Saturday, June 10, 2006

The numerous woes (and low payoffs) of tracking

Finally did some full tracking yesterday for 2 games. Now using a new version of scoresheet with many details and boxed letters for easy tracking. Beat ball 430-326 then 403-515 to cheah. In both cases tracking had little effect on the game.

Bingoed out against Ball so heck about his last rack. Against cheah I determined his last 6 tiles correctly, but he had 30+ scores in different parts of the board and there was nothing worth blocking.

Sadly, tracking is not useful for me because:

1. I keep a note of the power tiles that have or have not appeared easily. You don't need to track to know which line to block, intuition does it. Scanning the board is much faster than tracking.
2. Time consuming and distracting, reduced chance of opponent going overtime
3. In 40-50% of games, the score difference will be too large to make a difference.
4. Even if the difference is small, the game may still be unwinnable.
5. If opponent has an unplayable tile, I will usually know even without tracking. This has happened several times and I had time to milk.
6.It only matters when the scores are close, which is like every once every 8 to 10 games?
7. If opponent bingos out( in Ball's case). By then it's too late.

However tracking is also useful in the pre-endgame, when u have to assess the content of the bag and make certain decisions. But its greatest use is mainly in the last rack.

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