Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Crescent City Cup game summaries

Day 1

Game 1
vs. Chris Lipe (1940 rating)
W 437-284 (1-0 +153 so far)
Chris: none

I had ugly racks early and was down 81-49 after 3, but ZONDA# (48) put me 17 up after turn 6, then FLIRTED/DROOK# for 90 and QUA for 41 followed while Chris was struggling to get his rack in shape, which never came to be. Up by 90 after turn 11 and then bingoed with the second blank.

Game 2
vs. Dave Koenig (2002 rating)
L 455-367 (1-1 +65)
Dave: MARVIEr# (104), ROaDSIDE

I was 30 up after turn 6, though Dave had just made a fishing play and opened up a triple lane. His MARVIEr# for 104 came down in that lane; TEASERS scored 81 and got me back even, but ROaDSIDE for 80 and my post-bingo draw of BCEGLNU finished me off.

Game 3
vs. Phil Kretschman (1643 rating, but clearly stronger than that; he would gain 71 points in this event)
L 400-303 (1-2 -32)
Me: none

First-time opponent. Down 204-71 after four turns, as Phil followed LAXATORS# with ZOOEA# for 69 more. After TRENISE# on turn 8, I was down 339-166, and while I held a blank, the game was effectively over by that point. Near the end I played WAVE to set up the AWAVE# hook and then WAQf# for 56 to limp to 300.

Game 4
vs. Shelley Ubeika (1293 rating)
W 549-405 (2-2 +112)
Me: PINKERS, REAMENDS# (+5; triple-triple for 163), STRIATED
Shelley: BoHEMIaN (double-double for 102), TAILING

On turn 2 I scored well with PINKERS for 86; I chose that instead of PERKINS# to slot an I in the 2x2 lane instead of an E, which backfired when Shelley hit her 2-blank bingo through the I right away. I was down 200-181, and then Shelley played MOBILE for 25, slotting the M in the triple lane, and my triple-triple put me up by about 90. Shelley's second bingo got her sort of close, but I was able to respond with another bingo myself.

Game 5
vs. Evans Clinchy (1902 rating)
W 475-433 (3-2 +154)

I opened with CUTTO#, Evans responded with BRACERO, I followed with AEROTONE# on turn 2 and ZA for 62 on turn 3, but Evans bingoed again. The game was pretty even until NIMmERS#/QIN# went down the bottom triple lane. Evans's third bingo cut my lead to 27, but I had a good flow of mid-point consonants down the stretch to hold the lead with.

Game 6
vs. Tony Claitor (1581 rating)
L 531-395 (3-3 +18)
Me: RIDLEYS (blank L)
Tony: VIOLENT, GRANULES, ShOUTERS (triple-triple for 113)

First-time opponent. Tony jumped out to a lead with an opening ZEALOT and his first bingo. With a blank in hand, I played PELT slotting the T in a triple lane. He played elsewhere, and I had DEIRSY? - I couldn't find any bingos with the T (there are none), so I played RIDLEYS. Tony followed with GRANULES for a double-double, so being behind, I didn't block the still-available T...and then Tony triple-tripled. Oh well.

Game 7
vs. David Whitley (1790 rating)
W 496-454 (4-3 +60)

David opened up with YU#, and my first rack was the peculiar ADKOQU? (no sevens or eights in there). I played QUAD/AYU# for 40, but given David's fish I might have done better with KO# overlapping for 27. David had to fish again, I couldn't usefully block the S/QUAD hook, and ESTRONE came down for 93. Tie score in the bottom of the 8th, I got down MELENAS, but he responded with BREVIERS to take a small lead. Earlier I'd made a play forming AZO, leaving the LAZO# hook to the top row (keeping an L). I now had three L's in a weak rack, so I made a small play; David responded with the X. But I got a miracle 2-A draw, giving me LATERAL/LAZO# for 87. Whew.

Game 8
vs. Dave Wiegand (2019 rating; top seed)
W 518-476 (5-3 +102)
Dave: EGOTISED#, AiGUILLE (triple-triple for 131)

I bingoed on turn 2 but drew dreck afterward, while Dave cashed the X and then bingoed on turn 3. On turn 5, REARMOST got me back even, and I picked the first blank and played PROBInG on turn 7, slotting the G. Dave then triple-tripled, as you see - yes, the third 3x3 we've had in 8 games so far. My post-bingo draw of AILNNSS looked problematic at first, but happily it played through TA. But Dave's ZIN meant I was still down 30, and I had QVY to contend with. Very late, I played off YI(N) to score and soak up the hottest remaining spot, keeping AEFIR. Seemed unlikely that I'd draw into a bingo or pull the game out if I didn't, but I picked AF and that did it. Five bingos, and I needed every last one of them.

Day 2

Game 9
vs. Thomas Stumpf (1420 rating)
W 442-376 (6-3 +168)

First-time opponent. Got off to a good start, 82-39 after 3, but had to deal with a couple of bad draws and Thomas cut the gap on a tight board. I was able to use the lone S-hook for SALFERN, and I drew a blank after that but kept getting clunky consonants with it. But other than ZIGS for 53, he wasn't narrowing the gap too much. I finally bingoed with OUVRAGE#, and Thomas bingoed back but I was still up by 50. Two esses and a blank were still out, so he had a shot, but he got them all too late to help.

Game 10
vs. Bradley Whitmarsh (1794 rating)
W 542-472 (7-3 +238)
Me: RUCTIONS (triple-triple for 122), ANEMONE, CARLINES

Bradley bingoed with cHARLIE on turn 3, slotting the C in a triple lane. I scored well in reply with CHARLIER#/ROUPED, but DOULEIAS# for 80 came down. Oh no...oh yes. RUCTIONS for 122 to get me back even - that's now four 3x3's, two for me and two against me. After that, I came into a good scoring run: BOWAT# (42), ANEMONE and CARLINES back-to-back, DEXY for 53. Brad had scored some too, and his RULIEST made it 459-419 my way, but I had the last blank and shut it down with VaWARD for 48 more.

Game 11
vs. John O'Laughlin (1994 rating)
W 416-373 (8-3 +281)
Me: TERaPH(I)M (out bingo)

Pretty closed board much of the way, with both of us having to manage tricky racks. I'd built a small lead with RAJ for 55 and WAZIR# for 40, but both blanks and two S's were still unseen to me. No bingos until the bottom of the 9th, when John played LASSOED to go up by 43. I played BEAUT to clean up the rack and open things a little more, and I got the blank, but with BLIHMQ. (There was an open U, and I was SO wishing my B was an E or U at that point. UMQUHILE#!) Took me a bit to see QIBL(A) for 51, but yay, there it is...but John then bingoed with CY(T)OSINE. This emptied the bag, and I had EMPHRT? to go most likely through an I. Saw HEMIPTER right away, but it didn't fit. Took me a couple of trips through the alphabet to spot the out bingo - TERAPHIM I've had trouble seeing sometimes. Glad I had a lot of time on my clock.

Game 12
vs. Evans Clinchy (2nd time)
L 400-364 (8-4 +245)
Evans: NIObOUS

My bingo was on turn 3 and got me out in front, but Evans scored well for two turns and then bingoed himself and was up by 20. I had bingo-ish tiles that wouldn't play, but then Evans played KEX for 39 forming MIX hanging one spot above the bottom center TWS. There were four T's out, but Evans had two of them and so he went with the high-risk, high-reward play. Fortunately I had a T, so I could play TOEING for 63 (good luck ever doing that again!). Looking much better, but Evans returned with an elegant J(ET)PORT for 34. QSSZ were still unseen, and Evans' next two plays were ZAS/JETPORTS for 53 and QIS for 35. I was angling for a needed bingo but couldn't get the rack together before Evans shut the board down for good.

Game 13
vs. Dave Koenig (2nd time)
W 469-378 (9-4 +336)
Me: ORDINARS#, ERrINGS# (plus 5, challenged DICHTS# formed by the play)

Dave bingoed on turn 2, but I was scoring well enough with plays like AIZLE# and QU(IN)S to keep up. I got my first bingo down on turn 6 to go up 40 and got a blank, though with clunky consonants. Dave kept the pressure on by scoring well, and he led 295-285 at turn 9. I'd played DICHT# one short of a triple lane, being about 95% sure of the S-hook and wanting to open it for my S and blank in hand (though the other blank was still out; I needed to beat Dave to the spot, or hope he wasn't sure on the hook.) I got the rack I needed and bingoed, and got the other blank in my post-bingo draw so my lead was safe.

Game 14
vs. Dave Wiegand (2nd time)
W 499-407 (10-4 +428)
Me: ALIFORM (opening rack), pETUNTSE (triple-triple for 133, forming ANNOYERS with the S)

Opened with the bingo, but Dave's ANNOYER on turn 3 evened it. My HNSTTU? didn't bingo, so I played off HUT, putting the T in the bottom row; ANNOYER was one short of the row, so a play there with the S would have to have TS in it...and I drew into another triple-triple! Glad he didn't block it. That's now FIVE trip-trips, three for and two against. Dave didn't go away, bingoing in reply right away, but my tiles cooperated with WAZIR for 54 and TOYS for 50 to give me a 110-point lead. I went to make a blocking play for what I thought was the most dangerous line, but chose the wrong word to do it, and Dave hooked my play of LOVE with CLOVE/EXtINCT for 92 to pull to within 40. But I had the good vowels from then on while Dave didn't.

Game 15
vs. John O'Laughlin (2nd time)
L 472-439 (10-5 +395)

My first two racks were ugly, while John bingoed and followed with FIQH# for 38. A fine draw turned into LESIONS for 88, but John bingoed again. I got to use the POSITIVER hook for TROUTY for 42, but John came back with FIX for 52...I made WHAP/WEX#/other stuff for 56 and got close. John played his third bingo, slotting the L in the top row. My rack of ACGIORS is balanced...another 3x3? Nope, nothing in there with the L, so GRACIOSO elsewhere, and we were about tied. But John got the J for JUMBO (57) and the Z for ZA (35), and I was down to fishing off a tile for a bingo that almost surely wouldn't be enough, and it wasn't. Not counting my one-tile out play, the game had just 10 turns. Tough to score 43 a turn and lose.

Game 16
vs. Phil Kretschman (2nd time)
W 439-407 (11-5 +427)

Small plays to start, and on turn two my DEIINNT didn't have anywhere to go...oh, wait, yes it does! I wasn't 100 percent on it, but was sure enough to take the chance. But Phil came back with a double-double blank bingo and a 43-point MAX and took the lead. KUEH# for 42 helped my cause, but the game stayed even until turn 8, when Phil fished off a couple of consonants for 11 while my AC(Q)UI(R)E for 38 put me a pace ahead. I'd just used a lot of vowels, though, and the unseen pool was really consonant-heavy. I was able to stay up by 40 while Phil couldn't get a playable bingo - he finally did with SIRLOIN on turn 11, but I'd just drawn the second blank and could respond with DECLINAL# to go ahead by 50 with the bag empty. Phil didn't have an out bingo, so that was that.

Day 3

Game 17
vs. Chris Lipe (2nd time)
W 635-371 (12-5 +691)

I'd been lamenting my lack of spread up to this point - I'd maintained a one-game lead on the field through most of day two, but with five or six players breathing down my neck, a loss or two could knock me way, way down. No real autopilot games yet...until now. Bingo to start, another on turn 3 with a post-bingo draw of AAFISX? (no sevens or eights, only one nine), fished off FA and drew CW, and oh my god, Chris just gave me an N. Scored 27 and 45 the next two turns, then bingo-bango-bongo TOLTERED#, FORMATE, and sOUNDLY. Six bingos and 617 points in the first 10 turns. Exactly the kind of game you want to start a day if you've been indulging the night before.

Game 18
vs. Bradley Whitmarsh (2nd time)
W 578-295 (13-5 +974)
Me: FAERIES (opening rack; I went 2nd but Bradley changed 3 to open), BRUCINES, (S)A(I)NTLIER (blank L)
Bradley: RAVIOLIs

Yes, let's do keep fixing that little spread problem. Thank you, tile bag! FAERIES for 78, AZO for 71, FLAN for 42, XU for 50, THRESH for 45, PENANGS double-double for 40, IWI# for 6 (yeah, I know I'm disturbing the groove here, but I had three I's and I was messing with a newly open bingo lane), BRUCINES for 78...410-174 after 8 turns. The blank bingo at the end was icing on the icing on the icing on the cake.

Game 19
vs. Evans Clinchy (3rd time)
W 401-393 (14-5 +982)
Evans: TENTAGE (out bingo)

I'd just picked up about 550 points of spread in two games, but it wasn't over yet by any means. John O was a game behind with decent spread, and the top seed Dave Wiegand and Evans were two games back. I could lose the last two and not even be in the money, if I lost by enough. ANDIRON was turn 2, but Evans was scoring strongly to keep up. On turn 4 I briefly considered trying UN(RE)PUTED*; glad I chickened out and played PUDU# for 18 instead. Got a blank after that, but the board was getting really bingo-hostile and I kept having to take 20-point rack grooming plays. After 8 turns, it was 240-238 my way; I'd just played VOLED/MERLE for 41. I got the other blank and Evans' vowel dump of ALEUR(ON)E for 20 had opened the top of the board. BARBITAL was the scoring play, but opened up a TWS dangerously, so I considered the other bingo spot near the bottom of the board...but that would open up uncomfortable things too, so I went with the points. My next move was CARGO keeping LO, which blocked most bingos near the bottom but left some chance of JA(R)S or JO(R)S# coming back at me. Evans then made a nice setup play of RET; he held all the remaining front hooks. But I had the J and S and saw that JORS# would win by 8 even if Evans bingoed out, as he did. Good close game there.

Game 20
vs. John O'Laughlin (3rd time)
L 422-350 (14-6 +910; John finished at 14-6 +721 for second place)

John had beaten Dave Wiegand in round 19, so I hadn't clinched yet, but I was up by a game and a big pile of spread. So as long as I didn't lose by 167 or more, I'd win the tournament. But you know, that's happened...and John's more than capable of beating me like that if he gets the stuff to do it. My mindset going in was not to sell out for defense - I'd be better off playing normally. I drew SSZ on turn 3, which I was happy to see because John wasn't going to get them, though SWIZ# for 29 was the best I could do. John had bingoed on turn 2 and was outpacing me early, and my draws started getting fugly. GRRLS# (!) keeping HRS, and drawing COQR...this is not good. John opened the board a little with YET, but it gave me YEH/TO/HOC#, which I was very happy to play despite keeping QRRS, because of its defense - HOC only takes a K and the K had been played already.

But John then played STADIUm, and I had three Rs and decided to just play (DO)RR for 7 to uglify the board further. Down 226-133. John then plays VA(ST) for 7 as a huge setup for AVAST on a TWS, and I held ILOQRST. Jeez...I went with (V)OLTI for 10, setting up a possibly huge spot for my Q - I figured he'd most likely take the AVAST spot for 50 something, and if I get an I it's 42 and no more Q (and if I get a four-letter Q word, 87!) John took the I spot instead, HAUF# for 51. If I hadn't drawn well after VOLTI, I really would have been sweating it. (LIVOR# instead, maybe? But that doesn't block so well either...) But I got an A and the other blank and gladly played QAt/AVAST for 58. Down 67 and the board is closed, so I'm feeling pretty good (of course I'd rather win the game outright, but I'll take what I can get - I'm basically up 100 on a closed board from the win-the-tournament angle.) I challenge off ALGIC*, groom my now two-ess rack, he plays CARVE (uh, I'm pretty sure SCARVE* isn't good, but if it is...), oh wait, it's all good, I have CRISPERS now to get to 16 behind. I couldn't do much the rest of the way, but the tournament win was safe. John finished second, having won his last six games.

Exchanges: 5 for me, 7 for opponents (that's kind of a lot for CSW)
Phonies challenged off: ALGIC* in game 20 was the only one; I didn't play or accept any phonies, I'm pretty sure
5-point challenge penalties: picked up 25 points, gave away none
Blanks: 21-19
Bingos: 45 for me (12 Collins-only), 38 for them (5 Collins-only)
Rating change: 1986 going in, 2009 now

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