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Colorado photos [22 Aug 2008|12:56pm]
If people are interested in seeing what I was doing instead of going to Nationals, I've posted photos from my trip to Colorado.
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Michigan Madness Day Two [06 Jul 2008|11:35pm]
I slept a little better the second night, and I think it shows in my games.  Though, I still made a lot of mistakes. 

Round 9 - Margaret S
Round 10 - Stephen K
Round 11 - Carolyn E
Round 12 - Rob L
Round 13 - Scott P
Round 14 - Brett H

I'm particularly proud of my round 12 game.  He outdrew me early, but I fought back pretty quickly and despite almost giving the game away, managed to find a nontrivial play to win in the endgame.  The last two games have full racks and my game with Scott has commentary from both us.

Congrats again to aibretty for stealing the tourney with yet another phony.
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Michigan Madness games 5-8 [02 Jul 2008|09:46am]
Despite some boneheaded misses, I had early large leads in each of these games.  I need to work on the strategy of how to protect the lead.  Not accidentally emptying the bag to blow a 114 point lead and not missing a 165 point 3x3 have to be near the top of the list of things not to do.  Live and learn...

Round 5 - Scott Pianowski
Round 6 - Adrian Mannella
Round 7 - David Ross
Round 8 - Brett Haughney
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Michigan Madness recap [01 Jul 2008|12:32pm]
Michigan Madness was a lot of fun and was my first two day tourney outside of Chicago.  I slept horribly Friday night and made a lot of mistakes on Saturday.  Luckily, I was able to get by on my strategy of outdrawing my opponents.  I had 100+ point leads in over half my games and need to get better at managing the board with an early lead.  I tried to close things up early, but I'm not sure if this was always the best strategy.  Going into the final game I needed to beat aibretty by 132 finish with an identical record and spread.  Since I would have beaten him twice, I'm assuming I'd win the tie-breaker and the tourney.  Alas, after going up around 150 with a late bingo he phonies for 38 to only lose by 120 and hold on to the win.  The sad thing is I knew RISED* wasn't good but for some reason didn't say hold fast enough because I was confirming how much it scored.  There wasn't much to do but laugh at how appropriate it was that he'd edge me out with a phony.  However, for those scoring at home, I'm 4-0 +220 against him in tournaments.  This is now the second tourney in a row where I lost out on first based on spread and dropped a place by around 24 spread points.  At least I didn't choke away a win this time.

I'll try to post all my games in the next few days.  I'd appreciate hearing any advice people may have regarding opening/closing the board, especially when there are still lots of unplayed tiles.  Here are the first four games:


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A tale of two tournaments [26 May 2008|08:31pm]
I was playing well and in great shape after two days at the Arden Cup, and then the wheels came off. 
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New Palm [14 May 2008|01:08pm]
My Sony Clie died a horrible death yesterday.  Actually it didn't really die, it just freezes whiling trying to bootup, so it's more like it suffered a debilitating stroke.  As a result, I'm now in the market for a new palm.  It inconveniently died  the same day I got my new cell phone so a Treo isn't really an option.  I mostly  used my old Palm for scrabble so I'm not really interested in the bells and whistles of the more expensive models?  Do people have any experience running scrabble programs (Lampwords, Road Lingua, Supermemo) on the $90 Palm Z22? 
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punks on ISC [25 Apr 2008|10:20pm]
I used to play on ISC all the time but haven't played there much the past few months.  I logged on to play some games this evening and forgot how much bullshit you have to wade through to try to find an honest game.  My first game was against BOREDBOARD who claims to have a 1600 NSA rating.  I open with NONORaL and they disconnect.  I sent them a message thanking them for a one move game and for being a class-act.  Then I end up playing mudhut which is clearly some kid with an anagrammer and a 1900 rating.  He's up most of the game, but doesn't block the lane I open playing OR(E) with 4 in the bag.  When I bingo out with FLANkER he disconnects.  The adjudication results in no rating change since he was up, though I would have won after the points off his rack, but whatever...  In my final game, my opponent made one play and then aborted.  Then BOREDBOARD came back to tell me they left because I was using an anagrammer at 131.78.344.01.  Then he adds me to his  no-play list.  Pinging that ip address reveals that it's invalid.  What the fuck is wrong with people?  All I wanted was a fair, friendly game of scrabble before bed.  With my luck Quackle will now accuse me of cheating and then crash.
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Muxtape [13 Apr 2008|03:11pm]
After listening to the muxtapes made by esdscrabble  and ericaareicceria , I've decided to make my own. A 12 song limit seemed kind of small, but I've managed to squeeze in some of my favorite songs (or at least ones I've been listening to recently). My apologies to those who didn't make the cut: Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, Tinariwen, Windmill, The Hold Steady, Four Tet, Panda Bear, Andrew Bird, M83, Apparat, The Decemberists, RJD2, Jens Lekman, The National, Pela, Spank Rock...

My music tastes have shifted recently from underground hip hop to indie-rock and alt-country.  So it may not be the most cohesive play-list, but I tried to keep jarring genre switches to a minimum.

If nothing else, people should listen to Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night which is one of the best hip hop songs ever written.

Enjoy (or ignore) the music here
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Substituting a Y for a vowel [10 Apr 2008|10:38am]
DYVOURS recently came up in my studying.  I've seen other weird words where a vowel could be replaced by a Y.  So I decided to see how many words fit this pattern, excluding those that ended with a Y.  Some of these pairs aren't too interesting, but there are definitely some fun words in the list.

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Chicago "Club" Recap [16 Mar 2008|02:15pm]
It's been awhile since I last posted, but I haven't been playing much. I've stopped going to club ever since it moved to a senior center way up on the north side. There's general dissatisfaction about the new venue amongst the younger generation of Chicago scrabblers, so we've started meeting every few weeks for what's become my de facto club sessions. On Saturday, Tom, Erica, Andrew, Brett, Jeremy, Jeremy's second cousin David, and I met at our old club venue to play some games. These games are a lot of fun as people don't take it too seriously, and there's a lot of joking and discussion during the games but no outright kibitzing.

Despite a few bad mistakes, I had a great day going 6-1 +718 while averaging a fun 455.7 points a game. I really did a great job of outdrawing and out-phoneying my opponents. I should have gone 7-0 but inexplicably didn't challnge KET* after holding it for 4 minutes and knowing it needed to come off for me to have a chance.  At least I won't be fooled by it again.  I felt kind of bad for Brett who seemed to be wading through some horrible racks in our games.  But he's been kicking my butt on Scrabulous, so he probably deserves it.

I've enjoyed playing through other games people have linked to from Livejournal. So if anyone wants to see my games and the in-depth analysis of a career 1300 player (OK, it's mostly Quackle's analysis. I just parrot it), here they are:

vs. Brett
W 503-362

vs. Erica
L 442-433

vs. Andrew

W 456 - 376

vs. David

W 384 - 273

vs. Jeremy
W 480 - 343

vs. Brett again

W 491 - 353

vs. Brett yet again
W 443 - 325
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Battle Creek [24 Sep 2007|09:41pm]
aibretty proposed going to the Battle Creek tournament over the weekend. I didn't have to coach soccer Saturday morning due to Yom Kippur, and it's likely to be the last tourney I can attend before next year's Arden Cup. Unfortunately, this meant getting picked up at the butt-crack of dawn and driving close to three hours each way. However, Kalamazoo was on the way home allowing for a pilgrimage to the the Bell's Brewery which tragically no longer distributes to Illinois. I brought home a case of beer and a Two Hearted Ale t-shirt.

It was really a pretty fun day, except for the Scrabble, I basically played like ass. I had one great play where I squeezed the first I of IONIUMS under TIT and the S under DETRAIN for 92 points. The rest of the tournament was pretty much a mess. The lowlight was definitely when I held BDENV?? late in the game with the only bingo lines needing to use a W in the first three positions or end in a Y. I didn't know VENDIBLY and didn't come close to seeing WAVEBAND. Instead I fished off the B, with ACEKOOOSTU unseen I hoped to draw an E, A, or U. Sure enough I drew the U, he didn't block the W bingo line, and I out-bingoed with UN(W)eaVED*. Only to have it challenged off. First off: What the fuck? Secondly: No really, what the fuck? I had added all the weave verbs and their conjugations to my cardbox this spring and apparently never wrote them out side-by-side. What's missing here:

weave weaves wove woven weaved
reweave reweaves rewove rewoven reweaved
inweave inweaves inwove inwoven inweaved
unweave unweaves unwove unwoven

For what it's worth, INTERWEAVE also has all five forms. It would be nice if there was some pass through the dictionary to edit it for consistency. (units of measure could really benefit from such an edit. For example, I use MEGABASE* on a daily basis but only KILOBASE is good). Is there some reason unweaved shouldn't be good but the other forms should that I'm unaware of? Anyways, I also missed the one playable bingo UNsaVED because I didn't know FELTING took an S hook.

I missed several other bingos I should have seen and made decisions that either resulted in a loss (or should have) in most of my games. I ended up 4-3 +184 which should result in a couple of lost rating points. Though I'd like to consider myself a better player, it's hard to argue with my 1320-ish rating when all four tournaments I've played in have given me a rating within 25 points of 1300. Hopefully I'll improve some by next spring. And now the bingo lists...

My Bingos:

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How I increased my spread by not challenging a phony bingo... [04 Sep 2007|11:22pm]
I had an interesting game this weekend where it appears it was best for me to not challenge off a phony bingo and not because it setup a good comeback play. Late in the game, my opponent played UNSHApE* for 70. I didn't know UNSHAPED or UNSHAPEN but reasoned it was a phony. It just seemed like one of those words that would only exist in some adjective form. I would have challenged, but I had deduced that CINQVY were the six tiles left in the bag. I had a 38 point GUTTED play at 12A, giving me an easy out in two if his play stayed on the board. I decided to take this route as I wanted nothing to do with the tiles in the bag. It turns out my intuition was correct and leaving the bingo on leads to a higher spread (assuming I played GUTTED).

If the play stays, I get down 12A GUTTED followed by 4A IVY. I then go out with D14 (H)I for a 475-351 (+124) win. If I challenge off his play and play GUTTED, he responds with 4C SHEs followed by 9A QI and then A12 (G)UAN or (G)AUN for a 454-338 (+116) win.

It's possible that it's best to challenge off his play and then keep tiles in the bag with something like 12D TEG (which leaves some good scoring plays if I draw the Q). However, it's hard to assess plays that leave tiles in the bag, and unfortunately, Quackle doesn't let you specify an opponents rack for simming purposes. It also seems like this is leaving too much to chance as it'd be easy to draw into a bad rack. I'd appreciate hearing any comments or suggestions people may have.

Adam C                   CINQVY    332 
Dave                     GUTTEDI   403

Dave: Turn 12

   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O  
 1|B O A '       =       '   B I|
 2|A E R A T I N G   "   K A E  | 
 3|    M A I T ' R ' A C E -    | 
 4|'     -       O     E X     '| 
 5|        -   W U D   L        |
 6|  "       Y O N   W O     "  |
 7|    '       ' D ' H M   '    |
 8|=     '     P E P O   '     =|
 9|    '       ' R ' A D   '    |
10|  S e L L E R S   " I     J  |
11|    F O I N         E     I F|
12|'     -       '     T I N G E|
13|    -       ' L O V E   -   A|
14|U N S H A p E     " R     - Z|
15|=     '     R O U T S '     E|
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Chicago Tourney Recap [03 Sep 2007|06:08pm]
    I entered the tournament seeded near the top of division two and feeling good about my chances.  I had a winning record against the top of the field who were mostly from Chicago.  Still after the meltdown I suffered at the Arden Cup, I was a little nervous.  I seem to implode when I don't draw well and my opponent keeps a closed board by playing off tiles one or two at a time.  I've described this style as someone playing the game by taking little constipated shits all over the board.  It's just no fun for everyone involved.

    After some reshuffling to balance the divisions, I was ranked 2nd of twelve.  With thirteen rounds this meant there'd be a round robin followed by a two round king of the hill, which is a nice fair format.  At the end of the first day I was 5-2 +359.  I grew impatient in the first loss and tried hooking an S onto the end of HEATING to get down TELSONS.  After that came off, I had SONLIEST* challenged off as well.  I should have known that SONLY didn't compare since I would have seen one of the forms, but since AUNTLY compares, I played it.  In my second loss my opponent drew  JX??SSSS and I saw stuck making 20-30 point plays with bad racks on a closed board.  Despite the losses, the low point of the day may have been playing M(I)AOU for 25 while holding AAEMOSU.  I knew there was something there.  Sure enough, during my next turn I saw I had missed MAUSO(L)EA.

    Entering the second day, three or four of us were at 5-2 and two games behind Tom Kowalik who stood at an impressive 7-0.  For the most part, the top of the field had not played each other so there was ample opportunity to gain ground.  I played Tom in the first game of the day and needed to win if I was going to have a shot at winning the division (this would become the motif of the tourney for me).  Before the game I admitted to Tom that to get myself psyched up for the game I had printed his photo off of cross-tables.   I then taped it to the wall and spent half an hour that morning staring at it and growling.  I find this really helps me get prepared mentally.  The game was close until I got down my second bingo.  I managed to put the game out of reach two turns later when I hooked a Y onto HOOT for a 54 point play.  My next game was a messy loss where my opponent drew ZX??SSS.  I managed to play my way out of some ugly racks to make the game close before exchanging too late and losing big.  My next opponent had a reputation for playing closed boards so I vowed to keep things open.  Before the game she jokingly asked me if I was ready to lose again.  I won by 240.  During the game, I was all set to play F(A)IRWAYS when she blocked my spot.  Fortunately, she just played AFT and it still went down, though for less points.  In the end it worked out better since it set up MILKY for 55 on my next play.  In my final game I willed my opponent to play (Z)IN to empty the bag and open the last plausible bingo lane so I could go out with DEPOSED for a 208 point win. 

    After the round robin, I was one game behind Tom and tied with another player at 8-3 .  Since my spread was ~800 points higher, I would play Tom needing to win the first game and win or tie the second.  We both scored well with our first few turns, but after he got down UNCHAIN(S) for 101 I was in a 114 point hole.  I slowly closed the gap before pulling within 13 with EVuLSIO(N).  I had vowel heavy racks the rest of the game and ended up down 41 holding EIOOMUR with one tile left in the bag and ADEEGRT? unseen.  I had earlier played CAMP with the P at 11H hoping for an I hook down to the TWS (I had forgotten about CAMPO).  Because of a later play, the word would now need to start with a T.  Seeing no other chance, I played (T)IMOUR* for 45.  I was thinking this may be a base for TIMOROUS (note the correct spelling which I realized after making the play).  Shockingly, Tom let the word go and then missed an out bingo of GARTE(R)ED (I didn't know it either).  The last tile in the bag was the blank and I had a 17 point out play for the win.  I'm still not sure why he didn't challenge.  My best guess is it's because we've played many times at club and I've always played words he doesn't know yet.  I also have a reputation for not playing phonies.  Though maybe that's just when compared with aibretty.  He's shameless.

    We were then set for a true championship game with $500 going to the winner and $300 to second.  Third place was around 200 spread points behind Tom and ~600 behind me.  I opened with TROWELS and two turns later he got down (E)NSURInG to pull even.  But over the next five turns I incrementally outscored him and built a 70-50 point cushion.  With a blank and an S unseen I spent the next few turns closing most of the remaining lanes.  Tom tried hooking a T onto the back of CHOP but had it challenged off.  Fortunately, I had finished the fives a month before and knew it wasn't good.  With two left in the bag and EELNRSTU? unseen, I was holding a 45 point lead and AEMNOOK.  There were two open bingo lanes.  One required hooking an S on CHOP and the other needed to start with an A.  I played KO(P) to make it impossible to bingo through with the available tiles.  I emptied the bag and drew the last blank.  After Tom's play, I bingoed out with AMNiOTE to win by 118.  Luckily 128 was the magic number and he was able to stay in second.  To be honest, I briefly considered "not seeing" the bingo so as to not knock Tom down to third.  I didn't know what the spread was from the other game, and in the end decided it was unethical to manipulate results in that way.  I'm glad Tom was able to finish second and feel like an ass for stealing the tourney from him on a phoney.  He's developing into a great player and will undoubtedly be rated above me before the end of the year. 

    Despite some frustrating losses, I felt like it was a good tourney.  I finished 10-3 +1139 while averaging ~425 a game.  I was actually outdrawn by opponents too seeing 25/52 blanks, 12/26 Ss, 8/13 Xs, and 3/13 Zs.  The J and Q don't correlate with winning in quackle sims, but may do so at lower levels.  I saw more of these, drawing 6 Js and 10 Qs. 

And now the obligatory bingo lists...



I was pretty sure UNSHApE wasn't good, but amazingly, I maximized my spread by allowing the phony bingo to stay on the board.  I'll post about that game later
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Thank you R Kelly [15 Aug 2007|10:15am]
I was excited to see that R Kelly has started releasing the next (last?) ten episodes of Trapped in the Closet on IFC:  http://ifc.com/static/sections/kelly/trapped.html
The site also has the previous twelve episodes.  The fact that R Kelly considers this whole series his opus just helps drive the whole thing off the unintentional comedy scale.  He's clearly insane.
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10 D songs plus 10 more [13 Aug 2007|08:51pm]
As per [info]scrabblek8's instructions here are 10 of my favorite songs starting with the letter D in no particular order:

Dogs  -  Pink Floyd
    Probably my favorite song in high school.  I remember listening to this while reading The Jungle and working in the basket room at an indoor pool.  The room was cramped, painted black, and lit by a bare bulb.  Everything just sort of resonated. 

Darkmatter  -  Andrew Bird
    A violinist who writes great intelligent pop songs.  In this song, he starts with his childhood fascination with the game Operation and transitions into concerns about mind/body dualism and the shrinking scientific frontier.  Good stuff.

Daylight  -  Aesop Rock
    Probably his most popular song.  Aesop Rock has some of the best lyrics in hip hop.  They're incredibly dense and nearly every line is a quotable gem.  I've listened to some of his songs over 100 times and still find something new with each listen.

Deep Red Bells  -  Neko Case
    My favorite of Neko's songs.  They've even played this at the coffee shop where the Chicago scrabble meets!  If you ever get a chance to see her live, either solo or with the New Pornographers, GO!  She's phenomenal.

Devotion  -  Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf
    Tragically, Charizma was killed in a mugging in '93 at age 19 and this album wasn't released until 2004 after Peanut Butter Wolf had founded Stones Throw Records.  This song is really catchy and it's a shame they never saw the success they deserved.

Don't Call me Whitney, Bobby  -  Islands
    These guys are goofy and fun much like their previous incarnation as The Unicorns.

The Drop  -  Viktor Vaughn
    One of Daniel Dumile's many alter egos.  He's recorded under the names Zev Love X (as part of KMD), MF Doom, Viktor Vaughn, Madvillain, Metal Fingers, DangerDoom, King Geedorah, and as part of Monster Island Czars.  This is probably one of his best songs lyrically, as he repeatedly rhymes multisyllabic phrases through multiple lines.  His live shows are a blast.

Dirty Dream Number Two  -  Belle and Sebastian
    I could probably insert Dog on Wheels or Dear Catastrophe Waitress here as well, but this song just makes me laugh.

Do This My Way  -  Blackalicious 
    Gift of Gab has fantastic delivery, and this is just a really fun song with some great, quirky lyrics.

Dial 7 (Axion of Creamy Spies)  -  Digable Planets 
    This song is on their horribly under appreciated album Blowout Comb.  To quote the chorus "Heyyyy.....  Funky"

I had a really hard time trimming down the list so here are the next 10 songs that just missed the cut:

Deep Space 9mm  -  El-P 
Deny  -  Josh Martinez
Details of the War  -  Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah
Devastation  -  The Besnard Lakes
The Devil Had a Hold of Me  -  Gillian Welch
Devil's Pie  -  D'Angelo
Did You See the Words  -  Animal Collective
Dog on Wheels  -  Belle and Sebastian
Dylsexia  -  Rob Sonic
Doomsday  -  MF Doom
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words lacking in everydayness [18 Jul 2007|07:26pm]
Recently while studying, I've been having trouble recognizing 7s and 8s that contain common letters but in uncommon patterns, words like INDEVOUT, BEDSONIA, and TEVATRON. So I decided to try to rank words by some metric of how common their pieces were so that I could spend some more time on them. I compared each group of three letters in a word to the letters from the same location in all the words with the same length. I then added the relative ranks for each group of three letters to get a score for the word. When you rank the words of a given length by score there are a bunch of really unusual words near the bottom (and some common words like UNUSUAL). I thought someone might enjoy the list so I've included the bottom 100 6s, 7s, and 8s. I also found some great longer words like DRYASDUST, BAHUVRIHI, CHUGALUGGING, OLOLIUQUI, EVERYDAYNESS, and the painful sounding UNCIRCUMCISIONS.

And yes, I realize this exercise was maybe a little excessive. But it didn't take long, and I'm going through a small bout of insomnia and wasn't getting anything productive done in lab the other day.

100 least common 6s, 7s, and 8s...Collapse )
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