Five Moments from Thailand

Highlights from the 33rd Brands International

Nigel Richards emerged victorious after a spectactular four days in Thailand, but his is not the only notable story from this wonderful tournament. We continue our semi-regular "Five Moments..." series of articles below, this time looking at some of the things that may have been missed from one of the biggest tournaments on the 2018 Scrabble calendar.

1. A global event
Mid year in Thailand is something that is eagerly awaited by many in the Scrabble community. Unique in structure and atmosphere, it has been the subject of international news articles. Players regularly return to play and it is rightly considered an event keen Scrabble players aspire to attend at least once in their playing careers. With this year’s Seniors Championship and Malaysian Open close together on the calendar, it gave the opportunity for some to extend their Scrabble playing for just that little bit longer.

Representatives from the host nation and 13 other countries were in attendance making it a truly international event. The nations represented were New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, England, Malaysia, Pakistan, Australia, Philippines, Bahrain, USA, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Canada, and South Africa.

2. Like, Comment, Share and RT
As befitting a global Scrabble event like this, those in attendance were keen to share their experiences with the world on social media. Photos of boards and players continued to fill news feeds and time lines for all keen followers of the game over the entire tournament and in the days just after the conclusion; all in addition to the ever brilliant coverage from John Chew.

Social media coverage is one of the best opportunities (if not the best) for ongoing engagement with World Scrabble and the many images that were shared could not but enhance the reputation of the Brands International as a must-play tournament, and Thailand as a must-go for Scrabble.

Facebook was the primary source of social media interaction with Austin Shin (pictured) he notable tweeter, providing his Twitter followers with an excellent summary of his games.

3. 600/1000 games
It is not unsurprising to observe that when the world’s best players get together to play a tournament you would witness top quality Scrabble achievements.

The 600 point barrier was bettered 12 times, with Ricky Purnomo (7th) the only player to do it more than once (he did it twice – 625 in Round 15 and 609 in Round 5). Komol’s 662 was the highest individual score of the tournament, achieved on Day 1 against Taewan.

That Round 8 game stood atop the record for Highest Combined score for all of three games before being beaten. All up, the 1000+ combined barrier was bettered 14 times: Taewan (29th) and Toh Weibin (23rd) both on the winning and losing side (Toh Weibin’s 595-467 victory is pictured), Waseem Khatri featured 3 times with 1 as victor, whilst Andy Kurnia (55th) and Jeremy Khoo (6th) feature twice and as victors only.

4. One record comes, another one goes
Taewan and Toh Weibin’s 1122 game (pictured) was notable on a number of levels.

The 567-555 game featured three bonuses (MOUNDING (87), FAGGIEST (158) and DISAGREE (110)) for Taewan and four (PERILLED (86), uLTRAHIP (89), MOULTERS (72) and DETINUE (73)) for Weibin.

The 555 losing score is second highest to Dave Koenig’s 574 from the 2017 World Scrabble Championships and the highest aggregate score in a WESPA rated tournament since WESPAC 2017.

At 1122, it slots into the WESPA Honour Board between games from WESPAC 2015 and WESPAC 2017 respectively. You can view the full list here. Intrerestingly, this latest game featuring Toh Weibin edges out another of his high combined games from the list. The 850 game from 2012.

5. Up, up and up.
Unless there is a major upset winner, a victory in a tournament rarely translates into significant ratings point increases; in some cases, winning can even translate into ratings point decreases.

That aside, Open tournaments like these can provide the opportunity for some players to “calibrate” their WESPA rating courtesy of a ratings point increase.

Wasinthorn Kosanwatt’s 182 rating point increase was the highest of these and was one of seven players who achieved a 100+ increase in their WESPA ratings points (the others being Usman Shaukat (110), Khwanjai Thammaping (108), Kukiat Khunpanitchot (154), Natchaya Sritharo (148), Ornkanya Pichairatta (168), and Jason Tsang Wai Yin (137)).

Three of the higher ratings increases also translated into podium finishes – with Yong Jian Rong (91 pts), Jeremy Khoo (69 pts) and Akkarapol Kwhansak (72 pts pictured) all rewarded handsomely for doing so well.

Photos: John Chew, Khwanjai Thammaping