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Mindful Scrabble With Mindy

Mindful Scrabble With Mindy

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Published by Mindy Faber
A brief guide to how to win at Scrabble from a former competitive player.
A brief guide to how to win at Scrabble from a former competitive player.

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Published by: Mindy Faber on Aug 19, 2011
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11/09/2012

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MindfulScrabblewithMindy
IfirstlearnedtoplayScrabblethroughobservation.Atage9,IwatchedmydadandGrandmaplay,(twointellectualswithwayhigherIQsthanme).Idrankitallin-everyplay,everycomment,everinsightintostrategythattheyshared.Ibeganplayingmydadaroundtheageof11.Ibeganbeatinghimconsistentlyattheageof15.BythetimeIwasincollege,myaveragewasabout420pergame.Bytheageof20,Ihadahighscoreof578andthenenteredtournamentplay.IthasbeenyearssinceIhaveplayedcompetitivelybutwhatIwastaughtbysomechampionsinthatshortperiodhaslastedmealifetime.
IamnotanElitePlayer
Inordertobeaneliteplayer,youmustmemorizetheentiredictionary–notjustlearnallthetwo,threeandfourletterwords.IhadmoreimportantthingstodowithtimesoIchosetoretirefromcompetitivescrabbleplayat22.Usually,ifIfollowthesemindfulpractices,Icanwinevenagainstacomputerthatknowseverywordinthedictionary.Myhighestscoretodateis644andmyhighestsingleplayis194.ThisyearZanetoppedthatwithahighscoreof677.Iamfairlycertainifyouadoptthesepractices,youroverallaveragewillincreaseexponentially.
MINDFULSCRABBLE
1.
 
Seetheboard,thewholeboard
.Neverassumethatyoucan’tmakeacleverscoringplayoffofplayedtiles.Think“nothingisimpossible”andwhenyoudo,opportunitiespresentthemselves.Often,peoplebeginbylookingattheirrackfirstandthenattheboard.Dotheopposite.Lookattheboardtoseewherethepotentialhighscoringplaysareandthenseeifandhowyourrackoftilescanmeetthatchallenge.Thelengthoftheword(ifnotabingo)doesnotmatter.Onelettercanoftenscorepointsmorethan6letters.Partofthisinvolvesknowingwherethehighscoringplaysare.Forexample,doubledoublesandtripletriplesarerarebutcanwinthegameimmediatelyifyouareabletoachieveon.Adoubledoubleisa7letterwordthatspanstwodoublewordscores.Youcanalsoachievetheseoffanexistingsetofplayedtiles(againseethewholeboard).Atripletripleisan8-letterwordthatspanstwotriplewordsscores.MysonZaneoncescored230ononeplaythiswaybygettingaZonadoubleletterscoreatthesametime.Obviously,tripleanddoubleletterscoresarekeyespeciallyiftheycanbecombinedwithdoublewordscores.2.
 
Goforbingosbybalancingyourrack 
.Scrabblegamesarewononbingos.Manyplayersattributebingostotheluckofthedrawandluckisdefinitelyatplay,butmoreoften,bingosareachievedbecausetheplayerknowshowtobalancetheirrack.Thismeanskeepinghighpercentagelettersontherackandplayingoffthelowpercentagetiles.Someofthe
 
highestpercentagetilesareAERTISDNLO.Also,theERSisthebest.ItrytoplayoffV,W,C,K,Q,JandZasquicklyaspossible–eveniftheyarenotachievingamaximumscore.Balancingalsoinvolveskeepinganevenbalancebetweenvowelsandconsonants.Iwilloftenthrowbackmylettersortakelessthan10pointsjusttokeepmyrackbalanced.Itisbettertoplayofffivevowelsfor6pointsthanplayyouroneconsonantfor18.3.
 
Keephighpercentagecombinationsinyourrack 
.ThesearethreeorfourlettercombossuchasUN,MIS,ISM,ERS,AGE,ING,CON,OUT,INV,ATE,TIONthatdramaticallyincreaseyourchancesofabingodraw.4.
 
 Alwaysbeonlookoutfor8and9letterbingos
.About½ofmybingosintegrateplayedtilesontheboard.Donotonlylookatyourrack,butagain,seetheentireboardandthepossibilitiesitbelies.YoumayhaveSOUCALSonyourrack(nobingo)butwithanopenT,youcanplayOUTCLASS.
5.
 
Memorizeasmany2and3letterwordsasyoucan
-especiallyKA,KI,JO,XI,XU,EX,AS,OX,QI,UT,UH,OM,UM,MUandZA.
 6.
 
KnowyourQs,Zs,Js,KsandXs
.
HowtoplayaQwithoutaUisessentialsuchasSUQ,QAT,QAID,QINTAR.OtherimportantwordstoknowareJIN,JUN,JINNI,DJIN,DJINNaswellasHAJ,RAJ,HADJ,JOE.ZcombosareessentialsuchasZOEAE,ZOE,OUZO,OOZE,ZOO,ZOA,AZOZEE.SoareXcombossuchasOXO,OXY,OXEN,EXPO,APEX,EAUX,IXIA,COXA,COXAE.
 
7.
 
Knowallthetwolettercombos
involvingM,P,M,H,W,GandD.TherearenotwoletterwordsinvolvingCofV,sotheyareboardblockerswhenplayed.8.
 
NeverplayS’sorBLANKSforlessthan30points.
Really?Well,
never 
isaprettystrongword.However,unlessIhavetwoonmyrack,ItrytokeepanSforabingoevenifitmeanspassingupanextra10points.Blanksshouldenableascoreofatleast30-70points.Donotsquanderthem.9.
 
Openuptheboardwhenyouhavegoodlettersandclosedowntheboardwhenyourlettersareterrible.
Ifyouaregettingallconsonantsorallvowelsconsistently,youmustdotwothingsa)shutdownscoringopportunitiesforyouropponentandb)keeptryingtobalanceyourrack.10.
 
Knowthatamajorityofbingosarescoredinthefirstthirdofthegamewhentheboardisopensobalanceyourrackandgoforhighpercentagelettersrightoffthebat.
Butifyoufindyourselfwaybehindinthelasthalfofgame,youmustplayaggressivelybymakingsacrificeplaystoshedbadlettersandopenuptheboardsoyouincreaseyourchancesofscoringabingo.11.
 
Bepatient,optimisticandclearheadedwhenplayingScrabble.
Thewholegamecanturnaroundinoneplay.Winnersalwaysbelievetheycanwinnomatterwhat.Bealerttoopportunitiesforgamechangers.12.
 
Expandyourwordknowledge.
Itisimportanttoknowthewordsthatinclude5vowelsor5consonants.YouneedtoknowallthetwovoweltwoletterwordssuchasAA,OI,AE,AI,OEandwordsyoucanmakewhenyouhaveimpossiblecombinationssuchasCWM,MYC,MY,WHY,MY,

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