Scrabble began running tournaments in the early 70's. Kathy and I were in the trenches. Here are some observations.
  1. It's more than a game
    In the qualifying rounds of the first tournament in Brooklyn, some people left in tears. They thought they were unbeatable because they always won against their friends. Suddenly, they were in the big leagues and they were blown away😭😱
  2. Training for competition
    For six months prior to the tournament, I played hundreds of "lightening" games. Entire game would take five to ten minutes so when you got two minutes a turn in the actual tournament it felt like an eternity.
  3. The art of the bluff
    When playing an opponent who was unsure of the legal words, a good strategy was to put down a real, but weird, word like "axletree" . He would challenge it and lose a turn. After that you could play any bizarre non words and they would be too afraid to challenge. A cruel but effective strategy.
  4. The Masters
    Playing against the top players was like trying to defend against Michael Jordan. You could feel the power of their game. Many were chess masters and pro game players. It was pretty intimidating. They played a wide open, seven letter words (bingoes) strategy.
  5. Secret Potion
    I brought a foul tasting/smelling drink with me to the matches. It had Brewers yeast and some other nasty shit in it. It was supposed to help concentration and mental acuity. It may have been a good psychological weapon against certain opponents. I really don't know if it actually worked.
  6. The Prerequisites
    Unless you knew every two and three letter word and most others from eight letters on down, you may as well have not bothered to show up. The competition at those levels was fierce. In those days I had a lot of free time to prepare. I could never compete at that level again. My new goal is to stay one step ahead of @dev and @Grosstastic