ICT Penang Open Scrabble Tournament 2008

Reported by Chuah Sim Swee


The novices category held in the morning had 30 players pitting their skills trying to outdo each other.  Yeoh Eiu Jyn  emerged the champion, the only one with five wins, followed by Chong Xin Rou and Amery Seow with four games each. 


50 players  from   Australia, Singapore, New Zealand ,Thailand , USA and Malaysia  took part in the Open category. .  The player who attracted the most attention was Jason Katz-Brown, the youthful creator of ‘Quackle, the most popular Scrabble AI simulation freeware at the moment.          

After the pairings had been called, the masters were off to a fine start. At the end of four games, the heavyweights, A. Ganesh, Nigel Richards, Tony Sim, Cheah Siu Hean and Jason Katz-Brown ran true to form and led the pack. They also led the field on the second day and it was clear that it was not the question of whether A.Ganesh would emerge champion  which was on everyone's mind but when would someone, anyone, take a game off the big guy! Nigel Richards eventually did in game 17 and was congratulated as if he had won the lottery.

The juggernaut’s prowess and dominance was so great that it was the only game he lost as he marched relentlessly to the finish line on the second day. The rest of the field had to be content to fight it out for the remaining nine spots in the top ten finishes.      

Dinner was at the revolving restaurant of the City Bayview Hotel. The rotation of the restaurant took some getting used to but the view over Georgetown and the harbour was magnificent. There was a wide variety of local and foreign delicacies to choose from and a life band to boot.  Some of the foreign tourists loved the ‘kambing masak merah’ so much, they couldn’t stop singing its praises and went back repeatedly for helpings.  Yours truly stuck to what she loved the most – free flow of ice cream!

There were five games left on the third and last day, all of them with repeats.  That meant that Nigel Richards who had 14 wins had to face repeatedly A.Ganesh who had 15 wins.  With each loss to the juggernaut, the rest of the chasing pack caught up with him.  However, he clung tenaciously to second spot right to the end with the help of his solitary win in game 17.  In the meantime Tony Sim, Cheah Siew Hean and Jason Katz Brown kept their stranglehold on third, fourth and fifth positions from game 15 right up to game twenty, playing a game of musical chairs as they switched positions with every round. The final standings after game 20 can be seen below:

1    A Ganesh               19   2849
2    Nigel Richards (NZ)    15   1284
3    Jason Katz Brown (USA) 15   1012
4    Cheah Siu Hean         14   1259
5    Tony Sim (Sin)         13    687
6    Yeo Kien Hung          12.5  896
7    John Lam               12    975
8    Bob Jackman (Aus)      12    450
9    Ramaraj Sundaraj       12    381
10   Ker Jen Ho             11.5  165
11   Khoo Beng Way          11    732
12   Alastair Richards (Aus)11    522
13   Jocelyn Lor            11    462
14   Vannitha Balasingam    11    371
15   Brian Lim Da Qing      11      8
16   Tengku Asri            11    -63
17   John Barker            11   -183
18   Sreepathy Iyer         11   -232
19   Karen Richards (Aus)   10.5  224
20   Michael Tang           10.5  -30
21   Martin Teo             10    249
22   Alex Tan               10     89
23   Dianne Ward (Aus)      10     -4
24   Chang Ching Wei        10    -73
25   Chow Xin Wei           10   -128
26   Martin Waterworth (Aus)10   -254
27   Ng Chee Eng            10   -259
28   Yeoh Sue Jane          10   -435
29   Mohd Salahudin         10   -487
30   Yeap Gim Sai           9.5  -423
31   Tan Jin Chor           9       3
32   Lim Shalyn             9      -3
33   Seshi Ramanathan       9     -21
34   Paulette Yeoh          9    -316
35   Jagan Narayanan        9    -369
36   Jackie Cheah           9    -386
37   Chuah Sim Swee         9    -620
38   Yeoh Eiu Jyn           9    -696
39   Lee Yee Fun            9    -772
40   Olga Visser (Aus)      8.5  -192
41   Chin Hon Yew           8    -168
42   Sunny Wright (Aus)     8    -395
43   Betty Eriksen (NZ)     8    -475
44   Adele Tan              8    -679
45   Zeenath Ariff          7    -568
46   Yeoh Sue Anne          7    -639
47   Shameer Muhammad       7    -967
48   Khwanjai Thammaping    6    -429
49   Amery Seow             4   -1288
50   H'ng Hsieh Zhen        3   -1064
High Game: Nigel Richards 612
High Word: Karen Richards 181 "Seawives"

Yang Berhormat Danny Law Heng Kiang officiated at the closing ceremony. He praised Island college of Technology for making scrabble an integral part of its English teaching program and for supporting the Penang ICT open all these years.  He also reiterated that the Penang State Government would continue to support the tournament for as long as it continued to be held.

Picture gallery courtesy of Khwanjai Tammaping