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Letter in the Mailbox:
Yesterday, me and Kc Hirai played another 11 exciting
games with Kc prevailing in the clincher. The games were of top
quality I would say, the way bingos were remarkably executed and
fantastic words that were created.
After 10 rounds we were tied at 5 games apiece. The
deciding game was won by him as soon as he made his first move with
THERMAL for a fat 80 points. It was a futile effort for me from there
on as he kept increasing his lead on every turn. Kc even took a
snapshots of some of our games because of the beauty they were played
as if we intentionally arranged the board for the taking. It was in
round three where we played our best game so far wherein a total of 8
bingos were laid down, which is very rare. I remember Nigel Richards
and Mark Nyman had 9 bingos in one of their games in Thailand a couple
of years back. I don't know but modesty aside, maybe I was in my
elements at that precise moment ( ha! ha! ha! ).
I was able to nail 5 bingos against his 3. My bingos
were REBUYING, RELICTS, sLATING, RESITED, and RETINiTE. While his
bingos were EPINAOS, RUINABLE, and BONNETS. But I admit Kc is slightly
better than me. His vocab is wider and he seldom commits mistakes. I
was amazed when in the 6th round going into the last 2 moves, I was
leading by about 60 points and already confident of securing that game
because the position of the board was closed and only a Q was exposed
on the top far right corner. As I gazed in my tracking, he had HHONRI
and a blank on his rack. So I told myself, there's no way he could
bingo with that set of tiles and position of the board.
After juggling his tiles and spending a little over 2
minutes just before his flag would fall, Kc's face suddenly glowed as
if telling in my face "EUREKA" ( or I FOUND IT ). He laid
down RHONcHI with the "I" forming QI. In disbelief, I felt
dumbfounded suddenly for about ten seconds. He was so happy he took
snapshot again of this game. And the same scenario was repeated in 9th
round. It was the same story with me leading all the way until the
dying minutes. I played defensively and all openings were sealed and
blocked off. There was one floating "A" along the left
triple word box having played AVAIL from AIL and CAGE a while
Prior to his move, I had planned to block that spot on
my next turn. He was holding WOOFAR and a blank, and I just couldn't
find any bingo using the A, so I was expecting win number 5 already.
Know what he did? He played FOOfARAW, using the blank as F. I
automatically challenged it but it only added insult to injury as I
gave him an additional 5 points.
I was mesmerized for a while before coming back to my
own self. As usual, I was in complete amazement of the beauty of the
word and the way it was played. I hadn't experience anything like it
before. From out of nowhere he would find a way to win. Indeed, he is
a dangerous opponent to reckon with in the coming WSC. That's why I
don't know if I will improve playing with this guy or deteriorates
because every time he beats me I'm losing confidence with myself. But
come to think of it, I have beaten guys who are far better than him
before. I defeated the former World Champion Mark Nyman when we met in
1999 during the King's Cup Tournament in Thailand. I won over rated
players like Kendall Boyd and Femi Awowade in the Asia Pacific
Tournament in Malaysia. I've beaten Bob Jackman, the current
Australian Open Champion, in the Philippine Premier Tournament
organized by Prof. Filio. I dealt loses to Ganesh Aservatham, the
current Malaysian Champion, countless of times during my stint in
Malaysia a couple of years ago. Likewise to Cheah Siu Hean, the
current Champion in Singapore and former Australian Open Champion.
That's why I'm confident this guy will go far in the next WSC.
Other interesting words he played were: ALOPECIA,
VINDALOO, WAKANDA, ABROOKE, THOLEPIN, PICEOUS, PHEAZAR, and UNEATHES.
All the best,