Monday, February 23, 2009


I out tripled-tripled Phil.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


My blackberry stopped being able to scroll, so I wasn't able to live blog this tournament at all. I am currently in fourth...I feel like I'm playing poorly and am really just hoping to get out of this mess without destroying my rating. I feel like I'm done with Division C. (Ha! The way I say that you'd think I was in first and undefeated.) I had dinner with an expert last night and he very cleverly said "there is no half way house for Scrabble." You are either in or out...maybe it's back to back weeks of multi-day tournaments talking...but I'm not quite sure where I want to be.

Friday, February 20, 2009



I crushed my last opponent like CRUSHED. With beautiful beautiful crush-producing blanks and esses and kues and jays and zees!!! I would have felt bad for him if he hadn't tried to open with a bingo against me: hautier. Dude. Not. Born. Yesterday. OH MAN!! I couldn't wait to post a picture of this board!

In honor of Matt I bingoed with "slander," and then on my next turn...or maybe a couple of turns later, I bingoed down in front of it with "ingesta" Ha! My opponent didn't challenge though, I think he was feeling too beat up by the least that's how I was feeling all damn day.
And check out how our hero found the dee hook on top of rum to get the zee on the TWS!
I found quag to get the kue on the TLS...
I also was trying to bingo on the bottom lane with some word ending in ess or with ess in teh middle cause I know leasings is good, but I thought it might draw a challenge...he got the last ess though. Stupid tile rack. Grin.
In my second to last game I finally drew a blank and I almost cried. I am now debating whether to play in this same division tomorrow or go back to the kiddie pool. Fact is, as I've seen some Division 3 players arriving I suddenly remembered there are sharks in the kiddie pool too.

1-1 (early Bird saratoga)

Remember the woman who beat me after I thought I had won, but then we recounted and she won by three? I just played her again! I was drawing well...opened with a bingo (outseen), bingoed in the middle with inanest, but I kept "pulling a Dawn" and opening up triples for her and she hurt me bad each time...ugh, so she was ahead by like 50 or 60 with no tiles left in the bag. She takes like seven minutes or so to track (I am having a terrible time with my clock management in this division...I keep second guessing My own EVERY move...liek th second time I opened up the triple, I thought she had a bingo and the triple line would only fit five letters, so I thought I was safe...nope...she punched me in the gut with like "fiery" or something horrible.) Anyway, she has lots of time, she like retracks the game, my tiles are eeilrss, but I'm not sure that ireless is good and it would be an outplay, so it's like an automatic challenge. Anyway, I sit and sit and the best thing I can do is relies for like 26--and I would still lose. Then she makes her move and plays "tope" I AM SOOO HAPPY I NEARLY JUMP OUT OF MY CHAIR. Of course, she takes it off. (Why am I so dumb? It's like I have never played poker before! Which I have...and have a poker blog.... Anyway, she takes another three minutes, shrugs and says "okay, I know you got it anyway" and plays tope again. i bingo out with tireless!!! I win! And I tell her I didn't have it otherwise. She is sad. Almost as sad as if she'd won by 1 and then we recounted and she lost by three.
Of course, I looked at the standings, I am in last. My opponent in that first match had high game of the tournament and I have the worst loss. Seriously, it's just like last year.
I played the woman from charlotte who played "crepier" on me. She got both blanks and used them both for mid thirties point plays which baffles me. She bingoed twice potties and like some satine word. I thought I was done for, but then she hung an ar on the triple line and I bingoed through with retrains (learning the eights has been one of the single most rewarding of the mundane exercise of Scrabble study.) Then I got a nice sick 40 point play with woke and suddenly I was back in it. With no tiles left, five on her rack, three on mine she was up by 17. She used my woke to score 8. I found a 15 point play, with lave/lie. (My decision on this was (semi) interesting. I could have gone out with vine for 7 points plus the 3 tiles on her rack, but I knew they were only 1 pointers, so I decided to take my chances that maybe she couldn't go out and just scored as many points as I could.) She scored four more BUT INEXPLICABLE went over on her clock by ONE SECOND!!! It was BIZARRE. I go out with a six point play, plus her tile AND I win after her penalty!
Lost the last game. I no longer remember what a blank feels like...I only recognize them when my opponents drop them on my ass.
Lost another one. 2-3 AND I'm her only win for today. Hawesome. Still have not touched a blank. Good news? Still bingoing withuot them. Be fucking nice to play someone who doesn't get them both though. Tom Brady jersey coming off, There Will Be Blood sweatshirt going on.
PLAYING UP IS SOOO STRESSFUL!! None of my mind gamey tricks work putting down my letters for words that I'm not sure about and waiting to see if my opponent will write down the score, thus confirming that it's good. Nope. They stare at you the whole time untli you hit your clock. THEN they write or challenge or whatever. Not to mention the sheer word knowledge. WHAT THE HELL IS BLET!!!?!?!?!?
I have not made one challenge. NOT ONE. Too scared. (Good thing too, everything I have looked up later was all good.)
I am 3-3. Just had a CRAZY game where I got to play "lacings" and draw the challenge. Studying the pluralizable ing words has been the fourth most useful thing. I shoulda taken a picture of that rack was lacins? And I had to play horizontally over cay

So I was looking for sla something but the best I could come up with after oh...ten minutes was lacings. Eh. A win's a win.

Kick ass send off

So, do you know what you get for coming in second in back to back multi day tournaments? You get kicked up to the next division. You, consequently, know just as much as when you started. That is to say nothing.
I got crushed in my first game in Division B 501-218. I want to say it was because my opponent drew both blanks, all the esses, the kue, the zee, the aitches, the ex and the kay -- which she did. But honestly, I don't know that I could have beaten her unless the drawings were exactly reversed. I definitely feel over my head. My only consolation is that since the matchings are done in degrees of best matched with worst for the first few rounds, she is probably one of the best in Division B. But anyway, as I signed her card and got ready to leave, she goes "hope your next game is better."
I almost burst out laughing...except there were still twelve other games going on and that would have been rude.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I really am playing the best Scrabble of my life right now. (Okay, I've only been playing tournament Scrabble for 18 months, so that's not really that impressive a statement, but whatever.) I went 3-1 at the club tonight. I took pictures of my boards because, well I was feeling really good about today. I decided to try out my Tom Brady jersey to see if it would fare as well as my personalized jersey (which I washed and packed for Saratoga!) My first game was against Dulcet, who used to be in the core Scrabble crew until it fell apart, but I don't think she's really been studying or anything, so I settled in for an easy win.
Yah. Fat chance. She opened with a freaking bingo on me: DEMENTIA! Arggh.

I played quip for some nice, she came back with hue hitting the triple to make equip. I HATE THAT DAMN WORD!!!!
Okay, focus Dawn. I bingoed with destain right about the triple line, she hits me with ZAP for TWS. Waaaa. Then she bingoed AGAIN (with the second blank...the freaking tile rack) But I never gave up...and actually, I never felt like I was going to lose. I kept hitting strong four letter plays for solid scorage, including my favorite play of the game: There was a double word square surrounded on three sides by e I had the ex and was desperately trying to figure out how to stick it in there for the ex going double two ways and then I cam eup with EXEC!
Dawn +74

My next game was with the guy I hurt real bad by bingoing out with osteoma. He had come back from a close win against one of the strongest players in our division, but he was telling me that he had missed a ess hook on creaming. I also told him I would have missed that too. So in our game when I played "coping" to get rid of some crap tiles and close down the board a bit because I had bingoed and I was ahead, I was so hoping he'd miss "scoping." Sure enough he played "raisers" hooking the ess onto lo making los/raisers I insta challenged. Then he tried to hook an ess onto ava -- Challange again. This time Joel gave him a look and he said "stop that, you're getting me in trouble!" I laughed. And then won by 197.

My third game was against Nicki, the first person I ever played at Scrabble club. She's very nice, but also very competitive. I have come close to beating her many many many times, but she always finds a way to win. Mostly by playing phonies on me that are too plausible for me to challenge (i.e. vyse) But my last game against her, I was making really good challenges and playing well until I "pulled a Dawn" and left my ex hanging next to the TWS. D'oh. I decided I was going to beat her. She bingoed on her second turn with linking. I bingoed right back with linters, which she almost challenged. Then she hooks an ess on linking to make boast/linkings. I insta challenged. I spent a cross country flight to Utah memorizing all the ing words that take esses. Linking, not one. Now, at the club, Joel is God. We don't have a computer for challenges, just his word. So he comes over, I show him the play and he says "it's good."
I lose a turn. I am mad at myself for evidently learning my list wrong AND now falling behind by a bingo. She then plays "axings" for 44 points, but I can't challenge it cause...well, it's self evident.
I bingo a couple of turns later with "whatever," an AWESOME find, if I may say so myself. Oh, look at that. I just did! We are playing closed board Scrabble, I am ahead by maybe 20 and I decide to open the board waaay up: rutile hitting the top TWS opening up five new bingo lanes. My last tile was an ess, but it wouldn't fit. She doesn't use it AND the Scrabble gods reward me with tenail. I have to play through a letter, so I choose the ar. I can't remember what nastier plus ell is, so I sit there and write out all the satine plus ell words and see if I can do "re something." Nope. I then write out al the retina plus ell words and see if that take esses: BINGO! rETINALS. She challenges! I win by 85.
I am 3-0!

Guess who else is 3-0? Barbara freaking Epstein.
She takes my card from me and goes "oh, you're 1170 now, so I'm only just a little bit better than you. I'm 1202. Oh, you have a big spread. blah blah blah." Her voice really is just the worst.
Anyway, I get off to fast start against her with "stander" I am leading the whole way and she is talking to herself and whining about tiles. I've got this. And then she says "exchange two," hits my clock, throws in two tiles and takes two new ones. I check the bag an dnotice there are only 6 tiles left. I call Joel and explain that Barbara exchanged when she wasn't allowed to anymore. Penalty? I get to turn over four of her tiles PLUS see all the tiles left in the bag and give her any four out of the combination of all the tiles left. I give her qbga. I was feeling pretty good until she played "qis for 38 points to take a pretty sizeable lead with only four tiles to play. And I just couldn't catch up. I lost by 14.(No picture, I was mad.) And took second place in the intermediate division.
On the way home, I was stuck in horrid traffic, so I pulled up my ing list and LO AND BEHOLD: LINKINGS IS NOT GOOD!
I was right. Joel was wrong.
Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Is there a Scrabble Club in Las Vegas? And I mean a real one, not the fake one at the Rehab Clinic that almost got me murdered last year.

Day Three

I got up super early, nerves I guess. I went downstairs did some blogging got some breakfast and readied myself for the day. The guy in first place (Dave) was playing the top seed (Russ) in the first game of the morning. If I could win my game, and Russ beat Dave, I would be in first place. I had lost a very close game to this woman opponent on Day 1. I think I underestimated her when she played an ess for like 23 points until I realized she was just one of those players that will always just play the best word they have at the moment with no “rack balancing” or “completing racks” stuff. Truth be told I have the hardest time with these players because once I see (what I consider) a boneheaded move like playing an ess for 23 points, I’ll go into fish mode and then I end up facing three turns of steady 20-30 points versus my three turns of single digit turns, so that even when I bingo I’m still behind. Of course, you’d think that once I identify this about myself, I’d change…but you’d be wrong. I never learn. Anyway, luckily, things went well for me in this game against her, I drew the blank and decent letters right away, so I only had to fish once before bingoing with piaster. I then drew indiies, she had played quip through my pee, so I dumped off one of my eyes next to the q making qi right by the double word square and giving myself a bingo lane. I drew a cee. She then plays stab next to the qi using HER BLANK as an ess for like 30 points. Seriously, drives me NUTZ!! But whatever. I actually find indices after a minute of shuffling and bingo down next to her bee. She makes a really nice like four letter word multi word parallel play, but I am too far ahead now and I basically barrel through the game…I might have bingoed one more time to really seal it. I won. ALSO RUSS WON! I was in first. Joel walked by and asked me how I was doing. I told him I had lost five games.
“Today?” he said.
“Uh, no, the whole tournament. I’m in first place in my division.”
His eyes bugged out of his head. I laughed.
My next game was against this new guy who was unrated and had never played a Scrabble tournament before. He beat me on day one. Again, his style was similar to that woman’s in that he played a very natural Scrabble game. He didn’t know stems or many “Scrabble words” and would just play his tiles. I was also drawing HORRIBLY. So I really felt like I could beat him. Dave was matched against a girl I hadn’t played or SEEN all tournament. I thought that was strange going into the home stretch that he should play someone who wasn’t even in contention for winning. But whatever, I had to concentrate on beating this guy who had only lost 1 game in all of Day 1 and was first going into Day 2.
Again, I don’t quite know what went wrong. I opened with zones for like 48 points, but he managed to get a big score with quip and then bingo on top of quip with loaners/equip using the blank as an e…bah…this game I freely admit he outplayed me absolutely, completely and thoroughly. Then when he played “re” through the TWS for reequip for 57 points. The game was over and all I could try to do was manage the spread. The board was completely closed, I played off the d from my satine + d rack next to an id to open a bingo lane for myself. I drew and e, but he came back with val next to my id for valid. I didn’t even hesitate; I played etesians down the triple line making etesian/valids. He held the play, but I think the sheer confidence I was projecting, stopped him from challenging it. Whew. Valids is not good. But I cut down my loss to a manageable double digit. Of course, Dave sliced through that girl like butter and so was back in first, with me in second. So we had to play again.
Once again we had pretty high opening sequence scores. He opened with zig, I came back with jane, then he bingoes with marasca making zigs and using the blank as an arr. WHAT THE FUCK is MARASCA. Once again I was in the same place with him when he played mureins. Does he mean maracas which wouldn’t have fit?? I had the bingo weaners on my rack and was getting ready to play it next to zig. Otherwise it didn’t play. I thought about playing off the w…but if I looked marasca up later and it wasn’t good, I was going to kick myself. Might as well bite this bullet now.
It was good. He went again.
I played off the w and drew another e. I decided to just try to score some points. He then played boniato which…what the fuck? But I can’t lose another challenge, so I let it go. I’ve got crap on my rack and exchange. He bingoes with tritoner, through the ar in marasca. I challenge it off. He dumps the to and picks up an a and a blank. How do I know? Cause his next turn he bingoes with retinas. Fucking fuck fuck!
The wheels have completely come off my game. I can’t even protect the spread anymore.
He is in complete control. He gets the q and the ex and I finally get a bingo isolate, but it doesn’t play anywhere…so I take a shot with isolater through his ar in that STUPID Marasca. He instantly challenges it off. Ugh. I just want to get out of this game. I finally do. I’ve lost by 200 plus. He is now in first by two games. I think Russ was now in second and I had dropped to a three way tie for third…though I had the best spread of the three.
I walked away from the room. It was lunch and went back to the room, looked up “boniato” and punched myself in the face.
I’m kidding. Ish.
I packed my things and valeted my bags because my flight left Charlotte at 4:45 and the last game looked like it was going to start at 2:45 meaning I’d have an hour to get from that conference room to the airport and through security. It was going to be close. I went back to the room to tell the organizer dude that I wouldn’t be able to make the awards ceremony because of my flight.
“Well, are you in contention for anything?”
I was surprised at the question and wondered how badly my back to back losses had left me.
“I thought so…I was in first for like six minutes this morning.”
“Okay,” he said shrugging “well, I’ll just mail you anything, if you win anything.”
Bah. If. I hate Scrabble.
I ended up playing a game with a living room player who was covering the event for the Charlotte club. I was going real easy on her, and on my brain. I was just playing like cat, run…whatever, just to pass the time, so the living room player was doing well. Not winning, but definitely keeping pace. We both had like 120/117 points going into the end game. One of the black women from the expert divisions walked by and watched me play for a bit. She wanted to give me some tips, but the living room player wouldn’t let her, like it was “cheating.” This, of course, triggered my unhealthy competitive spirit and I decided to stop fucking around and crush her. Which I did. She then wanted a rematch as if I’d just suddenly gotten lucky there at the end, I agreed, but decided to start crushing her right away this time and I did that until the post lunch matchups were called.
My opponent after lunch was tied with me in third. The first place guy was squared off against Russ. I had beaten her twice already. The first time pretty handily and the second time by a little because I had decided to shut down the board after bingoing on her twice. In four rounds. So I was pretty confident. I bingoed on my second turn, then played hay in a way that left the why hanging next to the vertical line leading down to the triple word score. I ALWAYS forget that doing that is also opening up the triple. She decided to take the spot by playing legs vertical and parallel down to the triple line. This was a serious mistake though, as it left a ess sitting right between two Triple word scoring possibilities against a player that sits there trying to build bingo racks and sure enough I had one and played creatins for another bingo. She exchanged. I started building another bingo rack.  She had a nice play with zoeae with the z on a DLS and the e on the double word square. Then she got her kue on the TLS above the I in my creatins. (I need to watch out of that more.) I then bingoed with nidates –which she challenged! (I love that word. It’s one of the “new” satine rack words, so a lot of players don’t know it, they see that it has all the letter of instead, so they figure it’s no good and challenge. They then learn a sad painful lesson.) Of course, we were running out of letters and I was still ahead comfortably. I then drew the second blank. I had a bingo, raiment/minaret, but it didn’t play, so I dumped the em on a TLS going two ways. There were 11 tiles left in the bag. She used her turn to exchange five. I decided to play off two letters to open another bingo lane that wouldn’t need an ess. Of course, then I drew the last ess…which made me comfortable that she didn’t draw a bingo. She dumped a couple of more letters. There were two spots for my bingoes, so I just decided to play off one letter. I now had satine and as the evil whys, q and jay were out, I knew I could keep playing off one letter until the bag was empty and then bingo out on her. That is exactly what I did. She drew the last two tiles, I asked if the bag was empty, verified that it was and then bingoed out with retains.
“Fuck! I just drew the ex.” She was maaaadddddd. I think she had been fishing for that second black.
I won by A LOT.
Dave also beat Russ by a lot, so he clinched the division by two games and didn’t have to play the last match.
I had to play Russ in the last match.
He was in a very bad mood. He was angry that he had been matched with Dave twice in one day and thought I should have had to play Dave because I was second. (This is when I realized that even with back to back losses I had the second best record in the division by a game. And even if I lost my last game my spread was twice the closest person with eight losses.) I felt like I had a pretty good handle on Russ’ game and knew I could beat him, but his mood was very much “I don’t care anymore-ish” I bingoed on him early, but he came back with back to back bingoes. I tried to play a phony “lorrains” on him, but he challenged it off and I had to seriously refocus. I found some cute internal plays, drew both blanks, and in the end was able to beat him by 40 to clinch second place.
And then I ran like hell to catch a cab to the airport.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Playing the field

"I beat Joe Edley! Doesn't matter what happens in the rest of the tournament" - guy in elevator after someone asked him how his day was going.

In Albany, I signed up to play a "Late Bird Open." Basically, it's a tournament with no divisions, everyone from experts to a girl that walked in off the street after reading an ad in the paper (true story! I swear) all get matched up randomly by the computer for the first couple of rounds and then get matched up based on performance after that. My rating at the time was in the low 900s and I was told this was a fast easy way to increase my rating. If you can win two or three games against people rated higher than you, it's worth a nice bump. Of course, emphasis is on "win," which I didn't so much do. I came close...really close TWICE. I lost one game by two points for the e on my rack and I won one game by 4 points, but then the lady asked for a recount and I ended up losing by three. (That was a painful game, I double double bingoed with sheitans, but then stupidly dumped an m over a triple line while fishing for another bingo because "hey, what can she do with an em?" Well, marliest is what. Of course, I challenged it. Pout. Then completely gave up on the game until on my very last turn my rack was aeinnot she then dumped off her aitch on top of at making hat right under the triple line...I couldn't believe my eyes and I dumped my bingo right on the triple line making enation/that. I had pulled it out! Until I hadn't. Sob.)
Anyway, I only won two games against the only two people ranked below me, so my rating actually went down.
I was unhappy and decided never to play another open. I am not in this Scrabble business to lose.
So when the Charlotte people turned the Nite Bird event into an open, I was glum. My first game I was matched against the number 7 or 6 seed and I literally gave up before I drew a single tile. I couldn't beat him. And sure enough, I didn't. It was so bad at one point he played overlaid. I was working on a tories stem and then drew an h for heriots, shortie! Whew! Then I don't know what happened I look at my rack and I have eight tiles on there hooister? So I neutralize the clock tell him, I guess I overdrew and he turns over three tiles, give me back both ohs and throws back the ess. I play hootier. Anyway, as we reach the end of the game he realizes that the extra oh had fallen off from overlaid! Which was now just verlaid. Ugh. I lost by 160 or something. Funnily enough, my next game was against a beginner woman I thought I had beaten a bunch of times during the Atlantic City tournament, so I went into it very confidently. I beat her by a lot! And not even with bingoes, just a lot of forty point four letter word plays and playing fast. She kept exchanging letters and taking like six minutes on a turn...but at the end of the game I realized she was actually an intermediate player from Albany that had beaten me! Whew.
My next game was against a beginner woman that I should have beaten in Albany, but she was able to block my bingo because I made the rookie mistake of not shuffling the tiles anymore once I found it. I completely destroyed her. I won by almost three hundred points.
I was feeling good until I drew my next opponent the number 8 seed. He was a young kid...but they scare me the most, with their little evil hands and beady word knowing eyes. He was winning...he opened with korai and got off to a hundred something point lead, but I came back with two bingoes and by the second to last turn I had a forty point lead on him. He then played brr vertically forming four words, said 42, hit the clock and grabbed the last tile out of the bag all in like 2 seconds. By the time he put the tile on his rack I noticed that the word formed by the last arr in brr was a phony. I was soo mad, but I don't think there was any remedy since he drew...though I dunno maybe I could have asked the director. Anyway, so I lost that game by 8...though grrr...still burns me. I was 2-2 and I guess that was pretty good because my first game the next night was against the NUMBER TEN seed! A guy rated in the 1300s. I was wearing my personalized Patriots jersey that I won after winning a football bet last winter, so I was feeling the mojo from that victory. I drew a blank early on...but also had a y and two eyes and and eff, nothing I could work with (I looked it up later and saw I had filmily (yah, like I said, nothing *I* could work with.) Anyway, I dump the eff and y and draw the second blank AND the second y. DAMMIT. I dump the why and pick up a opponent is now up about like 86 or so...I need to bingo now, but there really is no high scoring place for it, so I just play panties next to ka to get it over with. He very nicely says "hey good job." And I'm all glaring and thinking-- shut the hell up, I have two blanks and pante, if I couldn't find panties, I should be shot. I do my thing where I grab a fistful of the first letters I touch and turn them over on my rack one at a time in exactly this order: g n i (okay, I can working that) r (okay, still good) r (boo, who the hell needs two arrs) e (okay) h. gnirreh Hooray!! There is an ess hanging all by itself at the top of the board, so I wait for him to make his move and will him with all my might to play at the bottom of the board...he does! Yay! I plunk down herring and take the lead! He congratulates me again...this time I accept it...though his credibility with me is already shot if he really thought my panties find was all that great.
I then start shutting the board down and with two or so tiles left in the bag, he say s"I think you've won yourself a game young lady." Tee hee, he called me young. And a lady. Ha!
Of course, I don't celebrate until he makes his move cause too many times at the NY club, some player has been all "I don't think I can win this" and then suddenly finds some ridiculous 35 point outplay and I lose. So, he makes his move and I play out AND WIN!
Of course, that win just meant that I got matched with the NUMBER THREE SEED. NOOOO.
Okay, whatevs, I've got my lucky jersey on...rock and roll.
Since I decide that I am way outclassed in this game, I literally just start playing the longest words I can find on my rack...I played fierier for 18 points cause I thought it was a cool word.
Then I played liquor for like 25 for the same reason. I wasn't holding onto anything...if I could play it, I did. He then bingoed with meadows using a blank as an ess after having set up his hook like the previous turn by playing oot for five. It was sad, I saw it and thought...oh, oot isn't pluralizable, so I'm okay. Except 1. oot IS pluralizable, I was confusing it with noo and 2. oot takes a billion and one front hooks! Doh. Anyway, he makes meadows/soot and takes the lead. I however, bingo right back with hairnet. I'm a little worried cause I have played the h right on the top triple line and my tee landed right by the middle triple line. BUT HE DOESN'T TAKE EITHER!
I quickly play mash on the top triple line and take the lead. He then dumps some other tiles somewhere. And I take the middle triple line making baas/hairnets I am waaay in the lead now. With no tiles left in the bag, I notice there is a triple line open at the top, for a word starting with dee, so I shut it down by playing five of my tiles and make dancer. Of course, then I see an ell open on the bottom. He is shuffling and thinking (I always love that moment when I'm playing a better player who at the beginning of the game wasn't at all taking me seriously, is now sitting upright and totally focused and working really hard. It means I'm doing something right!) and I try to figure out what he has left. Finally, he sighs and said, "can't do it" and then plays "yells" next to my liquor for like 40 points, but not enough to win. I go out and get the tiles on his rack! He then tells me I have a "beautiful game"!!!! And said that instead of dancer horizontally, I should have played crane vertically, cause the cee sticking up would have effectively blocked the top line, but then he couldn't have used the liquor line either.
My third game pitted me against the woman that was currently in fourth (that's when it dawned on me that I was in contention to cash IN AN OPEN!!) She opened with crepier. Whatever, lady I may look like I was born yesterday, but I KNOW creepier has another e. Challenge! It's good.
I had a zee on my rack and was gonna play z on the TLS to make zee through her fake creepier word. But she blocked by playing emu across the rep. Dammit. But then I remembered zori and played the zee on the other TWS through the arr. She was killing me with forty point plays. I came back with jus with the jay going two ways, but that would leave the ess hanging next to the triple line...NO pulling a Dawn! So I switched the word from jus and played juns. I hit the clock and then I panicked that jun doesn't take an ess...but she didn't say anything and I drew my tiles. (Whew, I looked it up later, it doesn't take an ess.) I then bingoed with some satire word AND drew wearies out of the bag! And it played! Back to back bingoes, but I was still trailing by a little. She then opened up a triple line by playing her ex on the DLS two ways and I was able to capitalize with HOW to take the lead. AND I held it!!
Three wins in a row!
My last opponent was the number two seed AND he was in second or third place.
I forget what he opened with, but I drew air?esc out of the bag AND COULDN'T FOR THE LIFE OF ME remember what aiders plus cee was...nor could I find any other bingo that played (it couldn't start with a cee) I was so mad. I played off the c for cup because I knew (again after being painfully taught by Adam in Albany)that scup is a freaking word.
I played randies/scup on my next turn, but the r was on the triple line and he came back witha forty plus play. I drew the second blank and played shouted. He then bingoed with atelier...we were neck and neck the whole way until he played grantees and I challenged it. Then he was wayyyy ahead and won. But I came in 7th!! And won like 60 dollars for the performance prize of the person who finished highest above their seed!
And just like that my Patriots' jersey has become the official Dawn Summers Scrabble tournament playing uniform!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are you hot and play Scrabble?

Then this is for you!

via Wall Street Poker

Second place

I scheduled my flight wrong, so I had to leave right after my last game, but I won the last two games after lunch (the trick was not eating) so I think I came in second. The first place guy was Gibsonized and so got a walk in the last round.


Won my first game by a lot. Got beat by the newcomer in the second, then got my brains bashed in the third. Both of my last two opponents got both blanks and most of the powertiles...I mean really. At the end of teh third game...where he got both blanks, the kue, the zee, the ex, three esses, bingoed four times, he goes "I kind of outtiled you there." Yeah, no shit. It took all that I had not to spit in his face. I'm kidding. Sorta.
Sigh. It's lunch now. I've plummeted to fourth or ninth or a hundredth. Bah. I hate Scrabble tournaments. I'm a world class choker. I should be in a chokers tournament...but then I'd choke at choking and actually win.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lunch is my kryptonite

I dropped two games after lunch yesterday.
I dropped two games after lunch today.
One of those was totally fucking Barbara Epstein's fault. She likes to walk around telling everyone about the crazy bingoes she has learned. One day she comes around saying she played "murrine" And then she adds "and it doesn't take an ess. But there's another word murine, that does take an ess for murines." She has a very distinctive voice so I usually hear her and remember. So I'm playing this guy I beat yesterday (Nancy Pelosi eyes) and we have a sick opening sequence. I get the ex going two ways on a DLS, he comes back with the zee two ways on DLS (damn zax) I come right back with the j going two ways on TLS, with jo/jet he comes back with a bingo mureins with the blank as an ess.
I hold the play.
Mureins makes jetes, I count the squares and figure out that murines wouldn't have fit. So I decide he knows murines, assumes I don't and figures he can BS me with this play.
Nope, mureins is a fracking anagram. I lose a turn, he plays through his n and makes knob with the k on DLS and b on the TWS. Fuuuucckkk. ALL stupid Barbara's FAULT!!!! And her incomplete information.
I battled him hard, bingoed through his b on the triple with blasters using the blank as an ess...but it wasn't enough. I lost.
I lost to the top seed too. This guy plays twice as fast as I do...and you all know how fast I play. I think we finished our whole game in 12 minutes. He basically did to me what I did to Michael B. I would bingo, but then he'd take the power squares with the powertiles and make me cry.
I did manage to beat this other woman, who I beat yesterday in her worst beating of the tournament. I drew a natural bingo to open the game "triaged" Then I bingoed again with something else that I can't remember. I saw she fishing, so I looked at the score and decided to shutdown the board. Wouldn't you know as soon as I stuck vees and cees in all sorts of nasty places, I drew the blank and satire. Dammit!!! So I won, but it was a squeaker and made me question the strategy of shutting down the board early in a game even when I'm ahead. I know that in those situations I should make my opponents work to get open lanes to catch up to me, but I'm pretty good at finding 7 letter words, so maybe I need to trust that (tiles permitting) I'll be able to outbingo them. I dunno.
My last game matched me with the top seed AGAIN!! Ugh.
I was nervous because a loss to him would knock me out of contention and he was good. But what I learned after looking up words from the first game I played with him is that he plays phonies "cofit" my ass. But he also knows weird words "gutty" so I decided to pay much more attention to his body language. This served me well. I mean, I also drew like a girl with a horseshoe up her bum. I drew ?eniorm out of the bag to start the game. He was supposed to go first, but exchanged four. I bingoed with merinos (blank was ess). He then played sage on top, I bingo again with cristae/sager. Then he played punko/pid, hit his clock and reached for the tiles sooo fast! "Hold!" I obviously didn't know punko, but I forshizzle knew pid was garbage. I challenged it off. I made a mistake and played "up" next, he put down punk hanging right over a DWS. (Doofus! You saw his pee! Why give him up!!!) I thought he might have the y or an ess, so I tried to block by playing avo. Didn't work he played an a and an o making punka/avo. For 45 points. I held the play and watched him. I figured punko/punka must be good...otherwise why play it twice...THEN I saw the sickest play! Next to Ka and above the o in avo was a DLS I had a y, so I could get some points that way...I looked at my rack and saw I also had a dee and an aitch, so I could make YODH with the Aitch hitting the TRIPLE WORD Square!!! With the y on the DLS, aitch on the TWS, plus the y two ways for Kay, I came back with a 63 point play!!! (I owe my knowledge of yodh to Adam, who taught it to me painfully in Albany. Cry!)

Anyway, he just couldn't do anything after that. I bingoed again and that was all she wrote. I beat him by 146.
I checked the tournament blog last night and it said that guy was in second...but when I made an inquiry, the director realized he had inverted our scores. So I'm in second, leader is Nancy Pelosi eyes by one game and we have five games tomorrow...
Wish me luck! And if you leave comments I'll tell you all about how I beat three experts tonight in the Nite Bird "open" tournament and won the performance prize by coming in 6th out of 24, when I was seeded 21st. Ah, who am I kidding, I'll tell y'all anyway, just not now. Now I must sleep because I have five games to win tomorrow and I don't know aiders plus c.

Funny things Joel says

Joel told the tournament director that he doesn't want them annotating his games anymore because he always draws terrible racks when people are writing them down.
It was funny and I think the tournament director thinks he's crazy.
Of course, I have two inane superstitious thing too. 1. I will not wish my opponent luck or say "you too" if they say it to me. I always just say "thank you" or "okay." I said "you too" once and that chick drew EVERY powertile in the bag!!! Seriously.
2. I will pickup any tile I my picking style is mostly grab a bunch of tiles and hope it's seven. I just hate feeling like I brush the blank or an ess, but then end up picking some crap vee. So, yeah, I'm crazy too.

Charlotte Eastern Tournament Day Two

The food here is wretched.
For breakfast yesterday we were served eggs soaked in gross egg water with an orange colored "breakfast punch" which I'm fairly sure was made out of the water the eggs were soaking in. For this delightful meal we were charged ten dollars. Dinner, and no, I didn't think it was possible, was even worse. I had an ear of corn and refused to pay the $18 bill. Anyway, this morning I decided to grab raisin bran cereal from the breakfast cart after my first game. After about an hour, I learned a valuable lesson. While fiber is a good thing, fiber in the midst of a four hour tournament session is a BAD thing...I barely made it back to my room after my last game! Oh man...what? Too much information?
Okay, I'll write about some Scrabble.
My first opponent was a woman I thought I'd played before...but I couldn't remember how she played. When she played "dishers" as a freaking bingo on me...I remembered she was good. :( A few turns later I draw maliner, there is an open d from her bingo, so I play marlined. My next turn I draw ttian?r Yay! I play tertian. A few turns after that I draw deisgto and bingo with dogiest. I am ahead by HUNDREDS! So I start shutting down the board and can see her getting frustrated. She plays some words that I don't know, like agone for 14 points...but it just wasn't worth a challenge...glad I didn't cause it was good AND I drew the second blank! Hurrah! I had swarme? But neither warmers or swarmed played, so I counted up the esses and aitches and played my w on top of an to put wan right under the triple line. She didn't block on on my next turn I bingoed with marines/swan. Another 500+ point game!

My next game was against an old black woman who reportedly was once ranked in the 1800s, but hadn't played for a couple of years...or decades. My strategy against her was simple, play as many new words as I could find AND play fast.
She was quite good, but my quick play was flustering her, she drew both blanks and came up with a clever bingo of beignet, but it wasn't worth very much and since I opened with query (kue on DLS and DWS) she was still behind. She made "quite" for 28 and I drew orates plus K. I dumped the K hoping to complete an orates rack and drew an ar. Roaster. But it didn't I decided to get cute and hook it on quite for roaster/quiter. Hah. She challenged sooo fast.
She then took a 26 point lead and I dumped the ar and picked up an a. I played the "new word" in that rack, santero hoping to draw the challenge...but she didn't bite. She made up some ground with a high scoring zee play, but I managed to hold on and win by 23 points. Whew.
My next game was a woman that creamed me in Albany. I opened with grill leaving oe on my rack I picked up hrnir, I took a chance on grille being good and played hornier. She didn't challenge! I then drew outpas? I knew I had a word there, but it didn't play (or so I thought! I looked it up later and I could have played outpass on top of hornier for thornier!!! Dammit!!) So I dumped my p and drew an el. I bingoed with outsail/ops. I dominated the game from there, I bingoed again with the second blank with stinkers/rhos. I drew the last two tiles in the bag and wouldn't you know I picked up the dang kue. There were no eyes anywhere. I had qata on my rack...there was no place to put qat either. I decided to place the second a in a spot where I could then use it to hang the tee on my next turn. However, I started to fear I wouldn't get a next turn, so I decided to figure out what she had on her rack.
Now, I don't know how this happens, but even though I cross off each letter as they are played, by the end of the game all I have is a big ole dang mess! So I had to start over...I gave up once I figured out that she had a p and would just snatch my a if I tried to play it...disheartened I looked at the board again and found my miracle! The word id with two spaces in front!!! I put down qa with the kue on the double letter square! I ended up winning that game by 167. She said it was the worst beating she took all tournament.
My last game was against an old black dude that beat me in Washington D.C. It was one of those bitter 14 point losses AND then at the game's end he told me his bingo was a phony.
As I sat down to play today I was thinking "I owe you a beating!" Of course when he open bingoed with stormed, I guessed it wasn't going to be today. He then started making one and two point plays and I knew he was fishing...I drew a blank, but the rest of my letters sucked, so I exchanged hoping to catch something before he did...unfortunately, he bingoed with baiters. I cannot tell you how close I came to challenging it. It was just like a brain freeze or something. The other day Phil played aeriest and the same thing almost happened. Anyway, I hold the play and like right before I hit the button I see "rebaits" and that triggers the satire rack and I remember the word is good. Good lord!! Anyway, I play my own bingo through his ar "greeting" with the blank as an I, but the g is hanging right above the triple line and I'm worried he has an ess...but I decide against blocking, which was good because a turn or two later I get the tonies rack plus an I. I played inosite on the triple line for greetings/inosite. I take the lead! At one point he plays garot, I hold the play, he looks so confident, but I'm pretty sure the word needs an e, so I challenge. He tells me its good. I shrug and say, well might as well put it in the computer anyway. It's NOT good!! I extend my lead. Of course I draw the last tile...AGAIN kue!!! And of course, he asks "are there any tiles left?" I shake my head no, and he promptly blocks the last open I. And on the play which resulted in my drawing the kue, I played hum using the last u!!! Fortunately I had the second blank, so I managed to play qua and win the game by 96! So, I'm 4-0 for the morning session, with a 970 spread. They don't show standings here, so I have no idea where I am...but I know the guy in second lost a game this morning, so I might be third now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 1 of Charlotte Main Event

First game is over, I'm already in a 146 point hole. Bah. I think I played fine, but it's hard to win when your opponent draws both blanks, the q, the z, the J and three esses. AND she played them well! Bad combination for me. I think I made one mistake (challenged metering) but on the whole I made the best of the holy crap I was drawing. I am also sitting next to two kids who were playing all kinds of nonsense that my brain was starting to hurt ("wott" "habs" "omenic"- if this is what Joel goes through every Thursday watching us play at club, no wonder he's so cranky.
Game Two:
I played the cutest little black boy you ever did see! He was 14 "from Atlanta" with braces. He was one of the two kids playing the game next to me with all the bad words, so I thought I could play phonies on him, but he busted me on stinners and then he played grok and I challenged it. Like insta challenged. What the hell is grok? 38 points and another turn for the kid, that's what.
He very impressively came back from a 96-0 deficit after exchanging on his first turn and then having me bingo with juniper. But in the end, I squeaked out a 38 point win. 1-1, spread still horribly negative.
Game 3: "You are officially my Scrabble daddy, the person that just beats me everytime." -Michael Barrett
I first played Michael in Albany, he was winning going into the last few rounds, but then hung a t in an empty lane and I was able to bingo out on him with runtiest" for the win. I then won the second game I played against him. Today's game was a sick sick one. I drew saltie plus a blank to start the game and never looked back I beat him by 169 points and now I'm positive again. It was a great game too. We BOTH bingoed three times, I had elastin, counted and overman (thanks for the -man list, Nancy!) I used the blank as an em instead of the ar he thought I was going for and drew the challenge! Woot! He had rapines, heating and inosite. But he played his bingoes alongside the triple lines and I was able to capitalize HARD! I got the x going two ways on the triple word line above heating, played jerks on the triple word square through his inosite and of two ways on the triple next to rapines. It was a very fun game. Oh he played mein on me, I didn't know it, but after he burned me with smaize at Albany I couldn't challenge.
Game Four: I won by 253 points and racked up my first back to back 500+ point games. I did let him get away with two bingo phoneys though, so I probably shoulda won by a much bigger spread...though I know how dickish that sounds. But still missing easy challenges is a bad, bad thing. Oh, and I had tories + u on my rack and it took me a RIDICULOUS five minutes to find the bingo AND then it didn't even play! Pout.
Woo! I just one 5 bucks for "high game".
Lost the first game back from lunch. I thought it was because I was too chicken to challenge her phonies, but turns out everything I would have challenged was good, so I just got regular ole beat. I did miss the bingo in this rack; tolanns? Which would have won the game for me since I only lost by 8 points.
Lost two in a row. Bad. My opening rack was waeiaas, I played aw. Then I drew a blank and an e ee?iaas, I played ae, then drew two more ees. It was ridiculous. Meanwhile he's scoring up a storm, I play off those ees and then draw a o and a zee. For realz!! He then bingoed with toadies, I played "zee" and drew uu. TWO FREAKINg YOUS!!???!!! Arrrgghh. I HATE THIS GAME AND IT'S ENDLESS STRING OF STUPID VOWELS!! I need chocolate.
Woo, got another five bucks for high game!
Finally got a post lunch W...wasn't a very interesting game though. My opponent had the Nancy Pelosi crazy eyes though, so I couldn't look at him.
My last game was with a very friendly Southern woman. She wasn't very good about hitting my clock and said that she had only played a few tournaments, so I confess I relaxed a lot. I bingoed with senarii and ashe said "oh I know that word," that made me less relaxed. I had a pretty sizeable lead and then bam she bingoes on me with an eight! What zee hell! Then I had to dump a couple of consonants And Blamo she bingoed with ANOTHER eight!!! Mozzerfocker!! I was now only ahead by 20 when I drew cleaner...there was no where to play it though, so I decided to take a shot playing "reclean"...she didn't challenge! Whew! We went back and forth for the rest of the game, when I finally had two letters left on my rack, she had six. I had my outplay all rearing to go, it was going to be close, but I would win by putting my fs next to of THEN she plays PR in front of my of And blocks my damn outplay. She was now ahead by 12. DAMMIT!! I played my ef between an e and an I for ef/if and ten points. She then played vie for 12, so I needed to score 15 points to win, but all I could find was 14 (including the two tiles on her rack) I was sooo sooo sad. You've never seen a sadder face. I play my ess next to her prof and take my stupid 14.
"Wow, one point, good game," she says.
I just can't bear it, so I did something I have NEVER done before...I ask for a recount. She agrees. Right away we find that vie was only TEN points!!! I win by one! Of course, she insists we keep recounting in case there's some mistake in her favor. There isn't! I shorted myself four more points on my bingoes and she over counted another one of her plays. Dawn wins by four!!!! Woooo....except remember how you never did see someone sadder? Yeah, that lady, totally sad. I am in fourth place going into Day Two.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cash is good!

I came in third at club today. Jim Piazza is so my Jim Piazza that he beat me even though we didn't play!!!!! Damn you, Jim Piazza!
First off, I have to thank Joel for making up for the many many many many weeks of making me play Adam first by letting me play the newbie at the club. She seemed like a very nice lady and I am never sure how to gauge a person who says they have never played before. Of course, when she went first and played "avail" using her blank as an el for 28 points, I was pretty sure where I could place her. So then I did the thing I do to see if I can get away with playing the phoniest looking acceptable word on my rack. Tonight's winner: Feeb. She challenged it. SO I pretty much dominated that game after that, I played whatever I wanted (Phil, now I know what it's like to be you!) and challenged off every bad word she played: dox, zoots, di. At one point Joel yelled at her for not using the cheat sheet...she went over by 11 minutes on her clock and well, somewhere around minute 21 (right after I challenged off zoots and then bingoed with seagirt...) I saw her love of Scrabble die. She left after our game and I'm pretty sure we'll never see her again. Sigh, the New York Scrabble club is not for the faint hearted. Her experience made me think of this story I read a couple of years ago about a first timer's experience at a Miami Scrabble club. I am someone's worst Scrabble nightmare. Heh. Oh and to top it all off, I bingoed out on the triple line with sthenia when she played ray vertically on the line below. Tee hee.
Okay, so first game was a win with a 200 point spread. Joel rocks. Next game? Barbara Epstein.
Ugh. At least I had the "never beat her" monkey off my back...and hey if I can be the one to go first AND get two blanks like she ALWAYS does (even in the game I won against her) maybe I could go back to back. Alas twas not to be. I was drawing poorly (she played a w right against the triple line and all I had in terms of vowels were A and I) Grr. Then she bingoed with trainer, I came back with toadies and then she used her stupid blank to bingo with penates/trainers using the blank as a tee. I challenged and then had to suffer a twenty minute diatribe about how she had it on her rack one time but didn't play it and it was good and it's a Roman soldier blah blah blah. Dawn loses by 69.
My next game I won pretty easily making lots of high scoring small plays. I'm starting to appreciate those more and more -- though I did manage to bingo with exerted, though he came back with outdoing, which I almost challenged, but then didn't...whew. My last game was against the orthodox Jewish woman that inspired one of Joel's greatest moments at Club. She's a very good player...I think I beat her the first time she ever came to club, but then never again. I used to fear playing her, but then I heard Nancy say that she was only rated in the 900s. Hey, I thought to myself, I'm rated above her! I can win this!
With positive thoughts I drew a natural bingo out of the bag: unrobes and jumped out to an early lead. I then drew the ex and played it going two ways on the DLS, with the word ex. I was worried about the play though because I left the word ex sitting alongside the triple lane just waiting for her to play down with any of the billion front hooks the word ex takes...instead she played "cov" on top of the e for cove! Missing Vex/some other vee word down the triple lane. I quickly took the spot with king/kex and then she said "fuck! How did I miss that?" I pretty much took over from there...though she caught up by bingoing with gristed using her blank as an ess. I held the play, but decided to let it go because I was still ahead by 50 points. This was a mistake. First, the word is no good. Second, I ended up beating her by 50, but Jim Piazza had a better spread than I did by 40 points and so he ended up winning second place even though we had the same 3-1 record. I repeat: Damn you Jim Piazza! I will beat you one day!!!
Tomorrow I'm out to play the Eastern championships. As Matt said "why spend a miserable lonely Valentine's here in New York..." when there's Scrabble to be played in Charlotte. I hear the action will be liveblogged. Wish me luck! And no choking!

Oh, and here's a fun board from my Sunday marathon session with Phil...damn you kame.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nancy is the Devil

I think I'm doing Easterns...and then Saratoga...this is INSANITY...anybody else going to either?

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's a bird, it's a's SUPER SCRABBLE!

I haven't really played any "" Scrabble-- though I have a userid now and at Larry Sherman's suggestion, have been watching some of the "expert level" player games. He said it will show me how to manage my board better, and I think it's been helping. Although Phil still calls opening-up-the-triple-line-so-that-your-opponent scores-twice-as-much-as-you-did-using-your-power-tiles, "pulling a Dawn." Sad face.
Thus, the only online Scrabble I play is against my friends on facebook. But, as I've written before, the facebook "Beta Scrabble" SUCKS. You can't play phonies, no swear words or other "offensive terms" are valid, it's super slow I mention you can't play phonies? Bah. SO instead, I've been playing a thing called "Wordscraper." It is Scrabble on illegal Mexican steroids. They have double word/triple word/quadruple word score boxes that are within four squares of one another, so you can double/triple/quadruple, for like 200 points on one play: I got 169 points against Ugarrrles when I played quinoa(which I was pronouncing "quin-oh-ah," until my adopted mom chastised me at dinner and said "it's pronounced Keen-WAUGH, dear." Mah bad. Ugarrrles and I, who met playing No Limit Hold 'em poker, now refer to wordscraper as "omaha" for the crazy number of combinations. You get eight tiles, the board is almost twice as large and the tile distribution is nutty (three whys, five (or six grrrr) essses.
Anyway, tonight I was introduced to the Real world version of "wordscraper" -- it's called SUPER SCRABBLE. The board is huge, there are TWO HUNDRED Tiles (two kues, four blanks, etc.)
I'm visiting my adopted mom in Utah, and she has a mini Scrabble club going here. So you draw twelve tiles --any word using seven or more of your letters is a bingo, blanks can be reused, if you exchange it for the letter that it represents and then use that blank during the turn in which you exchanged for it. I was so out of my element the first time we played, I couldn't figure out how to value things -- do you bingo, or go for the five letter word triple/triple (which is possible for the Triple Word Squares were five spaces apart. It was weird, I bingoed three or four times, but lost because my adopted mother, who I've been teaching, triple/quadrupled with the bingo anointers and then won by the tiles in my rack. Oh, they also play with four people. So I came in second out of four in that game. A woman then left, so I played "the fourth" in two games simulatenously. By then I had the hang of it AND Crushed all the games. I scored 802 points! Which was almost double my closest opponent (a super competitive Asian woman, who hates when I play with them because she usually always wins.)
I got to bingo with "outfoxes!" I kind of like playing these games, because it's helping me work on seeing eights and getting the hang of playing through letters. I found "corniest" and "menacers" today -- playing through an i an a cee, respectively. Everyone was amazed that I could play two games simultaneously AND bingo on pretty much each turn. I'd just shrug and say I was drawing lucky. Oh I found bicycle on my rack too -- using no blanks! Hee hee.