Saturday, July 23, 2016

My 2016 Dubai Open Game Summary

The three-day event saw nine Scrabble players battling in a 24-round Australian draw pairing system. It started in the late afternoon of 21st April with six rounds, then nine rounds in the second day and ended up with seven rounds the following day. This was held in the Uptown School located at the Midriff area in Dubai, a very spacious school with football, track and field areas all around where the kids enjoyed variety of sports activities.
                                     




But Scrabble players alike focused on a mind sports game instead, headed to the 1st floor in the playing area of the Administration building. Here we go...

SAMMY ADEBOLA hails from Nigeria visiting Dubai in that weekend and joined this tournament. Sam is a calm man, but behind his quiet persona lies his unfathomable strength in the endgame. We fought five games, of which three of these went in a cliff-hanger finish.
In our first meeting in round 2, Sam displayed a merciless attack and BAULkED (74) me with three bingos in his first five turns using FRONTALS (69) assault sending me in the LEACHING (78) chamber! I managed to get out of the  pit and ascend to save my VITREUMs (63). L: 313-484
In round 8, I wrote CLARK* airbase and was punished dearly with the bite of TACHINID (67) and then WAZ (48) gently with a nozzle. He had a XI (44) of relief for a while but I had still the BuLGiEST (60) body sending him AJEE (36) then EQUATES (33) to trim down his lead to 10 points. I think, the EA (3) flowed in a different direction when Sam SUE (6) me for playing just one tile. L: 372-376.
This is too much for me to bear as we start our round 8 encounter, Sam DONATEs (75) this game to me as I FOXED him with 10-point penalty for challenging two words, ZOUAVE (84+10)  hooking the "O" to form ODONATEs. Sam struggled with his loose vowel movement, EUOI (21), AWA (18) and OGEE (21). NONARtS (60) gave me the breather to win it! W: 445-331
In round 18, my PITARAS (65) looked DANDIER (65) for him. After he wrote JUKO*, I had it THORNILY (78) but he unleashed the JOUK (51), correctly. My ENATION (64) gave a me a comfortable lead. In the tight board endgame, my measly scoring of NOAH (13), JOTS (11) and IGUANA (7) were kicked out by his IZAR (23), QIS (29) and DE (18). L: 415-417
The last round, Sam started LEGATOS (68) of music. But my HAIQUE (32), AMRITA (38), QUIRK (36) and OPIAtES (79) put me in a lead. When I thought the board was almost closed, he found another music thru OVERDuB hooking the "B" to OI, which was the only place for his bingo! Even so, I UNDREST (72) him for awhile but it turned out to be his JEST (32). Oh lala, I lost by 2 points! L: 410-412
Matchup Stats (Me vs. Sam):
Wins: 1-4
Bingos: 7-8
Ave. Score: 391-404
JQXZ: 11-9 (55%-45%)
SSSS: 11-9 (55%-45%)
??: 5-5 (50%-50%)

ERIC KINDERMAN, a hunky and muscular build standing tall towering above us, played KAURA (28) to start with. I looked at him and didn't notice any doubt, an aura of a poker-faced man. Was that in new Collins, I asked my self silently. Alright, it's time to shop in WALTER (0) Mart! That was a haste and waste of move as he placed the SPIDERY (91) object beside me. My ITERATEs (68) was still not enough to catch him. In the endgame when I held AEINOST, his JeEZ (19) nicely blocked the two bingo spots! L: 327-395

I avenged my loss in the second game when I also blocked his possible bingo in the pre-endgame with a simple play of BES to cover the ERR spot. Then scored heavily with QUARTO (70). W: 389-328
In round 21, I had two bingos, TASTING (74) and PRIORATE (87), looked good. A few moves later, he had the blank and laid down MIELInG (75). As usual, Eric calmly hit the clock and reached the bag. I said, "hold"! I began to wonder if this was another bluff for me to challenge as there was another bingo spot available on the board. So, I decided to accept his play and that proved to be the crucial decision as it turned out that the word was a phoney when I checked afterwards. When Eric played GOLIASED (79), it was all over! I was deceived twice. Next time, I should study well, lolz! L: (426-503)
Matchup Stats (Me vs. Eric):
Wins: 1-2
Bingos: 4-4
Ave. Score: 381-409
JQXZ: 7-5 (71%-29%)
SSSS: 6-6 (50%-50%)
??: 2-4 (33%-67%)

PAUL RICHARDS, a soft spoken and nice gentlemen with a beard. I believe he has been playing Scrabble for more than decade as evident on his white hair. The better half of Karen Richards, who produced a bright son, Alastair for their brilliant tutorship. Paul runs errand to encode the results of each match every round. Imagine that multitasking being done by him, that's a great task!



In our first match, I exchanged the problematic Q together with two other tiles to balance my rack. Paul immediately played oLEINES (64). I had good tiles but I don't know why I thought for so long to find this play, PEALErS*. What a shame! It was challenged off the board. Without hesitation, Paul laid down another bingo, UNEASIER (60). In short, the score was 0-124! However, I came back with rEPANELS (86+5), a four-timer. In the endgame, my ETHION (47) looks to be the winning move! But, Paul missed the win for not blocking my only play out. W: 440-416
We met again in the last round (rd 6) of the first day, and this time Paul prevailed with his GRiTTERS (77+5) in a tight board. L: 429-453
Our third game in round 14 was a closed fought endgame whoever gets the blank would have the edge. I had it! W: 392-377 


In round 19 I had two bingos and an unchallenged phoney word. Good enough to take a healthy spread. W: 425-294
I also won the game in round 22, both of us having one bingo apiece. W: 406-356 
Matchup Stats (Me vs. Paul):
Wins: 4-1
Bingos: 6-7
Ave. Score: 418-379
JQXZ: 12-8 (60%-40%)
SSSS: 10-10 (50%-50%)
??: 6-4 (60%-40%)

KAREN RICHARDS, known for her leadership in the World Youth Scrabble development, travelling around the world to spread the word of wisdom among the youths. So much praises and accomplishments about coaching clinics being imparted to boost the confidence of aspiring young Scrabble players.

I arrived at the venue late as I struggle to find it. The taxi driver let me get off in a far area from the venue. I asked the people there but couldn't point the right direction. I was losing hope at that time whether I would still continue to search the place or just go home. After a long walk and determination, I was able to find it.
I saw Karen without an opponent, so we played in round 1. After an initial tiles exchange, I had CRADLES immediately after her first move. Later on, the two tile gods came in giving me the sweet victory! W: 456-282
Karen poured four bingos against one for me in round 11. L: 403-530

In round 20, I missed the winning move of pUREE when Karen scored with FAIRY (27) instead of a better move. L: 336-345
Matchup Stats (Me vs. Karen):
Wins: 1-2
Bingos: 4-4
Ave. Score: 398-386
JQXZ: 6-6 (50%-50%)
SSSS: 5-7 (42%-58%)
??: 4-2 (67%-33%)

UZMA SAEED rarely smiles and most of the time showing a deep concentration to the game, although I managed to invite her to a have a snapshot together, it was a pleasant gesture.
Our match commenced with her SQUIRT (50), wondering why she played the S. It was impossible to think that she got another S. I shuffled my tiles for some time and it took AGELOnG (62) before I find one. I followed it up with IONIZER (38) but she was in BLINDS (22) not using her L, instead I was able to CLEAnSE (94+5) the front hook. Her JEERY* was a big mistake that led to her downfall. L: 458-325

In round 15, after I had a good ADIPOSE (77), I wrote SWAILED* and this time, I was at the receiving end of being punished even though I was able to PROvIDE (67) her the opening to OUTSPELL (88) me later, then the law of AvERAGES (70) fell into her hand. My only chance was to reduce the gap. L: 385-389
In round 17, it was a vowel laden rack with a Q and blank but this is one of the few anagrams of the AEIOU+2  letter-stem that I studied long time ago. She countered with AROUSINg (78) in her second turn. My phoney came off on my third move, but her own phoney in the seventh move was fatal, as I capitalized and strengthened my lead. W: 458-325
In the penultimate round, Uzma was pumped up with PONTIES (74). I had few options with my rack of AALNQRX but chosen to discharge the Q instead of scoring with the X, played TRANQ. She made a SIZaBLE (122) lead making it 15-196, ouch! I managed to crawl back with NOX (63) and LACUNOSE (70+5) then pERMUTE (75) my way closer. I should have MIGRATED but Uzma blocked my path using a MANGO (16) tree. However, in an emergency situation, TRIAGED (72) suddenly sent me into the lead then drawing the good tiles in the endgame to snatch this game.  What a tall order! W: 486-446
Matchup Stats (Me vs. Uzma):
Wins: 3-1
Bingos: 8-5
Ave. Score: 448-372
JQXZ: 9-7 (56%-44%)
SSSS: 4-12 (25%-75%)
??: 5-3 (63%-37%)

JACKSON THOMAS, a very calm and enthusiastic guy across the Scrabble board.
Matchup Stats (Me vs. Jackson):
Wins: 2-0
Bingos: 6-1
Ave. Score: 514-302
JQXZ: 6-2 (75%-25%)
SSSS: 5-3 (63%-37%)
??: 4-0 (100%-0%)

HERMIE CAGATIN, a chess master who loves to play Scrabble! Take a look at the photo below, even in defeat this guy is a jolly good fellow. Maybe, that's the difference between playing Scrabble and Chess. If you lose in Chess, you feel the sadness, but in Scrabble, you feel the madness!

Matchup Stats (Me vs. Hermie):
Wins: 2-0
Bingos: 3-2
Ave. Score: 440-298
JQXZ: 3-5 (37%-63%)
SSSS: 3-5 (37%-63%)
??: 3-1 (75%-25%)

My Scorecard in the Event:
Rd
Opponent
Rating
Scores
Margin
Wins
Cum. Margin
1
Karen Richards
1558
456
282
174
1
174
2
Adebola Samuel
1715
313
484
-171
1
3
3
Jackson Thomas
923
514
248
266
2
269
4
Paul Richards
1439
440
416
24
3
293
5
Eric Kinderman
1581
327
395
-68
3
225
6
Paul Richards
1439
429
453
-24
3
201
7
Hermie Cagatin
466
471
291
180
4
381
8
Adebola Samuel
1715
372
376
-4
4
377
9
Uzma Saeed
977
458
325
133
5
510
10
Eric Kinderman
1581
389
328
61
6
571
11
Karen Richards
1558
403
530
-127
6
444
12
Adebola Samuel
1715
445
331
114
7
558
13
Hermie Cagatin
466
409
298
111
8
669
14
Paul Richards
1439
392
377
15
9
684
15
Uzma Saeed
977
385
389
-4
9
680
16
Jackson Thomas
923
513
356
157
10
837
17
Uzma Saeed
977
463
328
135
11
972
18
Adebola Samuel
1715
415
417
-2
11
970
19
Paul Richards
1439
425
294
131
12
1101
20
Karen Richards
1558
336
345
-9
12
1092
21
Eric Kinderman
1581
426
503
-77
12
1015
22
Paul Richards
1439
406
356
50
13
1065
23
Uzma Saeed
977
486
446
40
14
1105
24
Adebola Samuel
1715
412
414
-2
14
1103

My Over-all Stats:
Wins Ratio: 14/24 (58%)
Placing: 5th out of of 9 players
Ave. Bingos per Game: 38/16 = 2.38
Ave. Score: 420
JQXZ: 54/96 (56%)
SSSS: 44/96 (46%)
??: 29/48 (60%)
Performance: Below Par
Ratings Dropped: 77 points

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