Fifth-place finish for UAE teenager at World Youth Scrabble Championship
DUBAI // Teenager Sanchit Kapoor kept up the UAE’s fine tradition at the World Youth Scrabble Championship by finishing fifth in Sri Lanka last weekend.
The UK’s Jack Durand emerged the winner in a gruelling contest that saw 120 wordsmiths aged 17 and under play 1,500 games of scrabble over the course of the weekend to determine this year’s champion. Fifth place for Sanchit ensured the UAE were placed in the top five at the event for the third year in a row.
“Competitiveness and the urge to win drive me,” said Sanchit, 14, a student at Gems Modern Academy in Dubai. “I enjoy learning new words and it really helps you master the language.”
This was the fourth time Sanchit has taken part in the WYSC since he started playing scrabble competitively three and a half years ago when he joined the UAE Scrabble Club. “It’s a game of both skill and luck, and I hope to do better next time.” He won 16 of 24 games he played at the tournament.
The UAE Scrabble Club has been active since 1990, with the aim of promoting the game among UAE residents and encouraging people of all ages to compete in tournaments.
“The parents are tense and stressed, not so much the children who are confident and just want to play,” said Indu Kapoor, Sanchit’s mother who accompanied him to Colombo. “We think they are under pressure, there has to be a winner and a loser, and you have to be there when they lose a game to make sure they don’t lose hope and are ready for the next opponent.”
One of the high points for Sanchit was beating the eventual champion, Jack Durand .
“He was still undefeated in the tournament, I gave him his first loss – and every win counts. With the top players no one really has an advantage. We are all equal, it’s all about strategy.”
Mrs Kapoor added that these games help her son in many subjects. “His English is very strong and he even does spelling bee competitions. But his maths is also very good which helps him in scrabble.”
Mrs Kapoor said the family used to play scrabble, but they can’t keep up with Sanchit anymore so they now play other games.
The five-strong UAE team of Sanchit, Varun Kasisomayajula (Dubai American Academy), Anush Singh Arvind (Gems Modern Academy), Sundaresh Sundaragopal (Our Own High School, Al Warqa’a) and Rohan Kapur (DPS Sharjah) put on an impressive show against their more experienced counterparts, most of whom participate with hundreds of other children in competitive leagues.
Sundaresh at just 10 years old was the youngest player in the tournament. Rohan Kapur also registered the tournament’s highest game score with a massive 682 points against Nisalyaa Samarajeewa, of Sri Lanka, setting a UAE youth record in the process.
Updated: September 2, 2014 04:00 AM