Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Has anyone seen the movie "Akeelah and the Bee"? It's been out for several years now, but Mr. Chick and I only recently rented it and watched it at home. Very cute, inspirational movie about a young girl, living in the ghetto, who has a gift for words and spelling and makes it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Anyway, one small part of the movie has the game Scrabble in it. Apparently the girls' now-deceased father was a fan of the game, and the kids played it competitively as part of their spelling bee training. I have always loved that game.

I have a fairly decent vocabulary. I attribute that to the fact that I'm always reading. Always. I consume books and there is nary a day when I don't spend some time reading - usually before bed. Mr. Chick also has a good vocabulary, but mine is better. Despite the fact that he holds a J.D. degree and I only have a lowly bachelors, my command of the English language pretty much kicks his ass.

Except he always kicks mine in Scrabble. And this has been a long-standing annoyance to me. I never beat him! Why? Because I can't help myself and try to lay down impressive words that use the most tiles I can, and he plays for points. Points trump cool words every time.

We go on Scrabble kicks where it seems we play often, and then we'll put the game away and not bring it out again for a long time. Right now, we're back to playing. This past week we've played twice. And twice I've beat him! The first beat was only by a single point. One.measly.point. A squeaker, that game. I get all tense and competitive and focused in my efforts to win. After that game, I was exhausted. I'm finally catching on and playing for points, not just to make an obscure word.

But this last game? Last night? Was a resounding victory! I didn't just beat him, I smoked him. He was annihilated! I had him by 19 points and we'd used up every single tile. But what makes my win even sweeter was the fact that in addition to playing strategically and to maximize point values, I managed to eke out a few cool words. Even a legal term, which impressed the hell out of Mr. Chick: usury. On a triple word score, no less. I also managed a triple word play for the first time ever. Sure, I've done a few doubles, but a triple?! That was cause to rub it in a little. I played "cowl" vertically, which built off the "w" in whim (also one of mine). Then I placed a "n" 2 tiles over horizontally from the "L" and under the "i" in whim, which made the word "line" (the "e" was already on the board from another word). And, since the "n" was under the "i", I got the 3rd word, "in". Somewhere in there was a Double Word Score to boot. That play was pure magic and secured my championship status.

Mr. Chick and I rarely challenge each other on words. We don't want to take the risk unless we're sure. Last night I played "nigh" and he almost challenged me, but didn't. Good thing, because "nigh"? Totally in the dictionary. Then he made a cheap play and put a "R" on the end of the existing word "PRICE". "Pricer?" I ask. "Yes! Duh! You know, like a job. Could you play "cook"? yes. Or "checker"? So, "pricer". 12 points. Your turn." I wavered. It sounded fishy to me. Pricer? But at this point I felt sort of bad for him because I was kicking his ass pretty hard and let it slide. Stupid stupid stupid! Pricer? NOT in the dictionary. "Nigh" totally is, btw. I stewed on it all night and pulled out the dictionary this morning to investigate after the fact.

And I promptly had to announce my findings to Mr. Chick as he was in the shower this morning and alert him to his good fortune that I didn't challenge his crappy word and that he was lucky he didn't challenge "nigh" like he almost did, because that word was good as gold.

I'm a good winner like that.

I feel a re-match coming. Soon. I'm not going to get completely obsessive and start studying the dictionary like Akeelah or anything, but now that I've wised up and play to win, it's Game On. Any other Scrabble players out there?

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