Association of British Scrabble Players

The ABSP is committed to helping young players start playing Scrabble. A number of Short Scrabble boards, designed to be used with a reduced set of letters, are available from Paula Davenport .

Don't forget, Scrabble players under 18 get half-price membership of ABSP - join here.

For more information on Youth Scrabble within the UK, please contact Paula Davenport.


Click the link above for a short feature on young player Tim Butcher as he prepares to play at the World Youth Scrabble Championships in 2011.


The UK Youth Festival weekend started on the Friday with Karen and Alastair Richards doing a brain dump on us. The amount we learnt over the first two days was awesome. Zyzzyva, OTARINE +1, word study, board strategy, rack balance, keeping physically fit, being mentally prepared, what to do if you lose, were all drummed into us. It's hard work if you want to get to the top! Jessica Pratesi did some tuition too which she took to like a duck to water. We all had a go at taking on Alastair, he played 6 separate games at the same time. I am proud to report that at least two of us beat Alastair. Joe was one, and I was another.

On Saturday afternoon, there was an 'All in' event. This enabled the young players to play against adults in a less intimidating environment than a 3 day tournament. It helped the beginners to learn about etiquette and rules in a practical way. And it was a great warm up for Sunday's UK Youth Championships. There were 6 players in each of the 3 divisions with Karen and Alastair taking part too. No surprise who won the event! :) Alastair was top, Karen came second with Diane Pratesi in third place. In Division B, Jack Durand (age 11) won but only just from Christine Cartman. Natalie Zolty who had never played in a face-to-face tournament before, won beating me into second place. The highest scoring word was REQUIRES (a whopping 203 points) by Paul Cartman.

The UK Youth Championship kicked off bright and early on the Sunday morning. The main contenders had rolled into town - some serious Scrabble was about to happen. There were two divisions, Division A was made up of the seven qualifiers for the World Youth Scrabble Championships (Malaysia) , and Division B which was a recreational tournament made up of two complete novices plus two slightly more experienced players. Now, this next bit was kindly written by Mauro Pratesi as he was the man behind the desk:

In Division A, they played 8 games - a straight round robin with king-of-the-hill final round. In the other division, they played a double round robin of only six rounds. Once top two rated players Jessica Pratesi and Oliver Garner lost their opening matches to Jack Durand and Shrinidhi Prakash respectively we knew it was going to be a tough tournament. Further losses for Jessica and Oliver didn't help their situation and it was Tim Butcher who led the tournament going into the final rounds. For Jessica to retain her title she had to hope Oliver could beat Tim and Natasha Pratesi could beat Joe Knappper. Jessica was the sit out for that round and due to play Oliver in the last of the round robin pairings. Oliver did beat Tim and Natasha did beat Joe. In round seven Oliver bested Jessica 365-335 while Tim lost to Joe 395-401 which set up Tim and Oliver to battle it out for the championship. Oliver got off to a bonus start with AFFORDS for 76. TELAMONS for 70 through Tim's BEEPERS made the game safe for Oliver. Finishing with the impressive RAOULIA Oliver beat Tim 503-297 to become UK Youth Champion with five wins and 586 spread. Jessica beat Joe 448-371 to finish second with four wins and 438 spread.

There were very few high scoring games and very few high scoring words. Jessica topped both with the highest game score of 509 and the highest word score of 106 for EVINCES and won trophies for both achievements, altough Jessica kindly gave up her high score trophy to sister Natasha who had the next two highest word scores of 91 for RUSTING/PRIZES and 90 for TOWNIER/JAR. In the "All-in" Natasha had scored 92 for WINGERS/NETS. Kiran Pal won a trophy for the highest performance above their rating.

All in all, it was a fantastic event. Some of the youngest are showing such potential, but we need more youngsters to create a solid UK Youth Team. If you would like to get involved with Youth Scrabble, then please contact me.

And finally, without the following, the UK Youth Championship couldn't have happened. So a huge thank you to Karen and Alastair Richards, Tracy, the Pratesi family, the young people who took part and all the parents who watched patiently.

Youth Scrabble Fest 2011
A fine crop of youth talent. Standing: Steffan Taylor, George Bateman, Gemma Davis, Oliver Garner, Joe Knapper, Tim Butcher. Seated: Kieran Pal, Shrinidhi Prakash, Jessica Pratesi, Natasha Pratesi and Jack Durand.

About the World Youth Scrabble Championships
The sixth WYSC was held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia in December 2011. Seven young players represented the UK: Tim Butcher, Jack Durant, Oliver Garner, Joe Knapper, Shrinidhi Prakash, Jessica Pratesi and Natasha Pratesi. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely! The full results from WYSC 2011 are available at the Youth Scrabble website .

The seventh WYSC will be held in December 2012 in Birmingham, UK. Qualifying is still taking place for this! - see Youth Scrabble.

Qualifying for the WYSC
To qualify for the WYSC, a player should be a member of ABSP and a UK-resident for the entire qualifying period, and record a peak ABSP rating of 90 or higher, based on a minimum of 20 games within the qualifying year (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 for WYSC 2012, the same as that for the WSC). It is expected that the qualification criteria for future WYSCs to be the same. However, ABSP recognises that new young players are bursting on to the tournament scene all the time, and may not have been active or members for the entire qualifying period, so exceptions to the above criteria may be made in some circumstances.