By Matthew E. Milliken
June 30, 2015
My third game in the tournament was against a college student, C. The game was pretty nip and tuck in the early going, but C. got some separation in the seventh turn by playing STICK 32. I responded with DAsH 45, with the first and last letters respectively covering a triple-word-score square and a double-word-score square.
A few turns later, I played FIZ; having the Z on a triple-letter-score space gave me 35 points and a 206-166 lead halfway through turn 10. In the next round, however, C.’s VINES 32 cut his deficit to 222-212.
I played the game’s lone bingo in turn 13 with eNDANGER 60, which put me ahead, 299-235. In the 15th turn, I added a suffix to extend the previous play over a triple-word-score space. The phony eNDANGERER* scored 33 points and was the final notable action of the game.
Final score: 358-294, a 64-point victory.
After a lunch break, I resumed tournament play with a game against A., a youngish man whom I’d never met before. I got off to a fast start on turn 2 by playing CRANERs* 76.
The next score larger than 26 points came from A. in the ninth turn, when he played JOY/BOBO 34. My reply, PIG, garnered 18 points and left me with a 199-173 lead going into round 10.
A. put down QUILTS 37, which vaulted him into the lead for the first time in eight turns. My response, SILLiER/NEVII* 68, might have put me back on top but for A.’s wise challenge, which wiped the board clean.
A. made his second straight excellent move in round 11 when he played AMYL 34 on a triple-word-score space. But this time, I had a successful response: SaLLIER/BOBOS/Ya, a 73-point bingo.
I had to hold my breath, however, because A. decided to challenge this move, too. BOBOS was good, as I knew — bobo is a noun, not an adjective, as A. had mistakenly thought. And SaLLIER, the validity of which I’d doubted but A. had not, turned out to be an actual word, too!
As a result of his unsuccessful challenge, A. had to skip his 12th move. That left me free to use the I in SaLLIER to play ZIP; the P covered a triple-word-score space, giving me a cool 42 points. In a short space, A.’s 244-199 lead had become a 314-244 deficit.
I went on to capture a 378-324 win (scoring margin: plus-54), leaving my record on the day at 3-1 (cumulative margin: plus-38).