Sport in school used to always be cricket, football and throwball. Scrabble may not exactly be as physically exerting, but Pakistan champion, 23-year-old Waseem Khatri, was delighted to see it taken just as seriously. He turned up to support St Patrick’s High School’s inter-school scrabble tournament on Saturday.
“When I was in school, neither the teachers nor students would think of playing the game during sports period,” he said.
That outlook has changed with the dean of the school’s A-level section, Dolan Rodrigues, hoping that the board game will boost SAT scores. “We are encouraging students to play the board game and learn new words,” he said. “I hope that by playing regularly, they will achieve great SAT scores which will help them secure admission to great universities.” The formula seems to work as a student who made the highest SAT score in Pakistan was not only a spelling bee champion but also an avid scrabble player. The tournament had been organised by the A-level students in collaboration with the Pakistan Scrabble Association. Around 74 participants, including national players, from 15 schools took part in the day-long event.
Players as young as eleven years old turned out for the event, which stretched over three rounds to test their mental skills as well as vocabulary. In the end, two teenagers emerged victorious: Javeria Mirza of Karachi Grammar School won the junior round for under 16s by defeating her opponents in all four games.
Sixteen-year-old Mohammad Jahanzaib dominated the senior category with the country’s top players.
“I play once a month – just for fun. But I’m glad I won the games I played here,” he said. His winning word was “asks” from which he was able to churn out five more words to ultimately score 30 points. “My winning streak depends on my observation,” he remarked.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.