This is the 3rd instalment of the Penang trip, comments welcome.
Saturday quickly dawned and I was to be playing with Nigel first. And I hadn't defeated him since the LBH 2004.. But first we went down for breakfast at around 7.20am, which was really mediocre. If it was a 4-star hotel, the spread on weekends certainly didn't match up.
The range was just lousy and the choices unappealing- coconut rice with hardly any coconut, faded hash browns, canned baked beans, yam cake, toast and fruit. Only the omelettes were worth trying . Quite a far cry from the buffet spread at the Novotel Bangna bangkok where I stayed in 2005 which also claims to be a 4-star hotel..The variety was fantastic there with all sorts of dishes including noodle soup, cereal, fresh juices, fried rice, cookies.
So after breakfast we went up to the playing area, which was well-air conditioned but the area outside was really stuffy. At 8 I begin my game with Nigel who opens with MACED(26) I hold ADELORR and play RELOADER(63) (best). Nigel dumps with OUIJA(30) while I surge ahead with INTERMAT% (72). Unfortunately I don't block the floater for his B(E)AUTIES (72) which he quickly plays. Then I hold DEFLMOO and settle on MOFO%(40), after deciding not to block the L in TWS lane for fewer points. Sure enough he comes back with SI(L)ICULE(80) which wouldn't have happened had I played there. After bingoing he changes 6, followed by ZOCAlO(72) which I counter with ROOTIEST(82) to lead 323-307. His moves of AVOW(32) PHONE(41), KY(36) give him the lead while my I play WYNN(30), HOGG(34) and BANG(21). My last rack is DNQTX to his EGIPVR?. Yikes.
L 419-473 Me: QSSX Nigel: JSSZ?? Equity loss:35 Best plays: 6/12
Game 6 vs yi En, another Malaysian teen who I haven't met. I open with BIVIA(26) while he plays BOXIER(30) creating a nice open board for my HEXAGOnS(80) to go down, followed by BRU%(20), giving him UPGIRT to the triple. Fortunately I get FU(E)LLING (64) to lead, which is quickly replied by his AiLETTE. Then I play DIARY (34) atop AILETTE, but he overlaps with DOZE/ZIT (51)! Should have played DAIRY instead..goes to show how the small things add up. I maintain the lead until the end, when his opening of OD(10) gives me KNITTED(85). He replies with ORIOLES(73) but it is not enough. Yi En sure seems to be the strongest of the Malaysian teens (not counting Suanne)
W 457-403 Me:SS? Yi en: JQXZSS? Equity loss:88 best moves: 7/14
Game 7 vs Aaron- Aaron opens with WUS and I have only 1 place for EDACITY! He replies with OUTSEEN(68), while I reply with VI(S)IEINg(72+5), missing a better play in that spot. Aaron takes the TWS with FOE(40) while I have drawn BEGJRQ?- not good, despite the blank. I unload QI(22) and JUGA(24) when he bingoes back with ELONgATE(70). I chicken out of the bingo in ?DEGRRT and play DREG(24) instead. Aaron covers the other TWS with HOP(45) (what is it with these high-scoring short words!) I have a large shortage of vowels- ?BBERRT which comes back again at the end. Aaron dumps OBIA(12) and DWINE(18) while I play OAK(19) followed by the only bingo INcLINE(61). I have AHLMRST after the bingo, Aaron plays DEV and the unseen is AEGIPRRS. I lead 397-395. There is a spot above OAK for his bingo, but another hotspot below DEV. So if I block the bingo line, Aaron would take the hotspot with a 30+ play, going out next turn and I would still lose. So the only way was to play HARM(47) and hope he didn't have SOAK/SPAIRGE. Sadly he did. pfft.
L 444-481 Me: JQXZSS?? Aaron: SS Equity loss: 73 Best plays: 3/12
Game 8- Kong Chock heng. Haven't played him prior to this. At one point I hold ACFORT? but take the points with COFT(43) first before bingoing jAUNSED(82+5) to take the lead. He exchanges 6, then comes back with VALETEs(73). The scores are very close until the end, and so is the board. At the end, I hold EEEJSWX with AAEINNRST unseen. The only decent play is JEWEL, but that opens a floater. But he has AEINRST and takes 5 minutes to see the bingo, ARSENITE to bingo out.
L 356-445 Me:SSXZ? Kong chock heng: JQSS? Equity loss: 94 Best plays:3/12
A much needed lunch break at last. Mediocre plays, partially due to the lack of fresh air, see me win only 1 of 4 games all morning. I venture down to the Japanese restaurant Waka (waka is good too) with Cheah and Yen nee. I have the cod fish set (RM25++) while Yen Nee and Cheah have the Cod and chicken set (RM45++). It comes with rice, soup, fruits and a concoction of tofu with prawns and cubes of chicken inside. Pretty decent, but preferred the Japenese food in Siam paragon bangkok- salmon steak set for a cheaper price. As usual the food takes forever to arrive.
Game 9 vs Suanne- I have DEGFNVS to start. is exchange FGV even worth considering? I doubt so. I play VEND(16) and have just 1 vowel a rack for the next 4 turns. Suanne has PENNIES(77), ZOO(32), HOURS(30) to lead 185-114. But then I bingo back with GENITURE(70), followed by DEALATEd(70+5). She draws close with FENITARS(65) but I pull away with ETOURdIE(61) to win.
W448-356 Me:JSX?? Suanne: QSSSZ Equity loss:14 Best plays: 7/12
At this point in time I am 4-0 against M'sian kids and 0-3 against M'sian adults.
Game 10 vs Tengku- Coincidentally, we were to celebrate his birthday the next day. I was feeling pretty confident going into this round, especially with Tengku. However I have IIIIQUW to start- the first reaction was to change, but decide on IWI(12) with a reasonable leave. But he replies with TaTTLER(65), followed by ZATI(45) and FOY(41) while I have lousy racks (IIIPQUX, EEGIIUX, EGGIIIU). I change and draw the blank and use it in FArDENS(79), but still trailing by 49. With ABEIOLU I play ABOULIA(24). A lucky break comes when Tengku plays CEIL/ABOULIAE* (37). Very funny. I paly GOPAK(32) in the same spot, followed by BRAILLES and HOVED(25) I maintain the lead till the end. Tengku captured 5 of 6 TWS this game..
W 438-367 Me: JSX? Tengku Asri: QSSSZ? Equity loss:26 Best plays:10/14
Game 11 vs Jin Chor. Jin Chor opens with OLIVE 8h, instead of the superior VOILE, allowing my IONOGEN(63) to play. Next he plays VIVO, blocking my LEAVENED(94) throught the V. He bingoes next with dRAGOON(75), while I keep pace with ZA(46) and TEMPERA(77). My WEX(44) is quickly countered by his QIS(44). Jin Chor later holds DENORS?, missing the 96 point 4-timer through EN, hooking HAW. CAN YOU SPOT IT? He plays DONSiER instead, followed by ENACTS(33) and JUTTED(37). But I have a timely HOKUMS(60) to cruise to a narrow win.
W 436-414 Me: SSXZ Jin Chor: JQSS?? Equity loss: 33 Best plays: 6/12
Game 12-vs vannitha- After my GYBE(20) and JAUNCE(21) to begin, she plays SOIlAGE(84) followed by OCReATE(63) 2 turns later. I have ZOL(39), FRY(32), NEXT(41) and YOMP(22) to trail narrowly. Just when I am about to catch up, she bingoes with ATHEISE(71). I make the worst blunder of the tourney with UNWeARS, missing UNSWeAR(105) in the same spot. Sigh. It's UNWARES that was good. She plays HOOD(49) in the same spot and the game is lost. My late SUNNIeR(69) only narrows the spread.
L 382-471 Me:SSXZ? Vannitha: JQSS? Equity loss:119 Best plays:4/13
Last game of the day. The schedule has been revised so we would be playing 6 games the next day.
Game 14 vs Jocelyn. I open with WOOFY/AI (36). Jocelyn plays YONT(29), I am aware that it doesn't take S. 2 turns later I get down ETATISTE(62) while she replies with GOrSIER(80) 2 turns later. I draw the clunky HKLUUVW after the bingo and play HULK(27), followed by WIVED(18). I am fortunate to get DENORRUU(74) next turn- to regain the lead. Later, Jocelyn bingoes PLENISH/ROTI(82) to take the lead but I have AIM(37) and LOX(41) to get it back At the end, Jocelyn is under some time pressure and misses the bingo in AEGIINS?, otherwise I would have lost, reminiscient of the game where she stuck herself with the Q against Cheah. But she won away. This win completes my 8 game winning streak against Jocelyn.
W 422-382 Me: SXZ Jocelyn: JQSSS?? Equity loss:44 Best plays:6/13
It is already 8pm and we venture out for dinner. Halfway Henry and Tony wander of to eat nasi biryani while we settle for a chinese restaurant. We order sizzling beef, sizzling black pepper chicken, prawns with cashew nuts and vegetables. The food is pretty tasty. The bill for 4 comes up to RM85. After dinner we descend on a cafe near the hotel for coffee with Cheah, Dianne and Yen nee. I opt for the hot chocolate(RM8.80) which was extremely rich and delicious. After the enjoyable evening we head back to the hotel to rest.
Day 2 summary:
Ave. eq loss: 55
Ave. score: 429- 420
X:9/10 (2 unplayed)