I did not get a good night's sleep. There was an alarm of some sort going off in the early hours, and although from my room it was not loud it was loud enough to keep me awake. I don't know what time I finally did fall asleep but I know I was woken at 5.45 by some very loud rooks.
Game 7: Martin Harrison
First game of day 2 for the second tourney in a row - I decided that this must be a good omen.
Again Martin started with a bonus, DOYlIEs, for 76. At least that was both blanks out of the way in a single hit. I had three moves just balancing to get my rack to mature, but luckily Martin was also struggling so my DISCERN on move 4 for 94 saw me take a 37 point lead. Martin played JERRY for 38... We were neck-and-neck, Martin catching me up each time he played and me pulling ahead again after my move. Martin bonused with DENTILS. I hit straight back with DISINTER to take a 29 point lead. Despite a couple of 30+ moves from Martin he could not close the gap.
W: 425-383 +42
Game 8: Tom Wilson
This game did not start well for me, having a series of vowel-heavy racks. Dumps of OUT, (V)IA and picking IA back out the bag, and then IOTA before I got a tile worth more than one point and less than 5 vowels. Luckily Tom had not been able to take advantage of this, possibly struggling with the opposite problem. JAM by me on move 4 saw me catch him back up, but Tom bonused putting an S onto K15. The only word I could see with an S and my rack of EEINRY? was SERENITY so settled on EYE(L)INeR stopping one short of the bottom row. Tom took off the S triple. I made a bad mistake on the next move, with BEFIRST I played BRIEF(e)ST far too quickly, missing FIBSTER on the triple for another 20 points. I noticed the moment after I had pressed my clock. I deserved to be punished, but my pickup included the last 2 Ss. I took off the danger spot with SOUP (there was still an unseen blank), and managed to keep the game under control until the end.
W: 431-385 +46
Game 9: Neil Scott
Neil had had a bad time on day one but was now heading back up the table.
From an opening rack of AIIOQ?? I started yet again with QI. Neil quickly played UNSU(I)TED. I spent a long time trying to decide what was my optimal play and finally settled on sOrE(D)IAL for 78 to retake the lead. Neil hit straight back with VAL(U)ATED for 74. This was not going to plan. My pick up of AILMOOU was not helpful. I contemplated playing MOOLI to open the 9x - make two danger spots to deflect pressure from EVALUATED, but finally opted just for MOOI. Neil played off JAY for 50 and a bonus-sized lead. I had not picked an E. I was deciding what to dump from my rack of ADILTTU when something in my brain told me to look again. I spotted LATITUDE/ALTITUDE with an E and realised that the 2-letter overlaps were on... Neil had got the E and played GEEP for 40, but I could hit back with AX(L)ED for 45 to take a 10 point lead. Neil pounced on the opening with BOOGIES for 76, but this set up CAPH for 62 from me to almost negate his lead. FAVE for 32 by Neil set up the perfect reply of WIRY leaving URE for 53. Neil retook the lead with AVION. I had been going to play VIEW there, and was now struggling with what to play with EIRRTUW. I settled on the far from satisfactory TIER and picked 4 consonants from the bag. Neil played SIZES for 48 and a 34 point lead. Luckily I could dump FR(IS)K for 30 to hang on in there, but still did not pick a vowel. Neil also was suffering a little with his play of BR(A)N for 20. So my rack was now CGMNRUW, but I spotted the very neat G(E)N(I)C for 39, a 15 point lead and a prayer that I got the last H. I did not. Neil took off the triple, and I had him as having MORS as his last 4 tiles. With EEMNRUW I decided after spending about 6 of my last 7 minutes that I could not win. I played off WEEM. When Neil did not play straight out I had a glimmer of hope - I must have mis-tracked. Neil was also very short of time and I think his brain went into panic mode. He finally played SON. Without looking for anything better I played out with (B)URN for 6 to take a 1 point lead before countback. Neil revealed an R... He said he had thought of SORN but had rejected it thinking he was muddling it with the DVLA SORN declaration. He had also completely overlooked NOR(M)S...
W: 481-478 +3
Lunch time, and I really needed the break after that game...
Game 10: Len Moir
I turned over my tiles to reveal FIBROUS for 82 to open. Move 2 and ENRANGE for 70, blocking as I was told afterwards Len's BEWILDER. Len played a phony on move 4 from AEERTU? but I could not block effectively so concentrated on my own rack. Len then failed to play a bonus, dumping AU to set up the triple. I took this off for a 190 point lead, and Len played a face-valued (L)OiTERED. I continued scoring heavily with HAZY(49), DAG(30), WEST(53), QIS(34) and JAP(38). Len got a late bonus of ENSnARE for 60, but took the last tile, V, from the bag. There was only one place to play it which I blocked...
W: 561-329 +232
Game 11: Jackie McLeod
I had lost to Jackie in our last encounter so was taking nothing for granted.
Jackie started with QAT. I bonused first on move 2 with DINNERS, and Jackie immediately responded with VIOLETS. On move 4 I was pleased to see p(R)OFANER for 86, but again Jackie hit straight back with TOUGHI(E)S. My pickup of ACEORSW screamed CROWEAS straight at me, but I spent a long time deciding whether PROFANERS was allowed. In the end I went for it. Jackie challenged the move and I held my breath. It came back with a tick and 100 points were mine, and I had a 74 point lead. Good scoring with XI(38) and JIHAD(32) extended the lead a little, and when Jackie made an opening I immediately hit it with RINGLET for 67. Jackie made another opening with COO/CRAPE/OI/ON above RINGLET which I fully blocked with PEON/POI/EON also removing the danger of an 80+ point non bonus much as MAIZES/SCRAPE. Jackie then played a phony, and I played off ZOEA for 41, taking the last tiles from the bag...
W: 526-395 + 131
Game 12: Lorraine Gordon
I was bemoaning the fact that it was my seventh reply as I turned over my tiles. SODIUMS leapt out of me, but Lorraine's opener of PUNY meant it was unplayable. I completely overlooked SPODIUMS! I think I had relaxed too much as I was already guaranteed the title. Lorraine bonused first on move 4 with NAILERS. I had BASTIDE in response to take a 2 point lead, but noticed after I pressed the clock that I could have played it parallel to NAILERS for more points and a safer position. I needed to pull myself together. KAT for 30 from Lorraine, TEX for 46 from me. JIBED for 48 from Lorraine, W(I)NG from a consonant heavy rack for balance and 34 points from me. A(G)AZE for 45 from Lorraine. CEERRRO on my rack. I had been going to play RECOR(D)ER but Lorraine had just blocked it. I was forced into the much better move of RERECOR(D) but I was not certain of it. Luckily the challenge came back with a tick. Lorraine changed tiles and I extended my lead to 80 with FOH, blocking the floaters from my previous play. Lorraine's change had worked, and BAILERS/BASTIDES for 91. I had picked a blank, and OTAlGIA on my next move to regain the lead. Lorraine was not giving up with WIT for 37. I had picked the Q but also a U, and dumped QUIT for 33. Lorraine played MUNI/QI to give the possibility of an 8 around the M or U. There was also the N of NAILERS available for an 8. With 3 in the bag I played off NY/FY to kill that possibility. My rack was now ACEHORT, and OUTREACH was waiting. However, with ILNNOVV? unseen I was deciding what to do if I was hit with UNLOVINg - OCHE was enough to win. After a long time Lorraine dumped a V...
W: 546-402 +144
So, 12-0 +1358, average game score of 491, tournament rating of 214 and my ABSP rating has jumped up 5 to 193. I had 13/24 blanks, and won all the games where I had none :)
Amy and Ross did a superb job in running the tournament. It was especially good being permanently seated at table 1 next to the adjudication table, in that challenges were returned almost immediately. I also had a permanent companion of Mikki next to me at table 2, who only had to move once when he played me. I received two lovely Edinburgh crystal glasses along with my prize money. Unfortunately Paul Allan had not returned the trophy that he won last year :)
It is back to the studying now. I had 1501 cardbox questions waiting for me when I got home...
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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