The Q, the S, and the Blank
On the weekend of 25-26 July when the Malaysian National Scrabble Competition was held, the clouds stayed away and the weather was bright and sunny. But it was not just bright and sunny outdoors, it was also bright and sunny in the hearts of five happy players who were selected to be in the national team for the world competition later in the year.
“I achieved what I came for!” said one.
“I am in!” exclaimed another, pumping a fist.
40 players (divided into two Divisions) got together for two days of competition at the City Bayview Hotel, Penang. For most, it was mentally challenging. For some, it was a piece of cake (“I had everything; the Q, the S and the blank”), shockingly surprising when the opponent played a non-word and converted certain defeat into unexpected victory (“Oh my God, oh my God!”), mildly lamentive (“The only direction for me now is up.”), or sheer bone-crunching frustration (“I had nothing but vowels on my rack”). Nonetheless, all had a good time; thanks to the able organization of Dr Adele Tan and her team.
Some statistics to take home with:
1. In both Divisions, two of the top three finishers were women (Vanitha and Suanne in the Masters, and Lee Yee Fun and Sue-Jane in the Intermediate).
2. During break on the second day, Cheah took a ‘refreshing bath’, wore a Rambo-type sleeveless t-shirt, and lost 4 games in a row to Vanitha.
3. There were five parent-child pairs (Iyer, Ker, Ong, Salahudin, and Yeoh), a husband-wife team (Iyer), and 2 brothers (Kang) in the competition.
4. There was one contemplated suicide (“I’m going up to jump” by Suanne, after spotting SPIDER after she had played the phoney SPINDER against Cheah).
5. William Kang came excruciatingly close to clinching a spot for Malaysian WSC representatives 2009. If he were able to he would be the youngest WSC representative ever!