Nice and Tight
Our Monday nights always provide closely contested games thanks to our handicap system. Fortunes swing. Two Mondays ago I lost all four, but last night I managed four tight wins with a bit of luck going my way. My winning margins were 22, 7, 3 and 12 for a cumulative margin of 44. For “can-you-believe-it?” impact, this has to rival Jan Serisier’s achievement at the Wollongong Marj Babb tournament where she lost 6 out of 7 games but still managed a positive margin of 22 points.
Some of the remarkable plays were:
1) Opening with DONNERT against Rod and remarking that I knew it didn’t take an S since I got away with that false play against Carmel Dodd in Melbourne. Rod scored well on the back of successive J, Q, X (XENIA set up for an L end-hook) and Z plays. But I pick bingo letters and play CROaKER. When Rod plays DIGESTs onto KO to form KOs one tile away from a TWS, I “brilliantly” tack my S onto it to form KOsS but “stupidly” play SAITY instead of SEITY for a lost 57-point comeback. Rod thoughtfully blocks the spot with OI. I pick another 3 S’s in the same rack and a crucial F to foil any winning replies by Rod.
2) Rene opening with IN to which I remark that there are many possible hooks for me. With me thinking she has lousy letters, I play MARDY underneath but her next play is GORIEST for 64 followed by JIBE for 52. I claw my way back thanks to DETECTs but struggle with vowel trouble for the next 5 turns until I fluke EUOUAEs. Rod is reminded of Alistair finding that word in their match in Melbourne after Rod had thrown a rackful of vowels back in the bag. Rene finds STERILE, but 1 tile left in the bag allows me to eke out a win.
3) During my next match against our resident wordsmith, Val Ryan, she played some nice ones such as NEIFER, HERYE for 42, and two “nothing” fours I didn’t know, TOIT and NOLE. The 4 power letters plus ERASURe allowed me to get out of jail despite more vowel trouble. Meanwhile, at the neighbouring table Rod found the exquisite EQUISETA against an astounded Rene.
4) Finishing against the fast-improving children’s book author, Bill Conlon, who quickly got into stride with STRIDEs. I was lucky to be able to play AUDIENT one square away from the last column. I knew the S hook but hoped that Bill didn’t, and it proved crucial. Bill had bingo letters and tried to play DIVESTs with his I hooking onto the end of AUDIENT in hope. Having seen his S and blank, I was lucky to be able to play COXES there for what turned out to be a match-winning lead. From that point, my tactics were to block up all the bingo opportunities but I was tempted to go for score with ARET to which Bill replied with CReSTED, hooking his C atop. He then picked the J for a handy 38 points and I was lucky to escape in the end. A postscript was that I played VIED on move 5 then promptly forgot about the I front-hook until Rod pointed it out after the game.
Again, I notice that all bingos played contain an S, E or blank.