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-

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