Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not so random imparting of information

If any of you know a Scrabble enthusiast with a birthday coming up, you might want to consider getting me her him or her this fancy fold up board, racks and travel bags!

In blue. She likes blue.

R.I.P Michael Jackson

I think I'll be rocking "The Santer" in Albany.

via Scrabble Sense

Friday, June 26, 2009

Experts ain't so great!

It's been a sad night for me with the shocking death of American icon, Michael Jackson. (I KNOW, CRAZY! It's not like he knew me or anything, but I DEFINITELY felt like I knew him.) Anyway, I was glued to the TV waiting for word about his condition until a little past six, so I was late getting to Scrabble club.
The way it works is that when you win the intermediate division, Joel makes you play in the expert division. (I presume this is to learn ya to be all cocky about going 4-0. "You think you're so great at Scrabble? Prove it.") I missed last week due, as I expressly wrote, NOT TO FEAR, but work. WORK.
Of course, I was hoping Joel had forgotten about me and my winningness when I showed up tonight. And indeed, he paired me with Judy Rosenthal, a strong -- but definitely still quite in my division player.
She crushed me. About eight minutes in, I was wondering if I shouldn't raise my hand and remind Joel that I'm supposed to be playing experts. Hell, if I'm going to take a whupping, at least let me be able to say it was by the hands of former Scrabble champions or, you know, people with FOUR digit ratings. Facepalm. (Not to take anything away from Judy, who is a great player, that is probably underrated because she can't play multi-day tournaments due to Sabbath restrictions.) Anyway, I didn't even bingo in that game and my highest scoring play might have been some 30 pointer. Humiliating.
Oh well, I'd get matched up with some newbie and crush him. That'd make me feel better.
But no.
Joel remembered all right and on my next pairing I was kicked upstairs to face the big boys.
I cry.
I walked over to THE EXPERT TABLE and sat down.
"You're first, hon."
My rack was aeefiln. I knew I was going to lose, so I wanted to just get the pain over with: I played the longest word I could find: finale for like thirty. She comes back with flout for 8! WHAT?
My rack is an ugly gmpy?ew I play gamp through the a in finales.
Who has two thumbs and has been studying threes to make fours? THIS GUY!
I am leading. She makes another like silly dump play. I forget what I did next, but it opened up a triple line and she took it.
I just could not find a workable rack for my blank and just kept fishing.
I fell behind.
Finally, I bingoed with santera. She goes "nice play." I'm all, whatever dude.
I draw the second blank! Yay.
There are no open spots. I try to open one by playing "pun" through a u leaving a nice front ess hook for myself.
I draw great ne for a rack of: aennst? I have neatens or tanners (also inanest/stanine but they wouldn't play. Word had to end in ess.)
Of course, THIS IS EXPERTS. She played coins right through my clever, clever front hook setup and stuck an unhookable cee right up my craw! Stupid experts.
I dumped an enn.
Still nothing, I fished again burning three letters and drew uxo. DUDE.
I actually managed a nice find of "luxe" on the TWS.
I was down by forty and my final rack was aaeint? The board was closed, so no easy entasia/taenias for Dawn.
She was not very good about time management, so I had tons of time on my clock and I took it. I had to bingo out to win.
I saw I had space to the right of the l in luxe to bingo all the way across to hit the other TWS.
Something with an El?
It looked very much like my entailer rack from last time when I tried "lineeater" -- but it didn't play. Neither would the anagrams. Back to work. I had room around the ell. Something starting with an a.
So I sat there and just did permutations of words starting with al, shifting each of my other tiles in the third position and so on until something clicked.
It wasn't pretty and took A LONG time (I could hear the lady sighing, but whatevs, that's my clock!) Finally: ALIENATE!
I wrote it out to make sure it was the word I was thinking of cause, I didn't want another Zeroxing incident! NOT IN EXPERTS! That's Intermediate play.
I played my word! And she goes "oh, good find. 16 points and you get 14 from me...okay, I win by 11."
And I'm all "uh, no...that's a bingo. It's worth 60 points, I win by 20. Nice try."
I guess she was having a bad night cause she left right after that.
My next expert game was against a mid 1400 player. He was an asian kid, who spoke English with a thick accent. My opening rack was an unplayable JNTZSWV I dumped the whole mess and drew eeinrt. I knew there were a BUNCH of bingoes in that rack, but I could only find one: trienes. (YES, I KNOW! entries, entires, blah blah MICHAEL JACKSON DIED, people! AND JOEL WAS MAKING ME PLAY EXPERTS!) Anyway, kid opens with nog. Now, I'm flustered I KNOW eeinorts is a word. I KNOW IT. I take FOREVER looking. Finally, I give up and just play trienes under the no in nog.
He then freaking bingoes with exiling under my bingo under nog.
I cry.
I dump two letters, HE BINGOES AGAIN COYOTES. NO BLANKS OR NOTHING. JUST, Oh look a Y two ohs and a C? Okay, coyotes here YA GO! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
I am flustered. I play "Ho" down the oy in coyotes for a stupid 20 points. Stupid because now I'm shutting down the board even though I am WAY behind. You know what he does then?
HE PLAYS ZORIL with the zee on the DLS and the ell on the DWS through my oh. MY OH! 52.
I might have burst out laughing at that point. Or I burst out laughing when I made my next move for a stupid 6 points. (I had drawn the blank and was fishing/trying to open the board. My rack was now ailrtv? The only thing I saw was travail and it didn't play. Then the kid plays venger with the vee right under the triple word line! ARE YA KIDDING ME???? WOOOOO. I LOVE EXPERTS.
BLAMO, I play my travail/avenger. I then reorder the tiles so that my real a was on the DLS instead of the blank. This move evidently flusters the kid.
"What did you say the blank was?"
He holds me.
I am now worried that travail is one of those stupid "sticky ess" words. Uh oh. What was I thinking! THIS IS EXPERTS!
He challenges the play. I am sad.
Larry says it's good!
I am happy!
The kid says he thought I was originally playing "trivial" using the blank as an i(didn't even SEE that possibility) so when I moved the natural a after the tr, he thought I had misspelled the word and challenged.) I capitalized HUGE. Making a 48 point play with paw on the TWS at the bottom of the board.
He couldn't come back and I won by 24! he sat there holding his head for a long time and then said "I had back to back bingoes and zoril...how did I do this? Why did I challenge?"
I tried to make him feel better by saying "yeah, I do that all the time too. Now I prefer when I'm playing from behind in a game, that way I can't blow my lead."
I guess he did not find that comforting because then he said "Your opening rack? The word you were looking for is oneriest," and he walked away.
I was matched up with my last expert. This guy was wearing the fancy little Jewish hat and was evidently like 1500 at one point.
He opened with WRING.
I had a bunch of crap, but like good crap. Good letters that together, were crap ZEPFYSR I looked at prez, but it seemed like a waste of a zee. PLaying zeps looked like a waste of an ess. So I went with "fe" and hoped for the best. I picked up another ess and a tee. Doh.
I eventually played "spry/wrings" Using my spry he played amity all the way down to the TWS for 54 points. Ouchy. I always forget that words can be played horizontally! It's a flaw.
I decide to play zg through the i in amity with the zee and gee on DLS.
He plays wealth and then I see an amazing play. Under my zee in zig I play jato with the Jay on the TLS! It was so sick!
He plays vender, which I almost challenge (whew. It's good.) I play ho, he bingoes with continues (JEEBUS!) He is leading, I have the blank and my rack is beeirs? I see berries, but no where to play it. I look for something through the ess in continues, but seeing nothing I decide to take a 5 point play of reb and open up the board for myself. He doesn't block and I play olestra. HE INSTA CHALLENGES.
"That's a company!" and he hits the clock. I say nothing.
He yells "challenge! challenge!"
Joel comes over barely looks at the board and goes "it's good. Wait, what's the blank?" I roll my eyes.
It's a zee.
I win the challenge, draw the x play it on a TLS square going two ways! He does something, I play leer. As soon as I hit the clock, I was look "dangit! Why did I just hang an AR on the triple lane???"
But he played ulu for 3 way away from it and I drew: airline. WOOOOO
That was essentially the game.
Set em up, knock em down. Three experts, three victories!
Have I mentioned? I love Scrabble!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Albany 2009 Part Two

I've registered for the four day Fourth of July tournament.

Anyone else going?

Hmm...think they'll have a huge vanilla cake at the barbecue for any players who might have birthdays that week? Like any Division 3 players who might have Scrabble blogs and might have just registered for the Albany tournament who might be having a birthday that week? Such a person loves birthday cake. And an outdoor barbecue in Albany strikes me as a perfect place to have birthday cake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not so random assurance

Dawn Summers is not skipping Scrabble club because she is afraid to defend her title. She had to work late.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I'm not going to lie, I got very very very very lucky to win on Thursday, although, I had been on quite a run of 3-1 nights.
Of course, that's the rub, isn't it?
That last win -- or, more likely, the first win.
Lately, Joel has been pairing me with Steve as my first matchup and Steve is ridiculously tough. He makes play after play of four or five letter words that don't take any hooks...no, actually sometimes they take random i hooks or l hooks (tae...tael???? UGH!) But don't try putting any esses or dees on the ends of his words. You've got to bingo early and really open up the board for yourself, or you're just dead. So, usually I lose to Steve, get paired up with someone else that lost in the first round, beat them and go on to win my last two games -- unless, that game is with Ellen Perr, then it's the old 2-2 for Dawn. And Jean L. always says she'd rather be 0-4 than 2-2. Ouchy.
On Thursday, Joel announces I'm to play Steve. I frowny face. But then he changes it up and says I'll be playing this guy whose name I always forget...so let's call him Paul. (Why? I don't know.) Anyway, Paul has never beaten me. He is a good player, but doesn't have very good board sense, i.e. he misses easy hooks, falls for obvious traps (like when I hang ava next to the triple line, he'll try to play his ess bingo down the line making avas, even though I obviously wouldn't have done that if ava was hookable. He needs to play Steve more.) and he opens up the board in disadvantageous ways.
I felt very comfortable playing him. (Unfortunately the Scrabble club was out of tracking sheets, so I had to play the game blind. Wow, what a difference (and not in a good way) it is just playing without knowing what letters are out or the chances of completing a stem for a bingo if you exchange or play off a couple of tiles. Paul had his own tracking sheets from home, so that was the one way I felt a bit off kilter during the game.) He took a pretty substantial lead on me, but I wasn't worried. Sure enough I was able to play zaire for 50 points and then bingo with moisten under it to make moisten/zaires and I had taken the lead. I could see he was trying to put down a bingo, so I started to block everything up and he kept exchanging in frustration and I kept scoring. In the end I won by 114 points. (After looking up letters in the Franklin he said he had the word toonies which he could have played on top of cry (scry/toonies.)
"Hey, that has an anagram! Isotone," I said, evidently having now become that guy.
JC, who was playing his own game, but sitting next to Paul said Paul also missed another bingo "deities." He quickly added "Sorry, I don't mean to be one of those people."
(That's the difference between the weirdo Scrabble players and the regular Scrabble players. We are all geeky nerds, but the normal ones acknowledge it.)
Having dispatched with Paul, I was feeling good. Until Joel announced that I would be playing Steve.
Bleeping bleep bleep!
I opened with jailed. My last tile was a blank. I KNOW! Pout.
Steve took literally seven minutes before playing rete through my e for seven points. I didn't know what he was up to but I knew FOR SURE that rete didn't take an ess. Not because I know the word, but because Steve played it. (HA! I just looked it up, the only back hook is AN EM!!!! WHAT THE HECK??!!!!)
I drew really badly with my blank -- think vvchwi. I dumped the vees and made vav. Steve made some other small six point play to block me from being able to use an ess on vav, but he gave me an opening to play my newly drawn zee for 33 points. I took it.
He then took the triple word square for like 12 points or something, giving me the opening to bingo with canister through to the other triple word square. (It was the classic case of saving a penny, but losing a pound...or some currency saying.) I had a ridiculous lead on him. 140 to 66. But I have blown bigger leads, so I stayed vigilant. I drew the second blank. Then he bingoed -- but it was a 59 pointer. I was still okay. I played nit, giving me a chance to hook an ess either to the back or the front. Steve didn't block it and on my next turn I bingoed with frontes. That was game. I won by 180!!! But that wasn't even the luckiest part of my night.
Where fortune really smiled was that two tables away, Dulcet, a woman who plays for fun (though she is very very competitive and just doesn't study enough to be good) had taken down BOTH Jean L. AND Nikki - two of the stronger players in my division. So not only were two strong players out of the running for player of the night, but one of the weakest was now 2-0, just like me!
Sure enough, I drew her as my opponent!
My heart started pounding. Dulcet was CAKE. If I like playing Paul, I LOVE playing Dulcet. So, of course, my mind jumped to match number four which would likely be against Ellen, who usually slaughters me. But, my spread was huge, so hopefully, if no one else was 3-0 by the time I had to play Ellen, my spread would be the deciding factor and I would win.
Of course, while I was busy gaming the fourth game, Dulcet was busy beating me ragged in the current game.
She had drawn two esses already AND had bingoed. I was losing by 70 and my rack was garbage.
"Exchange six," I said, holding on to an e.
She then played "odours." Dulcet was raised in Jamaica and is infamous for playing "British words." I insta challenged.
It was good.
Luckily my exchanging worked out and I was able to bingo with arenites through one of her esses and hitting a triple word score. I was hoping to draw the challenge, but it didn't work.
She then played rave. I had drawn aeeilnt. There was no place for me to put lineate, so since she didn't challenge arenites, even though I KNEW by her face that she didn't know the word, I tried to play lineater (as in one who lineates) through the ar in rave. But the problem is that the word looks like "line eater" which just sounds too weird to be right. I saw that very thought pass across her face, but I hoped against hope that she would assume that I wouldn't play such a funny looking word unless it was good. Sigh.
"No good."
I pulled it back. I was now down by 56 points and running out of tiles.
But then she inexplicably played "fa" leaving the f just begging to get the e in my lineate on top of it.
"Here ya go, ef!"
Woot! I took the lead.
Dulcet looked disgusted. She then had four successive single digit turns and I was pounding her with twenty/thirty point plays. In the end, I won by 111.
Dulcet sat staring at the board and lamented that Dawn "knows all the stem words."
"I'll learn them eventually, Dawn. You'll see."
Joel overheard her and snorted.
"You think she knows stem words?" He starts picking out my tiles from lineater and reorders them until they read: entailer. He walks away without further comment.
I started asking around to find out how other people were doing.
" Nancy, did you win?"
"No, JC beat me."
JC, who plays "up" in expert level "for fun," is extremely good. When he first started at the club, last year, I used to beat him all the time because he still had the SOWPODS dictionary in his head and he was too proud to use Joel's cheatsheet for newbies. (Dude, if Joel would let me, I'd still be using the cheatsheet for newbies!)
But by the "'08 Big Apple tournament," it all turned around. JC would crush me every time. In word knowledge: (JC plays "Colinear." I challenge. Joel says it's good. JC goes "Its anagram is Acroline. My ex-girlfriend's name is Caroline." I want to punch him in the face.) In strategy, in word placement, in everything. He would crush me and crush me baaaaad.
So that he was 3-0 made me sad.
THEN I found out that Ellen Perr was ALSO 3-0! So, there went my spread-will-save-me hopes. Someone was going to be 4-0.
"Unless we tie," JC said unhelpfully.
Matchups were announced. I'm not going to lie, I was hoping for Ellen.
JC is actually one of my favorite people at club, so I always enjoy my games with him, except for the losing, of course.
As we put the tiles in the bag I begged him to play the worst game of his life against me.
"Come on. Pleeeasseee??? You're so good, it's only fair!"
Then I came up with an even more brilliant plan.
"Dude, don't you want to see if your worst game can beat my best game? I think you do..."
He laughed.
"I'm playing like shit tonight," except it sounded elegant when he said it because he's British and everything a Brit says sounds elegant to an American.
"Great, you're playing like shit, but you're 3-0??? Bite me!"
Ok, game? On!
We had both gone first twice, so we had to draw for first. I won.
I opened with evite for 17 points, hoping he'd challenge. He doesn't. Dangit.
He then plays whiny for 30, after toying with playing whiney. I am so challenging whiney! But he doesn't play it and whew! It's good.
I play mo because I have a blank, a crapload of vowels and an em.
He hits me with Joe for another 30. I am losssing! My rack is r d i t o r ?
I shuffle and shuffle, but I can't find anything, so I dump the or and open up another bingo lane for myself. I draw a stupid t and n. I find trident, but stupid JC plays lee under my or. (He originally was going to play eel, so I was happy, then at the last second, he switched it to lee...I can only assume, I was donktastickly leaning toward the board with all my tiles in the air, blinking the phrase "I am about to bingo under that word," in morse code.
Oh well.
I went back to work.
I saw nothing. The only spots needed words that started with an ess or end in a, but I didn't want to waste another turning fishing again. So, eventually I find nitrated through the e. It was like 60 stupid points, but I learned my "always play the bingo" lesson from Philly.
Scrabble rewards me! I draw the other blank! I am looking for something through the i in nitrated, because I am consonant heavy, but JC takes the spot by playing wind.
I shuffle and shuffle, am about to dump some consonants because I am already down to something like 11 minutes on my clock. But at the last minute, I see a place, through an ar to bingo again. "Handlers."
JC looks deflated. His chin is literally on the table, so imagine my surprise when he bingoes with dipteran.
Now, I have bingoed twice, gotten both blanks and I am ahead by only 18 points. RIDICULOUS.
I have drawn decent. A Q AND a U! Yay. I search for a good spot to play them and I see I can stick an ar or tee next to lee, so I can do quit on the double word score or...hmm is "quirt" a word...cause that would get my q on the double letter and the t on the double word for 52.
I stare at it for a while. I decide to give it a shot. I am like 62% sure it's good.
JC challenges!
Joel says it's good! Yay!
I draw the x and play it for 25, JC comes back with a big zee play.
I am in the lead comfortably though, so of course, I start fishing for a bingo that I DON'T NEED.
I play nag for three, then oka for 12 -- horrid. (Although, later JC says that my dumb oka play actually blocked his bingo...didn't make me feel better for missing the forty point play of "koa,")
I do get my bingo: soaking. But it's unplayable and then JC stabs me right in the kidney by playing "chef" down the triple line, front hooking the c on handlers.
He takes the lead.
THE LEAD! Did I mention the two blanks, q and ex that I drew???? JC is obviously in league with the devil.
I retake the lead with vibe, he takes it back with moaner. I play cons. Dawn is +9. We are in endgame. He takes a loooong time (he's got tons of time on his clock because I was playing so slowly in the early rounds.) and then he sighs and plays jot.
He is up now by 2, but I've got a 17 point play of jota/yea!
I don't know what he has, but when he finally plays area (scaring me by continuing to lay all his tiles out for areaoi) I knew he couldn't win.
"Does that screeching mean you won," Joel asked walking over.
Why, yes, yes it does!

Friday, June 12, 2009

We're not that innocent

Rules are evidently being "tightened"?

Another interesting rule that was reiterated was the “hold” rule, where a player can ask an opponent to wait before drawing new tiles after his turn to prevent unscrupulous players from “fast bagging” – ie, playing a phoney word (often deliberately), then drawing tiles (which validates the move) without giving their opponent a chance to assess the move and challenge the legitimacy of the word.

As one former Gulf player remarked following last year’s controversy: “Scrabble has lost its innocence.”

These have always been the rules since I've been playing, though.

via Karol

They said it couldn't be done!

DAWN SUMMERS IS INTERMEDIATE PLAYER OF THE NIGHT AT THE NEW YORK SCRABBLE CLUB! Hmm, and since there isn't another tournament till next Thursday, I'm basically Intermediate Player of the WEEK!

(I will write more about the Scrabble later, but thought I'd sharing this amusing post victory story.)

I've been playing Scrabble at the New York club since June '07.
It only took a mere two years for me to sweep the competition and win player of the night in my division!
To which my friend Matt replied "It took me two weeks."
My friend Matt is a jerkwad.
I'll save the Scrabble details for another post, but I had to get through two longstanding nemesii to win the night and by the end, I was bouncing off the walls.
So a bunch of my Scrabble crew went out after to celebrate. An annoying woman, who we all hate, tagged along.
The annoying woman, who is notorious for manhandling inexperienced players and then crowing for months and months about how she beat them and played whatever she wanted and then, HA, they challenged an obviously good word, aren't they so stupid. As you can imagine, I *love* her.
Well, a few weeks ago, I beat her in a similarly manhandling fashion, and so I took this opportunity to recount how she tried to play "raisinettes" on me. Except with a whole lot less letters for something that looked more like: raisents.
"What were you thinking?" I sneered, mocking her.
"I know, I know, but you've only beaten me twice, right?"
(She also keeps a running lifetime win-loss record for every opponent she ever faces.)
I shrug.
Nancy, Adam and Matt were also there.
"What's your record against Nancy, Dawnie?"
I rolled my eyes.
"It's Dawn. I don't know."
"Right, right. Sorry, Dawn. I keep doing that."
Yes. I've noticed.
She continued: "I'm 28-7 against Nancy."
I rolled my eyes again.
"Barbara, I don't keep track of wins and losses or game scores. I play Scrabble for the love of learning and the challenge of wordplay! Like for instance, if you were to ask me who won all four games tonight in the intermediate division, was named player of the night and had a mind blowing eight bingoes, I would be all I have no idea! Oh, wait, did I say *tonight*? Oh, tonight that would be me! I was player of the night with four wins and eight bingoes! But you don't hear me bragging about it and waving around my prize money," I said, starting to wave around my prize money.
(I called my mom to tell her I won and she goes "how much did you win?" I tell her and she immediately says "and how much did you lose last week?" I know what you're thinking, but N0! None of you can have her! She's all mine! So stop begging me, she's my mommy and that's how it's gonna stay!)
Adam is laughing now that I am rubbing the money against my face in Barbara taunting fashion.
"You know, Dawn, you should get a blog! You could write all this down and take pictures and put them up there."
I think I will!
I start snapping photos in the diner.
Adam asks to see the one of him and Nancy.
"Aww, we're so cute!"
I smile.
"Yeah, you guys should get married!"
Matt looks at the picture.
"Yeah... cute, you guys should have 14 children."
Everyone laughs.
"Nah, you guys are our children!" Adam says.
"Ha! Nice try, Adam. Now that I'm the 4-0 player of the night, with money in my pocket, you want to adopt me? Where were you when I was 0-4 and loser of the night."
Nancy started laughing.
"She's onto us!"
"I knew it! You adopted James last week didn't you! But now that I've beaten him he's out!"
"Yeah, that's how it goes."
Nancy tried to get me to agree to go with them to a Scrabble tournament on Sunday.
"Nah, I can't. I have a poker tournament at my place on Saturday."
"I'm going," Matt adds.
"How long have you been playing?"
"What? Poker? Oh, I don't. Is that the game with the dice?"
He laughs and adds "the hustle begins."
I laugh.
We finish up eating and I offer to give him a lift back to Brooklyn.
Nancy immediately says "oh wait till you hear the music Dawn plays! Oh my God."
"Oh, I already KNOW," Matt says, "she's taken me home before. It's crazy!"
"Yeah , it's like Barry Manilow and Billy Joel," Nancy says.
"Shut it! Besides, I have a BMW now...all music sounds good in my Beamer."
"Oooh, I'm going home in a Beamer...you're driving a Beamer to my neighborhood."
Hmm. Good point. I barely felt comfortable driving my Honda through his neighborhood.
"Um...it's okay. I keep my Glock under the front seat."
We start talking about the payments and insurance for Prince Eli, when I disappear under the table.
"What's that?" Adam asks, when I reemerge holding my bright side, cylindrical case.
"It's my Scrabble clock."
Matt laughs.
"Clock?? I thought you said GLOCK! What're you gonna do when they come to carjack you? Say "wait, hold on...let's see how long this takes...ready, set, go! Wow! Impressive 1 minute 12 seconds!"
I keeeelllll yyouuuuuuuuuu.
Such utter disrespect. Doesn't he know who I am?

Humbly Yours,
-The best Intermediate Scrabble Player at the New York Club

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's been a bumpy ride

I have had nothing but a string of losing Scrabble tournaments. There was the Boston Area Tournament where, I believe, I went 4-14 or 2-12, just something so horrendous and awful that I blocked it out and vowed never to speak of it again. Looking back, I realize I was playing terribly (though I also did get wretchedly unlucky at times. I played qis late in the game with no tiles left in the bag. I was happy to have a place to dump the q and for 24 points! I was leading by 41 now. My opponent has four tiles on his rack. Do you know what they were? A I S U. Do you know how many spaces on the board separated my q from the TWS below? Do you know what he did to my 41 point lead? Sigh. The worst part? I WAS TRACKING. No, actually the worst part? I WAS TRACKING ACCURATELY! But, but who sees that coming? I walked away from tournament Scrabble after that. Unless I was going to put in the work to study, I wasn't going to throw away anymore money.
So I have no idea what I was doing in Philly on Sunday. Well, I know what I was doing: Losing. But why? Oh, right I have a Scrabble problem.
I drove down with a woman, Judy, from the NYC club. I was studying on the way down and was surprised that I retained quite a bit of information. (Ok, still shaky on the Lister, insert and easter stems, but everything else I remembered.)
My first game was against Linda Wancel, who I beat when last we played at Bayside some months ago. Much to her chagrin. (She challenged acinose!) Anyway, I know exactly when I lost that game. It was when I had "tonners" but decided to play off the en instead of playing the bingo because it was "only 59" points.) Sucker. She bingoed in my lane on her next turn. I drew a y, then had to play off "yo" at which point I drew "wu" and well, hello 117 point loss. I know I must have sounded like a complete jerkwad when at the end of the game Linda was all "you got unlucky there." And I just responded "no, I didn't. I just played terribly."
My next game was against an african-american woman from somewhere down South. (And yes, that might mean D.C. Sue me, I believe NYC is the center of the universe.)
She thrashed me within an inch of my life BUT I made a valient comeback. It was so great a valient comeback that I thought I was going to pull out a win! I didn't. But I did double double with "inserted." Lost by 17 in the end. But considering I was down by 170 at half-time. I wasn't too unhappy.
Unhappy came in my next game. I played this woman that I think I've beaten before, but couldn't remember when.
She was not very good. (Never mind that my the end of the day she was undefeated and playing for the championship. So's my face.)
I bingoed on her very early on, then I got the j and played it on the double letter square making jade through the double word square. It was a little dangerous because it left the j on the Triple line. Sure enough she played ibe next to it for 26 points.
The game proceeded, I was winning so handily that I decided to fish around for bingoes when I really should have just been dumping tiles and shutting down the board. Anyway, I had four letters left on my rack at game's end, and decided to just play two, to rack up more points. She then proceeded to go out and I won by 11 points.
"Do you mind if we recount?"
I shrug.
She starts doing that thing where she's all "you play piano for 13 and then I play paltry for 11...blah blah blah." At some point she goes "you played something for 8..."
I shrug again and say "I don't write down the words I play...I can't help you."
She soldiers on and when she gets to "jibe" she goes "oh, that should have
been 39. I just doubled it instead of tripling it. Whew I think that gives me the game."
She finishes the recount and sure enough now I lose by two. Which, had I known that I was trailing by two would have totally changed how I decided to use those last four tiles. I am SO MAD. I really want to rail against these recount rules, especially since the error was hers, but she got to profit from it. I think there should be a five point penalty off any player whose score is discovered to be wrong after a recount -- so you'd have to think long and hard before requesting one AND it wouldn't save you if the game was close. (And obviously, if both players made mistakes, it would be a wash.)
Anyway, now I was down 0-3 when I got matched with the man I beat in Atlantic City to virtually lock up first place (unless I did something incredibly stupid like say that the blank was the wrong letter.)
I didn't remember him.
He remembered me.
He opened with helleri. I challenged cause DUDE? Helleri! WTF?
It was good.
I became even more deflated than I was. I bingoed with something easy that wasn't worth very many points to retake a small lead. Then he bingoed through my easy bingo with GOATLIKE!
(He got both blanks)
I gave up.
I did try to win the game with the heroic find of "violets" which I played on the triple line hooking the o on top of vas.
Unfortunately, ovas is not a word.
Hello 0-4.
It was a bad tournament for many of the Circuit regulars in my division Denise M was winless. I was Linda's only win. Ugliness. Nancy, on the other hand, was kicking ass and taking names. She (and recount lady) were head to head with perfect records for the championship. Nancy crushed her in the first game ("waa, if I had played ridotto I could've won," she whined after the game. "No, she wouldn't have," Nancy said under her breath. She beat Nancy in the second game, but Nancy's spread was unbeatable by that point even though they had the same record.) Judy, the woman who drove me down, also was undefeated and playing for the championship in her division. Leading me to dub myself the worst Scrabble player in New York. The only good thing was that, for some reason, the Philly tournament was unrated -- so it didn't hurt my already plummeting rating.
Anyway, I managed to finally win a game (two blanks and three esses will do that for you.)
But all in all, it was an ugly tournament.
Tonight at club Barbara asked me how I did. I glared at her.
"I didn't play raisents."
I won my first game against Steve tonight. I had belnrs? There was an open l on the triple line and then an open a on the line above the triple line. I kept looking for something through the ell and almost played off my own ell hoping to fish out something good. But Steve likes to shut down boards, so I knew I had to bingo now or risk not being able to at all. Finally I decide to take a shot and play berlins, hooking the b on top of aa at the other end of the board.
I was like 54% sure it was good.
Steve challenged and my certainty plummeted to 13%.
But Joel quickly said it was good!
The game was mine after that.
Then I faced Barbara. As usual she drew a blank and bingoed on me with disrobe. I came back with veritas using my blank as an e. SHE CHALLENGED. Joel yelled at her. I pointed and laughed.
Man, how I wish this story didn't end with me losing by five.
My next game was against a newcomer. I won by hundreds. (I played licensed, which I thought was cool.) She was a little spazzy. Like she'd slam the tile bag on the table after drawing and she'd talk to herself...weirdoes those Scrabble players are.
My last game was with a really good player. She kept play off six tiles for like 16 or 19 points (outlaid, aviated) the only thing I could think of to explain it was that she was hoping I'd challenge. But she's too good a player, I would always assume her words were good. I bingoed with hitless! And ended up winning by 40, for a nice 3-1 night.
Grr. Stupid Barbara.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Third place finish and a Barbara defeat!

I had a great day at club on Thursday.
Sure, I got stuck playing Steve in the first round even though that is a fate usually reserved as punishment for those who show up late, and I was totally on time.
I held my own for a long time. Steve plays a very closed board game which stretches my knowledge of esoteric hooks and five/four letter words to its breaking point. But sometimes he gets a blank and he bingoes, which happened during this game, but I had satine + p and came right back with sapient.
I was down by 16 or so when he exchanges. I dump a clunky w and u for 12 points and now I'm only trailing by four. And then he gets the other blank and he bingoes with "blintze" with the b on a double word score and the z on the triple letter score for a million/billion points. Ugh. The only saving grace is that I didn't challenge the word, even though the "expert" players who saw the board later, said they would have.
I give up at that point and cruise to an easy defeat.
THEN Joel asks Steve to move up to the expert level to even out the divisions. Terrific. Couldn't have done that *before* I got blintzed!
Oh well.
My next match was against Ed Moran, who usually plays one bingo phony on me, one four letter word for a bingo-like total and then beats me by thirty even though I bingo out and he has all the over 8 point tiles on his rack.
I have beaten him a couple of times, but I wasn't holding my breath.
Sure enough, he bingoes on me early, I fish for a couple of rounds, then bingo back, but he still has a sizeable lead. I don't know why, but I then decide to shut down the board. I Steved Ed and it WORKED! He ended up with five consecutive turns of eight or less points, while I was using my tiles for steady 20/30 points. He then bingoed with talkers hooking the ess on liri, so I challenged it off. I had slavern on my rack, but 1) I wasn't sure if it was good and 2) it didnt play, so I dumped off the l and v. I made "lev" and stuck the v in the middle of Ed's prior bingolane.
He then played talks on the triple line, Tee on Triple word square, K on double letter square.
I was down by 42 now, but my rack was aaenrss. I shuffled and shuffled but couldn't find anything. The bag was empty. "Man, if I had a tee, I could make...wait, a minute! "Talks!" I have a tee!!"
I bingoed out through his tee with santeras. He challenged. It was good. I got all the points for his tiles and won!
I was then matched up with Ellen P. She is really nice and was one of the first people whose names I learned because she has all her equipment labeled. Even her racks! I can't remember if I've ever beaten her. But for the last four months or so, whenever I'm doing well and am in contention to win, it is Ellen I have to face in the finals. And, well, you all know that you'd know IMMEDIATELY if I ever win tournament night at the New York club.
Anyway, I'm 1-1 and Joel announces I'd have to play Ellen.
"Noooo," I groan to the amusement of everyone in earshot.
"Gee, thanks Dawn," Ellen says.
Ellen always says she doesn't play rated one day tournaments because she is not a morning person and loses all her games in the morning.
"Okay," I offer, "How about we postpone this game till the morning?? 7 am! Yes, I insist!"
"Why, Dawn? So you can sleep through it?" an eavesdropping Matt says. Smart ass.
"Shut it! That only happened once...maybe three or four times."
I told him.
Anyway, I go first...I try to play a five letter word, but can only muster a four. We both go back and forth with little plays until I get the rack einorxz. I look around the board and there is an open g!!! Oh my gosh! My heart is beating so fast. I. AM. A. SCRABBLE. GOD.
Ellen plays away from my g and I can barely hold the tiles between my fingers, as I slap down "zeroxing" for 140 points!
"Challenge," Ellen says pretty quickly.
Ha! I KNOW it's good.
Joel comes over "No. But ambitious."
I take the tiles off reluctantly...is this like that time you said "linkings" was good even though it isn't, I thought grumpily.
I got thirty points for my z and then set up an awesome spot so I could play the ex on a double word going two ways...Ellen didn't see it coming, in order to block, and I scored another 44. It was no zeroxing, but it would have to do. She and I exchanged bingoes and I was still comfortably ahead. I drew the second blank and bingoed again! Woo. There were only like ten tiles left, so I did my "no choking, no choking, no choking" chant. And I didn't! I beat Ellen! At night.
"I thought zerox had lost trademark status," I say to her as we're cleaning off the board.
"It did. But it's spelled with an ex."
"It's xerox. Two exes."
Oh. My. God.
I spelled "xeroxing" WITH A ZEE!!!
I can never go back to that Scrabble club. Ever.
As I was sitting there, thinking of where I will move to now that I was in the market for a new Scrabble club, Joel announced the final matchups.
I was 2-1 and he said the dreaded words "Dawn Summers/ Barbara Ep"
I groan internally.
Within minutes, the all too familiar voice descended.
"I think we're playing now."
"Yeah, that's what he said."
"Okay. You've only beaten me once, right? That one time."
"You challenged parsons," I said trying to move the story along.
"Right, but you haven't won me again, right? I played a phony on you and you took it. I played teglion, but it's only lentigo."
Awesome. Great. Shut THE HELL UP.
I smiled. "Okay, you ready? You're first."
It was annoying, she bingoed with the blank on her second turn and I had the promising eaetr followed by four consecutive turns of "aa" or "wp" and then "ee" COME ON, universe!!
WHY do you HATE me?! Finally, when I drew "br" I was ready to just give up the fishing and move on. But Barbara was taking forever to go and some bored shuffling brought up: rebater. I wasn't sure it was good, but I was down by 80 and when she finally played "mu on top of "en" I knew I had to try it. I bingoed with rebater forming emu/run on the end. She held the play for SIX AND A HALF minutes. I didn't say anything. Or look at her. Finally, she challenges it.
"It's good."
Woooooo. She starts her not-quite-under-her-breath carping.
"Okay, you got me. I shouldn't have challenged that. 'Rebater' I didn't know that one. You're good. Maybe you win this one. Blah blah blah"
I make my next move and take a 20 point lead. She then starts to play a bingo through an open a at the top of the board. She has THE OTHER blank, too! Grr.
She doesn't finish the word and pulls back her tiles. Another 7 minutes go by and she instead bingoes through the r. She plays raise?ts. She says "blank is an enn" 72 points, hits the clock with one hand and reaches for the bag with the other to draw replacement tiles.
"HOLD ON," I say grabbing the bag away from her.
"What is the blank?"
"An enn."
I write it out: raisents It's the nastier stem, one of the few eight stems that I know. There is only one word in that rack, and that ain't it.
I laugh. Out loud.
Joel comes over.
"That's an enn," I say.
He laughs too.
Barbara has a couple of bingoes that she could have played through that a at the top of the board, so I decide to block that in case she remembers them since it's obvious she couldn't find retsinas. I play wanting through the a.
She takes another 8 minutes with the tiles and then plays ?asiest hooking the blank on top of "avo"
"The blank is an ell. 75 points"
She hits the clock, I start laughing hysterically and insta challenge.
"You really have no respect for me."
I tell Joel the blank is an ell. He just rolls his eyes and walks away.
Now I shut down the r lane.
She is in full on tempter tantrum/whine mode now. She is already three minutes over on her clock. We play back and forth and then at some point I guess she forgets to hit my clock, so halfway through my turn she notices her clock has now run over four minutes.
"Hold hold," she screeches. "My clock was running and it's your turn. I'm not counting that. I'm only taking off forty points."
I was stuck with pretty ugly ending letters, q being one and unfortunately, no u or a. I had qis, but no place to put it.
"Can you be quiet, I'm trying to make my move here."
"I'm only taking off forty."
"Whatever, you won already."
I channeled my inner Adam.
She was finally quiet.
Fine, she doesn't care? I played qis under pst. I hit the clock.
"Challenge," she screeches, "That doesn't take an ess. Joel! Challenge"
I roll my eyes and take it off.
She plays off her blank for 4 points.
I play off as many letters as I could, accepting that she's getting 20 points for my unplayable q.
She goes out and calculates the score. She only subtracts 40 points from her score.
"You're over by 5 minutes. That's 50."
"It shouldn't have been running. It was your turn."
"Not my problem. Hit the clock when you're done."
"You already won, what's the difference, I took off 40."
I wasn't arguing with her anymore.
"Ok, okay fine."
She is like terrified of Joel banning her from club! Hahahah
I came in third in my division for the night. I also made the department of terrible cleverness for "rebater," because that's the *only* bingo in that rack!