A Tale of Two Points

Sunday, October 1, 2006

During the drive on Friday evening I noticed something interesting. Once I lost NPR reception, I started listening to some tunes, the latest Method Man. I quickly found that my ability to decipher the LeXpert alphagrams decline drastically. I turned off the music--blam, anagramming resumed. Later, I decided to try some Snow Patrol, a slow song. I was able to continue anagramming.

Arrived with about 5 minutes to spare... plenty of time! And others were still trickling in. Heck, even Ira hadn't arrived. Gave me a bit of scare, thinking I'd have to work harder to boost my rating in the weaker field. I was greatly relieved when Gary confirmed Ira was on his way. I still wanted Poder, so I tried to get the others to aid me in invoking his presence with a chant, "PO-DER! PO-DER!! PO-DER!!!" They didn't bite.

I finally met the reknowned Cesar del Solar, and I immediately started thinking of potential nicknames. The correct one would depend, of course, on whether he won or lost our game.

Gary finally announced the pairings. Curses--Group A would be 10 players, which meant a weaker field and the danger of the incorrect expected wins curve.

Troof be told, my game against Cesar was my second-worst of the tournament, and I gave up quite a few opportunities. But the tiles were what they were, and similar to the manner in which John Karris had frustrated my comeback a week early with TOSSING, I countered Cesar's last-minute FAINTED with a TOSSING of my own to ensure my victory. Guess dumb luck can work both ways.

After the game, I made my third communion with the porcelain spirit in an hour. The weekend's coffee had been nowhere near my record, but it was having marked effects. I was glad that the toilet paper in the bathroom was, if not the best of toilet paper, not the worst of toiler paper either.

#9-seeded Richard Frank turned into Engine Engine #9 and chugged away with GRoWERS and ASTRIDE (ooh!!!) while I never managed to bingo and ended up losing by 72. Usually, when I lose to somebody rated so far below me (a couple of hundred points), I assume that I must have done something wrong. But given that I missed no bingoes and only gave up 62 equity points, I have to wonder if that game wasn't unwinnable.

After the game I had a mild shock when a mysterious lady said we were playing next, when I was supposed to play #1. Well, guess what? She was #1! Not Ira!!! I was stunned, and then I looked at my scoresheet and discovered I wasn't playing Ira at all, unless we were paired in KOTH. Later, I would be shocked to discover that Ira was rated significantly lower than 1800. Combined with the expanded Group A, my 400-mile gamble for ratings points was turning out to be quite risky. Dammit Poder, where were you???

We sat down to playing, and it looked like I was going to get luckbagged again, as Maddy Gobol got down CEASING follow by LAUDERs, then two turns later OOZE for 48 followed by IRONERS (what a find!!!). Miraculously, I was saved at the end by holding the case S and drawing the X for 51. Though I could have easily blown it when I missed BEAT for 41 because, looking at the board upside after Maddy's ATWIRL, I saw (I)B* instead of B(I) and immediately dismissed the spot. And so I discovered yet another way to (almost) screw up a game.

I opted into Gary's pizza lunch order, which left me time to zip down to a new Starbucks and back. While I ate I listened in on a heated discussion several players were having about the ratings debate that had recently ignited on CGP.

Meanwhile, I continued to be impressed by the latest version of Quackle's simulation speed. By the time 1:15 rolled around and the fourth round got underway, I had all but finished simulating the first two games.

Mark Milan next, and just like Maddy he had bingoes all over the board. But unlike that previous game, I never saw a rack that even looked like a bingo (except EEILSSU + R) and only once did I score high, 39 for (AS)HIER. Ended up pounded by 136, and I walked away with the fear that I would end up playing somebody rated really low in the KOTH. If I use the same logic as for the second game, I must conclude that this one I could have won, because I gave up a whopping 158 equity points. Not cool.

An uninteresting win against Tom Singleton, some fake Excedrin, and then a rematch against Richard Frank. I had the tiles the second time around for three bingoes, though I will credit myself with the early double-double AB(R)EACT.

Meanwhile, underrated Rachel something-or-another (no last names on the tally sheet) was 5-1, and Cesar had 300 more spread points than me, so I had no chance to win the tournament even if I beat Ira. But at least I did get to play him, and that last game turned out to the best of the tournament. I almost lost it twice. First, by nearly playing CHOAD(E)*, halfway convinced that I had seen the word somewhere. Thankfully, I took the safer option, (R)ECODE for three fewer points. Later, I did screw up for real, and in all fairness, should have lost the game. I challenged (C)ONTEMNS when I could have played for 30 to take a 1-point lead. But I caught a break--Ira got caught with a bum rack, OI(D)IA for 10, and that gave me the chance to stay within striking distance and win it with better tiles in the endgame (though I do credit myself for DAIMIO).

Later, I would learn that I could have, for the first time, as far as I know, played (AA)RRGH. But I missed it!!! I Only gave up two equity points, but how many times in mty life will AARRGH be the correct play?


0 BRR  
4.3 FA  
19.4 W(R)ASTLES  
6.9 MORN  
0 REQuI(T)ED  
3.8 BI(Z)  
11.2 (G)ULP  
8.2 LIM(B)I  
10.1 WAU(G)H  
9 (J)AY  
4 RI(N)  
0 MY  
8.8 MOTIF  
0.7 ZEK  
0.6 PHI  
0.3 A(N)ILE  
2.4 ALEE  
0 JU(D)O  
21.4 (Z)E(T)AS  
8 HON(E)  
8.2 (H)ID  
0 aUQ*  
12 A(RE)  
0 (B)REE  
0.6 MINK  
0.5 QAN(A)TS  
3.3 RAJ(A)H  
0 IFFY  
0 WUD  
7.5 (R)EV  
23.5 ABD(U)CT  
6.8 OX AXE (no way!!! need the points!!!)
0 G(Y)VE  
0 ANES  
18.2 REDD  
9.3 PLANET  
0 REG  
0 QI  
6 HOAR(Y)  
2.3 UNA(R)Y  
0.3 (AS)HIER  
0 (AXE)S  
7.1 KI  
16 Z(E)AL  
47.9 GAE VAG(U)E seems high
24 VOE  
7 S(AXES)  
0 O(W)E  
0 UNZI(P)  
1.8 (V)OWED  
0 OHED  
3.7 VINA  
8.2 BEE  
0 Q(I)  
0 (A)RAK  
10 TA  
7.6 GU(L)  
5.3 FE(R)RY  
0 JE(A)NS  
0.5 TZAR 8F  
7.3 DIRL  
0 ONO  
4.8 GUI(D)ES GUI(D)E (danger)
3.2 WO  
6 FE VOE (didn't see opps out)
0 QI  
0 JO(G)  
0 (R)ECODE  
39.6 lose turn  
0 FAV(E)  
5.6 PR(A)NG PR(E)ED (disagree, need to keep E)
12.2 (S)HY HI
3 (A)L didn't matter

Average Equity Loss Per Turn (using Quackle 0.93)

1 - 7.1 (99.6)
2 - 4.5 (62.4)
3 - 3.6 (43.2)
4 - 10.5 (158)
5 - 4.8 (62.9)
6 - 3.9 (42.6)
7 - 6.4 (77.1)

Avg: 5.8

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