Psychology of changing 1/2 at the start

The point of this post is not to generalise that changing 1/2 at the start is necessarily bad – it’s quite a potent move sometimes.

Assume you have a good rack that yields no bingos at the start – your rack is potentially fruitful as a 6+1 stem, but isn’t too common (not as common as AAEINRT, at least).

Changing 1 may be a good strategy here, as it gives you a high chance of playing a bonus the next turn – this will probably rate high on simulations (maybe not the best, if the rack isn’t too common).

However, this changing is very probably overrated on simulations – due to the mechanical nature of simulations. Assuming 2-ply simulation, you’re making a move (which is to change), he’s making a move and you’re replying. A computerised simulated move for the opponent would probably be the best move in terms of score/ balance – maybe a 5 tile play that scores decently.

In reality though this happens much less often – when a change (of 1 or 2 tiles, that is) is made at the first turn, psychology pushes the human opponent to play a more blocky move, like VAV 18 instead of VARVE 30 for example. The computer simulation assumes that your opponent is not affected by your first move (this is true, I suppose?), and hence will play as if he started first, possibly opening up double-double line/lines for you.

This is why I think the value appropriated to changing 1 or 2 at the start may be a little bit too high… but the difference may be extremely minute and inconsequential (especially for racks where you keep the S already, it is difficult for your opponent to open a no S hook unless your opponent is Victor).

Just to provoke thought, 2 days before the Nationals!!!!!!!

BTW I think I should make this blog more reader friendly by posting more screenshots and such – people who can’t visualise the board well won’t be able to understand what I’m talking about…

One for all, All for one, Venturez’ 06

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