Playing Scrabble all over the world is a great chance to get in contact with other Scrabble enthusiasts.
The Israeli Open is a popular Scrabble competition, too. Many foreign players take this opportunity to visit Israel and to play Scrabble with international players. This year Peggy Fehily and Brigitte Brath travelled to Israel and attended the event and gave us their impressions.
46 Scrabble Players from Ten Different Countries at the Sea of Galilee
“We’re here for a Scrabble tournament.” – This answer usually makes the official at the passport control smile or looks irritated. The 8th Israeli Open took place in Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee from 19th to 21st February 2016. 46 Scrabble enthusiasts from ten countries, including India, Australia and the USA gathered at the Caesar Hotel in Tiberias.
On Friday afternoon, shortly before the first match, the upcoming three days with 22 matches seemed endless. Everybody is excited and anticipates meeting up – but once the tournament starts, time flies. During the pauses everyone is glued to the computers, to see the results coming in and who they are playing next. New words are exchanged and some players go through their games again.
The Winner of The Scrabble Tournament in Israel Was No Surprise
This time the tournament was excellently organised by Maureen Hoch. It didn’t come as a surprise that Evan Cohen, Israel’s best player, won the tournament without losing a single game. In previous Israeli Opens often was the tournament director; that’s why he only won the championship twice. And, by the way, Evan Cohen won the German Open – now renamed into Continental Scrabble Championship – twice as well, in Mannheim and in Bad Wimpfen.
As to the performance of the German players – they have had better games. Peggy’s claim to fame this time was that she, seeded 28, won her match against Raz Naot, the Israeli Player ranked number 5. They had met before at the Israeli Open in 2009 where he gave her useful tips that she still benefits from.
A Scrabble Game to Remember
A game Brigitte will not forget was the one against Paula Docherty from Ireland. With a score of 296 to 303 for Paula the situation on Brigitte’s rack was rather bad with BEVVRR?, in addition, there was no floater on the board she could use. After giving it some thought she decided to play BRR. The reason was that in the next turn she had the chance to go out with ViVE. Surprisingly, Paula played an E directly in front of a triple word score – her tracking was obviously as bad as Brigitte’s was. She could then play VERVe for 42 points ending the game in her favour.
The tournament in Israel is always a treat because of the good weather and the delicious food. What makes it really special is that the Israeli players usually take time to take their foreign players on day trips. This time they organised a trip to Akko.
The next opportunity to play Scrabble internationally is in Berlin, Germany, from 9th to 10th April where the German English Scrabble Nationals take place and where players from GB, Ireland, Malta, Poland and the Netherlands are expected. Other opportunities are the ASCI Open Division in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Dubai Scrabble Open or the 9th MISO, Malta.