Scrabble news in September 2017

There was plenty of tournament Scrabble to keep the avid fan engaged in September, after an historic month of August.

This report begins in Australia: the Australian Masters and State Team Challenge pits the nation’s top players together in a Round Robin event of two divisions. The first is for the top 20 individuals throughout the year (and is modeled on the ABSP Masters) with the second featuring a State based competition.

Readers of this site would recall our feature on noted moments from this year’s event, and our Facebook page featured a “q-stick” board that led to a win in that game for the 2017 National Champion, Russell Honeybun.

The final results saw a tight victory for Andrew Fisher, with the previous year’s winner Joanne Craig being runner up. 2014 National Champion, Daniel Piechnick, came third.

Victoria’s team of Carol Johnsen, Norma Fisher and Gwen Lampre took out the State Challenge, with WA’s Edie Mueller the best individual performer in this Division.

The remainder of the month’s international Scrabble action gravitated between North America and Africa and it is in the former where we will start.

There were four WESPA rated events held in North America in September.

The first of these was the John Weston Memorial, which saw a victory to Adam Logan; the Junior World Scrabble Champion for 2017, Matthew O’Connor finished runner-up ahead of Jeremy Hildebrand in third.

At Scrabble Chez Supriya IV, Bob Lipton won on spread from Ryan Fischer; Supriya Devnani’s 642 the high score to note (Supriya also featured in the only other game to feature a 600+ score - a 403-606 loss to Lisa Brown)

Whilst in the RauHaus tournaments occurring around the same time, both Ben Schoenbrun and Matthew O’Connor scored victories in their events.

Meanwhile in Africa, tournaments at the start and end of each month in Nigeria bookended a tournament in Uganda to provide plenty of tournament play for the keen observer.

At the start of the month, the inaugural Wellington Scrabble Classics took place. Organized by the 2015 WESPAC Champion, Wellington Jighere, and featured 56 players over two divisions. A total of 26 in the Masters Division and 30 in the Open. The 15 game event in Masters ended up with a victory to Wellington, from Nsikak Etim (on spread) and Eta Karo a further game back in third.

In Uganda, the Sajeki International is also a qualifier for ECASA and featured 29 players: Kenya’s Gitonga Nderitu was the top seed.

The two highest individual game scores featured in Round 1, as Uganda’s Phillip Edwin-Mugisha scored 605 and Edgar Odongkara 589 in their respective games.

But it was Kenya’s Allan Oyende who emerged the winner, dropping just the 1 game from 18 in a dominating performance! Kenya’s Bernard Amuke made it a quinella for the nation by coming second on spread from the top performer of the host nation, Richard Geria.

Our final tournament to look at is the big one from Nigeria: the 9th Godswill Akpabio International.

This tournament has historically attracted big name international players in the past (including Nigel Richards, Thai players Komol and Pakorn as well as Austin Shin from the UK) to join the already strong contingent from the host nation.

Nigel at the GAISC

Karen Richards at GAISC

In 2017, the World Number One was joined by Karen Richards from Australia in playing this prestigious tournament.

Whilst it did not start too well for Nigel, Wellington Jighere’s form from the Classics earlier in the month continued and he took the lead as early as Round 7.

A steady comeback from Nigel still had him in contention at Round 25, where he was three wins behind Wellington in second place with three to go.

However, a loss in Round 27 to Wellington meant the champion was determined, leading to final game against Tuoyo Mayuku.

Tuoyo’s victory in the final game saw her finish runner-up in the event, making it a quinella for the host nation in this extremely competitive event!

Runner Up, Godswill Akpabio International

Champion, Godswill Akpabio International

We end our report here and look forward to October, which features the tail end of the NSW Championship from Australia, the UK’s National Scrabble Championship and ends with a “Causeway” and the expected return to international tournament Scrabble, as a player, to a previous World Number One: Ganesh Asirvatham.

Until then, happy Scrabbling!