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InläggPostat: sön 25 okt, 2009 17:31 
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Just testing that this message ends up in the right place on the forum.


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InläggPostat: sön 25 okt, 2009 18:32 
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Cool, a new thread...Now I can write something about my preparations and expectations for WSC 2009 (as requested by Greger).

Preparations: I'm using Zyzzyva for word study and ISC and Quackle for game practice.
Word study with Zyzzyva: I'm using Zyzzyva (on my netbook) when I commute on the bus; this amounts to about 5 hours per week. I'm practising the following word sets in approximate order, highest to lowest priority: 1. high probability sevens; 2. high probability eights; 3. words containing J,Q,X or Z with a maximum length of five letters; 4. all threes. I'm trying to remember each word and whether an S can be added at the end; if the definition interests me I read it otherwise I ignore it. I'm pretty much ready with sets 3 and 4 and I am topping up sets 1 and 2 gradually according to probaility lists. I will continue this method of training until the WSC.
Game practice on ISC: I'm playing on average on game a day on ISC (handle "Rebecca 2", ISC rating 1335). When I played my first scrabble tournament in October 2007 my ISC rating was 900 and it has increased steadily since then (although my tournament results have not reflected this steady improvement). I'm trying to be fairly "serious" when I play on ISC because; 1. nobody wants to play unrated games, so all games are rated, and 2. nobody wants to play someone with a rating 100 points below their own, and 3. At the WSC everyone will be highly rated (relative to me). By "serious", I don't mean sour-faced, I just mean not playing when I am too tired, non-sober or when my children (aged 3, 6 and 9) are "watching". I am using a time limit of 18 minutes per game (with no increment) because 1. I consider this to be pretty much equivalent to playing on a board with a 25 minute limit (since tile tracking, selection, score counting etc. are automatic) and 2. nobody wants to play longer games. During game practice I am trying to develop certain skills: Time management; using "tile track information" (especially near the end, of course) in some sort of constructive way; aggressive play (especially when behind).
Game practice using Quackle: I play against "speedy player". I estimate that with defensive play I win about 2 % of games and with aggressive play about 5% (although the negative spread is much larger in the latter case). I use Quackle now to practice aggressive play in preparation for playing against highly rated players at WSC.
Expectations: My ISC rating is 1335 and a rule of thumb that people use is to add about 5 % to get an international rating. This gives me an international rating estimate of 1400. On the WSC website approximately 100 players are listed of which two have ratings below 1400 (ten, including myself, have no international rating). My attitude is simply to treat every won game as a triumph and to try to win some games. I think I can maximise my (albeit minimal) chances against strong players by playing aggressively. The schedule is intensive, so I hope I have lots of energy and can maybe benefit against exhausted players now and then. I expect to lose many games heavily which shouldn't be too exhausting and then I might have more energy available in closer games. One thing that I might find stressful is to try to remember to follow the zillions of tournament rules, I hope that my absent mindedness won't upset anyone.
I also expect to enjoy the trip enormously :)


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InläggPostat: sön 25 okt, 2009 23:56 
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Thanks for the post.

One tip/idea: since it's (much) easier to learn short words, I would consider adding 4- and 5-letter hooks when you're done with your current short words. It can be exhausting to practice 7- and 8-letter words only so I think it is sensible to mix. And the hooks are really very useful to get a chance to play those 7-letter words! I remember playing A(BUT)+PEARLIN against you in our latest game for example.. those are not words that belong to my regular vocabulary. ;-)


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InläggPostat: sön 25 okt, 2009 23:59 
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Blev medlem: mån 17 jan, 2005 16:37
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One more good thing about hooks is that you don't have to know them too well to make them useful, because most of the word will already be on the board, and you just have to remember what you could possibly put before that BUT, for example. With longer words, especially 8-letter words, I think you have to study each word much more carefully to make it useful in an actual game.


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InläggPostat: mån 26 okt, 2009 00:35 
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Thanks Merko,

Hooks were on my original list but there are so many of them I found it hard to make a sensible plan based around it. There are, I think, about 5000 hooks onto three lettered words, for example. I found myself imagining non-existent hooks during games. I agree with you that it is very useful but I just ran out of time and confidence with it.

When I challenged pearlin/abut, it was abut that I was doubtful about since I hadn't practised hooks:)


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InläggPostat: mån 26 okt, 2009 00:38 
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....having said that, I haven't ruled out learning some hooks...but I think I probably won't get round to it.


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InläggPostat: mån 26 okt, 2009 01:38 
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Blev medlem: mån 17 jan, 2005 16:37
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Look at it the same way as with 7 and 8 letter words. Of course you won't learn them all, but since Zyzzyva can select the most probable ones, you'll get very good returns on the first 100/300/1000 that you might be able to learn. It's much more useful to learn ABUT than, say, VUGG.


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InläggPostat: tor 29 okt, 2009 21:47 
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OK. I'm becoming increasingly persuaded :)


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