Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Let's spend a xu for a qat

Man, I used to be an avid Scrabble player. It wasn't competitive Scrabble against strangers, but it was among friends and family. I think I'm a pretty good player.

So back in 2001, when Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis came out, I was all over it. It's about the bizarre world of competitive Scrabble, and then in 2004, the documentary Word Wars came out.

I hardly play Scrabble nowadays, and I blame the phone. At first, I was mesmerized by Words with Friends, played hundreds of games, but then was like, "Uh, why am I wasting my life with this phone and this game?"

So Word Freak follows the world's best Scrabble players, and we quickly realize, "Oh, wow, this is another level."

These elite Scrabble players have lists and lists of words memorized, and they get bingos (playing all seven letters) constantly. The book takes us inside of their worlds and minds, and it got me to rearrange the letters in words when I saw them to form other words. Sometimes, I still do that.
Because I read it so long ago, a lot of the details escape me. I do recall it following a few key figures and seeing how obsessive they were against the game. Oh, and if you're wondering, how is this a sports book? Well, Fatsis is a sports writer, and, hey, I say it works!

I did learn a couple key tips from the book that helped my Scrabble playing, and they are: 1) If you don't know all the two-letter words, you might as well play something else, 2) Of course, you got to know all the Q words without U after it, and the words that begin with X, and 3) The best rack management is to have all different letters. Why in the world would you have three I's in your rack?!?

Eh, thinking about Word Freak wants me to play some Scrabble. And, Dad, stop looking at the dictionary!

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