Sunday, March 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

W-O-R-D-P-L-A-Y: Aggies spell out victory

Daniel Moglen, right, puts down a word as Mee Yang and Phillip Seitzer watch on Wednesday at Central Park. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | August 08, 2013 |

W-I-N-N-I-N-G: 11 points.

That sort of mundane word won’t win you a Scrabble tournament, so UC Davis graduate students Daniel Moglen and Phillip Seitzer must have really mined their vocabularies to finish first and second, respectively, in the fourth division of this year’s National Scrabble Competition.

Both Moglen and Seitzer are members of the Unofficial Scrabble Club of Davis.

Moglen, the winner, took home $1,500 in prize money as well as a plaque and some Scrabble art. Seitzer, the runner-up, collected a $700 prize.

The competition took place over five days, July 19-24 in Las Vegas. The Davis pair faced each other five times throughout the 31-game tournament, including three times on the final day. Seitzer came into the last day in first place, but Moglen pulled into the lead during the first of their three games.

“I was kind of disappointed,” said Seitzer, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering, “but it was OK. Daniel played really well and was a great competitor. I’m really glad he won.”

Moglen, a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics, described himself as “overjoyed” to have won the tournament.

“It felt really good to have won,” Moglen said. “It felt like a culmination.”

Both players noted the exhausting nature of the tournament, in which contestants played seven to eight hours of Scrabble each day over the course of almost a week.

“I was really glad to be done,” Seitzer said. “I was physically and mentally tired and ready to go home.”

For both graduate students, it was their first time participating in the National Scrabble Competition, although both had experience playing in other Scrabble tournaments. Having a close destination such as Las Vegas was an attraction, along with the fact that members of the Unofficial Davis Scrabble Club would go as a group.

“Really, what made me want to go is the fact that there was a group of us going,” Moglen said. Five members of the Davis Scrabble Club took part in the tournament, and three others came and watched.

An official Scrabble tournament is “nothing like movie-room Scrabble,” Moglen noted.

In official competitions, he said, every game is timed, and one thing a player must consider is how to use time wisely. Some plays might take a few minutes, he added,  but you lose points if you go over your time limit.

Moglen also said the tournament helped him realize how important the end of each game is.

“The decisions you make in the endgame can really decide the outcome of the game,” he explained.

Seitzer discussed various programs that Scrabble players use to prepare for official tournaments. Zyzzyva is a computer program that helps with anagramming, or the ability to find all the words that can be made from a group of letters.

Quackle is a computer program that helps with the visual and spatial aspect of Scrabble, including board positions and the importance of considering what tiles are left in the bag.

Moglen said he has been playing Scrabble since the age of 7, when his father and older brother introduced him to the game. Seitzer got involved in the hobby when he moved to Davis in 2009 and was introduced to the Unofficial Davis Scrabble Club.

“For me it’s not about the thrill of winning,” Moglen said, “it’s about sitting down and playing a really good game.”

Moglen also invited anyone in the Davis area who is interested in Scrabble to come check out the club, which meets on Wednesday evenings during the Picnic in the Park celebration in Davis’ Central Park. Players gather on the patio close to Third and B streets. Look for a dark green table or tables covered in Scrabble boards.

“It’s a really good group of people,” Moglen said, “and we all motivate ourselves to get better.”

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

     
    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
    Friends search for shooting victim’s lost pets

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

     
    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

     
    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

     
    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    .

    Sports

    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    UCD women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8