And now, the Scrabble

Trip Start Oct 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 24, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  , Johor,
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The flight from Auckland on Singapore Air was actually quite pleasant. I managed to watch four full movies on my personalized TV screen. After arriving, I was picked up by a kid who looked like he wasn't old enough to drive, but he negotiated the insane Singapore to Malaysia traffic for an hour without difficulty. I made it to the Zon around 8pm, just as the reception was beginning. I bowed out early at 10:00, as I had already eaten four times that day and was still on Auckland time.

A brief description of the events and format for the non Scrabble players following this blog. The World Scrabble Championship (WSC) has been held every two years since its inception in 1991. Mattel chooses a different location each time: it's been in London, New York, D.C., Mumbai, Melbourne, etc. There are around 100 players, representing 40 or so countries. Any country with any sort of organized English language Scrabble activity gets one representative. Countries with lots of good players get more depending on their size and past performance, up to a maximum of 15. While players nominally represent their countries, it is an individual event, with players from the same country frequently playing each other.

The Causeway Challenge is in its 8th year. It started as a face off between Malaysia and Singapore, but soon expanded to include other nearby countries with a strong Scrabble scene. This year, it is up to ten teams: A combined Singapore/ Malaysia team, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, U.S., U.K., Canada, Nigeria, and two International teams. It is always held in Johor Bahru, just across the strait from Singapore. There are five players to a team, and it's straight round robin, with each player playing everyone from the other nine teams once, and not his own teammates, for a total of 45 games. There's also an open division, for all the players who do not qualify for the Masters, consisting of around 130 players this year.

This year, Mattel decided to have the WSC in Johor Bahru, and schedule it just before the Causeway Challenge, allowing players to easily play in both with minimal travel expenses.

To top it off, the World Youth Scrabble Championship is being held right after the Causeway Challenge. It's open to players 18 and younger, many of whom are honing their skills in the open division of the Causeway.
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