Record for the Highest Scoring Scrabble Move

22 May 2008

Those of you who play our puzzles may already know of "asmit" as the name at the top of many of our leader boards. Asmit, real name Arian Smit, clearly knows a thing or two about Scrabble, and he's been investigating a question for us that many players have pondered: "What is the highest possible scoring Scrabble move?"

What follows is Arian's findings, and how in a single move you can score a whopping 2044 points!

In the "Atlantic Monthly" of June 1987 Barry Chamish wrote an article "Masters of the Tile". He mentioned that 'The Scrabble Players News in 1982 asked its readers to find the highest possible score for one turn using words that appear in the OSPD. All across America players worked on the problem' and came up with a high score of 613 points. Somehow no player had considered using the triple-triple-triple word score! One reader responded to Barry a few weeks later that with the word "sesquioxidizing", and a bit of luck, you could score around 1960 points. According to Wikipedia, Gyles Brandreth's 1984 book "The Scrabble Omnibus" reports this word already, and may have been the source of this reader's response.

Barry's article and its reader responses set me off to find a 2004 point play with "sesquioxidizing". This was some time ago, and with the availability of downloadable word lists, this job is now much easier.

Googling for high scrabble scores, you'll find many links to fun-with-words, which contains a 1962 point theoretical play credited to the New Zealand top Scrabble player Jeff Grant. It uses no fewer than 11 words neither in SOWPODS, nor the Oxford English Dictionary, nor at onelook.com. The main word "benzoxycamphor" used in this solution doesn't make sense as a chemical and may be "benzyloxycamphor" misspelled. The highest score they report using only words found in the massive SOWPODS word list is 1682 points. A far more serious attempt can be found here, which reports 1778 points for the word "oxyphenbutazone" using the smaller American Scrabble dictionary (TWL06) only.

Using only words from TWL06 and only possible though unlikely moves for the entire game, I found a 1780 points play with the rack ABEOPXZ to make oxyphenbutazone:

1780 points with TWL words only
1780 points with TWL words only

Just 2 points higher than the previous record, but hey. With the SOWPODS dictionary there are several ways to reach a somewhat disappointing 1785 points with the same rack, including:

1785 points with SOWPODS words only
1785 points with SOWPODS words only
and
1785 points with SOWPODS words only with the rack ABEOPYZ rack
Another 1785 points with SOWPODS words only

Sesquioxidizing is not in any official scrabble dictionary, but should be, even if only for its magically positioned q, x and z. The word lives on the web, it can be found in "The Archive of Endangered, Special, or Fun Words", with the text: 'the word is derived from the word "sesquioxide", and thus not found in the dictionary directly'.

Using sesquioxidizing and otherwise TWL06 words only, on a day that things go your way and with the rack DGIQSXZ one can get 2015 points:

2015 points with TWL and sesquioxidizing
2015 point move with TWL and sesquioxidizing

This time, the bigger SOWPODS dictionary makes a difference. Words like 'jabberwock(s)', 'talaq', 'leylandi(i)', 'highfaluting' and 'acidulent', none of which are in the TWL06, allow a 2044 points move with the rack DGQSZXI:

2044 points move
2044 point move using SOWPODS and sesquioxidizing
sesquioxidizing27x62 =1674
jabberwocks3x31 =93
talaq=24
leylandii=13
portmanteaux3x23 =69
overcompensated=25
fritz=27
highfaluting3x23 =69
7-letter bonus=50
____
Total2044

Quite possibly some of these above records can still be improved. There are unconfirmed reports that a 2069 point play was found in 1982 by Josepha Heifez Byrne using sesquioxidizing. Can anyone find better?

Comments

rexbickers at 18:09 on 9 December 2008

For nearly two years, I have been trying to get some acknowledgement for what I believe to be record play and game in the variant SuperScrabble, as offered on the website www.thepixiepit.co.uk (and also available for "real life" play, face to face).

An image of the game can be seen here:

http://www.geocities.com/rexbickers/FourSuperBingosMay27.jpg

As you will note...

... the highest scoring play was 6259 for ANTHROPOMORPHIZATIONS (43 X 144 = 6192 plus 50 for the bingo = 6242), OM (12), TO (2) and IT (3) The rack contained AROITIS and the board contained the words NTH, OP, MORPH, ZA and ON.

My "opponent" (Christine) had the second-highest scoring play: 6110 for COMPARTMENTALIZATIONS (42 x 144 = 6048 plus 50 for the bingo = 6098), UP (7), ET (3) and ET(2).

Higher scoring individual plays could be made for either of these words, but I assert that it is not possible to achieve a higher scoring combined game score.

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers
Floyds Knobs, Indiana (USA)

denhunt at 16:05 on 1 May 2009

wow !!

Ivann at 09:37 on 3 May 2009

My best result in Slovak version with regular game 15 x 15 is 4459 points. I hope, this is the best world result with 99 Scrabble stones:

No. Supply Pos.Words Points Cumul.
1. VYHŔŇAP 8E VYHŔŇA 56 56
2. PONEVŠÍ 8C POVYHŔŇA 32 88
3. NEVŠÍMI 8A NEPOVYHŔŇAVŠÍMI 468+50 518 606
4. OPRAVIL J1 OPRAVILA 16+50 66 672
5. NSRÁD?O 1I NO 2 674
6. SRÁD?OV 1I NOS 3 677
7. RÁD?OVK F1 RÁD(I)OVKY 25+50 75 752
8. EAMÄSŽR 1F RE 2 754
9. AMÄSŽRA 1E ARE 3 757
10. MÄSŽRAÉ 5C MÄSOŽRAVÉ 116+50 166 923
11. ZAJOIAĎ C1 ZAJOM 22 945
12. IMAĎARÓ N8 MI 3 948
13. MAĎARÓN N1 MAĎARÓNMI 94+50 144 1092
14. BEFBŤAI 1A BEZFAREBNOSŤAMI 1431+50 1481 2573
15. OSTEĽTE C8 POSTEĽTE 32+50 82 2655
16. LODA?OM G8 HLODA(N)OM 15+50 65 2720
17. KOČTÝSL 15E KOM 5 2725
18. ČTÝSLED F14 ČO,ČO 32 2757
19. TÝSLEDO 10F TO 4 2761
20. ÝSLEDOK K8 VÝSLEDOK 30+50 80 2841
21. NIPTGEJ 15I NIK 4 2845
22. PTGEJÔN 14J PO,PI 14 2859
23. TGEJÔNE 14J POT 4 2863
24. GEJÔNEX M13 GEJ, POTE 29 2892
25. ÔNEXUUÚ 10J ÔS 25 2917
26. NEXUUÚC 15A NEEXKOMUNIKUJÚC,TU 1492+50 1542 4459

You can see it on the official site of Slovak Scrabble Company http://hramescrabble.sk/ Then click to icon "Zo života"

Have a Nice day,

Ivan Nosál
Bratislava, Slovakia

PlasticGuitar at 14:38 on 25 May 2009

As far as I can tell, sesquioxidizing is not a word. Never.

Why?

Well, I assume the idea is contracted from oxidizing/oxidize. To oxidize something, you need it to combine (e.g.: Mg + O = MgO) with oxygen (1 definition) or get the element to lose valence electrons (another definition).

Now, a sesquioxide is a compound where there are 2 radicals (elements other than O) and 3 O's. e.g. Al2O3 is a sesquioxide.

Now as far as I know, you can only get a compound to react with something else, not combine. And then it won't be a sesquioxide - as it is strictly a compound with 2 radicals and 3 oxygen atoms.

And oxidize as in definition 2 can only relate to that - it cannot have any suffix or prefix, as in sesquioxidize (worded badly). You can't sesquioxidize something in the same way. You either oxidize it or leave it.

And if you can't sesquioxidize something, then you can't be sesquioxidizing. Simple (okay, maybe not, but if you know what I am talking about, it is).

If you happen to look up sesquioxidize/ing on Wikipedia, it defines it as creating a sesquioxide, that is wrong. That is called synthesizing a sesquioxide, as the term can only go under a strict molecule structure, and can not be altered from X2O3. whereas an oxide just needs and oxygen atom from a reaction.

So there you go. That is why lexicographers ignore sesquioxidizing.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong with anything.

PlasticGuitar at 11:30 on 28 May 2009

--Just expanding, in paragra2 I mean that I'm pretty sure you cant combine a compound with a compound. e.g. Comp. + Comp. = Comp. + Comp. (and more, if applicable)

Actually, I may be wrong. One of the products may be a sesquioxide? But yet again, it's formed through reaction, not combination (where I think an oxide can only be formed under combination (e.g.: Mg + O = MgO)and not reaction. Where I'm implying it's only possible to make a sesquioxide by reaction.

Who knows?

PlasticGuitar at 06:25 on 30 May 2009

-sorry, I meant "(where I think oxidization can only work through combination)"

Samet at 17:11 on 12 August 2009

"Requalified" is not a word in TWL.

Admindave at 17:27 on 12 August 2009

I think "Requalified" actually is in TWL. What is your source?

jumpinmf at 12:59 on 27 August 2009

Hey PlasticGuitar,

I'm impressed with your knowledge of Chemistry, but the mere fact that a thing isn't possible in reality doesn't mean the word representing it doesn't exist and can't be used to express a valid thought or give actual information.

What about your own sentence, "If you can't sesquioxidize something, then you can't be sesquioxidizing." ?

By your reasoning words like UNICORN shouldn't be in the lexicon either.

IMHO

Cheers!
jumpinmf

asmit at 23:33 on 2 September 2009

Unlike for many a word in Scrabble dictionaries, the Oxford English dictionary does have an entry for sesquioxide, which includes the sentence: "Hence sesquioxidation, conversion into a sesquioxide; sesquioxidic a.; sesquioxidized pa. pple., converted into a sesquioxide." Followed by some quotes from the 19th and 20th century. If "sesquioxidation" and "sesquioxidized" are considered English, "sesquioxidizing" should be too ;-)

With respect to Josepha Heifetz Byrne's 2069 point word play: this probably included many more words from her 1976 "Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words" (in which she also introduced sesquioxidizing) that you can't find in SOWPODS.

Arian Smit

PlasticGuitar at 16:44 on 4 October 2009

@asmit- Nice find. What I was trying to say in that half-novel above (I have a tendency to over-complicate things)is that I thought sesquioxidation was the same as oxidation, oxidizing, etc. but with 2 other elements involved. But now that I word it like that, and read your post, it becomes all clear, and sesquioxidizing does make sense.

Oxidation is actually loss of electrons in a reduction-oxidation reaction, but pretty much applies to creation of oxides.

Yes, it's all so clear now! But why isn't it in the lexicon yet? Neither in 'branes', which is short for membranes (relating to the String Theory, which is a bit too complex to go into here.)

Also, I found a 2037 point play using SESQUIOXIDIZING here (note: it's a .pdf file):

http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1771&context=wordways

...which just happens to be done by Josepha Heifetz. (I think it's the same one, at least). However, the words aren't valid according to a book I have called "Collins Scrabble Words - The Official Word List" (which - if anyone's curious - has over 250,000 words).

Also, asmit, knowing how much of a whiz you are at the puzzles, how many points do you think you could get, if you were given a rack of DGQSZXI in the puzzles? =P

--PlasticGuitar

P.S. REQUALIFIED is a word in the TWL06. Check it using the solver - set the dictionary to TWL, type QUALIFIED and put in a rack of RE and there you go.

PlasticGuitar at 07:36 on 5 October 2009

Wait, what? I come back to check the puzzles, and I see "DGQSZXI"? Oh man, that made my day.

--PlasticGuitar

asmit at 09:45 on 5 October 2009

@PlasticGuitar – Hey, I hadn’t seen this pdf yet. Nice digging and fun to read.

That must have been so much work, back in 1972, without the use of computers nor a unified list of words. Imagine the number of dictionaries leaved through and the number of scores hand-calculated. Though "W.E.R. Bone", as a group of Cambridge mathematicians, probably had access to some mainframe. Pity then that their benzoxycamphors was accepted and not Heifetz’s sesquioxidizing (despite Webster’s & OED’s knoledge of it). Apparently benzoxycamphor was in Webster’s Second (1934) (Ross Eckler mentions this himself in his "Word ways: the journal of recreational linguistics”, see http://books.google.com/books?id=m4ksAAAAMAAJ&q=benzoxycamphor&dq=benzoxycamphor&client=safari ). It also shows up in a Webster’s wordlist [http://0x80.org/wordlist/webster-dictionary.txt ]. This list (204125 2-15 letter words without plurals or conjugations) also has Bone's “squandermaniac”, which you can’t find anywhere ele. Jinnyrickshaw isn’t even in here though; it must be the only way you can't spell jinricksha.

Taking up Eckler’s 37-year old “impossible” challenge to improve Heifetz's score by 10 points using whatever you can find lying around seems even to me like a waste of time. Unwittingly, I stranded at a 7 points improvement using SOWPODS words only, but if any combination of word lists can be used, the sky is the limit.

--asmit

P.S. Now I understand why that familiar set of letters showed up in the puzzles. Without you-know-what-word, I'm stuck so far at a mere 729.

TenzingHillary at 02:44 on 7 December 2009

YOU WROTE:

"Using only words from TWL06 and only possible though unlikely moves for the entire game, I found a 1780 points play with the rack ABEOPXZ to make oxyphenbutazone."

If TWL06 is the dictionary also used on Facebook Scrabble (I think it is), your 1780 point word won't work. I know, because I tried it. REQUALIFIED is not a word in that dictionary.

Sorry. 1,778 is the limit.

jvriezen at 18:42 on 22 December 2009

Ok, I'm a bit confused on these puzzles... Is there a requirement when solving the puzzle that their be a valid path to the game state prior to playing the high scoring word? In many cases, previously existing words are longer than 7 letters and hence must have been formed by extending smaller words. It doesn't always seem obvious what the smaller words were that led to that board arrangement. Shouldn't the solution include how the board evolved to that state-- or at least the intermediate words that make up the longer words?

If there is no valid path to arrive at the state, that makes the 'solution' a lot less interesting in that it could never 'naturally' occur, even in the most contrived game play.

PlasticGuitar at 07:01 on 10 January 2010

Okay, I have completely revamped my idea on 'sesquioxidizing' (which, as far as I know, is now scientifically correct!). However, because it's too long to post here, here's my blog post:

http://angryrantingkid.blogspot.com/2010/01/blog-post.html

@ jvriezen: I'm pretty sure it's a requirement for the board to be replicable under normal conditions. Once I tried using the solitaire original Lexulous to replicate one of the SOWPODS oxyphenbutazone plays above. It worked!

asmit at 20:10 on 20 January 2010

re:TenzingHillary

I didn't have TWL06 in book form, but used a list supposedly representing TWL06 (its name is "TWL06.txt" and you can download it from multiple sites). Both Dave Wood and I checked all words in Scrabulizer and requalified is accepted in the TWL mode. Thus, unless my TWL06.txt doesn't represent the real thing and Scrabulizer doesn't use TWL06 the 1780 solution seems to be valid. Perhaps Facebook Scrabble uses TWL98. Requalified's absence in that dictionary would explain why the previously known high score was 1778.

Arian

jools2608 at 17:40 on 5 February 2010

yes well that all sounds pretty impressive, but i dont think we will be seeing very many words of that calibre springing up in too many games up and down the country.
to be fair to myself and the average scrabble player to get a 50-100 pointer is very good and can certainly win a game,
but its nice to see what can be achieved.
jools south yorkshire.

madivad at 12:22 on 27 April 2010

my brain hurts

TenzingHillary at 18:02 on 27 December 2010

asmit,

I'm not trying to take away anything from your 1780, which is very impressive. I'm just saying it wouldn't be accepted on Facebook. (If it were, I guarantee you you'd already have had a dozen copycats who'd have posted it on Facebook.)

If you want to try to beat the records on Facebook, you need to check obscure words in the Facebook dictionary itself. I suggest you check out the recent posts on a Facebook discussion page (link below), and then download the spreadsheet I posted a link to there. I have a feeling that, if anyone can beat my Facebook High Game score (3962, single player), you may be the person.

Good luck.

TenzingHillary at 18:08 on 27 December 2010

jvriezen,

Valid words do require that the player find some actually possible way to lay out the words, and that he not use more letters than he actually has available. In other words, as you insist, the word must actually be possible (however unlikely) in real life. Asmit's word here satisfies all those criteria. Whether it counts also depends on the dictionary one uses. In the TWL06 dictionary, it would work, but not in whatever version of TWL is used on Facebook, since that dictionary doesn't include "requalified." With other dictionaries, as noted here, even higher word scores are possible.

Though asmit's word would not be acceptable in Facebook, I must say that the way he got to it here is extremely impressive. I too got to a 1780-point word, also using "prequalified" but the way I got there was far less imaginative than what I see here from asmit. (Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that Facebook won't accept "requalified." The lesson there is that you need to check words on the Facebook dictionary to be sure, not just on a TWL word list.)

sourdough at 17:45 on 31 December 2010

What's the highest total combined Scrabble game score achievable from playing all 100 tiles? I'm becoming obsessed with the problem, but haven't even reached 3500 points yet.

The best strategy will probably be similar that for attaining the highest 7-letter score, but with two fifteen letter words played on 3X3X3 margins. A mid-board 15-letter word covering the other two triple word scores works well as a platform for building bingos to the margins.

My best so far? Marginal words SESQUICENTENARY and OXYPHENBUTAZONE produced a total score of 3426. Marginal words DEMYTHOLOGIZERS and PREFIGURATIVELY produced a 3291 score. I'm just a hacker. Is this a puzzle that others are working to solve already?

asmit at 21:35 on 12 January 2011

The Scrabble FAQ I linked to back in 2008 (http://home.teleport.com/~stevena/scrabble/faqtext.html#TWL04) now has an updated text reflecting records with dictionaries called "OWL2" (up to 8 letter words) and "OLWL" (longer words). It now reports theoretical high scores of 1782 for a single word and 3986 for a complete game. From the list of created words, it appears that the single play is similar to my 1780 and 1785 point solutions with TWL06 and SOWPODS, but that OWL2+OLWL differs from TWL06 at least in containing the word "zoogamete" and from SOWPODS in missing at least "ameliorative" and "(b)lithesomeness" (and/or "yeven"). All these dictionaries have "requalified", setting the Facebook dictionary apart again. My own TWL06 list so far has matched Scrabulizer's list perfectly, but apparently it doesn't exactly match the National Scrabble Association's "official list". Of course, if the differences are limited to 12 letter words or so, no real scrabble player will mind, but only people hunting for theoretical scores. Still, Dave may be interested to know that there are differences.

re:sourdough
The highest combined score reported on the Scrabble FAQ page (with OWL2+OLWL) is 3986 and is shown in full, with the familiar words "oxyphenbutazone", "microtechniques" and "overidentifying". In this case, all words used are in TWL06. There is a typo in the score table in that the word DE instead of WO is formed in the oxyphenbutazone play (the score is right), but the game otherwise seems to be correct and playable. Given this, 4000+ pts with SOWPODS should be doable.

re:TenzingHillary
Thanks for the compliments, but I'll try to restrain from trying to beat anyone's score on this. It would take a lot of time. Perhaps you can copy the 3986 pt game on Facebook to maintain your top position, though you should be fine where you are, having been the first on top of the world (solo!).

Arian

bweono at 09:39 on 13 January 2011

I found some new high scores for both SOWPODS and the TWL!

TWL:

1458 OXYPHENBUTAZONE
63 OPACIFYING
10 XIS
30 PREQUALIFIED
63 BRAINWASHING
15 AVOIDABLE
30 ZOOGAMETES
63 EJACULATING
50 *BONUS
______
1782

- - - - - -
SOWPODS:

1458 OXYPHENBUTAZONE
66 OECUMENICAL
13 YAFF
25 PREADJUSTEDty
63 BRAINWASHING
19 AQUIVER
31 ZINKIEST
66 EVAPORABILITIES
50 *BONUS
________
1791

It should be fairly straightforward to figure out how these words get laid out on the board - and I guarantee it is possible to make a playable setup with the remaining tiles. Maybe I'll post my board positions somewhere soon..

Ben Woo

kylecronan at 12:48 on 4 March 2011

Here's some news on the TWL record! There's a close variation on Ben's solution that scores 1783. I almost feel bad taking the record with such a small change.

However, more interesting is this: I have written a program to prove that 1783 is optimal for the TWL! There may be other solutions that score 1783-I didn't check them all-but unless I've made a mistake, there's nothing higher. If anyone wants my program just contact me (it could also be used to look at SOWPODS, for example).

Here is the board, and a construction that gets you there:

OPACIFYING
XIS
YE
PREQUALIFIED
H O
E BE
NO D DORK
BRAINWASHED
US V
T ULna
AMELIORATIVE
ZOOGAMETES
OWNER T
N R
EJACULATING

WASHED
DORK
BE
DOer
Ed
QUALIFIed
RAINwashed
NO
HEn
REqualified
YE
PIer
AS
paCIFYING
DiVULGE
uLNA
aRE
rAT
MElIOratIVE
tETRI
OWNeR
OOgAMeTeS
TiNG
JACULAting
oN
US
uT
OXyPhenButAZonE

Kyle Cronan

kylecronan at 12:52 on 4 March 2011

Alright, I guess it's stripping spaces, let's try that again:

OPACIFYING_____
XIS____________
YE_____________
PREQUALIFIED___
H__________O___
E_________BE___
NO_D_____DORK__
BRAINWASHED____
US_V___________
T__ULna________
AMELIORATIVE___
ZOOGAMETES_____
OWNER___T______
N_______R______
EJACULATING____

Opposing player is left with a T. :)

TenzingHillary at 16:35 on 30 November 2011

I notice the High Word record on Facebook Scrabble has been raised to 1780 by one Tyler Wagner. Presumably that reflects the addition of "REQUALIFIED" to the Facebook Scrabble dictionary, which had previously been absent (thus limiting the High Word record score to 1778, held by 19 people). I predict that you'll soon see numerous others scoring 1780, since the solution has long been available on the Internet (at this very page, for example), awaiting only the addition "REQUALIFIED" to the Facebook Scrabble dictionary.

The Facebook Single Player record score remains at 3962, which has been there for two years now. (NOTE: the high COMBINED SCORES game is 3986, but the winning score in that game was several hundred points lower than the Facebook Single Player record score).

TenzingHillary at 16:45 on 30 November 2011

In working on my 3962 point High Game score (single player, not combined scores), I previously hit what I thought was a "ceiling" at 3953, until Jon Prentice scored a 3958 (since increased to 3959). I found it hard to believe anything above 3953 was possible, but there was Jon's score. I then stumbled onto what I'm guessing was Jon's approach (though I really don't know how he got there), and tweaked it a bit to get 3962, which has been the record for two years now. I've tried to get it higher, with no luck. (About a year ago, I thought I had it, but learned that yet another word in the TWL dictionary is not in the Facebook dictionary -- it's always necessary to check first).

There certainly are some players here who might be able to top 3962, assuming it's possible. I tend to think it can't be topped, but I thought the same thing about 3953, so who knows?

Good luck, to anyone who cares to try.

-- Tenzing Hillary

TenzingHillary at 22:14 on 30 November 2011

Now that "REQUALIFIED" has worked its way into the Facebook Scrabble dictionary, I doubt that Tyler Wagner's 1780 "High Word" record will last very long.

I just tried both Ben Woo's 1782 game, which plays out, and asmit's 1783 game, which also plays out (though there's no need to play the second "B"). It's only a matter of (a short) time before Facebook players copy these "High Word" solutions and end up with a 1783 score.

Those of you who like such challenges should try for the "High Game" score on Facebook. I've never published the solution, though I've been tempted to, and I don't know where you can find much help on the Internet -- which is what distinguishes the High Game record from the High Word record. You could start with the combined-score high game record (3986), which can be found all over the Internet, but simply copying that game won't even get you into the top ten on Facebook.

To anyone who makes the effort, good luck. I can't imagine myself scoring more than 3962 (unless they add a few new words to the Facebook Scrabble dictionary, in which case I could imagine scoring a few more points). I'll be impressed if someone else can beat it.

TenzingHillary at 22:36 on 30 November 2011

I just realized I mistakenly gave asmit credit for coming up with the 1783 High Word score. I should have credited Kyle Cronan. My apology, Kyle, and congratulations.

TenzingHillary at 22:55 on 1 December 2011

I came up with a layout that permits Ben Woo's 1782-point game, and played it on Facebook Scrabble. I'm not sure what layout you had in mind, Ben, since you didn't show any here, but I will not that you have to come up with something that leaves you more than 7 tiles in the bag when you're done. (My layout left 9). For that reason, I don't think Kyle's 1783-point game is actually playable. I found a way to increase the number of tiles left in the bag, but only to 5 tiles, and that's not enough. Unless you have more than 7, you can't keep swapping tiles to get what you need for both players (unless you're extremely lucky), and so the game just ends with a whimper. If someone can figure a way around this problem, Kyle's 1783-point game looks like a winner to me: it plays out on paper, just not in real life so far for me.

TenzingHillary at 13:52 on 2 December 2011

Sourdough asked:

"What's the highest total combined Scrabble game score achievable from playing all 100 tiles? I'm becoming obsessed with the problem, but haven't even reached 3500 points yet."

It depends on what dictionary one uses. Using the Facebook dictionary, and playing an actually playable game, I believe the answer would be 3986 (combined), for which you can find the solution at many places on the Internet. (3986 is not shown as a record on Facebook because Facebook's "High Game" score counts only one player's score, not the combined scores. The 3986 falls hundreds of points short by that measure.)

Bear in mind that there will always be at least one tile left at the end in an actual game, so 99 is the largest number of tiles that could actually be played in a game. If, theoretically, you played that 100th letter, the 3986 game (as published on the Internet) could be boosted by 10 points, to 3996.

Even more important, bear in mind that it all depends on the dictionary being used. Facebook recently expanded its dictionary, notably adding "REQUALIFIED." This has made possible a higher "High Word" score than formerly appeared on Facebook. The record (mine, for now) is up to 1782 from 1778. I don't take much credit for that High Word, though, since I played the words suggested here by Ben Woo, who thus deserves most of the credit. The 1782 point word did, however, require one to find an actual layout (Ben didn't offer one, though he correctly pointed out such a layout was possible and indicated he might post one later), with all of the "connectors" between the words, and with at least 7 letters left over at the end. (If you end up with fewer than 7 letters in the bag, you can no longer "swap," which brings any high-scoring effort to a screeching halt.) The actual playing-out of Ben's solution (based on my lay-out, at least -- the only one I know of so far) also required some very careful sequencing, a problem understood only by those who've played this "high score" games.

Nonetheless, I don't doubt at all that Ben Woo could have found (and probably did find, as he claimed) a layout for a 1782 point word. That word became possible only because Facebook added "REQUALIFIED" to its dictionary. (Before then, 1778 had been the record, held by 19 people, not including me.)

The tougher task is to beat the "High Game Score" record on Facebook (also mine - 3962). There is no "model" for that on the Internet. The high "combined score" game (3986) is a good starting point, but it requires a very great deal of "reverse engineering" to get to a very high "single player" score (which was "only" 3690 in that game). If you are a serious "high score" player, you should be focusing on that one, since you would be justified in taking credit for topping 3962. I am pleased with that effort far more than my 1782 point word, for which I added just a little bit of thought to what was mostly Ben Woo's accomplishment.

By the way, the 1783 point word offered by Kyle Cronan above, while very imaginative, can't be played out on Facebook. You need at least 7 tiles left at the end, and I can't see any way to have that many left with Kyle's game. So, as far as I know, 1782 is the High Word using Facebook's dictionary. With other dictionaries, of course, much higher words are possible.

-- Tenzing Hillary

RyanM561 at 06:21 on 4 December 2011

Alright, I want to finally get in the conversation. I have the fourth highest place "High Game Score" on Facebook, which is really a tie for third with Andrew Strack, though he got it first. I assume we have similar boards and methods.

When I played, I noticed Scrabble didn't give me double points for the remaining tiles when the winning player bingos and uses the last 7 tiles in the game. That would make 3985, not 3986, really the upper limit under Scrabbles rules. Of course, wouldn't the "total score" really be just 3984? Since this is the total of the scores, wouldn't the winning player's bonus for the losing player's unused tiles be negated by the losing player's penalty for those same tiles?

I would love to somehow work together to come up with a higher scoring high game or single play, but I'm not sure how to do that since everyone seems to want to set the record as an individual.

RyanM561 at 10:29 on 4 December 2011

I just played Kyle Cronan's 1783 game out on Facebook. It wasn't that difficult...

TenzingHillary at 18:59 on 4 December 2011

Ryan,

I'm impressed to hear you were able to play out Kyle's 1783 game. A question: Were you able to come up with a layout which left 7 (or more) tiles in the bag when you played OXYPHENBUTAZONE? If so, I'm extremely impressed, since I've looked at it over and over and can't come up with more than 5 left in the bag. (Kyle's solution left only 1, but he was trying merely to present a "theoretical" game, not one that could actually be played on Facebook).

Alternatively, if you were able to play Kyle's game even though you had FEWER than 7 tiles in the bag when you played OXYPHENBUTAZONE, then obviously I'm incorrect to have concluded that you need to have at least 7.

I'm curious to know which one it was. Either alternative makes your 1783-point game very impressive.

As for why you didn't get double points at the end, Facebook uses North American rules, which add your opponent's tile scores and subtract those tile scores from the opponent's total. If Official Scrabble rules (same as European tournament rules, I understand) were instead used, you'd have received "double" your opponent's remaining tile scores, as you'd expected. As you point out, the 3986 game would be 3984 if it were played out on Facebook.

Incidentally, some time ago I concluded that the 3986 game could NOT be played out on Facebook, for the simple reason that one would end up with fewer than 7 tiles in the bag near the end, preventing swaps. Based on your success in playing out Kyle's 1783 point word, if you were able to accomplish that with fewer than 7 tiles left, it would seem to follow that I was incorrect to conclude that the 3986 (or 3984) game is impossible to play.

Be that as it may, the highest combined score I can achieve with my 3962 game is 3976 (or 3978, if it were scored under Official Scrabble/European tournament rules). I've not tried to maximize the combined score, since I've focused only on the "single player" score for Facebook purposes, but I'm not optimistic I could boost the combined score above the 3976 (3978) I've achieved so far.

As far as "working together" to come up with a higher scoring game, I'm actually all for that (though my youngest son tells me I shouldn't be). That 3962 point game has been sitting at the top for two years now, and whatever satisfaction I've gotten from it is being overcome by my desire to see whether it really can be broken. I've not yet decided whether just to "publish" it, but am leaning strongly that way despite my son's remonstrations. In the meantime, I'll give you a hint that may be enough for you.

First some background: I gave Andrew Strack a hint that enabled him to get from 3951 to 3953, which I gave him only because he'd essentially figured out how to do it anyway, and had missed only a few minor "tweaks" along the way that enable one to add 2 points; Andrew struck me as a smart guy who'd figure it out those tweaks sooner or later anyway, and probably "sooner" rather than "later." Unfortunately for Andrew (and me, since my high score was also 3953 at the time), the very day that Andrew's 3953 showed up, Jon Prentice's 3958 also showed up. Andrew and I instantly recognized that Jon must have made some fundamental additional change in the board, since we'd concluded (and still believe) that 3953 is tops under the approach Andrew and I had used.

I don't know what Jon's approach was, but obviously it sent me back to the drawing board. I came up with a modified approach that yielded 3960, and then I found a way to tweak that to 3962. I've tried to come up with ways to boost it higher, but with no luck.

So now the hint: I'm guessing your 3953 game included RAVIGOTE in the same place where it appears in the 3986 combined-score record game. My 3962 point game does not include RAVIGOTE, or any other word in that spot. Instead, it includes an 8-letter word coming down from the first "C" in MICROTECHNIQUES (played across the top row -- I play my games with the long words running horizontally rather than vertically, an arbitrary preference as I'm sure you know).

See whether that hint is enough for you to match or top 3962. I should warn you that I don't see any way to TOP 3962 using my approach, and so you might have to try something different if you don't want merely to top out at 3962.

For now, let me repeat my congratulations on topping my High Word score with your 1783. Either you came up with a much more "efficient" layout than Kyle offered, in which case I'm extremely impressed, or I'm just dead wrong to have concluded you need 7 tiles in the bag at the end. (A third possibility is that you just got extremely lucky with your swaps at the end, but the odds of that are very low).

Good luck, Ryan.

TenzingHillary at 19:13 on 4 December 2011

Ryan,

I just figured out how you played out Kyle's 1783 point game (or at least I think I have: the fact that I'd thought it was impossible naturally leaves me doubting my intelligence at the moment).

I'm not sure why it wasn't obvious to me earlier, but you deserve credit for figuring it out while I labored under the mistaken impression it was impossible.

TenzingHillary at 21:02 on 4 December 2011

Ryan,

Looks like I was dead wrong about needing to have 7 letters left at the end. Obviously the "dummy" will end up getting whatever he needs after it's too late to swap. The "winner," of course, has to have OXPBAZE by the time there are 7 letters left in the bag, but that's all that's necessary.

TenzingHillary at 21:04 on 4 December 2011

Now the interesting question for the "High Word" game will be whether Kyle is correct that 1783 is the top possible score. My hunch so far is that he's correct.

TenzingHillary at 21:19 on 4 December 2011

Ryan,

A clarification on the hint I gave you earlier: the 8-letter word coming down from the first "C" in MICROTECHNIQUES is 8 letters WITHOUT the C, 9 letters WITH the C.

RyanM561 at 08:18 on 5 December 2011

Okay, I'll work on it. You're right on the method, by the way. Just play until there are tiles left in the bag, then swap until both players have their next 7 ready to play. OXYPHENBUTAZONE was my last play of the game.

RyanM561 at 08:20 on 5 December 2011

*play until there are just enough tiles left in the bag...

TenzingHillary at 13:52 on 5 December 2011

Ryan,

There is one risk to keep in mind at the end, though, practically speaking, it's not a risk when you're playing out a game such as the one Kyle laid out for us. When swapping is no longer permitted, you have to be certain that the bag doesn't contain a tile that must be played BEFORE other tiles in the "opponent's" rack may be played. For example, suppose there are 5 tiles left in the bag, and that there are, say, 9 more letters that need to be played from the opponent's rack. If those 9 more letters are to be played in 3 different places on the board, there will be a very high likelihood that tiles in the opponent's rack will include one or more tiles that can be played in one or more spots, so that the opponent can then draw tiles from the bag until there are no more tiles left and, therefore, he will be able to play whatever letters remain to be played.

But suppose that the 9 letters to be played are all in one location of the board and that there is a "bottleneck" between an already-played area of the board and that to-be-played area, and that a letter needed to get through that bottleneck is still in the bag?

For an example, suppose that, before playing any other tiles, the opponent must play "BIKE," after which he can play his remaining letters by playing short words from the B and the I. Suppose the E in BIKE is already there on the board, but he needs the BIK. If the K is still in the bag with only 5 tiles left in the bag, the "opponent" will be unable to play (other than, of course, to play some other word which will put an end to the scripted game).

This need isn't obvious when there are several spots to play. For example, if he could play either BIKE in one location or IN or TAP in another location, chances are pretty high that he can play in one of those other two locations, and then draw tiles until the K shows up. The board at the end of Kyle's game was like that. But if a "bottleneck" situation arose, it would be necessary to be sure, before swapping became impossible, that the opponent's rack contains enough certainly-playable tiles that, once those tiles have been played, he will have drawn all of the remaining tiles in the bag.

I suspect this was already clear to you, but it may help others, and it at least clarifies my own thinking.

Good luck on the High Game effort. I think it's more interesting to figure it out. Though we deserve some credit for playing out a 1783 point word (especially you, since I'd mistakenly believed at first it wasn't possible), the real credit belongs to Kyle Cronan for figuring out the words and the layout.

If you top my High Game score, you'll deserve all the credit. I have a hunch that, if it's possible, you'll do it. I'm just not sure it's possible.

RyanM561 at 06:23 on 7 December 2011

TenzingHillary,

I've come up with a solution that scores 3954, which I just played (it takes a few days to show). That should move me into third place from my current fourth.

It looks like I'm going to have to claw for each of the remaining 8 points though - I'm more impressed with your 3962 score than ever.

TenzingHillary at 07:16 on 7 December 2011

Ryan,

3954 is quite interesting, because that puts you over the 3953 ceiling that I and Andrew Strack thought was tops until Jon Prentice's 3958 showed up (since boosted to 3959). What puzzles me, though, is how both you and Jon got above 3953 in a way that may be different from how I got there. If you did, then I may be wrong to conclude 3962 is the maximum. On the other hand, if you did get there the same way I did, you'd almost certainly get above 3954. That suggests you have a different method.

The bottom line seems to be that there is more than one way to get there, leaving me less sure than ever that 3962 is the maximum. Keep me posted if you get closer, and good luck.

RyanM561 at 04:23 on 9 December 2011

TenzingHillary,

I'm up to 3962. I actually see 4 different (though very similar) boards that would play out to that amount, but nothing more yet.

How long does it take you play a 3950+ game on facebook? The highest single score was like 2 hours, but highest total score takes me like 6 at least.

I'll keep you posted (though I assume you'll also just see on Facebook) if I can break 3962.

TenzingHillary at 13:32 on 9 December 2011

Congratulations, Ryan.

There indeed are four different boards that play out to 3962 (assuming you got there by figuring out the word I hinted at above), though the only difference lies in where you play one letter. If you've found something even more different than that, I must confess to having no idea what it is, and you deserve a great deal of credit for finding it.

If I can think a way of getting over 3962, I'll let you know and at least give you some guidance as to how I got there. I've been looking again lately, though, and once again am convinced it just can't be done. I'll be amazed, and extremely impressed, if you can do it.

By the way, now you're at 3962, don't you share my puzzlement at how Jon Prentice could have "broken through" the 3953 "ceiling" and yet not have reached all the way to 3962? That still puzzles me. Once one makes the necessary breakthrough, there's still considerably more tinkering required to squeeze out those last few points, but you can get at least within a couple of points without all that much difficulty.

It again makes me think that Jon took a different route from you and me. (And I can't even be sure, of course, that you followed the same route as I. Maybe there is more than one.)

In any case, congratulations, and good luck trying to top 3962.

TenzingHillary at 13:38 on 9 December 2011

Ryan,

I forgot to answer your question about how long it takes to play out one of these long games. I'm not sure I recall exactly, since it's been two years since I've actually played one out. As I recall, though, it took about 3 hours to play 3962. Playing the "high word" score was quicker - about 90 minutes, as I recall - though I'm not sure why that should be, since you end up (as you well know) playing out practically the whole game just to play that one big word.

This undertaking illustrates the wisdom of the old adage: "Measure twice, cut once." I can't even imagine playing out a game that one hasn't laid out ahead of time from start to finish (though I've had a little confusion about "end games" that has more than once brought me to a frustrating dead end, as some of my comments above should indicate).

RyanM561 at 21:16 on 10 December 2011

TenzingHillary,

The highest single word game goes so much faster because both players can play letters every turn (until the super-scoring play). This makes the game go twice as fast, as it's essentially like having a 14 tile rack instead of a 7 tile one for most of the game - there's much less letter swapping.

I've played my 3962 game now. It might be another day before it shows up. I'm still working on improving it, but that seems pretty tough. I've come up with some interesting variations, but they typically score 5-10 points less.

Are there any hints you would like to know about my 3962 board? I'm thinking of working on the highest combined score (that doesn't use SESQUIOXIDIZING) next. What's your value for that?

RyanM561 at 21:23 on 10 December 2011

Oh, also the highest single word game goes faster because you can play more letters at a time. In the highest total game, there are more turns where you play a single letter, then another single letter, etc., in order to score as many times as possible, while on the highest single play game, I play as many letters as I can at once. Also, on the highest single play game, you can save a little time by not even playing all 99 of the letters (this only saves a few turns, but still would make the game shorter).

TenzingHillary at 22:18 on 10 December 2011

Ryan,

I'm curious to know whether your 3962 game played the 9-letter word down from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES, as I'd mentioned. If so, then I'm not confident one can top 3962, as I've given that a great deal of thought already.

But if your layout does not include that 9-letter word, I'd be curious just to know that. That simple fact would be enough of a hint, since it would once again make me doubt my conclusion that 3962 is the highest possible Facebook game. As I mentioned earlier, Jon Prentice essentially gave me such a "hint" when his 3958 game (since boosted to 3959) made clear that I'd been mistaken to believe that 3953 was the maximum.

TenzingHillary at 22:24 on 10 December 2011

Ryan,

On the "Highest Combined Score" question, I think the 3986 record is the best I've seen. As I mentioned, that hasn't been my focus (having concentrated instead on the "Highest Game - Single Player" record on Facebook). Nonetheless, when I have looked at it, I've come up with nothing better than the 3986 that's already been played.

In my 3962 point game, the opponent's tiles can be played in one of two ways, yielding either 11 or 14 points. The latter way yields 3978 combined points, under the "European" scoring system used to score the 3986 combined-score record game (or 3976 points, under the alternate North American/Facebook scoring rules), still 8 points short.

TenzingHillary at 22:38 on 10 December 2011

Ryan,

You wrote:

"I'm still working on improving it, but that seems pretty tough. I've come up with some interesting variations, but they typically score 5-10 points less."

As you get higher and higher, that indeed is the problem: interesting variations, but finding one that increases the total score gets tougher and tougher. But that's what makes the challenge interesting.

TenzingHillary at 00:16 on 11 December 2011

Ryan,

By the way, now that you're on top too, you can share some of the abuse from a few odd ducks on Facebook who insist that achieving these high scores amounts to "cheating." Some of them get quite angry and even threaten bodily harm, though most people appear simply not to understand that these "high score" games are different from competitive games: no cheating at all is involved, just careful scripting after a very great deal of analysis.

Electronic Arts and Facebook really should establish a "dual track" for high scores -- one for competitive games, the other for non-competitive games. As will be obvious to anyone who's played a "scripted" game, it would be child's play to distinguish the categories simply by setting a maximum number of swaps and passes for competitive games. This would allow competitive-game high scores to get the recognition they deserve, without preventing the satisfaction that many of us get from the intellectual challenge of maximizing the possible score in theoretical (but playable) games.

And last, but not least, "dual track" records might settle down some of the strange birds on Facebook who get so upset that they threaten bodily harm. It's amazing and disappointing to me that anonymity on the Internet exposes such a violent nature in many people.

RyanM561 at 06:25 on 11 December 2011

Because word challenges aren't allowed, moves aren't time limited, there's an in-game dictionary, and there's no way to monitor use of a word generator, I just don't think the Facebook version of Scrabble is a good place to keep records for "competitive" play. Theoretically, I could play a friend, and we could be on the phone discussing what letters we each have, setting each other up for plays, etc., and there wouldn't even be any evidence of it through Facebook. I look to Facebook for cooperative records, and the Scrabble Association (whatever it's called) for sanctioned, monitored games non-"tool assisted" records.

In regards to my 3962 solutions, I did replace RAVIGOTE with a C word, which allowed me to go from 3953 to 3962. My solutions all sound like the one you're describing - I expect ours are essentially the same at this point, but I haven't given up yet.

Quick question, under North American rules, in a game where one player scored 3985 and used all his tiles and ended his final turn with a bingo, and the second player had the "A" tile remaining, would the second player's score be - zero, negative one, or negative two points? I just want to clear up what the "total" should be. Thanks.

RyanM561 at 08:30 on 11 December 2011

I meant to say "scored 3984...", in reference to the current "3986" game.

TenzingHillary at 23:43 on 11 December 2011

Under North American rules, assuming the second player has never played a word, I don't know whether his score would be zero or -1. It certainly wouldn't be -2. Under European rules, his score would be zero, and 1 point would be added to the first player's score.

RyanM561 at 04:41 on 13 December 2011

Kyle,

I'd love to look at the program. I've been doing my stuff by Excel spreadsheets. How can I contact you privately?

TenzingHillary at 04:15 on 14 December 2011

Ryan,

I've still not found a solution to top 3962, but I have found a much different layout that ties it. It does without quite a few words that most people use, such as ALAMEDAS, RAVIGOTE, JIBB, FLAMED, WAB, QATS, and all of the smaller words that make up those longer words. Since it's so much different, it's very bad luck that it just works out to a tie, and so I won't bother to play it out. I do wish, though, that I'd thought of this solution first, since it's so much different. I'll keep looking for a way to squeeze another point out of it, but I sure don't see one yet.

If you want to reach Kyle, I suggest a Google search. I don't know whether he still checks this website.

RyanM561 at 04:58 on 14 December 2011

TenzingHillary,

I've been working on the highest single scoring play, and I've proved the theoretical maximum (under TWL06) down to 1830 right now. It's very possible/likely that Kyle was right, and 1783 is the maximum under that dictionary. I'm going to keep working on that until I either prove him wrong or reach his conclusion as well.

In regards to your board - That's awesome! I feel completely confident the 3962/3986 score has not been maximized, especially under TWL06. I'm more of a fine-tuner/maximizer than I am an innovater though, so I'm always jealous of finds like yours. I'd love to see the board once you've reached your limit (and set the new record if applicable).

TenzingHillary at 16:38 on 14 December 2011

Ryan,

I'm disappointed that my new layout only ties the 3962 record, and so I'm all but certain I'll publish it or at least let you know, just because it's interesting to see how different it is. I'm going to keep trying for a little while, though, to see whether I can raise it (or find some other way).

I don't understand how you and Kyle prove maximum scores, but looking over my word lists led me to conclude he was probably right about 1783 being tops for a single play. I assume your 1830 is possible because Facebook doesn't use TWL06, correct?

RyanM561 at 20:03 on 14 December 2011

TenzingHillary,

Would you care to take this conversation private? If not, that's okay.

In regards to the highest scoring turn, I first checked the points awarded for all the 15 letter words in TWL06. OXYPHENBUTAZONE is the highest, and the next highest is 135 points less.

I then created a list of all the valid words that became other valid words when you added a letter to the front of them. Even if you got 7 copies of the highest of those, and somehow got full points for all of them, you wouldn't exceed 1783 by 135 points, meaning that you have to use OXYPHENBUTAZONE.

I then found the 7 highest scoring words you could make from each of the 15 letters in OXYPHENBUTAZONE. When I added the 1458 for Oxyphenbutazone, the 50 point bonus for using all the tiles, and the highest scoring 7 secondary words, I think the score was either 1831. This means that without the 50 point bonus, any solution would be lower than our 1783, so 7 secondary words do have to be made to exceed 1783, if that's possible.

Then, I realized that some of the words had either an X or a Z in them, which wouldn't score their full value, so I had to replace those with the next highest scoring words, which lowered the score to 1829 I believe.

I think two of my words use a Q, so I know that both can't receive the full 10 points. There are obviously some letters that are used more times than allowed as well, so I'm going to try to find a way to come up with the highest scoring combination of words that don't require more blanks that I have available. Then, I'm going to have to make sure they're legal to play together, etc.

For the highest scoring board, I was looking at connecting the G in overidentifying with either the S in microtechniques or the E in oxyphenbutazone. When you say you didn't use all of the smaller words to make up the longer words you didn't use, I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean you didn't use QAT (because you didn't use QATS), and that you didn't use AM, LAM, FLAM, and FLAME (because you didn't use FLAMED)? My 3962 solution already didn't use QATS and RAVIGOTE - does yours use the same C word that you used in the 3962 solution you played on Facebook?

RyanM561 at 20:13 on 14 December 2011

Disregard the FLAME question, as I realize you could swap another letter (such as B or T) for the M there. I'd be more curious to know if you used ALAMEDA (you said you didn't use ALAMEDAS, and that you didn't use the smaller words, but I would just want to clarify. I think ALAMEDA and NAMETAG (starting next to the first E in Microtechniques) were the only good 7 letter plays I remember that played well next to microtechniques (and created "arousing").

Anyway, I'm rambling now, so let me end this.

TenzingHillary at 22:25 on 14 December 2011

Ryan,

Take a look at AMANITA instead of ALAMEDA in the upper right corner. I did use the same C word, though I played one less letter off of it at the top. I made changes in the left, center and right portions of the bottom of the board, including playing 4 letters above the X and Y that yielded a whopping 63 points in two plays. One of those letters came from the center-bottom, which in turn required a change to the right-bottom. So, bottom line, I changed the upper right and lower left corners a lot, the center-bottom, right-bottom and left-top a little, and voila: 3962 points. Those extra points in the lower-left corner offset "losses" in other areas resulting from changes necessary to free up those letters. Alas, the offset was perfect, so that I didn't actually generate even one additional point, despite the substantially different look of the layout. Unlike my (and your, I gather) earlier 3962 game, I didn't have any "left-over" letters at the end, and so the opportunity to boost the score a bit higher just wasn't there. I haven't given up yet, but I'm almost at that point with this layout. On the other hand, the very fact that I found another layout that gets the same 3962 result has persuaded me that there may be yet another one out there, possibly one that yields more than 3962 points.

I like to leave it in your capable hands to fill in the gaps, which I'm confident you can do. I should mention that I also found it necessary to change a bit the letters played at the end by the opponent, which ended up reducing his score to 9 points (down to 8 after subtracting his remaining one-point letter).

TenzingHillary at 23:03 on 14 December 2011

Ryan,

One additional hint: the opponent can end up with either an L or a T at the end. You can form a word in the lower-left corner with either letter.

I think you'll find it interesting to try to figure out this new layout, and you might even have better luck than I've had in squeezing out an extra point.

TenzingHillary at 23:11 on 14 December 2011

Ryan,

Incidentally, I just noticed I've been misstating the rule differences applicable to the end-game. It's the North American tournament rules that add double the remaining tile scores to the score of the player who goes out first. That differs from Facebook and (I gather) European tournament rules, which instead add the remaining tile scores (just once) to the score of the player who goes out, and subtract the same number from the other player's score.

TenzingHillary at 23:24 on 14 December 2011

"Scrabble rules differ in how they adjust scores for value of tiles remaining at end. Under official rules of Scrabble (used on Facebook) and European tournament rules, value of remaining tiles is added to score of player who ends game and subtracted from score of player who holds those tiles, so COMBINED score is not changed. Under North American tournament rules, DOUBLE the value of the remaining tiles is added to score of player who ends game, but nothing is subtracted from other player's score, so COMBINED score is increased by amount of adjustment. Margin of victory is the same under either set of rules."

TenzingHillary at 23:38 on 14 December 2011

Ryan,

A correction: in the upper left corner, I still played 3 letters off of the C word, but they were in columns 2-4 rather than 1-3.

RyanM561 at 03:41 on 15 December 2011

So I have a solution that meets most of your criteria, (the 63 points on the XY in two plays, the lack of RAVIGOTE, the C connection from Microtechniques to Overidentifying, letters in columns 2-4 off of it, the center bottom change to go above XY, the right bottom change to fix the center bottom, amanita substitution, the L or T at the end because either can be used in the lower left, the 9 points scored by the low scoring player (could be 12 if so desired in mine), etc.

My board is only scoring 3912 before the letter bonus though.... I'm thinking maybe I did something different around my alternatives to JIBB or FLAMED.

RyanM561 at 03:56 on 15 December 2011

Disregard that. I had forgotten a 50 point bonus, but I had also over-counted 7 points as well. Still working on it...

TenzingHillary at 16:48 on 15 December 2011

Ryan,

Not sure what you're doing differently, but I have a hunch based on your comment about the lower scoring player being able to score either 9 or 12 points. That's not an option in my layout. If you figure out why that's so, you may eliminate the one difference between our layouts.

I may be mistaken in assuming what you've come up with, of course, but I suspect it has something to do with this.

TenzingHillary at 16:50 on 15 December 2011

Ryan,

Another observation: You wonder whether you did something different in your alternative to JIBB. There's only one alternative: JAMB. So I suspect we're doing the same thing there.

TenzingHillary at 19:51 on 15 December 2011

Ryan,

Well, I just played out my new layout, hoping that maybe I'd mistakenly calculated the score. But it came out 3962 to 8, as expected. Much like the first layout, this one doesn't appear (to me, at least) to be susceptible to any increase. With all the changes, there is no particular reason it had to work out that way -- it could just as easily have ended up higher or lower -- but that's the way it appears to work out. Unless you can get more from it (assuming you soon figure it out, as I'm confident you will), it looks like some other layout will be needed -- unless 3962 is just the max.

TenzingHillary at 19:53 on 15 December 2011

Ryan,

By the way, if you like, I'll be glad to post the new layout here, though you'll probably get more pleasure out of figuring it out yourself. Nonetheless, if you prefer, just let me know.

TenzingHillary at 20:36 on 15 December 2011

Ryan,

I take back my earlier comment on the losing player having an option between 9 and 12: he DOES have that option, depending on whether he plays ROTE or ROT, ROTE. I just had him play ROTE, since there was no point in trying for a high combined-score game with this layout.

If you are doing the same thing as I did there, I guess I'm at a loss to figure out why you're not reaching 3962. I suggest you take a careful look at the places where you've made the suggested changes, and be sure you're getting the maximum possible points in each spot.

Good luck.

RyanM561 at 00:11 on 16 December 2011

Luck? Who needs luck. I just squeezed 3966 out of a variation of the AMANITA board. I'm still working on optimizing it, though I'm not sure how much more it will yield. I will keep you posted.

RyanM561 at 00:38 on 16 December 2011

I can post that layout here if you want, or we can exchange it privately. This is a public forum - I'm not sure if you want it displayed for everyone indefinitely.

TenzingHillary at 15:26 on 16 December 2011

Ryan,

Wow, 3966! Very impressive. Obviously you've figured it out and then some.

No need to post your variation. Now that you've let me know I was wrong to believe that layout maxed out at 3962, I'll try to figure out what I've been overlooking.\\

RyanM561 at 19:49 on 16 December 2011

Well have fun! I think 3966 may be my maximum on this board. I realize that since you had already been optimizing for a while, there wasn't likely to be much left. It looks like you were pretty thorough already. Perhaps with another larger word change somehow.

I've actually been working on different variations of this and the previous 3962 board, but I haven't found anything worthy of mention yet. I hope you find a way to go beyond 3966.

I emailed Nathan Hedt a while back, by the way (he is credited with the 3986 play in the FAQ). He said he had once found a 3995 solution (I'm assuming this was 3993 plus 2 for an unused tile), but that he had never reached 4000. Those are my highest total goals - reach 3995, break 3995, reach 4000, then break 4000. Of course, along the way, I'll be simultaneously working on the highest game score for one player.

TenzingHillary at 21:38 on 16 December 2011

Ryan,

To reach 4000 would be quite an accomplishment. We're so close, but those last few points are elusive.

At the moment, I'll be happy just to figure out how you squeezed four more points out of my AMANITA layout. I hope to take a closer look over the weekend at what I may have overlooked, but my brief look today leaves me utterly baffled for the time being. Great work on that.

RyanM561 at 22:27 on 20 December 2011

TenzingHillary,

Anything yet? I've been working on the 3962/3966 boards, but I don't see much more to add to them at the moment. Do you have any other variations you've found that score in the same range? I'd love something else to analyze.

Let me know if you want any hints or the solution on the 3966 game.

TenzingHillary at 00:12 on 21 December 2011

Ryan,

I finally figured out your 4-point enhancement of my AMANITA board (and played it out earlier today). I found your enhancement to be extremely impressive.

Probably needless to say, I wouldn't have mentioned my new layout if I hadn't been fairly confident I'd maxed it out. I do like to share what I’ve learned -- albeit through hints, as you’ve learned here, so that a great deal of effort and skill is still required -- but I doubt that even Mother Theresa would have mentioned that new layout without first figuring out whether she could use it herself to boost the record score. I thought I’d looked it over long enough, but obviously I was wrong about that.

When you finally figured it out, and added 4 points to boot, I naturally thought I'd been too hasty. I expected I'd revisit the layout and figure out what I'd overlooked in an hour or so. I'd like to say that's what happened, but I’d be far less than honest to say that. Much to my surprise and frustration, I spent very many hours trying to figure out what you'd done.

You'd said you were an "optimizer" rather than an "innovator," and so I started out by looking where you might have moved the one obviously-movable tile in my layout (I'm sure you know which tile I mean). Since removing that tile from where I had initially played it immediately subtracts 14 points from one's score, I naturally looked for an alternate place where the tile would yield at least 18 points (since you'd added 4 points to my initial layout total).

As I'm sure you found, there were no obvious alternative spots. The place you chose (and I finally stumbled upon) was not anywhere near the top of the list, since it appeared at first glance to offer only a few points. Frankly, I don't recall even considering that spot early in my search, and certainly wouldn't have devoted more than 3 seconds to it if I had. Nor did any of the other alternate locations for that “movable” letter yield anything close to 18 points.

At that point, I concluded you were being modest in claiming only to be an “optimizer,” and so I started evaluating more substantial changes, all of which led to dead ends (some promising enough that I may mention them to you later, but dead ends nonetheless). After many such disappointing efforts, I restored my original AMANITA layout, stared at it for the hundredth time, and asked myself for the hundredth time: "How in the world did Ryan squeeze 4 more points out of this?" And after all those hours, I was no closer to answering that question than when I'd started.

In one sense, though, that was not quite true: All of my "dead ends" had at least left me persuaded that I hadn't left many stones unturned. That meant I knew quite a few things you had NOT done, and that struck me as helpful. Helpful or not, I was nonetheless clueless about what you HAD done.

So I considered yet again what I’d started with: the possibility that you had only tweaked the AMANITA layout after all, and I tried yet again to figure out exactly how you’d tweaked it. That’s when I finally stumbled upon your solution, which, as I said above, I found very impressive. It impressed me because it requires several plays (three) to yield all of the extra points, and depends on the proper sequencing of those three plays. Once one figures that out, what appears at first glance to be a “trade” of 14 points for 5 points reveals what it really is: a “trade” of 26 points for 30 points.

Had you not figured out that enhancement, I’d never have thought it possible and would not have even looked for it. Nothing kept me looking except the inescapable fact that you’d done it. What I learned from all this is that those who claim to be only “optimizers” in fact add a lot more value than “innovators” in many cases – at least in this pursuit. Finding new layouts is not that hard. Finding new layouts that yield as much as earlier proven layouts is harder, of course. But taking a new layout and exploiting its full potential is often much harder, and I think that was the case here. I think 99 out of 100 people would simply have looked at the spot you found and passed it by without a second glance. Regrettably but honestly, I must put myself in that “99” category. Fortunately for me, you were the 1 in 100. By showing that more was possible, you enabled me to pull myself out of that “99” category, and I appreciate that.

Having been proven wrong twice now – once when I thought my 3953 record score was unbeatable, and a second time when I thought my 3962 record score was unbeatable (though the latter record did last two years) – I’m nevertheless inclined to risk making the same mistake yet another time: I don’t think anyone can top 3966.

If anyone can prove that wrong, you’re probably the guy. So keep up the good work, and good luck.

-- Tenzing Hillary

TenzingHillary at 16:22 on 21 December 2011

Ryan,

I can’t say these will lead you anywhere, but given your proven analytical abilities, I’ll mention a few efforts that were dead ends for me but may well be fruitful for you. Bear in mind, when I describe board areas, that I arrange my long words horizontally rather than vertically.

In the lower right corner, try FLAVOR horizontally and AVO vertically. It yields more in that corner than what you and I have there now, though at the obvious cost of eliminating the word descending from the first “C” in MICROTECHNIQUES.

Also in the lower right corner, consider REINJURED and DITZ, rather than REINJURES and SPAZ.

I’ve come up with nothing promising in lieu of WOLFLIKE.

Trying to replace REINJURES with anything but REINJURED is difficult. Bear in mind that 2 letters in the word must be played before the bingo is played, since it’s a nine-letter word. I’d thought READJUSTS might work, since that would free up useful letters (R, I and N), but there’s no way to play a second letter at the usual “connector” locations (either the second letter or the second-last letter), and so there’s no practical way to play READJUSTS.

I think my AMANITA substitution for ALAMEDAS is a significant improvement since it frees up one letter. On the other hand, it makes it necessary to connect to ROTE from the upper left corner, which precludes playing ADO in the upper left corner (which, as you know, later yields 12 additional points when you play MICROTECHNIQUES (because MA is formed). If you can play a letter to the left of the A in CAROUSING, you can connect to ROTE from the right end, thus freeing up the “connector” letter underneath the R in ROTE and allowing ADO in the upper left corner (or simply DO, if you can find a better use for the A).

In lieu of CAROUSING, I’ve experimented with CRAVENING and CRANKLING, but to no avail.

Here’s a significant change that I toyed with only briefly, but may (or may not) be worth looking further into. Eliminate the long word descending from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES. Replace it with a long word from the final E in MICROTECHNIQUES down to the second N in OVERIDENTIFYING. I’ve tried ESTRAGON and ESTROGEN, since those words use many of the letters from the to-be-abandoned long word descending from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES.

Finally, I tried, again without success, to connect from the left side of REINJURES down to the center bottom. Making the connection is not difficult (and allows you to eliminate the letter to the left of the M in JAMB if you choose to do so), but I wasn’t able to find a way to do so that generated enough points to make the effort worthwhile.

As I said above, none of these efforts yielded much for me, but I’m confident they’ll yield more for you. Whether they’ll yield enough, who knows? But one or two of them might be worth pursuing.

Good luck.

RyanM561 at 00:15 on 22 December 2011

Tenzing Hillary,

It sounds like you've found the same four point improvement that I did. I had secretly hoped you'd found another, but after reading your description, it's clear it's the same as mine. Good job on that.

I had played around with the other "-FLIKE" words (CALF, GULK, HOOF, LEAF, ROOF, RUFF, SERF, SURF, TURF, and WAIF) before, but hadn't found much to do with them, as freeing the W from WOLFLIKE costs some points that I was having trouble restoring. I think LEAFLIKE was useable under one of my recent boards, but I wasn't able to make up the lost points.

I'm still inclined to believe that a 3993 board (before bonuses) exists. I would expect, therefore, that there's a way to manipulate that 2nd player moves of that board to score somewhere from 3970 to 3980. Of course, I haven't found a board that scores 3993 before bonuses, yet, but I believe it exists until I'm proven otherwise.

I wouldn't say there's no practical way to play READJUSTS. REINJURES scored 146 in my 3962 game, and it scored 148 in my 3966 game (because RE was made before REINJURES was played).In regards to READJUSTS, I count 98 points for READJUST, 34 points for READJUSTS, and a 5 point gain on SPA now being worth 10 instead of 5, for a total of 137. It's definitely less, but probably worth reviewing if freeing up the INRE is a beneficial trade for the ADST. You don't get the "double double play" on the J that way though, which is like my 3962 and not like my 3966. Of course, I could be making some dumb mistake in my analysis here - always feel free to let me know if that's the case.

I had tried CRANKLING before as well, but not CRAVENING (I'm thinking I was looking for WOLFLIKE alternatives at the time.) I may get back to that and CRAVENING as well, but not right away.

I will take a crack at the FLAVOR variant.

RyanM561 at 00:45 on 22 December 2011

Just to be clear, to play READJUST>READJUSTS/SPA without a word in the RAVIGOTE position, you'd have to replace WOLFLIKE with a word that ends with T.

Or you could remove WOLFLIKE and play RAVIGOTE (or another word that ends with E and fits there) to play the letters RADJUST to make READJUST, then follow with READJUSTS/SPA.

Just my thoughts. Let me know what you think.

TenzingHillary at 01:03 on 22 December 2011

Ryan,

Sounds like you've already tried a lot of what I tried.

Interesting observation on READJUSTS, but, as you note, it still leaves you short, especially on the J. Freeing up the I, N and R by playing READJUSTS could be worth it even so, I suppose, if you could find very productive uses for those letters. As you've undoubtedly noticed, all three letters are in very short supply, and thus valuable, but I'm not sure they can be put to good enough use to offset the significant loss of points.

Unless one can change one or more of CAROUSING, WOLFLIKE and REINJURES, I'm not sure where else improvements can be made. About the only major change that strikes me as worth pursuing is to replace the long word coming down from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES, but I've tried that several times and ended up with fewer points from the alternative. It might also be that replacing AMANITA with an 8-letter word, thus making possible a better play in the upper left corner, might yield some improvement. But I've played with that possibility at some considerable length, and AMANITA has been the best I've come up with so far. I suspect you've spent some time working on possibilities there too.

As our score gets higher and higher, opportunity costs also get higher and higher. It may be that some dramatic changes could make a difference, but I'm inclined to doubt that. Disturbing any of the three long words, for example, seems unpromising. I've looked several times for a replacement for OVERIDENTIFYING (OVERSIMPLIFYING, for example, and a couple of other lesser candidates), but I always end up concluding OVERIDENTIFYING is best.

Tenzing

P.S. Incidentally, I think you got 168 for REINJURES in your 3966 game, not counting the two points for RE (146 + 20 +2), no?

P.S. What about REINJURED and DITZ? Have you tried that?

TenzingHillary at 01:07 on 22 December 2011

Ryan,

I should add that the main shortcoming of both CRANKLING and CRAVENING is that each of them contains a second N. N's are in very short supply, since 5 of the 6 are used up by the three long words (one shared by whatever word is played on the very center square on the first turn), and the sixth by REINJURES. Since AMANITA uses both blanks, that leaves you stuck.

RyanM561 at 02:14 on 22 December 2011

Well, the 3962 board didn't fully maximize the J, and it still was a very nice board, but without the gain there to offset the loss on not having the J doubled in READJUSTS, it does seem like the deficit there would be hard to overcome to surpass the 3966 board. Of course, if you could show high scoring opportunities for the INRE letters, it would be worth at least entertaining.

The W and K in WOLFLIKE are getting multiplied by 4. Moving the K to CRANKLING would get it scored 5 times (ANKLING, RANKLING, AND CRANKLINGx3), so if the W could get scored highly (perhaps in the WE/WAB position), it would seem like a gain to move those letters out of wolflike and into higher scoring spots, and move lower scoring letters out of CAROUSING or other spots into the 4X location where wolflike is now.

I hadn't done much with REINJURED/DITZ. Where would you like to have the "P" from SPA? What would you play instead of the words we've been using in the FLAMED position? Is there one that scores as much (or nearly as much) as FLAMED (in several plays) from the newly available set of letters?

TenzingHillary at 21:19 on 22 December 2011

Ryan,

You get 6x for the K if you play CRANKLING (ANKLING is 2x). Even so, the use of 2 N's makes it hard to justify CRANKLING or CRAVENING.

I agree it would be hard to profit from READJUSTS, but do note that IRN could be useful letters to free up: N for CRANKLING or CRAVENING, for example, R for RAMADAS (which would free up one blank, and permit a right-end connection to ROTE), I for JIBB (though your clever enhancement in that area makes one wonder whether it's wise to revert to JIBB even if that becomes possible), since your enhancement wouldn't work with JIBB).

I don't know that REINJURED/DITZ leads anywhere. I only note that it's really the only other practical choice there. In the end, I don't see any hope for improvement. Possibly, though probably not likely, with the FLAVOR/AVO alternative, but that requires a lot of reworking elsewhere. Possibly too with the substitution, for the "C" word down from MICROTECHNIQUES, of a word down from the second E in MICROTECHNIQUES, but that too will require a lot of reworking.

In other words, I'm pretty much out of ideas, for the time being, except for these few. I hope you can make something out of one of them.

RyanM561 at 05:35 on 23 December 2011

Well, I'll keep working through some of the ideas we've discussed. If I come up with anything I'll discuss it here.

If you get a board that comes close to the 3950s-3960s and you give up on improving it further, I'd be glad to take a shot at it.

RyanM561 at 00:13 on 24 December 2011

So when I've tried ESTROGEN and ESTRAGON, it doesn't seem productive. I'm losing one of the multipliers on those letters (that were originally scored 3 times, twice as an 8 letter word and once as a 9 letter word) because STRAGON/STROGEN don't hook to anything, so it's only scored as a double. And then I lose some of the multipliers on the "V", which was originally tripled (first a double, then a single) when connecting the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES to the first E in OVERIDENTIFYING. I just don't see any major gains anywhere to make up all those lost points.

I'll keep working on FLAVOR and DITZ next.

TenzingHillary at 03:17 on 24 December 2011

Ryan,

It is frustrating as we move higher and higher. I can't imagine changing OXYPHENBUTAZONE or MICROTECHNIQUES, but I have toyed with changing OVERIDENTIFYING. As I mentioned earlier, I've never had any luck in that effort, but I can't say for sure that it's pointless to keep trying. OVERSIMPLIFYING seems promising, but it puts P right on the very center square, and it's hard to find anything coming down to that P from the second C in MICROTECHNIQUES.

Maybe we're just maxed out. Again, though, I've said that before and been wrong twice already.

Maybe Nathan Hedt has some ideas. You mentioned he said he'd increased his "combined score" game to 3993 (before bonus), and maybe some of what he changed would be useful for "single player" boards too.

RyanM561 at 03:55 on 24 December 2011

He looked for it and then said he couldn't find his 3995 board, but he didn't seem interested in sharing anything anyway at the time. Maybe I'll try him again someday. Until then, I'll keep working at it. I think there should be some combination of moves from the 3986, 3962, and 3966 boards that should allow a few more points to be squeezed out.

TenzingHillary at 20:00 on 24 December 2011

You're more optimistic than I, which is commendable.

Merry Christmas, Ryan.

RyanM561 at 23:57 on 26 December 2011

Tenzing Hillary,

Merry (late) Christmas to you!

I was thinking more about the 9 point improvement to the board used to score 3953. There's a fair chance that since it scores 9 total points more, that we'd max out at 3953+9, which just happens to be 3962. The odds that it allows you to play above 3966 is unlikely.

If the 9 point improvement doesn't use QATS, then you wouldn't lose the 12 points that are lost from repositioning that S, and I would estimate 3953+9+12, or 3974, as a realistic maximum.

It's a longshot that the 9 point improvement doesn't use QATS, and therefore unlikely that the 9 point improvement will lead to a solution that exceeds 3966 for Player 1, but since I'm already interested in the 9 point improvement on its own, I will keep pursuing it. Our 3962 and 3966 solutions score less than the board that was used to derive the 3953 board (partly due to the QATS issue), so I think finding the 9 point improvement is in a different direction than we've been going.

Also, I checked out FLAVOR as an alternative to FLAMED/FLAWED, but it seems FLAMED/FLAWED and the points from the extra A placed elsewhere exceed the points scored by FLAVOR (and PA/AVO). Did FLAVOR seem promising, or did you just want it reviewed as a potential alternative?

TenzingHillary at 01:47 on 28 December 2011

"Did FLAVOR seem promising, or did you just want it reviewed as a potential alternative?"

Realistically the latter, with a hope that the former would turn out to be true. Since it "fits" there, it seems appropriate to explore its possibilities. It sounds like you've done so as much as I did, or more, and neither of us came up with anything. I thought you might, given your success in finding refinements I'd overlooked.

On the rest of your comment, I can't say I grasp what you're saying, so please clarify. For what it's worth, none of the boards I've used - to achieve 3953, 3962 or 3966, used QATS, for the simple reason that ATS is not a word and the Q is played in the very last turn of the game (with MICROTECHNIQUES) in all of my games (to make either QAT or QI). QATS can only be played if the S is played after MICROTECHNIQUES, which doesn't happen in any of my high-scoring games.

Obviously, if MICROTECHNIQUES is not the last word played, QATS would be possible (not to mention attractive). A long time ago, I played around with some layouts in which OXYPHENBUTAZONE was played last, which allows QATS (and I certainly played it in those layouts), but those layouts had shortcomings of their own: only when I switched to MICROTECHNIQUES-last layouts was I able to get even 3950. Nonetheless, it might be worth experimenting with OXYPHENBUTAZONE endings again, just to permit the playing of QATS.

Another alternative, of course, is saving OVERIDENTIFYING for last, as Nathan Hedt did when he played his 3986 game. That isn't feasible for any layout that plays a word off of either the OVER or the ING, as you and I did in our 3962 and 3966 layouts, but Nathan Hedt's game didn't, since he connected only RAVIGOTE and WOLFLIKE to OVERIDENTIFYING.

On balance, finding a way to play QATS may be worth looking into, since it's the only apparent source of a lot more points. Assuming you used the same layout as I did for 3953, playing QATS would increase the value of the S from 14 points to 26 points, a big jump (though not enough unless added to a score already higher than 3953).

RyanM561 at 02:37 on 28 December 2011

Sorry, I have a habit of not being as precise as I can.

Nathan has a board that scores 3995. I am presuming that's a 9 point improvement to his 3986 board (I used his 3986 board to play my 3953 game, except I had to not play QATS).

If the 3995 board still uses QATS, then I doubt we'll be able to use the 3995 board to exceed 3966.

If, however, the 3995 board doesn't use QATS, then I think we could probably score more than 3966 from it.

RyanM561 at 03:15 on 2 January 2012

Tenzing Hillary,

Happy New Year!

I've been looking at FLAVOR and PA/AVO again as an alternative to FLAMED/FLAWED. It actually frees up some replacements for RAVIGOTE, like MiTIGATE, GEMInATE, MEdITATE, AdMITTEE, and EsTIMATE. I'm still only scoring a total in the 3960's though, and like the low 3940's for Player 1. I'm still using ALAMEDAS, though, as I don't have the letters to connect the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES with the first E in OVERIDENTIFYING.

Would you care to try and give it a try?

Let me know.

RyanM561 at 21:43 on 2 January 2012

Actually I might have double counted 16 points on that solution. Anyway, still no luck with FLAVOR. I'll try REINJURED/DITZ in more detail now.

TenzingHillary at 16:27 on 4 January 2012

Ryan,

Good to hear from you. I don't know that I'll have time to concentrate on this for a while, though I'll try to make time when I can.

I do remember some alternatives to RAVIGOTE, but I recall only GEMINATE from your list. LEVIGATE was another one, which frees up a valuable R, but as I recall, that wouldn't work for some other reason (perhaps because it uses an extra E, or an L).

Of the two routes you're heading down, I mentioned that neither one really yielded anything, but I do recall being more optimistic about the FLAVOR/AVO approach. Even so, I'm not sure I had any reason to like that one better. In any case, to get above 3966, I still tend to think (as I gather you do) that we need something quite different from what we have so far.

Good luck, and keep me posted on your progress.

RyanM561 at 21:20 on 4 January 2012

I tried REINJURED and DITZ, but I kept losing like 25 points in that area of the board by playing FATTED instead of FLAWED/FLAMED. The W in flaw is scored 6 times there (AW, LAW, FLAW, WO, and FLAWEDx2), so replacing it with a 1 point letter, and then losing the scoring of a 4 letter word really costs some points that I can't find a way to recover elsewhere.

Today I came up with a 3955 solution that uses CRANKLING instead of CAROUSING, OUTFABLE instead of WOLFLIKE, and AmREETAS instead of ALAmEDAs. It lost some points because I have a blank as an "n" in REINJURES, and because it plays RIFT instead of RAFT (it doesn't get the points for the first two letters as their own word.) It looks better than the DITZ variation, but it doesn't look like I can squeeze out more than 11 more points without another major change.

RyanM561 at 01:35 on 5 January 2012

*RIFT instead of REFT, rather. Still 3955 + 1 bonus for letter, so 3956.

RyanM561 at 01:59 on 5 January 2012

I think I'm up to 3963 on the AmREETAS board, unless I've scored something wrong (which is always a possibility).

RyanM561 at 04:54 on 5 January 2012

It's 3959, since I had forgotten to reduce REInJURES by 4 for the use of the blank. I'm working on something else interesting though.

TenzingHillary at 04:22 on 6 January 2012

Ryan,

I'm quite impressed that you've made some headway with CRANKLING. I've tried it a few times, but never got very far. I do have a vague recollection that OUTFABLE was also one of my candidates to replace WOLFLIKE. I also tried AmREETAS a long time ago (though with CAROUSING), but I gave it up for one reason or another.

As you've probably already noticed, RAMADAS is worth a look, but the several efforts I've made with that have all come up short. I remember thinking RAMADAN would work very well, but it's not a word in the Facebook Scrabble dictionary.

I'm pretty sure the three long words, and REINJURES, are "untouchables." At the bottom, either JIBB or JABB seems awfully tough to beat (especially since you really maximized the J with your discovery of that 4-point boost in that area). That leaves three or four areas, of course, as we've been discussing, but making those words "untouchable" restricts us greatly, especially for certain letters (such as N).

Sounds like you're getting closer than I'd thought possible, but I should have known: you've amazed me in the past. Keep it up and keep me posted.

TenzingHillary at 04:48 on 6 January 2012

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=5DOSBV0C

Ryan,

At the link above, you can find a blank Scrabble board I created using Excel. You just type in your words, one letter per square, and the table below the board automatically updates the number of that letter left (same with blanks: type "Bk" on the board, not case-sensitive). In the scoring sheet at the right, you just type in the "Word Score" each time and it keeps a running total. To distinguish your own score from the opponent's score, type an "X" in the column indicated, and the spreadsheet will automatically count that row's Word Score in the opponent's column.

More detailed instructions appear on the spreadsheet, and so you should be able to figure out how to use it.

The second tabbed worksheet is the same thing, only it includes 3 boards instead of 1 but does not include any scoresheet.

Neither of these helps you figure out new layouts, of course, but they are quite useful for keeping track of remaining tiles and keeping track of scores. Let me know if (1) you're able to download the spreadsheet; and (2) whether or not you find it useful.

Good luck.

TenzingHillary at 04:54 on 6 January 2012

I should add, on my blank Scrabble board:

In the "Letters Played" column in the scoring sheet, type the actual letters played on the board in that turn, not the number of letters played. The number of letters played will be calculated and displayed in column Z of that row, and column AA will display the number of letters left after that play.

TenzingHillary at 05:03 on 6 January 2012

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QDB8HJ63

Ryan,

I replaced the spreadsheet with one that corrected a minor formatting problem. You'll need to use the new link above, rather than the one I gave you in my earlier message.

RyanM561 at 05:21 on 7 January 2012

Neat spreadsheet. I had actually been using scrabulizer to track the remaining tiles for me, and to score the multi-word plays, and just typing everything into a spreadsheet.

I created a simple word checker function that checks the validity of a word. I think it would be useful added to your spreadsheet.

I created a tab named TWL 06, and put the words in column A, starting in cell A1 and going to A178691.

The formula (which should be in a single cell without a line break) is

=IFERROR(IF(VLOOKUP(AD2, 'TWL 06'!$A$1:$A$178691, 1, 0) = AD2, "Valid word", 0), "Not valid")

AD2 can be changed to whatever cell you want to type the word to be checked into, and you can change the messages in quotes to whatever you want it to say if it's a valid word or not. The name of the tab can be changed, and if you want the word list somewhere on the same tab as the boards, then the 'TWL 06'! part can be removed entirely.

RyanM561 at 06:36 on 7 January 2012

...and the range in the formula would need to be changed to match the new cell range of where you put the words.

Have you encountered a solution that scores well, but involves getting really lucky with the tiles? I was playing one the other day that involved 9 tiles remaining, drawing 7 of them, and hoping that a specific two of them were in that draw, or I wouldn't be able to get the maximum score. I calculated that there was a 23/72 chance (about 1/3) of it not working out.

RyanM561 at 22:16 on 7 January 2012

Nevermind. I found a better way to play that one that only has a 1/8 chance of not working.

RyanM561 at 11:16 on 8 January 2012

Victory is mine! 3966 has fallen after only 23 days; the new FB record (for now) is 3969.

TenzingHillary at 14:57 on 8 January 2012

Wow! I'm amazed at that. I have to give you credit. Optimism + hard work, Good old-fashioned virtues yield great results. Congratulations.

RyanM561 at 22:34 on 9 January 2012

TenzingHillary,

I feel like I've hit a wall for now, so I'm going to look at SIMPLIFY>OVERSIMPLIFYING next.

Getting the M and the P scored 9 times in the 15 letter play, plus some additional times seems very attractive. It's worth 30 more points than OVERIDENTIFYING. Since they're being replaced with lower scoring letters, it's likely that a few (but less than 30) points will be lost elsewhere when I'm now playing D, E, N, and T instead of S, M, P, L. Still, it's potential for a good 5-20 point gain.

The real issue, as you mentioned earlier, is the 100+ points normally earned from building up to CAROUSING or CRANKLING, which seems hard to replace. There aren't any legal 7 or 8 letter words I could find that have the P in the proper position, and can then have the C attached and still form legal words.

There's only a handful of 8 and 9 letter words even worthy of consideration, assuming we'll still want to use that many letters there to connect the two 15 letter words.

CALTHROP(S)
CANTRAIP(S)
CHANGEUP(S)
CHUMSHIP(S)
CLAPTRAP(S)
COOKSHOP(S)
CROWSTEP(S)
CITYSCAPE
COLLOTYPE
COLLOTYPY
CONSCRIPT
CREAMCUPS
CRYOSCOPE
CRYOSCOPY
CYANOTYPE
CYMOGRAPH

Just my thoughts.

TenzingHillary at 23:32 on 9 January 2012

Ryan,

"There aren't any legal 7 or 8 letter words I could find that have the P in the proper position, and can then have the C attached and still form legal words."

That was precisely why I gave up on OVERSIMPLIFYING. It does score well if you can play it, but it's awfully hard to figure out how to do that. I don't think your list is helpful, because a word in that position needs to be a word also before you put the C in front of it. Few if any words on your list fit that bill.

TenzingHillary at 23:35 on 9 January 2012

Ryan,

You might have in mind that you WON'T connect the second C in MICROTECHNIQUES to OVERSIMPLIFYING. That would solve the problem I just described. But bear in mind that SIMPLIFY has 8 letters, and so you need first to play a vertical word containing a P before you can play SIMPLIFY. You can do so, of course, without ever connecting that first word to anything, but it strikes me that you'd be wasting a lot of letters doing so.

RyanM561 at 02:05 on 10 January 2012

Right, because if you play the C words above, then the H and the I can't be on the board, and then there's the issue of needing to play 8 letters to complete MICROTECHNIQUES, which ruins the whole thing.

I can score in the low 3900's with OVERSIMPLIFYING, but I really don't see it going much further.

I'm not sure where to go next. I may keep trying to improve my 3969 solution, but I'm basically out of ideas there too.

TenzingHillary at 05:59 on 10 January 2012

I'll be hard-pressed just to catch up to you, though I'm fairly confident now that I've been proven wrong for the umpteenth time that the record can go no higher than wherever it happens to be when I make that incorrect prediction. I will have limited time to figure out what wizardry you performed this time, so I'm counting on luck this time.

RyanM561 at 22:52 on 10 January 2012

TenzingHillary,

I think I'm on the complete opposite side of the fence. I think I'll keep on thinking there's a higher limit, regardless of how high we get. I'll probably spend months trying for a higher score even after the highest one is reached (someday).

At least mathematics is on your side. There is a limit, and each new record we set is more likely to be it, and is closer to the limit if it isn't. If you keep thinking we've hit the top, you'll eventually be correct.

I'll proudly hold on to the first place position you held for so long until you catch up (or you or someone else surpasses me, which wouldn't surprise me). Hopefully our discussions here will spark some interest.

Do you think we should start a new topic? This was really was about the 1783 single turn solution, rather than maximizing the total for a player.

TenzingHillary at 15:46 on 11 January 2012

Ryan,

Not a bad idea to start a new topic, though it might be better to start it on Facebook. I don't use Scrabulizer for anything but our discussions, and I would guess that more people frequent the Facebook discussion groups, but I really don't know. I'll leave that up to you. If you do start a new topic, though, you should be sure to include a link to this discussion up front, so anyone who's interested can read what we've written so far.

I think my last message was unclear. I was essentially saying that, because I've been wrong so many times that the record couldn't go higher, I no longer think that's necessarily the case. Your optimism and hard work has now proved me wrong twice, as Jon Prentice had once before.

I have no idea whether I'll ever pass you up (chances are more likely, I think, that you'll move the record higher), but I'm all but certain I'll tie you sooner or later. I'm taking a very systematic approach, and I'll share whatever I learn in the process, but I think you'll find it more interesting once I've actually accomplished my goal with it.

I will mention one thing, though: CRAVENING doesn't look promising to me at all. I don't know how I'd not noticed this before, but, unlike CRANKLING and CAROUSING, one can't make a 7-letter word at the very start of the game: AVENING is not a word.

Good to hear from you, Ryan. Let me know if and where you create a new topic.

TenzingHillary at 16:18 on 11 January 2012

Ryan,

One other preliminary comment, on your effort to substitute something for OVERIDENTIFYING. As you noted, finding a candidate that has a P on the center square is very tough. There are, however, several alternatives to CAROUSING or CRANKLING that have an R in that spot - CAROUSERS being the one that looks most promising. I haven't gone back to check whether there are any OVERIDENTIFYING replacements that have an R on the center square, and I suspect I am forgetting that I previously checked out CAROUSERS with that thought in mind, but that may be worth a look.

TenzingHillary at 16:30 on 11 January 2012

Here's another very preliminary thought: Consider MANEUVERABILITY in lieu of OVERIDENTIFYING. D doubt it will yield much, but it's probably worth at least a look. Unlike OVERIDENTIFYING, it won't allow you to place a tile on both of the outside Triple Word squares in the same play, but you nonetheless can get two separate triple words. You'd play the R in another word on the first play (AROUSER, for example). Then play MANEUVER for one Triple Word. Then add ABILITY for another, longer triple word. As I said, I doubt you'd come close to the 293 for OVERIDENTIFYING, but it may be worth a quick look. There aren't many candidates to replace OVERIDENTIFYING that have an R in the center square and also have other key attributes: high score, no XHCQZ, and the ability to form two bingos in the course of creating the word. That, of course, is why one always comes back to OVERIDENTIFYING (so far, at least).

RyanM561 at 18:06 on 11 January 2012

The letters in OVERIDENTIFYING are 26 points, while MANEUVERABILITY only uses 25, so there is one more point in the tile bag to somehow be used later.

I count 92 for MANUEVER, and 128 for adding ABILITY to it, for a total of 220. IDENTIFY scores 69, and OVERIDENTIFYING scores 293, for a total of 362. Starting out with MANEUVERABILITY looks like a 142 point deficit to overcome elsewhere. Essentially (not counting individual letter multipliers) 8 of the letters are scoring 6 times, and 7 of the letters are only scoring 3 times (in OVERIDENTIFYING, 8 of them scored 10 times, and the other 7 scored 9 times).

I think it would be really hard to make up those points, as we're not actually getting any extra letters to use anywhere else to score extra points, just different ones. However, it would be awesome to see it work somehow, as it would involve a somewhat different board. If you get a board using MANEUVERABILITY that scores above 3900, let me know, and I'll dive into it further.

TenzingHillary at 23:16 on 11 January 2012

Ryan,

I think you're right about MANEUVERABILITY. It looks like the "Big 3" are untouchable. I tend to think that goes for REINJURES too, with the possible exception of REINJURED. And it looks like either CAROUSING or CRANKLING. I may find out I'm wrong about REINJURES as I try to figure out how you got to 3969 (no luck yet, but 5 points away on another approach), but that's the way it looks now.

canad_ian at 00:05 on 12 January 2012

TenzingHillary and Ryan,

I've been playing Scrabble on Facebook with a few friends across the country for a few years now I guess and recently became curious about the OXYPHENBUTAZONE I kept seeing in the global stats. To make a long story short I ended up in Scrabulizer and read this blog discussion through. I thought enough hints had been dropped to try my hand at high word and high game. I'm hooked now. I did manage to play the 1783 high word so I then turned to the high game. It's quite a bit more challenging. A few days ago I made my first attempt and scored a sorry 3889, but it got me on the list at 6th I think.

I've read this blog again a few times and still need help. I have a 3943 solution worked out but I can't find the tricks to get higher. I'm playing horizontally and use the same three fifteen letter words as you talk about. I use TenzingHillary's C word in the third column, and I've determined the double double trick with the J. I use a modified ROTE ending that leaves only an O unplayed but I can't seem to find anything else to improve my score.

I'm more than curious about the four-letter yielding a whopping 63 above the XY, that just doesn't seem possible. Anyway, you both have me hooked now so I'm sure to keep working until I find something I've overlooked. Congratulations to you both, you've been having a very healthy competition. Hope to give you a run or at least catch up.

RyanM561 at 03:18 on 12 January 2012

I have several various boards that I'm working on between 3959 and 3969 points, but I don't have one that scores exactly 3964. I'm thinking you've either got something novel I don't, or one of us hasn't maxed out our boards.

It seems like CRAVENING would score about 50 points lower than CAROUSING (the 50 point bonus, and some letter scoring would create the deficit, but the 8 and 9 letter words would score higher than their counterparts in CAROUSING). A 50ish point deficit would be easier to recover than the 142 point one mentioned previously. I say easier, of course, only as a relative term. Some other words like that are:

CENSURING
CENTERING
CHAUNTING
COFFERING
CRANCHING

CRAVENING
CREMATING
CRIMPLING
CRIPPLING
CRUMBLING
CRUMPLING
CUMBERING

On a different note, skipping a word in the WOLFLIKE position, while including one in the RAVIGOTE position, would cost us even fewer points than using RAVENING. I think we had dismissed that a while back, when looking at READJUSTS as an alternative to REINJURES. Of course, I think that's less likely of an option now than it used to be, as you know. Still though, if you're willing to take a temporary point loss, it's an option, and a relatively "cheaper" one at that.

I may look again at REINJURED - I still feel like there's potential for at least some interesting boards.

I thought about somehow connecting the first R in REINJURES with the first O of OXYPHENBUTAZONE somehow, so that I could get triple scoring off that when playing the 7 letter play. It would involve playing perhaps the X or the Y in advance, and not playing one of the other letters (the U seems most affordable, as you'd only lose 3 points from UTA).

I can't seem to make it work though, as it takes a few letters and doesn't seem to average enough points per letter to justify not playing them elsewhere. I haven't been exhaustive with it though, so maybe something would work in one of my variations.

TenzingHillary at 18:05 on 12 January 2012

Canad_ian,

Welcome. Glad to see you've become interested. A 3889 game is quite impressive for your first effort.

You might find useful the blank board I've uploaded at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QDB8HJ63

"I did manage to play the 1783 high word so I then turned to the high game. It's quite a bit more challenging."

It certainly is. It took skill to figure out the 1783-point word, but Kyle Cronan (see above) supplied that skill. The actual playing-out of that word was easy (though I'd mistakenly thought that Kyle's board couldn't actually be played until Ryan corrected me on that). Achieving high GAME scores, as you note, is a whole different kettle of fish.

I see you've used my C word, and Ryan's "double double trick with the J." Both are useful, though I wouldn't conclude they're as "sacred" as the three 15-point words, which I am pretty well convinced must stay where they are (I think Ryan agrees, though he's experimenting with possible replacements for OVERIDENTIFYING). To me so far, REINJURES also appears to be inevitable, but I'm still open to being persuaded otherwise. I do, however, have a layout that does not use Ryan's "double double" enhancement (which nonetheless was quite impressive, as I've written above) and yields 3964. I'm also tempted at times to abandon my "C word," though I have not yet done so in any layout since I first figured it out.

"I'm more than curious about the four-letter yielding a whopping 63 above the XY, that just doesn't seem possible."

You'll probably figure it out eventually. When you do, you'll probably be tempted not to disturb it, given the high "local" score. But bear in mind that disturb it is just what Ryan did, ending up with a four-point boost in his total score that it took me many hours to figure out. As we discussed above, Ryan used one of the four letters used to yield the 63-point score in the lower-left corner to create his "double double trick with the J," which considerably reduced the 63-point score in the lower-left corner but more than made up for it near the J. I'll leave it to you to figure out the 63-point 4-letter combination, but caution you, for the reasons I just gave, that you should not necessarily use it. Nor, for the reasons I gave earlier, should you necessarily use Ryan's "double double J trick." I still am trying to use it myself in new board layouts, and am still considering using the 63-point score in the lower-left corner, but I'm nevertheless willing to forego one or both of those if I can find a better use for those letters.

It sounds like you've already picked up several hints, but I'll mention one again, since I've already mentioned it above, though not in "concentrated" form: The only useful 4-letter words connecting the J and the bottom B are JAMB and JIBB. That doesn't necessarily mean one must play a 4-letter word starting with J there, of course, but that's what it does mean if there is a J at that spot. This enables you to move just a few letters around to try each of those two words at that spot, with the moved letters usually ending up in the lower right corner (FLAWED instead of FLAMED, for example) or on the triple letter square just up and left of the B in OXYPHENBUTAZONE.

Finally, if you haven't done so already, you should look at the 3986-point "combined score" record game by Nathan Hedt and Stephen Root, which you can find on the Internet. You'll need to make many changes, of course, to yield a high "single player" score (the winner in that game had "only" 3690, if I recall correctly), but it's nevertheless important to study that board.

I hope this helps. As you can surmise, I think a few hints are OK but they shouldn't go so far as to take away the pleasure you'll get from figuring out the solutions on your own. (I'm still struggling to figure out better solutions myself.) Good luck, and welcome!

-- Tenzing Hillary

TenzingHillary at 18:09 on 12 January 2012

Ryan,

"I have several various boards that I'm working on between 3959 and 3969 points, but I don't have one that scores exactly 3964. I'm thinking you've either got something novel I don't, or one of us hasn't maxed out our boards."

That's interesting. I came up with that 3964 board pretty quickly, which encouraged me, but I've not been able to add a single point to it since then. (I keep hoping I inadvertently underscored it by a few points, but I've checked the scoring several times and it seems that 3964 is correct.) I will mention that it does NOT use your "4-point enhancement" near the J. I have another board, very similar, that does use that, but so far yields only 3962. All in all, it does seem we must be using different approaches.

"It seems like CRAVENING would score about 50 points lower than CAROUSING …"

I'm confused by this. As I mentioned yesterday, I think I was mistaken even to consider using CRAVENING. Because AVENING is not a word and RAVENING has 8 letters, you can't use it unless the N has already been played. That, in turn, would require playing IDENTIFY first, but IDENTIFY also has 8 letters, which means, once again, that the N must already be there. So it appears to me that CRAVENING is useless.

I've recently wondered whether CREMATING might work there, but haven't experimented with it. Obviously one is reluctant to use the M, though it would at least be on a double-letter square. The other candidates you mentioned (CENSURING 
CENTERING 
CHAUNTING 
COFFERING 
CRANCHING CRAVENING 
CREMATING 
CRIMPLING 
CRIPPLING 
CRUMBLING 
CRUMPLING 
CUMBERING) don't look promising to me, though I haven't entirely ruled out CENTERING, CENSURING, CRUMBLING and CUMBERING.

"On a different note, skipping a word in the WOLFLIKE position, while including one in the RAVIGOTE position, would cost us even fewer points than using RAVENING. I think we had dismissed that a while back, when looking at READJUSTS as an alternative to REINJURES. Of course, I think that's less likely of an option now than it used to be, as you know. Still though, if you're willing to take a temporary point loss, it's an option, and a relatively "cheaper" one at that."

I'm confused by this too. If you play a word in the RAVIGOTE position, but not in the WOLFLIKE position, how can you form REINJURES (or READJUSTS, if you haven't ruled that out yet), which has 9 letters? Certainly you could play the first R beforehand, but that would preclude the 4x multiplier. I see no alternative to playing a word in the WOLFLIKE position (assuming, of course, that you play a word in one of those two places at all).

"I may look again at REINJURED - I still feel like there's potential for at least some interesting boards."

I certainly haven't ruled it out either, though I, like you, haven't had much luck with it yet.

"I thought about somehow connecting the first R in REINJURES with the first O of OXYPHENBUTAZONE somehow, so that I could get triple scoring off that when playing the 7 letter play. It would involve playing perhaps the X or the Y in advance, and not playing one of the other letters (the U seems most affordable, as you'd only lose 3 points from UTA)."

I've also toyed with connecting REINJURES with OXYPHENBUTAZONE – for example, using RASP, then OS, so that OY and RASP would be formed when OXYPHENBUTAZONE is played. Another variation yielded RASP, SO, OH/AH, SOD/SAD/SOW/SAW (depending on what letter ends up on the triple letter square to the right), making it unnecessary to play a letter just above the first N in OXYPHENBUTAZONE. I concluded it was NOT worth hooking up the X, since you can do better after OXYPHENBUTAZONE is played by playing on the double-word square. For reasons I can't now recall (presumably: no point gain), I abandoned all of those efforts.

TenzingHillary at 18:13 on 12 January 2012

"...using RASP, then OS..." should read "using RAS, then OS..."

RyanM561 at 19:00 on 12 January 2012

I was saying to play "IN" first, as part of RAVENING, which would then leave the "N" in place to score IDENTIFY as normal. It would cost the 50 point bonus that's normally earned when playing ANKLING/ROUSING, however.

I had mentioned a while back, and was just re-iterating, that you could play RAVIGOTE or another word that has the I and the E in those positions, and not play a word in the WOLFLIKE position. The first E in REINJURES would be available, so you could play REINJURE then play SPA. You wouldn't get the full 4X benefit for REINJURES, but the point loss would only be like 20-30, which is less than the point losses we were discussing for some of the other alternatives.

TenzingHillary at 21:03 on 12 January 2012

Ryan,

Thanks for clarifying that. I've revisited RAVIGOTE a little lately, but the opportunity cost always seems too high.

RyanM561 at 00:25 on 14 January 2012

I tried going the other way with RASP as well, making WOOS/OX/OY (through several turns), but still wasn't able to come up with anything that didn't lose 10-12 points.

RyanM561 at 05:56 on 15 January 2012

TenzingHillary,

Do you want some hints on my 3969 board, or are you wanting to enjoy the challenge?

Because I'm still curious on what you're doing on your 3964 board, since you think it's optimized.

TenzingHillary at 20:45 on 15 January 2012

Ryan,

Thanks for the offer of hints, but you're right that I prefer to slog along on my own. I haven't had any luck yet, though my time's been limited. I did come up with a slight variation of my 3964 board that also yields 3964, but both boards appear to be maxed out. Based on your success with my earlier 3962 board, though, it may be that it's still got potential for more that I'm just unable to spot. My hunch, though, is that your board is a little different from mine -- which seems especially likely since, as you say, none of your boards yields exactly 3964.

I'm still confident I'll get there, but the length of time it's taking me is just further testament to your accomplishment. You deserve great credit.

RyanM561 at 22:19 on 15 January 2012

Thanks for the praise - your work was instrumental to my success, and I still think you take the lead again eventually if you keep working on it. I'll keep working on my boards then, but I am very interested in your 3964 boards.

I'm going to go through all of the REINJURES alternatives, though I'm expecting, as you've said, that REINJURED/REINJURES are the only viable options. It will still be good practice, I guess, and it might yield some new insights.

Oh, I was working on the 1783 board some the other day. By replacing DOER/DORK/BOD/DE with "FORTH", and by replacing ULna with "pUL", I can have 6 tiles leftover at the end of the game. I don't see a way to score anymore points though, and I'm inclined to believe that it has been maximized.

TenzingHillary at 02:06 on 16 January 2012

Ryan,

I'd used "FROTH" when I played 1783 -- same thing as your "FORTH," of course -- but hadn't used pUL instead of ULNa, so I ended up with 5. I suspect Kyle Cronan was just trying to make the necessary connections to yield his 1783. You may recall that I mistakenly thought you needed 7 tiles left at the end, which is why I'd tried to optimize it. But by the time I'd got it up to 5 remaining tiles, you'd pointed out above that you don't really need to do that.

I too think 1783 is tops, but that counts less coming from me than from you, since my sense of the "top" has been mistaken several times so far.

RyanM561 at 02:33 on 16 January 2012

Well, I haven't done any exhaustive work on the 1783 game. I'm just presuming that Kyle's claim about his program was accurate, as the program would probably be simple enough to write and small enough to run with such a limited list of words to test.

I think I might have figured out Jon Prentice's 3958/3959 solution as well (it's my 3959 solution that I mentioned earlier. I just remembered that my last improvement to it was squeezing out one extra point). It may not be right, of course, but I think it's optimized at 3959 for the choice of 2nd tier (7-9 letter) words.

TenzingHillary at 02:40 on 16 January 2012

Do you think a program can determine the maximum high GAME score? I certainly can see that for high WORD, since the choices are fewer, but high GAME seems hard to program.

RyanM561 at 04:36 on 16 January 2012

I'm pretty sure the programs aren't powerful enough to solve the game for the highest score from the beginning, as the game has so many potential moves. If enough assumptions are made, I expect a program could come up with solutions though. Scrabulizer checks all possible one-turn solutions, for example. The highest scoring two-turn solution might take 30 times as much computing power, so say a minutes instead of 2 seconds. After five or six turns at that pace, it would take days to come up with the highest solution.

However, it might be feasible to place the first 80-90 tiles, and have a program solve the highest total that can be scored from the remaining moves. Most programs for Scrabble are written based upon the expectation that there's a 2-4 player game going on, and that the program user is more concerned with either maximizing each single turn score or with winning the game, even if that means scoring less in total in order to play better defense. There's a much smaller audience for what we're doing here compared to the millions of players who play Scrabble and similar games, so it's likely there aren't many programs (if any) that are trying to do exactly what we're doing.

TenzingHillary at 15:23 on 16 January 2012

Ryan,

Sorry I forgot to answer your questions about my 3964 layouts. Both use TREATISE,RANKLING,OUTFABLE. The two layouts vary only in the placement of a P, a D and a blank. I have another layout that yields 3962, using your "double double J" enhancement, and yet another that is essentially the same with a slightly different sequence in the lower right corner, which yields 3961. Obviously, the efforts necessary to achieve your "double double J" aren't worthwhile for those two layouts. The two 3964 layouts (or at least the first of them) occurred to me very quickly once I'd switched to RANKLING and OUTFABLE, but, as I've said, I've been unable to add even 1 point since then.

TenzingHillary at 15:38 on 16 January 2012

Ryan,

A couple of clarifications: (1) "RANKLING" should be "CRANKLING" in both places, as you'd probably figured out; and (2) my two layouts that use your "double double J" enhancement are not just "essentially the same." The board is actually identical in both; only the sequence of play (in the lower right corner) varies between them.

RyanM561 at 22:24 on 16 January 2012

3964? I had maxed out at 3963 on that layout. In fact, I had previously thought I'd maxed out at 3965, then realized I'd double counted a two point word. It appears there is more work to be done!

RyanM561 at 23:35 on 16 January 2012

Just to clarify, my board for that layout was 3962 before adjustment for a remaining tile, which would score 3963 on Facebook, and 3964 under the set of rules that doesn't reduce player 2's score.

TenzingHillary at 00:08 on 17 January 2012

Ryan,

I just checked the scoring again, and it comes up to 3964 (3963 before the one-point bonus, under Facebook scoring).

I'm not sure why you're coming up one point short. Are you playing HEW/AW and JAMB?

TenzingHillary at 00:09 on 17 January 2012

You might also double-check the scoring on MICROTECHNIQUES. As you know, that varies, depending on what small words you have hanging down from it.

RyanM561 at 01:34 on 17 January 2012

Found it. I had 3964, but had incorrectly noted 3 instead of 4 for a play. I hadn't actually played this board out on Facebook, since I developed it after the 3966 board. I did figure out how to play it in about 2 hours though (using a fast computer with a very wide screen and a lot of ram).

In regards to your comments, I hadn't explored the P move, though I now see two different D placements that work with it. Still no gains yet though. I really feel like there's more potential here, since a blank can be moved around, unlike my other boards.

RyanM561 at 03:02 on 17 January 2012

My 3959 board is now 3960, by the way. Apparently I had copied and pasted that error when copying a series of identical moves.

TenzingHillary at 03:10 on 17 January 2012

Ryan,

Glad that's cleared up. As you noted, this layout is unusual in that a blank is left over at the end -- rare, indeed. Nonetheless, whether I move it around or just play it, I end up with 3964. My "movement" of the blank, incidentally, had it taking the place of the P, which in turn took the place of a D, which in turn formed a 9-point word in the lower left corner. When the dust cleared, the net change was a whopping zero.

RyanM561 at 04:56 on 19 January 2012

I came up with another 3962 solution today (using a different combination of words in the CAROUSING/ALAMEDA position). I still have three more of those to check, but these were the combinations that didn't look very promising.

Are you finding anything exciting?

I got an email from the guy who has the Scrabble FAQ (I had emailed him a while back). He's corrected the error in the 3986 board that's in the FAQ, and I mentioned to him to update the 1782 score to 1783 score, and to include the record we're working on as well.

TenzingHillary at 20:27 on 19 January 2012

Ryan,

I'm still having no luck with 3969. It's tougher this time. Last time, you'd started with my own layout and just tweaked it - tweaked it extremely impressively, but at least I knew what you'd started from. This time, I don't know exactly what layout you started with. Still, no hints, please. I'm confident I'll figure it out sooner or later, frustrating though it's been. Of course, you might be at 3970 by then.

I've wondered, by the way, whether it might be feasible to construct, at the top of the board, an equivalent to the "J" multiplier at the bottom, placing, for example, a W in the corresponding position, forming CROW or CREW or CRAW coming down from the top row. Horizontally would be a word in the position corresponding to REINJURES. Obviously this would require a radical departure from the boards we've been working on, and my limited experimentation has yielded no encouragement so far, but if this ever did pan out, the possibilities could be considerable. Consider how many points get generated, after all, by the J.

RyanM561 at 22:30 on 19 January 2012

Our boards do great on the Z, Q, and X, and I think great on the J as well. The goal would be to better maximize the next tier letters (one of the V's, one of the W's, one of the M's, one of the B's, and one of the D's). Improving the number of times those are multiplied will yield our biggest improvements.

Finding a way to score one of the W's like the J is definitely interesting, but only yields have the pointts (36 points would be gained by scoring the W 13 times instead of 4, for example). Definitely worth looking into, but are you also trying to keep the same number of 50 point bonuses?

I'm sure you'll figure it out my solution if you're going systematically, but I'm more hoping you find something different that scores more. My hope is that you'll break the 3969 barrier, and we'll keep increasing the score from there. Of course, I'm also hoping others find this and join in the effort.

It's funny you mention CROW, as I remember looking at "CROWSTEP" and "CROWKEEPER" (and related words) when I was looking at OVERSIMPLIFYING instead of OVERIDENTIFYING, but I didn't find a suitable word that formed a new one when a "C" was added to the front.

I'll give it a shot at some point, after I finish maximixing a few other boards. I think I have about eight boards now that score 3960 or more, so that obsessive part of me still wants to squeeze a miracle out of one of them.

RyanM561 at 22:31 on 19 January 2012

"only yields half the points" rather (sorry - I was interrupted a few times while typing).

canad_ian at 15:50 on 23 January 2012

Well, I've managed to learn a few of your tricks and have improved my posting by 65 points to 3954, which places me fourth for now. I'm not sure I'll ever better that but figuring out the 3959, 3962, 3966 and 3969 boards posted mentioned is a puzzle hard to let go of. I'm giving it a rest for awhile though, waiting an hour for one letter was a killer.

TenzingHillary at 16:06 on 23 January 2012

Congratulations canad_ian. Glad to hear you're still hooked. A rest will do you good, but it's hard not to get back into it, especially when you know higher scores are being achieved (especially Ryan's 3969, which I've yet to figure out).

RyanM561 at 21:37 on 23 January 2012

Yes, congratulations! Welcome to the discussion. I'm delighted to see someone else involved. 3954 is a great score, because it passes a benchmark that existed for quite some time, yet still has room for improvement to be really motivating.

I'm sure rest will be good, but once you discover that next big score, especially if it moves you in the ranking, those hours don't seem so bad.

In case this helps you in future games, my tile drawing strategy is to swap all 7 of my tiles for the one or more tiles that are the most rare in the tile bag. For example, if I'm drawing for OXYPBZE, and I get OOOEEEE, I would trade all 7 tiles again on the next turn, in order to have a better chance at getting the Z and/or the X. Once I have the Z, I swap for the X (or the next most rare letter(s) I don't have, if I get it on the same turn as the Z) until I'm swapping one tile for the most common letter. That way I get several chances per turn for the rare letters by swapping several tiles, and several chances per turn for the more common letters, by drawing for one of a few copies of those letters. Near the end of most games, though, you're going to be drawing for a set of mostly unique tiles, which does take a while, especially when you have 5 or 6 of the 7 you need, and there are 7 or more tiles in the bag.

Also, once you swap some letters, the other player can immediately go to "my turn games" (whatever it's called) and select the game, then pass or take whatever action is necessary. When I played my 3953 game, I actually waited the 15-60 seconds every turn to be told that Player 2 could go, and it took like 8-10 hours to play out the game. Still exciting, but a very long day.

canad_ian at 00:55 on 24 January 2012

I had a long reply penned but as this site didn't like my "two words" I'm hard pressed to repeat them other than to say I stole all my moves from this blog and am especially thankful to Ryan's comments before his landmark post.

My game took 4 hours, 57 minutes with over an hour waiting for the K.

TenzingHillary at 22:19 on 24 January 2012

I'm able to play much more quickly than either of you are describing.

I have both players' Scrabble games open, on separate browsers, as I assume you do too. I use Chrome and Firefox, and assume here I'm using Chrome for the winning player.

Assume I'm swapping on the Chrome browser and passing on the Firefox browser. In Chrome, I swap my letters, immediatelyI click on the Firefox window, and then hit the "refresh" keys (Apple-R, for me), which speeds up the "transfer" from one player to the other. I then click "Skip" and confirm by clicking "Yes." Then I click on the Chrome window again, hit the "refresh" keys there and repeat the process. After a short while, I figure out exactly where my pointer needs to be while I'm waiting for a button to become active (for example, the "Swap" button on the Chrome browser). Before long, I'm down to about 15 seconds average (30 seconds "round trip").

My hunch is that the big difference may be my hitting "refresh" the moment after I click on the other browser. If you simply wait for the Scrabble game software to switch from one player to another, the wait is much longer. Even if you do hit "refresh" there's still a bit of a wait, but it's much shorter.

I hope this helps.

TenzingHillary at 22:23 on 24 January 2012

I think the last game I played out (3966) took a bit under 3 hours, though I can't remember for sure. Incidentally, as I'm sure you noticed, the wait time varies considerably. My last game, I played my first word (all 7 letters) after only about 4 swaps, which I thought was an omen of good luck. That was not to be, though. Other words took as much as 30-40 minutes.

RyanM561 at 22:28 on 24 January 2012

I actually got my play down to just over 2 hours on my 3969 game. I was just talking about when I first started playing and was trying to set my 3953 game (which took multiple tries, due to an error I made in the first game).

RyanM561 at 02:43 on 28 January 2012

To anyone reading:

I had a breakthrough last night! After 19 more days of work since my last one, I came up with a board that scores 3983 for player 1 under FB rules (3984 under Official/international rules). I just finished playing it. This board also sets a new record for total game score versus the Scrabble FAQ. I'm going to spend a while trying to optimize it further, but as always, it initially looks pretty tight.

TenzingHillary at 04:29 on 28 January 2012

Congratulations, Ryan.

Just when I'd hoped to catch up. Great credit where due. That's an amazing accomplishment. 4,000 next?

TenzingHillary at 04:42 on 28 January 2012

Ryan,

In a way, it's a relief to hear of such a high score. Now, at least, I know there's no point wondering whether maybe I can squeeze an extra few points out of the lower right corner by re-sequencing the play there (as I've done many times, and suspect you have too in the past). Clearly you came up with something radically different, so I'll have to consider a whole lot of options.

Now that your 3969 game is "history," I would be curious to hear a hint as to how you got there -- but ONLY if you can give that hint without also giving anything away about your 3983 game. You deserve immense credit for that, and if anyone ever matches or tops it, they should do so on their own.

RyanM561 at 06:20 on 29 January 2012

Yes, the quest to pass 4000 is ongoing. I was fortunate that this discovering increased both my total and my one player records. I was worried that I might somehow find a way to score 3975 or so but still not break the 3986 total score from the FAQ.

I'll probably keep playing as long as it looks interesting, but getting above 4000 on Facebook seems like a nice place to take a break. I have been looking at this practically every day for almost two months now. Eventually I expect I'll try to get my solutions published in the Scrabble FAQ.

I'm not sure how much of a hint to give, so I'll speak in generalities. The 3969 board involved larger scale changes than the 3962>3966 change. The 3983 game did as well, but was more of a natural progression from the 3969 board, including using one variation I had previously declared not useful on prior boards. I hope that helps.

RyanM561 at 06:56 on 29 January 2012

With all my typos here, I realize how much I've become conditioned by Word and its grammar checking. I meant "discovery" rather than "discovering" above.

TenzingHillary at 07:16 on 29 January 2012

Ryan,

I hope you'll reconsider whether to get your solution published in Scrabble FAQ. The "high word" contest is uninteresting because no one has really done anything but play out Kyle Cronan's published solution. People can learn some things from reading our exchange here, which is fine, but coming up with a "high game" solution -- especially yours -- remains something that requires skill and hard work. It's your call, of course, but I vote for you keeping your solution secret. You can simply tell Scrabble FAQ what your "combined player" score was, and they'll undoubtedly concede that it is certainly above the old record total, since you're only two points short of that with your single-player score. If they want to "asterisk" your record, so be it, but it would be difficult for them to deny that you've broken the record.

Remember: you can always change your mind and publish your solution, but you can't change your mind and "unpublish" it.

RyanM561 at 12:47 on 29 January 2012

TenzingHillary,

I won't be publishing anything anytime soon, and I will consider the decision thoroughly before doing so.

There's a program called Quackle which works very similar to the Scrabulizer applet, but seems to have some multiple move solving capabilities. I don't think it will be able to construct a board from scratch, but it might be able to confirm how to maximize the points from a few "loose tiles" (the ones that aren't structurally necessary for the board, but are just distributed to score points.

I think I'll just try to find a way to score 4 more points, because 3987 on Facebook guarantees that 3986 total has been broken.

TenzingHillary at 17:48 on 29 January 2012

Ryan,

I'm not familiar with Quackie (or the Scrabulizer applet, for that matter). I can't imagine they do anything you can't do with word lists and blank boards, can they?

As you know from prior comments, I'm skeptical that computer programs can really outdo humans in "high game" playing, simply because there are too many variables (not the case for "high word" play, where I can imagine programs would help). As one nears the end of the game, I suppose, there are fewer variables, and so I can imagine a program helps, assuming it allows you to plug in the state of the board.

TenzingHillary at 17:49 on 29 January 2012

I should mention that I was once skeptical about computer chess players too, but I gather they've outplayed many grand masters.

RyanM561 at 23:00 on 29 January 2012

Scrabulizer is the site we're on now. I had mentioned it before when you provided your spreadsheet - I thought you knew of it. If you just go to scrabulizer.com, you can type in whatever's on the board, then type what letters are in your rack, and it will tell you the highest scoring moves available. I was just referring to it as an applet, as it's not a separate application, but rather built into a page. It's what was used to generate the graphic that is at the beginning of this post.

Since computer programs are powerful enough to see every possible move for a given turn, and can play a pretty good endgame, it makes sense that they would rival the top human players when both players are competing for high score. They typically aren't designed to assume one of the players will pass continuously. Most programs will always generate the moves that yield the highest score each turn, or the move that best balances score and blocks the position for the other player.

I was thinking about it my FB total score on my 3983 game.
Player 2 had to have at least 5 points on the rack at the beginning of the game.

Those points were not counted in the 3983 if they were played on the board, and they were only counted once in the 3983 score if they were unplayed. Since official rules count them twice in the total, at least five points aren't being counted in my 3983 score, regardless of whether they were played or not. I therefore argue that Facebook has verified a minimum of 3988 for my game in which Player 1 scored 3983, which does set the new record for total score.

In actuality, of course, my total was higher than 3988, but no one can argue I didn't score at least 3988. Does that math seem right?

canad_ian at 02:24 on 30 January 2012

3983! Wow! Just when I think the target is in sight it gets moved, ha. I thought about your 3983 and it inspired me to try again. I shortened my game play time to four hours and posted a 3963. I'm hoping something will come to me in my dreams to better that but I'm happy to be third anyway. Again let me say that the constant improvements you post are inspiring Ryan.

RyanM561 at 03:02 on 30 January 2012

It sounds like you're coming for us! I love it! I guess I can't take it easy yet. Any words or strategies you'd care to share that seemed to work really well for you? I'm always looking to hear new ideas.

TenzingHillary at 06:55 on 30 January 2012

You and I know that Player 2 always plays all of his tiles except 1. Nonetheless, unless I'm missing something, you'll still have to rely on the Scrabble FAQ people taking your word for it (I certainly would). At least in theory, it's possible that Player 2 never played a turn. In that case, your 3983 (under Facebook rules) would include whatever points Player 2 had in his rack at the end, and Player 2 would end up with a negative score equal to the aggregate points in his rack Under North American tournament rules, your score would include double the aggregate points in Player 2's rack and Player 2 would end up with zero.

I certainly wouldn't need convincing, if I were running the Scrabble FAQ site, but that theoretical possibility remains.

TenzingHillary at 07:13 on 30 January 2012

canad_ian,

Congratulations on your 3963. Though Ryan's 3983 is way out ahead of us, bear in mind that your 3963 would have given you the top spot only a few weeks ago.

I have the same reaction as you to Ryan's 3983 -- or reactions, I should say. First and foremost: an extremely impressive accomplishment, for which Ryan deserves great credit. Second: deflating. Third (after the passage of some time from Reaction #2): inspiring. At least now we know such a score is possible, and so we can and will go after it.

Who knows? Maybe even 3984. I'm forever cured of my bad habit of saying it can't go any higher.

canad_ian at 21:00 on 30 January 2012

RyanM561,

About the only "words or strategies" I can share are that I'd still be at 3889 if I hadn't carefully reviewed all the hints found in this blog. It's funny but most of my increases have come to mind just lying in bed thinking about it not actually looking at a board. Every score I've had at first seemed impossible to top and then in a flash a little wrinkle adds a few more points. I'm topped out until I have another "aha" moment.

TenzingHillary

What's the Scrabble FAQ site? I take it from the conversations that this site gives honour only to the highest combined score. What is that at present?

3983 seems awfully hard to beat but from the previous conversations I guess 3953, 3958, 3962, 3966 and 3969 seemed equally difficult but have all fallen to Ryan and the majority to yourself as well. I still have three to match before even thinking of higher.

TenzingHillary at 02:49 on 31 January 2012

canad_ian,

The Scrabble FAQ site lists only the "combined score" record, which is 3986 under the scoring rules they use (which give the player who goes out double the tile scores of the other player, but subtract nothing from that other player's score). That score would be 3985 under Facebook Scrabble rules (which add the other player's tile scores to the score of the player who goes out, and subtract the same number from the other player's score). Presuming as I do that the "other player" had 1 point left when Ryan went out in his 3983 game, his winning score would have been 3984 under the Scrabble FAQ scoring rule. We don't know what the "combined score" would have been, but I have no doubt it's well above the old record, as Ryan says.

Glad to hear you're hooked. Also glad you've been able to benefit from this discussion, though it sounds like you're glad that the hints have not been so extensive that the fun is taken out of it. (Lately, of course, you and I are left totally in the dark as to how Ryan scored 3983, but that's as it should be.)

RyanM561 at 02:54 on 31 January 2012

canad_ian at 06:55 on 31 January 2012

Arghh (and that's a Scrabble word)! I spent over three hours thinking I had a second place game but I'd screwed up the endgame and it was for naught or might as well have been. I did manage a replay in under that time which scored 3966 so I'm not totally disappointed. Okay Ryan, where the @$#! did you find 17 more?

TenzingHillary at 18:58 on 31 January 2012

Ryan and Canad_ian,

As I mentioned earlier, Ryan's 3983 game is liberating in a way, because it makes clear that something more radical is required to get there. No more tweaking a small section of the board to squeeze out an extra point or two. I'm more and more confident I'll get there eventually, though I suspect it will take a while. Nonetheless, I can't stop being impressed, even amazed, that Ryan managed to add 14 points to his already impressive top score.

I should mention, by the way, that all three of us (and several other Facebook players) are about 1,100 points above what the record used to be about three years ago, when I first started working on "high game" play. I think Jon Prentice had the record back then, but it was somewhere in the 2800's, if I recall correctly. Jon rose to the occasion once I'd pushed the record higher, and he now sits at 3959 himself. But Jon and I (and later others) added those 1,100+ points with a lot less effort than I suspect it took Ryan to add the last 14. That is why I find Ryan's accomplishment more impressive.

In my effort to top Ryan's 3983 game, I've reverted to a disciplined, back-to-basics approach. As a first step, I've decided to strip away whatever I don't know for sure should be there. As a second step, I've focused on the high-point letters that remain after the "locked-in" portions of the board have been played – figuring out which of those remaining high-point letters aren't receiving high multipliers when they're placed where we place them in our mid-3960s layouts. As a third step, I've identified multiple possible layouts that might enable me to maximize the multipliers for as many of those high-point letters as possible, assuming that I am able later to find actual words for those layouts that place the high-point tiles in good positions. As a fourth step, I've actually laid out half-completed boards with these possible layouts, but with only an "X" placeholder letter at each spot in the layout (other than the "locked-in" spots, where I play the actual letter). My final step, which I'm at now and expect to be for quite some time, is to experiment with those numerous layouts, always trying to avoid the temptation to charge too soon down some apparently promising road.

As you can imagine, the alternatives start to multiply once one reaches the third step, even more so at the fourth step, and especially once the final "experimenting" step begins. Nonetheless, this approach is helpful for me because (1) the first step narrows my options somewhat, but not more than I can "prove" is warranted; (2) the second step focuses my attention where it should be: on maximizing the "multipliers" on letters for which high multiples will make the biggest difference; and (3) the remaining steps keep me from charging prematurely down some dead-end road. This, of course, leaves me standing at the "crossroads" a great deal longer than I might like, but it beats taking the wrong road.

On the first step, I continue to believe the "Big 3" 15-point words are the best, with MICROTECHNIQUES across the top, OVERIDENTIFYING across the middle, and OXYPHENBUTAZONE across the bottom. (As I've mentioned before, I play my 15-point words horizontally, an arbitrary choice; I recognize they can just as easily be played vertically.)

I'll give my reasons for each choice.

MICROTECHNIQUES: I long ago looked very carefully at the possibility of switching the positions of MICROTECHNIQUES and OXYPHENBUTAZONE, and concluded it can't be done. Among other reasons, there are no 2-letter or 3-letter words that remain a word when Q is added to the end, which precludes putting MICROTECHNIQUES along the bottom unless one is willing to sacrifice many points from the vertical Q word (and can figure out a way to avoid it when connecting to the U or E in MICROTECHNIQUES, one of which letters must be in place before MICROTECHNIQUES can be played). By contrast, if MICROTECHNIQUES is played along the top, several words "hanging down" from it are possible, such as QI, QAT, QAID, QADI. And that is why I leave MICROTECHNIQUES at the top.

OXYPHENBUTAZONE: Certainly there are good arguments for placing OXYPHENBUTAZONE along the top instead of along the bottom – as it is, of course, when played as a "high word." But I can't find any way to maximize the J when I do that – which, needless to say, gets multiplied very many times when it is played where we now play it, 3 squares above the B in OXYPHENBUTAZONE at the bottom of the board. There are two three-letter words – JIB and JAM – that remain words when a B is added to the end. By contrast, there are no three-letter words ending in J that remain words when a B is added to the front. Nor are there any 4-letter words with a J in the third position that remain words when a B is added to the front. Thus, unless one can come up with an alternative for placing the J that matches or exceeds the very high J score yielded by our usual placement of it, it is inevitable that OXYPHENBUTAZONE will be played along the bottom.

OVERIDENTIFYING: As Ryan and I have discussed here, the only attractive alternative that comes to mind is OVERSIMPLIFYING, which replaces IDENT with SIMPL. But that places P on the very center square of the board, which makes it virtually impossible to connect in any useful manner with the second C in MICROTECHNIQUES at the top of the board. (I'm leaving out details in this argument, but I'm confident you've both examined this closely enough to know what I mean.) That leaves OVERIDENTIFYING.

A tougher call is REINJURES. Clearly REINJURED is an alternative, which I've examined and am examining again. The only other alternative I see is READJUSTS, which I haven't ruled out but nevertheless looks unattractive at the moment. The problem with READJUSTS is that neither of the "connector" letters from above (E and T) can form a two-letter word (other than RE at the beginning, but that would require playing an R on the double-word square, depriving one of the 4x multiplier that is the whole purpose of the exercise). Because 2 letters need to be in place before one plays READJUSTS (since READJUSTS is a 9-letter word), this requires 2 separate words descending from OVERIDENTIFYING. That is what was done, of course, in the 3986 "combined score" record game – RAVIGOTE and WOLFLIKE – even though READJUSTS was NOT then played in that game. But two 8-letter "connector" words use up a lot of letters. This is precisely why, as you know, I did away with RAVIGOTE some time ago, leaving me with only WOLFLIKE to descend toward the bottom of the board. That is possible as long as one uses REINJURES (or REINJURED) instead of READJUSTS, since one can play the second RE combination before playing the remaining 7 letters in REINJURES (or REINJURED). This makes it unnecessary to play any word in the RAVIGOTE position. It doesn't necessarily mean one should NOT play a word in the RAVIGOTE position – which does, after all, yield many points – but it does mean one need not do so. I'm still considering a word in the RAVIGOTE position, which would make READJUSTS possible, but my hopes aren't high for that approach at the moment.

Another alternative arguably justifying the use of READJUSTS is one that Ryan discussed here earlier: playing a word in the RAVIGOTE position (but not in the WOLFLIKE position), then playing READJUST for a 2x multiplier, then playing READJUSTS/SPA. But, as Ryan noted, that significantly reduces the value of the J, which drops from an 8x multiplier to a 6x multiplier in this two-step play (setting aside Ryan's clever "double-double J" enhancement, which would be impossible in any even with this two-step approach).

So, bottom line, what I consider to be "locked in" are the three 15-point words, with REINJURES (or REINJURED) close to that status but not quite there. REINJURES (or REINJURED) will be added to my "locked in" list if I can't pretty soon find a justification for READJUSTS, keeping in mind its limitations just described. I haven't ruled that out yet, and my back-to-basics approach will (I hope) keep me patient enough not to rule it out prematurely, but I will say that I am not optimistic at the moment that I'll settle on READJUSTS in favor of REINJURES (or REINJURED).

There are other open questions, of course, in addition to the one I've already mentioned (REINJURED/DITZ, as a possible alternative to REINJURES/SPA) – such as the relative merits, in the lower right corner, of FLAWED, FLAMED and FLAVOR, as Ryan and I have discussed here earlier. Once again, though, I'm hesitant to pick any one of those three alternatives prematurely, since that choice inevitably affects the remaining steps in the analysis. For example, if one chooses FLAMED, there will be a W and a V available for use elsewhere; if one instead chooses FLAVOR, there will instead be an M or a W. I don't think it makes sense to choose among FLAWED, FLAMED and FLAVOR until one has also considered how useful the "freed-up" letters will be elsewhere. I've played around with all three combinations in the lower-right corner long enough to know the pros and cons of each very well, and so I intend to just keep all three in mind as options until I've narrowed the choices elsewhere on the board.

I recognize this leaves me far from a solution that will get me to Ryan's 3983, but I think it's both necessary and stimulating. Necessary since, as I wrote above, mere tweaking pretty clearly isn't going to bridge the huge gap from where canad_ian and I are now to 3983; it might get us a few more points, but nowhere near 3983. Stimulating because it feels good not be charging prematurely down some road that I find will yield only a few more points at most.

Any comments you have on this will be appreciated, though I would ask that Ryan not give any comments that would shed light on his 3983-point game. I can only speak for myself, but I think canad_ian agrees that it will be much more satisfying for us to figure out on our own (if ever) how to match that score. In addition, if we do get there on our own, there will be a greater possibility that we can top 3983 rather than simply match it, since it's very likely that Ryan has already optimized the layout he used to get there (or will before we get there, if he hasn't already).

canad_ian at 00:58 on 1 February 2012

Well said TenzingHillary. I'll need a lot of time and a fresh approach to further my quest of a higher score. Ryan "you da man."

TenzingHillary at 21:35 on 1 February 2012

This new approach is bearing fruit. I've got a 3978 game, within shouting distance of 3983. As usual, I see no prospect of squeezing more points out of it, but I've really just begun trying. As I know from Ryan's jump from 3962 to 3966, not all enhancements are immediately obvious.

RyanM561 at 22:25 on 1 February 2012

Excellent! If you beat 3983, I still want some kind of hint though.

TenzingHillary at 22:35 on 1 February 2012

Will do, but I've got to get there first. I need not tell you that the last few points are the toughest.

RyanM561 at 23:49 on 1 February 2012

Well, it's possible you've already made some kind of change that would bolster my score, but as we've discussed, it's better for you to advance it as far as possible before hinting it to me. Of course, if you take the lead again, then we'll know you have something better. I guess that push from Ian was all you need to break through the next level.

TenzingHillary at 00:58 on 2 February 2012

Ryan,

It's indeed great to have Ian here, though the real push has been your 3983 score. If you hadn't arrived on the scenes, I'd have continued to believe my 3962 was the highest possible.

Incidentally, I'm in the course of playing out my 3978 game, though I've yet to pick the letters necessary for even the first word. I'm hoping that, before I get very far along, I'll have figured out how to boost it higher.

RyanM561 at 21:35 on 2 February 2012

TenzingHillary, how did your game go? It hasn't updated on Facebook as of this post. I've been polishing my existing boards some, but I haven't come up anything really new yet.

I'm starting to think I may be at the point where a more radical innovation is going to be needed again, but I haven't thought of anything else yet. I'll keep optimizing the boards I have to cultivate my inspiration.

TenzingHillary at 00:04 on 3 February 2012

Ryan,

I have just gone through over 200 "swaps" trying to get the Y for IDENTIFY (my second word), still with no luck, even though the first 6 letters showed up in about 2 minutes. I've vacillated in any case about playing out a "second place" game, which I've never done, and the longer I wait, the more likely I'll figure out how to add 5 or 6 points. On the other hand, 3978 is impressive enough, and so I'm all but certain I'll settle (at least for now) for a very respectable second place if I can't think of some clever enhancement in the next day or two. Certainly on Saturday, if I haven't played it out by then.

RyanM561 at 00:12 on 3 February 2012

It tooke me 30, 26, and 35 swaps to play my first three turns (each was a 7 letter word).

RyanM561 at 00:13 on 3 February 2012

Each was a 7 tile play, rather.

TenzingHillary at 00:17 on 3 February 2012

Ryan and Canad_ian,

I will mention one change that may be of interest to you, though it's possible Ryan's 3983 game used the same change: My game does not use REINJURES, but does use one of the two alternatives we've been discussing lately. I have a hunch that Ryan may have made the same change, but that's mere speculation.

I'll also mention that, at the very end, I'm left with 3 "free letters" to do whatever I want with -- either WAS or WOS -- but I need to come up with 55 points from those three letters to tie Ryan's 3983, or 56 points to top that score. So far, all I can come up with is 50. While I don't see any prospects at the moment for increasing that total, I'm mindful of the valuable lesson Ryan taught me when he managed to squeeze 4 more points out of my then-record board, boosting the record from 3962 to 3966. That lesson was that it may be necessary to make some more comprehensive substitutions of letters at the end -- not merely looking for a better spot for one or two tiles.

I'm hoping some brilliant idea comes to mind before I'm too far along in the game play to take advantage of it. Even if I have played out the game too far by then, I'm sure I'll just start over if something better comes to mind. Absent that stroke of brilliance, though, I'll just play out the 3978 game. Wish I'd thought of it a few weeks ago -- just proves the old adage: Necessity is the mother of invention. "Necessity" in the form of Ryan's 3983-point game.

RyanM561 at 01:34 on 3 February 2012

Hmmm.... for some reason I was expecting you to say you had an "L" as well. Let me see what I do with this information.

TenzingHillary at 01:41 on 3 February 2012

Ryan,

I'm probably making too much of your observation, but I looked at my board to figure out why you thought I might have an L too. I did use an L in the upper right corner, to make ILL coming down from the top. Just a speculation here, but I'm guessing that, if you had an extra L, you played a word there that doesn't require a third letter for any of the words formed in the second row. At the moment (without a word list in hand) only one such word comes to mind: REEDITS. I didn't play that there (or anywhere), though I certainly considered it and still am. The fact that you ended up with an extra L suggests to me that you may have.

No need to comment, especially if doing so would give me a hint. I'm just thinking out loud here.

TenzingHillary at 01:47 on 3 February 2012

Ryan,

As is probably obvious from my mention of REEDIT, my game uses CRANKLING rather than CAROUSING.

RyanM561 at 01:49 on 3 February 2012

I wasn't saying I had an extra L, I was just saying that if you had an extra W, S, and A/O, I would have expected you to have one. ILL explains it.

TenzingHillary at 02:12 on 3 February 2012

Ryan,

Now I'm even more impressed that you figured out I should have an extra L (but for ILL). I'm beginning to think we used the same approach, though, if that's true, obviously you've made 5 points more from it. I'll keep trying, but so far no breakthrough. I may end up with just 3978 for now (if I ever draw the Y I need for IDENTIFY, that is).

TenzingHillary at 17:44 on 3 February 2012

Ryan and Canad_ian,

No brilliant ideas came to me, and so I played out my 3978 game. As I mentioned, I'd been reluctant to play out a game that didn't put me in first place, but there were no competitors like you two out there when I settled upon that practice. You guys have made it much more interesting (TOO interesting, in the case of Ryan's 3983 game!), and so I'm proud to post any score that's higher than what I've done before.

It may be that I'm simply overlooking some enhancement in the layout that yielded 3978, but I'm going to yank myself back to my disciplined approach and try a different variation, and then maybe a third if the next variation doesn't yield a higher game. Once I've experimented with each of those variations (and any others that come to mind along the way), I'll try to figure out which of them deserves a closer look.

TenzingHillary at 17:50 on 3 February 2012

Incidentally, that was a very odd game to play out. It took me (I'd guess) about 300 swaps to get the Y I needed for IDENTIFY. Later, when I was missing the E and Y necessary to make OXYPHENBUTAZONE, both letters showed up the first time I drew to get them. Other "waiting times" were more or less average, but it's nonetheless remarkable how much the "luck of the draw" can vary. It's hard to get used to the inescapable fact that, if you have, say, 2 chances in 79 of picking the letter you need and that letter doesn't show up 50 times in a row, your odds remain just as low, 2 in 79, as they were on the very first try.

That's why, of course, we lay out our games ahead of time -- and why I never look forward to actually playing one out.

RyanM561 at 20:30 on 3 February 2012

Congrats TenzingHillary!

Since you were being rotated between second and third place, being tied, and now you're in a solid second, it was an advancement, in a way, at least in my opinion.

I've got a few new boards to work on as well, as I had previously ruled out some words that do seem to work. Everything looks like it's going to fall a few points short of 3983 though, but I'll keep crunching the numbers.

If you come up with something higher, I still want to eventually know a little more about your 3978 board, as I don't have a layout that scores exactly that.

TenzingHillary at 20:58 on 3 February 2012

Ryan,

I used REINJURED. I hope that helps.

johnsbuffalo at 21:23 on 3 February 2012

Interesting commentary regarding highest possible scrabble game. I am actually working towards a similar challenge with an added twist. Scrabble for iPad/iPhone has recently added gamecenter, allowing people to keep track of their highest score and compare to other people. The game allows you to play yourself, however, the added challenge is that this game only allows 5 straight swaps, as your 6th automatically ends the game as a forfeit. This is super annoying. I've been following all the steps above, and the highest score I've obtained is 3736, putting me in 3rd place out of 300,000 or so. It's a much more complicated game because now you have to have "safety net" tiles stored up in advance, so that you can place a single letter somewhere and continue swapping till you get that 7 tile max word. It's probably raised my blood pressure several points (anyone?)

TenzingHillary at 21:33 on 3 February 2012

johnsbuffalo,

I don't have Scrabble for iPad/iPhone, and the maximum-pass rule would certainly prevent very high games. Why don't you try your hand at Facebook Scrabble?

RyanM561 at 03:03 on 4 February 2012

Johnsbuffalo,

Definitely an interesting, more challenging task. I'm not sure how I feel about it though, as it makes luck more important (or our challenge makes it less important, however you want to frame it). I may jump into that at some point, after I'm done here. I would think you could make most of the same plays, but not get most of the 50 point bonuses, so it would involve building the words one to a few letters at a time, based upon what you had. It would be a neat challenge to see how to modify the plays to increase their likeliness of being drawn quickly, while reducing the points as little as possible. I'm sure there were plenty of "more likely to be drawn" plays that we've ruled out because they score one or more points less than our strategies.

RyanM561 at 03:15 on 4 February 2012

And I second TenzingHillary's challenge to you to try it on Facebook - how much more could you score if you didn't have that restriction?

TenzingHillary at 03:24 on 5 February 2012

Ryan and Canad_Ian,

I'm up to 3981, but I can't see those last two points anywhere.

RyanM561 at 07:09 on 5 February 2012

Way to go! Now I almost feel bad that I recommended you play out your 3978 game that soon. Almost... :-) I'm starting to get the feeling that my days alone at #1 (or at #1 at all) are numbered.

TenzingHillary at 15:32 on 5 February 2012

Ryan,

Well, I don't know whether you need to worry. I'm hitting a brick wall on those last two points. I actually thought I had 3983 yesterday, since I'd found a way to add 5 points to my score (3978 +5 =3983). Unfortunately, I quickly realized I'd been experimenting with a variation of my 3978 board that yielded only 3976. So I was still left two points short. Even so, a nice boost.

TenzingHillary at 17:03 on 5 February 2012

Ryan,

I don't know whether you ended up with the same "end game" as I have. If you did, though, you end up with several letters that can be moved here or there, and even whole words that can be replaced. This makes it fascinating but, so far, I've been frustrated.

TenzingHillary at 18:43 on 5 February 2012

Ryan,

I got it. I don't know how I'd missed the last 2-point enhancement. Actually, I do: I thought I'd looked at it as soon as I'd reached 3981, but in fact I hadn't. As a result, I didn't look at it again until a short time ago.

I hate to say this yet again, but I'm inclined to think we've maxed it out at 3983. I know that inspires you, so you'd better get to work.

Tenzing

TenzingHillary at 04:34 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

You asked about my 3978 game. I can only speculate whether my 3983 game was the same as yours (I have a hunch it was), but I can say that my 3978 game had some interesting differences. Different words in the upper right corner and lower right corner, and a tile on the double word square in the third row up from the bottom in the lower right corner. I'll wager that that is enough information necessary for you to figure out at least the lower right corner, and I gave you enough information a few days ago to figure out (I think) the upper right corner.

As I said, I changed the upper right and lower right corners to yield 3983, and I don't know whether more than 3978 can be squeezed out of my 3978 board. But you're the guy who can do it if anyone can.

As you've been doing, I'll try to get more from my 3983 board, though I stopped working on it today as soon as I got there. Maybe a point or two is possible (though I certainly didn't notice it), but I think some other breakthrough will be necessary to get much higher. And I sure don't see that breakthrough. The only possibilities I see -- and I emphasize "possibilities" without any adjective such as "promising" attached -- are FLAVOR/AVO, READJUSTS, and OVERSIMPLIFYING.

I think it's clear to you that I used REINJURED for my 3983 game, and I'm fairly confident you did too, so obviously I don't put that on the same list as these other possibilities. Again, there may be a little room for improvement over what we've done, but I plan to take a break unless you force me, once again, to go back to work. I have a sneaking suspicion that you will. Good luck.

nathanhedt at 07:56 on 6 February 2012

Hi guys.
Just wieghing in.
I have improved my own pattern. The target score is now 4032. As soon as I have posted this to the author of the Scrabble FAQ or relevant webmaster I will let you have at it.
Nathan

nathanhedt at 07:56 on 6 February 2012

Can't believe I misspelled 'weighing.' Sorry. My bad.

RyanM561 at 09:25 on 6 February 2012

Hooray! Nathan's finally joined in! My 3983 game yielded 3999 total, by the way, which I (perhaps mistakenly) believed stood up as a record not long ago. I always believed a higher score was possible though.

Nathan, have you calculated the most either of the two players can score in your 4032 game? Also, is that using the SOWPODS list or one of the TWL's? If restricted to TWL06, could it still be played out? You should totally take the Facebook record, if you can (I'm assuming you can) - it's only fair.

RyanM561 at 14:36 on 6 February 2012

Nathan,

I realize you may not be interested in Facebook, so no pressure from me to play on it. I'm just glad you've created a new board to inspire us.

TenzingHillary at 14:54 on 6 February 2012

Welcome, Nathan. I'll be interested to see your new board if you do publish it. Your old board (3986) was the starting point for the high single-player scores that Ryan and I (and many other Facebook players) have ended up with, and I have little doubt that you could make some changes (and perhaps already have) to yield a single-player score that would give us a run for our money or even leave us in the dust.

Ryan, you mention that your 3983 game yielded 3999 counting the losing player's score. You appear to have been a lot "nicer" to your losing player, who scored only 10 points in my 3983 game (9 points, after the 1-point game-end score adjustment under Facebook rules). I don't know how many more points, if any, I could have allowed the losing player to score in that game, since I've always focused solely on the single-player Facebook record.

My strong hunch is that one needs to adjust his thinking to focus instead on the combined-score total.

TenzingHillary at 15:22 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

I just looked again at my 3983 board, and recognize that I couldn't have given the losing player any more points than I did give him, which appears to be significantly less than you gave him. It makes me wonder whether we did end up with the same board after all, or instead got to 3983 via different routes. The latter possibility, of course, makes it even more likely that an even higher score is possible after all. I still tend to doubt that, but I've been proven wrong several times before.

RyanM561 at 15:23 on 6 February 2012

Tenzing,

If I'm correct, you're using an 8 letter word in the ALAMEDAS position, whereas I'm using a 7 letter one there and I'm using "DOe" to connect "ROTE" to the rest of the board.

TenzingHillary at 15:32 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

Incidentally, Nathan's welcome arrival here reminds me of a remark you made some time ago that I didn't comment on at the time. You mentioned you'd contacted the Scrabble FAQ webmaster to have him correct some mistake in how Scrabble FAQ had reported Nathan's 3986 game. I'd previously laid out Nathan's game on one of my blank spreadsheets, and I didn't notice any mistake. Do you recall what you'd found?

TenzingHillary at 16:27 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

Your assumption is correct. The two choices, of course, are a 7-letter word and DOE, or an 8-letter word and no DOE. My 3978 game used the former; my 3983 game used the latter. It's interesting to me that you got to 3983 with the approach that I'd abandoned -- which, once again, proves your optimizing skills.

In trying to get those last few points to 3983, I'd experimented with both approaches. I'd had no luck with the 7-letter word, and stopped looking once I found the 8-word solution. But our different approaches (as I suspected) do show that there may be more "room at the top" after all.

Still, I think I'll leave it to you to find them for now. I'll stick to my lazy approach of insisting that the record can't be raised above 3983, even though that may leave me, once again, to play "catch up football."

Good luck.

TenzingHillary at 16:31 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

I wrote:

"Your assumption is correct. The two choices, of course, are a 7-letter word and DOE, or an 8-letter word and no DOE."

That overstates the case a bit. It's true if and only if one uses the now-infamous "C word" coming down from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES. Nathan's 3986 combined-score record did not use that word, of course, and it's possible that some solution is out there that does not use that "C word." Indeed, when I went "back to basics" in an effort to match or top your 3983 score, several of my approaches eliminated that "C word" (though I never got very far with any of those approaches, since the REINJURED route pretty quickly paid off).

TenzingHillary at 17:12 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

On even further reflection, it occurs to me that it's at least possible your 3983 game did not use the "C word." Most "high game" (single-player) boards that yield more points for the losing player connect the left side of MICROTECHNIQUES to the center of that word by creeping along the second and third row in the upper left corner, rather than by connecting from below with the "C word." This approach inevitably leaves the losing player with a few higher-scoring words (ID, for example, on the double-word tile). I'm very far from concluding that that is the case for your 3983 game, and still believe it's considerably more likely that you did use the "C word," but this speculation would at least cure up my puzzlement at how your "losing player" ended up with so many points (other than just because you're a "nice guy").

TenzingHillary at 17:38 on 6 February 2012

Ryan,

Apparently you are using the C word, since you say you use DOe to correct ROTE to the rest of the board. Obviously that means your 7-letter word starts with R. I'd assumed that, but recognized it was possible that R is the second letter of that word (which still leaves you enough letters to reach the U in MICROTECHNIQUES). But since you say you used DOe to "connect," that can only mean that the indeed did use the "C word," since I see no other way to "connect" from DOe to the rest of the board.

TenzingHillary at 18:17 on 6 February 2012

Canad_Ian,

Still out there?

RyanM561 at 22:30 on 6 February 2012

Tenzing,

Do me a favor and create a "disposable" email address - I want to send you something.

TenzingHillary at 00:18 on 7 February 2012

Try rrrjjjeee@gmail.com. Thanks.

RyanM561 at 00:52 on 7 February 2012

Sent.

RyanM561 at 04:55 on 7 February 2012

I think I've broken 4000. 4003 to be exact. It involves playing TWO on my "3998" board.

RyanM561 at 04:55 on 7 February 2012

Wait, nevermind, I've spoken too soon. Disregard.

TenzingHillary at 05:38 on 7 February 2012

You can't remove the T from QAT, or else no QATS, right?

TenzingHillary at 05:41 on 7 February 2012

Sounds like you're refocused on combined-score games. If so, bear in mind you have another advantage: no need that the game actually be playable in real life. Nathan's 3986 game is theoretically playable, for example, but the odds of picking the right tiles as you get near the end (where the winning player picks tiles to play OXYPHENBUTAZONE) are minuscule. You should take advantage of that advantage.

RyanM561 at 06:25 on 7 February 2012

I don't think playing out the 3986 game would be that difficult. There might be some ways it could fail, but your chance of success should still exceed 50%.

RyanM561 at 07:11 on 7 February 2012

Tenzing,

Can you add this up and let me know if you agree?

On my "3998" game, from the position you have:

L is available
Remove B from "BE, BI" (lose 14 points)
LB available
Remove A from "ADO" (lose 16 points, 4 on ADO, and 12 on MA)
LBA available
POM becomes BAM (no point change)
LPO available
ATE becomes APE (10 point gain - PE/APE/UP scores 16, while ATE/UT only scored 6)
LTO available
IT, TWO (16 point gain)
LO available
YO, LO (7 point gain)

Net change: 3 points, making the score subtotal 3968 and 15 before adjustment (3983 together).

Next, remove S from SEX (10 point loss) and play QATS (26 point gain), for a net gain of 16 points (3999 subtotal).

2 point adjustment for unused "L" tile: 4001 total.

RyanM561 at 07:38 on 7 February 2012

Oh! And by swapping the S from SEX with the blank from ALAmEDAs, Player 1's score stays the same (1 gained, 1 lost), but player 2 gains a point on "US" instead of "Us", making the total 4002.

RyanM561 at 07:38 on 7 February 2012

And of course, any 3 letter word that ends with "EX" can now be played instead of SEX.

nathanhedt at 08:30 on 7 February 2012

I have not played Scrabble on Facebook, and I have a few questions.
Which Facebook app do you use?
Which dictionary/ies does this app use as legal words?
And what are the rules/restrictions on play, particularly the number of times consecutive swapping or passing is allowed, and the end game rules for swapping - eg can you swap seven tiles when one tile is left in the bag, or what are the restrictions on that?
Thanks

RyanM561 at 08:43 on 7 February 2012

Okay, so I would use that method to score 3969 and 15, but not for the 4000+ goal, since it would cost two points in QATS. I think I need to go to bed, but I still think I've got the 4001. Of course, I'm apparently still 31 points behind Nathan's latest board, which I'm assuming has some more significant layout changes, but my "quest for 4000 and beyond" is now a success.

RyanM561 at 09:24 on 7 February 2012

Alright, I'm officially taking a break for a day. A scoring error was found, and my 4001 was only 3995. Not happy, but I have upgraded two of my games to incorporate the "IT/TWO" move (which I had in my "surfable" game already, so I'm not sure why I hadn't gotten to trying it out in other layouts yet.

TenzingHillary at 09:45 on 7 February 2012

Ryan,

On the odds of playing Nathan's 3986 game on Facebook:

Player 2 plays only once, at the very end, when he plays OVERING to form OVERIDENTIFYING. Until then, Player 2 either swaps tiles or passes.

In the two plays immediately before Player 2 plays his one turn to go out, Player 1 plays OXYPBZE to form OXYPHENBUTAZONE, picks the remaining two tiles in the bag (2 A's), and then plays A to form AX. This leaves Player 1 with one letter, an A, which will remain on his rack when Player 2 goes out.

The problem arises as Player 1 accumulates the letters OXYPBZE. He will accumulate those by drawing tiles from the bag as he plays a series of shorter words just before he plays OXYPBZE. When he starts to accumulate those tiles, there will be 9 tiles left in the bag, including OXYPBZE and the 2 A's.

If Player 1 picks an A with 9 tiles left in the bag, or with 8 tiles or 7 tiles left in the bag, he can simply exchange that tile until he gets something other than A (or play it in a word that requires an A). In any case, however, when there are 7 tiles left in the bag, 2 of those tiles will certainly be A's. The other 5 will be among the letters OXYPBZE, and Player 1 will already hold 2 of the 7 letters in OXYPBZE (along with 5 other letters that he will thereafter play to form shorter words before he plays OXYPBZE).

After Player 1 plays his next word and picks one or more tiles from the bag to replace the tile(s) he has just played, there will be fewer than 7 in the bag, and so he will no longer be allowed to swap.

If, on that pick, he picks one of the A's (a 2/7 possibility), the game will effectively be over because he will never be able to accumulate OXYPBZE to form OXYPHENBUTAZONE. (He cannot use the A to form AX, because AX cannot be played until OXYPHENBUTAZONE has been played.) If he dodges the bullet the first time (i.e. he does not pick either A), the "concentration" of A's in the bag will be still higher when he makes his next pick (2 out of 6, for example, if he picked one tile last time, or 2 out of 5 if he picked two tiles last time). Each time he picks, he will either pick an A, in which case it will effectively be "game over," or his odds of picking an A the next time will become even higher.

The only possible way Player 1 can avoid "game over" is to pick 5 of the last 7 letters in the bag without any of them being an A. I'm not a mathematician, but I think his odds of accomplishing that are 4.7%, if I'm doing the math right -- not "minuscule" as I'd written earlier (I hadn't yet done the math), but far too low for anyone to invest several hours of time to play a Facebook game right to the very end before finding out whether it can be finished or not.

I may be analyzing this incorrectly, but I don't think so.

TenzingHillary at 09:48 on 7 February 2012

Ryan,

Regarding "IT/TWO:"

Obviously it works with FATWA, but not with FATSO. You get exactly the same number of points in the lower right corner with FATWA or FATSO, and the latter leaves you with WA rather than SO, as well as a T that can be played elsewhere. While I played FATWA and IT/TWO in my 3978 game, I found FATSO left open better scoring opportunities, and thus used it in my 3983 game, as you did.

TenzingHillary at 09:54 on 7 February 2012

Ryan,

A clarification: When I say "you get exactly the same number of points in the lower right corner with FATWA or FATSO," I don't mean to include the 16 points you get for playing the T to form IT/TWO, as you probably understood -- only the points you get in the course of forming FATWA and FATSO themselves. Not playing the T costs you 16 points, of course, so it's not exactly a "free" letter. Nonetheless, as you know, you can score more points with the WA freed up by FATSO than you can do with the SO freed up by FATWA.

TenzingHillary at 10:18 on 7 February 2012

Nathan,

I think the Facebook dictionary is the same as the TWL06 dictionary, available online if you don't already have it. It's useful, though, to keep the Facebook Scrabble application open just to check words you're not certain about (a dictionary is available in the game).

You can swap when there are 7 letters or more in the bag, but not with 6 or fewer. There is no limit on the number of swaps or passes, though the game ends if BOTH players pass three times in a row (unlikely, since a swap does not count as a pass).

I use the regular Scrabble game on Facebook. You need to create two separate Facebook personalities, which you may create (as I did) solely for the purpose of playing Scrabble if you want to preserve your privacy. When you're ready to play out your game (which will take several hours), you need to open two browsers simultaneously, each one with a different Facebook personality playing in the game. You then play and swap and pass, a very tedious process. Soon, you'll figure out that you can speed it up a bit by "refreshing" your screen on the second browser as soon as you've played your turn on the first browser, and by positioning your mouse pointer where you know it needs to be once the refreshed screen appears. But it's still tedious, which is why you'll want to be sure you've laid it out correctly.

To avoid "end game" problems, it's wise to make sure that, when there are 7 tiles left in the bag, you have exactly what you need in the rack of each player and in the bag. Just swap until you've achieved that state, and only then continue playing words.

Good luck, Nathan. Glad to have you here.

TenzingHillary at 16:17 on 8 February 2012

Nathan,

Have you figured out how to use Facebook Scrabble?

canad_ian at 01:39 on 9 February 2012

Ryan and Tenzing (and welcome Nathan),

I'm still working on a better solution but can't help feeling there's a small tweak you guys use that I've overlooked as I always seem to come up a bit shy on points when trying to match the boards you describe. I'm up to 3974 (I was hoping it was the 3978) but as I'm away from home for a month with not much computing power I'll probably need to wait until March to have another go at it. I suppose I'll be chasing 4000 by then, ha. Just wanted to let you know I hadn't dropped out yet.

RyanM561 at 02:09 on 9 February 2012

Ian,

Ian,

Congrats on another great advancement. Hopefully Nathan will release his board soon and we'll all be trying to optimize it for player 1.

How do you work on your boards? Do you use a spreadsheet or play things out on Scrabulizer? As I mentioned, I'm thinking of migrating to Quackle, which scores the game for you and lets you save the games, so you can load them up and pan through them one move at a time until you find something you want to change. It's at quackle.org. The only bad thing was that I had to set up the word and letter multipliers manually rather than being able to load them like the scrabulizer site does. Once that's done, however, it seems to stay that was as the default.

RyanM561 at 02:57 on 9 February 2012

"stay that way", rather.

TenzingHillary at 14:43 on 9 February 2012

Canad_ian,

If it helps at all, Ryan and I came up with slightly different solutions. For example, we used a different word in the upper right corner (remember: I play the 15-letter words horizontally).

canad_ian at 20:12 on 9 February 2012

Tenzing,

Even on the board where you say you had W, S, and O/A left to play with I had the same at the end as well but was only scoring 3967. My 3974 uses your word I'm pretty sure (starts with a T, right?). I think in the first game I described you were using a seven -letter word starting with R. I'll work on it some more and find out what I missed.

canad_ian at 20:16 on 9 February 2012

Ryan,

You were asking how I work on my boards. I use a spreadsheet and actually went out and got a Scrabble board the other day thinking I might be able to work faster that way. I'm going to look for Quackle. I'm not sure what you mean about setting up the word and letter multipliers but I guess I'll find out when I get there. Thanks for this info.

TenzingHillary at 23:33 on 9 February 2012

canad_ian,

You wrote: "My 3974 uses your word I'm pretty sure (starts with a T, right?). I think in the first game I described you were using a seven-letter word starting with R."

Correct in both sentences -- assuming your first sentence is talking about my 3983 game and your second sentence is talking about my 3978 game. Each game had a different word in both the upper right corner and the lower right corner.

canad_ian at 00:41 on 10 February 2012

Tenzing,

I believe I worded my last posting poorly or at the very least was a little vague.

On February 3rd you wrote: "I'll also mention that, at the very end, I'm left with 3 "free letters" to do whatever I want with -- either WAS or WOS -- but I need to come up with 55 points from those three letters to tie Ryan's 3983, or 56 points to top that score. So far, all I can come up with is 50."

This refers of course to your 3978 game. I too have a game which leaves me WAS or WOS and all I could come up with was 50 points as well. I was wrong in saying my game scored 3967, it scored 3968. I used the word beginning with R in the upper right corner and used the word allowing an extra 16 points for TWO in the lower right. I'm just trying to find the missing 10 points as I believe when I have I might know how to get my 3974 game to 3983.

My 3974 game uses the word beginning with T in the upper corner and forgoes the TWO in the lower right corner to free the premium letter for better use. I've stared at this board but nothing comes to mind. I'll sleep on it I guess.

Ryan,

I'm on my wife's laptop and want to wait until I'm on my own computer before I try out Quackle.org, but again thanks for the assistance.

canad_ian at 00:45 on 10 February 2012

P. S. I'm wondering where scrabulizer is situated as it tells me my post was on February 10 at 00:41. It's only 7:45 here now so I'm guessing it's in the U.K.

TenzingHillary at 13:29 on 10 February 2012

canad_ian,

I'm not sure why you're coming up 10 points short on that 3968 game (my 3978 game). One possibility: remember Ryan's "double double J" enhancement from earlier days, and focus on the square where he played a tile to accomplish that enhancement. Not necessarily the same letter goes there this time.

Another hint: You're correct that I used the "T" word in the upper right corner in my 3983 game. You can reach 3983 with another word there instead. And remember: more than one word starts with R.

Adminphilr at 13:44 on 10 February 2012

canad_ian,

The times shown on the blog comments are currently all in GMT. Scrabulizer is based in the UK (although most of the servers are in the US).

canad_ian at 15:36 on 10 February 2012

Tenzing,

I did use a different and more productive letter for the "double double J" enhancement. As you said you used a "double L" coming down from the top I think I have the right R-word, it ends with a blank that could be a T or an M. That pretty well spells that word out doesn't it? I think maybe Ryan uses the other R-word, the one that doesn't require the added L. I'm baffled for now but will eventually figure it out I think. Maybe I scored it wrong, I'll recheck that first.

canad_ian at 04:01 on 11 February 2012

Tenzing and Ryan,

I got home for the weekend and I've downloaded Quackle. Thanks Ryan, this will save me a lot of time scoring boards that I think are hopeful. The board I think is close to Tenzing's 3978 only scores 3968 for me and the one I thought matched your 3983 only comes up 3974. I'm still looking for the nine or ten point tweak and I might be doing that for a long time. I think the board I had that ended with a blank somewhat like one you both describe was shy of what you guys were scoring too, but I'd have to go back and check.

TenzingHillary at 17:49 on 11 February 2012

canad_ian,

You mention you're "baffled" and it sounds like you're working on what you understand are the approaches that each of Ryan and I used. If so, a vague but possibly helpful hint: Ryan's solution involved an imaginative change that made it possible for him to use a different word in a key spot. Mine involved no such imagination -- a new approach that you've obviously already figured out or you wouldn't be up in the 3970's, but beyond that just optimizing in a not terribly imaginative way.

Either way, one can get there, and I'm fairly confident you will.

At the risk of cementing my reputation as the skeptic concerning higher scores, I'm becoming more and more confident that Nathan won't be able to add anything to the Facebook record. In a sense, I think my earlier "maxed-out" predictions were more or less correct. Ryan's boost from 3966 to 3969 proved me wrong on my prediction that 3966 was the top possible score for that approach, but all of our scores above 3969 have resulted from more fundamental changes in the layout. That doesn't make me any less wrong about the top score being maxed out, but it tends to show I was correct (with the exception of Ryan's 3969 just mentioned) to conclude that a particular layout was maxed out.

It may be that more than 3983 can be squeezed out of our current layout, and the very fact that Ryan and I have slightly different solutions suggests that 3983 is not the top for this layout. Nonetheless, I have both my 3983 game and Ryan's 3983 game in front of me, and I sure don't see how either one can be increased.

That leads me to think yet another fundamental change will be necessary to increase the top score. The only two avenues that I don't think have been fully explored yet (at least not by me) are READJUSTS and FLAVOR/AVO. I'm not optimistic about either, but I'll note that they're still out there if someone wants to explore their possibilities a bit more. (I know Ryan has already, perhaps as much as he feels is warranted.)

Short of that, the only hopes I see lie in some rearranging of tiles on key squares -- though, again, I don't presently see any improvement possibilities there. Those key square would be:

1. The "double double J" square -- i.e. the square on which one plays a tile to get that extra score from the J.

2. The triple letter square just up and left from the B in OXYPHENBUTAZONE (bear in mind that I use a "horizontal" layout, so adjust for that fact if it's not clear what square I'm referring to).

3. The square where one places the T to achieve IT/TWO in the lower right corner.

4. The several squares above and around the X.

5. The upper-left corner, where one must decide whether to "connect" from below or instead from ROTE (a decision which either dictates, or is dictated by, the word chosen for the upper right corner).

TenzingHillary at 17:52 on 11 February 2012

In rereading my last comment, it occurred to me that I neglected to give Ryan credit for ANOTHER boost above what I'd thought possible from a particular layout: his increase of the record from 3962 to 3966, with what we've labeled (I think canad_ian gets credit for this label) the "double double J" enhancement. So when I add up those exceptions, I suppose that, once again, there's not much merit left to any of my earlier predictions that the top score is maxed out.

RyanM561 at 18:52 on 11 February 2012

My 3969 game did not use CAROUSING, if that helps clarify anything.

Tenzing,

The total score we'll be able to play on FB depends how many points are scored by plays that can't be played until after the final words (like QATS in the 3985 board). I think it very likely that our scores will total less than 4030 (I'm assuming the 4032 board is 4030 + 2 for a tile), but I still expect somewhere like 4000-4020. With those points to work with, I think we'll be able to exceed 3983 for Player 1. I mean, through re-configuration, your 3966 game scored 13 points more than the 3953 originally obtained from the 3986 board, but with lower total points. That might be our sacrifice - a lower total in order to pass more points to one player.

Of course, the sure way to find out is for Nathan to publish/release his board, or at least give some hints/guidance on how he got there.

RyanM561 at 18:56 on 11 February 2012

I guess I should have used 3986 board in both places in my previous post. Since the one point added to player one counts on FB, but the 1 point subtracted from player 2 doesn't really count on FB, I sometimes think of it as 3985 points rather than 3986, but I will try to be consistent going forward.

TenzingHillary at 02:12 on 12 February 2012

Ryan,

Thanks for the correction on your 3969 game. Though you still deserve great credit for having boosted the record by 3 points, your reminder suggests that my "maxed out" prediction for 3966 was correct. You needed a new layout to get higher than 3966. And yet another new layout was needed to get higher than 3969. In each case, the layout had been maxed out.

Your comparison of later, higher games to the 3953 game is qualitatively the same: the layouts changed. My 3962 game used a different layout from the 3953 game (notably, the introduction of the "C word" coming down from MICROTECHNIQUES), and then I came up with a second new 3962 layout, also different from the 3953 layout. You maxed out that second 3962 layout at 3966, quite an accomplishment, one which obviously showed I'd been wrong to think 3962 was the max (I'd become complacent after watching it sit at the top for two years). But the fact remains that, above the 4-point enhancement, from 3962 to 3966, a new layout was required to make any progress. And another major change was required for you, and then I, to make that quantum leap to 3983.

Another new layout will be necessary, I think, to move us above 3983. This time, though, I don't see it. Maybe READJUSTS, though I'm very doubtful about that. Maybe FLAVOR/AVO, about which I'm somewhat less doubtful but still quite doubtful. Apart from those two possibilities, though, I'm plumb out of ideas. More possibilities may well exist for higher "combined-score" games -- more than just possibilities, actually, since Nathan actually has a 4032 "combined score" game -- but I don't see much hope for boosting the single-player (Facebook) record above 3983.

RyanM561 at 05:12 on 12 February 2012

Tenzing,

I now have an ALAMEDAS/WOLFLIKE board that scores 3973, but it doesn't incorporate some of the other "layout changes" from the 3983 boards. I came up with it after my 3983 board, and I don't see adding 11 more points to it, but I thought I'd mention it. It does incorporate some of the other changes we have in the 3983 boards.

I just realized I don't know exactly what changes you count as a "layout change" and which you would consider a variation of the same layout. Can you clarify that some?

RyanM561 at 05:17 on 12 February 2012

"but it DOES incorporate some of the other "layout changes" from the 3983 boards", rather.

TenzingHillary at 16:51 on 12 February 2012

Ryan,

That's very interesting that you have a 3973 board with the old ALAMEDAS/WOLFLIKE layout. Even more evidence, I have to admit, that my "maxed out" predictions are way too pessimistic.

Fair question what I mean by "layout changes." As I think more precisely of what I had in mind, I recognize there's a spectrum ranging from the change of one letter, at one end, to the changing of one of the 15-letter words at the other end. I'd draw the line on that spectrum at the point where one or more of the following changes would be required:

1. One of the 15-letter words.
2. The word in the REINJURES location.
3. The use or non-use of the "C word" coming down from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES.
4. The use of CAROUSING in its traditional location, or instead the use of a different word there.

That's it. Everything short of one of those changes I'd consider something less than a "layout change." That doesn't mean that some extremely imaginative improvements can't be made even within an existing layout, as you have shown several times (and apparently again, with the 3973 game you mention). And, as you've proven once again with that 3973 game, it may be that more room for improvement exists within existing layouts. (For example, I'm not sure whether the CAROUSING/REINJURED combination has been fully examined; I certainly haven't.)

But, with those caveats, born of my excessive pessimism about room for improvement, I think we may need a great leap forward, in the form of a "layout change" by my definition, to move forward from here. The only thing I've spotted that would change my mind on that (other than your coming up with a higher score, which always seems to persuade me) would be if I could find a seven-letter bingo in the ALAMEDAS position with an R as the second letter that does not need more than one letter hanging down from it. That would free up one letter, which I'm guessing could be used to gain more points than one might lose by playing that seven-letter bingo in lieu of whatever else would go in that location. I'm aware that there are such words out there, but a truly viable candidate must also be a word that doesn't require one or more letters that are indispensable to important words elsewhere on the board.

TenzingHillary at 16:53 on 12 February 2012

Ryan,

Incidentally, in rereading your last comment, with the correction, it occurs to me that your 3973 game may well have resulted from your examination of what I suggested might still benefit from further examination: "the CAROUSING/REINJURED combination." Care to comment on that speculation?

TenzingHillary at 16:57 on 12 February 2012

Let me make sure this point was clear: "a seven-letter bingo in the ALAMEDAS position with an R as the second letter that does not need more than one letter hanging down from it" excludes a seven-letter bingo with an R in the FIRST position. As you, I and canad_ian have discussed, we're already aware of at least two words that fit that description but, because the R is in the first position rather than the second position, it's necessary to connect ROTE to the rest of the board by adding a letter under the R in ROTE. My wished-for seven letter word would eliminate the need for that letter, thus netting a real gain of one letter.

TenzingHillary at 17:10 on 12 February 2012

Ryan,

Actually, no need to comment on my speculation about your use of "the CAROUSING/REINJURED combination." You'd be sharing more information with others than I think is best if we all want to keep it interesting for everyone. But you know the answer to that question, and you should bear in mind that answer when you consider whether it's true that a "layout change" was necessary in that game.

Even so, your 3973 game does highlight one clear defect in my pessimistic view: While we may have exhausted the potentially useful new "layout changes" (since the only two left that I can think of -- READUSTS and FLAVOR/AVO -- don't look promising to me), we may well have NOT exhausted the possibilities of various COMBINATIONS of some of the more recent "layout changes" we've come up with. I think your 3973 game is probably a good example of that: a combination of an "old" and a "new" layout element to yield a high score. What you and I have largely done, apart from the effort by you that yielded that 3973 game, is to examine the combination of TWO NEW layout changes at the same time -- i.e. we've made BOTH of those layout changes and then seen what we could do with the result. Your 3973 game reflects a more cautious approach of using just ONE of those two NEW layout changes in combination with an OLD layout element. There may be other combinations of OLD and NEW worth exploring.

RyanM561 at 00:10 on 13 February 2012

Yes, there are definitely still old/new combinations to explore, but I don't think they will yield 30+ extra points, either to the title or to one player. While we continue to wait on Nathan's new board, I'm thinking of reworking the word in the REINJURES position. The 8th letter wouldn't necessarily have to be an E, though I'd want it to form a two-letter word with the 7th and 8th letters, so that the word in the RAVIGOTE position isn't necessary. I'd like to get more out of the B somehow.

In regards to your 7 letter word that starts with R that would free up that letter, I would think you could figure out how to determine if such a word exists or not. I thought you had such a method for finding the other words that you've tried in that position.

Oh! I have three boards now that score 3983, each with a different word in the ALAMEDAS position. Two of them score 3999 total under the double tile bonus scoring method.

TenzingHillary at 03:07 on 13 February 2012

Ryan,

The word I'm looking for has an R in the SECOND position, not the first. And of course I know all the words that fit the bill. My lament is that none of them appears to "free up" a letter.

Interesting that you've added a third 3983 board. That makes it even less likely, of course, that 3983 is the maximum, but I still am inclined to think it is. I have a hunch what the new word is in the ALAMEDAS position. If I'm correct, I think you still max out at 3983 (though I don't claim to know that word for sure, much less to know what your third 3983 layout is).

That may be a good idea to experiment with the word in the REINJURES position. We've considered that for a long time, though only with respect to REINJURED and READJUSTS. There are other theoretical possibilities, though I've always given up on them (OVERJOYED and MARYJANES come to mind). I've never seriously considered any alternative that doesn't have a J in the fifth position, since I've long marveled at Nathan's clever way of getting so many points out of the J by positioning it there (increased, of course, by your "double double J" enhancement. Any word there that doesn't have the J right smack dab in the middle leaves you a tough problem: what to do with the J that yields anywhere near that many points. It's worth a shot, I suppose, and I have faith you'll make the most of it, but it still looks like a long shot to me.

RyanM561 at 08:07 on 13 February 2012

I reached two boards today that score 3984 by FB rules, one of which scores 4001 combined under international rules. Probably not impressive to Nathan, but I'm happy with it. I'm going to try to see what else I can get out of it, but I'm sure I'll play it out in the next few days even if it's only a 1 point improvement.

TenzingHillary at 14:39 on 13 February 2012

Congratulations, Ryan. Looks like you never stop improving. Looks like I'll have to go back to work after all. No rest for the weary.

RyanM561 at 09:12 on 14 February 2012

3986/4003.

RyanM561 at 12:05 on 14 February 2012

So now you've got me wondering about READJUSTS followed by PREADJUSTS/PLAY(or something similar). Playing "p" (instead of "P") would allow a significant score off a blank tile, if there was one available. It would require some re-working of that corner.

TenzingHillary at 15:51 on 14 February 2012

Ryan,

PREADJUSTS/PLAY is about the only good argument I can think of for READJUSTS in lieu of REINJURES/D. It still requires two descending connectors, though, which essentially means you replace the "C word" coming down from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES with some RAVIGOTE-equivalent, with all of the downsides that entails. Even so, PREADJUSTS is tempting.

Congratulations on 3986. As I said yesterday, no rest for the weary -- though I've got a lot on my plate right now and so I doubt I'll get to it soon. The higher you get, the less confident I am that I'll catch up to you, but I still am confident for the time being. (Just slow down, OK?)

TenzingHillary at 15:56 on 14 February 2012

Ryan,

A bit more on PREADJUSTS/PLAY, though you've probably already thought of this.

You could play a word ending in T in the WOLFLIKE position, then find (if one exists -- I haven't checked lately, though I vaguely recall checking a long time ago) a word that starts from the first E in OVERIDENTIFYING, ends in Y, with a P in the fifth position. A tall order for one word, but worth checking for. Then you could play READJUS to form PREADJUST, and later play an S at the end to form a double-word-score word in both directions.

May be worth looking into.

TenzingHillary at 15:58 on 14 February 2012

Ryan,

By the way, I'll be you have wished PREINJURES/D is a word. Too bad it's not.

RyanM561 at 19:26 on 14 February 2012

Tenzing,

I do wish PREINJURES/PREINURED/PREINJURY were TWL words. It's an actual concept, and it's used all over the Internet, and PREADJUSTS is a word, so why not? I think we should get it added, like REQUALIFIED was, for the next TWL. Maybe there's some obscure grammar reason that it should have a hyphen or something though, but again, PREADJUSTS is there...

I think a break to attend to more important things won't hurt you in the long run. I'm considering getting a professional certification, like CFA or CPA, so I may stop playing much Scrabble and spend that time and brain power studying. I expect my "slowing down" will happen as a matter of course, since more points will certainly start getting really hard eventually. I believe you leap-frogged my 3969 score anyway, so I expect that's what may happen here. I'll advance a point or two at a time, then you could jump in and catch or pass me all at once.

I still think (hope?) Nathan's 4032 board will be able to be manipulated in such a way that 4000+ points can be scored. Even if not, 3990+ still seems very reasonable when starting from that many points, especially since it can be tweaked like we did the 3986 board. I saw today that Steven Alexander's Scrabble FAQ was updated 2/9/2012, but still shows only 3986 combined, and still shows only 1782 for a single turn, etc. Nathan - any word from him on your new solution being accepted for publication?

I will try to check out the PREADJUSTS play at some point, but I have a lot of layouts still to review with some tweaks, so I'm not sure when it will be.

RyanM561 at 09:13 on 16 February 2012

3995/4012 !!! I scored it with Quackle to make sure there weren't any errors.

Next goal - 4000+ for a single player.

TenzingHillary at 16:12 on 16 February 2012

Wow! Very impressive.

Like the jump from 3969 to 3983, though, the size of the gap tells me you've made some fundamental change. I don't know what that change may have been, but clearly you didn't add 12 points to the record by just tweaking.

It does occur to me that the gap between your single-player score and your combined score (17 points) is quite large if you're playing MICROTECHNIQUES last, as is usual. Makes me wonder whether you're playing one of the other two big words last. I suppose it's possible for Player 2 to get 17 points out of 6 letters at the top of the board, but that strikes me as unlikely -- especially if he's got to accomplish that while not preventing Player 1 from scoring a whopping 3995.

If that speculation is correct, the next question is WHICH other big word are you playing last. If it's OVERIDENTIFYING, that means you can't be playing the usual word down from the first C in MICROTECHNIQUES. On the other hand, if it's OXYPHENBUTAZONE, you're precluded from generating a bunch of points (or any points at all) in the lower left corner, a customary gold mine.

All this is just speculation, of course. The only element of it I'm fairly sure about is that you made some fundamental change. My crystal ball gets much fuzzier when I try to figure out what that change may have been.

In any case, congratulations, Ryan. Great job!

TenzingHillary at 17:11 on 16 February 2012

I wrote:

"On the other hand, if it's OXYPHENBUTAZONE, you're precluded from generating a bunch of points (or any points at all) in the lower left corner, a customary gold mine."

That may not be so, of course, if you've connected to the lower left corner via the first R in REINJURES/REINJURED/READJUSTS. In that case, you could have placed a bunch of letters above the XYP to generate points, and then more points after playing OXYPHENBUTAZONE.

Again, all just speculation, but clearly you've done SOMETHING fundamentally different.

TenzingHillary at 18:04 on 23 February 2012

Ryan,

Much to my surprise, 3995 took relatively little time. I figured it out Sunday night, the day after your 3995 game finally showed up on Facebook, and played it out the next day. Each of us reached the same single-player and combined scores (3995/4012), which makes me suspect our boards are identical. For each of us, the score is 3995-15 under Facebook rules, 3996-16 under the North American tournament rules that Scrabble FAQ used to score Nathan Hedt's 3986 "combined score" record game. (Player 2 scores 16 points before bonuses, not 17 as I'd mistakenly written earlier.)

Assuming our games were the same, I can understand now why you asked me to be more specific about what a "different layout" means. There are many shades of gray, and I'd place this game in the gray middle. It doesn't require a change as radical as I'd speculated on February 16, but it does require considerable imagination, or else dumb luck. If you could see how I got there, you'd understand I'm not being falsely modest to admit that the latter was closer to the truth for me. For you, I'm sure it was the former.

I'll refrain from predicting we're "maxed out" at 3995 – for three good reasons. First, having said that and been proven wrong so many times, I have no credibility left on that subject, even to myself. Second, I'm not confident it's true. Third, another "maxed out" prediction would only stimulate you to try harder, which might mean more work for me later. I doubt you're resting on your laurels in any case. After all, a 4,000-point single-player score is only 5 points away (though Nathan may already have passed that milestone – I have no idea how he got to the 4032-point "combined score" game he mentioned).

In any case, it's once again in your expert hands to show whether still more is possible. I'm wondering from your "radio silence" whether you've already done so.

RyanM561 at 22:00 on 23 February 2012

Tenzing,

Congrats again! I was trying to make sure I didn't say anything that might lead you down my path and away from a better one, so I hadn't been hinting much or even confirming/denying anything about the order of the 15-letter plays, how radical a shift it is/isn't, etc. I would assume you're probably right that the layouts are similar and likely small variations of each other, though I've been wrong in the past when I've made that assumption about other same scoring boards, so I'm still really curious what you did. My solution strived to choose words that allowed me to score the 2-3 point letters more times than before, a goal I had mentioned previously.

Lately I've been trying an "even more methodical" approach which won't yield any new results until I start playing out some of those boards. It's rather tedious though, and I'm not done yet, so I haven't had much new to say. Also, I've been actively job searching and interviewing, so I haven't been analyzing Scrabble as much lately.

I'm glad to hear you coming around. I think it was around the end of November where you were saying that you think 3962 can't be topped, and now you're saying you think 3995 possibly can. I still believe in Nathan's claim of a 4032 game, and I'm still hopeful that a 3996+ FB score for P1 can be mined from it. Of course, as I've mentioned, there is a highest score under the current dictionary. Some number is the highest score that can be reached, and we are closer to it than ever before. The question is, how close are we?

TenzingHillary at 00:07 on 24 February 2012

Ryan,

This sentence describes what I did too, which makes me even more inclined to think we ended up with the same board:

"My solution strived to choose words that allowed me to score the 2-3 point letters more times than before, a goal I had mentioned previously."

Good luck in your job search, by the way. And good luck in your search for a higher Scrabble score. I can't muster the effort to try for higher scores until you prove it can be done.

RyanM561 at 00:34 on 24 February 2012

What? Nooooooooooooooooo! You have to keep innovating. That's part of my motivation to keep going - knowing that you're out there, always threatening to takeover again with a new innovation.

RyanM561 at 01:53 on 29 February 2012

What if we play a word in the RAVIGOTE position, but not in the WOLFLIKE position? I know we've touched on this before, but with the main alternative to REINJURED, we could build out AIDE and work down. It might actually cost points though, but it's an option that would at least free up some different letters, if there are good options for the RAVIGOTE position.

TenzingHillary at 03:00 on 1 March 2012

Ryan,

I certainly looked at that, in the course of my 3995 game. Theoretically, there's no preference for a word in the WOLFLIKE position over a word in the RAVIGOTE position. Practically, of course, one must find an acceptable word for whichever position one plays it, and an "acceptable word" must (1) allow the playing of an appropriate word in the REINJURES position; and (2) allow two letters of that 9-letter word to be played separately before the remaining 7 letters are played.

I don't recall now what were the shortcomings of the various candidates for the word in the RAVIGOTE position, but I do remember that every candidate I considered had some fatal shortcoming. That is why I ended up sticking with a word in the WOLFLIKE position instead.

I can't say I've looked long enough to rule out alternatives, though. I strongly encourage you to keep looking. I think your AIDE/IRATE idea is well worth pursuing, though principally because we're getting so high in our score that there aren't a lot of alternatives that come to mind. If Nathan ever plays the 4032 game he claims to have, that may change. But, frankly, I'm very seriously doubting we'll ever see that. I hate to admit it, but I'm slipping back into my "We're maxed out" pessimism here. That may have been premature at 3962, but it's inevitably correct at some level. And after all, we're 33 points above that 3962 now.

RyanM561 at 07:24 on 1 March 2012

I got REALIsT/LEWISSON to work, but it doesn't score enough, since it requires FATWA (and therefore doesn't score HEW/AW), and it also doesn't score IT/TWO, since the extra T is used up in IRATE. I also can only score 14 points from the P, so the whole game scores somewhat less than the 3995.

PAvILLON (or PApILLON or pAPILLON) and REEDITS works if the D from AIDE is used in DOE. Of course, this significantly reduces the scoring in that area, as DAM/DE isn't scored, and EN is played instead of HE. It does allow for HEW/AW though, but still not IT/TWO. I don't think there are any significant gains anywhere though, but I haven't scored this one yet.

If the R in BRAN isn't played, but AIDE still is, and the RAVIGOTE position is still used, then a few other options open up, like cARILLON and REEDITS, or DERISiON and REALIST, or maybe POSITRON somehow, but I like skipping the R in BRAN and still making APE better than using the P in the RAVIGOTE position.

I still think there's possibility here, if nothing other than to exercise our maximization skills and explore what we would do with a different set of letters in the "optimization" phase of playing all the 2-3 letter plays near the end of the game.

RyanM561 at 07:38 on 1 March 2012

I'm continuing to work toward the 4000 for a single player, but then I'll likely switch to focusing on the maximum combined score. I'm thinking it likely entails not playing MICROTECHNIQUES last, but instead playing it then playing a few words after it. Or, playing it really early in the game, so that somehow the board can be set up to score multiple words when a word is played in the WOLFLIKE position. Who knows? It's definitely an adjustment in thinking that I look forward to - I'm just not there yet.

The Scrabble FAQ hasn't been updated with Nathan's 4032 solution yet, but I know Steven seems pretty busy, which I can't fault him for. As excited as I am to see the 4032 solution, I would even more enjoy finding that solution or a better one myself before it's published. :-)

RyanM561 at 00:52 on 3 March 2012

Playing something in the RAVIGOTE position means that the 12 points are lost because the F in OVERIDENTIFYINGI in the fourth position is what's multiplied by 4 instead of the F that's in the WOLFLIKE

RyanM561 at 00:57 on 3 March 2012

My computer just did something weird. The post was scrambled up. Anyway, I can't get the RAVIGOTE position thing to work, since points are lost by no longer getting the 4X multiplier on the F. Those 12 are lost. If the I is played in AIDE but the R in IRATE isn't, then there's some point loss there as well.

I haven't found a combination that frees up any letters that allow for some point gains to compensate this loss. It appears, at least for now, that a word in the WOLFLIKE position only is better than a word in the RAVIGOTE position only. I'm sure I'll work on it further, but nothing looks promising.

TenzingHillary at 17:59 on 3 March 2012

Ryan,

I confess I haven't studied closely what you're trying to do here, but it does make we wonder this: If you are able to accomplish your IRATE/AIDE goal, why do you need to get there by a word in the RAVIGOTE position, especially when that seems to be costing you a lot of points? Can't you get to that area perfectly well with the WOLFLIKE-position word we both used?

RyanM561 at 22:18 on 3 March 2012

I was trying to see if the new sets of leftover letters would provide any opportunities to score more points.

However, the point deficit created by choosing the RAVIGOTE word over the WOLFLIKE word seems to exceed any gains it allows, at least for now.

TenzingHillary at 16:37 on 6 March 2012

Ryan,

Any progress?

RyanM561 at 11:02 on 18 March 2012

Tenzing,

I have around 400 combinations that I need to score and optimize, based upon the 3995 layout, but I haven't really had the time to work on them lately. Anything new with you?

Ian? How's the work going toward setting a new personal record?

Nathan? Any word on when your 4032 solution will be published?

TenzingHillary at 03:46 on 19 March 2012

Ryan,

Glad to hear you're working at it. I haven't been, but often find myself wondering if you might hit 4,000 soon. I hope your new job is going well.

TenzingHillary at 20:49 on 20 March 2012

Ryan,

If you want to avoid me saying yet again that we're "maxed out," you'd better get to work on this!

RyanM561 at 00:51 on 23 March 2012

Tenzing,

I'll try, but I've been kinda busy with work and studying, plus some other personal stuff going on. I have to ride my waves of motivation. I'm still waiting to see how other people improve their scores beyond 3953 by reading this page.

We might have maxed out at 3995 under the current structure - I'm open to that possibility, but I don't think we've maxed out the highest theoretical board under the official rules and the TWL06 dictionary. I had a few boards with some interesting scoring by making the word KA, then KAY, then KAYO&OUTFABLE simultaneously, but I couldn't reach 3995 or above with any of them. Of course, it was an interesting strategy that might work somehow with CAROUSING (less likely, since the K isn't involved) or another of the WOLFLIKE alternatives and CRANKLING, but I was really happy about how it scored the K. We need a "game changer" - maybe an 8 letter word in the WOLFLIKE position? Maybe a re-positioning of the free F?

You were the lone record holder for a long time - I know you have the skills. I think you should find and set the next record. If I remember correctly, I've set every new record first since 3962, though I expect you would have soon reached 3966 from your alternate 3962 board soon after you described it to me, regardless of whether I had or not. You know some of my unscored combinations - do you not see any potential or inspiration there?

Or, if you don't want to try to optimize something, give me some ideas, and I'll see what I can do with them. :-D

TenzingHillary at 04:38 on 24 March 2012

Ryan,

"We need a "game changer" - maybe an 8 letter word in the WOLFLIKE position?"

Funny you should mention that. I experimented with that, and then a long word going across to the left side, passing through CRANKLING. No luck, but it struck me that that was the only area of the board with potential left.

I'm pretty swamped too, so I doubt I'll get to it. But I've said that before. It requires you to pass me up yet again to get me going.

nathanhedt at 09:17 on 14 May 2012

just a quick hint to throw your world into chaos to take you beyond 4000 points. not to give you my best pattern yet, just to get you thinking.
try BROKENHEARTEDLY.

TenzingHillary at 23:38 on 15 May 2012

nathan,

That certainly is a departure. I doubt I'll have time to look carefully at it in the near future, but I'll certainly keep it clearly in mind. Any chance you're going to post something on Facebook Scrabble?

TenzingHillary at 17:34 on 16 May 2012

Nathan,

I did look at BROKENHEARTEDLY long enough to figure out a little bit.

1. The word is played in the middle of the board, not at the top or bottom (or at the left or right, if you instead play the long words vertically – I play them horizontally).

1. You need to use a blank for the “H,” since the 2 H’s are already used, much more profitably, in the other two 15-letter words. This means that the two words – hEARTED and BROKENhEARTEDLY yield 375 points (64 for hEARTED, 311 FOR BROKENhEARTEDLY), a 13-point improvement over IDENTIFY/OVERIDENTIFYING (69 + 293). (I’m assuming here that your other two 15-letter words are MICROTECHNIQUES and OXYPHENBUTAZONE; if that’s not so, maybe you have an H available for BROKENHEARTEDLY).

2. Obviously an eighth letter needs to be in place after hEARTED has been played and before BROKENhEARTEDLY is played. Since no single letter can be added to the front or the end of hEARTED to form a new word, and since for obvious reasons the eighth letter is unlikely to be either the B or the Y, it follows that the eighth letter, to be added before BROKENhEARTEDLY is played, has to be one of these four: ROKE.

3. What’s less obvious is which of those four letters it is, and how it’s connected to other letters on the board. For several reasons, I doubt it’s the K. I haven’t ruled out any of the remaining 3 (ROE), though O seems most likely to me if I had to pick one now.

4. As for how the eighth letter (whatever it is) is connected to other letters on the board, I’ve got several theories, but no hunch even strong enough to mention.

5. Needless to say, the really hard part is figuring out how to squeeze more points out of the letters left over after you’ve played BROKENhEARTEDLY instead of OVERIDENTIFYING. I expect that will take a much longer time, as I expect it did for you.

Comments?

RyanM561 at 19:18 on 20 May 2012

I can already see that I'm going to have to try this now...

RyanM561 at 03:11 on 22 May 2012

Okay, so assuming the same two other 15 letter words in the same positions, that only accounts for 45 of the letters. There's another 5-10 that I really like where they are, and some other spots that effectively have to have a letter in them, but there's still so much open. It looks easy enough to connect the 15 letter word using X to the middle of the board; it looks harder now to connect the 15 letter word using Q to the rest of the board. That's where I would focus - the Q side. The X side seems easy enough with a word in the WOLFLIKE position and just filling in letters around the X word to maximize points.

TenzingHillary at 21:06 on 22 May 2012

Ryan,

First, I think the other two words stay the same, and in the same places, for many reasons that aren't overcome by a new word in the middle.

Second, I doubt the "middle" word is connected to the X word anywhere but the usual place, as you suggest (i.e. the WOLFLIKE position), principally because of the long-acknowledged need to "develop" the right side of the area below the long word in the "REINJURED position." This means that the new "middle" word is not connected to the "X" word anywhere else, since that would be redundant.

Since the 8th letter of the middle word must be in place before the 15-letter middle word is formed, I think it follows that the connection must be in the ROKE area, for the reasons I gave above. And that connection must be to the "Q" word, since the "X" word connection occurs in a different place for the reasons I gave in the preceding paragraph.

I tentatively eliminate the K, since I think that needs to be played when the 15-letter word is formed. Only then would you get "double letter" for the K, which yields an additional 45 points from the 15-letter word. Without those 45 points, BROKENHEARTEDLY would fall far short of OVERIDENTIFYING.

That leaves ROE. I've only taken a brief stab at it beyond this, and tend to think it's the O, but haven't ruled out the R or the E.

Frankly, though -- skeptic though I confess to be -- I don't see that this yields an overall benefit. I think we've optimized other areas of the board. We'd have to disturb those considerably if we replace OVERIDENTIFYING with BROKENHEARTEDLY, which yields only 13 more points and requires a blank to accomplish that.

Maybe there's a way to improve on our 3995, but I'm not seeing it here. Nice word, by itself, but I don't see any overall improvement.

Needless to say, I'll be convinced if Nathan (or you) actually posts a game that exceeds our 3995. Then I'd get off my duff and get back to work on it.

RyanM561 at 22:35 on 22 May 2012

You're always so skeptical - I love it. I still think you should assume it's possible and work on it rather than wait for the proof.

If we gain 13 points on the middle word, then we can lose points elsewhere and still end up ahead. The optimization was specific to the letters we had available - it's definitely possible that we could gain a small number of points through optimization with a different letter set. Nathan's board supposedly exceeds our highest board by 20 total points. If 13 are gained from the middle 15 letter word, then it's not unreasonable he (net) gained 7 points elsewhere by having different letters available.

A few I's, an N, and a G become available. I can believe that those led to some good shorter words somewhere.

TenzingHillary at 01:25 on 23 May 2012

Maybe so. You're optimism has always been borne out in the past (except the last time, so far: we seem to have maxed out at 3995).

TenzingHillary at 16:14 on 23 May 2012

Correction: You get 66 + 311 for hEARTED and BROKENhEARTEDLY. 377 total, or 15 more than for IDENTIFY + OVERIDENTIFYING. Step in the right direction.

TenzingHillary at 04:54 on 25 May 2012

Nathan,

Ryan noticed, and I've just confirmed, that BROKENHEARTEDLY is not in the TWL06 dictionary used by Facebook Scrabble. Is that the word you meant? Ryan speculated you may have meant HEARTBREAKINGLY.

Comment?

nathanhedt at 05:12 on 30 May 2012

Sorry, guys, I'm not playing on Facebook - so I'm using SOWPODS.
BROKENHEARTEDLY is definitely in SOWPODS ('I can't imagine why it wouldn't be found in a dictionary,'Nathan sighed, brokenheartedly).

nathanhedt at 05:17 on 30 May 2012

By the way, where can I get my metaphorical hands on a virtual copy of the TWL06 list?

nathanhedt at 01:55 on 31 May 2012

Having decided through exhaustive (and exhausting) analysis that the current pattern I have simply cannot produce any more points, and being willing to be proved wrong, I will now stop leading you up the garden path, and give you the 'real' breakthrough word (although Brokenheartedly did lead to a score above 4000, based on SOWPODS).

As you may have guessed, you just can't get much higher with OVERIDENTIFYING.
So, have at it with UNPROGRESSIVELY. I don't know if it's in TWL06, so you'd better check that out first.

RyanM561 at 02:34 on 31 May 2012

UNPROGRESSIVELY isn't in TWL06 either, but because your past board brought me so much enjoyment, I'll see what I can score with it.

RyanM561 at 02:40 on 31 May 2012

There are several goals. The highest total score I've reached coincidentally happened to be with the highest single player score I achieved. TenzingHillary and I (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) are looking for the highest score that can be obtained by a single player in a game, using the TWL06 (since that's the dictionary used in most American tournaments, to my understanding.) Also, it's the dictionary used by www.facebook.com, and being able to legally play the game on facebook's scrabble application essentially allows us to have the score verified and published without actually having to release the entire board to the public.

TenzingHillary at 18:21 on 1 June 2012

I agree with what Ryan wrote.

TenzingHillary at 18:28 on 1 June 2012

Nathan,

I understand that SOWPODS includes several words that don't appear in TWL06, allowing for substantially higher scores. As Ryan points out, though, the competition in which we're engaged takes place at Facebook Scrabble, which uses TWL06 and records only single-player scores. I hope you can be persuaded to devote your attention to that.

RyanM561 at 21:46 on 1 June 2012

TenzingHillary,

I'm sort of torn here. Part of me wants to work with the smaller TWL06 database of words. That would make it easier, in some ways, to maximize the score under that dictionary.

However, the SOWPODS word list is still English, and it contains around 50% more words than the TWL06 list. It essentially opens up the likelihood (which Nathan has already claimed) of higher scoring boards.

Nathan,

You said brokenheartedly led to a score over 4000. What was that score? If you don't wish to disclose the exact score, can you tell me whether it was over 4011?

RyanM561 at 21:58 on 1 June 2012

Or over 4012, rather, as I have a 4012 score based upon overidentifying.

TenzingHillary at 00:58 on 5 June 2012

Ryan and Nathan,

My interest began, and remains, with setting the Facebook Scrabble record for highest single-player score (or sharing that record with Ryan, which appears to be the best I can hope for). Facebook Scrabble uses TWL06 and provides a way to verify scores. I have little doubt that one could achieve a higher score using a different dictionary -- SOWPODS -- that includes 50% more words. For me, though, starting over with SOWPODS would be like learning a new language. I certainly can understand why one might want to learn a new language, but I'm content to stick with the one I've already learned.

infantile at 09:43 on 10 June 2012

How about the LOWEST possible score?

TenzingHillary at 19:22 on 12 June 2012

infantile,

Lowest possible score might be interesting. I assume you'd be required to play out all of the tiles, right?

RyanM561 at 22:06 on 12 June 2012

Yeah, could you clarify? Through passing/swapping/resigning, a person could score zero. If you play by the American rules, where your remaining tiles are subtracted from your score, you could score something like negative 50 points or so.

There are "locked positions" where no additional words can be played (that can be reached with only something like 8-10 tiles being played). These situations would result in pretty low scores for each player and in total.

"Total Scrabble" (http://www.cross-tables.com/download/totalscrabble.pdf) refers to a claim that in 1999, someone found a way to play all 100 scrabble tiles and only score 218 points (with all legal words.)

If you want an actual game where one player goes out, then at least 93 tiles would have to be played. I'm assuming that this can be done scoring less than 218 points, but I haven't read anywhere of a record low. The total score would also be (somewhat significantly) affected by how unplayed tiles are scored, as they either count double face value or would have no net effect on the total score, depending upon what method you're using to score them.

What dictionary are you thinking of using? I would assume the SOWPODS dictionary would yield a lower result than the TWL06 dictionary, as it provides more options.

Just my thoughts.

TenzingHillary at 14:54 on 15 June 2012

I actually think "lowest possible score" would be quite interesting, the more I think about it.

As I've made clear, I'd pick a dictionary and stick with it. And since I don't want to learn words in a new dictionary (SOWPODS, for example), I'd vote to use the one Facebook Scrabble uses (TWL06). On the other hand, the second reason I've cited for using TWL06 -- that top game scores can be "validated" on Facebook Scrabble -- obviously wouldn't be true for "lowest game score" competition. So I might be left arguing for TWL06 solely on one ground: I'm too lazy to study another dictionary.

More important, though, in "lowest game score" competition, different skills would be emphasized. A player wouldn't be looking for long words, and probably enough short words exist in any dictionary to fit the bill. The objective instead would be to play the minimum number of tiles (93, leaving the other player with 7 tiles (I assume this would have to be a 2-player game)) with the lowest score. This simple objective would probably lead to certain results, including these:

1. The player left with 7 tiles would be holding ZQJKX plus two 4-point tiles (F, W, H or Y).

2. Wherever possible, players would avoid Double Letter/Word and Triple Letter/Word squares.

3. The pattern probably would be dominated by long, loose strings of 6-letter and 5-letter words, so that a minimum of letters would need to be counted twice.

4. "Connecting" letters would always be one-point letters or blanks, so that no higher-point tile is ever counted more than once.

5. The very first play of the game might use one (even both) of the blanks, since the first-play score is always doubled.

Beyond this, I can't foresee any predictable results. I'd be curious to hear whether others think I'm leaving some out. If I'm not (or if I am and someone else supplements my list), I would expect Ryan can actually predict the theoretical lowest score (that sounds much easier to me than predicting the theoretical highest score, and Ryan's confidently done that, so this should be a piece of cake). If so, all that would be left to do (not insignificant) would be to see how close one could actually get to this theoretical minimum.

Validation? We'd just have to take each others' word for it, or else someone could post a solution somewhere on the Internet. Needless to say, if actual solutions are posted, nobody would get credit for a tie (even if they rearranged a few letters, such as by changing BAN to BAL and TIL to TIN), since they will have had the advantage of knowing the record-holder's solution in advance. But that wouldn't be a big deal: All that would be required is a published board that yields a lower -- not the same -- score.

Might be worth a try.

RyanM561 at 02:54 on 19 June 2012

I think that record never really "took off" since the alleged 218 point solution doesn't appear to have been published (at least not anywhere I can find). Much like the start of this thread for the highest single play, and our discussion for the highest total game score, a published solution seems to draw interest while unverified claims of a certain score don't seem to excite as many people as much. Without a website like facebook scrabble that verifies scores, I think you'd have to publish. I also think, much like the highest score for a single move, that the best score could be found by computer program and reached much more easily than the score we're trying to find.

RyanM561 at 02:27 on 18 July 2012

How does anyone like the new Scrabble layout on Facebook? I don't see the records anymore though - maybe I just haven't spent enough time looking to figure out how to view them.

RyanM561 at 23:09 on 8 August 2012

I can play all 100 tiles and only score 216 points, by the way. I can play 99 tiles and score 215, but I don't see any way to squeeze one more tile out of my 215 layout without scoring another point or more. If it's possible to score 215 or less, I think a major re-design is in order.

I also think 216 has to be pretty close to the limit. With a maximum of 6 tiles per play (to avoid 50 point bonus), there are going to be at least 17 turns in the game, and on most of those, you're going to score at least one point in excess of face value, just to connect to a letter that's already been played. Even with the blanks in play, I think there would be 13-14 turns where you have to score at least 1 point. And since there aren't a lot of places to play 6 tiles without hitting a bonus square, that means there will either be turns where multiple points in excess of face value are scored, or even more than 17 turns. There are 187 points on the face values of the tiles, which are unavoidable, so the absolute minimum would have to be somewhat over 200 points based solely on the logic presented above.

Tenzing, whenever you have the time (I know you're busy), you should try for this record.

TenzingHillary at 00:18 on 9 December 2012

Ryan,

Hope all goes well. I haven't been trying to better our 3995 game (much less trying to beat your "lowest score" game. Since Facebook stopped posting records, it's impossible to tell whether anyone's surpassed 3995. I doubt it, but I'm the incurable skeptic.

Nonetheless, unless I hear otherwise, it looks like our 3995 game (and you got there first, so I really should say "your" 3995 game) is the highest possible score, and 4012 appears to be the top combined score (under North American tournament rules, or 4010 under Facebook rules).

Thomas1979 at 00:11 on 14 December 2012

TenzingHillary,

Hi there.
I,m Thomas from The Netherlands.
I discovered Facebook scrabble a few weeks ago,and i,m already a real addict!! i found this page where they show the world records of highest scores.
I became obsessed by "trying" to break the record of highest total game score (3986) But now i see that,s a old record?? Can u tell me where i can see that board of 4010 points?

If u don,t mind i would like to ask u a few more questions.
Maybe i could find the answers here between the comments.but it would be a puzzle for a day to find the answers.
So asking u makes it allot easier ;-)

1 does it make a difference (concernes points) if u play the 15 letter words horizontal or vertically ?
2 wich 15 letter words do u use?
3 does it make a difference (concernes points) in wich sequence u play the 15 letter words ?
Btw.....my apology for my shallow/bad English language.(working on that)
I have allot more to ask,but i will give u the chance to respond first.lol
Greetings,

Thomas ;-D

mikeykutya at 14:16 on 18 December 2012

i have just joined the site and have been playing scrabble on facebook for 4 years or so. I am obsessed with high scores, world records etc. I play on the 'excluding US and Canada ' game and have created a board that i found somewhere on the net that gives me a game score of 2467 which incorporates the finishing played word Demythologizers which scores 1682. After reading posts on here I am now curious to know if this can be bettered on the site and under the rules i play ?

mikeykutya at 14:25 on 18 December 2012

i have seen the board above with OXYPHENBUTAZONE and realize that I can better my top word score by 8 points but will the game score be more than 2467 ?

TenzingHillary at 07:19 on 22 December 2012

Thomas1979 and mikeykutya,

It doesn't matter whether you play the words vertically or horizontally. I play them horizontally, with MICROTECHNIQUES on top, OVERIDENTIFYING in the middle, and OXYPHENBUTAZONE on the bottom.

It matters a very great deal what sequence you play them in (along with the other words, of course). I'll give you one more hint, though you'll still have a lot left to figure out on your own: the order in which those three words were played by me and Ryan Miller are OVERIDENTIFYING, OXYPHENBUTAZONE and MICROTECHNIQUES, though there's no reason you couldn't switch the order of the first two.

Neither I nor Ryan has posted the 3995/4010 point game (which he achieved first, by the way, followed by me a few days later -- we were communicating so often back then that we knew where the other was looking for ways to boost our score, and that is why we figured out the same game layout at about the same time). I think Ryan agrees it's best to let others figure it out for themselves.

It will take some time, though I expect you'll enjoy it. I think you'll find the file at the link below to be very useful.

http://www.4shared.com/file/-1XolobZ/ScrabbleBoardBlank-122112_2.html

It's an Excel spreadsheet I created. It's formatted to look like a blank Scrabble board. It includes some minimal instructions. As you type words onto the board, the tiles you use will be subtracted from the starting number of tiles, separately for each letter, in the table below the board. I suggest you save a copy of the file in case you accidentally type in a cell that contains a formula, but you'll figure out quickly how to use it.

The file linked above also includes a layout of the former "highest combined score" record you mentioned -- the 3986 game, which can be found on one or two other websites (unlike my and Ryan's 3995/4010 game, which, to my knowledge, is not posted anywhere). Most players, including Ryan and I, started with this 3986 game and then "worked backwards" to improve it. Our 3995/4010 game reflects many differences, though the three 15-letter words are the same, and in the same places (though they're played in a different sequence, with OVERIDENTIFYING being played last in the 3986 game).

The file below may also be very useful. It's very large: it's the TWL dictionary used by Facebook, with a lot of tabbed pages added by me as I used the file to come up with my 3995/4010 point game. I think Ryan has something more sophisticated than this, but mine has all the same words his has. Once again, I recommend copying the file before you start working with it, and I caution you that you may end being confused by many of my sub-worksheets. Unlike the first file linked above, for this one I haven't included any instructions or made any effort to clean it up before uploading it.

You should also note that a few new words have since been added to the TWL dictionary that Facebook uses, notably REQUALIFIED, which made it possible to increase the "Highest Single Word" record from 1778 to 1783 (as a few people achieved, including me and Ryan, before Facebook stopped posting record scores). In addition, if you come up with any word you're not absolutely sure about, I highly recommend checking it on Facebook Scrabble before you include it in your layout, as I've learned the hard way that some words in the TWL list aren't recognized as valid by Facebook. As you'll see if you actually play out a game, it takes several hours, and the last thing you'll want to learn, two hours into the game, is that you've picked a word that Facebook won't let you play. Your game will come to a screeching halt and you will have wasted your time.

TWL Dictionary:

http://www.4shared.com/file/rJCfj4Us/TWL-121509-011012.html

Another word to the wise: There's no luck involved in this pursuit -- bear that in mind so that you're not tempted to actually play out a game on Facebook until you're sure (by using my blank Scrabble board spreadsheet, for example) that you've come up with a game layout that will yield a score you'd be satisfied to achieve.

When you finally come up with a game you'd like to play out on Facebook, so that it will report your high score to you, I recommend creating two new Facebook accounts, and then playing those two characters against each other (which will require that you open two different browsers, one for each player). That way, your regular "competitive" Scrabble character won't have his "high score" artificially inflated by the non-competitive game you'll need to play in order to achieve "highest game" or "highest word" scores. Non-competitive play and competitive play are essentially two different games, with the high scores in one version bearing no resemblance to the high scores in the other version.

In the actual playing of the game, you pick the "winning" player right up front, and then have the other player pass repeatedly (hundreds of times) so that the winner can exchange tiles over and over to get what he needs for each word along the way. Stick to the sequence you laid out in advance.

It's very important to play the "end game" correctly. Bear in mind that you no longer can exchange tiles once there are fewer than 7 left in the "bag." I suggest you stop just before you reach the point where exchanges are no longer permitted, and have each player exchange tiles until each player, and the bag, have exactly the tiles they should have before you play out the last phase of the game. You'll notice in the first linked file (my blank Scrabble board) that I have a spot where you can type in these 21 tiles -- 7 each for Player 1, Player 2 and the bag -- just to "discipline" you to be sure you've got everything in place before you launch into the end game.

I hope you enjoy the effort as much as I and Ryan did. You can pick up some tips by rereading some of our exchanges above, but I don't think you'll find them helpful until you've spent a great deal of time getting to the point we were when we were writing those comments.

Good luck.

TenzingHillary at 07:37 on 22 December 2012

Please use this link instead of the first link in my preceding message. The earlier link didn't include the 3986 game board I mentioned. This one does:

http://www.4shared.com/file/fcz7Nxmk/ScrabbleBoardBlank-122112.html

TenzingHillary at 07:47 on 22 December 2012

Please use this link instead of the first link in my long message or the "corrected" link in my short message after that one. The earlier links didn't include the 3986 game board I mentioned. This one does (or so I hope -- let me know if it doesn't, and I'll try again):

http://www.4shared.com/file/0z8YJhkj/ScrabbleBoardBlank-122212.html

canad_ian at 23:00 on 23 December 2012

Hey guys, long time no post, lol. As Facebook Scrabble no longer posts the global stats what is the high game score now? Have you guys exceeded 4,000 yet? I never played my highest game as it was not a record or even an improvement in standing. I thought I might devote some time now to the quest again. The number of people on Facebook who get upset at my high word and games make it ridiculous to play these days but I'm addicted to the regular game too.

canad_ian at 23:05 on 23 December 2012

I have a posted best word of 1783 and a best game of 3966. I have a 3974 or was it 3978 (have to look that up) that I never bothered to play. I was interested in the low score chat too, sounds fun. What turned out to be the current record there?

canad_ian at 23:12 on 23 December 2012

Oh, and sorry to have forgotten, but Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever your sensibilities will allow.

TenzingHillary at 06:09 on 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas to you too, canad_ian.

RyanM561 at 00:46 on 10 January 2013

The best low score I could devise that played all 100 tiles was 216 points.

If a one-point tile was leftover (such as might occur in a real game), I could play the other 99 scoring only 214. If one player played all the points, this would lead to either a 215 to -1 score (facebook), or a 216 to 0 score (international). If you wanted to stick player 2 with a 10-point tile, then it would be 215 vs. -10 (fb) or 225 vs. 0 (int).

I could come up with the lowest score if you stuck player two with a full rack of high scoring tiles (10+10+8+5+4+4+4 I believe), if anyone is interested.

RyanM561 at 01:02 on 12 January 2013

*the highest 7 point rack would be 10+10+8+8+5+4+4, rather.

Tenzing, have you had any time to work on the words Nathan suggested as replacements for the 15-letter plays? Are you still opposed to working with the international dictionary?

TenzingHillary at 22:06 on 17 January 2013

Ryan,

I haven't been working on anything Scrabble related. I don't intend to switch to another dictionary (just TWL). Doing so would essentially "change the game" to some other game, and I see no point in getting involved in a different "game." As for your low-score efforts, I do find that tempting, though I don't have any present plan to jump into it. Someday, though.

Hope all is well.

cbielich at 20:08 on 8 October 2013

According to http://www.freescrabbledictionary.com/word-lists/highest-scoring-words/ "ZYMURGY" is a 75 point word, but its not even an approved scrabble word? That makes no sense

DejMar at 12:02 on 7 November 2013

Has anyone tried to find a theoretical highest play or a theoretical highest combined score for a game of Super Scrabble? Using CSW12 (the latest official Scrabble word list for International play), I've found a 6680 point score for a possible highest play and another construction for a 18480 combined score.

@cbielich - ZYMURGY does appear in the official Scrabble word lists for both the latest editions of TWL and SOWPODS. You might be referencing an older edition. Scrabulizer should update their copies of the word lists as theirs is not up-to-date.

DejMar at 12:06 on 7 November 2013

I should apologize. Scrabulizer is probably up-to-date. There are many other online sites that are not.

jkershenbaum at 21:13 on 25 December 2013

My 10-year-old son and I have been working on this puzzle for a while and the best we've come up with is 1,664 points using OXYPHENBUTAZONE. It's nice to see that this word has appeared in many of the wonderful solutions posted above!

jkershenbaum at 21:25 on 25 December 2013

Correction.... as my son just pointed out, our score was 1,662, not 1,664. The tiles we played were: OXPBAZE forming the words:

COMMANDO
MINICAMP
BLURB
AA
QUARTZ
WOKE
OXYPHENBUTAZONE

Interestingly, and a bit ironically, the spell checker in this "Post a Comment" window seems to like all of these words except for oxyphenbutazone! Someone clearly needs to add that word to this dictionary! :)

jkershenbaum at 21:54 on 25 December 2013

On a side note... We tried to find a "theoretical maximum" score that could be obtained using the standard Scrabble tiles, allowing for none of the words being real words and disregarding the rules about connecting words, etc. This allowed for the pre-move board to be impossible, thereby maximizing the possible points we could get on the single move we would make. The idea was to find a theoretical "upper bound." The only "rule" we kept was that the 7 tiles placed in the single "move" would have to all be colinear (in the same row or column). This exercise (apart from being fun) is a good way to spot check some of the claims made above. So far, we have come up with a theoretical upper bound of 3,122. It's totally possible that we didn't come up with the highest possible one, but I think we have to be close. This makes me doubt any of the claims made above that it is possible to score in the 4,000's or more, regardless of what dictionary one uses. I would be interested in seeing what others come up with as a theoretical upper bound.

RyanM561 at 00:14 on 20 April 2014

Jkershenbaum, when you say "theoretical maximum", do you mean maximum points that could be scored in a single turn? I think the best anyone has found for that is in the high 1700's (see the beginning of this thread).

We switched topics at some point, as the 3900's and 4000's scores being discussed here are the the highest scores someone could obtain for the whole game, assuming they had perfect luck and a terrible opponent, or that the second player was cooperating to help maximize the first player's score.

If your highest theoretical score for an entire game is only 3,122, then yes, your model isn't maximized. The scrabble faq has posted a board that can be played out to score over 3900 (it has been posted for several years now).

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