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Word Up 208

Posted by michael
from the causes-couple-competitiveness dept.
theodp writes "Depending on your perspective, the National Scrabble Championship is a major sporting event, an unrivalled intellectual competition, or the world's biggest dork-fest. So says Slate's Dan Wachtell, who turned to an anagram-drilling Unix program to gain an edge on the 850+ competitors. While hardly mainstream, competitive Scrabble is getting newfound attention thanks to the publication of Word Freak and release of Word Wars."
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Word Up

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  • Word To You, Bro (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:23PM (#9996365) Homepage Journal
    Scrabble is getting newfound attention thanks to the publication of Word Freak and release of Word Wars."

    I like Scrabble so much, I keep running down the battery on my PDA playing the scrabble-like game on it. It gave me the low battery warning this morning so I had to read during lunch.

    I'll give these a look though, particularly Word Wars as even AVP wasn't as exciting as most alternative film is. Truth has a habit of being far more interesting than fiction, what with the boring repetitiveness of formula cinema.

    To Scrabble beginners, here's some advice: Make the best of the least letters. High scores can be achieved with 2 and 3 letter words and leave fewer openings for opponents. Study the Scrabble dictionary between games. RE, LA, NU are words ;-)

    When I heard that the end of wooden tiles was coming, I dashed down to the local game shop and scored one of those sets. I can't imagine playing this with plastic bits, not after my dad taught me the game ages ago. Call me tradition bound.

    Dork certainly is a fitting description of someone who turns to a computer to help them with words. It's a game of pitting intellect vs intellect, not intellect vs 'Fred'*.

    * Fred is a cycling term for wannabe, but with a strongly negative connotation

    • Unless the UNIX computer was his brain, the article makes no mention of his use an anagram finder...
      • by vslashg (209560) *
        Unless the UNIX computer was his brain, the article makes no mention of his use an anagram finder...

        From the article:
        So, in the weeks leading up to the competition, I crammed. Nightly, you could find me awake at 2 a.m. typing strings of letters into a Unix-based program that would quiz me on their anagrams. I took these quizzes until the wee hours of the morning, while my girlfriend slept soundly next to me.
    • by urlgrey (798089) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:37PM (#9996463) Homepage
      I for one am quite glad to see the geeky, simpler games getting a bit of attention. Growing up I played this game with my parents at our kitchen table.

      I'm sure Scrabble ended up being a significant confidence booster for me, particularly when I started winning a few games.

      Whatever the case, it was a cool feeling for a kid to be able to get a feeling of being "just as smart" as his parents. (Hey, they may have thrown the game in my favor, but who's to say? I don't suspect they did, but nevertheless, it was a cool feeling.)

      Oh yeah, and three cheers for wooden tiles! :-D

      ----
    • In response to RE and LA being words, that's because they're on the music scale or something like that. DO, RE, ME, FA, SO, LA, and TI are all also words. And if you use or someone else uses them, you can pretty easily add onto them(E.G. RE one turn, then add QUIRE onto it, and that's two turns) and then you can rack up some big points.

      /Me is a closet Scrabble nerd
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @07:42PM (#9996804) Journal
      You say I can't imagine playing this with plastic...

      ...But you can play it on a PDA? Sheesh.

  • I am glad that the someone referred to the scrabble competition as the "geek-fest", instead of G3, an Apple conference, Comdex, or Defcon. Using the Unix program to come up with words is for the weak (anyone know where i can get it?).. With the Olympics being the only thing on TV, they should make it an Olympic event.
    • by ackthpt (218170) *
      I am glad that the someone referred to the scrabble competition as the "geek-fest"

      I was taught some kid version of checkers, back in the day, and went on a family vacation to the Keewenau Peninsula (Eagle River, MI) where this whitehaired old hotel owner (The Swank Hotel -- his last name was Swank) was the county checkers champion. He schooled me and gave me no breaks. Never underestimate old men with board games, like checkers, chess, dominos or Scrabble, especially where they have months to pass (bet

  • by Crzysdrs (801722) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:27PM (#9996388)
    Unix Program to play scrabble? That seems like overkill. Plus it would really make the game pointless for other players.

    L
    B O R I N G
    S
    P A T H E T I C
    R
    S A D N E S S
    • There used to be a software version of Scrabble which allowed you to play against other players by E-mail.

      Scrabble assistant programs are somewhat useful. You enter the letters that you have and it provides a list of possible words that use all or nearly all of the letters. Good for reminding those obscure words, but you're probably better off browsing through the dictionary, reading books or solving the daily crossword.
      • There used to be a software version of Scrabble which allowed you to play against other players by E-mail.
        There still is:

        http://www.thepixiepit.co.uk/scrabble/index.htm
        Scrabble assistant programs are somewhat useful.
        You mean like

        http://www.a2zwordfinder.com/main.html

        ?

        |>oug
  • Spelling Bee (Score:3, Interesting)

    by savagedome (742194) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:27PM (#9996393)
    While we are talking about word fest and such, don't forget the National Spelling Bee [spellingbee.com]

    ESPN telecasts and I always watch it :D
    Its pretty entertaining actually in a nerdy kind of way. (Isn't that the reason we are all on slashdot!)

    And Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy on ESPN) wrote an interesting diary [go.com] too.
    • Re:Spelling Bee (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you have enough interest to sit through a spelling bee, you should check out the movie Spellbound. It's a documentary that follows some kids all the way to the national spelling bee. I rented it because I thought it was going to be a Christopher Guest style mock-umentary, but found it pretty interesting. Some of the kids were pretty bizarre.
    • don't forget the National Spelling Bee

      And its wonderful dictionary, with words like ninnyish [reference.com]. I lost in my 6th grade school finals on that, and I'm still pissed about it. They could have at least picked words that exist [reference.com]!

  • by GeorgieBoy (6120) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:29PM (#9996409) Homepage
    You know you've reached the top when Slashdot calls your "sporting" event a "dork-fest". There is no higher complement.
  • by inio (26835) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:30PM (#9996415) Homepage
    competitive Scrabble is getting newfound attention thanks to the publication of Word Freak and release of Word Wars.

    ... And the CSI episode Bad Words [tvtome.com]

    • Actually, I think it was the episode of MTV Cribs [mtv.com] with the newest 15 minute alt-rock band Maroon 5 stated how they have all thier "cool" friends over for a game of scrabble (that was all set up on thier dining room table).
  • Girls!!!??? (Score:2, Funny)

    by DigiShaman (671371)
    Will there be girls and nookie? Ohhh please please please...PLLLEEEASE.

    Ok, I'm a techno geek at heart. But this, THIS is just sad. Hell, if you are looking for a place to sacrifice virgins, you couldn't find a better place.

    • by IGTeRR0r (805236)
      I disagree. I've sacrificed three virgins because they saw me reading Slashdot. Of course, I don't think that's what you mean, but...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Take a look at the article. Estimate the gender proportion.

      Women tend to like word games more than men do. Scrabble competitions are mainly composed of housewives reinvigorated after a life of raising kids by this game.

      It's what bridge used to be.

      The problem is that these are saggy, married girls. *sigh*

      • Women tend to like word games more than men do. Scrabble competitions are mainly composed of housewives reinvigorated after a life of raising kids by this game.
        Actually, according to the documentary Word Wars, competitive Scrabble players are 90% male. The speaker claimed it was because Scrabble is in fact an analytical "math/puzzle"-like game, rather than a creative "writing"-like game, and better suited to the competitive nature of men.
    • by writertype (541679) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:59PM (#9996593)
      Since you're a geek at heart, your logic skills must be above par. Let's try a little thought exercise.

      Do you remember college? The arts classes you detested? Those classes enrolled humanities majors -- people who studied history, philosophy, theater, English literature -- you know, the people who used language and social skills to learn. Remember all the hotties in there? How eager they were to discuss Kant, feminism, and the impact of the Impressionist movement on French Romantic literature? Remember how insecure those girls made you feel?

      Here's a hint: those girls knew how to play Scrabble. And read Lord Chatterley's Lover. Think of it as CounterStrike for people who can carry on a conversation.

      (Oh, and Lord Chatterley's Lover is kind of like this weird encrypted ASCII porn. It, like, uses your imagination to generate images! And girls dig it!)

      • I remember college. I read Lady Chatterly's Lover there. How was the Lord's book?
      • You let some liturature dork chat them up, and then when she's had a few, and the dork has lost his nerve, You swoop in and score.
        Thats why I show up to parties late.

        See, using ones brain to get Real sex.
        I'm sure the book was as good though...[yeah right]
      • Oh, and Lord Chatterley's Lover is kind of like this weird encrypted ASCII porn.

        Is that a sequal or a prequal to "Lord of the Rings"?. Must be an old book from the time when gay ment happy.

      • I am fairly certain that was 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', if you were thinking of the scandalous-in-1928 D.H. Lawrence novel. Apparently there was a male version (Lord vice Lady) but that was published the wacky 1970s - NFI.
  • Play now! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:30PM (#9996418)
    The fellow @ www.themaninblue.com has an excellent javascript/dhtml version available online.

    see here [themaninblue.com]

    I just stumbled upon it the other day, looking for ways to practice to beat my mother-in-law ;)
  • by cr0sh (43134) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:32PM (#9996431) Homepage
    While not the biggest, a great "power word" is "fajita" - placed right (and make sure it is in your "agreed upon" dictionary) - this sucker can get you big points in one wallop.

    There are much better words out there, though - /.'ers, what are your suggestions?

    • by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:46PM (#9996523) Homepage
      ...make sure it is in your "agreed upon" dictionary...

      Words from any language are acceptable. Depending on who in my family is playing any given game can involve up to ten languages (more if you count things like Ye Olde English and Latin).
      Gets kind of interesting at times! :)
      • [sound of Scrabble tiles]

        What? Flocci's not a word!

        Yeah it is.

        Is not! Prove it!

        It's the plural of floccus of course.

        "Floccus of course", schmoccus a horse, I gotcher "floccus of course" right here!

        Why yes, yes you do, right on the top of your pointy little head...

        [sound of keys clicking]

        Doh!
      • I've played Boggle where you were allowed words from any language except English. But official Scrabble rules say that your word must be in a certain dictionary - I think it's Chamber's.

    • does fanjita count ?

    • I once got a 50-point bonus for using all my tiles, plus triple-word score and at least one double letter for "cousinly". You know, like motherly. Of course I was challenged, but I was fortunate that the dictionary we used had it explicitly listed under cousin. So I got about 90 points on just that one play. Of course I won that game.
    • You Roc (Score:2, Funny)

      by ackthpt (218170) *
      "power word" is "fajita"

      Liked ROC, myself, until an architect friend pulled ADZ on me .. the bastard!


      • DZO too I think. Great for expanding on ZO.
        Also, I think BRR and HMM are valid in the Commonwealth comps. I know all the 2-letter words pretty well (CH, ST, HM, QI, etc), and a fair few from the 3-letter lists.

    • Antidisestablishmentarianism?
      • Antidisestablishmentarianism?

        Nope. Scores zero, because the Scrabble board is only fifteen letters wide. That wouldn't even fit on one of the new Super Scrabble boards. The highest scoring word in the tournament lexicon is OXYPHENBUTAZONE, which could score 1778 points under a rather unlikely set of circumstances.
    • 'Ouija' is great for either bringing some vowels into play to get the game moving, or to tick off people hunting for vowels by sticking them somewhere inaccessible.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @07:24PM (#9996717)
      C
      O
      W
      ANONYMOUS
      R
      D
    • also jonquil . . . yowza!!
    • I was once one letter away from a triple-triple (or "nine-timer" in British parlance) JONQUILS through the O, but I had an A instead of the I. That would have been worth 356 points.

      The highest triple-triple I've actually played was REDWOoDS through the first D (the second O was a blank) for 194.

      Another high play came with its own poem:

      The first blank is an N
      The second a U
      The word is UnQuOTED
      For one twenty-two

      (It was a double word score with the Q on the triple letter score.)
    • My best play (and I really, truly, got to play this), was CONQUERS for (IIRC) 311 points. The C and S were on triple-word-score tiles and the Q on a double-letter-score tile. Score 29 for letters (with Q counting double at 20), multiply by nine (for two triple-words), and add 50 for the bingo. (I think I had a blank, so maybe knock off 9 points.) I've never come close since. It was a *very* lucky play, since it relied on my opponent laying the E at the right time and place. She's never forgiven me for
  • Wheres the slashdot team? :o

    We need a team of the greatest geeks ever to win it in our name.... but then they might stop reposting the same articles with thousands of speeling mistaks and we'd lose our respect for them
  • Best Online Scrabble (Score:5, Informative)

    by john.mull (790526) <john...mull@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:37PM (#9996461) Journal
    The best online scrabble can be found at Internet Scrabble Club [www.isc.ro]. Usually several hundred or more players online at any given time from around the world. Multiple dictionaries from several languages and even a UK British dictionary. Very fun, playable from Linux and MacOSX via a Java applet (in the browser?), elsewise a quick download of a java applet for Windows. Many very highly rated national and international players are playing right now.

    From the website:

    The ISC is the best place on the Internet to play Scrabble in a relaxed friendly environment. You can compete at your own level in English, French, Romanian, Italian, or Dutch while meeting new people and making friends from around the world.

    Right now there are 2138 players logged into the ISC and 792 games in progress.

    • Scribble (http://snoot.org/toys/scribble) is entertaining as well; I play it often. It's a cooperative Scrabble-type game where players take turns playing (you can't play twice in a row from the same IP) to acheive the highest score. You get ten tiles per rack instead of seven so there is a great potential for very high scoring words.
    • ...which means that statistically, about 400 people are at this precise moment accusing their opponents of cheating for playing SATINE bingos.
  • by MagicDude (727944) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:39PM (#9996476)
    Duke- "Quyzbuk"

    Marty-"That's not a word"

    Duke - "(dials phone) Get Webster on the phone. Noah, how ya doing? It's Duke. How much would it cost to make Quyzbuk a word? (pause) I don't what means, uh, how about a big problem? Great! How about that other word I invented, Dukelicious? No ones using it? What a Duketastrophe."
    • LISTER: (Pointing to letters in his rack) That letter, that letter, and that letter. (Pointing to the middle of the board) There.

      We see that he is having the first go and we see his rack which has the letters D-A-T-E left on it.

      CAT: Hey! I've got you now! (Holding out his letters up for LISTER to see.) Jozxyqk.
      LISTER: That's not a word.
      CAT: It's a cat word.

      LISTER attempts to pronounces the cat "word."

      CAT: That's not how you pronounce it!
      LISTER: What's it mean?
      CAT: It's the sound you

      • "KWIJYBO... a big, fat, dumb ape with only 3 hairs on his head"
        • If yer gonna quote the Simpsons, at least get it right:

          Bart: Kwyjibo. Uh... a big, dumb, balding North American ape. With no chin.
          Marge: And a short temper.
          Homer: I'll show you a big, dumb, balding ape!
          Bart: Uh oh. Kwyjibo on the loose!
  • sporting event (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's always great to see the word sport devalued even more to where it is essentially a synonym with 'game.' Hemingway said "Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." While he was an overrated fuck and there are probably a few things to add - nothing involving an otherwise inanimate ball - it is kind of sad that anything and everything is now called a sport. I guess we need to invent a new word to mean what sport used to mean.
  • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:45PM (#9996518) Homepage Journal
    Scrabble isn't a sport, but ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) had coverage of a Scrabble tournament once. They can make anything interesting. There seemed to be so much drama... the guy had his letters (which we could see), and there were only so many words he could make with them. It was really exciting.

    It's the same reason that ESPN's hit such a nerve with World Series of Poker. What normally isn't that great to watch can be made a lot more fun when you're 1) in the know and 2) have overly excited and knowledgeable commentators guiding you through it.

    I can only imagine what else they'd try to cover.
    • They can make anything interesting.

      My favorite is how ESPN2 manages to cover the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona with a constant stream of statistics. ("Age: 3 years, Home: Malaga, Weight: 1843 lbs" or, at the end, "Time: 6:02, Trampled: 22, Gored: 6")

      I still can't believe people watch 30 hours of poker, though, let alone watch it over and over for a year. And the worst part is that it's displaced the World's Strongest Man contest...

    • I can only imagine what else they'd try to cover.

      I regretted a lot not being able to watch it, but apparently they also did great broadcasting the Kasparov/X3D Fritz chess match late last year:

      http://www.x3dchess.com/ [x3dchess.com]

    • by poslfit (470396)
      That was the 2003 Scrabble All*Stars. The event Dan is writing about, the 2004 National Championship, will be shown on ESPN in October. At least as long as I can stop reading this thread and return to helping work on the postproduction. Speaking of which, this time around, we have the ESPN crew who did the World Series of Poker working with us, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing the final product.

      By the way, if you want to see how Dan did at the NSC, or play through dozens of top-level games, check
  • by ejaw5 (570071) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:48PM (#9996539)
    Bart: Here we go. Kwyjibo. [places his tiles] K-W-Y-J-I-B-O.
    Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points
    for using all my letters. Game's over. I'm outta here. [gets up]
    Homer: [grabs Bart with his left hand, holding a banana in his right]
    Wait a minute, you little cheater!
    You're not going anywhere until you tell me what a kwyjibo is.
    Bart: Kwyjibo. Uh... a big, dumb, balding North American ape. With no chin.
    Marge: And a short temper.
    Homer: I'll show you a big, dumb, balding ape! [leaps for Bart]
    Bart: [making his escape] Uh oh. Kwyjibo on the loose!
  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:49PM (#9996544) Homepage Journal
    • Williams spoke with Wright and his opponent, David Gibson, then called an emergency meeting of the Scrabble Advisory Board

      The Scrabble Advisory Board?!? Man, and I thought that *I* never got laid :)
    • It's too bad, because making something interesting could be enhanced with a little realism.

      ESPN Commentator: "A couple of our viewers have called in to say that men's gymnastics is a pussy sport.

      "We're here with Joe who is going to attempt to do a hand stand on the still rings."

      (Joe scowls, slapping white dust onto his palms, getting ready to show the world that this gymnastics ain't nuthin....)

      "Joe is preparing to jump up and grab the rings. He's swinging.....higher.....higher......he's making his

  • Quoth the article:
    I responded with GEY for 33 to go ahead 371-353. I have no idea what GEY means, in case you are wondering.
  • ever tried playing scrabble of *only* technical words? Very interesting.

    SLASHDOT = 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 12points

    Now thats one of the lowest scoring words...

  • by egad_man (532232) <joe@3.14159jamesgang.ws minus pi> on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @06:52PM (#9996560) Homepage
    Right after the dodgeball championship on ESPN 8
  • Difficulty (Score:2, Funny)

    by zackeller (653801)
    Wouldn't a computerized Scrabble player have the potential to become unbeatable pretty easily?

    Should we welcome our new, dictionary-using Unix overlords?
  • Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @07:04PM (#9996618)
    Why is anything that involves knowledge or thinking beyond "which reality show is on tonight?" described by name-calling?
    • Why is anything that involves knowledge or thinking beyond "which reality show is on tonight?" described by name-calling?

      I thought so at first, but consider the source of the insult. This is Slashdot, you have to toe the line and like what everyone else likes. Obviously many of the rubes who haunt this place aren't very well rounded people. They think spelling is unimportant. They love anime, Star Trek, LOTR, and acronyms.

      Or perhaps this story is just following a trend I have noticed. Slight jabs w

  • Obsolete phrase (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @07:06PM (#9996630)
    While hardly mainstream, competitive Scrabble is getting newfound attention

    "Mainstream" was rendered obsolete when search engines were invented. There is no such thing as "mainstream" or "mass market" any more. Detergent is a mass market. Everything else is non-mainstream.
    • My dictionary says that "mainstream" is simply "a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence." Windows Update, for better and worse, is mainstream. Worshiping UFO-bearing comets hoping to be taken to another galaxy is not mainstream. I'm not convinced that Google changes this. It is possible to create a scope for what is mainstream, as in "UFS is a mainstream filesystem among UNIX systems," but increasingly the general public really wouldn't care, meaning that it is possible to make the sc
  • I guess I missed the part in the article about the anagram-drilling Unix program.

    On that same not, how are computers at playing Scrabble anyway? I would think that they'd be pretty good at it, since they could just generate a list of potential anagrams, check them in a dictionary, and then use a maximize function which would search a couple moves deep for the best scoring path.
    • A Scrabble program isn't as trivial as you might think, though. Simply going for the move which gets you the highest score from any given rack isn't the optimal strategy. Especially when all your options are low-scoring, holding back certain letters or getting rid of troublesome ones, at the expense of a few points this round, can pay big dividends next turn.

      On the other hand, a program has the advantage of being able to remember which tiles have been played and which are in the bag without having to wor
      • do a full tree AI, incorporating all knowlege the computer has about the game state predict the flow of the game out untill there is insufficient data to have a reasonable guess, then choose the path which has the greatesd difference in points betweeen computer and opponent.
  • I play Literati on Yahoo Games [yahoo.com]

    a pretty good scrabble clone. At any given time there can be more than 10,000 people playing. Although sometimes it will not allow you to use words that dictionary.com (the site it uses to check) will find.
  • by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @07:24PM (#9996721) Journal
    I was in CS 1 class last semester, and this was the second program we did. We took a list of words (usually /usr/share/dict) and a set of tiles, and printed out words that matched, as well as their score. Really trivial stuff - any freshman CS undergrad could do it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:02PM (#9996897)
      It's not trivial... The tricky part is in the fast generation of valid scrabble words. This is made relatively quick by use of a TRIE or DAWG (Directed Acyclic Word Graph). Basically a DAWG is an efficient data structure where each letter of the alphabet is linked down to each subsequent letter that forms, or is on the way to forming, a valid scrabble word. Nodes where words are formed are marked as such. (Diff between a TRIE and a DAWG is that a DAWG is optimised so that all common endings (ING, ED etc) are stored once and pointed too, rather than a TRIE where it is not optimised.

      This means that the lookup for any combination of characters on the board / in the rack is blazingly fast. Want to check the string 'getgstsd' for validity? Well, g passes, ge passes, get passes, getg... Bzzzzt. Wrong, no valid words down this path! Next please.

      This is MUCH faster than a traditional binary search, and when you are checking typically thousands of existences per valid board location per move, it's worth it.

      All this ignores the nasty recursive algorithms to identify valid placement options, considering that placing a word may create invalid words along the opposite axis - so any extra words created need to be checked for validity too.

      I ended up writing a program to play scrabble and it used a feedback mechanism on several criteria (number of tiles used, place in game, ahead or behind status, number of premium squares used, number of premuim squares opened up etc) to weight future decisions. I'm a very good player and this program very quickly destroyed me. It was fascinating though to watch it play itself.

      Back in the day it was running on a 486dx2/66 and took about 2 seconds per move so it was possible to watch the games develop.

      I still have the code somewhere (in PASCAL!)... I really should break it back out and get it to compile on something new.

      Cheers - N
      • There's a very clever method of optimising the repeated valid placement calculations, due to Jacobson and Appel [gtoal.com], where each square is tagged with the set of valid crossing letters that can be played on it. For example, if your board looked like:

        1.2.3
        A.N.D
        L.O.O
        E.W.E

        where 1 2 and 3 were empty squares, 1 would be tagged with {bdeghkmprstvwy}, 2 with {aeks} and 3 with {}, so that a word played horizontally would be constrained to have only those letters in the tagged squares. (SOWPODS lexicon)

        Combined with t
    • Ah, but was it any good?

      Brian Sheppard wrote the Scrabble-playing program Maven. Maven consistently beats human Scrabble world champions. And the fun part is: the program is based mainly on statistical values for letter occurrences. This means that the English Maven can be converted into a foreign-language Maven, simply by loading the dictionary and let the computer generate the statistics for the dictionary. At his Ph.D. defense [unimaas.nl], Sheppard demonstrated this by loading a Dutch dictionary into the program,

  • I proposed that way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AssFace (118098) <stenz77NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @07:33PM (#9996759) Homepage Journal
    My fiancee and I played Scrabble every night, sometimes multiple times a night. And yes, we were fully aware of the nerd factor there.

    When I proposed to her, it was via the ring in the tile bag.

    I later found out that some crappy movie with JLo also had a Scrabble proposal in it, but I haven't seen said movie.

    We play less Scrabble these days mainly due to less free time.
  • I personally vote for World's Biggest Dorkfest
  • UGH (Score:3, Funny)

    by cookiepus (154655) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:29PM (#9997009) Homepage
    I don't have a problem with the game of scrabble, and I can imagine playing it on a rainy afternoon if you're somewhere in the boonies, but what I DO have a problem with the scrabble culture!

    First of all, these people set up dates to play scrabble and then they meet up. In other words, they're commited to playing scrabble on, say, Sunday at 3pm, even though it's finally not a rainy weekend and the boyfriend wants to go to the beach and chill out, but no, she has to go play scrabble because she has a scrabble appointment.

    This is unhealthy. Like I said, nothing wrong with a game of scrabble on a rainy afternoon but when the weather is nice the last thing you should be doing is sitting on your ass with fucking letter tiles.

    Second, it destroys your brain. These people see a bunch of letter barf and see some random word in it. A normal person sees AHIVDLWVDIJBE and these sickos go wow I can spell "INTERCONTINETAL" with that. Quintuple letter score. You're not supposed to think like that. You're supposed to see AHIVDLWVDIJBE and say "you know what FUCK THIS I am going to the beach"

    Okay I guess I am a bit bitter because I am dating the international scrabble champ or whateverthefuck and it's cutting into my beach time.

  • by tiltowait (306189) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:29PM (#9997013) Homepage Journal
    The Scrabble tourney was in the news of the weird last week because someone legally played "LEZ" [bbc.co.uk] but had to take it back because the match was televised. At least he went on to win anyway.
  • Neat game, scrabble. I loved it, would like to try a unix version. However there was no mention of anything to do with computers, the link does not point to a unix anagram program either. The author had interesting coverage of a tournament (first scrabble one on Slashdot? if so it is worth it) though it does seem a bit self flattering.

    More info on how ordinary mortals can train themselves to perform at this level, in particular how does he memorize words like gey without knowing what they mean? (Does he h

    • so maybe we are talking about Anaquiz which seems to help you memorize the dictionary (is this why he doesn't know words' meanings but knows which are legal?)
      Most tournament-level Scrabble players know lots of words without knowing their meanings.
  • by Elivs (43960) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @10:28PM (#9997587)
    Eye all ways loose.

    Shirely eyem knot teh ownly /. rieder wif ah spelang probablem.

    Elivs

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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