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Saturday, July 02, 2005

King's Cup Diary

From one who has been there, down there and never up there until now.

3 years, 3 different hotel rooms,
same roommate, same results (10 wins or so, bottom 10).
Ah yes, my ex-roommate is a jynx.
What a difference in my results, now that I have got a different roommate.

And what about the jynx's roommate.
Well......he has 10 wins, and is in the bottom 10 of the standing this year.

King's Cup diary day 1

It is 7am bangkok time and I am trying to sleep until 9am (Tony's idea). We end up talking about Nigel Richards, ratings and every-scrabble-thing under the sun instead. Thirty minutes later, we give up and go down for breakfast.
After an extended opening ceremony, I treated Tony to ice cream sundaes for lunch. Upon returning to the playing venue, I was initially grouped together with Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Thailand) and Odette Rio (Philippines), two of the top regional players. Luckily for me, we were shorthanded in our group of four when Thitipol failed to turn up. I was then paired into another group with Antonio Malonzo, Jocelyn Lor and Thavachai Thivanvrong. A stroke of luck handed me three straight wins, thanks to play like OREADES, RAOULIAS, DEROGATE, IDOLATERS (thru AT), and GRINDER.
Finding myself in the leading pack on three wins, I sat down to battle Atiruth Sadiyakorn. Trailing early in the game, I caught a break when he phonied MITING* and I played VAINEST and SHERRIES (missing the superior placement for HEIRESS and HERISSE) to hold off his late bingo of rOnDURE to salvage a victory. As my reward, I get to play the defending champion, Nigel Richards. Needless to say, I fell to back-to-back bingos, LITErATI and EpIFAUNAE (through IF). In desperation, I tried FAIRLESS* and ESTRUALS* but Nigel calmly challenged them off the board.

4-1, +100 spread, my best start yet to this tournament in four tries.
That evening, we attended a reception at the Assumption University and I retire to my bed after a vigorous traditional Thai message with Tony, Ricky and Gana.

King's Cup diary day 2

A much better rest the previous night, thanks to the Thai massage, but no luck across the board.
I fell to Nawapadol Sayawes, Roonghroj Harinvorarob, Cheah Siu Hean in quick succession. Dianne Ward snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when she played VOW hooking OOZES to form the phoney WOOZES* on her last turn.
I fell short of 27 points against Sam Kantimanthi despite playing a bingo, SNIRTLE on my final turn (Must be that pesky phoney I played, EPIZOTES, missing POETIZES). My following game against Akkarapol Kwansak gave me a chance to jump back into the fray with a 430-295 victory, with the help of ASTONIED and ADVERSER (Akkarapol also lost two turns playing URDLIKE* and PENSILED*). On the follow up, I found myself on the short end of a six-bingo shootout against Manop Phiphatboonseim. I got aCTURES, TANGIEST, SEDGIER and he played DOWAGER, UNtAMED, REROUTING (through the second R and T) to beat me by 25 points.
2-5, -121 spread. What a bad follow-up to yesterday’s roar. Still have the next 2 days to get back into the thick of the competition.

King's Cup diary day 3

I redeem myself after putting up a dismal performance on day 2. Unfortunately, it did not start off on the right note with Atiruth Sadiyakorn gunning for revenge after I beaten him on day 1. With no help from the tile bag, I suffered a humiliating 471-278 loss. Then I bounced back with wins over Akegapun Erbprasartsook (SETTLING, COESItES and RoGATION) and Akkarapol Kwansak (LONGERS and ELODEAS) when I held off their late charges in the endgame.
I then proceed to play against our very own Ong Suanne and Gerado Onate from the philippines, both were riddled with mistakes but Ong Suanne punished me with a loss while Gerado gifted me a win on a silver platter. I won a nailbiter against Michael Tang when he played the phoney, RON*, on a tight board which I challenged off. Sompong Plosongkram played nip and tuck until he blocked my bingo comeback, leaving me short at 435-396.
I ended the day with another rematch with Atiruth Sadiyakorn. This time, I was fortunate to bingo JOINTERs, VERSION and IMPUGNS much to his chagrin as I lay him down with my vengence for the morning defeat.
5-3, +20 spread, I am back in the running for the top ten (have to get a 6-1 or better record tomorrow). I will sleep better tonight.

King's Cup diary day 4

I needed six wins in seven games to finish in the top ten, so it was six wins or bust.

In our opening game, Liz Fagerlund played PIUR* on her opening move in our game and left me agonising for two minutes about challenging because I needed the R to convert my rack of AEIOUHT into THIOUREA. I played the bingo and settled for a nine point victory 437-428 after some nifty plays, including LeEWAYS, VESPAS and a last gasp RETINUES.
After that I was drawn onto table 5 with Manop Phiphatboonsiem, Femi Awowade and Taewan. I was quite happy to wreak havoc on Manop in return for an loss the previous day, with the help of TAJInES, AUTOGIRO and ANTIROLL, but Manop was gracious in defeat and corrected my score which I keep miscounting (and I passed my SPM advanced maths).
The following game, Taewan wished me not to draw another blank bingo out of the bag like the last game. Being the nice guy, I obliged him with HAH as a opening move (keeping QIE?, hehehe), and followed up with a double-double EQUItIES through the I of his GALLIOT for 114 points. I got down another bingo DIShPAN later in the game (he missed SACATON here) and was fortunately to draw favourable tiles to beat his X play in the endgame. A recount gave me an extra point when Taewan overscored one of his move.
Up next were two rematches with Nawapadol Sayawes and Liz Fagerlund was on the card but I could only beat Liz narrowly while Nawpadol defensive play of CANALS brilliantly blocked my BARRIOS from hitting the board for a victory.
Sitting on the bubble, I had to win the last two games to keep Malaysia's flag flying in the top ten. Up first was Gerry Carter, the 1998 Asia-Pacific Champion. I got down two early bingos, ESTRONES and INDORSER but Gerry's last gasp bingo, UNDeRAGE leftr me on the short end of a twelve point loss. Goodbye, Top Ten.
Playing for pride in the last game, I draw Komol Panyasophonlert, one of Thailand's representatives to the 2003 World Scrabble Championship. The game was nip and tuck as Komol's lead from playing two bingos, mEATIEST and RATTLERS, was erased as he had exchanged twice. I played a phony CLIT*, which he challenged off the board and use the free turn to put the game out of reach.

A few discussion about endgames and could-have-beens and we went to witness the final (we apparently miss the first game, which 2003 WSC champion, Panupol Sujjayakorn beat defending champion, Nigel Richards by 88 points). Nigel narrowly won the second game when Panupol scuppered his chance to amass a 100 point victory by playing MITzVAHS to an S that Nigel opened in the midgame.
Panupol then started the final game with a 77 point lead that Nigel had to erase to retain the trophy. Panupol played a bingo, INTEGRAL, and proceeded to shut down the scoring opportunities on the board while hoarding both the blanks. Nigel's bingo of ASCENDS was offset by Panupol's DOILTEst at the end and secure Panupol an insourmountable lead to win game 3 and the King's Cup.

Had dinner with Tony, Ricky, Jobeth & JP. MMMMMMMMMMMMM......
Dessert was just a tub of Swensen bought from the local Carrefour.


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