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Friday, March 21, 2003

World tournament in Malaysia


NIK Zamri Majid and the Malaysian Scrabble Association (MSA) have the golden opportunity to showcase Malaysia’s charm and organisational expertise at the next World Scrabble Championship (WSC 2003). The sixth of its kind since its inception in 1991, WSC 2003 will be held in Kuala Lumpur in October. 

Nik Zamri’s credentials as organiser speak volumes. The founder and chief executive officer of Scrabble Masters (Malaysia) has organised many a successful tournament including the spectacular Bertam World Scrabble Masters in 2000 (BWSM 2000) which attracted more than 60 top international masters from Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Kenya, Nigeria, India, and Britain, among others.  

The tournament did the country proud, and thanks to Nik Zamri, players at large had lofty words of praises for the way the tournament was conducted, the prize money, the glorious food, and the cultural shows and other forms of entertainment that served as adjuncts to the daily rounds of Scrabble.  

Everyone finished the tournament in a joyous mood.  

Many were quick to express the hope that the professional developer would do the Scrabble world one more good deed by organising perhaps a bigger tournament than BWSM 2000 in the land of a thousand smiles. 

A man with a penchant for development, Nik Zamri did not stop working after BWSM 2000. So, even as the WSC 2001 was taking place in Las Vegas, he was already thinking months ahead and setting his sights on the next edition of the world meet. He sent Rosli Haji Abd Majid and Rose Lina Salehud Din, two of his assistants, to the United States where they submitted Malaysia’s proposals to the authorities. 

Officially, we are now host of the most prestigious tournament in the world, a culmination of Nik Zamri’s anxious months of bidding and negotiations with Philip Nelkon, the Manager of the World Scrabble Championship. And thanks in no small measure to Nelkon, Malaysia now has the letter of intent appointing Scrabble Masters (Malaysia) in collaboration with the MSA to organise the biennial championship.  

No one who knows Nik Zamri can doubt that, come October, WSC 2003 will be the biggest Scrabble show on Earth. Over the next few months, Nik Zamri will be the project director of all planning and implementation of the tournament, from invitations to more than 100 Scrabble champions from both sides of the Atlantic and the Third World, to the venue, right down to the last local succulent dish on the table.  

It is a forgone conclusion that Nik Zamri will have plenty of support.  

He needs only to mention it and all and sundry in the Scrabble fraternity will rally round him in the spirit of Malaysia Boleh

Another piece of good news is that as hosts, Malaysia will have the privilege of filling four playing slots in WSC 2003. And even in this department Nik Zamri has already lined up five grand-prix qualifying competitions to help decide the four representatives: the first two coming from the official Malaysian National Scrabble Rankings after the completion of the five qualifying rounds, and the third and fourth from the remaining pool of six Scrabblers (in descending order in the rankings of the qualifying rounds) who will fight it out in a gruelling hybrid system of challenge in which the best two will be selected to join the top two to play for the country.  

Reserve status will be given to the four Malaysian players who are behind the four official representatives.  

The first grand prix qualifying round will take place tomorrow at PNB Darby Park, 10 Jalan Binjai, Kuala Lumpur.  

Entry fees: RM40 for members of the Malaysian Scrabble Association (MSA). Malaysians who are not members of MSA, but who wish to take part, must first register as new members by paying RM70 (RM30 for membership and RM40 for participation).  

Non-Malaysians are also invited to play for a fee of RM50 but there will be no rating points for selection for them.  

The tourney will be played over 16 rounds, 12 without repeat (not meeting the same player twice) and 4 with repeat (pairings according to computer rankings after round 12 and each subsequent round).  

Tournament proper begins at noon after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the MSA.  

Regarding the ranking for selection to WSC 2003, the champion of the tournament will gain 100 points, the runner-up 90 points; third, 80 points; fourth, 70 points, and so on until the 10th finisher, who will earn 10 points.  

For more information on this first grand prix event, please contact Rose Lina Salehud Din at 016-6124863/03-92832572 / e-mail: ; or Rosli Abd Majid at 012-3843528 / e-mail:

The AGM will be held in Function Room 1, Level 4, PNB Darby Park, KL. All are welcome.  

Word Power  

Many English words are formed from Greek prefixes, suffixes and bases. Here are extracts containing such words, together with a brief note on how they have been derived from Greek: 

1. Inactivity is the patients’ worst enemy; their muscles atrophy and tendons shrink. – Time (Atrophy: wasting away: degeneration. From the Greek base A = not.)  

2. The delegate of a country antipodal to Greece, New Zealand – Atlantic Monthly (Antipodal: adjectival form of antipodes, those who live on the other side of the globe. Greek ANTI = against, opposite.) 

3. ... it gives preliminary promise that a partial separation of the analgesic and addicting properties may have been achieved. – Time (Analgesic: producing analgesia, painlessness. Greek ANA = up, back, again.) 

4. Finally, in 1918-19, it erupted in a global pandemic, one of the worst disease disasters in history, which claimed at least 15 million dead. (Pandemic: incident to a whole people. Greek DEM = within.) 

5. We have only to stand on the eminence of the hour, and look out thence into the empyrean. – Henry David Thoreau (Empyrean: The highest heaven where the pure element of fire was supposed to subsist. Greek PYR = fire.) 

6. Diseases which are endemic in Egypt include worms and other parasites, amoebic dysentery, malaria ? – Harper’s Magazine (Endemic: prevalent or regularly found in a people or a district. Greek EN = in, within.) 

7. At its highest point (apogee), the orbit rises to 2,735km above the Earth, descending to about 322km (perigee). – Time (Perigee: the point of the moon’s, or any artificial satellite’s, orbit at which it is nearest to Earth. Greek PERI = around, near.) 

8. The orchestra played in a web of complicated polyphony, and the chorus sang in as many as 12 parts. – Time (Polyphony: composition of music in parts each with an independent melody of its own. Greek LY = loosen.) 

9. The basic principles of eugenics are violated by the practice of war, which kills off the strongest and fittest. Donald M Ayers (Eugenics: the science of race improvement. Greek EU = good.) 

10. The President headed west ... on his congressional-election tour in such a cheerful, eupeptic and thoroughly non-political mood. – Time (eupeptic: pertaining to good digestion. Greek EU = good.) 

Acknowledgement: I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Donald M. Ayers whose book English Words from Latin and Greek Elements has inspired me in this edition of Word Power.) All words highlighted above can be found in the Chambers English Dictionary. They can be used in the game as bingos (in Scrabble, a bingo is play of a valid word of seven letters or more made in one move and scoring a bonus of 50 points!.  

The SJI Scrabble Open will be held on April 12-13 at the school hall, St John’s Institution, Jalan Bukit Nanas, KL. The closing date for registration is March 29 and all students are welcome. For more information on the tourney, please call teacher-advisor of the School’s Scrabble Club Tan Hong Lian at 03-20782846 / 03-79579890 or vice-president Lim Jann Hann at 012-2856942.

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