By Syed Khalid Mahmood
The Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP) has offered cash incentives to the three-member national team proceeding to Malaysia to participate in the upcoming World Scrabble Championship 2009.
The MSAP Directors, Tariq Rasheed Khan and Pervez Iqbal, recently had a meeting with officials of Pakistan Scrabble Association (PSA) at the BBCL House which was also attended by the trio of Rodney Judd, Rashid Khan and Wasim Khatri, who will be representing the country in the World Championship to be staged in the Malaysian town of Johor Baharu from November 25 to 29.
During the meeting it was resolved that the scrabble players participating in the World Championship will be presented handsome cash prizes upon their return home if they finish among the top 10.
The MSAP functionaries not only advised the members of the national scrabble team to wear blazers during the course of the event but they also agreed to bear its costs. The PSA officials were thoroughly appreciative of the prompt action of the MSAP Directors.
It’s for the first time, after the establishment of the MSAP last year, when the World Scrabble Championship is being held. The PSA, being generally governed by the active scrabble players themselves, have had their limitations and the leadership has been found wanting in certain areas. They can now benefit a great deal by the expertise and the visionary approach of the MSAP.
The 21-year-old Wasim Khatri, who is the reigning national champion, gets a chance to make his debut in World Championship while Rashid Khan and Rodney Judd, both of them former national champions, will be making their fifth and second appearance in the global event held in the odd numbered years.
Wasim Khatri, a discovery from the Inter-Schools tournament, appeared very confident of winning laurels in the World Championship.
“My aim is not only to finish among the top 10 but to bring home the title. I think that I do have the capability to go the distance,” the youngster, having won the national crown for the past couple of years, remarked in a brief conversation.
Pakistan have been represented in the World Scrabble Championship regularly since 1995 and their performance in the last event, held in Mumbai, India, a couple of years, was the best ever when Mohammad Sulaiman finished 20th.
The World Scrabble Championship was launched in 1991 in the United Kingdom (UK) and players from every continent have been contesting it since then in what has become the most sought after global event of the mind sport.
Nigel Richards of New Zealand will be the defending champion in the upcoming event, having annexed the title at Mumbai in 2007 in which a record number of 104 players had participated.
Even greater number of participants, 112 players from 40 countries would be taking part in the 2009 World Championship offering a prizemoney of US$30,500 with the winner to take home US$15,000 and the runner-up to collect US$6,000. The prizes will be disbursed among the players sharing the top 10 positions.
November 22, 2009
By Syed Khalid Mahmood