David Eldar wins 2019 British Matchplay Scrabble Championship
The August Bank Holiday saw the hottest temperatures on record for
that weekend and there was no shortage of sizzling encounters at Kents
Hill Park, Milton Keynes, which played host to the 2019 British Matchplay
Scrabble Championship. 80 Scrabblers including 7 Grandmasters took part
in at least one of the events, swapping the summer sunshine for indoor
pursuits although there was still the odd friendly game played al fresco
after hours for those for whom 36 games could never be enough.
Around half of players warmed up nicely with an 11 game competition
battling for our perpetual Ladies and Mens trophies in memory of fondly
remembered Kay Thorne and John Rusted. 3 ladies won 6 games, but spread
wasn't enough for Anne Ashmore to retain the silverware, with Moria
Conway pipping Paloma Raychbart by just a single point of spread. John
Ashmore suffered just 1 loss to finish 2 games clear of the field ensuring
their household still had something to take home this year, whilst Joseph
Bennett continued his recent good form, one win less but the same margin
of victory separating him from Division B rivals.
Early standings in the main event saw the expected competition begin
to play out at the top although Robert Richland, Andrew Eames and Karen
Willis had strong day 1s. By the end of day 2, both Lewis Mackay and
David Eldar had 13-5 records, with Phil Robertshaw and Pauls Allan and
Gallen just 1 win behind. It was 12 wins too for Natalie Zolty helped
by a Nigel-esque play of NITRIFIED through disconnected tiles. There
might be a few people who still haven't heard about it.
David made the strongest start of all to the final day, wrapping
up victory with a round to spare and finishing 3 wins clear, on 20-5,
+1486. Paul Gallen finished 2nd, with Phil, Lewis and Natalie rounding
out the top 5. Visiting player James Curley recovered from a poor Warm
Up to take one of the ratings prizes with Nuala O'Rourke putting in
a strong late run to clinch the other.
David's win is the 2nd UK Major win for a player who has a string
of global achievements to his name including the World Championship in
2017. Since that time he has become one of the pioneers of the Tablet
Scrabble variant, and will be hosting the
2nd National Championship in London next weekend. I am sure any
late entries will be warmly welcomed.
Caroline McLaughlin took the ratings prize in Division B in 2018,
but only entered late this time after some other plans altered. It looks
like a good decision, as she dominated Division B from the off finishing
2 wins clear with a record of 19-6, +1323. Paul Thomson took 2nd place,
with Colin Nicol 3rd and Graham Buckingham taking the ratings prize in
4th. A 164 tournament rating has propelled Caroline's overall rating
up 6 points.
Ellie Mackin is a relatively new name on the scene, but if her Braille
tiles do not stand out enough, her performances certainly do. She
was also 2 wins clear in Division C (18-7, +1334) with Robert Springer 2nd
and Syd Berger 3rd. Christine Cartman took the ratings prize.
Due to a few pre-tournament issues and a late family emergency, the
ABSP committee were low on Tournament Officials at our flagship event;
something we hope can be remedied next year. The last 2 years have been
mostly positive for the BMSC, but we recognise there are still areas
that need looking at so the event can become bigger and better in the
future. Special thanks this year go to Wayne Kelly for all his hard work
organising and directing amidst a few unexpected challenges.
BMSC Main Event
Author: Chris Harrison, Stewart Brodie
Last updated: 28 August 2019