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 4th Aug 2007 from 10am to 5pm. A total of 28 teams from 17 organisations took part. MINDEF had two teams taking part this year.
Here's my match report, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report.
I was there a bit earlier to help draw the pairings for my team. Had a history of drawing bad pairings and true enough, my first draw resulted in my team playing against MOE 1 which is one of the strongest teams in the field!
Game 1: MOE 1
I played against Suhaimi, JP played against Elizabeth and CC played against Vincent.
Our scores were neck-in-neck and the board was getting very closed. Had EILNOR? on my rack and decided to try LOINERs* back hooking to OHO on the board. Unfortunately, it was challenged off. Missed another playable bingo that ends with the letter S. My play went downhill after that, using my blank for very few points which did not help to open up the board while my opponent bingoed with nUTTIEST(66).
Lost my first game by 286-360. Our team also lost the match narrowly by 1-2.
Had hoped to play against an all-girls team in the next round but I drew against MHA 1 which consists of a tough-looking all-guys team. :(
Game 2: MHA 1
I played against Mahendra, JP and CC played against two other guys.
Managed to bingo once with RETAINED(72) and scored well with the Z and the Q. This coupled with my opponent's several phoneys HEI*, NI* and WEVE* helped me to win easily.
Won 476-236. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.
Had free lunch catered for us after our second game and it was delicious! Liked the potato cubes, chicken wing and pastries!
Finally had a chance to play against CPF in the third game but it happened to be an all-guys team once again!
Game 3: CPF 1
I played against Chee Keong, JP played against How Fatt and CC played against Boon Khee.
I was lagging behind until I saw a bingo with a DEINTV? rack. The last letter of the bingo had to front hook to an existing AH on the board. A higher scoring play would be an eight-letter bingo through an existing I across the TWS cell but I gave up figuring out what it was after a few minutes. Later, my opponent had a chance to bingo with a AENUVW? rack but I blocked his only spot. In desparation he tried sUNWAVE* but it was challenged off the board!
Won 408-292. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.
After 3 rounds, the top 4 teams were placed in the Cup category, the next 8 or 10 teams in the Plate category and the rest in the Bowl category. We were placed in the Plate category while MOE 1 was placed in the Cup category despite having the same number of wins and less spread than us.
The tournament director explained to us how the format favored the early winners. A loss in the first round would mean that there was no way for the team to become one of the top 4 teams as we were already classified among the loser pile. MOE 1's second round loss was classified as the best loser and they were placed in the top tier together with teams having two wins.
Our final game is against SSC. Thought it would be an easy match as our opponent only had two players but it turned out tougher than we thought.
Game 4: Singapore Sports Council
I played against Azmi, JP played against a malay guy while CC had a walkover.
Was lagging behind until Azmi opened up the TWS lane and I scored well with BOX(43) and then ZEL(37). Pulled slightly further ahead with QUA(34) a few more turns later and maintained my lead throughout the game. Heard from JP later that he is very impressed with how his opponent played and felt that it was his toughest game in the whole tournament!
Won 369-329. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.
In the end, MOE 1 won the tournament. NP 1, HDB 1 and MOH 1 came in 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. MOE 2, HDB 2 and CAAS 2 came in top 3 in the Plate category while CPF 1, CPF 2 and IRAS 1 came in top 3 in the Bowl category.
MINDEF 1 didn't do too badly, just losing two individual games in the first round to the eventual winner but our spread in the last round was not enough for us to get top 3 placing in our category.
MINDEF 2 didn't do as well but they had a great time honing their Scrabble skills and socialising with their opponents too!
Quiz answers (highlight to see clearly)