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March 25, 2017, mall Scrabble recap, part 1

April 6, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com April 6, 2017 It’s mall Scrabble recap time again! The March 25 tournament in Durham was the smallest Scrabble event in which I’ve ever participated; the event had one division of 12 players, whose starting ratings ranged from as high as 1622 to as low as 460. My opening rating was […]

Late-bird event, games 4–5, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 16, 2017

February 18, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 18, 2017 The fourth game of the 2017 Duke PBMT late-bird tournament turned out to be much more exciting than the third. My foe was TS, whom I’d beaten in the 2016 Duke PBMT late bird tournament and in the April 2016 mall tournament. We saw a lot of early […]

Late-bird event, games 1–3, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 16, 2017

February 17, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 17, 2017 After finishing third in the two-day main event, I played in the five-game “late bird” event that closed out the Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament. My first opponent was very familiar: J—, whom I’d played three times on Sunday, losing twice, including a remarkable game […]

Games 13 through 16, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 15, 2017

February 16, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 16, 2017 When Sunday’s late session got under way, with game 13, I faced EM for the third time in the tournament and the second time in three games. I took an early lead in turn 2 with SHITTY/WAIFS 46 but fell behind two turns later when I failed to challenge my […]

Games 9 through 12, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 15, 2017

February 15, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 15, 2017 I began Sunday as the leader in the lower division, but I was annoyed. My failure to spot the word DIAPERS on my rack of ADEIPRS in Saturday’s final game ate at me. Still, there was nothing to be done about it. So I geared up for my ninth-round game against […]

Games 5 through 8, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 14, 2017

February 14, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 14, 2017 Following Saturday’s lunch break, my fifth game matched me against R—, the fellow who had handed me my only defeat in the tournament that I’d won the previous spring. I took a 68-29 lead after three turns, largely thanks to WROTE/EVENT 32, which used the triple-word-score bonus at top row–center […]

Games 1 through 4, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 14, 2017

February 13, 2017

By Miotthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 13, 2017 My opening game in the main event of the seventh annual Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament was against BC, a clever local youngster who had never before participated in an official tournament. In turn 2, playing first, BC jumped out to an 86-25 lead […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (finale)

January 5, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 5, 2017 Going into the final round of the Delaware tournament, I had some bad news and some good news. The bad news was three-fold. One, I was not guaranteed to be the division victory; two, in the final round I’d be facing a skilled player; and three, that […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (part 4)

January 5, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 5, 2017 Although it felt as if hours had passed since I’d begun my game against Lady Persistence, I still had two more contests left to play. I convened my seventh-round match against KB, whom I’d beaten by 200 points the afternoon before, as hastily as I could. Although I […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (part 3)

January 4, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 4, 2017 In game 5 on Wednesday, I faced off against RB, who had bested me in Monday afternoon’s king-of-the-hill round to win the tournament. Beginning with AGGLRRS, I made a modest play, GAR 8, which RB — to my surprise — challenged. (A gar is a fish; agar, incidentally, is a product […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (part 2)

January 3, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 3, 2017 In game 3 on Wednesday, I faced SF, a player whom I’d never met before. She went first and ended up leading, 122-107, largely thanks to her seventh move, LEZ/LID/ED 35. I struggled with unbalanced racks early in the game — DFHIRSU, BINNSUY and AEINOSU, to give a few […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (part 1)

January 2, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 2, 2017 I slept solidly my third night at the hotel, so I was feeling much better at the start of Wednesday’s competition than I had the day before. My goal for the day was to improve on Tuesday’s third-place 5-3 finish, preferably by at least matching the 7-1 second-place showing […]

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

January 1, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com 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 […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/27/2016 (part 1)

January 1, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 1, 2017 After our first day at the Delaware Scrabble tournament, D— and I had some more-or-less family-friendly adventures that I may write about in a future post. It was fun, but regrettably, I had a bear of a time falling asleep afterward. I tried going to bed a […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/26/2016 (finale)

December 30, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Dec. 30, 2016 All of my games thus far in the Delaware event had been scheduled in advance by Dan, the tournament director. For the first seven rounds, we were playing round robin — that is, each of the eight players would face everyone else in the division once and exactly once. […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/26/2016 (part 2)

December 30, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Dec. 30, 2016 I returned from lunch to face RB, the third seed in the division with a rating of 880. (I was the fifth seed, having begun the tournament with a rating of 810.) RB, going first, had a modest 77-74 lead after four turns. Fireworks were about to erupt. She led […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/26/2016 (part 1)

December 30, 2016

Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Dec. 30, 2016 On Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, I did something that I’d never done before in my life: Played in a Scrabble tournament outside of the state of North Carolina. My pal D— and I had decided to attend the last three days in a five-day holiday Scrabble event at […]

Nov. 12, 2016, Scrabble tournament recap: Part 4 (finale)

November 24, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Nov. 24, 2016 Despite a 4-0 start, my hopes of winning the lower division of the Nov. 12 Scrabble tournament took a major hit when I lost games five and six of the eight-game, 10-player competition. I had an outside chance of winning, but to do it, I’d need to get back […]

Nov. 12, 2016, Scrabble tournament recap: Part 3

November 21, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Nov. 21, 2016 My fifth-round opponent in the Nov. 12 Scrabble tournament was MS, a smart young local player whom I’d never before faced in official competition. I knew from personal experience that he would be a tough out. His player rating — 1098, the highest in our division — […]

Nov. 12, 2016, Scrabble tournament recap: Part 2

November 20, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Nov. 20, 2016 After starting the tournament off with two wins in close games against strong opponents, my third match was a bit of a gimme. My foe this time out was P—, a first-time tournament player who had lost her first two games by large margins. I went ahead from the get-go, playing […]

Nov. 12, 2016, Scrabble tournament recap: Part 1

November 19, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Nov. 19, 2016 The Nov. 12 Scrabble tournament in Durham was once again staged at the Northgate Mall. Fortunately, I got a decent’s night sleep this time around; unfortunately, I didn’t get an early enough start to be able to walk over to the venue. My first game was against N—, who […]

Sunday Scrabble and eavesdropping: Some notes

May 4, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com May 4, 2016 At least two Sundays a month, you can find me at Saladelia Cafe at 4201 University Drive in Durham sometime around 2 p.m. for a weekly Scrabble get-together. I played two games last Sunday against a pair of new opponents — C— and her husband S—, I’ll call them. […]

Mall Scrabble: Part 3

April 17, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com April 17, 2016 Going into the seventh game out of a total of eight, my 5-1 record with a modest spread had me positioned to finish at almost any point in the Division C rankings. It all depended on how I played. My opponent in the penultimate contest was S—, a man in […]

Mall Scrabble: Part 2

April 16, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com 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 […]

Mall Scrabble: Interlude

April 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com April 15, 2016 After the third Scrabble game, it was time for our first and only break of the tournament. I rooted through my knapsack, pulled out two pieces of fruit and headed for the mall exit. I wanted to have a productive break — I had an errand to run. […]