A month of quality Scrabble from seven countries over 4 continents headlines our May Report; two of the most eagerly awaited tournaments on the calendar have now been played out as we approach the halfway mark of 2017.

Singapore hosted the Alchemist Cup to start the month, with Andy Kurnia victorious in the top Division, winning 6 matches. Hubert Wee and Cheah Siu Hean completed the minor placings. Ryan Wee took out the B Division by also winning 6 matches.

In Malta, their MISO event celebrated its tenth year and, as always, was extremely well supported. Those not able to make it could content themselves with John Chew’s excellent web coverage - this year, John also provided additional coverage though live stream via Facebook where viewers got to see matches played out as well as the presentation ceremonies.

Needless to add, as with all celebrations , cake is very much an integral part and MISO was no exception. Malta’s Nicky Vella Laurenti noted:

“[W]hen Malta Scrabble Club co-foundress Angele Andrews, MISO inventor Cecil Muscat, and Club and MISO continuator Nicky Vella Laurenti walked abreast towards the cake to wield the knife in unison, the climactic sense of that symbolic gesture celebrating the tenth anniversary of this highly popular annual event on the international Scrabble calendar was apparent to all.

That a tiny Club in an equally tiny country can stage an event that attracts Scrabble players from the four corners of the world is the juicy fruit of hard work, support from local businesses and authorities, and partnership with foreign expertise. “

MISO is a triple treat of tournaments, starting with the Warm Up, Main Event and then Supplement. Many players took the opportunity to enjoy all three tournaments and spend as much time as possible in this wonderful part of the world.

England’s Vincent Boyle won the Early Bird, Malta’s Theresa Brousson runner-up with England’s Steve Perry in third.

The Main Event went right down to the wire and it came down to the result in the final game to determine the winner! Fresh off the runner-up position in the Early Bird, Theresa Brousson continued her run to end up third, with 16 wins. Two wins ahead of her and the rest of the field were the two vying it out for the title: last year’s winner, David Webb from England and Canada’s Evan Berofsky.

Victory was determined by just the 5 points of spread with Berofsky just seeing off Webb in the final game. That game was the fourth time they had met for the tournament with victory secured in a 482-444 win that saw the Canadian win the title.

Eight countries were represented in the top Division at the Main Event, confirming the global appeal of this tournament!

The USA’s Stefan Rau won the Supplement with Australia’s Karen Richards runner up. England’s Colin Northmore completed the top 3.

We eagerly look forward to what the 11th MISO provides, next year!

Also in Europe, Sweden hosted its English Language National Scrabble Championship in May. Sweden’s Greger Nassen reports:

“The Swedish NSC in English is played biennially, usually in the spring. (The NSC in Swedish Scrabble is played every year in the autumn. This year it will take place in Helsinki, Finland for the first time. We have quite an active Swedish-speaking contingent there.)

Gunnar Andersson is the new Swedish champion in English Scrabble with 7 wins and 1 loss getting 16 bingoes. As is the tradition here in Sweden, both for English and Swedish Scrabble NSC, the champion gets a challenge pet named after him or her. This time it was a panda. The next time the current pet keeper loses a game, the pet must be handed over the winner and so on. Marc Roddis came second with 5 wins and 3 losses. Todd Webster came third with 4 wins and 4 losses.”

India hosted two WESPA rated tournaments in May, with Sherwin Rodrigues victorious in both.

In Goa, he won on spread from Udayan Grover with Ranganathan Chakrav third, one game behind.

The Bayer National Scrabble Championship recently completed in Mumbai and was a 24 game event. Sherwin was victorious by a game and spread from Goutham Jayaraman with Mohun Chunkath in third. Ranganathan Chakrav continued his form from, Goa, finishing 4th but with the highest spread of the tournament (+1764), including the highest game score of 652.

Nikheel Ruparel took out the B Division from Karthik Ganesan and Sumeet Sachdev, whose third place received national media attention.

Meanwhile, Nigeria embarked on a full mark of tournaments, including the Asaf Zadok National Championship, which was won by Dipo Akanbi (pictured). 2016 Champion Olatunde Oduwole came a creditable fourth. The month was concluded with WESPAC Qualifying tournaments to determine the National team that will be sent to Nairobi in November. Whilst some countries determine by ratings and some with a national Championship outcome, Nigeria chose to select its team after a rigorous 5 day schedule of 10 games per day. Thus making it a 50 game event and a suitable test to fill its seven places at WESPAC. Completed toward the end of May, this means that Team Nigeria has now been confirmed. Joining 2015 WESPAC Champion Wellington Jighere are Moses Peter, Dennis Ikekeregor, Eta Karo, Nsikak Etim, Olatunde Oduwole, Quickpen Ben, and Olaiya Kabir.

And, then there was North America… and one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Scrabble calendar to date! Niagara Falls formed the backdrop for three days of amazing tournament Scrabble. Over 200 players from all over the globe were drawn to this stunning location, guaranteeing that the third edition of Jason Broersma and Sue Tremblay’s Niagara tournaments became one of the biggest Scrabble events for 2017.

Three days of play later, and a Gibsonized Dave Wiegand (pictured) emerged victorious with the World Number One, Nigel Richards, runner up. Adam Logan, Joel Wapnick and Conrad Bassett rounded out the top 5. You can catch up on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 coverage at the links included.

Adam Logan would go on to win in Montreal a week later from Australia’s Karen Richards and the US’s Bradley Whitmarsh.

In further North American news, Geoff Thevenot took out the Arden Cup, with Chris Lipe and Rob Robinsky completing the placings.

We conclude our report with the news that the current registration numbers for the World Scrabble Championships are now available.

Next month we will return with more news from the world of Scrabble.

Till then, happy Scrabbling!