Lifestyle

And The No. 1 Scrabble Nation In The World Is …

on

Prev1 of 4Next


Nigeria is the English-speaking world’s Scrabble superpower. Africa’s most populous nation is home not only to the global Scrabble champion, but team Nigeria ranks as the world’s top Scrabble playing nation — ahead of the U.S. in second place. The Scrabble world champion is Wellington Jighere. He’s 33, has a soft voice, a slow smile and a penchant for fedoras, earning him the nickname “the Cat in the Hat.” Jighere acknowledges that he’s taciturn by nature, but also has an explosive, infectious laugh, though he considers Scrabble is serious business.

“You can’t afford to waste too much energy doing unnecessary chatter,” he says. “During a tournament, I see it as business time. And that is no time to be joking around.” Jighere plays chess to relax, “and for fun,” he says. Jet-lagged and weary, Jighere was crowned the world Scrabble champ last year in a grueling 32-round competition in Australia. Up to 30 of the top 100 global players are from Nigeria, which has the highest percentage of any country in the top 200. The Nigerians’ apparent collective strategy — short words that rack up the points.

Nigerians have been credited with perfecting that tactic under the tutorship of senior team coach, Prince Anthony Ikolo. He says Nigerians are passionate about Scrabble and the short word method gives them an edge. Many put Nigeria’s towering Scrabble prowess down to its players ability to “choke the board” as they say, with this defensive play. “The game of Scrabble is actually built around short words — especially five letter words,” says Ikolo. “If you have such a word base, then you are good to go. But it would be a very big mistake for the world to think our players only know short words, especially five-letter words,” he warns.

Prev1 of 4Next

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply