My gut was still feeling a little dodgy and hoped I would make it through the day...
Game 1: Dean Saldhana - Canada
COCONUT as my opening rack, maybe this was going to be a good tourney. But Dean hit back with MIX for 43 and then back-to-back bonuses with ANESTRA and STAIDES(T) to take a comfortable lead. I scored well with KEF and DEAWY to get back within 10, and my dump of GALLE(O)N was rewarded with a blank for EgOMANI(A) for a 43 point lead which stretched to 60+. Then Dean bonused with (R)EFInERS to empty the bag. I missed the new 8 for a 9-x to play out, but BELTING(S) was enough as I made a quick exit to the loo...
Game 2: Odette Rio - Phi
This game was nip and tuck, neither of us setting the world alight at the start. We were level after 5 moves apiece, and then we exchanged bonuses, sHORTIE from Odette, C(E)NTRODE by me. Odette then moved ahead with M(O)FO, LOITERS and ZEA to take a 91 point lead. I pegged a bit back with QIS. Odette blocked with DIE(T), and holding the last S and blank I made an opening with HE(s). Odette semi-blocked. I spent a long time trying to find and missing the better play, and eventually played S(A)UNTiNG for a 1 point lead and hoped the last three tiles gave me a chance. I turned over DOW, and could see a draw. Odette almost misplayed at the end, setting me up for a win but realised in time...
Game 3: Adam Logan - Defending World Champion
I had played Adam a few times when he was working in the UK, but had never beaten him.
I opened with HOOKA and then balanced with GLEI. Adam bonused with AERObAT, but I hit straight back with GREISeN. I pulled slightly ahead, but Adam levelled the score with LEA(D)ENED and then pulled ahead with SATAY. The board was very tight now, and holding the Z I needed to make an opening to have a chance. MUN(T) was the best I could see from a consonant clunky rack. Adam changed and I had picked an O for ZOL and to retake the lead. RI(V)ET from Adam, and with the last S I played WIVE, leaving 1 in the bag but picking the Q. By this point I had under 2 minutes left on my clock. Adam blocked the opening with COP. I was holding AQRSTUY, and could see nowhere to play the Q but TR(OW) set it up. Adam ran his clock right down trying to find a way to block me but failed...
Game 4: Ferdy Antonius - Ind
I had never played Ferdy before - he has some very annoying habits and it is easy to lose your concentration. Every time he gets a good score he shouts it out so the whole room can hear. Every score of the opponent is met by 'How much?' and has to be repeated.
We both scored well at the start - BOVID, HAZER and TYR(O)SINE on move 4 from Ferdy; XI, JACK(E)D, MOBS and FOVEA from me. I bonused on move 5 with PESAUNT to take a 30 point lead. However, Ferdy had back-to-back bonuses on moves 8 and 9 with SLEE(T)iNG and CENTEr(E)D and I had no ammunition to fight back.
Game 5: Ganesh - Mal
I have no photo of this game. Suffice it to say that Ganesh had bonuses on moves 4,5,6,7 and 10. I think I just wanted to forget all about this game.
Game 6: Francis Wachira - Ken
Again I do not have a photo. I was doing okay in this game until the end when I ran out of vowels and got stuck with the Q. To add insult to injury up until the last rack I thought I could still win, but found I had misadded an earlier score...
Game 7: Chris May - Aus
I was 100 down after 5 moves, helped by playing the phony LOOB on move 3. However, I then took off. POTTaGE on move 6, and I was very pleased to spot the bonus with my pick of AACFILU which gained me an extra 5 points with the challenge. STRIGAE two moves later, and another 5 points when Chris challenged POWS. TAENI(A)TE from Chris at the end allowed me to playout with the toughy REFINeS to put icing on the cake.
Game 8: Tony Leah - Can
I bonused first on move 4 with TROUBlE, but Tony had been scoring well and retook the lead with J(A)DED. I bonused again with GENTIER on move 6. ZORIL by Tony to be 30 behind, and I decided to risk PALET for a bonus-sized lead. I hadn't counted on 102 from Tony with VAGINAS. However, I could still score well with SCAW for 43. Tony decided to block, just dumping an S with (ZAIRE)S, which saved me a lot of worry. DEX from me and I was still ahead after AH from Tony. NOIL from me. Tony took quite a while on the next move, with me holding RENAILS. After initially playing XI/IN he then decided to add the second N, giving me a problem with ?ADEOQTUU unseen. I eventually opted for RE(N)AILS, picking AU. Tony simmed this later, and it was the best move.
So, end of day 1 and 4.5-3.5, 39th out of 104 and still all to play for.
Three players (Paul Allan (Sco), Nigel Richards (NZ) and Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Tha)) were on 7-1 at the top of the table.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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