From 3rd to 8th December the 12th international Scrabble Champions Tournament took place in Prague (Czech Republic). The tournament is set every second year in a different country, starting 1991 in London. Among 110 players, who came from all over the world, three-times-winner Nigel Richards won the first price and took $10.000 as prize-money with him.
The Scrabble Champions Tournament, formerly known as World Scrabble Championship, constantly attracts more and more participants. While 48 competitors entered the tournament in 1991, 14 years later the number doubled to 102. This year even 110 players were count and battled their way through 31 preliminary rounds. After that, the four best ranked competitors met in the finals: Paul Gallen (Northern Ireland), Sammy Okosagah (USA), Komol Panyasophonlert (Thailand) and Nigel Richards (New Zealand).
This tournament is the world’s most popular English-language Scrabble competition. This year it was renamed by Mattel, one of the organizers of the contest in Prague. The Toy Company and Mind Sports International hosted the Scrabble Champions Tournament at the Andel’s Hotel and gave it the title Scrabble Champions Tournament (SCT). John Chew was in charge of the general live presentation through the media, which covered a wide variety this year (livestream,videos, photos, reports, scoreboard etc.).
58 countries send their competitors to Prague. Concerning the selection of the players every country has its own rules to choose their representatives. The most people usually come from the U.S., UK and Canada. Of course that’s related to the fact, that the native English speakers are found there.
You can find a list of all 110 participants from 2013 on the official site of the Scrabble Champions Tournament 2013. Looking at the ranking list of previous contests, you can say it’s a general rule that the native speakers win the tournament. Only twice, competitors from Thailand (2003 and 2009) won the SCT, apart from that the U.S., England, Canada and New Zealand were among the 1st ranks.
He did it again!
In the final round New Zealander Nigel Richards battled against Komol Panyasophonlert from Thailand. Richards, a three times 1st rank (2007, 2011, 2013) and once 2nd rank (2009) for the last four championships, also won the US National Championship five times. Up to now he is the only one to claim both titles simultaneously. Starting his Scrabble career in 1997 Nigel Richards is now well known among the international players. Through the years he won more than $200.000 in national as well as international Scrabble competitions. A detailed ranking of Richard’s previous plays can be found on the site of cross-tables.
Richards is a special character. He is not very euphoric or emotional during the tournaments or even at his rankings – a kind of outsider. But he insists to play Scrabble for the sake of the game. It’s simply a challenge and a pleasure for him to play. That might be the key for his success. Nevertheless, the 46-year-old New Zealander is a strict professional at Scrabble. He frequently studies word lists up to 15-letter-words, especially before the tournaments.
Nigel Richards (NZL)
Komol Panyasophonlert (THA)
Sammy Okosagah (USA)
Paul Gallen (NIr)
Brett Smitheram (Eng)
Craig Beevers (Eng)
Dave Wiegand (USA)
Paul Allen (Eng)
Andrew Fisher (AUS)
Jim Kramer (USA)
The next Scrabble Champions Tournament will be given in 2015. Probably a lot of yet known competitors will participate again, like Nigel Richards. Let’s see how long he is going to hold the Champions’ title.