Scott convinced me to go to a Scrabble tournament in Indianapolis on Sunday, so we got up at 5:00AM to make it over in time for the first game. I was supposed to be in the bottom division, since my NSA rating before the tournament was a lowly at a lowly 899. However, a few people from upper divisions couldn’t make it, so the divisions were rearranged. I ended up the bottom seed in the next division up.
My first game was against the top player in my division. I opened the game with FORMATS for 82pts., but she quickly countered with PARAfFIN. Her next play was OUTLOADS (which was a phoney, but I didn’t challenge) and I then thought I was sunk. My luck changed and I went on a roll and ended up also playing DICKENS, VIBRATEs, and ERINGOES (to a triple to end the game). Final score 599-343. I ended up winning a couple more pretty handily, then lost a painful game right after lunch. I won the next three and ended up 6-1 (+518).
The worst part of the tournament for me was that I was the low seed, so my expected wins were only 2.8. Winning 6 gave me an excess of 3.2. Since I’m still in my first 50 games, my multiplier is 30, so my rating should increase by 96pts. But wait…. since I exceeded the acceptable threshold of 5pts./game, I’m subject to an acceleration provision. This rule says that if you increase by more than 5pts./game in any tournament, any gain over that threshold is doubled.
First prize was $160, and I also won an auxiliary $10 prize for having the high game in my division. So, I walked away with almost as many ratings points as dollars and a rekindled interest in Scrabble tournaments.