The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Thursday, April 10, 2008

BEST Round 2

I hosted the second round BEST (British Elimination Scrabble Tournament) matches of myself v Ray Tate and Allan Simmons v Colin Nicol on Tuesday. Both Allan and I had had a bye in round 1.

Colin and Ray arrived around 12.15 pm and Allan about five minutes later, as he had had so much further to come!

As always when we have to draw a tile to see who starts I failed dismally, picking the Q to Ray's E. This was an omen for the match - the Q seemed to stick to me. After an earlier email from Ray to uk-s I was expecting him to agree to 5 point penalties, but he let me down :)

Game 1:
Ray opened with PONGA and I balanced a consonant heavy rack with DHOL. Ray challenged - his decision to play free challenge already paying off. Ray changed and a nicely slotted BUOYANT from me. FAINE from Ray which blocked the phony DISJEUNE which I had been 100% sure of! JEU(N)E instead and Ray changed again. This gave me a free balancing move of MI, which I followed up with the hattrick of (M)IDRaNGE, (a)EGIRITE and FIRSTLY to Ray's ADONISE, ZA and (ZA)TI. I continued scoring well with HEX(Y)L, CIVET and QU(AD). Ray blocked my bonus playout with ASK.
W: 526-349

Lunch. I had a lovely email from Colin yesterday thanking me for hosting and apologising to Paul for causing him so much work as the adjudicator. Paul says he didn't mind that, but he could have done a better job on the home-made soup. We finished it for dinner last night...

Game 2:
I opened with PAWA and Ray slotted IDOL below it. An awkward rack of CFHNTUU, but FUN allowed me to balance and score. Ray bonused with JELLINg, I responded with RUTHE(N)IC. VEX from Ray and I bonused again with SO(L)ARISE. Ray matched me with RE(S)INATE and scores were pretty close. KO(T)O from me, (H)AZY from Ray. Ray then eased ahead as I had to dump the Q for 11 and then with a duplicate S play GOS to make an opening which Ray blocked but sets up the triple for me to get back in touch with BENT. F(O)WL from Ray and I am in trouble again. I make openings, Ray blocks. I still had hope for a bonus at O7 but it never materialised.
L: 404-433

Game 3:
Ray started with UEY, AmOOVED in reply from me. TIX from Ray and I dumped he Q for 16. Ray gradually pegged me back with JIMP and ZAS as I was struggling with awkward racks. TONSURE(S) from Ray to take a good lead. I hit back with STR(U)NTED. It was nip and tuck but Ray had enough ammunition to eke a small lead. CRIM(E) from Ray blocked the last bonus line, and I played (C)REPT keeping back ENN, and prayed for the unseen blank or O. It never happened.
L: 350-368

Game 4:
My opening rack of ADINOPS looked very hopeful but I could only think of 8s. I opted for PODIA as the best bet for getting an open board. V(O)LKS from Ray, and I had only picked a single vowel, but HAW scored well. I struggled over the next few moves. Still only one vowel so (HI)DING, keep GST. I pick AART and then dump TAG keeping ARST and pick AOU. I stick with my strategy - there are a lot of Es still in the bag - dumping AU(T)O. I then get the perfect pick and (R)ESTRAIN goes down. WOX from Ray and we are neck and neck. But I had picked BDEINOS, and BEDSONIA hits the board. Ray is still hanging in there with FONE and HAZ(E). With EIIMQSV I opt for VIM rather than QI as there are 3 unseen Us. I get the blank, and SQuIREE(N) for 101 to make the game safe.
W: 454-325

Game 5:
This game was slow to get going. After (A)ZOTE I was struggling with a lack of vowels, but JER(I)D kept me slightly ahead. I picked a blank but had no vowels now. D(O)RK from me, and WOR(K) from Ray. Still no vowels so H(O)P from me and I picked AA for GArDANT. Ray blocked my place with FEW, so GAD in reply. We were level at 153 apiece. I picked the Q. Ray hadn't learnt and a dump of BIL(L) set it up for 31 points, and I followed it with pOSTMAN. My racks then went the other way. With six vowels and the X, IXIA scored well. Ray bonused with TERRIES, and now with seven vowels AU(R)AE to keep me a bonus up. BU(G) from Ray. Six vowels and an N, AEON to block one danger spot. GUE from Ray and with the luxury of two consonants (and no A) I chose CION to block the top of the board. SEALANt from Ray taking the last 3 tiles from the bag, but I was still 8 points ahead. I had enough time to double check my tracking, not wanting to do anything silly. Ray had DRN. EMOTE from me to seal the win.
W: 395-371

Tea - my home-made salmon pate was a big success.

Game 6:
I opened with UTA, sorting out both my duplicate vowels, and HUP on move 2. PERINEA on move 3 - I am still finding it difficult to spot the new Collins words in a game situation so completely overlooked A(HI). J(I)LTER from Ray, and my mistake on the previous move was unfairly rewarded with DROGH(E)RS. QI from Ray - yes, I did not have the Q in this game. I dumped O(P)E for 32. WIN from Ray. I had AEIILVY and opted for VI(R)ELAY for turnover and as slightly more open than VE(R)ILY for a loss of 2 points. CON(T)EN(T) from Ray, but I responded with (L)AX to still be a bonus ahead. SMOG from Ray, B(Y)KE from me. COUDE from Ray to give some floaters for 8s that I blocked with MEW. VISOR two moves later effectvely killed the board. Ray tried to set up the Z with (V)OID, emptying the bag, but I could block that and play out in two.
W: 429-378

All in all a very pleasant day's scrabble. Jen felt she was missing out on potential strokes and attention, and appeared periodically throughout the day in the dining room where we were playing. Paul would then arrive to drag her back out. Poncho was better behaved and only got in on the act at the end of the match.

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