Friday, November 28, 2008

Diamond Anniversary Scrabble commercial

Posted by Brad Mills
Here's a short video showing the Diamond Anniversary Edition Scrabble board in action. And here's the review posted here earlier for those who are interested or missed it.

(Edit: Video now must be started manually.)

This is such a nifty commercial. It's quirky and geeky, and it captures the spirit of the game perfectly. I actually saw this commercial on TV a couple of weeks ago, and it's the first time I've seen Scrabble advertised on TV since the late 80s when it was "America's good time game".

The only question I have is: Why didn't they play CRAZING for the bingo? I know RACING is an obvious connection to toys there, and the toy race cars get to zoom around, but they could have easily continued the sequence by having one of the toy figures dressed up in a straightjacket and chasing all the race cars, screaming, "The colors are all different!!! Why?!?!? Oh, the humanity!!!...."

Maybe it's a good thing I'm not in advertising.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Huntington results for November 15, 2008

Posted by Brad Mills
This was Marshall's homecoming weekend, so traffic was wild when we arrived in Huntington - and the worsening weather didn't help matters on the trip home. Sandwiched in between were the camraderie of friends, the comforts of food and coffee, and the clacking of tiles on Scrabble boards.

There were six people at Java Joint on Saturday for the inaugural meeting of NSA Club 767, including one of our newest club players and the usual merry band of wordsmiths and onlookers. Aaron McGuffin directed the session and handled us with aplomb and grace, kept things rolling along, and kept careful track of win-loss records, scores, and notable plays. He's provided his own write-up of the stats and his perspective on how things went.

I blew an endgame against Rob for 12 points, but given the near-perfect letters he had on his last rack (including both blanks and an S), I think the game may have been his despite my best efforts. I believe Rob is severely underrated - an opinion shared by others - and we need to get him to a tournament in the near future. (And the rest of you should tag along!) I was also happy to hear Shelley will likely be joining us at our next meeting in Charleston and may be bringing Rob along. Shelley has been jonesing for some Scrabble action - prior to Saturday, she'd only played one game since we got back from Lexington.

This was fun for me, and I'm looking forward to seeing Club 767 evolve and grow. I observed a couple unaffiliated with any of us playing Scrabble while the meeting was going on, and I pointed them out to Aaron. He went over and introduced himself to them and gave them his contact information. This is how it all begins... and it looks like a promising beginning.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unnecessary Knowledge

Posted by Deadpan Alley

You can never have too much unnecessary knowledge.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

gettin' lucky in Kentucky... (the recap)

Posted by jedijawa
Six members of Club #620 ventured to Lexington, KY this weekend for the 3rd Annual Bluegrass Ironman Invitational Scrabble Tournament (that's a mouthful). Five of us piled into Tina's van and trekked to Kentucky Friday after work while our sixth joined us Saturday morning (halfway into her first game) having gotten turned around with her directions. Lisa had booked us some awesome hotel Suites at the Lexington Hilton using Hotwire and we got it for a steal of $55 per person. On the way in we talked about the tournament and how the price of gas dropped as we left West Virginia ($2.69/gal.) and approached Lexington ($1.99/gal.) and we had a pleasant rest at our hotel before heading out bright and early the next day for our first day of competition ... what would be the first 10 of 19 games for the weekend (which is why they call it The Ironman).

The facilities that the Lexington club had chosen were nice but hardwood floors and being next to the club house of an active golf course caused us to have some noise problems ... that and well ... some other things. Still, we got the first games started just about on time. A late drop out in my division and two no-shows caused two clocks to be started without a second player which was the first time that I had seen that happen. Our own Shelley Schiavone was one of those clocks and she was able to arrive with half her time in tact and finish her first game while the other clock was for Andy Wade who the tourney director forgot had told him he couldn't make it. His clock was next to me and so a new player, Katherine Rybak, watched as Margaret "Susie" Pozgay (another newbie) and I played our game while I tried to quietly explain the mechanics of club and tournament play as neither of them had ever been to a club or a tournament event and were only familiar with on-line play. Somehow I still managed to beat Susie (by 9 points) which would lead people asking me the rest of the day how I did it since she went on a tear after that beating everyone she played. Her total record by the end of the main event would be 12-3 with the only three people beating her being from Club #620 (Tina, Lisa, and yours truly).

After the first game I got to play Shelley and she quietly explained to me over our game how she got turned around and was late. She wasn't too rattled as she almost beat me. Shelley's NSA rating will probably be going up since she was projected to win about 4 games and she went 6-9. In fact, she was 2nd place in the day two standings of wins/losses/spread with a 4-1 record and +165 spread. Though Shelley wasn't happy that the Portland Swiss ranking method had her playing a new 16 year old player repeatedly on the second day (I think they played each other all 5 games the second day and 7 times over the 15 games of the main event). Several of us played the same person repeatedly the second day but I didn't much mind. I ended up playing John Spangler who had recently jumped up to an 860 rating at Durham, NC (but the results of that tourney weren't official yet for our tournament). Nevertheless, I had never beaten John before this weekend and of our 5 games I went 3-2 and feel great about that as I think that he and I are well matched.

I wish that I could speak more for the other members of our club. I only played Tina-Bo-Bina once and in that game we had to draw for first place. Both of us drew an "A" so we had to draw again and this time I drew an "A" and Tina drew an "E" (I've never had that happen before). Tina went on to place 4th where she was projected to end up with a record of 9-6 and a +468 spread (just 113 points out of 3rd place). Her rating should also increase considering that she was one of the others who beat the phenomenal Susie and that she was projected to win about 8 games and she won more as well as 2 wins in the late bird event.

Lisa didn't do as well as she had hoped but she still beat the snot out of me (see that demonic smile before our first game of the weekend). She only went 7-8 for the main event but she went 3-1 for the late bird and beat me 4 times over the course of the weekend! One of her wins was against Susie (who clinched the #1 finish in Division C) and she beat me and I finished #2 with a 10-5 in the main event and 1.5-2.5 in the late bird. In fact, Lisa may singlehandedly offset the gains I made, with my rating, against John Spangler with her repeated thumping of me (like I probably tanked John's rating). I've only beaten Lisa once in a tournament game and she is a very strong player. Tina is also a very strong player and I'm continually amazed anytime that I beat her in a tournament as she usually schools me in club play.

As for how Brad and Martha did ... I know that Brad came into day 2 first in Division B and gradually slipped as the day went on in those last 5 games. His high point was winning against the overall winner of Division B. Martha won the games she needed to hold her rating and will probably improve. I know that she said the high point of her day was that she beat Steve Bush who had a 1390 rating and was the top seed in Division B. As I said earlier, I finished #2 in Division C and won $75 in prize money and Lisa finished second in our late bird group and won $20. I was the second seed before Andy was dropped out so I guess I should have finished first but I was happy just to win the number of games I needed to hold or improve my rating and hope to break 800 after this weekend. Brad, on the other hand, has climbed up to a new peak of 1267 for his rating and broke into the top 1000 players in North America after the Durham tournament. Way to go Brad!

So that was the weekend. It was a lot of fun and we all had a pretty good time. Sure, there were some snafus and some things could have gone better or worse but we all enjoyed the trip and I think that our personalities all mesh very well. We're a very supportive group and each one of us lends our own talents and ways of looking at things to helping the others. I really appreciate and admire that of my fellow club members. It makes me feel like we're not just all out for ourselves but that we're there as a unit to support each other and back each other up. When I was having a freak out moment at our interclub tournament a few weeks ago Martha was wonderful at calming me down. Similarly, I tried to do the same thing for Shelley and Lisa this weekend. Lisa was very concerned that I was feeling sick on Saturday with my sinuses bothering me (not concerned enough not to beat me 4 freakin' times) but it was sweet and appreciated. They're a great group of guys and I'm glad to have them as my friends.

I've done some blogging about this event on my blog here and so has Tina if anyone is interested in checking those posts out.

Check out all of my Scrabble posts here or from my blog's sidebar.