A NEW YEAR, NEW INFORMATION
NATIONAL TOURNAMENT CALENDAR – 2017
     DATE TOURNEY HOST        CONTACT
Jan 28th – 29th WESPAC Q1 / ECASA Q7 Lira Club Pierre Opio

0755 142 077

Feb 25th – 26th WESPAC Q2 /

ECASA Q8

Mbale Club Dr. Mark Okwir

0782 352 356

Mar 25th – 26th WESPAC Q3 /

ECASA Q9

Mbarara Club Chris Kalibbala

0772 507 016

Apr 14th – 16th ECASA 2017 DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA DR. MARK OKWIR

0782 352 356

Apr 29th – May 1st WESPAC Q4 Soroti Club Justin Opolot

0772 464 538

May 27th – 28th WESPAC Q5 Spa Club Chris Ntege

0756 845 227

Jun 24th – 25th WESPAC Q6 Fort Portal Club Jimmy Ategeka

0705 652 704

Jul 29th  – 30th WESPAC Q7 Kampala Open Edgar Odongkara

0779 664 836

Aug 26th – 27th   ECASA Q1 Kabale Club Greens Kamugisha

0772 410 947

Sep 15th – 17th ECASA Q2 SAJEKI OPEN (Wespa-rated) John Byenkya

0752 308 209

Oct 7th – 9th ECASA Q3 Mukagwa Club Nelson Kyagera

0772 619 706

Nov 6th – 12th WESPAC NAIROBI, KENYA Dr. Mark Okwir

0782 352 356

Dec 16th – 17th ECASA Q4 SAU – Jinja Elizabeth Kintu

0772 667 906

 

A Champion’s roundup: [MIGINGO IS UGANDAN ALONG WITH THE FISH IN IT]
Early this decade, a border row erupted between Uganda and Kenya over a rocky and barren piece of land in the easterly limits of Lake Victoria (the name now reverted to its pre-colonial name of Nalubaale in Uganda, while it is commonly referred to as Nyanza in Kenya). As the conflict escalated at the time, H. E. General President Yoweri Museveni was sought for comment by the British Broadcasting Corporation while officiating at a function at his alma mater, the university of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He told the journalist that while the land was located near the Kenyan border, the water and fish belonged to Uganda. In addition, he mentioned something that touched a raw nerve of our neighbours so much that this rocky and fishy matter found its way on the order paper of the Kenyan parliament where speakers from Nyanza and indeed other patriotic lawmakers stopped short of declaring war on Uganda. As the siblings bickered at that high level, matters of sovereignty and patriotism pervaded deep into the main body of the societies in these countries. At about the same time, John Byenkya affectionately known as the Prince in scrabble circles, the charitable and affable Country Manager of Sajeki Agency decided that this war must be localized; on a scrabble board. He opted to start and sponsor an international scrabble tournament for players from Uganda and Kenya to puzzle their wits in a gamely, neighbourly manner so the winner would own the bragging rights over this piece of earth. It is 18 games played over two days in September in Kampala in a quiet, serene neighbourhood of one of Kampala’s suburbia (normally ministers village in Ntinda). As icing on the cake, a generous winnings and silverware would cap the winner. In Kenya, it’s universally held that all trophies and winnings in this hallowed game belong to them. In a rather brusque manner, most players from this country give no chance to their westerly neighbours. Now four years running, the tournament has grown in stature and is accepted by WESPA (World English Speakers Scrabble Players Association) on their calendar for rating players. The first tournament in 2013 was a Kenyan affair as Gitonga Nderitu was gibsonised with two games to spare. Kenya dominated and won this event hands down. Compatriots berated Ivan Sentongo (Ivan the terrible) for gifting the Kenyan champion a treasonable spread of 300. The following year, yours truly was poised to bring the bragging rights home having lead day in what seemed an unassailable lead of two games. This buffer normally guarantees top spot to salvage the pride of the Nation. It was not to be. I met Rose Kisembo in the fateful game and exploded into an early lead. As Rose fought for her back into the game, I made an innocuous error, a tactical error that was to start the avalanche as I cascaded to the bottom and ceded leadership of the tournament. The triple word score lane is a very hot spot in this game. It allows you to score heavily and get back into the game or take it beyond your opponent. Instead of blocking this route, I thought it better to keep scoring, maintain an open board. That was my strategy then. Expansive and explosive plays. Now Rose held ACE?INS with the board offering R. She found CANISTER for over 90 points and never looked back. She followed that with WELDABLE and suddenly got into a commanding lead. She took the game as yours truly reeled from that lose and tumbled uncontrollably into the throes of vultures, hyenas and porcupines. Luckily, as I fell, Philip Edwin Mugisha aka Phenomenon, a thirsty and hungry compatriot, grabbled the baton and continued to keep the Kenyan trio of Gigaton Nderitu, Allan Oyende and Manase Otieno at bay to win the second Sajeki International and square the bragging rights. I still finished in top ten, which was neither a consolation nor anything worthy of the results I have been accustomed to. Last year, Kenya rebounded strongly with Gitonga Nderitu reclaiming the pride of Kenya with an emphatic victory. Notably, an emerging talent, Edgar Odongkara found Philip Edwin Mugisha on table two in game 18 and took him out in commanding fashion, finding 5 bingoes to announce the arrival of the future an take second spot. Yours truly was battling on game 3 with another young Uganda Turk, Davis Apuuli who was determined to make this game a young against the old. Luckily, I held him down desperately and took the final game to finish 4th. Still an underachievement. So 2016 was an important year. It presented an opportunity for revenge, glory and a good feeling. Surely the qualification by Uganda cranes for the elite African football extravaganza and the outpouring of happiness and self – worth can and should rub onto this hallowed game. In preceding tournaments this, yours truly had run into a brick wall. The maturing mid-field of our game had become a problem. It was difficult to navigate. Sajeki International Scrabble tournament provided a personal challenge. First to atone for the several near misses (a harrowing experience); to revert the bragging rights to Uganda and to improve international ratings. My plan included strategy, tactics and culture. The strategy was to establish leverage through maintaining control of every game. Therefore rest, reading and practice was pivotal. I read over 5000 word from 4s to 9s. Between Dr.Mark Okwir, Rose Kisembo, Edgar Odongkara and Ssali Steven, I played over 300 practice games; kept healthy, rested and stayed hungry for wins. I intended to shadow the top players during the tournament moving a step at a time. When on Friday September 23rd 2016 Dr. Muema Mumbi announced that the Kenyans had invaded and were acclimatizing at JICCA Hotel in Ntinda, I knew the hour had come. Day one. My first opponent is Apuuli Davis. Davis goes first. I quickly turn this game on its head finding ORACHES, STONERN and ERMINES to cruise to 591 against 386. A helpful 200 spread points here. Second opponent is Dr.Muema Mumbi (aka DAMU), a welcome first Kenyan opponent. DAMU sprinted first with CORNING and INTRUDE. I responded with ARENOSE, found a high scoring QIBLA and rounded matters with ADDICTS helpfully hooking on (S)CORNING. This game went to the wire where DAMU is strong but I upended him finishing 452 for 448. One Kenyan down, two dozens to go. Third game pitted yours truly against the reigning East and central Scrabble Champion, Willy Mwangi. Willy took this game to the left, a tactic the Kenyans have mastered. Holding AEMNPST, I played through ER, boom PERMEANTS plus 5 to cruise to the lead. This was followed by STEMING and WOOTZES to take the game. Willy managed CAROTID to peg back the spread, too little too late. A second Kenyan scalp at 492 against 390. 11 to go. The fourth game brought forth PEM, I washed my rack(heavy with consonants) and PEM lands LENTIGO instantly. I respond with RESONANT. Unbelievably, PEM blocked a beautiful back to back bingo ERECTING. I knew there was another option, but I strangely hesitated to land TELERGIC (through the L). This allowed PEM to cruise ahead beyond reach with TENSIBLE and DREPANID. After faltering with *PALEATES (only PALEATE), this game is lost at 389 for 559. A first loss there. Game five gifted me GIGATON NDERITU who is perhaps the most prolific Kenyan scrabble player in recent years. He has won this tournament twice, has one ECASA thrice and is the bookmakers favorite to maintain Kenyas dominance. Gigaton also took the game to the left. What is it with Kenyans and this blocking, tactical and energy sapping game? Anyways, holding REPAINt, I spotted ED and landed the second 9 letter word of the tournament, quickly following it with DETHRONER (through T and R). Gigaton found SOLITON too late to matter. He loses at 386 for 441. Three Kenyans down 10 to go. I found Dr. Mark in game six. Washed twice to find synergy and never looked back, cruising past him with VICUGNA and CANTRAPS to cancel out TAENIAS. 516 against 333 is the score. After lunch it is game 7 and the Kabale Monologue is my opponent. Greens has just blown away Gitonga. He is riding high after this feat and doing the country proud. Two bingoes apiece in this game. Greens finds DEVICES and RAISONNE while I responded with GENNETS and FOLIATE. The game goes to the wire whilst I play out to win narrowly. It is 427 for 403. Game 8 finds Allan Oyende, another formidable Kenyan opponent who hopes to stop this bridesmaid business and win his maiden Sajeki tournament. I run roughshod all over Allan landing al most in succession EMBOSSED, AERATION, GRITTIER and PEANUTS. Allan fought gallantly, with high scores using heavies capping that with BLITZED and *CANCR?US. I challenged CANCRoUS and cancel any advantage with BONE for 39 and take this game. PHEW. If only Allan had calmed a little, he would have seen CRUCiANS to win. At 508 for 447, thank you Allan. I got my pound of flesh. Fourth Kenyan down. Now soaring like an eagle, suddenly the lion of Arua is perched at the top. Strategy is working, tactics is working and execution is working until I found Charles Kimani in game 9. Charles Kimani made my ECASA outing miserable.Surely this is payback time. But payback it was not. This man found ANNATES, PRISTINE, AMITIES and REFILES to give me another drabbing. My EPICURES was nothing to counter his lead. A first loss to Kenya and the Kenyan contingent are enormously grateful to this man. Game 10. Amuke Bernard. Readers must be reminded that Amuke Bernard won the first ever scrabble championship in Uganda back in the nascent years in 2001. Too much caution is not good, if Bernard had simply played AMBRIES earlier on, I would not have found SONANCES – a nine timer to surge ahead in this game to be joint number one on day one. Perhaps the strings of this story would have been yarned differently. Tomorrow have drawn two Ugandans who understand my game and have made my tournament a torrid outing; Ivan Sentongo and Rose Kisembo who I have to deal with to maintain a table one position. Day two. I asked the boda boda rider conveying me to the venue at JICCA hotel to drop me off at a distance so I could walk and get the blood to flow. I find Ssali Stevenand together we walk into a small restaurant for breakfast. It is katogo with g-nuts and African tea. Un beknown to me time has run so quickly. When I get into the playing area, I find Rose Kisembo has started my clock. …and so with 15 minutes remaining. I play like a maniac and take the game from Rose. Ivan Ssentongo was waiting from the wings. After landing GUEREZA and DEWANIS, even TEFLONS from Ivan could not stop the momentum. KING OF THE HILL Now at number two and two games adrift along with Willy Mwangi, suddenly the path was opening to make history. But history must wait as Willy Mwangi was in no mood to concede the leadership. He took game 13 at 449 against 349. With 5 games to go, table one is ours, me and Willy. Only this time it is my chance to exact revenge. I responded to Mwangi’s SHARERS first by cancelling out this bonus with SWINK, followed by STEADIER, EMPTIONS and BRENNES to inflict perhaps the heaviest loss on my opponent. The tournament musthave hinged on this win as I built an unstoppable moment to the finishing line. Yours truly 573 Willy 358. DE JAVU in game 15 as Oyende and Gigaton cannibalized each other. SERPENT, ENTOILED, NOTAIRE and CRUSTAE insured my cushion continued to build won at 481 against 359 When in game 16 Willy lost it 426 for 340, damage having been done through SILKIER and VAPIDEST, it became clearer that the light I was seeing, was at the end of the tunnel. This win suddenly created a 2 games advantage which I swore I would never relinquish. History can not repeat even though the man carrying the weight of the nation is Gigaton Nderitu. So in game 17, I am paired to play Kenyan no.1. I have three options to win the tournament; such is the advantage of a formidable play. Play to win one game at the least, play to draw one game or lose by small spreads. I chose to play very aggressively, running roughshod over Gigaton with SDAINES, FELLAHS and the beautiful nine timer GENTILES to break the jinx and win this tournament for Uganda. Beautiful. A large trophy, pure metal, polished and finessed. Beautiful.
THE SAJEKI INTERNATIONAL OPEN
Sajeki Poster
The Sajeki International Open is on in just 10 days. The battle for Migingo takes a new, fresh twist on the weekend of September 24-25, 2016. Confirm your particpation as the battle field hots up. Follow all the action on the live events page.
THE CHRIS KALIBBALA FORT PORTAL INAUGURAL SCRABBLE TOURNEY
Poster
Tooro Club, Fort Portal
20th-21st August 2016
2 Day 18-game Tournament to open Fort Portal Scrabble Club
Registration – 40 000 (For those unregistered with SAU 45 000)
Prizes
 
Division A
Winner       – 350 000
Runnersup – 200 000
3rd Place     – 150 000
4th Place     – 100 000
5th Place     – 50 000
Best Lady             – 50 000
Bonus Merchant – 50 000
Division B
Registration – 25 000 (30 000 for those not registered with SAU)
Division B Prizes will depend upon numbers of entrants. There has to be a certain minimum number of entrants to even have a Div B.
Lunches will be provided on BOTH Days.
A champion’s round up: [JUNE IS A KIND MONTH. IT HAS YIELDED A VICTORY]
The scrabble fraternity will in a week travel north easterly to the town of SOLOT. A town bound in the south by a lake and a large rock for protection against menacing marauding scrabbler addicts who seek her treasures further afield in AROHA hotel. There is a frenzied effort to make the numbers by eager and charged players.
This attendance list is growing by the day entering the 40s as week bears on d-day. At this rate the country will be in attendance as represented by all manner of players of varying strengths and ambitions. For instance, Ivan Van Gilbert is sitting on the fence at the moment wishing for his luck in the absence of the Lion from Arua and PEM. I will tell this story once the curtain falls on the tournament.
Soroti as the country is wont to be known comes after one of a kind, a tournament hosted by Spa club in the last weekend of June 2016. Chris the enforcer had baited the Kenyan invaders with promises of goodies to which David Njenga, Joash Manyasa, John Njenga, Daniel Majanje and the ebullient Dr. Muema Muumbi responded in the affirmative. Chris Ntege, the gregarious and charitable had sponsored this tournament. Consequently David Njenga never slept for 48 straight hours, choosing to enjoy the endless supplies of goodness that the pearl of Africa offer to uninitiated visitors. Muema though, chose to sneak into the country in order to scatter the Ugandan regiment into disarray with a surprise. But surprise is what awaited him, among our emerging talent, Nanyonjo Judith unwrapped him,as did many more scrabble B players.
He was leading the team came to avenge the conquest Edwin Philip Mugisha – PEM had occasioned on the Kenyan country in Mombasa. In fact PEM returned triumphantly into Uganda with fresh titles vis the Sultan of Mombasa and King of Kenya. If recent events are any indicator, it appears winners of scrabble in Kenya will now henceforth come from the west of the country. And that hinterland is Uganda, exploits of the regional hawk is simply portends the future.
Now, before the Spa tournament, a lot of banter and bravado from players went into overdrive. Many players were certain the status quo would remain with PEM retaining his supremacy. Even Dr. Muema Muumbi, though determined to wrestle the crown from PEM to restore Kenyan pride grudgingly admitted to the heaviness of the task at hand.
It was the first time that a rated tournament has had two divisions in one. This arrangement has the tremendous advantage of placing learners and seniors shoulder to shoulder. Whereas moments of fright exists such as when Daniel Machanje extracted a 400+ spread, it does not come easy for most seniors. I had the good fortune of playing Lubuye, who refused to budge and in the end restricted me to just about 100 spread points. The bigger picture though, is that this inter-division interactions results into a stronger division B and encourages competition allowing an easy transition to top flight scrabble by lower rated players.
The highlights of the tournament started with Daniel Machange in game 8. This game so tasked me to a loss by a point. At this point, Machanje had cemented the dubious reputation of defeating Uganda 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and back. I did not meet him a second time, but PEM did as did other higher rated compatriots to their detriment. It provided a soothing respite to the Kenyan contigent, chief among whom is DAMU.
The second highlight was in game 5 while tussling with the enforcer who has cemented a reputation for making my life miserable on the board. As usual, Chris was off the block first leaving me gasping for breath. I placed a Z dangerously on 1d to balance and plot a recovery. Chris played elsewhere allowing me to land an amazing GRAZINGS nine-timer for a whopping 200 points. This game was settled very quickly.
Later on, I met 007 on the queen’s mission. In the two encounters with the secret agent, I mustered over 400 spread points including finding an amazing NINE letter word IDioGRAMS to run into the hills to wrestle PEM. Whom I met to play for the final. In game 16, Edwin fought like a wounded buffalo to steal this game. He had played smartly to block BLOWER at 4a and force me into time error. I lost the game to the utter consternation and disappointment of onlookers who were determined in their wish that I should win the tournament.
Now in game 17, playing on table one, I played a very strange game. While holding CHEVRET and no where to place it, I found CHEVERET instead in the hope that PEM would challenge it off give me I to allow VETCHIER. Now in the wish to maintain purity in the game, I had broken the cardinal rule to playing only allowable words. PEM challenged CHEREVET and obliged me. As good fortune would have it, PEM has SAVINES and toyed with several options, finally giving me the chance to land CHEVRETS through the 4 timer for over 110 (plus a failed challenge). Later on, why the pressure bore on me, I played KETH, unbelievable because, I thought my fours were sacred. I took command of this game and run out with + 17 spread points. This win takes us to a final decider in the final game. PEM still leads on 14 points, I am 13 needing just 10 spread points to eclipse the tournament. As usual PEM is off the blocks first bursting away with bingos and high scores. Another agonising moment as I have to open a NINE Timer with GAUNTLET. Luckily, Edwin scores with the X for nearly 60 points, allowing me to find the second 9 time, LORICATE for 149 to edge ahead and have a foot on the tournament. Later Edwin found ANTIAIR whence my prompt response, OROPESAS on the triple lane settle scores and the tournament. For the first time this year, I carry home winner’s trophy, cast in bronze, shined and nicely designed. Plus some bread.

NEW TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE FOR SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

With a myriad of sponsors coming along, the second half of the year promises an action-packed period for tournament scrabble in Uganda.

Dates Club/Venue Tournament Name Contact
 1.  23-24th July Soroti (Aloha hotel)  ECASA Q1 SAU
 2. 20-21st August Fortportal (Sports Club) Kalibbala
3. 27-28th August Mbale (Sports Club)  ECASA Q2 SAU
4. 31st August-4th September Lille France MSI WSC MSI
 5. 17-18th September Kampala SAJEKI / ECASA Q3 SAJEKI
 6. 8-9th October Kampala Independence / ECASA Q4 SAU
 7. 29-30th October Kabale Kabale Open Greens Kamugisha
 8. 26-27th November Bandores (Kampala)  Bandores Open / ECASA Q5 Edgar Odongkara

*Dates still subject to change

28th Nov-3rd Dec Causeway (Malaysia) Causeway Challenge SAU
 9. 3rd-4th December Jinja Scrabble on the Nile / ECASA Q6  *Dates still subject to change

*Tournament will be WESPA rated

 10. 14th-18th December Accra, Ghana ASC PANASA

THE DR. ALLAN MPAIRWE SOROTI SCRABBLE OPEN.

The annual Soroti scrabble open is on July 24-25. See tournament poster below for full details. In case you are unable to attend, go to our live events page to follow all the action from Aloha restaurant.

soroti poster

WSC QUALIFIERS RESULTS

  • Best 4 out of 6 qualifiers considered.
  • Ties are broken by last 2 qualifiers, after which they may be broken by National ratings.
  • Those who have played 4+ qualifiers take precedence over those who have played less.
  • Only those who have played 3+ qualifiers are listed here.
Player Q1 (Lira) Q2 (KIU) Q3 (ECASA) Q4 (Ndejje) Q5 (Mbarara) Q6 (Spa) Total (Best 4/6)
1.       Mugisha, PE 1 1 2 1 2 5
2.       Odongkara, E 2 3 1 3 2 6 8
3.       Geria, R 5 2 3 2 1 8
4.       Onai, D 3 4 5 3 8 15
5.       Onyoin, L 7 4 6 9 1 7 18
6.       Kisembo, R 6 5 6 10 27
7.       Ntege, C 15 7 9 4 8 13 28
8.       Apuuli, D 13 6 8 7 24 34
9.       Okwir, M 12 8 14 11 11 17 42
10.   Opio, RP 19 11 12 15 7 19 45
11.   Ssali, S 4 10 16 17 18 47
12.   Nakyanzi, A 14 10 4 26 54
13.   Alyek, L 24 15 8 16 16 55
14.   Ojok, S 8 11 13 27 59
15.   Kalibbala, C 26 13 17 18 32 74
16.   Sentongo, I * 9 9 4 22
17.   Tawoda, J * 10 5 7 22
18.   Ojok, J * 11 15 13 39
19.   Kizza, P * 16 13 14 43
20.   Kyobe, T * 12 12 25 49

In line with one’s WESPA rating, every individual is eligible to play in at the MSI Scrabble World Championships in Lille in August this year since there are several divisions. Find all tournament information HERE.

A champion’s round up: [PHENOMENON: SULTAN OF MOMBASA, KING OF KENYA]

Hiya folks

The 18-game event in Mombasa, the Golden City in the Sun, doubled as a WSC Qualifier.

DAY ONE
GAME 1
DAVID NJENGA (KENYA)
With his curly hair and pouting matinee idol looks, David Njenga makes the girls go bananas.
I had to admit to some trepidation as I was paired with this masterful Young Turk who had painfully outmaneuvered me in a previous tourney.
David arrived with a scant 8 minutes left on his clock but any thought of my having a field day were quickly dispelled as I had to wash an abominable vowel-only rack. He opened with ZERK (34) trying to WHOP (39) me. I battled to find LEARNING (61) but David was intent on SLOWING (74) me down with ACETONE (76).
I got lucky to JIVE (28) with XU (50) but my opponent countered with LAMINATE (74). Incredibly, despite the fact that David was 7 minutes over on his clock and that I balanced for the 9-letter zinger OVERRAtEd (88), my goose was cooked. I was saved only by the fact that he missed STOGIES.
Whew!
EDWIN-MUGISHA 480 DAVID NJENGA 370

GAME 2
FRED MAGU (KENYA)
Breezy, confident, prosperous Fred has been working hard on his game and proved a hard nut to crack. The leader of 600 Africans covered by the ECASA regions and the President who has never lost an election pounded me with MADRONES (83) and QUASI (73).
The Man of History JIGGED (48) during this tactical, strategic encounter to REALISE (74) a triumph and ENRICH (39) himself with another point.
The second Kenyan down, 16 to go.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 418 FRED MAGU 361

GAME 3
DAN MUSUKU (KENYA)
Dan, a multi-talented athlete who starred in the National Soccer team, wasted no time making me WAIL (11) with TINGLER (75) and INMATES (78). I scraped together RATIONS (73) short of the triple lane, desperately playing setup. I was very, very relieved Dan overlooked the front hook of RATIONS as the Eagle pounced with RETOX (67) to survive by 7.
Phew.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 417 DAN MUSUKU 410

GAME 4
CHRIS NTEGE (UGANDA)
In Uganda, Chris the Enforcer has built up a terrible record against me, winning at least 3 of our last 5 rated contests. He called me a LEMUR (22) just like King Julian of the Penguins of Madagascar. Then the Enforcer made out like the bloodthirsty FOSSA with WAZ (48) exclaiming it was good the new words had come along.
ENROBING (76) further cemented his position and the Chosen One needed TENSORS (82) and SHIV (30) to avoid getting SCREWED (80).
EDWIN-MUGISHA 458 CHRIS NTEGE 360

GAME 5
JACK OMONDI (KENYA)
After a hiatus from the Beloved Sport, the animated veteran Jack was back with a bang. He played hard as we went pound for pound until after the UNfaded (17) dump, my supernatural SPIRITS (68), intervened with IGNORES (87) and ROTCHIE (85).
EDWIN-MUGISHA 462 JACK OMONDI 353

GAME 6
MARTINS MUTAHI (KENYA)
The towering intellect of Emirates Martins aka Smartex aka Matu lay in my way. This future African Champ and Young Turk accused me of spending the tournament running away from him.
Crazy talk. East Africa’s Alpha Male is scared of no one.
In the middle of the game Martins accused me of calling him an IDIOT (16).
Again, crazy talk. I wouldn’t stoop so low; I am Scrabble’s Humanitarian of the Year.
Obviously more Emirates paranoia.
After FAQIR (34), the CELEB (36) Martins unleashed IODINATE (68). I was forced to burst the game wide open with the placement of ONSTEAD (88). Luckily for me, Martins missed KARSEYS for a barnstorming 93, going for KADE (42 + 5) which I challenged.
A basic 4-letter word. Oy vey.
After that miss Martins tried to BUOY (27) himself up to no avail as I UNMEwED (47), going on to VEX (48) him with ADZ (51) and ROPINGS (78).
EDWIN-MUGISHA 462 MARTINS MUTAHI 353

GAME 7
BERNARD AMUKE (KENYA)
At lunch time the young superstar Allan Oyende incredibly accused me of having already wrapped up the tournament without even playing him. More crazy talk. There were 12 games to go and I was sure I was bound to collide with this menacing World number 14 who would do what he usually does; slice and dice his opponent!
The tall, dark and handsome Ben Amuke lay in wait. I ran with GROSZ (50) and he went ZORRO (28) on me. That’s when I made a blunder as suddenly unsure of the GROSZ back hooks I scored MEINEYs for 29 marks instead of GROSZE/MEINEY for 14 more.
Of course the hunky Ben should then have come down that juicy lane with his BLUSHED for a humongous 109 instead of pluralizing ZORROS for 12 less.
I LOITERED (68) with my Iranian PAHLAVI (80) but the Kenyan Scrabble Vice-Chairman made me feel the HEAT (38) with PUY (35) as he got GOATIER (66). The GROSZ hook finally clicked in my pinpointed mind as I enjoyed the EX (50 + 5).
However my nightmare game continued with UNCAN* challenged off and as I CURST (23) in frustration Ben fought back, making me feel the PAIN (23) with SMOKE (34).
I scraped home in this absurd comedy of errors.
By the way, there’s both the Polish GROSZE and GROSZY.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 476 BENARD AMUKE 430

GAME 8
LAWRENCE ONYOIN (UGANDA)
Lawrence de Lorenzo was in the form of his life. Fresh off a dominating Mbarara Qualifier victory where he had ran up a sperm count spread of 1 800, he had that very morning taken the mighty Edgar Dragon Odongkara to the cleaners with a tournament High Game of 669, scalping the Fiery Lizard by a 300 + spread. De Lorenzo had now stormed into 2nd place in the tournament, leaving the shell-shocked scattered personages of the hapless local natives all over the playing hall!
I opened with RABATOS (74). Lawrence caught fire with CONSTER (89) and little else as Africa’s largest vocabulary dumped BoUVIER (24) to run riot with ADENOID (79), the defensive JINN (31), EMOVE (20), BEZ (47), DANDLER (91) and TWEEP (42).
EDWIN-MUGISHA 527 LAWRENCE ONYOIN 388

GAME 9
ALLAN OYENDE (KENYA)
An amazing match against Allan, the darling of Kenya, who had swept into the Australian WSC and caused utter havoc, taking no prisoners. I hit the front with REBOARDS (66) and ZOA (42). Allan wrote KHOR (26) before his SANGUINE (74) PLEBEIAN (76) suddenly gave him a stranglehold on the contest.
I cried NAY (34) being forced to burn an S with MASTIFF (57). Allan should not have attempted COLLeGED* as despite his bouncing back with GECKO (24) and SOLIDeST (77) my brilliantly crafted final move SLOTTER (84) ensured that the Immortal lived another day. Against all odds, a draw.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 455 ALLAN OYENDE 455

GAME 10
PATRICK NDERITU (KENYA)
Out of the frying pan into the fire. Facing the nuclear word head called Gigaton; there was nowhere to hide in the intense cauldron of Table 1. A series of early abominable racks meant for a strategic, cagy affair but WESPA’s Shining Light balanced to pull ahead with the baby bonus ORNATELY (86). Gigaton, the former World number 8, continued to struggle with combos like MIHI (30) as I solidified my advantage with ZOBU (30) and DESTINE (72). After FLIX (28) I am forced to admit I goofed BIGTIME as I went out with SOREDiAL (77) instead of hOARDERS which would have denied the reigning ECASA Champ his face-saving SQUINTED for a humongous 106.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 424 PATRICK NDERITU 352

DAY TWO
GAME 11
MUEMA MUUMBI (KENYA)
9.5 points from a possible haul of 10, unbeaten for the whole of Day One, near perfection for the winningest player in the game.
In the absence of Chris, Nick and Emily Okioma I was having a field day. I could finally breathe easy on Table 1 in Kenya without being hunted down ruthlessly by the deadliest family in Global Scrabble!
Dr. Muema Muumbi was out for blood but he didn’t let me know this beforehand. I piled mistakes upon mistakes, not taking advantage of his opening DRIFT (22) with the optimal UNAU/DRIFT. Getting lazy about using the DRIFT front hook cost me dearly as UNAU would have blocked his MODERNER (77). I thought I was right back after LEISTER (80) and GOURDY (26) but Muema was having none of it as he kicked me in the nuts with ESTOILE (74).
I was crying soprano, hobbling as I danced awkwardly with beauties like MIRITI (18) and Muema went AHA! (39) as he mercilessly finished off the Living Legend with UNTACKLE (68).
A devastating washout.
With doctors like these, who needs coroners?
MUEMA MUUMBI 468 EDWIN-MUGISHA 356

GAME 12
EDGAR ODONGKARA (UGANDA)
Muema had given the field renewed hope I could be overhauled. For the feared Vampires in the field, there was the sickly sweet scent of haemoglobin in the air. My haemoglobin.
Cool as cucumber, a Scrabbler who encapsulates the qualities of both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Edgar Odongkara is the fastest rising young player in World Scrabble.
Unfortunately matters became ARIDEST (73) for the Dragon in this contest as I handled the Weight of Wisdom well, pulling out consecutive scores of TRANQ (47), CYANITES (84), REMERGED (86 + 5), TEARGAS (77) and JOIN (43).
EDWIN-MUGISHA 516 EDGAR ODONGKARA 350

King of the Hill
GAME 13
PATRICK NDERITU (KENYA)
I was 2 and a half points adrift of the field and a win here could make the event a runaway rout for the Man of Destiny.
There was a determined glint in Gigaton Nderitu’s eye as he opened his account with AREACHES (68) in response to my CHEZ (36). Gigaton swiftly balanced for INTROMIT (80) as I REVVED (26) up with TIX (39) and INTRADOS (77). That’s when I shot myself in the foot, missing the Dave Sutto Sutton CSW 15 addition, NIBLETS, by a million miles.
I guess the 26 hour bus ride was starting to take its toll.
BLINI (20) was my poor 2nd best choice as my opponent took full advantage with RONDEAUS (59), BRUNG (28) and FLETTON (33). Pressure was turning my environment HUMID (27) as I fought back from Stupidville with ZESTIEST (69) and WOODIE (33).
WOODIE only opened for Gigaton’s Deathblow LOOF (49). I was toast.
GIGATON 403 EDWIN-MUGISHA 385
GAME 14
PATRICK NDERITU (KENYA)
The heat was on. With the bit between his teeth, Gigaton opened with the punishing HYENOID (84). He didn’t hang around as he piled on the misery with QIN (46), XI (37), GOEL (35) and BLAIZE (43). It’s like the man was holding a whip, a cat o’nine tails, and was beating me with setup after setup like I was a thief. The Great One fumbled around for PASTIER (76) and DEMENTS (73) but I was to later INFER (39) from Gigaton that he chose the massive double double FUBSIER (99) over BUFfERS or REBUFfS.
Suddenly Mombasa was looking less like the City in the Sun and more like the City of Doom and Gloom.
PATRICK NDERITU 522 EDWIN-MUGISHA 381

GAME 15
PATRICK NDERITU (KENYA)
Feeling my energy levels tanking, I scampered to the nearest watering hole for a Redbull. I tried to be upbeat, telling Kenya’s seed one that I still led by half a point and I would have to be physically prised off the lead.
Alas, this was false bravado as feeling run down and rattled by an opening rack of CCEGRRV – I changed keeping CER – I proceeded to miss ROsACEA or ACEROlA. What ho!
The former World number 8 stormed off with RESILED (68) and I desperately hang on to his coattails with HEARERS (64). Gigaton called me a HOBO (27) as I suddenly started to pick like Sammy Okasagah or Brett Smitheram, blazing with MUTATES (76) and ZEP (49). This is when Gigaton was to tell me he made a rare stumble of his own, by not changing a move earlier instead of battling with AIERY (16).
As a result, later on his JETS (41) and NAILERS (71) were no match for my QUAG (38) and QUINAS (46) as I ran for dear life to reopen my Table 1 lead.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 469 PATRICK NDERITU 354

GAME 16
ALLAN OYENDE (KENYA)
No rest for the Scrabble wicked as Allan was back to torment Scrabble’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). A bizarre match ensued on a board that quickly closed up. Allan scored MAIK (27), FAUVE (22) and NIXY (30). I cobbled together FORDO (26) and JAPE (36). I picked a blank but the genius that is Allan blocked my ECOGIFt. After picking the H, I displayed why I handle the Burden of Brilliance better than any other man alive as I played the setup OXIC (30) below the triple lane. It allowed me to explode with CH/HILLERS (84 + 5).
Allan committed the howler NONPLAnT* which gave me breathing room. He redeemed himself with POTTLeS (73 + 5) but -to heck with Equity Loss- I proceeded to block like a man possessed.
Current reigning World Champ Wellington Jighere lectured me to my face in Cape Town that I don’t play enough rough, dirty Scrabble. I am too flashy, too exhibitionist.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 377 ALLAN OYENDE 310

GAME 17
PATRICK NDERITU (KENYA)
For a change, it was my turn to commence with a bingo as I chose BELACED (80) over DEBACLE. Patrick BLAZED (38) right back. I then went on a terrible tear with FIQUE (34), ZITE (28), COASTING (95) and THANAGES (76). It left me with a fat “impregnable” 175 point lead.
Obviously Coach Wellington Jighere’s lessons were paying off.
This is when Gigaton tried to put a HEX (34) on me with POPERA (22) and the dangerous OKA (30) setup short of the triple lane. Not satisfied with this torture, Gigaton also played DERATION (72) opening up the second potential triple triple opportunity in the match.
At this juncture my high-powered Coach Wellington would get miffed as what I should have done with my rack is play the defensive COITS on the S of THANAGES, killing off one nine-timer chance and the looming OKA opening. Instead I kept the board wide open, going for marks and rack leave with SWIG (24).
I did decide to later block one triple triple opening with CONDO (27) but my high-powered Nigerian Coach would get incensed at the delayed action as Patrick unleashed YONDERS on the OKA setup for 110!
Amazingly now, with a prestigious Qualifier and National pride on the line, he had all but erased a 175-point lead to claw to within 20. The Phenomenon continued to sin heavily against Coach Wellington, playing rack leave with NIRL (20). On the expansive board Gigaton had the good fortune to pick the second blank and he erupted again with MaUVEINE (66) to go 18 ahead!
That’s when fickle Lady Luck decided to saunter over to my side with her voluptuous curves, flashing her painted eyelids at me as she rendered the charging Gigaton impotent with a final JST pickup. The guy couldn’t finish in one move except through the U of MAUVEINE.
That’s also when commonsense finally penetrated my thick skull. With 30 seconds left on my clock and holding a final ADLORU? rack I avoided the suicidal temptation of trying OUtDRAWL*, was unsure of ADULAtOR but really should have played LAUDAtOR. Instead I did the 100% sure thing. Having earlier confirmed marks, made absolutely dead sure, I blocked the U of MAUVEINE with ALOUD for 28, wiping out my deficit of 18 marks to build a slender lead of 10.
As I foresaw, Patrick could only offload JS with JamS for 15 whereupon I simply went out with RaW for 7 marks to take his T and win the Qualifier and the Kenyan number 1 rating by 4 marks.
Yeeesh. Coach Wellington will shake his head in disgust but bottom line, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
EDWIN-MUGISHA 462 GIGATON NDERITU 458

GAME 18
MAGWANGA ONANI (KENYA)
The King of Scrabble had done it yet again, getting Phenomenonized for the umpteenth time.
I quickly ran into fierce headwinds against the grizzled veteran Onani who bluntly told me I couldn’t just walk into Kenya, where everyone knows there are National Parks teeming with man-eating lions, and simply swagger around untroubled, just smelling the roses. He was going to thoroughly discipline me, finish me off.
And true to his word he did, finding ZAMPONI early on for 109. I balanced for SAUTOIRS (62) and HELMING (88) but was no match for his ACQUIRED (83) lust for revenge.
MAGWANGA ONANI 426 EDWIN-MUGISHA 397

NOTES

– 13.5 wins out of 18 games, tournament-high spread of 800, Bingo Merchant honours with 41 at a rate of 2.3.

– 59th Championship in 159 career tournaments. The most potent player in the game.

– I can only hope that there will be decent competition in Lille. While I accept that fatigue still leads to lapses that deny me the excellent discipline of David Eldar, it is still a genuine concern to hope that Nigel and the Nigerians are actually working hard, not just snoozing in slumberland.

– The big problem of why Global Scrabble is dominated by one player who will just run away with everything is the fault of none other than Elie Dangoor and the WESPA Rules Committee. I clearly told these respectable folks some years back that there should be a WESPA bylaw decreeing that The Phenomenon should, to introduce some unpredictability into the Sport, be subjected to a 20.5 point handicap per game. This is the ONLY way to be fair to the International field in Lille otherwise I fear the very worst!

– Alternatively, I shall have no choice but to look beyond ANI, beyond even AGI and build an Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI). While waiting for Ray Kurzweil’s technological Singularity, I can while my time playing against it or better yet, get it to build a von Neumann probe and sail away into the heart of the Universe looking for serious competition.
Cheerios

PHILLIP EDWIN-MUGISHA
KENYA SEED ONE
UGANDA SEED ONE
REPRESENTATIVE OF 5 BILLION HUMANS
AFRICAN CHAMPION, 2016
CAUSEWAY CHAMPION, 2016
WORLD SCRABBLE CHAMPION, 2016

UGANDANS DOMINATE IN KENYA!

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Mbaraki Sports Club hosted the Mombasa Scrabble open Championship over the weekend. The event in its second edition saw a record turn out total of 50 players from Kenya and Uganda, 6 being from Uganda. In the premier division, third seed Phillip Edwin Mugisha (The Phenomenon) of Uganda emerged victorious dropping only 4.5 points on his way to be crowned Champion becoming the only visiting player to win
on Kenyan soil. He managed to pip Kenya’s top seed Gitonga Nderitu (Kirinyaga County) in the penultimate round 17 462 – 458 to finish on 13.5 points  +826 and gain enough rating points to become the top rated player in Kenya.
Gitonga Nderitu on 12 +451 was runner up, closely followed by seed two Allan Oyende half a point back 11.5 +762. Uganda’s prodigy, Edgar Odongkara of Makerere university tied on 11 wins with Kenya’s Amuke narrowly losing out fourth place on inferior spread. The Enforcer, Chris Ntege emerged 9th with 10 -109, after a successful strategy he engineered for the team to attain National pride across the border.

In the open category, the home players dominated the field with Central Bank’s Hillary Busienei earning his promotion to the premier division on 14 +886, Jacinta Kiragu 12 +1126 was runner up with KPA’s Michael Onyango 12 +868 third. Uganda’s only representative in this division, Linda Alyek finished a credible seventh with 10 +531 in this division.

Action now heads to Kampala on the 25th and 26th of this month as Uganda starts the selection process for the team that will represent the country in the East Central and Southern Africa (ECASA) Championship to be held in Lusaka – Zambia over the Easter weekend next year and the WESPA Championships in Kenya in November 2017.

Publicity Secretary SAU
Alyek Linda.

ECASA Roundup

The multi-Nation, 74 player East & Central African Champs (ECASA) took place in Nairobi over Easter weekend. Barely had the various visiting countries landed than the celebrated Nic Mbugua produced a Roll Call of Honour of past Champions. Featuring the likes of Stanley Njoroge, the late David Kangethe, Patrick Litunya, Manase Otieno, Allan Oyende and Gigaton Nderitu, it was an all-Kenyan lineup. Zambian honcho Mwenya Munkonge led a posse who just “didn’t want to know.”

With Beauty and Brains to spare, the eye-catching Wamucii Cii Irungu will never ever again place in the 60s. The skilled young god Martins Mutahi fell short as did the handsome heart throb Daniel Machanje. President Sydney Kalema knows he would have placed higher than 32nd but he was scoring 510 and losing! Zambia’s beloved Dominic Tresha finished respectably in the top half of the field as did Queen Wenwa Akinyi. The dashing, charismatic Chris was 26th, disappointed to finish behind his brother Nick. Rose Kisembo made history capturing the glittering trophy for Uganda for the first time ever as Best Lady.

The Phenomenon was a scandalous 10th, a position that might require a deeper game by game analysis as everyone is befuddled, including WESPA’s Shining Light himself!

Former World Number 6 and Double ECASA Champion, the great Dr. Patrick Litunya, charged into 7th. Edgar Dragon Odongkara continues his unrelenting fiery march to the top of Global Scrabble in 6th and the sensational master strategist Allan Oyende, current Number 14 and the Pride of Kenya came from the absolute dead to capture 3rd. The legendary Vaquero Gigaton Nderitu was unlucky to lose his Championship defence by just 2 marks in the final cliffhanger match to his good buddy Willie Mwangi, a fully deserving Champ who captures his second title.

Zambia ended up as 3rd placed Nation while Uganda were Runnerup.

Dr. Muema Muumbi forced the Team Captain of Uganda, Geria Richard and of Zambia, Mwenya Munkonge to come forward and unfurl the colours of the winning Nation. It was a all big mystery but we slowly saw the black, red and green magically revealed then the shield and two crisscrossing spears. Loud cheers erupted to confetti pouring down from the rafters and to the sounds of Queen blaring from the speakers;

“We are the CHAMPIONS, we are the CHAMPIONS, no time for LOSERS, we are the CHAMPIONS of the World!”

Almighty Team Kenya had pulled it off yet again.

Thus all of Muema Muumbi’s fantasies came true in 2016.

Cheers
Phillip Edwin-Mugisha
2016 World Champion

RECOLLECTIONS OF LIRA, first tournament of the year.

The Washing bay is a nonchalant piece of real estate lying on Kwania road right in the middle of Lira town. It is an easy, sleepy and an unassuming location that a passersby would completely miss when he trudges the road. The roof is low, the spaces airy and the bar and restaurant laid back. It is a perfect environment for a consuming game of scrabble.

On the weekend of January 23rd and 24th 2016, the diehard scrabble player would come here to settle scores, establish fresh rivalries, bedazzle opponents, generally regale in brains, wits and word power. It was clear at some point, that 50 brave game addicts would pitch to prove their critics wrong, establish a new world order and retreat on Sunday into the future to bask in the glory.

The build up of to this tournament saw players display an amazing penchant for bravado, to say the least bruhaha. So then on Friday January the 22nd, teams embarked on the journey north with a boastful Bakagwa troop led by the declining machine, Bandore duo of Odongkara Edgar aka dragon and Ivan Van Gilbert, the Spa force of Stephen Lukwago Ssali, Rose Kisembo, Chris Ntege and yours truly, a Gulu invasion led by Oyo Sam. We were surprised by the attendance of Owiny Festo from Abim. The home club came in a swooping and menacing number of 15. Mwila of Milton Obote from Zambia broadened the international appeal were Muema Muumbi and the Kenyan invasion had failed.

Around Migyera on Gulu Kampala high way, the Gaaga Bus carrying Phillip Edwin-Mugisha, Mwila and Ivan Van Gilbert got a mechanical problem. Inside one of the hind wheel hubs, a ball bearing had run free from its hold, heating up and starting a smoke. Memories of a bus from the same company burning on the same road two weeks ago being rife in the mind of passengers could not have helped matters. On sensing the smell of burning tyres, pandemonium broke out as people fled to the exit in terror at the thought of being roasted alive. Roasted alive they were not, but a replacement bus was to come six hours later. When the second bus finally arrived, our trio had to endure the remaining part of the journey by standing for four hours. They arrived tired and beaten, but in high spirits. Scrabblers here are training to be tough.

On the second day, while on the queen’s mission, 007 booked a room in a hotel where a horde of German Shepherds provided sentry duty. These dogs were soon to add an interesting twist to the ambitions of David Onai who harboured the sinister plan to win the tournament and make history. The queen’s agent had secured a mouth watering package of pork and fries for his supper. The strong urge to recce Lira town and discover its thrills was too strong for 007 to sit in his room, enjoy his meal and retire to bed. Soon he disappeared into the night to find the next watering hole and celebrate his progressive march to the title. For he was no.2 on the standings. When he returned from the sojourn, he was shocked to find his room had been ransacked and things strewn and scattered. He thought a thief had somehow gained entry and accomplished a debilitating mission. Strangely everything else was there save for his meal. The German shepherds were the culprits. They had found his meal and fled into the night with he booty. A helpless 007 slept on an empty stomach and with it his dreams of a first national scrabble trophy dissipated.

Finally, the Lion was held firmly to the ground by the might of Assumpta Nakyanzi, the Mukagwa machine Phillip Edwin-Mugisha, De Lorenzo, and the Dragon. This unholy alliance was almost joined by Chairman Dr. Mark Okwir who while playing the lion, provided a hair splitting moment of brilliance by finding BALANCES through two triple word play hotspots for a whooping 140 points. The alarmed and ferocious Lion fought back the assault to claim the point. FIGURES and PARDINE compensating the huge shortfall. You see. When you touch the A – spot of a lion as this presidential election has taught us, there are vigorous reprisals.

Congratulations to PEM for making a second win North of the Nile; overcoming a great disruption in the itenerary, to Lira Scrabble Club for raising the bar for tournament organisation, Stephen Lukwago Ssali for having the last laugh over De Lorenzo and co, to Linda Alyek for exploding with 28 bingos, and to everybody for fighting tooth and nail to earn the points.

By Geria Richard
Lion of Arua

ECASA 2016: ROAD TO KIGALI

Team Uganda is finalised and ready to go after the 6th qualifier in Lira last weekend. [Go to our live events page see how it went down]

The Phenomenon takes his position as Uganda number one.  The Lion of Arua pips the fast improving Dragon for second while De Lorenzo and our new SAU chairman round up the top five.

Technicalities

  1. Best 4 out of 6 qualifiers considered.
  2. In cases of a tie, one with based individual performance finishes higher
  3. Players who have participated in 4+ qualifiers considered first.
  4. Players who have participated in 2 qualifiers have a chance to join the team by demonstration of improved performances in the two tournaments preceding ECASA
  5. Guest qualifiers noted.
  6. Invitational participants noted.
No. Names 1st -Soroti 2nd-Bandores 3rd -Sajeki 4th-Independence 5th -Scrabble on the Nile 6th -Lira Best 4/6
1. Phillip Edwin-Mugisha 1 1 3 1 3 1 4
2. Richard Geria 4 2 2 3 1 5 8
3. Edgar Odongkara 5 3 1 4 10 2 10
4. Lawrence Onyoin 2 5 6 5 2 7 14
5. Mark Okwir, MD 6 7 11 8 6 12 27
6. Ivan Sentongo 16 12 2 8 9 31
7. Chris Ntege 8 5 9 9 15 31
8. David Onai 12 10 7 12 3 32
9. Stephen Ssali 10 7 13 11 4 32
10. Pierre Opio 7 4 8 14 14 19 33
11. Davis Apuuli 12 4 6 15 13 35
12. Sam Ojok 9 9 13 18 8 39
13. Assumpta Nakyanzi 14 13 14 10 19 14 51
14. Joe Ojok 11 15 14 11 51
Played Three Qualifiers
15. Rose Kisembo 3 11 6 20
16. Nelson Kyagera 13 15 16 44
17. Chris Kalibbala 9 22 26 57
Guest Qualifiers
18. Muumbi Muema, MD 6 4 10
19. Joash Manyasa 8 5 13
Invitational Guests
1.      John Paul Rutaremwa
2.      Alan Mpairwe, MD
Played 2 Qualifiers
20. Jonathan Tawoda 13 10 23
21. George Opolot 16   17 33
22. Milton Mwila 16 20 36
23. Linda Alyek 14 24 38
24. Sip Mughanwa 16 22 38
25. Judith Nannyonjo 15 24 39
26. Tony Kibet 17 29 46
27. Emmanuel Odur 21 28 49