Ronald Credo’s desire to learn new words and his love for scrabble is what won him the 2012 Annual Gulf Scrabble Championship (GSC) title. A Filipino, Ronald beat 25 other contestants from across the GCC. He won 13 out of the 15 games that were played at the tournament.
Four of the five finalists of the two-day championship, held at the Etisalat Academy, were from the UAE. Running for the 22nd consecutive year in the Middle East, Dubai has been playing host to the GSC for the last two years.
Last year’s champion, UAE resident Pakistani Mohammed Suliman, came in second, winning 11 out of the 15 games; Indian Ralph Lobo from the UAE was third; Mauritanian Wone Amadou representing Kuwait bagged fourth place; and Indian from the UAE Selwyn Lobo was placed fifth.
Ronald started playing scrabble when he was 10. “I am really happy that I won the championship. I have been playing at the GSC for the last four years. I began playing the game with my family and I started competitively playing in 1999.”
He added: “I love learning new words and I read reference books like SOWPODS Word Lists which helped me a whole lot. You need to know well about strategy when you play scrabble. I learned a lot from watching players play as well. Learning Rack Balance, creating hook words, and other techniques in scrabble make you a better player.”
He said that a good scrabble player has to be a word lover.
Many of the players said that technology has made things much easier for new players, but there is a need to get the younger generation involved in the game. The oldest player in the tournament was 69-years-old and the youngest player was aged 12.
Tournament director Preeti Chhatbar said: “Scrabble makes life-long relationships. Our families have been in touch for the last 20 years because of scrabble. It’s a wonderful way to bond with people and most case circumstances is that if your family is into scrabble, you automatically get involved into the activity.” Tournament organiser Nikhil Soneja added: “A lot of youngsters get involved into the activity at a very young age. Apart from that, we organise several scrabble camps for children in turn increasing participation.”
The youngest player in the tournament Sanchith Kapoor, aged 12, said: “It was a great learning experience and I’ve learned so many new words in the process. I began playing the game with my mum when I was really small. I play a lot online and the game is addictive,” said Sanchith. A student of the Dubai Modern High School, Dubai, Sanchith has played at the World Youth Scrabble Championship, 2011, in Malaysia.
Sri Lankan nationals and twins representing Oman, Nadeesha and Nilusha Hemachandra, said: “The tournament was very well-organised. Being here was a great experience.” Khaleej Times, Jashanmal Books and Etisalat Academy supported the GSC this year.
(Story courtesy of Dhanusha Gokulan of the Khaleej Times)