Yesterday was a civic holiday in Ontario and I had five people over in the afternoon for an informal five-round Scrabble tournament. We didn’t have any entry fees and no one reported scores. We just played for fun and as it turned out, three of us ended up with 4-1 records. I invited Mark, Mark Edelson, Troy Frost, John David and Kaveri Raviraj. Here is the report about my five games:
370-368 against Mark E. We each played a bingo: Mark played MOThERED (62) and I played SEDIlIA (71). The end of the game was close (yet low-scoring overall) when Mark attempted INGROW, which I held. I realized that I would lose the game if I let the play stand. The only way I could win would be to challenge it off, and I already had doubts about the word. I challenged it and it was ruled unacceptable. The game was not a guaranteed win for me by any means; all that I eliminated was the 100% chance of losing. As it turned out endgame strategy was the deciding factor and I won by two.
418-376 against John. John played the first two bingos, DIRTIeST (70) and UNPEELs (71)*, which is a phony that I never even held him on. I needed a bingo to win and had great tiles; I just had to open up two spots since the one that was available required the bingo to end in A or AN, AR, AS or AT and I couldn’t play there. So I played REV, opening up lanes for 8LW’s that ended in R or E. It was this location that looked the more likely to bingo and John blocked it. He left the other spot open, which I was then able to use to play CONTRAS (also making ZA and ES) for 86. We had a long post mortem and I informed John that he could have blocked both bingo lanes–and assured himself of the win–if he was able to find at least a 6LW ending in E. He could have played MEANIE. He had 2:02 left so there was time to find such a play.
491-276 against Troy. My bingos: RESTING (70), SACHEMS (84) and cATTALO (75). Troy: none. Troy unsuccessfully challenged SACHEMS.
360-390 against Mark H. I played SERENATE (59) and Mark played FOAMiESt (86).
464-322 against Kaveri. My bingos: SUNNIEr (74) and STEROID (74). Kaveri played DUELLINg (60).
Mark H. and Mark E. also finished with 4-1 records. We all lost against a player in our small group: I lost to Mark H., Mark H. lost to Mark E. and Mark E. lost to me.