Scrabble SavvyYou want to dominate at this game so fiercely that people will think you've memorized the dictionary. Here's a few essentials. First, know all of the legal two-letter words: AA AD AE AH AI AM AN AR AS AT AW AX AY BA BE BI BO BY DA DE DO EF EH EL EM EN ER ES ET EX FA GO HA HE HI HO ID IF IN IS IT JO KA LA LI LO MA MI MU MY NA NO NU OD OE OF OH OM ON OP OR OS OW OX OY PA PE PI RE SH SI SO TA TI TO UN UP US UT WE WO XI XU YA YE Note: these are the legal two-letter words in the Official Scrabble Dictionary, version 3. If your cousin happens to have version 4, which was just released, then you'll also need to know FE OI QI KI ZA. And be prepared to scoff and say, "Didn't you know that 'za' is slang for pizza in California?" You will often be questioned on the definitions of many of these, even though it's not technically part of the game. Be ready to quickly state, "Of course I know what 'xu' means -- it's a form of Vietnamese currency," or "You didn't know that 'ai' is a three-toed sloth?" And, for the icing on the cake, to guarantee that you will win every game, don't forget that QAT, QANAT, QAID, and QOPH are all legal scrabble words. In other words, most Scrabble players think their vocabulary is great -- like most casual investors think they are good stock pickers, most drivers think they are above average and most poker players think they are great bluffers -- so doing a little basic homework is enough to gain a significant edge.
Poker PointersEveryone wants to play Texas Hold 'Em these days, thanks to the popularity of poker on TV. But while your friends and relatives are trying to imitate the greats they observe on the screen, you'll be taking their money. The trick? Don't ever bluff.
Chess, PleaseThis is a harder one to advise on, because I spent many wasted years in my youth trying to master this game. But the one simple trick I can offer if you're playing a casual game is that for every move, make sure all of your pieces are protected by at least two other pieces. This was basically the ultradefensive technique of 1960s world champion Tigran Petrosian, who was famous for rarely losing a game. This is similar to investing, where you would seek out stocks that have a backdoor in case your initial investment thesis didn't work out. For example, if you were buying a stock based on a merger-arb deal, you'd make sure that if the deal falls through the company has enough asset value to still support its current stock price or higher. Of course, there are countless other games to consider, from cards (gin rummy, hearts, crazy eights) to classic board games like go, checkers, Chinese checkers and even Connect Four. Card games all have their particular tricks, so I will leave those alone for now.
|Another Petrified Opponent|
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