Calgary Scrabble Group


Art of Exchanging, II

Posted by Eric T on Mon December 07, 2009 at 14h03
[These are notes from Eric Tran, rated 1810. ~Juraj]

I think what to exchange really depends on your skill level.

For beginners who don't study, and don't know even the basic 6-7 stems like SATINE? and SATIRE?, it's not as useful to keep those letters in an exchange. It makes more sense for them to keep X and Z and hope for an easy payday. H and Y are also really flexible letters that can score well and have decent bingoing chances. W, J, K, Q, and V should usually be avoided though. M is okay; P is neutral; B has bad synergy with most other letters; C is very bingo prone, makes a lot of common words, but also doesn't make any 2's.

O is a bad vowel. I can't imagine a lot of situations where one would want to keep O as the only vowel. For ex; I'd rather keep -PR than -OPR; -RTS than -ORTS. (It looks ugly to draw into 3 consonants, but RST have really strong synergy. Even if you only draw 1 vowel, you still have a chance of bingoing)

X is a tricky tile. Depends on the board and the other tiles on your rack. -If there's a hotspot or a potential hotspot for it, I'd keep it. Without a hotspot, it's not going to score well, and only hamper your bingo chances. -With a rack like WQJXERS, I would ditch the X and just keep -ERS. But with a rack like OOPQVWX, since I have no bingo tiles, I would keep -X.

Z is usually worth keeping -- relies less on hotspots, and is more bingo prone. In terms of bingoing, I'd also put C ahead of D on your ANESTRI+ list. CANISTER is the generally accepted letters you want to keep to bingo.

I would say 'never keep only two vowels.' E is better than AE; A is better than AI. Unless there's a vowel shortage, of course.

Checking one's tracking sheet is an important element you bring up. R is usually better than N; but if there are 5 R's in the pool and no N's, it might make sense to keep the N and ditch the R. Also true of ordinary plays, such as deciding between playing FAR or FAN.

Also should mention that fishing to -ING is generally a bad idea. -ERING or -ATING are worth fishing to though.

Back onto the notion of skill level:

With a rack of say AINTVVW, Quackle will suggest exchanging with a leave of AINT; or with AIIIIIL, Quackle likes keeping AL. Quackle though assumes perfect word knowledge. So once again one's exchange is dependent on skill. I don't know all the 7s and 8s made up of AINT???[?] or AL?????[?]. My studying has a very high E bias -- So I might be more inclined to exchange all seven in these positions, especially if there are a lot of Blanks and S's left in the pool.

Regarding your 'lotto ticket' theory. Myself, I would keep R in your BLRRxxx situation; and keep N in your BOOMNUW situation. Again, that's my personal preference. (Haha. Quackle actually likes keeping -MN)