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Nigeria is the world’s best team at Scrabble, wins 2019 trophy



Grooming talent from school level has paid off for Nigeria, which has taken the Best Team trophy at the World Scrabble Championship in Goa, India.

The country is known as a leading Scrabble-playing nation.

Scrabble SA president Andrew Goldberg  said its best players are sponsored, playing the game at school.

Nigel Richards, of New Zealand, won the Singles Title on Sunday to become the 2019 world champion, with more than 5,000 viewers livestreaming the match on YouTube, said Goldberg.

Another standout player was 15-year-old Tarin Pairor of Thailand, playing his first world championship. Even though he only started playing Scrabble two years ago, he was placed 13th.

An eight-year-old “accidental” chess player is raking in the awards, even taking part in the World Cadet Chess Championship in China last month.

A side tournament, the Indian International Scrabble Open, was won by Anthony Ikolo of Nigeria.

SA’s contenders included Harry Wiggins, a PhD mathematician and maths teacher, who placed 94th, and Jarrod Page, from Woodstock in Cape Town, who placed 99th.

Another SA competitor, Howard Rayner, who found love on the international Scrabble circuit, placed 111th at the weekend. The businessman met his wife, Susan Rayner, at a previous world tournament in Australia.

Nigeria and Kenya are the two African powerhouses at the word game.