Sunday, July 23, 2006

Scrabble Nationals 2006 (Day Two)

Here's my match report for day two, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report.

Game 6: vs Ashley Ng
Was more than 150 points behind when I held a DEINRST rack with an open bingo line that required a front hook to OM. Remembered that STINTER was good, so I played STINDER* hoping that it would be good too but it was challenged off. My opponent scored big later with FANNER(50) down the TWS!

New words learnt: FANNER
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: FOOTERS(93), ENDEARS(65)
My Phoneys: STINDER* Opp Phoneys: OST*, ULEI*, AUDI*(21)
My High Moves: YA(40), BEST(44) Opp High Moves: ZANY(32), LOWER(32), BOP(31), TRANQ(47), FANNER(50), HEAL(32)
L 299-511, -212. 5W 1L (Accum spread +207).

Game 7: vs Tok Wei Min
My opening rack had both the C and the H, so I opened with CEL with the E on the star, hoping to capitalise on the H on my next move. Alas, my opponent also had the other H and he put down THROW for 32 points underneath! Held a DEHISU? rack[3] and missed the bingo in it. Put down UnHIDES* instead and it got challenged off! I also made a big mistake in my last move where I allowed Wei Min to capitalise his F on the triple letter score while trying to avoid the double letter score.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: ERUdITE(76) Opp Bingos: PERSIsT(85)
My Phoneys: HEB* Opp Phoneys: PALID*(23)
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: THROW(32), TAJ(30), DZO(31), BEST(34), FED(31)
L 315-430, -115. 5W 2L (Accum spread +92).

Game 8: vs Ng Ming Wei
Have been playing almost all the HCI high school players and Ming Wei is the last one that I met. Managed to win by having a bingo early in the game and playing conservatively to close down the board. It also helped that I got away with a phoney LUPE* and challenged off the phoneys that my opponent put down.

New words learnt: POKIER
My Bingos: LEARNeR(69) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: LUPE*(18) Opp Phoneys: ETCY*, OT*
My High Moves: SEZ(43) Opp High Moves: TAX(35), POKIER(33)
W 394-264, +130. 6W 2L (Accum spread +222).

Game 9: vs Lester
I was behind by 64 points with no more tiles in the bag and I was desparate enough to try a bingo with a HIPRSTU rack. Tried PHITRUS* but got challenged off!

New words learnt: STOT
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: INFARES(70)
My Phoneys: PHITRUS* Opp Phoneys: GHITS*
My High Moves: XI(33), HITS(33) Opp High Moves: DIPT(32)
L 342-371, -29. 6W 3L (Accum spread +193).

Game 10: vs Tan Boon Hock
Start of the KOTH and I was playing Steven again. Was quite lucky to get two blanks on my rack. Got a couple of vowels, an S and two blanks. Thought of the 6-vowel bingo[4] but forgotten how it was spelt. Somehow the "old McDonalds had a farm" song kept ringing in my head. Bingoed with OUTSEts(62) later and my opponent bingoed with TINDLES*(71). Didn't realise that TINDLES* was a phoney until much later! He managed to score very well whenever I tried to open up. Lost even though I had a second bingo with STAINED(72).

New words learnt: ROGER
My Bingos: OUTSEts(62), STAINED(72) Opp Bingos: TINDLES(71)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: TINDLES*(71)
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: ZATI(40), RAX(35), QI(37), HIP(32), BABY(33)
L 373-395, -22. 6W 4L (Accum spread +171).

Game 11: vs Lawrence
Started with COL and my opponent put down DELVING(75). Wanted to challenge as I thought I saw DEVLING, but stopped myself as I had a better look at the board and Lawrence's surprised reaction. He had another bingo with MINUTeS(82). Was almost 150 points behind at one time, but managed to catch up a bit with FEINTER(82) towards the end.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: FEINTER(82) Opp Bingos: DELVING(75), MINUTeS(82)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: VIVOS*, FEINTERS*
My High Moves: ZAG(51), MAY(30) Opp High Moves: FEY(34), JADED(48), SHEW(45)
L 375-426, -51. 6W 5L (Accum spread +120).

Game 12: vs Ruby
My opponent bingoed with FAlTERS(68) while I bingoed with SAUNTER(68). Played badly towards the end. I phonied with EXED*, almost didn't trap Ruby's "Q" and went overtime for more than 2 minutes. Both of us forgot to include the time penalty in the score sheet though which was spotted by Seow Kie.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: SAUNTER(68) Opp Bingos: FAlTERS(68)
My Phoneys: EXED* Opp Phoneys: POY*(28)
My High Moves: ReZ(37) Opp High Moves: DOTE(31), VAULT(31), SHY(35)
L 327-407, -80. 6W 6L (Accum spread +40).

In between games, I had fun peering behind the Tournament Director's shoulders to see the results being churned out. Saw this very cute little girl beside the TD asking him who is "ZZ Bye" towards the end of the game! Hmm, one of the mysteries in competitive Scrabble!

Quite disappointed with the many sub-optimal plays that I made and the phoneys that my opponent got away with! Must learn how to keep my cool under competition pressure and not be tempted to any how try for bingos in the future!

Quiz answers (Highlight to see clearly):


Saturday, July 22, 2006


The story is a retelling of the "Little Red Riding Hood" story which is uncovered by an inspector who asked each witness: red, grannie, the wolf and the axe man to give a personal account of what really happened.

The plot fits together very well! I also liked Red who has big beautiful eyes and a sweet voice! Nice songs too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Scrabble Nationals 2006 (Day One)

My first time playing Scrabble in Serangoon CC. After having lunch with Chew Chuah, I explored the CC before the start of the game. Saw a group of young ballet dancers practicing at the dance studio on the top floor and saw the nice exhibits at the polling station for lift upgrading!

Here's my match report, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report.

Game 1: vs Samad Ahmad

Opened with a bingo JUIcERS(92) and scored well with the Q and X. Was about 150 points ahead after my opponent had two phoneys: EnCLOVES* and LOV* back to back. Had another bingo with TOADIES(74) and got a EFIOORT rack[1] after that. Spotted the bingo but thought it may not be good. Allowed my opponent to bingo out with STAINeR(77).

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: JUIcERS(92) TOADIES(74) Opp Bingos: STAINER(77)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: EnCLOVES*, LOV*
My High Moves: EX(44), QAID(42) Opp High Moves: DAIRY(35), VINE(33)
W 490-327, +163. 1W 0L (Accum spread +163).

Game 2: vs Ang Jin Yang

Held an AEEILY? rack[2] at one time but failed to see the bingo in it. Bingoed with SALIENt(70) and later played JEE to set up for BARBER(41) across the TWS. Was quite lucky to have all the "S" in this game and I had three "S" on my rack at one time! My opponent bingoed with TRANCeD(87) towards the end and I managed to bingo out with STUDIOS(67).

New words learnt: PREZ
My Bingos: SALIENt(70), STUDIOS(67) Opp Bingos: TRANCeD(87)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: CUG*, KIM*
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: -
W 441-313, +128. 2W 0L (Accum spread +291).

Game 3: vs Catherine

Checked my records before the start of the tournament and I discovered that I had a 0-4 record against her! Bingoed first with SATIATE(68) and Catherine bingoed next with AGONISe(63). Our scores were very close throughout the game! Thought I could pull ahead with RAZE(32) but she scored more with RAZERS(47) to the TWS cell! Managed to "eat" her consonants after finishing my tiles first to win!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: SATIATE(68) Opp Bingos: AGONISe(63)
My Phoneys: PEL* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: WO(33), RAZE(32) Opp High Moves: QIS(36), RAZERS(47)
W 396-351, +45. 3W 0L (Accum spread +336).

Game 4: vs Tan Boon Hock

Was discouraged at first when my opponent scored well with KEX(64) on his second move! Managed to pull ahead with a 4-timer PERCENT back hooking to LOG that drew a challenge. Got away with a phoney LOGED* and scored consistently to maintain my lead.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: PERCENT(100) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: LOGED*(27) Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: JISM(37), CIG(41), FAP(34) Opp High Moves: KEX(64),ZOS(34), QAID(46)
W 410-382, +28. 4W 0L (Accum spread +364).

Game 5: vs Valli

My opponent opened with FLORID and I back hooked an E to it. Thought it was the correct spelling until Jobeth told us that it was a phoney. Held an ANRSTW? rack and remembered the bingo that Zi Peng played against me during the Millenium Cup but had to try if it took an S at the end as it scored a lot more down the TWS line. It got challenged off but luckily, there was another spot for me to bingo. Could have gotten a better spread if I stopped her from going out on the TWS line and not made a mistake on the submitted score sheet.

New words learnt: FLORID
My Bingos: STRAWeN(79) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: FLORIDE*(25), STRAWENS*, JUR* Opp Phoneys: GALAR*, FION*
My High Moves: BEZ(38), ZELS(39), VIS(32) Opp High Moves: QADI(37), WAYS(36)
W 404-349, +55. 0W 0L (Accum spread +419).

Quiz answers (Highlight to see clearly):


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The World's Fastest Indian

The story is about an old man from New Zealand, Burt Munro, going on a journey to Salt Lake, Utah in an attempt to set the motorbike land speed record. He has modified the 1920 Indian motorcycle himself in his backyard.

Interesting journey as Burt met many people from all walks of life who helped him along in his journey! I was also impressed by his "never say die" attitude and engineering knowledge!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 15, 2006

PSTAR Scrabble Games

The PSTAR Scrabble games is an annual event for organisations in the civil service to take part in a friendly game of Scrabble. It was held at the Civil Service Club on 15th July 2006 from 10am to 5pm.

Here's my match report, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report. Don't look at the actual board positions if you are trying the quizzes.

I was there a bit earlier to help draw the pairings for my team. The new Collins dictionary is used for this tournament and many players were talking about the new words to be studied. MOE, HDB and CPF had 3 teams each. A friend of mine told me that she hoped that she would not draw against MOE or HDB as they had very strong players.

My first draw resulted in my team playing against MOE 2! My team mates complained a little bit when they knew their pairings.

Game 1: MOE 2
MOE 2 consisted of three ladies, Ruby, Valli and Selvi. After discussing about the lineup, it was decided that JP played against Ruby, CC played against Valli and I played against Selvi.

It was a very closed board at the start. I opened with CHIZ with the I on the star, she played HA underneath and I played VAW on top. There is almost no more place to put any more tiles! The board started to open up a little bit more when I put ANY back hooking the Y on the triple letter score to the ACH on the board to score 39 points. I accidentally closed it down again when I played EAU underneath to get rid of my vowels. Feeling frustrated over the closed board, I opened up with REV but this seems to be a mistake as Selvi promptly put down a eight letter bingo with a DEIMOPS rack through the R[1] for 76 points.

Had AMORU?? on my rack on one turn and I phonied with AMOURed* that got challenged off! Think I overheard the word checkers on what was wrong with the spelling and I managed to put ArMOURs for 86 points on my next turn. Almost ran out of time towards the end of the game and I was lucky to put down the late Q and J that came my way.

Won my first game with 409 to 307. My team also won the match 2-1!

Playing in the tournament is very much like sitting for an examination! The organisers announced the end of the game after exactly one hour after the start of the master clock and everyone is supposed to drop their tiles and calculate their scores even though the individual clocks have not reached the time limit yet. Was figuring out why such a case would happen as the maths added nicely with 25 min playing time to each player and only 5 min overtime was allowed. After one day of thinking about it after the tournament, I finally realised that it was because they did not take into account the time taken for challenges which would freeze the timer. The time taken for challenges would then depend on the number of challenges per game and the average speed taken to process one challenge.

My second draw resulted in my team playing against HDB 2! Oops, two bad draws in a row!

Game 2: HDB 2
JP played against a Chinese guy, CC played against Jessie and I played against Serene.

Serene started very strongly with a bingo: HOARDER for 80 points which I challenged unsuccessfully and a high scoring EXEC for 43 points! I was lagging far behind until I managed to bingo with a ACEILT? front hooking to an existing GIO on the board setting the blank as a "T"[2]. By turn 8, I was only 5 points behind but she pulled further ahead in her subsequent turns.

One interesting rule that my opponents told us before the start of the game was not to turn the board around during the game but to view it sideways. I realised the rationale of this rule towards the end of this game!

The board provided by the official sponsors had no grooves to place the tiles properly on it and it was not designed to rotate smoothly as it is rectangular in shape. During the course of the game, the tiles began to shift sideways even though we tried to move the board minimally. The situation was so bad that I mistakenly put down JOLE, front hooking the E to an existing TEA on the board. Due to parallax error, I thought the EA belonged to another column and noticed it only after my turn. Luckily, Serene did not see my error. She made the same mistake as I as she tried to front hook a B to the ETEA* a few turns later, but I challenged her off!

Lost my second game with 360 to 432. Our team also lost the match 1-2.

Lunch was provided by the organisers and it was quite delicious! After lunch, my third draw resulted in my team playing against IRAS 2. Not too bad although one of my team mates said he preferred us to play against CPF that had many pretty lady players!

Game 3: IRAS 3
Our opponent is an all-girls team. JP played against a Chinese girl, CC played against Sally and I played against a Malay girl. Lost my score sheet so can't comment on the games. Just remembered that my opponent phonied with TIB* and I phonied with CUL* for my game.

Our team won 3-0.

We were placed in the Silver category after 3 games. There were 4 teams in the Gold category, 12 teams in Silver and 14 teams in Bronze. The prize distribution is such that there are 4 prizes for Gold, 3 for Silver and 3 for Bronze, so we still had a chance to get some prizes at this stage. This is a KOTH game and we were placed against HDB 3.

Game 4: HDB 3
JP played against Catherine, CC played against Joseph and I played against Sufarman.

Was very lucky in my game as I had two bingos back to back with a DEGINRS[3] and a AEHILNS[4] rack. After that, I drew two blanks from the bag to form AEETQ?? on my rack which had two possible bingos[5] by itself. Missed the eight letter bingo through an existing N[6]. Scored not too bad with the "Q" for 48 points though.

Won the last game 418-303. Our team won 3-0 and had a cumulative spread of 335 to come in tops for the Silver category teams! Ngee Ann Poly grabbed the top two positions in the Gold Category. Hope we could do even better next year!

Quiz answers (Highlight to see clearly):

[5] EQuATEd or EQuATEs
[6] pETANQuE

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Superman Returns

The story is what happens after Superman returns to Earth after a trip back home. He meets up with his ex-girlfriend Lois Lane, saves people and fights against bad guys.

The soundtrack still sounds very nice after all these years! Nice special effects with Superman flying around and lifting gigantic things! The human side of Superman is portrayed pretty well! Liked the piano piece played by the little boy that is played in "Big" too.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Road to Guantanamo

This is based on a real incident when a group of British Muslims who were friends, got captured by the Americans in Afghanistan shortly after the September 11 incident. They were held in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for two years where they were interrogated.

Interesting "mockumentary" style where the group of friends recounted what happened with interspersed documentary footages! The first part of the film looked like a tour programme about the adventures in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The second part describes their captive lives where they were not allowed to talk to each other and was physically and mentally strained! Liked the flashback scenes that contrasted their "before and after" lives.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rain Dogs

A Malaysian film about how the life of a young man changed after he met up with his brother working in KL during school holidays and many unexpected things happened.

Liked the scenes when he ended up staying in his uncle's place and he made friends with his nephew's tutor. She and her sister spoke in Malaysian style Chinese and it sounded quite charming to the ears! Liked the nice scenery in the peaceful village too!


A very short film that describes what happens when everyone has to wear a mask 24 hours a day. The mask looks quite cool and even has a hole for people to smoke and drink! Not really sure how they can eat with the mask on though. There is a end-of-the-world feel to it and the music is quite nice!

Internet Movie Database Link