Scrabble Club / August 3, 2023

I won two out of three last night:

505-96 against Noah. Noah is a regular member who has an intellectual disability yet I do not allow him any leniency. Unlike with other players I will talk to him and explain rules during the game, but will not coach him on what to play or give my approval or disapproval on what he is about to play. However last night I did ask him to look for scoring opportunities by playing on the coloured premium squares. He knows his words, even the obscure anagrams of common words, yet has to speed up his game. In our game he went 10:01 overtime, which is cause to end the game immediately. With the director Shan having other games to pair I did not want to play the rest of the game out. So with a final rack of GIMPS?? (and plenty of tiles still in the bag) and an open board to play a bingo I had to enforce the end-of-game overtime rule. With my score already at 505 and an 88-point bingo ready to go down which would have taken my score to 593, I was disappointed that I couldn’t complete the game. My bingos: INLACED (90), TEETHED (81) and MISLEAD (93). Noah’s final rack was EILSTUV. Thankfully this overtime rule does not obligate both players to deduct their unplayed tiles from both of their racks. Why should I suffer a point deduction for my opponent’s slowness?

440-281 against Shane. Shane is a new player, yet he has played in one short Collins tournament before. I do not play Collins at the Club. My bingos: sTERNUM (81) and INSTATE (84). Shane: none.

348-376 against Troy. Troy played the game’s only bingo, PArTIErS for 77. With the rack GINNORT and an available E in first or second position I created the trio of phonies RENOTING, RETONING and TENORING, not realizing that all three anagram to NITROGEN and RINGTONE. I knew that both words were anagrams of each other, but I found neither in that possible rack. That fact that they weren’t playable was irrelevant; I should have recognized NITROGEN and RINGTONE from that phony trio. I will cut myself some slack here: with only the E to play through (and not an I) I had no incentive to spend time looking for either legitimate bingo when my focus was on the E that had to be in first or second position.

In one of my Scrabble Skills sessions that I am offering at the library, I talked about how I sort my racks into recognizable patterns. Thus with a rack of EFINNOR I will more than likely arrange it into the prefix NON plus FIRE, thus NONFIRE. The irony beyond ironies is that the phony NONFIRE anagrams to a legitimate word that is entirely about fire: INFERNO. I gave numerous examples of how my shuffling patterns lead me to create phonies which I then immediately recognize as anagrams of legitimate words: how RESAVING anagrams to VINEGARS, GOADERS to DOGEARS, NASALER to ARSENAL and so on. I never confuse the shuffling-phony for a legitmate word. I recall that in the past I have played both NITROGEN and RINGTONE yet had never created phonies to easily identify them. I believe that in the future, especially after this game, that when I arrange my tiles to make RENOTING, RETONING or TENORING I will immediately recognize that they anagram to NITROGEN and RINGTONE.

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