Friday, February 8, 2008

Tips & Tricks in Scrabble II

Intermediate Tips

Learn The Three-Letter Words
Learn all of the Three-Letter Words ........"What's that???" ......... "Did you just tell me to learn ALL of the three-letter words?"........Yep, I sure did.If you want to move on to the next level, thatmeans learning the "Threes". All 1119 of them!!!!........ ouch!!!!

I'm afraid that knowing the three-letter words are just as important for an intermediate playeras learning the "twos" is for a beginner. The reasons are for the exact same reasons that a beginner needs to learn the Twos. It will open up more possibilities for scoring and allow you to make more of the important parallel plays.

The good news is that you don't have to learn the 3-letter words the same way as you needed to learn the Twos. You should have the 2-letter words memorized to the point where you can rattle them off like you would your phone-number. The3-letter words, however, only need to be "known"to you. You don't have to be able to rattle them off at a moment's notice, but you do need to be able to know whether any given three letters are a word or not.

Playing the word "THORAX" parallel to the word"WAKED" also makes the 3-letter words "TWO", "HAM", "OKA", "RET", and "ADO" .

Finding Bingos In Your Rack
Everyone knows that the key to finding bingos onyour rack is a matter of looking at as many possible combinations of letters on your rack as possible. Unfortunately, there are 5,040 possible7-letter combinations. It isn't possible to see all of the possible combinations in one turn.There are techniques to make it easier to see bingos without having to look through endless possibilities.

The first thing to do is to look for common endings and prefixes. For example..... If you have a rack like "LGAPNYI", you may think that you have no chance for a bingo. But if you take the letters "I", "N", and "G", which make the common ending "ING", and move them to the end ofyour rack, then all you have to do is unscramblethe remaining 4 letters "LAPY". Since there are now only 24 possibilities rather then theoriginal 5,040, it won't take long to find the word "PLAY" to make the bingo "PLAYING".

Below is a list of some of the most common beginnings and endings with the corresponding number of bingos possible with each one

Beginnings # Bingos Endings # Bingos
RE 753 ES 2121
CO 572 ED 2075
DE 388 ER 1819
UN 337 LY 541
BE 316 IC 367
IN 275 AL 341
EN 175 EN 230
BI 153 ING 1529
EX 110 ERS 1080
OUT 181 IER 500
PRE 128 IES 422
MIS 113 EST 237
PRO 105 ILY 200
CON 97 ISH 195
SUB 81 INE 154
TRI 79 AGE 126
DIS 69 OUS 114
COM 57 TING 201
NON 49 TERS 173

Using The Bonus Squares
As you know, using the bonus squares is where the points are. When it becomes your turn, the bonus squares which are adjacent to words already onthe board is where you want to concentrate your attention on. A parallel play used in conjuctionwith a bonus square can be worth quite a lot of points as shown in the game board shown earlier.The big points can be found by combining 2 bonus squares in one play. There are so many places where you can do this that there is no point in talking about each and every possible combination. On a given board there won't be too many of those situations where they can occur, so be sure to check out every single one, before looking at other places to place a word.There is a book by Joe Edley called "Everything Scrabble" which has fantastic visuals and puzzles for you to view if you need to get into moredetails about crossing two bonus squares.

Rack Balancing
Rack balancing is the beginning stages of rack management. There comes a point in the learning stages of Scrabble where a person has learned a ton of words, can find words in their rack with ease, can find the ideal place to put a word AND they aren't improving any longer. They feel like they have hit a wall. They constantly use phrases like the following........"I always draw the worse tiles""You are the luckiest person on Earth""I never get the good draws like you do""My racks always suck""You get the good letters all the time""I always get stuck with all vowels or all consonants".Those same people will then show me their tiles and say "Let's see YOU find a good play with these tiles."..... as if to prove that their luck is bad. Well, after looking at their tiles I will undoubtedly say "You're right, that rack is terrible and I can't find a good play, but I didn't create that rack.... you did." Of course they think I am crazy since they are convinced that the letters in their rack are based on the luck of the draw............ And that is why they are no longer improving.One of the main reasons people get to a point where they don't improve any longer is because they think that each move in Scrabble is independent of every other move. They only worry about the move in front of them and not the next move or the move after that. Rack management is the key to becoming an expert. Let me make this perfectly clear..... "WITHOUT RACK MANAGEMENT YOUWILL NOT BECOME AN EXPERT !!!!"
This may be very hard for you to get used to, bu tyou will have to learn to not always play the highest scoring word. The letters you leave onyour rack are just as important, if not more so,then the tiles you place on the board. The very first stage of rack management is to learn how to balance your rack. Try to keep as many vowels as consonants in your rack. Don't give up a big play to accomplish this, But DO give it some weight in your decision as to what to play.

I hate to put this into my tips for the intermediate player, since it doesn't really have to do with strategy or techniques. But I feel I must include it because a person's attitude has more of an impact on their score then you might imagine.

A Negative Attitude Hurts
If you go into a game thinking that you are going to lose, then you probably will. The minute you believe that you can't win is the minute you stop trying to win. You'll start making quick decisions and playing any old move just to get the game over with. You'll stop looking for that"bingo" 30 seconds earlier then normal. You won't rearrange your tiles as often because you are soooooo certain that the rack is so terrible that nothing good could ever come out of it. The list goes on and on. If you want to win.......... then think that you can....... even when down 150 points.

Blaming Bad Luck
If you want to be able to win at Scrabble, then you first have to believe that You are what decides the outcome. If you find yourself blaming"luck" for your losses, then that's the same as blaming "luck" for your wins. If you don'tbelieve that You are responsible for your wins and losses, then you won't try to improve yourself at the game. What's the point in improving yourself if you don't believe that You are the reason for its outcome. It's that simple.
Besides....... there is nothing more annoying then playing someone who always blames their losses on luck. It's as if they are saying thattheir opponent did not earn their win.

Don't Be Cocky
While having a negative attitude can be harmful to your game, the other extreme can be just as harmful. Going into a game thinking you are invincible has the same effect on your game as thinking you will lose. You might make quick moves thinking "if there was a bingo in my rack I would have spotted it immediately." A player who acts cocky is just begging for their opponent to play better then they normally would. Nothing infuses an opponent with the desire to beat you more then acting overconfident.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

so pleased to have discovered your blog site, i have found it very interesting reading. your tips are amazing, certainly has helped my game.
would you suggest keeping the z and q back for the first play on the board, unless its a score over 50.
thanks again for sharing.