THE WORLD OF COMPETITIVE SCRABBLE

February brought with it a lot of news in Scrabble tournaments: we feature two of the WESPA rated tournaments that occurred before looking at the Scrabble year ahead as a big tournament hits the Calendar.

The first Malaysian Tournament on the Calendar

The MCCO65 International Scrabble Challenge was a 4 Division tournament that was predominantly focussed on the youth players of today. Divisions were for Under 12s, 15s, 18s and an Open Division. The Open Division attracted some of the best players on the planet, including the world Number One, the player with the Highest Game score in tournament history and the 4th ranked Thai player in the World (the current world Number 20).

It was also notable for yet another 300+ scoring move in a game! You could be forgiven for thinking the 311 scored last month by Kevin Synnott (UK) would have been the only 300+ move for 2017 but that was not the case as Karen Richards (AUS) gave the high word score of 2017 a good shake with a huge 302 for DIAZOLES (anagram SLEAZOID) during the event!

World Number One, Nigel Richards (right), dropped just the one game (against Thacha Koowirat of Thailand) on his way to victory in the Open Division, ahead of Thais Pichai Limprasert and Thacha Koowirat. Pui Cheng Wui (MYS) was the highest ranked local with Toh Weibin (also right) fifth.

Whilst DIAZOLES made it to the high word score of the tournament, it was not quite enough to secure Karen the high game of the event: that was 616 to Ramaraj Sundaraj, achieved in the opening round of the tournament (versus Cedric Lewis).

All up, there were near 200 players at the Challenge, and most were under 18!

Taking to Facebook after the event, Karen Richards posted It is such a pleasure to encourage youngsters to use their brains, apply their talents, and get out there into the world, meeting other smart young people as she acknowledged the achievements of so many there at this tournament, concluding This is my passion - I hope to still be doing this all over the world for another 11 years or longer.


One week later in Israel...

44 players from 10 countries converged on Akko, Israel for the Ninth Israeli Open. With the 2016 winner, Evan Cohen, directing this year, there was a definite new winner to be crowned.

In keeping with the global attraction of this event, players from five countries comprised the top 10 at the end of the tournament. Raz Naot was the highest finishing local player, coming in third followed by Fifi Lefebvre (5th) and Linda Marguy (6th).

Early on, the leaderboard was extremely tight: after 8 games, there were 8 players separated only by spread.

The tournament high game score had already been recorded (598 to Elie Dangoor vs David Webb in the third round).

Even after 16 games of 22, the top 5 were separated by 1 win and spread.

By this time, David Webb, the top seed for the event and whose vlogs of Scrabble events and games are followed by many in the community, had taken the top spot. His Round 21 win over Elie Dangoor, the second seed, was crucial: now with a superior spread and a game lead on second place, his victory was effectively assured at this point.

At the end, the top 5 read Webb, Dangoor, Naot, Buddhdev and Lefebvre with those following along on social media having been treated to what was an enjoyable tournament!

You can see a sample of the photographs from Israel below our article.

The 10th Open is eagerly looked forward to!!

Tournament Calendar News

In February, a very notable series of tournaments were added to the Scrabble Calendar with the addition of the MSI World Scrabble Championship in Doha, Qatar.

Commencing on the 19th August, four tournaments over eight days will provide the opportunity for many games and a new World Champion possibly being crowned. This festival of Scrabble includes the World Junior Scrabble Championship, a warm up prior to the World Championship and one day tournament on the day prior to the finals of the event.

More details will be provided as they come in.

With the inclusion of the World Championships to the Calendar, it provides the travelling Scrabble player with an enthralling year ahead and we look forward to many stories of players trying to get to as many (or all) of these as possible!!. Major events in Canada (Niagara Falls) as well as the regular world events like Kings Cup (Thailand) are upcoming with the year culminating in the WESPA Championship in Nairobi, Kenya (WESPAC 17).

On the topic of WESPAC 17, the website for this event is now open for registration, including details of country allocations and format of the tournaments on offer. You can keep up to date direct with the website, as well as via the Facebook event page devoted to it. Updates will also be posted to Facebook and Twitter periodically.

Finally

The March Calendar is relatively quiet with two WESPA Rated tournaments being played out. The first is in South Australia, as part of its Adelaide Festival of Scrabble and the second in Virginia, US.

It is a prelude to what will be a gigantic month of Scrabble in April!

12 Tournaments. 10 countries. 5 continents.

Our March Report will report on the tournaments that occurred and preview the April extravaganza.

Until then, happy Scrabbling.

Photos from the Ninth Israeli Open, including David Webb (UK) accepting his winner's prize



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