Anniversary and Valentine’s Scrabble

Mark and I celebrated our eighteenth anniversary on February 13 (that’s the day we started going out) along with Valentine’s Day. We got takeout from South St. Burger and watched the Leafs lose again. Over the weekend we played five games of Scrabble and Mark won two. I am proud of Mark for the skill he is showing in his game, and he surprises me with his increased vocabulary. Aside from Mark’s improved level of play that wins him more games, I do slip up and ruined an endgame in what clearly–through a simple game postmortem–would have won it for me. Here is the bingo breakdown:

gERoNTIC (77)DREaMIER (82)
ENTEReR (69)
JUSTInG (105)

I would have lost the second game had I not played out with REGIFtS, as none of the five other seven-letter bingos would have fit. While holding the blank, I played one tile to create a third bingo lane yet Mark blocked it, as it was the easiest lane to bingo on (by playing any of the four possible F-bingos next to an E). My only shot was to find a word that played alongside an R (which obligated putting an E there in my word’s first or second position). REGIFtS was the only one.

With his rack of FIIINT? Mark played InFINITE to my E. My next play used his first I along with one of my own to make THRIVINg. I also played SHARPIE in this game but lost 364-341.

I lost one game 383-380 because I did not think the endgame through. With a rack of CEFIRS? I played SFERICs for 78. I couldn’t have played its other two anagrams, which I saw (FaRCIES and FIaCRES) but I did see FIERCESt elsewhere, which scored 76 yet opened up the right TWS lane and also left a floating S with the blank still out. I emptied the bag and chose AEI. The remaining tiles were AADDNU? The knowledge of Mark’s final rack puts the endgame strategy in 20/20 hindsight, yet I know I should have played FIERCESt, scoring two fewer points, as it would have blocked the lucrative -D hook to STATURE which Mark pounced on, taking his DAUNt to the DWS for 31 and sealing the win. With my correct tile tracking, where the final ten were AAADDEINU?, I should have realized that it would have been a lot easier for Mark to make a seven-letter bingo hooking a -D under STATURE than finding an eight-letter word through my S or t in FIERCESt. FIERCESt ruined any opportunity to underhook STATURE. With Mark’s final rack of duplicate A’s, D’s and a clunky U, there weren’t any sevens and only one eight (grADUAND) that couldn’t be played. Had I played FIERCESt, Mark would have played UNDAteD to the lower right TWS for 24, leaving me with an outplay but a more lucrative spot for my A and E to play ZAG/AWE/PE for 23. This spot was unavailable to me when I played SFERICs there. I could only go out with ILEA to score five, losing the game by three.

In our fifth and final game I played four bingos, winning 518-335.

Among the ten blanks that appeared over five games, I picked seven of them, using them all in bingos. Mark used two in bingos and one in a play that sealed him the win.

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