Chris is in Melbourne to assist with the execution of some constitutional case or other, so we had a few games on our terrazzo overlooking the Fitzroy town hall (interrupted by ciders and pintxos, or Basque tapas (not yet deemed worthy by Collins), at the nearby Naked for Satan).
My very first rack was AEGILNO, an opening combination that had caused heated debate at the Trans-Tasman in 2004 after I picked it against Kendall Boyd. My choice at the time was OE, but it seemed clear after sober reflection and endless in-depth simming (on Maven) that xch O was superior. Yet Kendall defiantly maintained that a six such as GOALIE was better. I wonder if anyone would still say that. Anyway, this time I changed O and landed LINEAGE next turn. The game went pretty well, PILOTAGE, TREACLES, ADENOMA flowing forth; then I dumped FIVE from EFHIVZ?, setting up two possible Z-spots, only to draw IMST which gave AZIMUTHS for 122 immediately followed by NONPRINT. 661-358.
Game 2 was quite enjoyable as well. PRENOMENS followed by EUOUAES, MALVA 46 after MAILVAN 114 was blocked, then ERIONITE counteracted his bingos; 542-369.
The carnage continued but my scores kept dropping, until the unimaginable happened in game 5 which saw me lose 423-441 despite opening with EXTRAIT. I then sank to a lowly 345 before recovering to win game 7, courtesy of LIONHEAD then IMPLEX 101. A very fun and good-spirited session, not least because of the discussions we had around the games. It looks as though Chris is at a pivotal point in determining what his life will be.