Word up! Dubai teen dominates at World Youth Scrabble Championship

Published August 31st, 2016 - 07:46 GMT
Scrabble pieces. (Shutterstock)
Scrabble pieces. (Shutterstock)

Sixteen-year-old Sanchit Kapoor of the UAE has clinched the 11th World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) which concluded today at Le Grand Palais in Lille, France.

The GEMS Modern Academy student created history by becoming the first ever UAE world champion in the mind sport, winning 20 out of 24 games in a tough competition which featured 107 participants aged 17 and under from 14 countries. 

The young wordsmith dominated the tournament and held on to his top spot for the entire second half of the 3 day tourney, vastly improving on his consecutive top 7 finishes at the last 3 WYSCs. He established an unassailable two-win lead by the penultimate round and thus was assured of the championship even as the last game of the day was still unfolding. Thavalakshman Yoganathan and Aabid Ismail of Sri Lanka finished 2nd and 3rd respectively, with 17 wins apiece.

The UAE's best finish until today was 4th in 2012 and 2013 for fellow Dubai resident Navya Zaveri. Sanchit, the sole representative from the UAE at the tournament this year, was also playing his record sixth consecutive WYSC, with his first appearance in 2011 in Johor Bahru in Malaysia at the ripe young age of 11. 

"It's a remarkable and historic feat, given the extremely high level of competition. As one of the smaller countries in the fray, we aren't expected to finish top of the rankings, but Sanchit has shown the way with his intelligence and sheer determination. He's worked extremely hard over the past few years and especially in the course of this last school summer break to realise this dream of his," said Nikhil Soneja, Sanchit's coach and chairman of the UAE Scrabble Club. 

The annual event, an initiative conceived by the World English-language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) in 2006 to promote word play and literacy amongst youth globally, is being conducted this year as part of the Mindsports International World Championships (http://www.msiworldchampionships.co.uk), a multi-discipline mega-event that will feature not only the senior world Scrabble championships in the English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan and Norwegian languages but also global tourneys for other mind sports such as Chess and Go. The 2013 WYSC held in Dubai, featured over a 140 participants.


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