Got to visit the Albany club while up here on vacation... it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes of driving on mostly small county roads, but I was able to make it for games 2 through 4, thanks to our GPS. I almost panicked when I got back into the van for the return trip, because the power outlet didn't work at first. I'm pretty sure that I would have been totally screwed, even if I had a map.
Anyway, I went 1-2, which was a bit frustrating; I felt like I was the better player in most of the matchups, at least as far as word knowledge, but I'm still trying to learn the strategies of opening and closing lanes. I drew both blanks in the winning game, though the second blank was late in the game and not really a factor. In the two games I lost, I didn't draw either blank but was in contention for most of the game. Both times, I could sense that my opponent had one (or two) of the blanks and was close to bingoing, but couldn't find a way to close the board. I think the last game may have been winnable if I played my endgame right, but it was close to 10 o'clock, and I thought I had mistracked. (In reality, I just didn't see the Y that wasn't crossed off- maybe because the tracking sheets were new to me.)
I plan on posting the second two games, so please feel free to check them out and leave a comment if you have any advice. I'm also going to count tiles to come up with a tile turnover/ blanks acquired stat. I was thinking after the game about how the common 'I got horrible tiles' complaint is similar to the 'They got both blanks' complaint; in both cases, of course, the error often lies with the complainer. The first is often due to bad rack management, and the second due to smaller tile turnover. So I figure if I play through, say, more than 60% of the tiles in a game and still don't draw a blank, then maybe I have a right to complain. Am I off base here?
And lastly, kudos to the Albany club for running a great club- they have score cards that are tallied as the night goes on, with wins, losses, and cumulative score recorded, which they use to determine matchings as the night goes on; as well as the overall winner for the evening. Maybe my home club is more relaxed in this respect, but I think it would be fun to do. They also keep track of a 'club rating', which I've seen in other clubs and wouldn't mind instilling in ours. There was a fun contest for best baseball-related word played (in honor of Steinbrenner). Hopefully I'll make it again next time I'm in town.