Having lost my two and three-letter word lists sometime last year, I printed out new ones and proceeded to attack them with highlighters of different colours. I mean, blocks and blocks of words look incredibly boring, no?
I also vowed to play at least three games a day (which is intensive, for me) save for Thursday, my busy day.
Despite all this, I felt pretty unprepared for today's tournament. I guess I was, judging from my poor three-letter word vocab. Playing with Vinnith (from Seafield) was hard, 'cause he knows all these little words and just added and added words on top of each other. Then I tentatively stuck two letters somewhere, and bam, he bingoed. Grr.
The hall of SMK Dato' Hamzah, Klang, where the tourney was held. They have a really big school! Reminds me of Samad a little bit, size-wise.
We played seven games -- three before lunch and four after. (They provided lunch, btw. Nasi lemak tambah ayam, yum.) Five of those games I won, and the only two I lost were to Vinnith. Double grr.
It was my own fault that I'd gotten him again for my last game, really. Maybe if I hadn't let my spread get as high as it had during the last few games, I would've been at a lower table. But no, my last game had been at table two -- table two! -- with a Seafielder. On the bright side, I'd never been up at such a high table before. On the dark side, headdesk headdesk headdesk.
Oh, who am I to go on about the dark side? All my other games but one, I won by over a hundred points (hence the table two-worthy points and spread). At least one of them was a first-timer, so I felt kind of bad for them. There was one girl who looked so scared! ):
Also, this tourney, I managed to make five bingos! I'm usually too scared to save my tiles for bingos, so this is a big thing. My favourite (though not the highest-scoring) was RADIANS and SKY -- Mr. Elvin and Mr. Lim would be so proud. Martin wasn't very pleased with me, though, because another bingo I had, INERTIA, I hooked it on to YORK to make YORKE. Apparently YORKE doesn't exist. Oops. I just realised that this was the game against the scared-looking girl. Agh, now I feel even worse.
It was another good Scrabble experience, I think. Bonus points for not having to go up against William Kang (again) and have him tell me that he hates my blog (again). If you want to know the whole story, read it here. My family and I still laugh at it today!Also, the nice guy from last year's nationals remembers me! He's the one always keying in everyone's marks at the end of each game. I found out today that his name's Martin and he's a committee member of the MSA (Malaysian Scrabble Association) -- don't play-play! There was also a volunteer at the tourney, Cedric, overseeing and helping out and stuff. He had to help me with the timer. Twice. Haha. Anyway, the both of them were giving me tips all throughout, which I was grateful for.
They weren't giving me tips throughout the games, though, obviously; I mean throughout the tourney. After the games, they would tell me what I needed to do next time, and what I should've done. Unsurprisingly, they tell me that I 'miss a lot'. I really do need to work on my eye for my rack, sigh.
Before going up against Vinnith, I went up to the central table in front to get a fresh scoresheet. There, Martin and Cedric bombarded me with advice:
"You need to work on knowing when to use your blanks and your S."
"Don't use blanks unless you can get more than thirty points.""Yeah, thirty points, around there."
"Because blanks are special, they can be anything.""Like just now, you could've put SLEEPILY instead of SLEEPY, with your blank."
I swear they remember my racks better than I do!
"Try your best!"
"You can do it!"
"We need a girl in the top ten!"
Aw, they were just saying it. Cedric knew and Martin knew and I knew that there was no way I was able to beat Vinnith. Sweet of them, though. (Reading the dialogue makes me think of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, haha!)
As it turned out, though, I did make the top ten! Number ten exactly! :D
ERNEST GOT FIFTH PLACE! Han Wey got seventh, Eric got twenty-eighth. There were ninety-one participants. I'm proud of us. (:
If you'll just click on the picture to enlarge it and look at number fifty-nine, you'll notice a certain BRAT's name. PAU-LING DARLING WAS THERE AS WELL! BRATs mini-mini-reunion so soon, yay.
In Ernest's dad's car on the way back, I remembered what Cedric said about needing a girl in the top ten and checked the list -- I am in fact the only girl. Strange. I don't get why they need a girl, however. Scrabble's a guy-dominated game, that's just the way it is...isn't it?
Quote of the day:
"It's not girls' stuff...but it's good stuff." - Martin
I'll leave you all with something that tickled me so much I had to take a picture, no matter how jakun I looked. You might have to click on it to enlarge it to see the people sitting in the pondok. They're prefects from one of the USJ schools, I believe, and their blue shirts blend in perfectly with the pillars! I wish my phone camera could zoom; I'd send this pic to The Star for sure!
P.S. Something my mom said ('keeps saying', rather) got me thinking. If I walk into state and national-level tournaments so unprepared like this and still do all right enough, how far exactly would I be able to go with proper training and motivation, and a little bit of determination? Some food for thought as I try to make myself get geared up for the finals in half a month's time. Already, Martin and Cedric are telling me to practise. :P