I used to be a serious Scrabble player. I started a club in college, memorized all the two- and three- letter words, joined the National Scrabble Association, and competed in a handful of tournaments.
Last night, I returned to the NYC club for the first time in months–and I got my butt kicked. I managed to squeak out a five-point win in my first game, 328-323, and it was all downhill from there. My next opponent opened Round Two with KIDDERS for 86 points; the final score was so lopsided that I’m too ashamed to report it. Round Three wasn’t much better, but at least I got beat by a fellow baseball fan. Final score: 434-321.
It’s amazing how good these people are. I scored 400 points in the fourth and final game and still lost by 83. My opponent unleashed three bingos–that’s what you call a play that uses all seven tiles and earns the coveted 50-point bonus–and I only played one: SEAwEED for 71 points. A few turns later, I played JAPER for 85 points to bring the deficit to 31, only to see my opponent answer with REGOLITh for 60. Then I played FIFTY for 45 points, and she came right back with HEH–tripled in two directions along the bottom of her custom-made board–for 53. Wow.
The expert division never seemed so far away…