Monday, June 7, 2010

CIMB Junior Circuit 2010 National Interschool Championship

This tourney was one big disappointment for me, and perhaps for a few other people as well. That opening line screams 'self-pitying rant', which may or may not be what this post is. I'm just gonna...go with the flow and see what comes out.

This was pretty much the only tourney I actually consciously trained for. As my mom kept reminding me, it would be my last year, and I'd better give it all I had. So I trained. I played almost every day, memorised the two-letter-word list and managed to do some of the threes as well. I also committed to memory all the RETINA+1 bingos.

(If you happen to be, say, William Kang or Vinnith or someone like that reading this -- hello, William and Vinnith! I know the both of you have read my blog! -- you're probably scoffing away at my ineptitude. Scoff, then. Once upon a time, you were surely at my level. When you were like five or something. Sigh.)

Anyway. As my dad and I made our way up to the tenth floor on the morning of the first day, something happened that I suppose was an omen of some sort. We were taking the lift from Floor B1 to 10, when it...stalled.

"Power failure," said the pleasant-sounding recording. "The lift will evacuate shortly."

It moved downwards a little bit and came to a halt again.

"Power failure. The lift will--"

"Omigosh! We're stuck in a lift!" I cried.

We were right in the middle of floors 7 and 8, so even if we managed to pry the doors open, we wouldn't be able to get out. Desperately, I looked out the glass back of the lift to see if there was any janitor I could catch the eye of. Unfortunately, at 8.30 in the morning, there wasn't.

"What do we do?"

"Calm down," said my father exasperatedly. He scanned the row of buttons and pressed 'ALARM'. We heard the 'buzzzzz', but nothing happened. Buzzzzz. Buzzzzz. Buzzzzzzzzzz.

"Ya, nak apa?"

What did we want? We were stuck in a lift and wanted to get out, that's what we wanted! Thankfully, the lift started working again a minute after my (wonderfully calm) dad explained our predicament. We got off at the 7th floor and took escalators up the remaining floors. However, at 8.30 a.m., the escalators hadn't been turned on yet (or maybe it was, you know, the power failure) so we had to climb the escalators.

Actually, when we got off at the 7th floor, we were greeted by this:

Welcome to Cosmo's World.

Quote my dad: "It's like it was designed by someone on crack." The flowers look positively evil, click on the pics to enlarge them. Those poor kids. You'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to go on those rides. Plus, I bet when there are people, there's loud, cheesy music playing. Agh.

Anyway, the tournament, condensed. Apart from the organisers, Han Wey, and the Scrabble pros, I didn't see anyone I recognised. You'd have thought this wouldn't be the case after having been for the nationals twice before, but this was a whole new bunch of people. It was weird. When the games started, though, it was all, "Oh, I played you last year!" "Oh, yeah, we met at the Selangor CIMB one!" and all. Slightly comforting.

Also, this girl came up to me and told me she read my blog, ahaha. And when Vinnith saw me, he poked Jagan and went, "There, there, that's the girl. The one who wrote about me on her blog." Omg, I could well be on my way to being the next (female) Niki Cheong! 8D

Okay, wait, now is not the time to get big-headed. I did horribly. Six wins out of fifteen games -- I lost nine. UGH.

It was going all right at first. Wonderfully, even. It was like I had charmed tiles, and the bingos just kept coming. My first match, at Table One (random draw), I lost by nine points because of a stupid, stupid mistake (Note to self: TOX doesn't exist!), but told myself to get over it and thrash the next guy. Which I did.

Then I lost another match by nine points again because I exceeded the time limit by a little under half a minute. Seriously, I should not have let the guy get to me. He. Was. Annoying. He whistled, he burped, and I was getting pretty irritated. Then he took out his phone and started SMSing, and that was when I put my foot down and insisted he stop. I was lucky, I guess, to not have met an opponent like that before. But goshdarnit, I honestly wanted to throw the board at his face.

After day one, I'd won half my games. Never mind, I told myself, I'll catch up tomorrow. It didn't happen.

My first game of the day was awesome. For me, not my opponent. I remember being a bit gleeful at his challenging my IRISATE -- extra five points! It was probably my only Is-That-Even-English bingo throughout the tournament. Will get to bingos later.

Two games after that, my luck ran out. I alternated from being Consonant Girl to being Vowel Girl, and skipped so many turns to change my tiles. When my rack was balanced, I couldn't find any bingos. And when I did find bingos, there was nowhere to put them! Urgh, frustrating. My opponents were obviously having a field day, laying out their bingos and dropping the Js, Qs, and Zs on Triple Letter Score spots. I lost spectacularly in my last match to a guy who didn't even know his two-letter-word list. He had a bingo on the Triple Word Score and got both his Z and J on Triple Letter Scores both ways.

By the end of the tournament, I was in pretty low spirits, and that's actually putting it rather mildly. What's ironic about this whole thing is that this was the one tourney I had actually really prepared and trained for. Before this, I'd never bothered to touch the three-letter-word list or do any reading up on bingos, and yet, I'm pretty sure I did my worst ever this year. 

Han Wey did an awesome job of cheering me up:
"Come on, it's okay... There's always nex-- *catches me glaring at him* OH. Umm. It's okayyy..."

I'm in Form Five. There is no next year. The only way I'll ever be involved in this again is if I help facilitate like Cedric.

Cedric and Martin are awesome. They are, hands down, some of the nicest people I've ever met, and I've met quite a few nice people. With them telling me to train all the time, it sort of feels like I let them down with my far-from-desirable position in this tourney. (Actually, I don't know my postition. I honestly don't want to.) Cedric said there's always the Subang one in August, but I'm not sure if I want to go through this again.

When I was playing against Priya, she told me that Chang Ching Yet didn't want to participate in this tourney, even though he qualified for it. "He said he practiced so hard and still didn't win, so he didn't wanna come for this one." I see where he's coming from. Part of me is telling myself to do the smart thing and take that route, but another part of me is screaming that no, I can do this, I just need to train till I get to the point where I can find bingos in racks that I see now as sucky. I'm not really sure what to do now.

Sofea's told me not to give up, but that really is easier said then done. I don't know. Maybe I should continue playing for leisure and not participate in any tournaments or something. I was really, really crushed after this one. Advice, anyone? ):

P.S. Most of you probably aren't too bothered about the bingos I got, but for those who are, click the link, please.

I've definitely improved at finding bingos, the one thing I'm pleased about. Here are the bingos I got:

Game 1

Game 2
I just checked -- neither WUSK nor WUSKS exist!

Game 3

Game 5
DIRTIER (I didn't get to write down on my scoresheet what I hooked it on to. This was a close game.)


First word was a bingo, but didn't write down again. This game was against The Whistling/Burping/SMSing One.


As it turns out, both were invalid. AIRRAID, my first attempt at a compound word bingo (as in, you know, air raid), doesn't exist. REL doesn't either.

Vinnith challenged TRUG. Hee hee.



  1. dont every give up! you can do better next time.. you just need experience.. not everyday is a good day in Scrabble.. sometimes the luck is just not on your side, it will never be on that day.. if you're really empowered with luck, it will gushed till you yourself will be amazed and jump off your seat! Scrabble is just unpredictable! To be honest, don't give up playing... the passion for it will remain..

  2. Martin! (: I guess another way of looking at this is that I'm lucky I've had pretty good experiences at the nationals so far. Sigh, it rly is unpredictable, isn't it?

    I probably won't give up playing, but idk yet about tourneys. Just today I won two games on Fb Scrabble. :P

  3. Cedric Stewart LewisJune 8, 2010 at 4:35 AM

    AIRRAID is a good try :) I still at compound words >< I also don't know TRUG! LOL

    But nonetheless, I bet you have learned a lot :) It sucks to lose but we can't win all the time. The games which we lose can serve as a stepping stone to a higher level of playing ;)

    But for now, STUDY HARD for your SPM! Get a scholarship and stuff.

    Most importantly, keep playing Scrabble leisurely :D


  4. yeah, never give up.. you won't know when it will be your day. =)

  5. Cedric:
    Cedric! :D Hahaha, it was embarrassing when I found out later it doesn't exist. It sounds right! Yeah, TRUG exists. (:
    I did! That's true. (:
    Aiyooo. 'Get a scholarship and stuff', you make it sound so easy. Now they're looking for A+ rather than A1, which is harder to get. Boo.
    I will. Thanks, Cedric! :D

    Hi, I remember you! Thought you were my age, haha. You look older than sixteen. Thanks for the words of encouragement. (:

  6. Don't give up! You've been lucky enough at previous tourneys. No good streak lasts forever. Imagine if you felt this way at your first tourney and gave up immediately 'cause you were crushed. You'da missed out on so much after that. It's the same case here!

  7. Gosh, you're right. Thank God this didn't happen at my first tourney. But then again, I might've been okay with it since I would've had no expectations whatsoever. But I see your point.

    Thanks, Jacie. (: