Moiz ready and raring for World Championships

Scrabble stalwart will be Pakistan team’s spearhead in Nottingham


Natasha Raheel August 18, 2017
PHOTO: MOIZULLAH BAIG

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former world youth champion Moizullah Baig is looking forward to his twin campaigns at this weekend’s World Scrabble Championships and Juniors World Championships in Nottingham, where he will be a part of 20 players representing the country.

Moiz made his name in 2013 when he became the first-ever Pakistani to win the world juniors title — a feat he hopes the younger lot can replicate.

He himself hasn’t given up hopes of earning more individual glory, although he admits it’d be tough since he had been juggling scrabble preparation with his engineering studies.

“It’s going to be tough, of course,” Moiz told The Express Tribune. “I have been preparing for the last two months, making sure that I’ve worked on my word study. The Pakistan Scrabble Association (PSA) has been holding events regularly so that has also given us a lot of opportunities to compete and we’ve gotten rid of our weaknesses.”

As far as his expectations for the seniors event go, Moiz feels he needs to at least better his own record by qualifying for the quarter-finals, which he missed out on last year due to a mere one-point defeat.

“Scrabble is all about strategy, game play and word study, I’ve been working on all three. I feel the key in the championships is to stay calm because the moment panic sets in, we lose. There are expectations from me for both events so I still need to work on my temperament,” said Moiz.

Moiz, who also serves as the juniors’ coach, recently suffered a setback when he was beaten by his student Emaad Ali in the Independence Day Scrabble Championship, with the result only good enough to earn him a seventh place finish in the overall rankings.

“It’s scary to lose from one of my students, but this only means that I’ve done a good job as a coach and their guide,” said Moiz. “It’s a compliment. Emaad played well, which means he played all the right moves. Hopefully, all of the juniors would do their best [like him]. As a coach I also make sure that I’m in touch with each player and if they need any tips they can always come to me.”

The juniors competition is set to begin on August 19, with the main event scheduled to kick off three days later.

In addition to Moiz, the Pakistan team also features current national champion Sohaib Sanaullah and Waseem Khatri among others.

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