Causeway Scrabble Challenge 2005 - How PSC members fared?

Reported by Aaron Chong

Held once again at the Eden Garden Hotel at JB, Causeway Scrabble Challenge grew into an ASEAN tournament with the inclusion of the top eight Filipino team. And once more, Singapore lifted the Causeway Challenge Trophy as well as the Traditional. No thanks for gazing at those imposing Woodlands twin incinerator chimneys from my hotel room!

Enough of kiasu-ness and let's analyze on this tournament's performance by our beloved PSC members. In the Open section, Paulette Yeoh and her daughter, Sha Lyn were the best performers by placing at 23rd and 21st respectively. Suanne's mom, Adele Tan and Ng Chee Eng finished at 27th and 30th respectively.

In the Master's section, Aaron Chong and Ong Suanne put up a good show by finishing in the top ten, 2nd and 10th respectively. John Lam finished at a respectable 17th, but most unfortunate was Chuah Sim Swee who ended up in last place.

Sim Swee's debut in CSC was like a nightmare come true. Before the tourney, she had a sore throat, but most disturbingly was the horrifying nightmare she had in one of her sleep. She envisioned arriving at Eden Garden, an abandoned hotel occupied by hungry ghosts eager to taste her blood, as if it was from one of those anecdotes in Singapore's True Ghost Stories. During the tournament, she met her demons and got jinxed terribly, although she had beaten Michael Tang (SG) and Marlon Prudencio (PH) who were considered to be strong players. Despite losing nineteen out of twenty-four games, Sim Swee had a good time at CSC but maybe it was all the competitiveness and her superstitions that got the best out her (we believed that she could have done better). By the way, she had traveled on all modes of transportation throughout the trip: an Air Asia flight from Penang to Senai, taxi rides of course, a train ride to KL, followed by a bus ride to Butterworth to hop on a ferry to Penang Island.

John had always been a must-have for a strong Malaysian team, like the base that supported KOMTAR. He lost to four out of eight Singaporeans: Cheah Siu Hean, Andy Kurnia, Goh Jiang Pern and Hubert Wee, keeping Malaysia's head above the waters of Tebrau Strait and he managed to beat ASEAN's best: Odette Rio (PH) and Tony Sim (SG). His bingos that exceeded 100 points were COZENED, FLAWIEST, LINEATED and PIQUANT.

Suanne was the cynosure of the tournament. The girl who got away with stinkers all the time emerged 1st after the sixth round, putting many players in awe. Her emergence to the top spot was contributed by a game against Ricky Purnomo (SG) where she won by 348 points, drowning the whipping-boy with an abundance of stinkers and bingos: MOHAIRS, ETIOLIN, SPRITZIG and LINEATE. When Ricky was flabbergasted, Suanne coolly said, "I don't know how it happened."

P.S. Ricky redeemed himself.

Unfortunately, Suanne met with her jinx when she lost five games in a row after the 11th round, tumbling down to the middle of the ranking. Nevertheless, she mustered her strength and beat Andy, Nawapadol, Tony and a few others to finish at 10th place. During the 1st day dinner, Ganesh Asirvatham (Klang) remarked that he hoped for Suanne to participate in the WSC in the very near future. I couldn't agree more; Suanne had a catlike ability of drawing tiles, purringly good strategy and unmewed players with stinkers.

Aaron, well myself, had one heck of a tournament (Mm... cash). On Day 1 I started in the top 5 and managed to claim 1st place after rounds four and five. On round five, playing with Hubert, I was nerve-wrecked when he played MOYITIES in the endgame to narrow the losing spread to two, although I had played a niner, BROODERS. Although I was ahead of Ganesh throughout day 1, the two next days the elephant engaged in rampage mode and stampeded his way to the top, squashing players mercilessly, and along the way produced earthquaking feats: his second 700+ game and the 11-letter bingo NORMALITIES.

Putting the elephant aside, I had memorable games throughout the tournament. First, was my first ever game against Odette. Although she had played BACKSTAY and ORIGANE to lead me by a mile, I caught up with her with PLEASED and REGULOS. Alas, my endgame tiles didn't favor me and Odette won the game by 22 points.

Next, was of course the one with Ricky. I played FANBASE, which was challenged off by Ricky. After much consideration I tried BEFANAS when my turn came, and Ricky got into his signature 'Oh my god' gesture. I was pretty much relieved when the word appeared to be allowed from LOOK. Later, I played ANTIROLL and Ricky phonied with ANTIROLLS when it was going to be endgame. Instead of setting up for a fifth bingo I played VENOM and SAD to wrap up the game at 533-341.

Finally, my 195-point spread win against Andy Kurnia. The game started slowly and I phonied with FIBIA, thinking that it was a bone (TIBIA). I fished with BI and AWL to get EEEFIST. Andy played ROQUE with the R on the triple-word. I quickly played REEFIEST, drew ?AEIMNR and gleefully played a four-timer, MANLIER. Next, Andy wanted to play VIZIRATE but I blocked with VENTS. Frustrated, Andy played ZIRAM and I spiked him with WEENIEST through his I. I drew ?AGINNR and searched for a niner through the T. I gave up and played TRAINING. Andy finally played his bingo, ERADIATE for 60 but I outscored him again with KORS for 69 points where I hooked ERADIATE with an S that landed on the triple word square. After the game, Andy figured out my niner: NATURING.

In conclusion, Suanne's outstanding performance at CSC indicated the continuing growth of the Penang Scrabble scene. I think the reason why Penangites were so passionate about representing Malaysia and uplifting her name to the very best was that there was teamwork and rapport fostered among the players, to the extent that it was as if they were one big family. Nonetheless, there was always indirect emotional and spiritual support between the Malaysian representatives.

And yet, the Singaporeans outperformed us. Grr...

If you would like to know about the full results of CSC, visit www.toucanet.com.