Greetings from Sacramento!

Greetings from Sacramento! I’m going to be here for the next few weeks and so I thought I’d try and get some games in at the local club. The Sacramento Scrabble Club meets on Sunday afternoons at the Hart Senior Centre.

I arrived a bit early and expected a larger crowd, but there were only six people in total (including me). Maybe I’ve been spoiled with the Scrabble scene in Toronto and Mississauga. Nevertheless, I thought a few games is better than none. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any equipment or score sheets so tracking was going to be an issue. My first opponent, Terry, was kind enough to share a score sheet for me, but I was out of luck for the last.

Game #1 vs. Terry Vrchota

Terry’s a nice guy and very animated. I had no idea what his rating was so I was playing completely without any intel. It’s an interesting experience. He played PROA early on and I wasn’t sure if it was a good word. I decided to keep it because I used the A for Q(A)NAT for 48. The game was close until the end as I got stuck with some tough tiles and no vowels except for a U. Terry had the Z and I’m not sure he could’ve won given that I had a slight lead.

FINAL SCORE: 362-359 (WIN)
BINGOS: Me – NEGATeS; Terry – rATLINE

Game #2 vs. Peter Dolgenos
Playing Peter was interesting as he plays defensively. In my third game, I overheard him talking to a nice older lady about his strategy of blocking things. This game was tight, but I just played the tiles I had and did my best to balance scoring with keeping the board open.

FINAL SCORE: 360-331 (WIN)
BINGOS: Me – WASTRiE; Peter – IGNITES

Game #3 vs. Paul

This game was a good learning experience. I lost the game but it wasn’t for lack of trying – no vowels for most of the game. Paul is quite a character and isn’t too keen on following tournament etiquette. It’s all good and I think Paul played the game how he should. He felt overmatched and so he did the smart thing of shutting the board down. I exchanged on consecutive turns a few times but I couldn’t get any synergy with the tiles. Oh well, that’s how it goes

FINAL SCORE: 298-291 (LOSS)
BINGOS: me – none; Paul – none

All in all, I enjoyed being able to play Scrabble and just relax on a Sunday afternoon. The Sacramento Scrabble Club isn’t as organized as in Mississauga or Toronto, but it is what it is. I’ll probably do more studying until the Nationals, but I’m feeling comfortable with my game and feel like I can play any style. Sure I prefer a wide-open style, but the board develops based on the tiles we draw and plays we make.

I don’t have the score sheets from last week’s Mississauga Scrabble Club anniversay (18th!). I’ll see if I still have them at home and will recap when I can.

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