Sunday, January 11, 2009


I am playing the multi-day Atlantic City tournament. When I had to wake up at 6 a.m. and drive three hours down to New Jersey, I was certain this was a mistake. When the first person I saw from the New York club was a woman who I have NEVER beaten AND she was in my division, I was doubly certain this was a mistake. When my first opponent didn't show and I was told to start his clock, but right when his time got down to three minutes, the director came over and gave me a substitute opponent and took away the time penalty, I was convinced that this was my worst idea ever. Oh yeah, I didn't even write about my 2-10 extravanganza in the "Scrabble open" after my 24 game Albany tournament polooza...bleech. So I was going to play this because I was here and all, but my heart wasn't in it...until my opponent used her blank as an H to hook onto my yea and make hay for a whopping 18 points. Is she kidding me? I quickly checked back into the game. And although she drew all the esses, managed to get a J on a triple letter going both ways on me, had both blanks and the zee, I won the game by more than 100 points. When I saw that I was being outtiled, I just kept telling myself I didn't need bingoes to beat her, a steady diet of nice three letters 20-30 point plays would more than offset her insane 7-18 point plays. My next opponent was the very first woman I ever beat in tournament play. I had, on a whim, driven down to play in the Philly day tournament, I went 1-8 and Joel mocked me mercilessly for "throwing my money away" when I returned with a dismal low six hundreds rating. But I had one win. And she was it. AND if there was anything I was sure of, I was way better than I was back then. Sure enough I bingoed on her early, I bingoed on her in the middle and I bingoed on her late. This game my mantra was "You don't need blanks to bingo!" Plus, I blocked her nice outplay to preserve my healthy spread. With two tiles left in the bag she was already muttering "yeah, this is your game."
I also played Ida, a woman from New York. She had such a bad game against me in Albany that she started to cry after, I felt bad, but I had to go hand in my "I won" slip. She has this habit of challenging my words off the board...mostly because I have a habit of trying to see what I can get away with against her...forgetting that she's been playing Scrabble since before I was born. Anyway, once again, I decided to dump out my letters and play what I like to call "plausibles" I played adeestt: estated. She held the play. I was already kicking myself, when she said "okay,"
and let it go. I thought I'd gotten away with something, but I looked it up. It's good. She also "taught" me a nasty lesson about nil taking front hooks, but then I taught her a nasty lesson about Dawn being able to guess about anil taking back hooks. Oh, how I love you letter e!
Anile was good!
Then I played this dude, who opened with key and my rack was ENTIRELY vowels, so I played Fetch through his e. He comes back with SOIREES using a blank and an ess and making keys: MOTHER BLEEP BLEEEP!!! Again, I still had all vowels, but I scored 40 points playing jolts with my j on a double letter and the ess on a double word. I was fallen hopelessly behind though with my lovely combo of crap letter drawings and his tile I decided to play a "plausible:" Goosing. He didn't even hold the play! (Turns out it's good...given my a 100% guessing at words record for the day.)
But the memorable thing about my game with him was that he was playing well and drawing well, yet I managed to play better. He played Lox for 24 points, hanging the x on the fourth line from the TWS. My rack was a dismal eiilnnn, so I was going to play off ni making nix for a few points, or exchange, when I saw that my best play was actually to play e i l so that I get that x on the TWS with ilex. His audible groan of disgust was ever so satisfying. Late in the game when I had an almost perfect bingo rack, I decided to play off my ess and lovely bingoeable tiles for a mere 18 points so that I could shut down the last bingo lane on the board.
"You're ahead Dawn, you don't need to bingo, you need to win." I played twins, taking the front ess hook spot on nit. When he pounded the table because he had wasted the last three turns drawing at the bingo I just blocked...mmm, priceless. He opened two lanes for himself, but I shut them both down by playing "craw" and sticking a lovely c right between his two lanes. It was probably my toughest game...though the game against Ida was also tricky as I drew the J and Q out of the bag on my last turn with one tiles left in the bag and she had both blanks at the time.
Sanksfully she had ??ewrld on her rack and had to play through an enn, so she couldn't find anything.
Whew. Today is another day.

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