Game 3, Duke PBMT Scrabble tourney, 1/17/2015

January 22, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 22, 2015

For my third game in the Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, I faced a novice player named S., a woman who was probably around 50 years old.

I went first with GAVE 16. S. responded with LEED 19.

I had a big play in turn 2 (HAJ 37), but S. had a decent one in turn 3 (QI/IT 24), which left the score 61-58 in my favor.

S. took the lead in the fourth turn when WOE/HEW/ADO 25 gave her an 83-73 advantage.

What S. couldn’t have known was that I was just waiting to spring a bingo on her. My opening draw had been AEGIOV?, and after my second play, I drew AA?. That gave me AAIOO?? to start turn 4. All I needed was to balance my rack and find a bingo…

That happened on the sixth turn, when I played DEBRAIds* for a relatively modest score of 58 points. S. didn’t challenge what I later realized was a phony — ABEIR?? can make 77 different words, and (using the letter on the board that I employed for the actual play) ABDEIR?? can make 43 ones. But neither debrades nor debraids is a valid word.

Anyway, after S. answered with FAKE 21, I held a 149-114 lead at the close of turn 6.

The game unfolded unremarkably from there. From turn 7 until the end of the match at turn 23, S. had only two plays of 24 points or more: ZITs 24 and OX/OR 29. I had four such plays: PRY 32, ZOO/OM 32, PACER/PI/AG 40 and HAJIS/CURES 26.

My original out play was WIE*/WEN, which S. successfully challenged. I settled for voiding my rack — it had IW at that point — with separate plays of WEN 10 and IN 3.

I got two points from S.’s rack, which had but one tile at that point, and lost 10 points for having exceeded my 25-minute time limit by a few seconds. Final score: 391-296, for a margin of plus-87.

Tournament record: 2-1. Cumulative margin: minus-46.

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