The first tourney was held in a nice spacey room in a church in downtown Fenton. I had seen some of the people in attendance there at the Lexington tourney but had met none save for Tina Totten King. Everyone there, especially Jeff Clark and Linda Hoggat, were quite nice and made me feel welcome right away.
We weren't allowed to keep our sheet that showed who we played and in what order, but with cross-tables and my scoresheets I think I can figure out the sequence of events.
Game 1 - Kit Morehead (1423) - Score: 461-377 (Loss)
Nothing too notable about this game, she bingoed twice early with both blanks BRATTIER/*FROSTER (held on this, but she had other bingos so I let it go, might have cost me the game) while I struggled through some ugly racks, and my JOINTED/SUNNIER late in the game just wasn't enough. I also might have fished too much with the RANGES stem.
Game 2 - Rosemarie Geci (1311) - Score: 469-367 (Loss)
Once again I drew into some ugly stuff, one notable sequence was exchanging UVNAAIE and drawing into WVDUNAI, while she bingoed 3 times early in the game with HEFTIER, SLITTIER, ENTIRES to go up 343-140. I came back after her ENTIRES with the blank and INdORS(E)R on a triple-triple for 122 (turned out to win me high word of the division prize, and was also highest play of all divisions), but it was too little too late. She was a nice lady, and ended up winning the division so in retrospect I don't feel too bad about the loss. Although at the time my frustration was very high.
Game 3 - Frank Lee (1276) - Score: 370-411 (Loss)
Frank handed me a memorable loss in the Lex tourney (I messed up the endgame terribly) and was hoping to get some revenge on him here. I scored big early with QUAKED and ISOLATED and took the lead at 187-109, shortly after he bingoed twice with both blanks LINNETS and RELOANS and I was unable to score more then 25 on any turn as I was drowned in vowels the rest of the game. Not to discount Frank though, as he is definitely a good player (once an expert) and a nice guy, but I had to struggle not to show how frustrated I was getting.
At this point we took a break for lunch, and not a moment too soon. Going 0-3 out of the gate, drawing 1/6 blanks, I definitely understood how Steve Bush felt in the Lexington tourney. I had studied practically all the week preceding to the tourney and felt very well prepared, only to start like this, I was so frustrated I ducked out of the church as soon as my game was over, missing the sheet that showed nearby fast food. I drove all over the place unable to find anything and had to settle on a surprisingly good little cafe that served sandwiches. I think the drive did me some good, however, as I returned to the church calm and ready to let those games go.
Game 4 - Mark Garrod (1419) - Score: 468-400 (Win)
I drew very well early on in this game, back-hooking EROTIcA to EMYD for 73 (which drew a challenge), APHID for 42, and then double-doubling with InVO(I)CES FOR 98 to put me up 235-79. However, he gave me a little scare as he scored 50 with the z, 47 with the q, 37 with the x, and 88 for SMELTER to pull within 40. I was able to sneak out the victory, however, with GINZO for 45, and felt maybe my luck was changing since I had drawn both blanks here.
Game 5 - Connie Breitbeil (1214) - Score: 344-316 (Win)
This was my first no-bingo game of the tourney; I had a small lead early and with mostly clunky racks I managed to shut down the board pretty well. However, towards the end she got down STRAINs to take the lead. It bounced back and forth til the endgame when I found the highest simming outplay of ASDIC (which she rightfully challenged, the game was lost if it didn't come off) and squeaked out a win. She was a strict opponent, commenting a few times that I was not holding the bag high enough while drawing tiles.
Game 6 - Janet Gray (1280) - Score 391-480 (Win)
The tiles cooporated this game as I bingoed with RINGENT (challenged), (MATEY)S/SALTING (challenged mateys), and drew the last blank to bingo with RENeWED. She got down an impressive COERcIV(E) as well. She was very nice and complimentary after and during what I think was my best game of day 1.
Game 7 - Wayne Kraus (1348) - Score 478-412 (Win)
He bingoed early with SPLICES, which I followed up with the phony *INGAGED, I find that if you play the word quick enough and start tracking immediately it is easier to get away with them. He bingoed back soon after with CALDRON, then I hit right back with SALINAs (he challenged), and then he retaliated with JIBE for 63. I followed that up with ARSENAT(E) (which he challenged), and then i hit BOX for 55 and the game was won. After each challenge he was getting visibly upset, and even more so after the game where he left without collecting his high loss prize (from this game).
PHEW!! After this game I was finally able to relax, I hadn't imagined I could turn it around like this and salvage day 1. I finished just out of the money, but that is fine with me since I gained about 75 points for the day.
I went to eat with Jeff Clark, Linda Hoggat, Alex Fiszbein, Jeff Fiszbein, and the tourney director Micky at a good BBQ place nearby; afterwards there was a poker tourney (Jeff Clark won) and a few games of Scrabble (where I played my first expert - Steve Grob). It was quite fun and nice to feel so welcomed going somewhere where I knew virtually no one.
I didn't realize how much I was going to write about this, and I hope I'm not the only one interested in reading these sorts of things. Day 2 is much more interesting and I'll post it soon, all of my opponents were above 1500 save one, and I played my first disconnected nine! (not in the tournament sadly).