WESPA in Profile: Hong Kong

The Scrabble scene in Hong Kong has been developing rapidly since the establishment of the Hong Kong Scrabble Players Association (HKSPA) in 2014, initially as the “Hong Kong Student Scrabble Players Association”, aiming to unite the various schools active in the Scrabble field, and then expanding to include the developing adult scene.

In 2015, HKSPA joined the World English-Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) and sent the first-ever Hong Kong team to the World Youth Scrabble Championship in Perth, Australia.

Since then Hong Kong players have participated in international tournaments around the World, including the Causeway Challenge in Malaysia, Singapore Open Scrabble Championship, BRAND'S International Crossword Game King's Cup in Thailand and UK Open.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of Hong Kong Scrabble in the year 2016!

HKSPA organised the first-ever Hong Kong National Scrabble Championship for Hong Kong Permanent Residents in April. 60 players joined in the fight for the title of “Hong Kong Scrabble Champion”. After 9 exciting rounds, the top 4 players, Carson Ip, Euclid Hui, Tsang Wai Yin Jason and Ryan Wong, advanced to the knock-out stage, where best-of-nine Semi-Final and Final were played. In the end, Carson Ip defeated Euclid Hui by 5-3 in the Final, becoming the first-ever Hong Kong Scrabble Champion!

School Events
For school events, HKSPA organised the Inter-School Scrabble Championship with 4 categories, catering for different levels of primary and secondary players. Over 30 local schools participated in the range of tournaments from January to April. The Inter-School Scrabble Championship was first organised by Mattel in 2004, and has been the biggest school Scrabble tournament in Hong Kong since then. After Mattel discontinued organising the Championship in 2014, HKSPA decided to organise a large school tournament under the same name so that this prestigious Championship can continue. The Championship in 2016 is the second edition of it organised by HKSPA, and Methodist College, with Hong Kong Youth Scrabble Team 2016 members Calvin Ma and Po Chun Wo in the team, emerged as the secondary school Champion this year.

HKSPA also organised the first-ever Association Cup, an Inter-School Scrabble tournament in June. The individual Hong Kong Youth Scrabble Champions Tournament was organised in September, where Calvin Ma emerged as the Hong Kong Youth Scrabble Champion.

International Tournaments and Hong Kong
In July, HKSPA organised the second Hong Kong Scrabble Challenge, a WESPA-rated tournament for all local and overseas players. Over 70 players participated in the Championship, consisting of two one-day tournaments. Gabriel Wong from Canada, Warodom Geamsakul from Japan, and Jesse Day from the USA (photo on right) were among the participants. Johnson Tsang, who represented Hong Kong in the WESPA Championship 2015, became the Champion in the Main event, while Jesse Day won the Extra event.

On the global stage, Hong Kong players competed in the MSI World Scrabble Championships in France in August. 10 young players participated in the World Youth Scrabble Championship, and some of them stayed for the World Championship as well. Boris Chung got the award for the Best Player Under 1200 Rating in the second division of the World Championship, a great encouragement for a young player!

2017 - The Year Ahead
Looking forward to 2017, HKSPA will continue to organise the Hong Kong Scrabble Challenge for players from around the World. The Hong Kong Scrabble Challenge 2017, consisting of two separate one-day events, is scheduled on 16th and 17th July 2017 (Sunday and Monday). Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more details!

Cooperating with the Japan Scrabble Players Association, the first-ever East Asian Scrabble Championship will take place in April. Hong Kong and Japan, each sending 5 players, will compete to be the inaugural Champion of this team event in Hiroshima, Japan.

The Inter-School Scrabble Championship 2017, with the Primary Category and Secondary Category, will be organised on 18th February and 4th March. For the first time, schools are divided into two divisions: Division Gold and Division Silver. With the diligent work of the young student organisers, a record-breaking 56 schools registered for the Championship so far!

Everyone in the Hong Kong Scrabble field is looking forward to meeting more players from around the World in the Hong Kong Scrabble Challenge this year! And even if that doesn't fit your schedule, if you happen to be in Hong Kong at any time and would like some games of Scrabble, please do contact Chris at chris.lau@hkscrabble.org! With a little notice we can normally arrange a meetup at a nice venue!

By Chris Lau
Photo credit: Owen Yip

From the 2017 Hong Kong Calendar Hong Kong Scrabble Challenge 2017 and the East Asian Scrabble Championship