Rating Going Nowhere


Sunday, October 6, 2007

Set my alarm for 7:30, but at 7:07 I felt fine to drive and decided the extra time would come in handy with the usual stops I had to make. I would have preferred to go into the event with more sleep, but with Bruce Springsteen in Philadelphia on Friday night, something had to give. So I sacrificed sleep, but at least I found breakfast, Bagelland on Staten Island. Huge-ass bagel sandwich, couldn't even finish it.

AARRGHH!!! Must put the cap on the juice before shaking!!!

Good thing I started driving when I did, because traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was exceptionally slow, and later I lost more time because of that interchange closure to the Cross Island Parkway northbound. Same thing had happened in September, only this time, with the earlier start time of 9:00 AM (to accomodate an extra game), I was risking tardiness. Despite my efforts to reach the Adria as fast as possible, I continued my studies, choosing to look at the list of 6s containing a Z, for defense against Bihlmeyer. Remember that fact--it will become extremely ironic later.

And whaddayaknow, it was Joe up first. And while my tiles might have been making, my playing was more like valuation nowhere. I was my own worst enemy in that game, practically hemorrhaging equity. There were so many places I could have scored the 5 points I needed to win, including at the very end, when I worked out out that I could possibily win the game by letting Joe have a 53-point X play and sticking him with the J. But I had underadded my score by 5, and that made a huge difference. Furthermore, I did not go through the process of calculating how much I could score with each of the tiles left in the bag. Had I done that, and had I counted my score correctly, I could have determined that I had 100% chance of winning. Talk about being your own worst enemy.

I was trying to find my end game
But all I found was a loss
My skill was bouncing up and down
Crushing my chances of breaking top 50
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?

I was spinnin' 'round a dead spot
Just another wrong square on the board
Dancin' down the wrong path
Just searching for a word worth some gold

This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
Is there any more to be had out there?

I just want to boost my rating
I just want to boost my rating
I just want to boost my rating
I just want to boost my rating

I want a thousand-point game I want to pound Joel Sherman I want a million different bingos all speaking my name
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
Is there any more to be had out there?

I was driving back from my cheap win Searching for what I could have done Boppin' my head painfully Tryin' to learn from my pain
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
This is rating going nowhere, is there any more to be had out there?
Is there any more to be had out there?

I just want to boost my rating
I just want to boost my rating
I just want to take your rating
I just want to take your rating
I just want to take your rating
I just want to take your rating
I just want to take your rating
I just want to take your rating

Against Marjorie Schoneboom I drew three blanks, because I lost one to an overdraw and drew it back. Glad I had them, because I was struggling for most of the game until I found double-double HANDOvE(R) to take the lead. sTAYING followed immediately, and that plus the final S allowed me the points I needed to win. So far I was drawing like gangbusters. Even the timing worked out, because when Marjorie played IMPALAS I was really tempted to challenge, but since I had 54 for (Z)ERKS, it made sense to let it go.

Drew both blanks for a third time, against Eric Goldstein, for the phony Re(A)CQuIT*, and as I cruised to a win I began to fear what kind of a draw I would have when I needed it, against Frank.

Played a riduculously tight board against Verna Berg. Later in the lunch room she would say I played like Steve Williams, and I replied that there was no sense in my opening the board when I had a lead, and when my opponent was revealing frustration with the tightness of the board. That's not being Steve Williams--that's just being smart.

Against Errol Wilson, I jumped off to a good lead with ZANIEST (don't see that word often), but mid-game I had a bit of a scare. Error bingoed with ANERgIA, and while I still had a good lead, I held no vowels and was thus unable to exploit the two glaring triple spots he had opened. I was still able to score, 24, 27, and 21, but if I had had vowels I probably would have scored 20-30 more points over those three turns. That deficit became significant because Errol bingoed again, SANTERO, to almost catch up. Then he drew the second blank, and the board was not closed. Had he bingoed, he might have won, but I never would have been in danger had it not been for those three weak racks. Errol was the #10 player, so those were a tense 10 minutes that I waited while he held AFINOT? and tried to find a playable bingo. For an 1800 player, there is hardly a fear greater than that of losing to the bottom-rated 1500 player in the group.

Next was Ira Freehof, and the game was a straight-up outdrawing, gangsta style. CAVI(T)IES through my PIETA, then (C)HINNInG, then EX(A)M for 36 followed by ZEKS for 40 and a 128-point lead. It looked pretty bad, but at least Ira would soon run out of power titles. Then I got down the self-descriptive aSTOUND, a well-placed triple-overlap. I slowly caught up over the next three turns, but then Ira shattered my hopes of a ratings boost with (I)NVESTOR. From that point the game was fairly well unwinnable.

"They say he's a swordsman. To me, it seems he can't use a sword."

Finally time for newly-moustached Frank Tangredi, and though I opened with ZINGARI, my next two racks fizzled, allowing Frank to catch up. I surged ahead with OVE(R)USEd, but Frank continued to score (complaining all the while), and finally took the lead with S(T)eEVING. I retook the lead with FOLEY and then bingoed again, CREELIN(G), prompting Frank to comment, "I can't play any harder!" He did try, however, with the screamingly phony ICE(W)ATER*.

After the game, Frank continued to maintain that he was sure ICE(W)ATER* was good. I told him it was much too high probability an 8 for me not to have seen, and he replied that he doesn't go by lists. He'd just seen the word, many times. I let it go, thinking, Frankie m'boy, it's time to start living in the future and pick up those lists. Otherwise, you'll be coming down..

Bayside was 8 rounds this time, a refreshing change, and one that I hoped would be imitated by other single-day tournament directors (hint, hint). With 8 games, I could have boosted my rating by over 20 to crack the top 50. Not with two wins, of course, but I suspect that going 5-2 in a 7 game event would have dropped me. With the extra game, I had a chance to basically even out by going 6-2.

Meanwhile, our second mystery guess arrived. Earlier in the day, Debbie Stegman had decided to grace us with her presence during lunch. And now, for the final round, Matt Graham. What was missing, however, were the usual cute girls in their summer clothes. Despite the warm weather, October was still October, and the days of skimpy wear were soon to pass. Anyway, perhaps it was best that none of the ladies I hoped for arrived. I was freer to focus, and to work for your love by boosting my rating.

Still I was glad Matt's presence, because I once more had a chance to steal away some of his Speed Force. I would need it, for that final game would be tough.

It was Bihlmeyer who got to be the last to die, as I demonstrated I still had some of that magic and drew both blanks. Things got a little weird though. Early on, Joe, self-styled master of the power tiles, tried VIZER* against me. Having seen his tiles, I burned a lot of time with my AEIGNT? trying to guess what his other two tiles might be, or not be, and what counterplays he might have off my bingo. I finally played, and he held the Z, instead setting up himself up for a sneaky sneaky (R)AZ(E) for 50 points. I held AAEILOS and did not particularly want to dink off a tile for 8 points to block, but how could I let him have 50 points? Plus, there were a few tiles to play through, and maybe the AEIOLS leave would yield something good. It did, (G)ASOLIER, and I maintained the momentum from that point on. After Joe's failed attempt at VID/(VIRTUE)D*, a victory was starting to look certain, but a few turns later he scored TINNERS and ended up within bingo range. With a couple of lines open, I feared that he might bingo again, and that concern caused me to make a mistake of my own, an embarrassing one, with Matt looking on nonetheless. Actually, the position is tricky, because I did not want to bingo at all.

With only five tiles in the bag, if I bingoed, and then Joe bingoed out off the triple, I would lose. On the other hand, if I played off a couple of tiles and Joe bingoed, I might still win. I really wanted to play off an OU, but there was no place for that. I did not consider playing OUR, which is what Quackle likes.

Meanwhile, on the adjacent board, a player, who will remain nameless, trying BEWRONG*. You can figure out the joke yourself.

After the game, I couldn't help it, I had to take Joe to task for having tried VIZER*. I only brought it up because he had been posting all these 6-8 letter power-tile anagrams for weeks. I kinda wanted to smack the kid, but I just told him he needed to get back to those fives. I mean, come on! Sixes are great, but fives are much more probable. Use the probability, my son. Otherwise, it's going to be a long walk home from the Big Apple.

Kinda wanted to smack Goldy too, for his phony (Y)ARED*, but Eric is a New Yorker (I assume, from is accent), and he'd probably smack me back.

Actually, my attitude was not so much smackity-smack as like that of John Stewart when a politician or celebrity does something particularly egregious. You'd have to watch the show to understand, but it's something like, "COME ON!!!", rather loudly and excitedly.

So I won the tourney, and expected to gain all of 1, 2, or 3 ratings points. Yay me.

Ginger took an informal vote of who liked the extra, eighth, game, and the consensus seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. Hint, hint, directors.

Meanwhile, Joe picked up another 2nd place, and I was going to have to start looking at him as a serious contender to win one of these events one day. I might have to start respecting the kid yet.

Meanwhile, the Starbucks is Jackson Heights was still not open, and I wondered if the plans were canceled given that when I drove by again, there was no "Coming Soon" sign. I only bothered because there are Latin American restaurants in the area, and nearby on Roosevelt Ave I found Los Arrieros. Though the tostones were not as crispy as I would have liked, and they only gave me two, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of and consistency of the steak. There was very little gristle compared to what I'd been served at many Latin American restaurants around the country.

My thoughts and dreams that night were split between a deep longing for the ratings boost I could have achieved were it not for the disastrous Bihlmeyer game, and a deep worry about how the field in New York would destroy me if I continued to make mistakes like that.

Sunday, October 6, 2007

Gourmet Bagel, 874 Lexington Ave.

Received a congratulatory e-mail from a top player. As I had not yet posted my blog, he was not aware of how miserably poorly I played that first game. Had he seen how many chances to win I squandered, I would have received a virtual smack on the head instead.


0 CHI(A)O  
5.6 FUB (WO)OF
0.8 OUTpACE  
12.5 PL(I)NTH miss H(AIRIEST) hook
18.8 RANDY  
0.1 LEZ  
0 DINOSaU(R)  
14.3 REI  
12 TI  
0 JOE  
0 (J)O(B)  
0.5 OUTWIL(L)  
0 (Z)ERKS  
0 QU(A)G  
2.1 PRIC(I)N(G)  
0 O(C)A  
11.5 (Q)UA(E)RE  
2.1 HANDOv(E)R  
0 IONS  
1.4 AGAMA  
3.4 Re(A)CQuIT* Qu(A)RTICs (figured it didn't take an S)
0 AZU(R)E  
0 RUNN(I)LY*  
1.8 YIPES  
3.2 TIL  
10.5 SEI block spot--I can play X next turn
0 BOX  
10.5 CUT foolish defense
0 ZE(E)  
5.7 F(R)Y  
1 X(I) keep tight to frustrate Verna
3.8 RA(ZEE)  
14.4 BLI(N)I (CUBIT)I hook,VIBrI(O)
0 AVA  
2.8 SUASIOn  
2 (I)NCH J(U)N (wanted to turn over an extra tile)
0.7 REAL  
45.7 K(A) block bingo no matter how unlikely
17 JA(UP)  
8 RIN could have blocked Verna's out
--- BIRLE  
13.4 GUI(G)E* (YOK)E hook
1.4 DUPED  
0* TAM  
11.2 W(A)ND  
22.9 Y(E)H  
6.4 (W)ERT  
0 G(O)MERS  
4.7 A(R)E  
42 (G)OXES  
0 TAU  
0 HUE  
6.3 LATE  
3.4 WARY  
0 JOT  
0 FI(R)E  
0.8* WIN(E)  
7 A(D)  
3 GA(R)  
0 RAN  
0 -IIIOU  
9.1 YO(N) SOOEY,(ME)OU (keep Y?)
6.3 Q(AT) (T)OQUE (too risky)
0 XU  
0 IDEA if opp needs bingo, block block block
4.5 (W)HORE kill that W line
1 LIB  
7.4 PITY  
3.3 Q(AT)  
0.1 TEArING  
--- A(A) know Joe's Z rack so have to block
0 WOS  
0 JE(S)T  
0 FO(E)  
40.8 lose turn (OURALIs*)  
24.9 UdO have to block unless I can determine that no matter what I draw I'll have a counter-bingo
5 DIF  
--- (E)L(L)  

1 - L - 5.5 (72)
2 - W - 4.9 (53.6)
3 - W - 4.0 (47.4)
4 - W - 8.8 (140.9)
5 - W - 10.4
6 - L - 3.8 (53.7)
7 - W - 3.3 (43.1)
8 - W - 9.6

Avg: 6.3

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