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Friday, August 08, 2003

One more tourney to go

By WONG SIANG HUME

GIDDY excitement in the local Scrabble scene is the order of the day, now that the last leg of the 5-series grand prix selection rounds for the forthcoming World Scrabble Championship (WSC 2003) is over.  

The question is, after months of battle on the board, has anyone qualified for any of the four playing berths given to Malaysia, the hosts of this edition of the world’s most prestigious tournament? 

The truth of the matter is, the fight is not over yet. There is still another tournament to take into account: the Malaysian Open.  

The top two players in the national rankings after this much-awaited event, regardless of how they performed at the grand-prix selection rounds, will automatically earn the first two playing slots. This is in sync with the selection rules laid down by the Malaysian Scrabble Association (MSA) as early as April this year. 

Then, and only then, can the process of selecting the other two players to fill the third and fourth places be carried out. This will be done in a play-off among the top six in the grand-prix rankings (minus the two players who have qualified by virtue of their standings in the national rankings).  

The last of the top six (in the grand-prix rankings, not the national rankings) can be a player from as low as number eight in the grand-prix standings, if the two who have automatically qualified are themselves in the top eight in the grand-prix standings before the Malaysian Open.  

Very complicated indeed and too close to predict, but players who are dying to represent the country know their position and what they have to do to be there. 

The top 10 in the grand-prix selection rounds are: 

(1) Kong Chock Heng
(2) Ganesh Asirvatham
(3) Pui Cheng Wui
(4) Aaron Chong
(5) John Lam
(6) Jocelyn Lor
(7) Alex Tan
(8) Tan Jin Chor
(9) Tengku Asri Abdullah
(10) Yeo Kien Hung  

The top 10 in the national rankings are: 

(1) Ganesh Asirvatham /1,893 points
(2) Kong Chock Heng/1,767
(3) Pui Cheng Wui/1,755
(4) Aaron Chong/1,738
(5) John Lam/1,719
(6) Jocelyn Lor/1,648
(7) Azmil Aziz/1,637
(8) Leonard Wong/1,613
(9) Alex Tan/1,595
(10) Tan Jin Chor/1,593 

Here is a possible scenario in the selection for the four WSC slots: If Ganesh and Kong remain the top two in the national rankings after the Malaysian Open, they will gain automatic qualification.  

This means that Pui, Chong, Lam, Lor, Alex and Jin Chor will meet in the play-off, with the winner and the runner-up getting their rightful places. The second-runner up will be the Malaysian reserve who may be invited to play if there is an odd number of entries for WSC. The play-off will be an untarnished round-robin where every player meets every other player in the best of three games.  

The date and venue for this decider will be announced after the Malaysian Open.  

The Malaysian Open begins tomorrow after registration at 8.30am at Hillciti College, Pengkalan Emas Mall, Ipoh. The two-day tourney is open to international players but local ranking points will be for Malaysian participants only.  

The Open will be played over 16 rounds, 12 without repeat (not meeting the same player more than once) and 4 King of the Hill (computer pairings, in descending order of strength, and a possibility of players clashing more than once). Players are requested to bring along their own Scrabble sets and clocks. For more information on this competition, call Ganesh(% 016-628 8742) 

Scrabble to school 

The MSA is very grateful to SM Teknik Sungai Petani I and its principal Md Rosli Rashid, and Nor Arfah, the school’s Head of English Department, for tproviding them with the venue for the Kedah State Level Tournament played a couple of weekends ago. The tournament saw 17 schools play it out to qualify for the Malaysian National Junior Scrabble Championship scheduled for Sept 6 and 7 at Subang Parade, Selangor.  

MSA is making a special appeal to schools or colleges to sponsor their halls for their upcoming national qualifiers to the Malaysian National Junior Scrabble Championship.  

More tournaments will be conducted this month – in Perlis, Penang, Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. It is organised by Scrabble Masters in collaboration with MSA and Mattel Southeast Asia. Schools and private colleges interested in taking part can contact project coordinator Nik Zuraik ( 03-2161 8085/ fax: 03-2161 8304). 

Up next 

The Perak State Selection for the Malay-sian National Junior Championship will be held tomorrow at Hillciti College. The MSA is grateful to the Morubina group of companies for sponsoring the selection tourney and the Malaysian Open. Call Hillciti College (05-322 7878) for further information.




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