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 or...um...hoister! 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 p...my 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!


Alceste said...

Challenging "grantee"? It may be time to take away that law license.

Dawn Summers said...

shut up. you stare at a word on a board long enough with the pressure of wildly exceeding expectations on your shoulders, your own name starts to look funny.

Ugarles said...


And I'm more worried about considering a challenge to 'thornier'. Casca may be right about humanities majors from Yale.

Dawn Summers said...

I wasn( going to challenge thornier, I said I didn't find it...but when I punched in my letters in the computer later, it showed me that play.

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