Seattle SCRABBLE® Club
[North American SCRABBLE® Players Association Club #253, Seattle]

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Mark Peltier reports:
Portland Tournament - Labor Day Weekend 2009: Main Event

I drove down to my bro's after work Friday Sept 4. Some rain, some traffic clogs, no biggie. Played some backgammon with bro- a variant called acey-deucey with Andy. Fun game. Stayed up too late on his computer, futzing and surfing.

Day 1

Tournament started at 10AM, so I awoke about 8:15 and left about 9:10, drove the 15 miles to the Red Lion Hotel thru scattered showers in 25 min. There are 119 players in four divisions. My rating of 1419 means I could "play up" in div 2 which I did. I'm player #16, meaning 4 players are rated lower than me. The top player in div 2 is rated 1653 (not counting any early bird tourneys he played in). I'm "expected", per computer analysis, to win 8.5 games. But, psychologically, there really isn't any individual person in my division that I expect myself to lose to. I been playin good at club and online lately. and Studying a few hours on ZYZZYVA.

Game 1 - Opp starts by PASSING (!) no trade-in of tiles, just PASS. She is hoping I play a tile she can use to complete a common 8-letter bingo for her tiles. This insults me, so I trade in to try to get my own bingo rack. She doesn't pass again, knowing I am on to her bush league gambit. Word 5, I play REAWAKES vertically from the R on H8. Opp challenges and...loses! Yay. 98 pts for me. Two words later I have a blank and bingo MINGLES 71. I match her plays and let her get away with a desperation phony ENURINE and still win 436-295.

Gm 2 vs OPP with only ONE tourney in his history. Very good player. He opens with MINORLY (blank =Y) and I let it go. Is it good? On a fairly open board I find two bingos DAIRIES 72 and TOUTING (blank =O) 77 and hang tough to win 453-409.

Gm 3 vs 2nd high rated player. In only 11 words each she bingos 3 times to my one, SYNCING 95, and I am stomped 312-496. I'm at 2-1 with a +1 spread. Still feeling good.

Game 4 - word 3 I have PE?TIER, ?=blank, on my rack! Hey! that's me. You MUST learn to anagram your own name(s) in this game or you will be embarrassed someday. PERLITE got the most points for 78. You best know the other bingo anagram of PELTIER. Next word- another blank for a bingo pRAISES 77. He answers with a bingo TRANSUDE, which I hold and don't know but I don't challenge. You likey? I'm up by 53 and no one bingos as I win 438-361, Opp was ranked #6. I'm rolling!

Break for a fine buffet lunch in a banquet room on the same top floor of the hotel. cold cuts, fixins and fresh bread for a great sandwich with pasta salad and soft cookies for desert. I take a stogie break and cruise some word lists out on the sidewalk.

Game 6 opp is top player in the div. I sense deep-down he's expecting an easy win as I feel most my opps are today. His word 2 is a bingo REALISE 75. I have a blank and answer with ANNOTATE 66. He enters a triple triple word edge lane with the P of PEES. I can't make good use of it with an ugly rack of AUDITIE, so I play AUDIT to open another trpl trpl word lane with the A. He eschews both juicy spots to off his Q with QUARE 30 and, having drawn the Z, I pounce on my A spot MAIZE for 78. He later gets down another bingo SOIGNEE 67 which opens up some juicy bingo territory, but I grab the trpl word with UNLIKE 30 and hang on to win 407 - 361. Wow- look at me, I'm a giant-killer and I'm 4-1.

One mistake in this game luckily didn't cost me the game- opp overdrew by 1 near the end and I flipped up AAG. I tossed back the G without consulting my tile tracking. There was only one more vowel out there in the 7 tiles in the bag! I could have really used an A, but luckily I drew the last vowel and he could not bingo with AA + 5 consonants. Lesson Learned: why track if I ain't gonna use the info!

Game 6 Opp tells me a story of Woe with a long list of ugly ugly racksfrom his just-finished game. I'm approving his state-of-mind. Game starts, I open with a bingo PULSATe followed by another bingo RENEWALS. He almost shouts "Hey this guy's killin me!" He plays a DBL DBL word bingo SCENARIO for 90, so it's no blowout. I'm up 34. I'm drawing well, again and he isn't. I chance an 11 point UNTUNES which he holds a long time on but lets it go. You think it's good? After his bingo he averages 20 pts per word, I average 30. It is almost a blowout (which is a 150+ pt win) at 440-300. I like this winnin thing I got goin.

Gm 7 the 3rd highest ranked player in div 2. We play even the whole game. Each with a bingo: me fLANKER 66. He SAPSAgO 84. His turn and I know the 10 unseen tiles are AAEIIIRRU, so he's in deep doo-doo. He comes up with EURIPI for only 10. Another word I've never seen but I have to trust that opp is not playin phonies. If so, why not get more points for it!? I play of 5 of my 7 tiles with LOVER to the TRPL word corner for 29. I'm up by 19. I play the end game perfectly and win 364-361. VERY cool. Love the endgame thing. He is stunned, doesn't say a word, but I think he punched the wall in the hallway afterwards.

Game 8 vs a (retired) engineer from NY who lived in Seattle at one time in his career. We have some things in common. This is an even game until he swoops ahead at word 6 with SOLATED 66, to put him up 57. Word 9, he's up by 38 and plays VITALLY, blank = L hooking the Y on the end of BLATHER., for 83. I HOLD the play and decide to challenge. This is my only Challenge in these 8 games, despite seeing about 15 words for the first time (that's a LOT of trust of this ragtag group of scoundrels) and my instinct is true! BZZZ get it OFF! I immediately answer with my blank bingo: SQUAWLs 83. He holds a long time- you like it? He does not challenge. This one goes down to the end game and he accidentally gives my final holding of EE an out play when he leaves his S dangling. My win 408-376.

WooWoo I'm 7-1 and +299. Good for 3rd place. Stat boy notes 12 bingos for me, 11 for opps. I average 407 (even with a 312 score).

Heady!

Got home about 7:30 and went out to a nice Chinese restaurant with bro & sis-in-law.

Here's the Day 1 standings (wins/spread) as published in the yahoo group cgp:

Division A
Dave Wiegand 7/674
Carl Johnson 7/554
Rafi Stern 6/471
Mike Frentz 5/390
Evan Kramer 5/272

Division B
Karen Merrill 8/566
Cynthia Seales 7/490
Mark Peltier 7/299
Leesa Berahovich 6/540
Mark Milan 5/293

Division C
Ron Gideons 7/794
Barbara Van Alen 6/806
Dion Saldanha 6/661
Jesse Wornum 6/216
Tony Verma 5/148

Division D
Godwin Gwei 8/1139
Sunshine Gudlagson 6/569
Nadja Rence 6/489
Scott Portocarrero 6/367
Alan Mason 6/291

I'll probably play my unplayed top two players tomorrow. We play everyone once, with the last round being King of the Hill. A perfectly tidy format in div 1 & 2 because of 20 players, 20 games.

Hoping for the same AMBIANCE or whatever it was tomorrow. and Monday. .
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Answers to questions:

PELTIER = PERLITE and REPTILE

"MINORLY" = no good

TRANSUDE = good!

UNTUNES = good

"SQUAWLS" = no good (!)

Day 2

Ok y'all, maybe less detail today, Day 2 compared to my Day 1 diatribes...

I did worse on day 2.....

Sorta......

Only won SIX of the 8 games. WOO WOO.

With 13 wins, 3 losses I am in 1st place.

Oh & my estimated new rating after day 1: was 1419, now 1536 !!

Here's a quicker play-by-play than yesteray:

Game 9: I got all four S's early on, I think 3 on my rack at one point. As I wasn't saving them for bingos, Opp expertly figured out I had extras when I played them for 30 pt plays. She defensed them well. She got one bingo with both blanks, I got none. I never got close after her word 7 bingo. LOSS 288-373 inauspicious start.

Gm 10: close game til my word 5 bingo NIOBATE 69. Thank you ZYZZYVA. She squeaked ahead at word 8 with REALISE 70. With JO hanging vertical above I14, I found JOG + GRiEVED to the bottom right corner TRPL word for 97. Opp played ABALONES near the end but I had a good enough lead to finish it out unthreatened:
WIN 433-374.

Game 11: vs opp with a 10 game winning streak. Undefeated coming into this match. She is ahead after her word 5 bingo DENIALS 65. Word 7 I play POX vertical at O10 to block an open TRPL word edge lane. Word 9, I have a decent rack with a blank and an -IER, but not seeing any bingos, I decide to TRY POXIER to the TRPL word for 45. Opp holds and challenges. It's....good! I knew POXY was good, but I'd never seen POXIER on a board. I draw consonants for BATTL?S and BATTLES plays for 75. I'm up by 70. Opp finally gets a rack she can work with ENTRI?S and she takes a looong time to try to play it in the one place she can make up 100 pt deficit: on a DBL DBL lane, the only place I haven't clogged up yet. ENTRIES 71 is all she can find, not enough and I finish strong to WIN 450-363.

I'm a giant killer again on day 2!

Game 12 - Pre-game banter makes this seem like a friendly game, but it got serious (for me) after I challenge her word 2 bingo RENTIER and lose. sort of a duh, but I have just never seen it nor studied it. I catch up until her word 7 WELDERS + RENTIERS. I again challenge, but RENTIERS is good too. OOF. I close to within 43 after a nice non-phony bingo find: [Quiz time: EEE?ING thru an M on the board] at word 11, but she dashes my hopes with blank = A, QUAKY for 60. Big LOSS 323-485. .
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I now know RENTIER and RENTIERS, and YOU now know EMCEEING is a real word.

Break for another fine buffet lunch in the banquet room: veggie lasagna with sides of chicken slabs with a tomato-y sauce, fresh bread, salad & a fine melon & berry fruit plate.

Game 13 vs a well-known and liked and respected Club Director. A real ambassador of the game. It's the tightest board I've had to play during the first part of the game: first plays: FRY/XI/DUH/OI/OINK - not many hooks nor openings. Opp takes a chance at word 7 by hanging out UTE into an open lane- I just happened to have a blank, called it an M for mUTE and BEAmIER 71. He answered back on word 9 sOUTANE 68. This one stayed close the whole way, I admit I played a fine, careful endgame and my win held up on the obligatory recount: WIN 379-376.

Game 14 - I figure out later his opener of COWIE is phony, but I get in my share of phonies: OBLATES 79, WEINIES 82 and UNSNARES 74 words 5,6 & 7. Bingo-Bango Bongo as they say. He gets in STUMPED 81 and a great find: MERCURIC to the C on the board for 86. But I prevail WIN 467-395 .
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I didn't thnk "WEINIES" nor "UNSNARES" would go unchallenged, but hey- that's competitive Scrabble for you. It's tough to recover after a lost challenge, so many players don't challenge unless they are very sure it's a phony, or if they figure they will lose if it stays on.

Game 15 vs a hesitant Opp. He opens with LEFTiES 76, I answer at word 2 with REDuCES 75. It's tied at 194 after our word 8, but on word 9 I play MANGIEST, in column N which opens up two trpl word squares. He uses the correct one for me: VAMP 45 and I've drawn the Z for ZETA at L8 for 69. He plays catchup the rest of the game, can't do it, I gotta say my careful end game again was the reason for this win.
WIN 390-366.

Last game o' the day, Gm 16 Opp and I talked about being tired pre-game, but she didn't play that way- she's up 47 on a somewhat tight board after word 9. Word 10 I use my blank as an F to bingo thru her newly opened lane: FLAVORER 70. You like it? would you challenge it? She keep it close thru word 12 as she plays TIC in row A. I think a long time and find MYS as a front hook 3 for MYSTIC to the trpl word for 39. I go out with two more strong plays for the capper on another very fine day.
WIN 370-329

Exceeded Expectations again. won all four after lunch.

Computer says I should win 3.5 , but I win 6. Averaged 387 today. both me and opps had 11 bingos on day 2. My rating should zoom up another 30 pts or so.

Oh yeah- dreaming ahead to tomorrow lunchtime: first place pays $400. I didn't notice what 2nd place pays. Heh heh. No need. .
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FLAVORER is...GOOD! Opp did not challenge it.

short report - righhhhht.

Day 3

The much-anticipated Day 3 started out like days1 & 2: awoke just before the great (it got me out of bed!) annoying loud alarm clock at bro's. The bed I sleep on there is huge, futon on the floor with a light feather mattress and the lightest of comforters- I sleep VERY soundly. Packed and out of the house & I see a sleepy, tow-headed brother standing on the porch as I am about to back out. I jump out to give him the "Good Tour" handshake. He says he'll probably come visit the hotel later w/camera for last game and award ceremony. Just in case I get any awards

Got there in 25 min. parked in the parking garage and rode the elevator with same two friends for the second day in a row- DEJA VU!. I finally checked the standings from yesterday- they didn't get published on cgp. By golly- I'm in first place at 13-3. 2nd place is at 12-4. 3rd and 4th are at 11-5. YAY.

I had no coffee this morning.

game 17 - We trade the lead most of the game. By word 7 we both got 2 bingos down (mine: TINDERS 74 POUTIER 71 hers: VICIOUS REASONER - it was a volatile game). It was nose to nose. in the "pre-end game" I got in RIGID under QI to a dbl word for 37, GIFT under REGALE for 28 to jug up Opp's bingo lane setup, and ANTI under GIFT (making AGA, LIN and EFT on the vertical) for a 29 pt 3x3 to pull ahead by 50. Her last rack was ENAMBLE, but no bingos in that nor with the couple of open letters available on the board.
WIN 446 - 381

gm 18 -I'm up by 50 after my word 6 thanks to drawing the X and the J early. She plays REPTILE 22 thru an E on the board. Nice word for Peltier, but, geez, why piddle away those nice bingo tiles and clog up a bingo lane she needs to catch me? Her next play is equally poor(IMHO): ENTRAIN 16 thru an N. Same reason it's poor. Word 9 I get the game's only bingo fEATURED 74 from the corner triple word. Bingos on the edge rows/columns don't open up much is another benefit. Puts me up 100. I manage to seemingly accidentally block her two Q on a triple letter square plays with one word, FLOP for 31 and it's over.
WIN 400 - 288.

gm 19 a friendly & funny Opp. She runs downstairs for coffee before the game and graciously gets ME a cup too!! I get a bingo on word 4 REFASTEN 74, then again at word 8 REMAINS 90 to go up 170 . BOZO, FUN and JOY follow. My next play is a -UKA extension to YOM for 45. She (claims later to) knew it was phony (YAMALKA and YAMULKA are two valid ways to spell it that were CLOSE to my rack), but she let it stand as she needed two or three miracle bingos to win. she gets two down on either side of my last play of PELT 24: MISTIER 79 and CENTERS 72 for a bingo-out. Regardless, I
WIN 472 - 348.

So, that gives me an incredible 16 wins in 19 games. 2nd, 3rd and 4th at this point have ("only") 13 wins, so I am GIBSONIZED. This is a situation named after David Gibson (still an active great player) who dominated lots of tourneys back in the day. When no one can catch you in the last round or rounds, there is no sense you playing the other top players. It's better that they battle each other for 2nd. So I play the first player who cannot finish mathematically in the top 5: "in the money". Bro & sis-in-law show up in the hallway and bro scouts around during my last game getting photos of me & the tourney.

gm 20 - I take a chance on word 5 with POOLEES, Opp has played too long and can spot a phony within seconds, he challenges it off, a poor choice by me. He bingos in the same spot: OUTRuNS 65 and is up 85. He shuts down the board textbook style with many non-bingo-ish tiles and wins.
LOSS 305-355.

But I got First place anyhow. We hangs around for the Awards and I get applauded & snag $410 for first place. YAY. There's a cake for Portland's own Dave Wiegand as he came home the National Champ from the August Championship in Dayton. Dave settles for 2nd place today in div A, Carl Johnson was on fire with an 18-2 record for 1st. Mike Frentz and Rafi Stern came in 3rd and 4th in the top division.

I stick around long enough to chat up a few friends, but head for home from there. Takes me 40 min to cross into Washington, then pretty smooth drive home.

Man, that was fun. Thanks to all for putting up with the long report. if my attitude seems "cocky" online, it's worse (or cockier) in person today. But so what? Come on by & try to beat the champ. HA HAHA. I agree with Muhammed Ali when he said, "I AM KING OF THE WORLD!" This is what it feels like to win a tournament.

We return you now to your regularly scheduled programming.

~MARK PELTIER
SEPT 8, 2009

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3



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