Scrabble Club / March 28, 2024

431-329 against Robert. Today was Robert’s first day at the Club. He is blind, and I was his first opponent. Braille versions of Scrabble are not new to me as I own two braille boards and have two different sets of braille tiles. His set was similar to mine in that they were a solid chunky plastic, divided into quarters where the top half had the raised letter and its value next to it, with the braille equivalents underneath. These tiles, standard size as usual, reduced the letter to one quarter its regular size. However what made these tiles so hard to use was that the black paint on the letters and values had worn off, rendering them a monochrome of yellow on yellow. It was very hard to discern the letters when they are reduced to one quarter their usual size and set against the identical colour background. On the one hand I am pleased to know that such frequent play has worn down his tiles, much like the paint that wears off older sets of Protiles rendering E’s identical to F’s and I’s almost invisible. For blind players, the monochrome tiles are of no consequence, but for a sighted opponent, they were very hard to use. I did have to strain to decipher the tiny ¼-size letter. Robert stored his tiles in a clear plastic bag, which, again, for blind opponents, is of no consequence, but is at an unfair advantage to a sighted opponent. We had to empty my tiles onto my board and place his tiles in my black cloth bag. My bingos were UREDINIA (68), NESTINGS (77) £ and TOASTIER (70). I felt bad about playing the Collins NESTINGS but then I thought it was acceptable in NWL. I was also mixing up Collins words when I played FLIX and after the game, when Robert asked about it, I said it was acceptable. I checked my NWL immediately after and had to admit that it wasn’t. Robert knew his words–he played KAPUT–which I rejoiced about because he gave me a needed T when my rack was AEIORST. That rack also played through the P and U in KAPUT (to make SEPTORIA, OUTRAISE and SAUTOIRE) but only TOASTIER fit.

451-244 against Nicole. I played bATTENS (77) and SLANTED (65). I had the flashy opportunity to place FIGHT after PRIZE to make PRIZEFIGHT but I had a more lucrative opening to play FIGHT elsewhere.

402-405 against Peter H. I had a sizable lead with three bingos in a row: ANERGIA (69), DEVOURER (64) and AROINTED (72) but then Peter caught up with dEVIANT (70) and CARBINES (63). His final rack, which included the second blank, plus my clunky OPSTTTY in addition to time trouble did me in. I went over by one second and lost the game by three.

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