Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Congratulations to Will, Division 2 Winner in Myrtle Beach!

The Crossword Game Players (CGP) group on Yahoo has a post from the tournament directors of this past weekend's Myrtle Beach tournament, reporting that our own Will Scott, won Division 2 there in the main event tourney, with 11 wins and 3 losses, and a spread of +526, for a prize of $400! Great going, Will. We look forward to hearing the details of your win.

NSA's tournament results for Myrtle Beach show Will's new rating as 1300, up from 1227 pre-tourney, a new peak for him and breaking 1300 for the first time!

[April 1, 2009 addition:] And here is the Cross-Tables.com page for the results of Will's division at Myrtle Beach.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Club Session of 3/30/2009 (2009-12)

(Post incomplete; more to follow)

This evening six of us played at our club session at the VFW hall. Julie was there, too, not playing Scrabble, but instead busy baking dessert breads, some of which were snatched up by eager club members. (I bought chocolate chip and blueberry.)

Here are the stats for tonight's session, based on three rounds of play, with any extra games played beyond three not included. Session results are listed first by number of wins, then by spreads.

6 players playing 18 games

Steve -- 3-0, +312
Tyler -- 2-1, +222
Betty -- 2-1, +198
John -- 1-2, -181
Andy -- 1-2, -222
Joetta -- 0-3, -329

5 of 6 players playing 15 bingos in 10 of 18 games played
11 seven-letter bingos, 4 eight-letter bingos
1 phony bingos successfully played

Andy -- (I)NTONER 69, SLA(V)ING 75
Betty -- ETESIAN 85
John -- EXULTER* 80, PI(G)TAIL 76


Highest Win -- Steve, winning against Joetta, in Round 1, 456-264 (+192)
Lowest Win -- John, winning against Joetta, in Round 2, 351-318 (+33)
Highest Loss -- Tyler, losing to Steve, in Round 2, 397-416 (-19)
Closest Game -- Andrew, winning against Betty, in Round 2, 399-391 (+8)
Most Points Scored with a Bingo -- Tyler, playing NETTLES for 89 points against Andy in Round 1
Most Bingos Played in a Game -- two bingos played by Andy (against Betty in Round 2), by Steve (against Joetta in Round 1; against Tyler in Round 2), and by Tyler (against Andy in Round 1; against Steve in Round 2)
Most Bingos Played during this Club Session -- five, played by Steve and by Tyler


(Table to be Added Soon)

Lexington Scrabble Club Now NASPA-Sanctioned

I noticed just now that we have officially become a sanctioned club of the new North American Scrabble Players Association, which during 2009 is taking over the club and tournament Scrabble functions of the National Scrabble Association.

Effective July 1, 2009, players must be members of the North American Scrabble Players Association in order to play in sanctioned Scrabble tournaments.

We are one of the first dozen or so NSA clubs to become sanctioned NASPA clubs, and the first in our area. Way to go, Joetta!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Local Club Tournament on Saturday, April 18

Our club director, Joetta Wilkinson, will be directing her first tournament on Saturday, April 18, at the VFW Post 680 hall where we have our Monday night club sessions.

Here is a link to the tournament flyer, which is posted on our club website. (3/30/2009 Addition: And here is a link to the tourney's Cross-Table entrants' list page. The flyer is also available there as a link.)

First-time tournament players must be members of either the National Scrabble Association or the new North American Scrabble Players Association in order to play in this local club tournament. Dues ($25 for NSA for one year, or $30 for NASPA for membership through 12/31/2010) can be paid at the tournament site, and a discount is being offered to first-time players to help compensate for the added cost of joining one of the associations. After July 1 of this year, membership in the NASPA is required in order to play in sanctioned tournaments.

By playing in this tournament, first-timers will obtain their initial national rating, which will allow them to register and play in the 2009 National Scrabble Championship at Dayton from August 1 to 5, if they so desire. You must have a national rating in order to play in that tournament.

It should be a fun day of Scrabble-playing for all.

Also, good luck to our club member and blog team member, Will Scott, who will be playing in an early-bird and a two-day tournament at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday. He is the only Kentuckian playing there -- let's hope he brings back both money and rating points with him!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Club Session of 3/23/2009 (2009-11)

(Post incomplete; more to follow)

We were an uneven number at club this evening, seven, until Julie’s husband joined us to make us eight. Thanks, Scott, for helping us out! Come back any time.

Here are the stats for tonight's session, based on three rounds of play, with any extra games played beyond three not included. Session results are listed first by number of wins, then by spreads.


8 players playing 21 games

Tyler -- 3-0, +516
Joetta -- 2-0, +175
Brad -- 2-1, +87
John -- 1-2, -14
Betty -- 1-2, -178
Andy -- 1-2, -191
Scott -- 0-2, -215
Julie -- 0-2, -247


6 of 8 players playing 11 bingos in 8 of 21 games played
6 seven-letter bingos, 5 eight-letter bingos
no phony bingos successfully played

Andy -- AREO(L)ES 83, RETAKING [points scored not given]
Betty -- SPOOKIER 64
Brad -- RAVINES 69
Joetta -- BRAZIER 115, OUTBACKS 72
John -- FAD(E)OUT 70


Highest Win -- Tyler, winning against Andy, in Round 3, 488-273 (+215)
Lowest Win -- John, winning against Scott, in Round 2, 324-265 (+59)
Highest Loss -- John, losing to Tyler, in Round 3, 373-440 (-67)
Closest Game -- Brad, winning against John, in Round 1, 344-338 (+6)
Most Points Scored with a Bingo -- Joetta, playing BRAZIER for 115 points against Scott in Round 1
Most Bingos Played in a Game -- two bingos played by Andy (against Betty in Round 1) and by Tyler (against Brad in Round 2; against Andy in Round 3)
Most Bingos Played during this Club Session -- four, played by Tyler


(Table to be Added Soon)

Friday, March 20, 2009

The check's in the mail. (Well, truly, it is about to be.)

Got up early this morning and am trying to be productive on some fun stuff before the regular chores and duties of day get under way.

One thing I just did was write a check for my membership dues to the new NORTH AMERICAN SCRABBLE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION, which I will mail shortly when I run out to the store. $30 gets you in the NASPA through December 31, 2010, and beginning July 1 of this year, you must be a member of NASPA to play in sanctioned Scrabble tournaments. Here's a link to the NASPA page with all the details.

Brad Mills from West Virginia beat me to signing up (of course -- he's always on the ball), and Terry Schroeder, from Pennsylvania, too, but I may be the first Kentuckian to join. I'm not paying the extra $20 bucks to get a custom number though -- I don't do special car license plates, either LOL -- but I must admit that the added cost does go to a good cause here.

Now the question remains, do I continue to be an NSA member when my membership expires? Right now I think not. I'm not eager to do anything to promote Hasbro or its activities after the way they are abandoning club and tournament Scrabble. Maybe some of you who read this can persuade me otherwise.

A couple of afterthoughts --

I thought I was posting this over on my personal blog, the Bluegrass Scrabbler, but was on here instead. Oh, well. So be it.

And not only am I upset with Hasbro about turning its back on club and tournament Scrabble, but also (still) about changing the colors for premium squares on special editions of Scrabble -- totally unnecessary and resulting in needless confusion. Just another ploy of money-hungry marketing folks. Selchow & Righter was a class act; Hasbro is not.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Elyria tournament 3/14-3/15

I had a fun time in Elyria this past weekend. I didn't play as well as I should have, but the tourney itself and the outside activities (scrabble, taxes hold me, 10 tile scrabble) were all quite fun. A real nice group of people to hang out with up there. I roomed with Jeff Clark and Steve Grob and there was never a dull moment. I ended up 7-6 and gained 9 rating. I once again had a dissapointing day two, going 2-4. Partially bad tiles, but I have to take the blame for a few stupid challenges (INLY, HOSTELER) and a non-challenge INLINER. It seems to be a pattern with me that I have a dissapointing day two.
Lexington day one: 8-2
Lexington day two (including late bird): 3-6
Warren day one: 5-4
Warren day two: 2-4
Elyria day one: 5-2
Elyria day two: 2-4
I'm not quite sure what it is but I guess I need to build up some resilience for these two day tourneys.
Not likely to write up a game by game recall, but I will upload a bingo list here shortly.


Favorite play: Opening with ZOYSIaS for 106 versus Linda Hoggat

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tyler holds serve in Elyria

Our Tyler, seeded seventh in Division 2 in Elyria, finished 7th, with a 7-6, +151 record. Knowing Tyler, I'm sure he was disappointed, but hey, he finished with a winning record. His rating bumped up from 1408 to an unofficial 1417. Watch out for him in Charleston!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Indy Redux

(Sorry for another long post. I promise they won't all be this verbose.)

Game 1 vs Will Scott (L 396-366)

Will confessed to me after this game that this was a game he shouldn't have won, and I'll confess here that I silently agreed with him, as I thought my late mis-handling of bad racks cost me the game. It turns out though, that most of my plays were spot on (except for two critical ones), but his were just better.

My opening rack was BEIMORZ, and I was struggling to remember if ZOMBI was indeed good; I put the E on the end for good measure, leaving the B. Unfortunately, had I known BROMIZE was a word, I could have opened with 110 instead of 58. More importantly, I'm not sure Will would have been able to find a bingo with his AFLOPT? rack. So my newfound commitment to Quackling shows a huge miss on my very first rack of my first game. That's ok though, these are exactly the things I want to be revealed to me. If I hadn't written down my rack, I doubt I would have remembered it later to have even seen what I missed.

As it were, though, he hooked his F onto my E for a very nice play with FLAtTOP for 75. I followed with TYPY for 36, and played KNOW for 31 after challenging off his SLOBBING* play, opening up a decent 50 point lead. He nibbled it down to essentially even over the next 5-6 turns, when I played MANROPE for 73, to go up by 66, at which point I drew DEEEITU and things went downhill from there. He made nice plays with EH 26 and oXY 54 to close the gap, while I puttered around with with vowel heavy racks. His STINGER on the penultimate turn was an apt word, as it sealed the game.

So, here's a case where thanks to analyzing a game, I'm beating myself up less than I normally would. I can't kick myself for missing BROMIZE on my opening rack, it just means to study more words. But if I hadn't Quackled the game, I could probably find all sorts of ways to beat myself up for blowing the late lead. In reality, Quackle actually shows that even after the MANROPE play, I made the best play on all the subsequent turns and only blew it once. So, the lesson here is to learn more words (perhaps JQXZ 7s, in due time).

Game 2 vs Paul Seet (W 442-357)
I had some rough racks early, and had to exchange twice in the first 8 turns. I don't think Paul had much better, as the best he could muster was a 158-124 lead at that point. Then I laid down DERRIES for 75, and drew AEQTUY?, and set up one of my best plays of the tournament, EQUiTY for 81, a DWS with the Q on a TLS, hooking the T onto the end his NOW. It would have been an even better play if I'd kept the blank and played QUATE, but who's to quibble?

He did answer with 15C DIASTeR for 76 on the next play, but my MALINES for 78 two turns later basically clinched it.

Game 3 vs Rob Kearn (L 393-390)
I believe this game represents my biggest ever blown lead in a tournament game. I opened strong with 8D QUEAN for 48 after he exchanged, then followed a number of decent 3-5-letter plays for several turns, building up a 76-point lead by turn 12 with a very locked-up board. At this point my rack was ACKLOO?, and I made my favorite play of the tournament, hooking one of my O's onto FID, to make OArLOCK for 73 and a 149-point lead.

Unfortunately, 1) on the next turn he narrowed the lead by 57 in one fell swoop with ZERK in the triple lane, while 2) I drew AAAEJNU out of the bag, and thereafter struggled the rest of the way with dreck on my rack, making sub-20 point plays each time, fighting unsuccessfully to close down the board, trying to dump off my bad rack 2-3 letters at a time, while he kept taking big chunks of the lead away, most notably with 13F COLoRIST for 70. This is where Quackle showed a pretty big difference in what I should have done vs. what I did. Instead of closing things down, I should have been unafraid to either exchange, or dump 5-6 letters on a low-scoring play even if it meant keeping the board open. Had I done so, I wouldn't have been struggling with multi-U and multi-N racks all the way to the end.

The other problem was that poring over these lousy racks cost me a lot of time, which allowed him to get away with a phony 3 (TID*) when I had less than 1 minute on my clock (his clock was low at the time too, so I think it was an honest oversight on his part). Since he won by just 3, I think this was probably the deciding factor in my loss.

So, to me, the lesson here is, when you have a big lead, and get a bum rack, don't be afraid to keep the board open to rectify the situation. In the end, having a flexible rack is more important than trying to lock the board down.

Game 4 vs Wilma Pitzer (W 466-334)
In this game I pretty much outdrew my opponent with both blanks and 3 of the 4 S's, laying down 3 high-probability bingos (ENTAsIA, SOILUrE, and RATIONED), and as such it wasn't that interesting from an analysis standpoint. I won't look a gift-horse in the mouth though, cuz frankly I thought karma owed me a game like this (and frankly still owes me a few more, but I won't dwell on that).

Game 5 vs Frank Lee (W 425-293)
I came into this game somewhat intimidated by Frank's word knowledge, as I'd lost a critical challenge of a word he played on me in Lexington, which probably cost me that game. However my confidence got a bit of a boost in this game when he unsuccessfully challenged my play of OVeRNEAT. Moreover, he actually seemed to have poor draws most of the game, and whenever he tried to open up the board I seemed to have a high-scoring play to come back with. My 3rd favorite play of the tournament came with N1 UNISEX for 67, a DWS with the X on the TLS. Although UNISEX is a common word, I suspect that my study of JQXZ 6's contributed to me finding it in a game.

Game 6 vs Rob Kearn (W 460-400)
This was probably one of the highest scoring games of the tourney. It was a pretty wide open board the whole game, with 4 bingos being thrown down (FRONTES and ORGANISE by me, INDIGENT and CLEAVER by him). We were pretty well-matched in terms of draws, but frankly I just felt like I consistently found the best plays with what I had, and for once didn't make any big mistakes in a critical game. Here's the final board, in all its glory:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Will's Blog Entry on the Plainfield, IN Tourney

(Posted from Will's e-mailed document by John)

GAME 1 against Steve Bush

BGILNOS (spoiler below)

I exchanged four to open, Steve played ZOMBIE, I played FLATtOP, hooking the E to make EF. Steve held but didn't challenge, then he played TYPY through the P on the triple.

So then I drew the above rack. I wrestled with ING words for a while, then looked for possible eights on a wide-open board. I didn't find one, although so far I've learned that there was one through a T -- BILTONGS. New one for me.

I couldn't find a legitimate bingo, so of course I decided to make one up: SLOBBING*. Steve challenged it off the board and gradually built up a lead, then went way ahead with MANROPE. I didn't like it, but I didn't challenge because if I lost, that would be the game. (It's good. Glad I didn't challenge.) Somehow I started to close the gap, then I got a late bingo, STINGER, hooking NAIL with the S to make SNAIL. So I won a game that I really shouldn't have. Final score: 397-367.

On the way home, Steve and I were discussing that game, and the SLOBBING play, and I suddenly realized there was a bingo in it.

"GOBLINS!" I said. I almost drove off the road. Then Steve thought of the only other one: GLOBINS. I could have hooked either of them on EF to make EFS.

GAME 2 against Rob Kearn

Despite challenging two phony bingoes off the board, I managed to lose this one by 2 points. My most obvious undoing was challenging Rob’s OVERSAD for 76 on turn 4. I should have let it go, because I had the Q, and now I had to wait a turn to play QAT for 12. On turn 7, Rob played RIOTING for 80. I answered with my coolest play of the game, playing XI for 46, hooking MI to make MIX and MARTIN to make MARTINI, but I was still 106 points down. On turn 9, Rob tried COENTER*. I challenged it off and played BUCKLER for 78. I then challenged CORENTED* and played SPA for 26 to get within 24, 275-299. I gained on him but never caught him. The game ended with Rob up by 3. I asked for a recount and gained a single point, losing 360-362.

We split the blanks and the esses, but I drew the Q, X, Z and K.

(Inspired by Steve Bush’s post about using Quackle to analyze games, I decided to try to Quackle this game. I failed spectacularly – again – to even get the board to configure correctly. All I got was a blank board: no premium squares, and no instructions. After an hour of screaming, hair-pulling, foot-stomping frustration, I gave up. Maybe some day I’ll master what others seem able to do in their sleep.)

GAME 3 against Frank Lee

This was my second tournament game against Frank, one of the nicest players I’ve met. He built a lead against me early, going up by 60 points on turn 4 after challenging a stupid phony NOILE*. I made up a little ground, then went ahead with RESTIVE for 79. Late in the game I played BEANS, making the parallel plays OWE, PIA, ERN and IS, for 36 points. Then I went out with a 14-point play and took 12 off his rack, winning 345-284.

GAME 4 against Paul Seet

Paul built a 35-point lead until I played LOANERS for 72 on turn 6. On turn 8, he played STIFFED/TITS for 67, to cut my lead to 8 points. I played ZED for 39, then he played JIAO for 22. Then I played WEANLING for 83, and he lost a challenge. After I played REIGN for 27, Paul tried to play ROADIES, front-hooking TITS to make STITS*. I challenged it off, and that was the game. I won 427-331.

GAME 5 against Wilma Pitzer

Wilma opened strongly with ZAIRE for 48, but I played QUODS for 61 on my second turn to take a slight lead. I managed to stay with her until she played DITCHES for 70 on turn 8. I struggled mightily with my racks, then Wilma played REMORSE, hooking the S to make JAPES, for 88. I played AX/DEX for 42 to cut her lead to 80, but that was my last gasp. Wilma won handily, 445-326.

GAME 6 against Wilma

We were tied at 34 when I tried BACONY*. She challenged it off, then tried FOCHE*. I challenged it off, but I couldn’t clean up my rack. (I had the J for six turns. Never a good thing.) I had just caught up to her when she played GENTLIER* for 59 on turn 10. I held, but then I convinced myself that I’d seen the word somewhere, and I let it go. Big mistake. After I played UGLY for 30 on turn 11, she played OUTAGES/GLAZES for 78. And that was the game. Wilma wins again, 414-314.

Final record: 3-3, minus-34. So aside from going 0-2, minus-219 against Wilma, I had a decent tournament.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Scrabble thoughts

I received a ticket, 5:36 am, 3/7. I hadn't quite made it to Frankfort. I was still waking up, and quite anxious about the day. Officer J. Blevins queried where I was going in such a hurry -- why, a Scrabble tournament, of course! Not knowing how long the stop was going to take, and overwhelmed by the brightness of the cruiser's lights and spotlight, I decided to make the most of the inconvenience by reviewing some "4's". However, with my anxiety even further increased, I was not in a place conducive to word study. I would later hear some fours from my spouse :( , the dread of which concerned me much more than the ticket.

Game 1: I was very fortunate to play JOINABLE for a bingo on my first turn. I thought this should give me considerable breathing room, but I had to fight for the win. Judy Bremer drew 9 of 10 power tiles in Game 2, and topped 530! This was my only loss. I went on a roll and hit 3 bingos in Games 3 & 4. I only bested Judy B. by 5 points in the final game for first place. She was tough. This was a game where I felt the pressure on almost every turn. One of the late turns I agonized over for 8 min. It easily could have not gone my way ..... but I'll take it ....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Plainfield tournament roundup

Eight Kentuckians played at the Plainfield,Ind., one-day tournament on Saturday and brought back a total of 167 ratings points. Andy Wade was far and away the biggest contributor, gaining 108 points and raising his rating from 849 to 950.

There were 60 players divided evenly in 10 divisions. Everyone played a five-game round-robin and a one-game King of the Hill.

Brian Bowman and Marc Broering were in D1, Tyler Hannan was in D2, Steve Bush, Rob Kearn (of Louisville) and I were in D4, and Andy and John Spangler were in D7. Brian won Division 1, Steve and Rob finished 1-2 in D4, and Andy and John did the same in their division.

The tournament was pretty low-key, considering that there were some fairly strict scheduling rules at the venue, which was a library. One plus was that lunch was included, although there wasn’t much left by the time I, Rob and Steve finished our games. Rob won his first three games, but by margins so narrow that all three of his opponents, including myself in game 2 and Steve in game 3, asked for recounts. Fortunately, there were enough chicken breasts, but the green beans and mashed potatoes were gone.

Congratulations to everyone.

At last report, Tyler and John were both considering the Elyria, Ohio tourney this weekend, and I'm going to the Myrtle Beach, SC tourney March 27-29.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Indy results (almost)

I had originally intended to post a summary of my results from last weekend's Plainfield (Indy) tourney, but when I got started writing, I realized I needed to lay out some personal thoughts first, that boil down to my self-discovery of why I play this game. I hope to follow up with specific results in a subsequent post, but for now, I'll suffice it to say that for this tournament, I had two objectives.

First, to have fun no matter what the results are.

This was personally a big challenge for me in light of my previous 3 tournaments, going all the way back to Charleston last year. At that tournament, I was 9-2 going into the final game. All I had to do was not lose by more than 140 points and first place was mine. Well, I ended up losing by 147 and Brad Mills had to tear up the $200 check he'd already written in my name. Next was Pittsburgh, where I was last seed in the top division, and although I faced a lot of tough competition, I had mostly poor draws and my 4-8 record was considerably worse than I expected.

Then came the infamous Lexington tourney, where, in spite of being the top seed, I opened 0-5, with several losses against sub-1000 players, and finished 5.5-9.5 and lost over 100 rating points. My lackluster play was combined with even worse luck, where I drew a TOTAL of 8 blanks in 19 games over the weekend. However as bad as my game results were, there were far bigger factors contributing to the misery of that tourney, that I will not go into here.

For a while after the Lexington tourney, I was wondering if it was worth all the effort of word study (30-45 minutes per day on average), driving many miles in some cases, with the risk of coming home disappointed yet again. For someone who regularly hovers in the 1600-1800 range on ISC, to be playing in the 1200s in NSA play (which I don't list on ISC because with that disparity many folks will naturally assume I'm cheating there), I was starting to ask myself if I had what it takes to be a successful tourney player.

However before long I found myself looking on cross-tables again for tournaments in the area, seeing which I might be able to make it to. And to be honest, for a while it was accompanied with a sense of dread that all my effort would once again be met only with disappointment. But at some point I came to a critical realization: at its root, I don't care. It's fun. I play Scrabble because it's fun. Sure I want to win. Sure I want to someday crack the top 100 players, which is a goal even though I'm not yet sure it's realistic. However, the root reason I play this game is because it's fun. It's an escape, a recreational activity. Complaining about poor draws, bad luck, bad behavior by others in the game, etc, misses the point of the game, which is to have fun. Dwelling excessively on my bad experiences from prior tournaments was seriously jeopardizing my right to have fun at this game.

So, at Indy, I made a conscious effort to have fun and keep a positive attitude, even if I finished 0-6. It turns out that this mindset was put to a serious test, as I lost 2 of my first games that day, blowing big leads in both. However, at lunch after Game 3 I did notice that I was still having fun, which frankly I considered a pretty big personal achievement.

All that said, I decided to look for ways to improve my game, and hopefully start living up to my own expectations. My second resolution, therefore, was to start playing more analytically, and less emotionally. I know it's risky to make generalizations, but if you look the habits of top players, a high number of them record their racks and analyze their games and look for their mistakes. I've gathered this in personal conversations, but also by reading blog entries of some of the top players. You rarely hear them moan about how few blanks and S's they drew in a tournament. Instead you'll see they write about whether the found the best play in a given situation. The point isn't that that tile gods hate them because they drew IIIUUVW on their rack after an exchange. Rather, the point is whether the subsequently made the best play with that rack on the next turn. So, the focus is on what they CAN control (what they do with their rack and the board), not what they CAN'T control (what they draw out of the bag).

If you've read Tyler's posts of his tourney results, you'll notice that he lists his racks at critical turns, so I assume he's recording his racks. Naturally, knowing what was on your rack is pretty important in deciding whether you truly made the best play. So, I set out to make an effort to record my rack at every turn in every game in the Indy tournament. Since I'm only just now getting to where I track tiles reliably, I expected to have a lot of difficulty adjusting to this added accounting workload, especially since I hadn't done it before, even in club games. I'm happy to report, however, that I was 100% successful/accurate on all but maybe 4 turns the whole tournament. The downside was that I did have trouble with time in a couple of games, a situation which probably caused one of my losses. Frankly, though, I think taking a loss in exchange for the information gained by recording racks is a tradeoff I'm willing to make at this point.

The day after the tournament, I spent a couple of hours entering all 6 games into Quackle (a great tool for analyzing games, for those that may not have heard of it). This was at once revealing and very humbling, as I could see every turn where I missed a bingo, should have exchanged but hung on to a bad rack, you name it. All in all I could see that it's time very well spent. I've used Quackle to analyze the occasional ISC game (albeit not enough), but analyzing live games allows you to see all kinds of situations that might not come up when playing online.

So, how will I do, with this new attitude, and new commitment to an analytical approach to improvement? Honestly, it's too early to tell. My gut tells me that it's definitely a step in the right direction. The fact that I won my last 3 games at Indy and came away with my first 1st place finish, only reinforces that feeling.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The NORTH AMERICAN SCRABBLE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION website is up and running! All aboard!

With Hasbro abandoning its support of club and tournament Scrabble in search of even bigger profits (shame on it!), the North American Scrabble Players Association is being formed to take over these areas from the National Scrabble Association, an entity controlled and funded by Hasbro.

The NASPA website is now online at www.scrabbleplayers.org

NASPA will be conducting the 2009 National Scrabble Championship at Dayton, Ohio, from August 1 to 5. Registration for the 2009 NSC is now open at this page on the NASPA website.

As close as Dayton is to Lexington, we should be sending a lot of folks to this year's Nationals. Last year six of us participated in the 2008 NSC at Orlando.

Mark your calendars, folks!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Club Session of 3/2/2009 (2009-07)

(Post incomplete; more to follow)

Seven of us played at club this evening. [I am posting results only at this time (Friday afternoon, March 6); there are some discrepacies in spreads that I am still trying to resolve, so they may change. The remainder of the session stats will be added later.]

Here are the stats for tonight's session, based on three rounds of play, with any extra games played beyond three not included. Session results are listed first by number of wins, then by spreads.

7 players playing 20 games

John -- 3-0, +364
Tyler -- 3-0, +169
Betty -- 1-2, +34
Andy -- 1-2, -38
Joetta -- 1-2, -49
Will -- 0-2, -145
Pat -- 0-3, -560