Was quite lucky to eke out a win yesterday, although I had more than my fair share of luck… especially against Hubert with an ISC-style 3-bingo-in-3-turns streak. Possibly another factor to contribute to this is the absence of phonies this tournament – a relatively strong statistic compared to the previous tourneys.
Arrived at the venue around 9.15 after waking up a little late. I hadn’t been recharged fully in terms of sleep (so bad I almost fell asleep just before the bus stop)… but I couldn’t do anything about it by then. Tourney started a little later than usual with table and draw arrangements.
Game 1 vs Guo Cong
I looked at my first 3 games – Guo Cong, Cheah then Hubert… and it certainly seemed as though I was gonna have a bad day. Guo Cong hasn’t played in a while, but he still maintains a standard above average (reminiscent of LBH this year) without practice. The game went rather tensely at the start, with the highest spread margin in the first 12 plays being 30 points (including a 5 point addition to his score because of my challenge of a 4 letter word), without any bingos exchanged. Guo Cong got it first though with SWEATER (81)… but by then I had drawn 2 blanks (one of them was with the opening rack) and I replied with a four-timer (T)ANkLIkE (74+5) to take the lead again.
I’m lucky to draw ACDJKNY to play JACKY (53) next turn (to his THROW for 32), but he follows suit with RAX/(J)A/(A)X (47). He plays DESTINE (81), bringing him 56 points ahead, but I cut it down with FANON (42). A late overdraw for him results in him having BNNRSTV as his final rack (I picked out the I), and I win this with a good endgame.
Game 2 vs Cheah
Racks are generally not good in this game as I have racks like AIMNOUU and ADIIIUZ at the start. Though it is in many senses my fault for losing this game – could have played it a little more safely at the start. My first move was also suboptimal, JOY from AJMNOUY gave me little happiness at the end of the game (better choices being YOJAN and UNJAM). Overall can’t blame the tiles so much, my own playing screwed this up. Several high points, e.g. playing the only playable from ?CEEGRT to an S (and only playable on the board)… though they were generally put down by his VIRANDO (84) on his 3rd move and BESTOWe(R) (76) as an immediate response to my bingo.
Game 3 vs Hubert
Make another poor starting move – YRENT would have cut it better than ENTRY. Am duly punished with TOKENED (67+5) which I challenge due to a moment of forgetfulness. Get a little back with QUOTH (45) next turn and he leaps even further with KANZU (36). By then I think this is going to be a typical lose-to-Hubert game but this is not the case – after I dump FOH (32), giving him another 5 for CONIMA next turn, I draw AEIILNR, giving me a 66 point AI(R)LINER. Draw ?AADEEG straight out of the bag while he only manages 19 for a consonant dump VAMP, so it’s GADAREnE next (76).
This goes on further as he does a weird dump with EL(A)TE… and I draw IIRSTTW, spotting the 8 a few seconds later (74). Indeed an unbelievable run of luck… by this time I’m ahead by 117, drawing the blank after TWISTI(E)R. The game slows down a little, with 20-30+ point moves on both sides, till he hits back a little with ARAISED (84) cutting the lead to 58. Luckily I have PLEB to get back some ground… but he tenses up the game with a simple (T)IX/(BORA)X (59), cutting my lead to just 42. Thankfully I draw good stuff and 2 turns later it’s RECOUnT(ED) for 86, which brings a close to the game.
Game 4 vs Yen Nee
Well I guess everyone was around when I draw ?AEKLNS.. played ALKANEtS for 86 after her opening. I make an amateurish mistake with SPAIN for 20, ending up with BDILNPS. The rest of the game moves pretty well – I play perfectly for the next 7 moves, including OBItUARY for 76 points. She scores consistently but is not bingoing – that is until she dumps ET (13), forcing me to block a niner line with OBIA (12) but allowing her to play SETTLER (81).
After her FUD (22) the next move there is AAEEGHOTVVW in the bag and I suspect there’s a 7 there (though I can’t find it). I play safe though with MITRE (24).. not the best definitely, but probably the most defensive play. Win this anyhow.
Lunch break and we take the liberty to go to a hawker centre – had a simple meal which was a little heavy on the stomach due to the food Cheah got from Macs earlier. Wasn’t too bad though, was still able to think properly for the rest of the tourney.
Game 5 vs GH
He starts with DEALERs (68) which makes me think my so far good win-lose record is going down, and this is made worse when I draw EIPTW to my leave IT when I play GOOLD (16). GOOD (16) might have been a little better – I regretted it immediately when he quickly put down XU (33). With that rack I try to salvage some score by playing WIST (14), hoping to hook a T in front with a bingo later on, and am rewarded later with PaTIENC(E) (86), bringing me back into the game. He pulls further ahead with a natural SUPPLIES, and a reply of BOWS (48) to my NIQAB (32) brings him 78 points ahead.
Thankfully I have FGIMNOS around an A for 82+5, putting myself back into the game, and I add insult to injury with a cheapo DZO (70) while he manages smaller scores of 34, 22 and 18. Towards the end he is about a bingo behind, and appears to be fishing so I am extremely wary (also, I mistracked) – this causes me to lose about 30-40 equity in 3 turns. Turns out he had two H’s so he couldn’t do anything.
Game 6 vs Tengku Asri
I have (obviously) not played Tengku Asri before so I’m not sure what to expect. He starts off with HI (10), and I make my worst move of the tournament – playing W(HI)FF through the two tiles for 17 with a rack of EFFKPTW! It simulates 4.5% winning percentage below the “best move” (PFFT, which I’ve never played or seen in my whole life but obviously heard of, pfft) and a whopping -114% in valuation! (wonder why) He gives me retribution for my mistake with AIR(F)AReS (64). This game is full of mistakes for me (all being problems with short words, a few problems with JQKXZ words) – I probably didn’t deserve the win, but was lucky enough to get 2 bingos to sustain me throughout the game.
Game 7 vs Andy
I enter this game with some confidence, knowing that it will be hard to lose the tourney if I win this game.
Start wrongly with DOUC (though it isn’t that bad a move). We go on slowly, with each of us having around 140 points by the 5th move. Then I start with (C)OREGeNT (86), he goes with TAJ (40), I cheap with NIXY (48). A turn later he plays HER(O)iNES, to which I reply with FEIRIE (41) – he scores more with WHAMO (48) right after I do so. A late EVERY (40) seals me the game and the spread is increased.
Game 8 vs Cheah
Needed to lose this by less than 94 to win. I didn’t exactly play this game extremely well too – once he played ANXIOUS (89) and (R)UMiNATE consecutively it was a 115 deficit and I had to try cutting it down. Managed to get SENHORA down after many turns of balancing, but I was still behind by 73 – little chance of winning this, especially when he blocked the remaining bingo spot. Thankfully his spread wasn’t enough to take the tournament with the win.
Overall played quite decently, didn’t do so well on some short words (playing things like VOLAE missing VALUE) but made few mistakes each game (except against Tengku Asri, and the ones I lost). Two bingo misses but both are words I don’t know (or forgot) – and I had 14 bingos in total, short from 2 but fair enough.
A better performance (in terms of playing) than the previous few minis. I wouldn’t say my luck has increased significantly from previous minis because the racks seem similar, only the blank-pulling “skill” has improved and I got 11/16 blanks this tourney. And I did get lucky breaks (e.g. against Hubert) but those happened in one or two games only.
One for all, All for one, Venturez’ 06