The 2012 National Scrabble Championship has come and gone but the experience still lingers among the players and followers, especially the victory of Moses Peter at the three day long jams.
The Akwa Ibom born young enterprising player against all odds emerged the new Nigerian National Scrabble Champion, beating the defending champion to a distant 28th position and former African champion, Dannis Ikekeregor to the 5th position.
Moses won 19 of the 24 games played with a cumulative 1288 points to beat his closest rival, Saheed Tayo from Ogun State, who finished second with 17 wins and +467 points. Balogun Rasheed of Oyo State had 16 wins with cumulative points of 841 to finish third.
In the team event, Team Kano inspired by veteran player, Muhammed Aminu edged Team Rivers to the best state contingent prize. Both Kano and Rivers states were tied on 35 equal points but Kano had superiority rated player than Rivers to cart away the team event’s giant trophy. The trophy could have gone either way since both states boasted quality players who had worked hard to deserve the trophy.
Commenting on the outcome of the championship, chief host and 2nd vice president of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Alhaji Suleiman Gora, described the three day event as a huge success even as he admitted that there were some shortcomings.
“Let me start by thanking all those who stood by us in our effort at bringing back the prestigious national championship, which by all standard can be said was a success. The holding of the championship was borne out of the determination of the NSF board to keep the national scrabble calendar active and functional.
“As I did mention during the closing ceremony, there were some short comings in terms of the ideal comfort and environment expected of a national championship. The Board is still constrained financially and has to do with what is available and affordable to those who could make it to the championship.
Nevertheless, we will all agree that the championship was wonderfully conducted and very challenging as expected of a national championship,” he said.
According to him, another significant aspect of the championship was the reunion of some repentant rebellious players and emergence of new and young ones who will in no distant time shape the course of the sport in the country.
“The beauty of it all is the discovery of upcoming players in the country that would shape the future of the game and the reunification of the scrabble family by the presence of many repentant renegades of the so called ASC 10 in the persons of Dennis, Nsikan, Karo, Kingha and others who have also apologised and are making effort to meet with their commitments to the NSF before full readmission.
“I wish to appeal to all that we all need to contribute no matter how small in moving this game to the next level. It costs money to host tournaments and the board cannot do it alone without the support of all stakeholders,” he stated.
NSF president, Engineer Toke Aka, blamed lack of sponsors for NFS’s inability to host championship annually since 2007, but assured the players that the competition has come to stay. “It was seven years now that we had the last national championship. But henceforth, we have rededicated ourselves to the fact that it will be an annual event,” he said.
Aka also used the forum to announce the return of scrabble as a medal sport event at the National Sports Festival starting from the forthcoming festival in Lagos State tagged ‘Eko 2012. “Scrabble is going to feature in the 2012 National Sports Festival scheduled for Lagos State.
Players must work hard to be rated because we are going use the July 2012 rating for the festival. Those who had played in three sports festivals are welcome as spectators, while we are waiting for a harvest of young and good players in the sports festival.”