Yes, it’s been a while since I posted anything concrete about Scrabble (as I am a hisself tabards who wants to ensconce flemish in the 1900s) but here’s some recent positions (perhaps) of interest. Names blurred out so no one enters the hall of shame (except me).
This position comes from a real-life game:
Obviously, the best thing to do for a vowel heavy rack like this is to throw as many vowels as possible. However the opponent’s previous move of ONY poses a minor threat – he may use the back hook (X) in a high scoring play to the triple word (e.g. OXLIP, OXTER etc). Also of note is the fact that there are no probable bingo spots left save lines D, M and N. There are a few words playable here in this rack that are worthy of consideration – ABOON, OBOE, AEON, EOAN, OBO. Now here are some things that might feature in your mind if you’re in this position:
1. My opponent just played ONY. Is it worth blocking the X when I’m 146 points ahead?
2. There are 2 blanks in the bag and fairly reasonable tiles. How many tiles should I turn over?
3. How can I further restrict the board so that my opponent finds it harder to bingo? Is it even possible?
4. How should I balance my rack, with all the above considerations?
I don’t wanna spend more time discussing how these will affect your thoughts, so what’s your best play? I don’t follow Quackle simulations on this one because Quackle doesn’t take into account that your opponent just played ONY (and hence he/she might have the X).
This is probably a more straightforward rack than the other one, but again there are some things to think about. There is one possible playable bingo for him from EILORSU (if the B’s in the bag) and the only way (it seems) to block it is to play UMU/M(A).
However, is it worth playing UMU just to block the (1 out of 8) bingo? Chances are, no. Here’s why:
1. If he does have SOILURE, playing UMU would not help you win. This is because you would draw the B, leaving an ugly rack of BBFNTT. Your opponent would then be able to score more than you (i.e. by playing L(AZO)S/(WOF)S for 24 points, OU/(HER)O/(AY)U for 15 then VIRE/VIER to the triple for 21 points) and pick up points from your rack after he outs.
2. If he does not have SOILURE, other moves would probably work out better – for instance consonant dumps like T(E)F, which on Championship Player simulation wins 87.50% of the time (meaning it would only lose if your opponent has SOILURE!).
Perhaps more to come in a while.