Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/27/2016 (part 2)

January 1, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 1, 2017

I was a little disappointed that my 3-1 record after four games on Tuesday wasn’t as good as the 4-0 mark I’d had the day before. But more woes were in my future.

In round five, I faced LT, who was seeded second in the division with a 1004 rating. Playing second, she leaped out to a 90-42 lead when she put down DoILIEs/MICE, a 73-point bingo. She added distance from me in turns 6 and 7 with FROST/POURS 31 and JEE/THINE 34.

I stayed in contention until turn 14, when LT put down POSE/RYAS 34. My rack at the time was abysmal — BDKLSTZ (I drew only one vowel after turn 10). I challenged POSE/RYAS not because I had much hope of it being invalid but because if it stood, I knew LT would draw the last letters in the bag, and I’d be stuck playing without vowels on an unfriendly board. LT’s play, of course, was good, leaving her with a 284-244 advantage that I wouldn’t be able to overcome.

I made a go of things, however, using my Z to make ADZ 26 and building on some earlier plays to make SILK/VATS for 40 points. The latter involved a double-double: The five-point K occupied a double-letter-score spot while the S used a double-word-score spot both ways.

When LT emptied her rack on ID 6, she got 14 points from my leftover BDG. That left her victorious by just 18 points, 328-310.

In round 6, my opponent, KB, played a 73-point bingo, MESSAGE/MON/EWE, in turn 3, taking a 98-41 lead. I responded immediately with QI/QI/IN, placing the 10-point Q on a triple-letter-score space to reel in a cool 64 points.

We stayed fairly close until turn 8, when I played RETAILs/EWER/RE, a 68-point bingo. My next three plays were also big ones: FINES/BIDE/MESSAGES 40, ZETA/FE/IT/NA 52 and sHOVED 40. In turn 14, I added PAEONS/CURL 42.

Thanks to lousy draws, KB was having a much harder time: After her bingo, she only had two scores of more than 18 points: JIG 22 and NIX/EAUX 37. I went on to win, 464-259.

My record at this point was 6-2. If I kept winning, I’d have an opportunity to finish second or perhaps better, depending on the results of other games.

I played JL in round seven, a rematch of one of my Monday-morning games. After some back and forth, I took a 194-134 lead in turn 7 thanks to dENUDES/RAJAS 86. JL forfeit her next turn by challenging RAJAS (plural for the title of an official in Asia), mistakenly thinking that only RAJAH took an -S.

My draw after dENUDES was DEELNOQ. I normally am quite happy to get the Q, but I ended up making a grievous error in this game: I held on to the tile in hopes of making a big play with it and missed my best opportunity to use it.

In turn 13, JL played RULINGS/ES, a 66-pointer that gave her her first lead since I’d emptied my rack back in turn 7.

I was determined to exploit the R on the top row to use the top row–center column triple-word-score space, and I did, but I made the wrong play. My rack after JL’s bingo was BEILOQS. My play, BROIL, scored 21 points but was fatally flawed.

I should have put down ROBE 18 instead and held onto the I, which makes QI, the only valid two-letter word involving the Q. In turn 14, my rack was BDEQRST. If I’d had drawn an I, or if I’d been smart enough to hang onto it the previous turn, I could have used an open double-word-score space beside the N in RULINGS to make QI/QI/IN, which would have generated 37 points and given me a 304-290 lead. I settled instead for a 16-point play.

JL went out in turn 16 with DRoVE 8. My leftovers were MPQRS, which gave her 36 points and a 362-310 victory. It was my worst defeat of the day.

In round eight, I was faced HC for the second time on Tuesday. As in our morning game, my first play was a bingo: ApPOINT/AW 66.

He shaved a lot of points off of his deficit in turn 6 with PIQUED 36, but I used the E from that play to make my second bingo, REALISES 66. That put me ahead, 212-122. I had several more large plays to make — JEED/ORE/WED 34, HOG/YO/JOG 35 and BOXY/BOFFER* 38. HC was able to manage one 30-point word the rest of the game, so I wound up with a relatively comfortable 415-304 victory.

That left my record 5-3 for the day. Unfortunately, LT and Dan finished ahead of me at 7-1 and 6-2, respectively, so I wound up in third place. With only one more win, I would have had the same record as Dan, and what’s more, I would have had a better spread than he did. Even with three losses, I finished plus-706 on the day; Dan’s spread was only plus-219 because he’d had a handful of close wins and one big loss to LT.

Given all that had happened on Monday and Tuesday, I was disappointed to finish third. But I’d have a chance to do better on Wednesday

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