Friday, November 25, 2005

Missing WSC Players

After looking at the results for the WSC 2005 I was wondering were certain players were that should have been there. So as I like writing lists, (strangely enough!) I wrote another one. I wrote this because I am wondering what happened to make these players miss it. Except I know why Edward missed it.

Absent WSC 2005 players who should have been there:

Brian Cappelletto (USA) - 1st WSC 2001
Dave Gibson (USA) - 3rd WSC 1993
Jim Geary (USA) - 12th WSC 2003
Komol Panyasophonlert (Thailand)- 6th WSC 2003
Edward Okulicz (Australia) - 23rd WSC 2001
Jack Dymond (New Zealand) - 6th WSC 1997

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mistakes at the WSC

After following the online games the the World Scrabble Championship I noticed a few mistakes and people told me about some. These are listed here. Our Australian team did very well and I congratulate them on their effort. The games annotated are those on the top table so obviously they are making less mistakes than everyone else. Feel free to comment and let me know of other interesting games/missed words.

Game 1

David plays NATTERS instead of TRANECTS. He also plays HOED instead of OHED. He also misses TROPARIA and plays PARVO.

Game 6

Naween plays JAG letting Adam go out on his next turn with REFINE.

Game 7

Gerald plays ARISEN opening a closed board and making a spot for Adam’s bingo.

Game 8

Paul plays SEG, allowing Adam to later play VASA on the triple.

Game 10

Andrew plays QAID instead of QADI, giving his opponent the Q in the triple lane, although he bingos on the triple on his next move.

Adam misses EUTECTIC.

Game 11

Paul plays ECU, although this isn’t that badder move he could have played CUTIE to go for tile turnover and block the triple lane. If his opponent bingos it would then be in a more open spot making it easier for him to come back.

Game 12

Andrew plays HYP instead of TRYP although HYP scored more. Andrew also plays DOU* instead of DUO.

Game 13

Ganesh plays the phony theorism*. Jerry plays FLEW setting up for FLEWS.

Game 14a

Adam misses ENDOSTEA!

Game 16
Peter plays the phony DANE and Asirvatham doesn’t challenge!!!

Game 17

Tim plays MILO for 20 and leaves the S in the triple lane for Adam to bingo. Maven suggests playing MOR for 24 which would block the triple lane, or MORICHES threw CHE to score 30.

Tim also plays the very open move of FINS, when he could have played FOSSIL for 26 and had more chance at picking up the remaining blank.

Game 18

Phil Appleby plays DELE which sets Adam up for WIPE.

Game 19

John misses QIS and plays QI, then Adam bingos in a spot that could have been blocked.

Game 22

In a very interesting game Adam has both blanks and Naween has two spots to block and blocks the wrong one. It was difficult to know which one to block.

Instead of playing ALURE, Naween could have played LUD to make the spot unplayable.

Game 23

Pakorn plays CLIT and Naween doesn’t challenge! What were they thinking about! :)

Game 24

Gareth misses AUGURIES and changes UU!

Finals Game 1

Pakorn plays VOGUE and doesn’t block the S in the dangerous triple lane. He then blocks the M instead of the S!

Well played generally I think by Parkorn and Adam.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Words of the Week

IRACUND - No hooks and no eights!

UVEITIC - no hooks or eights!

METOPAE - only eight is COPEMATE





Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Internet Scrabble Club Vs Literati

Main advantages of Literati

More Blanks – This is the best feature of Literati. More blanks means more bingos and both opponents usually start with a blank each which makes the game fairer.

More people – You can almost guarantee that you’ll be able to find someone of a similar rating to play with at any time of day.

Multiplayer games – You can play games with 2 – 5 players.

Coloured Tiles – When I first started playing on ISC I found it annoying that the tiles were all the same colour, but I got used to it of course. I guess real scrabble has tiles all the same colours possibly so you can’t easily distinguish what tiles your opponent has.

Faster games – I learnt to play blitz scrabble on Literati and one minute games sure are heart pumping! Games with increments of seconds are possible eg. 3 mins 2 second increment.

Different Board Structure – In literati the double-double squares are easier to bridge. The triple letter 4 squares away from the triple-word square also makes it easy to get big scores from four letter words.

Both players must click start before a game begins – this is a good feature so that games don’t get started when people are not in the room.

Main Disadvantages of Literati

Random tile distribution – I think this is one of the main problems although it does make the games interesting and more random. Three Z’s or Q’s can make things either very difficult or very easy.

Simplistic Rating System – When you start playing literati your rating begins at 1500. On ISC your rating is determined after your first game. This makes more sense as there is less work to get a high rating if you already have great skill.

Screen can’t be maximised to fullscreen
– this would be helpful to make the board more visible and it would be easy to implement.

Tiles must be placed on the board one at a time – this is one of the most annoying things after playing on ISC.

More Novices
– The ISC seems to have attracted a much more serious group of scrabbles including tournament players.

Slow login process – Password and ID must be entered every time you log on

Different Dictionary – Only one dictionary – American wordlist with additions of VON, KEV, and DA.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

NSW Championships


• The top 3 finishers all got at least one win over me but it was very close in the end. With one loss I dropped from first to sixth but it was an enjoyable tournament.

• My most painful loss was to Rex Shakespeare. I was 50 points ahead and the board appeared virtually blocked with no bingo lanes. Rex then played SEEPING/ SERRING onto ERRING which fitted perfectly and won him the game. He also ended his long losing streak against me. Well done Rex.

• Graeme played ALENCONS in our first game, and TUYERES in our second which were the weirdest words played against me,

• Edward got beaten by Alistair Richards. hahahaha


Day 3

Blanks: 10
Bingos: 10

Day 2

Blanks: 10
Bingos: 13

Day 1

Blanks: 9
Bingos: 8

Total bingos: 31
Total blanks: 28
Average score: 380

Total phonies: 8
Total phonies challenged off: 7

Games likely lost because of strategic errors like not blocking or phonies: 6

Games lost because of bad tiles or lack of word knowledge: 4


REFUNDER - guessed (challenged)
DIPPIER - guessed (challenged)
RENTABLE - guessed (challenged)
LABIATES (challenged)

Game 17
VS Alison Pollard

My final rack of EDITOR? was handy but I had 7 minutes left to find the best play. As it happened there were four bingos which I missed. See if you can spot them. I lost the game 406 to 416.

Scores at this point: 359 to 399 in Alison’s favour.

Click for larger Image.

Friday, September 23, 2005

State Challenge and Australian Masters Report

I wrote this article to send to the Canberra Times:

On the weekend myself, John Spaan, Susan MacGillvray, and Richard Jeremy attended the Australian Masters and State Challenge Scrabble tournament in Melbourne. It was a very eventful weekend and I was pleased with the results. Canberra’s own, Richard Jeremy finished 9th in the Australian Masters showing that he has what it takes to battle it out with the best of best in the Scrabble world.

The top three positions in the State Challenge were females with the South Australian team winning the event. Western Australia came second and NSW finished third while ACT finished sixth. In the Masters division the top four positions were taken by Victorians with the Australian number 11, Trevor Halsall winning overall. This was an excellent result for him. His last major title was the Australian Nationals in 1994. The fifteen year old and Australian number 7 from Victoria, David Eldar, finished second proving that he is an outstanding player to represent Australia in the World Scrabble Championships, which are held later this year in London.

Scrabble players tend to learn a lot of words and not a lot of meanings. I had a good laugh when one of my opponents played PUBS onto my QUAFF to make QUAFFS and I decided to challenge as I didn’t know the meaning of QUAFF. I subsequently discovered that it means to drink your beverage very quickly and can be used as a noun or a verb. Some other interesting words played include BUAZE, TORULAE, ORDAINED, PANDERS, EROTICS, AIZLE, FADIEST, SALLIED, TORCHINGS, YEANING, BAPU, FERMI, VAURIEN, HYLEG, CURIOSA, INTERSEX, ACTINIAE, STALLION, BEASTIE, MARTINS, PIRANHA, and QUILLETS.

Another notable play by one of my opponents was the word SYSTEMED which was played through two triples for 176! I thought I had a comfortable lead at the time, being 120 points or so in the lead. This was the highest scoring play at the tournament.

Three out of the four representatives from Canberra improved their ratings with Richard Jeremy increasing his ranking to 15th in Australia which was an outstanding result. John and I went up a few rating points although I would have like to go up more. Susan dropped a few rating points but still some great games. It was a highly enjoyable tournament and we all hope to go back next year and improve on our results.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Words of the week August 1

CERNE – short for discern ? also CERNED, CERNING

CERNUOUS – having branches or flower heads that bend downward.

NIOBOUS – concerning or containing niobium with a valence less than five
NIOBIUM – soft gray ductile metallic element used in alloys; occurs in niobite; formerly called columbium.
NIOBITE – a black mineral that is an ore of niobium and tantalum.

THUJA – red cedar.

SYBO – ?
SYBOE – Green onion
SYBOW – a young union.
SYBOTIC – a. pertaining to swineherd. sybotism, n. (swineherd - a herder or swine)

DISFLESH - To reduce the flesh or obesity of.

MOTUCA - Motuca is a municipality/county in the state of São Paulo in Brazil.

1. member of Papua New Guinean people: a member of a Melanesian people of Papua New Guinea who live in the central province in and around Port Moresby

2. Motu language: the Austronesian language of the Motu.14,000.

MOTTY – Full of, or consisting of, motes.
The motty dust reek raised by the workmen. - H. Miller.

SYPH - a common venereal disease caused by the Treponema pallidum spirochete; symptoms change through progressive stages; can be congenital (transmitted through the placenta)

SYPHER - To overlap and even (chamfered or beveled plank edges) so that they form a flush surface.

HESP – A measure of two hanks of linen thread.
HESPED - Eulogy delivered by rabbi for the dead in Judaism.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Words of the Week - July 16

KWELA - a kind of danceable music popular among black South Africans; includes a whistle among its instruments

PASHM - fine wool of Kashmir goat.

MEGASS, MEGASSE - Same as bagasse. the dry dusty pulp that remains after juice is extracted
from sugar cane or similar plants

GOWF - a fun golf course card game?

GOWFERS - Someone who plays GOWF?

BUGSEED - form of tumbleweed.

SCYTALE - A species of serpent. Also is a tool used to perform a transposition cipher.

LASHINS - a great plenty

YAQONAS - A Fijian drink made from the powdered root of Piper methysticum (family Piperaceae);
excessive drinking of it causes a state of hyperexcitability and a loss of power in the
legs; chronic intoxication induces roughening of the skin and a state of debility.

COPAIVA - A more or less viscid, yellowish liquid, the bitter oleoresin of several
species of Copaifera, a genus of trees growing in South America and the West Indies.
It is stimulant and diuretic, and is much used in affections of the mucous membranes;
-- called also balsam of copaiba.

LANCEGAY, LANCEGAYE - A kind of spear anciently used. Its use was
prohibited by a statute of Richard II.

WETWARES - the human brain or a human being considered especially with
respect to human logical and computational capabilities.

World's Best Scrabble Player

Who is the best Scrabble Player in the world?

That is a difficult question because there are many different countries with different rating systems.
Many have argued that Nigel Richards, or Parkorn Nemitrmansuk are the best, or the 2003 world champion Panupol Sujjayakorn. Some may even say Joel Wapnick is the best because he has won the world championship once and finished second twice, along with his other top 50 placings.

A more logical of working out the best player is to look at international tournaments such as Bob Jackman has done. International Ratings This does not take player’s individual ratings into account however and is limited by the number of tournaments classed as international.

Another problem with this method is that some tournaments have only two countries playing, such as the Trans Tasman and there are also problems with lack of information. I believe if a player has played less than 100 games then their rating is not very accurate due to the small number of games. I have also noticed that for some reason a few players that have competed in World Championships are not on this list, such as Brian Cappelletto for example.

Another method of rating players could to look at past World Championship results. WSC Players by past performance

The problem with this is that it takes old data into account and a tournament played in the 80s would be quite different to a tournament played now.

We need a method that takes a large amount of data into account and looks at a wide array of tournament results. There should be some method of comparing various results from USA and Australia for example, even though they use different rating systems.

It was suggested recently that some sort of calibration of various national systems could be possible by fitting a distribution to each rating system and shifting them according to a mean. This may not be highly accurate but would be useful in comparing various countries and opponents especially for the World Scrabble Championships.

After some consideration and some random thoughts I have come up with my top 20 world scrabble players. I based it on the various lists discussed and my personal opinions.

Of course some of these players I haven’t heard that much about or seen play, like David Gibson but he is the number one player in the US apparently.

My Top 20 Overall
1. Adam Logan (CAN/UK)
2. Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand) – [Zedoary online]
3. Ganesh Asirvatham (Malaysia) – [Juggernaut online]
4. Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (Thailand) – [Pakorn online]
5. Narween Fernando (AUS) – [Nawster online]
6. Nigel Richards (Malaysia)
7. Brian Cappelleto (US) – [Bricap online]
8. Andrew Fisher (AUS) – [Aphis online]
9. Edward Okulicz (AUS) – [Taqi online]
10. David Eldar (AUS) – [deldar182]
11. Mark Nyman (UK)
12. Helen Gipson (UK) – [Pooh online]
13. Andrew Davis (UK) – [Bin70 online]
14. David Boys (CAN)
15. Dave Wiegand (USA) - [Drbing online]
16. Komol Panyasoponlert (Thailand)
17. Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Thailand)
18. Jakkrit Klaphajone (Thailand)
19. Joel Wapnick (Canada)
20. Jude Obinna (Nigeria) – [Judeobinna online]
21. David Gibson (US)

Another interesting list of Scrabble world players is the highest earners, Highest Earners
maintained by Jim Geary. Some of the best players haven’t made it onto this list yet but it interesting to see.

Some Top Earners from

1. 129300 David Gibson
2. 110545 Brian Cappelletto
3. 087170 Joe Edley
4. 076286 Joel Sherman
5. 060520 Joel Wapnick
6. 059005 Nigel Richards
7. 040175 Ron Tiekert
8. 037943 Mark Nyman
9. 037659 Adam Logan
10. 037070 Trey Wright
11. 027744 Naween Fernando
12. 024848 Pakorn Nemitrmansuk
13. 024816 Jakkrit Klaphajone
14. 024020 David Wiegand
15. 023125 Peter Morris
16. 021673 Robert Felt
17. 019579 David Boys
18. 018471 Panupol Sujjayakorn
19. 017745 Andrew Fisher

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Complex Endgame

In this game an interesting and complex endgame situation came about. My oponent was about 50 or 60 points ahead (cant recall the exact score) but this meant I had to get a bingo to win the game. With the letters ?deirst I had many options. After analysing the game with Maven it suggests the best move is VERDITS as it does not open much for the opponent. CREDITS also being a good move as it also does not give much away except that an H is out and CH is playable.

On further inspection I discovered that the high scoring letters H and K were still out and that HIKES or something similar on the triple already open could give the opponent a nice score.

So taking this into account the best option is to play off one or two letters, and aim to go out with a bingo. Playing DE at H3 blocks the possibilty of HIKES, or HIKER and makes a second opening for a bingo.

After simulating the situation in MAVEN, DE at H3 is clearly a strong move and most likely the best move in this situation.

As it happened my opponent had the letters for HIKER and made it after I played CREDITS.

Creative endgame

In this game between Trey and Airtight a very interesting endgame situation came about. Can you see the winning moves for Airtight? The scores are 370-357 and it is Airtight's turn.

Answer below.














Play GURU, which sets up the unblockable XU next turn.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tied games

Recently, whilst playing online with Richard aka Numbat, I managed to tie three games in a row. I have a screenshot of the first game only. It seems quite unlikely to have more than one tied game in a row let alone 3.

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