By Matthew E. Milliken
April 16, 2016
My opponent for game 4 of the tournament was a very familiar one: J—, a local fellow against whom I officially had a 1-1 record after tournament encounters in June 2015 and January of this year. I approached this game with some trepidation because J— is an excellent player.
There was also a lot at stake. J— and I were tied atop the standings with identical 3-0 records. However, because J— had won his games by a larger cumulative margin than I had, he was ranked first, while I was ranked second. (My spread, as it’s called, was plus-94; J—’s was plus-253.) But since spread is a tie-breaker, if I beat J— in this contest, I would take sole possession of first place halfway through the eight-game tournament.
For the first time in the tournament, I was playing second. I took a 69-46 lead in the third turn after playing CURED for 36 points. The lead lasted three turns, until J—’s TARRIEd gave him a 62-point bingo and a 130-98 lead.
He extended his advantage over the next three turns with EYEN 35, TOW 31 and OHO 21.
I was able to mount a comeback starting in turn 9 with QIS 41. The game’s momentum shifted: My next four plays were quite good — LOX 31, GONG 34, FAKIRS 49 and PREZ 40. During this stretch, J— scored no more than 25 points in any single play. LOX tied the game at 217 all, while GONG put me back ahead, 251-242.
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