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


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

JB JB So Good They Named It Once

I have been home a few days now luxuriating in the joys of a seasonal climate. I am sure the novelty of cold will wear off soon, but for the moment I am loving it in my multiple layers of clothing.

So on to the scrabble.

Causeway challenge was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I was the number one seed in the UK team and as such was playing the other teams in reverse order. I was on track with my 'expected wins' at the end of day 3 and then the roller-coaster hit the downward slope. Loss after loss. I blew one end game totally, spotting my oppo had an out bingo which I blocked only to give him a floater for an 8. In another against Komol I had the game under control until the end - he made an opening and I bonused with GEALOUS to go 128 up, taking the last 7*, only to find he had ENSSTZ? to play out with STANZES atop my bingo with the Z on the triple word both ways... I spent the next 10 minutes walking around the hotel in a daze before sitting down to lose my next game. 10 losses in a row, one game left to play on day 4. Against the new world champion, Pakorn. Somehow I held myself together. A small crowd had gathered to watch, knowing of my current plight and when I bingoed near the end to make the game safe I let out a whoop of delight/relief. Pakorn took it in good spirits, jokingly tossing his remaining tiles across the board at me at the end. Day 5 was average, and I finished a disappointing 29th, 21.5-23.5. I did not play well most of the time so really deserved no better. The UK team came in 3rd place (bronze medal now hanging next to last year's silver one), behind International A (aka England) and Thailand. Congrats to Mark and Mikki, coming 3rd and 4th respectively behind Nigel and Pakorn.

My plan of getting over the jetlag going out early had sort of worked but then I picked up a bit of an air-con cold/sore throat so still was not sleeping very well. I think I only got about 4 nights full sleep in the three weeks I was away.

I had decided to stay on to play in the JB Progressive Round Robin that was running alongside the World Youth Scrabble Championship, but was wondering if this was a good idea by now. This was a round robin event in groups of 6, with the bottom two being relegated and the top two being promoted. Five rounds in total, 2 each on days 1 and 2, and 1 on day 3.

The top group consisted of me, Nigel, David Eldar, Theodoro Martus, Cheah and Tim Adamson. Great hilarity was had when the top two seeds, Nigel and David, were relegated after the first round. Not quite sure how happy group B were by this turn of events... Nigel and David came straight back up at the end of day 1, Nigel winning all 5. I held on in the top group until the end of day 2. And then won all five on day 3 to claim 3rd place overall with 16 wins.

So that was it, 94 games of International scrabble played over 11 days.

I was getting the bus back to KL with Nigel and Jocelyn so could not stay to see Suanne win the WYSC, but we knew it was almost certainly hers being 1 game clear with a large spread advantage. Confirmation came through on Nigel's phone when we were on the way back.

One last day in KL before getting the 23.40 flight home. I splashed out on an expensive hotel breakfast, and being slightly late down was a little peeved to find they were very prompt in packing everything away at 10.30... I lounged around in my room until checking out with about two minutes to spare, and the hotel stashed my luggage for me. I then lounged about in one of the hotel lounges (that's what they are for) until Henry arrived. We went for lunch and then back to hotel lounging. About 4 pm we decided to up sticks to a Starbucks in a mall nearish to the railway station. The traffic was pretty bad and it took the best part of an hour to get there, and then a lot of driving around the car park until I spotted a space. The rest of the day was spent drinking iced mochas and using the free internet until it was time to go and catch the KLIA express to the airport.

Unlike going the plane was full coming home but I did manage a few hours sleep after watching the Star Trek movie. A couple of hours to kill in Schiphol airport before getting the plane to Edinburgh. I am very happy that the scrabble board for winning the last WSC game made it home in one piece.

* When I emptied the bag there were only 6 tiles. The seventh, an I, was found on the floor on the other side of the table.

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