Gotta strike while the iron is hot – A night at TSC (2010.03.24)

Given my injured wrist woes, I decided to visit the Toronto Scrabble Club. It was great to see some familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in a while – a shout out to Risa and Heather. Didn’t get a chance to play them, but hopefully sometime in the near future.

Game #1 vs Dave Krook
I’m sure Dave is getting tired of playing me, but hey that’s how the pairings go. The game started off slowly and then sort of turned during a short sequence of plays. Dave played MONATIS(E)* which I challenged off (there are a few bingos in that rack which he missed). I played a bingo (GRIMIEST) and could tell that Dave was trying to balance his rack. I then opened up the board to try and open up some scoring lanes. Dave looked to make a play as I think he had a bingo but didn’t seem to see an opening. Fortunately for me, he ended-up playing elsewhere and allowed me to play my bingo on the only spot available to me: FOR(G)IVES. After that, it was basically trying to finish off the game with the tiles I had. Another strong sequence to close the game off: JEFES (36), TEX(T) (47), and (T)ARZAN (48). After the game, I asked Dave about the play when he missed his bingo and he said he had SATIRE+C but didn’t see a spot to play it – unfortunately for him, he missed the front hooks to ONE.

BINGOS: ME – GRi(M)IEsT, FOR(G)IVES; Dave – none
FINAL SCORE: 428-230 (WIN)

Game #2 vs Ani Migirdicyan
It’s been a while since I’ve played Ani. The game ended pretty early when I played PANTHER/(BRAW)N. She challenged the play (BRAWN) and from there I had a big lead. The score was 182-60 and I didn’t really let up. In all fairness, Ani wasn’t helping herself with small plays that didn’t score much. I kept building up the lead and then I tried to put the game away by playing COATIES*, but Ani challenged it off. I knew COATIS was good, but I wasn’t sure if there was a variation with an E.

FINAL SCORE: 453-293 (WIN)

Game #3 vs Jackson Smylie
My final game was against Jackson – the 2009/2010 Toronto District School Board School Scrabble Champion [final tournament results here – tournament info here]. Earlier in the evening, I saw him beat Risa so I didn’t want to under-estimate him. This game started off slowly as we both seemed to have some clunky tiles. I tried to leave myself some bingo lanes and balance my rack and I think Jackson tried to do the same thing. Unfortunately, a step-ladder board started to emerge. I was able to make use of my tiles and started to pull ahead. Jackson started to play more conservatively and didn’t seem to want to open up the board. Given the score and my lead, I decided not to open the board either. Unfortunately for him, that led to him struggling to score points as he played off one and two tiles at a time. He made a mistake by playing EN to the back of JOEY to make JOEYEN*. I held him for a second before challenging just to make sure I was seeing the play correctly. Later, I unintentionally got away with a phoney word GARE*. I can tell that Jackson will be a good player in the future – he just seems a little intimidated right now and plays very quickly. I’m sure that if he took just a little bit more time to evaluate and consider his options, he would jump up in the rankings. For example, I asked him why he didn’t try to open up the board when he was behind by 100 points and he said he was worried that I would pounce and make a big scoring play. I can understand the concern, but if he doesn’t try to open it up and waits for me to do so (which I wasn’t going to do), then he has no chance of winning. BTW – we ended the game with a series of passes as there were no spots to make plays – that’s how closed the board was.

BINGOS: ME – SCaRLeT, HEINIES; Jackson – none
FINAL SCORE: 461-252 (WIN)

All in all, I had a good night. Having good tiles helps, but I could tell that I was making some good plays and systematically reviewing my options before deciding upon a play. The funny thing is that I seem to be using up more and more of the time and am now starting to feel a little bit rushed toward the end.

Risa showed me a useful Scrabble app for the iPhone called Check Word (you can get the app from the iTunes store here). The app is $0.99 but I can already see the value (hey it’s a buck). Now I don’t have to use my laptop, although I wish there would be a mobile version (even if the functions are limited) of Zyzzyva or even Quackle. I would much prefer Zyzzyva though as it is the best Scrabble software available.

2 Responses to Gotta strike while the iron is hot – A night at TSC (2010.03.24)

  1. Shan says:

    Good stuff, Hans! Also nice to see School Scrabblers who have joined the ranks of tournament Scrabblers.

    I don’t have an iPhone, but I just learned about a free app called “Zarf”, which can function as a word judge and clock. If you download it, I’d really like to check it out!

  2. Hi there Hans.
    Since enjoying 3 games with your clubmate Tim at our local tournament last weekend I’ve investigated your club a bit, and figure this looks a great blog to follow.
    So – I shall!

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