Grand Theft Rating







Friday, February 20, 2009

AARRGHH!!! NOOO!!! NOOOO!!! NOOOOO!!! Several days of going to sleep early to get myself ready for a 9:00 AM Eastern start time, an early departure from Wisconsin to account for possible snow, skipping a massage in favor of allowing myself that extra bit of sleep---all of these things were for naught. I even found a good parking space after just a couple of minutes looking, both close to the Starucks and to the tournament venue, and I was settled in and ready for sleep by 11:00 PM... but I couldn't sleep!!! 11:50--nothing. 1:00 AM--nothing. 1:50 AM--nothing. Every time I looked at the clock, it was later and later, and I still had not fallen asleep. I finally decided to move to a darker space further into the neighborhood, and I finally fell asleep, but much too late. When I woke up it was already 4:00 AM, and I all of a sudden I was very thankful for the match format which would mean my first nines game would be the easiest, and that I would not likely face a truly strong players until Sunday.

That wasn't my only irritation of the night--my stupid power inverter (or the car), was malfunctioning again. The inverter was new, just bought two weeks earlier at Radio Shack. The car--the service tech at Honda insisted the outlet was working correctly. I don't know who is to blame (probably Honda), but either way I can't understand why these people can't make such a simple technology work correctly. Every time I'm left without laptop power I feel like half a person.



Saturday, February 21, 2008

I'd set my alarm for 8:40, then 8:35, then 8:30, but I finally gave up at 8:20. I desperately wanted to continue my relationship with the Dreamscape, but I had to throw in the towel, like a woman telling her longtime partner, "I have no more love to give."

Dallas Johnson (not the Florida sex offender) was my first round opponent, and I came closest in that first game to letting him have one. After Dallas had the B to hook my opening OOZE, I played OGEE at 10C, drew the Y, and became fixated on a big play there. If had been sure of TUYER on my next turn, I would have deemed that the correct play, but instead I kept my Y and based my next two plays on keeping it. Fortunately, I broke out of my tunnel vision and decided to play (C)HIVY, and besides its being the correct play, I got the challenge, the momentum, and eventually the first bingo and the game.

No trouble in the next two games. An early INFIDEL in my second sweetened with TRI(E)NNIA a few turns later, with the only point of danger being when Dallas played GU(D)E to open a line, and I found myself unsure. I was up 146, so it's not like I had to worry, but with a rack of AAEOTTU, I would not be able to score much, and if Dallas managed to bingo with one blank and then bingo through a Y with the other, I could have been in trouble, so I let it go. Review those fours, review those fours, review those fours--must not ever neglect to review those fours! Heck, I need to review threes even--in that first game I'd been unsure of AYS! I hate that word--it just looks ugly.

Another early bingo in my third game, double-double vA(L)UATES (missing the safer AdU(L)ATES), and then a won challenge for LINDA(N)E, and I cruised to 3-0, as expected, with a spread of 498, That was nothing though, compared to Lloyd, who had managed a 775 spread. High first round spreads were expected for the top 4, of course, but 775--jeez!!! What was more unexpected, though, were the four upsets, including #9 Pete Ziegler and #12 Kelly McKenzie.

Aw, jeez!!! I wasn't even paying attention and let Dallas get away with ToUNGeS*!!! Challenging that off could have garnerned me a lot more spread!

Dominating tiles had me up 142 before Stephen Knapp managed to get a bingo down, and that first game came easy, but I found myself in trouble early in our second game. When I played PEISE to leave IN, I had a feeling burning my good tiles was going to cost me, and I was right. EGINOOU followed by EGIINOO followed by AIINMOU. I was in trouble all right, but two events combined to turn my game around. First, Stephen tried SCARVED*, and it just so happened that Paul Epstein had had a final rack of CDERSV? in our Ortonville game. During the post-mortem he revealed he thoughed SCARVED* was good, and I of course looked it up. Had it it not been for that game, Stephen might have gotten away with those 84 points. With the extra turn, and with a pretty good find, IONIUM, I was finally able to get my rack back in order, and I managed to get the better of Stephen for the rest of the game.

Second game was easy, but my third went awry, thanks in part to a dearth of power tiles, but also because of a stupid mental lapse. Thought the blank was an E instead of an A and lost a critical turn. Managed to bingo out, but still lost by thirteen. Bah. Six games, and the tournament was over--no chance at going 9-0, which was the measure of performance for the the top for seeds.

Annotated Game


Whew!!! Managed to survive both a double-blanking and a triple-triple against my 3rd round opponent Scott Pianowski. another double blanking Third game, finally drew a blank, but the game turned out no easier After my game I quickly learned that Evan had been upset, by Bowman. A short time later I was surprised to learn that Epstein had bestead Sherman. That left Lloyd as my biggest threat, and I eagerly awaited the outcome of his game. Amazingly, the match turned out to be a third upset, and his opponent and eventual winner--let's call him Niko--was the one to advance.

Decided to try something different and went to dinner with Joel and Paul. As usual, Paul had interesting stories to tell, and Joel had interesting opinions to share about certain other players (see his blog for details). Brian Bowman was a topic of keen debate between me and Paul, who seemed to think the boy is particularly strong. He said he would bet on Brian over me. That's fine. I thought I could take him, but I was still rooting for Niko to win. I figured that would give me better odds. Little did I know.

Oh, about dinner. Paul and Joel chose a nearby Chinese restaurant, Wing Hing, and I have to say it wasn't very good. I ordered as usual, chicken fried rice, and I was a little peeved to find that instead of actual chicken the meal contained processed chicken cubes. Gross. The order was larged, and I boxed up half to take away, but I ended up forgetting to take the container. When I realized this the next day, I can't say I was disappointed.

Given my difficulty sleeping the night before, my position in the tournament (first), and the thousand dollar prize, I decided it was a worthwhile investment to try and find a room. I asked Idalski if anyone had been looking for a roomate, and he said Kevin McCarthy might be by himself, but with a king-size bed. Fine with me, I thought--sleeping on the floor would be a lot easier than freezing my ass off in the Meijer parking lot. Not as fun, but it might increase my chances of winning the tournament.

Well, not necessarily. I returned to the hotel shortly after nine and soon thereafter made a little cave for myself under a desk in the corner of Kevin's room. I made a couple of blog notes and settled in to sleep shortly after 10:00. Kevin did too, and I soon heard soft snorelike breathing--it seemed he was asleep. I was not so lucky, and I tossed and turned with a combination of anticipation and worry about that first match with Epstein. Paul was not shy about flatly stating that he used to beat me all the time, and though it seemed I had gotten the better of him in most of our recent matches, I had no doubts he was capable of destroying me if he got the right tiles. And even if I got past him, it was likely I'd have to face Bowman in the final. Unlike Paul, I wasn't as convinced that Bowman is "the real deal"--for one, I hadn't seem him make really good plays against me, except (GOTHIC)S. Still, I had to consider a serious threat.

11:00 PM, I still hadn't fallen asleep, while Kevin continued to slumber. He was so lucky, I though! Why couldn't I sleep--I had barely gotten five hours the night before!!! Some time later, I say Kevin flip open his phone. I would find out the next day he'd gotten a call around midnight. That made two hours of tossing and turning. Around an hour later, I think, I went to the bathroom and noticed the time was around 1:00 AM--still no sleep.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

I must have finally fallen asleep not long after 1:00 AM, because I felt rested enough around 8:00 AM. I still hadn't been able to make up for Friday night's lost sleep, but at least I got a good seven or so. Quickly got dressed, intending to go out for coffee and then come back to shower, so as not to disturb Kevin. But he ended up getting up anyway and immediately opened up his laptop. It's good to know I'm not the only one who feels a need to be connected all the time.

Oh happy day, happy day, happy happy happy day! Before heading out to Starbucks for coffee and oatmeal I took a look at the breakfast bar. I was expecting nothing more than the usual toast and bagel, but instead I found biscuits! Oh blessed blessed biscuits!! Not the best, by far, but biscuits nonetheless!

Despite an opening OXID for 50 above Paul's FAMINE, his PARGETS put me on the defensive immediately. Had I not found A(P)HELIA for 39, I could have been in serious trouble. Paul quickly to started pulling away again with easy Z and Q plays, but I finally managed to turn my rack into a bingo, (A)RENITES. Paul quickly tied the game, and then he found COr(N)MEAL for the lead, but I somehow managed to come back in the endgame, and I was able to save myself with that second blank.

Annotated Game


The second game was much easier, a blowout really. By my fourth turn, after getting down back-to-back PROTeCT and RE(T)IRING (which I almost missed--can't believe that), Paul was already saying "oh well, good luck against Bowman--you'll need it." The next three turns pretty much locked me into the final, and, as I would later learn, put me right at 1854. Unfortunately, Jason neglected to tell me this before I started the next game. Grrr... If I had know, I could have dropped out of the tournament. If I got lucky, the official rating calculation would include a 1-point "Not a Wuss" bonus to put me at 1855.

But nooooo, I had to play that third game, and I had to ignore all the knowledge I had ever gleaned from Quackle and gamble that a leave of SVW would yield either a play to (JO)W or an S play off my ORAL. So of course I deserved what I got--ISTUVWW!!! That rack was soooo bad that even challenging off Paul's CANTELA* (did hit *not* believe me when I said I'd been reviewing those high-prob alphagrams over and over???) did not hearten me. After my exchange, Paul played the correct bingo, and hooked it to ORAL. I wasn't sure of L(ORAL) was good, so it was lucky for me that my rack EHIIRST not only did not have any sevens but played through Paul's N--thus, challenging was not even an issue. Unfortunately there is no justice in tiles, and Paul's reward for the stupid phony was to pull RE(C)KONED for 118 points!!! I managed a pretty good bingo, URANISM, a couple of turns later, but Paul was always a step ahead.

Annotated Game


Meanwhile, Bowman and Niko were tied at 1-1, and I eagerly rooted for Niko to pull out the upset. Amazingly, he managed the close win, and I was able to go off for lunch a heck of a lot more confident that I was going to win my first real tournament since Stamford.

Lost the first game, by just three points, so of course I had to curse myself for having challenged CENTIMO. I'd just found UNWAN(T)ED to take the lead, and I thought that Niko was trying to put one over on me. I saw TONEMIC instantly, and that, combined with the knowledge of SENTIMO, convinced me that Niko had made a mistake. Damn. After the game I questioned some of my other choices. I should have played QU(A)GLIKe* right away, with confidence and without hesitation. Failing that, I should have played aGUELIK(E) instead of GlUELIK(E) (to try and draw the challenge), and I should have slotted it for 4 extra points even though that would open the 3x3. Little choices all, but after a 3-point loss, little choices were critical.

Annotated Game


Niko got the first bingo down again, dEBATIN(G), and if he had made a different choice and not given me that d for OVERLOA(d) (or the I), I probably would have lost. Niko pushed me hard nonetheless with a couple of good scores and then PARADIN(G), and all of sudden it seemed critical that I bingo right away, ugly though my FILOSY? looked. I burned a lot of time and struggled mightily with that rack, but I finally found it--my best play of the tournament, O(A)FIShLY. Followed it with double-double (D)IAGNOSE, which was critical because Niko wasn't letting up. He had TRISOME to nearly tie the game. Had I not drawn the case S, plus the J and Z, the match would have been over right then and there.

Annotated Game


Shortly before that final game were to start, Niko asked if I wanted to hedge the match. $100 to the loser, or something like that. I waved off his offer, not because I was that confident of winning, but simply because I didn't care about the money. My focus was firmly on rating, and the fact that I would need to sweep Niko to surpass Wussy Boy's fake-ass rating, or at least win 2 games to hit my own new peak. $500 was already a guarantee, and whether I won that or $1000 wasn't really important. What's the difference, really? An extra $500 is just going to disappear up some stripper's nose.

14 games that were all competitive, including my 3 losses, and I had to go out in the shittiest way possible to three baby bingos, ROUTING, WEARINg, and (T)ORTUrED. Niko's only really good play was THEBA(I)NE, and I have to commend him for that, but I with zero bingo possibilities during the game, I couldn't help but walk away with a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't care about the 400--I wanted a new peak rating, and stupid fucking tiles had to deny me that.

Annotated Game


Simmed the game while waiting for the ceremony--as I suspected, I hardly gave up any equity at all. My most serious mistake was started to play VUG to ROUTING, thus alerting Niko to that hook. He admitted he didn't hadn't seen it, and what would have otherwise happened would have been (T)INWAREs to open the 3x3, and I would have gotten 30 back for (s)LIPPY or (s)NIPPY.

I'm not overstating it when I say that game ruined my entire weekend. The only good thing that came out of it was that I managed to grow as a player. My younger self would have blame Niko and been genuinely angry at him, but I had learned to be angry at the situation, not the opponent.



Monday, February 23, 2009

3:07 PM, still pissed off.

9:15 PM, Rebecca, who was herself disappointed despite having boosted her rating in Saratoga Springs, was wholly unsympathetic about my disappointing finish. Sympathy was in short order all around--a coworker accused me of seeing the glass as "half full" after I complained about having come in 2nd and won $500. I suppose he might have a point there.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

10:00 AM, Neville, one of those type of coworkers who doesn't feel it awkward to talk to you when at a urinal, as me how I'm doing. I reply with a rant about how pissed off I am to have won 2nd place and $500 at a tournament. I don't think he quite understood.

10:15 AM, saw Bradley's LiveJournal post about the bingos he missed on his way to an 1840 rating (to push me out of the top 50), and only the fact that I was at work kept me from screaming.

Of course, I then remembered that the only reason I was out of the top 50 was because Wussy Boy was still sitting on his fake-ass wannabe rating. Bradley's been in the 1800s before and continues to hit that mark, so I have to concede he deserves his rating. I bear no ill will towards him. But Wussy Boy--he's really starting to piss me off. I really think cross-tables should act in the interest of justice and deflate that fake rating for every tournament skipped. They could post two ratings--an "Wuss Rating" and a "Realistic Rating".



Opponents' Bingos
THEReIN
ToUNGeS*
(G)RANITEs
SNAReRS
CREATIN(G)
uRI(N)ATOR
sEA(T)ROUT
NONIRoN
MATINEE
rUSTLED
GR(A)VELED
VERSInE
PARGETS
COr(N)MEAL
LACTEAN
BoUGIES
An(A)LYZED
CENTIMO
TEARGAS
dEBATIN(G)
PARADIN(G)
TRISOME
ROUTING
THEBA(I)NE
WEARINg
(T)ORTUrED


My Bingos
PuLLETS
INFIDEL
TRI(E)NNIA
vA(L)UATES
uNMIT(R)ED
STARTED
ENUR(E)TIC
STEEvED
GLA(C)iATE
LIAISON
COSINES
TURBINE
WESTERN
NUMERO(U)S
MITT(E)NEd
IGN(O)RERS
(A)RENITES
PROTeCT
RE(T)IRING
(D)ARIOLES
REUnI(T)ES
I(N)HERITS
URANISM
GlUELIK(E)
UNWAN(T)ED
ANORETI(C)
OVERLOA(d)
O(A)FIShLY
(D)IAGNOSE


Missed Bingo Turns
HERITa(G)E,ETHERIz(E),wEI(G)HTER
I(T)ERaTED
CAsETTE (unsure),ThECATE
HYENINE
(E)cLOGITE
AB(D)OMEnS
THROATS



Analysis

#1 - W - Johnson    
----------------    
0 OOZE 8E  
2.4 OGEE 10C  
5.8 RUE (K)URU,TUYER (unsure)
4.8 (K)ITTLE  
0.5 CUVE(E)  
0 (C)HIVY  
4.4 LOTTE  
0 G(O)DS  
0.6 XI PIX
2.3 FAG  
0 PuLLETS  
0* JAR SADI/S(KITTLE)
8.8 A(D)O  
16 DAIS SAID/S(KITTLE)
0 DUI  
     
     
#2 - W - Johnson    
----------------    
0 NERTZ  
0 INFIDEL  
4.9 YEH  
5.3 JA(R)S  
4.8 PRICE C(HI)RPIER,C(HI)RPER
3.1 Q(I)  
0 THO THORI(C)/(Q)I,RHOTI(C)/(Q)I
0 TRI(E)NNIA  
14 VE(R)B  
0.4 LAI(C)  
5 UTA  
0 MOOD  
0 FATWA  
0 OE  
     
     
#3 - W - Johnson    
----------------    
0 VOW  
0.7 vA(L)UATES  
0 J(A)Y  
4.8 (C)OX  
0 LINDA(N)E  
1 ARVO  
1.4 FADOS FIDOS
40.8 lose turn (BILUG(A)*)  
1.1 BI  
0 GUILT  
17.1 YET RETYpED/D(EVALUATES)
14.4 HE HERITa(G)E,ETHERIz(E),wEI(G)HTER
17.3 RE(AVOW) I(T)ERaTED
0 UH  
0 uNMIT(R)ED  
0 GO(u)T  
11 KOR(E)  
     
     
#4 - W - Knapp    
--------------    
0 JABS  
0 KEXES  
0 FA(D)  
2.7 LIN  
5.8 V(I)RL -LRRTTV (N)
0 STARTED  
0.6 (T)EENY  
0 ENUR(E)TIC  
5.2 (Z)OA  
0 QI  
12.5 (P)OORI (block)  
3.9 GLITC(H)  
0 SOU  
     
     
#5 - W - Knapp    
--------------    
3 GIED  
9.8 PEISE  
15.2 U(P)O  
0 EGO  
0 IONIUM  
0 BEV(E)L  
0 KEBA(B)  
22.3 CAT CAsETTE (unsure),ThECATE
0.1 STEEvED  
4.9 FLE(S)HY  
0 JOY  
1 ID  
0 (T)OIT  
     
     
#6 - L - Knapp    
--------------    
0 FOY  
0 (R)UMEN  
0 PINTO  
30.5 KHI OKEH!!! (AARRGHH!!!)
3.9 EGOS  
0 MEWL  
36 lose turn (BE(a)F*)  
3.6 FIB  
0 REDIA (need to score and draw ? or S)  
3.3 GONE  
0 GLA(C)iATE  
11.3 ADO  
3.8* (M)U  
0 LIAISON  
     
     
#7 - W - Pianowski    
------------------    
0 FAB  
7.1 COSINES CESSION,OSCINES
0 C(O)RTIN  
9.6 U(L)NAD miss (CORTIN)A hook
0 V(O)W  
4.4 TURBINE  
0 PH(R)EAK  
1.9 FLOG  
19.1 (Y)AGER JA(G)GER
0 JET(O)N  
0 ZOO(E)Y  
0 PIX  
0 (KA)T  
     
     
#8 - W - Pianowski    
------------------    
6.3 V(U)G  
0 A(B)O  
0 OF  
39.7 challenge NONIRoN  
0 WESTERN M3  
0.4 (R)AJ  
0 (P)IQUE  
0 HA  
0 NUMERO(U)S  
0 CA(G)Y  
0.5 VELAR  
0* ODAH  
0 ST(A)RE  
     
     
#9 - W - Pianowski    
------------------    
0.2 -EEIOU (ET)  
0 MITT(E)NEd  
34.9 (C)HINNY* HYENINE
0 COOEE(D)  
0 FOE  
0 ALOOF  
0 WAD(E)D  
0 GOU(T)  
9.7 IGN(O)RERS (DE)RINGERS (unsure of spelling)
0 IXIA  
0 UDON  
0 PST  
     
     
#10 - W - Epstein    
-----------------    
0 A(P)HELIA  
3.3 OY ONIONY
0 (F)UNGO  
0 KI  
7.7 (A)RENITES (G)ENTRIES
5.9 WH(E)N N(E)PHEW
0 P(E)EVE V(E)EPEE
0 (C)RAVED (C)EDARY
15.4 (G)YRI GYRI (gives up 8 pts AND empties bag--NO WAY!!!)
74 (E)LEGIT (E)cLOGITE
0 sO  
     
     
#11 - W - Epstein    
-----------------    
0 FUG  
25 YON miss (FUG)u hook!!!
0 PROTeCT  
0 RE(T)IRING  
0 DECENT  
0* (Q)UAG  
0 (D)ARIOLES  
0 J(AG)  
0 HAWK  
6.6 BEAM AB(D)OMEnS
0 OW  
5.3 REUnI(T)ES UnI(V)ERSE
20 AIS OASI(S)
     
     
#12 - L - Epstein    
------------------    
18.2 ORAL VOLAR
0 -UVWW (IST)  
0 I(N)HERITS  
0 WIF(E)  
0 URANISM  
0 WOOF  
0 (K)ID  
0* COOEED  
1.7 Q(I) M3  
0* YOB  
0 H(I)N(T)  
6.7 (P)ATE (blocking possible bingo)  
16 R(I)tZ  
0 G(A)N  
     
     
#13 - L - Niko    
--------------    
0 Q(I)  
2.5 GlUELIK(E) 12D  
0 VALUED  
2.2 EFF  
0 C(LI)PT  
0 UNWAN(T)ED  
42.5 challenge CENTIMO  
4.2 (R)OUT  
0 HE  
0 DE  
0 ANORETI(C)  
0 J(O)EY  
0 V(ID)  
     
     
#14 - W - Niko    
--------------    
1.8 AXMEN  
0 OVERLOA(d)  
0 B(E)VEL  
14.1 DICEY EDIFY,DEIFY
3.6 O(A)FIShLY F(R)OStILY
0 (D)IAGNOSE  
37.3 HAT(E) THROATS
1.3 R(A)J  
8.8 OS (block line)  
14.5 ZED block possible HAIRNET
2 TO  
0 (L)EN(O)  
0 (T)EN  
     
     
#15 - L - Niko    
--------------    
0 JA(G)  
0 ALM(O)NER  
0 DEAFS*  
0 ZAG  
0 GUV  
21.5 P(A)Y missing S(WEARINg) hook
0 SPRIT(Z)  
6.3 FONT ONEFOL(D)
0 BLOW  
0 QI  
0 DICEY  


1 - W - 3.1 (45.8)
2 - W - 2.7 (37.5)
3 - W - 6.4 (109..6)
4 - W - 2.4 (30.7)
5 - W - 4.3 (56.3)
6 - L - 6.6 (92.4)
7 - W - 3.2 (42.1)
8 - W - 3.6 (46.9)
9 - W - 3.7 (44.8)
10 - W - 8.9 (106.3)
11 - W - 4.8 (56.9)
12 - L - 3.0 (42.6)
13 - L - 4.0 (51.4)
14 - W - 6.4 (83.4)
15 - L - 2.6 (27.8)


Avg: 4.4



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