The website of the Australian Scrabble Players Association (Victoria) Inc.

Watch this space for the latest news and happenings in the Victorian Scrabble scene, and to find lots of information and to check on news from the past click on the links at left. Your social reporter is Marj Miller, and to pass on any news click here


Saturday Session 2 ~ SATURDAY February 24 ~ 5 games ~ at Reservoir
Langwarrin ~ SUNDAY March 4 ~ 6 games ~ at Langwarrin
Saturday Session 3 ~ SATURDAY March 10 ~ 5 games ~ at Reservoir
Nationals Warm Up ~ SUNDAY March 25 ~ 7 games ~ at Box Hill
National Championship & Plate ~ March 31-April 2 ~ 24 games ~ in Canberra

For full details of tournaments click HERE

The Annual Melbourne Team Challenge ~ February 11, 2018

Ann Goodwin, Jenny Brysha, Phil Moller, Natasha Podesser,
Oliver Podesser, Lina Camilleri and Siva Sivapalasundram,
who received his 1000 game badge earlier in the day

Play in progress, with the Twinkles playing the Black Caps at Bench A, and the Green Caps playing the Bunnies
at Bench B

Once again 56 players arrived to compete in the Team Challenge, a round robin type event with 8 teams of 7 players playing their opposite number in the seven opposing teams. The teams are worked out according to ratings in one of Barry Harridge's clever programs, and this year it worked like a dream. Thanks to Barry the event got off to a smooth start, which it hasn't always done!

The Black Caps (2nd) Marisa Nuccitelli, Christiane
McCann, Paula Messer, Noel Coulter, Angie
Pearse, Lynne Goodinson, Norma Fisher

The Bunnies (3rd) Back: Dianne Davis, Rob York,
Glenys Dettmann, Katie Rowe.
Front: Fintan Conway, June Valentine

The Robin Hoods (4th) Carol Mascitti, Gayle
Cameron, Annette Casey, Lynn Weaver, John
Rider, Mythili Rudra

The Pirates (5th) Mary Mackie, David Eldar, John
Parker, Rob Hutchinson, Dominica Krstic,
Elizabeth McKean, Angie Winkler
Highlight of the day was the performance of the GREEN CAPS (congratulations to you all!) who finished 2 games clear of the BLACK CAPS, with the BUNNIES just behind on margin. Well done, Green Caps! Other high achievers were those who won all seven games, and not surprisingly the three who achieved this filled the top three places in the concurrent individual contest, well done David Eldar, Michael Smitheram and Shaun Donnelly. (David has enjoyed his time at home in Melbourne, and has since returned to his other home in England. We look foward to your next visit, David.) The overall High Game Award went to Peter Kougi for his excellent score of 568, and the High Word Award went to Paula Messer for her play of QUASHED for 109. Well done to everyone.

The Builders (6th) Rebeccah Booth, Glen
Chandler, Shaun Donnelly, Elize Plaganyi,
Lorraine Thomas, Dorothy Hunt, Andrew Fisher

The Blue Caps (7th) Christie Godby, Peter
Kougi, Latha Weerakkody, Elaine McGinnes,
Barry Harridge, Kris Howat, Rena Aitken

The Twinkles (8th) Elaine Capewell, Laura
Khan, Geoff Shepheard, John Metcalf, Lorna
Patching, Faye Leeder, Gwen Lampre

President Carol Johnsen presented June
Valentine with her 1000 game badge -
congratulations, June!
Two people received badges to mark 1000 tournament games played, congrats to June Valentine and Siva Sivapalasundram. Our caterer for the day was Khwanjai Thammaping, thanks for a great job well done, Khwanjai, it was appreciated. Tournament Director for the day was myself, but I had a very easy day as our Standby Player Carol Johnsen wasn't needed to play and handled the computer input and many other jobs for me, thanks Carol! Also a big thank you to our Resources Officer Norma Fisher for her ongoing input to tournaments in Victoria - Norma found that her battery was flat when she was about to leave her country home, and made a very quick trip down the Calder Highway after her son was able to get her on the way. Lastly, thanks to all our members who assisted with setting up in the morning and packing up at the end of the day, your help is invaluable!

Individual topdogs on the day - Shaun Donnelly,
David Eldar and Michael Smitheram

High Word and High Game Award winners, Paula
Messer and Peter Kougi

Happy players - Ann Goodwin, Marisa Nuccitelli
and Balada Catanchin

Some of the workers - Marj Miller, Barry Harridge,
Carol Johnsen and Khwanjai Thammaping
As always there were some players whose rating benefitted greatly from the Team Challenge: Michael Smitheram +200 (provisional rating), Shaun Donnelly +77, Annette Casey +53, Glen Chandler +53 and Lynn Weaver +52.
To see the full results of the Melbourne Team Challenge click HERE

The Inaugural Saturday Session, February 3rd 2018!

Organiser of the Saturday Sessions, and
Tournament Director - Nick Ivanovski

Clare Ivanovski, who looked after our needs
for the day - thanks, Clare!
February 3 saw the first of eight Saturday Scrabble tournaments held, and the first for St Gabriel's Primary School in Reservoir as a venue. 42 players divided into 7 groups of 6 for a 5 game round robin tournament. It saw three players attend their first tournament in quite some time as Heather Iapozzuto, Robin Steward and Doreen Ivanovski joined 39 other players. At the top of the divisions we had the current World Champion David Eldar joining former Australian Champions Andrew Fisher, Peter Kougi and Naween Fernando, making the field a very strong one.
The format sees players all accrue individual points that lead up to earning cash prizes after the fourth tournament. Winners of each division received an engraved Scrabble Sessions medallion. Congratulations to our inaugural division winners, David Eldar, Carol Johnsen, Geoff Shepheard, John Metcalf, Dorothy Barraclough, Elizabeth McKean and Oscar Ivanovski.
Several players achieved excellent rating gains, and this will be important following the fourth Saturday Session when the cash prizes are handed out - Carol Johnsen +48, Rod Casey +37, John Metcalf +34, Elizabeth McKean +33, and Robin Steward +32.
To see the full results of this event in the National Archive click HERE

Players in Division F, from left - Glenys
Dettmann, winner Liz Mackean, Elize
Plaganyi, Christiane McCann

Hard workers in Division E - Christie
Godby, Doreen Ivanovski, Heather
Iapozutto, winner Dorothy Barraclough

Division B - Norma Fisher plays Geoff
Wright with Andrew Fisher standing and
Rod Casey seated at the table

Time for a catchup between games - Lynn
Weaver and Carol Mascitti enjoy a chat in
the breakout area

Regular tournament
players Angie Pearse
and Peter Kougi

Division G - Lina Camilleri, Angie Winkler,
Ann Goodwin, Faye Leeder, Marisa Nuccitelli
and the winner Oscar Ivanovski

Division A players - Naween Fernando plays
Mythili Rudra, with Rod Casey playing
Angie Pearse at Table B.

Division C - top player Geoff Shepheard
with Diane Stoyan, Shaun Donnelly, John
Parker and Mal Eden

Division A winner David Eldar plays Peter
Kougi - serious Scrabble indeed!
With Rod Casey and Geoff Wright

Doreen Ivanovski,
who hadn't played a
tournament since 2003

Victorians do extremely well at the C.S.I.M.! January 27/28 2018

Winners at the C.S.I.M. Edward Okulicz, Peter Kougi, Andrew Fisher,
Naween Fernando, Trevor Halsall and David Eldar

N.S.W. President Bob Jackman with Ratings Band
prizewinners Alan Burn and Jyoti Chandna
This prestigious open tournament - the City of Sydney International Masters - was contested by 44 players, with several interstate players attending, including eight from Victoria. John Hamilton from the Australian Capital Territory ably directed the event, organised chiefly by the President of the New South Wales Scrabble Association, Bob Jackman, and it took place at the Bankstown Sports Club.
Prizes were given down to sixth place, and Victorians took out the top five places, in the following order - David Eldar, Trevor Halsall, Naween Fernando, Andrew Fisher and Peter Kougi, with Edward Okulicz from N.S.W. filling sixth place. Alan Burn from Victoria collected the prize for best performed player rated from 1400-1700, and Jyoti Chandna from N.S.W. took home the award for best performed player rated below 1400.
The High Game Award went to Joanne Craig for her brilliant score of 641, and Ron Baginski played SENNIGHT for 158 points to take home the High Word Award. Well done to all prizewinners, you are to be congratulated on your achievements.
To see the full results click HERE

The first Victorian tournament for 2018 - The Bil Rose Aestival, January 14

64 players contested the annual Bil Rose Aestival, a perfect number for a Round Robin, resulting in 8 groups of 8 players. Sections were named after tennis players: Aiava, Barty, Cabrera, De Minaur, Ebden, Federer, Gavrilova and Hewitt. Some players participated whom we hadn't seen playing for a while, including Jenny Plant, Ellen Frajman, and Diane and Wayne Stoyan - welcome back, everyone. We also welcomed Benjamin Lee, visiting from Western Australia to sing at the Melbourne Town Hall, and to take some valuable ratings points back to the west. Well played, Ben. There was a theme word prize for the best word relating to TENNIS, and this was won by Gill Renwick for her play of NET.

Some of the worthy winners: Benjamin
Lee (De Minaur), Janet Bau (Cabrera),
Geoff Wright (Barty) & David Eldar

More champions: Balada Catanchin
(Gavrilova), Khwanjai Thammaping
(Ebden), Dominica Krstic (Federer),
Jeremy Yip (Hewitt)

Hgh Game & High Word Winners:
Jeremy Yip: HG Divs E-H, Rod Casey:
HG Divs A-D, Dianne Gibson: HW Divs
A-D, Kannan Sethuraman: HW Divs E-H

Benjamin Lee, visiting from Western
Australia for the performance of "Light
The Dark" on Saturday evening at the
Melbourne Town Hall. Well done, Ben!

The Australian Open is about to start
and the prize for the best tennis word
was a ticket to the Open. Gillian
played "NET" to score the prize.
AIAVA saw David Eldar victorious on 6 wins, losing only to Anand Bharadwaj, with Naween Fernando and Peter Kougi in second and third places on 5 wins.
BARTY was won by Geoff Wright on 6 wins, with his only loss being to Mary McMahon. Dianne Davis placed second on 5 wins with John Rider third on 4.
CABRERA was keenly fought with Janet Bau placing first on 5 wins, with Angie Pearse second also on 5 wins, and Rod Casey third on 4 wins.
De MINAUR saw our visitor from Western Australia, Benjamin Lee, place first on 7 wins, followed by Dianne Gibson and Cheryle Jerram, both on 4 wins.
EBDEN was also keenly contested and was won by Khwanjai Thammaping on 5 wins, with Siva Sivapalasundram and John Metcalf second and third on 4 wins.
FEDERER saw Dominica Krstic place first on 6 wins, losing only to Laura Khan. Dorothy Barraclough was second on 5, with Christiane McCann third on 4.
GAVRILOVA was also keenly fought out, with Balada Catanchin first on 5 wins, followed by Lynne Goodinson also on 5, and Jenny Plant on 4.
HEWITT was a happy place for Jeremy Yip in his second tournament - Jeremy won all 7 games, followed by Fintan Conway and Geoff Gittus on 5 wins each.

Friends Lorna Patching and Dorothy
Barraclough, enjoying the day

Jenny Plant has returned after a break,
with Lynne Goodinson

Fintan Conway with his mum Hilary
Conway, and Tim Whiting

Two of our regular players, Paula
Messer and Geoff Shepheard

Good friends and travel companions
Balada Catanchin and Elaine McGinnes
Jeremy Yip gained 199 provisional ratings points, and other high achievers were Benjamin Lee +75, Geoff Wright +43, Dominica Krstic +40, Janet Bau +32 and Balada Catanchin +32.
Thanks to all who helped in any way, and to see the full results click HERE

The 2017 Decathon - the last tourney for the year - Saturday December 30

The Celebration players hard at work!

Alistair's High Word play of COMEBACK
Click the pic to enlarge
This 10 game annual event had quite a buzz about it, with interstate players attending as well as some of our players whom we hadn't seen for some time. We welcomed a new player, Jeremy Yip, a friend of Anand Bharadwaj's from Trinity Grammar, where both have achieved absolutely amazing things! Good luck to you both in your continuing studies, there are exciting times ahead. Jeremy thoroughly enjoyed the day, winning five of his games, and he has assured me he will be back.

Interstate players included John Holgate and Colleen and Richard Birch from New South Wales, and John Hamilton from the Australian Capital Territory who is busy organising the 2018 National Championship - John had his best tournament for some time and was delighted to finish fourth in the top division, Auld Lang. Well done, John!
This was a strong division with David Eldar back from England, Naween Fernando attending after a very big day out at Day 4 of the Boxing Day Test Match, Anand playing after quite a break, and Mythili Rudra, Andrew Fisher, Peter Kougi, Nick Ivanovski, Alistair Kane and many more stars in attendance. The other divisions were also strongly supported and fiercely contested, with 70 players competing in total, and I thank you all for coming.

Mary Mackie acted as standby player for the day, thanks for helping out, Mary, it is truly appreciated. Also thanks to Lalitha Sundaresan for her help on the computer, and to new caterer Leah Frajman who did a lovely job keeping us well fed. Many others helped out in various ways and as Tournament Director I do appreciate your willing assistance!

The AULD LANG Winners:
Alistair Kane, David Eldar, Mythili Rudra,
Peter Kougi.

The BUBBLY people!
Khwanjai Thammaping, Lorraine Thomas,
Rob York, Sandra Masel

Clever Celebration winners!
Carol Mascitti, Siva Sivapalasundram,
Christiane McCann, Christie Godby

Nick Ivanovski tried streaming this game
between Peter Kougi and Mythili Rudra
Well done, Nick Ivanovski!

New player on the day,
Jeremy Yip
We enjoyed meeting you!
The AULD LANG Division saw Mythili Rudra playing wonderfully well (I loved her comment: "I don't know what's happened!"). Mythili won 8 games, losing only to the MSI World Champ David Eldar and local guru Naween Fernando, well done, Mythili! David came in second on 7 wins, ahead on margin of Peter Kougi in third place. As mentioned John Hamillton placed fourth, also on 7 wins. Alistair Kane, still working on his comeback to competitive scrabble, claimed the High Game and High Word awards during the first game of the day, scoring 584 points and playing COMEBACK for 119 points. Good play, Alistair!

In keeping with the New Year theme BUBBLY Division saw a great win to an excited Khwanjai Thammaping who claimed 8 wins against some very tough opposition, well done, Khwanjai! Second and third places were filled by Lorraine Thomas and Sandra Masel respectively, both winning seven games as did Mal Eden who placed fourth. Lorraine scored 553 to take home the High Game Award, and Rob York played SQUELCH for 104 points during his first game against Khwanjai to win the High Word Award. Nice Bubbly plays, all!

CELEBRATION was also keenly fought, with a very happy Christie Godby placing first on 8 wins, great effort, Christie! Carol Mascitti also achieved 8 wins to place second, and Siva Sivapalasundram and Dominica Krstic placed third and fourth respectively on seven wins. Christiane McCann was delighted to win both the High Game and High Word Awards for her excellent score of 494 and her play of SERVICE for 109 points. There was much cause for Celebration in this division!

Phil Moller with Colleen Birch and
Dorothy Rice

Diyath Visidagamage plays John
Holgate from N.S.W.

Rob Hutchinson with Richard Birch
from New South Wales

John Hamilton from The A.C.T., with
Victoria's Barry Harridge

Play underway in the Auld Lang
Division - tough games in progress
Some amazing ratings gains were achieved on the day - notable achievers were Khwanjai Thammaping +80, Mythili Rudra +77, John Hamilton +63, Faye Leeder +57, Ray Alford +53, and Christie Godby +42. Well done to all players, it was a fun day's scrabble with some wonderful plays and cutthroat competition!
To check the full results in the National Archive click HERE


Ballarat Tuesday December 19 Tuesday January 9
Balwyn Monday December 18 Monday January 8
Bentleigh Wednesday December 18 Wednesday February 5
Box Hill
Essendon Tuesday December 5 Tuesday February 6
FaNS Monday December 18 Monday January 8
Frankston Wednesday December 13 Wed 10 January, if temperature less than 34 degrees
Frankston Nth
Geelong Saturday December 16 Saturday January 13
Golden Age Wednesday December 13 Monday January 8
Gormandale Friday December 15 Friday February 2
Greensborough Tuesday December 12 Tuesday January 9
Horsham Permanently closed - thanks for your efforts, Dieter
Langwarrin Tuesday December 5 Tuesday January 30
Mt Martha Tuesday December 19 Tuesday January 9
Nunawading Tuesday December 19. Breakup
dinner at 6pm at the Mitcham Hotel
Tuesday January 9
Paynesville Tuesday December (Library Thursday Dec )
Tuesday January (Library Thursday January)
Rosanna Thursday December 14 Thursday February 8
Sunbury Wednesday November 29 Wednesday January 10 at new venue: 5pm - 8pm Sunbury Youth Centre, 51 Evans St, Sunbury
Watsonia Wednesday December 13 Wednesday February 7
Wodonga Thursday December 21 Thursday January 18

Vale Marianne Janssen (Clayton) 16 September 1938 ~ 16 November 2017

Marianne was an avid Scrabble player in the early days of Scrabble, having joined the Knox Scrabble Club around 1985. She played in many Tournaments and remains on the historical ratings list, showing a rating of 1634 in 1993.
Marianne was also involved with the Victorian Travel Scrabble Group, enjoying time with friends and helping organise weekends away at various places, including a boat trip on the Murray River.
Recently Marianne developed cancer and passed away in November at the age of 79. In recent years Marianne still enjoyed family time and playing social games with friends, and will be missed by her family and friends.
Rest peacefully, Marianne.

SUNBURY TOURNAMENT & LUNCH on Saturday December 2nd, 2017

The playing area - Phil Moller, Peter Kougi, John Rider
and Alan Burn at the bar, with Kris Howat in the centre

Organiser Norma Fisher chats to Phil Moller, with
Barry Harridge and Peter Kougi in the background
Despite the inclement weather, 30 scrabble stalwarts played in the inaugural Sunbury Tournament, held at at the Ball Court Hotel - this number included a couple of newbies from the relatively new Sunbury club...........Rita Byrne and Gayle Sewell. We therefore had 3 equal groups of 10 with myself as standby player evening up the numbers.
Not having to pay rental for the use of the dining room and providing only tea, coffee and biscuits made for an inexpensive tournament ($10 plus $1 CASPA levy) plus $10 for a 2-course seniors’ meal or the Saturday Special of fish and chips for non-seniors. From all accounts the food was considered very good, though I think a better job could have been done of getting the meals to the right persons........will work on that next year!! After minimal expenses the total intake was returned as prizes.

ASHES group saw Natasha Podesser take 1st place (5 + 419), Peter Kougi 2nd place (5 + 337) – a very tight finish, and myself a couple of games behind (3 + 104) in 3rd place. Natasha also won the High Word prize for DISFAVOR for 101 and Carol Johnsen took the High Game prize with 517 points.

BRADMAN group was lead by John Metcalf, winning all 6 games with a margin of +374 with Dorothy Barraclough in 2nd place (4 + 323) and Kris Howat in 3rd place (4 + 44). John also won the High Game prize with a 462 game and Phil Moller played SEQUINS for 114 to take the High Word prize.

CRICKET group was won by a delighted Liz McKean (5 + 185) followed in 2nd place by Balada Catanchin (4 + 185) with Christiane McCann coming 3rd (4 + 172) – only 13 points separating these two positions! Liz also won the High Word prize for YAWNERS for 88 points and Marisa Nuccitelli had a 441 game winning her the High Game prize.

The ASHES Division: Carol Johnsen, Peter Kougi,
Norma Fisher and Natasha Podesser

The BRADMAN group: Dorothy Barraclough, Kris Howat,
and John Metcalf

CRICKET Division: Elizabeth McKean, Marisa Nuccitelli,
Christiane McCann and Balada Catanchin
Rita and Gayle enjoyed their first tournament experience and I believe it will take much less arm-bending on my part to get them to another tournament – perhaps the new Saturday 5 game round robins planned by Nick Ivanovski for 2018!
My thanks to Carol for her computer wizardry (and for the group names – Sunbury being the home of the Ashes!), and a big thank you to Liz McKean who delighted us all with her yummy jelly slice! Norma Fisher.
Thanks for the report, Norma, and I'd like to mention those who made significant ratings gains: John Metcalf +73, Elizabeth McKean +33, Dianne Gibson + 33, and Natasha Podesser +32. Also, the Sunbury Club is meeting at a new venue in the New Year - from Wednesday January 10, from 5pm till 8pm, you'll find them at the Sunbury Youth Centre, 51 Evans Street. All are welcome, so don't hesitate to go along!

To see the full results click HERE

The Victorian Matchplay concludes, and Andrew Fisher is the 2017 Victorian Matchplay Champion!

Andrew played Trevor Halsall in the best of nine final, and was victorious five games to nil in the playoff. Here are the links to the first three games of the final, played at The Rose in Fitzroy: The boards show the last two games from the final series....and these were the scores:
Andrew 481 (PINDERS/REMBLING), Trevor 372 (INDITERS).
Well done, Andrew and all the finalists, and thanks for organising it all, Nick Ivanovski.

Andrew Fisher 3
Natasha Podesser 3
Nick Ivanovski 3
Trevor Halsall 3
Norma Fisher 2
Oliver Podesser 1
Dilendra Nanayakkara 0
Carol Johnsen 1
Andrew Fisher 4
Nick Ivanovski 3
Natasha Podesser 1
Trevor Halsall 4
Andrew Fisher 5
Trevor Halsall 0

The Inaugural FaNS Tournament, November 12 2017

The Fairfield and Northcote Scrabble Club meet on Monday evenings from 7-9pm, at the Darebin U3A at 26 Railway Place, Fairfield. Drop in and see them for a game - all are welcome. Convenor Rob York organised a new tournament for the Victorian calendar, and 48 players arrived to play, including new player Val Wills who has been playing at FaNS for a while. Val enjoyed her day and handled the start to her tournament career very well, welcome and well done, Val! Rob also welcomed Harry Malcolm back from a break, and Shaun Donnelly whom we hadn't seen for a while.

The smart A Division winners: Peter Kougi,
Heather Long, Geoff Wright, Jenny Brysha
and Nick Ivanovski

The B Division clever people: Glen
Chandler, Peter Bauer and Noel Coulter
with a swag of prizes!

Division C - the cream of the crop: Ann
Goodwin, Elizabeth McKean, Angie Winkler
and Balada Catanchin

FaNS Club Convenor Rob York with his
assistant, Oscar, who loves a social game
of Scrabble when not helping.
Players were divided in to 3 equal sections, and after a rather slow start things moved along fairly smoothly, our thanks to all who assisted.
Division A saw a fine performance from Geoff Wright, who won six of the seven games played, well done Geoff. Second and third places went to Peter Kougi and Heather Long respectively, both on five wins. The High Game prize went to Nick Ivanovski for his score of 528, and Jenny Brysha played CONTAINS for 131 points to win the High Game prize in A.
Division B was won by Glen Chandler, winning six games ahead of Peter Bauer and Noel Coulter who won five each. Well done, Glen and all, a great effort. The High Game award went to Noel Coulter for his score of 472, and Noel also won the High Word award for his play of BLUSHERS for 158 points.
Division C was tightly fought with Angie Winkler finishing on 5.5 wins, half a game clear of the field. Good effort, Angie. Second and third places went to Dorothy Hunt and Ann Goodwin, both on five wins - the Greensborough Club was well represented here! The High Game award was won by Balada Catanchin for her score of 452, and the High Word award went to Elizabeth McKean for her play of SQUIZZES for 130 points, well done all!

New player from the
FaNS Club, Val Wills

Happy to be here,
Shaun Donnelly

Serious play - Nick Ivanovski v Peter Kougi,
Harry Malcolm v Geoff Wright at rear

Front: Angie Pearse v Lorraine Thomas,
and Gwen Lampre plays John Rider

Barry Harridge plays Geoff Shepheard, and
Heather Long plays Katie Rowe at the rear
Excellent ratings gains were achieved on the day by Geoff Wright +56, Glen Chandler +50, Angie Winkler +42 and Katie Rowe, +37, good effort, everyone.
Rob would like to thank everyone who helped on the day, including Christie Godby who did a superb job with catering, Barry Harridge who sorted computer problems, Gwen Lampre for her help with taking entry money, and everyone who helped with packing up etc. I had volunteered for the Tournament Director's job, and was delighted with everyone's patience and demeanour on the day. Thank you all!
To check out the full results click HERE

The 2017 WESPA CHAMPIONSHIP, November 6 - 12, in Nairobi, Kenya

This exciting event consists of 32 rounds, followed by a best of 7 final on Sunday November 12. Nairobi is -8 hours c/f Eastern Daylight Time, and the Championship will get under way about 4.30pm our time here in Victoria, on Wednesday 8th November. There are several side-tournaments running concurrently, including a last chance qualifier and a Youth event.
Australia has thirteen players qualified for the Championship following a stringent selection process - to check out this process click HERE
Here are our four Victorian players who will compete in Nairobi - Andrew and Carol in the Championship, and Elize and Christiane in the side events.

Andrew Fisher

Carol Johnsen

Elize Plaganyi

Christiane McCann

The Aussies in Nairobi
The full contingent of Australians competing in the Championship is as follows:- Andrew Fisher (2092), Adam Kretschmer (1644), Karen Richards (1532), Tony Hunt (1505), Russell Honeybun (1928), Esther Perrins (1966), Bob Jackman (1685), John Holgate (1583), Carmel Dodd (1597), Graeme Lock Lee (1510), Victor Tung (1553), Edie Mueller (1514), and Carol Johnsen (1545). As well as our two Victorians six are from New South Wales, two from Western Australia, two from South Australia, and one from Queensland and it will be interesting to follow the fortunes of all the Aussies. There are three Aussies playing in the side-tournaments; Susan Ensor from Western Australia joins Elize Plaganyi and Christiane McCann from Victoria.
Good luck to all!

The 2017 WESPA Champion - Akshay
Bhandarkar. Akshay won all 8 games on
the penultimate day to reach the final.

The final; Akshay Bhandarkar, Tournament
Director Wilma Vialle from Australia, and
Peter Moses from Nigeria

History: London in 1995;
Naween Fernando with
Akshay Bhandarkar

David Webb from England plays friend and former
Englishman, Australia's Andrew Fisher. These two
co-authored "How to Win at Scrabble"

Our other
Victorian player
Carol Johnsen
WOW! The 2017 WESPA Champion is Akshay Bhandarkar, from Bahrain, congratulations, Akshay! The lead up to the final was interesting, and must have been quite disappointing for one of the favourites for the title, Nigel Richards, a New Zealander living in Malaysia. With three games left to play Nigel was three games clear of the field, but lost all three of his games to finish out of the final. Two of his losses were to Akshay and Peter Moses from Nigeria, who played off in the best of seven final.
Akshay was behind in the early stages but fought back to tie at three all after six games. In the final game Akshay played consecutive bingoes on his first two moves, making it difficult for Peter to wipe out the deficit. Akshay received US$20,000, and Peter collected $10,000 for his efforts. Congratulations to both, and on another note Victoria's Naween Fernando must feel somewhat as if his brother is the new Champ - Naween and Akshay grew up playing Scrabble together in Bahrain, and their parents took them to London to play in the world Scrabble Championship in 1995.
Australia's best placed finisher was Russell Honeybun from Western Australia, who finished in the prizemoney in 15th place, well done, Russ. Thanks to all who helped with the coverage, it was great to follow events as they unfolded.
Full details, including a great deal of information, can be found HERE

The Annual South Australia - Victoria Border Challenge, October 21-22nd 2017

The happy South Australian Team!

The Victorian diehards!
Well, Victoria, we almost made it this time - perhaps next year? We'll certainly be trying! Well done, South Australia!
Seventeen South Australians and twenty-two Victorians travelled to the lovely town of Horsham (in Western Victoria, where everyone makes you feel very welcome) for this annual battle, and met at the White Hart Hotel on Firebrace Street where host Bruce cared for us very well.
South Australia were the tournament organisers this year and did a great job, thanks Paula and team, keeping us well fed with lovely fresh fruit etc. between games. Handling the computer pairings was quite a challenge, made more complex by the uneven numbers in the teams, and Adam Kretschmer and Oliver Jenner-O'Shea did a great job with some help from other team members. All South Australians played all their games against Victorians, with the spare Vics playing each other each round and ten of us having a bye.
Going into the second last round South Australia were ahead 74-62, with 34 games to play. However Victoria came home with a convincing run, winning the last two rounds 23 games to 11 and squaring the final game tally on 85 apiece. As it turned out, in spite of this amazing effort, South Australia claimed the perpetual shield as a result of their far superior margin of +679; congratulations to you all, you're a tough team to beat!

The winners: Adam Kauschke, Adam
Kretschmer, SA President Oliver
Jenner-O'Shea and Michael Cameron

Winners second rating band: Balada
Catanchin with Oliver, Khwanjai
Thammaping, and Glen Chandler

Oliver Jenner-O'Shea hands the
Perpetual Shield to the SA Team
Captain Paula Brown

The final game of the tournament,
with Bronwyn Piechnick from South
Australia playing Marisa Nuccitelli

The White Hart Hotel, scene of the
action, on the corner of Firebrace
Street and Roberts Avenue
Individual prizes were awarded within two ratings bands, with the SA players dominating the top division, and the Vic players making a clean sweep in the second division. Congrats to Michael Cameron who won all 10 games to place first, followed by Adam Kretschmer and Adam Kauschke, both on 8 wins. Winners in the second rating band were Glen Chandler, Khwanjai Thammaping and Balada Catanchin, all on 6 wins. Well done to you all, you've really contributed to Victoria's best result for several years!
Overall prizes were awarded for High Game and High Word - Michael Cameron scored 626 to take home the High Game cash, and Adam Kauschke played a nine-timer LEGALITY for 140 points to win the High Word award.
Impressive ratings gains were achieved by Balada Catanchin +70, Adam Kauschke +49, Glen Chandler + 46, Michael Cameron + 41 and Heather Long +40.
Well done to all who took part, it was a most enjoyable tournament and thanks again to the South Australian team for looking after us so well.

South Australian Adam Kretschmer
mans the computer

Players on the final day, with
a mix of state representatives

Local resident, Tim Guidera, with
his great prize for finishing last

The main street, Firebrace Street,
looking north

Looking south on Firebrace Street:
Horsham is a well-cared for town

To see the full results of the South Australia versus Victoria Border Challenge click HERE

The Geelong Tournament takes place in a new venue! October 14, 2017

Members of the Geelong Scrabble Club
This year 36 players arrived at Saint Andrews Hall in the City of Geelong for this annual six game tournament, ably organised by Marlene Ellis and the Geelong Club Members with help from Carol Johnsen and Norma Fisher. The venue is a pleasant place to hold a tournament, with excellent facilities for playing, catering and relaxing between games.
It was good to see both Naween Fernando and Peter Kougi in attendance, and these two were pleased to take out first and second places respectively in Division ABLETT, followed by local player Mary McMahon, a game behind in third place. Naween claimed the High Game Award for his score of 529, and Peter collected the High Word Award for his play of TRAVERSE for 140 points.
In BARTEL Division Phil Moller continued his excellent start to his tournament career, placing first on five wins - well done, Phil! Second place went to Betty Egan, also on five wins, with Khwanjai Thammaping winning four to place third. (Thank you for the photos, Khwanjai!) Glen Chandler had a good day, winning both the High Game and High Word Awards for her game score of 533, and her play of FRITTERS for 149 points.
Star of the day, winning all six games, was Latha Weerakkody in Division CAMERON, a wonderful effort, Latha! Second place went to Angie Winkler on five wins, and in third place was the Geelong Scrabble Club Convenor, Marlene Ellis on three wins. The High Word Award also went to Marlene for her play of EQUALING for 101 points, and fellow Club Member Anne Menheere claimed the High Game Award for her game score of 473.
Notable ratings gains were achieved by Phil Moller +42 (Phil is still a provisional player, but having now played 46 games will move from the provisional zone at his next tournament), Latha Weerakkody +39, Angie Winkler +38, Betty Egan +37, Glenys Dettmann +35, Mary McMahon +34 and Balada Catanchin +31.

Winners in ABLETT: Naween Fernando, Peter
Kougi, Mary McMahon

The BARTEL winners: Betty Egan, Phil Moller
Glen Chandler, Khwanjai Thammaping

The clever ones in CAMERON: Latha Weerakkody,
Angie Winkler, Anne Menheere, Marlene Ellis

Old friends catching up: Don Marshall and
Barry Harridge
Well done to all who competed, and thanks to the Geelong Members for their hard work organising everything, and for the provision of between-game snacks, including lovely fresh fruit which is so refreshing and always popular with the players. The Geelong Club meets at Saint Andrews Hall, corner Sydney Parade and Sydney Avenue, Geelong, on Saturday afternoons at 1.30 pm, and all are welcome to attend.
To see the full results of the Geelong Tournament click HERE

Vale John van der Schoor ~ 5th July 1937 ~ 8th October 2017

John in 2014
John was a lovely caring gentleman, and a gentle friend to many in scrabble for many years. His life was interspersed with his time spent in Geelong, work at the Ballarat School of Mines as a librarian which he loved, attending concerts with friends ( he was particularly fond of classical music), and travel - in early days John spent considerable time trekking in the Himalayas, with regular visits to his place of birth in the Netherlands for family reunions a special delight. More recently he travelled in Europe with fellow Scrabble players Barry Harridge, Sandra Masel and Patricia Mitchell, who had enjoyed John's friendship for some years prior to his time playing Scrabble.
John is survived by a large extended family, including his five brothers who all reside in Australia, and their many descendants. A graveside service to celebrate John's life will take place at Western Cemetery (Minerva Road entrance) at 2.00pm followed by a Memorial Service at Tuckers Chapel, 68-74 Hope Street, Geelong West at 3.00pm. Rest peacefully, John.

The Seniors' Festival Social Day and Tournament, October 12 2017

The Winners on the day, with organisers Sita and Tam Dasika on the right
Once again chief organiser Tam Dasika and his wife Sita worked hard to ensure the success of this lovely day out for Victorian seniors, with 47 people attending and taking part in a round robin tournament, with the eleven divisions having flower names in alphabetical order.
Prizes were awarded for the first place getter in each section, as well as some extra prizes for high game and high word.
Everyone enjoyed the lovely lunch and snacks provided, and the challenge of playing three competitive games of Scrabble against players of similar talents.
Tam thanked Norma Fisher, Carol Johnsen and Marj Miller for their ongoing assistance, and also thanked all his Club Members for their ongoing help.
This free day out is only possible due to the generous financial assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services through their Representative Officer Chris Reidy, as part of the annual Victorian Seniors Week Festivities.
Tam and Sita and all attendees are also grateful to the Golden Age Senior Citizens' Club for providing the venue free of charge, it is a welcoming and comfortable venue at which to host this popular annual event. The Golden Age Scrabble Club meets here (47 Miller Crescent, Mount Waveley, opposite the railway station) regularly on Wednesdays from 9.30 am till 3pm, and all are welcome to join the group.

Update on the 2017 Victorian Matchplay Event, October 10

All rounds have now been completed, and Andrew Fisher will play Trevor Halsall in the final. This should be a great contest between these two talented players - more news will follow.

Norma Fisher plays her quarter final

Andrew Fisher versus Norma Fisher

Nick Ivanovski v Dilendra Nanayakkara

Carol Johnsen plays Trevor Halsall

SF - Nick just loses 3-4 to Andrew
Andrew Fisher 3
Natasha Podesser 3
Nick Ivanovski 3
Trevor Halsall 3
Norma Fisher 2
Oliver Podesser 1
Dilendra Nanayakkara 0
Carol Johnsen 1
Andrew Fisher 4
Nick Ivanovski 3
Natasha Podesser 1
Trevor Halsall 4
Andrew Fisher
Trevor Halsall

The Essendon Tournament ~ October 1, 2017

The Essendon Scrabble Club Members: Barry Harridge, Doug Ristic,
Norma Engel, John Taylor, Rob York, John Rider, Glenys Dettmann,
Eloy Gardea. Seated: Lina Camilleri, Rod Casey, Janet Bau.

Play in progress, with Latha Weerakkody and
John Parker in the foreground
Fifty-two keen players took part in this year's annual event, with Rob York, our Organiser and Tournament Director, keeping an eagle eye on proceedings and helping Helen Richards with the catering duties.
Rob welcomed all players to the Tournament, and in particular Michael Smitheram who is well known to contestants on the Melbourne Online Scrabble Players website. Michael enjoyed his day, finishing with four wins and a provisional rating of 820 points - well done, Michael, anything over 500 is good for your first tournament!
Rob had an excellent team of helpers, namely the Essendon members who supplied many delectable cakes and other goodies for our enjoyment, thank you all, our refreshments throughout the day were delightful.
Also helping in various areas were Norma Fisher, Carol Johnsen, Barry Harridge, and Lainie Mercieca who manned the computer for a good part of the day before slotting in to play when one of our players became ill. Many assisted in the final clean-up, and as always we were grateful for all help offered.

Players were divided into three sections for this event - Masters, Advanced and Intermediate.

The Winners in Masters:
Trevor Halsall, Norma Fisher, Nick Ivanovski

The victors in Advanced:
Betty Egan and Lorraine Thomas

The Intermediate gurus: Lynne Goodinson,
Elizabeth McKean, Angie Winkler, John Metcalf

Tournament Director and Essendon Club Convenor
Rob York with his trusty helper Oscar
Trevor Halsall had a great day, sweeping all before him inMASTERS; winning all seven games is always a great achievement, well done Trevor. Second place went to Eloy Gardea on five wins (Eloy is heading back to his home in the U.S. shortly, its been good to have you here for a year, Eloy!) Norma Fisher also won five games to place third; the High Game Award went to Nick Ivanovski for a great score of 598, and Trevor Halsall played INKJETS for 126 points to take home the High Word Award.

ADVANCED saw a fine performance from Lorraine Thomas who won six games, followed by Siva Sivapalasundram on the comeback trail with five wins. Betty Egan won five games as well as the High Game Award, for her excellent score of 534. The High Word Award went to Siva for his play of LAZIEST, worth 109 points - well done, everyone! Carol Mascitti played in this section after some extensive travel in various places around the world and in Australia, its great to have you back, Carol.

In INTERMEDIATE Lynne Goodinson (also on the comeback trail) won all seven games, finishing with an excellent margin of +859 - well done, Lynne, you're getting back to your old form now! Second and third respectively were John Metcalf and Angie Winkler, both on five wins, and both very happy with their day's play. The High Game Award was won by Elizabeth McKean for her great score of 500 points, and the High Word Award went to John Metcalf for his play of ENACTING for 94 points.

Essendon's Janet Bau with new player Michael
Smitheram, and Helen Richards

Helen Richards with friend Rob York, looking very
happy indeed!

Relaxing at lunchtime: Kris Howat, Marisa
Nuccitelli and Angie Pearse

Tidying up: Chris McCann with Norma Fisher,
and Carol Johnsen, Rob York and Barry Harridge
Excellent ratings gains were achieved by these players: Lynne Goodinson +70, Siva Sivapalasundram +46, Angie Winkler +46, Betty Egan +37, Faye Leeder +31, and John Rider +30.
If you wish to play Scrabble on Tuesday evenings please visit the Essendon Club at the Essendon Senior Citizens Centre, 5 Kellaway Ave, Moonee Ponds at 7pm and Convenor Rob and the members will make you most welcome.
To see the full results of the Essendon Tournament in the National Scrabble Archive click HERE

Rest in peace, Nick Lindsay ~ June 13, 1943 ~ September 15, 2017

Nick on his 70th birthday, with Maria
It was with sadness that I heard from Maria Aivaliotis about the sudden passing of Nick Lindsay, a popular and well known Wangaratta identity who ran the local Scrabble Group for many years, usually in his home. Maria met Nick at a Scrabble Tournament in Wangaratta in 1997 and their mutual love of Scrabble ensured that they became firm friends.
This is from Maria's email to me this week: "We are all mourning the passing of Nick with sadness and will never forget the passion he had for scrabble. We came to recognise when a bingo was looming with a twinkle forming in his eye, then he'd take his time putting each letter down slowly in it's position, one at a time. Finally the sense of delight and achievement, that we all feel for a bingo, shone in his face. These memories...and many more, will remain with us forever and scrabble in Wangaratta will never be quite the same again."
I remember first meeting Nick in the early 2000's in Melbourne, and on a couple of occasions when dropping booklets and dictionaries in to him at his home when travelling through to Canberra. Nick always appreciated these fresh reference books as he liked to keep his group up to date with the latest word lists, and Maria mentioned to me that Nick christened the Scrabble Dictionary "Marj", and it was always referred to by this name - what an honour!
Nick will be missed by his daughters Fiona and Rebecca, grandchildren Lydia and Ben, family and his many friends.
Rest peacefully, Nick, many people will have happy memories of a life well lived.

The Peninsula Tournament, September 17 2017

The spacious playing area at the Mount Eliza
Community Centre
Here is a report from the Tournament Director, Carol Johnsen - thanks, Carol! And thanks to Khwanjai Thammaping for the photos, they are appreciated.
This was the first year for the ASPA committee-run Peninsula Tournament, formerly the Mt Martha Tournament which had been ably run by Julie Belle and the members of the Mt Martha Scrabble Club. The venue is very spacious and popular but it amazes me how people still get lost finding it! Three players who regularly attend each year had trouble finding it, with one of them only coming from Mornington - just up the road!
Thirty four players took part including standby player Pat Weston from Geelong who had come along to catch up with old friends at the tournament. Pat went on to win the C Section of the tournament and came away a very happy winner. Also of note in this section was Trish Magee's score of 529, well done, Trish.
In the A Section, local player Jane McDonnell proved a very formidable player - winning 4 games of 6 and gaining 51 rating points. We are certainly encouraging her to play in other tournaments but alas, not too successfully. Carol Johnsen's opponent's lament of "I've only had 1 blank all day" was not answered when in a seemingly blocking move to place an S in front of QUIZ, he had created the opportunity for her to have a triple-timer BEASTIES for 144 and highest game (with both blanks). Alan Burn was leading for most of the day but his last game was not fruitful and Gwen Lampre won through to take first place.
Relative newcomer to the Scrabble scene, Phil Moller, took out first place in B Section with 6 wins and a healthy gain of 118 rating points. He is keenly waiting for the Decathon where he can play 10 games in a day! Unfortunately, a player left after lunch due to illness and there were 3 byes, however these would not have affected the placings.
To see the full results click HERE

Division C: Balada Catanchin, Geoff Gittus,
and the winner Pat Weston

Division B high achievers: winner Phil Moller
and Glen Chandler

Division A: Carol Johnsen, Alan Burn and
first placed Gwen Lampre

Great concentration shown by Dianne Davis,
an important part of doing well in Scrabble

Mardi Healy

Glen Chandler

Geoff Gittus

Christiane McCann

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Andrew Fisher is the 2017 Australian Masters Champ, and Victoria wins the State Team Challenge!
September 9/10, in Adelaide, South Australia

Andrew Fisher with the Masters perpetual trophy, and
South Australian President Oliver Jenner O'Shea

Defending Champ and second placed Joanne Craig,
with Oliver Jenner O'Shea

Daniel Piechnick finished in third place, seen here
at Presentations with Oliver

Technical matters - Daniel Piechnick checking, with
Oliver Jenner O'Shea and Trevor Tao
Both events produced close and exciting finishes, with the outcome of the Masters uncertain till the end of play - Andrew Fisher from Victoria had recorded six wins from ten games played on the first day and was in sixth place overnight. Excellent play on Day 2 (losing only to Michael Cameron from South Australia) resulted in a steady climb up the placings, and at the start of the final round Andrew was a game clear of four contenders on 12 wins, namely Esther Perrins and Joanne Craig, both from New South Wales, and Daniel Piechnick and Trevor Tao, two of South Australia's top players. Andrew won his final game to finish on 14 wins and put the result beyond doubt, with the others finishing in this order - second Joanne (13 wins), third Daniel (13), fourth Esther (12), fifth Trevor (12), with sixth place going to Bob Jackman (10.5) from New South Wales. The High Game Award went to Russell Honeybun from Western Australia for his excellent score of 624, and Ron Baginski from Queensland played GRIEVANT for 167 points to take home the High Word Award.

The Champion State Team, from Victoria - Gwen
Lampre, Carol Johnsen and Norma Fisher

The top individual player in the Teams event, Edie
Mueller, a second time winner of this title

John Hamilton from the A.C.T. plays Norma Fisher
from Victoria

Play in progress - foreground - Ryan Sutton & Rod
Talbot, with Oliver Jenner O'Shea & Barry Harridge
The State Team Challenge was a nailbiter for the players - Tasmania had led for much of the day, the Australian Capital Territory won many games in the final rounds, and Victoria had a greatly superior margin but needed to keep winning their games to secure the trophy. In the final round Victoria managed to win two of their matches which happened to be against Tasmanian players, and the A.C.T. won two of their three final matches, putting them into second place - so the final placings were Victoria (31.5 wins, margin +1113), the A.C.T. second (31.5 wins, margin +379), and Tasmania third (30.5 wins, margin +573). The High Game Award went to Trish Brighton (Queensland) for her score of 560, and Martin Rose (Tasmania) played COLLATED for 158 points to secure the High Word Award.
The top Individual Player Award within the State Team Challenge event was won by Edie Mueller from Western Australia for her 14 wins from 18 games played, a great effort indeed. Second place went to Norma Fisher on 13 wins, with John Spaan from the A.C.T. placing third on 11 wins.
Thanks go to the whole team from South Australian Scrabble for organising this event so well, many people were involved behind the scenes - Oliver Jenner-O'Shea, Adam, Antony, Jacqui, Mel, Tony, Susan, Larrie, Margaret, Tracy, and many more who assisted with various tasks over the weekend - and Barry Harridge for directing the major events, and running the computers and website for the weekend. Well done everyone!
To visit the website click HERE

The 2017 Australian Masters and State Team Challenge - happening this weekend in Adelaide

Andrew Fisher

Gwen Lampre

Carol Johnsen

Norma Fisher
This prestigious annual event commences early on Saturday morning September 9th at the Bridge Association, 243 Young St, Unley in South Australia.
The twenty top Australian players who have accepted their invitations to compete in the AM will play nineteen games against their peers in the Australian Masters, with ten games on Saturday and nine on Sunday. Last year's Masters Champion Joanne Craig from New South Wales will be very keen to take the title again this year but will have some extremely tough opposition.
The State Team Challenge runs concurrently, with teams of three selected players from each state vying for the coveted title of champion Australian State team. Western Australia were victorious last year here in Melbourne and will be trying hard to repeat their victory.
Andrew Fisher, the 2009 Masters Champion, is our sole Victorian representative in the Masters, and our Victorian State team comprises Gwen Lampre, Carol Johnsen and Norma Fisher. Good luck, everyone! The Webmaster for the event is Victoria's Barry Harridge, and Barry will provide regular updates over the weekend on the designated webpage - to keep up to date with results and other news click HERE

David Eldar from Victoria Australia is the new World Scrabble Champion!

Harshan Lamabadusuriya (Sri Lanka) and David
Eldar (Australia) at the conclusion of their
best-of-five final

MSA representative Rachael presents the
trophy to David

Champion David

The top 8: Elie Dangoor, Harshan Lamabadusuriya,
Neil Scott, Nigel Richards, Mark Nyman, Goutham
Jayaraman, Austin Shin and David Eldar.

Goutham Jayaraman from Singapore plays
Austin Shin from England in a quarter-final

The Mind Sports Academy World Scrabble Championship, played in Nottingham in England from 19-27th August, culminated in David Eldar emerging as the new Champ, after just managing to make the last eight players to compete in the final rounds.

2009: David with mentor Don Marshall,
Rod Casey & Barry Harridge behind

2010: David plays felllow Oz whiz kid
Anand Bharadwaj, with Bridget Halge,
Andrew Fisher & Helen Maurus-Hynes
David's Scrabble career began at the McKinnon Scrabble Club in the early 2000's under the leadership of Lesley Mack and Don Marshall, and David thanked the Club members for their early guidance, including Norma Fisher and Barry Harridge. David's early successes included the 2003 Victorian Championship when he was 13. He won the Australian Championship in the same year, as well as 2007 and 2013. David was the inaugural World Youth Scrabble Champion, organised by Karen Richards at Wollongong in New South Wales in 2006. His final playoff then was against Austin Shin, who came close to playing David in the finals of the Worlds in 2017. Many other notable wins have been achieved, with David taking a break from Scrabble to participate in his other pastimes such as poker, which garnered him some welcome financial rewards. David now enjoys life at his home in busy London.
In Nottingham, after winning 21 of the 35 games in the overall competition, a 2-0 win over the world's Number One player Nigel Richards in the Quarter Final, defeating Goutham Jayaraman 3-2 in a very tight Semi Final, and defeating Harshan Lamabadusuriya 3-0 in the Final, a very ecstatic and relieved David was declared the 2017 World Champion. Congratulations, David, this is a well deserved win after many years of competing at such a high level!

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