Endgame Puzzle – Can Player A stop Player B from winning ?

 

 

 

 

Player A rack FOXRIOT score 382 to play

Player B rack INST score 397.

 

It is Player A's turn. Can you see how Player B can win ? Can you stop it ?

Thoughts and analysis below.

 

 

 

 

On the first inspection, a 15 point gap holding an X should be a straightforward win for A. However B can play out on their next move in 3 places :

- Row 3 NITS or TINS making SAG (12 points)

- Row 5 NITS or TINS making AGS (10 points)

- Column L making LINTS (6 points).

 

Player A needs to score 15 points remove the deficit, another 6-12 points to outscore B’s play AND score enough to outscore the +/- of the remaining letters.

 

For example playing EX/EX in column 15 scores 34 points but leaves FORIOT (10 points) and doesn’t block B’s best play.

Thus the moves would go :

A :    EX/EX 382 + 34 = 416

B :    TINS/SAG   397 + 12 = 409 and out.

A :  416 – FORIOT (9) = 407.

B : 409 + FORIOT (9) = 418.

B wins  by 11.

 

A similar result occurs if player A plays FAX/HOAX row 9.

 

Player A can’t block the AG (B’s highest scoring places) without enhancing B’s scoring.

Example OXO/AGO scores 16, but B can play TINS/SAGO.

Similarly RIFT/TAG by A, leaves B with TINS/TAGS.

 

But there is one move by A which will guarantee a minimum of a draw, and an outside chance of a win!!!!!

 

That is to play FIXT/TAG scoring 32. (A’s Total score is now 414 with ROO to be subtracted if B plays out, i.e 411 final score)

B’s best play is to play TINS/TAGS  scoring 11 giving a total of 408 which with ROO to be added gives 411. A draw. 

 

But what if B got greedy ? 

The F of FIXT is two places below a triple word score, and SIFT scores a very reasonable 24. 

It doesn’t finish the game so B would have a total of 421 (with an N left, so a final total of 420 assuming A plays out).

The score is now 414 for A, and 421 for B. A’s ROO  will score well in column H making ROOT/ZO for 23 winning the game easily.

 

So in summary, if both players played to the best of their ability, the final score is a 411  draw !!!

 

Here  is a board towards the end of a game, and curiously many of the words have become all too familiar over the last few weeks.

 

The two blanks are O - making GLOVE, and S making ISOLATE.

 

Your rack is DEEITXY.  Your opponent has a J.

It is your turn to play, and you need to

- ascertain whether your opponent's J can play

- and, if it can, block the position

 

You then have to play your (remaining) tiles to accrue the highest score.

To do this you may decide to play off the tiles slowly.. or quickly.

Hint : Playing tiles slowly is likely to score you more points. For example playing YEH in the bottom left hand corner will score 27. But if you played EH for 5, then YEH for 27 you will score 32.

Can you score 80 or more points ? Is 100 points possible ? The words you lay needn't be in keeping with the theme of the puzzle.

.....

 

This puzzle was sent to East Berks Members late May 2020, with a week to find the highest outplay. 

There were lots of very good plays on our coronavirus inspired board with everybody scoring 100 or at least close to. Well done!

 

The trick was blocking the J (onto the A of QUARANTINE)... but with what ?. YA or EA both do the trick as does AIN.

So its a matter of optimising the remaining  6 tiles making sure either Y, E or I is left.

Lots of players went for moves using h15 EXED, and several players also played YEH (a15) , some forgetting to play EH first! 

The third best set of moves was from Mary - scoring 118. Well done Mary - here are her moves.

Move 1. AIN 5ka.   3 points

Move 2 EH  15ba.  5 points

Move 3 YEH. 15aa. 27 points

Move 4 EX 15fa.   18 points

Move 5 EXED 15fa 51 points

Move 6 TAX 13gd.  14 points

 

Mary was narrowly pipped by Wanda who utilised the Y and E in a different way to accrue 1 extra point (RAINBOWY and BEDE scored 33, to EH/YEH 32. Wanda's total was 119 ! 

AIN E11a 3

AX/EX N7d 18

AT/TAX M6a 14

EXED O6a 51

BEDE B8d 12

RAINBOWY F2d 21

 

 

But the winner is Richard who originally sent in the 118 score above, but then found a total of 126 by using the triple word score at O15,  and building up the word YEXED.

Here are his words 

1) Play the I at L5 to block the J and make AIN for 3.

2) Play the X at M15 making EX/EX for 18.

3) Play Y at K15 to make AY/YEX for 18.

4) Play T at M13 making IT/TEX for 24.

5) Play ED at N15a making YEXED for 48.

6) Play E at H15 making YE for 15.

 

Total 126

 

Well done Richard - a brilliant score which in a real game would involve a swing of 142 points (126 + 8 (J) , and your opponent would lose 8 points (J). Imagine being 140 points down and winning this game.

Here is his board :

 

 

 

As a general rule the more letters of RETAINS you have, the greater the chance of a bonus. 

 

Below are all the bonus words you can make if you have six of those letters, TRAINS, and one other letter.

 

 

There are a lot of words, so to make learning easier, perhaps break them down into groups of 10-15 words or by distinct letter groups (i.e TRAINS+A, B, C, D and E).

 

 

 

TRAINS + 

 

A - ANTIARS, ARTISAN, TSARINA

B - BRISANT

C - NARCIST

D - INDARTS

E - ANESTRI, ANTSIER, NASTIER, RATINES, RESIANT, RETAINS, RETINAS, RETSINA, STAINER, STARNIE, STEARIN

F - nothing

G - GASTRIN, GRATINS, RATINGS, STARING, TARINGS

H - TARNISH

I - nothing

J - nothing

K - KIRTANS, RANKIST

L - RATLINS

M - MARTINS

N - nothing

O - AROINTS, RATIONS

P - SPIRANT, SPRAINT

Q - QINTARS

R - nothing

S - INSTARS, SANTIRS, STRAINS

T - STRAINT, TRANSIT

U - NUTRIAS

V - nothing

W - nothing

X - nothing

Y - nothing

Z - nothing

 

38 words in total. 10 letters TRAINS doesn't combine with to make a bonus (F, I, J, N, R, V, W, X, Y, Z)

 

 

 

 

As a general rule the more letters of RETAINS you have, the greater the chance of a bonus. 

 

Below are all the bonus words you can make if you have six of those letters, TISANE, and one other letter.

 

 

 

There are a lot of words, so to make learning easier, perhaps break them down into groups of 10-15 words or by distinct letter groups (i.e TISANE+A, B, C, D and E).

 

 

TISANE + 

 

A - ENTASIA, TAENIAS

B - BANTIES, BASINET, BESAINT, BESTAIN

C - ACETINS, CANIEST, CINEAST

D - DESTAIN, DETAINS, INSTEAD, NIDATES, SAINTED, SATINED, STAINED

E - ETESIAN

F - FAINEST, FANSITE, NAIFEST

G - EASTING, EATINGS, GAINEST, GENISTA, INGATES, INGESTA, SEATING, TAGINES, TANGIES, TEASING, TSIGANE

H - SHEITAN, STHENIA

I - ISATINE

J - JANTIES, TAJINES

K - INTAKES, KENTIAS, TANKIES

L - EASTLIN, ELASTIN, ENTAILS, NAILSET, SALIENT, SALTINE, SLAINTE, STANIEL, TENAILS

M - ETAMINS, INMATES, MAINEST, MANTIES, TAMEINS, TAMINES

N - INANEST, NANITES, STANINE, TANNIES

O - ATONIES

P - PANTIES, PATINES, SAPIENT, SPINATE

Q - nothing

R - ANESTRI, ANTSIER, NASTIER, RATINES, RESIANT, RETAINS, RETINAS, RETSINA, STAINER, STARNIE, STEARIN

S - ENTASIS, NASTIES, SEITANS, SESTINA, TANSIES, TISANES

T - INSTATE, SATINET, TANTIES

U - AUNTIES. SINUATE

V - NAIVEST, NATIVES, VAINEST

W - AWNIEST, TAWNIES, WANIEST, WANTIES

X  - ANTISEX, SEXTAIN

Y - nothing

Z - ZANIEST, ZEATINS 

 

 

 

96 words in total. 2 letters TISANE doesn't combine with to make a bonus (Q, Y)

 

 

 

 

 

As a general rule the more letters of RETAINS you have, the greater the chance of a bonus. 

 

Below are all the bonus words you can make if you have six of those letters, SARNIE, and one other letter.

 

 

 

There are a lot of words, so to make learning easier, perhaps break them down into groups of 10-15 words or by distinct letter groups (i.e SARNIE+A, B, C, D and E).

 

SARNIE + 

 

A - nothing

B - nothing

C - ARCSINE, ARSENIC, CARNIES, CERASIN

D - RANDIES, SANDIER, SARDINE

E - nothing

F - INFARES, SERAFIN

G - ANGRIES, EARINGS, ERASING, GAINERS, GRAINES, REAGINS, REGAINS, REGINAS, SEARING, SERINGA

H - ARSHINE, HERNIAS, NEARISH

I - SENARII

J - INJERAS

K - SNAKIER

L - ALINERS. NAILERS, RENAILS

M - MARINES, REMAINS, SEMINAR, SIRNAME

N - INSANER, INSNARE

O - ERASION

P - PANIERS, RAPINES

Q - nothing

R - SIERRAN, SNARIER

S - ARSINES, SARNIES

T - ANESTRI, ANTSIER, NASTIER, RATINES, RESIANT, RETAINS, RETINAS, RETSINA, STAINER, STARNIE, STEARIN

U - nothing

V - AVENIRS, RAVINES

W - nothing

X - nothing

Y - nothing

Z - nothing

 

 

 

54 words in total. 9 letters SARNIE doesn't combine with to make a bonus (A, B, E, Q, U, W, X, Y, Z)