Posts Tagged ‘Scrabble’

March 25, 2017, mall Scrabble recap, part 3

April 8, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 8, 2017

Two straight defeats had dropped my record to an unremarkable 3-3, and my seventh game would hardly be a walk in the park. My opponent was to be K.L., the event’s second-highest-seeded player.

Playing first, K.L. began the game with IODINE 16. My response, PEONY, garnered 15 points — and that was as close as I would get in the contest.

K.L.’s second move was WHIM 45, which scored 13 points more than my biggest play of the game. I answered with MOB 22 to put me behind, 61-37, after two full turns.

We traded standard plays in turn 3 — MOURN 14 for her, RUIN 6 for me — before things really got out of hand. K.L. dropped AHOYING, a 96-point bingo. That put me in a 171-43 hole. (Much later, I would learn that this word isn’t valid in Scrabble, or probably anywhere else. Alas, ’twas too late.)

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March 25, 2017, mall Scrabble recap, part 2

April 7, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 7, 2017

Coming out of the lunch break, I was pitted against my friend D—, whom I’d beaten 395-344 in Delaware in December. (Our only other previous official encounter had been a 355-310 decision in his favor in September 2012.) Playing second, he took a 51-42 lead in turn 3 with MUTER 25, which I considered challenging but ultimately opted not to.

Things got worse for me in turn 4, as D— bingoed with OVERrUN 72. I was able to make up a bit of ground in turn 5, however, with QUIRT 48. (As in game 1, I got the Q on a double-letter-score bonus and the T on a double-word-score bonus.) Alas, D—’s follow-up was RELAX 47, so I ended the turn trailing 170-106.

Neither of us knew it then, but the tide was about to turn in my favor. My sixth move was WINCE 39, which spotted the W on a triple-word-score bonus and the C on a double-letter-score spot. (The E was helpfully provided by the second letter in RELAX.) I added to my score in turns 7 and 8 with THEY 23 and GOUDA 22, respectively.

Meanwhile, D— fell into a slump, at least compared to how he’d opened the game. His lead — just 200-168 after seven turns — was further cut to 200-190 after I put down GOUDA. That word proved to be pivotal, although neither of us knew it at the time.

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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 918, which snagged me a ninth seed.

I began play against B.T., the fifth seed (rating 1120). Going second, I took an early lead with my first play, XI/XU/IT 36, but I lost my third turn for unwisely challenging HOO 22, which is valid (it’s an obsolete variant of the interjection ho). Later, I jumped back ahead, 128-98, after using an S and the triple-word-score space in the lower-left corner to make ZEST/AIDES 53. Later still, after B.T. had narrowed my lead to 154-151, I gave myself some padding with a 46-point play, QuIRT, which spotted the Q on a double-letter score space and the T on a double-word score space.

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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 scoring: In turn 1, TS hooked an S onto my INIA to make a 66-point bingo, ROUTERs/INIAs*. In turn 3, I put the X on a double-word-score bonus for MIX/OX, a 42-point play. And in turn 4, LOOSING/DAG scored me 65 points. (Dag means a hanging end or shred or matted or manure-coated wool.) But TS’s response, VIEW/LI/OE/OW, scored 31 points and left him with a modest 137-135 lead.

Here I ran into a spot of trouble. My rack entering turn 5 was AEGHINS, which can’t be arranged into a seven-letter word. Since AEGINS is a great Scrabble “stem,” I played the H on a triple-letter-score space to make HOW 17, only to be rewarded by drawing…the second H. This time, I played AH/AT/HE for 19 points.

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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 that he’d opened with four bingos in his first five turns.

Playing second, I took a 100-50 lead after three turns thanks to an 89-point bingo, PATTIES/NUT, which touched on two double-word-score bonuses at once. J— soon got the lead back by playing TWEEN 36 and WARN/WO/AG 31 in turns 4 and 5. Then he claimed a 201-146 lead midway through turn 7 by playing FOILERS*/SEATING, a phony 70-point bingo.

(That rack, EFILORS, doesn’t make any seven-letter bingos, but it can be combined with a blank to make six valid eight-letter ones: FLOSSIER, FOLKSIER, FORESAIL, FRIJOLES, PROFILES and TREFOILS.)

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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 opponent’s phony 26-point play, FARGO*.

EM also had a nice fifth move, JOY/OAT/YA 37. But I reclaimed the lead that turn, 123-114, with ZIGS, exploiting a double-letter-score/double-word-score combo to generate 48 points.

Then we went into a mutual power outage. From turns 6 through 11, neither of us had a play worth more than 29 points. (That was my HUED/HE.) The score was 229-206 in my favor at that moment.

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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 J—, the excellent local player whom I’d beaten three times in five tournament meetings.

J—, playing first, took a lead going out of the gate, and I never caught up. Over the first nine turns, J— had a pair of 30-pointers (JOE/ER 32 and YEW/ITCHY 30) and a bingo, CUrATES/CAT 65. My highest-scoring word over that span was PRIDE 27 in turn 9; I trailed, 255-172, following that play.

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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 column. R— would tie the score, 89-89, with ZIG/ADZ 52, but that wouldn’t last.

In turn 6, playing second, I converted AABHRS? into BAsHARS*/BI/AN, an 82-point bingo. I was hoping, incorrectly, that bashar was some kind of title of a ruler; since R— did not challenge, the play stood, giving me a 179-97 advantage.

That rack makes three valid words, all plurals and all unknown to me: BHARALS (a goatlike mammal), BRAHMAS (the Hindu god of creation, or the foundation for all being in Hinduism) and SAMBHARS (a type of deer).

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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 by putting down ZEE/ZA/EL/EF, a 70-point move thanks to his placement of the Z on a triple-letter-score spot. I closed the gap a bit with my second move, LONER/YE/AR 14, but that still left me trailing, 86-39.

I started the game with a blank and drew an X after my first move, but wasn’t able to outpoint my first play (HALF/HM 25) until the sixth turn. That was when I played DRIP/PLUCK for 42 points, a prime example of a triple-word-score plus double-letter-score bonus combination. I drew DRST after that play, which left me with a rack of EORSTX? entering turn 7.

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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 player, RB, was someone who had beaten me out for the division title on Monday afternoon.

The good news was two-fold: One, I’d beaten RB twice in three matches; and two, I had a big spread — plus-611 against her plus-389 — so unless she beat me by a massive score, I would still wind up with the championship.

Fittingly, the score was fairly even early on; playing second, I held a 50-46 edge after five moves.

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