The Basilisk Strikes Again

Friday, January 30, 2008

I was delayed by some light snow on Michigan, but I wasn't about to complain given the disastrous ice storms that were making life difficulty for many. In fact the real delays had to do not so much with the snow as with a couple of collisions courtesy of morons who couldn't keep there cars on the road even in such light snow. Seriously dude, there was hardly anything on the ground. How do you not hate people when you see stupidity like that?

It was risky, but I took a chance and pushed past the rest area outside of Ann Arbor and on to the new Starbucks in Brighton. Had there not been a 24-hr store where I could park, Meijer in this case, I would have been out of luck, because I had forgotten that many Michigan communities prohibit street parking in the wee hours.

Meijer, coincidentally enough was the store chosen for the gift cards that were given as prizes. Like the museum in Indianapolis, the local library in Ortonville did not allow cash prizes. In fact, they insisted on collecting all the money and buying the cards themselves. Weird, and not that convenient for the directors, according to Jeff.

Saturday, January 31, 2008

I started off well, OUTLEA(R)N, against Jeff Fiszbein, and with double-double FORGE(R)S I was able to keep it competitive despite his back-to-back blank bingos, DEARIEs and El(E)VATED. But then something amazingly disgusting happened. After PE(D)ANT at O1, I drew the C a later and became fixated on drawing an I (five in the bag still) for (PEDANT)IC. This loss of focused resulted in three suboptimal plays, and Jeff ended up beating me to the critical 39-point play. Then he got big Q and Z plays, and those hammered the nails into my coffin.

Annotated Game

After beating me by 75 with four easy-ass bingos, SNEERIN(G), TORSADE, LACQ(U)ERs, and (I)NTEREST, Jeff Clark immediately went to look up the three words he had held and then came over to compliment me on CUMBIA (for 55). The other words he was unsure of--LOX(E)D and (presumably) (TORSADE)S. In my first game Fiszbein had been unsure of (SHIV)E (and (SHIVE)S)), and I have to say it was rather irritating losing to players who exhibited such weaknesses in word knowledge.

Annotated Game

As soon as the Basilisk tacked LY to my opening BRIGHT, I suspected my sour luck would continue. Two turns later I played JOW for 59, but I cursed my luck as I ended up with DDLMPRT and a forced exchange while Jason was playing off an E. Sure enough, he bingoed, (B)INARIES, and had to suffer through HLRTUV? and BHNPRT? before I was able to bingo. I fully expected Jason to get the better of me from that point, and my mood was dour enough that I was actually thinking of trying RESLEA(V)E*. Jason ahd the second blank, and had he bingoed right away instead of playing TA(B) to give me the hook, or had I not then scored 57 for DEAFEN, I probably would have lost.

Annotated Game

It's almost unbelievable that I could have lost to #7 Matt Robin, somebody I'd never even heard of, after getting an early bingo-bango-bongo!!! The problem was he managed to score 40, 24, 48, 34, 46, and 37 to stay just a behind behind, and then he got down EVACueE to surpass me. I took an 11-point lead with (O)RCEIN for 33, and Matt then scored just 12 points, but I had a serious problem. The tile pool of ADEILLRST combined with C,E,I, and N to play through screamed certain bingo!!! I had no choice but to block, leaving myself with ELNSV. I knew that leave was going to kill me, and I was right.

Annotated Game

Lunch was included in the $35 price, which would have been a pretty good deal... if it hadn't been SUBWAY!!! I will never eat at Subway if I can help it. I can't think of Subway without thinking of this guy Cory who used to hang out at Starbucks in Plano. He related a story one time about the disgusting things he would do to the sandwiches ordered by people he didn't like. I'm sure most Subway employees aren't like that, but those stores have ruined Subway for me forever.

Anyway, drove a mile or two down the road to a Chinese restaurant for mediocre chicken fried rice and egg drop soup. Paul Epstein up after lunch, and after we finished he started chatting with another player about his recent run of bad tournaments. He commented that he used to beat me all the time. True, true, but I had the tiles on Saturday.

Annotated Game

I had not seen Lloyd on cross-tables the last time I checked, so I was surprised when I spotted him earlier that morning. After my three losses, I was all of a sudden very grateful that he had come, because that would reduce my win expectation, possibly to 4. If so, then I could still remain in the top 100. Of course I had to beat Lloyd to do that. Seems like Lloyd usually gets the breaks against me, but I managed to have a pretty good run of tiles, including (O)XEYE for 30, QUInIN(E)S for 70 and then WOLFS for 52. But it wasn't all luck--other than missing EGO(M)ANIA I played pretty well.

Annotated Game

Getting past Paul and Lloyd was a great relief. My final game would be against the weakest player, Mason Shambach, and I was pretty confident that I'd win it and stay even. Of course I was miffed that I had lost three games, especially the one to Matt, but I was also irked that Wussy Boy had not brought his inflated rating over to Michigan. With his points in the ring, four wins would have resulted in a slight ratings game, but I wasn't exactly surprised that he didn't show up.

Annotated Game

I should have known better than to go into that final game assuming I would win. My early lead and momentum were quickly derailed when my correct play of GLOM at L1 resulted in a 131-point triple-triple. Mason maintained the momentum from that point on, and even when I took a 7-point lead with SINCERE he came right back with 34 points for the lead. The game was a lost cause at that point, and then a couple of really freaky events gave me hope. First, Mason overdrew and lost the case S. Without that S, I think a win would have been impossible. As for the second event, you just have to see it to believe it. I'll just say that I was proud of being able to pull a win out of thing air like that, especially with a pretty good game-winning play.

Annotated Game

That final game had been for second place. The Basilisk had the tournament locked up going into the final round. Initially, I was fine with second place and four wins. Besides preserving my rating, I posted some really good numbers. 3.5 equity points lost per turn, perhaps my lowest ever. One game with just 9.3 total points lost. And the Epstein game could be considered a 14.5 equity loss game if you disregard HALON, because I played it hoping to get a challenge... and it worked. And I missed just one bingo opportunity, EGO(M)ANIA--a first for me.

Still, it would have been nice to score my first win of the year, and it would have been nice to finish ahead of the Basilisk, especially given that I beat him in a 9.3-equity loss game. I was certain that Jason had had an easier ride than mine. For one, I had gotten double-blanked in two of my losses, as well as being quadruple-baby-bingoed in another. Before our game I asked Jason if any of that had happened to him--it hadn't. One of his first two opponents had not bingoed at all, and neither had double-blanked him.

I'm not saying I played perfect, but I did not play horribly either, in the games I lost. My best chance to win that fifth game was against Matt Robin, but I made just one real mistake--missing GAWSIE. A six, not a hook, not related to a seven, that I had seen exactly once--that's what was required of me to win that game. I doubt Jason had it that tough. Heck, he should have lost the game in which he let CASTERED* go, on that basis alone. That's such a high-prob eight that I would have challenged in a heartbeat. His letting that go probably irks me more than anything that happened in that tournament. I feel justified in saying I was cheated out of that fifth win and an 1800 rating.

Tuesday, February 2, 2008

Aha!!! I knew it. Basilisk posted his equity loss, and he gave up 476 points across the six games. I only gave up 316, and that's if you count the 65 from playing HALON against Epstein. If you discount it, because I was hoping for a challenge and got it, then it was just 251!!! So who really deserved to win, eh?

Opponents' Bingos
SALI(C)INs (the only really good bingo)

My Bingos
QUInIN(E)S (my only really good one)

Missed Bingos


#1 - L - Fiszbein    
0 UT  
0.2 SHIV  
0 REX  
0 PE(D)ANT  
0 DON(A)  
8.4 Y(E) weak
8 B(I)LE setting up S hook plus still trying for (PEDANT)IC
10.8 NA don't want to give up S on this board
5.9 CO(M)B  
23 O(R)A (M)OI(R)A (almost out of time)
2 (K)I  
#2 - L - Clark    
4.9 LOX(E)D TUX(E)DO (no way--sets up S hook!!!)
0 (S)OOTY  
5 (T)HOU  
0 F(A)VOUR  
6 (B)EFIT holding out for better J play
0 T(U)NAS()  
0 ZI(T)i  
0 DEAL  
0 ION  
#3 - W - Idalski    
1.2 BRIGHT 8H  
0 (L)EZ  
0 JOW  
1 -DDMPR (LT)  
1 LUV  
0.1 B(I)RTH  
0 KUE  
0 OGAM  
0 COAX  
2 PUC(E)  
#4 - L - Robbin    
0* QI  
2 AIRILY 71 avoid 9I b/c of counterplay
5.7 JUN(T)O JUGA(T)E (why give up east J counterplay)
0 GAB  
0.2 (O)RCEIN  
10.7 YA (have to block--bag too bingo heavy) SYLV(I)N,ALE(V)IN
0 L(e)ZES*  
#5 - W - Epstein    
0 (NO)DDY  
0 (W)USHU  
0 XI  
3.5 LATIN(G)*  
0 YOK  
0 JUTE  
11 EF block E line
0* AGOG  
65 HALON doesn't block SCRiVED but draws expected challenge
0 TO  
#6 - W - Mills    
0 OW(N)ED  
0 SI(T)H  
3.4 (O)XEYE  
0 QUInIN(E)S QUNsI(E)S (unsure),QUINSI(E)d
0* (Q)AT  
23.8 OUTSEE shorten the game and thus limit Lloyd's ability to catch up
6 AA  
0 (D)ETAIL  
#7 - W - Shambach    
2.6 INN  
0 BOP  
0 GLOM  
0 QUA(S)H  
0 VAT  
0 SUB  
7 ED  
1.5 EAU  
0 VITTL(E)  
0 K(I)  

1 - L - 1671 - 4.7 (70.3)
2 - L - 1716 - 2.8 (30.5)
3 - W - 1801 - 0.7 (9.3)
4 - L - 1632 - 3.0 (33.4)
5 - W - 1673 - 5.7 (79.5)
6 - W - 1842 - 6.8 (81.9)
7 - W - 1568 - 0.9 (11.1)

Avg: 3.5

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