WESPA is pleased to announce we are now soliciting Expressions of Interest for those who wish to put in a bid to host the 2021 WESPA Championship. The Championship will be held between May and September of 2021 and will be of a similar size and structure to previous editions. Expressions of Interest need to be submitted by Sunday 15 March, with detailed bids due 30 April. The EOI should include location, proposed dates, and organizing team, preferably with backing of your WESPA-member national association. Please email
for further information.
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From the Junior World Scrabble Championship and the Mattel World Scrabble Championship in Torquay in the United Kingdom, to the WESPA Youth Cup in Malaysia, the last month has seen lots of great Scrabble all over the world. These three events really showcased the up and coming talents we have in our community. At the WSC, I played JWSC champion Syed Imaad Ali twice, and both times I came away from the table with a walloping. He went on to qualify for the quarterfinals, where he fell to eventual champion Nigel Richards. Players who weren’t able to attend watched some of the most exciting games, which were streamed online. Most of those games are archived on YouTube, so if you haven’t watched yet, you should definitely check them out. Many thanks to Mattel for sponsoring the JWSC and WSC, and to Dave Brannan and his team at TMA International for running the events.
The WESPA Youth Cup was the following week on the other side of the globe, and Imaad ran into the young breakout star from October’s WESPA Championship, Thailand’s Tarin Pairor. He won the event by a margin of two games over Janul de Silva from Sri Lanka. Hearty congratulations are in order to Tarin, Imaad, and all the competitors this month. Many thanks to Karen Richards and her team for yet another successful WYC.
December also saw a go-live of our new website. The bulk of the changes to our Aardvark data repository occurred behind the scenes -- modernizing the technology running the show. This will enable changes to the ways that tournament data is processed and displayed in the future. Thanks to Josh Castellano for his hard work on the site, and to Nick Ivanovski and everyone else who assisted in testing over the last few months.
Continuing to look ahead, the new version of the WESPA rules goes into effect on January first. Thanks to Jessica Pratesi and the WESPA Rules committee for their excellent work in clarifying and improving our rule book. Some of the first big events to use the new rules will be the UK Open right after New Year’s, and the Mu Sigma International, the biggest annual event on India’s Scrabble calendar.
There’s always lots going on at WESPA, that’s for sure!
Chris Lipe, December 2019
I am grateful to the Scrabble community for the opportunity to serve as chair of WESPA. First, many thanks to Elie Dangoor. He guided WESPA as it adapted and grew through the many challenges it faced over the last ten years. We as a community cannot thank him enough for all he has done for the game in that time, and I must thank him personally for all he taught me over the last five years as I worked alongside him both on the WESPA Executive Committee and as chair of the Tournament and Ratings Committee.
The world of 2019 presents a lot of new challenges and opportunities for Scrabble. Millions of people play word games every day on mobile devices. The recent introduction of Tablet Scrabble as a competitive form of the game presents a great opportunity for the community; now we are playing on the platforms where our target audience spends most of their time.
Nothing will replace the shaking of the tiles and the experience of building bonds among players face to face in splendid player focused events like the current WESPAC in Goa, but potential telepresence tournaments can expand international play in a world where travel resources are increasingly limited. These forms of the game should live side by side, and amplify and advertise each other.
Similarly, we need to continue focusing on using social media and streaming outlets to build awareness of the game among the vast word game playing community outside of organized competitive Scrabble. Nick Ivanovski has done yeoman’s work as head of WESPA promotions, and I’m thrilled that he’s staying part of the WESPA team by taking over as chair of the Tournament and Ratings Committee. It’s going to take a team of good people to continue the work Nick has been doing in promotions. Additionally, we should develop training materials and resources to improve the quality of our output. WESPA should not only do promotions itself, but should also serve as a resource for member associations and local TDs looking to enhance the visibility of their own events.
Of course, one of the most important things in a change of leadership is to identify what is being done well and make sure that continues to be done. Youth Scrabble worldwide is burgeoning and under Karen Richards’ leadership the WESPA Youth Cup continues to be the foremost showcase of young Scrabble talent. The WESPAC Goa Organizing Committee deserves congratulations for putting together yet another splendid WESPA Championship. The players themselves are what sustains the community; we have demonstrated our self-sufficiency by putting on amazing events all over the globe. It’s an honor to be selected to lead a community that has so much dedication and energy, and so many people willing to give back to that which has enriched our lives so immensely. I’m excited by the team coming on to the WESPA Committee and with all of us working together, the future of our game is exciting indeed.
Chris Lipe, October 2019
As my time as Chairman of WESPA draws to a close, I thought it would be useful to outline the state of play. I remain very committed to WESPA, and all it stands for.
Having served in this role for over ten years, from time to time I have put out some feelers as to possible successors. Normally this has drawn a blank, but this time I got a response !
Chris Lipe, our Chair of the Tournament and Ratings Committee has thrown his hat in the ring, and unless there are any other contenders, I am sure he will prove a worthy successor !
We have our Biennial General Meeting every two years, with the next one taking place in Goa in October, where many of us will be headed for the eagerly anticipated WESPA Championship. Will you be coming? This is where elections take place for the WESPA Executive Committee, so it is natural that most changes take place around this time. Please take a look at my Committee Report for changes and vacancies.
Elie Dangoor September 2019
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