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