Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The first rule of Scrabble Club is...no, you can talk about it. That joke is really old, btw.

The club is what I do on Monday nights, at a city rec center downtown. In addition to being a tournament player, over the last year and change I've been the director of the Austin Scrabble Club (where I've been going Monday nights since I moved to Austin and took the game up). Directing's cool; it took a bit to get used to but now it's comfortable. For that I thank, uh, everybody - the group here is about as easy to direct as you could want.

Our club website is austinscrabble.org - lots of info there. Probably could use some more pics and color, need to get around to adding that. Suggestions are most welcome.

We had 16 players last night, slightly below our usual turnout. I'd say 20 is normal - last week we had 26!

For the first time in forever, I wrote down my racks from two of the three games last night and analyzed the games when I got home. Less than a month from Nationals now, so why not take a snapshot. It's two games, so you can't tell much of anything from them, but I'd say I played to my established standard in the two games. My opponents were Kevin L. and Matt C., currently third and second respectively on the club ratings list. The win vs. Kevin I was pleased with, since I was able to come back from a 120-point early deficit. I kept the board open, kept taking points and hoping the right stuff would come, and at the end it did: with about 15 tiles left and both blanks still out, I got a blank and bingoed with NEOTERIC for 80, then drew the other for DAIDZEIN for 80 more to seal it (made the blank a Z - that's the only bingo in ADDEIIN plus a blank, it turns out.) Final was 439-348. The 398-376 loss to Matt was a cool game, lots of strategic twists and turns. I'll save the lengthy explanation and post it as an annotated game later, probably.
The third game I didn't write my racks down for, but that one had to be pulled out of the fire too. Won by 10 in the endgame. That brings my club record for the year to 38-13. That's about on pace - I've steadily won about 75% of the time in club for years. I'll likely win a bit less than 75% this year, though, because we've just started putting Quackle (a super-kick-butt Scrabble-playing computer program, for those who don't know) into the field when we're odd, and I'll be Quackle's most frequent opponent. I've played Quackle twice in club and gone 1-1; I play it a lot at home for practice and win maybe 40% of the time.

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