Allan was taking Amy back down south for college so I got the train/coach/train/taxi down on Sunday, arriving at around 7 p.m.
Llewellyn Jegels hailed by when I wandered down to the bar - I had not recognized him when I had first arrived. I had half a pint of cider and we played a friendly that I just sneaked the win - I really don't like wasting my brain power during tourneys :)
An earlyish night, clearing my cardbox before actually going to bed. Up fairly early as I awoke feeling freezing cold - discovered most of the bedcovers had fallen off the bed - and had a bath to warm up before going down to breakfast. Back up to my room to clear my cardbox again. This was to become the routine through the week - clear cardbox each morning, lunchtime and night...
More people were starting to arrive - we were due to kick-off at 12.15 p.m. As it was we were about 20 minutes late starting but this was made up in the evening.
Game 1: Jake Jacobs. I couldn't have asked for a much better start to the tourney - SEQUENt for 100 points followed immediately with AVIETTE. SWOTTER and PRIGGED later in the game sealed a large win.
Game 2: Paul Burton. This started very differently. We both exchanged tiles on move 1. Paul exchanged again. I bonused with AGENTED and Paul played a phony D(E)ARNING, so no score after 3 moves. Holding EHPRSTT I blocked the easy 7s with H(E)P but GRANNIED around the other E never hit the board. SCATTER from me. Paul did recover from his poor start, bonusing on move 6 with REWINDS, and later FaINTER and a very nice spot of TURNKEY also with a blank. However a late play of FILA(C)ERS got me back to win by 10.
Game 3: Alex Gboye Balogun. My opening rack was AEEELMS and I played EME - maybe EE would have been better. I picked 3 more vowels. Another vowel dump, leaving AES and I picked a second S and 3 vowels. I dump SUI and pick a 3rd S and two vowels. I dump SEI and pick the 4th S and 2 vowels! Alex bonused with EXALT(I)NG. Another vowel dump and another replacement with more vowels. I could hardly believe it when Alex gave me an open G for ASSE(G)AAI and followed it immediately with UNB(A)ITED. More balanced racks then saw me home.
Game 4: Len Moir. I open with VOLT from LLOOTTV, and Len bonuses with REUNI(T)ES realising shortly after he missed UNI(V)ERSE as a 4-x. He follows it with STEAMING on move 2 and DECRIERS on move 4. I get a consolation bonus of (G)EARlESS right at the end to reduce Len's winning spread.
Game 5: Alastair Richards. I have played Alastair before so was prepared for his playing like a bat out of hell. It was close at the start. A phony of RECAGED from Alastair on move 4 which could well have cost him the game. ANTISAG followed by PAGODaS from me on moves 8 and 9, but Alastair was keeping up with scores of 64 and 69. Good scoring from me at the end clinched the game.
Game 6: David Steel. Another close win for me with bonuses of R(E)BOILED and DATURAS to David's HORNIEST. I chickened out of PARTA(K)ER in this game but luckily it did not prove costly.
Game 7: Adrian Tamas. I can recall no details of this game but I won by 200 :)
Game 8: Paul (Aus) Richards. Again no details other than a smooth win with solid scoring throughout. The real thing of note was that we finished before Alastair, who had asked for the room key just before we started. I joked that Paul should go and ask for it back :)
End of Day 1: Lying in second place with Harshan, me, Philips and Nigel all on 7-1
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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