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Friday, June 27, 2003

Memorable meet thanks to Mensa


THE Malaysian Mensa Scrabble Challenge 2003 was held from June 14 to 15 at the One Menara Choy in Petaling Jaya. With the reception given by the organising committee under the leadership of tournament director Goh Siu Lin outdoing even the cosy ambience of the playing area, the tourney was an affair to remember. 

The challenge, played in the masters, the non-masters and the fun category, saw neither feeble novice nor untouchable expert. The winner in the end was the Malaysian Mensa Society themselves, who conducted the annual event with warmth and great respect for the players. They served the participants throughout with camaraderie, cheer, coffee and cakes. 

Said Goh: “I am happy that the competition went without any hitches. This is the third time the society organised this special tournament and we’re constantly striving to improve the overall quality of what we can offer to Scrabblers. 

“The highlight for me was making two new young friends, William Kang and Looi Kok Fei. In fact, the day after the contest I received an e-mail from Kok Fei’s mother who said, ‘Thank you very much for giving my son a chance to participate in the non-masters category. He really enjoyed himself. Without your assistance and guidance, he would not have been so cheerful’.” 

According to Goh, sevenyear-old William was awarded the youngest player prize. 

Wiliam’s father revealed that he and his wife decided to teach their son Scrabble to keep him quiet. Little did they realise that William would eventually get hooked on Scrabble and become very good at it too. Nowadays, William plays Scrabble on his computer, going against virtual players. 

Goh also thanked Fanny Chai and Ng Cheng Ying from Mattel Southeast Asia Pte Ltd for sponsoring the main prizes, Alex Tan for acting as tournament adjudicator and Wong Kar Mun for his assistance. 

She added, “My appreciation also to the Malaysian Mensa Committee Lawrence Hie, Lisa Lee, Datin Yim Poh Wah, Lee Yee Dian, Low Keng Lock, Jennifer Lee and Winnie Lau for their support. I am also indebted to Malaysian Scrabble Association (MSA) representative Ganesh Asirvatham for the Scrabble sets and clocks. 

“Lastly, a big terima kasih to all participants for making the third Mensa Scrabble Challenge worthwhile.” 

Final standings 

Non-masters category 

Wong Kar Mun (champion), Trent Hoh (first-runner up), Ho Sui-Jon, H’ng Gaik Chin, Gun Shih Ying, Benjamin Ong, Faiz Abu Salihu, Colin Chong, William Kang and, in 10th place, Looi Kok Fei. 

Masters category 

Pui Cheng Wui (champion), Aaron Chong (first runner-up), Vannitha Balasingam, Tan Jin Chor, Kong Chock Heng, Leonard Wong, Jocelyn Lor, Tengku Asri Abdullah, Chua Sim Swee and, in 10th place, Paulette Yeoh. 

Meanwhile, tournament director Leon Rethual reports that the one-day 5-game Klang District Inter-School Scrabble Competition played in Klang on June 12, was a heart-warming success. 

A total of 35 teams from 11 schools in Klang district participated including SMK Raja Mahadi, SMK Methodist, SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, SMK ACS (Anglo Chinese School), SMK La Salle, SMK Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, SMK Bukit Kuda, SMK Tengku Idris Shah, SMK Teluk Adong, SMK Tinggi (High School) and SMK Convent. 

Two categories were contested namely the Under-15 and the Under-20. 

Each team comprised three players and schools were allowed to field more than one team. There were 15 teams in the younger group and 20 in the senior category adding up to 105 students participating and making this the largest gathering of players for a Scrabble competition in Malaysia. 

As expected the tourney was a noisy affair, with the teenagers chatting incessantly especially during the pairing intervals which pleased the organisers no end. 

Two and three-letter word lists were made available to encourage the teenagers to enjoy the game to their heart’s content. 

Adds Rethual: “On behalf of the organising committee I would like to thank Institut Megatech Klang, Mattel Southeast Asia Pte Ltd, ESCO, McDonalds and Dominos Pizza for sponsoring the tournament. 

A special word of appreciation to Datuk Dr Yahaya Ibrahim (chairman & director of Institut Megatech) for giving away the prizes. 

“Thanks also to Elajsolan Mohan CEO Institut Megatcech, Nik Zamri Majid (president of MSA and Brother Michael Wong (vice-president MSA) for their support and words of encouragement.” 

Final standings 

Under-20 category 

SMK ACS (champion), SMK La Salle (first runner-up), SMK Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (second runner-up), SMK Convent and, in fifth place, SMK La Salle (second team). 

Peripheral prizes: Highest number of bingos (4), highest bingo score (ENDURES: 82 points) were all won by SMK La Salle. Highest game score total (4634 points) was won SMK Tengku Ampuan Rahimah. 

Under-15 category 

SMK ACS (champion), SMK 

Sultan Abdul Samad (first runner-up), SMK Sultan Abdul Samad (second runner-up), SMK La Salle, and in fifth position, SMK La Salle (second team). 

Peripheral prizes: Highest number of bingos (1), highest bingo score (FRIENDS: 64 points) and highest game score (433) were all won by SMK ACS. 

Highest Game Score Total (3785) was awarded to SMK ACS. 

Word Power 

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, a story of reconciliation between Leontes, the King of Bohemia and his chaste wife Hermione, contains the kind of words which Scrabblers can make use of. Here are extracts of speeches, with a short explanation of the words in italics. 

Leontes (Act II, Scene I): A federary with her, and one that knows, / What would shame to know herself...(FEDERARY is a form of feudary, literally a feudal tenant, and so, retainer, dependant). 

Leontes (Act II Scene III): Thou dotard! Thou art woman-tir’d, unroosted/ By thy dame Partlet here. (DOTARD: one who dotes; PARTLET: traditional name of the cock and hen. Falstaff, in King Henry IV, addresses the hostess as “Dame Partlet the hen”). 

Shepherd (Act III Scene III): ...for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting...(ANCIENTRY: antiquity, senority).  

Perdita (Act IV Scene IV): The dibble in earth to set one slip of them; / No more than, were I painted, I would wish...(DIBBLE: a pointed tool used for making holes for seeds or plants). 

Perdita (Act IV Scene IV): Here’s flowers for you; / Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram...(MARJORAM: an aromatic labiate plant used as a seasoning). 

Servant (Act IV Scene IV):...he has the prettiest love-songs for maids, so without bawdry which is strange; with such delicate burdens of dildoes and fadings...(DILDOES and FADINGS are words of obscure origin and sense used here either to mean “nonsense refrains” or else as the actual refrains. 

A DILDO is frequent in refrains of 17-century ballads while FADING was the name of a contemporary jig). 

Servant (Act IV Scene IV):...they call themselves Saltiers, and they have a dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols...(SALTIERS: Men in saltiers were probably dressed in skins to resemble satyrs and were skilled jumpers; GALLIMAUFRY: jumble, medley). 

Autolycus (Act IV Scene IV): My clown...grew so in love with the wenches’ song, that he would not stir his pettitoes till he had both tune and words...(PETTITOES: Trotters, but also used of human feet). 

Autolycus (Act IV Scene IV): So that in this time of lethargy I picked and cut most of their festival purses; and had not the old man come with a whoobub against his daughter and the king’s son...(WHOOBUB: hubbub). 

Clown (Act IV Scene IV): Is there no manners left among maids? Will they wear their plackets where they should bear their faces? (PLACKETS: aprons, petticoats, skirt-pockets and, as probably suggested by Shakespeare here, the private parts.) 

All words highlighted above can be found in the Chambers English Dictionary. If they are composed of seven letters or more, 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!). 

If you have any queries, qualms, quirky quips or quotations pertaining to Scrabble, let us hear from you. Send your letters to: 

Scrabble Scene
StarTwo, Star Publications (M) Bhd
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46350, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-7967 1388
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