Reported by Ong Suanne (extracted from the Penang Scrabbler)
The Penang MENSA Invitational Tournament 2005 took place on the 20th of November 2005. It was held in the conference room situated on the fourth floor of the recently built YMCA new wing.
A total of 22 players ranging from all age groups participated in this tourney organized by the MENSA committee. Both Masters and Novices Categories had runaway champions. Aaron Chong, a student from USM, managed to secure all his 8 games, and finished the tournament three games ahead of runner-up Ong Suanne. Earlier in the tournament, Aaron and Suanne faced each other thrice, with Aaron emerging victorious from all three.
In round 7 of the Masters category, Suanne suffered a painful 9-point loss to Aaron due to a serious blunder in tile-tracking. This crucial win put Aaron two games ahead of the field and penultimately secured him his top spot. It was a rat race for the others, as a loss or a win in the 8th and final game was crucial in determining the final outcome.
By the end of game 7, there were four players with four wins each, namely Warren, Suanne, Dr.Adele Tan and Zeenath Ariff. However, Warren and Suanne’s superior spread resulted in them playing with each other, while Zeenath Ariff took on Dr. Adele Tan. The player closest in wins to Aaron was Chuah Sim Swee with 5 wins. Sim Swee had now made her way up to second place , therefore drawing Aaron for the second time.
As luck would have it, Aaron went on to win his game against Sim Swee, despite drawing the hazardous Q on his last rack. Strategic plays won him the game on a tight board. At the second board, Warren and Suanne sweated it out in a neck-to-neck game, which Suanne won by the skin of her teeth – a mere three points. Dr Adele Tan won with credit to her good find of PIONEERS, hooking the P to form a bingo from the promising but bingo-less rack of EEINORS. Veteran John Lam made a comeback from a slow start during the last two games, stealing large cumulative spread of nearly +300 from his opponents, thus boosting him to fifth placing. Loh Vern Sern, a student from the prestigious Chung Ling High School, also won his last game by a considerable margin, which definitely helped in him acquiring sixth placing.
In the Novices category, a similar story unravelled as Foong Yin Yee won all her games and met her own brother thrice en route to bagging the title. The runner- up was Ang Lye Boon, Yin Yee’s fellow schoolmate. Surprisingly enough, they were not pitted against each other even once during the competition.
With both champion and runner-up hailing from SMJK Hamid Khan, it once again proves that SMJK Hamid Khan is the leading school in Scrabble. Charmaine Cheah secured 3rd placing with one win behind Lye Boon but with superior spread to Yin Yee’s spunky younger brother, Foong Chee Meng, who finished fourth. Several new faces in the Novices Category hopefully indicate that Scrabble is slowly but surely expanding as a competitive game in Malaysia and that more Scrabble-lovers are realising that Scrabble is not confined to being just another family game.
The competition was a good-natured and cheery affair, and the lively chatter of the participants lit the room up at all times. It was proven once again that a good full dose of Scrabble and fun adds a sparkle to our lives and our sincere thanks to the Penang MENSA committee for making Penang MENSA Invitational Tournament 2005 a very enjoyable and fun experience. May we be back for more next year!