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Subject: How to win at Scrabble - 5 tips from a grandmaster rss

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col_w
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British grand master Brett Smitheram gives his top five tips for improving your game and maximising your score:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19330297
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Randy Cox
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Warning. This is a video (so I didn't get to find out his tips--just too slow).

I would love to see a transcript.
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col_w
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The short version:

1. Use premium squares in two directions at once.
2. Keep strong tiles for 7 letter plays on your rack.
3. Know what tiles are best (S and blank).
4. Know when to change your tiles.
5. Know lots of words.
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Dave C
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col_w wrote:
The short version:

1. Use premium squares in two directions at once.
2. Keep strong tiles for 7 letter plays on your rack.
3. Know what tiles are best (S and blank).
4. Know when to change your tiles.
5. Know lots of words.


Thanks for the video and the summary!

(I stopped watching once I realized one of the BBC interns thinks focusing in and out is cool.)

I know the British play with a different dictionary than NA--but the advice on strong tiles is spot on. Once I learned TISANE, RETAINS, and ARSINE bingo stems, I pretty much stopped scoring below 300.

Great stuff.
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Ben Bateson
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col_w wrote:

3. Know what tiles are best (S and blank).
4. Know when to change your tiles.


The logical addition to that would be:

3b) Know what tiles are worst.

The answer is W,V,C and Q (followed by K and J), mostly due to the lack of 2-letter hooks. The best words to have in your Scrabble vocabulary are VAV, WIZ and QI, because they're the tiles that always get dumped back in the bag.
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Mark McEvoy
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ousgg wrote:
3b) Know what tiles are worst.

The answer is W,V,C and Q (followed by K and J), mostly due to the lack of 2-letter hooks.


Surprised to see W in that list. C and V are notorious for being without any 2-letter hooks, and Q only has the one, but W? It has 4 hooks spanning three vowels (AW, OW, WE, WO)... many a time I've scored big with a W hook on a premium square.
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col_w
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thatmarkguy wrote:
C and V are notorious for being without any 2-letter hooks

C has CH.
 
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Ben Bateson
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MOSTLY due to the LACK of 2-letter hooks, as I said.

W is generally not a very frequently occurring letter in many favoured Scrabble plays (I may be wrong, but I think someone once calculated it was about third-worst in Bingoes). It's commonly mentioned as a letter to avoid.
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Mark McEvoy
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col_w wrote:
thatmarkguy wrote:
C and V are notorious for being without any 2-letter hooks

C has CH.


In SOWPODS/OWSI, but not TWL. We ain't all Brits, y'know.
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Ben Bateson
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thatmarkguy wrote:

In SOWPODS/OWSI, but not TWL. We ain't all Brits willing to learn from the dictionary that THE REST OF THE WHOLE WORLD PLAYS WITH, y'know.


FTFY
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Joe Neff
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Hey guys, let's not let the OWL/Collins debate sully this terrific website. We have plenty of places to grouse over the official lexicon!

As for the hints, they are very good, regardless of the dictionary choice. I'd say the most important one is word knowledge. Strategy is good, but you need vocabulary to turn a rack like AEINORS into big points.
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John Farrell
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GI Joel says (something like) that when he discards tiles he discards any that are not in the word CANISTER, which is most interesting because he keeps the C. It's pretty bad for hooking and with most other letters, but really great with the common letters.

I passionately hate Vs.
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Richard Spence
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Exchanging tiles also *partly* depends on what is on the board. I had a close tournament game where I exchanged 5 late-game, keeping EY, simply because the Y played at several spots for a bunch of points. The Q (which I exchanged) was unplayable, so obviously exchange that one.

I didn't watch the video, but one more important strategy that can sometimes determine win or loss is tile tracking.
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James C
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Yes, all very good tips.

Your leave is another important thing that Scrabble novices don't always think about. Better to score 10 points and leave yourself with ART or AES or ING to score a bingo next turn than to score 14 points and leave yourself something like AFKE or AHOI. You get the idea.

Also, play with a timer.
 
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