This month I catch up with Ahmed Abdullah Abbasi, one of a new breed of Scrabble wunderkind coming out of the Scrabble hotbed that is Pakistan. “A-Cubed” (AAA), as he is affectionately known, is already an accomplished player and has many victories over top players under his belt.
Pakistani Scrabble wunderkind aims to give world’s best a run for their money!
He spoke to me before the Causeway Challenge in Johor Bahru, where he achieved his best result to date winning the Youth Section before the main event.
This likeable guy epitomizes enthusiasm and hope for the future of Scrabble and is aiming to be nothing less than the World Champion! Watch out Nigel!
Profile of an International Scrabble Player
Enjoy our feature at word-grabber for which Gerry Carter will be interviewing the top Scrabble players, the up and coming players, and the movers and shakers in international tournament Scrabble.
We hope their stories will inspire a new generation of players to take up the game and play competitively, whether it is in person at tournaments or online.
Who knows, one day we may feature you!
A Scrabble Hint Form AAA: Always Keep Scoring!
Ahmed, you are 26 now. When did you start playing Scrabble?
As a kid, I often saw my parents enjoying a game of Scrabble at weekends and I was fascinated by it. My mum and dad taught me how to play when I was six. And when I found out that this was something I was good at and enjoyed, I just kept at it, even though I didn`t get to participate in a tournament till I was 12.
And then you started to play tournaments. What are the key things that you try to do before an important tournament and during it?
I spend the day before the tournament relaxing. I go to bed early and try to get at least 10 hours of sleep the night before the tournament.
During the tournament I try my best to focus on the present game and do the best with what I`ve got on my rack, regardless of who is sitting across the table, without dwelling on the result of the previous match or losing the current game. I tend to go for short walks between games if the schedule allows it, and try to clear my mind before the next game.
I wish I could master all that myself! What advice would you give to new players starting in the game?
ALWAYS KEEP SCORING!
For scoring in Scrabble you need to know a lot of words. What is your favorite method for learning vocabulary and how are you practicing for tournaments?
I`ve tried out a variety of methods, out of which I find card-boxing the most effective. I often practice Scrabble on a board, with my mum playing as Quackle.
A-Cubed`s Favorite Move
Ahmed Abdullah Abbasi said that his favorite move was SLANGU(AG)e in a game in the WYSC 2015. His highest score in a tournament game was 656 in the WYSC 2013 in Dubai. But what is the highest scoring word that AAA has played online? It was AGRiZ(I)NG for 252 points.
”Scrabble has taught me to focus on an objective.”
You just started your A Levels in four subjects: physics, mathematics, chemistry, and computer studies. What benefits do you think playing Scrabble has brought to other areas of your life?
Other than the obvious improvement in vocabulary, playing Scrabble has given me the chance to travel to places I`d previously only dreamed of going and has given me the chance to meet people and make friends from all corners of the world. Furthermore, the work I put into Scrabble has taught me to focus on an objective and keep at it, which is something I`ll need both in college and later life.
If you could wish for one “superpower” to give you an advantage in Scrabble what would it be?
An eidetic memory!
Is there something that you think could be improved about the way the game is organized?
Tournaments should be longer, at least 30 games, so as to eliminate the luck factor as much as possible. If there are going to be playoffs, then they should be at least best of sevens for the same reason.
How do you think Scrabble can reach more young people?
The game should be promoted in schools and become a part of their curriculum as is being done in Thailand. The premier players should step forward to promote the game, like Mr. Waseem Khatri and Moiz Baig are doing in Pakistan. There should be more tournaments held at youth level and associations like WESPA, and MSI should increase their involvement and offer more incentives to the youth to participate.
Well Ahmed, thank you very much for those great answers and we wish you every success in the future!
Searching for more ways to learn words for your Scrabble game? Just try out our Scrabble Helper!