Many heuristics can be used to distinguish moves that would make the task of winning the game harder for a human opponent.
The idea would be to find moves that put the opponent in one or many of the following situations:
It is player A's turn and he is trailing by 84 points.
Player A's rack: DDKOSUY
Player B's rack: AEEOOOQ
In this example, player A has no winning move. However, one move stands out as giving him the best chances of stealing the game against a human: [DE 4J 3 DKOSUY], with the idea of playing [DO I3 9 KSUY] and [KYUS H1 78] next. This move stands out because:
Pre-endgames are situations where there are a few tiles left in the bag, say between one and four. Our endgame solver could be used to solve such problems.
We could have a mode that finds the moves that win all the time and more precise modes that would give statistics about each move, such as:
Without too much additional efforts, we are already able to work out the winning moves in pre-endgames where one tile is left in the bag.
This example between Nigel Richards and John O’Laughlin is taken from here. Nigel had a 22 points deficit.
His rack: ?AENNTU
Unseen tiles from his point of view: AAEEIILQ
Nigel played [ENAUNTEr B4 61] which would have lost him the game had he drawn the Q.
Our analysis shows that at least two moves were winning no matter what letter Nigel would have picked: [AUNT C6 16 ?EN] and [UR 7C 3 ?AENNT].
This example between Pakorn Nemitrmansuk and Nigel Richards is taken from here. Pakorn had a 22 points deficit.
His rack: ?DLRSTU
Unseen tiles from his point of view: ABDEEOOO
Pakorn played [SOD I1 6 ?LRSTU] and won the game.
Our analysis shows that exactly three moves were winning no matter what letter Pakorn would have picked: [SOD I1 6 ?LRSTU], [OD 12L 2 ?LRSTU] and [OR 12L 2 ?DLSTU].
This example between Pakorn Nemitrmansuk and Nigel Richards is taken from here. Pakorn had a 44 points deficit.
His rack: ?GINNWX
Unseen tiles from his point of view: AEIILOTT
Pakorn played [DRENCHING 15G 48 ?NWX] which would have lost him the game had he drawn the O.
Our analysis shows that one move, and only one, was winning no matter what letter Pakorn would have picked: [WING L3 46 ?NX].
This example between Nigel Richards and Jesse Day is taken from here. Nigel had a 13 points deficit.
His rack: AAHIRTY
Unseen tiles from his point of view: AEELLNSU
Nigel played [ARIGHT L2 20 AY] and won the game.
Our analysis shows that the only three moves that won all the time (no matter what letter Nigel would have picked) were [ARIGHT L2 20 AY], [AIGHT L3 18 ARY] and [AY A14 32 AHIRT].
When too many tiles are left in the bag, precise solutions are unreachable. However, heuristics and simulations can be used to get a good idea of what the best moves are. Here are some examples of information we could try to provide:
As far as we know, the game of scrabble is well behind the game of chess in terms of in-game exercises. Indeed, most chess sites offer puzzles, and some even specialize in that, e.g. chesstempo that offers thousands of them and categorizes them. What our community does have, though, are tools to train with anagrams and practice in the duplicate format.
We have the tools to automatically generate endgames, solve them and categorize them. Therefore, we could offer exercises in a website for players to dynamically practice endgames.
Everything described above could be part of a software that would allow you to train, play against the computer and analyze your games. We would make sure that players of all levels would gain something playing against the top engine.
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