Monday, July 23, 2012

Gulf Scrabble Championship (GST 2012) News Update

UAE resident wins Scrabble championship title
Dhanusha Gokulan / 15 July 2012

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 on Saturday. 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.

Winners of the Annual Gulf Scrabble championship with Jishnu K. Warrier, Manager, Etisalat Academy; and Nikhil Soneja, organiser, in Dubai on Saturday. — KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

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.”

Ronald Credo with the Award
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.


Dubai Scrabble contestants spend a night on the tiles
DUBAI // Wordsmiths from across the region pitted wits today at the 22nd annual Gulf Scrabble Championship.
Mohammed Sulaiman competes on the final day of Gulf Scrabble Championship

The two-day event , at Etisalat Academy, near Mirdif, attracted 25 competitors from across the Middle East.

The tournament followed a round-robin style playoff on Friday, and players were paired up according to points earned to duke it out for first place today.

Scrabble involves players randomly picking seven letter tiles from a bag, then placing them on a board to form words for points.

Ronald Credo, a two-time former Philippines Scrabble champion, was crowned the overall winner.

"I'm delighted to have won this year," said Mr Credo, a civil engineer in Dubai who has been playing competitively since 1998. "The competition was particularly tough."

Mr Credo won 14 of his 16 matches against players from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to claim a prize of Dh4,000 and a Dh500 book voucher.

He also defeated the reigning champion, Mohammad Sulaiman, 69, the Canadian managing director of a textile company in Dubai. He had won the competition the previous two years running.

Mr Sulaiman has been playing the game since 1987. He became interested after watching a group of his friends play while he was living in Sri Lanka. He is now one of the oldest active competitive players in the world and finished in 20th place at the 2007 World Scrabble Championships and 23rd in 2010, when he was the oldest competitor.

"I have always been interested in the types of games that challenge you mentally, like chess and bridge," said Mr Sulaiman. "Scrabble really does help outside of just the game by getting you to think tactically, and also boosting the quality of your vocabulary.

"People think it's just a case of making words with the tiles but there is more to it than that and you have to always be thinking several moves ahead."

The key to success in the game, said Mr Sulaiman, is to practise and develop a vocabulary strong in seven-letter words, because they are worth 50 points.

Nikhil Soneja, the event's organiser and a fellow competitor, believes successful players are often the ones who have a good "poker face".

"It's really important to make sure you give nothing away in terms of revealing what kind of tiles you've managed to get," he said. "If the other player knows you have a good hand then they will adjust their strategy accordingly."

Mr Soneja, who has been playing since 1992, says the top competitors regularly play for three or four hours a day before a big contest.

"The players take it very seriously and the best ones have it down to a science," he said. "They leave nothing to chance.

"For example, there are 100 letter tiles in each set. As a result, players will note down what letters have been used and what remain in the bag and so can plan accordingly."

Many players also memorise about 100 of the most common words that crop up during games.

Student Sanchit Kapoor was the youngest player in the championship at the tender age of 12, and it was his first competition.

The Dubai Modern High School pupil has been playing since he was 6 and he dedicates at least 45 minutes most evenings to the game.

"I'll be happy [to] finish around 10 or 11th [place] because I'm playing against more experienced players," he said during a break between matches. "I do a lot of practising online and try to learn about five words a day."

Sanchit's aim is to become one of the best players in the region.

"It's a lot of hard work but I really enjoy playing and also the practicing that goes with it," he said.

This is the second year in a row Dubai has hosted the competition. The previous events were in Bahrain.

UAE-Based Ronald Credo Wins the 22nd Annual Gulf Scrabble Championships

Dubai, UAE, 15th July 2012: UAE-based Ronald Credo overcame compatriot and defending champ Mohammad Sulaiman at the 22nd Annual Gulf Scrabble Championships, which took place at the Etisalat Academy in Mirdif on July 13th and 14th 2012. Credo’s emphatic win ensured that the title stayed with the UAE for the fourth successive year. The tournament attracted 25 of the top players from across the GCC and saw almost 200 games played, each of which will affect the world rankings for the popular mind sport.

The UAE team dominated the rankings, with the top five spots going to: Ronald Credo (UAE), Mohammad Sulaiman (UAE), Ralph Lobo (UAE), Wone Mamadou (Kuwait) and Selwyn Lobo (UAE).
While this is Credo’s first win in four attempts, the other three UAE players in the top five are all past Gulf champions and the field of play this year was particularly tough. Credo is a former Philippines National Scrabble Champion and represented his home country at the biennial World Championships before migrating to the UAE.

“It is an honour to win this title after competing in four GSCs. Scrabble is a passion for me and something which takes me away from the daily grind, and I hope this win is a major step towards sealing one of the two seats the UAE has been allocated for the 2013 World Championships”, said Credo, a civil engineer with a Dubai construction company.

The tournament’s youngest player, 12 year old Sanchit Kapoor, finished in 11th place in a very impressive debut, which had many veteran Scrabblers proclaiming Sanchit, a product of the UAE Scrabble Club’s youth initiative, a Gulf champion in the making. Prizes worth AED 15,000 were presented to the winners by Jishnu K. Warrier, Sports & Leisure Club Manager of Etisalat Academy, hosts of the event for the second year in a row.

Nikhil Soneja, organiser of the GSC 2012, said, “We are extremely grateful to our main sponsors Jashanmal Books and Etisalat Academy for their continued support, which has made the tournament a resounding success. The players put up a fight, with words such as NARTJIE, EXTINCT, UNQUOTE and SIZISM scoring big points throughout the Championships. Ronald is a true champion – he is humble, plays exceedingly well and really enjoys the game – and we are pleased to have him bring the trophy back to the UAE”.

GCC Top 10:
1. Ronald Credo (UAE)
2. Mohammad Sulaiman (UAE)
3. Ralph Lobo (UAE)
4. Wone Mamadou (Kuwait)
5. Selwyn Lobo (UAE)
6. Rohaina Tanveer (Kuwait)
7. Ricardo Gomez (Saudi Arabia)
8. Nikhil Soneja (UAE)
9. KV Chidambaram (UAE)
10. Sanath Hemachandra (Oman)

About the Gulf Scrabble Championships:
The Gulf Scrabble Championships were first held in 1991 in Bahrain as a cooperative effort between the various Scrabble associations across the GCC. Since then, the tournament has grown from strength to strength and gained acclaim as a premier fixture in the international Scrabble calendar. It is currently the only world-ranked tournament in the Arab world and is considered the oldest international tournament in the mind sport, predating the first World Championships by a few months.

1 comment:

Jonas Jones said...

what a great job, you've got a good mind too..scrabble is pretty awesome board game ever

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