I was chatting online with one of my daughters a short while ago; we were discussing an online game of a variation of Scrabble she was playing, and how her opponent had taken a 56 point lead with one word, after being trailing by 45 points.
This discussion reminded me of a time five years ago when I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to play in a tournament in the USA - the game which was running the contest is called Words with Friends; yes Scrabble under another title.
At the time of the invite, I was playing regularly, and holding my own, against a friend in Seattle who went to Harvard the year I was born. Though my friend had several degrees, we were well matched because in Scrabble it isn’t always the more the intelligent person who wins, but the person who can best use their tiles.
While we discussed the offer, my friend kindly offered to pay for the flight to America for me. Kind as her offer was I had to turn it down, not only because I felt bad about the trip being paid for but I didn’t wish to disappoint my friend by not getting far in the contest.
The problem was not that I considered I could not do well; the problem was the playing style of many online players, it is contrary to my style and negatively influenced. I had played several players online that year and been forced to quit because they played the game from the get-go using two, or three, letter words; in essence playing not to lose rather than risk defeat by playing to win.
My style was to open the game up to keep the flow moving and to make an interesting contest, you can’t do that if your opponent’s tactic is to close the game at each turn; as I say I do not consider I was beaten as I was forced to quit.