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 phoneys...play 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.