FINALLY! A tourney win in Div A ! And a new GM norm too. My mugging and daily JT practise over the past week has paid off. I didn't get to play many newly mugged words like AABDENVW or AAGRSSTU, but still got quite a bit of challenges in my favour. Many thanks to Michael for organising the event, Li Wei for botching a winnable endgame and Carl Johnson for getting me in the mood to mug. However the timing is off, things would have been a bit different had I won the last tourney
Stats and full report follows.
Record: 9-2 +664
Ave. score:432- 372
Ave. turns per game:12.36
Ave. score per move: 34.95-30.1
J:5/11 (so far, 43/108 39.8%)
S:24/44 (202/432 46.8%)
Ave. tiles drawn:52.9-47.1
Ave. tiles played:51.5-46.6
Ave. score per tile:8.39-7.98
Ave. tiles unplayed:1.9
Challenges gained:50 pts
challenges conceded: 5 pts
The week leading up to the tourney was rather uninteresting, apart from the Holland V meetup and a few other things. A week before the mini, I printed out several lists of 7000+ bingos and did JT bingos daily, averaging around 70-75%. I hoped to at least finish in the top 3 after several mediocre showings earlier this year. The night before, I didn't sleep well, but took herbal tonics.
THE DAY ITSELF
Arrived at G8 at 9.15am and was surprised to see only a few people moping around. The tourney was held in a surreal glass-walled function room right smack in the middle of the estate with nice views all around. Soon most of the players arrived, including henry whose train was delayed and the games started at 9.45.
GAME 1 vs Gan: He opens with the boring BOING(22). I have drawn ACEIJPV and play JAP(28). He exchanges 5 and I play MINIEST(77+5) 2 turns later. A slow game follows. He only racks up 167 pts in 8 moves. I get down OUGLIES(68) while he has the double-blank sWEaRER(69). At this point, I am up by 37 with EEIPNRSTY unseen. I have ACDORST and have to block the S hook of SWEARER. I play CORDS(18) and win by 34.
W 410-376 Bingos 2-1
Game 2 vs Henry: Henry is next. I expect an interesting game. I start and get off to a flying start with HARRIED(80) and RATTLING(63). He replies with EULOG(I)AE(70) then changes 5. Then, I get a long string of potent scores- VETO(33), KAW(46), MANE(32), FACE(39), BUMPILY(36+5), JO(31) and QUITCH(40+5). He has SOURCED(73) and several 20+ scores. With 14 in the bag, the 2 blanks are still unseen. Sure enough, he gets both, playing ReLISTS(69) and PAINTeD(83). Sigh, but thanks to my high scores, I have enough to win.
W 506-448 Bingos 2-4
Game 3 vs Zi Peng: A most unpleasant game. Start with ZIP(28) after his exchange, then he gets a blank bingo while I play through poor racks..At one point, I have ADERSTU and have to fish the U, getting STANDER(68) next turn. He play SUNdIAL(70), while I have to play BIVVY and CURING . Not good. He misses the fitting anagram of AELLORST and I am stuck with Q.
L 328-437 Bingos: 1-2
I am not pleased to have drawn no blanks so far, I hoped it would change for the better and it sure did.
Game 4 vs Yen Nee: One of the most boring games, if not the most boring. I start with DENTIL/I (18) and she replies with EVENT(16). I play MAULING(68) next move.Nothing interesting for the rest of the game. I get SOUCE(32+5) and WEX(47) to stay in the lead. She tries to open but I block easily.
W 396-313 Bingos:1-0
We break for a quick lunch at 1.45. Trek to the bus interchange and back.
Game 5 vs Michael: He starts with OXIME, missing its better anagram. I play DUMP, CRAZY and AUSTERE(85) on successive turns. He has a string of low-scoring plays. After my second bingo ENDERON(72) I am already leading by 126. Late in the game he gets BRANLEs/sneb(93) which I challenge. Incidentally that is my only unsuccessful challenge of the tourney. I have the blank but with AOOITV and can't even out in 2.
W 444-358 Bingos: 2-1
Game 6 vs LiWei: Li Wei is clearly determined to win after my 3-game winning streak over him, counting overseas games. I begin with GOOF(16). He overlaps with HM(24) I draw CEGU but play ESCUAGE(73). My brief moment of joy is short-lived as he returns with PAYLOADS(106). I score steadily with GROOM(32), CLOVEN(24), BEAR(41) and ZIP(42) while he has HAUNT(29), CITY(18) and DIArIES(74). Soon he plays RENEWING(64), much to my dismay. But then he carelessly phonies with ULIKE ! and my rack matures into the nice DEINRST. Play RESIDENT for 72 pts as all its anagrams score the same. Then I have FOX(46) to tie the scores at 388. I play VEXT and RAVEL while he misses the optimal endgame sequence to lose by 8.
W 445-437 Bingos:2-3
Game 7 vs Joshua: At this point I am leading nicely with a 5-1 record and hoping to hold on to my lead. I start slowly with ODEA(10) and FAIENCE(14) while he exchanges and phonies ARMITAGE( there are 2 other anagrams). But after that i get MASHIER(73), OO(16) and bANJOIST(116). He is still playing 2-3 tiles slowly and is trailing by a lot. Over the next few turns I get DOUANEs(66), WAUGH(24) and GOLIARDS(86) to widen the gap to over 300 pts. I get stuck with the Q at the end but still win big. I play 64 tiles to his 35, the most so far this year.
W 551-269 Bingos:4-0
Game 8 vs Cheah: I don't expect an easy game , but I simply plough through this one with sWEATER(80), TOOTSIE(72) and sERENELY(64). He has ROYALISM(69), missing STORMILY. I have bad racks at the end but still can score and block where needed.
W 443-348 Bingos:3-1
At this point, I need to win 2 of my remaining 3 games to hit 1900. Getting closer. .
Game 9 vs Tony: A tough game, but with pretty decent tiles to boot. I start with MOXIE(34), he replies with CORRODE(20). I get YAULD(26) and ZO(41) to his JINS(33) and WONKY(45). The score is close at 102-98. I get down a natural EASEFUL(77+5) which he challenges, followed by QUIRT(28) and VETCH(19). He soon gets REANOINT(74), narrowing the gap to 12 points. I play OBIA(29), GILT(20) while he has OY(28) and UNWRITE(28). Then I get the blank and play ArEOLATE(66), immediately drawing the next blank, but the board is too closed for any bingo. An easy win as he has no vowels at the end.
W 428-335 Bingos:2-1
I nearly have the tourney sealed up now with my last 6 wins. As it turned out, i would have won even after dropping my last 2 games.
Game 10 vs JP: I start well, but poor endgame tiles see me relinquish my lead. He phonies with REELIES* and I play QIS(41) right there. By turn 5 I am leading 141-54 and feeling comfy on a blocked board. But later I have to dump VROUW(30), MUM(23) and ADVENE(30). He gets both blanks late and lays down TuTANIA(73) and outs with the last blank
L 362-389 Bingos:0-1
I have to win the last game to break 1900. It was already getting quite dark.
Last game vs Andy: I open with BETTA/CS. Best. He replies with ULZIE(28), giving me a spot for my Q: QUESTED(36). He plays PANTRY(30) in 5 seconds flat while I get down PaNICLES(92). He counters with DOWNTURN, much to my dismay. Play MOO, IRID and JOE followed by BARMIER(78) to go up by 90. he makes a series of small plays while I have OVARIAN(30+5) and HELLO(47). He gets an easy bingo, tOASTIE(63) but it is too late.
W 444-381 Bingos: 2-2
I am very pleased to have finally won this year, as it was a pretty tough field by any standards.Finally hit 1900 after trying so many times. This proves that blanks aren't everything-even ball with his unreal blank count wasn't at the top. The venue was cool and quite comfortable, and there were also refreshments provided. I will most likely be playing in the Sin Ming tourney, and will probably give the Sep mini a miss. But nothing is final so do not be surprised if I appear. Meanwhile, I still have the nationals to win. . . .