Track the premium tiles

Published: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 at 10:55 p.m.
When you go to the gym, you tend to follow the examples of the people who are in the shape that you want. If you are in the business world, you want to emulate the top CEOs in hopes of similar results. Success breeds imitators.
If that is the case, then why do so few people track the tiles that are played in a game of Scrabble.
There were two things that I noticed when I joined the Gainesville Scrabble Club. First, a clock kept the time of each match. Second, people in the advanced group always scribbled something on their score sheet after each players turn. Their Scrabble scribble turned out to be tile tracking.
It's not just the local players that do so. Joe Edley and Joel Sherman, the only multiple National Scrabble champions, also track tiles. Their logic is simple; if you know what has been played, you know what is left.
Each time you tick off the letters that are played during a match, you know that there is one less of that particular letter that can help or hurt you later on.
There is a time element to tracking tiles. It does take some precious time off of your clock to do so. Therefore, I offer you a simplified method to track.
In most matches, the premium tiles make the difference between winning and losing. These tiles are Q,Z,J,X,K, four S's and the two blanks. I like to keep track of the U's, too, because they come in handy for the Q.
Since premium tiles help almost any rack score points fast, why not keep track of them? You don't need the fancy score sheets that many players use. A regular lined sheet will do the job.
Just be sure to write the letters down as they play on the board. Don't tip off your rack and write it down when you draw the tile because an opponent with good eyesight will know that tile is no longer available.
Tracking can be a time-consuming task during a game. It is, however, one of the few extras that give a great return on the time investment. You may not know what tile you will pull next, but knowing what tiles you will not pull sometimes is just as advantageous.
Give yourself an edge, track the premium tiles and see immediate results.

Gainesville club

Cathy O'Sickey, 3-0, 380; Ralph King, 2-1, 410; Jim Cooney, 2-1, 409; Laura Thomley, 2-1, 392; Brenda Dede, 2-1, 350; Mark Gooley, 2-1, 344; MJ Cook, 2-1, 346; Geeke Lossing, 2-1, 329.
High series, King, 1,230; High game, Cooney, 515; High play, O' Sickey, 100 (oxylate).

Lake Area club

Sharon Cox, 3-0, 303; Geeke Lossing, 3-1, 339; Ellen Blottman, 2-1, 311.
High series, Lossing, 1,017; High game, Blottman, 410; High play, Blottman, 68 (relearn).

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