I reached the Taj President early at 7.40 on Friday morning for the first day of WSC. We were staying at the Ascot Hotel, a well-furnished hotel not far from the venue. Other players- Tim Adamson, Jim Kramer and a few Brits were also staying there.
The pairings were already out and I was matched with Gerry Carter.Having played with him many times before, I knew that he was not one to be underestimated
Game 1 vs Gerry (Thailand) who finished 38th
Start with the unpalatable AIIIMTV after his opening YAULD(26). I decide to play ATIMY for a handful of points while Gerry bingoes with TORSADES(86). I have AIIIOVZ and play AZO(48). More mediocre racks of several Is follow. He blocks my SINICISE on move 5, while I get down INCENSE(82) to trail by 50. A late HASTIER(86) narrows the gap by much. The scores are 392-388 to Gerry but he holds EFIRM?? to my AADFWR to win rather easily.
L 422-436 Current position: 59th
With that loss I am paired with Greger from Sweden who is a rather nice guy.
Game 2 vs Greger Nassen(Sweden) who finished 103rd
I begin with AEGINRU which has no 7s so I change the U. Greger plays GLARY(26) and I play REARNING(86)* which I now realise is phony. It stays though and he plays QI(31). 2 turns later, I get down BlOVIATE(76) folowed by FrONTAGE(74). Greger plays a late LANDERS(74) but I play FAIRIES(74) to further extend my lead. A comfortable win.
W 526-361 Current position:33rd
Game 3 vs Michael Gongolo(Ken) who finished 30th
Michael changes 3 tiles while I hold EEMRSUU and play UMU. I bingo with TUYERES(65+5) next followed by RADIX(47). He quickly plays AERATING(70). Scores are close till the end when Michael plays COZ/OB/ZA for 69 points, effectively finishing the game. My last rack of DMGNS?? is not useful.
L 375-434 Current position-72nd
Game 4 vs Wajid Iqbal(PAK) who finished 58th
I have BDJIMRU to open and play JUD(22). Wajid plays WOP and I play IMBRUE(25), keeping another I..Later I get TAILBONE(74) and STIRRES(88) to surger ahead while he has ANOTHER(77). I play FIND(35), BENTY(34) and VLY(22) to lead narrowly. At the end, he has SEDATiNG(72) to draw close. I set up a TWS score with ZEE which he blocks with AA(8). I play SAiGH(69) which I am surprised to find invalid while he outs with AURIC to win by 60. A waste indeed.
L379-415 Current position -76th
Lunch break- The buffet spread is pretty good, much better than the typical Indian food you would get in Singapore. Dhal curries, chicken masala, mutton curry, salads and even some sinful deserts like rasmalai and kulfi
Game 5 vs Mohan Chunkath(IND) who finished 80th
I begin with FOREL/EH(24), while Mohan plays LOZEN(28) to which I reply with HEFTY(45). Later I get down BITTERER to the R for 72, and follow up with EXORDIAL(67) and DUSTINGS(64) to take the lead. But Mohan attempts a comeback with mAIDANS(70), picking the last blank. On a closed board, I have HINNOLU to his AADIPO?. Fortunately there is no bingo for him and I win easily
W 413-359 Current position- 57th
Game 6 vs Sam (US) who finished 29th
A cracking game. I reply with KAIE(22) to Sam's opening OX(18), while he plays LINDIES(72) which I reply with a double-double DENOTING(90). Sam takes the triple with HOUSED(32) while I play COVERING(78) to his ROQUE(45). Then I get down another bingo-INLAYER(72) which Sam replies with JOHN and TENURIAL(72). After the 6 turns, I lead 356-284. A series of high-scoring moves continue-GET(45), FADS(57) and ZEsT(77). Fortunately I manage to bingo on the 2nd last turn with PROGrA(M)S for 69 and out with QUEP next.
W 565-434 Current position- 42nd
Game 7 vs Chris Ntege (UGA) who finished 100th.
Chris opens with THUD(16) while I have an easy FEERINS(79). I play GOLI(AR)D for 36 next, followed by QI(35) and ECTOzOA(70) to his STONIER(69) and ZOEAE(48) More consistent scoring-XU(40), VODOU(26) and NEW(40) further extend my lead. A late ARSENAL(79) brings my score above 500..
W 529-367 Current position- 28th
Game 8 vs Ralph Lobo who finished 41st
Lat game of the day. I had played with his brother, Douglas several times before but it was my first matchup with Ralph. I hold ABEENIW and play WEB(16), missing a few superior plays. Ralph dumps both Vs with VIVE(18) The game is close until I bingo first with SCRUPLeR(2), immediately drawing a challenge. I have a surfeit of As later- AAAAILZ, AAALSZ?. At the end, Ralph is stuck with the Q, which is a boost to my spread.
W401-324 Current positon -22nd
Pleased to have won all of the afternoon's games to finish 22nd for day 1, despite a rather shaky start. After the games we venture down to Konkan Cafe, an Indian restaurant in the Taj which serves very good Indian cuisine. The steamed pomfret fillet with spices is absolutely delicious. Very good service too.
After the first day, Paul Allan from Scotland leads the field for now, followed by Nigel and Charnwit
PS: I'm on facebook.