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Scrabble battle

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

I hereby issue an open challenge to Tanner Glass: let's scrabble. You and me, pal. I will throw down on you like you're a triple-word score. Your scrabble is wack. My scrabble is the radness. You think you can handle my scrabble? Then scrabble me, Tanner. – Harrison Mooney

That’s how it all began.

Whether Harrison Mooney, half the manpower behind, was serious or not when he posted an open Scrabble challenge to Tanner Glass after hearing the Vancouver Canucks forward reveal he is an avid player on road trips on the Team 1040, Glass has accepted and the stage is now set for the first ever Scrabble Battle.

The inaugural Scrabble Battle will pit Glass and Mooney in a one-hour showdown of everyone’s favourite word game on Wednesday, February 23rd at 3 p.m. PST; fans can follow each player’s moves as they happen on via the virtual game board and by following @VanCanucks on Twitter.

The goal of Scrabble, in short, is to score as many points as possible by creating words from individually lettered tiles, ranging in points from one to 10. Seven tiles are provided at a time and 100 are in play overall; words can be formed down and across, like a crossword puzzle.

The goal of the Scrabble Battle is to raise as much money as possible for Canucks for Kids Fund.

After Mooney’s initial Scrabble challenge post got some traction, he followed it up with another post, one that featured the now iconic 'Tanner Glass Scrabble Champ' logo, courtesy of Annie May (@westxnorthwest). This design was the inspiration for real life, limited edition, Tanner Glass Scrabble Champ t-shirts that are available exclusively at the Canucks Team Store at Rogers Arena for $29.99.

All proceeds from the t-shirts go directly to Canucks for Kids Fund, (CFKF) which has reached communities throughout BC by granting more than 32 million dollars benefiting areas of health and wellness, grassroots hockey and education since 1986.

If you want to show your support for either Team Glass or Team Mooney, pledges are also being accepted with all funds generated again supporting CFKF. The hook here is that the player who raises the most money by the morning of the 23rd will get to play first during the Scrabble Battle.

The first play of a Scrabble game is important, what with the double word score right off the bat and all, but don’t take my word for it. Steven Turnbull, the best Facebook Scrabble players in North America and the mayor of Lashburn, Saskatchewan, agrees.

“It depends on what letters you have at your disposal there, but it’s important,” said Turnbull, who plays upwards of 100 Scrabble games on Facebook almost every day and has 11,500 victories to his name.

“I always try to make the biggest word possible to make use of the double word score for the first move.”

The highest scoring word possible on the first move, according to numerous sources, is ‘muzjiks’ (Russian peasants), which would net 128 points. If that’s not an option, either ‘squeezy’ or ‘quartzy’ count as 126 points.

Either way, the first move is a big one. Like a first period goal, it could tilt the game in either Glass or Mooney’s favour. From there it’s all about expressing a lavish lexicon using one of two strategies.

“I play both offensive and defensive because you want to try and take advantage of all the double and triple letter and word scores that you can and then also try and block them so that your opponent can’t take advantage of them,” said Turnbull, who had the following advice for Saskatchewan’s own Glass.

“Look at using your two-letter words, because those are good as space fillers, like your QI and your ZA and that kind of thing. Play a tight game and just make sure that you’re keeping your opponent from getting those scores on the triple word.”

Great advice, but what both Glass and Mooney need now is the right tiles and only time will tell if Scrabble’s lady luck is on their side.

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