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.