Monday, July 23, 2007

Nats

So I was 5th, 5th and 6th in the last 3 nationals. Despite being 3rd after day 1 and 9-3 +889 after the first 12 games, I dropped to 5th. And if Andy hadn't beaten Weibin in the last round, I would have finished fourth with Kb just after me. Playing Ben 4 times in a row isn't too easy..

A brief overview of my games:

Game 1 vs Kb- EIIIMQW to start, but my rack quickly matures to AEGIIR? and play IRrIGATE(74) after his OVeRFAT (74) and follow up with AEROLITE(70). ANTIROLL (64) 2 turns later seals the game on a fairly blocked board.

W 463-346 Record: 1-0 +147

Game 2 vs JP- Finally I get a game with the defending champion who hasn't played a rated game in some 6 months. I get off to a roaring start with OBLIGED (83) under his QUA, but he replies with ZHO(47) to the TWS. I play DOJO for 17 followed by EXTASIES through the I for 93. He doesn't challenge, surprisingly. But he replies with OUtWAITS(74) , while I score with FANNER(20) and MENT(20) followed by TOLUOLE(77), opening another TWS spot. Sure enough he gets YETI for 47 there, nullifying my lead. I lead by just 27 now. After that, he gets INDITERS(74) to surge ahead. The last 2 tiles for me were VW, unfortunately, while he has CEILPRT to finish easily. I lose by just 11.

L 405-416 Record: 1-1 +136

Game 3 vs Cheah- Not the easiest start to the nationals.. I start with a great rack and lay down FLICKEd(90), while he dumps with VERT(11). Next I play HAJ/AVERT(37) (should have played TAJ) and he gets INTROiT/HAJI (85)to the triple- The next few turns are very close until he gets FRAILEST(86), but I reply with ALAMOD(E)S (78+5) A surfeit of vowels see me play UFOS(35), YEA(23) and CUNEI(14). End up losing a close endgame by 8.

L 429-437 Record: 1-2 + 128

Game 4- vs Weibin- Weibin is next who is also not to be underestimated, despite his lack of play in tourneys. HE opens with WITAN(24)m while I hold the unpromising ELNNQTT and have to dump QAT(23) followed by HINNY. However on the 5th turn the tiles start flowing, and I get a bingo bango bongo of TETANIES(82), PICRATED (80+5) and SERIFED(93+5), bringing me to 351 points in 7 turns. I follow up with ZO(54). Weibin tries to stage a comeback with KITH(61), EX (52) and BARNEYs(83) but my late OARAGEs(70) and FOIL(48) clinches it.

W 572-351 Record: 2-2 +349

Game 5 vs Tony- I start off great with HELIMEN(78+5) undeneath his QUA( JP also played QUA against me), followed by GNARR(20) and OFTEN(36). Tony scores with XENIA(40), JOLE(42) and CURTAILS, missing CURTAIL/ADITS which wouldn't have given me SEEDIEST(78) from the S. He immedately regretted it soon after. Later I spend some time deliberating whether to open the triple with COZIER(54) or to play safe with something else. I take the points, while he bingos with CARNIEST(83), allowing me to bingo out with OVErSO(O)N (76). He challenges in desperation but to no avail . A satsisfying win indeed.

W 477-370 Record: 3-2+ 456

Game 6 v Yen nee- Yen nee is next. I start with AEFOOOU and change 6. She opens with the low-scoring CODA(14) to which I play KIVA(18). Her WEB(31) gives me BONDAGES(89) to surge ahead. Immediately after I play QATS(23), blocking the TWS line. I maintain the lead until her JADES/SNUFF(52) gives me AUDITIOn (74), opening another 9 -timer line. Fortunatel she doesn't take it. Later she fishes for RANTERS(69) but I reply with oCEANIDS(77) to win.

W 451-365 Record 4-2 +542

Game 7 vs Benjamin- A bingo fest. His STROKED(84), VAMP(47)and ENATIONS(66) to my JaUNTIER(82) and PLAYpENS(98) start off an interesting game. 2 turns later, I get RELIANCE(64) followed by ZO/ZA (47) later. Ben gets down SWATTED(77), missing YOGIS/WADSETT for several more points. I paly a close endgame to win by just a few points.

W 459-456 Record: 5-2 +545

Game 8 vs Guan hui- 4 straight wins have boosted me to 3rd place, so I play GH next who is doing quite well. I start with ADEFMP? no bingo, so I play FAMED. But I pick up PLRRT and have to change next. He scores well, racking up 115 points in 4 turns to my 123 after my DRAGSTER. After that he gets YPSILoN(91) to take the lead. I gain ground later with my only Collins bingo this tournament : EATERIE (73), followed by TAKE(41), missing a potentially better KLUTZ(36). But I lose by 30 on a tight board later.

L 390-427 Record: 5-3 +508

Game 9 vs Marlon- Bye- Marlon would be skipping the first 2 games of Sun and asked wheteher I wanted to play on Saturday, but I declined as I wasn't feeling good about my chances. Perhaps it was better to take the free win.

Game 10 vs Gan After observing the round's games, I am charged and ready to play.Gan bingoes first with AROINTs(72), but mid-game I get 3 straight bingos of OESTRAL(59), KEYsTONE (92) (has another anagram and INNARDS(69). I win comfortably.

W 470-364 Record: 7-3 +664

Game 11 vs Han Ei- Quite decent tiles this game. I bingo first with HOSTERS*, which I thought was good, and score well with RATTED(36), RIZ(34) and OVALS(31) while Han Ei gets just 191 points in 8 turns. I get down a double-blank bingo later - VEsTIGEs (70) and follow up with JISM(60) to seal the game. His last rack of ACEINRT can't play.

W 437-293 Record: 8-3 +808

Game 12 vs Andy- I open with KNAG(18) to which Andy replies with GRANDEST through the A. I reply with ALIENEEs (78) through the E. He quickly plays TINROOFS, which I have no choice but to challenge. Fortunately it is disallowed. I hold BEDINOR but no place for the bingo so dump DOB(23). I play RETAINeD(70) next to go ahead by 100. Andy changes 7 while I have AGLOSTU- no sevens or eights, so FOUL it is. GELATOS(74) next extends my lead which I maintain till the end.

W 485-404 Record: 9-3 +889

I am quite pleased to have won all my games in the morning, but i am still 3rd !

After lunch, I play Ben who lost only 1 game that morning. Little did I know that it would be the first of 4 King of the Hill rounds against him. Much was at stake- wsc qualification and other prizes. I was behind JP by 1 win so there was still a faint chance of catching up with him.

Game 13 vs Ben- He opens with UNCIA, U on the starm while I reply with DOUCE/ES (19). He bingoes with (I)NTENSER (68). I hold BELNNOS and rplay ENNOBLES(70), missing UNNOBLES for 19 more points. I play BOGART% (33) next while BEn plays another bingo- WAGGLIER(78) which I challenge to be sure. I old EDHLRR? but HURDLER isn't playable so I have to play off EDH(35).I get WARdMOTE(74+5) 2 turns later, only to neutralize his MATY(54). But Ben gets VERIFiER(73) and I try to make a comeback with JAPE(40), NAZE/ZA(47), YEAH(30) and KUTI%/KIWI (42), but it isn't enough.

L 430-485 Record: 9-4 +844

Game 14 vs Ben- I had to play Ben again, as Cheah and JP were ahead on wins and other pple's spread were too low. Couldn't have done much. Ben gets sHATTER(75), QUARREL(52), SORDINE(86) and JAUNT(62). I have to narrow the spread with CINEOLS(72) and DEVISEd(85).

L 414-476 Record: 9-5 +782

Game 15 vs Ben An important game. If I lost this game I might not make the wsc.. But the tiles flow well and my first 2 moves are RANDIER(68) and ACIErATE(77). Later I get another 2 bingos ATHElING (83) and TROLANDS(80). Ben only has PEERING(68) and can't do much. Despite a clunky last rack, I still win.

W 546-379 Record: 10-5 +949

Game 16 vs Ben- Ben opens with QUAIR(48), but I immediately reply with ANATASE(76). AXMEN(28) and VOMER(20) give me a small lead. I chicken out of UNVESTED which would have given me a better shot at winning. Later Ben uses the first blank for BIvVY(48), he had the 2nd blank too. He gets PASTiES(80) on a blocked board to win.

L 373-405 Record: 10-6 +908

Apparently the last game didn't matter that much, as I still qualified for WSC anyway. Although I played fairly well overall, there were a few unwinnables.

Stats:

Record: 9-6 +858
Ave score: 453- 396
Bingos: 40-23 (2.67- 1.53)

J:7/15
Q:7/15
X:9/15
Z:8/15

S:32/60
Blanks:19/30

WSC07 !

Finally made it to WSC 07 by just 4 points, after Ben despite having to play him 5 times and losing 3 of the matches.. I didn't win, despite having my highest ave (453) and 40 bingos in 15 games. Too many unwinnables. Cheah wins a long overdue title. Sadly, i didn't have much chance to to challenge Cheah as he was stuck with JP due to his high spread. Also worth noting that Ben missed a niner against me in the final game with AEIBY?? through a V in 4th place, playing BIVvY instead. But he still won anyway. In the end, Andy caught up in the last few games and I was displaced to 5th.
Report later if anyone is interested

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's time to do it.

Also booked my air tickets for Penang open. WIll be flying on friday and returning on Monday.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

King's Cup game 27 vs Panupol : A closer look


This was the final game of the 4-day King's Cup tourney.. Much was at stake- the winner would finish 3rd or 4th, but the loser would end up 7th or 8th. Having played Panupol several times before in the past, I knew he was a formidable opponent. It also helped that I had defeated Panupol 2 years ago at the King's Cup. We were seated at table 1, and the tension in the great hall was quite electric- the Crossword song was playing noisily while interested onlookers crowded around to see the result of the decisive Nigel/ Jakkrit game.

Click on images to enlarge.




>panupol: AEW 8F AWE +12 12 A harmless start, or so it seems.
>Hubert_Wee: AADLLNR 7F LAND +18 18 Not a fantastic start. No I for LANDRAIL. Quackle agrees.

>panupol: AEGNU E3 GENUA +18 30 Another dumping move, likely keeping another A.

>Hubert_Wee: ?ADLRRR 4A LARDER +16 34 3 Rs. I played LARDER, missing LARDEReR.

>panupol: ADGJO 9F GADJO +38 68 Panupol plays a Collins word which is also in TWL06.

>Hubert_Wee: ?EMRRRT A1 MERL +18 52 3Rs again.. Several options here, such as B2 REARM, TORR and changing. Contemplated changing MRR but decided to take the TWS with MERL which wasn't a very good move. After a 4-ply sim. REARM is clearly best. As of this point, only 1/6 Rs are unseen.



>panupol: ADEORST C4 ROADSTER +62 130 Panupol finally bingos, suprisingly passing up DOATERS/ALANDS (69) which opens a triple-triple line. Quite ironic since he played a bingo in the same position later, which allowed me a strong comeback. GADJO doesn't take any back hooks.

>Hubert_Wee: ?MORRTZ B6 ZO +65 117 An easy comeback play.

>panupol: ABF B10 FAB +31 161 Dumping clunky tiles and keeping up the scoring.

>Hubert_Wee: ?IKMRRT 10J MIRK +26 143 Best. Quackle agrees too.

>panupol: ILSV L8 VIRLS +24 185 Probably keeping another S.

>Hubert_Wee: ?HIORTV 8L VIVO +30 173 I played VIVO, missing OVeRHIT, which seemed to be Collins-only (it's OVERFIT) and TOVARISH.

>panupol: ENY N10 YEN +36 221 Panupol doesn't have TE or TA, which could have scored quite a bit more.

>Hubert_Wee: ?HLRSTW M6 WHISK +23 196 Being about 50 points adrift, there's still plenty of room for comeback, but there's still a vowel shortage. I played WHISK(23)/ ?LRT, . A short sim favours WaSH(50)/ LRST, which scores and keeps unduplicated consonants. The bag is quite vowel-heavy now, 22/42 vowels unseen.

>panupol: ?CINNSU J1 uNCINUS +69 290 Panupol bingos yet again, hanging the U in the TWS lane..also playable is NUNCIoS (69), which Panupol rued about not playing after the game, as it wouldn't give me a triple-triple. But who knows..the U sure seems safer than the N. A quick check reveals that there are 1865 8-letter bingos with the U in 3rd place, but 3026 bingos with the N in 3rd- so the U was definitely safer overall..

>Hubert_Wee: ?ALOORT 1H ALumROOT +113 309 I quickly play ALumROOT(113) to retake the lead, by just 19 pts. From this point, the game is extremely closely fought..

>panupol: IX 2N XI +38 328 An easy X play by Panupol brings him ahead narrowly.

>Hubert_Wee: AEOOPTU A12 AUTO +20 329 A difficult choice. The collins words POTAE% and OUPA% are not playable due to the different lexicon, so I settle on AUTO(20) instead. Quackle seems to favour POSE/ZOO (33) or even TAUPE(32), but I definitely didn't favour keeping OO..

>panupol: A7 GIF +26 354 Barely staying ahead.

>Hubert_Wee: BEINOPT 3M BOP +29 358 Quackle agrees. Best score and leave overall.

>panupol: N10 YENTE +16 370 An interesting play. Definitely not a setup play, as there are no esses left.

>Hubert_Wee: EIIINTT 4J INTI +12 370 Not an easy rack. Quackle recommends 14A TITI(8), but I decided to block the potential threat of H4 QU(I)CHE (64), which would immediately seal the game for Panupol

>panupol: M13 EH +19 389 Another tactical play to block a possible high-scoring TWS play from me.

Finally, the endgame position below.

It sure looks bleak, with an unimpressive rack and being down by 19. My tracking is on par and I see that Panupol has the Q, which doesn't play for much. If I can go out in 2 I might just win this..

>Hubert_Wee: EEEIITY 5H EINE +12 382 Eventually I work out the best endgame sequence and eke out a close win. His Q plays in only 2 spots-H4 QUEENED (18) and 06 QUOP (15). However, if I take the points with D10 YETI (26), his QUEENED(18) would block my outplay and I would lose. So I play H5 EINE(12) first, which threatens to go out in 2 spots- D10 YETI(26) and H12 YETIS (12). Panupol can't block both effectively and play off the Q at the same time. I win 418-404.

>panupol: CEEPQU O6 QUOP +15 404
>Hubert_Wee: EITY D10 YETI +26 408
>Hubert_Wee: (CEE) +10 418

Thanks to Panupol for a good game. This also shows that the game isn't all about bingos, but good endgame play is just as important. This much-needed win bumped me up to 3rd overall.
Side note: In Causeway last year against Panupol, he played a 9-timer fRO(W)STED (149) against me, but I had 3 bingos, NIRLIEST(68), LOBBIES(74) and PRONATED(69) to lose by just 50. This time it was may turn to play a 9-timer.

The final position-


Friday, July 13, 2007

8 more days..

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Yet another reason not to trust quackle-

Look carefully at the position below.




I have a decent bingo-sized lead. There is only 1 main bingo line along row 2- A-GUE (There is also another from the E of AGUE, but that is insignificant) After 3000 iterations, quackle favours FREAK/AGUE (35). i don't quite agree with this move as 1) it opens the TWS for a potential bingo or comeback score 2) keeps IJ, an asynergistic leave So why not JAK or JAKE, which is what I played? JAK extends the lead to nearly 100 pts and denies the opponent of both TWS. It also keeps a much nicer leave of EIRF. The bag is quite consonant heavy- 9/31 vowels, perhaps the chance of a comeback is small.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mini

Had a long day yesterday, winning only 1 in the morning but winning the last 3 games to come back to 4th. Just finished analysing all my games and it seems I couldn't have done much. Had 2 close games against Andy and Tony, winning by 5 and 1 respectively. Missed just 1 bingo and lost just 30 eq. pts a game (excluding the phonies YOLDS* and BREADERS). I also played my 500th game, which was a resounding win over Yen Nee, with 3 bingos, TITIANS, PERIGONE and TARWHINE with big plays JnANA(57) and ZABRA(50). I still reckon that Marcus and Guo Cong are overrated- Marcus missed ACGHILNT and ALORRST.

Record: 4-4 +80
Ave. score: 432-422
Ave moves a game: 12.38
Ave. score per move: 34.9- 34.0
Bingos: 17-18 (2.13-2.25 )

J:3/8
Q:2/8
X:5/8

S:14/32
Blanks:7/16