The Big Rating Rehab

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Cutey-cute cashiers at the Bagel Zone in Burlington, NJ. I was surprised to find that they fry their eggs. In my experience, there is an inverse relationship between the attractiveness of the cashiers and the quality of the bagel sandwiches.

D'oh! The bad breaks continued into Sunday. I couldn't remember AGArICS and lost a turn early against Phil Polsky. I think I played him pretty hard, but he never had a turn that fizzled, and I lost by a mere 27. Just one break in my favor, and I could have won.

Outblanked by PSH, but I managed to win it in the end game. Only interesting point was my play of OOLIT(H), and only because the word sounds like OOGLITH*.

Not much trouble against Shahid, and a pretty good find, WEDElNS. The endgame was pretty much in control, but my heart stopped suddenly as Shahid layed down a hail Mary bingo, hooking DESIRES to THUDDING. It's not good, but it could have been. Of course the correct course of action is to know which ING words take eses. But short of that, I should have anticipated the play and blocked, just in case. Had I lost that game, the pain would have been extreme.

Special thanks to Kevin for sharing the chicken. I'll let you speculate as to the meaning of that.

Vincent Castellano up first after lunch, and I did myself proud by finding yAUTIAS. That is not a baby bingo, no way. By the time Vincent finally got down DENArII, I had the board pretty much under control, and I saw his fish and setup for ATONIAS and blocked. No blowing the game like last time.

And finally, the strongest player of my first five, Steve Oliger, he of the OLIGURIA clan. Wait... I take that back. I finally decided to google OLIGURIA, and the definition does not remotely connect with Steve in any way that I can see. For once, I got the best tiles against the strongest player, and I drew 8 power tiles for a handy win. A couple of interesting points. Steve made a seemingly ridiculous play of (ER)IL*. I half suspected that he might be phonying on purpose, and there was no way I was going to open up the 3x3 with my bingo. Quackle, of course, favors the higher-scoring play, but I have to disregard that given my inference of Steve's rack.

Whew!!! I dodged a heckuvah bullet against Scott Appel. He had both blanks, one for IBOgAINE, and the second blank would have garnered him a win with bR(A)KEMEN, but he ran low on time and tried to win without the bingo. Actually, I found out later that the word he thought of was bRE(A)KMEN*, so I would have won anyway, but I still felt chills during the post-mortem at how close I came to losing. In the aftermath, Scott admitted me that I had outplayed him in the endgame. I considered that to be a true compliment coming from someone of his calibre. And I do take full credit for my play of FUGA(L), which gave me the best chance to win. My less experienced self would have focused on paralleling across and failed to notice the A(HI) hook. But leaving myself DIS, and having enough time to go through each possibility of the the final tile in the bag and find multiple out plays, that was critical.

Going into the game, I knew I had to raise my level of play. I faced my first test right away, ACIPRST. I saw CARPI instantly, for 24, but I thought back to all the sims I had run, probably numbering in the hundreds now. If I remembered correctly, Quackle favors a leave like ARST over the extra points of CARPI. I went with that, and I was rewarded with ARTLESS. Meanwhile, Scott had played GINZO, and though I could not remember, I was not about to repeat my AGArICS mistake and lose a turn early. Yes, I had heard Scott mumbling a few times that he was rusty. I had seen him look up BRUX on Zyzzyva and react with surprise that it was good. Still, I wasn't going to take a chance on his being that rusty. But here's the funny thing. Scott played IBOgAI(N)E at E1. Had I challenged GINZO and lost, I would have had the 3x3. Funny how Scrabble works.

I made my first significant mistake when I was unsure of DUP, playing PURL(S) instead. DUP would have left me ALRT with an open S. Missed WEALD next, now look who was rusty. Fortunately, Scott wasn't having a great deal of lucky. He played (R)OUTER for 21, and I was pretty glad to see all those good tiles go for cheap. But besides that, and giving up good tiles with ASLANT, I played a decent game. I did not win out of luck.

Final game, Vince Castellano again, our fourth game in two Philly tourneys, and the second time in a row we had met in the final round. Only this time, PSH was not a factor, and all it took was any kind of win to lock up first place. I opened with RUTILES, but the board quickly tightened up and Vince started to catch up. I caught a break by being able to score 32 with my S before Vince could hit the spot, and from that point it was a matter of keeping the board tight. Vince complimented me on my board control, but I have to point out that I intentionally made decisions that I knew Quackle would not. Quackle doesn't seem to play defensive enough yet. On the other hand, Kenji has said that sometimes the equity loss due to a defensive play is right, that sometimes players are overly defensive. So which is right?

I was pretty pleased about 6-1 and confident that my performance would more than undo damage done at the North Salem Winter Trials. But just barely, I would soon learn, because I had loss a ton of rating in North Salem. D'oh!

A smaller prize than usual because several players had cashed in their "freebies", but I didn't care--6-1 in a field that wasn't totally scrubby and included Scott Appel was satisfying enough. I asked Matt for my check right away, and I rushed off. By catching the 7:30 screening of What Would Jesus Do? at the Bourse I was able to finish the film and then walk over to the East and see Blade Runner: The Final Cut. I thought I had seen the director's cut, but I could not remember a single scene. The movie is excellent, of course, and I was disappointed to poop out after 89 minutes, just like an old man. Bah.


0 (H)OUND  
9.2 BARM  
11.5 GRAN  
39.6 lose challenge (AGArICS)  
0 WI(S)PS  
2.8 BEAKED  
0 EQUI(P)  
0* (UN)ROLL  
0 NAiRA  
0 O(P)E  
2.1 HEAVEN  
8.9 GIRDI(N)G miss (ECHE)D hook
1 OOLIT(H)  
0 WAIF  
10 BIPED miss (ECHE)D hook
0 ZE(I)N  
3.6 TA(J) AE (no way, not going to give up 14 pts and the J)
0 PAIN  
0.6 UKE  
0.9 GEAR (33) GOR (19 and leaves glaring hot spot)
0 TORN  
0 TAR(T)  
5 L(E)AR  
0 ORC  
0 LEZ  
4 BR(I)NY  
0 U(R)IC  
0 FAG  
0.6 (N)UN  
19.9 (N)AIF (N)U (makes no sense given ZERO bingo lines)
2.3 BRR  
14 Q(I)  
0 (J)EBEL  
2.3 TOT  
0 UMP  
2.3 (E)FT  
3.8 WOR(K)  
6.2 Y(U)LE  
0 CELS  
6.5 ED  
0 (E)RNS  
0 GAWP  
0 BOUT  
5.7 (U)SE -EQSSV
3.5 JEO(N)  
0 QIS  
1.1 AV(I)D  
0 (G)UV  
0* STENCiL disregard plays that open 3x3 because infer Steve's good rack
1.3 EF(T)  
0 EKE(D)  
0 AY  
6.5 GABION BIGOT (3 fewer pts to keep AN but only one bingo line!)
19 XU  
0 (T)EE  
3.6 AVO  
0 HEX  
7.2 PURL(S) DUP (unsure),(U)PDART
1.5 MAD  
5.3 V(E)RT  
7.9 ASLANT worried Scott catching up so I went for points
0* FUGA(L)  
2 (F)IDOS suspected DOS was better but unwilling to risk it
3.8 D(IS)HY  
0 TIV(Y)  
6.7 CA(R)B block obvious TAR for 8 pts setup
0.8 RING  
0 GAIT  
2.8 DEAVE the most defensive play
0 FEW  
1.2 PO(W)  
1.7 WIG closes board unlike AW which is just stupid
0.5 RA(D)IO  
0 gNUS  

1 - L - 5.6 (67.2)
2 - W - 2.2 (33.6)
3 - W - 5.8 (75.7)
4 - W - 5.2 (78)
5 - W - 2.8 (42.2)
6 - W - 4.8 (62.6)
7 - W - 1.3 (19.8)

Avg: 4.0

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