## Tuesday, May 10, 2005

### Scrabble - Gail Game 2

Yes, another partially annotated Scrabble game, how exciting is that?! Don't worry, the novelty will wear off soon. ;)

• Karl: PILOT (20) = 20
• Karl - 20; Gail - 0

I had a good draw and was able to form a 5 letter word. This is important to grab the double letter score and the double word score.

• Gail: BOTHERS (63), PILOTS (8) = 71
• Karl: TRANQ (26) = 26
• Karl - 46; Gail - 71

Oof, Gail bingoed and leapt out to a big lead. I had the Q and was able to dump it using a double word score, so I took my opportunity to do it.

• Gail: INCENTER (61) = 61
• Karl: TIKE (24) = 24
• Karl - 70; Gail - 132

Gail bingoed again - argh!! She was able to use the N to form an 8 letter word. Otherwise, her rack of CENTERI yields two other bingoes (ENTERIC, ENTICER; and no, I didn't get these off the top of my head, the bingo finder did) but I'm not sure they can be placed on the board. Anyway, I decided I had to use the triple word space with my K somehow. I knew the word TYKE and thought there might be an alternate spelling, and there was - which was good because I had an I but not a Y.

• Gail: HAM (24), AB (4), MO (4) = 32
• Karl: MOVIE (17) = 17
• Gail: PIGGED (22) = 22
• Karl: WRIT (9), MOW (8), HI (5), ET (4) = 26
• Karl - 113; Gail - 186

I play defensively, trying not to open the board up too much, while playing my high scoring tiles for as many points as I can.

• Gail: LINER (18), EL (2) = 20
• Karl: ZEK (36) = 36
• Karl - 149; Gail - 206

Darn, Gail was able to use the triple word score. I held the Z for a while, hoping to use it somehow (RAZED, CRAZE, were words I could form but couldn't place). So, I decided I better take the triple letter space with it.

• Gail: ALTO (5), ZO (11) = 16
• Karl: ID (5), ZEKS (17), BEDS (9) = 31
• Gail: BA (4), AJAR (27) = 31
• Karl - 180; Gail - 253

I'm making good progress, but Gail remains for ahead. A bingo would really help... and my rack of letters could spell TRICORN. I know that is a type of hat, maybe there is an alternate spelling? I'm doubtful, but I see that an E on the end is acceptable too!

• Karl: TRICORNE (74) = 74
• Karl - 254; Gail - 253

At last, I caught up! Of course, I had one more turn than Gail, but at least I'm not dragging so far behind anymore.

• Gail: JO (9), BAN (10), ON (4) = 23
• Karl: WITE (33) = 33
• Gail: OVAL (15), PAM (7) = 22
• Karl: JOE (10), BAND (7), ED (3) = 20
• Gail: JOEY (14), BANDS (8), NAYS (8) = 30
• Karl - 307; Gail - 328

I have no idea what some of the words mean, like WITE. Well, I do now after looking it up in the Scrabble dictionary. Sometimes it comes down to, hmmm, wouldn't it be really convenient if BLARG is a word? Then you look it up and boom, it is there. The website has a dictionary lookup, and I use it from time to time. We play with the "word finder" option off - I think that must study the board and your letters and suggest the best play. With the dictionary, it is more about finding the play on your own.

• Karl: YOOF (20), FO (10) = 30
• Karl - 337; Gail - 328

So at this point, the game is very close, and I have FOODY plus two more letters I don't remember. I consider playing EDDY in the lower right, using the existing ED and spanning a double word space. That yields 18 points, pretty good. I also looked around for another play, and found FOOD/DO, also across a double word space, for 22 points. I think, now wouldn't it be cool if I could play the Y and F across there. So on a lark I look up YOOF and find it is an acceptable word. I have no idea what it means. If you read Word Freak you'll find top players don't either - they just view everything as acceptable scoring combinations. Heck, to them, remembering the definitions takes up space in their brain which could be put towards remembering more "scoring combinations". So I'm all excited and I play YOOF without noticing that FO isn't an allowed word.

• Gail: FAX (15), YA (7), OX (9) = 31
• Karl - 337; Gail - 359

After Gail's play, I examine the board and see FO, and realize it is a fake. Playing fakes is part of the strategy, to dump letters and to also trick your opponent. The penalty is loss of move if you are caught, or loss of move if the challenge is wrong (that is, the word is good). But in friendly games, I don't play fakes. Except by accident.

• Karl: URANIDE (61), WE (5) = 66
• Gail: GLUTS (12), US (2) = 14
• Karl: FOE (6) = 6
• Karl - 409; Gail - 373

My new rack of letter is ADEINU? which I find spells out URANIDE, a variant of Uranium. On my last turn, instead of playing WRITE/RE for more points, I disguise FO with FOE, which is at least real. ;) I score 2 points for the leftover U's Gail has, so the final score is Karl - 411; Gail - 371.

So, another close game, but tainted - at least to me if not according to the Scrabble rules. Had I noticed the YOOF/FO error, I would have changed it to FOOD/DO. Interestingly, Gail's next play of FAX/YA/OX would have been FAX/FA/OX for the same number of points. But, Gail could have challenged FO off the board and forced me to lose a turn. Also, playing the D and saving the Y would have given me a rack of AEINUY? instead, assuming I would have drawn the same replacement tiles, and that combination doesn't bingo.

I guess we'll just have to keep playing. Gail is some serious competition at Scrabble, this is certain!