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.

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