Chris Lau

Hong Kong Scrabble Players Association (HKSPA) and Japan Scrabble Players Association (JASPA) will be co-organising the first-ever East Asian Scrabble Championship in Hiroshima, Japan in April 2017. The Championship will be WESPA-rated.

Facilitating exchange between Scrabble players in east Asia has always been the vision of both associations. This year, this vision will finally be realised with the first-ever East Asian Scrabble Championship. The first version of the Championship will be a team event between Hong Kong and Japan, the two nations playing Scrabble competitively in east Asia. 5 representatives from each side will play a double round-robin in two days from 1-2 April. Cooperating with the Hiroshima International University, the Championship will be held in the Hiroshima campus of the University.

The better national team will be crowned the first-ever East Asian Scrabble Champion. There will also be some individual awards.

The Hong Kong Qualifier of the East Asian Scrabble Championship was held on 17 December 2016. Calvin Ma, Douglas Tsang, Herbert Ma, Tam Pok Hin and Brian Po are selected to be the 5 representatives of the Hong Kong Team.

Douglas Tsang has participated in many international tournaments, including the Causeway Challenge 2016, the 17th Singapore Open Scrabble Championship, and the MSI World Scrabble Championship 2016. He ranked 10th in the Open Division of the Causeway Challenge last year.

As the team leader, Douglas said, “I am excited to participate in this distinguished event with my fellows, competing with the best players in our neighbouring country. I am sure that my team members also have the same feeling. As the slogan by our association suggests, "Scrabble connects tiles and people", we always devote for building up relationships with Scrabble players and association around the world. This Championship provides a well-constructed platform for Japan and Hong Kong in exchanging skills and fostering our friendships. This time, the Hong Kong Team is composed by good players in wide range, including the Individual Champion and Runner-up in the Inter-School Scrabble Championship and some adult and youth players who have joined various International tournaments. I hope the whole team can have fruitful results in the Championship. Last but not least, good luck to both teams and I am looking forward to the fantastic competition.”

Calvin Ma participated in the World Youth Scrabble Championship in 2015 and 2016. He is the current Hong Kong Youth Scrabble Champion after triumphing in the Hong Kong Youth Scrabble Champions Tournament held in September last year. Tam Pok Hin and Brian Po participated in the World Youth Scrabble Championship 2016 in France. It will be Herbert Ma‘s first time in an overseas Scrabble tournament.

In Japanese side, JASPA formed the team of three adults and two students.

Three adults; Kunihiko Kuroda, Warodom Geamsakul, and John Ozag qualified at the event held on 12 March in Osaka. They have been playing in Japan National Scrabble Championship (JNSC) for almost 30 years. John won JNSC once (1992). Kunihiko won JNSC twice (1993, 1995). Warodom recently finished JNSC the first runner-up four times in a row (2013-2016). They also competed in international events several times especially in World Scrabble Championship and Thailand King’s Cup.

Aiming to enlarge the population of competitive players in the country, JASPA is approaching young social players. With cooperation from universities and high schools in Hiroshima area, JASPA picked two students, Miyuki Nakashima and Azumi Onari after the annual event on 17 December 2016. Both of them will make their debut in competitive Scrabble in EASC.

In universities and high schools, Scrabble is a tool that provide chances for students to learn English words. Some students as well as teachers are expected to show up and watch games in this tournament.

Hoping for the full bloom of cherry blossoms and the success of players.