A Scrabble New Year's challenge

Published: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 at 11:00 p.m.
Happy New Year! 2004 is now upon us. The New Year offers a marker that we can use to start fresh. Many people take this time to quit smoking, eat less, read more or even join health clubs. By the end of January many of these pledges will be broken. For those of you who make these goals I wish you good luck in meeting them. For the Scrabble aficionado I offer a challenge.
I will tell you exactly how to get better at Scrabble and put yourself in the position to win more games. It's going to be a dim sum menu of choices. You get to pick and choose which you will do. But I guarantee that if you choose two of the four, you will see a marked improvement in your scores. Can you pledge to do so?
  • Learn the two-letter words: Now is the time to go ahead and finally learn all 92o of the two-letter words. Learn five a week until you have them down cold. These words are the foundation of Scrabble and cannot be ignored any longer.
  • Learn the SATINE stem: The six-letter SATINE stem is the most likely group of letters to yield a bingo. As you know, a bingo is a word that uses all seven of your tiles and rewards you with a 50-point bonus.
  • Shuffle your rack: You should practice interchanging the tiles on your rack. This helps to find words that may seem hidden on your rack. These words may add just one or two points per turn. That will add up to a significant score when all is said and done.
  • Use the bonus spaces: Too many points are given away each game when players do not place their high-point tiles on the bonus spaces. Use of these spaces makes each turn productive.
    This simple list will help you score better each time you play. The more things you decide to implement from the list, the better your scores will get. If you do the things above, then you will easily be able to do my final and most important instruction. Enjoy yourself.
    Gainesville club Division A: Cathy O'Sickey, 4-0, 413; Chris Medved, 3-1, 369; Ralph King, 3-1, 363. High series, O'Sickey, 1,650; high game, O'Sickey, 465; high play, Ellen Blottman, 93 (frights).
    Division B: Larry Brincefield, 4-0, 384; Irene Van Sise, 3-1, 343; Mary Rynd, 3-1, 343; Nora Hollinger, 3-1, 319. High series, Brincefield, 1,537; high game, Brincefield, 411; high play, Van Sise, 96 (tryouts).
    The Gainesville Scrabble club meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW at 1150 NE Waldo Road. Weekly dues are $2. Call O'Sickey at 336-0690 for details.
    Lake Area club No play held this week. The Lake Area club meets at the Melrose Public Library Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Call Blottman at 475-1587 or Geeke Lossing at 475-2956 for information.
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