This Thai is an English wordsmith too

This Thai is an English wordsmith too

Crossing words: Thai national Pakorn Namitramansuk is all  concentration during a game.

Ask him his secret, and catch him say, “I have memorised almost 75 per cent of the dictionary.”

But this scrabble champ would require more than just memory to overpower a bizarre mix of competitors, hell-bent to throw him out of the throne. At the 6th International scrabble tournament, currently under way at the iGates campus in Whitefield, there simply aren’t any cake-walks! 
 
Take his word, the tourney is tough. With over 70 word gurus from 11 countries including India, the UK, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, word building couldn’t have got more serious.  

Before he climbed that heady podium of glory last year in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, world champ Pakorn had seen scrabble transform from a simply family game to a professional passion. An eager 12-year-old Pakorn had joined the Thailand Crossword Association before he plunged deep into the myriad world of words. The flood was just about to begin.  Twenty-five years into the game now, and Pakorn still finds the game really exciting. “It is more like gambling. I just play the best move; I don’t have any technique to win the game. The player should not be too fast or too slow. If he is too slow in the beginning, he will have problems at the end of the game.”

If Pakorn takes his game pretty seriously, so does 76-year-old Sri Lankan Chintamani Salgado, the oldest in the tournament.

“When I stopped working, my children were grown up and my husband was teaching forensic medicine as a professor. I was alone at home. I learnt scrabble from a friend after I joined the Women International Club,” she recalls.

There was no money, but the fascination with words had caught her. “I don’t memorise words, some people do that. But I solve crosswords.”

The tournament’s youngest player couldn’t be younger than Abhijeet Bhushan Pradhan, a Class 7 student from Mumbai. “I learnt it from my father. I like the thrill of the game.” But unlike Salgado, this word wizard follows the Pakorn model and is crunching up dictionary words even if he doesn’t quite follow the meaning. But he does mean business in the wordy world of scrabbles.

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