Yet another Scrabble post for human simulators

There’s always a dilemma when a player has a blank and a bingo playable, but has another high scoring non-bingo play elsewhere. Under such circumstances, it’s always wise to consider:
1) What do you leave on your rack with the non-bingo play?
2) What’s in the bag for you if you bingo, and what’s in the bag for you if you don’t bingo?
3) How safe is your bingo? Does it have possibly high scoring replies?
4) How many scoring spots are there on the board? Does your non-bingo play add to or give away the defense on the board, or are there too many spots to bother?
5) How highly do you value your blank given the board?
6) What’s the difference in the scoreline?
7) What was your opponent’s last move?

Even if you could answer most of these questions with absolute certainty, there’s no guarantee that you’d be able to make the “bestest” play. Take a look at this example.

(click to enlarge)

Right. Obviously there are some bingos available (spot them!) but there are more obvious scoring opportunities. Let’s see how the board and the tiles in the pool
1) You leave ?RSU. Doesn’t look pathetic, and in fact looks fairly decent given the number of Es and Os in the bag. The U is undesirable though.
2) First part (gee I’m getting used to this style of answering questions): quite some promising tiles. A pretty decent vowel-consonant balance, a blank and 2 esses. Second part: ditto, except you draw more tiles.
3) This really depends on which bingo you play. There are quite a number available and they all yield different results.
4) Actually, the board doesn’t look extremely conducive to scoring though it is quite open to bingos (this means that a non-bingo move could very possibly lead to a bingo next move, given the open board). Looks like the kind which would generate a 20-30 score from your opponent, not a 40 (unless the VIHARAS hook is utilised, of course). A non-bingo play, however, would create a possibly dangerous scoring spot for your opponent – the front hooks of ZO (more prominently the A) could score 40-50 when used with the DWS/TLS. One thing to consider though is that there are only 2 As and 2 Ds in the bag.
5) Given the number of bingo lines available, a blank’s not too bad on this board. Pity I don’t know how to affix a value to it.
6) I’m leading by 42. A bingo would put me one-and-a-half to two bingos ahead. Then again, the opponent may reply with high scoring moves of his own (depending on what I open) because the blank, X and K are in the bag. A non-bingo would bring me one to one-and-a-half bingos ahead. It’d also put me in good stead for another bingo later, although that might not happen (imagine a horror draw of WUV).
7) FAN(E), which increases (however slightly) the probability of him having an A on his rack (in that case, he’d be getting rid of duplicates). This means that he has a higher chance of playing a high scoring reply to your non-bingo (imagine SALIX).

So, what’s the “bestest” move? I think the moves are really fairly close, and there’s no right or wrong here (though there’s win% to be lost!). What though is the general consensus on such moves? Is it worth waiting for the bingo? Or is the “just bingo” mentality right in this case as well?

Anyway, I’m having exams this week and this post is probably the result of sheer boredom/ insanity/ wanting-to-prove-that-I-can-possibly-write-some-articles-for-SA-News-after-my-A-levels/ wanting-to-engage-myself-in-some-thinking-so-that-I-can-think-better-during-exams/ wanting-to-stay-awake-because-sleeping-doesn’t-seem-attractive-as-an-option-now/ wanting-to-type-stuff-starting-with-“wanting-to”. I should really get some Literature or Economics into my brain before I sleep.

Addendum: Anyone play Minesweeper around here? I’ve been playing it quite often recently and I’m completely astounded by the world record time (and the video of the record being set, available on YouTube).

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