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?"
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."
I AM LIVID.
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.
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.