Tuesday, September 22, 1998

My First International Scrabble Tournament

The 1998 1st Asia Pacific Scrabble Championship conducted on September 17-20, 1998 at the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was my first international stint after securing one of the slots in the qualifying tournament held in the Philippines.

My round by round account are as follows:

Round 1 vs. Patrick Carter (New Zealand)
Round 1- Final Board vs. Patrick Carter (New Zealand)
Patrick had two bingos, RUNAGaTE (68) and LARGEST (71) while I had only one bingo, tONITES (81). He capitalized the use of the last S in the endgame that proved to be the turning point of this game.
Loss: 373-397
Bingo/s: 1
Goodies: ?SQZ

Round 2 vs. Suresh Chinnaiyah (Sri Lanka)
Round 2 - Final Board vs. Suresh Chinnaiyah (Sri Lanka)
Suresh, one of the five Scrabble players from Sri Lanka showed merciless scoring rampage with his three bingos, TRICHOME (104) in the triple, MOUTErED (62) and BILTOnGS (66). I was able to reduce the big margin with my ZAG (68), ALNAGES (72) and TAKY (63) from a setup play of NEW to hook the K to NUR, missing the best scoring KYAT.
Loss: 377-466
Bingo/s: 1
Goodies: SZ

Round 3 vs. Quek Sim Ho (Singapore)
Round 3 - Final Board vs. Quek Sim Ho (Singapore)
Finally, I have won a game, but it was not easy as Quek tried to come closer in the endgame. Good thing I found GELATO and caught him with unplayed tiles of PVD. We had two bingos apiece, AUTODYNE (66) and OPERAnD (71) for me, while Quek had AIRBaSE (80) and INERTIA (69).
Win: 439-423
Bingo/s: 2
Goodies: Z?SQ

Round 4 vs. Alex Tan (Malaysia) at Board 15
Round 3 - Final Board vs. Alex Tan (Malaysia)
Alex Tan hits an early BARONET (69), then it was a nip and tuck affair till I put down the only bingo, ASSIGNED (62) on a tight board for the victory.
Won: 384-336
Bingo/s: 1
Goodies: Q?SS

Round 5 vs. T.C. Tan (Malaysia) at Board 17
Round 4 - Final Board vs. T.C. Tan (Malaysia)
We traded bingos apiece at the start, ENDOWER (76) for him and STERILE (78) for me. However, I played two more bingos later, GEMINATe (83) and NITRATE (74), including a Z-scoring play of ZONA (49) to seal the win, my third straight.
Win: 432-353
Bingo/s: 3
Goodies: S?ZSS

Round 6 vs. Lakshan Wanniarchchi (Sri Lanka) at Board 12
Round 6 - Final Board vs. Lakshan Wanniarchchi (Sri Lanka)
This was my second setback from another Sri Lankan at the hands of Lakshan. My tABLOID (70) was answered by his cOTTAGED (80). He maintained his lead till the end. I also exceeded the time limit and was deducted with 20 points.
Loss: 302-375
BIngo/s: 1
Goodies: ?SSJS

Round 7 vs. Nadeem Omar (Pakistan) at Board 16
Round 7 - Final Board vs. Nadeem Omar (Pakistan)
HETEROs (103) hooking T to FIX gave me the upper hand in the pre-endgame to win this game. Earlier, we had one bingo apiece, WASTRIE (88) for me countered by his SLANTED (74).
Won: 431-338
Bingo/s: 2
Goodies: ZJS?S

Round 8 vs. Mike Sigley (New Zealand) at Board 11
Round 8 - Final Board vs. Mike Sigley (New Zealand)
I started with TREATED (70) and Mike laid down a parallel bingo, PURTIER (68). When he played SOL/FAVELLS*, I used this opening to play another bingo, TRITONE (65). Halfway through the game, I used my two blanks to score, MatZO (74).
Won: 490-354
Bingo/s: 2
Goodies: X??ZS

Round 9 vs.Butch Maniego (Philippines) at Board 7
Round 9 - Final Board vs. Butch Maniego (Philippines)
Butch's early mistake of UNEASED* was rewarded with DEfEATS (66) on his fifth turn. I pulled ahead when I hit OURARIS (65). His opening of VIAE gave me a nice DEOnTIC (90) bingo!
Won: 435-312
Bingo/s: 2
Goodies: SX?ZJ

Round 10 vs. Robert Jackman (Australia) at Board 5
Round 10 - Final Board vs. Robert Jackman
His lead started with my GRAVITY (28) that gave him the Q-scoring move of QUAIR/QI (76) followed by BAsINET (67) and never looked back. I had only one bingo, STOrEMAN (63). 
Loss: 347-398
BIngo/s: 1
Goodies: SSZS?

Round 11 vs. Pui Cheng Wui (Malaysia) at Board 8
Round 11 - Final Board vs. Pui Cheng Wui (Malaysia)
Pui tried AUXINITE* but it was challenged off. His first bingo went down with EUcAINE (66), two turns later. I spotted FINAGLED (84) and was comfortably ahead then he struck back with RESTRIKE (89) in the triple. I was slightly leading when I played NUTRIAs. In the endgame, my play of RES was a big blunder as he used it to play out with TIRL, ouch!
Loss: 392-420
Bingo/s: 2
Goodies: JZ?SS

Round 12 vs. Mohammad Ali Ismail (Malaysia) at Board 9
Round 12 - Final Board vs. Mohammad Ali Ismail (Malaysia)
A big spread win for me in this game having drawn two blanks in separate occasion, laid down MOLDINGs (94) and TZIgANES (101).
Won: 554-220
Bingo/s: 2
Goodies: ??XSSZJ

Round 13 vs. Harshan Lamabadasuriya (Sri Lanka)
Round 13 - Final Board vs. Harshan Lamabadasuriya (Sri Lanka)
Harshan had a perfect wins in the first day, but I was not discouraged. My first rack of VVMRAST compelled me to exchange VVM. He played OUTNESS (66). Having drawn good tiles, I immediately laid down CENTAURS (61), although it was a weak scoring move, I was delighted to have drawn the blank for my next turn. But then, Harhsan hit another bingo ADULTERY (74), to which I responded with OVErTIRE (64). After his YOM, I put down my third consecutive bingo, IRONIZES (124)! He took the lead when he spotted a nice FOUETTES (66). My power tiles helped me sustain the lead, BENJ (42), XI (36). Harshan tried to set up his H with SIN in the triple but I had the blank to preempt it.
Won: 479-437
Bingo/s: 3
Goodies: S?ZJX?

Round 14 vs. Suresh Chinnaiyah (Sri Lanka) at Board 5
Round 14 - Final board vs. Suresh Chinnaiyah (Sri Lanka)
Our second encounter in this tournament, Suresh seized an early lead with his two bingos, COUrIER (74) and a nine-letter-word DEAERATES (72) from DE. In the pre-endgame, he set up his G playing LOBE. I had only few options to block that spot, so I decided to play HEM to set up my own Z. Sure enough, my ZESTS/HEME (77) went in, as well as his own OLOGIeS/GLOBE (74).
Loss: 339-468
Bingo/s: 0
Goodies: XZSSJ

Round 15 vs. Nashad Najmudeen (Sri Lanka) at Board 7
Round 15 - Final board vs. Nashad Najmudeen (Sri Lanka)
A good start for me playing HECTARE (82). Nashad could not be denied with his OUtfALL (57) and ERODENT (66) a few moves later. His YIPES (44) gave him the edge in the endgame, while I was stuck with vowels.
Loss: 352-382
Bingo/s: 1
Goodies: QSXS

Round 16 vs. Tony Sim (Singapore) at Round 10
Round 16 - Final Board vs. Tony Sim
Tony commited an early mistake with WAURS/EEKS* but  it was compensated with his RESCUEd (92) and PIGNOLIA (62). My EARiNGS (77) was played in the pre-endgame only to reduce the margin, as he hooked it with letter B, playing BELL.
Loss: 363-447
Bingo/s: 1
Goodies: ?SZ

Round 17 vs. Tony Malonzo (Philippines) at Round 12
Round 17 - Final Board vs. Tony Malonzo (Philippines)
One bingo each, DARNING (65) for Tony and REtINAE (72) for me, as played in the middle game. My winning move was CURVEs (47) hitting the triple to survive this game.
Won: 380-377
Bingo/s: 1
Goodies: JQ?Z?

Round 18 vs. Tony Sim (Singapore) at Round 10
Round 18 - Final Board vs. Tony Sim
Just like in our first outing, Tony Sim started with two bingos, MOULTING (62) and VEXATION (88). Then kept the two blanks in his last move!
Loss: 314-420
Bingo/s: 0
Goodies: QSJSS

And so, I finished with 9 wins and 9 losses (+254 pts. spread) good for 25th place out of 58 Scrabble enthusiasts from the Asia Pacific Region.

The top two players, Bob Jackman (Aus) and Gerry Carter (Tha) contested the best-of-five final.

Full results and the final, in my next blog post. Stay tuned...

No comments: