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.