Scrabble at MSO 2016

The Mind Sports Olympiad Scrabble Olympiad took place on Sunday 21st August and was attended by 40 players across the whole range of abilities.  At the top end were Grand Masters one of whom, David Eldar is currently ranked number two in the world.  At the other end of the scale there were a number of players who had never played face-to-face tournament Scrabble before.

The first round of events like this is drawn randomly and saw one of the tournament newcomers, Will Morgan, up against Grand Master David Eldar.  Not knowing Of David’s standing, Will was undaunted by the challenge and, much to everyone’s surprise, came out on top.  

Will continued his good form in round 2 with a win against Victoria Kingham, an established tournament player in the UK.  Amongst other surprise results in round 2 was a win by just 2 points for a relative newcomer to uk-Scrabble, Temu Oluku against top player Rafal Dominiczak who was fifth highest rated in the field.  

So after two rounds Will found himself at the top of the table and now faced a relative newcomer to uk Scrabble in Ian Nicol.  Once again Will triumphed and went to lunch on three wins out of three in the company of most of the top players in the tournament.  

Things didn’t go quite as well for Will in the afternoon whilst David Eldar recovered strongly form his early defeat winning all his other games.  The tournament had seven rounds and by the time we reached round 6 the battle for the gold medal was between 6 players.  Grand Master Austin Shin and Expert Ed Rossiter were undefeated whilst David Eldar, Rafal, Rik Kennedy and Mohamed Kamara had lost only one game.  

Austin Shin came out on top against Ed in the final game to head the field whilst David Eldar maintained his strong recovery to finish second on spread.  Ed Rossiter took the bronze medal.

This tournament is well-liked by many tournament Scrabble players.  They like the venue and the format.  At the same time the event gives new players the opportunity to compete against Scrabble’s elite.  Chatting to a number of players afterward, they had all enjoyed the day.  Despite some heavy reversals the players new to tournament Scrabble had enjoyed the experience and we hope to see a number of them at other Scrabble tournaments in the coming months.  Will Morgan, especially thoroughly enjoyed his day.  He did manage one more win during the afternoon and finished a very creditable 11th = the same position as Tim Hebbes, a regular MSO only Scrabble player

Steve Perry

Scrabble Tournament Arbiter