DC Scrabble Club

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New Club Format as of March 20, 2007

Beginning TUESDAY, MARCH 20


Games begin just after 6, 7, 8, and at 9pm sharp.

We are currently trying more organized play. Here's how it works: Rather than pairing people as they arrive and then as people become available through the evening, we conduct the evening like a mini-tournament. The group is divided into two "divisions" based on ratings. Games start at a specified time (i.e. all games begin at the same time). After each game, the director re-pairs players based on that night's results. At the end of the evening, we have some winners, and some weeks, maybe some prizes.

This is how many Scrabble clubs around the country conduct their weekly sessions. The advantages are many. It lets players of varying levels face off more frequently. It allows people on the way up to challenge themselves against better players. It adds a competitive element to the evening, which is fun. It creates "tournament-like" conditions. And, most important, it encourages club members to interact more than they do now.

The club still opens at 5:30pm for early arrivals. But just after 6pm we begin four games of organized play. In other clubs, players who miss the start of the first game (by more than a few minutes) simply wait for the second round to begin. Given the 10pm closing time of the Chevy Chase Community Center, and the few minutes between games needed to do pairings, the start time (barely) gives us time to play four games starting at about 6, 7, 8, and 9pm.

Very important note: You don't have to arrive in time for Game 1 in order to play the rest of the night. If you can only make two or three games on a given night, that's fine. Everyone still plays, they just may have to wait a few minutes for a round to end.

Stefan, who urged that we try this arrangement, believes that with a little extra commitment from players to get to the club by set times, we can improve the quality of play, stimulate more interaction among players, and maybe get some players who have dropped out and begun attending other clubs to come back. In New York City, an organized environment helps people understand the competitive game more quickly and makes them more eager to come back.

We began the experiment on Tuesday, March 20 (click for the weekly results). We provide snacks, paid for by funds from our treasury (from the weekly $1 contributions: note that attendees at the New York City club pay $12 for the night's four games, helping cover the cost of rent for the space, a burden we don't face, and snacks).

Thanks for reading this far. Please try to come next Tuesday, and send any comments to sfatsis AT gmail DOT com and tgest AT sas DOT upenn DOT edu.