Tuesday, March 28, 2023 Mar 28, 2023
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Chris Cree vs. Rich Goff: D Magazine Words With Friends Semifinal Preview #2

By Jason Heid |

This is the second of our semifinal previews, ahead of tonight’s D Magazine Words With Friends Tournament championship. We’ve already broken down Rhett Miller vs. Trennis Jones. Now, eliminated opponents look at Chris Cree vs. Rich Goff.

David Higbee, who came closer than any other player in the tournament to beating Scrabble master Cree, identifies the keys to his success and pinpoints how he might be beat.  D Magazine senior editor Zac Crain, evaluates the prospects for Goff–who defeated both Zac and D Magazine‘s Tim Rogers in the course of the tournament.

Crain on Goff:

Keys to His Success

  1. Easy draw. I refer specifically to facing off against Tim Rogers, who gets his wheels shot off by any word he thinks 1) is not real and/or 2) that his opponent guessed at. Based on my match against Rich, I’m quite sure this was part of Tim’s undoing.
  2. Fortitude. He never seemed worried when I was up by more than 100 points early on in our game. He kept consistently scoring, even with bad racks, and the tortoise beat the hare.
  3. OOZIER. That’s what he beat me with. WATCH OUT FOR THIS WORD.

How to Beat Him

  1. Be aggressive. At one point in our match I was up by 100 points or so. (Oh, did I mention that again?) Instead of continuing to be awesome and play aggressively, I was suckered in by that three-digit advantage and started playing defensively. Instead of ditching a spectacularly bad rack, I tried to block his scoring chances instead of creating my own, and got stuck with most of that bad rack for the rest of the game. Rich didn’t give up and chipped away until he was in position to take the game at the end. He’s going to get his points. Make sure you get yours.
  2. Don’t play while at the gym. This won’t be a problem for the final two rounds. But it obviously did me no favors during our match. Being defensive AND distracted is not a good combination. Unless you’re having a conversation with Tim Rogers, because this will drive him absolutely crazy.
  3. Trash talk. I’m not actually sure this will work, but since Rich works at a media company, there’s probably some fertile ground there. I’d start with cracks about Brett Shipp, but that’s a personal preference. Since it’s live, maybe try speaking only in Dale Hansen’s voice or repeatedly over-pronouncing “Campos.”

Higbee on Cree:

Keys to His Success

1.     He knows more words than you.

2.     He’s better at strategy than you.

3.     He’s probably unbeatable.

How to Beat Him

1. Play to win. Cree started the tournament with consecutive 500+ point games, which is incredibly intimidating. Don’t play to keep him from scoring, play so that you outscore him. Make it a shootout. Find your inner Mike Leach offense.

2. Don’t waste your time wondering what all those complicated-looking words mean. More than likely your vocabulary is that of an eighth-grader, so don’t waste your time Googling definitions. Points have been tallied. Move on.

3. Savor ever little victory. If Cree plays a J but only on a “double letter.”: Victory. Because that “triple letter” and “triple word” combo may have been closer than you think.