*Breaking news* Thai player in national scrabble championship finals

20-year old Bangkok college student Panupol Sujjayakorn is playing in the 2005 National Scrabble Championship finals today (24th August)against 31-year old Dave Wiegand from Portland, Oregon. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, ESPN will be taping the finals for telecast in the fall. As of 12:45 PDT, the finalists had finished three of the five games. Sujjayakorn won the first and second games and Wiegand won the third game. The winner of the best-of-five finals wins a $25,000 first prize.
In 2003 Panupol won the World Scrabble Championship held in Malaysia. According to the Wall Street Journal, the National Scrabble Championship has never been won by a non-North American.

*** update ***
Wiegand defeated Panupol in the final two games of the series to win the championship. The final scores were 338-467, 349-463, 501-364, 441-371, and 529-331. Words played in the finals include SABERING, FLORINS, COGWAY, GAYETY, TANKING, RUSTLED, ENDOSTEA and EARLOBE; all played by Panupol. Wiegand’s plays include HUGEOUS, SCABIES, EULACHON, TINSTOENE, TAPERING, OVERKEEN, DYADIC, LENSMEN, REENTERS, and PARTING.

As the second prize winner, Panupol takes home $10,000 which he reportedly will use to fly to London in a few months to defend his world championship title.

Interestingly, the article in the Wall Street Journal noted that Panupol does not speak very good English. The journalist went on to speculate whether this is actually an advantage in Scrabble training because Panupol does not concern himself with the meanings or contexts of words, he just memorizes them and categorises them in terms of probabilities and Scrabble strategy.

8 responses to “*Breaking news* Thai player in national scrabble championship finals

  1. Go for it Panupol! Make us proud!

  2. I do believe we have a winner!

    Congratulations to the new World Champion, Panupol Sujjayakorn. Panupol beat Pakorn Nemitrmansuk in an exciting best-of-five series, 418-380, 384-495, 470-514, 446-433 and 444-387.

    Congrats Panupol! Way to go for Thailand 🙂

    W

  3. Interestingly, the article in the Wall Street Journal noted that Panupol does not speak very good English. The journalist went on to speculate whether this is actually an advantage in Scrabble training because Panupol does not concern himself with the meanings or contexts of words, he just memorizes them and categorises them in terms of probabilities and Scrabble strategy.

    Yeah, and your point? 🙂

    He’s good at it, isn’t he? Does it matter if he didn’t understand the word, or have great grammar and speaking skills, as long as he does well in Scrabbles?

    On a side note: My English tutor used Scrabble as a teaching tool. If we had been doing our homeworks, he’d combined my brother’s and my 2nd hour into 2 hours of Scrabbles where we were allowed to look up words in dictionary as we go on the condition that anything we looked up would be reviewed next week. Much fun. 🙂

  4. Oakley- it’s funny you should say that because Panupol himself was quoted as saying “I think language does not have much effect on this game.”
    My husband used to be a Scrabble fanatic. He even bought a copy of the Chamber’s dictionary (official Scrabble dictionary in the UK). I caught him reading the dictionary one day and I laughed at him. I probably shouldn’t have laughed; I think he was embarrassed.

  5. I’d like to set up an official Scrabble club in Chiangmai. I’m one of Thai competitive players and I’m among many Thai players agreeing that mathematics and strategies are more important than words themselves. Anyway etymology also plays much role in memorizing words.
    Anybody interested please gives me any suggestion about good location for this club?

  6. is that game anything like the game scrabbon?

  7. I teach english in Thailand and my students are asking about a Scrabble competition. I’m obviously not connecting with the right teachers, because they can’t tell me any details – no rules, no dates, nothing. Can an one help? How do we organize a club? Is there a main contact person/organization in Thailand? thanks for any and all comments!!!

  8. Steve Suphan

    In Thailand they don’t call it Scrabble, they call it Crossword.

    Here’s the site for all the news on competetions etc..

    http://www.thaicrossword.com