Sunday, April 13, 2008

What I learned at my first Scrabble tournament

Posted by Almost Famous
Last weekend, something very interesting occurred to me and I want to see if others share the same point of view. This game is 90% mental. And I don't mean mental as in how many words you know (though obviously, that helps!). Let me try to explain.

My first round of the main event, I was paired with someone that I didn't know and had never played. It was early and my head was clear and confident. I did end up losing, but it was a very close game. It seems that there comes a point toward the end of every game where you realize whether you are going to win or lose. I was slightly ahead, and started to celebrate in my head the win of my first real tournament game. Then she pulled it ahead and beat me. It is games like these where I would almost rather be slaughtered sometimes!

I went into my second round with this loss on the brain, and was paired with the person who was ranked first in my division. I should have shaken it off, but I was intimidated by this person and came out with another loss. *Could* I have beaten them with a different frame of mind? Maybe not. But I at least think it gives you a much better chance. I have been beaten many times in games that I shouldn't have, and I have also won against people I most definitely should have lost to. Sometimes I really think it's all about confidence.



  1. I agree - your state of mind will absolutely affect your performance. If I play a good game, that positive attitude carries over into my next game (usually). The opposite effect happens with losses. I tend to win games and lose games in clusters.

    I suspect that if I were more confident in my word knowledge, I could maximize that positive attitude and my rating would climb.

    I refer to certain players, whom I have yet to beat, as my 'Scrabble Daddies'. Just by giving them that distinction, I go into those games at a disadvantage. That's a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever I saw one.

    *Shakes finger at self*

  2. I can see your point(s). I am lucky I didn't have to play anyone else after having someone play back-to-back bingos against me in my last game of the tournament!

    Then again, I think that a lot of Scrabble games go on the luck of the tiles that you draw. You can be completely on your game much easier if you're getting good letters and I think that helps with making good plays. But with the tournament I found myself getting into a whole new level of seeing the game and I was seeing plays that I never would have seen before no matter what tiles I had.

    Confidence is certainly a factor. When I have to play a higher player it is demoralizing. But if I can get off to a good start the game usually goes better. But I'm always nervously waiting for the bingo to come. That does mess with my game sometimes.

  3. Just ask Deadpan Alley, my best playing is around the kitchen table, against great friends who are also great Scrabble players. At the risk of giving myself away here, I definately get psyched out playing in a high-stress situation. And the kitten is smacking at my fingers as I type on the keyboard. Owch.


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