DUBAI // Twelve-year-old Dylan D'Souza finished 55th out of 82 mostly older and more experienced competitors last week at the World Youth Scrabble Championship in the Philippines.
The first to represent the UAE at the event, Dylan won 11 of the 24 rounds he played over three days.
"That's pretty good, but I was hoping for more," he said.
He was one of only a dozen competitors under the age of 14. The top 10 players all ranged from 14 to 17 years old.
The eighth grader did, however, place 35 seven-letter words - high-scoring moves that earn a 50-point bonus on top of the total word score. With "shortens", "tanners" and "joltier", he earned about 90 points each.
"He's just a bright young guy," said Keith Sedgwick, the principal at Dylan's Dubai Gem Private School. "We're proud of him!"
Although this was Dylan's first appearance for the UAE, he did attend last year's tournament in Malaysia as a delegate for Qatar, and placed 59th out of 81.
Dylan moved to Dubai with his family a few months ago, leaving the coaching and practise sessions organised by the Qatar Scrabble League.
His Dubai training included playing once in a tournament, a few times with a coach, with his parents and on the computer.