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830-point Game at the Lexington Scrabble® Club

No, 830 is not the total game score, but the winner's score. The loser scored 490, and so the total was 1320. This record-breaking game was played on October 12, 2006 at the Lexington, MA Scrabble® Club #108. The players were two experienced novice players, at least in the sense of their current NSA tournament ratings. Winner Michael Cresta, NSA-rated 886, had recently returned to club play after a 5-month hiatus. He has been playing off and on for about 3 years. Michael has enjoyed studying interesting words, and this game demonstrates how this has really paid off for him. Able loser Wayne Yorra, NSA-rated 841, has been an active player at two clubs in the Boston area for about 4 years. Although Wayne does not seem to be a studier, he picks up a lot of word knowledge by club experiences, and he often lays down made-up words, some of which turn out to be acceptable. This game demonstrates this tendency.

So the game was off and running when Wayne opened up with a 96-point vertically-placed JOUSTED. Michael traded 7, and then Wayne played LADYLIKE for 73, leaving the first letter in the left column. So the score is 169-0, but Michael takes the lead by playing FLATFISH through that L for 239 points. With such a high score, Wayne challenges, but it stays. Three turns later, Wayne bingos again with SCAMsTER. That R is in the rightmost column. Michael trades 2, holding QUIXY, fishing for the perfect letters. Wayne leaves that area of the board alone by bingoing for the fourth time with UNDERDOG. The score is now 365-249, and once again Michael regains the lead by laying down QUIXOTRY for 365 points!. At this point, Michael has put three words onto the board for a total of 614 points! The game continues more normally, but there are plenty of letters yet to be played. Michael makes a 66-point Z play. When it is all over, Michael wins 830-490. No phonies are left on the board.

Michael's score was 139% higher than his average. Wayne's score was 47.8% above his average. Wayne was listed as achieving the high-above-average score for the club session, since a player must have played at least 20 games in a season to be eligible for this accolade, and Michael was not there yet. This is the first time in club history that the loser of a game was announced as having the high-above-average score.

This game broke the long-standing club record for the highest game score, which had been 709, set in November of 1982. It has the second-highest losing score ever seen in the club. The highest scoring loss has been 500, and the runner-up highest losing score had been 486. Until this game, the highest-scoring play had been 293, but Michael's 365 broke that record. We have not kept track of comebacks, but notice Michael was behind by 169 and went on to win by 340, turning the game around by 509. Until this game, the highest total score seen in this club was 1062.

It appears this game also broke at least three NSA records.

There was an attendance of 31 players on this historic night, with several NSA club directors present. There were other achievements in that club session, such as 3 other games with totals above 900, 7 games with a winning score of at least 500, one of which was 571, 7 games with a loss of over 400, etc.; but these stats were dwarfed by this 830-490 fluke of a game.

Here is the historic game...


   a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o
   -----------------------------
 1|G     B L E E P       '     Q|
 2|I -   A   "       "     C   U|
 3|B U N T     '   '       O   I|
 4|E     E       J       - R A X|
 5|  U N D E R D O G   N O   N O|
 6|O P       "   U   Z A     " T|
 7|    '       ' S C A M s T E R|
 8|F     E       T   S   '     Y|
 9|L A D Y L I K E '       '    |
10|A W   E   " A D O "       "  |
11|T A   I - E S   M I T E     V|
12|F     N       '       H A I R|
13|I   - G     '   '       I   O|
14|S -       "       "   V R O W|
15|H E I R       =       '     s|
   -----------------------------
   a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o

Wayne Yorra              Michael Cresta
----------------------   -----------------------
JOUSTED    H4  96   96   trade 7          0    0
LADYLIKE   9A  73  169   FLATFISH   A8  239  239
challenge       0  169   trade 3          0  239
EYEING     D8  22  191   trade 2          0  239
AWA        B9  29  220   ADO       10G   10  249
SCAMsTER   7H  65  285   trade 2          0  249
UNDERDOG   5B  72  357   QUIXOTRY   O1  365  614
challenge       0  357   trade 7          0  614
AN         N4  13  370   OP         6A   20  634
COR        M2  20  390   BATED      D1   22  656
BLEEP      1D  27  417   MITE      11I   16  672
BUNT       3A  12  429   ZA         6J   66  738
HAIR      12L  26  455   VROWs     O11   30  768
NONLESS   13F   0  455   challenged off NONLESS, EHS
                         VROW      14L   20  788
NO         5K  14  469   GIBE       A1   24  812
ES         11F  9  478   HEIR      15A    8  820
ZAS        J6  12  490   AIR       M12    6  826
                         (L,N)            4  830

 FINAL SCORE       490                       830

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