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February 2012

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Albany Round 3

vs. Matthew Tunnicliffe; thanks to Matthew for his racks

Play it



Some interesting positions in this game, and I think the most interesting is your third turn. You found a nice play in fOREIGN(ER), but I think REIGN 10H might be better yet. It scores 28, keeps a blank in hand, and severely limits your opponent's options. He'll probably have to play WEER next turn, and just looking at the immediate point differential reveals that you're up 43 instead of 36 after Matthew's turn if you play WEER. Add to that the desirable board controlling aspects of your play and excellent leave, and REIGN appears correct.

I also wondered about END and FEY. First of all, why not TEND? It scores two more and keeps a leave which is just a bit worse, but more importantly doesn't open such an easy lane. Also, what's your issue with PLENTY? It scores well, blocks a good lane, and you can usually parallel JAIL next turn to block the JAILS hook...besides, blocking it now probably still gives your opponent a column B bingo. Of course, had you played TEND, something like FEY would've been a clearer choice.
Actually I think REI is even stronger than REIGN because of the synergy in the leave and the better board position.


Well-reasoned on REI vs. FOREIGNER, Noah. I just didn't get out of "best bingo" mindset. I tried to find a bingo that would prevent him from bingoing but couldn't hide all the letters I needed to hide.

I think R(E) is a better post-REI play for Matthew than (WEE)R, since WEER doesn't hook. Up 36 with random racks for each vs. up 35 with ?GNOxxx vs. EINRSTx is about a wash to me, though. But REI fits with the ugly-board style I want to play (and tried to play all tournament). Wish I'd considered it over the board.

Why not give up the -END hooks? My leave is decent and if he hits there I've got the tiles (esp. the Y) to sidelap along column A for a bunch.

My thing regarding FEY vs. PLENTY and PELF is strictly pool-based. Unseen pool was very vowel-heavy (25-25-1); PELF allows him to potentially clean up vowelitis with (F)AERIE for 30 or something. Same with PLENTY; vowel-dump sidelaps abound. (Also part of the reason I kept the T on the END play.) Plus PLENTY doesn't block the -S hook to JAIL.

I thought the LNPT leave was good given the pool; the -END hook and the O to play through ... I figured that would lead to a bingo soon. Maybe I got overly concerned about the pool, though.

Maybe in hindsight I should've worried more about the V and made a PLENTY play to block or a PELF play to create offsetting hotspots. Maybe I'll check the sim results again when I get home.

Good comments, guys. Keep 'em coming.

Actually, WEER takes a front S hook, so it's not unreasonable at all. R(E) seems slightly too easy to close for me, so I still prefer WEER after REI, from Matthew's standpoint.

As for TEND, I prefer it because you want to reduce entropy at this point. A sidelap is fewer points than a bingo, and there are plenty of plays he could make that are difficult to sidelap.

As I said, the JAIL hook is probably less dangerous than the END hooks, since most (not all, of course) bingos playable with JAILS can also hook on END, and many other bingos which can't be played making JAILS can make END. Also, the END hooks are going to be kind of a nuisance to block with most racks (note that it never did get blocked, and a bingo came down there), so why not take advantage of PLENTY now? On the other hand, it's easier to make a staircase down to the bottom left and close that part of the board, so you can save doing that for later. The LNPT leave isn't awful or anything, but most of the plays here have similar enough equity: we're concerned with the board, because closing this one is definitely within reach.
I actually like PELF more. NTY is significantly better than LNPT, and putting an F there isn't that dangerous. I suppose ALFAQUIN would hurt quite a bit, but you weren't playing me yet.
Why not PLENTY instead? The leaves and scores of PLENTY and PELF are similar enough, but I prefer PLENTY because it takes away entropy from the game, whereas PELF introduces entropy, leaving open the left side of the board and adding avenues to the right side of the board. Since Jason has a lead, he should be inclined to reduce entropy, making PLENTY preferable.
I guess what I don't like about PLENTY is keeping a "naked" F, as they call it. Even though LNPT is less alarming with a vowel heavy pool, it still won't score much when it doesn't bingo.
I know that F might be more than a point worse than NTY, but the position after PLENTY seems far superior.
It's actually pretty close. The problem with PLENTY is that it actually doesn't reduce entropy very much: the board is kind of already doomed to be quite bingo friendly and not very scoring friendly, and a blank is out. It's going to be pretty difficult to shut everything down here, so PLENTY doesn't reduce entropy (and thus create a better position) to the degree you might think.

It does still reduce entropy to some degree, and it creates a pretty useful scoring spot for your F, so it might well be the best play still, but it's mostly for it's short term ramifications (killing the best bingo lane and blocking some immediate bingos and creating an indirect F setup) and less so on the long term ramifications.

Mental arrows and projecting where the board will go in the next few turns signals a much bigger long term problem that PLENTY doesn't actually solve. That's why it's basically even with PELF.
If that's the case, does it make TEND similarly poorer than I thought, or does a different line of reasoning belong for TEND? It seems like similar enough reasoning would apply to both plays.