Youth Happenings

The WESPA Youth Cup 2019, 29 Nov - 1 Dec, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thailand won the overall International competition with Tarin Pairor (Thailand) champion. The best performing Australian was Ronnie Barrett (ACT), placing 15th overall out of 190 participants and taking out 3rd place in his age division.
Other Australians placed :
Asher Chhabra (34th), Jason Tang (80th), Alex Lam (106th) Patrick Huynh (130th) and Tanissha (174th)

The 2018 WESPA Youth Cup, held in Dubai, December 13-15th

The players, with Karen Richards at top left, Martin Teo standing at right, and seated at centre front
is last year's Champion Aabid Ismail from Sri Lanka, and on his left is the 2018 Champion
Syed Imaad Ali from Pakistan

The 2018 WESPA Youth Champion,
Syed Imaad Ali from Pakistan.
Congratulations, Syed!

Our Aussie representatives - back: Sharvin 77th, Aditya 105,
Rahul 49 and Kaustav 94, all from WA. Front: Shireeya 111
(WA), Tanissha 114 (WA), Ronnie 47 (ACT), Asher 84 (NSW)
and Jason 64 (NSW)

This annual event took place over three days, with 24 games played and 116 young players taking part. Congratulations to Syed Imaad Ali from Pakistan who is the 2018 Champion Youth player, winning 20 of his 24 games. Second place went to Janul De Silva from Sri Lanka on 19 wins, with Napat Vatjaranurathorn from Thailand in third place on 17 wins.
Pakistan won the title of best-performed country, and many awards were presented for the best player in various age groups, also High Game (Adheesha Dissanayake, Sri Lanka, 664) and High Word (171 points for ITEMIZES, played by Aabid Ismail from Sri Lanka). The award for mentoring young Scrabble players went to Tariq Pervez from Pakistan - the improvement in the play of the young Pakistani players has been phenomenal.
Australia's top-five finishers were awarded with medals and prizemoney donated by the father of one of the players, thank you for your generosity, Dr B. Mandal. Congratulations to all, and to Karen Richards, Chair of WESPA Youth Scrabble, for organising another very successful Youth Cup - Karen's helpers are numerous, and she is very grateful for all help received. Also thank you to Deepa Bowmick for the use of her photos - thanks, Deepa.
WESPA Youth Cup 2019 will be held from 29th November to 1st December 2019 in Malaysia, with the venue and exact schedule to be announced shortly.
To see the full results of the 2018 event and to check the progress of arrangements for 2019 click here

The WESPA Youth Cup, played in Malaysia, November 27-29 2017

Almost 200 young players, in their Youth Cup T-shirts, with Martin and Karen

The happy 2017 Youth Cup Champion Aabid
Ismail from Sri Lanka with his trophy,
presented by Nigel Richards from New Zealand, multiple World Champion in English and French Scrabble.
Congratulations to Aabid who finished half a game clear of countryman Janul De Silva

Sri Lanka won the Best Team Award overall,
congratulations to this very keen and brilliant
In the photo:
Vignesh Phiraparan (8th), Karen Richards,
Champ Aabid Ismail, second-placed
Janul De Silva, and Martin Teo

Pakistan's Ahmed Abdullah
Abbasi placed third overall
in the event, and the
Pakistani team came in second
behind Sri Lanka.
Well done to all

Here are our wonderful young Aussie players.
Back row: Sharvin 62nd, Aditya 118, Rahul
25, Kaustav 117, Liana 71, Shekinah 51.
Middle row: Ronnie 24 (best Australian
player), Lewis from New Zealand 17, Jason
170 and in front Shireeya 174.

One hundred and seventy-six keen young players from 15 different countries gathered to take part in this 3-day tournament, the highest number to date in what was formerly called the World Youth Scrabble Championship. Karen Richards, with help from husband Paul, son Rhys, Martin Teo and many others too numerous to mention organised the event, held in the Common Area, 4th Floor, Summit USJ Mall, Subang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur.
Congratulations to all who took part, it would have been a wonderful experience for you all - especially those who travelled for the first time, and those who caught up with old friends from previous years!
Well done to Ronnie from the Australian Capital Territory who finished as the highest placed Australian player, followed very closely by Rahul from Western Australia. Next in line were Shekinah from Queensland, and Sharvin from Western Australia.
Thanks go to the West Australian Geriatric Specialists Association and Advanced Diagnostic Imaging and Intervention who teamed up with the Australian Scrabble Players Association of WA (ASPA WA) to provide the kit, beautifully designed by Joanne Hamilton, (a real standout in my opinion, Joanne!) and generous assistance with travel as well. Also anyone else who assisted in any way, either financially or in practical ways - Edie Mueller from WA is one of these, your dedication as youth coach in Western Australia is wonderful, Edie! Also thank you to Jay Jay Jegatheva Jegathesan for your regular updates on the tournament, and the use of your photos, it is appreciated!










Lewis from NZ, with Ronnie

School Scrabble in Drouin West, Gippsland ~ October 30 2017

The host team, Drouin West

Visiting from Bona Vista P.S.

The team from Nilma Primary School

Students from Warragul North P.S.

The Championship: Cailee, Haley, Champ Ayden, Ella

The Plate: Griffin, Shalini, Molly, and the winner Tom
Special thanks to Principal Ms Kerry Ware and the Drouin West Primary School students and staff for hosting this year's Gippsland Primary Schools Scrabble Championship and Plate. Our Scrabble Victoria representatives Gwen Lampre, Barry Harridge and myself (Marj Miller) thoroughly enjoyed our day at the school helping to run the event - we love the enthusiasm and friendship displayed by the players. Twenty-four students from four primary schools (Bona Vista, Drouin West, Nilma and Warragul North) took part, playing three games each in two separate sections. All seemed to enjoy the event, and we were extremely impressed with the courteous, friendly and mature behaviour displayed by all students. A delightful lunch of sandwiches, fresh fruit and scones with jam and cream was provided to the helpers by the Drouin West staff and we thank them for this, it was most enjoyable.

Winners in the CHAMPIONSHIP were the new Gippsland Primary Schools Champion Ayden from Drouin West, second placed was Ella from Warragul North, and third place went to Haley, also from Warragul North. Ayden also took home the High Game trophy for an excellent game score of 215, and the trophy for the Highest Word score was won by Cailee from Warragul North for her play of HUGS for 42, hooking the "S" onto "NOCK" (a rare word for a notch) on a triple word score to make two triple words at the same time. Well played, everyone!
In the PLATE the top finisher was Tom from Warragul North, finishing just ahead of Molly, also from Warragul North, with Shalini from Bona Vista in third place. Molly's great score of 169 won her the High Game Trophy, and Griffin from Bona Vista played QUITS for 42 points to take home the High Word Trophy. Good play, everyone, Barry noted that your scores improved considerably during the day, and you're all playing to a good standard indeed!
The Perpetual Shield for the Champion School will go to Drouin West Primary, as Champ Ayden is one of their students.
We haven't established a host for next year's event, so if any of the Gippsland primary schools would like to offer we would be very pleased to hear from you. Thank you again to all who helped, including the staff from visiting primary schools who accompanied their students, the dedication of all involved is admirable.

Miriam plays Molly

Natalie plays Tess

Hayden and Sheree

Isabella and Ella

Tyler and Nicola

Cailee plays Emily

Keira and Haley

Ashlyn plays Caleb

Rees and Alex, having fun

Shalini plays Jasmine

Charlotte and Griffin

Matilda and Tom

The 2017 WESPA WORLD CUP ~ 27, 28, 29 November, in Malaysia

Here are some thoughts from Karen Richards, Chair of WESPA Youth Scrabble, who has done an amazing job organising this event since 2006. Thanks, Karen.

This is the twelfth annual world youth championship. This year, it is called WESPA Youth Cup, due to copyright issues re using the name World Youth Scrabble Championship, despite this name having been endorsed for our use in 2006, by Mattel UK. The Scrabble branch of Mattel are now based in USA.
With close to 200 competitors, from 15 countries, it is the biggest event yet. There are very strong players competing from a number of countries, so it is impossible to anticipate the Champion. Sri Lanka has won the team event for the last few years, with three in the top ten in 2016, including Thavalakshman Yoganathan, who finished second. India are fielding some very strong players, particularly Aditya Iyengar. They are also sending the youngest player, six-year old Madhav. Pakistani players will again feature in many of the top places. Abdullah Abbasi was runner-up in 2015. Malaysian Tengku Ariff Shah has been winning many local events, so maybe it is time for another Malaysian to take out the big prize. Hong Kong have been steadily working at improving their standard of play for the last few years, having only debuted in 2015, and we are expecting that they will one day field a winner. Or maybe the winner will come from an African country (Kenya or Nigeria) where they are working hard to attract more and better youth players. It is great to welcome back Philippines and Indonesia, who were absent in 2016 due to the cost of getting to Europe.

Australia has nine young representatives this year, and we wish them all good luck and happy experiences in this challenging event. Also, good luck to our official Ozzie Team Coach Edie Mueller!

Kaustav, Coach Edie, Sharvin & Aditya







To find more detail about this event please click HERE

The Gippsland Primary Schools Scrabble Championship & Plate ~ November 18, 2016

Another wonderful day spent with 26 primary school students from 4 schools - Bona Vista, Drouin West, Drouin South and Neerim and District. The event was coordinated by the host school's co-Principal Cara Stevens (Bona Vista). The Drouin South students attended even though it was a student-free day at their school because they did not want to miss out. The teachers were delighted with the concentration, enthusiasm and sportsmanship exhibited by the children.

The pleasant surrounds at Bona Vista Primary School

The trophies and perpetual plaque, won by Drouin South

Scrabble Victoria Staff, with some local scarecrows

Watching the plays, ZEN always comes out as one of the favourite words the children use and it is rarely challenged by the opponent. Playing a blank for no score; not challenging words and adding an S onto a word and not expanding on it were plays often seen. However, it was also pleasing to see, as the games progressed from first to third, that the scores improved, appreciably in most cases.
Three games were played by the participants in the Championship and Plate Sections with the prizes being spread across the field which was pleasing. In the Plate Section Trent (Drouin West) placed 1st, also taking the High Game (217) and High Word PAW (45). Christian (Drouin West) was 2nd with 2 wins (58 margin) and Patty (Bona Vista) was 3rd, also with 2 wins and a margin of 32. In the Championship Hayden (Drouin South) took out 1st place with 3 wins, with Ayden (Drouin West) 2nd with 2 wins (218 margin) also High Game (248) and Brodie (Bona Vista) was 3rd with 2 wins (45 margin) also High Word QUOTE for 45. Unfortunately, Ayden only was able to play two games, so his performance is admirable. The children certainly do love the colourful green and purple trophies and the perpetual plaque goes to Drouin West P.S. (the Championship winner's school as is the usual practice.)

The Championship players receiving
their awards, congratulations everyone!

The happy winners in the Plate with Carol
Johnsen, well done to all

Play under way in the spacious room, with
Drouin West players in the foreground

ASPA Vic players and teaching staff assist
the players with the format on the day

The Bona Vista players

Visiting from Neerim and District

The Drouin South participants

The Drouin West players
Thank you to Association helpers - Elize Plaganyi, Christianne McCann, Gwen Lampre, Norma Fisher and Marj Miller (trophies) and the teachers and parents from the schools. Bona Vista P.S. is set in idyllic surroundings with the green Gippsland hills visible from all sides and is always such a pleasant day with a sausage barbecue at lunch ($1 each) provided by the school. It is always a delight for us city folk to visit there. Already, Drouin West P.S. has put up its hand to host the 2017 Gippsland Primary School tournament - can't wait! Carol Johnsen (thanks for the report, Carol.)

Scrabble New South Wales run an exciting Tournament for young players ~ October 24, 2016

The competing students from the three schools, with organisers and helpers

The fourteen award winners with trophies and certificates, with Tony Hunt and Joanne Craig

Three schools participated in this event, and all 42 participants enjoyed the experience. The host school was Cabramatta PS, with Croydon PS and Fairfield West PS students visiting. Scrabble NSW players organised and conducted the event, namely Tony Hunt, Hailey Sutton, Tisa Ng, Joanne Craig and Altaf Thawer, with assistance given by several visiting teachers and parents. Some students played as individuals, some played in pairs, and all played three games with a total of 45 minutes allowed for each game.
A healthy lunch was appreciated, and after some intensive calculations by Hailey the winning school was declared. Only games played between students from opposing schools were counted, and the champion team for 2016 is Croydon PS. The individual winner overall is Wilson from Cabramatta PS, well done, Wilson. Three players won all their games, with Wilson's superior margin securing him the win. Second and third places went to Grace and Sharon, representing Croydon PS, well done to you both.

Cabramatta teacher Tony Hunt briefing the players on the
expectations and schedule for the day.

An adjudication in progress. Electronic devices were used,
and the word list was Collins Official Scrabble Words 2015

Joanne Craig, the current Australian Masters
Champion, with the individual winner, Wilson

After the event chief organiser Tony noted the following - apart from the obvious benefits with regards to numeracy and literacy, Scrabble also provides a forum for the development of decision-making, confidence, strategy and working with others. Its a great avenue for children who are competitive but may not have an affinity with physical sports. It is also one of the few competitive activities in which children are able to participate on an equal footing with adults. At some tournaments in NSW the range in ages can be from 8 to players in their 90s.
Tony thanks all helpers who ensured the day was a success, and plans are being made to conduct a similar tournament in Term 3 of 2017, so if any other schools would like to take part please contact Tony Hunt on 0417 470 167 for details.

Cabramatta Primary School

Croydon Primary School

Fairfield West Primary School

Four young Ozzies travel to Lille for the 2016 World Youth Scrabble Championship - August 27/28/29

Our Australian players - Radheya, Koko, Shekinah and Rahul

Helping at the event - Barry
Harridge and Paul Richards
Once again Karen Richards, WESPA Youth Chairperson, has worked hard to organise this event, with a great deal of assistance from many others around the world, including those at Mind Sports International. Four young Australians have been able to travel to France to compete, and we thank those who made this possible - what a wonderful experience! Also thanks to Jay Jay Jegathesan and Nick Ivanovski for their input, and use of their photos.
Here is a report from Jay Jay on the standings etc at the end of Day 2, thanks, Jay Jay:
Team Australia fought gamely through a tough 10 games on day 2 of the World Youth Scrabble championships. Rahul (35) and Shekinah (44) on 10 wins each and inside the target top 50... with Radheya moving to 8 wins & Kaustav to 7 wins...
An up and down day for Rahul and Shekinah who put together streaks of 6 and 5 wins each interspersed with losing streaks. Sanchit Kapoor of the UAE leads the overall with Aabid Ismail of Sri Lanka in 2nd. 3 Lankans and 3 Thais in the top 10... along with former world champion Jack Durand from Britain in 3rd. My early predicted winner Abdullah Abassi from Pakistan had a surprising losing streak of 5 games but has fought back to 15th. Should be an interesting final day.

Shekinah on the right ~ her many interests
include tae kwon do and dancing

Rahul loves swimming, cross country,
aquathlon & triathlon, versus England's Jack

Kaustav, often known as Koko, thrives on
chess, learning Japanese, reading and music

Radheya on the right - his many interests
include film making, art and writing

The winner, Sanchit Kapoor ***

What a great shot of the contestants! Click to enlarge

Well done, team! Radheya 75th, Shekinah 46th, Kaustav 85th, Rahul 51st

The tournament is over, and what a wonderful experience it has been, with many new friendships made, together with lifelong memories! The winner is 16 year-old Sanchit Kapoor from the United Arab Emirates, where he has lived since the age of seven after emigrating there from India with his parents.
Congratulations to Sanchit, who finished on 20 wins with an impressive margin, three games clear of the following placegetters - (2) Thavalakshman Yogan (LKA)on 17 wins, (3) Aabid Ismail (LKA) 17 wins, (4) Siriwat Suttapintu (THA) 17 wins, (5) Aditya Iyengar (IND) 16 wins, and (6) Jack Durand (ENG) also on 16 wins.
Again thanks is given to all who helped with organising this amazing event, congratulations to you all!

Anand Bharadwaj helps raise funds for Unicef's School-in-a-Box Program ~ July 4, 2016

Afternoon tea with most of the participants

Play in progress at the pleasant home of the Balwyn Scrabble Club
For the fourth consecutive year Anand, with his parents Kannan and Lalitha, visited the Balwyn Scrabble Club to meet with members and visiting friends to play simultaneous scrabble, with Anand winning most of the games! Junior player Pranav was able to visit due to being on school holidays, and thanks to dad Sri for bringing him over. Anand hasn't had any spare time lately to play Scrabble, and relished being back in the Scrabble environment for some friendly challenges.
As usual Lalitha and Kannan were in charge of scoring and replenishing Anand's racks, and also brought an enormous birthday cake to celebrate Anand's sixteenth birthday. All enjoyed this together with some lovely goodies supplied by everyone who attended - thank you all for this, and for your generosity in supporting Unicef. The School-in-a Box program supplies equipment for both children and teachers in needy countries and the amazing boxes are welcomed with great excitement by the recipients. Well done, Anand and everyone!

From left: Kannan, Anand, Balada,
Dominica, Pranav, Rosie

Regular Balwyn Club players David
Lemish with Fintan and Hilary Conway

Nick Ivanovski (our Facebook guru)
with Rob York, Essendon Club Convenor

A social game between Carol Johnsen
(with her granddaughter) and Norma Fisher

Kannan, Lalitha, Anand, Barry Harridge
and Rosie Whalen

The ASCI in Malaysia, April 16 -17, 2016

We had two young players representing Australia at the ASTAR Scrabble Challenge International in Kuala Lumpur. They were Sharvin (U15) and his sister Shireeya (U12), from Perth, Western Australia.
Sharvin came 21st out of 184 in the under 15 section including high game for the section of 588, with a combined game score of 1088. A fantastic game at any age! Sharvin won 8 games of the 12 played.
Shireeya came 43rd out of 76, winning 6 from 12 games in her first tournament, an amazing result!

The playing area, what a wonderful sight.....

Sharvin, concentrating on his game

Shireeya, enjoying her first tournament
Well played to you both, and what a wonderful experience. Also thank you to Karen and Paul Richards for your continuing support of all young players, both here in Australia and around the world.

Young players at the National Champs and the Plate - March 26/27/28, 2016

The young ones: Ronnie, Pranav, Lewis (NZ), Koko, Aditya, Sharvin,
Harper, Karen, a little future champ, Meghna, Minuki and Shekinah
A total of nine budding Aussie players and our young friend from New Zealand, Lewis, will be competing this year. Eight of these are taking part in the Coaching Clinic and the Youth Tournament organised by Karen Richards for Good Friday, which will set them up nicely for the following events.
Lewis has qualified to play in the Championship, which he did last year here in Melbourne, and the nine playing in the Plate are Ronnie from the Australian Capital Territory, Shekinah from Queensland, Sharvin, Aditya, and Koko from Western Australia, and Minuki, Meghna, Harper and Pranav from Victoria. Good luck to you all!
Scrabble South Australia is awarding a trophy for the young player with the highest rating gain over the whole event, and this year there will be trophies and cash prizes donated by Marj Miller awarded to the top three youth finishers over both events, based firstly on the number of games won, then margin. Lots to play for, indeed! (On a personal note, I'm sorry I can't be there to cheer you all on! Marj M.)

The individual trophies for the top three
finishers over both events

Special award for the Youth Player who achieves the
Highest Rating Gain overall, produced by Antony Kimber
Five-game Youth Tournament: This was played on Good Friday and Ronnie placed first, with Shekinah and Minuki in second and third places respectively, all on four wins. High Game was played by Ronnie (503), and the High Word was played by Minuki - EASTING for 105.
The Major Tournaments:
In the Championship Lewis from New Zealand finished 60th in the field of 80, a good effort indeed. Of the Plate players the highest finisher was Shekinah from Queensland who placed a very creditable 15th, well done, Shekinah. Next in finishing order were Ronnie, Minuki, Pranav, Sharvin, Aditya, Koko, Harper and Meghna. Well done to all!
Overall youth winners (this included Lewis (NZ), who played in the Championship section, and very nearly featured in this list)
Trophies and cash prizes, based on the number of wins, and then margin:
1. Shekinah Giffen (Qld) 14 wins, margin +350
2. Ronnie Bennett (ACT) 11 wins, margin +176
3. Minuki Satharasinghe (Vic) 11 wins -205
Highest rating gain (rack trophies donated by Scrabble South Australia, and produced by Antony Kimber) After all ratings were calculated an extra trophy was required, as Pranav Srivatsan (Vic) and Sharvin Jeyendran (WA) each gained 91 rating points over all events, congratulations to you both!

Minuki, Ronnie and Shekinah, the top three

Sharvin, equal Rating Gain

Pranav, equal Rating Gain, & Karen

From W.A. - Koko, Edie Mueller, Sharvin, Aditya
Thanks to Khwanjai Thammaping, Barry Harridge and Deepa Bhowmick for the photos - the following show our young Scrabblers, and also how important the support of parents is to the participation of the young ones. Well done, everyone.

Koko with mum Deepa

Ronnie in action

Little brother & Minuki with Mum

Gabrielle & Harper Pestinger

Lewis and Linley Hawkins, NZ

Khrish & Vidhya with Meghna

Sharvin with his dad Jey

Refreshments for Shekinah...

Aditya and Pranav at work

Minuki and her proud brother

Future Coaching Dates with Karen Richards! some with Alastair Richards!


November 27/28 2015 in Bangkok (2 days, Thursday and Friday) followed by Princess Cup, an excellent tournament for players aged 20 and under. Alastair will do an expert level session, while I work with beginners and intermediate level players. For more info on the 2015 Princess Cup click here
I will pay for accommodation of anyone who comes to that, if required. Flights from the Eastern Australia states, to Bangkok, are approximately $750 return (less from Perth) There is an adult side tourney as well, if you are aged 21 upward. Thailand is fantastic fun and inspirational....there will be 6000 children playing, but our youth will be competing in a group of approximately 50 from all different countries.
December 4th 2015 in Perth (Saturday) an Intermediate level coaching clinic, for those rated approximately 600 to 1200, run by Alastair. If there is a demand and space, I will coach a few beginners, at the same time.
January 16th to 20th, 2016 in Brisbane (Saturday to Wednesday) (not confirmed yet)
March 25th, 2016 in Adelaide (Friday) - limited to 8 players......must be prepared to also compete in Australian Championship, 26th to 28th March. I can pay for accommodation for a couple of young players, if required. Intermediates (approx 600 to 1200 rating). Local (ie from Adelaide) beginners may be included, and will not be required to compete in Australian Champs.
April 16 and 17, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur (Saturday and Sunday) ASCI is an event run by University of Malaya, with about 400 players. Categories include School, University, and Open. Whilst this is not a formal coaching clinic, if any young player would like to compete, I am offering to accompany them, and do some one-on-one coaching as we travel and compete.

Fun at Wonthaggi North P.S. for the Gippsland Primary Schools Championship! November 16, 2015

The Championship: Tara, Overall Champion and High
Word. Tayla, second place and High Game.
Leo, third place.

The Plate: Brianna, second. Jacob, first. Olivia, third &
High Word. Mrs Hutton with Nicola's award for High Game.
At the back: Rob York, helper from Scrabble Victoria
Thirty children from surrounding schools met at Wonthaggi North Primary School for a great day of scrabble and friendship, and we thank WN teacher Mrs Tracey Hutton for hosting this event. Students were ferried by various means from Bona Vista, Fish Creek and Welshpool schools to join their peers, and it was a delight to meet such rounded and well-mannered children - Scrabble Victoria members Carol Johnsen, Rob York and Marj Miller had a lovely day out, together with Carol's beautifully behaved granddaughter!
Players were divided into two groups, the Championship and the Plate, and the photos show those who fared well on the day.....the overall Championship and High Word trophies were won by Tara from Bona Vista Primary, with Tayla from Fish Creek placing second and winning the High Game Award. In third place was Leo from Welshpool Primary, well done to you all!
In the Plate section Jacob from Wonthaggi North placed first, Brianna from Welshpool was second, Olivia from Fish Creek placed third and won the High Word award, and the High Game trophy was won by Nicola from Wonthaggi North. Great play, everyone!

Tayla plays Katie

Ethan versus Luke

Rufaro versus Tara

Jaycob versus Olivia

Meah plays Myles

Rohan with Matilda

Lachlan plays Brianna

Elsa and Bianca

Fraser plays Courtney

Brodie with Alex

Mohamed plays Teagan

Sylvia and Jacob

Harry plays Jaxon

Summer and Erik

Callarnee plays Leo
Three games were played, with two completed before the lunch break. Lunch was a sausage sizzle organised and cooked by the Parents & Friends Association, and this was enjoyed together with the lovely fresh sandwiches and home baking supplied by Tracey and the Wonthaggi North families. We hope everyone enjoyed their day playing Scrabble, and we look forward to seeing many of you again next year at the Bona Vista Primary School.

Games in progress....

The workers - parents, teachers, aides

Lovely elephant, with WN head Karen

Rufaro with the P.F.A. ladies

Organiser Mrs Tracey Hutton

A very successful World Youth Scrabble Championship comes to an end in Perth, and Nicholas Hong is the new Champion!

Our young Aussie players, from left - Chelaka, Koko, Pranav, Tim, Sharvin, Radheya, Liana,
Rahul, Meghna, Pieta, Riva, Shekinah, Ronnie, Ben, Aditya and Harper.

All the players, representing many countries.....with Karen Richards at centre, and
Tournament Director Martin Teo hiding amongst the youngsters in the front row!

The 2015 Champ Nic Hong

Hardworkers Barry and Karen
After three days of well organised and enjoyable scrabble played in a happy atmosphere at the charming University of Western Australia, Singapore's Nicholas Hong emerged as the new Youth Champion for 2015! Nic, who was far enough ahead before the last game to be Gibsonized, was simply ecstatic to have won! Sadly Nic was booked to fly home soon after the event which meant he was unable to compete in the ensuing WESPA World Championship, so his place was filled by the runner up, as per WESPA protocol.
Nic finished on 18 wins, a game clear of Abdullah Abbasi from Pakistan, and a further half game ahead of the defending Champion Jack Durand from England. Congratulations to all, and to our top placed Aussie player Tim Mason, who came in fifth - this is Tim's last year at the W.Y.S.C., and thanks for your great representation over the past few years, Tim!
Our other fifteen young representatives finished in various positions and in excellent spirits - for most it was their first time at a World Scrabble Championship, and all will benefit from this fun experience!
Thanks go to Karen Richards, the World Chair of Youth Scrabble, who again worked extremely hard to organise this challenging event, including running coaching clinics in Australia and various parts of the world. Scrabble is much stronger thanks to your efforts, Karen! Barry Harridge put in many hours of computer (and thinking!) time, both before and during the event to ensure that all ran smoothly, and the input of Jay Jay Jegatheva Jegethesan, manager at the University of W.A. and father of contestants Radheya and Rahul, was absolutely invaluable! Many helped behind the scenes, and this includes Edie Mueller who has worked with the Western Australian juniors to assist in improving their Scrabble. All involved are grateful to the many unnamed helpers, which of course includes all parents who support their children so unstintingly!



Chelaka and Ronnie

Harper, Sharvin, Meghna, Aditya, Koko





Meghna and Shekinah

Radheya and Liana


Co-organiser Jay Jay

Some invaluable parents!

W.Y.S.C. News!

World Under-10 Champion moves to Australia

Melbourne players are excited about Minuki moving to Australia with her parents. Last year, in Colombo, she snatched the World Champion Under-10 title, despite the fact that Qatar has no adult mentors. She has been teaching herself, with her mother's help. This year, she will be representing Qatar, again, at WYSC in Perth. Ronnie will be pleased to know that Minuki is too old to contest the Under-10 category again. Next year, we hope she is representing Australia in France. All the best for a happy tournament, Minuki!

The 2015 World Youth Scrabble Championship in Perth, Western Australia

This wonderful event is fast approaching, and below are our excited young Australian players who are gearing up to take part. It will as always be a challenging event for all, and we wish all participants a happy time and lots of luck! It will be a great learning experience, and the value of the wonderful opportunity to make friends with young people from around the world cannot be underestimated! So good luck to you all, and above all, enjoy!!

Aditya: WA

Ben: WA

Chelaka: Vic

Harper: Vic

Koko: WA

Liana: WA

Meghna: Vic

Pieta: WA

Pranav: Vic

Radheya: WA

Rahul: WA

Riva: Vic

Ronnie: ACT

Shekinah: Qld

Sharvin: WA

Tim: WA

Anand Bharadwaj is interviewed by The under Age! Click here to read it....

Western Australia's Youth Players receive their Team Shirts!

L to R: Sharvin, Aditya, Tim, Coach Edie, Koko, Radheya and Rahul (missing - Liana)

Thank you to our generous sponsors
for these great Oz shirts - modelled
by Rahul and Radheya
Six of the seven WA players who will be representing Australia at the World Youth Scrabble Championship in Perth were formally presented with team t-shirts at the Rockingham tournament, by WA Scrabble Association President, Graham Bell.

They are pictured with WA Youth mentor and trainer, Edie Mueller. All have also been trained by Karen Richards and Alastair Richards over the past year and are looking forward to the start of the WYSC at the University of Western Australia on the 31st of October.

Tim spearheads the WA contingent and will be playing in his 3rd WYSC, with Rahul playing in his 2nd. All other WA members will have the honour of flying the flag of their country for the first time!
The stylish team shirts will be presented to all members of the Australian team and are proudly sponsored by Apollo Health, E-Type Design and the University of Western Australia.

Scrabble Coaching with Karen Richards in Queensland before the 2015 W.Y.S.C.

The participants, with Karen and Paul

Riva concentrating
We held a fun Scrabble "camp" in Brisbane in September, to train some of the newest members of the Australian team for World Youth Scrabble Championship, to be held in Perth at the end of October.
Such intense workshops are an excellent method of introducing youth to Scrabble, because it ensures they will have some success right from the very start (ie win some games). We also equip them with the skills to improve rapidly thereafter, eg by introducing them to study methods such as Cardbox.
Apart from the learning factor, we have found that introducing them to each other helps to set up both a cooperative and supportive network, and an element of competition, as they strive to better their ratings faster than their peers. These youngsters will all be great players in future.
In the picture, you will see Shekinah (Qld), Meghna (Vic), Koko (WA), Sharvin (WA), Aditya (WA), Pranav (Vic), and Tuppy (Alastair's dog). The oldies in the picture are Karen and Paul Richards. Missing from the photo was Riva (Vic).

Ballarat Club hosts a second group of Malaysian students - Sept 13, 2015

The Malaysian and Damascus College Students - click to enlarge

Games under way, with adjudicators and helpers
After their very successful first effort, the hardworking members and volunteers of the Ballarat Club made another group of Malaysian students from Selangor welcome to a social scrabble challenge against students from the local Damascus College. This was held at the Kohinoor Community Centre on Errard Street, Ballarat South, where the club holds their weekly Tuesday meetings, commencing at 10am. The 17 Malaysian students were accompanied by 5 teachers and guides and all seemed to enjoy using their knowledge of English against the 17 local students, helped where necessary by club members who acted as adjudicators and mentors. Following lunch of soup, sandwiches, home-baked cakes and biscuits and a generous supply of chocolates a group of the Malaysian students performed a traditional dance before being taken to visit some local wildlife. Neville Hesketh, club secretary, had produced very elegant Participation Certificates for every student – quite a task! Thanks to Neville and all members of the Ballarat Scrabble Club for their hospitality in hosting this wonderful cultural exchange!

Neville Hesketh presents dictionaries to
the Team Leaders

Entertainment from the Malaysian Students,
in the spacious Ballarat venue

The Malaysian team shirt, worn by all
their students

Organisers from Malaysia and the
Ballarat Scrabble Club

Anand Bharadwaj raises money to support Unicef's School-In-A-Box program, with help from the Balwyn Scrabble Club Members and Friends - July 13, 2015

The happy crew in front of the "Big Board", set up in the very pleasant
Function Room - missing is our ace photographer Khwanjai Thammaping

This was a fun day at the Club, which meets regularly on Mondays at 1.00 pm - everybody is welcome, at the Balwyn Community Centre, 412 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn. Please drop in, we'd love to see you there.
It was a good day to be sheltered and warm inside as it was wet and cold outside, and all enjoyed the lovely afterrnoon tea supplied by the members, as well as a slice of Anand's birthday cake. Anand recently celebrated his 15th birthday, and it was lovely to share this with him. He is an extremely busy young man with an involvement in many activities, and we wish you well in all of them, Anand!
The participants were divided into groups of eight with a separate board set up for each player, and Anand moved around the room playing eight people at a time, turn after turn. His mum Lalitha and dad Kannan were invaluable in recording scores and replenishing Anand's racks, and the process moved along smoothly throughout the afternoon. A total of 23 games were played with Anand victorious in all but two, with Ann Hagley and Marj Miller the two who luckily drew all the good tiles from the bag! Luck plays a major part in Scrabble, I believe.

The surrounds at the Balwyn
Community Centre

Rob York setting up the Scrabble
display board

Barry Harridge, Carol Johnsen
and Lalitha Sunderesan

Paula Messer & Norma Fisher
with Anand & Kannan

Loyal Balwyn player David Lemish
shakes hands with Anand

Regular Balwyn member Fintan
Conway with Khwanjai Thammaping

Friends and regular combatants
Wynnie Pennells and Rosie Whalen

Birthday cake time - Lalitha with
Anand and Kannan
Thank you all on behalf of Anand and family for your generous support of such a worthy cause, it is appreciated - I think we may have assisted in raising enough for two boxes, a wonderful effort indeed. To see Anand's report on this event, and the Letters and Numbers day out, click here and here

Harper Pestinger plays his first tournament ~ June 28, 2015

Natasha Podesser on the left, with new
players Harper and Gabrielle Pestinger

Harper finishing his game against Mary
Mackie, with Faye Leeder nearby

We were pleased to welcome Harper and mum Gabrielle to the Youth Fundraising Tournament in June, and both thoroughly enjoyed the experience. With a background of playing Scrabble regularly at home the day held no fears for either, and we were grateful for the assistance of their opponents who helped make the day so special.
Aside from Scrabble, Harper loves soccer, futsal, Australian Rules Football, reading and eating out, a wonderfully varied array of interests! We wish both well in their future involvement in Scrabble.

Fun with Scrabble at Ballarat for visiting Malaysian Students ~ June 2, 2015

Many of the Malaysian students

Happy prizewinners at Ballarat
As part of their English studies 25 young people from the Seri Binteng School in Kuala Lumpur, accompanied by three English teachers and two guides, together with seven students from local Damascus College, joined players from the Ballarat Scrabble Club and surrounding districts in a relaxed and very enjoyable day. Firstly the Seri Binteng choral group presented "Transformers" which highlights the harmony of the many ethnic groups living peacably side by side in Malaysia, and this was followed by a dance presented by students representing different cultures within their school - Malay, Chinese and Indian.
Three enjoyable scrabble games were played, and amongst the girls present the highest score (311) was recorded by Vicky Wong Jing, with the highest scoring word played by Nur Saiyidah Bt Zakaria - PLACINGS for 72 points. Zhi Yang scored 328 points for the highest score for the boys, and also played the highest scoring word - PROVERS for 84.

Lovely traditional dancing

Happily enjoying Scrabble

Damascus College students

Neville Hesketh, Zhi Yang, Kaye Campbell
Ballarat Club Members provided a lovely lunch, including tomato soup which was very welcome on a chilly Ballarat day at the Wendouree Bowling Club. The visit was appreciated by the students, and may be repeated at a later date. Thanks to all who helped with the organisation, particularly Kaye Campbell, Neville Hesketh and Maggie Solomon, your hospitality was appreciated by all.

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The Gippsland Primary Schools Championship and Plate at Moe, November 7 2014

We were welcomed to South Street Moe Primary School by teacher Jenny Jones, known to her students as Ms JJ - the number of schools participating was down c/f last year, but the 36 children who took part were happy to be there playing Scrabble and mingling with their peers from Foster, Newborough, Welshpool and District, Wonthaggi North and South Street Moe Primary Schools. Once again the visitors from Scrabble Victoria (Carol Johnsen, Norma Fisher, Barry Harridge and myself) were very impressed with the warmth, politeness and helpfulness of all the students, and we thank you all for this. Several teachers attended from the several schools, and we thank them for providing transport from their various areas. Lunch from Subway was lovely and fresh and really appreciated, thank you, Jenny.

The Championship winners - from left, Lizzy Oldham (Newborough)
Kristen Skee (Newborough), Leo Cashmore (Welshpool), Dylan
Bagnall (SS Moe), and the Champion Margot Bettles from Foster.

The winners in The Plate - Emily Grange (Newborough),
Sarah Oldham (Newborough), Courtnie McNamara (South Street)
and the Plate winner, Shaylee McCarthy (South Street Moe)

The bright and cheerful library with play in progress and
visiting teachers at the rear, our host Jenny Jones at centre,
and Scrabble Victoria's Barry Harridge at the computer.
As usual the students were divided into two groups, and the winner of the Championship was the same person as the winner of the Plate last year, well done, Margot Bettles from Foster Primary. What a great achievement! Second in the Champs was Kristen Skee from Newborough (both Margot and Kristen won all three games played), and third place went to Dylan Bagnell from South Street. Lizzy Oldham from Newborough scored 210 to win the High Game Trophy, and Leo Cashmore from Welshpool played "BOX" for 36 points to win the High Word Trophy in the Championship.
The Plate section saw victory to a very happy Shaylee McCarthy from the host school South Street Moe, with Emily Grange from Newborough Primary in second place - again both girls won all three games played, separated by margin only. In third place Courtnie McNamara won 2 games, and also scored 160 to win the High Game Trophy for the Plate. Sarah Oldham's play of "CARROT" for a score of 44 won her the High Word Trophy, well done to all who played their games in such good spirits.

Alyssa Grose (SSM) plays
Maddie Robinson (SSM)

Lizzy Oldham (N) plays
Annalise Kulbe (WN)

Kristen Skee (N) plays
Ben Fletcher (F)

Leo Cashmore (We) plays
Brody Cox (N)

Dylan Bagnall (SSM) plays
Meagan Hawkett (SSM)

Erik Gordon (We) plays
Seth Bagnall (SSM)

Grace Gee (F) plays
Sarinthip Incha (SSM)

Jade Abbott (N) plays
Melody Pederson (N)

Will Thatcher (WN) plays
Matthew Neal (SSM)

Brent Milligan (N) plays
Margor Bettles (F)

Syra Cheesman (N) plays
Britney Matthews (SSM)

Front: Chloe Bramley (WN) v Ethan Burrow (F). Back: Charlie Cashmore (We) Marley Clegg (SSM)

Rahni Nicklen (N) plays Courtney
Proud (SSM)

Zoelee di Van Der Schoeren (SSM)
plays Courtnie McNamara (SSM)

Shaylee McCarthy (SSM) plays
Damian Whelan (SSM)

Ella McKie (WN) plays
Sofie Platt (We)

Emily Grange (N) plays
Sarah Oldham (N)

Teachers Jill Mastwyk & Peter Siddels,
hoping to host this event next year
Thanks to South Street for hosting, and at the moment Wonthaggi North Primary School, through teacher Peter Siddels, has offered to organise next year's event - thank you, Wonthaggi North!

Jack Durand from the UK is the 2014 WYSC Champion! Congratulations, Jack!

Our Aussie contestants - Shekinah
Giffen, Tim Mason, Rahul Jegatheva,
with Ronnie Bennett in front

The clear winner, Jack Durand from
the UK, receives the trophy for his
excellent endeavours

A pivotal game - Jian Rong from
Singapore, who eventually placed 2nd,
plays the winner, Jack Durand

Lewis Hawkins from N.Z.
finished 7th, Best under
12 & Under 14

Most of the 120 competitors in the 2014 event
This annual event looks to have been fun, and a wonderful experience for the 120 contestants. Ably run by Karen Richards and Barry Harridge with massive help from the Sri Lankan Scrabble Association, the 24 games moved along smoothly with Jack Durand from the United Kingdom gaining an early lead and finishing with 20 wins, three games clear of Jian Rong from Singapore and Mariam Arif from Pakistan, with Victor Gwee from Singapore fourth.
Among our Australian reps Tim Mason from Western Australia finished 24th, Rahul Jegatheva (also from W.A) placed 88th, and our younger players Shekinah Giffen from Queensland and Ronnie Bennett from the Australian Capital Territory finished 98th and 99th respectively, a wonderful learning experience for all. Thank you for acting as ambassadors for Scrabble in Australia, and I hope that most of you can attend in future years.
Also thanks to all who assisted in making this event such a success, your efforts are appreciated. To see the full results click HERE

Preview ~ The World Youth Scrabble Championship ~ August 29/30/31 2014

Tim Mason
from W.A.




The venue at BMICH -
the Main Hall

In the grounds,
a nice spot to relax

One of the buildings,
a great place

Another interesting area
Four young Aussies are competing this year - Tim Mason and Rahul Jegatheva from Western Australia, Ronnie Bennett from the Australian Capital Territory, and Shekinah Giffen from Queensland, and we wish them all well. Anand Bharadwaj is unable to attend this year due to various commitments, mainly educational, and we'll see what next year brings for Anand.
The event is being held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and I'm sure all will enjoy the venue, and the event.
Once again Karen Richards from Queensland, Chair of the WESPA Youth initiative, has done a huge amount of work with assistance from the Sri Lankan Scrabble Association, and Barry Harridge is travelling over to handle the computer program and will bring us news as it comes to hand.
To visit the official youth website click HERE

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A Day of Support for Unicef, organised by Anand Bharadwaj

Thanks to Anand for the following report on the charity day held at the Balwyn Community Centre on July 14 2014, and well done to Anand for his continuing support of Unicef in his role as Victorian Ambassador.

Details of my fundraising event for UNICEF’s School-in-a-Box initiative ~ Anand Bharadwaj, Trinity Grammar School, Kew, Victoria.
When I attended the world education games ambassadorial briefing in February 2013, I had the chance to hear the UNICEF representatives talk about the School-in-a-Box initiative. As the Victorian Ambassador, I not only promoted this initiative to my fellow students in my school and at other schools in Melbourne, but I also wanted to contribute to this noteworthy cause through other means. Being a professional Scrabble player, I decided to organise a fundraising tournament by playing against a number of other professional tournament players simultaneously. This novel idea was wholeheartedly supported by the Victorian Scrabble Association. In the inaugural event last year, we collected about $520. This year, I wanted to continue this event to raise money for this worthwhile cause.

Tam & Sita Dasika with Kannan,
Anand making a move, & Lalitha

Norma Fisher with regular Balwyn
member Paula Messer

Carole Eden with Patricia Mitchell,
supporting the cause

Khwanjai Thammaping with Mal

Cheryle Jerram & Dominica Krstic,
with carer Ron, & John Carpenter
On 14th July 2014, thanks to the generous support of Marj Miller and Norma Fisher, two of the office bearers of the Victorian Scrabble Association, we were able to hold this charity event for the second year in a row. I played two rounds, a total of 24 opponents and 12 at a time. In each round, I played simultaneously against 12 opponents, each set up with their own board. The boards were set up in a horseshoe shape, which facilitated me to walk around and play my moves in rapid succession. In each turn, I visited a board and had roughly 5-10 seconds to play my move. My parents then replenished my rack, scored the moves and adjudicated word challenges. After about four hours, I had completed the 24 games and finished with 19 wins, and 5 losses. All the 24 players were recognised Australian Scrabble players, two of whom were at Masters level (against whom I played twice) and seven others were at Advanced level. All in all, it was a fun-filled afternoon, helping us to raise $585 for this worthy cause. My parents and I plan to add another $400 to this total and we aim to support the provision of at least four Schools-in-a-Box.

Anand celebrated his recent
birthday with us - 14 now!

Regular Balwyn players, Rod
Casey and Balada Catanchin

Lainie Mercieca with Rob York,
helping Unicef

Sita and Tam Dasika, with Rena
Aitken and Jenny Brysha

Valued Balwyn Club members David
Lemish and Lorraine Thomas
I would like to once again express my gratitude to the Victorian Scrabble Community for their generosity and support of this event. I also want to express my special thanks to Khwanjai Thammaping who took a lot of photos during the occasion and the Balwyn Community Center who waived the fee for the use of their facilities. Last but not the least, I want to thank my parents for their whole-hearted support.

Thank you to all who helped with the success of the afternoon, and also to those who provided us with lovely goodies for afternoon tea, including Anand's 14th birthday cake, it was appreciated!
To see Khwanjai's album on Facebook click here
And to see the spreadsheet of the day's results click here

Introducing our new junior player, Chelaka Paranahewa ~ July 2014

Chelaka Paranahewa
We were pleased to welcome Chelaka to his first tournament on July 6th at the Box Hill Centre, and it was a tough initiation for a young competitor who hadn't played at a club, or received any formal training in tournament rules and etiquette - however Chelaka took all this in his stride and enjoyed the challenge, winning the final game of seven played, and finding three bonus words to help with his win.
Chelaka arrived in the country with his family earlier this year and was disappointed to find that Scrabble wasn't part of the curriculum at his chosen school, and decided to play in a tournament for the experience.
Well done, Chelaka, we hope you enjoy your association with the Scrabble Community, both here in Victoria, and around Australia and further afield.

World Youth Scrabble Championship - Thursday December 12 till Saturday December 14, 2013

Four young Aussies competed this year - Marvi Delfin and Tim Mason from Western Australia, Anand Bharadwaj from Victoria, and Ronnie Bennett from the Australian Capital Territory. The venue was the Etisalat Academy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with play commencing at 2pm on Thursday 12th and finishing at 5pm Dubai time on Saturday December 14.

Tim Mason, Anand Bharadwaj &
Marvi Delfin, who finished 22nd.

All 138 players: from Australia 4, England 4, India 7, Kenya 7, Kuwait 1, Malaysia 7, New Zealand 1, Nigeria 24, Oman 1, Pakistan 18, Qatar 18, Sri Lanka 10,
Thailand 9, Trinidad and Tobago 8, Uganda 1, United Arab Emirates 17, and the USA 1.

To find the full details regarding qualification, playing conditions, accommodation, customs of the country etc. click HERE

Winner Moizullah Baig

Second Javeria Mirza

7th place - Anand Bharadwaj with Karen Richards

At right, Tim Mason, tenth place, with Karen

Ronnie Bennett, best player under 6 years of age

The team from Pakistan were very strong this year, filling the top two placings as well as eighth to receive the overall award for the best performed team. Part of their improvement was deemed due to previous coaching by Australia's Alastair Richards, congratulations to all on your achievements!
Of our representatives this is Marvi Delfin's last year playing for Australia, thanks for your efforts, Marvi! Tim Mason and Anand Bharadwaj are still young enough to compete again, and Ronnie Bennett has many years in which to hone his skills. Thank you to all for representing Australia so well, and good luck in your future endeavours as young Scrabble players and ambassadors for Australia!

The 2013 Gippsland Primary Schools Championship, at Welshpool ~ October 22, 2013

Fifty-two keen students took part in this annual event, travelling long distances to compete against their peers from the surrounding areas - Primary Schools repesented were Fish Creek, Foster, Newborough, St Joseph's Warragul, Tarwin Valley, Toora, Wonthaggi North and Wonthaggi, and the host school Welshpool and District Primary. Local teacher Ms Jeanette Swann organised the event, and also runs the Welshpool Scrabble Club on Monday nights at the local hotel - all are welcome, so please support this group!

Here is a comment from Jeanette; "from our end it was a fantastic day – each school has commented on the positive attitude and behaviour of all the students. We are certainly looking forward to next year. The seed was sown with Toora, Foster, Meeniyan and Welshpool – let’s share a bus for the day!" Next year the host school will be South Street Moe, under the guidance of staff member Lynette Blunt whose son Robert was the inaugural Champion in 2007, thanks for taking on the task, Lynette.

Clockwise, from bottom left - the 2013 Champion Matilda Traill, with the chief organiser Jeanette Swann;
play underway; Winner of the Plate, Margot Bettles: listening quietly at Presentations; Mal Eden watching
the play; the Foster Primary School Mascot.

Here are the placegetters in the two Divisions - many of the results were very close, and we congratulate all participants on their play, and the spirit in which the games were played - well done, all.
Championship ~ First Matilda Traill (Foster PS), Second Anne Adams (Foster PS), Third Chloe Bramley (Wonthaggi North). The High Game Award for this section went to Oliver Cox (Foster PS) for a score of 166 points, and the High Ward Award went to Anne Adams who played QUIET for a score of 68 points.
In the Plate first place went to Margot Bettles (Foster PS), second was Jack Fraser and third place went to Paddy Mulqueen, with both boys representing St Joseh's, Warragul PS. The High Game Award for the Plate was collected by Margot Bettles for a score of 153 points, and the High Word Award went to Payden Norkett-Beckett (Newborough PS) who played QIN for 42 points. This is one of the newer words used in our Scrabble Lexicon and is very helpful at times when "stuck with the Q" - its a Chinese stringed instrument related to the zither, and the same as a guqin...

Haileybury College triumphs over Melbourne High School for the first time! October 5, 2013

The teachers
This was another fun day at Melbourne High School on the last weekend of the school holidays, the fifth Scrabble Challenge between the two schools, and all involved enjoyed a happy but strongly competitive day - Haileybury College fielded a team of three who played all their games against MHS students, and the tally after the two teams had played twelve games saw Haileybury victorious by nine games to three, a brilliant efort indeed.

In the first game HC captain Sol Dasika caused disappointment to the MHS captain Sam Jiang who was playing in his last challenge, and this set the tone for Sol's day - he won all four games, finishing as the Individual Champion overall. His team mates Andrew Chen and Nicholas Mezo also did very well indeed.

The best performer from Melbourne High was Neel Parmar, well done Neel - we could see where Neel gets his talent from as his mum proved late in the day to have a good knowledge of the game! Neel also scored 101 for GAUGERS, the highest word score for the day.

The finishing order of all players was as follows - Sol Dasika HC, Neel Parmar MHS, Josh Khaw MHS, Andrew Chen HC, Michael Cui MHS, Carlo Piccolo-Cody MHS, Sam Jiang MHS, Nicholas Mezo HC, Will Parker MHS, Raymond Sun MHS, Matthew Roth MHS and Andrew Wei MHS.

Congratulations to all who took part, and thanks to MHS teacher Alexandra Grimwade for organising the day and the lovely lunch, and to everyone else who assisted in any way - Norma Fisher, Carol Johnsen, Mal Eden and teachers Catherine Sparrow and Chris Scholten, your help was very welcome. Good luck for the future to all the Year 12 students who are moving on soon, either to undertake tertiary studies or join the workforce.

Anand's efforts assist Unicef's School-in-a-Box program - 2013

Here is a report from Anand, and thank you to the Balwyn Club members and various friends for supporting Anand in this fundraising effort.

Details of my fundraising event for the UNICEF’s School-in-a-Box initiative ~ Anand Bharadwaj, World Education Games Ambassador for Victoria, 2013.

When I attended the ambassadorial briefing in February 2013, I had the chance to hear the UNICEF representatives talk about the School-in-a-Box initiative. As the Victorian Ambassador, I not only promoted this initiative to my fellow students in my school and at other schools in Melbourne, but I also wanted to contribute to this noteworthy cause through other means. Being a professional Scrabble player, I decided to organise a fundraising tournament by playing against a number of other professional tournament players simultaneously. This novel idea was wholeheartedly supported by the Victorian Scrabble Association.

The family, hard at work!

Dominica Krstic and Angie Pearse

Chris Wilding and Fintan Conway

Paula Messer and Sue Bridges
On 23rd September, my idea came to fruition thanks to the generous support of Marj Miller, Carol Johnsen and Norma Fisher, office bearers of the Victorian Scrabble Association.
I played simultaneously against 21 opponents, each set up with their own board. The boards were set up in a horseshoe shape, which facilitated me to walk around and play my moves in rapid succession. In each turn, I visited a board and had roughly 5-10 seconds to play my move. My parents then replenished my rack, scored the moves and adjudicated word challenges. After about three hours, I had completed the 21 games and finished with 14 wins, 6 losses and a draw. Of the 21 players I played, all were recognised Australian Scrabble players of whom four were of Masters level and seven were of Advanced level. All in all, it was a fun-filled afternoon, helping us to raise $520 for this worthy cause. My parents and I plan to add another $400 to this total and we aim to support the provision of at least four Schools-in-a-Box.

Balada Catanchin, Rosie Whalen, Rob York, Cheryle Jerram, Lorraine Thomas

Marie D'Rosario and Carole Eden

Ready for their next turn....
I would like to once again express my gratitude to the Victorian Scrabble Community for their generosity and support of this event. I have created an Excel Spreadsheet giving details about the games for those who are interested.

To see the outcome of all games played click here

The 2013 World Youth Scrabble Championship ~ December 12/13/14

The entrance to the Academy

The main building

An impressive setting

Overlooking the gardens
This event will be held at the Etisalat Academy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with play commencing at 2pm on Thursday and finishing at 5pm on Saturday.

Thanks to Karen Richards (WESPA Youth Chairperson) for the hours of hard work involved in setting up this event - to find the full details regarding qualification, playing conditions, accommodation, customs of the country etc. click HERE

And to check out the current standings of our young Australian players please visit HERE

Great performances at the Nationals - Easter 2013

After Game 12, probably - Anand 424, David 415
Scores in a later matchup - David 412, Anand 320

Shekinah McGiffen achieved the "Youth High Rating
Gain" Award - with Karen Richards
Seven young players, including two from New Zealand, competed in this annual 3-day Easter event, and all enjoyed the excitement and the challenge. Current World Youth Champion Michael McKenna from New South Wales finished in sixth place in the Championship section, with the 2011 Youth Champ Anand Bharadwaj from Victoria one place behind, picking up 58 ratings points for his efforts. Both Michael and Anand recorded 16 wins, and both had some excellent games - each notched up a win against the eventual winner, 2006 World Youth Champ David Eldar.
As it happened Michael and Anand weren't drawn to play each other over the 24 games played - this would have been an interesting challenge for both, and followed with great interest by many.
In the Plate Western Australia's rising star Tim Mason placed 14th and picked up 61 rating points, and is now just 10 points short of being eligible to represent Australia at the World Youth Championship later this year - well done Tim, that shouldn't be too much of a challenge for you. Next in the Plate was young New Zealand player Lewis Hawkins who placed 42nd, winning 12 games and establishing a provisional Australian rating of 1091. Next in line was John McNaughton from New Zealand - John also won 12 games and finished 48th, and now has an Oz rating of 1083. Shekinah Giffen from Queensland came in 67th with 11 wins, and next was Sam van Vliet from New South Wales with 9 wins. Well done to all who competed, what a wonderful experience for all.

Michael McKenna,
New South Wales

Anand Bharadwaj,

Tim Mason, from
Western Australia

Lewis Hawkins, from
New Zealand

John McNaughton,
New Zealand

Shekinah Giffen,
from Queensland

Sam van Vliet,
New South Wales

Shekinah Giffen received the award for the Highest Rating Gain, for a player aged 18 and under, for her wonderful rating gain of 79 points - well done, Shekinah.
Prior to the event four of the young players - Shekinah, John, Lewis and Tim - attended a coaching clinic with Karen and Alastair Richards, and the benefits of this are apparent in their results. Thanks to Karen and Alastair, and all who are encouraging our younger players to play and enjoy Scrabble.
To see all the final results check the National Scrabble website - click HERE

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A look at Anand Bharadwaj's experiences in the Scrabble World.....

Anand at the Nats in 2008,
competing in the Plate

Analysis following the game between Anand and
Trevor Halsall at the Team Challenge in March 2013
Anand has always been hopeful of maintaining a steady increase in his rating, with few hiccups along the way. This is a very difficult aim to achieve, and since Anand commenced playing tournaments in late 2007 he has had just a few downturns, and many highlights - including attending several Australian Championships, being part of the Victorian team at the State Team Challenge, competing in the Trans Tasman Challenge in 2012 (at one stage Anand held the High Game for the tournament with a score of 613, only to be pipped a short time later by Richard Jeremy from the Australian Capital Territory with a score of 622), participating in several World Youth Scrabble events, and winning the 2011 Youth Championship in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Anand was unable to attend the World Youth Scrabble Championship late in 2012 due to commitments connected to his schooling, but was delighted when his friend Michael McKenna from NSW brought the trophy back to Australia. This was the third time Australia had produced a Youth Champion, and we remain delighted with these results - David Eldar won the inaugural Championship in 2006, at the University of Wollongong.
Anand also took part in the 2012 Australian Masters in September 2012 against some formidable opposition including some of his mentors, placing 18th of 20, and dropping 36 rating points. Since then he has once again gradually climbed the ladder, culminating in an increase of 33 points at the recent Melbourne Team Challenge where he captained the Aficionados to 6th place in a field of ten teams.
Anand remains wonderfully enthused about Scrabble, his music and his studies, and leads a very busy life - its still undecided whether he will travel overseas later this year but we wish our "almost" teenager all the best in everything.

2013 ~ Youth Scrabble is growing strongly in Western Australia!

Jane Walker, Education Officer

Radheya with his Trophy
"Let's Play Scrabble," written by Jane Walker with help from highly qualified teachers is bringing Scrabble to Primary School youngsters in WA. Student progress in English, Math and Social Interaction can be formally assessed by their teachers as the program meets National Curriculum guideline requirements and Jane, Glenys Lawrie, Graham Bell and Karen Richards are doing all they can to make it available to all states.
To contact Jane for more information or to enquire about obtaining the program please click here jwalker@westnet.com.au
There may be a delay but Jane and the team will do their best to help you.

In the meantime Year 9 student Radheya Jegatheva competed in his first event at the annual Fremantle Scrabble Tournament, held in February. Radheya received a trophy for the best/most unusual word in his division - SLUICES.
He wasn't part of the "Let's Play Scrabble" program but honed his skills playing against his dad JJ, who is now a keen supporter of the educational program and assisting with spreading the word amongst the local schools.
Here are Radheya's comments in an interview published in a Department of Education newsletter: “To be really good you have to practice a lot,” he said. “I love learning new words and Scrabble is a fun way for me to increase my vocabulary.” Well done, Radheya, a good start to your tournament career indeed.

Michael McKenna triumphs at the 2012 World Youth Scrabble Championship!

To see how the Aussie Fab Four (and the other 56 competitors!) fared over the three day event click HERE

The happy winners of the many trophies presented on the day.
Congratulations, Michael, a great victory! Michael's history at the WYSC is impressive - 2009 third, 2010 fourteenth, and 2011 third, for the second time.
At the end of Day 2 Michael was trailing by two games, behind the brilliant player William Kang from Malaysia, and level on games with Cheong Yi Wei, also brilliant and also from Malaysia.
Day 3 saw Michael win 5.5 of the seven games played to finish on 18.5 wins, 1.5 games clear of Yi Wei in second place and William in third place, both on 17 wins. At one stage it appeared that Michael had lost by one point to Jessica Pratesi from the UK, but following a recount the game was declared a draw which was a great help to Michael in the final stages of the event.
Our other young reps acquitted themselves well, and finished as follows - Marvi Delfin 35th, Rangi Collins 43rd, and Maree Farlow 44th.
Well done to all, it must have been a wonderful experience meeting so many people fom so many different places, and either forming new friendships or cementing old ones.
Special thanks to Karen Richards for her ongoing support and organisation of Youth Scrabble, and to Barry Harridge for bringing us such excellent game-by-game updates of the event. Also thanks to Amy Byrne, the Scrabcast Team for bringing us live coverage of many games, Steve Perry from the ABSP for his assistance, and two more special thank yous, firstly, to Mauro Pratesi for allowing the use of his excellent photos, thanks, Mauro, and from Karen Richards "to all the children and parents who stayed back to help us pack up, since we had a plane to catch - it was really, really appreciated."

2012 Champion Michael McKenna
(Australia) with Amy Byrne

Second place - Cheong
Yi Wei from Malaysia

Third place - William
Kang, Malaysia

The Aussies - Marvi Delfin, Michael McKenna,
Rangi Collins & Maree Farlow

The youngest - Ronnie
Bennett, aged 6 (UK)

Michael McKenna versus Rangi Collins

Marvi Delfin, concentrating......

Joe Knapper (UK) plays Maree Farlow

Jessica Pratesi (UK) with Michael McKenna

The 2012 World Youth Scrabble Championship ~ December 7/8/9

This event will take place in December at the Brittania Hotel in Birmingham in England, under the guidance of WESPA Youth Coordinator Karen Richards, with assistance from Barry Harridge and the UK Scrabble Association.
Australia's representatives this year are Maree Farlow from Queensland, Marvi Delfin from Western Australia, Rangi Collins from South Australia and Michael McKenna from New South Wales. Michael finished in third place last year, behind Aussie player Anand Bharadwaj and Victor Gwee from Singapore. Anand is unable to attend this year due to school commitments but we are hopeful that he will make it next year.
In the meantime good luck to our young players, it will be an enjoyable and challenging experience for all!

Maree Farlow

Marvi Delfin

Michael McKenna

Rangi Collins

The Gippsland Primary Schools Championship and Plate ~ October 23 2012

Joint Champion Zoe
Bettles, Foster P.S.

Joint Champion Erin
Park, Bona Vista P.S.

Plate winner, Jayde
McGlead, Foster P.S.
Fifty-four enthusiastic and very well behaved young players gathered at the Bona Vista Primary School to contest this annual event, accompanied by various teachers, teachers' aides and parents. Schools represented this year included Foster, Newborough, Nilma, Warragul North, Welshpool, Wonthaggi and our hosts Bona Vista. The school is set in idyllic surroundings and looks like a wonderful place to experience one's early years of formal learning. Principal Cara Brasier welcomed everyone, including Scrabble Victoria members Carol Johnsen, Norma Fisher, Barry Harridge and Marj Miller. All present were well looked after with refreshments, including a sausage sizzle lunch perfectly cooked by some of the Bona Vista parents. Thank you to all for your superb planning and arrangements!

The outcome in the Championship, after four hard-fought games played very harmoniously and in excellent spirits, was a draw between Zoe Bettles from Foster and Erin Park from Bona Vista, with both winning all their games. Next was Emma Pritchard from Warragul North with 3.5 wins, and next in line on 3 wins were Elise Demczuk from Newborough and Brooke Zuidema from Foster. Last year's Champion Pia Westaway from Foster collected the High Game Award for a score of 235, and the High Word Award for playing QUITS for 66 points.

In the Plate Jayde McGlead from Foster placed first, followed by Kalani Pakoti from Warragul North and Patrick Smythe from Nilma. All three players won all four games, separated only by margin. Jayde also took home the High Game Award for a sore of 216, and Jacob Albrecht from Welshpool played JOGS for 56 points to win the High Word Award. Well done to all players, and thank you for sharing a very pleasant day with us.
We are hopeful that next year's event will take place at the Welshpool Primary School, and we thank Welshpool teacher Jeanette Swann for offering to host the event.

Some of the Champs players - Emma Pritchard,
Elise Demczuk, Zoe Bettles, Pia Westaway

The Plate placegetters - Kalani Pakoti, Patrick
Smythe, Jayde McGlead, Jacob Albrecht

Relaxing in the pleasant atmosphere at
Bona Vista Primary School

Cooking our very pleasant lunch - sausage in bread
with tomato sauce - delightful!

A lovely day in the sun, between games

Some serious play

More serious endeavours

The cooks at work

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Haileybury College versus Melbourne High School ~ September 8 2012

This was a fun afternoon at Melbourne High on a cool windy day well-suited to indoor pursuits, and we enjoyed the company of sixteen very keen and polite young Scrabble players, with the boys outnumbering the girls fourteen to two.
At the end of the day Melbourne High finished two games clear of Haileybury, who have vowed to triumph at the next encounter, and we wish them good luck with that endeavour next year.
Individually the overall winner was Sol Dasika from Haileybury, with Neel Palmar the top player from Melbourne High. Sol also recorded the High Game and High Word for the day, and all players enjoyed the experience, especially the lovely lunch of sandwiches, slices and fruit supplied on this occasion by Haileybury College.
All competitors used timers for the first time following a talk on the subject by Carol Johnsen, and many of the players suffered serious time penalties, which in many instances altered the outcome of games, causing some laughter, groans, and good-natured comments.
Thanks to dedicated teachers Alexandra Grimwade (Melbourne High) and Chris Scholten (Haileybury College) for their onging organisation and support, and to Carol Johnsen and Norma Fisher who organised everything so competently on the day. The respective team leaders Sam (MHS) and Daniel (HC) presented each of us with a lovely African violet, and we thank you for your thoughtfulness - your gifts are appreciated.


World record holders Alastair
Richards and Michael McKenna
Well done to Michael and Alastair and the support team for making it into the Guiness Book of World Records. Below is a report from Karen Richards, thanks Karen, and thank you for the picture, Garth van Vliet. This report is on the Youth page as Michael is still eligible to compete in the 2012 World Youth Championship - good luck, Michael. Sadly, at the advanced age of 20 Alastair is too old for the Junior ranks but is rapidly gaining an enviable reputation in Senior Scrabble ranks throughout the world:
On Thursday 5th and Friday 6th July, in Sydney, Michael McKenna (age 17) and Alastair Richards (age 20) set out to break the record for highest number of points scored in 24 hours playing Scrabble. The existing record of 162171 was set by Austin Shin (a teenager at the time) and Chris Hawkins, a Maths teacher from UK.
For anyone who has never been involved in such an attempt, I must say that it is impossible to imagine what it is like to play game after game (many as short as 5 minutes) without a substantial break, for 24 hours. The total number of games played exceeds that played by many tournament players over an entire year. The existing record holders, plus challengers to this record (Craig Beevers and Ray Tate, also from UK) were very helpful with their advice - particularly Chris, whose advice to put the tiles in a box lid, rather than using a bag, was incredibly useful - it allowed both players to draw tiles virtually simultaneously at times. The boys also learnt from Ray's misfortune, when he passed out from not drinking enough water - something which is difficult to remember to do when you are concentrating intensely, and the room is very cold (we chose to leave it that way, as we felt that artificial heating would make them sleepier.)
LENGTH OF CHALLENGE – 23 hours 56 minutes 54.9 seconds, 195 games exactly.
Total score 170682
PREVIOUS RECORD BROKEN AFTER 22.5 hours Mid-game 185
Some interesting statistics:
Overall average combined game score 875
Highest average game score of group of 10 games (games 20-30) was 931
Lowest average game score for group of 10 games (last 10 games) was 799
Highest individual score 700, Alastair, game 155
STATS FROM MAKBUL MANJI: Combined average score 438: Alastair's average 474 Michael's average 402 Alastair contributed 54% of points, Michael 46% Highest game 700
FROM ME: I thought the cutest word was FORHOOIE/D. ALASTAIR'S pick of cutest moves: REAEDIFYE/S
A special thankyou to the stalwarts who worked flat out the entire time. Apart from Garth, who was doing a bit of everything essential, we had Rene Chelton disassembling boards and reassembling sets of tiles for rapid turnover, and Raelene Moon taking photos and updating information to the internet every few minutes. Phillip Hamilton was a godsend, arriving when I had just about determined that I was too slow at inputting information into Quackle. Tony Hunt and Tisa kindly took over for about 4 hours, giving Rene and Philip a reprieve.
Before attempting such a feat, one has to apply to Guinness World Records for approval, and a "number." After the event, there is a pile of paperwork to be done, things like statutory declarations, evidence etc. I imagine it could be months before this attempt is given official recognition. When this happens, we hope to get some media recognition.
Initially we hoped someone would be able to use this record attempt to raise money for a worthy cause, but there weren’t any volunteers available to organise this. Hence we decided to use it simply to publicise Scrabble via internet, particularly Facebook, where there are thousands of players who do not yet compete in normal tournaments.
The prior internet publicity drew a steady stream of spectators to the event, including one family with two children who were really interested, and already play a little. For this alone, it was worth doing. We have been asked whether we would do it again. For me the answer is, “No, we must have been crazy”. That was something one would only do once in a lifetime (but who knows whether the “boys” would feel inspired to repeat it if the next challengers overtake this record). Karen Richards

Haileybury College versus Melbourne High School ~ June 23 2012

The Melbourne High Team, with teacher
Alexandra Grimwade at the centre
Click to enlarge

The visiting students from Haileybury -
not in the picture - teacher Chris
Scholten Click to enlarge

Alexandra, Sam - MHS best, Stephanie - HC
best, Chris, Carol Johnsen & Norma Fisher
from Scrabble Victoria Click to enlarge

Emily Lok versus Alan Stein - Emily
played "ORDERING" for 61 points, final
game score 286:271 Click to enlarge

The top-scoring word for the day - FOREVER
103 points, played by Jonathon Truong MHS
For the third time many keen and talented lovers of Scrabble from these excellent educational facilities joined forces to compete against each other, and to take part in a coaching clinic devised and presented this time by Barry Harridge - thanks Barry, your efforts were appreciated. Melbourne High under the guidance of teacher Alexandra Grimwade hosted the event, and we were all made to feel very welcome, and were well fed indeed - thanks, Melbourne High. The Haileybury team was led by teacher Chris Scholten who regularly plays in tournaments organised by Scrabble Victoria - all students are welcome to participate in these events, and we would be delighted if you could join us for a very different experience - if you would like some more details please contact me - see above.

Melbourne High proved too strong for Haileybury on the day, winning 26:10, but all appeared to enjoy the day. Some of the higher scoring words were played by Jonathon Truong MHS: FOREVER 103 points, Ozgun Karahan MHS: POCKETS 89 points, Madison Butler HC: MAILING 78, Richard Cai MHS: SPIFFED 78, Samuel Jiang MHS: QUICK 77, and Kevin Wong MHS: KNITTING 70. The top players from each school were presented with Collins Dictionaries, and MHS as hosts also received one to add to their Scrabble equipment.

Michael Welst and Kevin Wong, both from
Melbourne High

Alan Stein MHS, Andrew Chen HC, Andrew
Ong MHS, Casey Duong HC

Oscar Finn HC, Stephanie Moulic HC,
Madison Butler HC, Mary Malek HC

Richard Cai form Melbourne High, with
Paula Wong from Haileybury College

Sam Jiang MHS, Jamie van Hoff HC,
Brian Phan MHS, Hannah Vuong HC

Emily Lok from Haileybury College
with Haimish Finn, also from HC

Jonathon Truong, Ozgun Karahan, Michel
Cui, Neel Parmar, all from Melbourne High

Alex Grimwade MHS, Chris Scholten HC,
Norma Fisher Scrabble, Ioana Sabau HC
To view the full results click HERE

Click HERE to read Anand's report on his World Youth Scrabble Championship win!

Victoria's Anand Bharadwaj is the 2011 World Youth Scrabble Champion!

As well as the winnner's cheque
Anand received awards for Best
Performed Player Under 12,
Under 14 & Under 16.
After three days of intense Scrabble Anand has emerged the winner of the sixth World Youth Scrabble Championship, held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Anand won 19 of the 24 games played and finished two games clear of the other 83 competitors, although this does not reflect the closeness of the competition throughout the event - it really was a tight tussle, with Anand's main rival being fellow Aussie Michael McKenna - well played, Michael and Anand. Second placing went to Victor Gwee from Singapore,with Michael from Sydney in third place.
Our other Aussie reps did well - Jayden Kuhne (Victoria 29th), Kitty-Jean Laginha (NSW 32nd), Marvi Delfin (WA 35th) and Maree Farlow (Qld 80th).
The inaugural W.Y.S.C. was held in 2006 at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales and was won by Melburnian David Eldar, and Australians are delighted to have a second Champion in our midst.

The WESPA W.Y.S.C. presentations - Victor Gwee second, Karen
Richards, Anand Bharadwaj first, Michael McKenna third, with two
gentlemen from Johor State Tourism
Here is an extract from Andrew Fisher's blog, and if you'd like to read more of Andrew's thoughts about Scrabble and various topics click HERE

Fantastic to see Anand winning it 19-5, two games ahead of the field. I got a phone call tonight, which turned out to be from Michael Tang: "You trained him well, my friend". Then he put Anand on for a short chat. Apparently at least two games went his way because of things he had picked up from me; one where he stuck his opponent with a W, and slow-played to win it (he said this was from a game I once played against Carmel Dodd, though I don't recall it), and the other when he was in arrears and made a double-edged opening, ultimately bingoing out when his opponent was unable to block. He also fought back from 160 in arrears in another game. Amazing. I told him he might be able to gain a place on our next WSC team - something to shoot for, and perhaps WYSC will have 'been there, done that' status for an eleven-year-old?

Thanks to Karen Richards, WESPA Youth Chair, for the huge amount of organisation undertaken to ensure that the event ran smoothly, and to all who helped in any way, including Barry Harridge who bought us regular updates on the progress of all players.
To see the full results of WYSC 2011 click HERE

At the World Youth Scrabble Championship in Johor Bahru - end of Day 2

Thanks to software guru Barry Harridge for the great pic at right - there is just one day left to play (6 games) and its a very tight struggle indeed!
Our young reps are doing extremely well, and in the first game tomorrow Michael is drawn to play against Anand, with Anand leading 1:0 so far in their head-to-head battle in this event.
The pic shows our six competitors, and here are their placings at the end of Day 2: Kitty-Jean Laginha (left) 16th on 11 wins, Jayden Kuhne 18th on 11 wins, Michael McKenna 2nd on 14, Anand Bharadwaj 1st on 15, Marvi Delfin 20th on 11, and Maree Farlow 81st on 6.
Keep up the good work, everyone, and good luck with the tiles on the final day.

Jayden wins the Open Division at the Causeway!

Jayden accepting his Open Division Trophy
in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Some of our young Aussie players at the Causeway ~
Michael McKenna, New South Wales: 6th in Masters.
Jayden Kuhne, Victoria: Open Champion.
Cameron Farlow, Queensland: 6th in the Open.
The new Causeway Champion is Pakorn Nemitrmansuk from Thailand, with Ricky Purnomo from Singapore victorious in Masters. Congratulations to you both.
And after 45 games Jayden Kuhne has finished 6.5 games clear of the other 83 players in the Open Division, a brilliant effort. Jay played the last 11 games of the event without a loss, well done, Jay! Second and third places went to Fadlan Satria and Robbie Swandanu respectively, both from Indonesia, both on 29.5 wins and separated only by margin. Thanks to Barry Harridge for the pics, and more of Barry's shots are available at his website - to see the rest click HERE
As I have little information about Jay's win I've reproduced part of Ugandan Champion Phillip Edwin-Mugisha's report as posted to Ozscrabble. Thanks, Phillip (who is known to many as The Phenomenon), your posts are always a good read!

The Phenomenon
In the packed 84-player Open Division Nicky Huitson and Arul Inthirajah were just pipped at the death to the Top Ten Prize positions. Ouch. Don't complain, your week was still better than mine. I was very happy to see Martin Waterworth battle for 9th. The massively popular Radhika Mahalingaiah got 8th and Carolyn Watt, who was dressed for the Milan fashion catwalks, 7th. Markus Loke (yeah him) was 4th and some school-going teenager I don't know named Jayden Kuhne grabbed $1000 and the Champion's trophy. Bet he's gonna be popular with the girls in the cafeteria. The Aussies are very excited about his talent. Don't recall him in the prize-giving but from the Scrabble Victoria website photo he looks like a rakish Justin Bieber. And that's what we need in Scrabble, good-looking Champions who can give us 500 million You Tube hits. Especially as some of us are good-looking, really hot, but we aren't Champions.

To see the full results of the 2011 Causeway Challenge click HERE

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Our Young Ones off to the World Youth Champs

Michael McKenna
New South Wales

Anand Bharadwaj

Kitty-Jean Laginha
New South Wales

Jayden Kuhne

Marvi Delfin
Western Australia

Maree Farlow
On December 4-6 the World Youth Scrabble Championship will take place in Johor Bahru in Malaysia, and we have six young people travelling there from various states to compete. For Maree Farlow it is a first-time experience but all others have attended previous events, with Michael probably being the most experienced. All will play 24 games over the three day tournament, and enjoy the chance to renew old friendships and form new ones. Barry Harridge is attending to do the webwork and we look forward to his usual professional updates.
We wish our players all the very best of luck and lots of fun, and you'll be able to follow their progress by clicking HERE

The Gippsland Primary Schools Scrabble Championship ~ November 15 2011

L.to R.: 2011 Champion Pia (Foster P.S),
Kelsey (Newborough) High Word "ZODIAC" 63
points, Yasmin (Foster) 2nd & High Game 274,
Melissa (Foster) 3rd.

L.toR.: Demi (Newborough) 3rd & High Game 201,
Elli (Toora) High Word "DRINK" 45 points,
Brooke (Foster) 2nd, and the Plate Winner
Erin (Bona Vista)
Everyone had a lovely day's scrabble at Foster when 34 delightful and well-behaved children from various schools in the area travelled to compete in the annual Gippsland Primary Schools Championship. The schools represented were Bona Vista, Newborough, Tarwin Valley, Toora, Wonthaggi North and Yarragon Primary Schools, and of course Foster Primary. Scrabble Victoria members Carol Johnsen, Norma Fisher, Barry Harridge and Marj Miller helped run the day, and were made very welcome by Foster Principal Fiona Bull, other local teachers and of course the students. (Thanks to Barry for the collage above.) The tournament took place in the General Purpose Room, surrounded by an interesting array of musical instruments, sound equipment and banners displaying the names of each House, namely Darby, Oberon and Waratah. An interesting Picasso Cow stood in pride of place in the foyer of the school, courtesy of a Dairy Board promotion - on arrival the cow was plain white, and the students spent quite some time decorating the cow with various coloured cutouts, and on closer inspection many of these were in the shape of a cow, a fascinating and fun project indeed.
The children were divided into two sections and all played three games of scrabble, and it was good to see the enthusiasm displayed by all participants. The event was not only an opportunity for improving numeracy and literary skills but also a wonderful social experience with new friendships forming quickly across the Scrabble boards.

The General Purpose room, with play in progress

Norma v Carol, with Principal Fiona Bull at back right
During the luncheon break Carol and Norma played a very competitive game in the outdoor covered play area which generated much interest among both children and adults. We were very impressed with the students' skills at keeping score and their sense of fair play exhibited with good humour and easygoing courtesy. We congratulate all players (and their teachers) for these virtues, and thank Fiona and the Foster Primary School for their hospitality, and look forward to next year when the event may be hosted at Bona Vista, under the guidance of teacher Cara Brasier.

Front: Rhylea (Wonthaggi Nth) v
Chloe (Bona Vista). Back:
Mitchell (Toora) v Angus (Bona Vista)

Front: Jayde (Foster) v Alex (Tarwin
Valley). Back: Demi (Newborough)
v Billy (Yarragon)

Front: Melissa (Foster) v Pia
(Foster). Back: Grace (Tarwin Valley)
v Abbie (Toora)

Front: Yasmin (Foster) v Georgia
(Bona Vista). Back: Tyler (Foster)
v Austin (Tarwin Valley)

Saffie (Bona Vista) v Heidi, with
Elly, both from Wonthaggi North

Hannah (Newborough) v Erin
(Bona Vista)

Shaye (Yarragon) v Hayyan

Evelyn (Yarragon) v Montana
(Bona Vista)

Ruby (Tarwin Valley) v Brooke (Foster)

Justin v Kelsey - both Newborough

Elli (Toora) v Sheona (Wonthaggi Nth)

Martin (Bona Vista) v Shelbie (Toora)

The great Dairy Board Cow

A missed opportunity

The Trophies and Perpetual Shield

Some interest in the challenge

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The second Melbourne High/Haileybury College Challenge ~ August 20 2011

The Melbourne High players, with staff member Alexandra
Click to enlarge

The Haileybury College Team, with staff member Chris
Click to enlarge
Sixteen students attended this tournament at Melbourne High School, with a coaching clinic conducted by our World Championship players Andrew Fisher and Naween Fernando. The level of play of the participants varied considerably, and all picked up some helpful tips as did the teachers and other Association members present, including our World Youth Championship reps Anand Bharadwaj and Jayden Kuhne.
The students were divided into two groups, led by Jay and Anand, and a team game was played using Quackle with comments on the team's suggestions provided by Andrew and Naween. Jayden's team received a very good mix of letters from the random draws allocated by Quackle, and came out the winners 487 - 360. At one stage Andrew was asked by Anand's team what he would do with a particular set of letters, and Andrew's succinct reply, which caused quite a bit of laughter, was "forfeit the game and move on to the next!"

The tutors, Andrew Fisher & Naween Fernando

Paolo Awdry (MHS) v Hannah Vuong (HC)

Eddie Chen (MHS) v Niran Dasika (HC)

Vishal Chopra (MHS) v Chris (HC Staff)
The coaching session was followed by a very enjoyable lunch, organised by one of the students, Eddie Chen. Thanks, Eddie. This was followed by a three-game tournament, with all games keenly contested and thoroughly enjoyed by the players. Jay and Anand each played for one of the school teams, and teachers Alexandra Grimwade and Chris Scholten Smith both played for Haileybury to even up the numbers. However these games were discounted when the final tally of games won by each school was calculated by Carol Johnsen, with Melbourne High finishing ahead of Haileybury, by just one game. The winner of the individual contest between all students was Paolo Awdry, well played, Paolo.

Ozgun Karahan (MHS) v Amy Hu (HC)

Alexandra (MHS Staff) v Jay (Scrabble Victoria)

Herbert Cheung (HC) v Dan Wall (MHS)

Miran Fernando (HC) v Nick Parry-Jones (MHS)
Thank you to all who assisted on the day, your time and commitment was appreciated, and it was a good feeling to give enjoyment to the students, and to promote the game of Scrabble which we all enjoy. Two of the participants have already competed in tournament/s organised by the Association, so for those interested in playing a rated scrabble tournament click on the home button at the top of this page, then click on the link to "Tournaments" to find all the relevant details. Members of Scrabble Victoria will be delighted if you can spare the time to join us.

Max Mattvey (MHS) v Justine Ross (HC)

Ruben Clark (MHS) v Stephanie Moulic (HC)

Anand (Scrabble Victoria) v Sam Jiang (MHS)

The group during the final announcements

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Anand Bharadwaj makes the 2011 Vic State team!

The annual State Team Challenge takes place in Adelaide in September, and Anand, who recently celebrated his eleventh birthday, is part of the team representing Victoria. Anand has many interests, including piano, flute, sporting events (in particular cricket and Aussie Rules football) and is very passionate about Masterchef.
The other team members are Norma Fisher and me, and as Anand has the highest rating of the three of us we have appointed him Team Captain. We are all looking forward to this event where teams of three compete against teams from the other six Australian states for the title of Champion Team, and it will be a wonderful feast of very competitive scrabble and a great experience for all.

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The Inaugural Senior Schools' Challenge ~ Haileybury College versus Melbourne High School ~ Saturday April 30 2011

The staff do battle - Alexandra v Chris

Melbourne High School, a magnificent building
Both these schools have active Scrabble groups, and we brought them together for a small tournament at The Unicorn Pavilion, the home of the MHS Old Boys. Melbourne High were rather disappointed by their reduced number of attendees, but in the games played between the two groups they emerged victorious, downing the students from the Keysborough campus of Haileybury College eight games to four. The overall individual winner was Jordan Pheasant-Kelly who amassed an impressive positive margin of well over 500 in his three Games played against the Haileyburians.
It was a fun event, and we thank the interested teachers from both schools for their assistance - Alexandra Grimwade from MHS, and Chris Scholten from Haileybury. Thank you also to Nicholas Parry-Jones for his enthusiastic help in organising the event, and the excellent thank you speech he delivered at the end of play. Thanks also to Alexandra and Nick for the lovely cakes we enjoyed for afternoon tea, and to Carol Johnsen and Norma Fisher for their expert assistance.
We are hopeful of expanding this experience later in the year, perhaps including other schools to add further interest to the event.

Justine Ross (HC) v Jordan Pheasant-Kelly (MHS)

Jack Stein (HC) plays Nicholas Parry-Jones (MHS)

Sam Jiang (MHS) versus Stephanie Moulic (HC)

Herbert Cheung (HC) versus Miran Fernando (HC)

Friends Hannah Vuong & Amy Hu, both from HC

Truss Hubble & Justine Ross, from Haileybury

Great performances at the National Championship, Easter 2011

In a field of 96 competitors our young players acquitted themselves extremely well, with Michael McKenna (NSW) achieving third placing, Anand Bharadwaj (Vic) finishing 11th, and Kitty-Jean Laginha (NSW) in 55th place. The World Youth Coordinator Karen Richards presented Michael with the award for the Youth player who achieved the highest rating gain over the tournament. With a gain of 148 points Michael was the clear winner of this award, having accounted for players of the calibre of Andrew Fisher, Edward Okulicz and Naween Fernando along the way. Well done, Michael, a brilliant result. In the Plate section our other young player Isaac Kan (NSW) placed 22nd of 56 players, and all enjoyed the event immensely.

Michael McKenna

Anand Bharadwaj

Kitty-Jean Laginha

Isaac Kan

News from the World Youth Scrabble Championship 2010

Champ Ker Jen Ho

Preedee, 2nd place

Fun at the W.Y.S.C. - Marvi, Kitty-Jean, Natasha
Eighty-two young players took part in this 24 game event held in Manila from 8-10th December. The standout performance came from Malaysian competitor Ker Jen Ho who finished in first place with 19 wins. Second place went to Preedee Kongthanarat from Thailand on 18.5 wins, and third was William Kang from Malaysia on 18 wins.
An excellent score of 610 won the High Game Award for Shahroz Zamir Ansari from Pakistan, and two players tied for the High Game Award - Jessica Pratesi from the United Kingdom played "VEERINGS" for 158 points, and Pranav Kaarthik from Qatar scored the same for "SELECTED".
Our six reps acquitted themselves well, with Kitty-Jean Laginha in 5th place, Michael McKenna 14th, Jay Kuhne 22nd, Natasha Podesser 24th, Phillip Hamilton 28th and Marvi Delfin 33rd. Well done to all, and thanks again to the Richards family for their continued commitment to Youth Scrabble, it is appreciated as always.
For full results click HERE

Performances at the Causeway Challenge

At the Causeway: Tim Michaels from the USA, with
Natasha Podesser, Michael McKenna & Phillip Hamilton
In the Masters Australia's best performed young player was Michael McKenna in 19th place on 24.5 wins, well done Michael. Second place was filled by Alastair Richards who recently passed the cutoff age and is now a fully-fledged senior player, a great effort, Alastair. Also competing in this section was Kitty-Jean Laginha. In the Open Division youngsters Eden Choo from Singapore and Tim Michaels from the US finished fourth and fifth respectively, followed by our other Oz players - Natasha, Jayden, Phillip and Marvi. Stay tuned for results from the WYSC, starting on Wednesday.


The Princess Cup - Michael pipped on margin alone

After 15 games and a slowish start, Michael McKenna has worked his way up to second place, an outstanding achievement against Thailand's best. A great effort, Michael, and well done to Natasha Podesser who finished 14th on 8 wins, and Kitty-Jean Laginha who won 7 games to finish in 19th place. Good luck for the Causeway and the WYSC!

News about our players competing in the 2010 Princess Cup, the Causeway Challenge & the World Youth Championship - what a great experience!

The Causeway Challenge

The Princess Cup
The Princess Cup is being played in Bangkok on November 28-29 and comprises 15 games against an international field. Natasha, Kitty-Jean and Michael are competing in this event, travelling with World Youth Chairperson Karen Richards. To follow this event click HERE

Following this they will join Marvi, Phillip and Jayden for the Causeway Challenge in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The Causeway is a very challenging 45 game event played over five days from December 1-5, an absolute feast for those who like to play longer tournaments. Results and happenings will be available as they come to hand - click HERE

After this all will travel to Manila in the Philippines to represent Australia in the World Youth Scrabble Championship, a 24-game event played over three days from 8-10th December. Karen and all involved in arranging this exhausting schedule are to be commended, and thank you to those who have contributed financially - your assistance is greatly appreciated. Good luck to everyone, it should be a fun experience for you all! This link will let you keep up to date with the fortunes of our players - click HERE

Natasha Podesser, Vic

Kitty-Jean Laginha, NSW

Marvi Delfin, WA

Michael McKenna, NSW

Phillip Hamilton, NSW

Jayden Kuhne, Vic

The Youth Scrabble Logo

Scrabble Clinic for Helen's students at Kirwan State High School, Queensland

Helen Maurus

Naween Fernando
This report was published in the school news letter, well done Naween, Helen and Julie.
On Wednesday, 10th November, twenty students participated in an all-day Scrabble Workshop and minitournament. This included an address by special guest Naween Fernando, who is current Australian National Champion, third-ranked player, and World Scrabble Championship contender. Mr Fernando had participants using their brains from the get-go with spelling and anagramming contests and an interactive demonstration game, won narrowly by the boys’ team. The word game enthusiasts present were exposed to the world of competitive Scrabble by engaging in a scoring tutorial, finding out many of the two and three letter words playable in the game (QI and ZA came in very handy!), and giving their minds a workout by finding bonus words using all the tiles in their racks. Notable plays included FRAPPES by Dustyn van Milt, SHEEPY by Chloe Evans and Jessica Staton, and FANATICS by Zac Hutton-Morel and Brittany Marshall. All students displayed a focus and keenness that did Kirwan High proud, and achieved many personal successes throughout the day, expanding their literacy and numeracy skills all the while. Scrabble Club meets at second lunch on Tuesdays in MU02. For further information, please contact Helen Maurus on 4773 8159 or hmaur3@eq.edu.au . Special thanks to Julie Brice from Brice Engineers, who generously donated prizes and provided lunch, and assisted during the afternoon session.

Great Results at the 2010 New South Wales Championship!

Thanks to Karen Richards for the following report on the excellent results for the youth players who competed in this 24-game event. Click on the pic to enlarge.
This was the 18 and under contingent at NSW Champs - Zavier Carr (left), who had the highest rating gain for a young player at the NSW Championship (105). Also shown - Alastair Richards, Michael McKenna, Ben Munson, and Phillip Hamilton. Phillip won "Highest Game" award for the NSW Championship, 597. Alastair finished 7th this year (he won it two years ago, aged 16). Ben is holding the Joan Rosenthal Shield, which he won this year, for the NSW player with highest rating gain over a year (529). This award was won last year by Phillip (rating gain in 2009 of 280) and the previous year by Michael (rating gain in 2008 of 764).
The adults are not getting much of a look-in when it comes to rapid improvement! Karen

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The 2010 Gippsland Primary Schools Championship & Plate ~ August 5

Placegetters in the Championship:
Justin Morrow, High Game - 209 points
Belinda Bursa, the 2010 Champion
Georgia Brick, 2nd and High Word:
"ELDRITCH" 80 points
Martin Bridson, 3rd place

Plate Division: Jack Morgan, 1st place
Connor Murphy, High Game - 233 points
Maddie Dixon, High Word "DAZE" 42 points
Kelsey Paige, 2nd. Abbie Tapsel, 3rd.
This event took place on a very wet winter's day at the Yarragon Football Club rooms and was hosted by Robyn Jones and Jan Jansen from Yarragon Primary School - thank you to you both for a warm welcome and some lovely snacks. Thanks also to Norma Fisher and Katie Rowe from Scrabble Victoria who assisted in the running of the tournament.
Twenty-eight children from seven local schools participated, and all appeared to enjoy the four hard-fought games played as well as meeting their peers from the surrounding area. The new Champion for 2010 is Belinda Bursa from Yarragon Primary School, who narrowly defeated second-placed Georgia Brick from Boolarra. Martin Bridson from Bona Vista placed third, while the High Game award went to Justin Morrow from Newborough for a score of 209. Geogia found "ELDRITCH" for 80 points to win the High Word award, an excellent play. This unusual word was familiar to Georgia from a book she had read and illustrates the important part that reading plays in education.
In the Plate Jack Morgan from Yarragon placed first, winning all four games. Second place went to Kelsey Paige from Newborough, with Abbie Tapsel from Foster placing third. Connor Murphy from South Street Moe won the High Game award for a score of 233, while Maddie Dixon from Korumburra played "DAZE" for 42 points to win the High Word award. Next year this event will be hosted by teacher Tristan O'Kane and the children from Boolarra Primary School, and the students who will still be eligible to compete are already looking forward to taking part.

Jessie, Newborough PS v
Abbie, Foster PS

Mitch, Boolarra PS v
Brooke, Yarragon PS

Ebony, Bona Vista PS v
Tyler, Yarragon PS

Jack, Yarragon PS v
Maddie, Korumburra PS

Ella, Boolarra PS v
Connor, South Street Moe PS

Erin, Bona Vista PS v
Susan, Foster PS

James, South Street Moe PS v
Kelsey, Newborough PS

Alex, Foster PS v
Justin, Newborough PS

Belinda, Yarragon PS v
Georgia, Bona Vista PS

Nikkea, Boolarra PS v
Bryley, Korumburra PS

Cambell, South Street Moe v
Philip, Newborough PS

Georgia, Boolarra PS v
Sam, South Street Moe PS

Karli, Foster PS v
Hayden, Korumburra PS

Jeanette, Yarragon PS v
Martin, Bona Vista PS

Two of the teachers receiving
some tips from Norma Fisher

Georgia's High Word - 80 pts -
"ELDRITCH" Click to enlarge

Coaching at Haileybury College - a fun experience!

Coach Olga Visser

Enjoying the game against Olga.
Olga Visser, the President of the Queensland Scrabble Association and interested in promoting scrabble amongst Australia's younger players conducted this session on May 22nd, and a good mix of youngsters and adults attended. We were taken through the importance of knowing the two and three letter words, hooks, words with heavy endings, the wonderful array of words which can be made from the letters of RETAINS plus another letter, and much more.
The large display board was utilised when Olga played a game of duplicate scrabble against the whole class, losing dismally to the combined knowledge of fifteen keen and vociferous opponents.
Following a break for refreshments all students joined forces and played two versus two in some hard-fought games, and all agreed that the session was well worth while. Many thanks to Olga for your time and patience, and to Scrabble Victoria member Chris Scholten for arranging the use of the library at Haileybury, where he teaches Latin amongst other interesting things. Click on the pictures below to see the enlargements.

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Young Aussie Players at the Australian Scrabble Championship, April 3-5th 2010

Back: Alastair, Michael, Natasha, Cameron, Jayden, Phillip.
Front: Isaac & Anand.
Eight of our Under 18 players took part in either the Championship or the Plate, with some excellent results, enjoying the keen competition over the 24 games played. Alastair had a good chance of winning the Championship, but losses in some of his later games meant he finished in fourth spot, a creditable effort indeed. Natasha received a smaller type of scrabble clock than is usually used for the highest rating gain of those rated Under 18, well done Natasha.

Here are the results and rating changes in the Championship:-

Alastair Richards: 4th Place, wins 17, margin +1100, rating change +74, new rating 1885
Michael McKenna: 24th Place, wins 13.5, margin +522, rating change +0, new rating 1635
Natasha Podesser: 33rd Place, wins 13, margin +71, rating change +80, new rating 1529
Anand Bharadwaj: 42nd Place, wins 12, margin +459, rating change +8, new rating 1495
Phillip Hamilton: 47th Place, wins 12, margin +8, rating change +30, new rating 1402
Cameron Farlow: 64th Place, wins 11, margin -314, rating change -28, new rating 1335
Jayden Kuhne: 71st Place, wins 10, margin +102, rating change -8, new rating 1390

And in the Plate:
Isaac Kan: 42nd Place, wins 11, margin -585, rating change +43, new rating 809

Well done to all, these are great results for everyone and you can all be proud of your performances in this highly competitive event.


News and an invitation to young players from the World Youth Scrabble Chairperson, Karen Richards.
Youth Coaching Clinic April 2010, in Adelaide
To read more about it in the flier
click here

The group arriving for the Coaching Clinic

Robin Robina, president NASCAP, with Alastair

Alastair and Karen with their opponents

Alastair Richards (17) travelled to the Philippines and India to run Scrabble workshops for young players, with the help of me, his mother. On the second day Alastair played 11 games simultaneously against the best young players, losing only one of them (to Traci Malitao, older sister of Matthew, who competed in WYSC 08 and 09) while I took on another 8 players, nearly losing to Jobert in the process. After the Philippines coaching clinic the host country organised an impromptu tournament - 8 games, with 12 adults and children competing - and called it the "Philippines-Australia Friendship Games". Alastair won this event, losing only to Matthew Malitao (13) who finished 12th in WYSC09 (Alastair finished 2nd in WYSC09).
I will be running a similar coaching clinic for young players in Adelaide at Easter, straight after the Australian Scrabble Championships. Beginners are especially welcome, so please click here to get the PDF flier or contact me via email for further details - karendrichards@gmail.com

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News from the Fourth Melbourne Marathon, January 9/10 2010

Before the start of the tournament.

The winner, David Eldar
Of the twenty-eight players who took part eight were aged 20 years or less, including the winner, and all showed great stamina and good humour to last through the 24 games played.
Apart from Michael McKenna all gained ratings points, and it needs noting that Michael played three former Australian Champions, firstly Nick Ivanovski, 1990 National Champ at the age of 18 years and three months (Michael was victorious in this particular game). Apart from Nick's win in 1990 I am unsure of his achievements in the early days although his fame is legendary, and most players remember his speed at the game, earning him the nickname "Quick Nick". Secondly, Naween Fernando, the Oz Champ in 2005 & 2008 learned his skills in his very early years in Bahrain, winning both the Bahrain (firstly at the age of eleven) and the Gulf Championships several times,and the Australian Masters in 2007. The third Australian Champion competing was David Eldar who won the event in 2007 at the age of 17, the Causeway Challenge in the same year, the inaugural WYSC Championship in 2006 and the Australian Masters in 2008.

Below are the finishing positions and rating changes of the under 21's, well done everyone, I'm sure you enjoyed the challenge!

Timeout for Michael, Sunday am.
David Eldar - 1st/21 wins/+15
Michael McKenna - 4th/14 wins/-4
Jayden Kuhne - 10th/13 wins/+84
Jason Stockdale - 12th/12 wins/+28
Phillip Hamilton - 13th/12 wins/+78
Natasha Podesser - 14th/12 wins/+24
John Hamilton - 17th/11.5 wins/+51
Robert Blunt - 25th/9 wins/+129

Michael McKenna v Natasha Podesser

Jason Stockdale plays Geoff Wright

Nick Ivanovski v Phillip Hamilton

John Rider v John Hamilton

Jayden Kuhne v Josef Peeters

Robert Blunt relaxes during a break

Great results at the Victorian Decathon 29-12-2009

Jayden Kuhne, Alastair Richards,
Natasha Podesser, Jason Stockdale,
Robert Blunt.
Five of Australia's teenage players took part, including the second placegetter at the recent World Youth Championship Alastair Richards, with some excellent and exciting results - below are their stats for the event:

Alastair Richards: Masters 1st of 20, rating gain 94 points, now rated 1899.
Natasha Podesser: Masters 7th of 20, rating gain 42 points, now rated 1440.
Won High Word Award for "TRENISES", value 122.
Jason Stockdale: Masters 13th of 20, rating gain 17 points, now rated 1414.
Won High Game Award with a score of 545.
Jayden Kuhne: Advanced 3rd of 18, rating gain 113 points, now rated 1314.
Robert Blunt: Recreation 9th of 12, rating now 791.

Congratulations to you all. Apart from Jason and Alastair the above players are eligible to compete in the 2010 WYSC, and will be joined in the Philippines in December by other young competitors from various Australian states.

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World Youth Championship December 8-10 2009 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Our team: Michael, Natasha, Alastair, Anand, Phillip,
Robert and Cameron.
Congratulations to Ong Suanne from Malaysia on her victory in this event, one game clear of Alastair Richards with Michael McKenna placing third. Our other competitors acquitted themeselves very well in the strong field of 81 players, with Cameron Farlow in 13th place, Phillip Hamilton 23rd, Anand Bharadwaj 28th, Natasha Podesser 30th and Robert Blunt 54th.
Alastair's reward for second place was a very large cheque for 2,500 Malaysian Ringgits, which equates to about AUD$860, well done, Alastair. And as well as placing third Michael received an award for the highest placed player Under 16 years of age, while Anand received the award for the highest placed player Under 10 years of age. The team's performance overall has been truly outstanding, my congratulations to all.

The Princess Cup, Thailand, November 29-30 2009

For players aged 17 years and under. This event comprised 15 games, and our youth players acquitted themselves very well, and also gained some valuable experience playing against young players from other countries.
Here are the standings:
6th Alastair Richards (17 years) W9 L6 +656,
13th Cameron Farlow (17 years) W8 L7 +46,
14th Phillip Hamilton (16 years ) W8 L7 -316,
18th Michael McKenna (14 years? ) W7 L8 +55,
20th Robert Blunt (14 years) W6 L9 +41.
To find more info go to the website - click HERE, then click on "Live Coverage"

Anand ~ 2009 Victorian Spellmasters Junior Champion

Andrew Fisher with Anand,
taken in July ths year
Anand Bharadwaj, one of our representatives who will shortly travel to the World Youth Scrabble Championship in Malaysia has competed regularly in the annual Spellmaster Championship. Instead of competing in the Geelong Scrabble tournament on November 8th Anand spent the day facing up to some stiff opposition from the other 20 qualifiers, and after a total of nine rounds he was crowned Champion for 2009. Here are the words he was asked to spell - ECHOES, BEGINNING, VAULT, LLAMA, BINOCULARS, MUESLI, FURTIVE, AGHAST and the winning word was STAGNANT. Well done Anand, from my experience of playing Scrabble with you and watching your progress since first playing competitively in December 2007 these words would not have presented you with a problem!
Anand is pictured at right with Australia's top rated player Andrew Fisher, who will soon travel to Malaysia to compete in the World Championship and the Causeway Challenge. Andrew has encouraged Anand during his Scrabble career with tips on study methods, rack management, strategy etc. The two share some common interests - music, a love of words and particularly the game of Scrabble, and both are mathematical wizards.
Thanks also go to Karen Richards who has been of great assistance to Anand, and to all of Anand's opponents who for the most part have given Anand great encouragement. We wish both Andrew and Anand the best of luck in their respective events in Johor Bahru.

Youth Coaching Clinic April 2010

Karen Richards is holding another of her successful youth coaching clinics for Scrabble in Adelaide in April 2009.
Read more about it in the flyer (click to get PDF document).

Australia's 2009 World Youth Championship Team

Australia has 7 places and the following players are preparing to attend:









Kitty-Jean is unable to attend this year's event, and although Robert didn't quite reach the qualifying standard (having played his first tournament in April this year) he will attend as an extra, and is paying an extra fee to compete.
All players are grateful to Karen Richards for her foresight in instigating this annual event, and special thanks to Barry Harridge for updating the standings regularly over the Qualification Period. More news will follow as the event draws closer, and we wish our Youth Reps good luck in Malaysia, and hope that all enjoy the experience.

Some stats for our Youth Reps

Alastair Richards 2595 613 1939 1872
Natasha Podesser 752 556 1435 1405
Michael McKenna 562 590 1491 1559
Phillip Hamilton 333 533 1222 1360
Anand Bharadwaj 213 555 1083 1342
Cameron Farlow 132 528 1299 1283
Robert Blunt 75 453 648 817

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The 2009 Gippsland Primary Schools Championship

Championship Division:
Andrew Richardson, High Word Award.
Cameron Cilia, 3rd. Devin Pollock 2nd.
Daniel Board, Champion & High Game
This happy event took place on September 4th at Korumburra, with the event very capably organised by local teacher Candice Huntley. Players from various schools in the Gippsland area - Toora, Newborough, South Street Moe, Morwell Park, Tarwin Valley, Yarragon and Korumburra - competed in two sections, the Championship and the Plate.

Plate Division:
Jeanette McKee, 3rd place.
Nic Jenkins, 2nd place & High Word.
Alex Witty, Plate winner & High Game
This year's Champion is Daniel Board (Yarragon) who won all five games, with Devin Pollock (Yarragon) second and Cameron Cilia (Newborough) in third place. Daniel also received the award for High Game, and Andrew Richardson (Tarwin Valley) played "ZAG" to win the High Word Award. In the Plate section the winner was Alex Witty (Yarragon) who also won all five games, followed by Nic Jenkins (Toora) and Jeanette McKee (Yarragon). Alex won the award for High Game, and Nic won the High Word award with "HYDRA". Congratulations to all who received trophies, and to all contestants for the spirit in which the tournament was played.
Norma, Barry and I assisted in the running of the event, and enjoyed our day with twenty-eight very well behaved and charming children. We also enjoyed meeting the various teachers who provided transport for the children, and we look forward to next year's event, planned to take place at Yarragon in September under the guidance of local teachers Jan Jansen and Robyn Jones. Here are all the contestants, and thank you to Barry for the pics.

Bryley vs Nic

Caroline vs Taylah

Connor vs Cameron

Daniel vs David

Devin vs Andrew

Haden vs Sharni

Isis vs James

Jackson vs Eloise

Jeanette vs Maddie

Jesse H. vs Cambell

Justin vs Alex

Nick vs Jesse C.

Nicole vs Paige

Steph vs Adonica

Raising funds for our WYSC representatives

A special tournament was held on July 5 2009 to assist with travel expenses when our Youth Reps travel to Johor Bahru in Malaysia for the World Championship in early December. The combined families of Natasha Podesser, Anand Bharadwaj and Robert Blunt (who couldn't be with us, due to attending Karen Richard's Advanced Coaching in NSW) all pitched in and helped the Committee with the organisation of the event, supplying lovely food throughout the day, and helping in many ways, as did our young players. The highlight of the day for Natasha was a win against Geoff Wright, and Anand was excited by the play of his opponent Shaun Donnelly who recorded High Game in their section with a lovely tally of 558 - surpassing his previous best game by 29 points.
Thank you to all who attended the tournament, your support is appreciated and we hope you enjoyed the event. A second fundraising tournament is planned for Sunday October 11th at the Mitcham Senior Citizens' Centre, and we hope that it will also be an enjoyable success.

Anand with dad Kannan, manning the
registration desk

Natasha, looking great, and pleased
to have won against Geoff W.

Robert at the Vic Champs with Karen,
receiving "High Junior Rating Gain Award"

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At the Vic Champs, June 2009

Back: Robert, Jayden, Karen, Alastair, Natasha
In Front: Anand
Just two young players took part in the 24-game Championship, with Alastair Richards (NSW) finishing a creditable 6th in a tough field and taking home the High Game award when he scored 604 points against Norma Fisher. Anand Bharadwaj competed in his second Vic Champs, this year winning 10 games and placing 39th. Unfortunately the NSW Schools Swine Flu restrictions resulted in the withdrawal of Phillip Hamilton, we hope you can make it next year, Phillip.
In Division A of the two-section Queen's Birthday event on Monday Natasha Podesser placed 8th and scored 503 to win the High Game Award, while Jayden Kuhne placed 11th in just his second tournament.
Karen Richards presented a rotating board to the junior player who gained the most rating points over the weekend, and this clearly went to Robert Blunt, whose 11th place in Division B gained him 69 ratings points for the tournament. Well done to Robert and everyone who participated. Here are some pics taken at the event.

Rene Chelton vs Alastair Richards

John Barker vs Anand Bharadwaj

Natasha Podesser vs Janet Bau

Lynette and Robert Blunt

Queen's Birthday Players

Ex World Youth Champ David Eldar

Most Improved Player 2008-9

Marj with Anand & his trophy,
carved by Trevor Barraclough

Katie Rowe (artist) presents
Anand with his portrait
Every year in Victoria an award is presented to the player, either junior or senior, who has achieved the Highest Rating Gain from May 31st one year to May 31st the following year. Only players who have been in the Australian rating system for the full 12 month period can win this award, and last year Natasha Podesser easily gained this distinction. This year our worthy winner is Anand Bharadwaj, whose rating has climbed from 884 to 1190, an increase of 306 points. Anand narrowly pipped the second placegetter for this award, our #1 player and National Champion Andrew Fisher whose rating rose by 302 points over the same period. Congratulations, Anand (and Andrew!!), this is an excellent achievement.

Leongatha Coaching Clinic - Wrap-up

Back Row: Jayden Kuhne, Cameron Farlow, John
Hamilton. Centre: Will Jackson, Nathan Seeto,
Robert Blunt, Michael McKenna. Front: Isaac Kan,
Aaron Kan, Ruth Hamilton
It was great to see so much interest and enthusiasm for Scrabble amongst the youngsters who attended the clinic at the Leongatha Caravan Park, and we were fortunate that fine weather allowed some fresh air breaks between sessions.

Relaxing at the Caravan Park

Scrabble Victoria thanks Karen Richards, John Hamilton and Michael McKenna for their tuition, and in Karen's case for a huge amount of organisation, and donations of her personal time and money. It is great to see the younger Scrabble players stepping in to the role of coaching, and we do appreciate the assistance of John and Michael. Also thank you to Ubisoft, who donated various educational Nintendo games, which proved to be the most popular choice when awards for various achievements were presented.
Norma Fisher, Katie Rowe and myself helped where possible, and all were treated to lovely lunches and dinners planned and cooked by Connie To, mother of Isaac and Aaron Kan from NSW, and Lyn Ridsdale, grandmother of Will Jackson from WA. Thank you to you both, we all appreciated your efforts. Robert Blunt, winner of the 2007 Gippsland Schools Championship attended, as did new Victorian player Jayden Kuhne and mum Tania, and we are confident of seeing these new members at our tournaments soon.

Cameron, Jayden and Tania

Robert and John

Aaron and Nathan

Cameron with Karen

Nathan, Karen, Ruth, Isaac

Will, Isaac and Robert

Ruth and Isaac

Jayden, Aaaron, Nathan

Happy Faces at the end

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Leongatha Coaching Clinic April 09

During the 2009 Easter school holidays from 16th - 18th April, Karen Richards, who is the Chairperson of the World Youth Scrabble Organisation, will be running a coaching clinic in the recreation room of the Leongatha Apex Caravan Park in Turner Street, assisted by players from Scrabble Victoria and some experienced younger players.

This opportunity is offered to young people aged 10-15 years in the Gippsland area and is guaranteed to inspire the participants to greater things in the Scrabble world. Registrations will be taken in the order in which I receive them, and anyone who misses out will be placed on a reserve list and contacted if a vacancy becomes available.
Parents and teachers may attend, and this would be of benefit when assisting the children with their scrabble, both at school and at home.

Leongatha Caravan Park

Leongatha Primary School

The Township

The Town Hall

Accommodation if required: Students attending can either travel daily to the clinic, or stay at the Leongatha Caravan Park (pictured above left, phone 5662 2753) if space is available - approximate cost of shared cabin accommodation - $20/$30 per night. Please make your own arrangements with Kay and Bim Puru at the caravan park, and ensure that you have a responsible adult staying in your cabin.
The adjacent Leongatha Motel is another option, phone 5662 2375, but again you would need to be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Food: Lunch - all participants may bring their own lunch and snacks, or bring $30 - $50 to cover the cost of purchasing lunch and refreshments.
Breakfast & Dinner: Live in students will be charged $10 per day to cover this cost.

Tournament: On Sunday April 19th, following the coaching clinic, there will be a rated Scrabble tournament at the Leongatha Primary School on Horn Road for players of all ages, whether or not they have been involved in the clinic.

All students who participate in both the coaching clinic and the tournament will receive a gift of a Scrabble T-shirt, and there will be many prizes awarded for various achievements at the clinic.

Parents or teachers who wish to be involved and arrange for children to attend should contact me, please - Marj Miller, phone 03 9850 2366, or email mjwm@connexus.net.au for further details.

Gippsland Primary Schools

Teacher Anita with 2007 Gippsland
Schools Champion Robert Blunt
In 2007, teacher Sue McLaren (Newborough PS) encouraged primary schools in the Gippsland area to conduct Scrabble competitions within their schools throughout the year. The season started in Education Week in May, and culminated in an interschool playoff in Literacy and Numeracy Week in early September. The winner of the 2007 Gippsland Primary Schools Championship was Robert Blunt from Moe, pictured at right. Scrabble Victoria helped at these events in 2007, and did so again in 2008 when Lynette Blunt (South Street, Moe) did the organising, with the help and support of teachers and parents. The program will continue in 2009 under the guidance of Candice Huntly from Korumburra PS.

At the Gippsland Primary Schools Championship 2008
Back: Helpers Marj, Barry, Karen, Norma, Gwen
Middle: Ebony, Cassie, Anscar, Natasha
Front: Rachael, Rebecca, Devin.

In 2008, Karen Richards from New South Wales attended the final playoff. The picture at left shows the prizewinners at the 2008 Gippsland Schools Scrabble Championship. Division A: Natasha Cininas (San Remo, 1st & High Word), Anscar Densley (San Remo, 2nd), Cassie Pollock (Yarragon, 3rd & High Game).
Division B: Devin Pollock (Yarragon, 1st), Rachael Fairfoot (San Remo, 2nd & High Game), Rebecca Sanders (Warragul North, 3rd), Ebony Remyn (Warragul North, High Word). Karen has been instrumental in encouraging young Scrabblers by conducting regular coaching clinics, generally in NSW. She invited some of the Gippsland players to a clinic in Wyong, and Natasha Cininas, the 2008 Gippsland Schools Champion, with runner-up Anscar Densley attended the clinic, and played in subsequent tournaments. We hope to see them at Victorian tournaments in the future, and hope that they convey their enthusiasm for Scrabble to their friends as well.

World Youth Scrabble Championship

The first World Youth Scrabble Championship was held in Wollongong in 2006, and was won by Australia's own David Eldar. In 2007, it was held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. In December 2008 it will be held in Penang, Malaysia. See http://www.youthscrabble.org for more details. The picture below shows nine of the ten junior players who competed in the 2008 Australian National Championship and Plate, held over Easter at the Prahran Town Hall in Melbourne.

Young Aussie competitors with Karen at the National
Championship in Melbourne, Easter 2008
Back: Karen R., Alastair R., Jason S., James G.
Front: Phillip H., Michael McK., Anand B., Natasha P.,
Kitty-Jean L., Matthew S.

Our young players

The future of Scrabble relies on the youth of today. It has been very satisfying to see the enthusiasm and ability of our young players over recent years. David Eldar started as a thirteen year old, and has now won several major titles. He achieved the rank of Australia's highest rated player by the age of 17, and is the current Australian Masters Champion. Other notable achievements at the 2008 Nats came from Alastair Richards from NSW who finished 4th in the top division in a tough field of 108 players,

Natasha Podesser
Most Improved 2007/08
with Matthew Selvanera from SA crowned the winner of the Plate. A great effort from all who participated.
Jason Stockdale, Natasha Podesser and Anand Bharadwaj have all improved markedly in their Scrabble ability. Each year we recognise the player who has achieved the highest rating gain for the previous 12 months, and Natasha P. was presented with this award for 2007/08, having increased her rating by 323 points over the year. A great achievement, Natasha.

David E.
WYSC Champion

Jason S.

Natasha P.

Anand B.
Rising Star

Natasha C.
Gippsland Schools
Champion 2008

Anscar D.
R/U Gippsland
Championship 08

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