National Scrabble Champion Abigail McDonald created history yesterday when she defied all odds in the Courts National Scrabble Championship, defeating Moen Gafoor 3-nil and booking her spot in the World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic later this year.
Yesterday’s final was contested for hours at the Bank of Guyana Roof Gardens and saw McDonald winning the last game by 3 points against Gafoor, who had a spread of 390. McDonald pocketed $50,000 along with a trophy and certificate, while Gafoor won $30,000 along with the runner-up trophy and certificate.
McDonald outplayed Gafoor in the first two games when she accumulated spreads of 375 and 466 respectively.
McDonald, the only female scrabble champion, said the championship was the most competitive that she had ever participated in. “Moen tested by ability and it was three keenly contested games,” she said.
Despite his loss, Gafoor had the ‘Highest Game Score’ of 716 and was also the player with the highest number of bingos (62) in the tournament. Fred Collins, former national champion was third, with Devraj Deonarine, ‘Best Newcomer’, fourth.
President of the Guyana Association of Scrabble Players (GASP) Leon Belony, who came in fifth, in his speech at the closing ceremony congratulated the players for their efforts.
Singling out the outstanding players, Belony said Romario Gonsalves finished as the best unrated player in the biannual competition. He also said that Deonarine was the only player to win 8 straight games on last day of the preliminary rounds.
Courts Representative Pernell Cummings said the tournament had many upsets and pledged his company’s continued support. He also said Courts will have input in McDonald’s attendance at the World Championship.
He challenged the association to expand the sport to schools as the game not only relaxes the mind, but also imparts knowledge.
Chairperson of the ceremony Maurice Munro noted that the game has attracted some new blood and said McDonald has been tested and deserved the national championship title.
Gafoor, commenting on the game, said McDonald showed evidence of her ability and strategy and he commended her on her victory.
Giving the vote of thanks, Collins expressed gratitude to the sponsors, especially Courts, for making the event a success. Gratitude was also expressed to the Bank of Guyana.