Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fall tourneys...

Posted by Almost Famous
This probably doesn't warrant a post, but just since I haven't done one in awhile...

I've decided to tag along with Tina for the Hudson, OH tourney, and I'm also a "probably" for Lexington. I'm hoping that having it/them on the calendar will get my butt in gear to study. I've been such a slacker lately and haven't had the attention span to do anything (not just Scrabble-related, but pretty much anything at all).

See you guys Saturday!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Speaking of Huntington...

Posted by Deadpan Alley
Thanks to Shelley Schiavone and her media contacts, our latest Huntington gathering attracted some attention from the Herald-Dispatch. The online version of the resulting article can be found here.

Another search result for "Scrabble" on the Herald-Dispatch site indicated even more interest in the area - across the border, in Boyd County, Kentucky:
Play Scrabble, 4-7 p.m. Monday, July 28, at the Main and Summit branch; 4-6 p.m. at Catlettsburg branch. Test your Scrabble skills at the Library's first Scrabble-thon. Players can stop in during the event times and play a game. Scores will be recorded and prizes awarded to the top three scores. The event is offered at all branches. Boyd County Public Library District, 1740 Central Ave., Ashland.
I'd love to know how that evening turned out!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Huntington Scrabble club results for August 16

Posted by Brad Mills
Twelve people showed up at the Huntington Scrabble Club meeting today, which was a new attendance record. Since we had three groups of four, players were sorted roughly by playing strength into pseudo-divisions of four and played three rounds of round robin. Here are the results.

Aaron McGuffin 3-0, +247
Brad Mills 2-1, +22
Martha Mills 1-2, +65
Leah Gingerich 0-3, -334

Rob Stanton 2-1, +206
Rafael Barker 1.5-1.5, -12
Chris Ross 1.5-1.5, -171
Shelley Schiavone 1-2, -23

Tina Totten King 2-0, +183
Mark Gingerich 2-1, -19
Brad Smith 0-2, -32
Lori McGuffin 0-1, -132

Bingos played were:

Martha Mills: CRAFTED (91), STRIVES (89), FEEBLER (82), BITTERS (70), CISTERN (68); average score: 80
Rob Stanton: STEMMED (107), MELDERS (75), LOITERS (66), SCOOPERS (65), INDENTED (62); average score: 75
Aaron McGuffin: HORIZON (77), IODATED (76), OUTINGS (71), REDOING (59); average score: 70.75
Brad Mills: ENTAILS (74), RANDIES (71), SERVING (67), SATIRES (63); average score: 68.75
Chris Ross: SINGLED (85), SUNIEST* (79), SIGNETS (64)
Tina Totten King: MONGERS (84), BLONDER (68)
Mark Gingerich: POTTING (67), GRASSIER (63)
Lori McGuffin: JITTERS (88)
Shelley Schiavone: CRINGING (86)
Leah Gingerich: RESIDUE (65)

A reporter from the Huntington Herald-Dispatch was present as well, interviewing us and taking pictures for an upcoming article about the growing Scrabble scene in Huntington and Charleston. This is the third time this year we've gotten local media coverage - the other two times were a pictorial in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and a story on WOWK. Many thanks to the members of the press who are helping us get the word out.

We're throwing around the possibility of a club tournament this fall to give people who've not yet been to a tournament a chance to get their feet wet and to encourage club members to join the NSA. The date that's looking best for this right now is October 4, based on upcoming regional tournaments and the logistics of our friends at the Lexington Club, who we hope will be able to make an appearance also. I distributed fliers for the upcoming Lexington Ironman III tournament today as well, and I believe we'll be able to get at least seven people to that event, if not more.

Thanks to everyone for participating today - with your help, we had the largest non-tournament gathering of West Virginia Scrabble players to date. Let's keep up the great work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A review of Scrabble Diamond Anniversary Edition

Posted by Brad Mills
It's finally here!

I picked up the Diamond Anniversary Edition Scrabble board right after lunch today at a local department store. Given some of the boards Hasbro has put out over the last decade or so, let's just say my hopes were not high... but I just had to buy one and see for myself.

Surprisingly, this is a rather good board. The new color scheme is horrid, of course... very disconcerting. But it's constructed well, the turning mechanism is both functional and unique, and the portability is a definite plus. And finally, they actually put something on the blank so it's not as easily braillable.

The grid is solid hard plastic, and it adequately holds tiles in place - I tried it with Protiles and the wooden tiles which came with the set, and they both sustained a good solid bump from the side without moving. I found that Protiles will fit in sideways, which opens the possibility of using this board in the same manner as an Ossie Mair board - that is, with the curved sections facing each player. (Yes, this is a blatant misorientation, but I believe if both players agree to play in this fashion from the beginning, it would probably be okay.)

It's made in China, but I expected this, since almost every mass-produced good in the country is anymore.

Here are a few pictures.
The case / board, all folded up and ready to go. The case is held together with some magnets hidden inside the plastic surface, so be careful with this board around credit cards, portable hard drives, and anything else sensitive to magnetic forces. The "turntable" is actually a series of small wheels on what becomes the bottom of the board. They just roll and the whole thing rotates. Very cool and innovative!

Here's the board unfolded with a couple of the curved racks on it. The racks are very cheaply made and probably should be replaced.

Blanks are your best friends, and in this case, so are diamonds.

A few of the included tiles scattered across the playing surface. (Yeah, I know... HaNDLES, HaNDSEL, and HoNDLES.)

This particular board has a small manufacturing defect, but it won't affect any games.

Some Protiles placed in the grid to see how they fit. And... they don't move!

A side view of the Protiles to show the depth at which they rest. The big brown thing at top left is a bag of dinner rolls.

Here are the drawers opened up, revealing the rules booklet and a place to put the racks and tile bag. The rules refer to the OSPD3, but the NSA does get a plug.

And finally, the board by itself, with nothing on it, to give a better view of the yucky new colors. Hopefully these make a rapid departure. Imagine if Coke changed their cans to green. It's just not right!

Overall, I think Hasbro is on the right track here from a manufacturing perspective. This board actually looks and feels like they put some effort into it. As for the color scheme, I can only attribute it to someone being on drugs who is hopefully now going through rehab.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fall forward

Posted by Brad Mills
It's official: our Tuesday meetings have been moved to Wednesdays. Our first Wednesday meeting will be from 6:00 to 8:00 on September 3, 2008 at Capitol Roasters. You're more than welcome to keep showing up on Tuesdays instead, but since you'll be the only player there, you'll feel sad, and nobody wants that. So come join us on Wednesdays!

Friday, August 1, 2008

A 563-pointer

Posted by Brad Mills
This evening I logged my second-highest Scrabble score to date and my highest scoring game under NSA rules by beating Tina in a friendly (that is, non-club) game. The final score was 563-362. I had four bingos by the fifth turn (DIFECTA*, SWAINED*, ADULTERY, and TRENAIL), and got in a fifth (MISTIER) before it was over. I had a sixth one on my last rack (PUTTIER) but it wouldn't play. Tina's score of 362 is very respectable, all things considered - and she scored two bingos herself within her first three turns (BILKERS and COVERING). The way things were going early in the game, I was hoping we'd trade bingos back and forth with a few 25-point plays here and there until the bag was empty... but it didn't work out that way.

I've got to confess, DIFECTA* was a calculated risk. Poorly calculated, as it turns out, since it isn't good. I knew PERFECTA and TRIFECTA, and I figured since TRI- is a prefix for three, and DI- is a prefix for two, I'd put it down and see if it stayed. I was really only about 65% sure there, and normally I like to have a higher level of confidence before putting down a questionable word... but at that moment, I thought my logic was unassailable. I was much more certain about SWAINED*, but SWAIN is a noun, not a verb.

As for my highest scoring game, that was a fluke which I'm sure I'll never see again. Let's just say if it had been an official club or tournament game, it would have broken the (at the time) North American record until Michael Cresta's 830-pointer a couple of years ago.

National Scrabble Championship, 2008

Posted by Tina
I thought and thought about whether to post on this blog or my personal blog about some of our regional Scrabble players who recently made the trip to Orlando to participate in the National Scrabble Championship. There were certainly more people from around this part of the country who played, but that I just don't know, so I decided to make the post on ScrabbleCrush. Nonetheless, the 662 people who competed in five straight days of Scrabble deserve a mention here.

Feeling up to it? There's a good chance several West Virginia players will travel to Dayton in August 2009 for the Players' Championship. Even if gas prices some day dip back below $3.00 (HEH...Heh...hehhhh....), carpooling will still be the way to go!