While I was cleaning up my library and rearranging my bookshelves two weeks ago (photos to come) I decided to do something about the piles of Scrabble score sheets that had been accumulating on my floor for well over ten years. I started playing Club and Tournament Scrabble in 1993 but after a meeting of the Toronto Scrabble Club where I heard that player Libero Paolella kept all of his score sheets, I decided then and there never to part with mine either. I analyzed each game and any interesting racks and then filed the sheets away, never to refer to them again.
I finally decided to part with these score sheets since all they were doing was taking up space and collecting dust. Over the past two weeks I have looked at every game and at all the notes that I made on the sheets, looking for Scrabble milestones or other interesting phenomena like favourite words and scores. During yesterday’s Mississauga Scrabble Touranment which I co-directed with Shan Abbasi, I pored over hundreds of these sheets during the eight rounds. I had packed a bike bag full of them, saved the interesting ones and left the rest in the recycling box.
By no means are the following highlights, or lowlights, of my life in Scrabble inclusive of all games that I have played in the last ten years or so. For example, the personal Scrabble records I have set such as my highest score in a single turn or highest game score have already been reported in my blog and are not repeated here. Some of the notes below do not have dates:
On 25 July 2002 against Jason van Tol at the Mississauga Club I played six bingos in one game, although this one-time-only personal record was flawed in that one of the words was a phony: NARROWS (72), the phony PANFIRES (64), LOGIEST (78), CETANES (74), CITATION (70) and BAROqUE (80). I had recorded the first blank played as a c but did not indicate if it was for cETANES or cITATION. It could have even been a blank in both.
On 26 January 2003 at home against Ron Hoekstra I experienced the first-ever game where the last two tiles in the bag were the blanks. I always draw my tiles from the bag one at a time, even when I know that I will be emptying the bag. I drew the final two tiles one at a time and my jaw hit the floor.
On 24 October 2003 against Sal Piro at the Lake George Tournament I extended CREASING to DECREASINGLY, flanking two DWS for 76.
On 9 November 2003 at home against Glenn Mosher I played my Scrabble nickname (albeit in the plural) and most favourite definition, TREHaLAS (74) for the first time.
On 1 March 2006 against Fern Lindzon at the Toronto Club we each opened the game with six consecutive exchanges, thus twelve consecutive turns of zero. On the thirteenth turn I played a 66-point bingo (oddly, not recorded) and Fern followed with her own bingo AZOTISES (84) .
My last game played with the first edition of the OWL as the official word source was at the Toronto Club against Glenn Dunlop. I lost 410-357.
On 2 March 2006 at the Mississauga Club against Lloyd Mills I scored 604 and played three bingos including FIRSTlY (110), STEREOS (63) and TENIASEs (122).
Later on that same day I played my first ever OWL2 bingo against Jason Ubeika: eBONICS (79).
On 29 May 2006 at home against Mark Przybyszewski I scored 600 and played four bingos including MILITATE (100), OVERLIE (81), RULInGS (86) and ACUTELY (81).
On 4 November 2006 against Mark Przybyszewski at the Brantford Tournament I played my first (and only) nine-letter word through two disconnected tiles where neither was the first nor the last letter in the word and the two tiles were not side-by-side. I played SCANTNESS (94) through the C and the first N. I could have played ASSENTS elsewhere.
In a 658 game at the Mississauga Club against Yvonne Lobo I played four bingos including FANTASY (82), TaLIPEs (90), RANDIEST (140) and ISOTONE (94).
In a 611 game at the Mississauga Club against Jason Broersma I played four bingos including CORNIEST (90), the fabulous KHEDIVaL (110), BRANDErS (78) and SPEELED (77).
In another 611 game at the Mississauga Club against Geoffrey Newman I played three bingos including sPEEDILY (82), NEUrONAL (90) and MASONED (82).
In a home game against Chris Landry I scored 602 and played three bingos including PIQUETs (82), the phony triple-triple bRAWLIES (176) and MINUSES (85).
I played VOLoSTS (63) against Ray Francis at the Toronto Club, long before the revolution started.
In a Mississauga Club game, after Sinna Vijayakumar opened with RESIDUE for 68 with the U on the centre star, I bingo-ed from the top middle TWS with TIRAMIsU (80).
At the home of Mark Hamilton I played the natural and low-probability QUEZALS for 111.
Also at the home of Mark Hamilton I played my first ever seven-stack when I laid AIRTIME next to Mark’s opening play of THEATER. Mark always opens vertically so there were seven two-letter words piled on top of one another. I often joke that had Mark played THEATRE (or THEREAT) I would have punched his lights out.
In a Toronto Club game I ashamedly (yet when I saw the score sheet again I couldn’t stop laughing about it) got away with the phony CATfOOD (70) against an expert player.