tournament Scrabble, I was better. And that day in July, I won both games and pretty handily, they promptly vowed never to play me in Scrabble again. Truth be told, although I enjoyed beating them, without the fast paced action induced by the clock, I was a little bored. So I gave up on livingroom Scrabble too and just played with my fellow New York wordfreaks. But this week I'm out visiting my friends in Utah and one of them has just started to play the game with her friends. On the drive back from the airport she told me an all too familiar tale about losing all the time and needing a Scrabble tutor. So tonight we went over to her friends house, after going over some simple Scrabble strategies and played with her neighbors. They have some quirky rules, like one person keeps score (and hell, as long as that person ain't me, I was cool with it), you get to look up words before you play them AND once the blank is played, you can replace it with the actual letter, if you have it, as long as you use it on your next play. And of course, no clock. I got the sense that my friend usually loses during these games, so I went in with the express purpose of winning and winning by a lot...these house rules definitely helped. I pretty much reused those blanks on every other turn to bingo and I could look up the words I wasn't sure about to boot! Throated, roached, beadily - all good! All bingos! I also got to showoff my ever growing impressive anagramming skills. It was super, I think I've infected a whole community in Utah with my Scrabble obsession. Throated! That was an awesome play. I also had the oppurtunity to triple triple with anles?? Through a d, but just couldn't come up with anything and I felt like a jerk taking twenty minutes trying to find it when I had a million sevens. It was annoying though. I could have also regular tripled with some eight ending in an e with those same letters, but nothing. I ended up playing antlers/ami for 63. Bah.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


There's a famous opening sequence in a game (I think) between Brian Cappalletto and some other dude. One of them played entasis and the other played realise right on top for a perfect bingo bango.
Well, my Adam, had a similar play. His opponent played
boniest and he played back with

And if you're wondering why I'm writing about other people's Scrabble games, it's because I hate Scrabble again. Stupid losing challenges.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Whew. My rating will go down, but I won seven and lost seven, which is waaay better than losing more than I win. Crushed all of my opponents on the last day. Yet another chapter in the "Dawn still in bed stories," evidently the hotel made the director end the tournament earlier, so the day three was started at 9 instead of 9:30, as the nice lady informed me when she called me in my hotel room at 9:10. My opponent was really sweet and didn't start my clock...unfortunately, I went on to tear him brutalized. I bingoed four times with outraise, outpens, salines, and something else I don't remember now...maybe hurdler. I also bingoed multiple times in each of my next two games. I don't hate Scrabble anymore, but I'm not talking to it for a while.

Oh, and I just can't figure out why everyone laughed at my Scrabble board all weekend...just because the face is cracked, the plastic side is broken and it doesn't spin.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Find the bingo!


Not to be a total ingrate...but man double blanks are hard.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Awash in a sea of red

They make you put stickers next to your name after each game. Green is a win, red is a loss, yellow is a tie.
My name looks like someone stuck a sticker knife into it and red stickers are pouring out. Which is pretty much what it feels like, so I guess it's apt. My rating is going to plummet. Which is fine, my next tournament I will be put in the children's division and crush them. Ow. My head. I mean pride. Things we learned the hard way? People can play through the TWS both horizontally and vertically. Avast is a word. If you play a word because only one letter can hook on to it, your opponent has that letter.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Scrabble lesson the first


For the second time, SECOND, ladies and gentlemen, yours truly, Dawn Summers had been in bed while her Scrabble tournament clock was running. I am a moron.
In my defense, when I came back to my room and blog my sad 1-2 post, I thought the first day of the DC tournament was over.
As I said, my first game was against a woman who I thought I could beat easily because I am ranked eighth and she is ranked 21st in the field. I was wrong, she beat me and she beat me handily. I don't even think she bingoed, she just hammered me with an endless stream of nonstop 30-50 point plays. I, on the other hand, kept looking for "just one or two" more letters to get my bingo with my blank a n e l d. So promising...but no...I kept getting double as double is vees, by the time I did get a decent play, lo and behlod there were no spots. I ended up playing a phony (at least I think it is) climated with the blank as an m. Luckily she was too slow in challenging, so it stayed on.
I lost a challenge when I objected to joles. It's good.
My next game, I won. I played another phony (tilders) because I knew if I didn't just dump it, I'd spend forever trying to draw a tile that goes with lister. She was also too slow to challenge, so it stayed on. I then drew crap and had to exchange first five letters (oeeee) leaving me with es and then exchange six letters uuooee. But I ended up getting a play with q on Dl and r on dw (queer), i pretty much outplayed her from there.
My third (and not so much last) game was against the top seeded guy. The old woman from my first game had just beaten him and he seemed a little out of it. But he was ranked first so I didn't take anything for granted. He played just awfully. He left an e open on the Triple word line and I played through it with zeta (z on double letter and a on TWS). was winning right up until I wasn't. Toward the end of the game I was drawing awful. I should have changed, but I was ahead and wanted to keep it that way. Instead I started opening up profitable lines for twelve points and he punished me, And how. I lost by thirty.
Disgusted, I went back to my room. Took my medicines, searched for local Maryland crabhouses, blogged a little and climbed into bed.
I was merrily enjoying Countdown with Keith Olbermann when my phone rang. I thought it might be the folks I drove down with calling about dinner, so I almost didn't answer. But what the heck, I'd just say I was out because I was going to sleep.
"Is this Don?"
"Yes...we wanted you to know that there is another round of play going on."
"What? Now?"
"Yes, your clock has been started."
"Ok, I'll be right down."
I dashed downstairs (stopping to comb my hair, lest we have another "bad photo incident). By the time I got in my seat, I had 14:27 on my clock. It had been running more ten minutes. She still had her full 25:00. We drew to see who'd go first. It was me. She started my clock again I had a rack full of junk junida. I played jun. And from there I just raced. I looked at my rack and played the longest words I could fine, to speed through. Vetted. Petite. It was the four-five letter game that I should really be playing all the time. I even drew a blank and managed to find the bingo almost immediately ?niuadl (I know you guys like to play along at home) I had the lead the whole game until I challenged magi/indoles with the i as a blank. It was good. Pout. She drew seven tiles. Three were left. She kept trying to play FEH under indoles, but would realize at the last minute that Le was no good. I guess she could see my challenge finger getting ready. (By the way, at this point she was down to THREE Minutes on her clock and I HAD EIGHT AND A HALF!!! I think my insane speed Scrabble rattled her.)
She ended up playing FIN for 33 points and a twelve point lead. I then played zas for 32. She then hit me with KI going two ways for 23. I had orods left on my rack. I needed 24 points. I looked around and saw an outplay for 17 points. I was sad until I remembered her H!! That's another eight points, plus the other four tiles, worth at least another 8! Boom, baby! I quickly played doors hooking it to week and won.
I WON the game that started with me in bed.
I don't recommend that, but I will start playing more fives and sixes rather than fishing for bingos. If I get rid of tiles, the bingos will come.
And now, I am going to sleep. For realz.

I hate Scrabble

Yes, I am 1-3. I got beat by an old lady who played sooo fast I got flustered and almost went over my clock. ARRGGGHHH.
Oh, and in the not so random category, you should not be able to delay a game so you can go to the bathroom, come back and delay the game AGAIN to get some water.
I'm going to bed. Lessons tomorrow.

Politics and Scrabble!

If you anagram Republican, you get Cure B Palin! Palin '12! (But mostly because I'm a liberal Democrat who believes that she'd be the easiest person to crush in the 2012 general.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My word against yours

I played in the final match for second place and lost. I didn't challenge the word vyse because the game was so close and I just didn't think she play a phony at such a point in the, I challenged wyn once and it was good. Blech. But I did beat two women that I rarely beat, so that's something. Oh, one of the women I played with told me a funny story. She said that she always likes to know what words mean before she plays them, so during a match one time she asked her opponent what a word meant and he said "what does it mean? 42 points."
I laughed. I'm the same way. I have no idea what anything means, just if it's good or not...and sometimes I don't even know that. Waaa.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Amazing Play

I'm playing Scrabble with a dude I hate. So, naturally, I want to win. He draws a B, I draw an L, he goes first.
I'm waiting for him to put down tiles and tell me how many he's trading in...instead, he just sits there. As in pass. Now, the last time he did this to me, I played something and he bingoed through my i down to the triple with painting.
Now, my rack looks like this qnolidu. Not awesome. I contemplate exchanging my tiles, screw him and his pass completely, but then I figure it's better to get my automatic double word score for my q. But I don't want to make this too easy for him so I play "quod" If he can use the u or the o for his bingo, so be it. I draw four new letters: Now my rack looks like this: bnolitg. I immediately see my bingo, but the board is not gerund play friendly. I cry. He's going to bingo and I'll have no place to put mine. No fair.
INSTEAD, he plays off a P and an R on top of the o making pro for 11 points and giving me exactly the place I need for my gerund!! YAY!!
I instantly play bolting (making qi, un and prog) and watch him die a little inside.
I love this game.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I went 2-2 tonight at Scrabble club. And if I just sucked a little less, I could have gone 4-0. The two games I lost were by a combined less than twenty points. I have really got to learn some five letter words. Oh and hooks for things. If I knew what went after Haen or Hame I would have been rolling in victories. Oh, crazy words I learned today: Ginep and brith. Yeah, not birth - brith. Fortunately, both were in this game against this guy who I used to beat all the time before my stupid six month hiatus and now he plays the insanest words just to get me to challenge. But I don't cause I know he wants me to. Although, he bingoed on me with renoted and I should have challenged because it's no good. I bingoed on him THREE TIMES and ended up losing by the stupid tiles on my rack. Stupid c. Arrgh. Oh, but one of my victories was against a woman I have never beaten before. Apparently she found out her aunt died during the tournament and had a bad night. Now, before you judge me, as I sat down across from her she was "oh, good! I'm playing you." And she broke into a huge grin. And then when I beat her, and by a lot, it was all "Dead aunt." My other victory was against a young woman from Korea who just didn't know how to play. She played toast using an s and a blank for ten points. Dude. So I basically played all manner of phonies and try to run up the score against her to protect against the dreaded negative spread. There's a tournament in Queens this Sunday. I may play in least it'll motivate me to study for the next two days.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I will confess that the two times I had to play "dirty words" (cunt, titties) I counted the points up before I did it, cringed, put them down really fast, closed my eyes and drew new tiles superfast.

via petitedov

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to play the game

Woody, a guy at my Scrabble club, played "assholes" on a triple/triple! He scored like a bagillion points and won the "lipstick on a pig" award for word that most reminds Joel (our club director) of Sarah Palin.
It was my first time back at the club, it's such a different place than the one I left in April. I managed my usual 2-2 record...although I beat a woman I have NEVER beaten before and got beat by a guy I always used to beat. What's that phrase about winning some and losing some? I learned a bunch of new words: kiva, odin, curr. Don't ask me what they mean, although in the case of "curr," it means you challenge and then he comes back at you with "colinear" on the triple word score, which you also challenge, only to find out that his "last girlfriend was named Caroline." Dammit.
I bingoed with gestate though, which was a cool non-blank using find. I also played salined and got away with it! (Only real bingoes in the rack are denials and snailed.) I'm gearing up for my next tournament in a couple of weeks...I need my rating to go up by twenty points, so we're back in insane practicing mode. The other thing I'm trying to do is less fishing and more five letter word playing...unfortunately I don't know that many fives, but I found prawn today with the p on the triple word square and the w on the double letter, for a boatload of points. I also played quins twice on a double word score with the q on a oduble that's progress.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On the inside

I finally got an invite to the private monthly Scrabble tournaments! I had been hearing rumors about this game for about a year. It’s held in a posh UES apartment with posh people…one woman is Colin Powell’s cousin! I was far and away the worst player there…although, now that I know that I am exactly the 132nd best Scrabble player in New York, there was one woman ranked below me. My first game was against this jerky brash dude. He likes to needle and mind game you into making bad challenges/letting phonies go. I mostly try to ignore his antics and play my own game…a strategy which was working. I bingoed on him twice early and ignored a lot of words I know he was playing just to bait me…I wish I had taken a picture, so I could remember them. It was all going swimmingly until he played doux for 52 points, with the x on some power square going two ways. Now, I had recently studied all the short x words and I just couldn’t remember ever seeing it. Never. The guy was also really quiet instead of his usual “blah blah blah blahing” when he knows he’s played a valid word, so after about a minute I challenged. It was good. But he wasn’t sure about it, which is why he was quiet. I lost my turn and the sad part is that I could have played through his x on the triple word score line with “roux.” Anyway, I came back to play your under his fur to hit the other triple word square, with the y on the double letter square going three ways, so I made back some ground. But then I hit three racks in a row with no vowels (I played Brrr…tried to play cwm…”) but nothing materialized and I lost the game by 12 points. He said that he had a rack of all vowels he ended up playing animi through the m I was looking at for my cwm. Oh, I bingoed with megatons--- that was a cool find. Anyway, one loss.
I then played a woman that crushed me and sent me home to mama during the Big Apple tournament. It was a very close game. We were playing a lot of tightly packed three and four letter words and the board was very closed down. I ended up bingoing with aidless (fast becoming my favorite Scrabble stem…the words are so crazy, that they mostly get challenged every time.) The both of us were having terrible clock management problems and as we dumped off our last tiles, she maybe had 20 seconds left with four tiles, I had like a minute. So I just kept playing off tiles as fast as I could without much attention to points, hoping to get her to go over. Sure enough, she went over by 1 second. And I managed to win the game by nine points thanks to her ten point penalty!
I also won my next game. This woman was brutal with fives and sixes. She didn’t bingo once, but she would play like “seizes with the z on a double letter and then hitting the triple word box to make me cry. I thought I was going to lose, EVEN THOUGH I BINGOED THREE TIMES, that’s how good she was, but instead, I managed a one point victory because I went out before her and got the two points for her last tile! Whew.
I also won my next game against the host. She is super competitive and it’s her house, so I tried to be on my best behavior while playing her…even though her oft-times nasty comments made that difficult at times. But whatever, I sooth my pride with the knowledge that I won.
I dropped by last two games in bad crushing fashion. I mean hundreds of points, giving up midgame, not even keeping score anymore crushing. But, I finished with a winning record, albeit a negative spread, so hopefully I’ll be invited back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My rating went up!

I'm almost at a 1000. Woot.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not so random question (Dawn)

I have played in four Scrabble tournaments over eight days, why do they choose the one day I have overslept and show up to the game looking like crap to take my official NSA photo?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The End

First off, hahahahaha. Hi, Karol. HAHHAAHHA.

Today was the last day of the tournament and I learned a new lesson that is not often imparted to new Scrabble tournament players. Here is that lesson: You cannot win a game if you are sleeping. Literally. Game one of day three started at 9:30. I opened my eyes in my bed in Brooklyn and the clock said 9:41. Well, it actually probably said 10:02, but that’s because all my clocks are fast by some arbitrary number so I freak myself out by 1) having to do math and 2) thinking I’m late. Sadly, no amount of subtraction was going to make me not late today. I pulled on jeans, brushed my teeth and ran to my car. I then made it from Brooklyn to Manhattan is seven minutes, for some idea on how fast I was going…well…fast. Anyway, by the time I made it to the Midtown loft where the games were being held, the director told me I missed my match by 1 minute and they had to call it a forfeit. I was sad, but didn't fight, it was totally my fault. I played the beneficiary of my exhaustion in a fifteen minute game for "fun," before my next match. She seemed easily flustered and I probably could have beaten her...made all the more painful by the fact that I did beat my next three opponents, for a final record of 9-6. I think I came in seventh or eighth. My ranking should probably hold though, which was my biggest concern going into this tournament as unprepared as I was. Unfortunately, I didn't do my rating any favors...which leads me now to my latest obsession with playing the Lake George tournament at the end of October...if only I could guarantee that I would study...

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Ugh. I had a strong start...3-1 going into lunchbreak...and then sploosh. But, hey, my first game was against a little boy, he's like nine or so. I was afeard he'd be some kind of Scrabble prodigy and would crush me. But then he played cui and I challenged it off and started to relax. And then he played azo vertically under my ox on the line next to the triple word score. I had isatine on my rack, one of those was a blank, but I don't remember I tried to pluralize azo (making xi, azos and isatine) he successfully challenged it off. I missed a turn, bingoed isatine next to sun for suns and isatine...he inexplicably challenged suns and I got another turn. I picked up nolmtig. Yay! Molting...hmm...where to put it...I went back to the azos spot and played molting horizontally. Bingoing down the triple line, making:

It was awesome. He kinda gave up after that.

I won my next game, by letting the guy beat himself. He had terrible clock management skills. By the third round he had like seven minutes left. When he finally bingoed, he played raiders alongside oi, making ois and raiders. I instantly challenged and he wasted another five minutes looking for a new bingo spot. So, I basically, kept throwing back any crap tiles and sending it back to him until he was minus four on the clock. He ended up negative seventy. I won by eighteen.

Then I won a super close game against a guy that bingoed on me three times...but his third bingo teeings, was a phony and I challenged. He then tried to play some other crap on me which made the word "dost" ...I challenged the whole play and it was no good, so I'm not sure what the bad word was. BUt I ended up winning by three.

I won the first game after lunch against this mamas boy that had beaten at a tournament I played last year in Queens. He challenged AIDLESS! A scrabble stem anagram that I had learned at lunch. He had smart assed me earlier in the game when I challenged wizes and it was good.
"Yeah, that's a tricky one. It can be spelled whizzes or wizes, but the weird thing is wize is not good. You really just have to study." So when he called "hold" after I played "aidless" I prayed and prayed for him to challenge...after wasting a full two minutes, he finally did. And after the computer validated it, I was all "huh, it's so weird that you would challenge a stem's LADIES plus, 's.' Buuurn.

Thus endeth my good times.

My last three games were devasting exercises in girl that is good at Scrabble meeting people who are great at Scrabble. Although, one guy, a British dude I met at Scrabble club who also plays poker, I had beaten every time I ever played him. Of course, while I have been off doing lord knows what, he has been playing and studying Scrabble. I knew I was in for a baaad beating. I was doing okay, even picked up satiren and did my little "ooh, is it satine plus r or satire plus n, ooh, what do I do? where do I go with my nine bingoes," and then I opened a stupid bingo lane above the triple word line and he punished me with isolead. Plus I challenged him. Sad Dawn.
The next woman I played never scored less than 30 points on each turn, or she's exchange. It was disgusting. Got so bad I tried playing "gooseing" on her. She challenged. I lost.
My last game was against Adam, who was a member of the Scrabble crew, he is super competitive and had just lost to someone who was ranked below him. So he took it out on me. TUX with the x on the triple letter square going two ways. Lez/zin on double word scores two ways. Crushed.
Hate Scrabble.
Never playing again.
Until tomorrow. I'm 6-4...need to win all four tomorrow...but hopefully, my crushing this afternoon means I'll be playing the bottom of my division. And hopefully, I can win.

Not so random thought (Dawn)

When I'm a famous poker player, I'm going to play Norman Chad in Scrabble while he asks me five questions in that episode of the Nuts.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Coming home to Scrabble

Okay, so I have certainly played more Scrabble than I’ve posted about…but that’s more a function of my having posted nothing. After Saratoga I immediately signed up for every Scrabble tournament in the New York area. I was determined to get the taste of my “so close, yet so far” bubble finish out of my mouth. Instead (Satine plus d, bitches!) Life got the taste of Scrabble altogether out of my mouth. All my Scrabble nemeses refused to play me anymore, Hasbro killed Scrabulous and I just couldn’t go back to the Manhattan Scrabble club, so it seemed I was all done with Scrabble. Except for the three day October tournament in NYC. Unlike all the other tournaments I signed up for, I actually paid cash monies upfront for this one. So, I was going to play. And I would eventually get back into the swing of things. Or so I told myself in April, and then May, and then June and July, definitely for sure by August, I mean, I was recovering from emergency surgery what else could I possibly do!? Turns out lots. By September, I was in real trouble. I hadn’t learned anything new AND I had forgotten everything I did know. Luckily, okay, I already know this is the wrong word, you are about to find out why. Luckily, an old woman from the club had surgery and it left her homebound. One of my old Scrabble crew friends called me to see if I could play some games with the woman at her house. I figured this was a good way to both get back into the game and pay forward all the people who came by my place to play Scrabble with me when I was all post op. Janey – the old woman—is an excellent player. She has crushed me pretty much every time I ever played her at the club or in informal matchups. I would say every time, but I think I beat her once…or I only lost by double digits to her, which I also count as a win…
Anyway, her operation was on her hands, so I had to count all the points and do all the clock hitting, but otherwise she functioned ably.
I was super rusty, so I didn’t expect very much from the game. Lo and behold I won. It was definitely very close and I must say it was more a function of great tiles than any strategery on my part.
I then won the second game, by a bigger margin this time, but again I think I drew lucky at key times AND Janey underestimates me a great deal, so she left some spots open that I don’t think she would normally leave and I capitalized.
She was super cranky after that and so we only played one more game…which we never finished because she was getting tired. I was ahead though. Grin.
I went back to her place every afternoon for the next few weeks and actually won the majority of games. This did not in anyway motivate me to study though, so today, the day before the Big Apple tournament began, I was on my phone with my completely unhelpful friend Karol, trying to relearn satine, satire, toners and ladies. Not to mention my fracking threes, which still elude me!
“Did you know mim is good? And MIB?”
“I don’t care,” she would callously reply.
I found some secret words that I figured I should learn…this is always how I get an edge on people who have been playing longer than I have, I learn new words and hope to draw challenges.
So, ready or not, there I went.
My first game was supposed to be a bye. I am ranked fourth in my division and my fourth from the bottom counterpart didn’t show. But there were 23 participants in the tournament, so one bye was already built in. Instead, we both had to play each other. I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect from my opponent. I played very conservatively, building three and four letter words. She played the same way and very quickly we had an ugly closed off blockish board. But then she did a strange thing. She played heads for 17 points!!! An ess for 17? I mean sure she got the h on a triple letter, but dude! So, I started to loosen my tile playing requirements an bingoed on my next turn with what I thought was a phony three, but valid bingo: I played bog/ginnies. Turns out bog is good (I guess it’s like ‘boggle,’ but ginnies is not.) She DIDN’T CHALLENGE EITHER!! Woo hoo!
Of course, whenever I underestimate someone, I start playing like a total fish, single digit turns until I get a bingo rack. Unfortunately, while I sat around with my line in the bag, she managed to bingo with outside using a blank. Ouchy. I had the other blank, but also every stupid r in the bag. I idiotically kept playing off one or two ars until she had a forty point lead on me and tiles were running out. In (what turned out to be) the second to last round in the game I had farit*d. I only had a bingo lane under tav, so I needed a word with an ess…I didn’t see anything, there were two tiles left in the bag, which based on my tracking weren’t any horrid tiles like q or j or y…there were a bunch of vowels and friendlier letters out…so I gambled. I played fa directly over the triple. I was hoping she take the bait on the triple and play down opening up two new lanes for me to bingo. Oh, and hoping the last two letters weren’t dupes. I played fa, and picked up me. My final rack was rited*m. I immediately saw remited… but wasn’t sure if that needed two tt (it does) but when she surprised me and played ideal under fa – instead playing fade all the way down to the triple like I wanted. I needed a bingo that, at a minimum, fit under her ide. So I had to end with ted. Again, I almost went with remitted, when I finally saw merited and quickly bingoed out on the triple to end up with by like 30 points. I felt amazing!!
My next opponent was a woman from Texas, who seemed to be in a bad mood after losing her first match.
“I can’t seem to beat you New Yorkers,” she said. Seems she had played at the Scrabble club the night before and had gotten bruised.
I smiled. I declined the invitation to say “I hope that remains the case,” or something equally snarky.
Instead, I wished her luck and drew.
Damn. I wished I had wished me luck: nynypbi.
Dude, WTF.
I ended up playing piny because I went first.
It was a close game until she foolishly played a word down to the triple line ending in d. I bingoed on the triple with sprained using my blank as an i. (basically I had the infamous ‘panters’ rack.) I went on to win by a comfortable forty points.
My last matchup of the night was with Nancy, one of the core members of the defunct Scrabble gang. She’s got wicked word knowledge and I couldn’t beat her on my best of days at the height of my Scrabble playing. I did not have high hopes for this game. Which was good.
She picked up both blanks, the j,z,x,s …bingoed twice, I think…ugh…it was brutal. And yes, while I did pick up three esses, I got them all at the same time. She challenged two of my plays off the board “unis” and “smatted” and that was all she wrote. I was blown out by 145 points and finished the night 2-1 with a -60 spread. I’m hoping that puts me at the middle/bottom of the division, so I’ll get matched up with weaker players tomorrow – instead of my commanding opening at Saratoga, which doomed me to a day two of the dominating best which I couldn’t overcome.
Anyway, here’s to tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scrabble on facebook sucks

I can't get over the fact that Hasbro has killed facebook Scrabble. Somebody call Alanis, this is irony, folks. The software is so slow and crappy and ugh. And I'm not just pissed that some glitch in the game resulted in my last turn being taken off the board (even though Scrabble doesn't have a challenge mode) and my lovely bingo rack being turned into shite.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Non-Scrabble News

A friend of mine Yaron Koren has a new site up. It's called Referata. It's a semantic wiki hosting site...which don't know, but I bet Referata is the best darn wiki hosting site out there!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I was recently hospitalized and had my gall bladder removed. It was all pretty painful and uncomfortable, but there were a lot of good drugs involved. Which is the only way to possibly explain the following dream that I had. I think it's one of those things that started out as a dream, but I woke up halfway through, but was still amused, so I just imagined the rest of it.

So there I am talking to Ugarles' son about his progress through the threes and I say something've got to get better, so someone in that house can give me a good game without using an anagrammer. He laughs and puts his father on the phone and Ugarles says are you going to put this much pressure on your kid? And I say "of course," if you think that child isn't going to hear the phrase "look it's your life and if you want Sidney to be a better Scrabble player than you are, well, I guess that'll just be your choice now won't it." And then I add, though I guess I'll use the name of a child closer to her know, like little Moishe Hooper. Yeah. I'll be all I bet Moise Hooper isn't complaining about learning his Satire rack, no, he's just grateful for a break in the depressing music and the triple draw exercises.

I think this is where I start to wake up because I remember laughing that I've named the as-yet-born Hooper child "Moishe" and I know that no matter what this child ends up actually being named, I will always call him/her Moishe. Just ask Karol about her friend first born child Ephram.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sometimes change is not good

Sometimes change is not good

I’m back to playing tons of Scrabble. Although after my four-five month absence, I find myself wholly out-classed these days. However, it isn’t the losing that has irritated me the most, it’s that Hasbro has changed the game. Not the rules or anything, but the color scheme. Triple word scores, which used to be easily identified as red are now orange. Double word scores, once pretty in pink are now some form of putrid red. Even the board itself is no longer a gentle beige, but an absurd blueish thing. It was so horrifyingly distracting.
And now Hasbro has started its own version of Scrabulous on facebook. I was invited by the company to Beta test it because of my blogs, but I have to say I haven’t found anyone willing to complete a game with me on it because, well, it sucks.
First off, you cannot play in the challenge mode, which is the only way honest, God-fearing, red blooded Americans play Scrabble. Second, the graphics and animation are terrible. I believe Ugarles’ comment when we first started our game was “does Hasbro think we’re retarded.” Indeed, the bells and whistles are so overpowering they make it difficult to play your word or see clever hooks. It also makes it impossible to load at work – and dude, what’s the point of having a game on facebook if you can’t play at work.
So I don’t know what the outcome of this lawsuit will be, but I hope they come to some agreement whereby EA just agrees to buy Scrabulous - or take it by fiat, and we get the same Scrabulous interface without the copyright infringement guilt. Oh, but I am having a wicked awesome game against the poor Flying Pink Unicorn, who is explaining his current three hundred point deficit by saying that he’s taking it easy on me. He then promised to kick my arse at 80s Mets trivia…to which I responded with a hearty…bring it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not So Random Thought

Is there anything worse than picking up satine plus a J! Grr.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Funny things Joel Says

I have yet to come up with a feature for my humble not read Scrabble blog. I correct that oversight now!
The Director of the New York Scrabble club is a dude by the name of Joel Sherman. I'd say he's in his late fifties. He is most surly. And I mean, whatever you think of when I say surly...surlier. Anyway, I've actually come to like him a lot. There's no chitchat with him, he matter of factly says either you suck or you don't. He is slow to compliment and quick to mock. There's no bullshit whatsoever with him and it's a trait I've come to appreciate.

Now, when you deal with lots of different people and you, essentially hate them all, you tend to say things that would make the ordinary person cringe. Like when I told him I played in my first tournament last June, he looked at me and said "that was a stupid way to waste money."

And when my friend told him I won a tournament in Australia he said "I don't doubt it, they have horrible players there."

And now for tonight's gem:

An orthodox woman who plays at the club regularly was doing her usual complaining that all the big tournaments inevitably involve Saturday games which she can't play in because she can't count points or hit the clock or something like that. So, I told her there were monthly Sunday tournaments out in Queens. So, she asks Joel for the contact information. He gives it to her and tells her the next game is Sunday. She again starts to whine because evidently Sunday is Passover. Joel sighs heavily and says "Well, too bad for you. Anyone that keeps the Sabbath is an idiot that is wasting half the weekend for no reason." And then he walked away. I covered my face, but then peeked through my fingers to see her standing there speechless. I wonder if she'll come back.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Not only did I beat Paul last night, I beat him three times!!
This was the first victory:
He challenged Gritters...mostly because when I played it I had that "uh...umm...whatever, I'm behind might as well give it a shot," face on. Turned out it was good. Then I drew both blanks and bingoed with strains...Ah good times. 40 point win for Dawn. Plus I had some nice three/four letter word plays HexFax, Jew/Yaw. Good game by me. He won the first and third, I won the second and fourth. When we were two and two I got all cocky...and then got smooshed in back to back games, but then I won the last game and went home in triumph.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Scrabble is cruel and evil. That is the thing you should know about it. You can play for hours everyday for a month and a half, then you take just a week off to enjoy your other interests and when you go back to Scrabble, you suddenly can't remember what satine + s is or what satire + a makes. You're looking at the rack ovalite and you're playing oval. Instead of the most obvious bingo of all time. Sigh. So, in fact, the Scrapple group did kind of break up over the last uncomfortable outing, which is kind of good so I can stop pretending to like Barbara. I've mostly been playing with this guy Paul. We met up on Wednesday at this cool outdoor "artspace" thing on the East side.
He is much, much, much better than I am. Which, I gotta say, I didn't really know until, he fricking back to back TO BACK bingoed on me, in a disgusting fashion during the first game.
He opened with cluster. I then took a shot with rootiest -- which was, surprisingly, good. Then he played cratonic...or cratoric, I forget what the blank was -- wtf?? and then he played sedating. At this point I was down by three hundred points and had this been a game at my house, I would have so thrown my tiles in and said 'new game.'
Ugh. Then I started to play badly - ion and the like, so anyway, I get destroyed in the first game and he's like "I can play with a time handicap, if you want.'
I glared.
"Or not."
We set up the board for another game, when the security guard came over and was like "no games in here." Paul started to argue with him for a bit, but I was totally psyched. I'm like one of those skater kids being hasseled by the man! Woo hoo!
We ended up going to a bookstore coffeeshop on 3rd ave. We played four more games. I was losing the second game pretty badly, when I missed the entasis play and sent myself on Scrabble tilt for the next two games. (Including one game where I swear I didn't draw a single vowel. I kept turning over my tiles and seeing an endless string of ens and arrs and I was like ARRGGGHHH. And Paul was like, Dawn, you need to work on your drawing. You'll never win a game if you can't manage to pick an a every now and then.)
Finally, FINALLY, I was winning. I had two bingoes, I was scoring a solid 25-40 points a turn, I was in complete and total command. There were no tiles left. He had six on his rack, so I didn't even have to fear him bingoing out on me. I had four tiles left luut. There was nowhere to play ulu, but there was an open z. I should have played lutz. I didn't. Instead I played...i dunno some crap which left me with a u and an l. Paul was, you missed a big play...I might be able to win this.
He put down an s and scored 17 points. He was now still behind by 24. I didn't see how he could win. But he assured me that if I didn't score more than two points on my next play, he would win by 1 point. I had five minutes left on my clock. Up by 24 with two tiles left. I looked and looked and looked. I could only find 2 point plays with either the u or the l, the clock was running down. Finally with ten seconds left, I put down the l to make el for two points. He then played off all his letter for 23 points on a double word square...making the words raggs and ar. (I think it was raggs, anyway, I was pretty much crying in my soup at that point.) And then he got two point for my remaining u. I lost by one. I fricking hate Scrabble. And everything it stands for.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


This post has nothing to do with the facebook game. I'm just infringing on their name because I think turnabout is fairplay. Although this doesn't really count as an infringment because there is no way someone would confuse this post with the game Scrabulous. Unlike the poor saps confused into thinking that playing Scrabulous is playing Scrabble. I played one of my marathon sessions with the Scrapple folks last night. I learned a new bingo that I now want to play someday. But I can't list it here because one of the best things about this bingo is that guaranteed challenge and free turn! I also pulled a Fisch on Nancy. I was down 169 -26 and ended up winning by 23 points. She was so crushed. I laughed. I was 6-0 on the night, until Adam destroyed me in a game 565 to 270. And then Old Fischwoman beat me, but I've never beaten her, so that wasn't entirely unexpected. A bit of a a controversy broke out when Clive was beating Barbara so bad that she was like I concede and he wouldn't let her. He said it was bad form and she was pissed off and said she was leaving and then he said he would never play with her again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I drink your milkshake

"Dawn's problem is that she likes to fish. But it's so obvious what she's doing that she fishes and I just eat the bait. - old fischwoman

She did say I was getting better though, so for those of you who think that after playing almost daily for more than a year, three tournaments and about a thousand dollars, that I was getting worse at Scrabble. You were wrong.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I hate Scrabble. I quit Scrabble. I will never play Scrabble again. Or something like that my post was gonna go if I lost all four games tonight. It's weird, when I got to Honors --where Scrabble club is played-- I really felt like I was going to have a good 3-1/4-0 kinda night. It was a light crowd due to the Christian holidays and I dunno...I've sorta been studying. But the thing about light crowds that I oft times forget...they're the diehards. And they're better than me. I lost my first game to this kid, then I got stomped by an old man, and then this lady kicked my ass. Funny thing about the game with the lady, the director of the club has taken an interest in helping me since my showing at Saratoga, so he watched over my shoulder as I played the game. She was crushing me by hundreds of points, but in the end, I ended up losing my high two digits. I said something like "well, at least that wasn't horrible." And without missing a beat, he goes "that was horrible." He then pulled out various racks that I had during the game including stated? and showed me the bingoes I should have played. "You're not always going to have satire or satine...if you're waiting for that all day, you're going to miss big plays, Dawn. Shuffle your tiles!"
that stated? will haunt me long time...everyone who was listening was like "starter" "toaster!" And I was like "fuck you!" "bite me!"
Anyway, my last game was against a man that I've never beaten. He's a really strong player that was having a baaaad night. Which meant my night just got worse. I was given the matchup and I groaned. This will be my first 0--4...I wasn;t even 0-4 on my first day.
"Against Ed?" The director said snorting "you can beat him."
I can?
I looked at his card. I do have a higher rating than him. Okay! I can beat him. I will beat him!
We drew to see who went first. He won. I was sad.
But he exchanged five tiles and I went first with Hare.
He then play qis/share for 40 points.
I was sad.
He was outscoring me horribly, until I made a move on him and played moe/mae for 36 points. I insta went to draw tiles out the bag and he challenged moe too late.
"Sorry, already have my tiles." I said looking like I was sorry, but I so wasn't.
He seemed rattled after that.
He played scone down a triple line, giving me a place for my bingo tiniest.
Then I drew both blanks...I had bacar?? There was an open t...I think that made baccarat, but I wasn't sure how to spell I played off the ba and then bingoed with scarred.
He played putz with the z on a double letter and the p on a double word score for fifty plus points, but he hung the z over the triple line and I played zeta for 39.
I ended up winning by 35 points.
So, my resignation from Scrabble is on hold...for now.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

B train, duh. No, I kid.

A 535 game for Dawn! Three bingoes, no prememorized racks and only using one blank!

I was 3-1 on the night. My one loss was by one was sad, but tonight really cemented the importance of studying to get better. The last game of the night:

I played the eight letter bingo 'guylines' playing through an l and using two blanks because I had been studying the rack lingye the other day. In that first game I found indulge because at the Saratoga tournament I had the rack dueling and there was an s open. I knew duelings wasn't good, so after the game I went and anagrammed it. I also learned the five words formed with the letters in tagline after I had atingle once, but couldn't figure it out.
Anyway, I think it's obvious that my bingo abilities have gotten better because of my studying and I need to suck it up and put that effort in learning the fours and fives.

Earning my Scrabble Dork badge one day at a time

So, I'm playing with Adam, one of my Scrapple friends, and he turns his rack around to show me that he drew satinea out of the bag.
"Can you believe that!" He says shuffling the tiles around in front of my face even though we both know that there are only two bingoes there.
Finally he plays "entasia" and I say "ooh, entasia...good find...I can't believe it only took you ten minutes."
Everyone laughs.
See, because that's not really a good find. It doesn't even really count as a find. At least not by Adam. Some Scrabble guy in olden times found it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I love this game

I had one of my rare 3-1 nights at the club. My first game was against this guy Steve, who plays a sickly devastating closed board game, which as Alceste well knows, is the best defense against my bingo-dependent game. I lost by 155 points. Which made me sad. I was then pitted against a newbie, which made me happy because I handily crushed her with little resistence. She challenged basinets -- when I bingeod on the triple line. Grin. Hmm...I know it's good, but now that I look at it in print, I guess it does look funny. Okay, I take back my hysterical laughter inside.
Then I had to play. Niki. She was my very first opponent at the club ever. She's super nice and friendly-- and I'm not just saying that because people at the club know about my blog now. But she is also very competitive. Plus, she has always beaten me. You obviously know where this story is going.


I bingoed on her early - QUARTOS (seriously, how do I ever lose at Scrabble when I can play a word like quartos. Man, if it weren't for luck in Scrabble, I'd win every time.) She drew both blanks and bingoed back with serener to take the lead. I had a z in my rack (which I drew after the quartos move) and there were two places to play it two ways on a double letter square, but I didn't have an a. And then I became obsessed with getting the damn A. I musta wasted three turns trying for it, so she took an even more substantial lead, but I finally got my gitdanged A and played Azo and Za, to pull back into twenty points of her. We went on like this for a while, until she played unflat -- which I stupidly didn't challenge -- and jumped out to a 36 point lead. I had saiines on my rack, in the end game. There was an open t on th etriple line at the bottom, so I played off one of my i's knowing that I could bingo with whatever I drew next. But I hadn't been tracking and there were NO TILES LEFT IN THE BAG. Muzzerfocker.
Now I had six tiles left, she used the T to play total and I was down by 33, with no possibility to bingo out.
I wanted to cry.
Instead, I sat there pouting for five minutes until I decided to add ise to total and hit the triple on the other side with totalise, for 24 points. She laughed at my desperation play AND CHALLENGED! IT WAS GOOD! And it turns out I miscalculated and the play was actually worth 27 points! Now I was within 6 -- and she lost a turn. All I had to do now was go out and I could win!
And i said so. Out loud.
"I know what you have, you can't go out," fired back.
I stared at my remaining tiles of san. And pretty much as soon as she finished that sentence I saw the open w.
"Yes, I can!!"
And I played swan. And I won. BY 3 points. SO SICK.
My last game was against a charming British fellow. The first time we played, he was just off the boat and still playing sowpods words, so I won just by challenging them off. But he's a very very good player, so I was not looking forward to playing him now that he'd gotten the hang of OWL.
Our game started off being very closed:
Crap...thought I had a picture. Anyway, I did one of my cute sandwich played where I played faith right under his word, making like six words for 40 points. He came back with sick sandwich move of his own -- under that!
Then I bingoed with sextain, but I had been fishing for it for a while, so he had a 100 point lead on me, so that barely brought me back...I bingoed again with triages to take the lead. In the last play of the game he bingoed with renotice through a c on the triple line, putting him ahead by 16 points. I was all...crap. And was about to cry, when he was like "'s the last play, if I were you I'd challenge."
"Oh yeah....challenge," I said sheepishly.
It was no good.
I went out and won the game pretty handily.

Friday, March 14, 2008



I played Scrabble with Fisch yesterday. He conceded this game after I back to back bingoed and he back to back unsuccessfully challenged. This made me happy. And then we played a game a for money and I also won.

He then chose to wreck the board:

And then paid me my money. This also made me happy.

He is a very good player though. Every game is a sweat. But mostly cause I can't regulate the heat in my apartment.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


My mother insists on calling the people I play with "your Scrapple friends." This, however, is an improvement over "your Snapple friends," which was the term du jour just a few months ago.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Genius? Or Fool?

First game of a mini Scrabble tournament, you are the notorious Dawn Summers. Your first match is against your own Scrabble student, who actually has shown marked improvement and whose results against you in recent weeks have been disturbingly good. Now leaving aside some early round mistake you make fishing for the n to complete your satine rack, you are now down by 60 points. However, your student is already over by 1 minute on the clock. So, really you are down by 50. You have a bingo on your rack: Uterine or reunite. (Online anagrammer also says retinue, but you didn't know that word then.) There is no place to put it.
The turn, you played an a to open up a bingo lane on the triple line, unfortunately you didnt draw any letters that would go in front of ae.
Your student, usually predisposed to taking any open triple line, instead plays on the inside. So, you get a flash of brilliance. You pass your turn. No letter exchange, just pass. Again, she plays something on the inside. You pass again. Now she's down by four minutes on her clock.
She makes another inside move. You are now down by eighty, but her clock is running and you have plenty of time.
You pass again. She passes. You pass. She passes.
Now, there is a little known rule that when you have three sucessive passes by both players, the game is over. So, you play uterine down the triple line forming eae. She challenges it off the board and passes her turn.
You then play reunite in the same spot. Again, she challenges it off the board and passes her turn.
Now, another player that is just watching calls the floor for a ruling that the game is over.
I vehemently disagree. "I didn't pass."
I was then told that the rule is three sucessive "scoreless" rounds by each player.
I am mad, but I break up the bingo and just play two words. One five letter word. She passed. And then I played a two letter word to go out. She then showed me her rack. In addition to going over on the clock by 6 minutes, for sixty points for me. She had a q, two vees, a cee, a dee and an A on her rack, for another 42 points to me. There was some discrepancy with the scoring, which we couldn't resolve because she learned how to keep a scoresheet from me and um...I don't know how to keep a score sheet...but in the end we decided that she won by three points.
So I started regretting passing my earlier turns...but she said she drew the vees and the q in those last three turns, so I just would have been stuck with them and would have lost anyway.
So, I don't know...I think my strategy was sound. Why I went on to lose two out of the next three games, on the other hand...bad mazel yo.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I was triple tripled on for the third time in four weeks last night.


Now, since most people never see triple triples in their lifetimes...let along three in less than a full fricking month...I gotta say, it's probably my utter lack of any defensive game that is resulting in these repeated humiliations.

My offensive game on the other hand...getting better everyday:

With four tiles left in the bag, I was down by 54 in a game against Dee and I managed to find a bingo that hit the triple word score that ended in an s and had an s as the third to last letter.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Dawn! You suck" Adam after I showed him my rack of LAMNATE and bemoaned my fate because their was no open i, only to have my opponent play zinc with her next turn with the z under the double word square, so I immediately and I mean spastimmediately played le on top of the z for lez and 24 points instead of laminate.

Also, not so random thought, it's a bad fracking scene when you can't beat the person who taught you to play or the person you taught to play.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You be the judge

Fourth round of a Scrabble tournament.

Both players have seven tiles on their rack in the final stages of the game. They check the bag and agree their is one tile left. One player puts down his word and takes the last tile. The next player goes and the first player, puts down his last four tiles and is out. He wins the game by seven points plus the tiles on his opponents rack. They finalize the score sheets and hand it in for inputting in the computer. As they are about clean up the board, the losing player says "Hey! There's another tile in here!" He calls over the judge and the judge says, the game goes on, the winning player has to take the last tile. The score sheet is returned and the game goes on. The last tile was a u and there's no place for it. The losing player now goes out and he wins by the last tile on his opponents rack, the u. Did the judge make the right call? Or was the handing in of the score sheet the end of the game?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Not so random thoughts

1. Live Scrabble is totally rigged.

2. Why do they call seven letter words, bingoes instead of Scrabbles? Okay, that one is more of a not so random question.

3. I think they should have bag cams, so players can later see what tiles they grabbed and dropped. That'll totally tilt them.


I don't know if you've ever been beaten at anything by 300 points, but let me tell you what it feels like. Um...have you ever had a fist shoved down your throat and your appendix removed? Sans anesthesia? Yeah something like. And okay, everything went his way, but I played horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrribly and let him run up the score on me something god awful. Oh my God. My whole body hurts. He tripled tripled, with unposted through an s he left hanging from his previous bingo, because I decided to exchange one letter to complete my satine rack rather than block the triple line. I played jam with the m hanging off the triple instead of jee cause I wanted 13 more points and he bingoed on that triple line with resting. Then he would have been stuck with the q, but I wasn't tracking, was down by 200 and didn't give a shit, so I played kins on the triple line and he played qats on the triple for another 48 points. Suddenly, I missed the days when I was down by 200 points. I'm 8-2, but this game wiped out my spread and unless I can run up the score on my next three or four opponents, this game likely cost me the tournament.
And deservedly so.
And the worst part! THE WORST PART! The guy's name is MARWAN!! Where's Jack Bauer when I need him.

Groan/ What the Fuck

So, I get back from my horrendous loss to find that my next match is with...MARWAN. AGAIN.

I explain to the tournament director that this must be some kind of terrible mistake. But no.

8-3. Back to back losses to fricking Marwan. At least I kept my deficit to two digits this time. A high two digits. Hmm..I'm just going to go ahead and call this one ball of loss. 8-2.

8-4. Finding new and even more idiotic ways to lose.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Live blogging Saratoga

I'm playing in my first multi-day Scrabble tournament. I played in the early bird yesterday and got brutally crushed in only two games, so I feel pretty well matched to the competition. I ended up with an abysmal 2-5 record, but still had a positive spread. I should have been 3-4, but I am an idiot.
In what should have been the final play of the game, I realize that my opponent is stuck with the q. She has only one place to play qi, which she has on her rack. I can block it by closing off the line under axe. I decide: 'Yes, I am a genius!' I close that she can't go out and I win. I am doing a jig in my head. I have truerls on my rack. I can't play the s, cause she will just put down qi for qis. So, of course, GENIUS that I am I play the r. HA! That'll show her. She challenges axer instantly.
It's no good.
She plays Qi.
I throw an epic tantrum. (Which in Scrabble is basically, just throwing tiles down anywhere, no longer keeping score and then walking away from the table without helping to clean up.)
If I wasn't such a bitch, I'd be ashamed of myself.
Anyway, this morning, I won my first match. I bingoed twice...stalked and relation...though I hung the n off the triple line and she punished me with a sixty point play of zany. Pretty much wiping out my bingo. I wonder if pows was good...which is how I hung stalked.
I play the lady I threw the tantrum against yesterday next...

Whew. Beat her pretty handily. Bingoed on triple line with entasia...couldn't for the life of me remember the other bingoes in that rack...for shame. Must brush up on satine rack study. I was super nice to her and an excellent scrabble citizen. I'm sure yesterday's unpleasantness was forgotten. In a disturbing note, I lost ratings points after yesterday's early bird tournament. NG. My friend Adam has been I told you soing me all day. Arrgh.

Not so random thought...I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board. I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board.I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board.I will not pay $100 for a new Scrabble board.

Even though the one I have is cracked and doesn't spin and fills me with shame.


I'm drawing well, but playing even better. I made one glaring mistake. PLayed a K, for Kir and Ki, leaving the only too hookable ki just sitting there, even though I knew my opponent had the blank. I've done this before and it has cost me games, you'd think I'd learn. Well, I think I finally have. In my last game I almost played kis and then I remembered. Then I almost played yes and realized that could be turned into eyes! Whew.
I am playing very strategically. My third game was against this girl that can only be described as punk kid! Mostly because that is what I will describe her as now. So, this punk kid is all playing fast and I'm all...girlie, I invented playing fast. She eventually got so frazzled, that she started taking like five minutes a turn. Her clock was down to three minutes with half the tiles left. And then I just screwed her. I kept exchanging one or two tiles, the board was fairly closed, so she'd have to take another three minutes looking for a play and then she'd score two, maybe eight. I'd play off her turn and then repeat. In the end, she lost 100 points on time alone. When the bag was finally empty, I went out and she was left with a j and a w on her rack, so I got crazy points from that too.
The game I just played was against this guy. I thought he looked mean, so I wanted to crush him. I drew HPMCATN as my first draw and he was going first, so I was a sad panda. Until he said "exchange three!" And then I so happily played champ. I then drew a blank, s, e, d and an i. I knew there were a billion bingoes there, so I kept playing with the tiles until I found density for a double double off champs. Woo hoo. He bingoed back with ruinate the next turn, but I handily outplayed him the rest of the game. Though at one point he totally cheated, but I didn't say anything. Though I don't know why. Anyway, I beat him by 125 points and I'm third in my division right now. The two women who crushed me yesterday are first and second and I play them this afternoon. I just gotta pray for super mega fantastic tiles against them and places to score big.

OMG, those two women both lost their last game...I'm in first place after the half. I'm going to throw up.

Good gravy, still undefeated. 5-0. My first opponent just came up to me to say 1) I was her only loss and 2) She knows I played a phony on her. D'oh.

I play one of the women who trounced me yesterday I'm expecting the first loss of the day.

Sigh. 5-1. Drew bad, played okay. She drew okay and played well. Result, first loss of the day. Stupid ilex.


I am 7-1 with a spread of +463. I am atop the leaderboard. ATOP. THE. LEADERBOARD.

Everyone is talking about me because they don't know who the fuck I am.

My last opponent yelled at me and told me to "chill out." Did I mention I play a little fast?

My opponent before that said he can read my face like a children's book. He is probably the most defensive player I have ever met in my life. I played, brrr in that game. I've always wanted to play brrr. And tsktsks...someday. I beat him by 21 points and he made us recalculate every play for the whole game. Turns out I beat him by 23 points. That was vindicating.

We break till tomorrow...ahem...what's that in my throat?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not that you could tell...

But I have been playing a veritable crapload of Scrabble. These days I'm usually out in some diner or coffeehouse with the Scrabble crew playing mini tournaments or at weekly Scrabble club playing the regular tournament. I'm even playing the most Scrabulous on facebook that I've played since my last operation recovery. It's all Scrabble all the time. Unfortunately, the last time I studied was the SOWPODS twos and threes in Australia, which means 1) I'm not really learning new OWL words, besides remembering the stuff that gets played on me: paniers...WTF? So I've kind of plateaued. AND I still remember all the SOWPODS crap and I've come so close to playing SOWPODS twos...oh why is OO not an OWL word? WHY?
So basically, I am crushing the informal tournaments, I rarely lose more than two in a night (and by night, I mean all hours of the morning...I'm the youngest in the group, but I'm always the first to leave and I feel so weak shutting down at 2 or 3 in the morning, but dude, I've got to drive back to Brooklyn!) there are two players that I have never beaten...though I've come close to beating the one of them. However, at the club I reverted back to my horrendous 1-3 records. Until tonight! I triumphantly returned to .500 status with a crushing 474 vs. 299 game against John Lithgow's ex:


In her defense, I did draw all four esses and both blanks. But in my defense, man did I use them! Failure was my proudest's hard finding a place for a bingo with no ess...and yet I managed it. And come on Failure? With a blank? Who sees that? Me. That's who!

Though embarrassing moment of the night was opening up a triple line and getting bingoed on with both blanks...he claims the play was worth 103 points...I didn't say anything because I was too in shock, but I think he screwed me.
Me played Dank. Moron.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Number One Novice Scrabble Player in Australia says what?

Ugarles threw down the gauntlet. "You should go play Sowpods Scrabble in Australia!" If you have guts, he added.
I laughed when I read his comment because I had played a Sowpods game once with one Joe Grossberg and I was so totally lost when he played Gi and the computer let it stand (even thuogh we were playing non-challenge Scrabulous) that I think I resigned the game right then. Bullshit Sowpods words, I said doing my best imitation of any one of the lameos who won't play Scrabble with me because I play "Scrabble words." Boo hoo, I respond "there's no such thing as Scrabble words, just sore losers."
Anyway, it didn't at all seriously cross my mind that I would play any Scrabble during my two and a half week trip to Australia, save a couple of games in the airport with friends or maybe out in the countryside when we got bored. Well, sure enough I played in the airport. And in the countryside. After racking up a few pretty lopsided wins, no one would play with me anymore. Then, somewhere around the mid week mark, after moving my luggage to the third of five different housing accomodations, I started to feel homesick, which is weird cause when I'm home I don't really like anyone here.
Well, sure enough I called home, realized everyone I know is an assface, which was a comfort in a way since I remembered why I was so keen to hop on a plane and leave them behind. But I was still sort of feeling alone and stranger in a strangelandish. So I went to my friend the internets and found me a Scrabble club in Melbourne. I copied down the address, made Mary promise not to laugh at me and then took a cab to the address at the appointed time.
I got out of the cab and was met with the shut gates of a storefront. No. Good.
I walked up a few blocks to see if there was anything resembling "The Prince George Hotel."
There wasn't.
I went into a 7-11 to ask for directions.
"Ah, yeah, it's up that way about three blocks."
I walked those three plus another four and still there was nothing.
I went into a bar to ask after further directions.
"Ah yeah, it's up about three blocks."
I started to wonder if "up about three blocks" was Australian for leave us alone you stupid American girl.
Finally, about three blocks up, I reached my destination. Hooray!
I saw a handful of players sitting across two boards, one guy was playing two games.
He kind of looked like your quintessential 60s hippie.
For one brief moment I thought about bolting. But then I remembered I had just walked twenty blocks, paid a cab $26 and had no idea how to get back to my hotel, so instead I walked right up to them and said
"Um...are you guys..." don't say playing Scrabble don't say playing Scrabble don't say playing scrabble don't say..."playing Scrabble?"
The looked up from their board and smiled.
"Um...I'm looking for the Scrabble club...I'm visiting from the States."
"No kidding," said the hippie.
"Be nice, Jerry,' said the friendly white haired man, "you can play with me."
Jerry scooted his chair over, so that now he was only playing the woman.
I drew tiles and started my game with Tim.
They played on funny Australian boards, where instead of writing signifying "double word score" or "triple letter score" they had like crazy colored squigglies. Now, I play enough Scrabble that some tiles I know instantly, but there are some I had to ask about.
Tim would tell me. He also kept score! Plus, there were no clocks. Oh, and Australia rule Scrabble (actually, everywhere except the US) allows no penalty challanges. Well, if the word is no good, you have to take it off the board and lose a turn. But if the word is good, yuo don't lose your turn for challenging it.
Which was good and bad. Good because since they played with the sowpods dictionary, I could challenge "te" without penalty. Well, I was laughed at and there was pointing for me not knowing a simple two, but I got to play my turn.
I caught on to the new twos pretty quickly" ea, ee, oo, ja, zo...just to name a few. And I gave up challenging everything else. I lost my first game.
I didn't bingo at all...the score was fairly lopsided, but Jim was kind.
My second game was against the woman.
I bingoed on her almost immediately.
She made some big plays with the x and the z, but in the end, I drew extremely well and beat her by ten points. When I won, Jerry, who basically ignored me, but for his snarkish comments when I first arrived, started to warm up to me.
He asked if I played in the Joel club in New York. I said yes, we talked a bit about New York and then it was my turn to play him.
A slaughter doesn't even begin to describe it:
He bingoed on me five times, he psyched me out of playing "quinates" hooking my bingo tannres onto his opening bingo. "Don't think you can do that love...or maybe I know you can, I just don't wantcha to."
And then he'd laugh.
And I got scared and played tanners somewhere else.
He was just plunking down words left and right. AND he refused to keep score. So I had to do it.
It was sheer misery.
And at the end I took my picture of the board and he said "why do you do that?" And I said "so I can learn new words."
He seemed to like that answer and said he wanted to play me again. This time he critiqued my moves and explained his. It was unbelieveable. I learned more about Scrabble from him in those few hours than I have from anyone on any subject in so short a period of time. He was like a savant...and someday when my word knowledge is stronger, I might share some of his strategy. Anyway, he said I was "pretty good" and suggested I play in a tournament that was happening in Victoria that weekend. He took down my info and said he would have the woman register me for the tournament. She agreed and she and Jim left.
I played about another four games with Jerry and by the last two he was only beating me by low double digits. And yes, I count 45 as low, especially considering the 200+ crushings I started out getting.
I went back to the hotel and I saw that I was registered for the tournament.
The woman had sent a lovely email to the tournament director saying: "Dawn Summers from New York was at the Melbourne Scrabble Club tonight. She is over in Melbourne for the Australian tennis Open. She would like to play in the tournament on Sunday, so I said that I would let you know and enter her. We have given her directions to get there. She may be arriving by train, but she has the address. She hasn't been playing competitively that long and said she had a rating in the 700s in the USA. I imagine that you will treat her as a novice.

Dawn knows how to play Scrabble, she beat me tonight! I have included her address in this email, so she will know that she has been entered."

Now, I don't know why I included that as a quote...except I guess as proof that I did beat someone in sowpods Scrabble on my first day playing it.
I woke up early Sunday morning and braved the cold, rainy Melbourne morning to get to the tournament.
Now, here’s the thing they don’t tell you about the “directions by train,” in Melbourne, the trains decide where they are going…oh…about three seconds before the doors close and they head down the track.
So, when I got on my train that said it was going to the tournament, but then it decided…nahhh, I’m not going to the tournament, I couldn’t get off in time and had to take that train an extra stop inland, take another train back and then wait for another train that was actual going to say it was going to the tournament and then actually go.
Tough fricking business, let me tell you.
Anyway, so I finally managed get on a magic train with my combination of saying and doing. However, I got there forty-five minutes late. Fortunately, since this was Australia, that meant I got there an hour early, whew.
I was indeed placed in the lowest division. Each division was divided up into eight players with a round robin format. Except the highest division which was four young guys. The youngest people in the room period. I ung out with them for a while until they started playing some verbal word game whose rules I didn’t even understand. And then I went to hang out with the only other American in the room and we both wrung our hands and cried over the fact that Knight Swam is a wholly useless mnemonic device in sowpods.
Damned, Tears Of.
Finally, the match was underway. My first game was against a tournament newbie. I explained to him about the clock, crushed him by 125 points and then showed him what he did wrong. Hang your j next to the triple word line? Mistake. Hang your z next to the triple word line? Big mistake. Play zoo when zol would have gotten you twice as many points? Well…you get the idea.
My next opponent was a seasoned pro. I bingoed on her pretty early – an impressive eight letter bingo using no blanks or esses!
I held a steady lead until I played ‘gol’ and she challenged it off the board. Then I started to panic. And choke. And lose, until I bingoed with nailset and she challenged it! When she came back to tell me it was good and said “she’d never seen the word before,” I was like…wow…she’s never seen a satine word before? I can so beat her. And beat her I did. By six points.
I then faced a black woman. She was fierce. She bingoed on me with both blanks on her third turn, used the j two ways, and well was pretty handily kicking my ass. The score got so lopsided I decided to rely on one of the Dawn Summers’ patented hail mary plays. She bingoed with seeming, so when I had a e f i n s t on my rack, I put the s under her g to make seemings and fainest. She said challenge. My heart was beating so fast. In the US, you challenge a whole play, so both words that I had made, but in Australia, you have to pick the word you’re challenging…and so when she said “challenge….fainest” I was sooooo happy since that was the one word I knew was good. Challenge invalid! I then bingoed on the triple line with reasons to pull even closer (can you imagine the score such that those two bingoes still didn’t give me the lead? Oy…) I finally took a small lead in the endgame, with no tiles left in the bag when I played vier.
She couldn’t make up the deficit and I beat her by the two ells left on her rack. Two points.
Holy. Mother.
I went into the lunch break at 3-0. I was feeling good. I reviewed some of the three letter word hooks Jerry showed me and looked at the boards that I’d played. My next opponent was a WWII vet with no teeth. He played a very solid smallball game of three-four letter words for 25-35 points a turn. I, however, kept fishing for bingoes and he opened up a good lead on me. I finally got my seven letter word - as they call bingoes down under – and closed the gap and then played smart for the rest of the game. I ended up winning by six points because he misplayed his last four tiles and didn’t go out a turn earlier.
I was channeling Tom Brady. I was unstoppable. Unbeatable. I am the---Bang.
For game five, I ran into the only other player besides the black woman that I feared. And well, she beat me and beat me baad. She got to go first, I drew a fistful of iiieiou and had to exchange, she tilted her rack out over the board exposing the bingo “natures” and I had to exchange. It was disgusting. At one point I played a single I next to an h opening up the triple line and she punished me in merciless horrifying ways.
Disaster. I had lost my first game and was so bitter about it. Which, of course, is ridiculous. I was doing better here than in any tournament I’ve played in the states even though I was playing by different rules AND a different dictionary. Losing one game is nothing. Of course, I didn’t have much time to ruminate on my idiocy, the next match was afoot. I don’t really remember much about this game, she was an older woman, not bad, but not good and I dispatched her by 60 points.
I was back, baby!
For my final game, I drew another first time tournament player. She was the girlfriend of the guy I beat in my first match and she was terrible.
And I don’t mean me at that tournament in Queens terrible, I mean, she opened the game against me with the word Dome for twelve points using her BLANK AS AN E. SHE USED A BLANK AS AN E FOR TWELVE POINTS!!!
And so, I don’t know why, I just decided I was going to break the high scoring game record against her. And I did. She played quat on top of a double word square, I broke up a toners bingo rack to turn that into quate. She played live next to a double word square, I extended it with an n. She played help on top of the triple line, I used an ess to score sixty points extending it in two directions with an ess. I played an eight letter bingo, got sixty something point with a k on the double letter square hitting the triple word box. I was a Scrabble savant. And in the end, I had 547 points and she had a hundred and something, plus she went over on her clock for more deductions.

At the end of the evening the judges finished tallying the records and spreads and announced that the winner of the Ibises division was Dawn Summers our visitor from America!
I won a laminated certificate, cash money and a box of chocolates!
Oh, happy day.
So, yes, Ugarles, I have guts and cojones of steel.