Qatar coaching clinic and tournament - January 1-2 2017

Many years ago, I conducted a small coaching clinic at Stafford Sri Lankan School in Qatar (a school of about 800 students).

Since then, the school has prepared students to compete in most WYSC events, usually sending about 15 students. However, this was the only small pocket of serious Scrabble players in Qatar.

To start 2017, a teacher, Mrs Prashanthi Weerawardane, invited us to Qatar to run a coaching session for teachers from a variety of their schools - including Indonesian, Indian, and Arabic schools. (Usually, in these Middle Eastern countries, Scrabble playing is limited to expats. Hence it was exciting to see the locals getting involved.)

Paul and I ran a short coaching clinic with about 12 teachers, and 20+ beginners (It works best to demonstrate to teachers, by actually "doing" with the children, rather than just talking to the teachers.) Feedback from the teachers was good, although a number had to leave early, as they had exams to prepare for next day - this also reduced the attendance by students.

In the afternoon, 31 of the beginners played 3 (nonrated) games, while thirty of the more confident players competed in a WESPA-rated event which continued next day.

Paul and I also competed in this formal event. We really enjoyed ourselves. Paul was a little shocked to be beaten by Ushara, and Dulmini taught me a new word, a triple-triple STEERIER.

Ushara (pictured right) was the best youth player, with 9 wins, followed by Vimukthi and Dulmini (who both won 8 games, and were only separated by 14 points in spread).

One of the reasons that we played with the youngsters (apart from our own selfish enjoyment) was to establish a local rating system for them in Qatar, using our own Australian ratings as a basis to seed them.

They can now update this themselves, with data from future tournaments. They are already planning another tournament next month - 14th February, which is a public holiday.

Hopefully they will invite more adults to join with the good young players, to make this a truly Qatar Scrabble group, ie open to everyone living there.

Karen and Paul Richards
on behalf of WESPA


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