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"We do have SOME stage parents. Not many," Williams says ruefully.
May 21, 2013 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Every parent wants his or her kid to be great at something. That's only natural. But it's also natural to read Word Freak and hear John Williams talk about the assorted cast of rogues who populate the grownup tournament and worry that your kid will love Scrabble TOO much, that they'll end up consumed by a game, one day fleeing to Iceland and writing anti-Semitic screeds on rolls of toilet paper. Inside the 2013 National School Scrabble Championship.
posted by Chrysostom (26 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Next up - the creeping mentality that all Scrabble tournaments are scholastic tournaments.

I had a middle-school aged opponent at a chess tournament once. Before the game, his father came over and introduced himself and explained that there was a soccer event that his son also wanted to play in and wanted to know if I would be OK agreeing to play our game at a rapid time control so that his son could go. I told him his kid could resign the game and leave if he wanted to go somewhere else at 3 PM.
posted by thelonius at 9:49 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


anti-semitic screeds on toilet paper? Well, thats one way to cheat I guess. What sort of word scores are they getting via this method?
posted by marienbad at 9:54 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did Bobby Fischer write stuff on toilet paper? (I know that he fled to Iceland and that he was anti-Semite).
posted by WalkingAround at 10:10 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


No. He had a radio program.
posted by thelonius at 10:11 AM on May 21, 2013


In a recent game of Words with Friends I played "OYEZ" for 102 points. I have now retired from the game.
posted by Decani at 10:42 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


And then it all goes to shit. Sam and Thomas play two phonies—ADJEcT and BEBES—and I'm too cowardly to challenge them. THEY PLAYED DIRTY!
"Adject" is a perfectly cromulent word, according to the OED.
"I don't think you can pluralize ADJECT," I say to Sam.
And it can be pluralized.

I understand the point of there being an official dictionary for the purposes of the game, but I nonetheless hate it.
posted by Flunkie at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


In a recent game of Words with Friends I played "OYEZ" for 102 points. I have now retired from the game.

My high point was in early 2009 when I played UPWAFTED across two triple word scores, and racked up 238 points in a single play. I was playing online against a woman I used to know in university and was a little worried, as some people might be put off by such a dazzling display.

Reader, I moved in with her.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:28 AM on May 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


You scored triple, triple and then single, eh? ;-)
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:33 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I played it, even though it didn't give me a great point total. But I never forgot that word. Whenever I see it now, I think of my grandma. It's very sweet.

Quite...
posted by Splunge at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2013


If anyone plays "quidnunc" in scrabble or words with friends, I immediately manifest before them and belch out 7 blank tiles.

So vote #1 quidnunc kid.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:36 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


He had a radio program.

In the Philippines, yes. Not in Iceland. He reserved his anti-Semitic ranting in Iceland for the one and only press conference he ever gave here, within 18 hours after arriving. Not sure how good he was at Scrabble.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:38 AM on May 21, 2013


Not sure how good he was at Scrabble.

I would actually love to see people competing at things that they are not known to be good at. Kasparov vs. Karpov at backgammon would be amusing; Kasparov vs. Karpov at go or shogi would be intriguing. Yankees vs. the Orioles at soccer! Maria Sharapova vs. Serena Williams at badminton! At worst, it might be mildly amusing; at best it might be like that time five hundred years ago when two rival artists -- one sculptor and one painter -- in Firenze were feuding, and the painter maneuvered the sculptor into the awkward position of being commissioned to do a painting so as to make his own work look all the better by comparison. The painter's work in that stretch is not generally well-remembered; the sculptor's work on commission as a painter is iconic.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:55 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


richochet biscuit, you might be interested in this book.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:09 PM on May 21, 2013


I would actually love to see people competing at things that they are not known to be good at.

Today's your lucky day: here's Kanye West and Beyoncé playing Connect 4.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:17 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If anyone plays "quidnunc" in scrabble or words with friends, I immediately manifest before them and belch out 7 blank tiles.

So vote #1 quidnunc kid.


Aww man. It's like your heart isn't in it any more.
posted by jsturgill at 1:11 PM on May 21, 2013


I gave my heart to a guy in exchange for #1 vote. My pancreas is also available as are other organs. See eBay for details.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2013


Wait, is Yeezy red? Am I missing something, or is Beyoncé not very good at Connect Four?
posted by box at 2:21 PM on May 21, 2013


Minutes to learn...a lifetime to master.

No, wait, that's Othello.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:50 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today's your lucky day: here's Kanye West and Beyoncé playing Connect 4.

Hey wait, that board doesn't even make sense.
posted by ambrosen at 3:22 PM on May 21, 2013


It totally makes sense. You play something as deceptively simple as Connect 4 and you miss easy openings. Forest for the trees and all that.

These two apparently played a number of matches, but Kanye won this round.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on May 21, 2013


I have had the pleasure of playing tournament games against three of the kids mentioned in this article. Nice boys, every one. There is a special humiliation that you experience as an adult losing a game of Scrabble to someone so much younger, so much faster, so much BETTER than you.

One time, though? I beat one of those super-smart kids in a crucial tournament game. I beat the SHIT out of him. And it felt really good.
posted by little mouth at 7:20 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


So Bey beat him nine straight times, but then Kanye 'won' that one?

Queen Bee.
posted by box at 7:23 PM on May 21, 2013


Did anyone see that documentary about champion Scrabble players? I can't remember what it was called.
posted by discopolo at 7:57 PM on May 21, 2013


Word Wars, or Scrabylon?
posted by box at 7:59 PM on May 21, 2013


Word Wars is on NetFlix streaming. I remember being horrified watching the documentary on CBC's The Passionate Eye documentary series, I was really shocked at how unpleasant some of the players were. I had recently seen the much more upbeat doc about crosswords, Word Wars, and it was eating my brain trying to figure out why one kind of word game attracted good-natured people and another attracted the worst kind of stereotypical unpleasant nerd. What I should have figured out, of course, was that the person behind the camera gets to make the story he or she wants to make.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:30 PM on May 21, 2013


I learned about all the weird two-letter words (XU, XI, KA, etc.) and all the weird Q words that didn't need a U (QOPH, QAID, etc.)

Ooh, awesome! That's the reason I can't stand to play Scrabble anymore! They should just rename it Memorizethedictionaryabble.
posted by barnacles at 5:26 AM on May 22, 2013


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