Lismore ANZAC Scrabble Tournament defending champion Adeyemi Johnson works hard to find a good word to put some points on the board, but in the end was defeated this year by Gold Coast player Rita Humphrey.
Lismore ANZAC Scrabble Tournament defending champion Adeyemi Johnson works hard to find a good word to put some points on the board, but in the end was defeated this year by Gold Coast player Rita Humphrey. Jerad Williams

Scrabble whiz lost for words

“ANEARING” and “quetzal” might not mean much to the average person, but to Adeyemi Johnson these words are scrabble-scoring goldmines.

Mr Johnson was one of 44 wordsmiths competing in the annual Lismore ANZAC Scrabble Tournament at the Lismore Workers Club on the weekend.

The defending champion conceded he was a bit disappointed with his results on the first day of the competition on Saturday, despite scoring 84 points for a single word.

“On Saturday I had a bad day, but I face up to the challenge,” he said yesterday

“In Scrabble there are no losers, we are all winners.”

To Mr Johnson and his fellow Scrabble enthusiasts, winning a 44-minute game in the tournament is all about tactics, logistics and forward thinking.

“There is a psychology to playing Scrabble,” he said.

“If I know you have a six-letter word I will keep my eyes locked on your eyes and my strategy is to try to hypnotise you and keep your mind off your move.

“You can tell if your competitor has good letters if they are always fumbling them, but if they are frowning then their letters are not so good.”

The Lismore resident began playing Scrabble 25 years ago and hopes to compete at the National Scrabble Tournament next year.

“The atmosphere is very nice at the nationals,” he said.

“You meet a lot of different people from different spheres and you make many friends. Scrabble is a very friendly game.

“You never whinge, only at yourself.”

But it was Gold Coast player Rita Humphrey who took home the Lismore ANZAC Cup yesterday after she won nine out of 10 games over the weekend.

As part of the tournament, competitors were required to play 10 games of Scrabble against five competitors over two days.

The number of winning games was then tallied to find the champion player.

Brunswick Heads resident Trish Reynolds has been playing the board game for 15 years and now uses online Scrabble games to keep her skills up to scratch.

“Tournament Scrabble is a lot different to normal Scrabble. There are tactics involved. You are always thinking ahead and always setting up for the next move,” she said.

“Many of the best Scrabble players have very analytical minds, like mathematicians and computer nerds.”


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