SCRABBLE

Learn your five-letter anagrams


Published: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 10:44 p.m.
There is a place on the board for a five-letter word with the triple-letter bonus open on the third letter. Your rack has the tiles AEGKRST.
What is the best word to play? Stumped? You wouldn't be if you knew how to anagram five letters.
While many players fall in love with bingos and their 50-point bonuses for playing all seven tiles on their rack, the majority of plays are of five letters or fewer.
The scenario that I offered above is a typical situation that most players face several times in a match. There are good plays, RAKES or RAGES, and there are better plays, ASKER, ESKAR or SAKER and then there is the best play: TAKER.
What's the difference? Each one places your higher-point tile on the bonus space, but only TAKER does so while keeping the premium S tile on your rack.
The word TAKER also takes an S on the end, so you may be able to use that word to hook onto, thus creating two words in a later play.
All of these possibilities are available based on your ability to anagram. The rack above offers seven more simple words that are commonly used, STARE, TARES, RATES, STAKE, STEAK, STAGE and GATES.
The ability to anagram enables players to get rid of duplicate letters or to leave the tiles that are most likely to yield a bingo on their rack. Of all the words that I anagrammed above, only one is unfamiliar, ESKAR, which is a narrow ridge of gravel or sand.
How do you get better at five-letter anagrams? Start with words you already know. Take seven tiles out of the bag and create as many words as you can. Start with two-letter words and work your way up to possible bingos.
What you should be looking for is patterns. The words will present themselves once you see the patterns. Is there an ING, or is there a RE, or is there an OUT. These word parts will present patterns that make it easier to find words with the remaining tiles.
This should be a short exercise. As you anagram through the letters on your rack, you will start to learn certain words that seem to always be on your rack.
In fact, looking at the distribution of tiles that are drawn randomly is what gave experts the base SATINE as the most common base to create a bingo. SEAT is the most common four-letter base to create a bingo.
The more you anagram, the more familiar you will be with these letters. You will be more likely to play the tiles that do not go well with the above bases in the hope of finding letters that easily create bingos.
Remember, the bingo is the Holy Grail of Scrabble. All players should spend time with each play in an attempt to find them. Just don't forget the five-letter word
Odds are you will play these words most in a game. The more variations of these five-letter words you know, the better chance you have of scoring the most possible points on each play.

Gainesville club

Larry Brincefield, 3-0, 448; Laura Thomley, 2-1, 385; Irene Van Sise, 2-1, 353; Cathy O'Sickey, 2-1, 349; Geeke Lossing, 2-1, 342; Chris Medved, 2-1, 342; Ellen Blottman, 2-1, 321.
High series, Brincefield, 1,345; high game, Brincefield, 490; high play, Van Sise, 86 (jesters).
The Gainesville Scrabble club meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW at 1150 NE Waldo Road..

Lake Area club

Marie Gier, 3-0, 359; Geeke Lossing, 2-1, 345; Ellen Blottman, 2-1, 341; Van Sise, 2-1, 332.
High series, Gier, 1,077; high game, Gier, 411; high play, Lossing, 83 (loafers).
The Lake Area club meets at the Melrose Public Library Tuesdays at 1 p.m.

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