Saturday, December 19, 2009

My WSC ( Day 1)

My WSC 2009 ( Day 1)
Following Philip Edwing Mugisha and Neil Green`s phenomenal reports, I give you my WSC report "titled humbly and simply": The Conqueror.

Considering that I probably know twice as many words as I knew two years ago, I was feeling very confident about finishing in top 50 at the WSC.. Deep down, I was hoping for a top 20 finish. Well, to tell you the truth, I was almost sure that I would finish in top 10. Why lie to you? I had a feeling I was gonna win this one.

My WSC started extremely well. For Ron, that is. While I had to exchange tiles, Ron hit me with AERATED. I struggled with some awkward racks before playing TENURES. In the meanwhile, Ron kept scoring consistently. Towards the end of the game I got the first blank and played intrepidly, as I always do. I mean, INTREPID. And when I thought that there was still hope for me to win this game, Ron scored 280 points in four moves with ZITI, EXIT, NOVELLA and JOWARS. L:389-542


From the start, Suanne wanted to outrun me. Not an easy task, when you`re facing the strongest player in the word. I invited Suanne to join my friend NETWORKS. I only asked for 110 points in return. She must have thought it was a ripoff, but she accepted. Suanne took the first blank and played LAITIES. A couple of moves later she took the second blank to hit me with LOAMIEST.I considered myself lucky she didn`t have any high score bonuses with the blanks. In the endgame, I used my magic and pulled a REINDEER out of the bag. " Christmas is almost here", I said to myself, as I announced the score. W: 417-399


NIGEL RICHARDS started with INFLATE. From his facial expression, I knew he was extremely worried about the global economy. His poker face betrayed him this time. After missing the beautiful MORTBELL( a funeral bell) as a reply to his bonus, I took the first blank and played TORQUATE. I could see that he didn`t like that. "How about some WIENIES" , he asked me. "That would be 99 cents, thank you very much". I replied right away with UNGOTTEN. Then, the mischievous former World Champion, did something extremely disturbing. He let me think that he was going to play the nonvalid word HEC*. As i was getting ready to celebrate with a challenge, he changed his mind and played the beautiful word YCLEEPE( to call by name) for 101 points. My goose was overcooked. Next move, even though he had ZA for 64, he preferred
playing VIZSLA. As it turned out, he blocked my 86 point bonus DISOWNER. I had to settle for SWOONIER. It was payback time. I played the nonvalid word SWOONEIR*, announced the score and put my finger on the button. I didn`t press it though.
Well, not before rearranging the letters...I took the second blank, but on a closed board and with two Us, there was nothing I could do with it. L: 375-556

After three games, I think I was the player with the worst spread of the tournament. It was time for me to face the other best player in the world. It was the Phenomenon against the Phenomenal. The Phenomenon had a good start, but I caught up. He took the first blank and hit me with REJECTED. I didn`t know this word, but decided not to challenge. The Phenomenon is famous for his amazing word knowledge. I decided that it was time for theme SCRABBLE. AIRSIDES and AVIATION put me back in the game. I considered not playing TENOURS, since it wasn`t related to the theme I had chosen: air and airplanes. I must admit that I gave Philip 10 points from challenging PENE and SWEDE. Later, I found out that SWEDE is a common word in English. Well, excuse me, but I have never eaten a SWEDE before. Maybe one day... I`ve always wanted to visit Sweden. Anyway, if you`ve seen Highlander you know what happened between Mugisha and I.There could only be one. While I was filling in the result sheet, I could tell that Mugisha considered chopping my head off. He knew he would be kicked out the tournament if he did that, so he refrained. W: 453-443

Rohaina is one of the nicest Scrabble players I have ever met. Her atitude during the game reminded me of myself. An early phony from Rohaina, allowed me to see
she had a blank. Strategically, I think I played a good game, until my FRENUM play.. That opened the board and allowed Rohaina to play SOLDERS for a lot of points. From there it was nip and tuck. I took the second blank and played FLITTERN, only to see Rohaina play REBOANT. A very close endgame followed, and only my amazing brilliance saved me . W: 406-383

GAME 6: Adrian Tamas vs Patrick Litunya
Patrick took an early lead and it looked like this would be his game, when he started showing me his tiles. That helped me a lot. I realized that he was struggling with KGGU combinations. I can`t remember the played bonuses. I didn`t get the chance to take a photo of the game. By the time I was done taking the result
sheet to Barry, this is what was left from our game. Another close endgame, and I was on 4 wins and 2 losses, after a terrible start. W: 451-389

Against Vannitha, I started with GOUTIER. She replied with ANITRAPE*. Believe it or not, I spotted that now, when I started writing the report. How was it possible that my eagle eyes betray me? Anyway, I took the first blank and bonused* with GRAVIES. That was followed by SPINDLES, using the second blank. Vannitha was very gracious in accepting her defeat. W: 516-356

I started with AURICLE followed by CROCOITE, and never looked back. It was my luckiest game in a very long time. CROCOITE was followed by CILIATES. Then I drew the first blank and played THORNSET to block the triple triple that Blue had opened. I could have played ANOTHER for 10 extra points but chose not to. Blue is a real gentleman. Even when he was 200 points behind, he kept complimenting me on my play. I started feeling bad and wished for some bad tiles for myself.It didn`t happen. W: 552-290. At the end of the first day, I was 14th, with 6 wins and 2 losses. The Tile Gods gave me 9 blanks and offered 7 to my opponents. Not a bad start, I thought. I fell asleep at around one o` clock, while counting the money I was going to win at the end of the WSC. More to follow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Merry Wives of Scrabble

For more than 60 years, wives have played a very important role in the history of Scrabble. Hundreds of thousands of husbands around the world had their Scrabble careers influenced by their wives. It all started when Alfred Butts invented this beautiful game. Even though he loved playing Scrabble, his wife, who was a much better player than him, made him realize that he should be sticking to what he knows doing best: making games, not playing them. This one goes to my wife, who hopefully won't be trying to convince me that it's time for me to quit playing this game,after all these great results I had:)


WIFE+D,S WIFING = to marry a woman
WIFEHOOD+S = the status of a wife
WIFEDOM+S = the status of a wife ( my definition for wifedom would be the territory where a wife is the supreme authority, that is, most households in the civilized world)
WIFELESS = without a wife
WIFELIKE = like a wike
WIFELINESS = wifely character or quality
WIFEY+S = an endearment for a wife
WIFIE+S = an endearment for a wife


ALEWIFE ALEWIVES = a woman who sells ale
HUSWIFE+S HUSWIVES = a sewing kit
FARMWIFE FARMWIVES = the wife of a farmer
FISHWIFE FISHWIVES = a woman who sells fish
GOODWIFE GOODWIVES = a mistress of a household
GUDEWIFE GUDEWIVES = the mistress of a household
KALEWIFE KALEWIVES = a female vegetable vendor
MIDWIFE+D,S = to assist a woman in childbirth
MIDWIVE+D,S = to assist a woman in childbirth
OLDWIFE OLDWIVES = a marine fish
SEAWIFE SEAWIVES = a bony fish
SPAEWIFE SPAEWIVES = a fortune teller
SUPERWIFE SUPERWIVES = a super wife :)
UNWIVE+D,S = to deprive of a wife

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yew Tee 2009 ( Scrabble Report- Day 2)

Day 2 started with an easy game. I had to play Nigel Richards, the strongest player in the world. The game started very well for Nigel. After five moves, he was ahead by 100 points. I told him to wait for me, but he wouldn't listen! One thing I noticed is that World Champions tend to be a bit stubborn... Anyway, not even the two consecutive bonuses I took from the bag, didn't help me win the game. Nigel's bonuses were EVENTUAL, BRANGLED and LEPTOMES while mine were ROSULATE(no-S), ERASION+S and NIPTERS (ceremonial washing of the feet).


My next opponent was GOH JIANG PERN from Singapore. The final score doesn't show how close this game really was! I played ANGUINE (no-S like a snake), followed by LIFECARE+S. GOH JIANG PERN tried a phony which came off the board, but the next he used an E floater I kindly provided, to bonus with LOVELIER. A desperate late opening from GOH JIANG gave me a home for my ASTEROID+S bonus.


Now I had to play HUBERT WEE, another Singaporean. Hubert finished 7th at the WSC two years ago. I knew he was a very good player. The tile gods smiled to me this game. My first move was PARERGA (no-S a composition derived from a larger work). PARERGA was followed by TOILETED. I chickened out of SALTIES and almost got punished for it. Hubert played LIONIZER for 101 points and CURARINE+S ( a poisonous alkaloid). I hooked an S onto CURARINE, and when he challenged, I knew it was my game.


I was paired against TOH WEIBIN, a former WORLD YOUTH SCRABBLE CHAMPION, also from SIngapore. This time, the tile Gods were not smiling. They were laughing! And they only stopped laughing, when the game was over. I started with NAPOLEON+S ( a type of pastry). TOH WEIBIN replied with BEDSORE+S. And then followed what I like to call bonus flood. REMOUNT+S, ENDURES and LATERAD (no-S) from me, killed the game.


I had to play HUBERT WEE again. He started with ENDLEAF+S and never looked back. DIATRIBE+S, PANDECTS for 179 points( a complete body of laws) and GENETRIX from HUBERT gave me my worst defeat of the tournament! I played ETESIAN+S and ESTRONES to finish the game and catch HUBERT with 50 points on his rack, yet still lost by over 200 points!


My next opponent was Michael Tang, the popular organizer of the WSC and CAUSEWAY SCRABBLE CHALLENGE. I started with DELICTS followed by SIENITE+S, EBONISE+D,S and BORANES. I could even afford not to play a triple triple for 149 points I was only 99% sure of. Michael bonused with TREFOIL+S and LANIARD+S ( a fastening rope on a ship).


My next victim was HUBERT WEE. I started well and kept scoring well, while HUBERT was struggling. Then, towards the end of the game, I completely switched off, and played my worst game of the tournament. I bonused* with INFLATES AND TREADLES while HUBERT bonused with EUCAINS and DATCHAS ( a Russian cottage).


The last game of the tournament was against BOB LINN. My bonuses were SAURIAN+S and TELETRON+S ( a cathode ray- tube). Bob only had one bonus: COLLATED. He also played a three letter word phony that came off the board. Then we both tried to extend the word QUAFF, but failed...


I finished the tournament 5th. After 18 games, I had 10 wins and 6 losses. My average was 448 points per game while my opponents' average was 432. I had a good time and I hope to go back one day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yew Tee 2009 ( Scrabble Report- Day 1)

My first game of the day was against Ricky Purnomo, my host for the weekend. Ricky played the first bonus ( LAPWINGS a shore bird), after trying a phony the previous movie. I replied with ANTITYPE+S followed by INFESTER+S. It was my turn to play a phoney. Needless to say that it came off the board and it was followed by ADHESION+S from Ricky to win the game.


My second opponent was Shim Yen Nee, another Singaporean. While she struggled the whole game with terrible pick ups, I played two bonuses: UNSENSED and and REARGUE+D,S. Towards the end of the game, she bonused* with TOLTERS and AIRLINES, but it was too late for her to catch up.


Jocelyn Lor from Malaysia was my third opponent. She bonused first with LEAKERS, followed by the nonvalid word EDUCTING*, which later became DUETTING. I replied with the bonus TEAGLES and tried to balance my rack for another bonus. I failed to do so, and lost the game.


My fourth game saw me face my good friend TONY SIM from Singapore. Tony's opening move, gave me a T for SAXONITE+S ( igneous rock). HERNIAE and SMOYLING from TONY and GELLIES from me provided a very interesting endgame. Both TONY and I failed to see for a couple of moves, that my V was playable, which made NIGEL RICHARDS, who was lurking around, smile.


CHEAH SIU HEAN, another friend of mine, was my fifth opponent. He had a dream game against me. He had four bonuses: FIREPOTS, ROBOTIZE+D,S , DOTTRELS and FREEDOM+S, while I had two: ANOETIC and RIVIERAS.


In my sixth game, I played QUEK SIM Ho, a Scrabble veteran from SIngapore, who represented his country at the WSC a while ago. It was a very close game. I started with PITEOUS followed by his THEATER. WINIEST gave me a 40 point lead and when he opened with VILL, I hooked an I onto it to make VILLI/QIS for 44 points to win the game.


In game seven I had to face MIHAI PANTIS , my compatriot. MIHAI started with the suboptimal bonus TIERCETS, which allowed me to play CRAZED for 84 points! He had two more bonuses( OUTEARN+S, MOSSING), while I only had one ( CASEMENT).


In the last game of the first day, I had to play ROBERT LINN from USA. It's always a pleasure to play ROBERT. He bonused* first with VEILERS, while I offered him some CIGARETS. Robert took the second blank from the bag, but the board was already blocked, so there was no home for his bonuses.


I finished the day with five wins and three losses.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Causeway 2009 (Day 5)

Day 5 was a daymare. I lost the game against Anand missing an easy bonus ( ENTRISM) as an out play, I lost the game against Henry Yeo by 8 points after bonusing* and taking the last four tiles from the bag (EEER), I lost the game against Karen Richards by 7 points after challenging two of her words ( words I was almost one hundred percent sure of!), and another game where my opponent saw the word OAKIER on the board next to us, and decided to try OAKIEST for 96 points! That gave him the win!. In my last game of the tournament, Bob Jackman from Australia played EUIO* against me. I challenged it off. Bob is my friend. A part of me wanted to let him have another go, while the other one ( the player) look at him and said: " Sorry Bob". I know that in Scrabble, these mistakes don't go unpunished... I remember how last year at the UK Scrabble Open I wanted to play the word HANGS. After I pressed the clock, I realized that I had played the nonvalid word HAGNS!!! It was challenged off by one of my good friends, Phil Robertshaw. We' re still friends. Or so he thinks...
In the same game, Bob and I realized after we finished the game, that there was still a tile in the bag. It was my mistake, since I failed to find it, thinking that there was only one tile left! We didn't know the rules. Bob had another turn, and since he couldn't go out in one, I played the tile left in the bag for 8 points.
So the Causeway Challenge 2009 has come to an end. The same players who fought in the final of the WSC (Nigel and Pakorn) finished first and second, which shows that luck is just a part of the game!
On the way to the airport, Sanjoy Gupta, a Scrabble player from India, offered me a beer. At first, I thanked him and said that I wasn't a beer person. Then, I accepted his present. It was my first beer this year. After the firt sip, I remembered why I didn't like beer. It had a bitter taste. Just like the taste of defeat...:))

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Causeway 2009 (Day 4)

Michael Akonor (Ghana) Adrian Tamas (Romania)

Another good day for me. After two days of struggle, I made it back to table one. Just for one game...I didn't throw any games away today. On top of that, inspiration and luck gave me two nice wins against Michael Gongolo and Kevin McMahon, two of the strongest players in the open division. I also played a nine timer: ATRopINES for 149 points against Victor Chua, to win a very exciting game.
The last game of the day put me in a very interesting position. Michael Akonor, the leader of the Open Division, played a word that I challenged. He took it back right away saying that it wasn't good. He didn't even want to go to the computer for the adjudication. Even though I challenged the word, I was almost sure that it was ok, so I insisted that we should check it. It was valid, so Michael didn't lose his turn. He thanked me many times after the game. I said that I enjoy winning, but that I would rather lose than win games like that. Michael Akonor seems like a nice fellow. I hope he wins the tournament.

Life as a Single Wife: the End of the Road

As I told you before, being a single wife does not mean I am the only wife until further notice. It means I am a kind of semi-bachelorette until my beloved husband comes back. The happy event will take place in about 30 hours, so tonight I thought I'd take advantage of my freedom and I went out (for the first Christmas party of the season) with some friends.
Here's a photo of our dinner (I'm pretty sure sashimi is a valid Scrabble word, but you will have to ask the specialist if you want to be one hundred per cent sure).

After that, we went to my favourite bar in Japan, a small place called Michi (The Road) which has been in business since 1957. The owner is a kind and funny old man who chooses his customers and has a special price for each of them, depending on the degree of likability. Fortunately, I'm on the list of favourites. I strongly recommend it; it's right in the center of Osaka, near the Hozenji temple, and if you're lucky and the owner likes you, you can have many great drinks for a very low price.

I apologize if I haven't been very funny. After been awake for 18 hours, my inspiration has left me. But I'm sure Adrian will be here soon, with news from Causeway Challenge. As I suggested before, for the pancakes... attaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Causeway Scrabble Challenge ( Day 3)

Day 3 was good, but could have been better! I felt that two of my three lost games where winnable. The third game was " whinable". I really need to work on my stamina. At one point, I almost fell asleep on the Scrabble board. When I "almost" woke up, my opponent was already filling in the result sheet. Tomorrow is another tough day, with ten games waiting to be played. Who knows, we might even have a winner by the end of the day...

"If Only" ( Scrabble)

"If Only" is a Scrabble variant invented by a player from UK. If you know his name, please let me know. Howard Warner from New Zealand introduced us to this game, a couple of days ago. Yesterday, the nine games of Scrabble were followed by three games of "If Only" against Martin Harrison. Since you have a blank on your rack almost every turn, it's easy to score more points and to come up with nicer words.

Game 1: Adrian Tamas 541 Martin Harrison 476

Game 2: Martin Harrison 528 Adrian Tamas 514

Game 3: Adrian Tamas 715 Martin Harrison 572

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Causeway Scrabble Challenge ( Day 2)

Today was a good day. For my opponents. I played my worst Scrabble ever to lose a won game against Waseem Katri, I "managed" a six game losing streak, and not even the 6 phonies played by my opponents couldn't end it! For lunch, I had a J served by Charnrit, the World Youth Scrabble Champion. That will teach me! Starting today, I will stop counting the " goodies".
Did I have enough? No! Tomorrow I'll be back for more!

Virus Alert: the Scrabble Bug

This is a very serious warning. The Scrabble virus has a long incubation period and the risk of contagion is extremely high. When the Scrabble virus strikes, it strikes violently.
The first symptoms:

 You are on the train with your friends, one of whom (hi, Chad!) is teaching you American slang. The only thing you can think of is “Are these valid Scrabble words?” You actually utter out loud the question and your friends cast pitying glances in your direction.
 You are in Nikko, one of the most beautiful and famous places in Japan, soaking comfortably in an open air bath. The sun is slowly rising and the steam turns into a delicate rose mist which floats around your shoulders.

A maple leaf falls into the water, near you, and you rest your head on a moss covered rock. All of a sudden, the water is rippling and you can feel the kraken (ha! I’ve read my pirate books!) lurking beneath: “Is rotenburoan open air bath—valid in Scrabble?”

I’m not yet sure about the second stage of the disease, but I guess I’ll be afflicted with an incontrollable shaking when I see a Scrabble board. After that… DOOM follows! If you want to prevent infection, the first thing to do is stop reading this blog.

Our House

In order to avoid misunderstandings, here is our house.

It does belong to the temple you saw in the photos and it is right across the street from it. Jean, unfortunately we do not live quite inside the temple, but very close to it. The invitation to come visit us stands.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Causeway 2009 (Day 1)

As I walk into the game room, I hear Harshan Lamabadusuriya say: "This is what Scrabble deserves. This is how it should be treated". I couldn't agree more. Michael Tang has taken this game to the next level!
Today was a pretty good day for me. I finished on seven wins and two losses. I took about seventy percent of the blanks which is no bad at all... My wife said she would wait for me with pancakes ( my favourite dessert) if I win. I remembered that, when I played the bonus NOCAKES against Esther Perrins! My first game tomorrow will be against Charnrit, the World Youth Scrabble Champion . The Open Division looks pretty strong too. I see Odette Rio, Martin Harrison, Kevin MacMahon and Cheah Siu Hean, are out of the top 20 at the moment. In my opinion, any of these players could win the Open Division!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where We Live

A story to take your mind off Scrabble at least for a few minutes. Here it goes.

My grandmother has always been afraid of graveyards. A deep, inexplicable fear which prevented her from ever going to a graveyard alone or from passing one by at night. Now we live surrounded by graveyards. There are four temples, each with its own graveyard, on our street. The moment I step off the train, I smell the incense and within minutes I’m on the sacred street, which feels amazingly peaceful and safe. If I met any ghosts, I was not aware of it.
Our temple (yes, after three years here I think we can say “our” temple, despite the more than obvious difference between our religious systems) is called Gatsuzōji, more precisely 青陽山月蔵寺 and it has a 500-year history.

The Temple of the Hidden Moon. The Dwelling of the Gods on the Mountain of Eternal Spring. Now we are part of its history. We were here when the little boy who will (hopefully) become its 44th head priest came into this world and we shared all of his birthday cakes.
We traveled around the world with its head priest.
We took part in its annual events. I helped make o-hagi, and cold somen noodles, and bento boxes.
We witnessed ascetic practices and helped with the cleaning before and after the event.

Now we are all very proud that Gatsuzōji has become the newest attraction in the tourist circuit of Sakai City and almost 2000 people visited it in only five days.
The leaves of the maple tree are turning red. Autumn again, my favourite season. Don’t avoid us if you’re ever in Sakai!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Battle of the Titans, or Scrabble Reloaded

This afternoon, Martin Harrison and I(representing the Causeway Open Division) played three games of Scrabble against Lewis Mackay and Phil Robertshaw ( representing the Causeway Masters Division).
Game 1: Lewis and Phil started with the beautiful ROCKABY( a song used to lull children to sleep). It was followed by our MELTAGE+S, making ROCKABYE. WORDINGS, PEERAGE+Sand DISCANT+S gave them a well deserved win:LewisPhil 597 MartinAdrian 446


Game 2: Martin and I exchanged one tile in the first move, and bonused the next move with CORONET+S. Lewis and Phil played EYEPATCH, a nonvalid word, that stayed on the board. ABRIDGER+S and CELERITY put us well ahead, but a hidden bonus from us, combined with a bad pickup for the masters, won us the game: MartinAdrian 481LewisPhil 453

Game 3: We decided to play a decider. Martin and I started with KINKIER. While Lewis and Phil where struggling with consonants, we kept scoring. To make Martin happy, I let him hook an S onto KINKIER to make SKINKIER(not a valid word). OUTHIRE+D,S, ANHINGAS( an aquatic bird) and JAILORS comfortably won us the game: MartinAdrian 554 LewisPhil 293

So the final result was Open Division 2 Masters Division 1, winning us the fight, and with it, a lot of compliments from our "master brothers".

Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (World Champion 2009)

I met Pakorn four years ago at the King's Cup, my first international tournament. I remember finishing my game and going to the" better tables" to see who won. Pakorn was there laughing, and talking to his opponent about his game. I asked one of the onlookers if Pakorn had won the game and the answer was: "No, he lost by over 100 points". I was quite impressed by his attitude towards this game. If you do your best, there is absolutely nothing to be sad about. Put a smile on your face and move on to the next game. And I believe that along with his amazing word knowledge, strategy and intuition, this attitude has won him many games. At this WSC, Pakorn played his third final. I believe this says much about his level of play. Nobody has made the final three times. How did he get to this level? The first step was falling in love with this game. The second step was learning the words. The third step was improving his strategy. And the last step was perseverance! I remember Pakorn telling me: " Wherever Nigel Richards goes, I go." Nigel Richards is another monument of Scrabble. Out of all the Scrabble players, he has the best word knowledge. He is a " trophy collector". The secret to improving yourself is matching your powers with the best players. And this strategy worked for Parkon. I forgot to mention another thing one needs in order to win games: self confidence. "I will win this year's World Scrabble Championship", Pakorn told me while we were playing some games on ISC in October. I knew he wasn't joking. Nigel and Pakorn are both my friends. Before the final I went to them and wished them good luck. I knew that luck would play an important part. I wanted both players to win, but I knew that this was impossible! I was sorry that Nigel lost the final and happy that Pakorn won it. When he came into the room where we were observing the final, he was crying. He had to wait for three finals to win this one. But he finally did it. Congratulations, Pakorn!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Been there, done that, got a T-shirt

As my wife was saying, this is the end of the road. At the next WSC there will only be one Romanian. Unless we organize the event. I think that would be good for Mattel. In Romania all the students study English in Elementary School, High School or University, but very few play Scrabble in English. The good thing is that Scrabble has a good image in Romania and even though it's not as popular as chess, it's considered a sport. And we have a Michaeltanglike* organizer: Septimiu Crivei. Regarding the WSC, I can say that I've been there, played there, got a T-shirt and a Scrabble board.(since I won my last game and the winner took the board while the non-winner took the tiles).My average score was 433, which I'm quite happy with, while my opponent's average score against me was 436. Needless to say that I'm not happy about that!!!

WSC ( Day 3 - the afternoon games)

In the afternoon I had two unwinnable games against Irfan Siddiqui and Rasheed Ateeq Khan, and two one sided wins against Dielle Saldanha and Robert Linn. Despite my disappointing performance, I won 20 rating points. Unlike yesterday, today I had a better flow of the tiles.
Game21: Adrian Tamas SSSQZ?(exchanged twice) Irfan Siddiqui ?JSX Lost
Game22: Adrian Tamas SS?ZQ Rashid Ateeq Khan SSJX? Lost
Game23: Adrian Tamas ZSS? Dielle Saldanha QJXSS? Won
Game24: Adrian Tamas SSZ? Robert Linn QJZSS? Won
Romania loses a spot but wins a lot of experience. We will be back...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The End of the Road

To avoid misunderstandings, this is the wife speaking. I have just seen the standings on the WSC official website. Not exactly what I would have expected, so I thought I should count the positive and negative aspects, to see whether I should mourn or rejoice.


1. Romania is (I think) back to the one-player team.
2. The very supportive people back home (Septimiu and the U Cluj club, for example) may be disappointed.
3. I'm afraid my husband would get drunk if he drank alcohol. Honestly, I'm sorry he doesn't. As I mentioned before, I'm a terribly sorry loser, so I'd probably be suicidal were I in his shoes.
4. The surprise breakfast (pancakes!) I had planned for him is off. That was the breakfast for champions.


1. Our house has been very clean and neat for the past seven days.
2. I can eat my favourite cereal every morning because the bag stays miraculously full during the night.
3. I don't have to watch TV wearing headphones anymore (Adrian doesn't watch TV).
4. The strange ringing in my husband's ears (it sounds something like: "How many times have I told you not to leave your dirty socks on the floor?" "Take your feet off the desk!" "Dry the dishes and put them back in the cupboard after you've washed them!" and other such endearing words) has completely disappeared.

Another minus: all the pluses enumerated above will magically disappear as soon as Adrian is back from Malaysia.
Another plus: pending on the Causeway Challenge results, the pancake breakfast might be back on schedule.

Congratulations to all the players, good luck tomorrow to the two Lords on top and, as the Japanese put it, お疲れ様でした (otsukare sama deshita = your efforts during the day are much appreciated).

WSC( Day 3 at lunchtime)

Today started with four interesting games. Joel Wapnick and Brian Bowman played a nine timer each to win their games against me while I had a late nine timer against Michael Tang which won me the game.That's three nine timers in 4 games!!! In the game against Victor Ikawa a late setup for my E gave me the win. I have started picking good tiles. Whenever my opponent looks away, I take some " goodies" out of the bag! The strategy works and I am planning to keep doing that...
Game17: Adrian Tamas SS? Joel Wapnick JQZXSS? lost
Game18: Adrian Tamas ZXSS?? (exchanged 3 times!) Michael Tang QJSS won
Game19: Adrian Tamas S?X Victor Ikawa JZQSSS?
Game20: Adrian Tamas SSJX? Brian Bowman ZQSS? Lost

I hope that the non- scrabble players don't think that this game is just about luck. It requires a lot of concentration, intuition and word knowledge. If you don't have this, you can take all the goodies from the bag and still lose! It's time to go back for my next game.

WSC ( Day 2- licking my wounds )

Harshan And I before the game

As you already know, today was not such a good day for me. A lost game to Sherwin Rodriguez after being 140 ahead and holding a blank, a balanced game against Trevor Mark Hovelmeier( more balanced than the score shows), five games where I was just an observer and a win against Harshan Lamabadusuriya. And how sweet that win was! I have played Harshan seven times and this is the first time I beat him! He is not having a good tournament either. And neither is Joel Wapnick, a former World Champion and finalist of the World Scrabble Championship, who will be my next " victim" tomorrow...
Out of curiousity I had a look at the "goodies" I picked today. In Scrabble, QZJXSS?? are called goodies, because they make one's life a lot easier during play.

Game 9: Adrian Tamas ZQXSS Martin Harrison ??SSJ lost
Game 10: Adrian Tamas JXSS? Sherwin Rodrigues ZQSS? lost
Game 11: Adrian Tamas QZ? Nathan Benedict JXSSSS? lost
Game 12: Adrian Tamas S Mark Nyman QZJXSSS?? lost
Game 13: Adrian Tamas QXSSS? Harshan Lambadusuriya JZS? won
Game 14: Adrian Tamas X Helen Gipson QZJSSSS?? lost
Game 15: Adrian Tamas QS Ayorinde Saidu JZXSSS?? lost
Game 16: Adrian Tamas ZXSS? Trevor Mark Hovelmeier QJSS? won

I will look at my first eight games tomorrow. I'm sure I picked better tiles than today! Tomorrow I am planning to pick all 16 blanks:))

Me celebrating the historical win against Harshan:))

Friday, November 27, 2009

World Scrabble Championship (II)

Well, sad news today. Adrian went down to position 63, after having lost 6 games today. And I have no photos to show you. As he put it, the only chance he had of beating one of his opponents was to actually use his fists. I can't say I would mind it. I mean, there are no rules in love and war, and this is war! You Scrabble players are so lucky I don't like the game!

Scrabble and the Real Life

While WSC 2009 has us completely entranced, I find out, by pure accident, that in Romania all TV channels and newspapers debate a short movie in which the current president apparently hits a boy. The authenticity of the movie has not been proved and many think it may be an election scam. Honestly, I couldn't care less. What I wanted to say is that we do live a happy life if we can afford to care more about Scrabble than about who is going to be the next president of Romania. I pray it stays that way.
Players, have another good day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

World Scrabble Championship (I)

I have just found these photos on the official site of the championship and I thought I'd share them with you. Together with the news that my husband finished the day on position 14. I could burst with pride!

Life as a Single Wife: Make Up

I thought the "lords of the board" need a break from so much Scrabble (please don't tell me there's no such thing as too much Scrabble; don't take from me the hope that my husband might tire of Scrabble one day), so I decided to share some images from Japan with you.
Those who have been here, and maybe some of those who haven't as well, know of the Japanese custom of putting on make up on the trains. The well educated, polite, older Japanese think it's absolutely disgusting, even worse than eating or drinking on the train. Yes, eating a sandwich, a doughnut, or even nibbling on a piece of chocolate or drinking some coffee while riding a train is frowned upon in conservative Japanese circles. I must admit I do it sometimes, the train ride being the only time I get for lunch or dinner (unless I am willing to eat dinner when it's way too late for my diet efforts). I guess this is the argument women who put on their make up on trains can give: they don't have the time to do it at home. Sacrifice manners for a few extra minutes of sleep. I'm not judging them, but I must admit I find it strange to see women who do the complete routine: face cream, foundation, drawing the eyebrows (in case you didn't know, that's the fashion here: shave your eyebrows and draw the desired design every morning. I'm pretty sure Japanese men have really strong hearts if they are still alive after waking up next to a woman with no eyebrows. De gustibus...), several layers of eye shadow, eyeliner, powder, blush, lipstick, mascara. One thing is to be admired: the perfection with which they apply this make up. I can't use eyeliner even in the stillness of my own bathroom, not to mention a moving crowded train.
The bad news is that putting on make up on trains is slowly becoming more than a no no and posters discouraging it are found together with posters which urge people to take action agains molesters. Do it at home, ladies!