Match 4 - Kevin Lucas (1395 - now 1413) 1-2 Loss
I finally got to play someone under 1500 and I felt like I could definitely take the match. Little did I know how poorly I was about to play.
Game 1 - Score: 378 - 404 (Loss)
I started off the game well, getting AGENESIA(68) down and him trying to challenge it off. A couple more mediocre plays and I'm up 80 and he puts down mARQUIS (85). I hold, not a word I know, and I only see fAQUIRS in that rack, not an easy find. I think given him challenge my play early he has gottan confused with MAQUIS or some such and I challenge. Apparently its not that uncommon of a word (a french gentlemen). Its just not one I have seen. Follow that he draws the other blank and gets down ReCOVERS(89) and goes up 100. He tries to block the last bingo line and gives me NITRIDES(80) to the triple. Its not enough though as he goes draws the j out of the bag and finishes me off with JERKS (32). If I hadn't challenged MARQUIS maybe I'd have beaten him to that second blank and won. Can't think about things like that though, its a downward spiral from there.
Game 2 - Score: 369 - 374 (Loss)
Always hurts to lose a close one like this. Always find tons of little mistakes I made that could have gotten me those extra points. This game is no exception. I draw the blank right off the bat and cant do anything with it until turn 4 where I get down EAR(L)OCKs(65). I was hoping to draw a challenge but it wasn't even held. He follows that up with (T)ALLIERS(77) and I then get down W(A)XED(50) to get a small lead. He hits back with JUNTO to the triple for 41. I have to exchange a no vowel rack, he gets (A)QUA for 33 and Im down 44. I fish off with P(U)D for 12 leaving INRST. I hit next turn with (U)NITaRDS (70) and Im back in the game. I draw into a double u rack while he fishes for a bingo. I mess up the endgame and don't find the hard to see tieing sequence and lose by 3, 4 in a recount. I also had mistracked and thought he had a y, my time was almost gone too. I have to start tracking right.
Game 3 - Score: 461 - 339 (Loss)
This game started out rough. He opened through my GINNY with REACH(I)NG and soon after got down FID(D)LERs. I phonied with VASED (47) but after an x play I was still down 61. ZOO(36) gets me closer. Then I phony again with ARBALAS for 82 (the word I was thinking of is ARGALAS). He draws into some vowel heavy ranks and I get the non bingo ANTIQU(E) for 72. He got the last blank but there were no bingos to be had, and he blocked the only line left (I had SAPIENT/SPINATE there) and I sailed on to a nice win.
I lost the series, which really bummed me out over lunch, and everyone was surprised I had lost (which made me feel worse), but I was 6-6 and the class prize was still a possibility.
Match 5 - Scott Pianowski (1598 - now 1597)
Game 1 - Score: 426 - 357 (Loss)
Pretty boring game, he bingoes early with ERRANTS(69), I score heavy a few turns in a row ZIN(31), HURDLE(28), WIPER(28), KENAF(32), to stay in it. He draws the blank first and bingoes POUTERS(77). I draw the blank next turn with 3 i's, pass them, draw aae, knew it wasnt going to be my game. He opens the board with C(E)MENT 32, putting the t in the triple triple lane. I miss the only triple-triple (DISkETTE(131) and grab hEISTED(79) instead, but I'm still down 50 and I never catch up. If i see DISKETTE It would put me tied with him on turn going into the endgame with a random rack, chances of a win are small but still better then none. Gotta look at making the blank every letter, even non common ones.
Game 2 - Score: 513 - 415 (Win)
A game in which my mistakes were outshined by my opponents. He gets BIZES(39) early on, a turn later I get STaTING(82) to the triple. He comes back with INFUSER(77), and I answer with CORONET(87). Which unfortunately opened up an X spot, and he gets AX(54). A pretty high scoring game for both sides, J(I)MP(30) for me, MO(N)Y 41 for him, WI(N)ED 28 for me, (D)ELVE(30) for him. Now I draw into DEIRST?, the only lines are hooking jimp or ending in an e. I chicken out on SIDERIT(E), and try and hook an s to JIMP for ASTRIDE(84), even though I had previous review it and knew it only took a Y. He challenges it off instantly, then plays KHAN(38) to go up 54. But he slotted the K in the triple-triple lane, 4th down, knowing exactly the letters I had since he had challenged off ASTRIDE. I play DOR(K)IEST(158) quickly and the game is over. He could have played HANK(44) in the exact same spot and made it a much closer game. DORKIEST ended up tieing for highest points scored on a turn prize, which was nice since I didn't win anything else.
Game 3 - Score: 389-346 (Loss)
I was playing catchup this whole game, and just never quite caught up. He bingo/bango's early with CHaR(T)ING(65) and SAILBO(A)T 65. After the game he says he thinks he missed something in ABILOST and I immediated spot the OBLASTI(85) play, which he is upset he missed. After SAILBOAT, he had put the S in the triple-triple column, and I held AEILNT?, and burned almost 5 minutes of time looking for the triple-triple. There is none to be had in the position where the S was, so I play cANI(S)TEL(74). I trail 40-50 the whole game until he beats me to the S for the triple word score and gets ZORIS(50). I play off OE(13) leaving AERTS on a pretty open board, thinking I still have a change if the tiles are kind. He finds a nice play PHT(34) and I draw the Q which I have to fish off for Q(I)(21) leaving AEIRST. I
draw a U, game over. My out bingo DARTLES(66) cuts some spread, but It's still a loss and finishes me up at 7-8 for the weekend.
He complemented me on my play after the game saying I was way underrated. After some pretty mediocre playing that day I felt I deserved to be rated where I was.
After our game was over I got to go over and watch Steve Grob crush Winter for the championship, which lifted my mood considerably. Then after a rather emotional award ceremony (tears were shed, by more then one), we said our goodbyes and then were off to Kentucky for another long drive. Luckily I had remembered to charge my laptop at Steve's house the night before and was able to Quackle some games on the long ride home.
Day two - 6 games 11 bingoes
Combined - 15 games 30 bingos
Blanks - 14/30, I can live with that.
It was a really fun tournament, I got some good experience, and I got to see some of the friends I had made up in the Fenton tourney and even made a few more. Michigan/Ohio has a really great community of scrabble players (nothing like KY's of course!) and I urge you guys to go up there if you get a chance. I look forward to the next time I can (maybe in Elyria Oh, 3/14).