How Nigerians are winning international scrabble contests?

Perhaps one of the best things I have read in a while. Like most children have great memories playing the word game scrabble.

Had no clue about this Nigeria factor in Scrabble. It is just like why Jamaicans produce such good shirt distance runners and Kenyans long distance ones.

More interestingly, the idea in Scrabble has been to make those big words with a q on it. The Nigerians play with shorter words and try preserve key letters like vowels for usage later. It is a bit of both scrabble and chess..

Nigeria is beating the West at its own word game, using a strategy that sounds like Scrabble sacrilege. By relentlessly studying short words, this country of 500 languages has risen to dominate English’s top lexical contest.

Last November, for the final of Scrabble’s 32-round World Championship in Australia, Nigeria’s winningest wordsmith, Wellington Jighere, defeated Britain’s Lewis Mackay, in a victory that led morning news broadcasts in his homeland half a world away.

It was the crowning achievement for a nation that boasts more top-200 Scrabble players than any other country, including the U.K., Nigeria’s former colonizer and one of the board game’s legacy powers.

Beating English at their own game sorry language..

Nigeria’s Scrabble ambitions date to the 1990s, when several local fans convinced the dictatorship of Gen. Sani Abacha to make the game an official sport, a designation that brings funding. Nigeria was ostracized from the world then. Scrabble offered one area where the country could redeem its image abroad.

Nowadays, the country of 187 million stages daylong tournaments in stadiums on an almost weekly basis, often with small prizes on the line. Dozens of Scrabble clubs scout high schools for talent, sometimes poaching players. Several of Nigeria’s 36 states have a Scrabble coach on the payrolls.

Wondering why the dictator agreed? They usually dissent against anything which people want. The best way to get something from a dictator is to speak against it.

Good stuff.

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