Dweebovision

By David Webb

David Webb, a U.K. SCRABBLE® grandmaster, has launched a YouTube channel called Dweebovision, where he uploads videos in which he provides commentary on games he plays on ISC.  There is a lot to learn from David’s commentary, whether you play Collins or TWL. 


Comments U.S. expert Joe Edley: “Bravo to David for his annotations!  For anyone who wants to learn strategy, word-finding challenges and how an expert thinks, these are great videos!  I like his style, his thoroughness and the redo using a computer program to help him analyze afterwards.”

My history in SCRABBLE®

My name is David Webb. I live in England and have played tournament SCRABBLE at the highest level for over 20 years. I have been the highest rated player in the UK on three occasions. I have also represented England at five world championships and co-authored, with Andrew Fisher, the well-regarded book How to Win at Scrabble.


Dweebovision

Dweebovision is a YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/zapateo99) with videos of SCRABBLE games featuring live ingame commentary by me. There are currently over 100 videos and all are viewable in high definition with good quality audio. Most games are played to the Collins wordlist, with 20 minutes for each player and 5 point penalty challenges.

How I started Dweebovision

I was inspired to create Dweebovision after watching poker tutorial videos. The poker videos were a really effective learning tool which consolidated my book learning and were great fun to watch. The poker videos I enjoyed most were those that featured commentary during live play.


No such videos existed for SCRABBLE so I decided to make some. My first videos were created in 2007 but I could not find a website to host them. (YouTube had a 10-minute limit on videos until 2011). In 2012 I revisited the idea of SCRABBLE tutorial videos and Dweebovision was born.


Content of Dweebovision videos

My main aim in Dweebovision videos is to articulate my thought processes when considering moves. This really emphasises the importance of score and rack leave in move evaluation and demonstrates how these factors are used in practice to select the best move.


Another major feature of live ingame commentary is that it captures the emotion and drama of the game which makes it so compelling for us as players.  Since the games are only 20 minutes for each player, many games feature moves made under time pressure.  This is exciting to watch and also instructive in how to play under these conditions.


Every game I play on the Internet Scrabble Club is videoed and put out on Dweebovision regardless of whether I win or lose or how well I play. I think this makes the videos more exciting for the viewer because they know I have not simply cherrypicked games where I do well.


One further feature of my videos is that most of them include an immediate postgame analysis using ISC’s “history” feature. This instantly identifies missed bingos and also enables me to highlight suboptimal moves. I think this is really useful because it shows how hard it is to play a perfect game and encourages you to learn from your mistakes rather than be discouraged by them.

SCRABBLE on the Internet

SCRABBLE currently has a low profile on the Internet. This presents a huge opportunity which should be developed by the SCRABBLE community. The two areas most noticeable by their near absence are tutorial videos, like Dweebovision, and live coverage, with commentary, of SCRABBLE tournaments.


The importance of SCRABBLE raising its Internet profile is that the Internet is the first place many people go for information. If people are interested in tournament SCRABBLE they want to see what it’s like (videos of SCRABBLE tournaments with commentary) and what it takes to compete (SCRABBLE tutorial videos). 


Although there is information on the Internet about SCRABBLE tournaments and other SCRABBLE resources, there is little video content available, and video is important because it is the most compelling medium. SCRABBLE is ideally suited for video coverage because the board is colorful and fills the screen, and move choice factors are readily explainable to a layman.


In addition to attracting new players to tournament Scrabble, good video tournament coverage has the potential to grow an audience of armchair fans, a key element of successful sports.


Conclusion

I hope you enjoy the Dweebovision channel on YouTube. Two new videos are added each week so there is plenty to watch. Subscribe to Dweebovision and don’t miss a minute of this hot SCRABBLE action.

Click here to watch a the 100th Dweebovision game, between Brett Smitheram and David Webb.

ISC TOURNAMENTS ON DWEEBOVISION

I included six games from the 2007 US vs. UK Internet tournament on Dweebovision, advertising them in advance on cgp and uks.  They attracted an audience of several hundred on ISC, any of whom could comment (comments on ISC are only visible if you are not one of the players).  An example is this game between Jason Katz-Brown (US) and Ed Martin (UK): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM5jQQtqA7g


I plan to run another US vs UK tournament later this year.  I will advertise the games in advance on cgp and uks so people can watch live on ISC.  I will also be recording each game for Dweebovision. The games in which I am not playing will show comments from observers.


If this tournament draws more video views than my regular videos I will probably run more tournaments or set up a mini-league.


I would also like additional commentators. The Dweebovision channel was always intended to feature a variety of commentators. The name Dweebovision was chosen to avoid reference to SCRABBLE in case this upset Mattel or Hasbro, not as a vehicle for videos only by me. Some people have expressed an interest in commentary which I hope can be progressed.