The day just before the tourney, we headed to Peach Garden restaurant in town for some sort of a reunion dinner. It was on the 33rd floor with commanding views of the city skyline. The dinner was not bad- 9 courses including 2 desserts - a delicious cold dish, suckling pig, abalone, shark's fin, steamed fish, prawns and lots of other interesting assorted stuff.
On Sunday, we headed to the NTU Venue with Dorai, Marcus and Victor at 9.10. The organisation wasn't very good and it didn't begin until 10 am.
Game 1 vs Dorai: I have AIIFNOQ to start and play QI. He changes 7 and I hold AEFINO?- no bingo so play IF which really blocks up the board. He changes again and I get to play FORtIES(73) several turns later followed by ABRIM(36) and WIZ(35). I play SiLENCE (95) on the tenth turn, going up by 148. He gets down STEANED(76) but it is too late. Later on I seal the game with some decent plays.
W 490-326 Record: 1-0 +126
Game 2 vs Kb: KB opens with CREED(22), an unusually open move for a reputable blocker..I reply with HOWF(33). After his YUG and my PIETA, I hold CEILORT but there is no place for its anagram, so play COLIN(24) instead. I get down CENTERED(86) next turn which is unblockable as there were 2 Cs available. Later I follow it up with DRAINAGe(80) and TOPSaiL(76). He has no reply.
W 463-335 Record: 2-0 + 292
Game 3 vs Ricky- I start with ELLPRR? and change, keeping EPR?, missing the seven. He begins with a very open POKEY(36). I hold EEPJRV? and play PERVE(20), he replies with DOGSLED(85) which I challenge just to be sure. Sure enough it is good...fortunately I counter with JEFES(54) and follow it up with HUMANeR(63). He dumps AUDIO(18) and I immediately play HET(A)IRAI(65) to go up by 20-odd, a good comeback from being 100 down at the start. He plas ZEA(41), blocking my QUOIF in the same spot for 54 pts, so I make do with TEF(38). I have a surfeit of vowels over the next few turns, but I manage to get down LIMONENE(74) to which he replies with SINGLET(72), instead of BELTINGS(86) which would have won him the game. This allows me AVOWS(54). He has CGNR at the end and I eke out a winning advantage to win by 8. A close match.
W 458-450 Record: 3-0 +300
At this point, we break for lunch. Jobeth and myself are the only players on 3 wins, which makes for an interesting match the next round
Game 4 vs Jobeth- She opens with MACED(24). I have TOYOTAS but of course it isn't valid, so I dump TOY for a measly 17 points. The scores remain close until the fourth turn, when she surges ahead with STILlER(67). I reply with EMETICS(80) and draw HNNNORT, but dump TINHORN(20) instead of NINTH for turnover. After that I get QUOdS/WEFTED(77), KEPI(41) t and NOW(39) to win comfortably.
W 435-337 Record: 4-0 +398
Game 5 vs Ben- I knew it was inevitable I had to meet Ben at some point, so here goes..I have BEGORVW and pla VOWER(30). He replies with JOT(28), I have BGIOPST, no A for AVOWER or ATE, so just go for turnover with BIGOTS(25) only to see him counter with DETOX(67). I now hold DPRRUW? and have to dump GOWD for 18 pts. I follow it up with PARURaS(87), hooking VOWER only to see QUEUEINg(88) go down. I play SKAG/QUEUEINGS(30) and DITSIER(78) to go up narrowly. At the end, he incorrectly opens up a TWS spot for my H, for 56 pts which I follow up with RECOINED(86) to seal the game.
W 506-398 Record: 5-0 + 506
Game 6 vs Liwei- He opens with DITT(10), telegraphing a shortage of vowels to which I reply with a 4-timer GUESTEN(88) . 2 turns later, I get down SEAFaRER(74) followed by FAINTEST(76) to go up by 130. He has QUALE(54), YID(50) and OX(33), but I immediately counter with GUZzLE(75+5). At the end, he incorrectly pluralizes QUALE, allowing me to block his outplay of SURNAME.
W 508-342 Record: 6-0 +672
Game 7 vs Ben- At this point, I was 2 games ahead with a good spread advantage, but I needed 1 more win to clinch the title. I always seem to meet Ben in KOTH rounds....Not a very good game- I begin with AAAIORT and finally decide on AIA 8f( Quackle likes the 8g position). He counters with LUNGYI(25) atop. I hold AAOPRST but nothing would play, so it has to be PRAO(24). He takes the early lead with BRITTLE(79). I have ANSTXZ? and can't find a spot to dump for 30+ pts, so I play ZEX(19). I draw the J and play it off in the form of JOT(20) then follow it up with NASiONS(81) next turn. He plays ZIT(36) to lead by 50. I hold EEIGOOR and play EGO(19), but change the next turn while he dumps EAU(13). I manage to get down PURIFIER(101) right after that to lead by 30. However later he gets PREaCHER(94) while I have CEOOOVW. I get CONVEYS(86) on the last move but he bingos out with GELIDEST(90) catching me with the Q to win..
L 410-506 Record: 6-1 +576
Game 8 vs Ben- The 3rd time playing ben in 8 games. . I simply have to not lose the game by about 130 to win the title.. Ben starts with KINDA(30) while I have the unimpressive AEOOWWY. I make do with YOW(24). 2 turns later, he gets down a 4x EDIFIES(106) but I reply with FAXED(51) to trail by 40. I get LITANIES(70), ZAG(47) and STaRTER(71) over the next few turns to lead by 80. At the end I get down DINOSAUR(82).I protect my lead for the remainder of the game to win on a rather blocked board.
W 483-373 Record: 7-1 +686
I am rather pleased to have won the NTU championship for the first time, receiving $140 of shopping vouchers and a nice trophy for my efforts. This win also brought me one step closer to a 2000 rating..The slightly unusual thing was that I didn't play at all with the no. 2 and 3 finishers ( Victor and Andy) who both won all their games in the afternoon to sneak to the top.
Ave. score:469- 382
Bingos: 21 -9 ( 2.63 - 1.13)
No. of turns: 104- 104
Ave. score per turn: 36.1-29.4