Inevitable Discharge

Saturday, November 28, 2009

First game, Woody Chen, both blanks, seven power tiles. The ring worked, and in fact saved me from some very poor late-game play.

Second game, Joe Bihlmeyer, again, both blanks, seven power tiles. Feeling pretty good, but what I wasn't realizing was that the ring's power was compensating for my suboptimal play.

Third game, Verna Berg, just three power tiles, but 95 points for that first bingo was key. The ring was weakening, but I did not realize it because and I discovered something interesting about the ring. I forgot to put it on before I drew tiles, but I caught myself as I was drawing. I had already turned over FIN, or maybe even FIW, and I feared that my failure to don the ring was going to provide costly. Well, I slipped the ring on before I turned over the remainder of the tiles, and what did I draw but ADFINW? to Verna's oddly-positioned FRIG (at 8E). The ring was weakening, however, and I did not realize it at the time, so relieved was I to pull out a 10-point win after I gave Verna (G)ENEROUS and then she drew the other blank for a late-game M(I)SSTAtE. I will point out that though I found the only play that won, LAR(K)IER, that play was an exception to what was otherwise mediocre play most of the morning. Had it not been for the ring, I might well have started the tournament 0-3.

Game four, again a close game. My level of play had improved not a Whitmarsh, while the ring continued to weaken. Again, I did not realize what was happening because my racks were so good. But part of the rings power was to force bad tiles onto my opponents' racks, and apparently that is the part of the ring that weakens first. Despite a lost turn, Adam Townsend mounted a late-game counterattack with STATINS, a word I was very close to challenging. I wisely decided against the challenge, though, and on the next turn I wisely decided to forgot the 57-point X play that would have opened up the board and allowed Adam to bingo out. I can't believe he actually expressed surprise that I didn't take the points. I might have been playing like crap, but I wasn't that bad.

Annotated Game

My first mistake against Goofball #1 was to start playing when I did. But I get ahead of myself. After heating up my leftover Colombian food I sat down at a table with Woody and a few other players, and I dubbed Jordan Dale and Jack Eichenbaum Goofball #1 and Goofball #2, so named because they were my next opponents, and my fresh memories of how each had frustrated previous tournaments. Doesn't matter how long ago I last played Eichenbaum--I still he rememeber he beat me unfairly (in my humble opinion).

Not sure why, but the lunch period seemed unusually short, and I had not yet finished eating when round five began. I should have elected to stay in the dining room and let the full five minutes elapse before my clock was started, but I foolishly decided I could eat and play, as I had done many times before, with no problem. Thing is, I had made the mistake of forgetting that Jordan, as luckbagging goofballs are wont to do, plays fast.

But I'm still getting ahead of myself. Back in the dining room, it was very interesting to note the respective reactions of Goofball #1 and Goofball #2 to my well-intentioned epithet. Jordan remained calm and nonchalant, while Jack seemed to take umbrage. Why would this be, it was natural to wonder.

Well, applying the little-known art of evaluating people according to their names, an explanation materializes. Jordan's name is Dale, and what is a Dale but a valley, calm and peaceful. Eichenbaum, on the other hand, is German for "oak tree". If you have read the Lord of the Rings, or seen the films, you will know that oak trees are wild forest trees, and they can have quite an attitude.

Anyway, getting back to the Valley (of Death), the ring's power to hamper my opponents' was fully depleted, and Jordan quickly took a lead. I had my chance though, when I drew back-to-back blanks. My first bingo, sERGING, was not the best, but okay nonetheless. My second, though, killed me in two ways. Firstly, I spent a lot of time, letting my clock get down to about 10 minutes, looking for a play that did not give up an easy counterplay. Had I realized sERGING takes an S, my play would have been easy. But I didn't and I missed ENAbLES, playing ENoLASE instead, only to watch Jordan immediately plop down TARDILY. ENAbLES (as well as hooking sERGING) would have blocked it. I was just down 14 points, but my next two racks, AEEIPSU and DEFIISU, worried me. I could feel the game slipping away, and perhaps that influenced my decision to challenge CAIN/(PEA)N. And just like my challenge of GEST in Elmhurst, I lost the game to a four-letter word. Given that, the goofball comment sure felt stupid.

Annotated Game

By the sixth game, all the ring's power was gone, and I quickly fell behind to Mr. Oak Tree. I recovered with double-double L(A)NDLERS, but just as quickly fell behind to VITAM(I)NE and never recovered. Trying KIR(I)N* out of desperation didn't help. I suppose it is reasonable to imagine that, as we returned from the challenge computer, the word "goofball" crossed Jack's mind once or twice.

After Eric Goldstein bingoed early against me, I finally decided my ring had completely discharged, and that it was hurting more than helping, so I took it off. I had nothing but skill to rely on, and I wasn't demonstrating much of that. Easy miss right out of the gate, VARIOU(S) or (S)AVIOUR, and I trailed for the entire game. Amazingly, I had a chance late in the game when I played OPUnTI(A)S to take a lead and drew some really good tiles. But unbelievably, Eric managed to draw (R)EUNIONS/(NIGHT)S in the last possible bingo space. Funny thing is, just like my game against Dale, I could have blocked his bingo had I found the right play, in this case UtOPISM or UTOPISm.

Annotated Game

Didn't even bother with the ring for the final game. I wasn't sure if it recharged by itself while not in use, and I didn't want to risk it. So I waltzed bareback into my rematch with Bihlmeyer, and within three turns he had scored 209 points, and the rest of the game went downill. Damn, playing without protection is dangerous.

4-4, a significant ratings drop, but well-deserved given how poorly I played. 7.0 equity loss per turn averaged for the tournament, worse than I remembered playing in a long time. But I really had more important things to worry about, like the travesty that is going on through the country, maybe the world, wherein the passing of 2009 is being reported as the end of the decade. This is bullcrap. 2010 belongs with its bretheren, 2001 to 2009. Deciding to lump it with 2011 to 2020 is arrogant and wrong, like the British just arbitrarily dividing up Pakistan and India and leaving Kashmir in the lurch.

Seriously, my real worry was what to do about the ring. Was it forever useless, or would it recharge eventually? Or could I recharge it by finding the right power battery. Of course I could just review my words, but that would take away from the time I needed to spend tracking down the right battery. The ring is the key to Scrabble success--I can feel it.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns


#1 - W - Chen    
2.2 DOLT  
0 V(O)MIT  
0 AIG(R)ET  
11.1 OLDER  
0 SHY  
0 BOP  
7.9 RU(I)N  
16.1 v(AN)  
11.9 F(E)  
24.9 CI(R)QUE  
0 RO(PE)s  
#2 - W - Bihlmeyer    
0 QI  
8.1 WHAP WHARV(E) (unsure)
16.1 (A)DZ Z(A)RF
8.3 CR(O)FT (thought it hit DWS)  
0.8 VID  
0 GO(R)E  
6.4 JO(T)  
0 LOcATIN(G)  
0 (JO)UAL intentional pass up bingo
3.6 (W)IVED P(E) (gives up 12 pts--too many)
6.2 AI  
21.9 I(B)EX (P)IXIES
9.9 FACES  
0 I(C)E  
#3 - W - Berg    
0 DWArFIN(G)  
--- BOTH(Y)  
4.8 QUIP(U) PIA keeping AQTU (interesting)
0 ABET  
12.9 CAW W(I)NCE (stupid miss)
4.6 V(I)NE  
5.3 SELL LOSEL (might not have played cuz creates opening)
0 OINK  
#4 - W - Townsend    
0 DAH keep O hoping Adam doesn't know hook but he does
7.7 JE(E)S  
11.8 AVO(W)  
3.9 O(G)EE  
1.9 TOLUENE N9 unusual 4 Quackle 2 choose lower score
3.3 GEE N1  
3.5 TO(R)IC  
7.2 (J)AZzED for 66 pts ZA for 35 keep ?DENO
0 LOBUL(I)*  
14.6 BU(S)Y must not open line
12.3* XI G5 XI 12H is crap--opening line loses
0 (KI)RN  
#5 - L - Dale    
0 FOB  
0.8 COZ  
0 REIN  
11.2 ENoLASE (sERGING)S hook
3.1 PEA  
1.8 IF  
33 challenge CAIN/(PEA)N  
0 UDO  
1.6 (G)IRD  
17.6 USHER  
0 (MI)B  
#6 - L - Eichenbaum    
0 OXO  
1.9 (Y)OUR  
3.8 (V)IE  
10 Q(A)T  
1.7 HIED  
39.8 lose turn (KIR(I)N*)  
1.5 DO(C)K  
2.4 INFARE  
2.6 P(I)T  
15.7 B(E)E  
39 lose turn (RE(D)YING*)  
#7 - L - Goldstein    
4.5 NIGHT  
11.6 -CCLNVW (X) visualized disaster if I did not exch
3.1 G(A)LAX (T)AX (gives up easy counterplay + crappy GIKLO leave)
2.2 PAVI(D)  
0 CUKE  
1.4 GREE ERGO!!!
0 FADO  
7.7 OPUnTI(A)S UtOPIST,UTOPISm (would have blocked counterbingo)
37 HEN lose track of E--don't see CALQ(U)E
0 J(O)B  
#8 - L - Bihlmeyer    
3.8 (A)IRT (F)RITT
0 (T)WIG  
17.8 FOX F(L)UX (huge mistake)
12.3 JO  
11.4 HAUT  
0 CO(OP)S  
12.8 BY  
52.9 (U)SED RADI(U)SES (saw S(U)DARIES--shoulda seen anagram)
5.6 (CITE)RS  
0 OUPH(S)  
0 NEE(M)  

1 - W - 7.0 (97.4)
2 - W - 5.4 (81.3)
3 - W - 6.9
4 - W - 5.9 (82)
5 - L - 5.7 (80.1)
6 - L - 9.4 (122.8)
7 - L - 6.7(80.3)
8 - L - 9.0 (116.6)

Avg: 7

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