The National Scrabble Communion, Day 4

Tuesday, 29 July 2008 — 8:33pm | Adventures, Scrabble, Tournament logs

It’s over, thank goodness.

I finished on a record of 10-18 (-533), ending up in 125th place of 133 players in Division 3. I was bottom-feeding all day, but at least I was feeding.

Truth be told, this was an unremarkable day. I didn’t come away with many stories to tell, though I did pay more visits to the challenge table than on the first three days combined. On one occasion, I opened the game with FEDEX for 48 points, drawing a challenge and buying myself an extra turn. My opponent didn’t know that FEDEX was added in the 2006 dictionary revision, along with a whole smattering of genericized trademarks like PYREX and KLEENEX. This worked to my advantage, since I’d placed the word in a risky position: if he knew the back extension, my opponent could have plopped an -ING on the end to make FEDEXING and hit the TWS for 60 points.

Really, though: that’s the most interesting thing that happened all day, unless you count the incident where my opponent and I were mistakenly assigned to Nadine Jacobson’s permanent location at Table 65. Nadine Jacobson, I should explain, is the blind player with the Braille Scrabble set who reads the board in caresses and keeps score on a Perkins Brailler. She famously refuses the extra playing time that she is entitled to on account of her handicap, preferring the standard allotment of 25 minutes per player simply because it’s fair.

This year’s National Scrabble Championship did not feature a televised final, unlike the ESPN-affiliated editions that ran from 2004 to 2006. It reverted to the old format, where Division 1 is treated like all the other divisions, with no separate best-of-five showdown. In a way, this is fairer—why shouldn’t the top prize go to the player with the best record?—but it’s also a shame, because the thought of witnessing a Richards-Cappelletto battle on a closed-circuit feed in a room full of kibitzing experts strikes me as both educational and intensely entertaining. Oh well: I could always trace my way through Nigel and Brian’s top-table matchups in Rounds 26 through 28 online.

So that just about wraps it up for the Orlando NSC. According to the full tsh report, this tournament chipped my rating from 1315 to 1254. In a way, it was Day 1 that did most of the damage; I went 10-11 in the remainder of the tournament, good enough to save my rating from too steep a plummet (i.e. I can still play in Division 2 at the WCSC). Nevertheless, I think it may be high time to start being concerned that I haven’t appreciably improved in the last four years: sooner or later I’ll have to face the decision to either shape up or ship out. You know which one I’ll pick.

(Day 4 bingos: REtAINER, RERAISE, ABATeRs, RECLINeR, OVERPILE*, RIsIBlE, OUTROSE*, RESoLVES, FLOATIER—bringing my tournament total to 38 bingos over 27 games played, which is merely ordinary and not reflective of the travesty that was my win-loss record.)

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